Miller Center

Miller Center Fellows, 2012 – 2013

The Miller Center National Fellowship Program has awarded nine fellowships for the 2011–2012 academic year. The Fellowship grants each Fellow a one-year $22,000 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.

“Courtroom Colonialism: Philippine Law and U.S. Rule, 1898-1935”

Clara Altman

Clara Altman, Brandeis University

Mentor: Mary Dudziak, Emory University School of Law

Clara Altman is Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College.

In the early twentieth century, U.S. rule in the Philippines initiated various changes in the islands’ civil courts and jurisprudence inherited from Spanish colonialism to produce what legal scholars describe as a “mixed” or “hybrid” system of law. Today, the Philippine legal system is unique among modern systems of jurisprudence for the ways in which it is shaped by American legal precedents, ideas, and legal culture. My project examines the institutional, intellectual, and doctrinal changes in Philippine courts and jurisprudence from the onset of U.S. colonial rule in 1898 to the establishment of the Philippine Commonwealth in 1935. Throughout the nearly four decades of U.S. rule courts were sites of colonial state power and local resistance, and Philippine jurisprudence was a contested terrain in the ongoing struggle over foreign rule. By the 1930s legal scholars, judges, and Philippine nationalist politicians began to articulate the content, sources, and core principles of a distinctly “Philippine Law.” They held up the new Philippine jurisprudence as evidence of a key foundation for independent nationhood and admission to the global order of states. In the process, they solidified the institutional, cultural, and doctrinal connections between U.S. and Philippine law while marking key departures in the transition from a colonial legal system to that of an independent state. By tracing the path from a colonial to national system of jurisprudence in the Philippines, “Courtroom Colonialism” examines the processes and implications of a crucial dimension of U.S. intervention abroad in the twentieth century: the reform and reconstruction of local systems of law.

“Varieties of Hesitation: Religious Politics and US-Muslim Counterterrorism Cooperation”

Peter Henne

Peter Henne, Georgetown University

Mentor: John Owen, University of Virginia

Peter Henne received his Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown University, majoring in International Relations and minoring in Comparative Government.

Henne's dissertation analyzes the effects of religion on Muslim states’ cooperation with U.S.-led counter-terrorism initiatives. Muslim responses to US counter-terrorism initiatives—both before and after 9/11—have been marked by both significant religiously-influenced opposition among Muslim societies and general cooperation on the part of Muslim states. At the same time, there has been great variation in the extent of Muslim states’ cooperation, and occasional periods of tension between the United States and Muslim states. Peter points to debates over the proper role of religion in society and the political and institutional conditions of religion in Muslim states to explain these patterns of opposition and cooperation. In response to religious-secular divide in recent decades, some Muslim states have established close ties to religious groups over recent decades, granting these groups disproportionate political power and giving the state an incentive to adopt religiously-motivated policies. Others have allied with secular groups, and maintained some autonomy from religious groups. When the former domestic situation coincides with a religiously-contentious international issue—like the American-led “Global War on Terror”—religious groups gain influence over the state’s foreign policy. This can result in tensions over US counter-terrorism initiatives. The latter group of states, in contrast, can insulate their foreign policy from domestic religious politics. Peter’s dissertation includes a quantitative study of counter-terrorism cooperation and case studies of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. 

Peter is a doctoral candidate in the Government Department of Georgetown University (degree expected in May 2013) and has worked with the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life.  Peter’s work has been published in the Journal of Peace Research and Terrorism and Political Violence

“Special Interest Partisanship: The Transformation of American Political Parties”

Katherine Krimmel

Katherine Krimmel, Columbia University

Mentor: Nolan McCarty, Princeton University

Katherine Krimmel is currently finishing her Ph.D. at Columbia University. Next fall, Krimmel will join the Political Science Department as Assistant Professor at Boston University.

In her dissertation, Special Interest Partisanship: The Transformation of American Political Parties, Katherine Krimmel employs both qualitative and statistical tools to investigate changes in group-party relations since the New Deal, and their implications for American democracy.  She argues that contemporary special interest partisanship stems from the growth of national parties, the decline of patronage politics, and the consequent rise of issues as a major site of political competition over this period.  Another project, co-authored with Jeffrey Lax and Justin Phillips and titled Gay Rights in Congress: Public Opinion and (Mis)Representation, analyzes Congressional responsiveness to growing public support for LGBT rights issues. 

