Letter from the Chair

Another exciting academic year has drawn to a close, and I’m happy to share with you another issue of our Newsletter. This will be my last one as the department chair. It has been a pleasure working with Betsy Sinclair as associate chair this spring semester and I’m looking forward to all of the great things she will accomplish as chair when she takes over on July 1, 2023. 

A lot has happened this spring! We are celebrating many important promotions. Congratulations to Taylor Carlson for receiving tenure and being promoted to the rank of associate professor! Congratulations to Dino Christenson and Jacob Montgomery for their promotion to the rank of full professor! Congratulations to Diana O’Brien for being the inaugural recipient of the Bela Kornitzer Distinguished Professorship! This professorship was endowed by Noémi Neidorff, a longtime benefactor of Washington University in St. Louis and other cultural and educational institutions locally and beyond. Neidorff’s endowment is in recognition of her uncle, an acclaimed author, historian, and journalist from Hungary. I’m very proud of my colleagues for these great achievements. 

We owe thanks to esteemed colleagues who are completing their long-term service to the Department and the university. Randy Calvert and Steve Smith are retiring and assuming the positions of emeritus professors. Their work has shaped our understanding of political institutions, and will continue to be impactful for decades to come. We thank them for being dedicated scholars and teachers, and tireless leaders in the department and on campus! 

Our department continues to grow. I am very glad to announce that on July 1, we’ll be doubling our international relations faculty! Amy Pond and Timm Betz will be joining our department as associate professors and Xiaoyan (Christy) Qiu as assistant professor. Dr. Pond is a highly impactful scholar of international and comparative political economy, and will also contribute to our formal theory field. Dr. Betz is an expert on the politics of trade and finance and has also made important methodological contributions. Dr. Qiu studies rebel strategies and state formation, relying on tools of formal theory. We also welcome two new teaching-track faculty: Zoe Ang and Stephanie Shady! Dr. Ang started already in March and is teaching courses in American politics. Together with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, she is also supporting our undergraduate program. Dr. Shady will start in the fall, and she will offer courses in comparative politics and international relations. Together with the Director of Graduate Studies, she will also be supporting our graduate program. We are so excited to welcome all of these amazing new colleagues! 

We are proud to continue our junior visitor program, which we started last year. We are saying goodbye to our inaugural visitors this year, Lisa Argyle and Mayya Komisarchik. We are welcoming Princess Williams from Amherst College, who will be visiting us for the 2023-24 academic year. Her research focuses on behavior, geography, race and ethnic politics, and American political development. We are looking forward to hosting Professor Williams! 

The department is also welcoming several new staff members! On May 1, Dan Callihan started as the administrative and academic supervisor for political science. On May 8, Autumn Dennis started as the administrative coordinator supporting the chair, faculty, and department communications – and is the new editor of our Newsletter! On May 16, Ellen Huppert started as the academic coordinator supporting our undergraduate and graduate programs. We are lucky to have this impressive team help us move the department forward! 

I hope you all have a fun and productive summer, full of new discoveries. Please stay in touch! 

Yours sincerely, 

Margit Tavits, Dr. William Taussig Professor

Keith Schnakenberg

Letter from the Director of Graduate Studies

We have wrapped up another successful academic year for the Washington University Political Science graduate program. First, we had a successful year placing doctoral graduates in academic positions. These included: Jordan McCallister will start a post-doctoral fellowship at the Innovation in Population Health Center, University of Kentucky. Afiq bin Oslan will begin a post-doctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute, Munich. Patrick Rickert has accepted a Visiting Assistant Professorship at St. Lawrence University. Benjamin Noble will commence a tenure-track Assistant Professor position at the University of California, San Diego. Second, the admissions season concluded successfully with the enrollment of a diverse cohort of 16 new doctoral students for the upcoming fall. We are all very excited to welcome these students in the Fall. Third, our graduate students continued to accomplish great things over the last academic year. Some of our graduate students’ publications and achievements this academic year included: Zoe Ang who published “Partisanship, Economic Assessments, and Presidential Accountability” in the American Journal of Political Science alongside WashU faculty member Andrew Reeves and others. Jordan McAllister and Afiq bin Oslan’s work “Issue Ownership and Salience Shocks: The Electoral Impact of Australian Bushfires” was published in Electoral Studies. A collaborative effort from Taylor Damann and Jeremy Siow, with WashU faculty member Margit Tavits, resulted in “Persistence of Gender Biases in Europe,” accepted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Ruilin Lai’s co-authored paper “Political Institutions and Global Project Finance Loans" was accepted by International Studies Quarterly. Masanori Kikuchi’s work “How does War Affect Cultural Tolerance? Evidence from Concert Programs, 1900–60” was featured in the Journal of Peace Research. Jordan McAllister's co-authored work “Measuring Time Preferences in Large Surveys” was published in Political Science Research and Methods. Benjamin Noble, alongside WashU faculty member Andrew Reeves and a coauthor, published “Crime and Presidential Accountability: A Case of Racially Conditioned” in Public Opinion Quarterly. Jeremy Siow received an American Political Science Association Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant for his dissertation work. Fourth, this year also marked the launch of the new Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) WUSTEPS program. This free 6-week training program aims to equip undergraduates from diverse backgrounds for political science Ph.D. programs, offering mentored research opportunities, introductory research methods training, and professionalization seminars. The WUSTEPS program takes place from May 22nd to June 30th of this year. The momentum of this past year will continue into an exciting fall semester here in the department.

