Month: September 2018

Zirakzadeh’s Storied Career Celebrated by Colleagues Past and Present

On Wednesday September 5th, students, faculty and alumni met at Alumni Hall to celebrate the long career of Professor Cyrus Ernesto Zirakzadeh, who retired this past summer after 33 years at UConn.  After welcoming remarks from Dean Davita Glasberg, Zirakzadeh charmed the crowd with heartfelt comments about his time in Storrs and the many friends he made along the way.  It was a bittersweet farewell to a UConn fixture who has touched so many lives over the years.

Zirakzadeh received his baccalaureate from the University of Michigan, his master’s degree from Stanford University, and his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to his time spent in the Political Science Department, he served for five years as Director of the University of Connecticut’s Honors Programs and for five years as Associate Dean for the Social Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  Additionally, he thrice chaired the University of Connecticut’s Senate Executive Committee.

In the late 1990s, Zirakzadeh participated in the Perestroika movement within political science, which sought to encourage a substantively rich, methodologically plural discipline. In addition, Zirakzadeh has served on the Graduate Education and Professional Development Committee of the American Political Science Association, and on the Executive Councils of the Northeastern Political Science Association and the New England Political Science Association.  In 2005, he was honored with the title “University of Connecticut Teaching Fellow” from the University of Connecticut’s Institute for Teaching and Learning. He also received an Outstanding Teaching Award from the American Political Science Association and Pi Sigma Alpha honorary society.  More recently in 2015, Zirakzadeh received the inaugural University of Connecticut Provost’s Service Award for contributions “to the teaching, research, engagement, and service missions of the University of Connecticut.”

Two topics have dominated Zirakzadeh’s research agenda: experiments with grassroots democracy (also known as “participatory democracy” and “direct democracy”) and political thought in art. For several decades, he has examined the origins, activities, and legacies of social movements in Western and Central Europe and Latin and North America. More recently, he has studied representations of U.S. politics in literature, music, and film. In addition, he is interested in theories about workplace democracy, and in the possibilities for and challenges to an interpretive political science.

Zirakzadeh has authored three books: A Rebellious People: Basques Protests and Politics (1991), Direct Democracy and International Politics: Deciding International Issues through Referendums (co-authored with John Rourke and Richard Hiskes, 1992), and Social Movements in Politics: A Comparative Study (1997; updated and expanded second edition in 2006). He also has edited a four-volume handbook on social and political movements (2011), and has co-edited an anthology with Simon Stow on the political experiences and visions of John Steinbeck (2013), and an anthology with Jane Gordon on the political experiences and visions of Richard Wright (forthcoming).

