Constitutional Studies Placement Candidates

Andre P. Audette

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Curriculum Vitae

Andre Audette is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Political Science at Notre Dame, where he defended his dissertation in June of 2016. His research focuses broadly on the impact of social identity on political inequality among individuals, in linkage or formal institutions, and in public policy, and has appeared in Political Research Quarterly and the Law & Society Review. He also has teaching experience at Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

Andre’s dissertation, “The Religious Bases of Latino/a Political Participation,” examines how churches mobilize Latinos for political engagement. Political scientists have found that religiosity generates higher rates of participation, but Latinos (a highly religious social group) often participate in politics at lower rates than other ethnic or racial groups, even when controlling for socioeconomic status. This has led some scholars to suggest that Latinos’ historic affiliation with the Catholic Church reduces participation rates due to Latinos having fewer opportunities than Protestant groups to develop civic and political skills, such as speaking in public or organizing meetings. Utilizing national survey data and qualitative fieldwork in Latino-serving churches, Andre’s dissertation research argues that, while some denominational differences exist, churches as a whole are a highly effective way to incorporate new and marginalized groups into the political system through civic skill acquisition, political recruitment, and the mobilization of religious beliefs. As the number of Latinos in the United States continues to grow, this research suggests that religious and other voluntary organizations will play a vital role in giving Latinos political voice in American elections and policymaking.

In addition to his research, Andre has taught courses on research methods, political campaigns, and discussion sections of introductory American politics. Over the past two years, he has also served as a graduate associate at the Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning, where he trains new graduate teaching assistants and instructors, leads workshops on teaching and learning pedagogy, and works with faculty and graduate student teachers in developing evidence-based active learning techniques. Prior to his graduate work, Andre earned degrees in political science and Justice and Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas.

Mark Hoipkemier

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Curriculum Vitae

Mark Hoipkemier is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science. His areas of specialization are political theory and public law, with a research focus on political economy and the history of republican thought. Before coming to Notre Dame, he graduated from Dartmouth College and studied as a Fulbright Scholar at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Mark’s dissertation, “The Political Economy of Common Goods,” presents the Aristotelian concept of common as indispensable for both the empirical and normative analysis of contemporary political economy. At its most basic, the idea of common good is that communities are real agents in the political world with their own goods and goals, which emerge from interaction. Social teleology shapes the members of any community—what they do and who they are—in ways that need to be both researched and politically debated. This structure applies equally in modern liberal context as in premodern polity, so the study turns to three key players in today’s political economy: corporations, markets, and liberal politics itself. The lens of common good shows that liberal regimes and corporations cannot aim solely at the good of individuals, as they purport to do; they always have their own emergent goods. But markets, despite their economic efficiency, lack common goods of their own; they are instituted to promote political ends without generating community. Once we see where social teleology empirically applies, we are in a position to debate, not whether we want common goods in our politics, but rather which ones.

Mark's working papers in his primary research stream explore common goods as they relate to immigration policy and urban design; future projects will treat the common good in Renaissance thought (Cusanus) and Islam. His secondary research line is on republicanism, specifically Machiavelli and his American reception, on the matter of political institutions and culture. From this line have appeared several conference papers as well as a research article and book chapter (both under review), which set Machiavelli in conversation with thinkers such as Abraham Lincoln and the Federalists. Mark’s articles and other writing have appeared in the Review of Politics, the Journal of Critical RealismArchivo di Filosofia, and Interpretation. 

Mark is prepared to teach courses in ancient, modern, and American political thought, constitutional law, Islamic law and politics, citizenship and immigration, and political economy. In the upcoming year at Notre Dame, he will teach “Introduction to Political Philosophy” and “Understanding ISIS: The past and present of Islamic Law.”

Kevin Vance

Curriculum Vitae

Kevin Vance is a Ph.D. candidate in constitutional studies and political theory at Notre Dame. His dissertation compares the religion clauses jurisprudence of the U.S. Supreme Court with the religious liberty jurisprudence of the German Constitutional Court and the Canadian Supreme Court. The dissertation addresses some of the theoretical perplexities pertaining to the place of religion and the purpose and limits of religious freedom within liberal democracies, such as the extent to which constitutional courts should accommodate religious practices that conflict with what is otherwise valid law and the extent to which constitutional governments can recognize, favor, or disfavor religion. The dissertation considers the way each of these three courts conceives of the limits applicable to an individual’s free exercise of religion, the way each of the courts understands the potential tradeoff between positive and negative religious liberty rights, and the way each of the courts understands the autonomy of religious associations.

Kevin’s other research interests include constitutional law, 14th Amendment jurisprudence, American political thought, constitutional interpretation, and judicial politics.

Kevin is currently teaching constitutional law at Notre Dame, and he will teach Introduction to Political Philosophy at Holy Cross in the spring. He is also prepared to teach comparative constitutional law, American political thought, early modern political thought, ancient and medieval political thought, and judicial politics.

Before coming to Notre Dame, Kevin received his B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and worked in political journalism for several years in Washington, DC.