Miller Center

Miller Center Fellows 2010 – 2011

The Miller Center National Fellowship Program has awarded eight fellowships for the 2010-2011 academic year. The Fellowship grants each Fellow a one-year $20,000 stipend to support her or his research and writing which may focus on American politics, public policy, foreign policy, or the impact of global affairs on the United States. Along with the fellowship grant, the Miller Center helps the fellow choose a senior scholar who serves as a "Dream Mentor" throughout the fellowship year.

Francesca Ammon
Francesca Ammon

Waging War on the Landscape: Demolition and Clearance in Postwar America

Francesca Ammon, American Studies, Yale University
Ambrose Monell Foundation Fellow in Technology and Democracy
Mentor: Ed Russell, Associate Professor, Department of Science, Technology, and Society, University of Virginia

Francesca Ammon is a visiting schoilar at the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. 

She recently completed her Ph.D. in American Studies at Yale University, working with Professor Dolores Hayden. She received her B.S.E. in civil engineering from Princeton University in 1998 and her Master of Environmental Design (M.E.D.) from the Yale School of Architecture in 2005. She has served as a teaching fellow for "American Cultural Landscapes" and "The Formation of Modern American Culture since 1920" and designed and taught her own seminar "Photography and the City." She has also published "Commemoration Amid Criticism: The Mixed Legacy of Urban Renewal in Southwest Washington, D.C." in the Journal of Planning History (2009). Ammon is currently working on a dissertation arguing that a widely embraced ideology of demolition and clearance dramatically reshaped the natural and built landscape of post-World War II America. While this period is well known as an era of rapid physical growth and construction, her dissertation reconceptualizes it as equally significant for its embrace and implementation of large-scale destruction. In anticipation of the well-documented postwar domestic development of urban renewal, suburbs, highways, and other infrastructure, wreckers felled buildings and excavators leveled land at an unprecedented pace and scale. Ammon explores how and why this moment emerged, revealing connections between business, the state, architecture, planning, technology, the military, and the broader culture. In tandem, her project demonstrates the physical and political practices on the ground that enabled large-scale clearance’s implementation, but also ultimately led to its relative decline.

Recent Publications:
"Unearthing Benny the Bulldozer: The Culkture of Clearance in Postwar Children's Books," Technology and Culture (April 2012)
Sarah S. Bush
Sarah S. Bush

The Democracy Establishment

Sarah S. Bush, Politics, Princeton University
Mentor: Miles Kahler, Professor of Pacific International Relations, University of California, San Diego

Sarah Bush is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Temple University. 

Previously, Bush was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the International Security Program of the Belfer Center in Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School. She earned her Ph.D. in Politics at Princeton University in September 2011. Her research interests include democracy promotion, non-state actors in world politics, gender and human rights policy, and the politics of the Middle East. Sarah is currently working on a book manuscript that explores how and why the United States and other developed countries turned to democracy promotion at the end of the Cold War, and what the impact of doing so has been on the conduct of politics in countries across the world. Other ongoing research projects include a survey experiment on support for women's representation in Jordan in collaboration with Amaney Jamal and an article on gender quotas that was published in International Organization. She was previously the director of Americans for Informed Democracy.

You can view Sarah Bush's website here.

Recent Publications:
"International Politics and the Spread of Quotas for Women in Legislatures." International Organization, (2011)

Merlin Chowkwanyun
Merlin Chowkwanyun

The Dilemmas of 'Community Health': 1945-2000

Merlin Chowkwanyun, History and Public Health, University of Pennsylvania
Mentor: Nancy Langston, Professor, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Merlin Chowkwanyun is a Ph.D. Candidate for a joint History and Public Health degree at the University of Pennsylvania.

Having received an A.B. in History and Sociology at Columbia University.  He has published solo- and co-authored articles in the American Journal of Public Health, the Du Bois Review, Renewal: A Journal of Social Democracy, and the Journal of Urban Affairs. He co-edited a volume entitled American Democracy and the Pursuit of Equality: Essays in Honor of Herbert J. Gans. In 2008, Merlin received the Penn Prize for Excellence in Teaching by Graduate Students at the University of Pennsylvania, and in 2010 was named a Penn Dean's Scholar. Visit his website here.

