Current Graduate Fellows
the clough center for the study of constitutional democracy
The Graduate Fellows Program at the Clough Center will be entering this year with a roster of 20 graduate students from the departments of English, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, Theology, and the School of Education.
The 2017-2018 Graduate Fellows are:
Adam is originally from North Idaho, and graduated high school early to join the U.S. Army. He spent a year training in Arizona, then Airborne School, and then was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC. He was deployed to Afghanistan twice and completed his enlistment in 2010 with the rank of Sergeant. Adam immediately started college under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and as a first-generation college student. He transferred many times, studied abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand, did language training in Oaxaca, Mexico, and ultimately completed his undergraduate degree at Portland State University in political science with department honors. His thesis looked at the effects of institutions on comparative deforestation rates. He is currently a PhD student in the political science department at Boston College. He is also a contributing analyst at Wikistrat, an online consulting firm, and a teacher at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education.
Adam’s research interests revolve around war and conflict. He studies comparative politics and international relations. Within those subfields, he works on state failure and armed statebuilding operations, security studies, US foreign policy, civil-military relations, and non-state violence. Some of his ongoing research projects include studying the ability of provincial reconstruction teams in Afghanistan to generate legitimacy in the local governments, testing the long-term effects of simulations in the political science classroom, as well as creating a typology that defines the various types of terrorist attackers beyond the standard operative/lone wolf dichotomy.
Cedrick-Michael Simmons is a Ph.D. student in the Sociology Department at Boston College. He holds a B.A. in Sociology from Ithaca College and an M.A. in Sociology from Boston College. Currently, his research interests include race theory, class, educational inequality, and higher education policy.
Cedrick’s dissertation will focus on the mechanisms that shape how administrators document, manage, and address discriminatory practices and assault against students in higher education. Although racism, sexual assault, and labor exploitation are typically viewed as separate social problems, a subset of university administrators are responsible for addressing these oppressive practices against students on campus. His dissertation seeks to examine the opportunities and constraints for these administrators as they attempt to marshal university resources to address these problems. By comparing how these administrators work to address different forms of discrimination and assault on campus, his work will explore the conditions in which the political and economic imperatives of universities may or may not incentivize administrators to focus on changing students’ reactions instead of the costly organizational practices.
Cedrick’s previous work has examined how administrators use “diversity” and their opposition to colorblindness as a strategy of social control. Both studies demonstrate how opposing colorblindness can function as a strategy for regulating student conduct and exploiting student labor as “diversity advocates.” His first paper demonstrates how race scholars can use role conflict as a theoretical tool to specify how organizational officials can simultaneously “see race” and racism, but disassociate themselves from public attempts to highlight and address racist practices. He shows how student affairs administrators were constantly reminded by their employers that their status, as at-will employees of the university as opposed to students, requires them to dissuade students from engaging in practices that jeopardize the revenue and reputation of the university. In his second paper, he explores the ways that administrators position themselves as “educators outside the classroom” to students. By teaching students the “appropriate” way to engage in race relations with their “allies,” the administrators were able to use their willingness to “see race” and racism to build a rapport with students. Once that rapport was established, however, the administrators taught students that the only way they can really be “anti-racist” is to use dialogue, never challenge authority, and take on the “personal responsibility” of documenting and addressing racism themselves.
David Chiwon Kwon
David Chiwon Kwon is a Ph.D. candidate in Theological Ethics, focusing on the topics of religion and public engagement, war and peace, economic justice and business ethics, and human flourishing and globalization. While all these social concerns are important for him, his primary interests are in the topic of postwar justice and peace, especially with regard to issues of nation building and democracy promotion in post-conflict societies.
David graduated with a triple major in Religious Studies, Journalism, and Business Administration with honors from Sogang University, South Korea. He received her Master of Divinity from University of Chicago, where he also received his Master’s Degree in Social Welfare Policy. He also has a MBA degree in Business Ethics and Organizational Development from Johns Hopkins University. David is highly motivated in working with the department (and the wider university) to create opportunities for mutually beneficial conversation and service among scholars, students, and communities. In light of his interdisciplinary academic training and professional experiences in diverse organizations, David always attempts to make reference to other disciplines as a means of illuminating the theological discourse in his work. Further, he plans to develop his work into two projects in the near future: a book on just war and just peace in the discourse of postwar ethics, and a book on personally- and socially-responsible leadership development in light of both religious virtue ethics and Catholic social teaching.
