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

Gwendoline Alphonso - Government, Cornell University

Project: Progressive & Traditional Family Orders: Parties, Ideologies, and the Development of Social Policy across the 20th Century

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Gwendoline M. Alphonso is Assistant Professor of Politics at Fairfield University.

Alphonso is interested in the study of state-society relations, particularly the intersection of culture and morality with law and political development. Her primary research interests are two-fold: first those pertaining to American Politics: United States Congress, Political Parties, American Political Development, Gender and Politics, Politics of the Family, Social Policy; and second those relating to Law: Feminist Legal Theory, Family Law, Comparative Constitutional Law and Theories of Criminal Law and Punishment.

Alphonso's dissertation examined the origins and evolution of partisan family ideology and its effect on social policy through three periods in 20th century American political history – the Progressive Era (1900–1920), the postwar Period (1946–1960), and the Contemporary period (1980–2005). The overarching contention is that the family has been a central organizing principle of political development and the historical development of American social policy, a claim that has been largely overlooked in political and policy analysis. Through extensive inductive analysis of party platforms, congressional hearings, family bill sponsorship/co-sponsorship and roll call data in the House and Senate, she identified patterns in the development of partisan family ideologies, contending that there have been two competing family ideologies – the progressive and traditional – that have persisted across the past century. She explored the two family ideologies as part of broader family political orders, defined as "constellations of ideas, policies, institutions, and practices regarding the family that hang together and exhibit a coherence and predictability." The dissertation documented and explained the change and evolution of the progressive and traditional family orders, their partisan composition and attendant social policies. By inserting social policies into evolving family orders and unearthing elite interests, partisan dynamics, electoral family conditions, and family ideologies, the project hoped to account for why certain types of policy ideas, such as same-sex marriage, gain ascendance during certain periods while others decline.

Selected Recent Publications

"Resurgent Parenthood – Organic Domestic Ideals & the Southern Family Roots of Conservative Ascendancy, 1980-2005.Polity 48 (2016): 205-223. 

"From Need to Hope: The American Family & Poverty in Partisan Discourse." Journal of Policy History 27, no. 4 (Autumn 2015): 592-635.

Public & Private Order: Law, Race, Morality and the Antebellum Courts of Louisiana, 1830-1860.”  Journal of Southern Legal History 23 (2015): 117-160. 

Of Families or Individuals?Southern Child Workers & the Progressive Crusade for Child Labor Regulation, 1899-1920.” in James Marten (ed). Children and Youth during the Gilded Age and Progressive Period (New York: New York University Press, 2014).


Emily Baer - Political Science, University of Minnesota

Project: "Party Factions and the Roots of Institutional Change in Congress: The Democratic Study Group and Liberal Democrats' Campaign to Reform the House of Representatives (1959-1994)"

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Fellowship year: 2017

Mentor: Sarah Binder, George Washington UniversityBrookings Institute

Emily Baer' project addresses how factions within political parties promote policy and leadership change in the U.S. Congress through institutional reform. Congress is frequently criticized as an institution structured by rules and norms which make policy and leadership changes among its members difficult. Leaders are often slow to respond when policy preferences within parties change, a new group or constituency emerges, or elections reveal policy shifts among the public. The relative impermeability of parties to new ideas and leaders poses a significant problem for democratic representation and responsiveness within parties. This dissertation approaches these issues through a case study of the Democratic Study Group (DSG), the faction of liberal Democrats in the House from 1959-1994 and leader of the 1970s “reform era.” Liberals organized DSG out of their frustration with party leaders’ inability to overcome the power of southern conservative committee chairs, ultimately leading to a series of reforms significantly redistributing power between the Democratic leadership, committee chairs, and individual members. Today, this historic effort has taken on a renewed importance as a new faction – the Republican Freedom Caucus (analyzed as a comparative case) – has emerged to challenge the balance of power between junior members and party leaders.  But while the 1970s reform era is widely recognized for increasing representation and responsiveness in the Democratic Caucus, we know little about how a faction was empowered to lead the reform effort. In Baer' dissertation, she questions and analyzes using original archival research and in-depth interviews with former Members of Congress and their staffers: How do political parties respond to the changing preferences of their members? How does the rise of a new faction shape power in parties? And how can factions overcome the institutional hurdles to reforming rules and procedures, and expanding party leadership pathways and policy agendas?


Rebecca Bohrman - Political Science, Yale University

Project: Sifting Immigrants: The Political and Historical Roots of Administrative Failure in the I.N.S.

