Meet Stephen Roblin, 2021 APSA Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grantee

The American Political Science Association is pleased to announce the Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (DDRIG) Awardees for 2021. The APSA DDRIG program provides support to enhance and improve the conduct of doctoral dissertation research in political science. Awards support basic research which is theoretically derived and empirically oriented.

Stephen Roblin, Cornell University

Stephen Roblin is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Government at Cornell University. His research examines the impact of wartime civilian harm and anti-war messaging on American public support for war. His dissertation, “The Moral Public: Intent, Wartime Civilian Harm, and American Public Support for War,” argues that U.S. military harm to foreign civilians affects American public support for war and that the mechanism responsible for this effect is moral intuition, or the natural readiness of the human mind to evaluate the morality of actions resulting in harm to bystanders. Focusing on the intent behind wartime civilians, he uses original survey experiments and a case study to examine whether moral intuition explains American public sensitivity to the distinction between intentional, foreseeable but unintentional, and accidental harm in war. His project challenges the prevailing views among IR scholars that concern for winning wars and complying with international law dominate American public attitudes towards war.

Stephen’s other research projects examine experimental survey methodology and the relationship between strategic communications from civil society organizations and American public attitudes towards U.S. foreign policy. He has a co-authored article with Sarah Kreps in International Interactions that explores the effect of survey format on internal and external validity of survey experiments. He also has a working paper with Sarah Maxey that explores the conditions in which anti-war messaging can successfully challenge presidential justifications for war. Prior to Cornell University, Stephen received a master’s at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy and BA in Literature and Language from Morgan State University, a historically Black university in Baltimore, Maryland.