Skip to main content

2021 News


Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Karen Alter, Mary McGrath, Kimberly Marion Suiseeya, Chloe Thurston | Open Letter to Northwestern Leadership and Community on Cheer Team Incidents

February 14, 2021 – from The Daily Northwestern
As women Northwestern faculty, we are dispirited and angry to hear of the recent allegations of racist and sexist practices on the cheer team. Many of us teach topics associated with the history of women, gender and patriarchy, and their intersections with racism and imperialism. We are frankly astounded that at the exact same time that we have been teaching our students about the baneful impacts of these phenomena in history and culture, the university where we work has evidently been engaging in them in blatant and illegal ways.

Chloe Thurston | Housing practices discriminate against women and racial minorities

February 12, 2021 – from Northwestern Institute for Policy Research (via Twitter)
"We’ve found that housing practices, since the 1930s, have discriminated against women and racial and religious minorities who are disproportionately less likely to benefit from policies for new homeowners," says Prof. Chloe Thurston of Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research and Weinberg College.

James Druckman | In Survey, Two-Thirds of Parents Voice Concern About Students’ Learning Losses

February 9, 2021 – from Northwestern Institute for Policy Research
Two-thirds of respondents (67%), whether students or parents, say they are concerned about the quality of K–12 learning during the pandemic, according to a new national survey of more than 25,000 people by Northwestern, Northeastern, Rutgers, and Harvard universities. The finding holds across respondents from different racial backgrounds, incomes, and political affiliations. “The shift to virtual learning was impressive in many ways, but after nearly a year, it is clear that concerns are growing,” said IPR political scientist James Druckman.

Laurel Harbridge-Yong | Republican Congressman Faces Blowback for Anti-Trump Stance

February 6, 2021 – from Voice of America
"This kind of schism over the loyalty to Trump, I think, creates the opportunity for potentially more [primary] challengers [in 2022]," Northwestern University political scientist Laurel Harbridge-Yong told VOA during a recent Skype interview. She added that banishing anti-Trump Republicans could make the party less palatable to the general voting public. "It points to how members are more focused on a small number of people in their constituency — their primary electorate, and even within that, an ardent base — whose interests might not be the same as the rest of their constituents," Harbridge-Yong said. "It means that legislators are acting in the interests of a small minority rather than the interests of the majority of their constituents, much the less the majority of the country as a whole."

Reuel Rogers, Jae Yeon Kim | History, Agency, Power, and Linked Fate

February 5, 2021 – from OSF PrePrints
Racial linked fate, the concept introduced by Dawson (1994) almost three decades ago, reoriented the study of racism and mass political behavior in the U.S. The scholarship traditionally had focused largely on the racial psychology of whites, how racism seeps into their political views and actions. Dawson proposed the black utility heuristic theory and linked fate, its associated measure, as an empirical framework to investigate the political behavior of blacks, the racial minority group most harmed by racism. Since then, linked fate has become an almost ubiquitous variable of interest in the research on minority group dynamics in American politics.

Alvin Tillery | Duquesne University professor who used racial slur can be reinstated but faces sanctions, including suspension

February 5, 2021 – from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Professor Shank will be required to begin mandatory diversity, equity and inclusion training with a highly-experienced trainer selected by the President: Dr. Alvin B. Tillery, Jr., Ph.D., Founder and Director of the Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy at Northwestern University,’’ according to the summary.

Laurel Harbridge-Yong | Too Afraid To Ask: The serious implications of Biden’s impeachment charge

February 2, 2021 – from North by Northwestern
Northwestern political science professor Laurel Harbridge-Yong explained that the articles of impeachment are rooted in "long-running conservative speculations." They claim Biden used his power as Vice President to make deals with foreign governments that benefited himself and his son, Hunter Biden. These allegations have been used against Biden since the election cycle, Harbridge-Yong said, despite Senate Republicans investigating these claims and finding "no evidence of wrongdoing."