Currently, David is working on his dissertation, entitled “A Study on the Role of Jus Post Bellum in the 21st Century: Human Security and Political Reconciliation.” This project endeavors to challenge the view of those who argue that reconciliation, mainly political reconciliation, is the first and foremost ambition of jus post bellum (jpb, or postwar justice and peace). Rather, this work attempts to justify the proposition that achieving just policing, just punishment, and just political participation are key to building a just peace. Thus, he proposes that the establishment of a just peace must be primarily directed toward human security, not political reconciliation. In the immediate aftermath of war there is little or no policing, punishment, or political participation to protect the lives of individuals, especially those most vulnerable. Therefore, this thesis argues (i) that human security is a neglected theme in the discourse of moral theologians; and (ii) that a more balanced understanding of jpb must pay direct attention to the elements comprising human security in a postwar context as well as the quest for reconciliation.
David is hoping that his interaction with other Clough Graduate Fellows will help him sharpen the interdisciplinary aspects of his work and, more importantly, help him in addressing readers who may prefer that postwar justice exist separately from explicitly moral traditions such as theology. As a scholar of theological ethics, he is convinced that religious traditions have an important role in increasing participation, justice and fairness in public life, and he will hopefully bring this viewpoint to his engagement in the Graduate Fellow Program.
Eric Pencek is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English specializing in British Romanticism. He holds an MA in English from Boston College and a BA from the University of Scranton. Pencek’s research tends to focus on the overlap between the construction of national identity and issues of class and political consciousness. In addition to empire, slavery, and the ongoing domestic responses to the French Revolution, his work takes a particular interest in the working-class radical subculture of the 1790s-1820s. His dissertation, tentatively titled “Romanticism Against the Law,” focuses on the textual representation of what he terms “antinomian spaces” – localities inaccessible to enforcement of the law, in which political and judicial norms can be re-thought and constituent power employed to construct alternatives to incorporation in the British nation – to explore how authors employ such spaces to express anxieties regarding the stability of British identity and the British constitution.
In his third and fourth years, Pencek taught four courses – a Freshman Writing Seminar focused on the analysis of propaganda, Studies in Poetry, a Literature Core section on literary representations of the Devil, and an upper-level elective, “Britain in the Age of Revolution, 1789-1848.” He has presented his work at the North American Society for Studies in Romantics, the Nineteenth Century Studies Association, the Northeastern American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, and the Mahindra Center for the Humanities at Harvard University. Recent publications include “Intolerable Anonymity: Robert Wedderburn and the Discourse of Ultra-Radicalism” (Nineteenth-Century Contexts 37.1 ) and “Antinomian Spaces and Godwin’s Thieves” (English Language Notes 54.1 ), the latter introducing key concepts to be expounded upon in his dissertation.
Felix A. Jiménez Botta
Felix A. Jiménez Botta is a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in the History Department. He has received a bachelor's degree in international affairs and history from Florida State University (2011), and began the PhD program at Boston College in the autumn of the same year with a diversity fellowship. Born in Cuba and raised in Germany, Felix has a particular interest in transnational histories linking the German-speaking world and Latin America. His dissertation West Germany and the Human Rights Revolution: Human rights activism and foreign policy in the Age of Latin America's military Juntas, 1973-1989 analyzes the significant role that the campaigns against human rights violations in Chile and Argentina played in the development of a human rights consciousness in West Germany. At the same time, by investigating the particularities of West German human rights activism, it fills a historiographical gap in the field of human rights histories dominated by studies focusing on the Anglo–American situation.
