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Adam Seth Levine
Adam Seth Levine is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government. He conducts research on two topics.
One is about the link between science and society. A key question is: How can data and scientific research be useful to nonprofits seeking social change? To answer this question he focuses on how practitioners and researchers build relationships with each other, including the institutional and interpersonal factors that matter.
This work helps us understand a fundamental aspect of democratic governance: how to build successful working relationships between people with diverse forms of knowledge. He fuses insights from several areas, including the psychology of relationship-building, organizational diversity, organizational learning, sociology, communication, and politics.
In addition to writing on this topic he also directly applies the findings as president of research4impact, a nonprofit organization that connects researchers and practitioners with similar interests.
During the 2019-2020 school year, thanks to generous support from the Rita Allen Foundation, he’ll be devoting substantial time to a new book based on this work. The tentative title is Research for Social Change: Overcoming Obstacles Faced by Practitioners and Researchers.
The second topic of his research is about how civic and political organizations motivate ordinary citizens to become more engaged and adopt leadership positions. Here he focuses especially on how organizations communicate with new activists and potential civic leaders. Most of these studies entail collaborating directly with nonprofits, in which they together design and carry out field experiments and/or collect qualitative data. Thus far he has collaborated with five nonprofits, and conducted research in six countries including the United States, Kenya, Nepal, Mexico, Ecuador, and Vietnam.
Overall, he has published many papers in a variety of disciplines, including political science, urban planning, climate change, and communication. He has also written one book related to citizen activism, entitled American Insecurity: Why Our Economic Fears Lead to Political Inaction, published with Princeton University Press in 2015. The book was the subject of a NY Times op-ed immediately after its release, and also won a 2016 award from the American Political Science Association for how it used experiments to answer a substantively-important question.
All of this research informs, and is informed by, his teaching. He teaches courses on political campaigns, political communication, and the design of surveys and experiments. These are a combination of undergraduate and Ph.D. level courses.
He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan, and was the 2011 recipient of the E. E. Schattschneider award for the best dissertation on the study of American government. His CV is here.