back to news March 27, 2013

WGSS Professor Elected President of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists

Wendy Smooth, associate professor in the Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) and senior research fellow with Ohio State’s Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, has been elected president of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS). Smooth has been active with NCOBPS since her first year of graduate school. She will serve as NCOBPS president 2013 through 2015.

The NCOBPS is organized to study, enhance, and promote the political aspirations of people of African descent in the United States and throughout the world. It aims to contribute to the resolution of the many challenges that black people confront. The organization promotes research in and critical analysis of topics usually overlooked and/or marginalized in political science scholarship.

Smooth's research and teaching focus on women’s experiences in political institutions and the impact of public policies on women’s lives. She is currently completing a book entitled, Perceptions of Power and Influence: The Impact of Race and Gender in American State Legislatures, which examines black women's experiences serving in U.S. state legislatures. Based on this research, she was awarded the Best Dissertation in Women and Politics by the Women and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. She is particularly interested in the ways in which institutions preference gender and racial norms through their institutional arrangements, norms, preferences and day to day operating procedures.

In her courses, Smooth addresses various public policies affecting women and girls including work/family and workplace diversity policies; empowerment for women living with HIV/AIDS; violence against women and girls; and welfare reform. Her policy work is informed by her experiences as a senior research and policy associate with the Center for Women Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., which is the oldest feminist research and policy organization in the country.

Smooth’s work appears in numerous journals including, Politics and Gender; Journal of Women Politics and Policy; and the National Political Science Review. In addition, her work appears in edited volumes such as, Gender and Elections: Shaping the Future of American Politics; Legislative Women: Getting Elected, Getting Ahead; and Still Lifting, Still Climbing: Black Women's Contemporary Activism.

The NCOBPS was founded in 1969.