Thursday, November 13, 2014

Application for James Carville's POLA-3020 Current American Politics

The Department of Political Science is pleased to announce that Professor of Practice James Carville will teach a seminar, “Current American Politics,” in the spring 2015 semester. This course is designed for students with a love of politics who are comfortable in a class environment that relies on very significant class participation. Admission to the course is by application only.

Applicants are encouraged to turn in their applications as soon as possible. To assure consideration, submit your application by November 14, 2014. (Applications are accepted after this date, space permitting) Submit your application via email to All questions regarding the course should be directed to Adjunct Professor Michael Sherman at 504.250.2257 or via e­mail at:

Download application

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Interview with Visiting Professor Andrew Waugh

By : Kellie A. Keen

The Tulane Political Science Department interviewed Dr. Andrew Waugh, continuing their interviews with the 2014-2015 visiting professors. Dr. Waugh received his BA from Duke University in 2005 and went on to receive both his MA and PhD at the University of California, San Diego. Next semester Professor Waugh will be teaching American Government, Political Networks, and Research Methods I.​

What is your current research focus?
In my current research projects, I conceptualize the flow of campaign contributions as a social network, where exchanges of money represent ties between campaigns, political parties, and interest groups in United States federal elections.  I use itemized contribution reports provided by the Federal Election Commission to assemble these networks in practice.  With these data, I am able to identify communities of interconnected political actors, and examine the evolution of community structure over time.  In previous work, I have used these analyses to demonstrate the increasing power of political party organizations in federal elections.  Currently, I am working on a paper examining the effects of majority-minority redistricting in the House. I am interested to know, for example, whether Representatives from majority-minority districts (who tend to be minorities themselves) enjoy the same integration into their party’s campaign finance network as Representatives from other districts.

Did you go into your undergraduate studies knowing what you wanted to pursue degree wise/ career wise?
I went into undergrad expecting to double-major in philosophy and psychology.  I was half right, as I ended up double-majoring in political science and psychology.  I had vague inclinations of going to law school when I started my undergraduate career, but I abandoned these notions after my freshman year, and settled on political science as a potential career by the end of my sophomore year.

Why did you decide to enter your field?
I have always been fascinated by social systems, particularly their organizational dynamics and the mechanisms by which they transmit information.  More generally, I enjoy working with like-minded people, both colleagues and students, and I enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of academia as compared to private industry.  I am much more interested in the production of knowledge than the generation of profit.

What are some of your proudest professional accomplishments?
I only completed my PhD in 2013, so that is probably my proudest professional accomplishment thus far.  I did win the 2013 Malcolm Jewell Award from the Southern Political Science association for my paper “Party Organizations and the Congressional Agenda,” so I guess that counts for something as well.  I am currently in the process of formatting my dissertation research for publication, either in article or book form.  When that is done, I will have a new proudest moment.

If you could choose a course that you have always wanted to teach, what would it be and how would you teach it?
I have always wanted to teach a seminar on Political Networks, and I will finally have my chance this Spring.  Look for POLA-4010-01: Political Networks on a schedule of classes near you!  In this course, we will examine recent literature on social networks and their influence on political behavior, government activity, and policy outcomes.  The syllabus is still under development, but any interested students should absolutely e-mail me for more information.  I am really excited about this course, and I think it is likely to be both fun and intellectually challenging.

So far, what are your favorite things about Tulane and New Orleans?
My favorite thing about Tulane so far is the community of scholars and students.  Academia can be an isolating and lonely world.  Thankfully, I have enjoyed great support and camaraderie from my colleagues and a warm reception thus far from my students.  My favorite thing about New Orleans so far is the shrimp. The shrimp here are orders of magnitude better than shrimp available in most other parts of the country.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Professor Silva to join Center for Conflict and Cohesion Studies in Santiago.

Eduardo Silva, Friezo Family Foundation Chair in Political Science, and CIPR Senior Research Fellow, was invited to join the scientific board of the Center for Conflict and Cohesion Studies in Santiago, Chile.  The CCCS will develop collaborative research on issues related to social conflict and cohesion through a multidisciplinary team from the social sciences and humanities.  Its main objective is to generate cutting edge research and to inform public policy and social dialogue in Chile.  International partners include Columbia University, Cambridge University, and University of California, Berkeley. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Interview with Visiting Professor Jennifer Richard

By: Julia Lewando

Continuing its series on the 2014-2015 visiting professors, the Tulane Political Science Department interviewed Dr. Jennifer Richard. Dr. Richard earned her PhD from LSU in 2014. This semester she is teaching Political Thought in the West and two sections of Comparative Politics.

You’re teaching Political Thought in the West and Comparative Politics this semester -
do you have a preference?
Honestly, I love these two classes equally. The intro courses are survey courses; we look at a lot of concepts and/or thinkers over the course of the semester. Some professors prefer to teach the courses that have more depth as opposed to breadth. I love teaching those courses, as well. But, the intro courses are a blast because I get to introduce students to an entire field of study, which I happen to really love! I am like a kid in a candy shop with these courses.

