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

Comparative Politics

Huseyin Alptekin. Comparative Politics / Political Theory. Thesis: Ethno-political Mobilization in Comparative Perspective: Ethnic Incorporation Policies and Ethno-Political Mobilization Patterns in Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Turkey (Madrid, Boone, Elkins, Findley, Gregg, Neuburger). My dissertation explores the role that political institutions play in shaping ethno-political mobilizations. Such institutions and policies can be categorized into four models of ethnic incorporation (i.e., consociationalism, liberal multiculturalism, civic assimilationism, and ethnic nationalism) that include or exclude ethnic group members’ political participation at individual and group levels. I argue that ethnic incorporation models affect individuals’ ethno-political consciousness, motives, and ethnic elites’ capabilities, and, in turn, shape ethno-political mobilization patterns. I argue that liberal multiculturalism is the most effective model in terms of ensuring that highly mobilized ethnic groups remain peaceful and non-secessionist. Civic assimilationism leads to peaceful and non-secessionist mobilizations for weakly mobilized ethnic groups. Ethnic nationalism tends to be the most conducive to violent and secessionist mobilization at both low and high pre-existing mobilization levels. I test the theory through case studies as well as a large-N analysis of the Minorities at Risk dataset. I spent the 2011-2012 academic year in Cyprus and Turkey and the summer of 2013 in Bulgaria to carry out field research. During my field research, I carried out archival research and interviewed former and current politicians, political activists, guerrilla members, and family members of guerrillas. Both my qualitative and statistical analyses support my arguments given the available evidence. Education: PhD in Government, (expected Spring 2014); M.A. in Government, The University of Texas at Austin, 2010; M.A. in International Relations, Koc University, Turkey, 2006; B.A. in International Relations and Business Administration, Beykent University, Turkey, 2004. Awards: Malcolm MacDonald Fellowship (academic year 2011-2012 and Summer 2013), The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey master’s and doctoral scholarships (2005-2008). Publications: article manuscript under review at International Studies Quarterly, “Nationality” (forthcoming, The Encyclopedia of Political Thought, Wiley-Blackwell), “Ethnic Incorporation Policies and Peripheral Reactions” (in press, Afro-Eurasian Studies), and a number of book reviews at Insight Turkey and Nationalism and Ethnic Politics. Teaching Interests: Comparative Politics, Democratization, Comparative Ethnic Politics, Social Movements, Turkish Politics, and Research Methods. Email:, Web Profile:

Danilo Antonio Contreras. Comparative Politics / International Relations. Thesis: Nation Before Pigmentation: Race and Electoral Politics in the Dominican Republic (Madrid). My dissertation examines the effect of race on electoral politics in the Dominican Republic. I challenge the assumption that high levels of racial stratification necessarily create strong racial group identities and that these identities are activated in elections. I argue that stratification may actually undermine the activation of racial cleavages in elections by discouraging identification with marginalized racial groups. I also contend that nation-building efforts may prevent the formation of strong racial identities and suppress the electoral activation of racial cleavages. I support my argument with a combination of qualitative data and quantitative data collected over a period of eight months of field research in the Dominican Republic. My dissertation helps to explain why ethnic voting and parties may be relatively rare in regions with high stratification but inchoate racial group identity. Academic Appointments: Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in Political Science, Williams College (Currently). Education: Ph.D. Candidate, University of Texas at Austin (expected spring, 2014); BA, Government, Spanish, Georgetown University (2005). Awards: Malcolm MacDonald Fellowship (Summer, 2013); IC2 Institute Fieldwork Grant (2011); US Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship (summer, 2010); Tinker Foundation Travel Grant (summer, 2009); NSF EDGE-SBE Fellowship (2009-2010; 2007-2008). Publications: Article manuscript under review at Latin American Research Review. Teaching Interests: Comparative Politics; Race and Ethnic Politics in Latin America and the Caribbean; Latin American Politics; US-Latin American Relations; Latino Politics; Dominico-Haitian Politics. Email:, Web Profile:

