American Politics Placement Candidates

Click the candidate's name to view his or her information.

Patrick Schoettmer (Ph.D. expected May 2014)

Patrick Schoettmer is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, where he specializes in American politics. His research focuses on the political behavior of religious groups, examining the way in which external perceptions and social networks influence the willingness of religious communities to engage in civil society and the political process. Patrick has forthcoming research on American Buddhist behavior and won several grants and awards in support of his dissertation research on American Muslim civic and political participation. He anticipates defending his dissertation in the spring of 2013.

Patrick earned a dual B.A. in Political Science and in Philosophy in 2000 from Indiana University in Bloomington. He subsequently earned a M.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Culture from IU, passing comprehensive exams in the areas of comparative politics, Islamic history, and Arabic. Patrick was also recognized for his outreach work to the community with the M. Amin Zaki Service Award. He earned his M.A. in Political Science in 2011, passing comprehensive exams in American politics and international relations.

Dissertation Title:

Crescent, Cross, and Culture: How Politics Shapes our Racial and Religious Identities

Dissertation Committee:

Assoc. Prof. David Campbell (Chair)
Prof. Dianne Pinderhughes
Prof. Geoffrey Layman
Assoc. Prof. Ricardo Ramírez

Dissertation Summary:

Patrick's dissertation focuses on the formation of the modern political identity of American Muslims. The central argument of the dissertation is that the nature of the contemporary political discourse in the US promotes an Islamization of Muslim political identities, which impacts Muslim political preferences and their degree of civic engagement. By exploring the transformation of the salience of Islam to the political discussion in the US following the September 11th attacks, how the salience of Islam to the political debate has impacted Muslim elites, and  how these elite attitudes have shaped Muslim opinion, the dissertation demonstrates how political discourse shapes what we understand about the dividing lines of religion and race.

The dissertation employs an original survey fielded in cooperation with a Muslim political action group to uncover the particular importance of homogeneity and activity within the mosque to defining the extent and nature of Muslim political engagement in the US. The project also draws upon field work conducted in American mosques to help illuminate the important role community and religious leaders play in shaping the attitudes of minority groups who perceive themselves as being threatened by the majority.

Gregory Shufeldt (Ph.D. expected May 2014)

Curriculum Vitae

Greg Shufeldt is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame.  His research and teaching interests within American Politics include political parties, state politics, and voter behavior.

Greg’s dissertation focuses on partisan differences in political behavior.  People who self-identify as Republicans are more likely than those who self-identify as Democrats to vote for their party’s candidates, more active on behalf of their party, and are more likely to support their party financially.  These partisan differences persist even after controlling for obvious explanations such demographic and socioeconomic differences between members of the party coalitions.  He develops a group identity-based explanation for these observed differences in the partisan behavior of identifiers, arguing that they are the product of the relationship between voters’ multiple competing identities.  These differences in political behavior have practical consequences for how the Republican and Democratic parties wage campaigns, govern, and organize themselves.

In addition to his dissertation project, Greg has published co-authored research in State Politics & Policy Quarterly and BioScience.  He has also have presented his work at scholarly conferences, including the annual meetings of the Midwest Political Science Association and Southern Political Science Association.

While at the University of Notre Dame, Greg has been fortunate to have served as an Instructor for his own course (Party Polarization in American Politics) as well as a Teaching Assistant for many other American Politics courses.  Based on his classroom performance and student teaching evaluations, he has been recognized as an Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher and Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Assistant by the Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning.

Dissertation Title:

“Unequal Parties: Partisan Differences in Political Behavior”

Dissertation Committee Members:

Associate Professor Christina Wolbrecht (Chair)

Professor Geoffrey Layman

Professor Benjamin Radcliff