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Bohrman has over seven years of corporate research experience, in which she has used her qualitative and quantitative research skills to help clients with benchmarking, media strategies, corporate social responsibility campaigns, media monitoring, corporate crises, internal and external communications, and executive transitions.

In her dissertation, she argued that the INS's problems can be traced to its institutional design, and that these problems are perpetuated by the particular alignment of political conflict over immigration issues. Immigration administration is at the center of American politics, affecting everyone from legal and undocumented immigrants to workers and employers, yet Immigration and Naturalization Service has been troubled since its inception. Bohrman's dissertation explained why the INS has been an agency in disarray, by answering the question: why has Congress so rarely tried and even more rarely succeeded in giving the INS greater administrative capacity?


Jasmine Farrier - Government, University of Texas - Austin

Project: Why Congress Delegates Decisions on the Budget: Institutional Origins and Consequences

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Fellowship year: 2001

Mentor: Louis Fisher, Congressional Research Service, Government Division, Library of Congress

Jasmine Farrier is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Louisville.

Jasmine Farrier grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and developed her interest in political science as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In graduate school, she studied American political development at the University of Texas at Austin and received her Ph.D. in Government in 2000. In 2002, Farrier joined the Dept. of Political Science at the University of Louisville.  Her current research includes a new book project on inter-branch lawsuits, separation of powers, and constitutional law.

Selected Recent Publications

Passing the Buck: Congress, the Budget, and Deficits. (University Press of Kentucky, 2014).

"The Contemporary Presidency: Judicial Restraint and the New War Powers.Presidential Studies Quarterly 46, no. 2 (2016): 387-410.

"Louis Fisher on Congress and the Budget: Institutional Responsibility and the Other Taboos." PS: Political Science & Politics 46, no. 3 (2013): 510-514.

"Barack Obama and Budget Deficits: Signs of a Neo-Whig Presidency?Presidential Studies Quarterly 41, no.3 (2011): 618-634.


Nicole Mellow - Political Science, University of Texas, Austin

Project: Rising Partisanship: A Study of the Regional Dimensions of Conflict in the Post-War House of Representatives

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Nicole Mellow is Associate Professor of Political Science at Williams College.

Her research interests are in American political development and she is currently at work on a book entitled Legacies of Loss in American Politics with Jeffrey Tulis (Princeton, forthcoming). She is also working on a project on national identity and state building at the beginning of the twentieth century, tentatively titled, How White Ethnics Got Themselves a New Deal: Nation Building and the Interventionist State, 1900 to 1940

Mellow's dissertation, "Rising Partisanship: A Study of the Regional Dimensions of Conflict in the Post-War House of Representatives," studied American political parties in the post-World War II era. She argued that the resurgence of congressional party conflict in recent decades after years of decreasing conflict, and the rise in partisanship since the 1970s, was in part the result of a regional restructuring of the party system, one in which the geographical bases of the two major parties shifted. Tensions within the New Deal party system contributed to the development of new regional orientations within the parties and this led to greater conflict between them. Mellow's research combined aggregate data analysis with historical case studies of conflict in the policy areas of trade, welfare, and abortion.

Selected Recent Publications

The State of Disunion: Regional Sources of Modern American Partisanship (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008).

The Anti-Federal Appropriation.” with Jeffrey Tulis, American Political Thought 3, no. 1 (Spring 2014).

How the Democrats Rejuvenated Their Coalition.” in Michael Nelson, ed., The Elections of 2012 (Washington D.C.: CQ Press, 2013).

Foreign Policy, Bipartisanship, and the Paradox of Post-September 11 America.” with Peter Trubowitz, International Politics 48, no.2-3 (2011): 164-187.


Paul Milazzo - History, University of Virginia

Project: Legislating the Solution to Pollution: Congress and the Development of Federal Water Pollution Control Policy in the United States, 1945-1975

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Paul Milazzo is Associate Professor of History at Ohio University.

Milazzo's areas of concentration include politics, political institutions, and federal policy, particularly after 1945. Professor Milazzo's recent research has focused on environmental policy making in the United States Congress. He received his A.B. from Amherst College (1991), and his M.A. (1994) and Ph.D. (2001) from the University of Virginia. His book, Unlikely Environmentalists: Congress and Clean Water, 1945-1972 was published by the University Press of Kansas in 2006. He has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts, including C-SPAN, Bloomberg Radio, and PBS.

