Political Science

Notable Faculty & Student Achievements

April 2021

  • At last week’s annual meeting of the International Studies Association (ISA), Professor of Political Science Eric Selbin served as chair and discussant for the panel “The Evolution of Revolution,” was a panelist on a roundtable on “Anatomies of Revolution,” and, at the request of the ISA’s Committee on Professional Development, was honored to cochair a roundtable for young scholars on encountering and countering privilege (in an array of senses) in academia titled “(En)countering Privilege in Academia.”

  • Professor of Political Science Shannon Mariotti was invited to present a paper at a roundtable at the recent virtual meeting of the Western Political Science Association conference. The panel was titled “WPSA’s Experiment with Virtual Communities: Successes, Failings, and Future Prospects,” and the participants spoke about their experiences chairing virtual communities over the past year. Mariotti cochairs the virtual community on Embodied Social Change and Healing Justice. Other panelists spoke about their work with virtual communities in other areas of study that have tended to be marginalized in mainstream political science, such as planetary justice, critical disability studies, critical whiteness studies, decolonizing political science, and inclusive teaching and pedagogy. You can read more about all the virtual communities here, and you can read about the Embodied Social Change and Healing Justice community here. The good news: at this meeting, we also learned that the WPSA executive council decided to make the virtual communities a permanent, staffed, and funded part of the association.

  • Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Political Science Alisa Gaunder received a book contract for the second edition of Japanese Politics and Government  (Routledge, 2017). The second edition will address recent developments in Japanese politics, especially related to the global pandemic, domestic political party realignment, the legacies of Prime Minister Abe’s long tenure in office, and the changing dynamics of Japan’s foreign relations. The manuscript is scheduled for delivery to the press in summer 2022.

March 2020

  • Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Sydnor  and SU alumna Madison Flores  ’20, Megan Nair  ’20, and Meredith Rasmussen  ’19 recently published a chapter titled “Civility through the Comparative Lens: Challenges and Achievements” in the book Political Incivility in the Parliamentary, Electoral, and Media Arena  (Routledge, 2021). The authors particularly enjoyed learning about what counts as civil and uncivil behavior in other countries; for example, Taiwanese parliamentarians see brawls and throwing chairs at each other as acceptable ways to show their constituents they are (literally) fighting for their cause.

  • Professor of Political Science Eric Selbin  was invited by the Manchester, UK–based Rethink Rebuild Society to speak on the 10th anniversary of the Syrian Revolution. The invitation grew out of a book group which read the Arabic edition of Selbin’s book Revolution, Rebellion, and Resistance: The Power of a Story  ( الثورة والتمرد والمقاومة: قوة الحكاية ). Over 700 people from around the world attended on Zoom and Facebook Live, and it has since been viewed by several hundred more people. The Rethink Rebuild Society is primarily focused on Great Britain’s Syrian exile community and provides assistance and support to improve lives; promote the aspirations of refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants in the UK; and raise awareness on issues related to refugees and other immigrants within the UK through policy and media work. The talk, “ Revolution in the Real World ,” is available on Facebook. It begins at about the 12-minute mark, runs for 30 minutes, and is followed by about an hour of Q&A.

  • Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Sydnor gave a talk as part of American University’s Government Department Speaker Series on March 12, 2021. The lecture focused on Americans’ identification with their states (for example, how Texan do you feel?), the factors that influence people to hold stronger state identities, and the impact of this identification on trust in state government.

  • Professor of Political Science Shannon Mariotti  was invited to review Thomas Dumm’s recent Home In America: On Loss and Retrieval  (Harvard University Press, 2019). Theorizing the spaces and places of “home,” Dumm explores environmental apocalypse and the Anthropocene, slavery and racial injustice, settler colonialism, mass incarceration, and the ideology of the patriarchal family. Mariotti turned the book review into an article-length essay that explores how these meditations on home in the “before times” have changed in the “after times” of the coronavirus pandemic. Her essay focuses on how the pandemic has newly illuminated a long-standing crisis of caretaking and spotlighted the undervalued work of social reproduction that is still primarily the work of women in ways that are raced and classed, giving dramatically different meanings to what it means to be “at home” in this country. Her essay is forthcoming in the journal American Political Thought .

