My dissertation project investigates the construction of the mid-20th century civil rights agenda. I examine how liberals in the Democratic Party responded to pressures from constituents, interest groups, and social movements when constructing their response to the “race problem” from the 1930s to 1960s. By identifying plausible alternative issue domains and policy design, this project aims to (1) more accurately characterize the content of racial liberalism as it emerged among white Democratic Party elites and; (2) explain the mixed consequences of racial liberalism for the trajectory of racial inequality in the U.S.
Below is a short presentation I gave at the American Bar Foundation in September 2020, providing an overview of my dissertation project:
Civil rights and social policy
Development of family and medical leave policy
This project traces the political development of family and medical leave policy in the United States, arguing that its distinctive policy design is explained by its origins in contestation over the civil rights policy regime. I have presented working papers from this project at the Social Science History Association Conference (Montreal QC, Nov 2017), the Policy History Conference (Tempe AZ, May 2018), the Law & Society Association Conference (Toronto ON, Jun 2018), the Midwest Law & Society Retreat (Madison WI, Oct 2018), and the Toronto Political Development Workshop (Toronto ON, Oct 2019). An article version of this project is under review.
Impact of civil rights on U.S. social policy
Building on the above project, this project examines the broader impact of civil rights law and policy on social policy in the United States. I have presented a working paper from this project at the NU APD/Social Policy Workshop (Evanston IL, May 2019) and the Law & Society Association Conference (Virtual, May 2020).
Changing dimensions of neighborhood politics in Chicago
I conduct ongoing research with colleagues at the Chicago Democracy Project, examining local and hyper-local politics in Chicago. This includes two major data collection efforts:
- The Chicago Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Survey (CMANS), which included oversamples of rapidly changing neighborhoods and suburbs. Collaborative project with Tom Ogorzalek, Matt Nelsen, Reuel Rogers, and Traci Burch.
- Data collection focused on social media use of local elected officials.
These efforts have contributed to the following research and writing:
- A collaborative project with Tom Ogorzalek and Matt Nelsen on political attitudes and behavior in gentrifying neighborhoods.
- A collaborative project with Tom Ogorzalek on how elected officials use social media as a site of local politics, with a particular focus on how local elected officials engage with state and national politics in constituent-oriented communication. Collaborative project with Tom Ogorzalek. We presented a working paper from this project at the Midwestern Political Science Association Conference (Chicago IL, May 2018).
- Blog posts on the Chicago Democracy Project website analyzing local politics and election results in Chicago (see links here).
Immigrant political participation
Asian American political participation
A collaborative project on Asian American political incorporation and participation in 2016, published as:
- Masuoka, Natalie, Kumar Ramanathan, and Jane Junn. 2019. “New Asian American Voters: Political Incorporation and Participation in 2016.” Political Research Quarterly 72 (4): 991–1003. doi:10.1177/1065912919843342.
- Masuoka, Natalie, Kumar Ramanathan, and Jane Junn. 2020. “Immigrants Are Far More Engaged in Politics than What You May Expect.” American Politics and Policy (USAPP) blog, LSE US Centre. February 20, 2020.
Non-citizen voting rights
Proposed project, in collaboration with Matt Nelsen, examining non-citizen political participation in two types of Chicago elections in which they are enfranchised (participatory budgeting and local school councils).
White racial attitudes
Criminal justice policy frames and white racial attitudes
A collaborative project with Denzel Avant and Brianna White, examining the impact of knowledge about racial disparities on support for criminal justice policies among whites. We presented working papers from this project at the Midwestern Political Science Association Conference (Chicago, IL, May 2018), the Law & Society Association Conference (Toronto ON, Jun 2018), and the American Political Science Association Conference (Boston MA, Aug 2018).
For a full list of working papers and conference presentations, see my CV.