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Political Science Faculty

Mari Ishibashi

Image of Mari Ishibashi
Associate Professor of Political Science
B.A., Sophia University, (Japan); M.A., Ph.D., University of Notre Dame

Originally from Japan, I first came to the United States as an exchange student and became a strong advocate of exchange programs. After completing my B.A. at Sophia University (Jouchi Daigaku) in Tokyo, I jumped into the field of policy research, working with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) members of the Japanese parliament. My desire to learn about domestic and global politics from a very different spectrum brought me to the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and later I earned my Ph.D. in political science at the University of Notre Dame.

What I hope for my students is to discover a life-long joy of developing a greater appreciation of and celebration for the differences and commonality of humankind. I would like them to understand the world by making connections among different pieces of knowledge they acquire in various disciplines. I would like my students to open their minds and hearts to different predicaments of other peoples and critically reflect on important issues which affect not only them but also others in the world.

My research interest has been on minority politics, especially the Korean minority in Japan. Most recently, I have been examining different factors behind decisions made by the local governments in Japan to allow foreign residents participation in referendums. My courses include Introduction to East Asian Politics, Gender Politics in Asia, Ethnic and Political Conflict in Asia, Introduction to World Politics, Peace and Conflict Resolution and Political Research.

When I am not on campus, I spend a lot of time with my husband, Carl and our son, Elliott.

Vincent Vecera

Image of Vincent Vecera
Chair of the Political Science Department, Associate Professor of Political Science
Ph.D., M.A.,University of Minnesota; B.A., Reed College

I study American politics and political theory. My primary focus is the politics of civil rights in the United States. I’m interested in how Americans think and talk about constitutional rights and how rights function in the making of public policy. For the past several years I’ve dedicated most of my energy to studying the dynamics of rights claims in American life. I’m currently writing a book manuscript focused on the politics of rights in public debates about civil society, voting, abortion, sexuality and the family, crime and safety, and gun regulation as well as several projects focused on representation and political activism. Generally speaking, my work asks how institutions shape the way activists use rights and why social movements succeed or fail over the long-term in their pursuit of civil and political rights.

My teaching covers a wide variety of topics in American politics, public law, political theory, and research methods. I love teaching courses that challenge students’ preconceptions about how politics works. My classroom is a place to discuss the big ideas and texts, but it’s also a place where we do simulations, debates, and games of all kinds. I want my students to come out of my classes with an interest in politics as it is lived and breathed, to become deeply engaged citizens of their communities and the world.

My wife, Molly, is a Ph.D. student in English Literature at Indiana University. She studies Victorian lodgings, landladies, and tenants. We have a son, Abraham, and two cats, Sylvia and Sweet Dee.


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