Miller Center

Miller Center Fellows 2005 – 2006

Daniel Galvin

Presidential Party Building in the United States

Daniel Galvin, Yale University
Mentor: Sidney Milkis, University of Virginia

Daniel Galvin is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

His primary areas of research are the American presidency, political parties, and American political development. Galvin's book, Presidential Party Building in the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush (Princeton University Press, 2010), resulted from his dissertation. His book demonstrates through detailed archival research that Republican presidents since Dwight Eisenhower have persistently and purposefully worked to build their party into a stronger and more durable political organization with enhanced operational capacities. Democratic presidents, in contrast, eschewed the work of party building, leaving their successors to start from scratch and making cumulative organizational development in their party more difficult. This partisan variation in modern presidential behavior challenges a long tradition of scholarship, which assumes that all presidents act in fundamentally the same ways and that both parties exhibit essentially symmetrical structures and run parallel operations. In this book, he aimed to bring presidential party building into view as a variable component of modern American political development whose significance is clearly evident in politics today.

Galvin's dissertation examined the actions undertaken by presidents to change their parties, and finds that at best only half the story is in view. The aim of his dissertation was to demonstrate the fact that some modern presidents have acted more constructively with regard to their parties than others, to consider why this might be so, and to bring presidential party building into view as a component of modern American political development whose significance and variability is clearly evident in politics today.

Recent Publications:
Presidential Party Building: Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush (Princeton University Press, 2010)

Rethinking Political Institutions: The Art of the State, with Ian Shapiro and Stephen Skowronek (NYU Press, 2006) 


Shamira Gelbman

Coalitions of the Unwilling: Insurgency and Enfranchisement in the United States and South Africa

Shamira Gelbman, University of Virginia
Mentor: Elisabeth Clemens, University of Chicago

Shamira Gelbman is Assistant Professor of Politics and Government at Illinois State University.

She received her Ph.D. in Government from the University of Virginia in 2008. Gelbman received her M.A. from the University of Virginia and her B.A. from Hunter College, CUNY. At Virginia, Gelbman taught both American politics and Spanish courses. Her research interests include race, social movements, and democratization in the United States and South Africa. 

Based on a paired comparison of the American civil rights movement and the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa, Gelbman's dissertation argued that state actors' responses to social movements vary with changing coalition dynamics at both the elite and mass levels. Specifically, the confluence of intra-regime conflict and labor-civil rights coalitions provides the incentives for democratic concessions that would otherwise be too politically risky for public officials who are beholden to constituencies that oppose suffrage expansion to undertake.

Recent Publications:
“Apartheid.” The Routledge Companion to Race and Ethnicity, (November 2010)  
“Executive Branch (1976-Present).” Encyclopedia of U.S. Political History, (2010)


Caroline Lee

Compromising Natures: Moral Economies of Environmental Decision Making

Caroline Lee, University of California at San Diego
Mentor: Marc Landy, Boston College

Caroline Lee is Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Anthropology and Sociology Department at Lafayette College, with an affiliate appointment in the American Studies Program. 

She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego in 2006. Lee's dissertation explored obstacles to civic engagement in local environmental politics. Lee compared a spectrum of conservation decision-making bodies in three different U.S. communities to find that the devolved public deliberation formats heralded by researchers over the last 10 years have in fact encouraged Balkanization and allegations of exclusion. On the other hand, informal partnerships between national environmental organizations and local elites have brokered unlikely alliances that involve reluctant stakeholders in habitat restoration, even in politically conservative communities. These public-private partnerships, which Lee called "conservation machines," increase participation by minimizing contention with local growth networks and generating manifold opportunities for public input. Lee hypothesized that the national environmental interest groups that critics malign as out of touch with the grassroots have played important backstage roles encouraging power sharing on the ground in select communities. She argued that these outcomes suggest that political theorists should reconsider the idealization of deliberation and the presumed sources of civic alienation.

Recent Publications:
“Five Assumptions Academics Make about Public Deliberation, and Why They Deserve Rethinking.” Journal of Public Deliberation, (2011)
“The Politics of Localness: Scale-Bridging Ties and Legitimacy in Regional Resource Management Partnerships.” Society & Natural Resources, (2011)


Heather Lewis

Scaling Down: Half a Century of Community Control in New York City's Schools, 1945–95

Heather Lewis, New York University
Mentor: Martha Biondi, Northwestern University

Heather Lewis is Associate Professor of Art and Design Education at the Pratt Institute’s School of Art and Design.

Lewis received her Ph.D. in History from New York University in 2006. The community control movement in education was part of a multi-pronged movement targeting housing, employment, healthcare, policing and welfare in many of New York City's African-American, Puerto Rican, and Asian communities of the late 1960s. While the movement for community control of schools paralleled and intersected with organizing in other fields, it had a distinct trajectory and a unique set of outcomes because of the role public education is supposed to play in producing the conditions for citizen participation in democratic governance.

Spanning a half-century in New York City's school system (1945–95), Lewis interpreted the historical trajectory of multiple efforts to scale up educational reform by scaling down governance and bureaucracy. Her dissertation claimed that improvement was possible because educators and school board members in these decentralized districts were driven by a similar moral commitment to societal and school change as were the community control activists in the 1960s. Given the limitations of the school system's decentralized structure, a downturn in the local and national economy, and the continued resistance of the teachers' and principals' unions to community control, local district leaders' accomplishments in the '70s and '80s were significant. Lewis's dissertation posited that while the continuity of leadership and improvement in educational outcomes in these districts may not have been representative of the 32 community school districts created under decentralization, the districts' broader social and political contexts were not atypical. Rather than treating the two districts as idiosyncratic, her dissertation argued that other New York City community school districts with similar student populations and committed leadership could have followed a different course if there had been more effective support from the central school system, teachers' and principals' unions, elected officials and the public.


