Hahrie Han, the inaugural director of the SNF Agora Institute, specializes in the study of civic and political participation, collective action, and organizing. She focuses particularly on the role that civic associations play in mobilizing participation in politics and building power for social and political change.
Prior to her position at the Institute, she served as the Anton Vonk Professor of Political Science and Environmental Politics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. From 2005-2015, she was an Associate Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College and a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholar at Harvard University from 2009-2011.
Her most recent book, How Organizations Develop Activists: Civic Associations and Leadership in the 21st Century (Oxford University Press 2014) examines the strategies that the most effective civic associations use to engage activists and develop leaders in health and environmental politics. Another book, Groundbreakers: How Obama’s 2.2 Million Volunteers Transformed Campaigning in America (co-authored with Elizabeth McKenna, Oxford Univ. Press 2014) describes the strategies the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaign used to engage so many grassroots activists in communities across America. Her first book, Moved to Action: Motivation, Participation, and Inequality in American Politics (Stanford University Press, 2009) examined the ways in which people become motivated to participate in politics, looking particularly at means of engaging underprivileged populations in political action. Hahrie’s work on participation, movement-building, civic associations, primary elections, and congressional polarization has been published in outlets including American Political Science Review, American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Perspectives on Politics, British Journal of Political Science, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Behavior, and elsewhere. Her work was awarded the 2013 Outstanding Academic Publication on Membership Organizations Award by the Institute for Nonprofit Research, Education, and Engagement.
Hahrie has also been involved in numerous efforts to make academic work relevant to the world of practice, including (most recently) participating in the Social Science Research Council Anxieties of Democracy Participation Working Group; co-chairing the Research Council of the PICO National Network, serving on the advisory board of organizations like research4impact, the Climate Advocacy Lab, Citizens Climate Lobby, and the DEMOS Integrated Race and Class Narrative Project; serving as the Co-Chair of the Civic Engagement Working Group at the Scholars Strategy Network; co-founding and co-directing the Project on Public Leadership and Action at Wellesley College, and participating on the steering committee of the Gettysburg Project. Through her research, she partners with a wide range of civic and political organizations interested in organizing, movement-building, and building power for social change in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere. In all of this work, she seeks to develop the leadership of younger scholars and practitioners, especially women and people of color.
She also acted as co-convenor of a Policy Advisory Committee for the 2008 Obama campaign and served as Chair of the Advisory Committee to the EAC Agency Review Team on the Obama-Biden Transition Team and also as National Issues and Policy Advisor to Senator Bill Bradley’s presidential campaign in 1999-2000. She received her Ph.D. in American Politics from Stanford University in 2005 and her B.A. in American History and Literature from Harvard University in 1997. She was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow from 2002-2005 and received Stanford University’s Centennial Teaching Award in 2002 and Wellesley College’s Apgar Award for Innovative Teaching in 2006.
She is the daughter of Korean immigrants, grew up in Houston, Texas, and now lives in Baltimore, MD.