Dawn Teele, SNF Agora Institute Associate Professor of Political Science, has been awarded the 2023 Theda Skocpol Emerging Scholar Award from the American Political Science Association. Her research interests include women and politics specifically related the causes and consequences of voting rights reform; candidate socialization, recruitment, and election; incumbency and gender; democratization and economic development; methodology and field experiments.
Dawn Teele has made both substantive and methodological contributions to the field of comparative politics. Her first line of research—best captured in her book Forging the Franchise(Princeton, 2018), which received the Luebbert Prize in 2020—examined the origins of women’s suffrage and showed how suffrage extensions were rooted in electoral politics, including party competition and partisan realignments. Moving beyond simplistic accounts of gender discrimination in which voters and politicians simply favor men over women, Teele’s work examines the institutional foundations of gendered differences in political participation, showing how factors like social expectations about candidates lead to gendered outcomes, and how institutional rules can encourage or discourage marginalized communities from participating in electoral politics. The book makes a key point that understandings of democratization are incomplete, and potentially even incorrect, without accounting for women’s enfranchisement.
Her second major contribution is to our understanding of women’s representation in politics and the reasons for gaps in political ambition. A series of papers disentangle how gendered expectations help to explain women’s political ambitions and descriptive representation. Here, she also has contributed to understanding gender gaps in publishing and subfield expectations in political science. Finally, Teele has contributed to methodological debates around the ethics of field experiments. Her edited volume, Field Experiments and their Critics (Yale, 2014) raised timely debates about the potential abuses of the method and distinct ethical challenges that arise with experimental manipulations.
Beyond her substantive contributions, Teele has been an institution builder within comparative politics. She helped to launch and support EGEN (Empirical Study of Gender Research Network), which has encouraged research on gender in comparative politics.
In all these projects, Teele shows a commitment to original data collection, careful data analysis, and opening big-picture theoretical debates. Teele’s work is distinctly political, comparative in scope, and has substantial implications for how scholars conceptualize the root causes of gender differences in politics.