Politics Faculty

Melanie J. Springer
  • Title
    • Associate Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Politics Department
  • Affiliations Legal Studies
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Merrill College Academic Building, Office 113
  • Office Hours Fall 2023: Wednesdays 10:30am-12pm (drop-in, Zoom link on Canvas for current students or email me), and by appointment
  • Mail Stop Merrill/Crown Faculty Services
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz California 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise United States Politics and Government, Politics, Electoral Politics, US History
  • Courses Poli 20: Introduction to American Politics, Poli 100: Writing Skills-Building Seminar: Direct Democracy in the United States, Poli/LGST 120B: Society and Democracy in American Political Development, Poli 127: Parties and Partisanship in American Politics, Poli 128: American Elections and Voting Behavior, Poli 190M: Politics in the American States, Poli 223: Topics in American Political Development

Research Interests

American Political Development, Political History, Voting and Elections, State Politics and Policymaking, Sovereignty, American Indian Political Rights, Political Parties, Partisanship, and Political Institutions.

Biography, Education and Training



Melanie Jean Springer received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University in 2006. She began her academic career in the Political Science department at Washington University in Saint Louis. In the Fall of 2013, she joined the Politics faculty at the University of California at Santa Cruz. She specializes in American Politics. Her research and teaching interests include American political development, political history, voting and elections, state politics and policymaking, sovereignty, American Indian political rights, political parties, partisanship, and political institutions. Her book How the States Shaped the Nation: American Electoral Institutions and Voter Turnout, 1920-2000 was published in 2014 with the University of Chicago Press (Chicago Studies in American Politics). This work examines the effects of numerous state-level electoral institutions on 20th century voter turnout rates in the American states. Her research has also been published by Brookings Institution Press, and in Political Research Quarterly, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, Public Opinion Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, American Politics Research, the Journal of Policy History, and the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship.