Miller Center

Miller Center Fellows 2011 – 2012

The Miller Center National Fellowship Program has awarded nine fellowships for the 2011–2012 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.

“The Unipolar Era”

Michael Beckley
Michael Beckley

Michael Beckley, Columbia University

Mentor: Robert S. Ross, Boston College and the John King Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University

Michael Beckley is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Tufts University and a Fellow at Dartmouth's Dickey Center for International Understanding.

Beckley received his Ph.D. from Colombia University. Titled “The Unipolar Era,” Michael Beckley’s dissertation sets out to debunk the notion that the United States is being eclipsed by China as the dominant power. In particular, he aims to demonstrate that GNP alone does not determine the strength of a nation’s military. Instead, he argues the level and comprehensive integration of a state’s economic development matters most. Beckley has published in and won the article of the year award (2010) from the Journal of Strategic Studies, and, in 2009, he received the International Studies Association’s Carl Beck award for best paper by a graduate student.

Recent Publications:

“China’s Century: Why America’s Edge Will Endure.” International Security, (Winter 2011/2012)


“From Ghosts to Shadows: The National Party Organizations and Interest Groups”

Emily Charnock
Emily Charnock

Emily Charnock, University of Virginia

Mentor: Elisabeth Clemons, University of Chicago

Emily Charnock is a Ph.D. student of Political Science at the University of Virginia.

In her dissertation, “From Ghosts to Shadows: The National Party Organizations and Interest Groups,” Emily Charnock explores the institutional impact of the relationship between key interest groups and the parties with which they have traditionally been allied. Her project promises to inform our current debate about the way interest groups like the Tea Party or labor can drive the political debate and party’s agendas. Charnock has published a co-authored piece in Political Science Quarterly.


“Intelligent Autocrats: Secret Police & State Violence Under Authoritarianism”

Sheena Chestnut Greitens
Sheena Chestnut Greitens

Sheena Chestnut Greitens, Harvard University

Mentor: Jacob N. Shapiro, Princeton University

Sheena Chestnut Greitens is a Fellow at Harvard's Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. In summer 2013, she will join the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies as an Academy Scholar, and in fall 2014, she will become an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Missouri.

Greitens earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Government at Harvard University in April 2013. She explores a particularly timely question: why are some authoritarian regimes at times more or less violent than others? By exploring a variety of regimes, Greitens' work has the potential to shed light not just on the nature of these states, but on the kinds of foreign policies best suited to dealing with authoritarian governments. Her dissertation is titled “Intelligent Autocrats: Secret Police & State Violence Under Authoritarianism.” Greitens has published in International Security.


“Behind the Menancing Racket: Organized Labor, Federal Anti-Racketeering Policy, and the Law and Order Origins of the Modern American State, 1927–1970”

Jack Epstein
Jack Epstein

Jack Epstein, Ohio University

Mentor: Daniel Ernst, Georgetown University

Jack Epstein’s dissertation promises to recast the history of the New Deal state and its policy and political legacies, by exploring the emergence of federal racketeering laws. Conservatives up to the 1970s, he contends, used these mechanisms to undermine the New Deal state by fostering competition and resisting federal intervention in labor markets. Titled “Behind the Menacing Racket: Organized Labor, Federal Anti-Racketeering Policy, and the Law and Order Origins of the Modern American State, 1927-1970,” Epstein’s project challenges traditional assumptions about the development of political ideologies.  Epstein is the McWilliams Fellow.


“Dream Deregulated: The Transformation of Housing Finance, 1968–1985”

Robert Henderson
Robert Henderson

Robert Henderson, University of Maryland

Mentor: Matthew Lassiter, University of Michigan

Robert Henderson is a writer and analyst at Sage Computing.  His dissertation sheds light on the historical roots of a most vexing current political and economic dilemma – the deregulation of America’s housing markets. While many scholars have explored the political ideology of suburbanization, Henderson pushes the field in new directions by investigating the financial and regulatory mechanisms underpinning the markets themselves. His dissertation is titled “Dream Deregulated: The Transformation of Housing Finance, 1968-1985.”


