Recent News

Confronting the "China Excuse:" The Political Logic of Climate Change Adaptation In August, President Obama announced a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Critics characterized Obama’s Clean Power Plan as a “job killer” and offered the “China excuse” for opposing it. In December, the US enthusiastically signed on to the so-called Paris Pledge to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, and zero net emissions to be reached during the second half of the 21st century. Yet, there... Read more
SeaTac wage demonstrators, courtesy
By Jonathan Hiskes  For Jan Bolerjack, pastor of Riverton United Methodist Church, the tipping point was seeing people line up at her food bank wearing jackets with the name Menzies—the contractor for baggage handling at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Workers unable to pay for basic groceries convinced her of the “economic catastrophe” of low-paying jobs at the airport. For Mohamed Ileye, imam of the Al Noor Mosque near the airport, the defining moment was a “pray-in” rally by Teamsters union members at the rental agency Hertz. The union joined East-African immigrants in... Read more
Reading room in Suzzallo library
The Department of Political Science offers various research grants for its graduate students. In December 2015, the department chair Prof. George Lovell announced the winners of the 2015 Department Graduate Research Grants. The 2015 Camden Hall Graduate Research Grant was awarded to Andreu Casas and Nora Williams for their project “Images that Matter: Online Protests and the Mobilizing Role of Pictures.” The project addresses the question how images that are shared online impact social movement participation. Casas and Williams seek to provide empirical evidence to support the argument that ‘... Read more
Chris Parker
On the occasion of President Obama's final State of the Union address, UW Political Science Professor Christopher Parker penned an article addressing the state of race and racism in America following the "Obama era." Initially, the election of Barack Obama as president appeared to be an indicator that "racism would begin to fade away, eventually disappear." However, Parker notes, "it hasn't happened." Following this assessment, he discusses the various reasons for why the racial climate has become more--not less--divisive during the Obama era and why addressing racism is so important. Finally... Read more
Chris Parker
Following recent developments in the Republican primary race, UW Political Science Professor Christopher Parker wrote an open letter to rank-and-file Republicans. As a recent poll shows that 55 percent of the Republican electorate support the two Tea Party favorites Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, Professor Parker notes that both of these candidates "would cause irreparable harm to the country" if they were nominated for the Republican ticket, let alone be elected president. Because he sees this danger, Parker writes:  I’m calling on you, rank-and-file Republicans, to do the right thing and vote... Read more
Prof. Megan Ming Francis with Melissa Harris-Perry
On Saturday, December 12, UW Political Science Assistant Professor Megan Ming Francis joined Melissa Harris-Perry on her MSNBC show to talk about the history of racist rhetoric, state terrorism, and violence in the United States. Asked what we can learn about our understandings of terrorism from the history of lynching, Francis noted that racism has continually been used to stoke racial fears against a marginalized group. Based on the research for her recently published book Civil Rights and the Making of... Read more
Becca Thorpe
In a blog post for the London School of Economics’ (LSE) U.S. Politics & Policy blog, UW Political Science Professor Rebecca Thorpe examined a central challenge to reducing mass incarceration: “the desire of state lawmakers in rural communities to uphold harsh sentencing laws and to block reforms.” Thorpe notes that legislators “are motivated by a desire to locate and keep prisons as job creators in what are often poor rural areas, and to inflate these areas’ census populations in order to increase political representation and state funding.” The post entitled... Read more
Secular Faith
UW Today writer Peter Kelley interviewed Professor Mark Smith about his new book Secular Faith: How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics. Read the interview in UW Today.
2014 Black Lives Matter protest in Las Vegas
Following the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video, UW Political Science Professor Megan Ming Francis wrote an article for The Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog. On October 20, 2014, a white Chicago police officer shot the 16-year-old McDonald 16 times from behind; 13 months later, the video of the shooting was released following a Freedom of Information inquiry. This case and numerous others like it have led to the #BlackLivesMatter protests and in her article Prof. Francis addresses the question whether "#BlackLivesMatter protests [can] effect meaningful change in... Read more
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