Hire a Ph.D.

These doctoral candidates and recent Ph.D.s are on the job market now.

  • Steven Araujo

    Steven Araujo

    Dissertation: Bodies of Popular Power: Territorial Activism and Grassroots Control in Argentina (Ph.D. June 2017)

    Interests: Social movements and contentious politics, social and political theory, Latin American studies, Latino studies, Argentina.

    My research interests are at the intersection of social movements and political theory with an empirical focus on Latin America. In my dissertation, I analyze how two place-based social movements actively produce spaces of resistance as a means to challenge neoliberal fragmentation in Argentina. The first is a worker-recuperated enterprise and the second is an unemployed workers’ movement, both of which can trace their origins to the Latin American neoliberal hegemony of the late 1990s. Based on eighteen months of intensive ethnographic fieldwork, I analyze the production of space and the role of autogestión (grassroots control) in each of these sites. Theorizing these movement practices as the spatial politics of autogestión, I make a unique contribution to the spatial turn and theories of radical politics while resisting the fetishization of autonomy or “autonomous spaces” that characterizes much of the recent work on social movements, especially in Latin America.  

    Committee: Megan Thomas (Chair), Kent Eaton, Deborah Gould (Sociology), Miriam Greenberg (Sociology)


  • Anaïs Bowring

    Anaïs Miodek Bowring

    Dissertation: Why Is There No Right To Employment In America?: Liberal Limits On American Employment Policy, 1933-2000 (Ph.D. December 2015)

    Interests: public policy, social welfare and employment politics, American Political Development, liberal ideology and democratic theory, political inequality

    My research examines the intersection of political ideology and public policy within American political development. Public policy development provides a window into how ideology and democratic theory are translated into political practice, and their transformation over time. My dissertation looks at the course of employment policy development in America between the 1930s and 1990s and asks why government policies did not do more to ensure that there were enough jobs. Using case studies of executive branch employment policy planning from three key periods (the New Deal, the Great Society, and the Reagan Revolution), I show that America's liberal tradition created a boundary condition for employment policy that constrained employment policy development in the twentieth century. Since securing employment in America remains an individual rather than a government responsibility, labor market inadequacies often go unaddressed by national employment policies, and existing employment policies provide uneven levels of political and social inclusion. 

    Committee: Michael K. Brown (Chair), Eva Bertram, Daniel Wirls

  • Don Kingsbury

    Donald V. Kingsbury

    Dissertation: State and Power after Neoliberalism in Bolivarian Venezuela (Ph.D. 2012)

    Interests: Political theory, Latin American politics, social movements, cultural studies, Marxism

    I am currently a Lecturer at the University of Toronto, teaching for both the Department of Political Science and the Latin American Studies Program. My work combines contemporary Political Theory, Social Movement Studies, and Political Economy with an emphasis on Latin America. My dissertation and current book project examine Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution as a complex, grassroots response to neoliberal structural adjustment in the 1980s and 1990s and socio-cultural and racial inequality. Drawing from ethnographic research, it intervenes in debates in political theory on the nature of citizenship, the nation-state, and the social contract while interrogating more recent conceptual innovations such as multitude, hegemony, governability, and populism in the light of ongoing social mobilization and transformation. I have taught extensively in the Department of Politics at UCSC, designing courses on Contemporary Political and Critical Thought, Liberalism and the War on Terror, Social Movement Studies, and Latin American Politics. My work has been published in Theory & Event, Historical Materialism, and New Political Science.

    Committee: Megan Thomas (Chair), Gopal Balakrishnan (History of Consciousness), Juan Poblete (Literature), Michael Urban

  • Claire Lyness

    Claire Lyness

    Dissertation: Terror, gender and the body: reading women's participation in political violence (Ph.D. 2015)

    Interests: Gender in international politics, postcolonial and feminist theory, politics of terrorism and counterterrorism, liberal governmentalities

    My research examines women's participation in three practices of political violence: suicide bombing, dirty protest and hunger striking. I consider how and why such practices are spectacularized in the Western political imaginary, entailing as they do the weaponization of feminine bodies more typically associated with care and nurture rather than destruction. In our contemporary moment, this weaponization is at odds with technological modes of warfare, such as the use of drones, which seek to exempt the body from the field of war. Following the interventions of feminist theorists in international relations, I examine how practices of terrorism and political violence, as well as the response of liberal states to such practices, are already entrenched in, and are productive of, gender relations. Looking at these different practices, I trace historical resonances between two geopolitical conflicts: the contemporary post-9/11 Global War on Terror and the period of conflict generally known as "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland. 

