Theda Skocpol

THEDA SKOCPOL (PhD, Harvard, 1975) is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University. At Harvard, she has served as Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (2005-2007) and as Director of the Center for American Political Studies (2000-2006). In 1996, Skocpol served as President of the Social Science History Association, an interdisciplinary professional group, and in 2002-03, she served as President of the American Political Science Association during the centennial of this leading professional body. In 2007, she was awarded the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science for her "visionary analysis of the significance of the state for revolutions, welfare, and political trust, pursued with theoretical depth and empirical evidence." The Skytte Prize is one of the largest and most prestigious in political science and is awarded annually by the Skytte Foundation at Uppsala University (Sweden) to the scholar who in the view of the foundation has made the most valuable contribution to the discipline. Skocpol has also been elected to membership in all three major U.S. interdisciplinary honor societies: the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (elected 1994), the American Philosophical Society (elected 2006), and the National Academy of Sciences (elected 2008). 

Skocpol's work covers an unusually broad spectrum of topics including both comparative politics (States and Social Revolutions, 1979) and American politics (Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins of Social Policy in the United States, 1992). Among her other works are Bringing the State Back In (1985, with Peter Evans and Dietrich Rueschemeyer); Social Policy in the United States (1995); Boomerang: Clinton's Health Security Effort and the Turn Against Government in US Politics (1996); Civic Engagement in American Democracy (1999, with Morris Fiorina); Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life (2003); Inequality and American Democracy: What We Know and What We Need to Learn(2005, with Lawrence R. Jacobs); What a Mighty Power We Can Be: African American Fraternal Groups and The Struggle for Racial Equality (2006, with Ariane Liazos and Marshall Ganz); and The Transformation of American Politics: Activist Government and the Rise of Conservatism (2007, with Paul Pierson). Her books and articles have been widely cited in political science literature and have won numerous awards, including the 1993 Woodrow Wilson Award of the American Political Science Association for the best book in political science for the previous year. Skocpol's research focuses on U.S. social policy and civic engagement in American democracy, including changes since the 1960s. She has recently launched new projects on the transformations of U.S. federal policies in the Obama era.

Scholar Strategy Network profile page.

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez

ALEXANDER HERTEL-FERNANDEZ is an Assistant Professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.  He studies the political economy of the United States, with an emphasis on the politics of organized interests, especially business, labor, and public policy.  His forthcoming book, Politics at Work: How Employers Deploy Their Workors to Shape American Politics (Oxford University Press), examines how employers are increasingly recruiting their workers into politics -- and why Americans should care. 

His research has been published, or is forthcoming, in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and LawPerspectives on Politics, Studies in American Political Development, and the Social Service Review.  His work has also appeared in the American Prospect,  Democracy JournalMSNBC, the New York Times, the New YorkerNPRSalon, Talking Points Memo, the Washington Post, and Vox



Vanessa S. Williamson

VANESSA WILLIAMSON is a Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution.  She studies the politics of redistribution, with a focus on attitudes about taxation.  She is the author of the forthcoming book, Read My Lips: Talking to Americans about Taxes.  Williamson previously served as the Policy Director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. She received her Ph.D. in Government and Social Policy from Harvard University.


Angie Maritza Bautista-Chavez

ANGIE BAUTISTA-CHAVEZ is a PhD candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard University.  Angie’s research focuses on the domestic and foreign politics of immigration regulation and control.  At Harvard, she is a Fellow of the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy, a Graduate Student Associate of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and a Ford Foundation Diversity Fellow. 



Sarah James

SARAH E. JAMES is a PhD Candidate in the Social Policy and Government PhD program at Harvard University. She studies the politics of redistribution, the history of American social policy, civic engagement and political mobilization. Prior to graduate school, Sarah spent five years as a high school teacher and principal in Boston, MA.



Jason Sclar photo

JASON SCLAR is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard University.  He has a master's degree in Quantitative Methods for the Social Sciences from Columbia University and received his B.A. in Computer Science from Yale University.