Irma Rangel Public Policy Institute

Recent Conferences and Public Talks

September 19, 2012

Speakers: Kenneth J. Meier, Texas A&M University
Amanda Rutherford, Texas A&M University

“Partisanship, Structure and the Quality of Representation: The Puzzle of African American Education Politics”

"The 1982 amendments to the Voting Rights Act concluded that electoral structures were significant determinants of minority representation. The research regarding electoral structures and representation of constituents, however, has produced conflicting results. This paper addresses two puzzles that remain in understanding black representation. The first puzzle examines whether or not the impact of at-large elections on African American representation has declined. The second puzzle examines how well black representatives do in gaining substantive benefits in different electoral structures – at-large elections versus single member districts. This paper provides a brief formal argument that links electoral structures to descriptive and substantive representation. It then moves to an empirical study using the 1,800 largest school districts in the United States (based on an original survey conducted in 2001, 2004, and 2008). We find that partisanship changes the relationship between electoral structures and race to benefit African American representation and that politics and partisanship influence the ability of political representatives to secure policy benefits."

August 8, 2012

Speaker: Marcela Garcia-Castanon
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Political Science, University of Washington 

“A New Theory of Immigrant Political Socialization”

Co-sponsored by the UT Immigration Studies Initiative

This talk will cover the core elements of the speaker’s dissertation on the mechanisms of immigrant political socialization in the United States. She argues that the experience of migration alters traditional political socialization patterns for immigrants. More specifically, she focuses on the intersection of the family as an agent of socialization and information resource when dealing with multi-language media resources.

April 29, 2011

Speaker: Anna O. Law, Associate Professor of Political Science, DePaul University

“Policy Making at the Margins: The Role of the Federal Courts in U.S. Immigration Policy.”

Co-sponsored with the Population Research Center and Department of Government

In the late spring of 2011, Anna Law spoke about her recent book, The Immigration Battle in American Courts (Cambridge University Press, 2010).  As described by the author, "The book examines the role of the Supreme Court and U.S. Courts of Appeals in immigration policy making in the United States, while also advancing scholarly understanding about the differing functions of the two highest federal appellate courts over time.  The major premise of the study is that because the Supreme Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeals operate in decidedly different institutional settings, these two courts decide immigration cases in dissimilar ways and that the varying approaches have implications for the immigrant litigants.  I argue that institutional settings can shape its occupants' goals, preferences, and perceptions about how they should be doing their jobs.  I find that immigrants have a better chance of winning their legal challenges at the U.S. Courts of Appeals than the Supreme Court.  This situation is not due to any Supreme Court xenophobia or animus against immigrants, but because that Court, shaped by its institutional setting, is inclined to treat individual cases in the framework of larger policy and political questions.  By contrast, the dissimilar institutional setting of the Courts of Appeals orient those judges toward error correction, which leads to a higher probability of success for immigrants.  The study, which uses multi-disciplinary and multiple methodological analysis, explores the ways in which law, policy, and legal institutions interact."

Dr. Law received her Ph.D. from the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin in 2003.

February 10, 2010

Speaker: Edwina Barvosa, University of California Santa Barbara
"Multiplicity Within & Paths to Immigrant Loyalty."

Co-sponsored with the UT Center for Mexican-American Studies

On February 10th, Edwina Barvosa (Associate Professor of Chicana/o Studies at UCSB) discussed issues of immigrant loyalty and identification in the United States. Dr. Barvosa discussed how the prevailing assumption in American life is that immigrants must assimilate to American mainstream culture and abandon any identification with their home countries in order to become loyal U.S. citizens. However, she finds that new theories about the multiplicity of the self and new data on immigrant national identity suggest that this presumption is false. Dr. Barvosa explained why the best paths to immigrant loyalty involve retaining immigrant identities within combinations of multiple identities that together allow effective identification with the United States.

November 4-6, 2009
Migration during an Era of Restriction

In early November of 2009, the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS), the Irma Rangel Public Policy Institute, and other units at the University of Texas at Austin sponsored the conference "Migration during an Era of Restriction." The conference participants included researchers, policy analysts, and legal experts from the United States, France, Germany, Spain, Russia, Turkey, Mexico, and Peru. Through panel presentations and roundtable discussions, the conference sought to address the economic, social, and legal restrictions that affect international migrant populations in these regions. In doing so, they addressed migration developments in the United States and Europe as well as in sending communities around the globe. Specific topics included immigration policies, ethnic tensions, border controls, deportations, remittances, return migration, legal and human rights issues, and how removals affect sending nations. The conference also included a panel of graduate student paper presentations.

