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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Political Science


Professors Songer and Starr receive APSA Lifetime Achievement Awards

Two longtime Department of Political Science faculty members were recognized with Lifetime Achievement Awards at the recent annual meeting of the American Political Science Association in San Francisco. Professor Donald Songer received the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award from the APSA's Law and Courts Section while Harvey Starr, the Dag Hammarskjold Professor in International Affairs Emeritus, received the 2015 Conflict Processes Section Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Law and Courts Lifetime Achievement Award is "given for a lifetime of significant scholarship, teaching and service to the Law and Courts field." In the award citation, Professor Songer is recognized as "a prolific scholar who forged new directions of scientific inquiry while facilitating the work of countless others through infrastructure development and mentoring." Songer's work is described as "pathbreaking" and the award committee noted his major contributions in developing the Courts of Appeals Database and his efforts in establishing the National High Courts Database. A specialist in both the U.S. courts and cross-national judicial politics, Professor Songer has also had "an extraordinary record of service and teaching, including mentoring dozens of graduate students who themselves are now leaders in the profession." For more details, please see the full award citation and the list of previous award winners.

The Lifetime Achievement Award in Conflict Processes is "given every other year in recognition of scholarly contributions that have fundamentally improved the study of conflict processes." The award committee notes that Professor Starr "is one of those scholars who, with each of their projects, takes the field of conflict processes in new and useful directions," citing his pioneering work "in bringing considerations of geopolitics, spatiality, and diffusion into the study of international conflict." Starr was among the first to shift the field's focus away from states and Cold-War era rivalries and toward processes of diffusion in world politics and a recognition of the fluidity of borders. He was also instrumental in demonstrating the benefits of new data and analytical approaches, including the use of geographic information systems (GIS). Professor Starr's contributions extend beyond his subfield, as well, helping scholars clarify their conceptualization of key theoretical considerations such as "necessary and sufficient conditions," or "foreign policy substitutability." As the committee notes, his impact has been felt well beyond his research, as "the level of service he has offered to his departments, institutions, and the discipline at large over the decades is nothing short of extraordinary." That dedication continues to be realized in his active mentoring of graduate students who will join the long list of students and colleagues who have benefited from his guidance and support.

For more details, see the full award citation and the list of previous award winner.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015