School navigation

Political Science


View Current Events

October 15th, 2015

October 21st, 2014

November 15th, 2013

November 14th, 2013

  • Image preview 3:30pm - 5:00pm: For Democracy and a Caste System? World War II, Race, and Democratic Inclusion in the United States by Steven White
    Join the Political Science department for a research presentation by Steven White.
         Scholars of American politics often assume World War II liberalized white racial attitudes, in turn prompting a liberal shift in the federal government’s position on civil rights. However, while intuitively plausible, this relationship is generally not verified empirically. Using both survey and archival evidence, I argue the war’s impact on white racial attitudes is more limited than is often claimed, but that the war shaped and constrained the executive branch’s civil rights agenda in ways institutional scholars have generally ignored. The evidence is presented in three parts: First, I demonstrate that for whites in the mass public, while there is some evidence of slight liberalization on issues of racial prejudice, this does not extend to policies addressing racial inequities. Second, there is some evidence of racial moderation among white veterans, relative to their counterparts who did not serve. However, the range of issues is limited in scope. Third, the war had both compelling and constraining impacts on the Roosevelt administration’s actions on civil rights. In summary, World War II had myriad implications for America’s racial order. It did not broadly liberalize white attitudes, but its effect on the White House was a precursor to the form of “Cold War civil rights” that would emerge in the 1950s.

November 12th, 2013

  • Image preview 3:30pm - 5:00pm: Justice Designed: How “Policy Infrastructure” Shapes Civil Rights by David Blanding
    Join the Political Science department for a research presentation by David Blanding.
         How does public opinion affect civil rights policy outcomes over time? What explains differences in policy outcomes across issue domains? This talk explores the recent evolution of policy outcomes in two salient civil rights issue areas: school desegregation and voting rights. Using historical statistical analysis, I show that the relationship between public opinion and policy outcomes depends on “policy infrastructure,” a term I use to encapsulate both the statutory language and institutional support undergirding public policies. The findings not only help to explain the distinct trajectories of policy outcomes in the two issue domains, but also challenge the conventional wisdom on the causal link between public opinion and public policy in democracies.

November 11th, 2013

November 8th, 2013

  • Image preview 3:30pm - 5:00pm: The Effects of Religious Commitment on Media Perception and the Acquisition of Political Information by Benjamin Gaskins
    Join the Political Science department for a research presentation by Benjamin Gaskins.
         Scholars have shown that religious involvement can prepare individuals for civic activity by endowing them with the skills and motivation to engage in politics. Others, however, assert that religious dogmatism may lead to disengagement with the secular world and politics more generally. These two perspectives have resulted in contradictory findings on a key aspect of civic ability: political knowledge. I argue that while religiosity may indeed increase individuals’ engagement in a wide array of political activities, religious commitment decreases the ability to acquire accurate information about certain types of political facts. This argument is tested with a number of national surveys, and I find that while religion has a non-negative effect on knowledge of general political structures and figures, it increases the perception of media hostility, which leads to lower levels of political knowledge about policy-specific and surveillance information.

November 7th, 2013

October 24th, 2013

  • 3:30pm - 4:30pm: Annual Prelaw Student Meeting
    Todd Lochner, Associate Professor of Political Science and Prelaw Advisor for the College, would like to invite all interested students to an informational meeting to discuss the mechanics of law school applications, the LSAT, admission strategies, and how to figure out whether law school is the correct career choice for you. 

    If you have any possible interest in law school, attendance is strongly recommended. 

    Questions?  Please contact Professor Lochner at

October 23rd, 2013

Political Science

Contact Us