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Alumni score hat trick at PSA Prizes

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    Left to right: William Allen, Diana Koester, and Anette Stimmer

The hard work of three DPIR alumni has paid off, as they have won a coveted Political Studies Association (PSA) Prize for their DPhil dissertations: William Allen, Diana Koester, and Anette Stimmer have each been awarded a prize for their theses.

Dr Allen won the Lord Bryce Prize for the best dissertation in comparative politics. His research, ‘Messaging Migration: Media agenda-setting, immigration attitudes, and the effects of evidence on perceptions and policy preferences’, investigated how information and news affects individuals’ perceptions, attitudes, and policy preferences about immigration. The Prize’s panel felt that Dr Allen’s work ‘stood out for the significance of the topic, broadening the discipline by bringing together political science scholarship and the study of political communication, and making a substantial methodological contribution to the understanding of the relationship between media and migration. Currently, he is a Fellow by Examination in Political and Development Studies at Magdalen College and a Researcher, Global Exchange on Migration and Diversity at the Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society (COMPAS), both at Oxford.

Dr Koester won the Elizabeth Wiskemann Prize for the best dissertation in (in)equality and social justice. Her thesis, ‘Gender and Statebuilding: Implications of State Responsiveness to Violence Against Women in Post-Conflict Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya’ examines why statebuilding ‘success’ in providing security for women has varied significantly across post-conflict countries. The Prize’s panel noted that the dissertation ‘makes a significant and original contribution to the broader statebuilding scholarship by assessing how effective various approaches are for different parts of the population’ and ‘has the potential to become an important reference point in the field.’ The panel also emphasised that ‘its findings are relevant for readership beyond academic circles.’ Dr Koester currently advises the Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development of the Federal Republic of Somalia through the United Nations Development Programme.

Dr Stimmer won the Shirin M. Rai Prize, for the best dissertation in international relations. Her work, ‘Norm Contestation in International Politics’, developed a typology of the different effects norm contestation can have on norm development and discussed explanations for this variation in effects. The panel were impressed with Dr Stimmer’s work as it ‘successfully takes on the challenge of intervening in a long-running set of debates… to offer an innovative typology of the possible “endpoints”’. Currently, she is a Postdoctoral Prize Research Fellow in Politics at Nuffield College, Oxford.

The PSA seeks ‘to promote the development of political studies and to encourage education and the advancement of learning in the art and science of government and in other branches of the political sciences’. These prizes are part of their annual awards, usually presented at their conference.