Roy Germano. Comparative Politics / Methodology / International Relations. Thesis: The Political Economy of Remittances (Weyland, Freeman, Galbraith, Greene, Sassen). This study demonstrates that migrants’ remittances have significant implications for politics in developing countries. I argue that fiscal austerity in developing countries causes citizens abroad to send more money to family and friends in the homeland, filling what could be thought of as a “social insurance vacuum” left when developing states curtail or eliminate subsidies and social welfare programs. I argue that because this “transnational safety net” insulates poor households from market vicissitudes, remittance recipients have fewer economic grievances and are thus less likely to punish politicians for an otherwise ill-managed economy. Academic Appointments: Joanne Woodward Chair in Public Policy, Sarah Lawrence College (2013-2014); Visiting Assistant Professor, The New School for Social Research (2010-2011). Education: Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin; M.A., University of Chicago; B.A., Indiana University. Awards: National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant, UT-Austin Michael H. Granof Outstanding Graduate Student Award, University Continuing Fellowship, MacDonald Dissertation Fellowship. Publications: “Migrants Remittances and Economic Voting in the Mexican Countryside” (in press, Electoral Studies); “Analytic Filmmaking: A New Approach to Research and Publication in the Social Sciences (forthcoming, Perspectives on Politics); “Out of the Shadows: DREAMer Identity and the Immigrant Youth Movement (R&R, Latino Studies). Teaching interests: international migration, transnationalism, survey methods, audiovisual methods. Email:, CV:, Website:

Hector Ibarra-Rueda. Comparative Politics / Methodology. Thesis: Why Factions Matter: A Theory of Party Dominance at the Subnational Level (Madrid, Greene, Dietz, Elkins, Ward). My dissertation demonstrates that factionalism explains the resilience of formerly nationally dominant parties at the subnational level. When intraparty factions are united, subnational dominant parties retain power even under adverse electoral conditions. By contrast, divisions and conflicts among internal groups lead these parties to lose even in favorable electoral contexts. I test these claims using a variety of quantitative and qualitative evidence from Mexico, focusing on the electoral performance of the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI) in contemporary gubernatorial elections. My dissertation also shows that democratization potentially undermines unity in dominant parties because it provides politicians with viable exit options (i.e., joining the opposition) and because authoritarian central party committees no longer control subnational politics. Yet, I argue that factions can cooperate under democracy when they were more autonomous from the center during the authoritarian period. The negotiation skills acquired in the past help them “get along” in the absence of an external enforcer. By contrast, previously subordinated factions never acquired such skills and quickly became antagonistic to each other under democracy. I demonstrate that collaboration had positive electoral consequences in subnational elections whereas antagonism had pernicious ones. Education: PhD in Government, 2013; M.A. in Latin American Studies, The University Texas at Austin (UT-Austin), 2005. Awards: the UT-Austin E.D. Farmer International Fellowship (academic years 2008-2009, 2009-2010, and 2012-2013), the UT-Austin Republic of Mexico Solidaridad Endowed Presidential Fellowship (academic year 2009-2010), the UT-Austin Department of Government MacDonald-Long Dissertation Fellowship (academic year 2010-2011), and the National Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT) of Mexico Scholarship (from 2006 to 2011). Article Manuscripts: "Why Factions Matter: Explaining Party Dominance at the Subnational Level" (under review); "Cooperation or Confrontation? The Determinants of Party Factionalism in Emerging Democracies" (in preparation). Teaching Interests: Comparative Politics, Political Parties, Democratization, Latin American Politics, Mexican Politics, Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods, and Comparative Historical Analysis. Email:, Web Profile:

Pete Mohanty. Comparative / Methodology / Political Theory. Thesis: Immigration Politics in a (Dis)Integrating Europe (Gregg, Givens, Jessee, Jacobsohn, Murer, Hooker). Thick values are those values that stem from the way of life of a particular community, while thin values reflect more basic claims to decency that do not depend on a particular tradition. This dissertation argues that analyzing the way in which individuals balance the competing claims of thick and thin values offers the key to understanding public opinion towards immigration in the European Union. I explain the conceptual link between thick values and right-leaning politics and between thin values and left-leaning politics, while differentiating this sense of left and right from alternative usages (particularly economic). I show empirically that in the majority of the EU, thick values cause opposition to immigration (and thin values openness to it). I demonstrate that thick values generally lead to support for the politics of the right, and thin values generally lead to support of the left, but that both the magnitude of the effect of these values and the type of relationship they have with economic ideology varies considerably country-to-country, which has important consequences in terms of party preferences. I provide evidence that thin values lead to increased support for the European Union and higher levels of support for fiscal union and foreign policy coordination. By contextualizing the findings in terms of ongoing European integration and the current economic crisis, the dissertation shows that attention to thick and thin values provides a robust framework for analyzing public opinion in the age of globalization. Previous Education: BA Swarthmore College (Honors Political Science Major, History Minor). MS Statistics University of Texas at Austin. Status: PhD expected Spring 2014. Awards: Center for European Studies Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship (2011-2012), University Continuing Fellowship (2012-2013). Publications: Comparative Sociology, Politics & Gender, Oxford University Press (chapter). Teaching Interests: Comparative Politics, European Politics, Immigration Politics, Quantitative Methods (Least Squares, Maximum Likelihood, and Bayesian Monte Carlo estimation of regression and / or measurement models), Normative Political Theory (particularly modern and contemporary). Email:, Web profile:

