On October 3rd I got to celebrate two things this year: German Unity Day and the successful defense of my dissertation prospectus! My dissertation “An Illusional Nuclear Taboo: Mechanisms of Domestic Attitudinal Patterns for Extreme Methods of War” studies public and political elite attitudes toward nuclear weapons. I ask what factors influence public and elite willingness to support the usage of nuclear weapons? Informed by fields of international relations, comparative politics, and social psychology, my dissertation advances scholarly understanding of the political conditions and individual characteristics that lead to support for the usage of nuclear weapons.
The remainder of the fall semester will be spent applying for IRB review, securing a points of contact in Israel, and finalizing my experimental survey questionnaire. The months will be dedicated to reviewing theoretical foundations of my argument and revising theory chapters as well as a latent variable model that explores elite opinion on the use of force. I’m looking forward to present a part of my dissertation at the International Studies Association Annual Conference on March 25th -28th in Hawaii before traveling to Israel in Summer 2020 to conduct my survey experiment.