Campus & Community

Ash Institute awards faculty grants

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The Roy and Lila Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University has awarded $245,000 in grants for faculty research and retreat in 2007, director Gowher Rizvi recently announced. Each of the nine projects funded supports the goals of the institute by seeking to advance good government and to strengthen democratic institutions worldwide by studying and fostering creative and effective government problem solving.

Grant applications were evaluated by Academic Dean and Thornton Bradshaw Professor of Public Policy and Management Mary Jo Bane; Jane Mansbridge, Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values; Merilee Grindle, Edward S. Mason Professor of International Development; Frederick Schauer, the Frank Stanton Professor of the First Amendment and former academic dean; and Rizvi.

The Ash Institute research grant awardees are as follows:

Arthur Applbaum, professor of ethics and public policy and director of graduate fellowships in the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics, will continue his study of political legitimacy and countermajoritarian institutions in divided societies. This research analyzes the concept of political legitimacy, arguing that the necessary conditions for political actors to act with legitimacy are in part substantive, and not merely ones of pedigree or procedure. Applbaum explores the general claim that certain countermajoritarian institutions and practices in a democracy not only are compatible with political legitimacy, but may even be necessary preconditions for political legitimacy.

Pepper D. Culpepper and Archon Fung, associate professors of public policy, will study “Deliberation and Accountability in the European Union: An Empirical Evaluation of Two Experiments Aimed at the Democracy Deficit.” This project will evaluate the function and impact of two large-scale experiments that use deliberative approaches to incorporate public participation in the politics of the European Union. These experiments constitute part of the European Union’s “period of reflection” to consider how the EU should move forward following the rejections of the constitution in referendums held in France and the Netherlands.

Alnoor Ebrahim, visiting associate professor of public policy, conducts research on accountability and organizational learning in nonprofit and civil society organizations. His project on accountability and representation in negotiated contexts aims to provide the first systematic account of how a select set of civil society organizations (CSO) and international financial institutions (IFI) negotiate frameworks of accountability, both in their internal practices and in their interactions with one another, and how their interactions with government agencies shape the CSO-IFI relationship.

Steve Kelman, the Albert J. Weatherhead III and Richard W. Weatherhead Professor of Public Management, and Irwin Turbitt, a faculty associate at Warwick University in the United Kingdom, will examine crime and disorder reduction partnerships in England and Wales. This research focuses on multiorganizational collaborations called “Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships” (CDRPs) in the United Kingdom. Kelman and Turbitt will study the impact of various management/leadership/organizational design practices of CDRPs – i.e., how the CDRP is led and managed as a multiorganizational collaboration – on the policy outcome it is designed to address: crime reduction.

Alexander Keyssar, the Matthew W. Stirling Jr. Professor of History and Social Policy, will study the history of campaign finance laws in the United States. This research will be published as part of a book about the evolution of American electoral institutions, “The Rules of the Game.” Keyssar’s previous book, “The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States” (2000), was named the best book on U.S. history by both the American Historical Association and the Historical Society. It was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Award.

Jane Mansbridge, the Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values, will conduct a workshop on “The Role of Bargaining, Negotiation, Compromise and Voting in Deliberative Democracy,” bringing together the top scholars in the United States and Europe to understand the ways that democracies can integrate the normative mandates of both deliberation and the exercise of legitimate power.

Rohini Pande, the Mohamed Kamal Professor of Public Policy, will examine how political affirmative action for women in India has affected policy outcomes, female participation, and the extent of gender bias. Pande will collect and use three types of data – household and village-level survey data, village meeting transcripts, and experimental data – to assess whether political reservations empowered women, increased their political agency (participation and representation), and affected the well-being of women and children. The project will assess the effects of female leadership on child health, education, and teenagers’ aspirations, and the channels through which these effects operate. Pande also will examine how mandated political representation of women has affected the extent of explicit and implicit gender discrimination prevalent in these villages.

Cindy Skach, associate professor of government and affiliated professor of international legal studies at Harvard Law School, specializes in comparative constitutionalism and legal development, particularly in Europe and Europe’s former colonies. Her project, “How Not to Radicalize Islam: Religion and Good Governance in Africa,” will involve an ethnography of the islands of the Comoros in the Mozambique Channel, the only territory of the European Union that is 99 percent Muslim. Currently, state-building there in the name of “modernity” risks radicalizing Islam. Through formal interviews with key public officials, judges, and lawyers; consultation of historical legal documents on the islands and in the Archives d’Outre Mer in Aix-en-Provence; and videotaped recordings of Islamic court proceedings, Skach will chart the changing patterns and practices of Islamic and French republican laws and state institutions, paying special attention to the political coalitions favoring certain legal institutions, and advocating the abandonment of others.

Kim Williams, associate professor of public policy, will study “The New Politics of Displacement,” a book project that extends Peter Eisinger’s 1980 work, “The Politics of Displacement: Racial and Ethnic Transition in Three American Cities,” which examined the response of white elites “displaced” by blacks in city governments in the early 1970s. Using Eisinger’s framework for understanding how displaced groups adapt, Williams will focus on the next chapter in the story: the displacement of blacks by Latinos.

The Ash Institute advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, publications, curriculum support, global network, and awards program, the institute fosters creative and effective government problem solving. To learn more, visit