Job Candidates

Hire a University of Houston Ph.D.

Our graduate students have strong records of accomplishment and promise. Some of our recent graduates have accepted tenure-track faculty positions at CIDE, Utah State University, Lamar University, and the University of Alabama. Others have been awarded pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships at Harvard University and Rice University. We are excited to call your attention to students entering the academic job market in Fall 2015. For more information about any of our students, please refer to their web sites or contact Professor Eduardo Aleman (, the Graduate Placement Coordinator.

Comparative Politics

Paula Cecilia Pineda PhD (2016 expected)

Dissertation Title: Deconstructed Decentralization and Ethnic Conflict: The Impact of Political, Fiscal, and Administrative Decentralization

Dissertation Committee: Ryan Kennedy (chair), Tanya Bagashka, Patrick Shea, Kristin Bakke

This dissertation addresses the divided, inchoate understanding of the role that decentralization can play in ethnic conflict. First, I highlight inconsistencies in the conceptualization of decentralization, which is traditionally bounded to the concept of federalism. To this end, I present the Deconstructed Decentralization Model (DDM), which features political, fiscal, and administrative spheres of decentralization.

My empirical models demonstrate that different types of decentralization are associated with different impacts on ethnic conflict. For example, I find that the local level in the administration sphere functions as a vessel for higher representation and reduces ethnic conflict levels. Importantly, this impact is consistent across low, mid, and high levels of democracy within states. The dissertation also includes a case study of these dynamics in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and concludes with direct policy implications for the increasingly salient ethnic conflict reality.

CV | Website | Email


Political Theory 

Bruce A. Hunt, Jr., PhD (2016 expected)

Dissertation Title: "Desiring Immortality and Resisting the Regime in Political Liberalism"

Dissertation Committee: Jeffrey Church (chair), Jeremy Bailey, Scott Basinger, Laurence Cooper

I argue that political theorists have largely overlooked the crucial relationship between the desire for immortality and civic virtue in the political writings of Plato, John Locke, Alexis De Tocqueville, and John Dewey.  I identify and analyze these thinkers’ distinct views on this relationship using qualitative and quantitative methods.

CV | Website | Email