Kansas State University


Political Science

Faculty Highlights

Dr. Alissandra Stoyan at the Basilica del Voto Nacional in Quito, Ecuador

Our faculty were, of course, active beyond the speaking engagements and journal publications listed above.  While far from complete, the highlights below provide of glimpse of some of our endeavors over the past year.

Sam Bell was named to the editorial board of one of the leading journals in the discipline, International Studies Quarterly (ISQ).  ISQ is the flagship journal of the International Studies Association (ISA), the largest association of scholars focusing on international studies in political science.  Bell took his sabbatical last fall at Stanford University, where he interacted with scholars at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the department of political science.  Last summer, he presented research at the biannual Central and East European International Studies Association – International Studies Association (CEEISA-ISA) conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia.  He continues research on various topics related to human rights, political protest, and interstate conflict.

Ethan Bernick and Brianne Heidbreder are working on a project that examines gender roles among US country clerks.  They presented initial results at the Southwest Political Science Association (SPSA) conference last spring.  Bernick is involved in another long-term research endeavor examining the interplay between societal culture and civic engagement among women.  He presented research on this topic at the SPSA meetings as well.

Nate Birkhead mobilized students as part of a nation-wide effort led by scholars at MIT to study polling places during the recent US presidential election. Birkhead was also part of a large, multi-university grant application to create a convenient single-stop web site for data and advanced statistics on state politics.  In addition, he gave expert testimony to the US Commission on Civil Rights on the impact of voting rights laws.  His current research examines state level executives, government shutdowns, and party polarization among other topics.

Dr. Sabri Ciftci on his summer research trip

Sabri Ciftci conducted field work in Turkey last summer and was KSU’s sole nominee for the Carnegie Corporation’s Carnegie Fellows Program.  He continues to sponsor events at KSU associated with the Michael W. Suleiman chair.  On April 10, he, the department, and the KSU Leadership Studies program will host a day-long symposium entitled “(Re)Imaging Tolerance, Diversity, and Justice: The Impact of a Post-Truth USA on the Arab-American and Muslim-American Experience.”   He has a number of ongoing research projects on religious identity and public attitudes in the Middle East and the West.

John Fliter worked on his forthcoming University Press of Kansas book Kids at Work: The Epic Legal Struggle over Child Labor in America while on sabbatical last fall.  He did research for the book in Washington DC last summer.  He is also working on an article on teaching public law using examples from literature.  Along with Dr. Martinez Machain, Fliter manages KSU’s highly successful Model UN program.

Michael Flynn and Carla Martinez Machain are working on a project on the broader social impacts that US troop deployments have on countries around the world.  They collaborated with various units of the US military to gather their initial data. They had assistance from undergraduate major Rebecca Kaye,who entered the PhD program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with full funding this fall.  Flynn has a number of ongoing research projects on domestic politics and foreign policy, economic interests and foreign policy, and human rights issues and foreign policy.

James Franke serves as Director of Graduate Studies.  Under his leadership, the MPA curriculum has been substantially revised following input from alumni and students. An initial MPA advisory council has been established, and a number of new initiatives have been launched within the program. The program’s reaccreditation process begins next academic year.  Franke has a forthcoming book chapter on perceptions of government in ancient and modern political thought.

Brianne Heidbreder was named the “Reviews and Essays” editor of the prominent public administration journal State and Local Government Review.  She spoke to a number of local groups such as the League of Women Voters as part of the department’s outreach activities over the past year.  She is also the department’s internship coordinator, overseeing students who intern in Kansas and around the world.  Heidbreder has ongoing research on the influence of lobbying on state politics and gender and leadership within non-profit organizations.

Laurie Johnson published a co-edited volume entitled Honor in the Modern World: Interdisciplinary Perspectives with Lexington Press last year.  The volume contained contributions by prominent scholars from King’s College London, Brown University, George Washington University and other institutions. She has a single authored book with Lexington Press forthcoming this year entitled Honor in America? Tocqueville and the American Enlightenment and has received a contract to complete a book with Routledge press entitled The Political Thought of Carl Jung.  She is the director of KSU’s Primary Text Certificate program which is partially supported by ongoing funding from the Redbud Foundation.

Emizet Kisangani published the Historical Dictionary of the Democratic Republic of Congo with Scarecrow Press.  He was also principle investigator on a multidisciplinary grant application to study water and other environmental issues in Africa and gave a number of interviews to Radio France International on African political issues.  He has ongoing research on African development and military intervention within Africa.

Andrew Long serves as Director of the interdisciplinary Security Studies graduate program which works closely with the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College and the School of Advanced Military Studies at Ft. Leavenworth.  He presented research and served in other capacities at the annual European Political Science Association conference in Brussels, Belgium last summer.  Long’s current research analyzes foreign intervention and trade impacts on civil conflicts.

Carla Martinez Machain was named the Program Chair for the Scientific Study of International Processes Section of the International Studies Association for the next two years. Martinez Machain also received a Big 12 Fellowship to conduct collaborative research with scholars at Iowa State University. She oversaw undergraduate major Shai Washington’s honors thesis last spring, and Shai entered the University of Pittsburgh’s PhD program with full funding last fall.  Last summer, Martinez Machain presented research at the biannual CEEISA-ISA conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia.  She has ongoing research on the impact of troop deployments, the use of air power, and other topics.

Jeff Pickering presented research at the biannual CEEISA-ISA conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He also submitted a multi-university grant application that proposes to add detail and granularity on the impact that foreign military interventions have on non-state actors such as rebel groups, paramilitaries, and terrorist cells.  He has ongoing research on causes and consequences of foreign military intervention.

Josie Schafer completed a survey for the City of Manhattan on a range of quality of life issues that will inform policymaking over coming years.  MPA students in POLSC 831 Public Administration capstone helped with the survey.  The city has asked Dr. Schafer to conduct additional surveys to guide policy planning, and she has ongoing research on public policy networks and decision-making.

Alissandra Stoyan conducted field work in Ecuador and Bolivia last summer as part of her ongoing research of the impact that Constituent Assemblies are having on democratization and governance in Latin America.  She also received a Big 12 Fellowship to conduct collaborative research with scholars at Oklahoma State University.  She will present scholarship at the Latin American Studies Association’s International Congress in Lima, Peru in April.  Her current research focuses on female political executives in Latin America, public perceptions of foreign aid to Latin America, and governance in the region.

Michael Tyburski joined the department last fall from Tulane University where he taught for two years.  He has already presented research at the American Political Science Association meetings in Philadelphia and the ISA-Midwest meetings in St. Louis.  Tyburski has a number of research projects on international economic remittances ongoing.

John Warner published a book entitled Rousseau and the Problem of Human Relations with Penn State University Press and presented research at multiple workshops.  He and Dr. Johnson recently launched a Political Thought book club which has rapidly developed a dedicated group of participants.  Warner’s current research analyzes Machiavelli’s views of political relationships and Rousseau’s thought on self-deception.

Zhiwei Zhang presented research at the 8th Sino-US International Conference for Public Administration, Beijing China last summer.  He has research under review that examines the impact that financial stress has on local government decisions to outsource functions and how public perceptions of non-profit organizations affect private donations.


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