Hire a Duke Ph.D.

Our graduates have gone on to outstanding careers in higher education, public service, and the private sector. Again this year, we are proud to have outstanding students on the job market. Brief sketches of our placement candidates are available below. We also include their contact information. Some students maintain their own page with more detailed information regarding their preparation and strengths. If you have questions about graduate student placement, please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator Kathy Ivanov (kathy.ivanov@duke.edu). If you have any questions about our Ph.D. program in general, contact Director of Graduate Studies Kyle Beardsley (kyle.beardsley@duke.edu).

Job Candidates

Research Summary

Kathryn (Kat) Alexander is a Ph.D. Candidate with a first field in Security, Peace and Conflict and a second field in Religion and Politics. Her dissertation takes a multi-methods approach to examining how levels of religious commitment within countries’ populations impact foreign policymaking processes and contribute to international conflict. Her research primarily focuses on religion in international relations, connections between domestic and international politics, American foreign policy, and Turkish politics.

Research Summary

Samuel Bagg received his PhD in political theory in May 2017. Beginning in August 2017, he will be a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Research Group on Constitutional Studies at McGill University. His current research centers on democratic theory, but he has has broad teaching and and research interests, including in PPE, critical theories of power, history of political thought, political psychology, and political institutions.

Research Summary

My research focuses on American politics; I work on representation, campaign finance, political methodology, and legislative politics. My dissertation advances our measurement of legislator and constituency preferences, and applies these measures to answer questions of representation. My published papers cover such topics as online advertising in Presidential campaigns, the role of academic economists in shaping public opinion on economic policy issues, and how intraparty campaign finance functions asa mechanism for party control.

Research Summary

Asli Cansunar is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Economy. Her research focuses on different aspects of the political economy of redistribution and the welfare state. She mainly pays attention to the preferences over taxes and social policies. Her dissertation examines the effects of information about the design of the fiscal state and inequality on the preferences over redistributive policies and tax rates, with a particular focus on how and why voters have strong misperceptions that affect such decisions.

Research Summary

Cindy Cheng received her PhD in political economy and methodology in 2017. Her dissertation investigates the politics of food safety in China and to that end explored the problems authoritarian governments face in constructing regulatory institutions. Her research more generally explores a wide swath of international political economy issues, including competition policy, foreign aid, and global governance.  She has also developed a strong interest in political methodology, including missing data imputation, multilevel modeling and Bayesian statistics.

Research Summary

As a political theorist, my research has examined both the history of political thought and contemporary political theory. My current book project is an interdisciplinary study that argues for the centrality of dystopian images, themes, and anxieties in twentieth century political thought. The manuscript explains the origins of the dystopian imagination and examines the role of technological and totalitarian dystopias in social criticism and social theory from the late nineteenth century to today.

Research Summary

Michael Hawley is a political theorist and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. His work has been published in the European Journal of Political Theory and Philosophy and Theology. His dissertation focuses on the political thought of Cicero, its role in shaping the subsequent development of liberal republicanism, and the conceptual resources it offers to contemporary theory.

Research Summary

I am a doctoral candidate in Political Science at Duke University. I am also a member of Scott Huettel's neuroscience laboratory in Duke's Psychology and Neuroscience department (https://sites.duke.edu/huettellab/). My current research is focused on two areas. First, I study political preferences and choices. My work examines how voters employ heterogeneous models when choosing a candidate.

Research Summary

Sophie Lee is a PhD candidate in the field of Security, Peace and Conflict, with expertise in international relations, comparative politics and political methodology. Her primary research interests include strategic differences and dynamics of violent and nonviolent political resistance around the world. She also researches statistical applications in political science, such as text analysis in data building and probabilistic solutions for the missing data problem.

Research Summary

I'ma Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Northwestern University Pritzker School of law studying American politics and political methodology. My primary research interests are the study of Congress, Text-as-Data, Political Ideology, Inter-branch relations, Machine Learning, and Causal Inference methods. My dissertation focused on applications of text-as-data approaches to the study of idea transmission in Congress, looking specifically at the amount of text-borrowing that occurs between testimony during committee hearings, and the language of final bills.

Research Summary

Alexandra Oprea is a 5th year PhD student in Political Science from Ploiesti, Romania. Her main field is Political Theory with a secondary specialization in Political Economy. Her research primarily addresses the place of children within liberal and democratic political theory. Her dissertation traces the history of two conceptions of children’s political status in European liberal political thought from the 17th century through the 19th and their effects on liberal theorizing of education.

Research Summary

Benjamin J. Radford received his Ph.D. in Security, Peace, & Conflict and Political Methodology in December 2016. His dissertation introduces a method by which machine learning and word embedding are used to rapidly generate event datasets customized to specific domains or research problems. The technique's generalizability is demonstrated in the creation of a novel event dataset on cybersecurity, a topic for which neither event data nor the requisite dictionaries were previously available.

Research Summary

Juan Tellez is a Ph.D. Candidate with a primary field concentration in Security, Peace, and Conflict and a secondary field in Political Methodology. He is particularly interested in sub-national conflict processes, public opinion in societies undergoing civil war, interstate conflict and cooperation, and network methodology. He has written on a variety of topics, including the sources of public polarization during conflict negotiations, the electoral logic of violence in civil wars, and sources of order in the international system.

Research Summary

Jan Vogler is a Ph.D. candidate with a specialization in comparative political economy and political methodology. His research is concerned with the organization of public bureaucracies and political competition. In his dissertation, he analyzes the historical determinants of bureaucratic characteristics. He primarily explores the role social groups played in shaping early bureaucratic systems and imperial legacies in public administration.

Research Summary

Austin Wang is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Duke University. His first field is Behavior and Identity and the second field is Methodology. His dissertation focuses on how intertemporal choice, or the so-called patience and discounting factor, influences political participation and policy preference in both the individual and the group levels.

Research Summary

Tusi (Ündes) Wen is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science from Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. He specializes in the field of political economy and quantitative methodology, with a regional specialization in China and Inner Asia. His primary research interests include authoritarian institutions, collective action, and comparative democratization. He also researches the Inner Asian influences on China, such as the political economic legacies of the Qing Dynasty.