Visiting Speaker Series
POSC is fortunate to host some of the top thinkers in political science to share their most recent research and innovations with our students and faculty.
John Gerring - "Demography and Democracy: A Global, District-level Analysis of Electoral Contestation"
Prof. John Gerring of Boston University spoke to POSC students, faculty, and staff about some of his latest work, including a very unique dataset: the Multi-level Election Archive (MLEA) which, using data from electoral contests across a variety of district sizes and elective offices in 134 countries over 200 years, has shown that some features of electoral democracy are actually enhanced by a larger population. 05/05/2014
Ricardo Ramirez - "Mobilizing Opportunities: The Evolving Latino Electorate and the Future of American Politics"
Our very own POSC alum and now Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, Ricardo Ramirez presented his latest work, Mobilizing Opportunities, to an engaged crowd of students, faculty, and local California government officials.
Drawing upon original surveys, government statistics, and community data from Latino civic organizations, Mobilizing Opportunities, goes beyond the traditional predictors of political participation to examine the mobilizing effects of identity-based political threats and ethics appeals to solidarity in response to such community assaults. Ramirez offers a theory of interplay of state political contexts and ethnic identities to explain how these communities are mobilized into political action. 03/10/2014
James H. Fowler - "A 61-Million-Person Experiment in Social Influence and Political Mobilization"
Prof. James H. Fowler of UC San Diego discussed the results of a randomized, controlled trial of political mobilization messages delivered to 61 million Facebook users during the 2010 US congressional elections that directly influenced political self-expression, information seeking and real-world voting behavior of millions of people. The messages also influenced users’ friends, and friends of friends, showing that the effect of social transmission on real-world voting was greater than the direct effect of the messages themselves. Nearly all the transmission occurred between ‘close friends’ who were more likely to have a face-to-face relationship. These results suggest that strong ties are instrumental for spreading both online and real-world behavior in human social networks. 03/03/2014
Thad Dunning - "Race, Resources, and Representation: Evidence from Brazilian Politicians"
Thad Dunning, Robson Professor of Political Science at UC Berkley, presented his latest research that uses new and original data to document the size of the racial divergence between Brazilian citizens and their elected politicians, and to test several alternative explanations for the representational gap. The discussion explored the persistence of Brazilian racial or ethnic inequalities in political representation, in the absence of strongly politicized racial or ethnic cleavages, given Brazil’s alleged “racial democracy” as well as electoral institutions that should be favorable to racial inclusiveness. 02/27/2014
Kathleen Bawn - "Parties on the Ground: A Preliminary Report on Nominations to Open House Seats"
Kathleen Bawn reported on the very preliminary findings from field studies of nomination contests for open House seats in the 2014 election cycle, including those for special elections called to fill seats vacated midterm. Her data consisted of semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and observers: local party officials, activists, consultants, representatives of advocacy and interest groups, journalists and bloggers. Interview data was supplemented with analysis of contributions and spending, political biographies of candidates who have held prior office, and information from political blogs. In contrast to existing studies which have generally taken a candidate-centered point of view, her research focused on the organizations, interest groups and activists to whom nomination-seeking candidates turn for support. 01/27/2014
Jack Citrin & David O. Sears - "American Identity and the Politics of Multiculturalism"
Jack Citrin and David O. Sears examined the structure of political identities in the aftermath of historic changes in the United States resulting from the civil rights movement and immigration reform. The talk was based on chapter 6 of their book, which analyzes relations between national and ethnic identifications among whites, black, and Latinos. 11/11/2013