• Professional Biography

  • Sara Chatfield is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Denver. Prior to coming to DU, she was a postdoc in the political science department at MIT and taught courses in American politics and law at Tufts University.

    Her research focuses on the development of married women’s economic rights in U.S. state courts, legislatures, and constitutional conventions in the 1800s and early 1900s. She also conducts research on political behavior (including various aspects of political participation and vote choice) and American political development (including congressional politics and analysis of historical polling data).

  • Selected Teaching

  • PLSC 2830: Judicial Politics

    This course will consider the role of courts, especially the Supreme Court, in the U.S. political system.  We will discuss the potential dangers and benefits of allocating significant power to unelected justices, as well as the ways in which elected officials respond to and coordinate with the court system.  We will consider the importance of statutory interpretation and the dynamics of Court-Congress interaction in developing public policies.  We then broaden the scope of judicial impact to examine the social and political effects of court rulings.  Finally, we will discuss the role of legal interest groups in shaping the Court’s agenda and reasoning.

  • ASEM 2402: Culture and Identity in American Political Development

    How do we decide who is deserving of punishment, rights, social services, and citizenship?  This course considers the development of American politics over time, through the lens of struggles over culture and identity.  We will discuss how political and institutional change around these topics happens in the American political system.  The first section of the course reviews theories in the field of American Political Development, with a focus on political culture, the American state, and the role of time in politics.  We then turn to closer consideration of the ways in which scholars have applied these theories to a few areas of American politics, specifically: the politics of crime and morality, immigration, and welfare.  You’ll also work in a small group to research, record, and edit a podcast exploring the history of a contemporary political issue through the lens of course themes.

  • PLSC 2860: Constitutional Law I: Governmental Structures and Powers

    This course introduces students to major ideas and principles of constitutional law, with a focus on federalism, the growth of national power, and separation of powers.  Within each of these areas, we will consider the development of court rulings over time, economic and political influences on court decision-making, and policy implications.  This course is highly interactive and all students are expected to actively engage in class discussions.

This portfolio last updated: 20-Sep-2019 4:19 PM