Miller Center

Miller Center National Fellowship

Beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year, the National Fellowship Program, a longstanding initiative of the Miller Center, will fall under the leadership of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation at U.Va.. The Jefferson Scholars Foundation, created in 1980, currently offers the premier graduate fellowship and undergraduate scholarship at the University. To learn more about the National Fellows Program, including how to apply, click here.

Meet The Fellows

Andrew Morris - History, University of Virginia

Project: Charity, Therapy, and Poverty: Private Social Service in the Era of Public Welfare

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Fellowship year: 2002

Mentor: Alice O'Connor, University of California, Santa Barbara

Andrew Morris is Associate Professor of History at Union College.

Morris teaches 20th century American political history. 

Morris's dissertation examined how voluntary social welfare agencies came to terms with the expansion of the public welfare state from the 1930s through the 1960s. By examining a group of private family welfare agencies, Morris traced how these charities reinvented themselves from dispensers of material aid in the 1910s and 1920s to providers of therapeutic counseling services in the 1940s and 1950s. The Depression and World War II proved key turning points, demonstrating to private agencies the need for a relatively strong public welfare state to meet the basic needs of the poor, as well as the need for such agencies to clearly distinguish themselves both from their charitable past and from public welfare entities. By embracing a variety of counseling techniques rooted in the psychological training of their professional social workers, private family agencies helped build a therapeutic culture in the postwar United States, and decisively influenced the adoption of rehabilitative social work as an element of welfare reform in the early 1960s.


Quinn Mulroy - Politics, Columbia University

Project: Private Litigation, Public Policy Enforcement: The Regulatory Power of Private Litigation and the American Bureaucracy

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Fellowship year: 2011

Mentor: Dan Carpenter, Harvard University

Quinn Mulroy is Assistant Professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University

Mulroy received a Ph.D. in American Politics from Columbia University where she worked with Ira Katznelson. She received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California-Berkeley in 2001.

She studies American politics, with a substantive focus on race and labor policy, the legal system, and regulatory agencies and a methodological interest in combining historical and quantitative approaches to research. Her current research project investigates the role of private power, particularly that supplied by private litigation, in the American regulatory state, and uses archival and statistical work to explore how and under what conditions regulatory agencies motivate private actors to engage in litigation that advances regulatory goals. Her work has appeared in Studies in American Political Development ("The Rise and Decline of Presidential Populism" (October 2004), co-authored with Terri Bimes, University of California-Berkeley), and she is a researcher with the American Institutions Project (under Ira Katznelson and John Lapinski) at the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy at Columbia. Her research interests include American political development, public policy, political institutions, the courts and litigation, bureaucracy, Congress, and race and labor policy.

Her dissertation examined the role of private power, particularly that supplied by private litigation, in the American regulatory state. While traditional accounts suggest that the progressive regulatory state that came into being over the course of the extended New Deal and Great Society periods is weak when compared to its counterparts abroad, Mulroy's research builds on a revisionist strain within the APD literature which identifies strategies by which a lean liberal state can achieve impressive regulatory results. Through a historical analysis of the development of the regulatory capacity of several agencies, she argued that constrained agencies may look outside themselves, and their formally granted administrative powers, for enforcement power by developing incentive structures that encourage private actors to engage in litigation that advances regulatory goals. She found that variation in the use of this alternate source of regulatory power by agencies can be explained by factors related to an agency's institutional development and formation, but also that the character, scope, and activation of this pathway of enforcement over time is contingent upon political and temporal considerations. By reconsidering how to integrate informal mechanisms of enforcement, like agency-motivated private litigation, into theories of bureaucratic regulation, her project aimed to contribute to our practical understanding of 'day-to-day' agency behavior and to our conceptions and assessments of state capacity, more broadly.

Selected Recent Publications

Was the South Pivotal? Situated Partisanship and Policy Coalitions during the New Deal and Fair Deal.” with Ira Katznelson, Journal of Politics 74, no. 2 (April 2012): 604-620.


