He'll Be Monitoring the Presidential Election From Paris: Cal State Fullerton Political Scientist Is Fulbright Scholar This Fall
FULLERTON, Calif., Aug. 26 (AScribe Newswire) -- Cal State Fullerton political science professor Raphael J. Sonenshein is watching the first half of the Democratic National Convention from Southern California; he'll watch the second half from Paris, where he's spending the fall semester as a Fulbright Scholar.
Sonenshein was selected for the Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program, which is reserved for "eminent scholars" with significant publication and teaching records. The 40 some appointments awarded each year are among the most prestigious in the Fulbright Scholar Program.
Often quoted about Los Angeles politics - his chief area of scholarship - Sonenshein also follows state and national issues, plus election candidates, and is a sought-after commentator.
Today, the issues he's examined in L.A. for decades have become what Sonenshein calls "the flavor of the year" in national politics. As the race for the White House heats up this fall, the professor will be serving as the Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair in American Studies at the University of Paris 8's Geopolitics Institute. The chair was established in 2005, during the bicentennial of the birth of Alexis de Tocqueville, as a means to enhance intellectual relations between the United States and France. The French historian and politician is the author of "Democracy in America."
Arnaud Roujou de Boubee, executive director of the Fulbright Commission in France, cited several reasons why Sonenshein's proposal to teach and conduct research at the institute was selected: "his expertise on minority politics, a topic which is of prime importance in France and for which comparative approaches are extremely valuable; his work on the Los Angeles Charter reform, which demonstrates interest in conflict over territories; his understanding of segregation dynamics and their political consequences in terms of minority empowerment, but also potential tensions and conflicts, an issue which is fully linked to the debate on minority integration in France; [and] his experience with the media, as an expert on elections, a very valuable expertise at the time of the U.S. presidential elections."
Sonenshein will be teaching and collaborating on research with Frederick Douzet, author of "The New Political Geography of California" and a professor at the institute.
"I know that our students and my colleagues will be delighted to work with Raphe as he tends to spur enthusiasm, energy and intellectual emulation," Douzet said. "We are very fortunate and honored to host him for a semester."
The author of "Los Angeles: Structure of a City Government" (2007), "The City at Stake: Secession, Reform and the Battle for Los Angeles" (2004) and "Politics in Black and White: Race and Power in Los Angeles" (1993), Sonenshein is eager to expand his focus beyond the United States.
"This Fulbright award is an opportunity for me to make my research global, kick it up to another level," he said. "I'm going to learn a lot about immigration issues in France, where there is a large population of Muslim and North African immigrants."
As a political pundit abroad, Sonenshein said he expects he will be explaining America's electoral college and telling his European audiences which states to watch in the election.
"Issues of racial and social integration are very current in France at the moment, and the American experience attracts considerable interest and study," said James L. Bullock, minister-counselor for public affairs for the U.S. Embassy in Paris. "Sen. Barack Obama's campaign for the Democratic Party's nomination, for example, is a major fascination for the French. Professor Sonenshein will engage on political topics in which the French are interested. I am personally excited to have someone with us next semester with his background who can help us help French academics and political observers to better understand current political developments in our country."
Sonenshein earned has doctorate and master's degree in political science at Yale, his B.A. in public policy at Princeton.
He departs for Paris Aug. 27. Upon his return to campus for the spring semester, Sonenshein will assume the post of chair of Cal State Fullerton's Division of Politics and Criminal Justice.
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