Political Sadness: Democratic Institutions & Citizens in a Depressing World

Committee: Jeff Mondak (Chair), Brian Gaines, Aleks Ksiazkiewicz, & Cara Wong

My dissertation uses existing survey data from nationally representative samples in the U.S., novel lab and survey experiments, and original interview data to argue for the critical role of sadness in U.S. Politics. I identify the causes of political sadness in the U.S. and both the positive and negatives consequences of this sadness for democratic citizenship and democratic institutions. I utilize an interdisciplinary approach that engages the fields of political science, neuroscience, psychology, public health, and political philosophy to examine the relationship between emotions and cognition, decision-making, and attention to politics.

William T. Berhnhard 2022 Award: Best Dissertation Prospectus Defended in the Previous Two Calendar Years.

My dissertation prospectus won the University of Illinois Political Science Department award for best prospectus defended in the previous two calendar years. I am celebrating my award with my colleagues above.