Shannon Nix - History, University of Virginia

Project: ‘The Soul of our Foreign Policy’: Human Rights Politics, U.S. Foreign Policy, and the Struggle for Central America, 1976-1984

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Shannon Nix’s dissertation examines a series of transnational political struggles waged on the terrain of human rights and their influence on U.S. policy toward overlapping Central American crises during the Carter and Reagan administrations.  While recognizing the importance of traditional U.S. policymakers, it draws attention to the contribution of non-governmental organizations in Washington and their transnational advocacy networks. Often staffed by former missionaries, as well as civil rights and antiwar activists, many had close ties to mainstream religious groups. Increasingly disillusioned with U.S. Cold War policy, they sought to change Washington’s policy toward nations tragically riven by intransigent inequality and civil war. Building on longstanding commitments to the Social Gospel, fused with emerging theological commitments to ecumenicism and social justice, they used human rights politics to shape both policy and the domestic political climate. More than a Cold War struggle for Central American hearts and minds, this was, quite literally, one for the “soul of American foreign policy.”


Patrick O’Brien - Political Science, Yale University

Project: "The Unitary Executive as an Historical Variable: Presidential Control and Public Finance"

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Patrick O'Brien's dissertation, “The Unitary Executive as an Historical Variable: Presidential Control and Public Finance,” examines the policy domain of public finance – broadly defined to include expenditures, receipts, and money and banking or, in modern terms, fiscal policy and monetary policy – in order to demonstrate that presidential control over administration varies in broad historical patterns. Specifically, using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, O'Brien provides an overview of four historical systems of administration for public finance, describing what he terms the New Deal era apparatus (1933-1980) and the Reagan era apparatus (1981-present) during the modern period and the Founding era apparatus (1789-1828) and the Jackson era apparatus (1829-1860) during the early period. Moreover, O'Brien shows how presidential control varies not only across eras but also within eras, unfolding as a process of innovation, stabilization, and constraint.

 

The theory and findings from O'Brien's dissertation call into question the foundation of the unitary executive framework, the leading political science approach to studying the presidency. Rather than assume that all presidents maintain the same, fixed structural advantages relative to the other branches of government – a first-mover advantage, a collective-action advantage, and an informational advantage – and then focus on standard political variables such as party control of the presidency, congressional support, and popular support, he provides a theory that explains why these very structural advantages change over time. Additionally, O'Brien demonstrates empirically that a change in structural advantages is a stronger indicator of a change in policy than are any of the standard political variables. 


Margaret Pugh O’Mara - History, University of Pennsylvania

Project: Cities of Knowledge: Cold War Politics and the Roots of the Information Age Metropolis, 1945–75

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Margaret O'Mara is Associate Professor of History at the University of Washington.

O'Mara's research interests include: Silicon Valley, national politics, economic globalization, postindustrial cities, and higher education. Her current research project examines the technology industry's impact on politics, culture, and place since 1970. She also works with government, business, and civic organizations on projects exploring how innovation drives growth and change.  Most recently, she was the lead curatorial advisor to the Bezos Center for Innovation at Seattle's Museum of History and Industry.

O'Mara's dissertation, "Cold War Politics and the Roots of the Information Age Metropolis, 1945–1975," examined the effect of Cold War politics upon urban space in the United States during the 30 years following World War II. She specifically explored the way in which the increased national focus on higher education and scientific research during the 1950s and 1960s strongly encouraged the suburbanization of people and industry – particularly the rapidly growing advanced scientific sectors – in metropolitan areas in many different parts of the country, including the major metropolitan areas of Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Northern California's Silicon Valley.

Selected Recent Publications

Pivotal Tuesdays: Four Elections That Shaped the Twentieth Century (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015).

"The Environmental Contradictions of High-Tech Urbanism." in Jeff Hou, Ben Spencer, Thaisa Way, and Ken Yocum, eds., Now Urbanism: The Future City is Here (Routledge, 2014).

"The Uses of the Foreign Student.Social Science History 36, no.4 (December 2012).

Cities and Suburbs." in Lynn Dumenil, ed., The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Social History (Oxford University Press, 2012).


Katie Otis - History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Project: Everything Old is New Again: What Policymakers and Baby Boomers Can Learn from the History of Aging and Retirement

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Katie Otis is a visiting Lecturer in the History Department at the University of North Carolina.

