Thomas Ogorzalek

Ph.D., Columbia University

Thomas Ogorzalek's research and teaching are situated at the intersection of urban politics, race, and American political development. He is interested, broadly, in the "unexpected" effects of institutions—those results that do not come from formal rules, but arise from seemingly external or intercurrent processes—and in political geography. He has three current research projects, which draw on these interests. The first, Cities on the Hill, is a study of the role of urbanicity in national politics: how place character contributes to political polarization, how cities and their institutions shape representation in the national legislature, and how they provided a space for multi-dimensional liberalism to develop in the "urban interlude" from the early 1930s to the early 1960s. The second is the City Neighborhoods Study, an original data gathering project undertaken with coauthor Narayani Lasala Blanco which seeks to assess important racial and political dynamics in large cities undergoing rapid demographic change. Finally, Filibuster Vigilantly theorizes how the early American state managed violence at the frontier as a tool for expanding the empire while minimizing the prospects for dangerous international conflicts.

Engaging with multiple forms of evidence, Ogorzalek uses original survey data collection, quantitative statistical methods, geographical analyses, and archival sources in his research. He teaches courses on urban institutional innovation and on race and space in American politics, and is a faculty associate in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern. In 2012, he was a recipient of the Clarence Stone Young Scholars Award and the Norton Long Jr. Developing Scholar Award from the urban section of the American Political Science Association, and was nominated for the Bancroft Prize at Columbia University.


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