Faculty Achievements: Early Fall 2018

  • Dr. Jeffrey Dudas recently received an honorable mention for the Herbert Jacob Book Prize for his book Raised Right: Fatherhood in Modern American Conservatism  (Stanford University Press).
  • Dr. Dudas also recorded a podcast about Raised Right (hosted by Heath Brown) for the New Books Network’s Political Science Podcast.
  • Dr. Jeremy Pressman’s article “Foreign Cues and Public Views on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”, which he co-authored with former graduate student Matthew Leep (PhD ‘13), was recently accepted for publication by The British Journal of Politics and International Relations.
  • The American Political Science Association awarded Dr. Veronica Herrera the Dennis Judd Best Book Award from the Urban and Local Politics Section for her recent work, Water and Politics. Read more about her work.
  • Dr. Pressman authored “The National School Walkout of March 14, 2018,” an article which appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of Extensions, the flagship journal of the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center at The University of Oklahoma.
  • On a recent episode of Michigan Radio’s “Here and Now,” alumnus Salil Benegal ’16 Ph.D. of DePauw University and Dr. Lyle Scruggs discussed how individuals react to information about climate change. Listen now.
  • Dr. Pressman also presented a co-authored paper at APSA entitled “The March for Science: the Challenge of Transcending Partisan Divides.”
  • Dr. Pressman and Harvard University Professor Erica Chenoweth published their most recent discussion of protests (covering June 2018) at the Monkey Cage blog in the Washington Post. Read the article here.
  • Dr. Shareen Hertel recently organized a roundtable on research frontiers in human rights at the 2018 APSA annual meeting.  (She worked jointly with colleagues from the University of Nebraska, University of Southern California, and University of Pittsburgh). Her contribution focused on new research and teaching efforts she is spearheading to bridge the STEM and human rights divides.  Her work was recently featured in a related UConn Today story and podcast on ethical and environmental challenges in global supply chains.
  • Dr. Hertel was also a featured speaker on a panel that UConn’s School of Engineering hosted last month.  The panel looked at unconventional paths within academia and STEM, and addressed how to use skills in engineering to pursue passions for politics, social justice and the like.
  • Dr. Yonatan Morse received a Scholarship Facilitation Grant in July 2018 to finish his elite survey in Cameroon.
  • Additionally, Dr. Morse’s article, “Elite Interviews in the Developing World: Finding Anchors in Weak Institutional Environments,” can now be found online in Qualitative Methods.
  • Finally, Dr. Morse is a regular contributor to the blog Presidential Power. Be sure to check out his work!
  • Dr. Michael Morrell completed his term as the Vice President of Conferences for the International Society of Political Psychology at the annual meeting in San Antonio this past July.
  • Dr. Morrell, along with co-authors Paolo Spada and Graham Smith from the University of Westminster (UK), presented the paper “The Potential of Argument Visualization Platforms and Empathy Induction to Promote Humility in Public Discourse” at the general conference of the European Consortium of Political Research in Hamburg, Germany.
  • Dr. Paul Herrnson recently published an article, co-authored with Michael J. Hanmer and Ho Youn Koh. The article entitled “Mobilization Around New Convenience Voting Methods: A Field Experiment to Encourage Voting by Mail with a Downloadable Ballot and Early Voting,” can be found in Political Behavior.
  • Dr. Herrnson also presented two papers at the APSA in Boston: “The Electoral Bogeyman: Beneficiaries and Victims of Super PAC Spending” co-authored with Jay Goodliffe and Douglas M. Spencer; and “The Super Women and the Super Men behind Super PACs: The Emergence of a New Source of Inequality in Campaign Financing” co-authored with Jennifer A. Heerwig.
  • Finally, Dr. Herrnson spoke on “Using Center of Responsive Politics Data for Research and Teaching” during the Workshop on Campaign Finance Data at the APSA’s Annual Meeting.
  • Dr. Fred Lee has recently published two items, his newest book: Extraordinary Racial Politics: Four Events in the Informal Constitution of the United States (Temple University Press, 2018) and an essay: “Contours of Asian American Political Theory: Introductions and Polemics” in Politics, Groups and Identities.
  • Dr. Robert Lupton’s article entitled “Partisan Intensity and Racial Attitudes:The Shifting Policy Positions on Partisan Evaluations in the 1960s”, co-authored with Judd R. Thornton, was recently accepted for publication at American Politics Research.