Otis's dissertation explored the history of aging in mid-to-late 20th-century America through the lens of retirement life in Florida, a state long synonymous with shuffleboard and park benches. She explained that Social security and private pensions sparked the growth of mass retirement among the working and middle classes. On the whole, seniors are healthier and wealthier than ever before. Their growing numbers, moreover, captured the attention of politicians, policymakers, and advocacy groups who worked to improve the quality of later life. The need for dignified, cost-effective elder care remained woefully unfulfilled. Drawing on government documents, gerontological studies, popular retirement literature, and oral histories, Otis's work melded institutional and political history with the cultural and social experiences of aging in the postwar world to give voice to older Americans as they negotiated the promises and pitfalls of old age and retirement.


Emily Pears - Politics, University of Virginia

Project: “Chords of Sympathy: The Development of National Political Attachments in the 19th Century”

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Emily Pears is an Assistant Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College.

Her research is in the areas of 19th-century U.S. federalism, American political development, American nationalism and U.S. state building. Emily received her B.A. in Government from Claremont McKenna College and M.A in American Politics from the University of Virginia. She previously worked as a policy advocate for voting rights and redistricting reform issues in San Francisco and Sacramento, California.

Emily’s dissertation begins with the question of when and how citizens’ political attachments originally shifted from the state governments to the national government during the 19th century.  Looking specifically at how state building, party organization and cultural homogenization impacted citizens’ differential attachments to their state and national governments, Emily argues that across the United States state legislatures continued to hold public sway well past the civil war period.  While the national state grew significantly during the course of the 19th century, administrative functions at the state and local level remained the most visible to American citizens, allowing and encouraging them to maintain strong attachments to their state governments.  Party building in the 1830’s and 1840’s created an organizational structure that allowed individuals to connect their local activities to national political causes.


Justin Peck - Politics, University of Virginia

Project: Reclaiming Power: An Analysis of Congressional Reassertion Efforts, 1828–2002

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Justin Peck is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at San Francisco State University

His research is in the areas of separation of powers (Congress and the presidency), American Political Development, and American political institutions, and race policy.  His work has appeared in Studies in American Political Development (“Between Reconstructions: Congressional Action on Civil Rights, 1891-1940” (April 2010), co-authored with Jeffery A. Jenkins and Vesla M. Weaver University of Virginia), and is forthcoming at the Law and History Review (“Building Toward Major Policy Change: Congressional Action on Civil Rights, 1940-1950,” coauthored with Jeffery A. Jenkins, University of Virginia.) His writing has also been published by the online edition of Dissent magazine.

Justin received a B.A. in Politics and History from Brandeis University in 2005. After graduating he went on to work on the legislative staff and presidential campaign of then-Senator Christopher J. Dodd. After spending two years in Washington, D.C. he made the transition to University of Virginia.

Justin's dissertation examines Congressional efforts to reassert authority vis-à-vis the executive branch.  He defines congressional reassertion as any attempt by Congress–using the formal law-making process–to challenge or contest executive branch governing authority. Through a detailed search of the History of Joint Bills and Resolutions, he compiles an index of legislative reassertion bills.  He then categorizes reassertion strategies over time, systematically analyzes the motivations underlying those who instigate such efforts, and specifies the political conditions that generate them.  In so doing, he uses both historical and large-n methodology to provide insight into one neglected aspect of Congressional behavior, to illustrate patterns in reassertion activity over time, and to demonstrate the policy consequences that inhere to conflicts over “who governs” in our system of separate institutions sharing powers.

Selected Recent Publications

"Congressional Reassertion of Authority.” in Oxford Bibliographies in Political Science. ed. Rick Valelly. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013)

Building Toward Policy Change: Congressional Action on Civil Rights, 1941-1950.” with Jeffery A. Jenkins.  Law and History Review 31 (February 2013): 139-198


Sarah T. Phillips - History, Boston University

Project: Acres Fit and Unfit: Environmental Liberalism and the American State, 1925–1955

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Sarah Phillips is Associate Professor of History and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Boston University.