The dissertation investigates the response of West German civil society (that ranged from radical leftists, the churches, trade unions, and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, to eventually also include center-right Christian Democrats) to the repression that Argentinean and Chilean military governments unleashed on their populations in the 1970s-80s. Their spirited campaigns for the acceptance of political refugees from these countries, and to lobby the West German government to translate its affirmative semantic stance towards human rights into action, found numerous supporters and also detractors, who maintained that "human rights" were best reserved to attack East Germany and the Communist Block.
The dissertation also investigates the role of the churches, whose engagement gradually changed from traditional humanitarianism to a rights based talk in the years under review. Moreover, it analyses the impact of grassroots human rights activism on the foreign policy of West Germany, a state saddled with a genocidal and warlike past, and which was attempting to position itself as a responsible member of the global community and initially spurned human rights in the name of Realpolitik and a responsible foreign policy.
A wide range of original primary sources from 23 archives in Germany, Chile, Argentina, and the United States, and interviews with contemporary witnesses form the source base for the dissertation. It has been supported by the Clough Center since 2016, by a DAAD Fellowship (2015-2016), the German Historical Institute in Washington DC (Summer 2017), and by a Boston College Dissertation Completion Fellowship (2017-2018).
Heather Pangle received her B.A. from Middlebury College and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Boston College. She studies ancient and modern political philosophy, with a particular interest in themes of democracy, liberty, greatness, and empire. She completed her doctoral coursework in political theory, American politics, and comparative politics. Her doctoral research examines the liberal imperialism of Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) and J.S. Mill (1806-1873). These two political thinkers were each in their own way prominent proponents for and practitioners of liberal politics, and yet also argued for the imperial projects of their respective countries. How they understood their support for liberalism to be compatible with their support for colonial empire is the question that she investigates in her thesis. In the course of giving an account of their positions, her study sheds light on how these thinkers saw the interplay of moral principles and practical political necessity. As two thinkers sympathetic to liberalism and yet supportive of imperialism, Tocqueville and Mill present considered hesitations about the dangers and limitations of liberalism and different understandings of what justice requires in foreign relations. They offer differing accounts of what compromises with liberal moral principles are acceptable for the sake of national strength and greatness. They also exhibit different approaches for how best to shepherd liberal nations to stable flourishing. The dissertation makes the case that their support for imperialism can only be understood in light of their thoughts about liberalism’s prerequisites and limits.
Heather has an article forthcoming in the Adam Smith Review: “Rousseau and Julie von Bondeli on the Moral Sense,” co-authored with Christopher Kelly. The article considers the engagement between J.J. Rousseau and one of his lesser-known correspondents, a Swiss aristocrat “famed,” in the words of Goethe, “as a woman of sense and merit.”
In addition to her affiliation with the Clough Center, Heather holds an Adam Smith Fellowship and an Institute for Human Studies Fellowship for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Hessam Dehghani is a 5th year Ph.D. student in the Philosophy Department at Boston College, where he was rewarded the doctoral fellowship in 2012. He received his M.A. and first Ph.D. in Linguistics from Tehran and Allameh Tabatabai University, Iran.
Hessam's first dissertation was focused on Hermeneutics and Literature, particularly Islamic mystic texts in Persian, and Arabic. In 2010, Hessam did a post-doctorate at University College Dublin, where he worked on Phenomenological Hermeneutic interpretation of Islam.
During his studies at Boston College, and as a fellow at Clough he has been working more specifically on the notion of Community in Islam. His dissertation is titled, “The Topology of Community in Islam" in which he is tracing the metaphysical grounds for different kinds of community in Islam from 12th century Philosopher-theologian Ghazālī to the 14th century mystic Hāfi.
John Lindner is a sixth year doctoral candidate in Economics at Boston College. He received his bachelor’s degree in Economics with honors from Oberlin College, with a concentration in Mathematics. He is also a Graduate Research Assistant for the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College. His research focuses on the role that government policies play in shaping the incentives of economic agents and the ways in which these agents alter their behavior in response to government programs or laws. His work often draws on insights from other academic disciplines, as well, such as psychology and sociology.
