Meet 2020-2021 APSA Congressional Fellow Savannah Eccles Johnston of Claremont Graduate University

Meet Savannah Eccles Johnston, PhD, Claremont Graduate University

Savannah Eccles Johnston received her PhD in political science from Claremont Graduate University. Her research focuses on ideology and American political thought. Her dissertation, What Enemy Hath Done This: The Death of the Fusion Movement and the Rise of Illiberal Conservatism, focuses on the theoretical division within the fusion (modern conservative) movement between classical liberalism and traditionalist conservatism and demonstrates how illiberalism – or the theoretical critique of liberalism – has gained the upper hand within the conservative intellectual movement over time. Using key concepts and policies, including nationhood and immigration, free markets and trade, and the role of the state in reinforcing tradition and morality, she traces the growing divide between the two traditions and the concomitant rise of illiberalism. She finds that the fusion movement is giving way before a reconstructed conservatism largely devoid of classical liberal influence.

Additionally, her work on Native American voting rights has been published in Politics, Groups, and Identities. She has also published work for a broader audience in Deseret News, Patheos, and Square Two. Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, Savannah received her undergraduate from Brigham Young University.


The American Political Science Association (APSA) Congressional Fellowship Program is a highly selective, nonpartisan program devoted to expanding knowledge and awareness of Congress. Since 1953, it has brought select political scientists, journalists, federal employees, health specialists, and other professionals to Capitol Hill to experience Congress at work through fellowship placements on congressional staffs.