She received her Ph.D. from the History Department at Boston University in 2004 and spent five years as an assistant professor at Columbia University before returning to BU. She is the author of This Land, This Nation: Conservation, Rural America, and the New Deal, published by Cambridge University Press in 2007, and, with co-author Shane Hamilton, The Kitchen Debate and Cold War Consumer Politics, published by Bedford/St. Martins in 2014.  She has written essays and articles on environmental history, antebellum reform, transatlantic agricultural developments, the interwar economy, and the conservation and environmental policy of state governors. Her current book project, The Price of Plenty: From Farm to Food Politics in Postwar America, under contract with Oxford University Press, examines the domestic politics sustaining the massive farm surpluses of the post-World War II era that established the United States as the predominant and most problematic of the state actors in the international food regime.

Selected Recent Publications

This Land, This Nation: Conservation, Rural America, and the New Deal (Cambridge University Press, 2007)

The Kitchen Debate and Cold War Consumer Politics: A Brief History with Documents, with
 Shane 
Hamilton (Bedford/St.
Martins,
 
2013)

Reflections on One Hundred and Fifty Years of the United States Department of Agriculture.” Agricultural History, 87, no. 3 (Summer 2013): 314-367.


Kimberly Phillips-Fein - History, Columbia University

Project: Top-Down Revolution: The Birth of Free Market Politics in America and the Backlash Against the New Deal

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Kimberly Phillips-Fein is Associate Professor of Economic Thought and History at New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

As a historian of twentieth-century American politics, she teaches courses in American political, business, and labor history. Her first book, Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan, was published by W. W. Norton in 2009. She has contributed to essay collections published by Harvard University Press, University of Pennsylvania Press, and Routledge and to journals such as Reviews in American History and International Labor and Working-Class History. She is a contributing editor to Labor: Studies in Working-Class History in the Americas, where her work has also appeared. Professor Phillips-Fein has written widely for publications including The Nation, London Review of Books, New Labor Forum, to which she has contributed articles and reviews. She was given a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars, Artists and Writers at the New York Public Library for 2014-2015 for work on her forthcoming book, Fear City: The New York City Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of the Age of Austerity.

Selected Recent Publications

 “Why Workers Won’t UniteThe Atlantic, March 16, 2015.

Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan (W.W. Norton & Company, 2009).


Jesse Rhodes - Political Science, University of Virginia

Project: Making the Educational State: The Transformation of Educational Governance in the U.S. from a Nation at Risk to No Child Left Behind

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Jesse Rhodes is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Rhodes's major areas of scholarly interest are social policy (especially education policy), political parties, and the American presidency. His book, An Education in Politics: The Origins and Evolution of No Child Left Behind, has been published by Cornell University Press. With support from the Spencer Foundation, he is also analyzing the effects of education standards, testing, and accountability policies on citizenship; and with a Faculty Research Grant, I am investigating patterns of presidential partisan rhetoric. His research on political parties includes a longterm project, with Sidney Milkis, on the developing relationship between the presidency and the political parties during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama; and a multi-article study, with Shamira Gelbman, of the factors that inhibit or permit parties to embrace new positions on racial issues. 

Rhodes' dissertation blended historical and quantitative methods to model the development of new governing arrangements in education at the state and federal levels from the late 1970s to the present. As it showed, a national reform coalition composed of business elites, governors, and conservative intellectuals set a new agenda for education policy stressing high standards and accountability for results, profoundly shaping the trajectory of state educational policymaking during the 1980s and 1990s. However, the structure of opportunities and constraints provided by a diverse federal polity mediated the diffusion of the new educational agenda, helped create feedback loops that led to the reformulation of educational agendas and the refocusing of reformers on national government involvement, influenced the formation of new educational coalitions and organizations, and provided platforms and prestige for strategically placed individuals and groups to shape both state and national education debates. This policy feedback fed the increasing nationalization of educational governance, culminating in No Child Left Behind (NCLB), that has characterized the past two decades. However, states' commitment to the reform agenda have continued to be mediated by their unique political and racial environments, producing a patchwork of reform that belies NCLB's nationalizing pretensions.

Selected Recent Publications

"Financial Capacity, Ideology, and Political Donors in an Era of Deregulation." with Brian F Schaffner, Raymond J La Raja. (2016)

"Learning citizenship? How state education reforms affect parents’ political attitudes and behavior." Political Behavior 37, no. 1 (March 1, 2015): 181-220.