The primary part of John’s dissertation explores how federal unemployment insurance (UI) influences the actions of unemployed workers when these unemployed workers have unrealistic expectations about their job prospects. Empirical evidence shows an optimistic bias among unemployed workers, as they underestimate the length of time they will remain unemployed. Given this disconnect between reality and what individuals believe, it is important to understand the degree to which this bias exists and the influence that this bias has on the behavior of different types of job searchers. John employs a novel dataset and new statistical techniques to address these topics, finding that this bias is widespread and persistent. In particular, the bias is strongest for younger and less-educated individuals. Compared to those with more realistic expectations, individuals with this optimistic bias have less money saved for a possible unemployment spell. Observing that certain groups of unemployed workers are more greatly impacted by this bias than others, a constitutional government should heed such differences when designing a UI program. John’s research will derive implications for the optimal level of UI benefits, for the design of the UI program, and for alternative welfare-improving government interventions.
In other research, co-authored with Matthew Rutledge, John studies how Social Security retirement income can be influenced by the late-career labor market decisions of female workers compared with male workers. Labor market involvement of retirement-age women has historical and sociological explanations. Notably, women that are currently retiring are much more likely to have taken time out of the labor force early in their careers.
Joseph is a third-year Ph.D. student and Flatley Fellow in Theological Ethics. He is from the United Kingdom, and received his B.A. in Philosophy and Theology and his M.Phil. in Christian Ethics from the University of Oxford. In between his undergraduate and master's level studies, he worked as a youth minister in the Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool, England.
Joseph's main research in theological ethics focuses on foundational questions about natural law, virtue and political theology. He is interested in the relation between the sources of and audiences for theological ethics, as well as the extent to which Christian ethics is distinctive.
The current trajectory of his dissertation proposal suggests an analysis of forgiveness as a virtue with special reference to transitional justice contexts. From the perspective of a theological ethic of virtue, the proposal argues that forgiveness as an excellence of character is unqualifiedly good but particular instances of forgiveness are only qualifiedly so. The latter must be assessed according to the ends for which - and the circumstances in which - they occur. Thus the proposed account aims to distinguish true forgiveness from its mere semblances. Some contemporary ethicists worry that any such attempt will unduly constrain the possibilities for the shape that forgiveness might take in the complex realities of human existence. If forgiveness is a virtue, however, flexibility in external acts remains, as any virtue's acts adapt creatively to specific situations. Additionally, the language of virtue provides a useful framework for a non-competitive understanding of the relation of forgiveness to other essential virtues for responses to wrongdoing (especially justice and prudence), given traditional notions of the interdependence of the virtues. From the above conceptual basis, the proposal suggests the exploration of two further dimensions of this topic.
The first is the application of this analysis to political-level "transitional justice" debates of the sort brought to prominence in recent decades by South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is against the background of grave and widespread wrongdoing that forgiveness, reconciliation, and the public advocacy of both can do the most serious harm or good. The language of virtue - largely absent from current discussions of transitional justice - enables an appropriately qualified appreciation of forgiveness' potential to aid social co-existence in societies which have experienced such wrongdoing internally.
The second is the evaluation of the role that a specifically theological account of forgiveness can play in the pluralistic public spheres typical of liberal democracies today. While a Christian conception of forgiveness might have significant parallels with other conceptions, it will also have distinctive features and sources. These may include an understanding of God's unconditional forgiveness as revealed in the person of Christ and witnessed to in scripture. The proposed research would explore how this dynamic affects attempts to demarcate "appropriate" forgiveness in terms of gravity of offense or repentance of offenders.
Juliana is working towards her M.A. in political science, focusing on American politics. She is originally from Brooklyn, NY, and received her BA from Boston College in 2016. Her primary areas of interest are American political development, public law, and urban policy. She works as a graduate assistant at the Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center (BAIC), where she works closely with the undergraduate AHANA community on campus. Consequently, her study of American politics is informed by considerations of race and inequality.
Juliana is drawn to our nation’s politics because of its idiosyncrasy. As the daughter of Latin American immigrants, she takes nothing about the American experiment for granted. Her research employs a historical approach to chart the evolution of this country’s unique policies and political institutions.
