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Department of Political Science pres.

Interdisciplinary Workshop in American Politics (IWAP)

PhD Candidate in Political Science Princess Williams; "The Politics of Place: How Southern Identity Shapes Americans' Racial Attitudes and Policy Preferences."

Williams Williams
Princess Williams will present her job talk: "The Politics of Place: How Southern Identity Shapes Americans' Racial Attitudes and Policy Preferences."

ABSTRACT: This project investigates the role of place-based identification in influencing Americans’ racial attitudes and policy preferences. Specifically, I argue that Southern identity (i.e., identification with the American South) is an influential but omitted factor in the study of political behavior across racial groups. In this project, I create a novel measurement of Southern identity and assess its impact on public opinion. Contrary to the extant literature, this work argues that Southern identity has political consequences for the opinion formation of Black Americans as well as for White Americans. I expect that Southern identity will be associated with group-centric racial beliefs reflecting the perceived communalistic nature of Southern culture. Analyses from three original surveys suggest that Southern identity influences both Black and Whites to adopt distinct racial beliefs different from their non- southern racial group members. These results hint at a challenge to the claim that Southern identity among Black Americans is not as politically relevant as it is for White Americans. This work also speaks to the need for more nuanced approaches to understanding American’s racial beliefs across race and place.

The Interdisciplinary Workshop on American Politics (IWAP) is a forum for the presentation of ongoing interdisciplinary research in American politics. Most of our presentations are given by graduate students. Each graduate student presenter is assigned a faculty and student discussant. IWAP circulates the work beforehand and the student presents it briefly at the start of the meeting. After discussant feedback, the bulk of the time is reserved for group discussion among all workshop participants. This format leads to informal yet highly interactive and productive conversations.

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