"The transformation of partisan rhetoric in American presidential campaigns, 1952–2012." with Zachary Albert. Party Politics (October 19, 2015)

An Education in Politics: The Origin and Development of No Child Left Behind (Cornell University Press, 2012).


Kelly Kelleher Richter - History, Stanford University

Project: Uneasy Border State: The Politics and Public Policy of Latino Illegal Immigration in Metropolitan California

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Fellowship year: 2014

Mentor: Meg Jacobs, Princeton University

Kelly Kelleher Richter is a J.D. Candidate at Georgetown University Law Center, where she is a Public Interest Fellow.

Richter earned her Ph.D. in History from Stanford University in January 2015, with a specialization in modern U.S. political and policy history, immigration, social policy, and race & ethnicity. She has since worked as a Policy Fellow at the National Immigration Law Center in Washington D.C., engaging in policy research and advocacy focusing on executive actions for immigrant access to status and immigration law enforcement. She has also lectured at Stanford in Washington, teaching a course on U.S. Immigration Politics and Policy.
 Richter’s academic research centers on explaining the origins of modern American illegal immigration politics and policy. Her dissertation was the first academic work to comprehensively examine this topic through a focus on late-twentieth-century California, the state with the largest Latino undocumented immigrant population. Drawing on dozens of largely untapped archival collections of local, state, and federal officials, agencies, and legislative bodies, and advocates, as well as published government, legal, and media sources, her dissertation analyzed evolving debates over labor market impacts, social and fiscal policy, federal immigration policy implementation, local and state immigration policy, and immigration law enforcement. Richter’s project broke new ground for interdisciplinary understanding of modern American debates over immigration federalism and comprehensive immigration policy reform.
 

Selected Recent Publications

"Results from a Nationwide Survey of DACA Recipients Illustrate the Program's Impact" with Tom Wong, Ignacia Rodriguez, and Philip Wolgin. Center for American Progress, July 9, 2015.


Anthony Ross - History, University of Michigan

Project: The Ownership Society: Mortgage Securitization and the Metropolitan Landscape Since the 1960s

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Anthony Ross is a Research Associate at the University of Michigan.

“The Ownership Society” examines the systematic transformation of the U.S. home finance industry between the 1960s and the 1990s.  During the early postwar era, a federal-local system of home finance compromised between the capital mobility required for suburban growth and the barriers that sustained localized financial relationships.  In the late 1960s, this system began to change.  To attract new sources of capital to a tightening mortgage market, policymakers partnered with financial elites to create a state-supported institutional network that would transform illiquid mortgages held by local financial institutions into liquid securities marketable on national and international capital markets.  By abstracting the value of place-bound mortgages and consolidating circuits of capital, mortgage securitization transformed the political economy of home finance.  Other policy changes during the 1970s and 1980s, such as the liberalization of branching regulations, contributed to the growth of securitization and the de-segmentation of the industry.  By the end of the 1980s, the  securitized home finance system had replaced the federal-local system of the early postwar era. “The Ownership Society” explores the causes and effects of this transformation through policy history and local case studies.  Its approach combines an economic history of home finance with a cultural history of homeownership.


Robert Saldin - Politics, University of Virginia

Project: War and American Political Development: Parties, State Building, and Democratic Rights Policy

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Robert Saldin is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Montana, the Director of the Project on American Democracy and Citizenship, and a Fellow in Ethics and Public Affairs at the Mansfield Center.

Saldin's dissertation examined how wars affect American politics from the outside in and argued that they provide an explanatory framework that ties American state development, policy making, elections, and political parties together. In contrast to much of the existing American Political Development and Realignment literature, which focus solely on domestic factors, Saldin's project argued that wars affect American politics in several ways. He discussed how a greater appreciation of war's domestic impact offers guidance in understanding current domestic and international events.

Selected Recent Publications

War, the American State, and Politics Since 1898 (Cambridge University Press, 2011).

"What War's Good For: Minority Rights Expansions in American Political Development." in New Directions in American Politics, ed. Raymond La Raja (Routledge, 2013).

"William McKinley and the Rhetorical Presidency." Presidential Studies Quarterly 41, no. 1 (2011).


