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 Carol Nechemias

Associate Professor of Public Policy and Political Science

Coordinator, Public Policy and Political Science Programs

School of Public Affairs

Penn State Harrisburg

777 W. Harrisburg Pike

Middletown, PA 17057   USA


Following my undergraduate studies in History at Washington University in St. Louis, I completed a Ph.D. in Political Science at Ohio State University in 1976. My primary areas of interest involve Russian Politics and Society, American Public Policy, and Women’s Studies. Since 1981 I have taught at Penn State Harrisburg and currently head two undergraduate majors, Public Policy and Political Science, and work closely with a Penn State’s Harrisburg Semester program, which involves full-time internships with state government and policy oriented non-governmental organizations.

My early research focused on comparing trends in living standards in the Russian Republic oblasti, testing whether greater equality across regions was being achieved during the period from 1958 to the early 1970s. This work was quantitative in nature, utilizing data from volumes of Narodnoe Khoziaistvo RSFSR. This line of research led to publications in leading journals like Soviet Studies, Social Science Quarterly, and Slavic Review. I also published a number of more qualitative pieces that that dealt with specific policy areas like health care and rural housing.

Contemporary events reshaped my teaching and research interests. During the 1970s, the impact of the women’s movement in the United States generated new courses and new research agendas in academia. I was among the first wave of scholars who fashioned new courses and contributed to the creation of women’s studies programs. The intellectual excitement led me to explore new themes like disparities in women’s access to state legislatures across the 50 American states.  This research concentrated on identifying those factors that influence women’s success (or the lack thereof) in securing election to state legislatures. My work in this area was published in Western Political Quarterly and Legislative Studies.

By 1990 my interest in Russian studies and women’s studies had been joined, and I began a new line of research that continues to the present. This research explores women’s status in Russia—women’s political participation, the prospects for a women’s movement, women as entrepreneurs, women’s nongovernmental organizations, health issues, demographic concerns, family issues, and so on. That work has generated two co-edited books, Encyclopedia of Russian Women’s Movements and Post-Soviet Women Encountering Transition as well as a series of articles and book chapters.

My research has received support from IREX, the Kennan Institute, the Hoover Institute, and the Fulbright program.

During academic year 2004-05 I had the great privilege of serving as a Fulbright scholar at Volgograd State University with the Faculty of Regional Studies and International Affairs. It was a wonderful experience, and I now count Volgograd as a second home. It also has stimulated new interests like the creation of global courses linking Volgograd and Penn State classes. These innovative educational programs engage students in exploring international issues and institutions and nurtures respect among young people for diverse perspectives.   


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