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2022 News


Traci Burch | Adding Insult to Injury: The Justification Frame in Official Narratives of Officer-Involved Killings

August 1, 2022 – from Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics
"This article identifies the justification frame as a common narrative used by public officials to justify the use of lethal force by police. Officials deploy the justification frame to obfuscate the use of force or claim that victims posed a threat to officers in order to justify civilian deaths. I examine initial statements given in the aftermath of officer-involved deaths in 2016, focusing on incidents where an on-duty officer used force against victims who did not pose a threat when they were killed. I find that elements of the justification frame appear frequently in the explanations issued after these incidents. Statements about Black decedents are more likely to deploy the justification frame."


Laurel Harbridge-Yong | Measuring the Effectiveness of Public Leaders

July 23, 2022 – from Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership
What makes a legislator effective? The Thompson Center presents a virtual event that explores the elements of measuring legislative success. Featuring a panel of five speakers, each will share their expertise on lawmaking, followed by audience Q&A. Craig Volden is Co-Director of the Center for Effective Lawmaking and a Professor of Public Policy and Politics at the University of Virginia. Laurel Harbridge-Yong is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. Beatriz Rey is a SNF Agora Visiting Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and an APSA Congressional Fellow (2021-2022) working at the U.S. House of Representatives. Jeffery Mondak is the James M. Benson Chair in Public Issues and Civic Leadership in the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois. Walter Stone...

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd | The ‘wall’ between church and state is blocking our view on abortion rights

July 21, 2022 – from Chicago Tribune
The Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision has reignited fears among liberals and progressives of the fall of the wall between church and state. Yet the wall of separation is only a metaphor, and a tired and strained one at that. When people try to defend access to abortion by trying to keep religion out, they are assuming a lot about religion. If religion were cordoned off from public life, they say, democracy and equality would flourish. This is a deeply flawed story. First, a majority of Americans, across traditions, support access to safe abortion. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 61% of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances. More than half of U.S. Catholics favor legal abortion, a 2019 Pew Research Center survey found.

Sally A. Nuamah | New Research Grants Approved by the Russell Sage Foundation

July 15, 2022 – from Russel Sage Foundation
Sally Nuamah (Northwestern University) will examine how experiences with the criminal justice system impacts political participation among Black women. Grants were made in our four core programs and our special initiative on Immigration and Immigrant Integration.

Daniel J. Galvin & Chloe N. Thurston | American Political Development as a Problem-Driven Enterprise

July 14, 2022 – from Studies in American Political Development
"We argue that American political development's (APD's) relentless preoccupation with the substantive problems that shape and animate American politics and how they emerge and develop over time has been a key source of the subfield's durability. We elaborate on three main payoffs to conceptualizing APD as a problem-driven enterprise: (1) it highlights APD's main comparative advantage within the American politics subfield, noting the tremendous agility APD's substantive breadth lends the enterprise; (2) it resolves the methodological debate, granting simply that the question chooses the method rather than the other way around; and (3) it reorients the critique: simply because a subfield considers itself to be problem-oriented does not mean that it is identifying the right problems to study."

James N. Druckman | Do state abortion policies represent citizen views?

July 13, 2022 – from Northwestern Now
“The public’s opinions on abortion are certainly nuanced — their opposition to no access under any circumstance is very clear, but they also support restrictions based on viability,” said political scientist James Druckman, one of the consortium researchers. “This makes it a complicated issue with limited mobilizational capacity for the Democrats. The bulk of Democrats live in states that have laws consistent with their preferences and it is unlikely Republicans in states with highly restrictive laws would shift their voting patterns due to the issue.”