Susan Schantz - History, Brandeis University

Project: Work, Citizenship, and Welfare: The Institutionalization of the Work Ethic in Work Relief Policies from the New Deal to the Present

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In her dissertation, Schantz investigated the success and failure of work relief programs and, more specifically, the relationship between the work ethic and the American ideal of democratic citizenship. She examined case studies of work relief programs from three periods of economic change: the New Deal, the Great Society, and the contemporary scene. Schantz was awarded numerous teaching assistantships at Brandeis University and is the co-author of Best Practices Manual: Massachusetts and National Community Service Commission (1996).


Christopher Schmidt - History of American Civilization, Harvard University

Project: Postwar Liberalism and the Origins of Brown v. Board of Education

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Fellowship year: 2004

Mentor: Michael Klarman, Harvard University Law School

Christopher W. Schmidt is Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States (ISCOTUS) at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent.

Schmidt teaches in the areas of constitutional law, legal history, comparative constitutional law, and sports law. He has written on a variety of topics, including the political and intellectual context surrounding the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the Tea Party as a constitutional movement, how Supreme Court Justices communicate with the American people, the Supreme Court's decision in the health care case, and the rise of free agency in Major League Baseball. He is currently writing a book on the legal history of the student lunch counter sit-in movement of 1960.

Schmidt's dissertation followed the genesis of the 20th century American Civil Rights movement. Prior to the 1940s, the United States government had done little to promote racial equality for well over half a century, yet by the mid-1950s this situation was transformed, creating the foundations on which the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1950s and 1960s would be built. Schmidt's dissertation explained the dramatic policy shift by analyzing the origins of Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court's landmark 1954 school desegregation opinion. His project's central motivating question: why did the nine justices of the Supreme Court, whose political and ideological affinities varied considerably, decide to make, at this time and place, a statement against blatant legalized racial discrimination? His answer to this question drew on the context of liberal thought and culture in early postwar America as well as the particular legal issues confronted by the justices. Currently, Schmidt is revising his dissertation, "Creating Brown v. Board of Education: Ideology and Constitutional Change, 1945-1955," for publication.

Selected Recent Publications

"Divided by Law: The Sit-Ins and the Role of the Courts in the Civil Rights Movement." Law and History Review (November 2013).


Lorraine Gates Schuyler - History, University of Virginia

Project: The Weight of Their Votes: Southern Women and Politics in the 1920s

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Lorraine Gates Schuyler is the Chief of Staff in the Office of the President at the University of Richmond.

At Richmond, Schuyler is responsible for projects that span the divisions of the University, and she advises the president on policy decisions. Working with the President and the Vice Presidents, she manages a wide variety of planning efforts, helps lead the institutional budget process, and coordinates the work on the University's strategic plan. Before moving to the University of Richmond, Schuyler served as Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia, where she also taught in the history department.

Schuyler earned her doctorate in history from the University of Virginia, with a primary focus on twentieth-century southern history. Her first book, The Weight of Their Votes: Southern Women and Political Leverage in the 1920s, was published in 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. That project focused on the effects of the Nineteenth Amendment in the South. In particular, The Weight of Their Votes explored the voter mobilization activities of black and white women in the South and the ways in which southern legislators responded to the policy demands of newly enfranchised women. In 2007 The Weight of Their Votes was named an Honor Book for non-fiction by the Library of Virginia Literary Awards and was awarded the Julia Cherry Spruill Prize for the best book in Southern women's history. Schuyler has presented her work in numerous public and scholarly forums, including the Virginia Festival of the Book and the Clinton School of Public Service Distinguished Lecture Series.


Peter Siskind - History, University of Pennsylvania

Project: Growing Pains: Political Economy and Place on the Northeast Corridor, 1950s–1970s

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Fellowship year: 2001

Mentor: Christopher Sellers, State University of New York, Stony Brook

Peter Siskind is Assistant Professor of History at Arcadia University and is the Chair of the Department of Historical and Political Studies.

Dr. Siskind specializes in American political, urban/suburban, and environmental history. He came to Arcadia in 2004 after teaching at Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania, from which he earned a Ph.D. in History in 2002. He earned an A.B. in Religion from Dartmouth College in 1990. Arcadia awarded him tenure in 2010.  He received his B.A. from Dartmouth University, his M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002. Siskind co-taught a course at the University of Pennsylvania with Governor Ed Rendell on contemporary campaigns and elections.

