Evelyn M. Simien


Political Science

African American Politics, Public Opinion, Political Behavior

Ph.D. Purdue University

Evelyn M. Simien is Professor of Political Science, and the Interim Director of the Africana Studies Institute for the 2023-2024 academic year. She is also affiliated with the following academic programs: Africana Studies, Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, and American Studies. Her first book, Black Feminist Voices in Politics (SUNY Press, 2006), examined black feminist consciousness and its effect on political behavior using national survey data. Her second book, Gender and Lynching: the Politics of Memory (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2011), focused on African American women who suffered racial-sexual violence at the hands of lynch mobs in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Her third book, Historic Firsts: How Symbolic Empowerment Changes U.S. Politics (Oxford University Press, 2015), considers whether candidates like Shirley Chisholm in 1972 and Jesse Jackson in 1984 as well as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in 2008 mobilize voters through emotional appeals while combating stereotypes and providing more inclusive representation. Her fourth book, Historic Firsts in U.S. Elections (Routledge, 2022), extends her theory of symbolic empowerment to the Trump era and focuses on barrier-breaking gubernatorial, congressional, and mayoral campaigns. A nationally recognized teacher, Professor Simien was awarded the 2006 Anna Julia Cooper Teacher of the Year Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists, and the 2007 Teaching Promise Award from the American Association of University Professors. She was also recognized as the 2017 Faculty Member of the Year by the UConn chapter of the NAACP. She teaches both undergraduate and graduate classes—for example, African American Politics, Black Feminist Theory and Politics, Black Leadership and Civil Rights, as well as Race, Gender, and Ethnic Politics.

Guest Journal Editor

  • Simien, Evelyn M., ed. 2013.”The Obama Presidency: Public Opinion, Policy Outcomes, and Rhetorical Failure.”Polity (the Journal of the Northeastern Political Science Association), January 45(1): 85-168.
  • Simien, Evelyn M., and Ange-Marie Hancock, eds. 2011. “Intersectionality Research,” Political Research Quarterly, March 64(1): 185-243.


Publications in Refereed Journals

  • Simien, Evelyn M., Thomas J. Hayes, and Carolyn Conway. Forthcoming. “The Democratic Majority and the 2016 American Presidential Election: Feminist Political Behavior Across Multiple Axes of Identity.” Political Research Quarterly. 
  • Simien, Evelyn M., and Sophia Jordán Wallace. 2023. “The Impacts of Exclusion and Disproportionate Service on Women Academics and Faculty of Color in Political Science.” PS: Political Science & Politics, 56(2): 291-294.  
  • Simien, Evelyn M., and Sophia Jordán Wallace. 2022. “Disproportionate Service: Considering the Impacts of George Floyd’s Death and the Coronavirus Pandemic for Women Academics and Faculty of Color.” PS: Political Science & Politics, 55(4): 799-803.  
  • Simien, Evelyn M. 2022. “The 2018 Congressional Midterms, Symbolic Empowerment, and Ayanna Pressley’s Mobilizing Effect: A Case Study for Future Analysis of Historic Firsts. Journal of Women, Politics, and Public Policy 43(3): 279-296.  
  • Simien, Evelyn M., and Sarah Cote Hampson. 2020. “Black Votes Count, But Do They Matter? Symbolic Empowerment and the Jackson-Obama Mobilizing Effect on Gender and Age Cohorts,” American Politics Research, 48(6): 725-737.
  • Simien, Evelyn M., Nneka Arinze, and Jennifer McGarry. 2019. “A Portrait of Marginality in Sport and Education: Toward a Theory of Intersectionality and Race-Gendered Experiences for Black Female College Athletes,” Journal of Women, Politics, and Public Policy, 40(3): 409-427.
  • Handau, Megan and Evelyn M. Simien.  2019. “The Cult of First Ladyhood: Controlling Images of White Womanhood in the Role of First Lady,” Politics & Gender, 15(3) 484-513.
  • Simien, Evelyn M., and Sarah Cote Hampson. 2017. “Hillary Clinton and the Women Who Supported Her: Emotional Attachments and the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary,” DuBois Review: Social Science Research on Race 13(3): 1-24.
  • Simien, Evelyn M. 2016. “Contrasting Concepts within the U.S. and across the African Diaspora: Motherhood Status Reconsidered Comparatively,” Politics, Groups and Identities 4(2): 325-330.
  • Simien, Evelyn M., and Danielle L. McGuire. 2014. “A Tribute to the Women: Rewriting History, Retelling Herstory in Civil Rights.” Politics & Gender, 10(3): 413-431.
  • Simien, Evelyn M. 2013. “African American Public Opinion: Past, Present, and Future Research,” Politics, Groups, and Identities 1(2): 263-274.
  • Simien, Evelyn M. 2007. “Doing Intersectionality Research: From Conceptual Issues to Practical Examples.” Politics & Gender 3(2): 36-43.
  • Alexander-Floyd, Nikol G., and Evelyn M. Simien. 2006. “Revisiting ‘What’s in a Name?’: Exploring the Contours of Africana Womanist Thought.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies 27(1): 67-89.
  • Simien, Evelyn M. 2005. “Race, Gender, and Linked Fate.” Journal of Black Studies 35(5):529-550.
  • Simien, Evelyn M. 2004. “Black Feminist Theory: Charting a Course for Black Women’s Studies in Political Science.” Women & Politics 26(2): 81-93.
  • Simien, Evelyn M., and Rosalee A. Clawson. 2004. “The Intersection of Race and Gender: An Examination of Black Feminist Consciousness, Race Consciousness, and Policy Attitudes” with Rosalee A. Clawson. Social Science Quarterly 85(3): 793-810.
  • Simien, Evelyn M. 2004 “Gender Differences in Attitudes Toward Black Feminism Among African Americans.” Political Science Quarterly 119(2): 315-338.