Tabitha Bonilla | Promises Kept, Promises Broken, and Those Caught in the Middle

June 30, 2022 – from Institute for Policy Research
"Investigations into how promises matter to voters, whether during campaigns for a new office or when running for reelection, reveal that voters have a nuanced understanding of promises that is dependent on assessments of candidate attentions as well as the successful policy interventions. Bonilla builds on that work and the long literature on motivated reasoning to examine how voters use partisanship in their decisions of promise fulfillment. With two original survey experiments, she demonstrates that voters view promise fulfillment through a partisan lens when an issue is a partisan issue, and particularly when there is ambiguity around if the promise is kept. This finding suggests nuance to the traditional assumptions around how promise fulfillment is assessed in reelection campaigns."

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd | Northwestern faculty available on upcoming Supreme Court rulings

June 17, 2022 – from Northwestern Now
“The idea that it is a ‘religious’ issue is relatively new. Some trace it to the rise of the religious right in the 1970s and ’80s. But concern and fear about women’s autonomy and its societal and even biological consequences can be traced back much further in American history, as Marie Griffiths shows in her book “Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics.” Griffiths tracks these concerns to the rise of the anti-suffrage movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The bottom line is that these are both secular and religious questions. The idea that it is either/or is a distraction.”

Dan Galvin | Union organizers debate ‘Workers Rights Amendment’ as November vote draws near

June 16, 2022 – from The Daily Northwestern
Political science Prof. Daniel Galvin, who specializes in worker’s rights and labor politics, said the unionization process is “littered with obstacles” and “favors the employer at every turn.” About 90% of workers do not have collective bargaining abilities, Galvin said, preventing employee negotiations. “Low-wage workers are probably the ones who are most in need of rights and protections,” Galvin said. “They’re the ones who have turned to these small community-based organizations to recreate the kind of substantive rights that you might have otherwise gotten through collective bargaining agreements.”

Alvin B. Tillery Jr. | Congressional hearings make for historic moments, but their ultimate impact varies

June 12, 2022 – from USA Today
The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riots opened with a highly orchestrated, prime-time event on Thursday that was watched by 20 million viewers, but history has shown that some of the most memorable hearings don't always produce lasting results. While congressional hearings have led to watershed moments in U.S. history, these hearings will address new subject matter for the nation, including accusations that a defeated president orchestrated an attack on the Capitol to overturn election results.

Alvin B. Tillery Jr. | A preview of the Jan. 6 committee hearings

June 9, 2022 – from WBEZ Chicago
After nearly a year of investigating the Jan. 6 attack, the House select committee will Prime-time hearings of the Jan. 6 committee begin Thursday night. Reset checks in with experts to discuss what to expect and where we go from here.

Alvin B. Tillery Jr. & Jaime Dominguez | ‘There is no doubt that the hearings will scandalize the nation,’ expert says

June 7, 2022 – from Northwestern Now
“The primetime hearing scheduled by the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol is likely to break new ground in terms of what we know about the high-level planning and execution of the Republican Party’s attempt to steal the 2020 presidential election. “Given what we know from press reports, it will likely cast light on the role that several high-ranking members of Congress played in the events and give us some insight into precisely what Donald Trump was doing in the White House as the insurrection unfolded. There is no doubt that the hearings will scandalize the nation. The problem is that the hearings on their own will not save our Democracy. Not only have the GOP embarked on a dangerous path of denying that the insurrection ever happened, but they are continuing to plot and organize to steal subsequent elections."

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd & Ely Orrego Torres | Global Challenges of Secularism and Religious Freedom

June 3, 2022 – from Otros Cruces
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit globally, Otros Cruces began a virtual training program studying two books on secularism and religious freedom written by the outstanding scholar Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, a Professor at Northwestern University. We interviewed her, and she shared with us her main contributions in the disciplines of political science, religious studies, and the social sciences based on her research on global religion and politics.This booklet consists of the transcription and translation into Spanish of the interview conducted in English. It is a valuable work because, on the one hand, it is a pioneering unpublished work of Elizabeth Shakman Hurd in Spanish. In addition, we expect that this book will be the first of a series of writings delving into her contributions. On the other hand, this book represents the beginning of a dialogue about the problematics of religion and pol

Alvin B. Tillery Jr. | California Panel Recommends Reparations For Black Residents

June 2, 2022 – from Newsy
The panel is also recommending programs to get Black people registered to vote and keep them on the voter rolls; programs to repay Black land and business owners for value lost in racial terror; programs to get students free tuition; and programs to house vulnerable populations. Plus, the panel wants lawmakers to allow incarcerated people to vote, make mental health care and rehabilitation a first priority for inmates and pay them for their work while in prison.


