New Faculty Friday: Q&A with Harrison Frye

SPIA is excited to introduce Harrison Frye, assistant professor of political science.

Harrison Frye received his PhD at the University of Virginia. His research interests lie in the nature of a free society and understanding the ways that people rely on various informal social practices to live out their lives with other people. Recently, his research has focused on situations where those social norms go wrong (such as public shaming online). He also does research on the moral basis of economic markets. When he’s not working, he plays the jazz trumpet on occasion (he was a music minor in college), and tries to sneak in some video games when he can.

What attracted you to UGA?
HF: UGA is a great research institution with good students in a cool college town. What’s not to like?

Where did you grow up?
HF: I grew up in Malibu, California. Sadly, I don’t surf.

What are you working on that you’re most excited about?
HF: I have been working on a paper that’s on public shaming on the internet. Briefly, the paper argues that online shaming suffers from a problem of a scale: People are using social norms to sanction the behavior of others at scales those norms are not well suited for. The argument ends up being a bit baroque, but at one point I get to talk about Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter and public shaming in 18th century America.

What was your favorite part of your college experience?
HF: This is unsurprising for an academic, but I just really liked the opportunity to learn. The opportunity to sit down and intellectually engage with some subject matter is glorious. This is not just about class work, but also those late night conversations you have with friends in the dorm. I didn’t fully appreciate how great an opportunity this is until I worked an office job for a few years after my undergraduate degree.

What is your favorite food?
HF: I am a sucker for anything with melted cheese. Or chocolate. But not together.

Please tell us one fun fact about yourself.
HF: Between the summer high school and college, I worked at a Starbucks in Malibu. I served coffee to a few actors, including Dustin Hoffman and Pierce Brosnan.

Do you have any pets? If so, what kind(s)?
HF: I am an aspiring Corgi owner.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
HF: Musically, participating in the Banff International Workshop in Jazz & Creative Music. Academically, I have a few published papers I am proud of, but the best is yet to come!

Who inspires you in your research or career?
HF: Too long a list! In terms of every day inspiration, I would have to say my wife. She and I have a healthy competition going on that keeps us both motivated.

What advice do you have for SPIA students?
HF: Take advantage of office hours. Not just when the paper is due or the exam is coming up, but whenever you found something interesting in the reading or class or whatever and want to discuss it further. This is a great way to not only test ideas out and deepen your learning, but also get to know your professors better. Plus, we like talking about this stuff. That’s why we are here!