Selected Recent Publications

Unlikely Environmentalists: Congress and Clean Water, 1945-1972 (University Press of Kansas, 2006)

"Environmental Policy: An Overview.” in Oxford Encyclopedia of American Political, Policy, and Legal History, ed. Donald T. Critchlow and Philip R. VanderMeer. (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Introduction to Business Tides: The Newsweek Era of Henry Hazlitt (Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2011), pp. xxvi-liv

Nixon and the Environment.” in A Companion to Richard M. Nixon, ed. Melvin Small (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011): pp. 270-91.


R. Joseph Parrott - History, University of Texas - Austin

Project: “Struggle for Solidarity: New Left Politics and African Decolonization"”

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R. Joseph Parrott is a Chauncey Postdoctoral Fellow with the International Security Studies program at Yale University. He studies the intersections of decolonization and the Cold War, the effects of transnational activism on Western domestic politics, and Pan-Africanism. He earned his PhD in history from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2016 with a dissertation entitled “Struggle for Solidarity: New Left Politics and African Decolonization.”

Dr. Parrott is currently revising a manuscript that examines the formation of a broad solidarity network in the United States and Europe in support of African nationalism. Drawing on theories of globalization and transnationalism, he argues that the technological and political decentralization of the international system linked peoples across geographical and linguistic borders in ways that directly influenced Euro-American perceptions of the global South. Western activists rallied to the cause of socialist liberation in Mozambique, Angola, and Guinea-Bissau despite official support for North Atlantic ally Portugal. Westerners merged the domestic pursuit of racial equality with goals of African self-determination to craft grassroots movements that articulated an ideology of global social justice and economic reform. The popularity of this New Left internationalism directly influenced policymakers sensitive to public opinion in the wake of the Vietnam War, most clearly evidenced by successful domestic opposition to Gerald Ford’s anti-communist intervention in postcolonial Angola. Cutting across intellectual, diplomatic, and socio-cultural histories of the Cold War, the project argues that the growth of an influential solidarity network helped transform American debates over foreign policy and intervention in the global South.

Before completing his degree, Dr. Parrott held pre-doctoral fellowships with the Miller Center, Yale ISS, and the Black Metropolis Research Consortium at the University of Chicago. He has received grants from three presidential libraries, the Council for European Studies, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and the New York Public Library among others. He is currently working to assemble an academic study of Revolutionary Tricontinentalism, and his writings have appeared in the peer-reviewed Race & Class, WGBH’s OpenVault, and on various academic and popular history websites including OZY, the History News Network, and Exeter’s Imperial and Global Forum. Dr. Parrott holds an MPP degree from the University of Virginia. Follow him on Twitter at @RJParrott_

Selected Recent Publications

"When Black Power Went Global." Ozy. 27 May 2016.

"Charleston Shooting Exposes America's Pro-Apartheid Cold War Past." Imperial and Global Forum. 6 July 20165.

A Luta Continua: Radical Filmmaking, Pan-African Liberation, and Communal Empowerment.” Race & Class 57, no. 1 (July-September, 2015): 20-38.


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


Amanda Rothschild - Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Project: "Courage First: Dissent, Debate, and the Origins of US Responsiveness to Mass Killing"

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Amanda Rothschild’s dissertation, “Courage First: Dissent, Debate, and the Origins of US Responsiveness to Mass Killing,” proposes a novel theory explaining US policy in response to mass killing. Rothschild argues that the most critical factors historically responsible for shaping US policy include the degree of congressional pressure for action, the level at which dissent occurs within the government, and the extent to which the president views the atrocities as a political burden. To develop her theory, Rothschild investigates the policies of seven presidential administrations regarding five cases of mass killing: the Armenian Genocide of 1915; the Holocaust from 1938 to 1945; mass killings in Bangladesh in 1971; atrocities in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995; and the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. The presidential administrations under examination include the administrations of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush, and William Clinton. In developing her case studies, Rothschild draws on primary source documents from eight archives across the United States and on several oral history interviews. Her conclusions highlight the enduring role of dissent in shaping US policy on mass killing, the significance of individual leaders in international relations, and the critical relationship between domestic politics and foreign policy. Rothschild's findings not only provide new historical data and theoretical insights relevant to academic literature in political science, international relations, international security, and diplomatic history, but also offer novel ideas for understanding present day debates on US foreign policy, atrocity prevention, and human rights. 


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.


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