An estimated 3 million American citizens living outside the United States are eligible to vote in U.S. elections. They have the potential to influence tight races, shape policy, and bring new perspectives to politics. So, it is striking that in an era where campaigns employ data scientists to slice and dice the electorate in search of the slightest advantage, we know relatively little about Americans abroad. For example, we lack accurate statistical descriptions of their population: who are they? Where do they live? Why are they there? We know that their right to vote is protected by law, but it is unclear how their ability to exercise that right in the American federal system varies by state and county. We also do not have a systematic understanding of their interest in voting or their voting behavior: what are their priorities? When do they engage with, or withdraw from, American politics?
This conference seeks to stimulate interdisciplinary and cross-national discussion of the voting rights and political behavior of Americans abroad. It will gather social scientists and historians to deepen our understanding of who American citizens abroad are, how and when they participate in American elections and politics, and the nature and extent of their political power.
We are especially interested in papers that address some dimension of the voting rights and/or behavior of American citizens abroad. To take just a few examples, this could include studies of the impact that citizens abroad had on specific elections, how American political parties organize citizens abroad, the electoral priorities of citizens abroad, or the impact of the federal system on their voting rights. We are also interested in papers that explore why we should study American citizens abroad in the first place and/or synthesize current knowledge about them, as well as papers that explore how to locate and study this far-flung, heterogenous population. Such papers may be conceptual (e.g. should dual citizens count?) or methodological (e.g. can tools like network analysis help?). Suitable papers might also consider how American citizens abroad have influenced policy, foreign or domestic. Given the long history and past political significance of Americans abroad, papers that take historical approaches to these questions are welcome.
The "Americans Abroad: Voting Rights and Political Behavior" conference is sponsored by the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri and will be held at the Rothermere American Institute in Oxford (England) on June 30-July 1 2023. Presenters will be eligible to have their travel and lodging expenses paid by the Kinder Institute.
To apply, send a 1 page abstract along with a C.V. to Tara Ginnane (firstname.lastname@example.org) by February 1, 2023.