  • Dr. Christine Sylvester gave a lecture on September 19 related to her forthcoming book, Curating and Re-Curating the American Wars in Vietnam and Iraq (OUP), at the University of Melbourne. The lecture is part of a seven-day visit to the university co-sponsored with the Australian ECR program that teams an early career researcher of considerable promise with a senior international academic for individual research coaching.
  • Dr. Prakash Kashwan was among the winners of the APSA 2018 Special Projects Fund award for the project “Avoiding Day Zero in the U.S. and Global South.” The work was conducted in collaboration with Frank Matose (University of Cape Town), Navnita Chadha Behera (University of Delhi, New Delhi) and Lauren M. MacLean (Indiana University).
  • Dr. Kashwan also co-authored “Rethinking power and institutions in the shadows of neoliberalism” along with Lauren McLean of Indiana University and Gustavo Garcia Lopez of the University of Puerto Rico.
  • Dr. Kashwan and Craig M. Kauffman (University of Oregon) were invited by Perspectives on Politics to submit a “Critical Dialogue” in which they review one another’s books and respond to the reviews.
  • Dr. Kashwan is one of the invited speakers for two workshops on the International Governance of Climate Engineering, organized at the University of Reading, U.K. (Sept 19) and the University College London (Sept 20).
  • Dr. Zehra Arat was recently nominated for the “Human Rights Distinguished Scholar Award” of the International Studies Association.
  • Dr. Arat delivered an invited talk, “Diversity, Inclusion, and Empowerment: The Neoliberal Accommodation of Women and Feminism” at Monash University, Clayton, Australia.
  • Dr. Arat also attended the 25th World Congress of the International Political Science Association (IPSA), held in Brisbane, where she participated in the pre-conference workshop, “What happens to feminist claims in politically turbulent times?” She also delivered two papers: “Normative Challenges to Human Rights: Selective Acceptance and Rival Global,” and “From Anti-Discrimination to Empowerment of Women: The CEDAW, MDGs and SDGs,” which was co-authored with graduate student Erica MacDonald. She chaired three panels at this conference as well.
  • Finally, Dr. Arat attended the Annual meeting of the APSA and delivered two papers, “Economic Rights and Justice in the Qur’an” and “Discontented Workers, Automation Anxiety, and the Right to Work,” co-authored with graduate student Dabney Waring.
  • Dr. Meina Cai and Xin Sun recently published “Institutional Blindingness, Power Structure, and Land Expropriation in China” in World Development.
  • Dr. Cai presented her paper “Political Trust, Risk Preferences, and Land-Taking Compensation: Evidence from Survey Experiments in China” at the 2018 APSA mini-conference on Chinese politics.
  • Dr. Cai also organized a panel “Authoritarian Resilience or Decay: Perspectives from China’s Urbanization” at the recent APSA annual meeting. On the panel, Dr. Cai presented the paper “Government Debt, Land Financing, and Urbanization in China.”
  • Dr. Shayla Nunnally was nominated as an awardee for the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (NCNW) and recognized by the UConn Chapter of NCNW for winning their “Change Agent” award at their Chapter’s inaugural award ceremony this past April.
  • Dr. Nunnally was also featured on an international podcast of AfroPunk’s “Solution Sessions” for Episode 3: Skeptic. (AfroPunk is an integrated media platform and live events company producing the largest, culture defining music festivals globally). AfroPunk’s “Solution Sessions” is a series of conversations led by today’s leading activists and features all the best elements of Afropunk, genre bending, counterculture, and radically Black.
  • Dr. Nunnally was nominated for the UConn AACC Female Faculty Member of the Year Award this past spring.
  • Dr. Nunnally recently made an appearance on Sputniknews radio’s “The Critical Hour” with host Dr. Wilmer Leon on SiriusXM on July 20, 2018.  The title of the talk was “Does Capitalism Go Hand in Hand with Racism?”
  • Finally, Dr. Nunnally’s brief entitled “Political Elites’ Explanations for Race and Gender Inequalities,” which she wrote with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, was published and included in the report entitled “Examining Representation and Citizen Advocacy at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.”
  • Dr. Virginia Hettinger was recognized for her service on the Honors Board of Associate Directors. She has been re-appointed for yet another three-year term to extend from Fall 2018 through Spring 2021.
  • Dr. Hettinger was also recognized for her participation in the Young Scholars Senior Summit this past summer. The Summit is an important program for the University as it provides an opportunity to attract high-achieving young people to our undergraduate programs of study.