    Committee: Ronnie Lipschutz (Chair), Vanita Seth, Anjali Arondekar (Feminist Studies)

  • Omid Mohamadi

    Omid Mohamadi

    Dissertation:  Modernity, Secularism, and the Political in Iran (Ph.D. expected June 2016)

    Interests:  Iran, postcolonial and feminist theory, the geopolitics of Islam, social movements

    My research focuses on the complex relationship between secularism and religion in Iran following the revolution in 1979.  More specifically, I explore various social movements and political moments in contemporary Iran that confound equally the categories of religiosity and secularism.  The sites I focus on include the Iranian women’s movement and the One Million Signatures Campaign, the politics of time informing the 2009 post-election uprising, and the role of art in constituting the public sphere.  Rooted in recent theoretical critiques of secularism by postcolonial scholars, my dissertation uses these sites to explore socio-political imaginaries that offer alternative, and sometimes conflicting, futures for Iran and the entanglement of secularism and religion more broadly.

    Committee: Vanita Seth (Chair), Megan Thomas, Anjali Arondekar (Feminist Studies), Minoo Moallem (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Shawn Nichols

    Shawn Nichols

    Dissertation: Trading Accountability: An Analysis of the Origin and Consequences of the Investor-State Regime (Ph.D. 2013)

    Interests: Global politics, international relations, international political economy, international development, comparative politics

    My research interests are rooted in international political economy. Focusing on the political economy of free trade and investment treaties, my dissertation provides a two-part analysis. It begins with an investigation of the factors leading to the inclusion of investor-state provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement and subsequent agreements. It then analyzes the consequences of the development of this regime on the evolving boundaries of regulatory takings and property rights. Drawing on extensive interviews and case documents detailing tribunal rulings, I integrate an analysis of the structural features of global capitalism with that of the ideological and institutional features that enabled the transnationally-oriented business community to secure its demands over those of opposition groups, and argue that the regime represents the commodification of the regulatory environment. I have a broad range of teaching experience, including Global Politics, International Relations, Comparative Politics, Legal Studies, and American Politics.

    Committee: Kent Eaton (Chair), Jan Knippers-Black (Monterey Institute of International Studies), Ronnie Lipschutz, Daniel Wirls

  • Licia Peck

    Licia Peck

    Dissertation: Carbon Chains: An Elemental Ethnography (Ph.D. 2016)

    Interests: Climate Change, Environmental Political Theory, Global Environmental Politics, Discourse Analysis, Science and Technology Studies, Politics of the Anthropocene, Interdisciplinary Inquiry

    My research seeks to explain the frustrating and seemingly intractable status quo of climate change politics. My dissertation proposes an explanation for the political quagmire of climate change that is rooted in the cooptation of “carbon” and its enrollment into the “depoliticization” of climate change. Through a mixed-methodology of discourse analysis and multi-sited ethnography, the dissertation examines climate change discourse/s, focusing on the implications of “carbon’s” centrality. I find that efforts to control “carbon” assume and reinforce reductive approaches to what is to be done regarding the climate problem, resulting in a dominant discourse that emphasizes “rational” attribution of responsibility, frames the climate problem as a technical engineering project more so than a social-political project, and assumes that progressive “mastery” of knowledge will lead to a solution. I argue that the effect of this carbon-based discourse is to perpetuate a climate “anti-politics” in which technocratic and market-based “carbon management” approaches dominate, regardless of their (in)effectiveness, which reduces climate “politics” largely to statements of support for more and better technocratic and market-based carbon projects.

    Committee: Ronnie Lipschutz (chair), Ben Read, Andrew Mathews (Anthropology)

  • Logan Puck

    Logan Puck

    Dissertation: “Mexico’s Private Security Paradox: Understanding the Relationship between the Mexican State and the Private Security Industry” (Ph.D. December 2017)

    Interests: State power, policing, private security, Latin American Studies, Mexican politics

    Using qualitative methods and a subnational comparative research design, my dissertation assesses Mexican government attempts to direct the private security industry through the use of three different strategies – regulation, incorporation, and coordination. I argue that due to the weakness of state institutions, particularly Mexico’s public security forces, state efforts to control the industry have largely failed and led to unintended consequences. As a result, the state is weaker in its ability to effectively manage, control, and collaborate with an industry that can challenge or enhance the state’s legitimacy and its ability to maintain law and order. In order to complete my research, I conducted field work in Mexico for thirteen months with funding from the Fulbright-García Robles Scholarship and the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States. My work has been published in Latin American Politics and Society. I am currently writing a co-authored article that compares public-private security relations in Britain and Mexico.