For more information, see the Conference Homepage

PDF downloadable file Download the Conference Program (PDF)

April 24-25, 2009
Latinos and the 2008 Elections

This conference is the seventh installment in a series of research projects that seek to understand the role of Latinos in national and state elections.

The first project, organized by former UT Professor Rodolfo de la Garza and former Department of Government graduate student Louis DeSipio, studied the 1988 presidential election. The 2009 conference examined the influence of Latinos in the 2008 campaign, both thematically and in key states. While many journalists, politicians, and pundits are discussing Latino population growth, its implications for elections and politics in the United States are not well understood. This conference therefore brought scholars together from across the United States to assess the impact of the Latino vote.

PDF downloadable file Download a flier for the conference (PDF, 186K)

PDF downloadable file Download a program for the conference (PDF, 102K)

February 27-28, 2009
Immigration and Public Opinion in the Western Democracies

Immigration is one of the key policy issues of our time. Millions of people are on the move globally, and the United States is in the midst of a fourth “Great Wave” of migration. However, the scholarly study of public opinion is not always adequate to the challenge of understanding this complex issue. This conference brought together scholars from North America, Australia, and Europe to better understand public views about immigration and government policymaking.

In 2012, Routledge will publish Immigration and Public Opinion (co-edited by Gary P. Freeman, Randall Hansen, and David L. Leal), which is based on papers presented at this event.

PDF downloadable file Download a flier for the conference (PDF, 186K)

PDF downloadable file Download a program for the conference (PDF, 103K)

April 11-12, 2008
Latinos and Public Policy in Texas

Understanding the growing Texas Latino/Hispanic population is of central importance to elected officials, government officials, journalists, educators, researchers, and other policymakers. This two-day conference examined the key policy issues facing Texas, the importance of these issues for Latinos, and the implications of Latino population growth for policymaking. Scholars from Texas and other states examined topics including education, health care, jobs and the economy, border issues, aging, mental health, criminal justice, and the environment.

The event was sponsored by the Irma Rangel Public Policy Institute and the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin and the Department of Political Science at the University of Houston. The conference organizers were David Leal (UT) and Robert Lineberry (UH).

The participants included faculty and researchers from UT-Austin, the University of Houston, Texas A&M University, the University of Texas Pan American, the University of Texas-El Paso, Texas State University-San Marcos, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, the University of Texas at San Antonio, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Rice University, the University of Oklahoma, Florida International University, and Princeton University.

PDF downloadable file Download a flier for the conference (PDF, 152K)

PDF downloadable file Download a conference program (PDF, 150K)

October 11, 2007
"Language Policies in Canada and Quebec: Lessons for the USA"

Francois Vaillancourt
University of Montreal

On Thursday, October 11, Francois Vaillancourt of the University of Montreal spoke about language policies in Canada and the United States. He discussed the main aspects of language policies in Canada and Quebec; the status of French speakers in Quebec from 1960 to 2000; and what policy lessons the United States can draw from the Quebec and Canadian experience.

Dr. Vaillancourt is Professor of Economics at the University of Montreal and a 2007-2008 Fulbright Fellow and Visiting Research Chair in Canadian Studies at Kennesaw State University.

April 12-14, 2007
Economies of Class, Economies of Culture

This event was the second biennial conference of the Inter-University Program for Latino Research (IUPLR). The Institute sponsored two panels. The first panel was "Session 15: Economics and Policy I," which took place on Saturday, April 24, from 10:00am to noon. The second panel was "Session 21: Economics and Policy II," which took place on Saturday, April 24, from 3:45pm to 5:45pm. Both panels were moderated by Steve Trejo, Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Texas at Austin.

A revised set of papers from these panels was published by Springer in 2010 as Latinos and the Economy: Integration and Impact in Schools, Labor Markets, and Beyond (David L. Leal and Stephen J. Trejo, editors).