Her MA thesis explores litigation against state sponsors of terrorism. For the past quarter century, Congress has passed legislation that enabled victims of terrorism to sue foreign governments in American courts. Though much of the voting public is unaware of this policy, its development is a product of a fascinating separation of powers conflict between the three branches of government. As Congress broadens the scope of jurisdiction, the executive branch voices vehement opposition, with the courts stuck in between. While the White House and the State Department tend to see these lawsuits as a threat to the executive’s power to conduct foreign policy, many victims of terrorism interpret this opposition as a betrayal on the part of their government. Further complicating matters, litigants are beginning to use lawsuits as a means towards obtaining classified information. Federal courts could use civil procedures to subpoena officials and declassify pertinent documents during the pretrial discovery phase. Thus, the courts might reveal information that the executive branch would rather keep concealed.
As a result, this obscure corner of the law could have major consequences for American foreign policy further down the line. Her goal for this project is to put this policy under the microscope, and determine whether this is the most effective means of bringing state sponsors of international terror to justice.
In a broader sense, she hopes that this project is the first of many investigations of American institutions and public policy. Her desire to unwrap difficult political questions led her to pursue her MA in political science. She hopes to continue this pursuit at the doctoral level, and will be applying to Ph.D. programs in the fall.
Kate Mroz is a PhD candidate in Systematic Theology with a minor in Comparative Theology at Boston College, where she was awarded the Presidential Fellowship. She received her Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School in 2013, and her BA in theology and political science from Fordham University in 2011. Her work has been published in the Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and the Journal of Comparative Theology. Her article, “Dangerous Theology: Edward Schillebeeckx, Pope Francis, and Hope for Catholic Women,” will be published later this year in the volume Salvation in the World: The Crossroads of Public Theology (Bloomsbury, 2017). Kate also regularly blogs for God In All Things. Kate has presented at numerous conferences, including the Edward Schillbeeeckx Centenary Conference at Radboud Univeristy in the Netherlands, the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies Conference at Villanova University, and the Engaging Particularities Conference here at Boston College. She also serves on the executive board of the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies.
Kate’s main research interests include theological anthropology, feminist theology, soteriology (study of the meaning of salvation), and Muslim-Christian dialogue. In particular, her research has focused on the need for dialogue between Muslim and Catholic women, as patriarchy is manifest in both traditions, albeit in different forms. The false notion that Muslim women need to be saved by Western Christianity does not allow for recognition of the exclusion and oppression that occurs in churches and in Western society. True liberation, in a world where Islam and Christianity are often portrayed as being inherently opposed to one another, requires appreciation of and learning from the wisdom of both traditions.
Currently, Kate is working on her doctoral dissertation, “No Salvation Apart from Religious Others: Edward Schillebeeckx’s Soteriology as a Resource for Understanding Christian Identity and Discipleship in a Religiously Pluralist World.”
Kate argues that the Flemish Dominican theologian Edward Schillebeeckx’s (1914-2009) understanding of salvation provides a resource for understanding how one can maintain one’s unique Catholic identity, while also realizing not only the benefit, but the necessity of working with and learning from other religious traditions. This must be done without reducing all religions to a least common denominator, or striving to remove all doctrinal differences and disagreements between religious traditions.
Maheen Haider is currently a Doctoral Candidate in the department of Sociology at Boston College, where she studies the processes of immigration and acculturation, and issues of race and ethnicity. Her dissertation focuses on the integration experiences of high skilled non-white Muslim immigrants specifically Pakistani migrants in the US and looks at the contemporary changes in the immigrant experience that has increasingly become more diverse and complex around the issues of race, religion, and skill levels.
The intersectional non-white, high skilled, Muslim migrant identity presents a unique window in studying contemporary immigration in post 9/11 and Trump America, across the lines of racially and religiously diverse, high skill immigrants today. She studies these intersectional immigrant identities using the case of Pakistani migrants that continue to be the largest Muslim immigrant group in the US, with higher skill levels than the native population (MPI 2015).
