I am a postdoctoral associate in the Center for the Study of Representative Institutions and a lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Yale University. My principal research and teaching interests include the Presidency, Congress, American Political Development, American Political Thought, and Archival Methods. In May 2019, I received my Ph.D. in political science from Yale with departmental distinction on my dissertation.
My book project, The Representative Presidency: Ideas and Institutional Change, considers the relationship between ideas and institutions, focusing on the idea of presidential representation. How do political ideas influence political development? What happens to political institutions when the ideas supporting them fall into disrepute? Even a cursory glance at today’s political headlines shows that fundamental questions about presidential power – and the ideas and assumptions underlying its use – are at stake.
As an illustration, I reconsider a puzzle: Congress’s creation of the institutional presidency. I show that the acceptance of the idea of presidential representation – an assumption that presidents possess and act based on a unique perspective due to their national constituency – was an essential precondition of congressional laws that together amounted to the institutional arrangements of the modern presidency. This claim was prominently contested in political discourse, including in hearings and debates in Congress. However, innovations based upon this claim pushed against the written constitutional frame. In this project, I compare the development and durability of laws passed by Congress creating the institutional presidency in five policy areas (budgeting, trade, reorganization, employment, and national security) over two periods of time (1921-1947 and 1973-1998). The first period demonstrates the efficacy of the idea of presidential representation in supporting institutional reform. The second period shows what happens to reformed institutions when the idea behind them falls out of favor. More broadly, this project offers a new understanding of the effect of Congress’s creation of the institutional presidency on the American constitutional system.
Work from this project has appeared in the Journal of Policy History and Presidential Studies Quarterly. A full draft of my dissertation is available upon request. For more on my other publications and ongoing research, please visit my Research page.
During the 2019-20 academic year, I will be teaching two courses: “Ideas of Representation in American Political Development” (Fall 2019) and “Congress: How Legislating Works” (Spring 2020). For more on my teaching interests, drafted syllabi, and evaluations, please visit my Teaching page.
In May 2013, I graduated from the University of Connecticut with a B.A. in political science.