Political Science


Faculty Research

Political Science Professor Heather Silber Mohamed’s book, The New Americans? Immigration, Protest, and the Politics of Latino Identity, suggests that the unprecedented protest of millions of Latinos who mobilized in opposition to H.R. 4437, an immigration proposal pending before the US Congress marked a turning point for the Latino population—a point that is even more salient ten years later as the issue of immigration roils the politics of the 2016 presidential election. In The New Americans? Silber Mohamed explores the complexities of the Latino community, particularly as it is united and divided by the increasingly pressing questions of immigration.

The largest minority group in the United States, Latinos are also one of the most diverse. The New Americans? focuses on the three largest national origin groups—Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans—as well as two rapidly growing subgroups, Salvadorans and Dominicans, charting similarities and differences defined by country of origin, gender, tenure in the country, and language. Taking advantage of a unique natural experiment, Silber Mohamed’s study also shows how the messages advanced during the 2006 protests led group members to raise immigration rights to the level of traditional concerns about economics and education and think differently about what it means to be American—and, furthermore, to think more distinctly of themselves as American.

A concise discussion of major developments in US immigration policy over the last fifty years, The New Americans? explores the varied historical experiences of the different Latino national origin groups. It also traces the evolving role of Latino social movements as a vehicle for political incorporation over the last century. In its in-depth analysis of the diversity of the Latino population, particularly in response to the politics of immigration, the book illuminates questions at the heart of American political culture: specifically, what does it mean to “become” American?


Political Science Professor Ora Szekely's book, The Politics of Militant Group Survival in the Middle East: Resources, Relationships, and Resistance, compares the performances of four key non-state actors in the Arab-Israeli conflict ecosystem: the PLO, Hamas, Hizbullah, and Amal. It argues that it is not the assets a militant group has, but rather how it acquired them that matters in explaining the variation in these actors' abilities to militarily resist and politically recover from confrontations with far more powerful adversaries. Groups that rely on marketing campaigns to secure local support and regional patronage do far better than those that rely on coercion or even barter. The book develops a typology of organizations based on their foreign and domestic policies, which has interesting implications for other non-state actors, such as ISIS. It is based on field research in Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank, Egypt, and Syria, including interviews with members of a range of Lebanese and Palestinian militant groups, as well as politicians, UN staff, journalists, and members of the Jordanian and Israeli armies.

book cover- Judicial Politics in the United StatesPolitical Science Professor Mark C. Miller's book, Judicial Politics in the United States, examines the role of courts as policymaking institutions and their interactions with the other branches of government and other political actors in the U.S. political system. Not only does this book cover the nuts and bolts of the functions, structures and processes of our courts and legal system, it goes beyond other judicial process books by exploring how the courts interact with executives, legislatures, and state and federal bureaucracies. It also includes a chapter devoted to the courts' interactions with interest groups, the media, and general public opinion and a chapter that looks at how American courts and judges interact with other judiciaries around the world. (Other books by Professor Miller)

book cover - Selling a Just War Political Science Professor Michael Butler's book Selling a 'Just' War: Framing, Legitimacy, and U.S. Military Intervention sheds light on how American political leaders sell the decision to intervene with military force to the public and how a just war frame is employed in US foreign policy. He provides three post-Cold War examples of foreign policy crises: the Persian Gulf War (1990-91), Kosovo (1999), and Afghanistan (2001).
News Releases (Other books by Professor Butler)

book coverPolitical Science Professor Robert Boatright’s book Getting Primaried: The Changing Politics of Congressional Primary Challenges is the first exploration of the phenomenon of “primarying.” Political activists on the left and right frequently call for the “primarying” of incumbent members of Congress who are not sufficiently partisan. Media accounts of recent high profile challenges to moderate members of Congress frequently allege that “primarying” has become far more common today than it was in the past.

Boatright’s book takes issue with such claims. The book shows that primary challenges are not becoming more frequent; they wax and wane in accordance with partisan turnover in Congress. Recent primary challenges, however, have drawn support from national fundraising bases and new types of partisan organizations. Getting Primaried presents a history of congressional primary challenges over the past forty years, a correction to accounts of the link between primary competition and political polarization, and a new theoretical understanding of the role of interest groups in congressional primary elections. (Other books by Professor Boatright)

State Participation in International Treaty Regimes Political Science Professor Srini Sitaraman's book State Participation in International Treaty Regimes uses U.N. treaty ratification data on arms control, environment and human rights to investigate whether domestic factors may ultimately be responsible for influencing why a state resists or joins international treaty regimes.

Political science professor Valerie Sperling's book Sex, Politics, and Putin: Political Legitimacy in Russia takes an in-depth look at the political factors contributing to Russia's increasingly hostile environment for women and those outside of prevailing gender norms. Through three case studies, Sperling charts the ways that both pro- and anti-Kremlin political parties and activists partake in ideologies of machismo and misogyny. Learn more in this press release, Top 10 books on Russia for 2014, Dr. Sperling's blog post at the Oxford University Press website and a blog entry by Alexander J. Motly for World Affairs Journal. Listen to an interview with Professor Sperling on New Hampshire Public Radio.

Altered States: The Globalization of Accountability Professor Valerie Sperling's book Altered States: The Globalization of Accountability tackles questions such as: Is globalization good for democracy? Or has it made our governing institutions less accountable to citizens?

Sperling traces the impact of economic, political, military, judicial, and civic globalization on state accountability and investigates the degree to which transnational institutions are themselves responsible to the people whose lives they alter.

Interviews with Prof. Sperling at New Hampshire Public Radio and KOPN Radio (Other books by Professor Sperling)

book cover The end of formal hostilities in any given conflict provides an opportunity to transform society in order to secure a stable peace. Women, Gender Equality, and Post-Conflict Transformation builds on the existing feminist international relations literature as well as lessons of past cases that reinforce the importance of including women in the post-conflict transition process, and are important to our general understanding of gender relations in the conflict and post-conflict periods. Post-conflict transformation processes, including disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programs, transitional justice mechanisms, reconciliation measures, and legal and political reforms, which emerge after the formal hostilities end demonstrate that war and peace impact, and are impacted by, women and men differently. By drawing on a strong theoretical framework and a number of cases, this volume provides important insight into questions pertaining to the end of conflict and the challenges inherent in the post-conflict transition period that are relevant to students and practitioners alike. (Other books by Professor Williams)

book cover Political Science professor Paul W. Posner released his first book, State, Market, and Democracy in Chile (Palgrave Macmillan).

State, Market, and Democracy in Chile assesses the quality of Chilean democracy by examining the impact of free market reforms on the urban poor's incentives for political participation and capacity for collective action. Using in-depth analysis of labor market, social welfare, and state reforms, along with extensive interviews with party officials and shantytown residents, Posner's study reveals the manner in which neoliberal reform has undermined the urban poor's incentives and ability to hold public officials accountable. In so doing, he demonstrates how economic liberalization has negatively affected the quality of Chilean democracy.