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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Political Science

Dr. Wellhofer teaches at an alumni symposium

Department of Political Science

News & Events

Check out what our students have been up to, what our professors are doing and what upcoming events we're offering!

Upcoming Events

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Email us to join our departmental listserv and get information on departmental events, as well as job and internship opportunities.

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DU also has student groups for College Democrats and College Republicans.

Mischiefs of Faction Moves to

We are very excited to share that the political science blog Dr. Seth Masket co-founded in 2012, the Mischiefs of Faction, has moved to! The new website is here, and Dr. Masket's first post can be seen here. Congratulations, Dr. Masket!

Jessica Davidson Awarded AHSS Internship Grant

Davidson AHSS Internship Grant

Jessica Davidson is no stranger to challenging new experiences. The political science and public policy student has worked with a United States Senator, taught English to children in South Africa, and recently was elected Student Body Vice President for DU. This summer, thanks to an AHSS internship grant, Davidson will be conducting research for the Global Livingston Institute in Uganda.

Davidson first became passionate about African studies, and about the HIV/AIDS issue in particular, after she completed a study abroad program in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in her junior year. She taught English to children, some of whom were HIV positive, which made a profound impact on her worldview.

“The relationships I built at the Sinethemba Children’s Home were life-altering, and many of the kids I worked with there were HIV positive,” she said. “They were sick constantly, and sometimes tutoring was spent holding and comforting them when they were too sick to work, so I got a very close look at how significantly HIV can impact someone.”

Davidson’s internship grant, plus funding from the DU Undergraduate Research Center, will allow her to build upon her experience in Uganda this summer and explore the HIV/AIDS issue further.

“This experience is going to give me a great understanding of how to identify an issue that greatly impacts the public (in this case, gaps in the public’s education and knowledge of HIV prevention) and conduct research to better understand potential solutions,” she said. “My project recognizes the varying roles of church, government and community in HIV prevention education, and I think the recognition of all stakeholders will be very beneficial to my future successes in any form of policy or political work.”

Davidson is also excited about the adventure of traveling solo.

“I know absolutely no one who will be with me in Uganda. The freedom and growth that comes from traveling solo is liberating, exciting and terrifying all at once. I am going to grow in ways I can’t even comprehend from this internship, and I’m so excited for the exploration of new academia and new places that this summer will hold,” she said.

Davidson firmly believes that internships are a great way for students in any discipline to apply classroom theories and concepts in a real world setting, and has words of wisdom to share with those looking for opportunities abroad.

“I would advise students to think outside the box – talk to your professors about what other students have done, see what kinds of funding your department and the research center offer, and go from there,” she said. “Start knocking on doors and wait for one to open, because none of this came to me by being passive and waiting for a magical email with instructions on funding for overseas internships,” said Davidson.

“The worst that can happen is that someone tells you no,” she said. “Then you just have to keep knocking until you find a way.”

David Ciepley Receives Prestigious Fellowship

Dr. Ciepley Fellowship

David Ciepley, associate professor of political science, has been named a Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellow by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). The fellowship is granted to recently tenured scholars in the humanities and social sciences in the years immediately following the granting of tenure, and provides potential leaders in their fields with the resources to pursue long-term, unusually ambitious projects.

Dr. Ciepley’s award will allow him to pursue research on his book manuscript, Our Corporate Civilization and its Neoliberal Crisis, at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study during the 2015-2016 academic year.

“The immediate post-tenure years are a time for emerging leaders in their field to break new ground and develop new approaches that will have lasting impact,” said ACLS Director of Fellowship Programs Matthew Goldfeder. “For fellows to spend an academic year in residence at a national residential research center provides them the opportunity to reach more broadly across disciplines and expand the significance of their research for the humanities and social sciences.”

 Dr. Ciepley’s research revises received understandings of governance in the West by recovering its corporate roots and structure.

