Kira Sanbonmatsu
Kira Sanbonmatsu
Hickman Hall - 609

Spring 2020 Office Hours held by appointment (email

Women and Politics; American Politics

Ph.D., Harvard University
B.A., University of Massachusetts Amherst


Personal website:




American politics, Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Parties, Elections, Public Opinion, and State Politics

Spring 2020: Women and American Politics

WEDNESDAYS 12:35 - 3:35 p.m. at Eagleton/Wood Lawn

Course Description

We will analyze the participation of women in American political life; examine women’s public roles and the effects of feminism in altering women’s public roles in both historical and contemporary contexts; delve into women’s participation in electoral politics; study women’s behavior and influence as public officials; and analyze the intersection of gender with other categories such as race/ethnicity and political party. Over the course of the semester, we will analyze the historic 2018 midterm election, study the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, and examine the relationship between gender and policymaking.

This course is designed to introduce students to the study of gender and U.S. politics including the central questions, concepts, and debates in the field. Students will develop a theoretical framework and analytic tools for studying gender and politics. The course is also intended to teach students about the research process and to strengthen students’ analytic, critical thinking, written, and oral communication skills.

This class is offered in conjunction with the Douglass Residential College PLEN (Public Leadership Education Network) Forum. The PLEN Forum provides students with a unique opportunity to hear and learn first-hand from political women about their experiences and paths to politics. A portion of about seven class sessions over the course of the semester will be devoted to PLEN Forum discussions with political women. These sessions are informal, and PLEN speakers expect students to ask lots of questions and engage them in discussion. Students should take notes during PLEN sessions and draw upon the PLEN sessions just as they would draw upon class readings and lectures in completing their written assignments for class. The dates for PLEN sessions are:  February 12, February 26, March 4, March 11, March 25, April 8, and April 22. These dates are subject to change.

Course requirements

20%  Class participation; 15% Reading-check quizzes; 20%  Essay #1; 20%  Essay #2; 25%  Essay #3

 Click HERE for the SYLLABUS