Hire a UCR Ph.D.

Here is a brief description of our PhD students on the market, followed by a more comprehensive list of their research interests and publications.

Allan Colbern (detailed profile)
Allan Colbern is a PhD Candidate and does work on American institutions, federalism, citizenship, and public policy. His current interests are in the development of American legal institutions and laws that affect the lives of vulnerable populations, over time, with a focus on immigration law (1780-present) and slavery law (1640-1865) in the United States. His dissertation, Today’s Runaway Slaves: Unauthorized Immigrants in a Federalist Framework, draws out larger patterns and comparisons in the study of slavery and immigration law that help reveal features about American federalism and citizenship often underappreciated by scholars.

Whitney Mannies (detailed profile)
Whitney Mannies is a PhD candidate whose research concentrates on modern political thought (particularly the French Enlightenment), feminist theory, and the intersection of political theory and literature. Her dissertation looks at the consequences of the style and form of texts for political and philosophical knowledge.

David McCahon (detailed profile)
David McCahon’s work focuses on state and local politics in the United States, and public policy specifically as it relates to criminal justice.  His dissertation examines the legacies of felony and misdemeanor convictions on the civic participation of those who were formerly incarcerated.  He has won fellowships from the John Randolph and Dora Haynes Foundation and the Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies.

Brian Williams (detailed profile)
Brian’s dissertation explores how electoral systems affect legislative consensus, and within multiparty systems, how governing coalition agreement policy pledges affect legislative vote outcomes on those policies. The institutional implications of his research apply at the level of constitutional design and governance, with particular applications to the cases of Britain, Belgium, and New Zealand.

Allan Colbern (web site)

Field of Study: American Politics

Research Interests: American institutions, federalism, citizenship, public policy, immigration and slavery law

Dissertation: Today’s Runaway Slaves: Unauthorized Immigrants in a Federalist Framework (Karthick Ramakrishnan, Chair; Daniel Tichenor; Shaun Bowler; Loren Collingwood)

Select Publications:

“The California Package: Immigrant Integration and the Evolving Nature of State Citizenship. 2015” Policy Matters, 6:3  1-19.

Colbern, Allan. 2015. “American Political Development’s Approach to Conceptualization, And Why This Matters for Mainstream Political Science,” Clio Newsletter of Politics & History (APSA) 25,1 (Summer).

Colbern, Allan. 2015. “The House Is Picking a Fight with ‘sanctuary City’ Ordinances. How Is This like the Fugitive Slave Laws?.” The Monkey Cage. August 13. (LINK)

Ramakrishnan, Karthick, and Allan Colbern. 2015. “Immigration Reform: ‘The California Package.’” Los Angeles Times, June 24, sec. Op-Ed (LINK)

Colbern, Allan. (forthcoming, 2015). “Immigrant Criminality and its Parallel to Southern Fear of Slave Insurrections.” Politics of Color.

Working Papers

Colbern, Allan. “Runaway Slaves and the Federalism Conflict: A Reappraisal, 1780-1860.” (Under Review)

Colbern, Allan. “Regulating Movement in a Federalist System: Slavery’s Relation to Immigration Law, Past and Present.” (Under Review)

Colbern, Allan and Karthick Ramakrishnan. “Immigrant Inclusion and Subfederal Citizenship in the United States.” (Preparing to Submit for Review)

Please see Allan Colbern’s website for his most up-to-date info and CV: http://allancolbern.com


Whitney Mannies (web site)

Field of Study: Political Theory, Feminist Theory

Research Interests: modern political thought (particularly the French Enlightenment), feminist theory, and the intersection of political theory and literature.

Dissertation: “The Style and Form of Political Theory” (John Christian Laursen, Georgia Warnke, John Medearis)

Select Publications:

“The Style of Materialist Skepticism: Diderot’s Jacques le fataliste,” Philosophy and Literature, forthcoming.

“Denis Diderot on War and Peace: Nature and Morality,” co-authored with John Christian Laursen, Araucaria: Revista Iberoamericana de Filosofía, Política, y Humanidades, 16: 32 (2014), pp. 155-171.

“Elements of Style: Openness and Dispositions,” in Inheriting Gadamer, ed. Georgia Warnke, University of Edinburgh Press, forthcoming 2016.

“Diderot and Diez: complicating the Radical Enlightenment,” co-authored with John Christian Laursen, ed. Marta García Alonso, Lumières radicales et politique, Paris, Champion, 2016.

“Diderot and the Politics of a Skeptical Materialism,” in Skepticism and Political Thought in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, eds. J. C. Laursen and Gianni Paganini (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015), pp. 177-202.

“Towards a Radical Femininst Historiography,” in The Invention of Female Biography, Vol. 1. Ed. Gina Luria Walker. Pickering & Chatto. Forthcoming 2016

Working Papers:

“Rousseau’s Second Discourse through a Feminist Materialist Lens” A consideration of the origin of gender roles in Rousseau and the ways in which feminist theorists have interpreted, critiqued, and appropriated Rousseau’s views on gender.

“Persia in the Encyclopédie,” an investigation of images and uses of Persia in the Encyclopédie of Diderot and d’Alembert.


Dissertation Year Fellowship, Winter and Spring 2016. Awarded by the University of California to provide financial support to PhD candidates in the final year of dissertation writing.

Barricelli Memorial Grant for Graduate Research, Winter 2014.

Chercheur invité, Le Centre International de Recherches en Philosophie, Lettres, Savoirs, at the École Normale Supèrieure, Paris, France, Winter and Spring, 2014.

Graduate Research Mentorship Program Fellowship, Winter and Spring Quarters, 2014.

Outstanding Teaching Assistant of the Year Award, 2012.

Click here for CV

David S. McCahon (web site)

Field of Study: American Politics

Research Interests: American Politics, State and Local Politics, Public Policy and Criminal Justice

Dissertation: A Legacy of Exclusion: How Punishment Affects Patterns of Civic Engagement in Ex-Criminal Offenders (Johnson, Chair; Bowler; Esterling)

Working Papers:

McCahon, David. (2014). “What’s In a Name? Comparing the Impact of Felony Versus Misdemeanor Convictions on Voter Turnout” under review in Politics, Groups, and Identities

McCahon, David. (2014). “Combating Misinformation in the Ex-Felon Population: The Role Probation and Parole Agencies Can Play in Facilitating Civic Reintegration” under review in The Probation Journal


Haynes Lindley Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship Award, the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, Los Angeles, California (2014-15)

Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies Graduate Student Research Fellowship, University of California Riverside (winter and spring, 2014)

Click here for CV


Brian Williams (web site)

Field of Study: Comparative Politics

Research Interests: European politics; national parliaments; electoral systems, legislative rules, and governing coalition agreements, and their effects on legislative behavior and outcomes

Dissertation: Institutions and Legislative Vote Consensus in National Parliaments (Indridason, Chair; Bowler; Esterling)


Williams, Brian. (2012.) “Institutional Change and Legislative Vote Consensus in New Zealand” Legislative Studies Quarterly 37(4): 559-574.

Williams, Brian, Ruxandra Paul and Jesse-Douglas Mathewson. (2013). “2013 APSA Teaching and Learning Conference Track Summaries: Core Curriculum/General Education” with Ruxandra Paul and Jesse-Douglas Mathewson. Political Science and Politics 46(3): 648-649.

Working Papers:

Williams, Brian and Indridi H. Indridason. (2014.) “Luck of the Draw? Private Members’ Bills and the Electoral Connection.” Under review.

Click here for CV