Stephanie Muravchik

New Creatures in Christ: American Faith in an Age of Psychology

Stephanie Muravchik, University of Virginia
Mentor: Gary Laderman, Emory University

Stephanie Muravchik is Associate Fellow at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture.

Murchavchick received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 2006. After World War II, though they did not realize it, Christians began a successful project of redeeming millions of alienated Americans by fortifying pastoral care, fellowships, and evangelism with secular ideas and techniques adapted from psychology. They thereby shepherded millions of the nation's most disaffected citizens – especially the homeless, addicts, the sick, and the dying – into faith's fold. Muravchik's dissertation traced their efforts and its effects in three contexts: the psychiatric training of ministers, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and The Salvation Army rehabilitation centers. She ultimately argued that the model of selfhood developed in these settings, by merging individual happiness and self-determination with transcendent and communal relationships, could support an American democratic culture in the latter half of the 20th century.

Recent Publications:
American Protestantism in the Age of Psychology (Cambridge University Press, 2011)


Suleiman Osman

The Birth of Postmodern New York: Gentrification, Post industrialization and Race in South Brooklyn from 1950 to 1980

Suleiman Osman, Harvard University
Mentor: Tom Sugrue, University of Pennsylvannia

Sulieman Osman is Associate Professor of American Studies at George Washington University.

Osman received his Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization from Harvard University. His primary interests are in U.S. urban history, the built environment, U.S. cultural and social history, and the study of race and ethnicity. 

Whether referred to as "gentrification," "urban revitalization," "embourgoisement," or "back-to-the-city movement," the influx of white-collar professionals into low-income central city areas has been an important demographic trend which challenges a unidirectional narrative of postwar central city decline. While most historians have focused solely on the outward flows of white flight and suburbanization, white middle-class "brownstoners" (as they called themselves) from 1950 to 1980 poured enthusiastically into postwar South Brooklyn. Gentrification was not just a demographic trend, but an important political movement as well. By describing gentrification, Osman's dissertation added a spatial context to postwar political history. The New Left, the counterculture, and the student movement all emerged on an "urban frontier" – an imagined middle landscape between the institutional space of the central business district and the untamed "wilderness" of the urban ghetto. Although both liberal and pro-urban, the new middle class often came into conflict with poorer residents. Osman's dissertation described the race and class tensions in gentrifying neighborhoods throughout the postwar period, exploring an aspect of postwar race relations previously overlooked by historians.

Recent Publications:
The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn: Gentrification and the Search for Authenticity in Postwar New York (Oxford, 2011)


Julia Ott

When Wall Street Met Main Street: the Quest for an Investors' Democracy and the Emergence of the American Retail Investor, 1900–1930

Julia Ott, Yale University
Mentor: Meg Jacobs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Julia Ott is Assistant Professor of History at the New School's Eugene Lang College.

She received her Ph.D. in History from Yale University in 2006. She also received her M.A. and M.Phil. from Yale in 2002, and a B.A. in History from Princeton University in 1997. Her interests include 20th century American history, financial and business history, political conservatism, consumer culture, and women's and gender history.

Given the depths of populist and progressive hostility toward Wall Street in the decades before the World War I, few could have predicted that the nation's stock and bond markets would emerge as icons of a new era of permanent prosperity, even before the late 1920s stock market boom. Roughly 30 million Americans acquired federal war bonds, while the number of corporate shareholders likely increased fivefold in the 1920s. Ott's dissertation explained these transformations in political attitude and social practice by relating an intertwined history of investors and investorism. By analyzing the marketing of stocks and bonds by the federal government, corporations, and the financial industry, as well as new investorist theories of political economy formulated by a range of economic thinkers, her study revealed the early twentieth century origins of the idea of an ownership society in American political culture. Without the ideological validation considered in this dissertation, the United States would have never developed its first broad, national, impersonal market for financial securities in the 1920s.

Recent Publications:
When Wall Street Met Main Street: The Quest for an Investors’ Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2011)
“‘The Free and Open People’s Market’: Political Ideology and Retail Brokerage at the New York Stock Exchange, 1913-1933.” Journal of American History, (June 2009)


Stephen Porter

Defining Public Responsibility in a Global Age: Refugee Resettlement in the U.S., 1933 to 1980

Stephen Porter, University of Chicago
Mentor: Akira Iriye, Harvard University (Professor Emeritus)

Stephen Porter is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Cincinnati.

Porter received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. His teaching and research focus on the intersections between the international and domestic dimensions of modern U.S. history, or what is coming to be known as the "U.S. and the World." He specializes in the history of human rights, U.S. foreign affairs, law, politics, public administration, immigration, race and ethnicity, philanthropy, ethics, labor, and institutions. His current work examines humanitarian aid initiatives in the 20th century performed by both governmental and nongovernmental organizations on behalf of millions of political refugees and other victims of war and man-made violence. In the summer of 2007, he was awarded a fellowship to participate in the Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. 

Porter's dissertation examined the governing strategies employed for the massive task of "integrating" two million political refugees into communities across the country. The "resettlement network" that emerged to implement the refugee resettlement policies of this period boasted a vibrant mixture of public and private institutions operating both within and outside of the United States. Porter argued that the "hybrid" nature of this resettlement network was born of practical necessities, but served important ideological imperatives during the Cold War for the new American superpower intent on proving to domestic and international audiences that its brand of liberal democratic capitalism would help even the world's most destitute people prosper. According to Porter, resettlement policies thus served as a highly conspicuous testing ground for postwar techniques of social governance that sought to reconcile the exponential growth of American state capacities and aims of government with enduring suspicions of "big government" and an emerging faith in private sector models for public policies.