Her dissertation research looks at the experiences of both short-term migrants as Pakistani international students studying in the American university and long-term migrant as Pakistani permanent residents to study their acculturation and assimilation in the US. The study of these populations (high skilled Muslim migrants of color) is situated intellectually at the confluence of three bodies of sociological theory: Immigration, Racialization theory, and Life course studies. The complexity of the high skilled, non-white, and Muslim Pakistani migrant identity at the cross section of the American mainstream are important factors in unraveling the processes of integration.
Prior to coming to Boston College, she received a Masters in Social Development from the University of Sussex and holds Bachelors in Software Engineering from Pakistan. She has experience of working within the corporate and non-profit sector in Pakistan and the UK.
Michael Franczak is a Ph.D. candidate and Presidential Fellow in the Department of History, where he studies U.S. foreign relations, international history, and economic history. His main area of interest is the intersection of U.S. foreign policy and international economics during the Cold War, especially during moments of crisis and confrontation between the developed countries of the global “North” and underdeveloped or developing countries of the global “South.” He is also interested in the relationship between economic ideas and global governance, or how conceptions of economic growth, development, and justice are contested by individuals, states, and institutions.
Michael’s dissertation is titled “American Foreign Policy in the North-South Dialogue, 1971-1982.” Using newly declassified materials from two presidential libraries, the papers of U.S. cabinet members and one ambassador, and interviews with former National Security Council officials, he presents a reinterpretation of several critical turning points for U.S. foreign policy in the 1970s from the perspective of North-South relations. Michael focuses in particular on debates within the American foreign policy establishment concerning the nature of “interdependent” forces in global political and economic relations, which connected North-South confrontations over trade, food, and debt with U.S.-European concerns about worldwide inflation, oil prices, and human rights.
Michael received his B.A. with high distinction and highest honors in History from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2011. His research has been supported by the Clough Center, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, the Cushwa Center at the University of Notre Dame, and the Karnes Center at Purdue University. This is his fifth year with the Clough Center.
After attending college at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, Perin completed her master’s degree in International Relations at Boston University focusing on political economy and the Middle East. Her master’s thesis explored the rise of political Islam in Turkey, with a particular focus on economic factors and demographic changes, and analyzed the policies pursued by the Islamist Justice and Development Party with respect to political and social reform since it assumed power in November 2002. Before coming to Boston College for a PhD in Comparative Politics in the Political Science Department, she worked for the Turkish Consulate General in Boston, and part-time for a research project on social movements in the Middle East based at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her research interests include democratization and the role of religion in Middle Eastern politics, state building, nationalism and identity with a regional focus on the Middle East but also including Muslims in Western Europe. Her current research focuses on nation building and in particular the role of the Ataturk’s Republican People’s Party in the process of state formation and later years. Her dissertation examines Turkey’s transition to democracy and how decisions made by political elites at critical historical junctures affect the trajectory of their party and the state’s development.
Scott Reznick is a doctoral candidate in English. He holds a B.S. in mathematics from Dickinson College and an M.A. in English from Trinity College. At Boston College, he specializes in American literature of the long nineteenth century. His research interests include American romanticism, transcendentalism, literary realism, the literature of slavery and the U.S. Civil War, political oratory, and political and moral philosophy.
Scott’s dissertation, “‘Principles that Astonish’: Morality, Skepticism, and Liberal Democracy in Antebellum American Literature,” examines the way in which literary narratives both registered and engaged in the debates about the nature of U.S. democracy that took place at three important antebellum moments: the ratification of the Constitution, the “nullification crisis” of the 1830s, and the fallout from the “compromise” of 1850. By drawing important connections between political speeches and writings and the narrative works of Charles Brockden Brown, Robert Montgomery Bird, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, Scott aims both to open up new conceptions of the “politics” of American literature and to demonstrate the way in which literature can enable a deeper understanding of the American political tradition.
Central to this effort is a more deliberate engagement with political liberalism, which has long been attacked—or ignored outright—in literary studies. Challenging the misconceptions that political liberalism entails a rigid adherence to moral neutrality or is synonymous with the market logic of “neoliberalism,” Scott aims to recapture the moral dimensions of the liberal tradition and to shed light on how antebellum American writings reveal the inspiration and promise, as well as the skepticism and doubt, that are inherent elements of democratic political idealism. By examining the way in which American writers and thinkers conceived of the democratic individual and his or her lived relationship to moral ideas such as liberty, equality, and justice—a relationship that entails both reasoned reflection and emotional conviction—Scott hopes to demonstrate how literature can help us foster a deeper understanding of both the moral foundations of political ideas and the sensibilities that are an integral part of the culture of democracy.
