Christian Phillips Receives the 2022 APSA-IPSA Theodore J. Lowi First Book Award

The APSA-IPSA Theodore J. Lowi First Book Award is presented annually to honor a book in any field of political science that exemplifies qualities of broad ambition, high originality, and intellectual daring, showing promise of having a substantive impact on the overall discipline, regardless of method, specific focus of inquiry or approach to the subject.    

Christian Dyogi Phillips is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Southern California.  Her research uses intersectional frameworks to understand how overlapping dimensions of identity inform democratic incorporation.  Dr. Phillips examines how individuals and groups — from everyday voters, to people thinking about running for office, to elected incumbents — make decisions, lead, and effect change.  Her work is particularly attentive to the ways that political contexts and institutions shape those processes.

Dr. Phillips’ first book Nowhere to Run: Race, Gender and Immigration in American Elections, was published by Oxford University Press in 2021 and has been awarded the Richard F. Fenno Jr. Prize from the Legislative Studies Section of the American Political Science Association and the Don T. Nakanishi Award for Distinguished Scholarship and Service in Asian Pacific American Politics from the Western Political Science Association.

In addition to her extensive work on descriptive representation and electoral politics, Dr. Phillips’ scholarship also includes studies of the substantive representation of immigrant subgroups in state legislatures, and Asian American and Latinx political attitudes and participation.  Her newest project is a multi-method study of how Americans’ lives as workers inform their politics.

Prior to becoming an academic, Dr. Phillips led organizing and political campaigns in the American labor movement.  She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in political science from UC Berkeley, M.P.A. from the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and B.A. from Hampshire College.  She enjoys exploring southern California’s hiking trails and restaurants with her family, building things, and morning runs that end at bakeries.

Citation from the Award Committee: 

The committee unanimously selected Christian Dyogi Phillips’ book, Nowhere to Run: Race, Gender and Immigration in American Elections, for the 2022 Theodore J. Lowi First Book Award.  Phillips develops a new theory of intersectional politics and tests it using an original dataset (Gender Race and Communities in Elections Dataset) that includes nearly every U.S. State Legislature’s general election from 1996-2005, interviews and surveys with candidates, donors and other politicians.  Her study seeks to understand the persistent lack of descriptive representation in legislatures, which continue to be dominated by white men.  She finds that the characteristics of districts, rather than choices or characteristics of candidates, are the main factors.  Most U.S. legislative districts are majority white, and most majority-minority districts tend to be won by men, so women of color are left with, literally, “nowhere to run.”  Dyogi Phillips masterfully integrates different methods of research to analyze how race, gender, and identity combine with the racial and partisan composition of districts to shape power relations and affect electoral outcomes.

APSA thanks the International Political Science Association (IPSA) for its support of the award and the committee members for their service: Dr. Hasret Dikici (chair) Istanbul Bilgi University, Dr. Irasema Coronado of Arizona State University, Dr. Mary Alice Haddad of Wesleyan University, Professor Michael Saward of the University of Warwick, and Dr. Zeynep Somer-Topcu of the University of Texas at Austin.

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