Recent News

Ann Buscherfeld
Our department is fortunate to have an exceptionally talented set of staff.  Those in the department administration, academic programs, advising, fiscal support, computing, and the front-office provide the essential services day in and day out that contribute to our excellence.  More than this, these individuals set the tone of the department through their numerous interactions with students, faculty, visitors, other units, and higher-level administrators.  In this and future newsletters, we spotlight individual staff. The highest standard of excellence is set by Ann Buscherfeld.  As... Read more
On June 13th some 1,200 students, guests, faculty, and staff attended the 2013 Departmental Convocation that recognized those with new BA, Masters, and PhD degrees and bestowed a number of awards for academic accomplishments.  A highlight of the ceremony was the granting of the department's distinguished alumnus award to Honorable Norm Dicks.  He joins a dozen distinguished alumni who had been recognized in previous years for their career accomplishments.  Congressman Dicks provided an inspirational speech with which he reminisced about his undergraduate days and recounted his journey from... Read more
The UW Department of Political Science is excited to welcome James D. Long as a new Assistant Professor this fall. Long will teach courses in African politics, comparative politics, and field research methods. He joins the UW faculty from Harvard, where in 2012-13 he was an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. Long completed his PhD in Political Science at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in 2012. Long’s research examines many aspects of elections in emerging democracies, including why citizens turn out and vote, why voters choose certain... Read more
Change They Can't Believe In book cover
Is the Tea Party like the Ku Klux Klan? Tea Party sympathizers would reject the comparison out of hand. Tea Partiers claim they’re about core conservative issues such as small government and fiscal responsibility. Thus, they resist the policies of the current president and his administration on ideological grounds – the government is too big and spends too much money – not on racial ones. Critics of the Tea Party reject this claim and believe that Tea Partiers are, indeed, motivated by racism. Simply put, some critics charge that Tea Partiers cannot abide the image of a black man in the White... Read more
Grad students researching abroad
During one's time as a student in political science, he or she most likely encountered graduate students as the teaching assistants who offered quiz sections and answered questions during office hours. Yet there is much more to graduate students’ careers that few undergraduates think about.  A critical concern of any graduate student is the research that will lead to their PhD.  Our graduate students are conducting innovative research across the discipline and globe.  Small research grants (ranging from $1,000 – 2,000), established four years ago with various endowments funded through the... Read more
UW grad waving
What do the American dream in 1920s literature, the evolution of America’s policy of constructive engagement with South Africa, and India’s educational programming have in common? They are all topics of departmental honors theses authored this past year by participants in the Department of Political Science’s Honors Program. Created in 1979 by Professor Daniel S. Lev the program provides a unique educational opportunity for both faculty and students characterized by individual attention and in-depth scholarship. Each year, after a rigorous application and interview process, a committee of... Read more
Peter May
With the start of another academic year, we are reminded of the remarkable talents of our faculty, graduate students, and staff that make for exceptional undergraduate and graduate programs.  This newsletter highlights some of these with features about the department's Honors Program, innovative graduate student research, insights from a new faculty book about the Tea Party, and a profile of our newest faculty member. Although the academic world is often portrayed as slow moving, this is far from the case for the Political Science Department.  In recent months there have been a number of... Read more
Chris Parker
Christopher Parker talked about the book he co-wrote, Change They Can’t Believe In: The Tea Party and Reactionary Politics in America, in which he says that it is a mistake to argue that the tea party movement is driven by ideology or racism. Instead, he argues that the movement is part of a long tradition of American reactionary movements, like the No Nothing Party or the John Birch Society, that are driven by the fear that the traditional American way of life is under siege. This event was held at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.  See... Read more
One week after being interviewed by The Washington Post's Ezra Klein, UW Political Science Professor Christopher Parker contributed a guest post to the Post's Monkey Cage Blog. In the article entitled "The Tea Party is better understood as a reactionary conservative force," Parker discusses the rift between congressional Republicans and the Tea Party as well as the difference between the two groups. Professor... Read more
While the tea party served as leverage for House Republicans in their negotiations with Democrats before the 2012 election, after the election the tea party faction within the House of Representatives has become a significant problem to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in his attempt to avoid a shutdown of the government. Even though the majority of his party agrees with Boehner on the matter, tea partiers are unwilling to compromise. This rift between the Republican establishment and the tea party faction, The Washington Post's Ezra Klein notes, did not come as a surprise to UW Political Science'... Read more