Hire a WMU Ph.D.

Arus Harutyunyan, Ph.D.

Primary field: Comparative politics
Secondary field: Political Theory
Dissertation: Contesting National Identities in an Ethnically Homogeneous State: The Case of Armenian Democratization

In her dissertation, Dr. Arus Harutyunyan illustrates that Armenian citizens—considered by many as powerfully united because of shared their ethno-cultural features and the Soviet legacy—have conflicting criteria for assessing their national identity. Employing different methodological tools, such as an original public opinion survey, quantitative content analysis, and qualitative textual analysis, Harutyunyan demonstrates that identity contestation among co-ethnics may take as chronic a form as among diverse ethnic groups, and may be as consequential for developmental and liberal democratic projects in ethnically homogeneous states as it may be in ethnically heterogeneous ones.

Harutyunyan's professional work has been awarded with a number of honors and competitive fellowships. Her current research, funded by the US Department of State Title VIII Program, IREX, explores internal and external dynamics of the territorial conflict in Nagorny Karabagh. Focusing on tripartite forces of the conflict—Armenian political elites, Armenian citizens, and external actors such as  the OSCE Minsk Group, Azerbaijan, and Turkey—her research cautions that  externally imposed policies that are directly linked to the nation’s identity may amplify perceived national security threats triggering the conflict from its frozen stage to an act of war.

Harutyunyan is an author and co-author of scholarly articles, and has been an active participant in a range of scholarly conferences. She has taught various courses in the discipline of political science at Western Michigan University, University of Michigan, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and Northern Virginia Community College.

Matthew P. Arsenault, Ph.D.

Primary field: Comparative politics
Secondary field: American politics
Dissertation: Varieties of Politics, Varieties of Capitalism: The Effects of Political Institutions on Capitalist Diversity

Dr. Matthew Arsenault successfully defended his doctoral dissertation in August 2012. This project built upon the “varieties of capitalism” framework by examining the intersection between formal political institutions and variation in capitalist economies. His current research focuses on comparative political economy, institutional design, electoral systems, and European politics.  He also maintains a strong research interest in the politics of developing countries, international development, and insurgency and counter-insurgency theory and practices. 

Arsenault has taught courses on international relations, comparative politics, and critical thinking about politics. He was honored with the Department of Political Science Teaching Effectiveness Award in 2007 and 2012, and the All-University Teaching Effectiveness Award in 2012.
Additionally, Arsenault served as an advisor to combat commanders on political and social issues in southern Iraq during 2010-11. He is currently a Presidential Management Fellow with the Federal government working on financial regulation issues.

Michael Romano, Ph.D. candidate

Primary field: American politics (political communications)
Secondary field: Political theory
Dissertation (tentative): Mediated Homestyle: Congressional Strategy and Local Press Relations in the 111th House

Michael Romano is actively exploring the intersections of media, politics and communication in the Political Science Department. His focus is on the U.S. media as the Fourth Estate, congressional communication strategies, the development of online political discourse, and the relationship between the press and political actors in the United States. His dissertation project examines the strategic utilization of the local press outlets by members of Congress, and how representatives manipulate and control media narratives in order maintain a sense of representativeness in their constituencies. He has taught courses including Mass Media and American Politics (PSCI 3110), Critical Thinking about Politics (PSCI 1050) and American National Government (PSCI 2000), and his current teaching interests include courses in quantitative methods, Congress, and politics and film.