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Department of Politics
The New School for Social Research
6 East 16th Street, room 711A
New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212.229.5747 x3090
Chair: Andreas KalyvasSecretary: Nancy ShealyOffice Hours
Monday-Friday, 1:00-8:00 p.m.
Student Advisor: Marina KanetiView Advisor Office Schedule
Expected CompletionApril 2014
Curriculum vitae (PDF)
Major FieldAmerican Politics
Minor FieldPolitical Theory
Dissertation Title"Racial and Ethnic Strategy in Presidential Election Year Rhetoric, 1964-2004"
Dissertation CommitteeVictoria Hattam (chair), David Plotke, Deva Woodly
Dissertation AbstractMy dissertation analyzes presidential rhetoric from 1964 to 2004 to show
how presidents have come to use ethnic rhetoric to justify subtly coded
racial appeals and sidestep issues of racial inequality. It uses a
mixed methods analysis of seventeen election-year volumes of the Public
Papers of the Presidents to track when and how presidents integrated the
term “ethnic” into their speeches. My research shows how direct
discussions of racial inequality have dropped out of presidential
speeches in favor of coded appeals on crime, welfare, and education that
presidents consistently justified with reference to values that unite
ethnically diverse supporters. This strategy allows presidents to draw
on racial resentments, frame these appeals with egalitarian messages,
and claim to be sensitive to issues of diversity. The approach employed
in this dissertation allows us to view this rhetorical strategy’s reach
across time and party to trace its growing acceptance as the dominant
rhetorical strategy for presidents to address race, softening the focus
on racial inequality through the lens of ethnicity.
Research InterestsMy research focuses on the American presidency, racial and ethnic
politics, and political rhetoric. In my dissertation, I perform a
mixed-method analysis of seventeen volumes of the Public Papers of the
Presidents from 1964 to 2004 to show how Republican presidents
established a framework for presidential speech about race that places
ethnicity alongside race and focuses on how common values unite
Americans despite their differences. I show how Republican presidents
developed this framework to justify subtly coded racial appeals and
sidestep issues of racial inequality, and how it has now become the
dominant way for presidents from both parties to speak about race.
have presented this work at several conferences including the American
Political Science Association Annual Meeting in September 2013, the
Southern Political Science Association Annual Meeting in January 2013,
and the Midwestern Political Science Association Annual Meeting in March
of 2012. I have an article under review at Presidential Studies
Quarterly that analyzes Nixon’s 1972 campaign rhetoric and shows how he
used ethnic rhetoric to support his campaign strategy to harness the
racial resentments of white ethnics. I am preparing a second manuscript
for submission to Ethnic and Racial Studies titled “From South Africa to
South Central: Framing Racial Transcendence through Foreign Policy
Rhetoric” that analyzes the way that presidents frame American racial
relations in their rhetoric on foreign policy. It shows that Nixon,
Reagan, and Bush framed America as having transcended racism by
comparing domestic American racial relations with Southern African
My next project will assess the relationship
between federal disaster response and Americans’ viewpoints of
government. In this project, I will analyze federal government responses
and rhetoric on those responses through content analysis of local and
national media coverage and Federal Emergency Management Agency messages
regarding HIV/AIDS, Sickle Cell Anemia, Hurricane Irene and Superstorm
Sandy. I will survey community leaders in both affected and unaffected
areas to determine if their perceptions of the federal government
changed after the federal government’s response. This project will
provide scholars with a better understanding of the political impacts of
crisis management communication techniques.
Power and the American Political System; Introduction to American Politics; Politics and Culture; The United States and the World;
Democracy and Its Critics; Introduction to Political Theory; Contemporary Political Issues.