“Entering the New Frontier: The Origins and Development of Scientific Capacity in the United States and Great Britain”

Andrew Kelly
Andrew Kelly

Andrew Kelly, Northwestern University
Ambrose Monell Foundation Fellow in Technology and Democracy

Mentor: Gerald Berk, University of Oregon

Andrew Kelly is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholar at University of California, Berkeley

Kelly’s project, “Entering the New Frontier: The Origins and Development of Scientific Capacity in the United States and Great Britain,” explores the role of exchanges of scientific expertise and the effect on expanding state capacity in the United States and Great Britain. His fellowship will be supported by the Monell Foundation and is a perfect example of how the Miller Center along with Monell are contributing to a fast-growing new field that seeks to shed light on the co-evolution of technology and democracy. 


Recent Publications:

Getting to Graduation: The Completion Agenda in Higher Education, with Mark Schneider (John Hopkins University Press, 2012)
Carrots, Sticks, and the Bully Pulpit: Lessons from a Half-Century of Federal Efforts to Improve America's Schools, with Frederick M. Hess (Harvard Educational Publishing Group, 2011)


“International Insurance: Explaining Why Militant Groups Participate in Elections as Part of a Peace Agreement”

Aila Matanock
Aila Matanock

Aila Matanock, Stanford University

Mentor: Susan Hyde, Yale University

Aila Matanock is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley.  She was previously a visiting Scholar at the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) and a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) at the University of California, San Diego.

Matanock's dissertation focuses on the role of electoral competition between militant groups and governments, especially as a component of negotiated settlements.  In contrast to broadly pessimistic views of elections as a conflict resolution tool, her research finds that, when these inclusive elections are part of an agreement, the duration of peace between the signatories is longer. Specifically, international actors are able to engage in monitoring and sanctioning violations of the deal through the transparency that elections provide.  The project draws on evidence from field interviews with former militant group, government, and civic leaders and on a newly collected cross-national dataset.  Her other projects focus on the role of international actors and armed non-state actors in governing weak and post-conflict states.  She has designed and run several survey experiments in Colombia and Mexico that explore the levels of social support for armed non-state actors, as well as their
strategies for gaining more support.

Aila is also pre-doctoral fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) and a Ph.D. Candidate in Stanford's Political Science Department (degree expected in June 2012).  Her research is supported by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense's Minerva Research Initiative, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), and the Eisenhower Institute.


“Body Politic: Federal Policy-Making on American Physique, 1890–1965”

Rachel Moran
Rachel Moran

Rachel Moran, Penn State University

Mentor: Margot Canaday, Princeton University

Rachel Moran is a Ph.D. Student at Penn State University.

In her dissertation, “Body Politic: Physique and Government in 20th Century America,” Rachel Louise Moran explores how the United States government developed policies over time meant to quite literally ‘shape’ American citizens. In exploring federal nutrition and exercise policy, Moran opens up a new field of inquiry into the overlap of citizenship, policy, health, and body image. From the height-weight tables of the Children’s Bureau to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Moran argues that managing and molding American bodies has long been an interest of federal agencies.

In addition to the Miller Center, Moran is also Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellow this year. She has previously held the Crawford Family Fellowship in Ethical Inquiry and Cornell University’s Fellowship in the History of Home Economics. Her current research has been made possible by a generous Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation’s program in Science, Technology, and Society. Moran has presented findings from this research at a number of conferences, including those of the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the History of Science Society. Moran is advised by Jennifer Mittelstadt (Rutgers) and Lori Ginzberg (Penn State). You can find more about her work at


“A Dialogue of Power: Development, Global Civil Society, and the Third World Challenge to the International Order, 1970–1988”

Victor Nemchenok
Victor Nemchenok

Victor Nemchenok, University of Virginia

Mentor: Erez Manela, Harvard University

Victor Nemchenok is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department at the University of Virginia.

Nemchenok’s dissertation opens up a new avenue for international development studies by looking at the other side of the story: how experts and NGOs from the global “south,” the third world, interpreted and contested leading nation’s efforts at modernization over the 1970s and 1980s. His dissertation is titled “A Dialogue of Power: Development, Global Civil Society, and the Third World Challenge to the International Order, 1970-1988.” Nemchenok has published in Cold War History, The Middle East Journal, and Diplomacy and Statecraft.