The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance



Professor Angelica Bernal recently contributed to a Special Volume of the journal Philosophy & Global Affairs on Jane Gordon's "Creolizing Political Theory."
Bernal's article engages with a creolized approach to the problem and paradoxes of founding: where do a people get the legitimacy to found or refound a new political order? In this article, Bernal argues that Jane Gordon’s creolized reading of Rousseau’s problem of the general will—via Frantz Fanon—offers us a novel approach to this question: one that neither resorts to an outside lawgiver or projects the solution for a people to solve in the future. Bringing together this solution with Bernal's own work on foundings, they contend that Gordon’s creolized general will offers not only a “third way” beyond traditional Rousseauian solutions to the problem, but also a solution that is importantly informed by and can continue to inform real world processes of founding and refounding in colonial and post-colonial contexts. (Philosophy and Global Affairs, 9/22/2021)

Paul Collins, Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science, received the 2021 Richard E. Neustadt Book Award from the Presidents and Executive Politics Section of the American Political Science Association for the best book on executive politics.
Collins’ book, "The President and the Supreme Court: Going Public on Judicial Decisions from Washington to Trump", was coauthored with Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha and published by Cambridge University Press. The book examines the conflicts that develop between the president and the Supreme Court, particularly when presidents take positions on the Court’s pending decisions or criticize the Court’s opinions in their public rhetoric. Critics of these actions argue that, in so doing, presidents act as bullies and offend the norm of judicial independence. Contrary to this, the book shows that presidents discuss cases to promote their reelection, policy goals, and historical legacies, while attempting to shape the impact of Court decisions on the bureaucracy, Congress, the media, and the public. In the award citation, the selection committee noted that “The President and the Supreme Court represents an excellent example of applying modern social science to a classic issue of presidential politics.”
“It is truly an amazing honor to be recognized for our work,” Collins said. “Given that this topic remains highly salient – as demonstrated by President Biden’s very recent public criticism of the Court for its decision involving the Texas abortion ban – we hope that our book will help people better understand that conflicts between the president and the Supreme Court have long been a part of our constitutional system and can, in fact, be good for a democracy.” (Cambridge University Press, 9/23/2021)


Ray La Raja, Professor of Political Science, is quoted in an article about public campaign funding for U.S. elections. In reference to candidates who turn down public financing in order to fundraise privately, La Raja said, “The programs will say, ‘Take these public funds, but don’t spend over this amount or else you’re not eligible to take the public money,’ which is an invitation for all these outside groups to spend tons of money.” (Bloomberg, 9/16/21)

Paul Collins, Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science at UMass Amherst was extensively quoted in a Newsweek article on the Supreme Court’s case involving a newly enacted Texas law that bans most abortions. Collins said that the court’s handling of the case will increase calls to expand the size of the court. Collins added, “If the court were interested in avoiding being in the political thicket, it's difficult to imagine a dumber move.” (Newsweek, 9/3/2021)

Little is known about the experiences of human trafficking survivors over the long term. Why do some survivors experience re-victimization while others do not? Drawing from longitudinal interviews with 64 female sex trafficking survivors in Cambodia, we use qualitative comparative analysis to compare which conditions in the lives of survivors are associated with re-exploitation and which are associated with not experiencing re-exploitation.

Graduating UMass doctoral student and Human Security Lab doctoral researcher Alexandria Nylen has accepted a position as Program Coordinator at Brown University's Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies (CHRHS) at the prestigious Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. Nylen successfully defended her PhD dissertation, Targeting Drones, this month, completing the final requirement for her doctoral degree in Political Science and Legal Studies from University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Charli Carpenter, political science, has written an opinion piece calling for United Nations intervention in Afghanistan, saying it is not too late for a peacekeeping force to assist in protecting the nation’s women as the U.S. military withdraws from its 20-year occupation of the country. (World Politics Review, 8/20/21)

Human Security Lab doctoral researcher Alexandria Nylen successfully defended her PhD dissertation, Targeting Drones, last week, completing the final requirement for her doctoral degree in Political Science and Legal Studies from University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Tatishe Nteta, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the UMass Poll, is quoted in a column supporting a federal reparations program to benefit Black Americans descended from enslaved Africans. In April, the UMass Poll found that nearly half of Americans believe that the federal government should not pay reparations. Nteta says, “In explaining their opposition to reparations, Americans view the descendants of slaves as unworthy of payment for the plight of their forefathers and mothers. For supporters of reparations, the next stage in the fight may be the education of the public regarding the continuing legacy and impact of slavery on the African American community.” (MSNBC, 8/4/21)

Paul Collins, Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science at UMass Amherst, is quoted in an article about the Supreme Court’s 49% approval rating, which dropped from 58% last year. Collins tied this drop to a sharp decrease in support from Republicans. “This was the first term with the three Trump appointees on the Court and the expectations among Republicans were high that the Court would take a decidedly conservative turn,” Collins explained. “Though the Court did make some significant conservative rulings, the term was largely defined by moderation, which was disappointing to many Republicans.” (Courthouse News Service, 7/28/21)