Class Acts: Joseph Silagi, Political Science Major

Joseph Silagi, May 2023 graduate with a degree in political science and in mathematics and computer science from Arts & Sciences, shares his passion for data and running

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Faculty Spotlight: Prof. Betsy Sinclair

Get to know Prof. Betsy Sinclair, Professor of Political Science and incoming Chair of the department.

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Faculty Spotlight: Prof. Diana Z. O'Brien

Get to know Prof. Diana Z. O'Brien, Professor of Political Science and inaugural recipient of the newly established, endowed Bela Kornitzer Distinguished Professorship.

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Tenure appointments and promotions for Political Science faculty

Dino Christenson and Jacob Montgomery received promotions to full professor, and Taylor Carlson received tenure.

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Awards and Publications

Carly Wayne and Taylor Carlson

Grant Taylor Carlson and Carly Wayne, both assistant professors of political science, have won a two-year National Science Foundation grant to support their project “Interpersonal Pathways to Radicalization and Deradicalization.”

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Matthew Gabel, David Carter, Dino Christenson, Jacob Montgomery, and Betsy Sinclair

Grant Congratulations to Matthew Gabel, David Carter, Dino Christenson, Jacob Montgomery, and Betsy Sinclair on receiving seed grants from the Transdisciplinary Institute in Applied Data Sciences (TRIADS)!

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David Carter

Award Congratulations to David Carter, Professor of Political Science, and Luwei Ying (PhD '22), for being awarded the American Political Science Association's Outstanding Article in International History and Politics for their article "Historical Border Changes, State Building, and Contemporary Trust in Europe", co-authored with Scott Abramson.

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Margit Tavits

Award Margit Tavits and Efrén Pérez have been selected as the winners of the Robert E. Lane Award for their book Voicing Politics: How Language Shapes Public Opinion. This award is given by the APSA Political Psychology Section for the best book in political psychology published in the last year.

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Frank Lovett

Book Frank Lovett, Professor of Political Science and Director of Undergraduate Studies, published "The Well-Ordered Republic" through the Oxford University Press last fall.

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Margit Tavits, Taylor Damann, and Jeremy Siow

Article Margit Tavits, Taylor Damann, and Jeremy Siow were published in PNAS on the persistence of gender bias in Europe. Doctoral students Taylor Damann and Jeremy Siow conducted research and co-authored the paper with Dr. Tavits, the Dr. William Taussig Professor and Chair of the department.

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Ben Noble

Award Graduate student Ben Noble's paper "How Presidents Persuade Facts, Feelings, and the Language of Presidential Power" has been selected as the Presidents and Executive Politics Best Graduate Paper for 2023.

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Dan Butler

Article Dan Butler's article "Top-Four Primaries Help Moderate Candidates via Crossover Voting: The Case of the 2022 Alaska Election Reforms" has been published in The Forum.

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James Gibson

Article James L. Gibson’s article “Losing Legitimacy: The Challenges of the Dobbs Ruling to Conventional Legitimacy Theory” has been accepted for publication in the American Journal of Political Science. This is the first of a series of papers on popular reactions to the Supreme Court’s abrogation of abortion (and perhaps privacy) rights.

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Jeremy Siow and Ben Noble

Achievement At the 28th Annual Graduate Research Symposium, graduate students Jeremy Siow won 1st place and Ben Noble won 2nd place, both in the social science category.

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Mike Olson

Prize Mike Olson's article “Franchise Expansion and Legislative Representation in the Early United States” (co-authored with Stephen Ansolabehere and Jaclyn Kaslovsky) was awarded the 2023 Kenneth A. Shepsle Prize for the best article in volume 3 of the Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy.

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Jeremy Siow

Fellowship Jeremy Siow was selected as a SEAREG (Southeast Asia Research Group) Fellow for his dissertation research.

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Donate Now!

Steve Smith and Randy Calvert's work has shaped our understanding of political institutions and it will for decades to come. Support the research of graduate students in the Department of Political Science with a gift in Steve or Randy's honor.

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