Interdisciplinary Workshops on Politics and Policy

2017-2018 Series

September October November December January
February March April May June


A Russian Hegemony in the Russki Mir? A War of Position on Ukrainian Social Media

September 13, 2017
Jesse Driscoll (University of California - San Diego)

The Russian state is regularly assumed to have a competitive advantage in the production of hegemonic knowledge in the Russki mir — but does it? Analysis of a large sample of social media behaviors by Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the Spring of 2014 reveals competitive attempts to interpret ongoing high-stakes events: a classic Gramscian war of position. Twitter behaviors demonstrate that the Russian government’s effort to advance a counter-hegemonic narrative was more likely to succeed among Russian-speakers living in Ukrainian oblasts historically associated with the Russian empire. Even in these areas, however, a pro-West pro-maiden narrative was dominant among Russian-speaking Ukrainians on Twitter. We argue that the absence of irregular warfare in Ukraine, despite very weak central state capacity during the time of the study, is attributable to Russia’s failure to recruit local allies in this war of position.

Terrorism, Gender, and the 2016 Presidential Election

September 20, 2017
Jennifer Merolla (University of California - Riverside)

The 2016 U.S. presidential election was unusual in many ways, including the fact that it featured Hillary Clinton as the first woman major party nominee and Donald Trump as the first modern day major party candidate without extensive political experience. It was also an election in which terrorism was more salient than it has been in recent. U.S. presidential contests. These factors combing to offer the opportunity to evaluate the degree to which gender, experience, and a heightened context of terrorism shape candidate evaluations. Of particular interest are evaluations of the candidates’ leadership capacities given objective differences in their foreign policy experiences. We use ANES data and two experimental studies to examine how conditions of terrorist threat affected evaluations of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. We first document via survey and experimental data that potential voters in the 2016 election who were worried about terrorism were less likely to support Clinton and more likely to support Trump. We then ask whether highlighting Clinton’s national security experience mitigates this disadvantage when terrorism is salient. We explore this question using data from a national experiment, conducted online in October 2016; in which we randomly assigned participants to read (or not) media coverage of Clinton’s national security experience, Trump’s rhetoric around terrorism, or some combination of the two. We find that reading about national security experience improves evaluations of Clinton, and these effects are more pronounced among males, and particularly those most resistant to her candidacy. (With Mirya Holman, Tulane University; Elizabeth Zechmeister, Vanderbilt University and Ding Wang, University of California-Riverside)

E Pluribus Unum? Clarifying How Elites Discourage (Non-)Immigrants from a Political Ideal

September 27, 2017
Efren Perez (Vanderbilt University)

Preserving national unity in light of ethnic diversity—e pluribus unum—is a challenge in immigrant-receiving countries. We claim that elite rhetoric about the proper balance between ethnic and national identity motivates individual relations to this idea. Study 1 centers on U.S. Latino adults and shows that rhetoric posting Latino and American identity as incompatible prompts them to voice weaker patriotism, fainter support for a common English language, and stronger pro-Latino preferences, with ethnic identity mediating each effect. Study 2 examines Latino and White reactions to elite rhetoric about ethnic and national identity, without targeting Latinos. We find that rhetoric posing ethnic and national identity as compatible also leads Latinos to express less patriotism, dimmer support for a common language, and stronger co-ethnic preferences, with ethnic identity mediating each effect. In sharp contrast, however, the same rhetoric motivates Whites to insist on e pluribus unum based on their American identity.


Hanes Walton Memorial Lecture

Thursday, October 12, 2017
Hanes Walton Lecture - Cathy Cohen (University of Chicago) and Michael Dawson (University of Chicago)

The Connection (?) Between Turnout And Partisan Vote Choice

October 18, 2017
Daron Shaw (University of Texas—Austin)

One of the enduring conventional wisdoms of American electoral politics is the belief that higher levels of turnout benefit the Democratic Party because Democrats have lower turnout rates than their Republican counterparts. Indeed, the “bias” of turnout is the most common explanation for the wild oscillations in Democratic fortunes from 2008 to 2010 and from 2012 to 2014. Based on an analysis of presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial election data from the 1940s through today, we suggest that changes in turnout from one election to another fail to predict changes in the party vote. We believe this occurs because the irregular voters whose participation drives turnout rates tend to be weaker partisans or independents who are inattentive to politics and strongly influenced by the political environment of the election. The short-term forms that define the political environment are as likely to benefit Republicans as Democrats, and this fact mitigates any systematic relationship between turnout and party preference.


October 25, 2017
Jamila Michener (Cornell University) *ROOM 1430 ISR



November 1, 2017
Nahomi Ichino and Noah Nathan (University of Michigan)


November 8, 2017
Ronald Inglehart (University of Michigan)


November 15, 2017
Brian Rathbun (University of Southern California)


November 29, 2017



December 6 2017
John Zaller (UCLA)



January 10, 2018
Mara Ostfeld and Nicole Yadon (University of Michigan)


January 17, 2018


January 24, 2018



February 7, 2018
Jennifer Lawless (American University)


February 14, 2018


February 21, 2018
Monika McDermott (Fordham University)



March 7, 2018
Tarek Masoud (Harvard University)


March 14, 2018
Andra Gillespie (Emory University)


March 21, 2018


March 28, 2018
Ted Brader (University of Michigan)


Henry Brady (University of California, Berkeley

Thursday, April 12, 2018
Miller Converse Lecture


April 18, 2018
Karen Jusko (Stanford University)


April 25, 2018
Evan Lieberman (MIT)



May 2, 2018
Brian Weeks (University of Michigan)


May 9, 2018



All workshops take place on Wednesdays from noon-1:30pm in 6080* ISR

Unless otherwise noted all presentations are brown bag lunch.

*please note room change from previous years.

Past Series