Paula D. McClain

President (2019-2020)

Paula D. McClain is professor of political science and professor of public policy at Duke University, where she also serves as dean of The Graduate School and vice provost for graduate education. She has also directed the American Political Science Association’s (APSA) Ralph Bunche Summer Institute at Duke for more than twenty years.

McClain studies racial minority group politics—particularly inter-minority political and social competition. She has published in numerous journals, including the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Politics, and Politics, Groups and Identities. She also has coauthored three books:

  • American Government in Black and White: Diversity and Democracy 3rd edition (Oxford University Press, 2017) won the APSA’s Race, Ethnicity and Politics Organized Section Best Book Award for a book published in 2010.
  • “Can’t We All Get Along?” Racial and Ethnic Minorities in American Politics 7th edition (Westview Press 2017) won the 1996 Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America Award for Outstanding Scholarship on the Subject of Intolerance.
  • Race, Place and Risk: Black Homicide in Urban America (SUNY Press 1990) won the National Conference of Black Political Scientists’ 1995 Best Book Award for a previously published book that has made a substantial and continuing contribution.

McClain has served as president of the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), the Southern Political Science Association (SPSA), and the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. She has also been vice president of the APSA, MPSA, and SPSA, as well as program chair or co-chair for the annual meetings of all three organizations. She was also a vice president and program co-chair for the 2003 International Political Science Association World Congress.

In 2014, McClain was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her numerous honors include the Duke University Blue Ribbon Diversity Award (2012), the Graduate School Mentoring Award (2010), the Frank J. Goodnow Award for contributions to the profession of political science (2007), a Meta Mentoring Award from the Women’s Caucus for Political Science of the APSA (2007), the Manning Dauer Award from the SPSA (2015), and the Midwest Women’s Caucus of Political Science Outstanding Professional Achievement award (2017).

Statement of views: If elected president, I would bring to the APSA my longstanding commitment to diversifying our discipline. For instance, I have worked to help push Race, Ethnicity and Politics into the mainstream of our discipline because that area of research reveals much about the historical and current environment and politics of the United States. Similarly, every subfield contributes important research topics and questions, so no area and its scholars should be considered on the margins. As political scientists, we must also be catholic in our methodological approaches, so as not to privilege one approach or technique over others. This approach is important for the vibrancy of the discipline writ-large.