Faculty Profile: Leah Gilbert
August 01, 2013
The following Q&A is part of a series created by the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences to introduce new faculty. Get to know Assistant Professor of Political Science Leah Gilbert, who joins the faculty this fall, in the interview below.
Education: PhD 2012, M.A. 2007 Georgetown University; BA 2002 St. Olaf College.
Research and teaching interests: Democratization, hybrid regimes, civil society, Russian politics, and European politics.
What most excites you about joining the Lewis & Clark community?
I taught here last year as a visiting assistant professor, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to stay at L&C. I’ve been very impressed by the welcoming atmosphere and the engaging interaction that I’ve had with both students and faculty. Also, as a liberal arts graduate, I’m excited to be in such a stimulating liberal arts environment.
Describe the current trajectory of your scholarly research.
My research interests encompass a number of broad themes and geographic regions. However, a common strand in much of my work is a focus on the ways that ordinary citizens impact politics in a comparative perspective—be it through their attitudes and beliefs or their participation in social organizations, social movements, or political parties. Most recently I have looked at the way rulers try to manage and control social organizations in so-called hybrid regimes, or countries that mix competitive multiparty elections with authoritarian practices. While I have studied these “state mobilization strategies” in many regions, my particular area of focus is the Russian Federation. In the future I would like to further explore the ways in which hybrid regimes differ from either their authoritarian or democratic counterparts in a comparative perspective. I am also interested in immigration and integration issues in Europe, particularly the integration issues faced by Russian German immigrants to Germany after the end of the Soviet Union.
What kind of hobbies or special activities do you enjoy outside of work?
I enjoy cooking, hiking, and skyping with friends and family in the U.S. and abroad. I also enjoy watching TV shows. My favorite this summer are Mad Men and Breaking Bad.
What were your childhood goals/aspirations?
My parents have a video of me from the second grade stating that I wanted to be a lawyer because I love to talk. While I didn’t pursue law, I did find a career that still allows me to talk quite a bit!
What are you listening to in your car right now?
NPR (I especially enjoy the Diane Rehm show), alternative Portland (94.7), and my daughter’s CD of classic Disney songs.
What was your favorite childhood story?
Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree.