Michael A. Smith

From Soaking and Poking to Breaching Empathy Walls: Qualitative Research after Fenno

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University It is hard to say goodbye to Richard Fenno (1926-2020).  He was truly one of a kind. Fenno called his style of qualitative research “soaking and poking.”  More formally, it is known as participant observation.  Many…


No, we are not More Divided Than Ever

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University The other day, I was grading a student project when I noticed that they had written something that seems widely believed these days.  The student argued that Americans are more divided along party lines than ever before.…


Thoughts on the Future of Political Science

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University Well, #MPSA2022 is in the books. From my perspective, the first in-person MPSA conference since 2019 was a success. As I noted in my previous blog post, the political science conference is likely to see permanent changes…


The Future of the Political Science Conference

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University The MPSA’s in-person conference is back!  After being canceled entirely in 2020 and held virtually in 2021, this year’s conference has returned to Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton.  Old haunts like the Parlor, State and…


First Things First When Teaching Civic Education

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University Between 10 and 15 years ago, Political Science experienced a renewed interest in civic education.  The National Conference on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (NCCLDE) produced a report in 2012 featuring numerous…


Think Congressional redistricting is hard? Wait until we get to state and local offices.

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University Congressional redistricting is in the news–and in my inbox.  Every day, I get a dose of emails from both sides reminding me of the critical importance of redistricting.  Most of these focus on Congressional districts,…


Remembering Burdett Loomis 

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University Dr. Burdett “Bird” Loomis died in late September.  He served for many decades as a Professor of Political Science at the University of Kansas.  Though he never served in public office himself, Loomis’ advocacy of good…


Do-It-Yourself Redistricting and What I Learned

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University I redistricted.  Here is what I learned. First, the basics.  Redistricting no longer requires sophisticated computer software that only legislative research departments can afford. For more than 10 years now, computer…


A Redistricting Primer

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University It’s time for redistricting.  What does that mean, and what insights does political science offer? Every ten years, the country experiences reapportionment and redistricting as a result of the decennial Census mandated by…


Georgia’s New Voting Laws Meet Political Science

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University Controversy swirls around Georgia’s new voting laws, along with similar ones in Florida, Texas, and several other states.  Passed ostensibly to control voting fraud in the wake of the huge vote-by-mail turnout last year,…