Conference webpage

PDF downloadable file Conference program (PDF file)

February 23-24, 2007
Seventh Annual Conference on State Politics and Policy
Policymaking in the American States: Causes and Effects

The Institute sponsored the Seventh Annual State Politics and Policy Conference on February 23-24, 2007 at the UT Thompson Conference Center. The conference featured over sixty research papers by over one hundred authors that covered a wide range of policy, governmental, and political science topics important to the American states. Scholars from all across Texas and the United States were in attendance, and the event was covered by "News 8 Austin."

Download a conference program (PDF, 20K)
or Visit the conference webpage for more information.

March 2-3, 2006
Immigration Policy after 9/11: U.S. and European Perspectives

In the spring of 2006, the Institute co-sponsored this conference on immigration policy with the UT Center for European Studies and the School of Law. Immigration policy in the United States and Europe went under the microscope after the terror attacks of 9/11. Since that time we have seen major changes in the bureaucracies that regulate immigration, but has that led to much of a change in the way that the borders are controlled, the numbers of immigrants coming into the country, asylum policy or immigrant integration? This conference examined this broad range of issues in order to gain a better understanding of if, how, and why these policies changed in the U.S. and Europe. The Chairs of the conference were Terri Givens (Center for European Studies, Government Department), David L. Leal (Public Policy Institute, Government Department) and Barbara Hines (Immigration Law Clinic, Law School).

A revised set of papers from this conference was published by Routledge in 2008 as Immigration Policy and Security: US, European, and Commonwealth Perspectives (Terry E. Givens, Gary P. Freeman, and David L. Leal, editors).

Visit the conference webpage for more information about the papers and participants.

February 11-12, 2005
Latinos and the 2004 Elections

This conference brought together political scientists from across the nation to explore the role of Latinos in the 2004 election. Each of the nine papers focuses on a particular state, ranging from California to Texas to Florida. The papers discuss how Latino communities were involved in presidential and other campaigns in these states and where and how they were able to influence election outcomes.

A revised set of papers from this conference was published in April 2010 by the University of Notre Dame Press as Beyond the Barrio: Latinos and the 2004 Elections (Rodolfo O. de la Garza, Louis DeSipio, and David L. Leal, editors).

PDF downloadable file Download a program (PDF, 79K)

January 26-29, 2005
SIGLO XXI: Latino Research into the 21st Century

In the winter of 2005, the Institute sponsored “Session 15: Immigration Politics and Policy” at the above conference. SIGLO XXI was the first biennial conference of the Inter-University Program for Latino Research (IUPLR), which is a national consortium of university-based Latino research centers. By promoting and disseminating policy-relevant Latino-focused research, the IUPLR aims to foster new knowledge and greater understanding of the nation’s growing Latino population. This interdisciplinary conference featured papers primarily presented by faculty associated with IUPLR-affiliated institutions.

In 2012, the University of Notre Dame Press will publish Immigration Politics and Policy in the New Latino Century (co-edited by David L. Leal and Jose E. Limón), which is based on papers presented at this conference.

Visit the conference webpage for more information about the papers and participants.

December 10-11, 2004
The Politics of Latino Education

Education may be the most important policy issue for Latino communities, but the political dynamics that shape Latino school achievement and challenges are not well understood or always acknowledged. This conference therefore brought together an interdisciplinary group of political scientists, education scholars, and historians to discuss the political dynamics important to Latino education – dynamics that take place in school boards, in voting booths, in legislatures, in public opinion surveys, in reform proposals, and in the schools themselves.

A revised set of papers from this conference was published in 2011 by Teachers College Press (Columbia University) as The Politics of Latino Education (David L. Leal and Kenneth J. Meier, co-editors).

PDF downloadable file Download a program (PDF, 39K)

April 30-May 1, 2004
Latino Politics: The State of the Discipline

The Institute co-sponsored this event with the Project for Equity, Representation, and Governance (PERG) at Texas A&M University. The conference was designed to address a wide range of important and emerging Latino politics and policy topics. For instance, the papers addressed issues such as political representation, the bureaucracy, immigration, education, voting behavior, and public opinion.

A revised set of papers from this conference was published in October of 2007 by the University of Virginia Press as Latino Politics: Identity, Mobilization, and Representation, (Rodolfo Espino, David L. Leal, and Kenneth J. Meier, editors). It was reprinted in paperback in July of 2008. This was the first in a series of books to result from Institute sponsored or co-sponsored conferences.