William & Mary

Government Alum Allison Anoll Wins Dissertation Awards

Allison Anoll, a Class of 2009 Government graduate, has won not one, but two, awards for her Ph.D. dissertation.  Allison is now an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University.  She completed her Ph.D. in political science at Stanford in 2016.  Her dissertation, entitled “Race, Place, and Political Action: How Social Norms and Racial Segregation Shape Participatory Patterns in America,” recently was named best dissertation of the year by the International Society of Political Psychology and also by the Race, Ethnicity, and Politics section of the American Political Science Association.

Allison’s dissertation examines a classic question in political science from a fresh contemporary perspective: Why do some but not all citizens become politically active?  Her research advances a novel theory of political participation and challenges conventional notions that explain participation as mainly driven by resource mobilization.  Using a variety of methods including original survey experiments, observational data, and qualitative techniques, she finds that social norms and racial segregation powerfully shape patterns of political participation in the United States.

That Allison would enjoy such success is no surprise to her Government professors at William & Mary.  “Allison was one of the most intellectually curious and dedicated students I have known,” said Professor Paul Manna, who chaired Allison’s honors thesis committee during her senior year as a Government major.  “She has a knack for seeing connections between subjects and then pursuing them with an unmatched energy and intensity. That is one reason why her dissertation was so impressive and why she is already making a powerful impact at Vanderbilt.”

Professor Joel Schwartz, a Government faculty member, director of the Charles Center, and one of Allison’s undergraduate mentors noted that “in addition to her outstanding record as an honors student in Government, Allison took the lead while she was at W&M and Stanford with several projects in the community focused on poverty, food security, and prisoner rights. Allison is a model citizen, in addition to being a distinguished scholar.”

The Department of Government is so proud of Allison for her outstanding work and we look forward to learning from her for many years to come.