Recent News

Megan Ming Francis
Do Foundations Co-opt Civil Rights Organizations? In 2015, protection of black bodies from state sanctioned violence remains an unmet challenge for civil rights groups committed to racial equality. As many journalists and scholars have detailed, the elusiveness of this goal is due to a combination of interlocking factors including: a history of discriminatory economic policies, racist policing, and political policies that criminalize poverty. However, missing in these... Read more
Letter from a Birmingham Jail - 1963
In their article “Why the silence of moderate conservatives is dangerous for race relations,” Political Science Professors Christopher S. Parker and Megan Ming Francis explain why racism continues to haunt us today. Drawing a direct comparison between American race relations in the 1960s and today, Parker and Francis argue that “moderate conservatives [need] to take a bold stand” to combat today’s racial injustices. Otherwise, they embolden vocal white reactionaries. The piece was published on on August 10, 2015.   The Conversation is a collaborative effort among academics... Read more
David Barsamian
For his current research project and learning community entitled “Rethinking Prosperity” (, Prof. Lance Bennett (Professor of Political Science and the Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor of Communication) invited the founder and director of Alternative Radio (AR, David Barsamian to discuss capitalism and the environment as well as the role the media plays in this context. Barsamian joined Bennett and a diverse, intimate, and lively audience... Read more
Does democracy induce financial development? There are good theoretical reasons to believe this to be the case, but the evidence adduced to support this claim has been mixed. In this article, the authors posit that only democracies that appeal to the median voter should experience financial development because those democracies have adopted their own constitution after transition, rather than having inherited one from an authoritarian predecessor. The authors empirically test this theory by focusing attention on Latin America, where there have been several reversals and improvements in... Read more
Humbolt Foundation
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation granted Prof. Lance Bennett a Humboldt Research Award in recognition of his lifetime achievements in research. Prof. Bennett will utilize this research award to develop a project tracking the global flows of new ideas about how to better harmonize the economy and the environment. This project has emerged from the Center of Communication & Civic Engagement’s (CCCE) newest learning community: Rethinking Prosperity.  Rethinking Prosperity is a thriving learning community... Read more
Undergraduate Award Winners & Speaker
The Department of Political Science’s 2015 Convocation took place on Thursday, June 11th. Christine Charbonneau (BA, 1982) was the keynote speaker and recipient of the department's Distinguished Alumna Award. Read her biography below. Matthew J. Sekijima was the undergraduate student speaker. 

The 2014-15 graduates included 9 Doctor of Philosophy degrees, 11 Master of Arts degrees, and 330 Bachelor of Arts degrees. The department also presented three graduates with special recognitions: Robert A. Dahl Award for academic excellence: Daniel Robert Miller The Daniel S. Lev Award for best... Read more
Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State
Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State Winner of the 2015 Ralph Bunche Award for the best scholarly work in political science that explores the phenomenon of ethnic and cultural pluralism, American Political Science Association.
Chris Parker
On June 16, 2015, Christopher Parker joined Ian Masters on Background Briefing radio program to discuss the case of Rachel Dolezal the former head of NAACP Spokane who was forced to step down because she identified with African Americans although she was born to white parents. Listen.
Political Science Undergraduate, Arista Burwell-Chen, is a grand prize winner in the 2015 Library Research Award for Undergraduates for her paper "How to be a Good Ally: a Guide to Dismantling Colorblindness, White Normativity and Everyday Racism". Her faculty adviser was Rachel Sanders.