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American Politics

With the United States facing both unprecedented challenges and opportunities, there is no better time to study American politics. Scholars of American Politics focus on (1) political behavior among citizens and elites; (2) mediating institutions such as political parties, elections, interest groups, social movements, the media, and bureaucracy; and (3) political institutions such as the Congress, the presidency, and the courts. American Politics scholars are often interested in understanding American institutions and behavior within a cross-national context. The field equips students with the analytical skills necessary to do theoretical and empirical studies in all these areas.

In particular, American Politics faculty at Purdue are interested in the following:

  • The political behavior of citizens and political elites. Core areas include public opinion, political participation, political psychology, and legislative and judicial behavior.
  • The functioning of political and mediating institutions. Core areas include legislatures and representation, interest groups, electoral politics and democratic inclusion, and political communication.
  • The impact of new technology and AI on governance and representation.
  • Social inequality and group-based politics.
  • A range of theoretical and methodological approaches to studying American Politics including experimental methods, statistical methods, formal models, computational methods, case-studies, interviews, and mixed-methods designs  

The Governance and Responsible AI Lab (GRAIL) supports research on the social, ethical, and governance implications of artificial intelligence, producing rigorous and impactful policy-relevant work.

The Program on American Institutional Renewal (PAIR) brings together scholars, students, and practitioners interested in improving the workings of legislatures, courts, executive agencies, and other institutions. 

The Court of Claims Lab examines and collects data on a little-studied but crucially important federal court that is a frequent site of litigation against government policies. 

The Parties, Polarization, and Pluralism Lab is engaged in a multi-year data collection effort to analyze whether organized interests, political parties, and American democracies still operate as envisioned in James Madison's Federalist 10.

The Computational Social Science Lab examines mass and elite behavior with a particular focus on data from non-traditional sources, like audio and video data. Current projects include work utilizing the C-SPAN Archives, political advertisements, political advertisements, social media, and pedestrian interactions on traffic camera feeds. 

Research and Faculty


  • Bachelor of Arts | Undergraduate
  • Master of Arts | Graduate
  • Doctor of Philosophy | Graduate