Students sometimes shy away from Political Thought. Do you have any encouragement or advice for those considering Political Thought courses?
The things we teach in political theory are certainly more abstract, but that does mean that they are any less relevant. For many of us, taking a theory course will require that we think about things in a different and new way. This is valuable no matter what you study or what you plan to do with your life. It is valuable as a human being to think, and to think about different possibilities. That is what theory is about; it isn’t scary, it is uncertain. That uncertainty might be intimidating, but, for me, it is exhilarating.

What classes are you looking forward to teaching next semester and why?
I am very excited to be teaching a new course! It is POLC 4011, “Revolution and the Arab
Spring.” While it is a comparative politics course, it is also theory-heavy. So, it will be
fun to teach a course that brings together my two areas of interest.

If you could have dinner with any three political scientists or writers, who would it be?
Without a doubt, my first choice would be Hannah Arendt. Having studied her theory for
years, it would be great to ask her some questions, maybe get some answers! Second,
I would sit down with Rachid Ghannouchi, who is an influential Tunisian liberal Islamic
thinker. I am fascinated by his work and life. And, third, I would like to have a chat with
Albert Camus. His works are some of my favorites – The Plague, The Myth of Sisyphus,
The Rebel, The Stranger, and the list goes on!

Meeting President Bill Clinton

Tulane students in Professor Carville's Current American Politics course got the surprise of a lifetime when President Bill Clinton spoke to the class this week.  The course studies contemporary political issues, so an impromptu class trip was scheduled to hear the President speak at an event for United States Senator Mary Landrieu in Baton Rouge, LA.  

After the event concluded, the students were rushed to a private room to hear from their special guest speaker.

"We are fortunate that of President Clinton's many talents, brevity with young people is not one of them," said Professor of Practice James Carville.  "The President spent a lot of one on one time with the class sharing stories from his Presidential campaign and Presidency. What a great experience for our students and a terrific part of a Tulane education."

Nick Stone, a senior from Portland Oregon double-majoring in political science and political economy stated, "The whole experience was unbelievable, from getting the email about the opportunity right up to meeting the former President himself. There was even a moment when both Senator Landrieu and President Clinton were talking to us at the same time, which made the whole scenario completely surreal."

Adjunct Professor Mike Sherman who participated in the trip and assists with the course added, "Since its inception, this course has been about bridging the worlds of theory and practice.  After a semester of hearing stories from Professor Carville, we all enjoyed hearing President Clinton share stories about Professor Carville and the 1992 campaign.  It goes without saying our Tulane students represented the University proudly."

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Interview with Visiting Professor Michael Tyburski

By: Jennie Barker

To welcome its visiting professors for the 2014-2015 academic year, the Tulane Political Science
Department interviewed Dr. Michael Tyburski about his background and research interests. Dr. Tyburski earned his doctorate in political science from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in 2014. This semester, Dr. Tyburski is teaching two sections of Scopes and Methods and two sections of International Relations. ​

What is your current research focus?
 I study the relationship between the international economy and domestic politics, focusing on issues in states with developing economies. I'm currently working on a number of projects that investigate how international migration  and migrant remittances influence corruption "back home." In this case, remittances are the transfers of money sent by migrant workers back to their home countries. Usually this involves sending money directly to family members or friends, but sometimes groups of migrants get together and send funds back to their communities as a whole. In the past, scholars argued that remittances made corruption worse by allowing governments to govern poorly without fearing political backlash. My dissertation, however, demonstrated that remittances can help mitigate corruption by increasing pressure on governments to reduce corruption. My current projects try to explain why remittances appear to make corruption worse in some countries, but seem to help reduce corruption in others. 

Many political science majors are unsure of what they will do after they graduate. How did you choose to go to graduate school and become an academic?
I am probably the worst person to ask this question! I did not declare my major in political science until my senior year because I was more interested in pursuing a theatre degree. My parents suggested that this would not be a good career move for me, and I eventually agreed. I did not, however, want to pursue law school because I didn't think I would enjoy being a lawyer. To make a long story short, I didn't know what I wanted to do, so I applied to graduate school. Do not be like me. I ended up loving graduate school and academics, but I often think about how reckless that decision was. 

What class are you most excited about teaching next semester? Why?
Next semester I will be teaching two sections of the same course: Scope and Methods of Political Science. It's a new course for me this semester and I am looking forward to applying the lessons I've learn to improve next semester's offering. This semester has been great, but you learn what works well for you and what does not.

If you could teach any class, what would you teach and to whom would you teach it?
This is a tough question. If I could teach any class, I think it would be a seminar on how the international economy influences corruption. I think it's important to think about what corruption is and why international economic activity, like trade, foreign investment, migration, remittances, foreign aid, seems to affect countries in different manners. I'd offer the course to anyone who is interested, but I think it'd be useful to have some background in international relations and economics. 

What are your favorite things about Tulane/New Orleans so far? ​
I am enjoying New Orleans, but my favorite aspect of being here has been being at Tulane. The other professors have been incredibly supportive of me, which I am incredibly grateful for. I enjoy working with my students too. Everyone is energetic and interested in learning. I couldn't ask for a better experience thus far!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Scholarship and activism with a global reach


Professor Sally J. Kenney recently lead a workshop for women judges in Georgia as part of the Judicial Independence and Legal Empowerment Project.

The Tulane New Wave has a nice writeup on Professor Kenney's recent work.