Katherine is also a Mellon Graduate Fellow at the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP) at Columbia University, and a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science, where she is advised by Ira Katznelson, Robert Lieberman, and Gregory Wawro. 

“Of Limits and Growth: Environmentalism and the Rise of 'Sustainable Development' in the Twentieth Century”

Stephen Macekura

Stephen Macekura, University of Virginia

Mentor: John McNeill, Georgetown University

Stephen Macekura is a Ph.D. candidate in the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia.

Stephen’s dissertation poses a pressing question of recent history–how can societies reconcile a desire for economic growth with the perceived imperatives of environmental protection?  His dissertation explores this question in historical perspective by analyzing how influential Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) contested existing ideas about economic development and promoted new approaches to development policy from the rise of post-World War II modernization theories through the United Nations’ adoption of “sustainable development” as its policy framework at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Stephen Macekura is a Ph.D. candidate in the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia. His scholarly work explores the history of American foreign relations, global environmental history, and civil society.  His writing has been published by Cold War History, The Journal of Policy History, Political Science Quarterly, and The Hedgehog Review.

“Settling the Score: The Interactive Effect of Fighting and Bargaining on War Duration and Termination”

Oriana Mastro

Oriana Skylar Mastro, Princeton University

Mentor: Dan Reiter, Emory University

Mastro is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Politics Department at Princeton University and a fellow in the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).  She has published in the Journal of Strategic Studies, The Financial Times, The New Republic and has co-edited a book on deterrence and escalation dynamics across the Taiwan Strait. She has worked on China policy issues at CNAS, CSIS, RAND Corporation, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, U.S. Pacific Command and has testified for the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. As an officer in the United States Air Force Reserve, Mastro fulfills her duties as a China strategist for the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Professionally proficient in Mandarin Chinese, she worked as a translator for a hydroelectric valve company in Beijing and makes frequent appearances on a Chinese language debate show. She received her B.A. in East Asian Studies with honors in International Security from Stanford University.

Mastro’s dissertation seeks to explain the conditions under which leaders finally agree to launch talks during the course of the war. Because the theoretical literature largely assumes that talk is cheap, conflict analyses have failed to explain decisions regarding whether to open talks with the enemy, an obvious precursor for a peace agreement. By evaluating data gathered through archival work and interviews on Sino-Indian War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, Mastro argues that states are concerned that demonstrating a desire to terminate a war could encourage the opponent to escalate the conflict to a level that is unsustainable or unfavorable to them. The possibility of this dynamic explains the long intrawar periods in which direct talks are not present and offers to talk are not taken seriously by either side.  Only when the incentive to escalate has been adequately reduced by the mounting costs of war will leaders be willing to take on the risk associated with demonstrating an eagerness to talk.

“Reclaiming Power: An Analysis of Congressional Reassertion Efforts, 1828–2002”

Justin Peck

Justin Peck, University of Virginia

Mentor: William G. Howell, University of Chicago

Justin Peck is a Ph.D. candidate in the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics at the University of Virginia. His research is in the areas of separation of powers (Congress and the presidency), American Political Development, and American political institutions, and race policy.  His work has appeared in Studies in American Political Development (“Between Reconstructions: Congressional Action on Civil Rights, 1891-1940” (April 2010), co-authored with Jeffery A. Jenkins and Vesla M. Weaver University of Virginia), and is forthcoming at the Law and History Review (“Building Toward Major Policy Change: Congressional Action on Civil Rights, 1940-1950,” coauthored with Jeffery A. Jenkins, University of Virginia.) His writing has also been published by the online edition of Dissent magazine.

Justin received a B.A. in Politics and History from Brandeis University in 2005. After graduating he went on to work on the legislative staff and presidential campaign of then-Senator Christopher J. Dodd. After spending two years in Washington, D.C. he made the transition to University of Virginia.