January 2021

  • Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Political Science Alisa Gaunder led a roundtable titled “Some Potential Positive Effects of the Global Pandemic on Higher Ed” at the annual Dean’s Institute sponsored by the American Conference of Academic Deans on January 20, 2021. The discussion highlighted how some recent responses to the pandemic, including new ways of community building, a renewed commitment to student learning, and the value of incorporating technology, are likely to have a lasting impact on higher education.

  • Professor of Political Science Shannon Mariotti was invited to participate in a roundtable on the theme of “Embodying Your Curriculum,” on January 8, 2021. The panel explored how embodied and trauma-informed practices can be useful in the classroom, even (especially?) for distance learning, in an era marked by pandemic, protests, and political crisis.

December 2020

  • Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Sydnor has shared her expertise in American political behavior through a wide range of outlets in the past few weeks, including a pre-election interview with KUT and postelection discussions with Bloomberg News and the Georgetown edition of Community Impact. She was also a contributor to U.S. Election Analysis 2020, a report capturing the immediate thoughts, reflections, and early insights on the 2020 presidential election by more than 115 leading U.S. and international academics. In her entry, Sydnor discussed the narratives of civility and incivility throughout the presidential campaign and argued that Biden’s call for a return to civility may gloss over real systemic and nationwide concerns. Sydnor also published a post on the American Political Science Association’s RAISE the Vote site, a blog dedicated to amplifying and increasing students’ civic engagement and voting. The post outlined Southwestern’s university-wide collaboration around voter education and turnout, as well as our on-campus polling place, as an example for other schools who are also interested in increasing their student engagement.

September 2020

  • Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Sydnor and political science majors Maureen Rendon ’21 and Sarah Bowen ’22 presented “Uncivil Boundaries: Contesting the Civility of Protestors and Movements on Instagram” at the American Political Science Association (APSA) Political Communication Preconference on September 8. The presentation was based on work conducted as part of SCOPE 2020. At the APSA annual meeting, Sydnor also participated in a roundtable on teaching civic engagement and received the Craig L. Brians Award for Undergraduate Research and Mentoring from the APSA Political Science Education section.

  • Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Sydnor is the recipient of one of the American Political Science Association’s prestigious Centennial Center Special Projects Fund grants. The Special Projects Fund is an initiative that provides grants of up to $25,000 to support member-led collaborative projects aimed at advancing the discipline of political science. Sydnor is one of the principal investigators on the taskforce project “The Components, Processes, and Implications of Conducting Civically Engaged Research in Political Science,” which you can learn more about here.

  • Professor of Political Science Shannon Mariotti is cochairing a new group within the Western Political Science Association (WPSA): the Virtual Community on Embodied Social Change and Healing Justice. The WPSA’s Virtual Communities have two goals: (1) To keep scholarly connections strong and increase access—through small conferences, book groups, panels for works in progress, and mentoring and solidarity—during a time when traditional conferences are being revised and reimagined out of both necessity and choice. (2) To focus on areas of study that have tended to be marginalized in mainstream political science, such as planetary justice, critical disability studies, critical whiteness studies, decolonizing political science, and inclusive teaching and pedagogy. You can read more about all the Virtual Communities here, and you can read about the Embodied Social Change and Healing Justice Virtual Community here

August 2020

  • Avery Beam ’19 had her paper “Women’s Representation in the Post-Soviet Space: Latvia and Lithuania” accepted for publication in Reinvention: An International Journal of Undergraduate Research. The paper is based on Beam’s final research paper for Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Political Science Alisa Gaunder’s Women and Politics in Europe and Asia course. It examines the role electoral systems play in affecting the greater representation of women in post-Soviet democracies. Beam is currently a research assistant at the Congressional Research Service in Washington, D.C.