 “The first half of my book details the borrowings of the liberal democratic state from corporate practice, including elected executives, representative assemblies, legal personhood, written constitutions and judicial review. Constitutional states and corporations embody a common institutional technology,” said Ciepley. “The second half leverages this to challenge the reclassification of business corporations over the past two centuries, from 'bodies politic' to private institutions. Corporations are really a hybrid, combining state privileges with private financing and staffing. Misconstruing them as strictly private exempts them from any duty to the public, accountability to the public, or even publicity to the public, while earning them legal protections and rights of political participation that they ought not have."

“Dr. Ciepley is an extraordinary scholar. This award not only recognizes his accomplishment but also will allow him to further advance his field and our understanding of corporations in our society,” said Dean Daniel McIntosh. “We are proud of this recognition and thrilled he will get this opportunity.”

During the 2011-2012 academic year, Ciepley was a Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and during the 2013-2014 academic year, he was a Laurence S. Rockefeller Visiting Faculty Fellow in the Center for Human Values at Princeton University.

Jing Sun Interview with CNN

Dr. Jing Sun was recently interviewed by CNN on Taylor Swift getting accidentally political in China.


Congratulations to our 2015 Departmental Award Winners

The Department has selected six political science majors to receive scholarships and awards this year:

  • The Anna Mae Bradbury Scholarship Award - Scarlett Jimenez & Zachary Sanfilippo
  • The Stephen Hogan Award - Austin Richards
  • The Stephen and Becky Hogan Endowed Scholarship Award - Jessica Davidson
  • The Outstanding Senior Award - Lindsay Sacco & Betsy Sava

Congratulations to these outstanding students on these much-deserved honors!

56th Annual U.S. Air Force Academy Assembly

The Department of Political Science would like to thank Political Science majors Joshua Gaskins and Rachael Scoggins for representing our department as delegates to the 56th Annual U.S. Air Force Academy Assembly. This year's topic was “U.S.-Russia Relations: Refocus. Rebuild. Reenergize.” Delegates examined the implications of Russia's ascension in terms of the United States’ foreign, economic, and military policy.

56th U.S. Air Force Academy Assembly

Jing Sun Presents Research at U.S.-Japan Alliance Conference

On November 7, 2014, Dr Jing Sun was an invited panelist at the US-Japan Alliance Conference sponsored by the Rand Corporation. Dr. Sun presented his research on soft power in East Asian international relations.


Elizabeth Sperber Joins the Political Science Department

Elizabeth Sperber Announcement

The Department of Political Science is pleased to announce a new addition to its faculty. Elizabeth Sperber, who is finishing her doctoral studies at Columbia University this year, will be joining us as an assistant professor beginning in the fall of 2016. Sperber studies the political roots of religious movements in Sub-Saharan Africa. She has done extensive research in Zambia, Uganda, and South Africa, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University. She looks forward to teaching courses in comparative politics, African politics, political economy, religious movements, and research methods. To learn more about Sperber and her research, please visit her website.

"Inside Higher Ed" Interview with Jing Sun

Dr. Jing Sun was interviewed by "Inside Higher Ed" about the internationalization of American universities. The full article can be read here.

John Evans Committee Report: The Sand Creek Massacre

We are pleased to announce the release of the report of the John Evans Study Committee, featuring our own Professor Nancy Wadsworth. This study concerns the complicated historical legacy of DU's founder John Evans and his complicity in the events surrounding the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864.

Interview with Rocky Mountain PBS:

News coverage of the report can be found here.

To read the full report, please visit the John Evans Committee's portfolio site.

Congratulations to our 2014 Departmental Award Winners

The Department has selected four political science majors to receive scholarships and awards this year:

  • The Anna Mae Bradbury Scholarship Award - Taylor Loomis
  • The Stephen Hogan Award - Katy Keith
  • The Stephen and Becky Hogan Endowed Scholarship Award - Chris Bach
  • The Outstanding Senior Award - Benjamin Horblit (also recipient of the Pioneer Award, DU's highest honor)

Congratulations to these outstanding students on these much-deserved honors!

