September 26, 2011

The Justice Cascade

The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and Duke University are proud to announce Kathryn Sikkink's new book The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics (Norton, 2011) as the winner of the 2011 WOLA-Duke Human Rights Book Award.

Judges for this year's competition called the work "compelling" and "eye-opening," recognizing it for making an important contribution to the field of human rights and accountability. The award will be presented later this fall.

The Justice Cascade opens with a look at the author's own experience living in Uruguay during the brutal military dictatorship of the 1970s, when few could imagine the government ever being held accountable for its crimes. Weaving together personal experience, quantitative analysis, and case studies from Latin America, Europe, and Africa, the author examines the development of the practice--and the very idea--of prosecuting state officials for human rights violations.

September 23, 2011

David Peterson

Iowa State University professor of political science, David Peterson (Ph.D., Minnesota), has been selected to serve as the interim director of the Harkin Institute of Public Policy, a nonpartisan center housed at Iowa State that would focus on studying issues in the realm of public policy and public affairs.

The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics

Regents' Professor Kathryn Sikkink argues in *the New York Times* that countries that prosecute human rights offenders have a better chance of ending repression than those that do not. In research comparing these two types of countries, she found that, contrary to what some contend, *prosecutions of atrocity crimes* tended not to exacerbate human rights violations, undermine democracy, or lead to violence. Writes Sikkink: "Countries that have prosecuted former officials exhibit lower levels of torture, summary execution, forced disappearances and political imprisonment. Although civil war heightens epression, prosecutions in the context of civil war do not make the situation worse, as critics claim."
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For more information, see Professor Sikkink's book, The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World
(2011, W.W. Norton).

September 21, 2011

Philip C. Carruthers

Philip C. Carruthers (B.A. in political science, 1975) has been appointed
to the bench of Minnesota's Fourth Judicial District Court, which covers Hennepin county.

September 19, 2011

Chris McCall

Chris McCall joined the Bipartisan Policy Center in September 2011. He
works with BPC's development team after serving as the department's intern the previous summer. Originally from Wisconsin, McCall is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Political Science. Currently, he is pursuing a Masters Degree in Public Policy at Georgetown University. After graduating from Minnesota, McCall directed political canvassing offices for various progressive organizations during the 2008
election cycle. He also worked for two years as an aide to the Transportation Committee in the Minnesota State Senate.

Howard Lavine

Associate Professor and Arleen C. Carlson Chair in Political Science Ph.D., 1994, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota

Professor Lavine returns to the University of Minnesota from State University of New York at Stony Brook where he was associate professor of political science and psychology.

Professor Lavine has published on a variety of topics in political psychology with his principal focus on the political behavior of the American electorate and particularly the functioning of political attitudes and political reasoning/judgment. Among the most important insights in the psychology of decision making is that preference judgments are reached through a diverse and flexible set of cognitive strategies. In his recent work he proposes a general psychological framework of political choice, one that considers how decision strategies are contingent on variation in political engagement and attitude strength, key aspects of the political environment and most important, on the nature of voters' goals as they seek to learn about and appraise political candidates, issues, and events.

He has a much-anticipated coauthored book, The Ambivalent Partisan: How Critical Loyalty Promotes Democracy forthcoming with Oxford University Press. has several manuscripts in progress, including a second book, Metaphor
and Political Persuasion

James Hollyer

Assistant Professor in Political Science Ph.D., 2011 (expected), Department of Politics, New York University.

Professor Hollyer will join the University of Minnesota, Department of Political Science, faculty beginning in January, 2012. Currently Professor Hollyer has a fellowship in The Leitner Program in International and Comparative Political Economy, The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University.

Professor Hollyer works in the fields of comparative and international political economy, on such topics as bureaucratic politics, corruption, and the interaction between domestic politics and international relations. He employs formal models to develop predictions regarding political phenomena, and uses quantitative methods to test these predictions.

September 9, 2011

Mike Griffin

Mike Griffin, BA, 2010, political science, will challenge Phyllis Kahn for the DFL endorsement as state representative of the University's district. Kahn is currently in her 20th term serving the district, and the DFL has stood behind her since her first re-election. Griffin plans to use his political experience -- first as an intern for Sen. John Kerry's unsuccessful presidential bid in 2004 and then with Students Organizing for America during President Barack Obama's campaign -- to mobilize student voters. To see full Minnesota Daily story, go to

September 8, 2011

Statehouse to Whitehouse

Andrea Mokros (Political Science '99 BA) is leaving the Dayton administration for the White House as director of scheduling and advance for First Lady Michelle Obama.

September 6, 2011

Marcus Sherels

Marcus Sherels,who earned his BA in political science last year, made the final cut for the Minnesota Vikings and is now a Minnesota Viking. Go Vikings!