Tabitha Bonilla | How Source Cues Shape Evaluations of Group-Based Derogatory Political Messages

May 29, 2022 – from Journal of Politics
Theories of social norms suggest that, except for prejudiced people, individuals should reject racially derogatory speech. The increase of derogation in politics, including byi ngroup members, suggests more complexity. We argue that source cues shape the application of norms. Specifically, group membership of the observer and that of the speaker are critical to understanding how norms manifest in politics. We test this theory in four experimental studies that compare the reactions of White and Black respondents to White, Black, and Muslim candidates. We find that both Black andWhite Americans punish White candidates who derogate Blacks or Muslims."

Kim Marion Suiseeya | Rethinking and Upholding Justice and Equity in Transformative Biodiversity Governance

May 26, 2022 – from Cambridge University Press
"Justice and equity are fundamental to the complex choices that societies need to make to achieve transformative change (Bennett et al., 2019; IPBES, 2019; Leach et al., 2018; Martin, 2017). Evidence that more socioeconomically unequal societies tend to experience higher rates of biodiversity loss (Holland et al., 2009; IPBES, 2019) suggests that injustice and threats to biodiversity are closely intertwined. Injustice can function as an underlying cause of biodiversity loss, such as where colonial expropriation of Indigenous peoples’ land paves the way for its exploitation (Martinez-Alier, 2002)."

Alvin B. Tillery Jr. | ‘In Georgia, Mr. Trump is very likely to face his largest rebuke’ expert says

May 23, 2022 – from Northwestern Now
“Tomorrow’s primary contest in Georgia will be yet another test of former President Donald Trump’s power to shape the fortunes of Republican candidates in the current cycle. Mr. Trump has had a mixed record in the current cycle. His endorsement of J.D. Vance in the Ohio Senate primary is his big win thus far. In other states, however, Mr. Trump’s endorsement has proven to be far less powerful than anyone would have predicted going into the cycle."

James Druckman & Robin Bayes | Studying Science Inequities: How to Use Surveys to Study Diverse Populations

May 5, 2022 – from The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Scientists in the United States have made transformative discoveries that have improved societal well-being. Yet the United States also has a long, unsettling history of unequal access to these advances. This unequal access exacerbates disparate impacts of science-related phenomena, such as climate change and COVID-19, on vulnerable populations. In part, these problems are intensified by the fact that retrospective research that documents inequities is far more prevalent than prospective research that studies differences among groups.

Kim Suiseeya, Alex Anderson & Katie Moffitt, | Waking from Paralysis: Revitalizing Conceptions of Climate Knowledge and Justice for More Effective Climate Action

May 5, 2022 – from The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Despite decades of climate science research, existing climate actions have had limited impacts on mitigating climate change. Efforts to reduce emissions, for example, have yet to spur sufficient action to reduce the most severe effects of climate change. We draw from our experiences as Ojibwe knowledge holders and community members, scientists, and scholars to demonstrate how the lack of recognition of traditional knowledges (TK) within climate science constrains effective climate action and exacerbates climate injustice.

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd | Overturning Roe v. Wade is ‘about control, not religion’ expert says

May 4, 2022 – from Northwestern Now
According to a leaked draft opinion obtained by Politico, the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. Northwestern University has four political and legal experts available to discuss the historical and legal context of the potential decision and what it would mean for the future of abortion rights and the Court’s interpretation of the protections guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.


