The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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It is one thing to sit in a classroom and read about indigenous issues, and it is another entirely to engage with policymakers working to address those issues on a daily basis. POLISCI 397, Indigenous Rights and Movements in Latin America, offers students the opportunity to do both.

The Political Networks Section of the American Political Science Association recently recognized Bruce Desmarais with a "2013 Best Conference Paper in Political Networks" prize for his article "Inferring Policy Diffusion Networks in the American States" (co-authored with Jeffrey J. Harden and Frederick J. Boehmke).

The front page of the Sunday (9/1/2013) Boston Globe features a story on a survey of Boston area residents conducted as a partnership between UMass Poll and the Globe. The UMass Poll was founded by Professor Brian Schaffner and is directed by him and Associate Directors La Raja, Barakso, and Nteta. Both Schaffner and La Raja were quoted in the Globe's feature story

If you have been looking through our course schedule lately, you have probably noticed a few new names. We are happy to introduce the following new full-time faculty and welcome them to the Department:


“Like most college graduates, I dreamed of becoming a lobbyist,” jokes Douglas Lathrop, PhD ’01. Jokes aside, his work as Vice President of the Office of Governmental Affairs for New York Life, has been rewarding and stimulating.

Ph.D. student Alyssa Maraj Grahame will spend the Spring 2014 semester conducting research abroad thanks to the National Science Foundation-funded Culture and Heritage in European Societies and Spaces (CHESS).

Specifically, Maraj Grahame will use the grant to conduct dissertation research in Iceland. "I will be using the opportunity to continue my research on Iceland and the European economic crisis, focusing on the heritage of the welfare state and resistance against austerity measures," she says. 

Many members of our department are spending the next few weeks putting the polishing touches on their papers and presentations for the American Political Science Association annual conference, held this year August 29-September 1, 2013 in Chicago, IL.

Presentations by our faculty and graduate students include: 

Professors Ray La Raja and Brian Schaffner have received a $78,000 grant from the Hewlett Foundation to study the effect of party-centered campaign finance laws on American politics.

On June 30, 2013, the Department bid farewell to our long-time Graduate Program Manager, Donna Dove.

Donna spent 28 years at UMass, all of which were in our department. She first worked as the undergraduate secretary and then as the graduate program manager -- the role for which she was most well-known and took the greatest pride.