The Barbara Sinclair Lecture Award is presented annually to honor achievement in promoting understanding of the U.S. Congress and legislative politics.
Wendy Schiller is Royce Professor of Teaching Excellence in Political Science, Professor of International & Public Affairs, and Director of the Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy. She also served as Chair of the Brown Political Science Department from 2015-2021. Schiller did her undergraduate work in political science at the University of Chicago, served on the staffs of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Governor Mario Cuomo, and then obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. After Fellowships at the Brookings Institution and Princeton University, she came to Brown University in 1994. She teaches popular courses including Introduction to the American Political Process, Congress and Public Policy, the American Presidency, and Gender and Public Policy at Brown University. Among books she has authored, co-authored, or co-edited are Dynamics of American Democracy (University of Kansas Press), Electing the Senate: Indirect Democracy before the Seventeenth Amendment (Princeton University Press), Gateways to Democracy: An Introduction to American Government (Cengage), The Contemporary Congress (Rowman & Littlefield) and Partners and Rivals: Representation in U.S. Senate Delegations (Princeton University Press). She has also published articles in the American Journal of Political Science, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Studies in American Political Development, Journal of Politics, and the Journal of Women, Politics & Policy. She regularly provides political commentary for national and local news outlets.
Citation from the Award Committee:
Professor Schiller is a renowned scholar of the US Congress, American Political Development, and political representation more generally. She is the author of several well-regarded books on these subjects, and numerous peer-reviewed articles placed in the most prestigious outlets. Her work on the Senate, in particular, has garnered her many accolades — especially as represented in Electing the Senate: Indirect Democracy before the Seventeenth Amendment (Princeton University Press, 2014). Using an original data set of “breathtaking proportions” (as described by Choice) that includes all roll call votes cast by state legislators for U.S. senators from 1871 to 1913 and all state legislators who served during this time, Electing the Senate is the definitive account of this important period and the development of representative government in the United States. Supported generously by the National Science Foundation, the book is accompanied by a public, interactive database that gives students and others the opportunity to explore the data on their own. As Professor Steven S. Smith (Washington University, St. Louis) wrote in his review, “everyone who is interested in American politics must read this book.”
Much like Barbara Sinclair, Professor Schiller’s work is substantively connected to the real-world nuances of Capitol Hill, and she is equally devoted to enhancing her students’ and the public’s understanding of those nuances. This is reflected in her widely read textbooks, her role as Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence, her directorship of the A. Alfred Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy, her contributions to the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, and in and role as a regular contributor to MSNBC, NPR, CNN, Bloomberg News, and several local news outlets in Providence.
Professor Schiller earned her bachelor’s degree (with honors) from the University of Chicago, served on the staffs of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Governor Mario Cuomo, and then earned her Master’s and PhD degrees from the University of Rochester. After fellowships at the Brookings Institution and Princeton University, she came to Brown University in 1994, where she has served as Chair since 2015. She also serves on the editorial boards of Legislative Studies Quarterly and State Politics and Policy Quarterly.
APSA thanks the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at the American University School of Public Affairs for its support of the award and the committee members for their service: Dr. David C. Barker, American University (Co-Chair); Megan McConaughey (Co-Chair); Dr. Alison Craig, University of Texas, Austin; Dr. Nancy Martorano Miller, University of Dayton; and Dr. Jean Reith Schroedel, Claremont Graduate University.