Recent News

The Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Sexuality (WISER) has been rebooted as the Washington Institute for the Study of Inequality and Race (WISIR). This change has been made to broaden the institute’s study of inequality: In addition to the study of race, ethnicity, and sexuality as axes of inequality, the new leadership of the institute also wants economic class to figure into the programming more prominently. Pursuant to that, Professors Mark Smith and Rebecca Thorpe -- two keen students of business, politics, economic rhetoric, and American political economy – have... Read more
Charbonneau - Graduation
Does a degree in political science remain valuable to students long after graduation?  We know that our graduates find success in many paths, but very few choose careers as political scientists.  Is there reason to think that the things students learned in classes on politics in the U.S. and around the world will remain relevant in their daily lives? In an inspiring speech to the graduate class of 2015, this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award winner, Christine Charbonneau, reported that she had used her political science education “on a daily basis” as head of a large healthcare organization... Read more
The Department of Political Science added two new courses to its undergraduate curriculum last year.  One course was designed as an opportunity for non-majors to develop a better understanding of contemporary politics. The second was designed to help students understand the elements of persuasive political speech and to develop their own skills in crafting written and spoken arguments.  “Perspectives on Contemporary Public Policy Issues” (POLS 120 ) originated in discussions among faculty and staff about the need for a course that could give non-majors a broad overview of political science... Read more
John Wilkerson
The cartoon short “I’m Just a Bill on Capitol Hill” has endured since 1976 as the leading pop-culture account of the lawmaking processes in the United States Congress.   Now, an award-winning research and website project headed by Professor John Wilkerson is bringing Congress’s ever-complicated lawmaking process into the digital age.  His new website for Legislative Explorer, or LegEx, provides a powerful research and data visualization tool that aims to improve public understanding of the congressional obstacle course.  Visitors to the website can view and... Read more
It is a pleasure to be reporting news from the Department of Political Science to our alumni and friends. This edition of the newsletter provides information about a new undergraduate student organization, two new undergraduate courses, and an educational website project called LegEx that uses innovative and compelling visualizations of lawmaking in Congress.  We also report on the latest winner of our Distinguished Alumni Award, Christine Charbonneau. The past year has been a busy and exciting one for the department.  Our faculty continue to win national awards.  These include major awards... Read more
"Ben Carson has now overtaken Donald Trump in the national polls as the GOP front-runner. As a black man, I’m not at all sure how I should feel about this. On the one hand, he represents a party that has dedicated itself to opposing President Obama at every turn, mostly because the president is black. This gives me pause." Please click here to read the entire article....
Richard Wolff
On Tuesday, October 27, 2015, renowned economics professor and radio host Richard Wolff addressed an audience of about 100 students, faculty, and members of the broader Seattle community at a guest lecture organized by the Center for Communication & Civic Engagement’s Rethinking Prosperity project. In his presentation, Wolff provided an overview of what he views as the problem we are facing and the economic history that got us to this point. Today, Wolff noted the... Read more
Panel on Race & Policing
On October 27, Political Science Assistant Professor Megan Ming Francis participated in a panel on race and policing organized by Humanities Washington, a cultural education non-profit that is organizing events around the state of Washington to get people to think about and discuss issues that are critical to the community. Francis was joined by Seattle Assistant Police Chief Robert Merner and Seattle Police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb. The discussion was moderated by Phyllis Fletcher of Northwest News Network and took place at Naked City... Read more
Secular Faith
Professor Mark Smith talked about his book Secular Faith, in which he argues that religion often mirrors shifts in the political landscape rather than remains an unchanging institution. He spoke at the 2015 Wisconsin Book Festival, held at the Central Branch of the Madison Public Library. Please click here to see the video....
Mark Smith
In an article discussing whether there is a culture war in America that is pitting religion and science against each other, staff writer Molly Jackson cites UW Political Science Professor Mark Smith among other scholars as well as recent public opinion surveys. The just released Pew Research Center survey of religion and science, for example, "suggests that the idea of a faith-based culture war is more overhyped media creation than a daily dilemma real people face."  The survey results are in line with... Read more