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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

American Politics

Jennifer E. Lamm. American / Public Law. Thesis: Jus Meritum: Alien Soldiers and Civic Obligation in the United States (Leal, Albertson, Levinson, Sparrow, Tulis). My dissertation explores the principle of “citizenship for service” over the course of U.S. history. It uses alien soldiers, veterans, and their families as a case study to explore the broad themes of citizenship, civic obligation, and the boundaries of political incorporation. I examine the relationship between military service and political inclusion, the implications of alien enlistment, and the practical and theoretical challenges the practice of alien military service raises for republican and democratic theories of government. I was introduced to this topic as a Naval Officer stationed at San Diego, California from 2003-2005. Since completing my MA degree, I have worked as a Research Fellow at the Army Research Institute at Ft. Hood, Texas from 2011-2012, and at the Irma Rangel Public Policy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, where I was named Graduate Research Assistant of the Year for 2012-2013. Status: Ph.D. expected August 2014. Courses Taught: Intro to American Government. Teaching Interests: Intro to American Government; Intro to Public Law; American Political Thought; Intro to Constitutional Law (U.S.); Constitutionalism (Comparative); Theories of Citizenship; Military and Society; Civil-Military Relations (U.S. and Comparative). Email:, Web profile:

Eric Svensen. American / Methods. Thesis: Reconceptualizing Divided Government (Jeff Tulis, Daron Shaw, Sean Theriault, Brue Buchanan, Frances Lee (U. of Maryland)). In this dissertation, I explain why scholars are unable to conclusively find evidence that divided government is the main determinant of legislative gridlock. I argue this unsettled debate is largely attributable to an imprecise conceptual view of inter-branch tensions, and that these conceptual limitations are exacerbated by unrefined measurement practices. Specifically, most studies of inter-branch politics connect the cause of gridlock to the dichotomous distinction between unified and divided government: the latter causing and the former immune to gridlock. This oversimplification, however, not only assumes legislative outcomes between the two governing regimes do not vary, but that also the character of partisanship does not change with the passage of history. I argue that refined measures such as party polarization and gridlock intervals, for example, better explain partisan variability than divided government. Using a number of unique datasets that comprise domestic legislation, sincere and strategic voting in foreign policy, and appropriation-specific voting preferences, findings show that when compared to more refined measures split-party government is not the sole nor even the most important source of partisan conflict. In addition, when the distinction between single and split-party government is muted, indicators such as party polarization matter less. In light of recent political discussions on legislative gridlock and a renewed interest in divided government, this project is important to the larger debate on inter-branch politics since it highlights how conceptual and measurement limitations can lead to incorrect substantive conclusions about American politics. Status: Ph.D expected spring 2014. Publications: "Consensus or Conflict: Unified Government, Divided Government, and Distributive Spending" (under review). Causes Taught: Intro to American Government. Teaching Interests: Introductory American politics courses, Congress, the presidency, political parties, American political development, public policy, politics and economics. Email:, Web profile:, Website:

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