Laurel Harbridge Yong | Democrats Might Use Reconciliation To Pass COVID-19 Relief Bill

February 1, 2021 – from Newsy
"Congress begins with a budget reconciliation bill that sets out the spending targets. It's a chance to take one of their spending priorities and say what needs to change in current law to kind of fit within that framework. Over time obviously strategic politicians recognized that this was a great way to avoid the super majored requirement." "But it certainly suggests that the democrats would not have to move legislation as close to the preferences of the legislators in the republican party as they would if they were passing legislation in the world where the filibuster was an option."


James Druckman | As vaccine hesitancy threatens to increase COVID-19 disparities, local experts try to build trust

January 27, 2021 – from The Daily Northwestern
NU political science Prof. and Associate Director of the University’s Institute for Policy Research James Druckman said when it comes to the likelihood of being vaccinated, “very large gaps” exist between Black Americans and other racial groups. A member of the COVID States Project, a multi-university consortium aimed at analyzing national data about virus transmission, Druckman began tracking vaccine hesitancy last summer. According to the team’s research, only 52 percent of African Americans are likely to seek vaccination, compared to 67 percent of White people, 71 percent of Hispanic people and 77 percent of Asian Americans. “That (disparity) reflects the history of unethical and deadly medical trials that have been run,” Druckman said.

James Druckman | Eric Holder Urges Dems To Pack The Supreme Court

January 26, 2021 – from The Daily Wire
A Rasmussen poll recently indicated that Americans would rather see term limits on the Supreme Court before they see court-packing. Last year, however, an academic study from political scientist Aaron Belkin of San Francisco State University and James Druckman of Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research openly encouraged Democrats to pack the Supreme Court, asserting the party would face little political fallout, if any.

Mary McGrath | Prospects for U.S. and Global Climate Action with a Biden Administration

January 22, 2021 – from Buffet Institute for Global Affairs
Many are hopeful that Joe Biden’s presidency will quickly restore federal climate change measures and catalyze substantial new efforts, such as a "green new deal." Many also hope for the United States to play a leadership role in fueling far-reaching international cooperation around climate change. Are those expectations warranted or unrealistic? What can we expect from the new administration? A panel of Northwestern University political science, environment, and economics experts came together for a Northwestern Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Affairs webinar to discuss these questions and more

Daniel Galvin, Josh Vincent | Democratic presidents have traditionally hurt their parties. Joe Biden may be different.

January 21, 2021 – from The Washington Post
Jaime Harrison has been elected chair of the Democratic National Committee. Harrison is an institution builder. By choosing him, President Biden suggests he may be willing to become modern history’s first Democratic presidential party-builder — that is, the first Democratic president who prioritizes building up his party as well as enacting policy.

Laurel Harbridge-Yong | Does Biden Really Think Republicans Will Work With Him? And Could He Be Right?

January 19, 2021 – from FiveThirtyEight
“The context of the pandemic and the needs of their constituents may lead Republicans to be willing to work with Biden and the Democrats on vaccine and pandemic recovery legislation — even if they oppose the levels of spending proposed by Biden,” said Laurel Harbridge-Yong, a political science professor at Northwestern University who studies Congress. Also, politics may be changing on the right in a way that pushes some Republicans toward working with Biden on COVID-19 in particular. Republicans used to talk a big game about reining in the federal budget deficit while never really doing anything about it. But in the Trump era, some prominent Republicans, including Trump himself and Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, have basically dropped the pretense that they really care about keeping the deficit low. That pretense seems to already be returning.

Alvin Tillery | I Solemnly Swear': 5 Things Biden Needs to do as He Takes Office Amid Historic Turmoil

January 19, 2021 – from USA Today
"It's more like a wartime inauguration than a normal inauguration," said Alvin Tillery Jr., director of Northwestern University's Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy. "It's going to look a lot more like FDR and the economic crisis of the Great Depression or Lyndon Johnson and the crisis of the civil rights movement." As a result, he said, Biden's speech needs to be "a much more stirring defense of the institution of democracy" than the typical inauguration address – or the typical speech by Biden, usually a plain-spoken person.

