Faculty Books of 2016

Three Political Science Faculty Members published books in 2016: Paige Digeser, Pei-te Lien, and Eric Smith. Their contributions cover a wide spectrum of the Political Science discipline.

Friendship Reconsidered: What it Means and How it Matters to Politics

P.E. Digeser

In the history of Western thought, friendship's relationship to politics is checkered. Friendship was seen as key to understanding political life in the ancient world, but it was then ignored for centuries. Today, friendship has again become a desirable framework for political interaction. In Friendship Reconsidered, P. E. Digeser contends that our rich and varied practices of friendship multiply and moderate connections to politics. Along the way, she sets forth a series of ideals that appreciates friendship's many forms and its dynamic relationship to individuality, citizenship, political and legal institutions, and international relations.

Richard E. Flathman: Situated concepts, virtuosity liberalism and opalescent individuality

P.E. Digeser (editor)

Richard E. Flathman is a ground-breaking theorist of key political concepts, a fierce defender of individuality, a close and original reader of Hobbes and an advocate of a willful conception of liberalism.

In this volume, Digeser draws together some of his key works. The collection is framed by an introduction and an interview with Flathman, where he reflects on his contributions. By thinking through and with Wittgenstein’s later philosophy of language, his work clarifies and refines terms that are central to politics and to the tradition of political thought. His work also seeks to cure certain persistent muddles and confusions in our political concepts as well as create and defend a space for the opaque and opalescent features of ourselves. Flathman advances a liberalism that is more open to and celebratory of the idiosyncratic as well as to voices not ordinarily associated with the liberal tradition

Contested Transformation: Race, Gender, and Political Leadership in 21st Century America

Pei-te Lien (with Carol Hardy-Fanta, Dianne Pinderhughes, and Christine Marie Sierra)

Contested Transformation constitutes the first comprehensive study of racial and ethnic minorities holding elective office in the United States at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Building on data from the Gender and Multicultural Leadership (GMCL) National Database and Survey, it provides a baseline portrait of Black, Latino, Asian American, and American Indian elected officials - the women and men holding public office at national, state, and local levels of government. Analysis reveals commonalities and differences across race and gender groups on their backgrounds, paths to public office, leadership roles, and policy positions. Challenging mainstream political science theories in their applicability to elected officials of color, the book offers new understandings of the experiences of those holding public office today. Gains in political leadership and influence by people of color are transforming the American political landscape, but they have occurred within a contested political context, one where struggles for racial and gender equality continue.

The Politics of Energy Crises

Eric R.A.N. Smith (with former department graduate students: Juliet E. Carlisle, Jessica T. Feezell, and Kristy E.H. Michaud)

Energy crises, painful combinations of energy shortages and soaring prices, have struck the United States several times since 1973, sending out political and economic shock waves.  The public reacts with anger and suspicion when gasoline prices shoot up.  People call on politicians to do something, and politicians respond.  Energy crises instantly put energy issues at the top of the nation’s agenda, sometimes with dramatic consequences for public policy.