This Web site is devoted to the partisan politics of Philadelphia, as an exploration for an honors thesis project by Christopher Wink, a May 2008 graduating senior at Temple University.
My thesis project began some time in late April 2007, largely with the pursuit of a topic. I have long had personal interest in local politics, particularly in Philadelphia, but I struggled to decide on a final choice. As the 2007 Democratic mayoral primary loomed large, I knew it had to be something in that venue. It didn’t take long to find my desire to investigate what is often attributed as the failure of Philadelphia’s Republican Party, without a mayoral victory since 1951 and not a scant citywide election victory since 1987.
Beginning in May 2007 and carrying throughout the summer, I plunged into book research and developing a comparative analysis of other cities, with which I could compare Philadelphia.
By October 2007, I was focusing my attention solely on the Cradle of Liberty, which I have done since.
To learn more about me, feel free to peruse my personal Web site. Otherwise, follow the year-long process of my undergraduate thesis, its development and my exploration of Philadelphia’s partisan politics, and what’s happening to the Republican Party.
My adviser for this project is Dr. Joseph P. McLaughlin, Jr., an assistant dean for external affairs for the College of Liberal Arts and a senior fellow at the Institute for Public Affairs. He teaches American politics and public policy in the political science department and directs the Pennsylvania Policy Database Project. McLaughlin joined Temple after a long career as a government official and urban lobbyist working on major public policy issues in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Washington D. C. He obtained his master’s and PhD degrees in political science from Temple.
McLaughlin’s father was the campaign manager for Mayor James H.J. Tate’s 1967 campaign, and he, himself, was a deputy to Mayor William J. Green III in the early 1980s. As a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, McLaughlin covered the 1971 reelection campaign of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley.
In addition to McLaughlin, my thesis project will be evaluated by two other academics.
The Director of Temple’s Honors Department is Dr. Ruth Ost. She spent much of her career in Michigan teaching high school English, Humanities and directing a gifted program. She also lived in Rome and studied in New York City, before earning a Ph.D. in religion at Temple, while teaching summers at the University of Tennessee at Martin. After a short stint at the University of Rochester, she took a position at Temple and a role leading the school’s then-young honors department. She is on the board of the National Association of Fellowship Advisors and a reader for the Udall Foundation Scholarships. In 2006 she won the Academic Advising Administrator Award, and in 1998 was named Honors Professor of the Year.
She her honors department biography here.
Temple’s chapter of Pi Sigma Phi, the nation’s largest political science honor society, is chaired by Associate Professor Dr. Robin Kolodny. She has a Ph.D. and a political science master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University and has been a tenured professor at Temple since 1999. She is also an advisory Board Member of the Campaign Finance Institute at George Washington University. Her research interests include money in politics and other organizational influences on the political process.
See her curriculum vitae here.
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