Work in Progress

The Hidden Face of Power: Local Appointed Boards in the United States

This book project examines the power and purpose of local appointed boards and commissions in the United States. In the manuscript, I argue that these boards provide a veneer of democracy by allowing cities to placate residents via powerless volunteerism and to transfer controversial decisions to boards without electoral accountability. In the project, I combine information on the membership and powers of boards and commissions in large US cities with interviews, text analysis, participant observation, and survey data.

Political Communication

Voters evaluate political leaders not just by what they say, but also by what they look like and how they communicate emotions. But men and women are constrained by gender role expectations in how they express emotions. In a series of projects with Constantine Boussalis, Travis Coan, and Stefan Müller, we employ machine learning, computer vision, and text analysis of images and videos of men and women in public life to understand how gender both constrains the behavior of those seeking political power and shapes the reactions of voters to these emotions.

The Power of the Badge: Sheriffs in the United States

Working with Emily Farris, I'm writing a book-length text (under contract at the University of Chicago Press) that evaluates the role that sheriffs play in politics in the United States. The first text to examine the office in a wholistic fashion, we ask: how has the office of the sheriff evolved over time in the United States? Who are sheriffs? What do sheriffs do? What kinds of policies do sheriffs produce and what are the consequences for the communities in which they serve?

Maude Collins, Ohio's first woman sheriff