  • Dr. Veronica Herrera is currently revising and resubmitting two articles in scholarly journals.  The titles of the articles are “Comparing Executive and Judicial Routes to Social Accountability: Evidence from Colombia” (in Journal of Development Studies) and “The Case for Public Policy Expertise in Political Science” (in PS: Political Science & Politics).
  • Dr. Oksan Bayulgen was appointed as a member of the University’s Environmental Policy Advisory Council (EPAC), effective August 28, 2018. EPAC promotes the kind of information-sharing, collaboration and leadership that have proudly earned UConn a top ten green campus ranking, both nationally and globally, for the past six years.
  • Dr. Bayulgen and several POLS graduate students attended the LC HuskyWoW Kick-off in late August to welcome the freshmen in Global House, Humanities House, and with interests in the humanities.
  • Finally, Dr. Bayulgen recently published two articles. The first, entitled “Green Priorities: How Economic Frames Affect Perceptions of Renewable Energy in the United States,” was co-authored with former graduate student Salil Benegal. The other, “Against All Odds: Elite Strategies of Survival and Autocratic Reversal and Resilience in Turkey,” was co-authored with former PhD student Ekim Arbatil and graduate student Sercan Canbolat.
  • Dr. Stephen Dyson gave the opening keynote to more than 2,000 students representing over 30 Learning Communities in Gampel Pavilion this past August.
  • Dr. Dyson’s commentary on the summit between the United States and North Korea is available on UConn Today and Today’s CLAS. The article is entitled “Op-ed: Summit with Kim is Boosting Trump’s Confidence.That Might Not Be a Good Thing.”
  • Dr. Matthew Singer has had several articles and book chapters accepted and/or published in the past few months. These include: “Do Changes in District Magnitude Affect Electoral Fragmentation? Evidence over Time at the District Level”, co-authored with former UConn undergraduate Zachary Gershman (Electoral Studies); “Public Support for Latin American Presidents: The Cyclical Model in Comparative Perspective” (Research and Politics); “Linkage Strategies of Former Authoritarian Ruling Parties under Conditions of Democratic Party Competition” (in Loxton and Manwaring, Life after Dictatorship); “Delegating Away Democracy: How Good Representation and Policy Successes Can Undermine Democratic Legitimacy” (Comparative Political Studies); and “Personal Economic Struggles and Heterogeneous Government Approval after the Great Recession” (Public Opinion Quarterly).
  • Dr. Jane Gordon’s book proposal for an Ida B. Wells project has been unanimously approved by the editorial board of Polity. The board reported that her “excellent proposal strikes a great balance between chronological/biographical framing, thematic analysis and assessing the contemporary relevance of Wells’ ideas and life.”
  • Dr. Stephen Dyson recently had a piece published in the Washington Post Monkey Cage blog entitled “Tired of American News? ‘A Very English Scandal’ Plunges you into 1970s British Social Repression and Political Ambition.”
  • Dr. Ron Schurin was quoted in the July 19, 2018 edition of the Connecticut Mirror:  The article was entitled  “Connecticut Seeing Surge of Voter Registrations Since 2016 Election.”
  • Dr. Brian Waddell’s book, What American Government Does (Johns Hopkins University, 2017) was discussed in the article “Better Understanding of Government Would Benefit Nation” published on UConn Today, Today CLAS and on the UConn Greater Hartford Campus homepage.
  • Dr. Charles Venator-Santiago’s archive project won the 2018 Award for Research, a national award from the Center for Research Libraries.
  • Dr. Evan Perkoski’s article “Claiming Credit for Cyberattacks,” which was originally published in the Washington Post, was also featured in UConn Today and Today’s CLAS.
  • Dr. Venator-Santiago’s Puerto-Rican Citizenship Archive Project won a second national/international award, the Jose Toribio Medina award at the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials.
  • Dr. Evelyn Simien’s commentary in The Conversation entitled “The Dark (and Overlooked) History of Black Women Lynched in the U.S.” was published in Newsweek as well as UConn Today and Today’s CLAS.
  • Dr. Fred Turner, Professor Emeritus, attended the XIX World Congress of the International Sociological Association in Toronto, Canada, on July 19.  He chaired a panel on “Comparative Perspectives from Surveying the Poor in Different Countries.”
  • Dr. David Yalof’s chapter on the “The Presidency and the Judiciary” was recently published as part of Dr. Michael Nelson’s edited volume, The Presidency and the Political System, Eleventh Edition (CQ Press, 2018)