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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
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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.

Aaron Shreve

Image of Aaron Shreve
Assistant Professor of Political Science
B.A., Minnesota State University; M.A., University of Pittsburgh; Ph. D., University of California, Davis
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I was born and raised in North Dakota, and I earned my B.A. in political science from Minnesota State University Moorhead. I went on to earn a master’s degree in security and intelligence studies at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.

After a couple of years on the East Coast, I moved to northern California, where I earned my Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Davis. At UC-Davis, my subfields in political science were international relations and political methodology (applied statistics).

My dissertation examined how status and prestige motivations influence the foreign policy behavior of states.

My current research examines the relationship between status and prestige and

  1. foreign aid and peacekeeping,
  2. arms and military build-ups, and
  3. conflict.

My main goals are to provide students with

  1. the ability to critically analyze and evaluate issues and ideas and
  2. to synthesize and communicate their analyses.

This involves looking for empirical patterns to support or contradict theories, critically analyzing current events, and presenting arguments and supporting evidence in a clear, concise, and convincing manner. As a result, I emphasize the link—often the lack thereof—between academic debates and theories with policymaking.

The purpose of emphasizing the academic-policymaking link is to provide students a toolbox in order for them to be an active citizen in a global community. Students can also expect a heavy reliance on data in my courses.

I enjoying spending time with my partner, Alexis, my cats, Lewis and Clark, and my niece, Norah. I also like to read (ranging from spy novels, the American West, wine, military history, and nuclear weapons), traveling, cooking (mostly Mexican cuisine), running and hiking. I still enjoy basketball, so let me know if there is a pick-up game!

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
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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 figure in the making of public policy.

For the past several years I’ve dedicated most of my energy to a book project on the politics of rights in American democracy, focusing on public debates about labor and property, voting, abortion, sexuality and the family, crime and safety, guns, and immigration.

My other major interest is the discursive history of political economy, particularly the emergence of rights and norms defining and regulating property relationships and markets. Generally speaking, my work asks how the language of rights shapes American public policy. 

I teach a variety of courses in American politics, public policy, and political theory in the departments of political science and philosophy. 

My wife, Molly, is a Ph.D. student in English Literature at Indiana University. She studies Victorian lodgings, landladies, and tenants. We have two children, Abraham and Daria.

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