Justin's dissertation examines Congressional efforts to reassert authority vis-à-vis the executive branch.  He defines congressional reassertion as any attempt by Congress–using the formal law-making process–to challenge or contest executive branch governing authority. Through a detailed search of the History of Joint Bills and Resolutions, he compiles an index of legislative reassertion bills.  He then categorizes reassertion strategies over time, systematically analyzes the motivations underlying those who instigate such efforts, and specifies the political conditions that generate them.  In so doing, he uses both historical and large-n methodology to provide insight into one neglected aspect of Congressional behavior, to illustrate patterns in reassertion activity over time, and to demonstrate the policy consequences that inhere to conflicts over “who governs” in our system of separate institutions sharing powers.

“The Oil Crisis of the 1970s: An International History”

Victor McFarland

Victor McFarland, Yale University

Mentor: David Painter, Georgetown University

Victor McFarland’s dissertation examines the changing relationship between the United States and the Middle East during the oil crisis of the 1970s. In that decade, oil prices soared and control over the world's richest petroleum reserves passed from Western-owned companies into the hands of oil-producing nations like Saudi Arabia. This project uses both American and Arab sources to explore the ways in which the oil crisis affected the American economy, triggered an economic boom in the Arab Gulf, and permanently changed the relationship between the United States and the Middle East.

“Agrarian Crossings: The American South, Mexico, and the Twentieth-Century Remaking of the Rural World”

Tore Olsson

Tore Olsson
Olsson is the Ambrose Monell Foundation Funded Fellow in Technology and Democracy

Mentor: Sarah Phillips, Boston University

Tore Olsson is a Ph.D. candidate in History at the University of Georgia, where he specializes in transnational history and the study of food and agriculture. His advisor is Shane Hamilton (Miller Center Fellow ’04).  He received a B.A. in History from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2004, and an M.A. in History from the University of Georgia in 2007. His work has appeared in Enterprise and Society and Southern Cultures. In 2011-2012, he was an International Dissertation Research Fellow with the Social Science Research Council.

Olsson’s dissertation examines how the dialogue between the United States and Mexico during the first half of the twentieth century on questions of land reform and agricultural modernization would inform later campaigns of rural “development” in the nascent Third World. Over the course of two generations, countless reformers in both nations came to compare Mexico’s countryside with that of the United States, particularly its cotton South, and their observations would shape how they attacked rural inequality in each region. Of particular importance were the Rockefeller philanthropies, which conducted vast programs of agricultural reform in the U.S. South during the Progressive Era and New Deal and then transplanted their southern model in Mexico during the 1940s, and then globally in later years as part of the “Green Revolution.” The dissertation does not only describe this North-South transfer, but also analyzes how Mexican models of rural development, particularly the revolutionary project of land redistribution, would inform U.S. liberals during the long New Deal. Ultimately, the project argues that “development” at mid-century was a far more fractured and multifaceted project than it would be later on in the Cold War.

“Planning the American Family: The Politics of Government Family Planning Programs from the Great Society to the New Right”

Josie Rodberg

Josie Rodberg
Rodberg is the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation Fellow

Mentor: Margot Canaday, Princeton University

Josie Rodberg is a Ph.D. candidate in the Harvard University Department of History, where she studies 20th century United States politics, gender, and sexuality.

Her dissertation examines the trajectory of debates over whether the United States government should subsidize poor women’s access to birth control. It analyzes the emergence of demand for government family planning funding in the mid-1960s, the establishment of three major federal programs between 1965 and 1970, and political disputes over the programs during the 1970s and 1980s. Her research suggests that there were important changes in advocates’ rationales for and against subsidized birth control during these years: the debate’s focus moved from the needs and rights of poor people in the 1960s, to the rights and roles of all women in the 1970s and 1980s. The dissertation argues that family planning garnered broad support, and federal programs expanded, from 1965-1972 because supporters successfully framed these programs as a way to preserve the nuclear family, but that support dwindled in subsequent years as opponents painted family planning as, instead, a threat to traditional family structures. It also suggests that debates over federal family planning programs helped the New Right coalesce and exposed serious tensions within post-1960s liberalism. As conflict continues today about whether the U.S. government should fund Planned Parenthood and other family planning providers, the project will offer a new way to think about the political significance of reproductive behavior in the late twentieth century.