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Jennifer Seely
Associate Professor of Politics

I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and always thought I wanted to be a teacher. In college I realized that I was fascinated by the developing world, so I joined the Peace Corps and spent two years in Cote d'Ivoire. It was a transformative experience and led me to graduate study in Political Science, focused on questions of democratization and development in Africa.

After earning my Ph.D. from Washington University I was awarded a Carnegie Mellon Fellowship from Brandeis University, and joined Earlham's Politics Department in 2008. I teach courses in the subfield of Comparative Politics, seeking answers to questions about why some countries transition to democracy or are systematically able to improve the lives of their populations.

Contact Info

Campus Mail
Drawer 63

Phone
765-983-1306

E-mail

Office
233 Landrum Bolling Center

Programs/Departments

  • Politics
  • African and African American Studies
  • International Studies

Degrees

  • Ph.D., Washington University
  • M.A., Washington University
  • B.A., Northwestern University

Selected Courses:

Democracy & Democratization
African Politics
Approaching Political Puzzles
Politics of Global Inequality
International Political Economy

My scholarly interests have traditionally been centered on democracy and development, especially in Africa.  I have published on citizenship in Africa and have plans to expand the project to understand whether crafting citizenship laws to be more open or closed to new citizens can support other vital political goals, including peace, democracy, and economic development.

More recently I have become interested in how the research skills gained in a Politics education can be put to use right here in our Richmond, Indiana community.  Inspired by students in the 2015 Politics capstone course, I am working to establish the means for Earlham Politics majors to serve as research assistants for organizations that are working hard to improve our community, but are minimally staffed and would benefit from the skills that Politics majors develop in their four years at Earlham.

 

“Is Citizenship the Key to Peace and Democracy in Africa?” In progress.

““Second Class Citizens? Gender in African Citizenship Law” Co-authored with Emma Diambogne Diouf, Charlotte-Anne Malischewski, Maria Vaikath, and Kiah Young-Burns. Citizenship Studies 17, 3-4: 429-446 (June 2013).

“It’s All Relative: Modeling Candidate Support in Benin.” Co-authored with Martin Battle. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 16: 1 (January 2010).

The Legacies of Transition Governments in Africa: The Cases of Benin and Togo. Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

Book Publication

The Legacies of Transition Governments in Africa: The Cases of Benin and Togo.  Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications

“Second Class Citizens? Gender in African Citizenship Law” Co-authored with Emma Diambogne Diouf, Charlotte-Anne Malischewski, Maria Vaikath, and Kiah Young-Burns. Citizenship Studies 17, 3-4: 429-446 (June 2013).

“It’s All Relative: Modeling Candidate Support in Benin.” Co-authored with Martin Battle. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 16: 1 (January 2010).

“The Legacies of Transition Governments: Post-Transition Dynamics in Benin and Togo.” Democratization 12:3 (June 2005).

“A Political Analysis of Decentralization: Co-opting the Tuareg Threat in Mali.” Journal of Modern African Studies 39:3 (September 2001).

Journal Publications

“Togo’s Presidential Election 2010.” Electoral Studies 30 (2011).

“The Presidential Election in Benin, March 2006.” Electoral Studies 26 (2007).

“Togo’s Unexpected Presidential Election 2005.” Electoral Studies 25 (2006).

“Ethnicity in Ghana” (Book review). Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 10:4 (Winter 2004).

American Political Science Association
African Studies Association
African Politics Conference Group
Midwest Political Science Association
West Africa Research Association

The best thing about teaching at Earlham is working with our amazing students! Earlham students are willing and able to tackle difficult subjects and elevate their understanding through hard work. They care deeply about Politics and real-world problems, and are able to address them from an academic point of view, as well as act as agents for meaningful change.

I love the mix of academic excellence and international awareness on this campus, and have had the privilege to publish a recent article in Citizenship Studies with several student co-authors.  In addition to my substantive academic areas of interest, I teach research design and I have actively encouraged my students to pursue ambitious research projects and present them in professional settings such as the Midwest Political Science Association conference held annually in Chicago.

My student’s projects are as diverse as they are: the most recent Politics senior theses focused on racial equality in education in U.S. cities, and the link between vaccination policies and preventable disease outbreaks in the U.S. and Europe. Both these students wrote lengthy research papers, and then distilled the information into poster form and presented that research at Earlham’s own Annual Research Conference, as well as in the undergraduate poster sessions at the Midwest Political Science Association meetings in Chicago, Illinois.

In May 2013, in collaboration with Aletha Stahl from French and Francophone Studies, I led Earlham students on a three-week short term to Benin in West Africa. We zipped around on the local moped taxis and interviewed professionals on topics ranging from malaria prevention to women’s legal rights and microcredit systems. Students practiced French, visited historical sites, and enjoyed local cuisine like fresh fruits, grilled fish, and vegetable sauce with sesame.

I love to travel and have been lucky enough to visit many places in the US and around the world.  Some of my favorite places are San Francisco; Cape May, New Jersey; and Porto-Novo, Benin. I enjoy card and board games, and I recently refurbished my old childhood dollhouse by adding working electric lights, wallpaper and flooring, and decorating all three stories inside and out. I have also been reading about KonMari, the “life-changing magic of tidying up,” and can’t wait to try it out on my clutter!

Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts, including the sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
47374-4095
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admission


NOTICE OF NONDISCRIMINATORY POLICY AS TO STUDENTS

Earlham admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.