Thomas Trehus

Thomas Trehus, a current University of Minnesota political science
student, got to meet President Barak Obama during his visit to Cannon Falls,
MN this month. To see the full story go to:

Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award

Dr. Jennifer Holmes (Ph.D. 1998) -- Associate Professor, University of Texas at Dallas AND Dr. Amy E. Jasperson (Ph.D. 1999) -- Associate Professor, University of Texas at San Antonio, were presented with the University of Texas System Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award on August 24, 2011. This award is offered annually in recognition of faculty members at the nine University of Texas System academic institutions who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and innovation in undergraduate instruction. The Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards are the Board of Regents' highest honor.

August 31, 2011

The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics

Kathryn Sikkink's book, The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions are Changing World Politics (Norton, 2011), received the WOLA-Duke Book Award for the best book on human rights in Latin America. The award will be presented to Kathryn upon a reading from her book at Duke University this fall.

Wendy Webb

Wendy Webb, who earned her BA in political science, won the 2011 Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction for her first novel, The Tale of Halcyon Crane.

August 29, 2011

Baby Marx Town Hall Meeting at the Walker Art Center with Professors Ben Ansell, Antonio Vazquez-Arroyo, and Joel Waldfogel

August 13, 2011

Situated amid the giant set pieces used to film the pilot episode of Pedro Reyes' Baby Marx, University of Minnesota professors Joel Waldfogel, Ben Ansell and Antonio Vazquez-Arroyo engage in a lively Town Hall debate on Communism and Capitalism at the Walker art Center, Minneapolis.

U of M Professor Wins Award

Professor Ben Ansell has received the American Political Science Association's William Riker award for the best book in political economy for 2010. The award is for his book From the Ballot to the Blackboard: The Redistributive Political Economy of Education, published by Cambridge University Press. The award will be presented at the annual business meeting of the APSA Political Economy Section in Seattle.

April 5, 2011

Political Science/Global Studies Student Named Katherine E. Sullivan Scholar

A CLA student, Brittany Libra, has been selected as the University of Minnesota's Katherine E. Sullivan Scholar for 2011-2012. Brittany is enrolled in the University Honors Program and is majoring in Political Science and Global Studies. She is also completing a minor in Spanish Studies.

Brittany has been extensively involved in human rights work on campus and in the community. She will use her Sullivan Scholarship during 2011-12 to study in Santiago, Chile on the International Education of Students (IES) Abroad program. She is interested in pursuing a career in public policy and women's health.

The Sullivan Scholarship funds a fifth year of undergraduate study abroad. Students from all U of MN campuses are eligible to apply. There were 18 applicants from three campuses this year. Brittany is the sole recipient. For more information on the Sullivan Scholarship visit

September 24, 2010

Congratulations to Joanne Miller and Dara Strolovitch

Associate Professors Joanne Miller and Dara Strolovitch, Department of Political Science, with co-authors Seth Masket (University of Denver) and Michael Heaney (University of Michigan), received the American Political Science Association's Political Organizations and Parties Section award for the best paper delivered at the 2009 Meetings of the APSA for the paper, ""Networking the Parties: A Comparative Study of Democratic and Republican National Convention Delegates in 2008.

Congratulations to Bud Duvall

Bud Duvall has been named the inaugural recipient of the Interpretive Methodologies and Methods group's Grain of Sand Award, to be awarded at the American Political Science Association meeting in Washington, DC. The award is given "to honor a political scientist whose contributions to interpretive studies of the political, and, indeed, to the discipline itself, its ideas and its persons, have been longstanding and merit special recognition."

Congratulations to Shawn Treier

Assistant Professor Shawn Treier received the Gregory Luebbert article prize for the best article published in 2008-09 in the field of comparative politics. This award is from the American Political Science Association's organized section on Comparative Politics. Shawn received it for his 2008 American Journal of Political Science article, "Democracy as a Latent Variable" with Professor Simon Jackman, Stanford University.

September 15, 2010

Hire a Minnesota Ph.D.!

We have several highly qualified graduate students who will be seeking academic appointments for the fall of 2011. These students are well-educated, promising political scientists. Our graduate program is rigorous, and emphasizes breadth of scholarship, with experience in original research and preparation for teaching.

Our candidate information page is at

June 8, 2010

Welcome to our new faculty members

Andrew Karch, Arleen C. Carlson Associate Professor, and Yves Winter, Assistant Professor.

Professor Andrew Karch specializes in the study of American state politics and public policy. He is the author of Democratic Laboratories: Policy Diffusion among the American States (University of Michigan Press, 2007). His current research projects examine the evolution of American preschool education, the politics of embryonic stem cell research, and the impact of campaign advertisements on voter turnout.

Professor Yves Winter specializes in political theory, the history of political thought and critical theory. He received his Ph.D. in 2009 from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently, he holds a Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship.

September 1, 2009

Open Faculty Positions

Associate Professor--Arleen Carlson Chair in American Politics
- Description and requirements (PDF)
- Apply Online

October 31, 2008

After-Elections Event

Join us on November 6th for an After-Elections Event hosted by Professor Kathryn Pearson. Learn more (PDF)

October 10, 2008

Views from the U

U of M Political Science Professors answer your election questions!