Alvin B. Tillery Jr. | Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmed to the Supreme Court: ‘A Watershed Moment’

April 8, 2022 – from Northwestern Now
“The confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court is a watershed moment in our nation’s history,” Tillery said. “It is also a major win for President Biden, who has now kept a campaign promise to a crucial Democratic constituency and expanded the diversity of the Supreme Court. While it is understandable why the majority of Americans who wanted Judge Jackson confirmed to the Supreme Court might see her elevation as a sign that the country is finally moving past the polarization that characterized the Trump years, this would be a mistake.


Traci Burch | Officer-Involved Killings and the Repression of Protest

March 17, 2022 – from Urban Affairs Review
This article explores the likelihood that officer-involved killings affect protest. Analyzing respondents to the Collaborative Multiracial Political Survey (CMPS) reveals no increases in protest activity between treatment groups exposed to officer-involved killings in their local area prior to participating in the survey and control groups who were exposed to officer-involved killings after survey participation overall. In fact, local exposure to Black victims appears to repress protest, but only among young Black respondents. This effect depends on the characteristics of the victim and the incident, as killings of low threat Black victims do not seem to repress protest.

Alvin Tillery | Senate unanimously passes historic anti-lynching legislation

March 8, 2022 – from WBEZ Chicago
After more than a century and 200 failed attempts, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill Monday that makes lynching a federal hate crime. The Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act was introduced by Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush and is expected to be signed by President Biden. Reset learns more about the legislation and what it means for the ongoing fight for racial justice in the U.S. GUESTS: Professor Alvin Tillery, director of the Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy; and associate professor of political science and African American studies Rev. Wheeler Parker, cousin of Emmett Till


Alvin B. Tillery Jr. | Northwestern professor launches DEI business forum

February 23, 2022 – from Northwestern Now
The Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy (CSDD) at Northwestern University announced today (Feb. 23) the launch of a business forum that will connect academic researchers with industry leaders to address diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) issues arising in today’s global marketplace.The new CSDD Business Forum aims to provide business leaders with cutting-edge social science research to generate insights they can translate to their own DEI initiatives.

James N. Druckman | The January 6th, 2025, Project

February 21, 2022 – from The Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy
The January 6th, 2025, Project seeks to understand the social, political, psychological, and demographic factors that led to the January 6th, 2021, insurrection and continue to threaten the stability of our democratic system of government. Through our research, teaching, and public engagement, we hope to offer an assessment of the state of our democracy and insight into how to protect and strengthen it, with a special emphasis on how to prepare for the attack on our electoral system that will likely occur on January 6th, 2025.


Tabitha Bonilla | Gender and the Political Science Graduate Experience: When Leaning In Isn't Enough

January 26, 2022 – from APSA Preprints, Politics of Gender
Graduate programs present challenges for women that mirror those in society and are also compounded by entrenched norms within the academy and the discipline. This chapter seeks to guide women-identifying graduate students on navigating these challenges and combat the often isolating experience academia presents. The perception that women are less methodologically and theoretically rigorous in their research is only one of many stressors impacting women in the academy and political science. Through the various lenses of learning, teaching, and research, we provide tangible advice for women in the discipline to find success and balance while creating space for the things that brought you to study political science at a graduate level in the first place. This manuscript is part of Strategies for Navigating Graduate School and Beyond, a forthcoming volume for those interested in pursuing g

Tabitha Bonilla | The Importance of Campaign Promises

January 24, 2022 – from Cambridge University Press
Campaign promises are a cornerstone of representative democracy. Candidates make promises to signal to voters their intentions in office and voters evaluate candidates based on those promises. This study unpacks the theorized pathway regarding campaign promises: not whether promises are kept, but what purpose promises serve, what they signal, and how they affect voter decision-making. The author explores the pathways and conditions influencing promises and finds that promises tend to have a polarizing effect on voters' opinions of politicians, attracting similarly-positioned voters and strongly repelling voters who disagree with a candidate's position. In addition, voters perceive promise breakers as less honest and less likely to follow through than candidates who more weakly took the same position.