Merlin's dissertation, "The Dilemmas of Community Health: Medical Care and Environmental Health" is a history of public health in the United States from 1945 to 2000. In particular, it examines the political economy of two components of public health: 1) medical care organization (that is, the relationships linking hospitals, clinics, health care personnel) and 2) emerging environmental health hazards from postwar industrialization.  The heart of the dissertation is an on-the-ground examination of developments in these domains in four American regions (New York City, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Central Appalachia). Throughout, it also traces the intellectual-historical transformation of "community health," which emerged as a dominant ideal anchoring American public health practice in the post-WWII period, despite a nebulous quality that resulted in pitched battles over exactly what it meant.

Recent Publications:

“The New Left and Public Health The Health Policy Advisory Center, Community Organizing, and the Big Business of Health, 1967–1975.” American Journal of Public Health, (February 2011) 

Kyle M. Lascurettes
Kyle M. Lascurettes

Orders of Exclusion: The Strategic Sources of International Orders and Great Power Ordering Preferences

Kyle M. Lascurettes, Politics, University of Virginia
Mentor: John Ikenberry, Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University

Kyle Lascurettes is Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at George Washington University.

Lascurettes received his Ph.D. from the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics at the University of Virginia in 2012. His dissertation adviser is GAGE Associate Professor Jeffrey Legro. His research is in the areas of international security and international organization.

His interests include the strategic use of ideas in international relations, psychology and world politics, the intersection of trade and interstate conflict, and how states and statesmen learn from history in global affairs.

Lascurettes' dissertation seeks to explain the preferences of great powers for establishing or reestablishing order in the international system, here defined as a set of established, foundational rules accepted by a significant number of important actors at a given time. He argues that powerful states most often advocate visions of order that will weaken or discredit the entity they find most threatening to their preferred vision of order, be it another powerful state, an ideological movement or a transnational network. If successful, they are thus able to create an order premised on weakening, opposing and above all excluding this threat from reaping the benefits of stable international order. The project is macro-historical in scope and analyzes a broad set of cases to elucidate general patterns of preferences for order from the advent of the modern state system through the American Century to the present.

Quinn Mulory
Quinn Mulroy

Private Litigation, Public Policy Enforcement: The Regulatory Power of Private Litigation and the American Bureaucracy

Quinn Mulroy, Politics, Columbia University
Mentor: Dan Carpenter, Allie S. Freed Professor of Government, Harvard University

Quinn Mulroy is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University's Maxwell School.

Mulroy received a Ph.D. in American Politics from Columbia University where she worked with Ira Katznelson. She received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California-Berkeley in 2001. Her work has appeared in Studies in American Political Development ("The Rise and Decline of Presidential Populism" (October 2004), co-authored with Terri Bimes, University of California-Berkeley), and she is a researcher with the American Institutions Project (under Ira Katznelson and John Lapinski) at the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy at Columbia. Her research interests include American political development, public policy, political institutions, the courts and litigation, bureaucracy, Congress, and race and labor policy.

Her dissertation examined the role of private power, particularly that supplied by private litigation, in the American regulatory state. While traditional accounts suggest that the progressive regulatory state that came into being over the course of the extended New Deal and Great Society periods is weak when compared to its counterparts abroad, Mulroy's research builds on a revisionist strain within the APD literature which identifies strategies by which a lean liberal state can achieve impressive regulatory results. Through a historical analysis of the development of the regulatory capacity of several agencies, she argued that constrained agencies may look outside themselves, and their formally granted administrative powers, for enforcement power by developing incentive structures that encourage private actors to engage in litigation that advances regulatory goals. She found that variation in the use of this alternate source of regulatory power by agencies can be explained by factors related to an agency's institutional development and formation, but also that the character, scope, and activation of this pathway of enforcement over time is contingent upon political and temporal considerations. By reconsidering how to integrate informal mechanisms of enforcement, like agency-motivated private litigation, into theories of bureaucratic regulation, her project aimed to contribute to our practical understanding of 'day-to-day' agency behavior and to our conceptions and assessments of state capacity, more broadly.

Recent Publications:

"Was the South Pivotal? Situated Partisanship and Policy Coalitions during the New Deal and Fair Deal." With Ira Katznelson, Journal of Politics, (April 2012)

Jonathan Renshon
Jonathan Renshon

Fighting for Status: Prestige Motivations and Conflict in World Politics

Jonathan Renshon, Government, Harvard University
Mentor: William C. Wohlforth, Daniel Webster Professor of Government, Dartmouth College

Jonathan Renshon is Trice Faculty Scholar and Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Renshon received his Ph.D. from the Department of Government at Harvard University in 2012. The focus of his research lies at the intersection of the psychology of judgment and decision-making and international security. His work has appeared in Political Psychology, Foreign Policyand Journal of Conflict Resolution. He is also a researcher in the Emotion and Decision-Making Group at the Harvard Decision Science Laboratory.