Dr. Siskind’s scholarship examines the contours of modern American liberalism – its evolution and internal tensions, its potential and limitations. Much of his writing has focused on the politics of land use and development in the cities, suburbs, and recreational vacationlands on the post-World War II Northeast Corridor from the metropolitan areas of Boston to Washington, D.C. He is also exploring a potential book-length work on the life of Nelson Rockefeller.

Selected Recent Publications

"Shades of Black and Green: The Making of Racial and Environmental Liberalism in Nelson Rockefeller’s New YorkJournal of Urban History 34, no. 2 (January 2008): 243-265.


Tracy Steffes - History, University of Chicago

Project: A New Education for a Modern Age: National Reform, State-building, and the Transformation of American Schooling, 1890-1933

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Fellowship year: 2004

Mentor: Jonathan Zimmerman, New York University

Tracy Steffes is Associate Professor of Education and History at Brown University.

She teaches courses on American educational history. Her research interests include the development of American education system, citizenship, social and democratic theory and practice, state-building and social movements. 

Steffe's dissertation examined the national systematization of American education as public schooling was standardized across the United States from 1880 to 1930 and formulated into a single, hierarchical system. She argued that the expansion of state authority over schooling and the growth of state-level educational administration from 1880 to 1930 enabled a national-level coordination and systematization of schooling which amounted to the origins of a national education system. While the federal government played a role in creating this system, national systematization emerged through a complicated process of cooperation and competition between private and public actors at local, state, and national levels. As states assumed greater regulatory and oversight powers over local schools, they looked to one another and to national structures for guidance in shaping their school systems, cooperating in some respects and competing in others. American schooling, like American governance more generally, was powerfully shaped by traditions of federalism and private power and thus looked and operated very differently than national systems abroad.

Selected Recent Publications

School, Society, & State: A New Education to Govern Modern America, 1890-1940. University of Chicago Press, 2012


Kevin Wallsten - Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

Project: Political Blogs and the Bloggers Who Blog Them: An Analysis of the Who's, What's and Why's of Political Blogging

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Kevin Wallsten is Assistant Professor of Political Science at California State University in Long Beach.

Despite the recent explosion in blogging, there have been relatively few empirical studies of the political blogging phenomenon. Wallsten's research project situated the role of political blogs in the American political system by addressing four sets of interrelated questions. First, who blogs and why? Second, do political bloggers use their blogs primarily as "soapboxes" (meaning they are expressions of personal opinions), "transmission belts" (meaning they simply provide links to websites or quote sources with little or no commentary from the blogger), "mobilizers" (meaning they are calls to action) or "listening posts" (meaning they elicit feedback from their audience)? Third, to the extent that these actors use their blogs as soapboxes for expressing their opinions, what is the content of this political expression? Finally, what impact are political blogs having on public discourse, mainstream media coverage and the policy making process? Taken together, the answers to these questions shed light on what the emergence of political blogs means for the quality and functioning of democracy in the United States.

Selected Recent Publications

"Racial prejudice is driving opposition to paying college athletes. Here’s the evidence." with Tatishe M. Nteta and Lauren A. McCarthy, The Monkey Cage, The Washington Post (December 30, 2015)

"Why American Catholics may not be persuaded by Pope Francis’s message on immigration." with Tatishe Nteta, The Monkey Cage, The Washington Post (September 27, 2015) 

"It’s time to end anonymous comments sections." with Melinda Tarsi, The Monkey Cage, The Washington Post (August 19, 2014).

Old Media, New Media Sources: The Blogosphere’s Influence on Print Media News Coverage.” International Journal of E-Politics 4, no. 2 (July 2013). 


Justin Wert - Political Science, University of Pennsylvania

Project: The Not-So-Great Writ: Habeas Corpus & American Political Development

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Fellowship year: 2005

Mentor: Gary Gerstle, Vanderbilt University

Justin Wert is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Oklahoma

His research interests include Constitutional Law, Jurisprudence, American Political Development and American Political Thought. 

