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Meet the Faculty

Mari Ishibashi

Chair of the Political Science Department, 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

Assistant Professor of Political Science
Ph.D., M.A.,University of Minnesota; B.A., Reed College

My research is focused on the politics of civil rights, particularly the use of constitutional and moral language in democratic discourse. I?m interested in how Americans think and talk about constitutional rights and how rights shape the way we understand political problems. I'm currently writing a book manuscript about the role of constitutional rights in shaping public discourse about abortion policy while working on a variety of projects dealing with the social construction of political conceptions of marriage, public safety, family, and other ambiguous social concepts.

In my teaching I cover a variety of topics spanning American politics, public law, political theory, research methods, and philosophy of science. My favorite courses to teach are those that challenge students' preconceptions about how social institutions function. I love discussing big ideas in the classroom and working with motivated students on original research projects.

Additionally, I serve as Randolph's pre-law advisor. If you are interested in a career in law, please contact me and we'll arrange a meeting.

My wife, Molly, is a PhD student in English Literature at Indiana University. Her research focuses on Victorian lodgings, landladies, and tenants. Our main non-academic interests are music and comedy.