This page contains historical information and is preserved here as a matter of record. This project operated at the SSRC from 2018-06-05 to 2018-09-14.


To encourage practically oriented and empirically rigorous research at the intersection of identity, community, and political participation, the Anxieties of Democracy program of the Social Science Research Council is proud to announce an open call for proposals for an interdisciplinary research development workshop to be held in New York City on February 7–8, 2019. 


The research development workshop will give participants the opportunity to give and receive in-depth feedback from their peers on in-progress or planned research projects and to meet others who work on similar topics.

The workshop will be geared toward scholars who have existing empirical work on their topics of interest and who are looking to workshop their ideas for project extensions or follow-up work. Scholars who are within ten years of their PhD and early-career scholars are particularly encouraged to apply. We encourage applications from all relevant social science and humanities fields, including political science, history, sociology, psychology, and others.

Travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by the organizers. We may also be able to support some attendees with research funding. All accepted participants will be expected to circulate a research design memo (10–15 pages) by January 7, 2019. We welcome memos that include some relevant results from past empirical work.


We particularly welcome proposals for research that addresses real-world problems and will involve working directly with political practitioners. At the workshop, discussion time will be dedicated to the question of how to work directly with political practitioners, including tips and best practices from scholars with relevant experience. Substantive research themes may include but are not limited to the following topics:

Mobilization and the uses of identity-based political appeals

• What appeals do politicians use to encourage citizen participation, and are these appeals consistent with democratic principles or are they exclusionary?

• How do identity-based political appeals shape citizens’ perceptions of (the political significance of) their identities? How does participation affect perceptions of identity and community?

The consequences of institutions on participation

• How is participation by different communities affected by voter registration requirements, the regulation of lawful demonstrations, and other formal rules surrounding participation?

• How do nonvoting interactions with the state impact political participation? Examples include the consequences of contact with the carceral state, felon disenfranchisement, and experiences with the administration of government programs.

The consequences of participation

• Whose voices are seen as legitimate? What group-based differences exist in how political expression is received, both by the broader public and by politicians?

• Under what conditions are alternative forms of participation, such as non-violent or violent protests, effective, and when do they result in backlash?

Cultivating political empathy

• What kinds of political messages and appeals cultivate intersectional empathy for or among marginalized groups, and what kinds of messages decrease it?

• Under what conditions are people motivated to work on issues that may not affect them directly?


To apply, please send the following materials to by September 14, 2018, with “Application for political participation research design workshop” in the subject line:

• Current C.V.;

• One illustrative article-length piece of your scholarship; and

• One-page statement of interest, including a brief description of your proposed research question and anticipated research methodology/design.