Political Science

Dr. Joan Blauwkamp

Dr. Joan Blauwkamp

Founders Hall, 2230
(308) 865-8759

B.A., Wheaton College
Ph.D., University of Iowa
Hometown: Wheaton, Illinois
Joined UNK Faculty: 1997

Political Behavior 

People who study political behavior analyze how individuals and organized groups participate in democracy.  Important questions driving inquiry in this subfield include:

  • How and why do (regular) people participate in politics, and with what effects?
  • What kind of role/s should the public play in a democratic society, and does the public have the requisite knowledge and skills to play that role/those roles?
  • How do organizations (particularly organized interests and political parties) facilitate public participation in and influence over government?
  • How do organizations (particularly organized interests, political parties, and the news media) and politicians shape the public’s knowledge of and beliefs about government, public policy issues, and democratic principles/values?

On working with undergraduate students:
“I teach research methods, so I encounter a lot of students who are afraid of math (or actually, of statistics). And I get it. But I also think a big part of that fear stems from the feeling that doing statistics is a lot of hard work but without much of a payoff. So I like it when a student gets excited about answering a question: Can the majority party in the House of Representatives get the committees to do their bidding? Or how do US Supreme Court decisions affect public opinion about the issues addressed by their cases? Then the student sees that, yes, collecting and analyzing data can be hard work, but it does have a huge payoff – it’s how we get the evidence that we need to answer these really interesting and important questions.”

Favorite quasi-political quote: 
"I leave it to my audience. If I had another face, do you think I’d use this one?” – Abraham Lincoln, in response to the allegation that he was “two-faced.”