Polis Research Blog

Political scientists at Duke University draw upon a variety of theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches to produce cutting-edge research that enhances our understanding of politics.  Polis is committed to showcasing political science research at Duke and to facilitating its creation.

The Duke Community Discusses Voting and NC Primary Elections

Duke University and the Sanford School of Public Policy are abuzz with talks concerning today’s NC primary election and the importance of voting.

Check out these articles to hear what students and faculty have to say:

Professor Asher Hildebrand and Professor Deondra Rose were interviewed about the political implications of the Supreme Court leaks in the Progressive Pulse and Duke Today.

Director of Polis, Professor Rose argues that “This could be the issue that could mobilize young voters, certainly in the primaries and potentially in the general election in November.”

In the Herald Sun, Professor Rose said, “I’m curious how far out from Election Day people are undecided.” Professor Hildebrand also argued that knocking on someone’s door and “peer-to-peer” texting are effective means to reach voters and encourage support for candidates.

Professor Asher Hildebrand, a member of the Polis Steering Committee, was also on The News & Observer’s Under the Dome podcast about the Democratic primary for US House District 4.

In McClatchy DC, Professor Hildebrand argued that abortion will “become a defining issue, perhaps the defining issue in the fall.” He states that “A lot of states have already passed legislation to criminalize abortion if Roe vs. Wade is repealed, and all of a sudden we’re really hanging in the balance as one of the few states left in the region where we haven’t ruled one way or the other, and so — I don’t know if voters will make that distinction, but you can bet that a lot of national organizations looking for places to invest are going to make that distinction.”

Polis Steering Committee member Professor Mac McCorkle was quoted in CBS17 about Republicans and Democrats donating to each other’s campaigns. He asserts this is less common in these polarized times. In reference to GOP Congressional candidate Kelly Daughtry’s supposed political donations to a democratic candidate, he states, “In past days, especially in the case of judges and judicial politics, which is the head has been cordoned off from the regular polarized politics, I think you would have seen more of this.”

Lastly senior Daisy Lane who has worked with Duke Votes was interviewed in Duke Today. She argues that students are not politically apathetic. “The thinking is, they’re only on campus for four years, their home is elsewhere and there’s a lot of student apathy. But I’ve spent much of my four years here talking to students about politics and voting, and what has always been clear is that students care a lot and they want to vote.” Obstacles that create lower turnout among students include the confusing and intimidating nature of the voting process. Duke Votes is a student-led organization that aims to break these obstacles down and mobilize the Duke community to vote.

Click here to learn how to vote in today's primary election!

Professor Antepli on Religion in Academia, American School in Japan

Porf. Abdullah Antepli

Associate Professor Abdullah Antepli was interviewed by students at the American School in Japan for their newspaper Hanabi about the role religion plays in academia. 

Prof. Antepli answers the question "where does religion lie in contemporary academic and political discourse?" in an interview with Nathan Michels of the American School in Japan. After giving his background and conversion story, Prof. Antepli explains the vital importance of discourse in politics and the need for civil discourse in the religious sphere.

"Professor Antepli's message is one of tolerance and understanding. Especially for young people, we have the unique opportunity to push ourselves to create a wider view of the world. Religion, he feels, is not a barrier to intellectual discussion, but a tool to understand some of the greatest historical and contemporary achievements humanity has ever achieved. It is a system of thought that has much to offer to society, and it can -- and should -- be included in our political and civil discourse."

-Nathan Michels, ASIJ Junior

To read the full article, click here

Professor Abdullah Antepli is an associate Professor of the Practice in the Sanford School of Public Policy and Associate Professor of the Practice of Interfaith Relations at the Duke Divinity School.

Nathan Michels is a junior and writer for the Hanabi at the American School in Japan.

“American Democracy at a Crossroads:” Proposals for Democratic Reform and Renewal

Professor Asher Hildebrand

During the Spring 2022 semester, Sanford Associate Professor of the Practice Asher D. Hildebrand led a new seminar that examined four major challenges facing American democracy today: (1) polarization and partisanship, (2) money and politics, (3) voting and civic participation, and (4) election integrity and subversion. The seminar challenged students to examine the causes and consequences of these challenges, debate alternative solutions, and then develop their own proposals for reform. The students’ proposals have been published in a new report, “American Democracy at a Crossroads: Proposals for Democratic Reform and Renewal.”

Hildebrand, who serves on the Polis Steering Committee, writes in the foreword to the report: “How can we defend the imperfect democracy we have against the very real threats it faces, while also rebuilding and renewing it to move it closer to perfection? This question became the defining charge for [the] seminar.” The foreword continues: “This report represents the culmination of the seminar’s work: fifteen unique proposals for democratic reform and renewal, developed by students whose generation’s commitment to democracy will determine our nation’s future…by viewing seemingly intractable challenges in a fresh light, we hope to contribute a new and valuable perspective to the public discourse over these vital issues.”

