Research

The faculty in the Department of Political Science at Western Michigan University are actively engaged in research dealing with American politics, comparative politics, and political theory, broadly defined. Listed below are brief descriptions of their research areas.

Dr. Jim Butterfield is interested in civil society, transitions, communism and post-communist systems. His research has focused on the former Soviet Union, particularly Russia and Central Asia, and on South Africa. He has been is a three-time Fulbright recipient in Russia (2009-10 and again in 2014) and Vietnam (2016-17), as well as a visiting professor in Kazakhstan.

Dr. John Clark has broad interests in American politics with an emphasis on political parties, elections, and legislative politics. He also focuses on the politics of the southern United States.

Dr. Paul Clements is interested in social science methodology, management systems in international development assistance, climate change, and the political economy of development. He directs the Master of International Development Administration Program serves on the faculty of WMU’s Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Evaluation. His book, "Rawlsian Political Analysis: Rethinking the Microfoundations of Social Science" with University of Notre Dame Press, considers a social science that takes fairness to be as basic as interests. Several of his publications explore weaknesses in learning and accountability in development aid due to the practice of self-evaluation and how they could be addressed. He has also published on the ethics of climate change, politics in Africa and India, and international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has lived in Africa, India and Hong Kong and worked on evaluation systems in many countries around the world.

Dr. Kevin Corder focuses on the intersection of politics and economics. He participated in a Fulbright exchange in 2013, spending three months in Malta and the United Kingdom to study public and private sector changes in the banking industry. Corder’s work on U.S. economic policy making - federal credit programs, forecasting, and monetary policy - has appeared in the American Political Science Review, the Public Administration Review and the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. In addition to his work on public policy, Corder also studies women’s voting in the U.S. He and Christina Wolbrecht (University of Notre Dame) are the authors of "Counting Women’s Ballots," a comprehensive assessment of women’s voting in the 1920s and 1930s published by Cambridge University Press. Corder and Wolbrecht are working on "A Century of Votes for Women," an overview of how journalists and social scientists have understood and explained the impact of women voters on American politics.

Dr. Kenneth Dahlberg, professor emeritus, has interests in food systems and sustainable agriculture. He worked briefly in newly independent Latvia, consulting with specialists in environmental management. He spent a summer in New Zealand and subsequently an academic year in Australia participating in workshops, curriculum development, and research projects.

Dr. Suhashni Datta-Sandhu, a graduate of the University of Nairobi, originates from Kenya and has conducted extensive research there. In particular, she is a specialist on the Green Belt Movement led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Matthai. More recently, as faculty supervisor for WMU's study abroad program at the University of Cape Town, she has been traveling to South Africa annually. She is fluent in Kiswahili.

Dr. Emily Hauptmann focuses on how public and private research funding affects what political scientists study and how they study it. She works in several areas, including the history and sociology of higher education in the U.S., democratic political theory and science studies. Her articles have appeared in Political Theory, The American Political Science Review, PS: Political Science and Politics and The Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. Her current project explores the relation between large social scientific data sets, research practices and conceptions of knowledge.

Dr. Gunther Hega, a native of Germany, is a specialist in Western European Politics. His research has centered on the German-speaking portions of Central Europe. He has taught summer courses at the University of Tübingen in southern Germany and has served as faculty supervisor for WMU's study abroad program at the University of Bonn, which he helped establish. He won a European Union instructional grant to promote and expand the study of the EU at WMU.

Dr. Susan Hoffmann studies U.S. public policy and administration. Much of her research is in the policy domain of financial services regulation. Published work includes "Politics and Banking" (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001); "Mission Expansion in the Federal Home Loan Bank System" (with M. Cassell, SUNY Press, 2010); and articles on GSE’s in "Public Administration Review." As a former practicing city planner, Professor Hoffmann also studies U.S. urban policy and administration. She has published on capital budgeting in "Public Budgeting and Finance" and on neighborhood planning in the National Civic Review. With LJR Herson and JM Bolland, she offers an open source undergrad urban politics textbook at http://homepages.wmich.edu/~shoffman/urbanweb/.

Dr. Thomas Kostrzewa, an adjunct professor in the department, has traveled all over the world at various points in his life. More recently, his dissertation research focused on China (he is fluent in Mandarin). His current interests are particularly in the western peripheral provinces of Xinjiang and Tibet, and in Cuba. He has served as faculty supervisor for WMU study abroad programs in Tibet and Cuba.

Dr. Priscilla Lambert, has lived over five years in Japan and is fluent in Japanese. Her research interests are gender and politics, comparative political economy, and Japanese politics. Her current research focuses on gender provisions in national constitutions for which she was awarded a National Science Foundation grant.

Dr. Mahendra Lawoti, a native of Nepal, is a South Asian expert. He has conducted research in Nepal and India. He grew up in Nepal and has lived in India for more than four years. He is fluent in Nepali and has a working knowledge of Hindi and Limbu, an indigenous language from Nepal. He regularly visits the region on research trips.

Dr. Sybil Rhodes, adjunct and Latin American politics specialist, speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese. Her research interests include the politics of public and foreign policy. She has lived and worked for a total period exceeding fourteen years in several Latin American countries, including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Costa Rica.

Dr. Yuan-kang Wang, is working on hegemony and international order by comparing Qing China and the United States. He examines their rise to power and how they maintain their dominance in the system. His research highlights the critical role of power in achieving hegemony and maintaining international order.