Expected CompletionOctober 2014
Dissertation Title"Making the American Immigrant Soldier: Inclusion and Resistance"
Dissertation CommitteeDavid Plotke (chair), Timothy Pachirat, Terry Williams, Aristide Zolberg (deceased)
This thesis describes the process of immigrants' naturalization via a
powerful state institution, the U.S. military. It reveals how the
immigrant soldiers participating in this study underwent the process of
naturalization using diverse practices of both integration/assimilation
and resistance. The study presents the life stories of three immigrants
soldiers: Lily, an immigrant from Romania who serves in the Air Force;
Alexa, an immigrant from Paraguay, who is an Army veteran; and Vinod, an
Indian immigrant serving in the Army's active duty forces. Each life
story shows why the participant in question joined the U.S. military,
and to what extent did she/he became a full member of the military and
host society. This study empowers us to understand the naturalization
process from within, through the lived experiences of the immigrant
soldiers who participated in this research.
My work relies on several qualitative/interpretative methods:
life stories, theoretical and historical analysis, ethnography and
participant observation. As a result of this methodological approach, I
unearthed three distinct discoveries. First, contrary to intuition, the
three immigrant soldiers did not simply integrate or assimilate. They
engaged in various seemingly contradictory practices of
integration/assimilation and resistance in order to find a place for
themselves in the host country. Second, the participants joined the
American armed forces to obtain recognition of their identity and to
access economic resources. Third, the contemporary institution of the
U.S. military faces a set of divergent and competing demands for unity
and diversity of its personnel, especially regarding foreign-born
soldiers. Together, these discoveries portray a unique version of the
immigrants' naturalization process.
My research is in the field of American Politics, with a focus on
immigration. My previous academic training, which I undertook at the New
School for Social Research, drew from work in the areas of identity,
multiculturalism and social justice in immigration studies. My
dissertation was titled Making the American Immigrant Soldier: Inclusion
and Resistance, and the Bucerius Fellowship - "Settling into Motion"
supported its completion. It analyzed the patterns of naturalization
that immigrants used while enlisted in the U.S. military. While studying
the experiences of three immigrant soldiers this dissertation described
the practices they conducted in order to find an equal place in their
new country. Using ethnography, in-depth interviews, participant
observation, and historical analysis, I argued that in order to acquire
social justice immigrants employ a series of practices of
integration/assimilation, alongside practices of resistance.
For the past three years, I have been working on a project that furthers
a comparative dimension. It is a research study on the struggle for
justice of nomadic groups. It looks at how the nomadic Roma/Gypsies in
the European Union and Southern India access social, political and
economic justice. This qualitative, multidisciplinary research is titled
The Quest for Social Justice: The case of the nomadic Roma/Gypsies in
the EU and India. Through in-depth fieldwork, this project aims to
answer the following question: How do nomadic populations, such as the
Roma/Gypsy, acquire justice in nation states? Breaking away from the
classic paradigm, which regards the Roma/Gypsy as a minority, this
project looks at the Roma/Gypsy as a community present in various
nation-states. I intend to transform the results of this research in a
book manuscript by the end of 2016.
Beginning in the academic year 2012 - 2013, which I spent at the
Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute as a postdoctoral fellow, I have been
developing my second research project. This project investigates the
relevance of the concept of justice within the framework of American
politics, particularly as this relates to current policies of border
security and detention centers. I am interested in how local and state
politics play out with respect to more general immigration policies.
Particularly, I will analyze the U.S.'s strategies of immigration
control that heavily emphasize border enforcement and detention centers.
This research highlights the fine line between immigration and
criminality, and explores the theoretical, policymaking underpinnings of
the legal immigration system. In this regard, conducting field research
in the Northeast region of the U.S. presents a great opportunity for
exploring these issues. Work on this topic is also evident in my
teaching endeavors, as I engaged with my students in projects on the
politics of detention centers in the United States. This project is in
its initial stages, and I plan to conduct research over the next year.
I am currently working on transforming one of the life-stories from
my doctoral dissertation into an article to be published in a peer
review journal. This article titled From Being A Foreigner to Being a
Soldier and an American, presents the life story of Lily, an immigrant
soldier from Romania. Based on a five-year-long in-depth qualitative
fieldwork, this article details Lily's journey of transformation via Air
Force Reserve Service. It starts by showing Lily's life before military
service, analyzes how her life in communist Romania, her experience of
the anti-communist revolution, and her early years in an economic and
socially broken system motivated her immigration to the United States,
her stay, enlistment and life in the military.
