Political Science

Notable Faculty & Student Achievements

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.

February 2020

  • Professor of Political Science Shannon Mariotti published an invited article for the volume A Companion to Adorno, edited by Peter Gordon, Espen Hammer, and Max Pensky. This volume is part of the Blackwell Companions to Philosophy  series and, with 40 essays, is the largest collection of essays by Adorno specialists ever gathered in a single volume. Her piece is titled “Adorno’s Democratic Modernism in America: Leaders and Educators as Political Artists.” Bridging disciplinary divides, this essay brings the lens of artistic modernism to bear on Adorno’s writings on democracy in America to illuminate the distinctive contributions of a political theory that might only appear partial and preliminary when analyzed through the lens of conventional politics. Adorno’s understanding of “democratic enlightenment” resonates with the modernist concept of epiphany and represents a translation of artistic modernism to the political realm. She shows how Adorno’s lessons on the meaningful everyday practice of democracy speak powerfully and practically to people in the U.S. today.