The American Political Science Association is deeply concerned about the impact of Texas’s new Campus Carry law on freedom of expression in Texas universities. The law, which was passed earlier this year and takes effect in 2016, allows licensed handgun carriers to bring concealed handguns into buildings on Texas campuses. The APSA is concerned that the Campus Carry law and similar laws in other states introduce serious safety threats on college campuses with a resulting harmful effect on professors and students.
The Ralph Bunche Award is given for the best scholarly work in political science that explores the phenomenon of ethnic and cultural pluralism. The Recipient is Megan Ming Francis, University of Washington for Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State, Cambridge University Press.
Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State makes a theoretically and empirically rich contribution to the fields of American political development, interest group politics, and race and ethnic politics. Francis shifts the field from viewing state development only as a function of the actions of presidents and major events such as the Cold War or social movements. Instead she finds that the NAACP’s anti-lynching campaign in the early 20th century was instrumental in expanding state capacity by substantially increasing the power of the federal courts in criminal proceedings relating to lynchings and mob violence against blacks. Additionally, her book firmly establishes that the foundation for state involvement in civil rights was developed well before the passage of the 1960s landmark civil rights legislation.
Thanks to the Award Committee: Michael D. Minta, University of Missouri, Columbia, chair; Laurie Balfour, University of Virginia; and Rene Rocha, University of Iowa.
The #APSA2014 Annual Meeting took place at the Marriott Wardman Park, in Washington, D.C. Below are some highlights of the new member breakfast.
This theme session took place on Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 10:15 a.m. in the Hilton Union Square Continental Ballroom 5, San Francisco, Calif.
It was sponsored by Division 32: Race, Ethnicity and Politics and Division 52: Migration and Citizenship.
- Jane Y. Junn, University of Southern California
- Nathaniel Persily, Stanford University
- David T. Canon, University of Wisconsin, Madison
- Sophia Jordan Wallace, Rutgers University, New Brunswick
- Stephen D. Ansolabehere, Harvard University
- Kareem Crayton, Crimcard Consulting Services
Bill Koetzle was the Legislative Director for Congressman Dennis Hastert (R-IL). He currently is the Manager of Legislative, Regulatory and Political Affairs for Chevron Corporation where he oversees the process of identifying, prioritizing, analyzing, and developing company positions on public policy issues.
I became a political science major, I think, for a very common reason and that is I really love politics. I cannot underestimate how poor a high school student I was, but I was always a tremendous reader and very interested in the politics and history and my, sort of, political awakening came along with probably Reagan, although you know, certainly [I was] conscious of politics a little bit earlier. I started off in graduate school sort of focusing on political theory, really, because I didn’t want to do the math and, at UC Irvine, I got a lot of support from, sort of, empirical political scientists and, sort of, changed my interest, came back to American politics and realized that to do American politics like the people I knew do it, I needed to improve my statistical background and become an empirical. So after about two years I really transitioned. The staff assistance we have — those are the entry level positions up here — almost all of them tend to be political science majors. They were hooked on politics at an early age, went to college, followed their interest and then came up here as an intern or something like that and then now have gotten on here. Interns are really valuable. When they come up here, they gets lots of work to do and you can turn that into a great opportunity. And this could be, by the way, also at your local district office. It doesn’t mean you have to come out to Washington, D.C. It’s an exciting job in that the demands are high. There’s lots of demands. This is really a place where output matters. We have a saying up here, you know, “You’re an expert by COB.” That means you know everything there is to know by close of business or forget about it because tomorrow is a new day. It’s over. We’re moving on. You might have been a gun expert last week. This is this week. We’re doing something else. It’s over and I find that really stimulating. The gratification is almost instantaneous, which is nice.
Image courtesy of the Milken Institute.
The video clip above was taken from Career Encounters: Political Science which APSA released in 2000. The documentary-style video features people from across the US who studied political science and discuss how their political science backgrounds have been critical to their vocations, their avocations, and their general lives. Career Encounters feature careers that can be launched with undergraduate degrees as well as graduate degrees.
