research

Dissertation project

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

My secondary research agenda examines the impact of civil rights law and policy on social policy in the United States after the 1960s.

One project traces the political development of family and medical leave policy, arguing that its distinctive policy design is explained by its origins in contestation over the civil rights policy regime. I presented working papers at the 2017 Social Science History Association Conference, the 2018 Policy History Conference, the 2018 Law & Society Association Conference, the 2018 Midwest Law & Society Retreat, and the 2019 Toronto Political Development Workshop. An article version of this project has been conditionally accepted at Studies in American Political Development.

Building on the case study of family leave, a broader 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 2019 NU APD/Social Policy Workshop and the 2020 Law & Society Association Conference.

Urban politics

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 has included designing and implementing the Chicago Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Survey (CMANS), which included oversamples of rapidly changing neighborhoods and suburbs. CMANS was a collaborative effort with Tom Ogorzalek, Matt Nelsen, Reuel Rogers, and Traci Burch.

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 focus on how local officials engage with national politics in constituent communication. 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:

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 2018 Midwestern Political Science Association Conference, the 2018 Law & Society Association Conference, and the 2018 American Political Science Association Conference.

For a full list of working papers and conference presentations, see my CV.