Mike Nicholson is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He is also a researcher at the Center for Migration Studies. Previously, Mr. Nicholson worked as a research analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and as a consultant for the Center for American Progress. He has also held internships at the Migration Policy Institute’s Transatlantic Council on Migration and at the US Department of State. Mr. Nicholson holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and received a PhD in political science from the University of California, San Diego in June 2018. While a doctoral candidate, he was an INTEGRIM Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, and a ThinkSwiss fellow at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, where he conducted a study on immigrants’ political engagement. From 2005-2006, also, he was a Fulbright scholar in Istanbul, Turkey.
Why do individuals choose to participate in politics and public life? This is an important question, since much of public policy depends on direct or indirect citizen support in the form of compliance, engagement, or collective action. Without it, even sound policies can fail to be broadly implemented. This course provides a “bottom up” view by exploring the motivations and constraints behind various kinds of civic engagement. We will cover voting, political mobilization, cooperation with the state, and the role of public opinion in both the American and international policy contexts. We will primarily read book chapters and articles in the field of political science, but the ramifications of our discussions will extend far beyond the field of politics and should be useful to a broad range of students interested in policy-making, implementation, and social change.