Sally Nuamah | Political Mobilization Around Chicago School Closings Policy Brief

January 21, 2022 – from Institute for Policy Research
In 2012, the Chicago Public Schools board initiated the largest wave of school closures in U.S. history, shutting down 49 out of nearly 500 public schools. These schools were in predominately Black neighborhoods on the city’s South and West sides. In the American Political Science Review, IPR political scientist and social policy expert Sally Nuamah and political scientist Thomas Ogorzalek document how the closures changed the political behavior of Black Chicagoans who lived in communities targeted for a school closure. Despite relatively low participation rates in the democratic process before the closures, these citizens—who are from some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods—increased their political engagement. Their research supports a model of place-based mobilization, or the process of citizens responding to policy change concentrated in their local community.

Chloe Thurston | Balancing optimal policy and real-world politics

January 14, 2022 – from Crain's Chicago Business
So far, Evanston's efforts have yielded a $400,000 fund to be used for grants of up to $25,000 for Black homeowners, who resided in Evanston between 1919 and 1969, that can be used for mortgages or home improvements. This has been lauded as a step toward recognizing and redressing the city's role in racial economic disparities. It's also been criticized for being overly narrow in its eligibility criteria.

James Druckman | Racial bias in perceptions of disease and policy

January 13, 2022 – from Sage Journals: Group Processes & Intergroup Relations
Narratives about Africa as dark, depraved, and diseased justified the exploitation of African land and people. Today, these narratives may still have a hold on people’s fears about disease. We test this in three (pre-COVID-19) experiments (N = 1,803). Across studies, we find that participants report greater worry about a pandemic originating in Africa (vs. elsewhere). In turn, they report greater support for travel bans and for loosening abortion restrictions. We then document these narratives in an archival study of newspaper articles of the 2015–2016 Zika pandemic (N = 1,475). We find that articles were more negative—for example, they included more death-related words—if they mentioned Africa. Finally, we replicate the experimental results within the COVID-19 context, using a representative sample (N = 1,200).

Alvin B. Tillery Jr. | Reflections on MLK Day

January 13, 2022 – from C Street Advisory Group
The holiday celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is an important moment of reflection for me each year. As an African American born three years after the movement Dr. King and others led to make America a multiracial democracy, the course of my life has been fundamentally shaped by the impact of his efforts. Without Dr. King’s work, I would have grown up in a different neighborhood, been educated in schools of lesser quality, and have had far less freedom to move in this society which is typically hostile to Black bodies.

Chloe Thurston | New Illinois Law Allows Homeowners to Remove Racist Language from Home Deeds

January 7, 2022 – from ABC Chicago
Chloe Thurston, an assistant professor of political science at Northwestern University, authored a book on housing discrimination in the 20th century titled "At the Boundaries of Homeownership: Credit, Discrimination, and the American State.""If you have a house that was built before 1950, there's a pretty good chance that there's a restrictive covenant in the deed, particularly if that was a neighborhood that was historically predominantly white," she explained.

Alvin B. Tillery Jr. | Capitol Under Siege, One Year Later

January 5, 2022 – from Northwestern Now
“Perhaps the most disappointing thing that we have learned is that the American people are largely content to watch their democracy burn,” said political scientist Alvin Tillery, director of Northwestern’s Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy. “Two years after the largest mass protest movement in American history in the name of #BlackLivesMatter and after watching incredibly brave young people strike out for Democracy in places like Hong Kong and Nigeria, the American people are greeting the continuing assault on our democracy with a resounding ‘meh.’ So, on this eve of the one-year anniversary of the Capitol uprising, my warning to Americans, particularly people of color, is that we are not safe.”
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