The Edward S. Corwin prize is awarded annually for the best dissertation in the field of public law. The Recipient is Matthew Hitt, Louisiana State University for the Dissertation: “Judgment-rationale inconsistency in the US Supreme Court,” Ohio State University
Matthew Hitt advances an elegant theory that considers an important aspect of Supreme Court decision making with ramifications beyond the Court, one that frustrates many political scientists and lawyers: the plurality decision, or, in Hitt’s language, incidences of judgment-rationale inconsistency. Conducting rigorous and methodologically sophisticated tests of results from formal modeling, Hitt explores what drives judgment-rationale inconsistency, the slippage between outcome vote and rationale that emerges when there exists no opinion on which a majority of justices agree. In the strongest form of rationale inconsistency, the “discursive dilemma,” the opinions offered by the members of the majority are not only joined by fewer than a majority, but are also logically inconsistent with each other. Social choice theorists of judicial hierarchies have long thought that such dilemmas must have important consequences for strategic docket management, as well as the precedential value or systemic legitimacy of a decision. Hitt asks how much of a pathology judgment-rationale inconsistency really is for the legitimacy of the rule of law in an advanced legal system, and whether it is getting worse over time. His findings suggest that such inconsistency, at least in its strongest form (the discursive dilemma), has significant negative impact on the precedential value of a decision and presumably the legitimacy of the Court issuing it. But, if this is pathology, it is one that has remained remarkably consistent over time and may be intrinsic in judicial hierarchies that are tasked with resolving politically contentious issues. Hitt’s ability to predict the circumstances under which the Court reaches out to decide cases despite the risk of discursive paradox is certain to launch a good deal of new research by both political scientists and Supreme Court legal scholars, but it also speaks in important ways to many other fields within law and courts by encouraging us to place political salience, legal discursive meaning, and systemic legitimacy into a common analysis.
Thanks to the Award Committee: Jonathan Simon, University of California, Berkeley, chair; Sara Benesh, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; and Ronald Kahn, Oberlin College
The #APSA2013 Annual Meeting took place at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, Ill. Below are some highlights of the exhibit hall.
Police Work: The Centrality of Labor Repression in American Political History
The great promise of our capitalist society is that it is organized on the basis of consent, not coercion. When all persons are free to pursue their own interests, they discover that it is to their own benefit to become very good at making something that others need. Each doing what he or she does best, and freely exchanging the results, leads not just to the greatest amount of overall wealth but to a coordination of individual interests without force. As Adam Smith famously said, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” 1 But what happens when, out of “regard for his self-interest,” the butcher goes on strike? What happens, in fact, when there are no more butchers in the first place? What kind of economic order is it when Smith’s division of labor means that the independent butcher is replaced by “schacklers,” “hositers,” “gullet-raisers,” “foot-skinners,” “leg-breakers,” “breast-sawyers,” and “fellbeaters,” all under the command of an employer who no longer does any actual butchering himself? As the founding father of American labor history, John R. Commons, observed in 1904, industrial meatpacking is a different beast than Smith’s artisanal butchering:
It would be difficult to find another industry where division of labor has been so ingeniously and microscopically worked out. The animal has been surveyed and laid off like a map; and the men have been classified in over thirty specialties and twenty rates of pay, from 16 cents to 50 cents an hour. … In working on the hide alone there are nine positions, at eight different rates of pay.2 The primary effect of the division of labor in butchering was to drive down the wages of the unskilled while increasing their exhaustion and injuries. The increased division of labor in the factory was, after all, a way of redistributing the control over work from the worker to the capitalist. As Commons observed, between 1894 and 1904, a period of intense industrialization of meatpacking, the speed on production lines had increased “nearly 100 percent,” as had the danger. Unsurprisingly, in 1904, the meatpackers responded to these changes with a strike, demanding higher wages and safer working conditions.
Police Work: The Centrality of Labor Repression in American Political History, by Alex Gourevitch, Perspectives on Politics / Volume 13 / Issue 03 / September 2015, pp 762-773