Karen Beckwith

Flora Stone Mather Professor and Chair Department of Political Science


Mather House 223
M 2:30-3:30 pm and by appointment

Other Information

Education: PhD, Syracuse University 1982
MA, Syracuse University 1977
BA, University of Kentucky 1972

Research: comparative political parties, party leadership, cabinet formation, political movements, political loss, and the comparative politics of gender; with a focus on the United States and West Europe

Mather House 223
Phone (216) 368-4129
Fax (216) 368-4681
For appointments and office hours, sign up here.

For students interested in working with Professor Beckwith in POSC396 Senior Capstone Project, see here for further information.

Karen Beckwith is the Flora Stone Mather Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Case Western Reserve University. She received her B.A. from the University of Kentucky (1972) and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Syracuse University (1977, 1982). Teaching primarily in the areas of political parties, political movements, and women, gender, and politics, she has special interests in the United States and West Europe, particularly Britain and Italy.

Professor Beckwith’s current research includes projects on 1) how social movements respond to loss; 2) gendered competition in party leadership contests in parliamentary democracies; and 3) patterns of women’s appointments to cabinet posts in North America and West Europe. For the latter research, she and her colleagues Clare Annesley (University of Sussex) and Susan Franceschet (University of Calgary) won an American Political Science Association Centennial Grant (2017); this research also won the 2012 Carrie Chapman Catt Prize for Research on Women and Politics. In 2013, Professor Beckwith was honored by the Midwest Women’s Caucus for Political Science as the Outstanding Professional Scholar.

In the spring term of 2014, Professor Beckwith was the Fulbright-Scotland Visiting Professor at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, where she worked on her project What’s New? Institutional Transformation and Women’s Political Representation. During that time, she spoke at several British and European universities, and she concluded her Fulbright Professorship by interviewing Members of the Scottish Parliament about the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence.

Professor Beckwith is Lead Editor, with Christina Wolbrecht (University of Notre Dame) and Lisa Baldez (Dartmouth College), of Cambridge Studies in Gender and Politics, a series of books published by Cambridge University Press.  She was the founding editor, with Lisa Baldez (Dartmouth College), of Politics & Gender, the journal of the Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association.  Author of numerous scholarly articles, she is the co-editor of Political Women and American Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2008) and Women’s Movements Facing the Reconfigured State (Cambridge, 2003), and author of American Women and Political Participation (Greenwood Press, 1986).  Professor Beckwith serves on the Editorial Boards of the Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique;  the European Journal of Politics and Gender, the journal of the European Conference on Politics and Gender; and Politics, Groups, and Identities, a journal of the Western Political Science Association.

Professor Beckwith’s recent publications include:

“What Do Women Symbolize? Symbolic Representation and Cabinet Appointments,” with Susan Franceschet and Claire Annesley, Dialogues Section on Investigating Symbolic Representation, in Politics, Groups, and Identities, 5 (3), 2017; http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/zDJcSrrNHAdJeIsMPDDP/full.

“Before Prime Minister:  Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, and Gendered Leadership Contests,” Politics & Gender, 11 (4), December 2015: 718–745.

“Narratives of Defeat: Explaining the Effects of Loss in Social Movements,” Journal of Politics, 77 (1), 2015.

“All is Not Lost: The 1984-85 British Miners’ Strike and Mobilization after Defeat,” in The Consequences of Social Movements: People, Policies and Institutions, eds. Lorenzo Bozi, Marco Giugni, and Katrin Uba. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

“Gender, Class, and the Structure of Intersectionality: Working-Class Women and the Pittston Coal Strike,” Politics, Groups and Identities, 2 (1), January 2014: 17-34.

“Plotting the Path from One to the Other: Women’s Interests and Political Representation.” In Representation: The Case of Women, eds. Maria C. Escobar-Lemmon and Michelle M. Taylor-Robinson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 19-40.

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