Hire a PhD


American Politics PhD Job Candidates

2019 - 2020

Podob, Andrew

  • Dissertation Title: Anxiety Among Marginalized Groups and What it Means for Politics
  • Committee: Tom Nelson (chair), William Minozzi, Michael Neblo, Tom Wood
  • Summary: Previous studies theorize a de-politicized thought process under the influence of anxiety, which inhibits cognitive biases like heuristics from coloring political decision making. Furthermore, the results of these studies indicate anxiety can often be beneficial for the anxious, leading individuals to engage in normatively positive behaviors they might not otherwise engage in absent their anxiety. But anxiety is not always normatively warranted or personally beneficial. Consider African Americans and welfare (food stamp and Medicaid) recipients. Government policy (or politics more generally) can be at the root of or cause much of their anxiety. Members of these groups are chronically taxed by politics, which rewires neural networks in the brain and which leaves them with less available mental bandwidth to conduct themselves civically and politically; and they are more likely to have lower internal loci of control and self-esteem. Taken together, members of marginalized groups will respond differently to anxiety inducing primes than members of non-marginalized groups. While members of non-marginalized groups will respond to these primes with increased participation, members of marginalized groups will respond to these same primes with the opposite. I launch three preregistered survey experiments to test my theory.

Comparative Politics PhD Job Candidates



International Relations PhD Job Candidates

2019- 2020

Harden, John P. (Website)

  • Dissertation Title: Maintenance of the Inflated Self-Image: Presidential Narcissism and Foreign Policy Decision-Making
  • Committee: Richard Herrmann (Chair), Christopher Gelpi, Randall Schweller, Amy Brunell
  • Summary: My research focuses on the human factor in International Relations (IR). More specifically, my research agenda analyzes the role that personality plays in preference formation and subsequently foreign policy decision-making. My dissertation answers the question ‘how do leaders matter?' by examining how narcissism impacts the foreign polices of world leaders. In contrast to the existing literature, which typically assumes that leaders care foremost about political or state survival, I demonstrate that narcissists have deeper goals. The Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry Concept defines grandiose narcissism as a desire to maintain an inflated self-image through promotion and protection. I argue that more narcissistic leaders will direct their energy towards foreign policies which promote and protect their inflated self-image. Behavioral manifestations of these goals include a higher propensity for solitary initiation of Great Power disputes and longer wars. Using survey and lab experiments, alongside statistical analysis of historical cases and process tracing, I find that more narcissistic presidents do approach foreign policy differently than their less narcissistic counter parts. From a policy perspective, the central takeaway is that more narcissistic leaders are more prone to engaging in bombastic and high-stakes foreign policies that put the countries they lead at risk.
  • Noteworthy: The Ohio State University Hayes Graduate Forum, 1st Prize Social and Behavioral Sciences Division (2020)


Kenzer, Benjamin (Website)

  • Dissertation Title: The Global Governmentality of Protests
  • Committee: Alexander Wendt (chair), Jennifer Mitzen, Christopher Gelpi
  • Summary: My research agenda focuses on the impact of international organization, aid regimes, and interventions on democratic rule, free expression, and free assembly. In my dissertation, I investigate how police professionalization programs, as a facet of global governing, have affected the politics of protests across the world. Despite the fact that many transnational police professionalization programs have been designed to promote democracy and stability, many police training programs have failed to stop police from violently harming protesters. I argue that transnational police professionalization programs create political dynamics which can stymie progress and peace in the protest space. Transnational police professionalization programs foster police role conflict, incline police to dehumanize protesters, and depoliticize conflicts in the protest space. To better understand the impact of transnational police professionalization, I developed an original dataset of police professionalization and genealogically examined the governing logic behind global police professionalization programs from the turn of the 20th century to the present. By considering the ways professionalization shapes how police see themselves, my dissertation raises broader questions about how professionalism is imposed on an occupation, and how global governing affects democracy promotion abroad.
  • Noteworthy: Awards: The Francis R. Aumann Award For Distinguished Teaching (2018)
    Publications: "What Pivot? International Relations Scholarship and the Study of East Asia."  2015. International Studies Perspectives, 16 (3). Co-authored with Lindsay Hundley and Susan Peterson.          

Turco, Linnea (Website)

  • Dissertation Title: Moral Theory of International Politics
  • Committee: Alexander Wendt (chair), Michael Neblo, Jennifer Mitzen, Alexander Thompson, William Minozzi
  • Summary: The way in which states talk about morally-exigent political issues, such as refugee crises and climate change, has received little attention by international relations theorists. In part the lack of attention to moral grammar is a data issue: one can only sift through and read a finite number of speeches. And in part this omission is due to a lack of attention to morality as a concept in international relations theory. My research addresses both of these concerns. Whereas previous IR research focuses on morality as a monolithic category, I conceptualize morality along two broad lines: consequentialism and deontology. I use this understanding to argue that shifts in moral grammar coincide with problematic outcomes for vulnerable people in need of states’ moral assistance. I argue that particular moral grammars come to characterize policies such as refugee crises and climate change. These grammars in turn trap states and other actors by reducing the discursive flexibility to deal with the full complexities of the political problems they face. Leveraging state-of-the-art text as data techniques combined with interpretive discourse analysis, I present a map of moral discourse from 1993 to 2017 using a new corpus of United Nations General Assembly speeches.
  • Noteworthy: Recipient of Department of Political Science Graduate Student Grants for methods training and research assistance, and a University Fellowship. Managing editor of International Theory.

Political Theory PhD Job Candidates

[pdf] - Some links on the page are to Adobe .pdf files, requiring Adobe Reader. If you need any of them in a more accessible format, please contact polisci@osu.edu.

Top of page