    To see more, visit: https://loganpuck.wordpress.com/

    Committee: Kent Eaton (Chair), Ben Read, Eleonora Pasotti, Jonathan Fox (American University)

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    Jasmine Syedullah

    Dissertation: Impositions of a slave girl abolitionism: a political theory of Harriet Jacobs's praxis of emancipation (Ph.D. 2014)

    Interests: Marxian critical theory, queer/feminist of color methodologies, critical race and ethnic studies, abolitionist aesthetics, afrofuturism

    My dissertation theorizes a "slave girl" politics of abolitionist emancipation inspired by Harriet Jacobs and her Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself. Speculatively read, I argue that there is something akin to freedom in her authoring a story of escape with no guarantees. In Incidents Jacobs enacts a radical and precarious practice of escape, friendship, and freedom that marks the largely disembodied enlightenment discourses of emancipatory desire central to the Western liberal tradition with the polemics of her own struggle. My return to Jacobs theorizes her work before, during and after the Civil War as an embodied fugitive analytic of abolitionism that refuses the domestic order of the plantation and in so doing advances not only the end of slavery but a politics of national liberation all its own.

    Committee: Robert Meister (Chair), Bettina Aptheker (Feminist Studies), Gina Dent (Feminist Studies), and Mayanthi Fernando (Anthropology)

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    Jess Whatcott

    Dissertation: California Eugenics and the Making of a Liberal State (PhD expected June 2019) 

    Interests: critical social theory, public policy, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, disability, critical prison studies, health and body politics, sexualized violence, bioethics, speculative fiction, interpretive and archival methods

    As an interdisciplinary scholar and teacher, I examine the contradictions of liberalism and liberal state violence, specifically prison policy, state provision of medicine, state protection from intimate violence, and hierarchies of gender, sexuality, disability, and race. My dissertation research explores these issues by examining the role of eugenics theory in early twentieth century California public policy. While eugenics is treated by both the state and scholars of California policy development as an aberration in an otherwise progressive trajectory, I argue that eugenics was instead a kind of modernizing project that helped to establish the infrastructure and guiding logics of the Golden State. The legacy of eugenics theory is evident in the research I conducted for my master’s paper, now published in Signs: A Journal of Women in Culture and Society. In the article I argue that technical fixes such as informed consent procedures cannot overcome the infrastructures and persistent logics of eugenics embedded in California’s prisons for women.

    CV and published work available at: https://ucsc.academia.edu/JWhatcott

    Committee: Dean Mathiowetz (chair), Elizabeth Beaumont, Neda Atanasoski (Feminist Studies and Critical Race & Ethnic Studies), and Sylvanna Falcón (Latin American and Latino Studies)

  • Andrew Wood

    Andrew Wood

    Dissertation: Makers & Breakers: Pre-Raphaelites, Punks, and Political Imagination 

    Interests: Political Theory & Philosophy (esp. Nietzschean, Marxism, Existentialism, Phenomenology), Aesthetics, Anarchism, Anachronism, Cultural Studies, Punk 

    My dissertation in political thought and radical art focuses on the philosophy of aesthetics and politico-aesthetic movements ranging from William Morris to contemporary punk cultures, and the effects and affects such movements have on our (political) imaginations. These movements illuminate important implications for the tactics, tensions, and most of all thought—and preconditions for thought—that underpin contemporary progressive politics (with most especial resonance for the counter-globalization, anti-gentrification, and Occupy movements, and the current debate surrounding Antifa violence) by demonstrating the radical potentialities of aesthetics, space, and anachronism for the introduction of historical rupture contained within politico-aesthetic shock. I argue that such rupture points can potentially be wellsprings for the creation of new forms of politics, paradoxically contributing to the progress of inclusivity and equalitarian politics through the introduction of anachronistic performances, visuals, and music (for example, D.I.Y. productive processes). I have taught politics, aesthetics, and humanities in diverse settings, and worked for students from various backgrounds, perspectives, skill sets, and needs. I not only teach (and learn through said teaching) in diverse contexts, but design courses reflecting not only a critical rethinking of canonical ideas and texts, but also reflecting the diverse—though not always recognized—bases of our knowledge sets. To see more, visit: https://ucsc.academia.edu/AndrewWood

    Committee: Robert Meister (Chair/HisCon), Dean Mathiowetz (Politics), Herman Gray (Sociology), Dard Neuman (Music)