Politics Faculty

Eva C Bertram
  • Title
    • Associate Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Politics Department
  • Affiliations Institute for Social Transformation, Community Studies Program, Center for Labor and Community
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Fax
  • Office Location
    • Merrill College Faculty Office Annex, 159 Merrill Faculty Annex
  • Office Hours Spring 2024: Wednesdays, 5:30 - 6:45 pm via Zoom: https://ucsc.zoom.us/j/94107924691?pwd=NlpEVDFoN3N5cUd1S0JVVm04WE9iQT09
  • Mail Stop Merrill/Crown Faculty Services
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064

Research Interests

Eva Bertram studies American political development and public policy; areas of focus include social policy and the welfare state, and the changing character of work and labor markets in the United States.

Bertram’s most recent book examines the political and institutional sources of the transformation in public assistance policy, from the entitlement-based system of the New Deal era to the contemporary work-conditioned safety net. The Workfare State: Public Assistance Politics from the New Deal to the New Democrats traces this shift to a split and struggle within the Democratic party over the means and ends of federal income assistance for poor families, and considers the impact of the rise of work-based social policies in an economy that provides diminishing job security and stability.

A second area of research focuses on the politics of unemployment and underemployment in the United States. Bertram’s research explores what has been called the “no man’s land” between joblessness and secure employment in the current labor market, comprised in part of a growing segment of involuntary part-time and marginally-attached workers. Her interest is in the political debates and decisions that assign or displace responsibility for the rising problems of un- and underemployment.

Bertram's first book examined the interaction between policy, politics and markets in the development of U.S. drug control policy. Drug War Politics: The Price of Denial, a coauthored project, addressed the pattern of failure followed by escalation in the U.S. war on drugs. It explored the persistence of a failed policy by examining the role of entrenched public ideas, institutional interests, and political conflict in the historical development of U.S. drug control.

Bertram also serves as Associate Director of the UCSC Blum Center.