July 2020

  • Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Sydnor and three coprincipal investigators received a $25,000 grant from the American Political Science Association Special Projects Fund to advance the public impact of political science research. The grant will fund a series of workshops on civically engaged research, building a cohort of faculty whose research is designed collaboratively with community partners to produce mutually beneficial results and more closely align the academic field of political science with the practice of politics and governance.

June 2020

  • Conner Joyce ’19  had his paper, “A Path-Dependent Explanation of Divergent Nuclear Trajectories,” accepted for publication in the Pi Sigma Alpha Undergraduate Journal of Politics. The paper is based on Joyce’s honors thesis in political science in 2019. It examines why some countries attempt to acquire nuclear weapons and others do not. Joyce is currently in a master’s program at the LBJ School at the University of Texas. 

  • Professor of Political Science Eric Selbin helped organize and served as a “mentor” for the International Studies Association’s (ISA’s) Second Emerging Global South Scholar Workshop. The workshop brought together 20 Global South scholars from Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Portugal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and the U.S. (selected from more than 250 applicants) with seven “mentors” from Egypt, India, Mexico, South Africa, the U.S, and the U.K. During the workshop, Selbin specifically cochaired a session on publishing strategies for peer-reviewed journals. Originally scheduled for Ifrane, Morocco, the workshop was funded by the ISA’s Committee on the Status of Engagement with the Global South, who, along with the Global South Caucus of the ISA, sponsored the event.

  • Professor of Political Science Shannon Mariotti  worked with several friends to organize a Racial Justice March in solidarity and partnership with Black Lives Matter in the community of Alamo Heights. The march took place Saturday, June 6, and more than 500 people turned out to protest against White Silence and support Black Lives Matter. One goal was to begin a community conversation about white privilege as it relates to racial injustice and police violence. Media outlets covered the march and interviewed Mariotti; you can read the Texas Public Radio article here , as well as an article by the San Antonio Express News  here .

May 2020

  • Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Sydnor talked about her recent book, Disrespectful Democracy: The Psychology of Political Incivility, the concerns raised by calls for civility, and who the most conflict-avoidant president might have been on the podcast Politics in Question. The episode is available here.

  • Professor of Political Science Shannon Mariotti coorganized the second annual interdisciplinary Politics of the Mindful Revolution miniconference as part of the Western Political Science Association conference. She helped organize three author-meets-critics roundtables. One panel features law professor and mindfulness teacher Rhonda Magee speaking with commentators about her book The Inner Work of Racial Justice. Another panel features religious studies professor Ann Gleig speaking with commentators about her book American Dharma: Buddhism beyond Modernity. A third panel features the sociologist, yoga teacher, and poet Becky Thompson speaking with commentators about her book Teaching with Tenderness: Toward an Embodied Practice. Our panels are all open to the public and will take place on Zoom throughout the day on Thursday, May 21. You can find the full program here .

  • Professor of Political Science and Dean of the Faculty Alisa Gaunder’s article “Conservative Women in Germany and Japan: Chancellors versus Madonnas,” coauthored with Sarah Wiliarty, appears in hard copy in the latest issue of Politics and Gender (vol. 16, pp. 99-122).

  • Professor of Political Science Eric Selbin has been appointed by International Studies Association (ISA) President Helen V. Milner and approved by the ISA Governing Council as one of the nine members of the ISA Publications Committee. The committee is responsible for overseeing the eight journals the association publishes. As a member of the Feminist Theory & Gender Studies, Global Development Studies, and Theory Sections and the Global South and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, & Allies Caucuses, as well as being affiliated with the Women’s Caucus, Selbin intends to work to further the groups’ respective agendas as well as to be a voice for small liberal-arts college faculty in the publication process.