You can read the full report below.

Loader Loading...
EAD Logo Taking too long?

Reload Reload document
| Open Open in new tab

Professor Asher Hildebrand and Deondra Rose on the impact of Roe vs Wade news on voting turnout, Duke Today & NC Policy Watch

Associate Professor's Asher Hildebrand and Deondra Rose were interviewed by Duke Today and NC Policy Watch on the ramifications of the U.S. Supreme court's potential reversal of Roe vs Wade on voting turnout in the primary and midterm elections. 

The leaked news that the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn Roe vs Wade could galvanize Republicans and Democrats to vote in the primary and midterm elections. 
“I do think this could be a game-changer,” Hildebrand said. “It raises the perception of the stakes especially among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters.”

“Now, women’s reproductive freedom takes center stage. This could be that issue that could mobilize young voters, certainly for the primaries but potentially for that general election in November" said Rose.

The two professor's also discussed the intent behind the leaked SCOTUS draft decision, how candidates will react to the abortion news, and on the issues important to young voters. 

Click here to read the full article

Also check out NC Policy Watch's article on the interview

Professor Kristin Goss on policy-oriented philanthropy studies, The Philanthropy Daily

Professor Kristin Goss was interviewed in The Philanthropy Daily about her career and scholarship on policy-oriented philanthropy.

She argues that philanthropy is often an underrepresented area of study in journalism and scholarly research. “Any academic would say that whatever they’re studying probably needs more study but I think it’s particularly true with philanthropy.”

She also asserts that journalist and academic skepticism often plagues grantmakers.
“It’s very easy to stereotype philanthropists as just these out-of-control donors who don’t care, and just stomp on democracy and stomp on the everyday person and their preferences. In my experience as a reporter talking to philanthropists and now as a scholar doing the same, I think that most of them are people of good faith. They care about their public image. They want to produce public value as they see it. They’re sensitive to criticism just like the rest of us.”

Click here to watch the full interview

Eleanor Ross (’24) on the Seneca Falls Convention, Kidz Vote

Eleanor Ross ('24), is a prospective International Comparative Studies Major focusing on French, Arabic, and Wolof and understanding the culture and politics of Africa's Sahel region and the Middle East. Eleanor is active in non-partisan voting initiatives including spearheading Bull City Vote's Duke outreach during the 2020 election and starting the KIDZ VOTE club to promote early voting engagement in schools. Eleanor also writes biographies for the Dictionary of Art Historians and is an associate editor for the Research Africa Network.

Kidz Vote is a club dedicated to engaging Durham middle schoolers in voting. Read her civic's corner piece below on the Seneca Falls Convention:

For over 140 years after American independence, women were forbidden from voting. As March is Women's History Month, this civic's corner is dedicated to the Seneca Falls Convention—the first women's rights convention in the United States.

Before the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote was passed in 1920, women were told they could not vote for a variety of reasons. Many argued that women were too occupied with their families to study politics; others said they were less intelligent than men and, accordingly, did not have the mental capacity to vote; and some anti-suffragists even claimed that voting would cause infertility.

While the suffragist movement gained steam in the late 19th century, women had been petitioning for their own right to vote for years. Though less likely to be educated, young women in the 1820s and 1830s began the suffrage movement, inspired by books like Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and Sarah Grimké's The Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women. As activists like Ernestine Rose (1810-1892) and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) petitioned and protested for their rights, women's suffrage cultivated momentum. When Lucretia Mott (1793-1880) and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were barred from attending the World Anti-Slavery Convention in 1840, the pair declared they would hold the first Women's Rights Convention: Seneca Falls.

A pivotal moment in women's history, the Seneca Falls Convention penned "The Declaration of Sentiments”—a feminist spin on the Declaration of Independence. Echoing the words of the United State's founding document, the Declaration said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal.” It argued that without the right to vote, women were not allowed a say in their education, livelihood, or rightful place in the church. Consequently, women had to be subservient to their husbands and were seen as inferior to men in society.

Though the 19th amendment wasn’t passed for 72 years, the Seneca Falls Convention is regarded as the first collective action towards women’s suffrage in the United States. With over 300 attendees, it marked a momentous and critical point in America and signaled to countless other women that they were united in pursuit for equality. Though equality has not yet been fully achieved, the strides in the past 174 years would not have been possible without fearless leaders like Rose, Stanton, and Mott.

Initially included in the biweekly Kidz Vote's newsletter. Sign-up for the listserv here