• 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 interests focus on American politics, especially American political development, gender and politics, and methods. Recent research topics include the development of married women's economic rights in the 1800s, policy feedback and the Tennessee Valley Authority, the politics of bathroom access in the U.S. states, analysis of historical polling data, and the role of gender in campaign staff hiring.

  • 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.

  • PLSC 3290 Capstone Seminar: Voting Rights in the United States

    This course will explore the history and contemporary politics of voting rights in the United States.  We’ll examine both enfranchisement and disenfranchisement – and the tensions between them – starting in the early Republic and continuing to the present day.  We’ll consider a variety of methods for studying voting rights, including both qualitative and quantitative analyses.  Throughout the quarter, we’ll identify and discuss the arguments made by scholars of voting rights, and then you’ll apply one of these theoretical lenses to a contemporary voting rights policy of your choice.  You can expect to read critically, improve your research and writing skills, and engage in important and valuable discussions with your peers.

  • Media

  • Blog post on Obergefell at the London School of Economics United States Politics and Policy Blog

    Blog post on "Women's Issues" in the 2022 Midterms in Australian Outlook

    CAHSS Newsroom interview on the 2022 Midterms

  • Panel: What Just Happened? Understanding the Final Days of the Trump Administration

This portfolio last updated: 16-Nov-2022 9:31 AM