Book Chapters

  • (Forthcoming). “On Becoming a Black Woman Political Scientist: Rising to the Rank of Full Professor at a Major R1 Institution.” in Disrupting Political Science: Black Women Reimagining the Field, edited by Angela K. Lewis. Albany, NY: State University of New York (SUNY) Press. 
  • (2009) “Clinton and Obama: The Impact of Race and Sex on the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primaries,” In Winning the Presidency 2008, edited by William J. Crotty. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.
  • (2009) “Revisiting ‘What’s in a Name?’: Exploring the Contours of Africana Womanist Thought,” with Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd. In Still Brave: The Evolution of Black Women’s Studies, eds. Stanlie M. James, Frances Smith-Foster, and Beverly Guy-Sheftall. NY: The Feminist Press.
  • (2007) “A Black Gender Gap? Continuity and Change in Black Feminist Attitudes,” In African American Perspectives on Political Science, ed. Wilbur Rich. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
  • (2007) “Black Feminist Theory: Charting a Course for Black Women’s Studies in Political Science,” In Speaking Our Minds: Black Women’s Intellectual Traditions, eds. Kristin Waters and Carol B. Conaway, University of Vermont Press.


Invited Lectures

  • Baruch College, Dec 2, 2021
  • University of Tennessee, July 29, 2021
  • Smith College, Mar 18, 2021
  • Purdue University, Feb 12, 2021
  • Pitzer College, Oct 15, 2020
  • University of Kentucky, Mar 7, 2019
  • University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Feb 5, 2019
  • Villanova University, April 10, 2017
  • Louisiana State University, March 15, 2017
  • Wheaton College (MA), March 6, 2017
  • Vanderbilt University, Feb 24, 2017
  • Ohio State University, Dec 5, 2016
  • Brown University, Nov 30, 2016
  • College of the Holy Cross, Oct 17, 2016
  • University of Houston, Sept 14, 2016
  • University of California-Irvine, May 13, 2016
  • John Hopkins University, Apr 22, 2016
  • Providence College, Mar 29, 2016
  • Trinity College, Feb 15, 2016
  • Penn State, Dec 10, 2015
Evelyn Simien
Contact Information
Phone(860) 486-3254
Curriculum Vitae CV_Simien-01.15.24
Office Locationhttps://uconn-cmr.webex.com/meet/ems02007
Office HoursTuesday 11:00 AM-2:00 PM and By Appointment