In Wert's dissertation, he analyzed the institutional development of Habeas Corpus law in four time periods: ante-bellum slave law; Reconstruction; the 20th century debates over the applicability ("Incorporation") of the Bill of Rights to the states; and habeas corpus during war, particularly the current prosecution of the "War on Terror." The writ of habeas corpus – "The most important human right in the Constitution" according to Zecharia Chafee – must be re-examined in the 21st century according to its etymological roots. Wert argued that habeas corpus has always been inextricably linked to shifting notions of American citizenship, moving from state to national, and then again to state conceptions of citizenship, with the respect to meaningful access to the "Great Writ." The origins of this divide can be found in the enduring, yet shifting, conceptions of state versus national citizenship in the American state.

Selected Recent Publications

Habeas Corpus in America: The Politics of Individual Rights (University Press of Kansas, 2011).

The Rise and Fall of the Voting Rights Act. with Charles S. Bullock, III & Keith Gaddie (University of Oklahoma Press, 2016)

"Benedick v. Beatrice: Citizens United and the Reign of the Laggard Court." with Charles S. Bullock and Ronald Keith Gaddie, Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy (Spring 2011).

With a Little Help from a Friend: Habeas Corpus and Magna Carta After Runnymede.” PS: Political Science and Politics (2010)


McGee Young - Political Science, Syracuse University

Project: Therapy and Poverty: Private Social Service in the Area of Public Welfare

Young photo

McGee Young is Head of Product at Open Energy Efficiency.

Previously, Young taught in American politics with a specialty in political organizations and public policy at Marquette University. He is also the Founder and CEO of MeterHero, a software platform for tracking water and energy data. He was a winner of the Midwest Social Innovation Prize, a finalist in the Clean Energy Challenge, and his company was selected for the inaugural class of the Global Freshwater Seed Accelerator. Prior to MeterHero, Young founded H2Oscore, a web-based portal for water utilities to help promote conservation. He previously served as the Faculty Entrepreneur Fellow in the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship in the School of Business. In 2014, he was named as one of Milwaukee's "40 under 40" by the Milwaukee Business Journal. 

Young's dissertation examined the development of the small business and environmental lobbies through the prism of 20th century American political development. He analyzed the relationship between the strategies and tactics of interest groups and the structure of political opportunities. Young additionally argued that political constraints placed on groups by preceding institutional and political configurations, together with the relationship between groups and political parties as well as groups' own internal organizational struggles, shape the capacity for groups to influence the political process.

Selected Recent Publications

"From Conservation to Environment: The Sierra Club and the Organizational Politics of Change.Studies in American Political Development 22, no. 2 (2008): 183-203.

"The Political Roots of Small Business Identity.Polity 40, no. 2 (2008): 436-463.


Emily Zackin - Politics, Princeton University

Project: Positive Rights in the Constitutions of the United States

Zackin photo

Fellowship year: 2009

Mentor: Tom Burke, Wellesley College

Emily Zackin is Assistant Professor of Political Science at The Johns Hopkins University.

Zackin's research interests include constitutional law and civil liberties, American political and constitutional development, social movements, constitutional theory, and American political thought.  Her book Looking for Rights in All the Wrong Places: Why State Constitutions Contain America’s Positive Rights was published by Princeton University Press in 2013.

As a Miller Center fellow in 2008-09, Zackin's dissertation examined the long tradition of positive rights in American politics, focusing specifically on movements directed at amending state constitutions. She examined three movements from different historical periods (education rights, labor rights, and victims' rights), each of which resulted in widespread constitutional activism at the state level. Zackin argued that even if we accept the conventional distinction between positive and negative rights, the American constitutional tradition still includes positive rights. Her research demonstrated that, although state constitutions are more detailed and less enduring than the U.S. constitution, they are recognizably constitutional and trump both legislatures and courts, thereby allowing activists to mobilize around them to change government policy.

Selected Recent Publications

Looking for Rights in All the Wrong Places: Why State Constitutions Contain America's Positive Rights (Princeton University Press, 2013).

American Constitutional Exceptionalism Revisited” with Mila Versteeg, University of Chicago Law Review 81, no. 4 (Fall 2014): 1641-1707.

"Kentucky’s Constitutional Crisis and the Many Meanings of Judicial Independence.Studies in Law, Politics & Society 58 (2012): 73-99.

"What’s Happened to American Federalism?" (Review Essay) Polity 43, no. 3 (July 2011): 388–403.


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