CSDP Introduces 2020-2021 Fellows

Monday, Mar 16, 2020
We are delighted to introduce next year's fellows in the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics. This twenty-first cohort of CSDP fellows will be in residence through the 2020-2021 academic year. Please join us in welcoming them to Princeton in September.

Kaslovsky headshot   Jaclyn Kaslovsky will receive her Ph.D. from the Harvard Department of Government in 2020 and join the faculty at Rice University in 2021. In addition to analyzing how members of Congress can be impactful inside the legislature, her research engages with questions of constituency service and descriptive representation to strengthen our understanding of what it means for a legislator to be responsive.

While at CSDP, Jaclyn will work on a research project examining representation and the U.S. Senate. The project will explore the trade-offs between constituent attention and policy representation, and how the relationship between these two dimensions of representation has changed over time.  Specifically, Jaclyn will use county-level data on senator travel, staff allocation, and credit claiming patterns to investigate the changing relationship between local resources and roll call voting in an era of increased polarization.


O'Brian headshot   Neil O’Brian’s research focuses on political parties, Congress, polarization and representation. During his time at CSDP, he plans to complete his book project which argues that contemporary polarization is rooted in long-standing issue connections between racial attitudes and other policy views among ordinary voters. The book contends that the 1960s racial realignment created a domino effect across the party system. When the parties divided race in the 1960s, pre-existing ties between civil rights and other policy views among the mass public encouraged the parties to take positions on newly salient issues, such as abortion or gun control, which reinforced this racial divide. This nascent public opinion created an environment that allowed certain political coalitions to form within the party system, while making others more difficult. Part of this project is published in Perspectives on Politics. Neil expects to receive his PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in May 2020.


Payson headshot   Julia Payson is an assistant professor in the Department of Politics at New York University. She received her PhD in political science from Stanford University in 2017. Her research interests include elections, representation, accountability, and public service provision in state and local governments in the U.S. Her first book, When Cities Lobby, explores how cities seek to shape state politics through lobbying and documents the effects of this behavior on municipal inequality. Her research has appeared or is forthcoming at Legislative Studies Quarterly, The Journal of Politics, and The American Political Science Review.

While at CSDP, Julia will begin work on her second book manuscript, a joint project with Maria Carreri (UCSD) that examines how the managerial practices used by mayors and city managers shape governance outcomes at the local level. This project develops a novel measure of managerial effectiveness that relies on in-depth phone surveys in which interviewers ask local officials open-ended questions about their policy goals, operational knowledge, and performance monitoring strategies. The responses are combined with city financial and demographic data and case studies to assess whether the management styles of local leaders matter for city policy priorities and service provision. This study will provide one of the most comprehensive analyses to date on how local officials approach the day-to-day of managing their cities and will contribute to a longstanding debate over how much individual leaders matter for government performance.


West headshot   Emily West is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a scholar of political behavior whose research focuses on the politics of identity, including gender, race, class and partisanship, primarily in the context of U.S. politics, but often generalizing to Comparative contexts.  The central motivation of this work is to better understand the democratic implications of identity politics with two strands of research, the first on descriptive representation and the second on bias and discrimination. In applying core concepts from psychology and political science, Emily’s research contributes to long-standing theoretical debates and engages contemporary questions about identity that are of interest to a wide range of audiences. Emily’s research has been published or is forthcoming in the Journal of Politics, Political Science Research and Methods, and Political Behavior.

While in residence at CSDP, Emily will pursue two related research projects. The first on-going project seeks to understand the micro-mechanisms underlying support for right-wing populist rhetoric within the context of globalization and rising economic inequality in the U.S. and Europe. The project synthesizes concepts across multiple areas of social science in order to develop a micro-foundational theory linking economic inequality to differential feelings of relative deprivation among historically privileged and non-privileged groups. In this way, the work traces the links between a macro-level economic variable and micro-level psychological processes in order to explain increased support for exclusionary rhetoric and right-wing populist candidates. Time permitting, Emily will work on a second related project, which again focuses on exclusionary attitudes, this time to explain the increasing levels of partisan polarization and feelings of out-group animosity among the American constituency. Using multiple modes of data collection, the project will shed light on the nature of exclusionary attitudes along partisan lines, documenting how these attitudes lead to the degradation of civic discourse.


Rodman headshot   Emma Rodman is the 2020-2021 Values and Public Policy Postdoctoral Research Associate with appointment in the Woodrow Wilson School/Center for the Study of Democratic Politics and the University Center for Human Values.

Emma will receive her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Washington in 2020, and join the faculty as an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 2021. Emma is a scholar of American political thought with a particular interest in the meanings of political concepts. Much of her work traces the unwritten histories and paradoxical political effects of seemingly "self-evident" political concepts in American life. Her studies employ archival research, interpretative close reading, and machine learning methods that trace the meanings of concepts quantitatively across large volumes of text.

At Princeton, Emma will be working on a book project, The Idea of Equality in America. In that project, she argues that the concept of equality is both more complex and more hierarchical than is typically supposed. By disentangling and historically situating ideas of moral, social, and economic equality, the book highlights both the tensions between different valences of equality and the historical shifts in their political salience. Looking from the late colonial era to the present, the book shows how some of these registers of equality have actually produced and naturalized hierarchy, and have had a sabotaging relationship to democratic participation and inclusion.