UMass Boston

Research & Impact

Full-time Political Science faculty members hold doctorates from major universities and actively carry out research in the fields of political science, international relations, and public policy. This scholarship contributes to classroom instruction and benefits our students by permitting them to work directly with world-class researchers. It also serves the needs of many different communities, ranging from the local to the international, for the analysis of topics including: American politics, ancient and modern political theory, comparative political analysis of different world regions, corruption, foreign policy, gender and politics, human security, international law and organization, judicial politics and the law, Massachusetts and Boston politics, political institutions, public policy, race and ethnic politics, state-society relations, and world order.

Faculty Research Areas

American Politics:

  • Bussiere, Elizabeth – American politics, law and the courts, the jury system, welfare policy.
  • Johnston, Travis – legislative institutions, political behavior.
  • King-Meadows, Tyson – public opinion.
  • O’Brien, Erin – politics of poverty and US social welfare policy, stratification, political behavior, urban politics, Massachusetts politics.
  • Watanabe, Paul – American political behavior, ethnic group politics, Asian American politics.

Comparative Politics

  • Jin, Shuai – economic inequality and redistribution, Chinese politics.
  • Farsakh, Leila – Middle East politics, Arab-Israeli conflict.
  • Jiménez, Luis – Latin American politics, Mexican politics, immigration politics, Latino politics.
  • Kowert, Paul – Japanese politics and foreign policy, nationalism and national identity.
  • Schotten, Heike – radical and revolutionary political theory, Islamophobia.

International Relations

  • Brown, Joseph – peace and conflict studies, non-state actors, signaling and bargaining.
  • Jurkovich, Michelle – food security, economic and social rights, ethics, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations.
  • Kowert, Paul – international relations theory, foreign policy analysis, political psychology.
  • Watanabe, Paul – American foreign policy.

Political Theory

  • Henao Castro, Andrés Fabián – ancient and contemporary political theory, decolonial theory, critical theory, feminist theory, critical philosophy of race, poststructuralism.
  • Schotten, Heike – ancient, modern, and contemporary political thought, Nietzsche studies, critical theory, queer theory, biopolitics, feminist and gender theory, radical/revolutionary theory.

Public Policy

  • Bussiere, Elizabeth – welfare policy.
  • Johnston, Travis – political behavior, research methods.
  • Jin, Shuai – public opinion, quantitative methods.
  • Jurkovich, Michelle – food policy.
  • Kowert, Paul – foreign policy analysis, research methods.
  • O’Brien, Erin – poverty and social welfare policy, political behavior, research methods.

Recent Publications by Political Science Faculty

Andrés Henao Castro

Antigone in the Americas: Democracy, Sexuality, and Death in the Settler Colonial Present SUNY Press, 2021

Shuai Jin and Joseph Zhou Yingnan

An Authoritarian Undercurrent in the Postmaterialist Tide: The Rise of Authoritarianism Among the Younger Generation in China Social Science Quarterly 102(1): 90–106. 2021

Leila Farsakh (Co-Editor with Bashir Bashir)

The Arab and Jewish Questions: Geographies of Engagement in Palestine and Beyond Columbia University Press, 2020 

Michelle Jurkovich

Feeding The Hungry: Advocacy And Blame In The Global Fight Against Hunger Cornell University Press, 2020

Joseph M. Brown

Force of Words: The Logic of Terrorist Threats Columbia University Press, 2020

C. Heike Schotten

Queer Terror Columbia University Press, 2018

Luis Jimenez

Migrants and Political Change in Latin America University of Florida Press, 2018

Leila Farsakh

Palestinian labor migration to Israel: Labor, Land and Occupation Routledge Press, second edition 2012

Paul Kowert and (co-edited with Vaughn P. Shannon)

Psychology and Constructivism in International Relations: An Ideational Alliance University of Michigan Press, 2011

C. Heike Schotten 

Nietzsche's Revolution: Decadence, Politics, and Sexuality New York: Palgrave, 2009

Erin O'Brien, David A. Dulio, and John S. Klemanski 

Diversity in Contemporary American Politics and Government Pearson Longman, 2009

Erin O'Brien 

The Politics of Identity: Solidarity Building among America’s Working Poor State University of New York Press, 2008

Recent Media Appearances by Political Science Faculty

Quincy Students and Families Rally for Lunar New Year Recognition ›

WCVB | May 31, 2023
The Quincy School Committee voted against adding Lunar New Year to the school system’s holiday calendar for 2023-2024 but the debate is not over. Asian families in Quincy want the Lunar New Year celebration to become a school holiday in Quincy. Director of the Institute for Asian American Studies Paul Watanabe, Frank Santoro, Vice Chair of the Quincy School Committee, and Grace Young-Jae a Quincy Public School parent explain why and what is next to bring the change about.

How President Biden Could Lose the New Hampshire Primary ›

NECN | May 03, 2023
Associate Professor of Political Science Erin O’Brien talks about how President Biden could forfeit the New Hampshire primary, other democrats set to run, and how the GOP is using AI in its new campaign ads.

How the press can ethically report on Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential run ›

GBH | April 28, 2023
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a scion of one of America’s best-known political families, is running for president. Associate Professor of Political Science Erin O’Brien contends there’s good reason for the press to focus its attention elsewhere.

Talking Politics: What happens if the US Supreme Court kills Biden’s student debt plan? ›

GBH | March 21, 2023 Assistant Professor of Political Science Travis Johnston joined GBH News' Talking Politics to discuss legal challenges to President Biden's student debt relief plan and how a looming setback in the Supreme Court could impact civic engagement among borrowers.

How the 1980 Kennedy-Carter Fight Reshaped Politics ›

GBH | March 01, 2023
Professor of Political Science Paul Watanabe joined GBH News to discuss former President Jimmy Carter's legacy and how the 1980 primary challenge from then-U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy reshaped Democratic Party dynamics moving forward.

Wu Set to Give Her First State of the City Address ›

WBUR | January 26, 2023
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu delivered her first State of the City address from the new MGM Music Hall in Fenway to tout the accomplishments of her first full year in office, and outline future policy proposals like rent control. "This is a chance for her to set out her vision of city government," said Erin O'Brien, associate professor of political science. "Wu is analytic, she is serious about public policy, and I think she has a vision for how government should work in people's lives."

Top Codcast: Three Scrappy Women from Somerset ›

Commonwealth Magazine | January 04, 2023
Associate Professor of Political Science Erin O’Brien discussed a new book she co-authored examining the outsized role of Massachusetts in US politics in one of CommonWealth's most popular podcasts from 2022.