Christian Sorace. Comparative Politics / Chinese Politics / Political Theory. Thesis: Beyond Repair: State-Society Relations in the Aftermath of the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake. My research poses the question: how could the Chinese state accomplish the “miracle” of reconstructing Sichuan after the devastating 2008 earthquake in under three years, while failing to win the approval and support from the majority of local disaster residents, in fact, often producing the opposite effect of eroding people’s trust in the state? To explain this apparent paradox, each case chapter examines how various disaster areas within Sichuan were used as experimental laboratories for different models of political economic development. These models were adopted on the basis of factors such as, geographical location, natural resources, degree of post-earthquake damage, pre-earthquake socio-economic levels, intensity of national-level and international attention, as well as local political and social hierarchies. Despite the “good intentions” of the central government, in each of my cases, detailed ethnography presents a different picture of a disaffected and economically precarious local population. My dissertation explains this gap between the state and society based on a collection of ethnographic counter-narratives, interpretive analysis of official state discourse, historical understanding of Chinese Communist Party dynamics, and theorization of how legitimacy is negotiated in a Leninist political order under conditions of “late capitalism.” Education: BA Trinity College (Hartford, CT) Honors Major in Philosophy, Film Studies Minor; MA in the Social Sciences University of Chicago, emphasis on Political Science, PhD University of Texas at Austin expected 2014. Awards: University of Texas Graduate School Continuing Fellowship (2013-2014), Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellow (2012-2013), Ministry of Education Republic of Taiwan Mandarin Enrichment Scholarship (2010-2011), University of Texas Ward Fellowship (2010/2011), Joe R. Long Fellowship (2009). Publications: The China Quarterly, Critical Inquiry, New Political Science, Telos Journal, Article manuscript under review at New Left Review. Teaching Interests: Comparative Politics, Chinese Politics, US-China Relations; Marxism and Post-Marxism. Email:, Web profile:

Allison White. Comparative Politics / International Relations. Thesis: Explaining Opposition Party Support in Russia: The Role of Electoral Geography and Parties of Power (Moser, Lin, Elkins, Madrid, Trubowitz). My dissertation explores the determinants of dominant party strength and opposition party weakness by focusing on the conditions that either foster electoral support for opposition parties or drive opposition party failure in the proportional-representation tier of Russian parliamentary elections across varying levels of political competitiveness and party systems types. While existing research on party system dynamics in dominant party regimes examines how greater electoral competition, manifest through opposition party success, can pose genuine challenges to the dominant party, my dissertation focuses on the opposite and notably unstudied trajectory: a relatively competitive system evolving toward a hegemonic party regime. In a series of multilevel models, I leverage an original and unique dataset that combines county and region-level data to shed light on how social and economic conditions influence voting patterns for various opposition parties. My dataset includes county-level election results from five parliamentary elections—1995, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011—and sociodemographic data as well as data on regional contextual characteristics such as gross regional product and resource dependence. My multi-method research also draws on in-depth interviews with Russian political party leaders, activists and observers that I conducted during fieldwork during the 2011 Russian parliamentary elections, uncovering nuanced party-system dynamics and subtle political context. Education: Ph.D. Candidate (The University of Texas at Austin, expected Spring 2014); MA, Social Sciences, emphasis on Political Science, (The University of Chicago, 2007); BA, Politics with Honors (Occidental College, 2005). Awards: American Association of University Women, American Fellowship (2013-2014), Graduate Dean's Prestigious Fellowship (2013-2014), Malcolm MacDonald Dissertation Fellowship (2011), U.S. Department of State Title VIII Program for Research and Training in Eastern Europe and Eurasia Fellowship (2011), U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship (2009-2010 and Summer 2009). Publications: Co-authored article manuscript under review at Comparative Political Studies. Teaching Interests: Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Parties and Elections, Comparative Democratization, Varieties of Authoritarianism, the Politics of Russia and Former Communist Countries, Introduction to International Relations, American Foreign Policy, International Conflict, and Introduction to American Government. Email:, Web profile:

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