During my undergraduate career at the University of Georgia, American media began vigorous coverage of populist radical right parties across Europe. These rightist politicians, though not violent or anti-democratic, echoed a certain all too familiar xenophobic mentality. My interest in radical right political parties sparked collaboration with one of my UGA professors, Dr. Cas Mudde, an expert in far right politics in Europe and North America. With Dr. Mudde, I began studying media coverage of the populist radical right in Western democracies, specifically coverage of Marine Le Pen, female leader of the French radical right party, the Front National.
Before beginning graduate school, I decided to spend a year in France as an English teaching assistant to gain valuable teaching experience, further improve my language skills, and experience French culture first-hand. Coincidentally, I was placed in two middle schools in the northern region of France, an area where the poverty rate, as measured by income, is three times the national average. Many voters in these economically depressed areas are now turning to Marine Le Pen and the Front National party. Both my undergraduate studies and my stay in France during a tumultuous political period for the whole of Europe have influenced my research interests as I enter SPIA’s PhD program. My current research areas include perceptions of female political leaders, radical right populism, European politics, immigration politics, and politics in the media.
Through a research stipend awarded by SPIA during my undergraduate career at UGA, I began studying media coverage of the populist radical right in Western democracies. Specifically, my research project compares the manner in which Marine Le Pen, female leader of the French populist radical right party Front National, is perceived in the French-speaking media compared to the English-speaking media in the U.S. I would like to continue to pursue this stream of research along with research pertaining to identity politics, populism, extremist parties, European democracy, immigration politics, and politics in media.