Research in POSC

The Political Science faculty has made important research contributions across the major domains of the discipline. We have prominent scholars of public opinion and communications, elite decision-making, participation, race, ethnicity and gender, and social networks. Departmental faculty do leading work in a number of established institutional realms including law, legislatures, political parties, national inter-branch relations, state and local institutions.

Our faculty members have contributed to a variety of methodological innovations in the study of political choice and behavior and political institutions. These include experimental approaches to analyzing individual and collective decision making, multilevel statistical modeling, multi-method causal analysis, and measurement models.

Our department also has distinguished faculty with political experience in campaigns, elections, communications, strategy, legislative politics, and governing whose expertise bridges theoretical and applied knowledge.  Many faculty engage in interdisciplinary research with scholars affiliated with the Price School of Public Policy, the Annenberg School of Communications, the Marshall Business School, and the Gould School of Law.

Recent Books by Faculty

Intersectionality: An Intellectual History

Though intersectionality theory has emerged as a highly influential school of thought in ethnic studies, gender studies, law, political science, sociology and psychology, no scholarship to date exists on the evolution of the theory.  Ange-Marie Hancock sets a ground-breaking agenda with her latest book, seeking to remedy the murkiness attributed to intersectionality by attending to the historical, geographical, and cross-disciplinary myopia afflicting current intersectionality scholarship. Intersectionality theory has emerged over the past thirty years as a way to think about the avenues by which inequalities (most often dealing with, but not limited to, race, gender, class and sexuality) are produced. Rather than look at inequalities as a relationship between those at the center and those on the margins, intersectionality maps the relative ways in which identity politics create power.

How Policy Shapes Politics: Rights, Courts, Litigation, and the Struggle of Injury Compensation

Jeb Barnes, and co-author Thomas Burke of Wellesly College, analyze the field of injury compensation in the United States, in which judicialized policies operate side-by-side with bureaucratized social insurance programs. They conclude that litigation, by dividing social interests into victims and villains, winners and losers, generates a fractious, chaotic politics in which even seeming allies-business and professional groups on one side, injured victims on the other-can become divided amongst themselves. Click here for an in-depth Q&A with Prof. Barnes about this work.

Finding Pathways: Mixed-Method Research for Studying Causal Mechanisms

Nick Weller and Jeb Barnes' Finding Pathways is an engaging look into the connection between causal mechanations and related variables and outcomes.  Princeton University's Kosuke Imai describes Finding Pathways as a "powerful set of tools to investigate causal processes".

Global Bioethics and Human Rights: Contemporary Issues

Alison Dundes Renteln, along with co-editors Wanda Teays and John-Stewart Gordon, assembled the works of an interdisciplinary, international team of experts in bioethics into a comprehensive, innovative and accessible book for an in-depth look at contemporary issues in the field. From human rights and culture to public health, each unit includes theoretical discussions and lively case studies. Topics range from torture and lethal injection to euthanasia, sex selection, vulnerable human subjects, to health equity, safety and public health, and environmental disasters like Bhopal, Fukushima, and more.

Changing Climate Politics

Yael Wolinsky-Nahmias’ new edited volume Changing Climate Politics: U.S. Policies and Civic Action provides a comprehensive account of the current state of government action and political participation in the United States on the issue of climate change. The book evaluates the role of the federal government, the courts, states, and cities in tackling the problems created by climate change, and further explores civic participation analyzing public opinion, the U.S. climate movement, policy making through ballot measures, consumer action, and the prospect of a social transformation toward a more sustainable society.

Recent Articles and Activities by Faculty


Alison Dundes Renteln: Featured speaker at the 2015 Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. Panel: "How the Ninth Circuit Can Meet the Challenges of Global Demographic Change and Become a Model for the Rest of the World"; July 2015.

Christian Grose: "Explaining Explanations: How Legislators Explain their Policy Positions and How Citizens React" in American Journal of Political Science; July 2015.

Richard Dekmejian: Awarded a research grant by Carnegie Corporation of New York for his project “Dialectics and Dynamics of Islamist Radicalism”; May 2015.

Jeffery Sellers: "Urban Politics in Developed and Developing Countries: Similarities and Differences" - a short course co-sponsored by the Comparative Politics Section, Comparative Urban Politics Related Group, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at the 2014 APSA Annual Meeting; August 2014.

Christian Grose: "Field Experimental Work in Political Institutions" in the Annual Review of Political Science; July 2014.  

Eliz Sanasarian: "Beyond Theories, Terms, and Designations: Practical Politics on the Ground" - presented at Women and Protest Movements in the Middle East and North Africa: The Missing Link in Istanbul, Turkey; June 2014.

Nick Weller: "Income Taxation and the Validity of State Capacity Indicators" in Journal of Public Policy; May 2014.

Alison Dundes Renteln: "Human Rights and Arts" in The SAGE Handbook of Human Rights; April 2014.

Alison Dundes Renteln: "The Tension between Religious Freedom and Noise Law: the Call to Prayer in a Multicultural Society" in Religion and Human Rights Discourse; April 2014.

Dennis Chong: "Explaining Public Conflict and Consensus on the Climate" in Changing Climate Politics; March 2014.

Eliz Sanasarian: "The Context of Institutional Mechanism and Societal Behavior in Dealing with Religious Diversity" - presented at Religious Heterodoxy and Modern States, sponsored by the Center for Comparative Research, South Asia Studies Council, Council on East Asian Studies, Council on Middle East Studies, and the European Studies Council; March 2014.

Yael Wolinksy-Nahmias: Cross-National Public Opinion on Climate Change: The Effects of Affluence and Vulnerability in Global Environmental Politics; February 2014.

Nick Weller: "Knowledge and Networks: An experimental test of how network knowledge affects coordination" in Social Networks; January 2014.

Dennis Chong: "Degrees of Rationality in Politics" in Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology; September 2013.

Dennis Chong:Counterframing Effects" in Journal of Politics; 2013.

  • Department of Political Science