Alvin Tillery | Trump Leaves America at its Most Divided Since the Civil War

January 19, 2021 – from Erie News Now
Seen against that history, the upsurge in White nationalist violence under Trump seems less like a new phenomenon than the resurgence of an old one -- a determination to use force to maintain a clear racial hierarchy. Political scientist Alvin Tillery, director of the Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy at Northwestern University, says Trump's success at mobilizing an electoral coalition resistant to demographic change underscores the country's imperfect progress toward creating a true multiracial democracy. While America has formally been a democracy since its birth in the 1700s, he notes, for most of our history those democratic rights were limited solely to White men.

Tulia Falleti | Mellon Just Futures Grant for “Dispossessions in the Americas: The Extraction of Bodies, Land, and Heritage from La Conquista to the Present”

January 13, 2021 – from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the largest funder of the arts and humanities in the US, announced today that grants totaling more than $72 million have been awarded to winners of its Just Futures Initiative—supporting teams of scholars who are studying past periods of crisis and disruption in order to lead us to cultural and social transformation. The 16 projects will receive grants of up to $5 million to be used over a three-year period to support multidisciplinary and multi-institutional collaborative teams producing solutions-based work that contributes to public understanding of the nation’s racist past and can lead to the creation of socially just futures.

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd | The Paradox of Free Religion

January 12, 2021 – from The Berkley Center
Though historians now tell a much more complex story about religion in early America, the notion that the United States invented and perfected religious freedom remains firmly ensconced in U.S. public discourse. Since the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, U.S. promotion of international religious freedom advocacy is also written into the law. Yet, white supremacy is also deeply woven into religious freedom, and the impacts on U.S. society have been no more pronounced than the present. The foreign policy establishment is abuzz with talk of freedom, toleration, and rights. Proponents defend efforts to export religious freedom globally, with the United States proudly at the helm.

Anushuya Thapa | Sally Nuamah seeks to empower Black girls with films, research

January 11, 2021 – from The Daily Northwestern
Prof. Sally Nuamah’s (Weinberg Doctorate ’16) scholarship isn’t constrained to the limits of traditionally academic research. A filmmaker, political scientist, author and non-profit founder, Nuamah has used various mediums to examine the education and political participation of Black women. Social policy Prof. Jonathan Guryan, her colleague in the Institute for Policy Research, said the scope of Nuamah’s work goes beyond what is typical for social scientists. “She publishes books, she publishes articles in peer reviewed academic journals,” Guryan said. “And then in addition to that, she also shares her ideas in ways that are more likely to reach non-academic audiences.”

David Ertischek | Emerson Professors on How We Move Forward After Insurrection

January 8, 2021 – from Emerson Today
That problem of racial and socioeconomic relations can also be seen in how different people don’t — or won’t — encounter each other, whether in our schools, in colleges, or even at the grocery store, said Gellman. U.S. schools must overhaul their curricula to stop perpetuating stereotypes and racism, and marginalizing groups. “Let’s rewrite our history books to tell the truth,” said Gellman. “Let’s make curricula respectful and honest. Tell [young students] that it was founded on a genocide of Native Americans, and not the Mayflower, the pilgrims and Thanksgiving.”

Alvin Tillery | Pro-Trump Mob Storms US Capitol in Bid to Overturn Election

January 6, 2021 – from WTTW News
“The reality is we have not seen anything like this in modern American history. We’ve seen this in state houses in the 19th century: 1874 to 1876, the counter reconstruction movement, where the klan and democratic allies threatened violence and entered statehouses in this way. And we’ve seen violence in state houses this summer in Michigan and places like that in response to the COVID-19 restrictions. But we have never seen this in the television age at the US capitol.”

Mara Suttmann-Lea | COVID-19 Could Lead to Permanent Expansion of Voting Opportunities

January 3, 2021 – from The Day
Connecticut already has Election Day registration. There’s pretty compelling evidence that when you have both early voting and Election Day registration, they can do a lot to retain voters and boost new turnout,” Suttmann-Lea said. “From the perspective of increasing access to ballots, the state has shown it has the infrastructure to run something like expanded mail voting quite well, even when they’re doing it on the fly.”
Back to top