Hahrie Han

Inaugural Director, SNF Agora Institute & Professor, Department of Political Science, KSAS

Hahrie Han is the Inaugural Director of the SNF Agora Institute, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Professor of Political Science, and Faculty Director of the P3 Research Lab at Johns Hopkins University. From 2015-2019, she was the Anton Vonk Professor of Environmental Politics in the Department of Political Science at the University of California at Santa Barbara. From 2005-2015, she was on faculty of the Department of Political Science at Wellesley College and a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholar at Harvard University from 2009-2011. She specializes in the study of civic and political participation, social movements, collective action, and organizing, particularly as it pertains to democratic revitalization.

Her newest book (co-authored with Liz McKenna and Michelle Oyakawa) will be published by the University of Chicago Press in January 2021, entitled Prisms of the People: Power and Organizing in 21st Century America. This book examines the way some grassroots organizations translate the engagement of their people into political power, acting like prisms refracting white light into vectors of power and light. Her previous 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 Liz McKenna, Oxford University 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 other 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, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) 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): co-founding the Center for Democracy and Organizing; participating in the Social Science Research Council Anxieties of Democracy Participation Working Group; serving on the board of organizations like Citizen Universityresearch4impact, the Scholars Strategy Network, the Climate Advocacy LabCitizens Climate Lobby, and others; and, co-founding and co-directing the Project on Public Leadership and Action at Wellesley College. Through her research, she has partnered with a wide range of civic and political organizations and movements around the world, including those in the United States, Europe, 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 currently lives in Baltimore, MD.