Timothy Brennan is a doctoral candidate in political science. He is originally from Sydney, Australia, and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Melbourne. His areas of interest include the political theories of the Enlightenment, American public law and political development, ancient and contemporary political thought, religion, and Australian government. At the moment he is writing a thesis on the grounds of the disagreement between the early liberal the Baron de Montesquieu and his republican critic Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In previous years at the Clough Center he has presented work on the political effects of the popularization of the arts and sciences, the competing arguments for cosmopolitanism and patriotism, and the conflict between living constitutionalism and originalism in the United States.
Will Attwood-Charles is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at Boston College and a member of Juliet Schor's Connected Consumption and Connected Economy research team. His research interests include economic and organizational sociology, and the sociology of work. He is particularly interested in efforts at creating alternative institutions that are capable of meeting everyday needs. His previous research examined the practices of “makers” in the context of a multi-purpose shop space, often referred to as a “makerspace.” This research focuses on problems that are familiar to many collectivist organizations, particularly around issues of purpose, governance, and composition. His current research explores the role of technology in constructing digital labor platforms, as well as the experience of workers laboring on these platforms. This research is interested in the potential of platform technology for scaling and linking solidarity economy initiatives.
Yoosun Chu is a Ph.D. Candidate in Social Work at Boston College. She is originally from Seoul, South Korea. She received her MSW from Boston College, her MSc in Poverty Reduction and Development Management from University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, and her BA from Seoul National University, South Korea. Before coming to Boston College, Yoosun worked as a researcher at Korean Women’s Development Institute in Seoul and project manager at non-governmental organizations in Africa.
Her main areas of interest include civic engagement/participation and social capital among low-income people in low-resource settings. She is especially interested in how civic engagement affects the lives and well-being of the marginalized, and the intersection of civic engagement and social development in developing countries at the societal level. Additionally, she focuses on quantitative cross-national analysis.
In this year’s Clough Center workshop, Yoosun will present her three-paper dissertation, tentatively titled “Civic Engagement, Governance, and Subjective Well-being among Low-income People: A Two-level Cross-national Analysis in Low and Middle Income Countries.” First, her dissertation seeks to create the instrument to accurately measure civic engagement. Next, the paper aims to explore what country-level factors affect civic engagement of low-income people. Most mainstream research has been focused on the socio-demographics of individuals in exploring their engagement. Lastly, her dissertation examines the effect of civic engagement on subjective well-being. By delving into civic engagement among low-income people in developing countries, where not enough attention was given by mainstream research, Yoosun would like to draw scholarly attention on the issue and to contribute to policy development.
Zhuoyao Li is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Philosophy, where he studies social and political philosophy, ethics, philosophy of law, and philosophy of economics. His main interests are contemporary debates between political liberalism and liberal perfectionism, the implications of political liberalism in non-liberal societies, as well as global justice theories. His dissertation focuses on bridging these issues together to present a more coherent understanding of political liberalism, and its application in non-liberal societies with an emphasis on the East Asian region. His paper, “The Public Conception of Morality in John Rawls’ Political Liberalism,” appears in Ethics & Global Politics, a peer-reviewed journal. His most recent work, “The Discontents of Moderate Political Confucianism and the Future of Democracy in East Asia,” is forthcoming in Philosophy East & West, a peer-reviewed journal.
In addition to working on his academic dissertation, Zhuoyao Li serves as the managing editor of Philosophy & Social Criticism. He also taught Philosophy of the Person, a year-long introductory philosophy course for undergraduate students at Boston College. He was awarded a Donald J. White Teaching Excellence Award. He also participated in numerous conferences. With the generous help of the Clough Center, he was able to present a paper at the 2nd International Conference on Economic Philosophy in Strasbourg, France.