Intro to American Government; Interest Groups; Women in Politics; Gender and Membership; Politics of International Migration;
Liberalism vs. Conservatism in American Political Thought; World Civilization I & II; Russia after 1917; American Conservative Political Thought;
Intro to Political Theory; Modern Political Thought; Eastern European Politics and Government; Eastern European Politics through Art and Film, Liars; Truth Tellers and Hypocrites; Modern and Contemporary Philosophy
I am an experienced and successful teacher. I have had the
opportunity to teach diverse student population groups and understand
the challenges of different audiences and types of courses. When
teaching arts and design students in a required core curriculum course, I
focused on improving reading and writing skills while using primary
sources to engage them. While working as a teaching assistant for
university-wide classes that included a combination of science and
traditional liberal arts students, I used group activities to bridge the
gap between students with different specializations and to create a
shared sense of community in the classroom. The honors classes, which I
taught for gifted undergraduate students, were focused on generating
particularly challenging activities that would further develop their
academic sophistication and excellence. In each instance, I have worked
to create interdisciplinary courses that engaged students in
contemporary community-based issues. Simultaneously, I strive to instill
practical knowledge and to build the students' knowledge base and
developed their repertoire of skills.
My diverse teaching portfolio includes courses in Political Science,
as well as in general Education, Philosophy and History. I truly enjoy
teaching and I am dedicated to creating a stimulating and
research-friendly environment, where students can explore their
intellectual possibilities. Teaching "Oral History" and "Liberalism vs.
Conservatism in American Politics" (in the U.S. and abroad) has been a
central academic experience that has helped me to understand the
political and philosophical bases of different political and cultural
-Event Coordinator, International Center for Migration, Ethnicity and
Citizenship (Spring 2013).
Organizing and coordinating events; contacting international scholars;
publicizing the events; introducing presenters and facilitating
conversations, furthering liaisons between members.
-Student Liaison, Politics Department, New School for Social Research
Advised prospective students; connected academic and administrative
staff from different departments to prospective students. Organized
meetings, participated at open-houses.
-Research Assistant, Prof Aristide Zolberg, New School for Social
Research (2009- 2012).
Research for book manuscripts and articles about democratic management
of minorities, immigration policies and their impact, citizenship in the
era of globalization, and migration vs. immigration patterns in Africa,
Asia and Latin America.
-Research Assistant, Charney Research Institute, New York (2008-
Conducted research on domestic and international politics for private,
international and federal agencies. Topics of research: democratic
development, international security issues, Middle-East politics,
defense strategies, legal history, program implementation and
evaluation. Created and organized rapports. Assisted with the organizing
the data, organized database supporting research presentations.
-Researcher, Hunter College, Political Science Department, New York
Conducted comparative field research in Eastern Europe (Romania and
former East Germany) on the process of democratization. Orchestrated
research strategies, conducted field research, interview subjects,
created analysis reports and organized database supporting class
-Research Assistant, The New School, Parsons Gimbel Library, (2004-
Assisted professors with teaching materials. Conducted on line and
library research. Research and organized visual resources database.
-Faculty Coordinator, Eugene Lang College, The New School.
Assisted faculty with logistic and academic resources; connected
academic and administrative staff from different departments. Conducted
research and performed a wide variety of administrative tasks. Organized
-Telephone Fundraiser, The New School for Social Research.
Assist with transcribing interviews; created a data base. Analyzed
fundraising materials and implemented fundraising techniques. Called
prospects. Related friends to alumni. Closed gifts.
-TV Program Host, Romanian Voice TV Program, New York (2004).
Created and maintained relationships in the Romanian community.
Researched and orchestrated cultural events, interviews and hosted a
Romanian TV program. Researched, and edited copy for news presentations.
-Interviewer and Researcher, National Sociological Institute
“Metro-Media Transilvania,” Romania (1997- 1999).
Conducted polling research. Utilized database. Transcribed interviews.
Selected subjects. Conducted interviews. Organized and edited data.