Political Science Careers & Alumni Event

On Tuesday, January 14th, five recent graduates of DU's Political Science Department met with some of our current majors to provide advice about career paths and job opportunities. The alumni were (pictured below, from left): Julieta Quiñonez '08 (Muliticultural Outreach Manager at Denver Public Schools), Audrey Kline '10 (Democratic campaign manager), Jonathan Adams '13 (Academic advisor for the Community College of Aurora), Andrew Struttman '13 (Field Director for the Gessler for Governor campaign), and Kelsey Yamasaki '08 (Office of the Denver City and County Auditor). Professor Nancy Wadsworth organized and ran the event.

Poli Sci Career Event

Debate 2012: Shining in the Spotlight

The University of Denver has created an exciting documentary about the 2012 Presidential Debate that was held on DU's campus last year, and it features the Political Science Department's own Dr. Peter Hanson, Dr. Seth Masket, and Dr. Nancy Wadsworth.


Interview with New Hampshire Public Radio

Professor and Department Chair, Dr. Seth Masket, was recently interviewed by New Hampshire Public Radio about his article, "The Recall is the New Normal," discussing last month's successful recall of two Colorado state senators. You can listen to his interview here.

Constitution Day Symposium

In honor of Constitution Day, the Department of Political Science would like to invite you to attend its upcoming symposium on Tuesday, September 17th in Sturm Hall, 286 from 11am to 1pm:

Presidential War Powers, Congress, and Syria: Where Does the Power Lie?

This exciting event will feature presentations and ample discussion about the Syrian conflict from the following DU faculty:

  • Ian Farrell, Sturm College of Law
  • Peter Hanson, Department of Political Science
  • Jonathan Sciarcon, Department of History, Center for Judaic Studies

All students are welcome. Refreshments will be served.

Congratulations to our 2013 Departmental Award Winners

The Department has selected five political science majors to receive scholarships and awards this year:

  • The Anna Mae Bradbury Scholarship Award - Micah Desaire
  • The Stephen Hogan Award - Charles Schmidt
  • The Stephen and Becky Hogan Endowed Scholarship Award - Tiffany Wilk
  • The Outstanding Senior Award - Craig Hirokawa and Colleen Wort

Congratulations on these much-deserved honors!

A Conversation with Olympia Snowe

Former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) met with several Political Science students and faculty members in May to discuss partisan polarization and to share some reflections on her many years of service in Washington.

Sen. Snowe meets with Poli Sci Dept

Professor Wadsworth Delivers Lecture on American Evangelicals

Professor Wadsworth delivered a talk entitled "American Evangelicals and the Politics of Racial Healing" on Thursday, April 11th, as part of the AHSS Faculty Lecture Series.

Emily Denny Awarded Fulbright Fellowship

Recent political science graduate Emily Denny has just been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Fellowship through the U.S. State Department to teach English in Indonesia for the next year. Congratulations, Emily!

Professor Masket in Pacific Standard Magazine

Read Professor Seth Masket's most recent blog posts in Pacific Standard's online magazine.

Professor Ciepley's Theory on Corporations in APSR

Professor Ciepley's latest article, "Beyond Public and Private: Toward a Political Theory of the Corporation" has been published in the American Political Science Review 107(1): 1-20, February 2013. Available from Cambridge Journals Online at Copyright © American Political Science Association 2013. APSR is the premier publication for political science scholars. Congratulations, Dr. Ciepley!

Dr. Hanson Advocates for Political Science at the DU Debate Team's Life Raft Debates

Read Carolyn Neff's story in The Clarion describing this interdisciplinary debate. Five DU professors representing different disciplines advocated for the last spot on a shuttle to save humanity while a brave DU student argued for their destruction.

Ultimately, the audience voted for the student, debate team Captain Cody Walizer, to have the last seat!DU Debate Team Life Raft Debates