In his dissertation, Jonathan uses a combination of quantitative cross-national regression, focused case studies and experimental design (with a subject pool of real-world leaders) to construct a theory of status concerns in world politics. More specifically, the purpose of his dissertation is to investigate how the concern for status and prestige affects states’ decisions in the domain of international security. There is widespread agreement, both within the political science discipline and the foreign policy community, that status matters, though very little in the way of focused research on how and when it does so. This has left us with two significant gaps in our understanding of how status affects national security and foreign policy behavior. Firstly, and most importantly, our understanding of status in international politics has been guided thus far by intuition, not by evidence. Furthermore, relying on the assumption that "status matters" has left us with no extant theory of variation in states’ concern for status or understanding of its specific implications for foreign policy or international conflict. What is needed—and what his research is designed to provide—is an investigation into the systematic ways in which the desire to increase or prevent the loss of status affects the behavior of states, especially as these concerns relate to the propensity for violent conflict.

Recent Publications:
“Why don’t Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum just quit?” with Jennifer Lerner and Phil Tetlock, The Washington Post, 6 April 2012.
Why Leaders Choose War: The Psychology of Prevention (Praeger, 2006)

Katherine Unterman
Katherine Unterman

Nowhere to Hide: International Rendition and American Power

Katherine Unterman, History, Yale University
Mentor: Lisa Cobbs Hoffman, Chair, American Foreign Relations, San Diego State University

Katherine Unterman is Assistant Professor of History at Texas A&M University.

Unterman received her Ph.D. in History at Yale University in 2011. After receiving her B.A. in Social Studies from Harvard University, Unterman spent three semesters at Stanford's Law School before leaving to pursue the Ph.D. Her minor foci of study in the doctoral program, Western U.S. History and Modern Latin American History, complement her major field of Race, Culture and Politics in United States History, 1865-2000. Unterman is described by mentors as "that rare historian who can write vividly about particular cases (and individuals) to explain convincingly the development of national, international, and transnational themes across time."

Covering the 1850s through the 1930s, Unterman's dissertation chronicles the international rendition of fugitives as both a set of practices that reached American power across borders, and the cultural ideas that justified it. With extensive research on extradition, international law, and criminology, she traces the evolving mechanics of international manhunts—the treaties, technologies, and procedures that enabled American law to reach beyond its borders. Equally important, she also analyzes jurisdiction as discourse: a set of ideas and representations of a shrinking world, where someone who broke American law had nowhere to hide. She argues that law needs to be considered alongside military and economic power as a tool of U.S. informal imperialism at the turn of the twentieth century. Bridging domestic and international history, she explains how Americans downplayed the question of other nations' sovereignty by treating international policing as a matter of maintaining law and order at home. These late-nineteenth-century precedents were eventually institutionalized by government agencies like the FBI and DEA, and have even been used to justify the practice of extraordinary rendition today.

James G. Wilson
James G. Wilson

Bolts from the Blue: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the End of the Cold War

James G. Wilson, History, University of Virginia
Mentor: Jeremi Suri, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison

James Graham Wilson is a Ph.D. candidate in History at the University of Virginia, working with Melvyn Leffler.

He received his B.A. from Vassar College in 2003, and subsequently worked as a research assistant to Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. He has presented portions of his dissertation in Rome, Geneva, Cologne, and Amsterdam, and has received the U.Va Award for Excellence in Scholarship in the Humanities & Social Sciences as well as the U.Va Graduate Teaching Assistant Award. Recent articles have appeared in Diplomacy and Statecraft, Presidential Studies Quarterly, and the Journal of American Studies.

His dissertation draws upon fresh archival evidence that illuminates decision-making in Washington and Moscow during the last ten years of the Cold War. It contends that policymakers neither formulated a strategy for victory nor even articulated what victory meant—at least until the Berlin Wall crumbled in November 1989; that the revolutions of 1989-1990 were made possible by broad historical forces such as changes in the international economy and the nascent information age; and that the twilight struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union ended peacefully because of Gorbachev's devotion to new thinking, new faces, and the Soviet leader's (ill-founded) belief that he could reconfigure communism to adapt to a new era.