Expected CompletionMay 2013
Major FieldAmerican Politics
Minor FieldComparative Politics
Dissertation Title"The Politics of ‘the Army You Have’: Change and Continuity in the U.S. Military, 1972-2008"
Dissertation CommitteeDavid Plotke (chair), Victoria Hattam, Edward Rhodes
Dissertation AbstractWhat causes political institutions to transform? Engaging with literatures of American and comparative politics not generally used to analyze military organizations, I develop a micropolitical perspective on change. The core claim holds that the discourses and strategic efforts of mid-level agents play a central role in both maintaining order and effecting change. To test this argument, I compare U.S. Army development through four decades after the Vietnam War. I examine declassified documents, officers’ writings, and interviews to understand why and how mid-level officers changed their views of their missions. At times, as in the 1990s, this gradual process created a gap between the discourses of these officers and the Army’s favored way of war. In the subsequent decade, entrepreneurs inside the Army took advantage of the mismatch between the top and the middle and worked with outsiders to overhaul the Army’s paradigm. My account shows that even in a hierarchical institution like the Army, major change can be driven from the inside and from the middle. It holds promise for the study of institutions and policy regimes more generally.
Research InterestsI am a historical institutionalist who works on continuity and change in institutions, policy regimes, and political cultures. My scholarship engages most closely with literatures of comparative historical analysis and American political development. I compare political phenomena over long periods to understand the forces that shape them, and to analyze whether those forces have changed. Within periods, my methods are historical and interpretive. I use archival sources and interviews to understand how agents create structures, how structures constrain agents, and how agents can reshape structures to achieve their goals. One future project will examine the shifts among conservatives in their ideas about American power projection. Another will analyze the strategies that the California Republican Party is using to become relevant in statewide politics.
American Political Thought in Historical Perspective; 20th Century International Politics; Politics: The Foundations.
Expected CompletionSeptember 2013
Major FieldPolitical Theory
Dissertation Title"Representing the Economy: Economic Lifeworlds in Social and Political Theory"
Dissertation CommitteeDavid Plotke (chair), William Milberg, Andreas Kalyvas, Kevin St. Martin
Dissertation AbstractHow does a progressive school of critical social thought represent the
economy? How does critical social theory’s economic representations
shape ideas about social justice? Like much social and political theory,
critical social theory depicts a self-regulating marketcapitalist
economy distinct if not separate from all moral, social, and cultural
areas of our lives. I argue that this monistic representation of economy
reproduces neoclassical economic ones that inadequately depict diverse
economic practices and limit how we think about and enable social and
economic justice. With composite data and cases, I show that the diverse
economy is significantly constituted by noncapitalist and
alternative-capitalist enterprises, unpaid and alternative-paid work,
and nonmarket and alternative-markets that are also variously integrated
with moral, social, and cultural values and aspects across numerous
areas of our lives. I conclude that representing economic diversity in
social and political theory is a more credible and critical economic
account of our everyday economic lives for better enabling just social
and economic practices.
Research InterestsMy interdisciplinary research brings together social philosophy,
political theory, and political economy from feminist perspectives and
concerns about social justice. I am especially interested in different
meanings of economy, and how these meanings are represented in social
and political theories. My current research aims to counter dominant
representations of market capitalism in social and political theory with
alternative representations of diverse economic practices. Expounding
on composite data, cases, and quasi-fictional characters from my
dissertation, I show that many noncapitalist, alternative-capitalist,
nonmarket, and alternative-market economic practices are integrated with
moral, social, and cultural elements and significantly form what I call
economic lifeworlds. These economic lifeworlds include but are not
limited to cooperatives, fairtrade networks, nonprofit organizations,
socially responsible corporations, and household and non-household
childrearing and eldercare. I regard this research as a lifelong project
that entails further conceptual, qualitative (fieldwork), and
quantitative research for extensively mapping out intersecting diverse
economic spaces. These more credible representations of our everyday
economic lives also guide how we think about and enable just social and
Modern Political Thought; American Government; Global Socioeconomic Perspectives (LIB); Cross-Cultural Perspectives (SOC);
Cultural Anthropology; Gender and Politics (graduate course).