Monday, October 20, at 6 p.m.
McNamara Alumni Center

For more information, visit the event page

Views from the U: The Political Science of Election '08

May 8, 2008

Udall Native American Congressional Internship

Congratulations to Political Science Honors student Hanna Lussier for being awarded a 2008 Udall Native American Congressional Internship by the Morris K. Udall Foundation. She is one of 12 students nationwide chosen to receive this fully supported, highly competitive Washington, D.C. summer internship. Full story

April 7, 2008

Guggenheim Fellowship

Professor Kathryn Sikkink has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for next year as one of only four political scientists to be selected. Congratulations!

October 26, 2007

Kevin Parsneau: APSA Founders Award

Congratulations to recent Ph.D. Kevin Parsneau on winning the "Martha Joynt Kumar Founders Award" from the APSA Presidential Research Section for his paper "Politicizing Priority Departments: Presidential Policy Priorities and Subcabinet Nominations."

Continue reading "Kevin Parsneau: APSA Founders Award" »

Hire a Minnesota Ph.D.!

We have several highly qualified graduate students who are seeking academic appointments for the fall of 2008.

These students are well-educated, promising political scientists. Our graduate program is rigorous, and emphasizes breadth of scholarship, with experience in original research and preparation for teaching.

For more information on our candidates visit our placement page.

July 2, 2007

Tim Johnson: Red Motley Award

Congratulations to Professor Timothy Johnson for being awarded the Red Motley Exemplary Teaching Award.

June 25, 2007

Joanne Miller: Best Article Award

Congratulations to Professor Joanne Miller for receiving The American Review of Public Administration's Best Article Award for "Experience, Attitudes, and Willingness to Pay for Public Safety," which she wrote with Amy Donohue.

June 11, 2007

Ben Ansell: Charles Sumner Prize

Congratulations to Ben Ansell for being awarded the Senator Charles H Sumner dissertation prize by Harvard. His dissertation is entitled "From the Ballot to the Blackboard: The Redistributive Political Economy of Education."

May 1, 2007

John Sullivan: American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Congratulations to John Sullivan for being inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Every year the Academy selects "the finest minds and most influential leaders from each generation."

March 28, 2007

Christopher Federico: Erik Erikson Award

I am pleased to announce that Chris Federico has just received the Erik Erikson Early Career Award by the International Society of Political Psychology. The award "recognizes and celebrates exceptional achievement and is awarded to an individual who is ... within a decade of receiving their Ph.D."

March 14, 2007

Christopher Federico: Sigel Award

Christopher Federico received the Sigel Award (best paper by a junior scholar) from the International Society of Political Psychology for his paper "Race, Education, and Individualism Revisited."

February 25, 2007

Undergrad Awards

In 2006, our department had both a Truman Scholar and a Rhodes Scholar!

Joseph Walla is a 2006 Truman Scholar and is interested in developing creative solutions to entrenched conflicts.

Diana Fu is a 2006 Rhodes Scholar and interested in human rights.

February 20, 2007

Kathryn Pearson: Best Dissertation

Kathryn Pearson won the APSA Legislative Studies Section's Carl Albert Dissertation Award for the best doctoral dissertation in the area of legislative studies. She is revising her dissertation, "Party Discipline in the Contemporary Congress: Rewarding Loyalty in Theory and in Practice," into a book manuscript. Her project combines quantitative data analysis and interviews of key elites to identify and analyze the mechanisms of discipline that party leaders employ to reward loyal members and punish defectors.

January 23, 2007

PoliSci Wiki

Check out the new Polisci Wiki, a place to share teaching resources, tools, tips, hand-outs.

September 8, 2006

Comparative Politics Proseminar: Samuels

The Comparative Politics Proseminar will kick off its fall schedule with a talk by David Samuels. The talk will be held in the 14th floor lounge on Tuesday, September 12, 12:40-2:00pm.

David will be presenting a paper co-authored with Matthew Shugart from UCSD: "Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Parties: A Neo-Madisonian Theory of Party Organization and Behavior." The paper is attached. David will give a 30-minute presentation, after which we'll open the floor for discussion. The abstract of the paper is appended below. Hope to see you there!

Abstract: Although most of the world's democracies have directly elected presidents, scholars have largely ignored the possibility that differences in the degree of separation of executive and legislative powers might affect party origins, organization, and behavior. This paper develops a new, general theory of political parties, based on principles derived in part from the Federalist Papers. Our "Neo-Madisonian" approach suggests that the ways in which the institutions of government channel political ambition profoundly shape how political parties solve collective action and delegation problems. In short, the separation or fusion of executive and legislative powers affects the fundamental activities parties undertake in important ways. In this paper we lay out the assumptions of our theory, place the collective action and delegation problems parties confront in perspective of different democratic institutional formats, and derive testable hypotheses that will illuminate key differences across parties around the world in terms of leadership selection and delegation, electoral coordination problems, and governing dilemmas.