Recent News

Prof. Matt Barreto’s research has been instrumental in the national fight over voter-ID laws. Read this article about his research in The Seattle Weekly, "The Seattle Prof Who Is Changing the Conversation—and Law—Surrounding Voter I.D."
Few probably realize the important contributions the University of Washington Political Science Department made to the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl victory in February. Neither did most of us until we received a congratulatory letter from the Chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Denver. While some of the facts of the letter may be misconstrued, it is evident that our department did indeed greatly contribute to this historic win. In the spirit of academic integrity, it should be disclosed that this letter is the result of a friendly bet between the two department... Read more
Robert Dahl
The most distinguished political scientist to graduate from our department, Robert A. Dahl, passed away on February 5, 2014 at the age of 98. He was the Sterling Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Senior Research Scientist at Yale University where he served as a faculty member for over 40 years. Described by the New York Times as the scholar who “defined politics and power” he continues to be one of the most influential political scientists of any generation. Professor Dahl graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in Political Science in 1936. As a child Dahl... Read more
Susanne Recordon
The excellence of our department relies on notable contributions made by those in the department administration, academic programs, advising, fiscal support, computing, and the front-office. Given their role in our continued success, we have decided to spotlight an individual staff member in each newsletter. In this issue, we’d like to highlight the one individual whom all graduate students encounter before enrollment and who serves as the cornerstone of the graduate student experience – Susanne Recordon. After working in the Dance Program and in Mechanical Engineering, Susanne was hired in... Read more
Ellis Goldberg
After serving nearly 30 years as a member of the Political Science Department, Professor Ellis Goldberg has retired. At the end of Winter quarter, he assumed the title of Professor Emeritus. He plans to remain an active member of the University of Washington community continuing his research on the Arab Spring, teaching part-time, and directing the Center for Middle East Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies. Professor Goldberg joined the Department of Political Science at UW in 1985 after completing his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley. He was promoted to associate professor in 1991... Read more
After serving 40 years as a member of the Political Science Department, Professor Margaret Levi has assumed the Directorship of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University with an appointment as professor in Stanford's Political Science Department. The Directorship of CASBS is a prestigious appointment that provides a capstone to Professor Levi’s illustrious career. She assumed the new role at the end of March at which time she retired from the University of Washington. She is now Professor Emerita in our department and the Jere L. Bacharach... Read more
George Lovell
Professor George Lovell teaches American politics and law. After earning his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, he taught at the University of Maryland and College of William and Mary before coming to the University of Washington in 2001. Professor Lovell’s research focuses on how political institutions and law shape the way people organize for political action. For example, his book Legislative Deferrals showed how workers in the early 20th century struggled to end judicial restrictions on their ability to organize. His second book, This is Not Civil Rights, looked at how... Read more
What is justice? Why have government? What makes a good life? Political theory is the field of big questions, the part of political science that keeps us debating the fundamentals of ethics, politics, and society, that keeps us in touch with traditions of moral reflection extending from Plato’s academy to Machiavelli’s Florentine Republic to Locke’s defenses of toleration and the right to revolution. Made up of three core faculty members, the political theory subfield at the University of Washington is flourishing. Its faculty are internationally known and its Ph.D. students are unusually... Read more
J. Allen Smith
The excellence of today’s Department of Political Science may not have been foretold by our inauspicious beginning when J. Allen Smith—the namesake of Smith Hall on campus—came to the UW as the Professor of Political Economy in 1897. By 1911 the Department of Political and Social Sciences had four members, all male. An assistant professor of economics was added two years later for the lofty sum of $1,500 per year. A then recent Ph.D. of the department, the first female hire, was also named a temporary instructor. Controversy over Smith's book, The Spirit of American Government, in... Read more
In the 1970’s William Burke was a program director at the University of Massachusetts but he had a grander vision: to create a Washington, D.C., internship program that would connect students to internships and provide them with housing and academic credit at their home institution. He founded a non-profit, The Washington Center (TWC), to provide that service to universities throughout the world. In 1977 the University of Washington Political Science Department became a partner to TWC. Since then, hundreds of UW students from majors across the campus have ventured to the nation’s capital, but... Read more