2015 Seed Grants

To support the study of American democracy, Democracy Studies periodically funds seed grants for individual research projects.  In 2015, Democracy Studies awarded grants to the following research projects:


Jill Clark, John Glenn College of Public Affairs

Professor Clark is examining the process of food coalition formation in eight communities across the United States to better understand the process of food coalition formation and its influence on local policy. Food coalitions work to tackle food insecurity and the plight of small farmers by reorganizing how food is produced, distributed, and consumed in local communities.  The “food democracy” movement is not yet well understood and Professor Clark’s research is an important early step in understanding the movement’s roots and influence.

Ned Foley, Moritz College of Law

Professor Foley is authoring a book that examines ethics in campaign politics.  The book develops an overall framework for the morality of campaign-related conduct and applies it to a variety of electoral activities, including advertisements, vote counting, changes in voting rules, gerrymandering, ballot manipulation, voter turnout, and campaign finance rule violations.

David Stebenne, Department of History

Professor Stebenne is compiling an oral history project of interviews with various Ohio legislators from the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.  The project seeks to understand how the Ohio General Assembly and other legislatures actually do their work.

Joseph Stulberg and Nancy Rogers, Moritz College of Law

Professors Stulberg and Rogers are documenting the positive and negative experiences of mediators who provide non-violent intervention services during instances of major community conflicts, such as those recently witnessed in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City.  Stulberg and Rogers are studying the experiences of these mediators so local community leaders and community members can access the best practices and guidance of seasoned mediators to better resolve future community conflict.

Graduate Students

Lauren Ratliff, Department of Political Science

Lauren Ratliff is a Ph.D. candidate in Ohio State’s Department of Political Science.  Through interviews, Ms. Ratliff’s project follows four student groups at Ohio State to explore the mechanisms of peer influence on politics in social groups.

Kevin Vrevich, Department of History

Kevin Vrevich is a graduate student in Ohio State’s Department of History.  Mr. Vrevich studies the religion, politics, and community influence of Essex County, Massachusetts to better understand the emergence of the abolitionist movement in the 1830s and its corresponding influence.  To gain a greater understanding of this topic, Mr. Vrevich is examining local archives to identify leaders who were active in several abolition-era organizations, as well as local newspaper coverage of abolition-related stories.

Seth J. Walker, Department of Political Science

Seth Walker, a first-year Ph.D. student in Ohio State’s Department of Political Science, studies coordination and collaboration in political networks.  His project specifically focuses on building a more detailed picture of the complex relationships that characterize modern political networks in the United States.  He also seeks to identify the systematic communication strategies that groups use and how they are differentiated based on policy focuses and party affiliations.



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