Professor Tavits specializes in comparative politics and her research interests cover many areas: she’s studied various issues related to political institutions, political parties, gender equality, post-communist politics, and corruption. Some of her most exciting new research ventures into an uncharted territory in political science is exploring how the language we speak affects how we think about politically relevant issues such as gender and LGBT equality, environmental policy, and ethnic divisions.
The Dr. William Taussig Professorship was established as a result of the bequest of Mr. William S. Bedal. Mr. Bedal practiced law in St. Louis for many years and served as vice-president of the Bar Association of St. Louis. He was active in civic affairs, serving as a member of the Missouri Historical Society Board of Directors and on the executive committee of the St. Louis Symphony. In making the bequest to Washington University, he wished to establish enduring recognition of his grand-uncle, Dr. William Taussig, also an adopted and eminent St. Louisan. Dr. Taussig was born in Prague in 1826. He came to St. Louis in the mid- 1840's and died here in 1913. Dr. Taussig attended medical school at Washington University and received an honorary law degree from the university in 1905. He was presiding justice of the St. Louis County Court during the Civil War, was first president of the St. Louis Terminal Railway Association, and was a member of the St. Louis Board of Education from 1899 through 1911 and president of that board in 1902-03.