Faculty & Staff

Faculty Research

Susan Johnson

Susan Johnson Book Cover

Professor Susan Johnson’s research focuses on judicial behavior in the United States and Canada.  In her recent book on the nature of judicial behavior in the Supreme Court of Canada, Johnson and her co-authors use qualitative and quantitative research strategies to examine judicial decision making and to show how a collegial court setting shapes these decisions. The authors critically examine the ideological tendencies of decision making using confidential interviews with the justices, analysis of their decisions from 1970 to 2005, and unique measures of the justices’ ideologies. Their findings strongly conclude that political ideology is a key factor in decision making and a prominent source of conflict in the Supreme Court of Canada.

“This is a methodologically sound, substantively interesting, and yet accessible volume. The book expands on earlier assessments of attitudinal decision making in Canada by applying a macro-level perspective of judicial decision-making rather than taking a micro-level look at specific subfields of law. It also expands on the methods of the earlier studies of the Court by the concurrent application of several methods to achieve a broader and yet more exact assessment of ideology’s role in judicial decisions making, offering a unique contribution to attitudinal literature.” -  Reza Barmaki, University of Toronto, Mississauga, Book review in Canadian Journal of Sociology, v37 (n4) (Fall 2012): 450(4).

Carisa Showden

Carisa Showden Book Cover

This book illustrates how the politics surrounding sex work shape individual and collective agency. Negotiating Sex Work rejects the divided framework that the selling of sexual acts is either legitimate work or a form of exploitation, instead offering diverse and compelling contributions that reframe these viewpoints. A timely and necessary intervention into sex work debates, this volume challenges how policy makers and the broader public regard sex workers’ capacity to advocate for their own interests.

Carisa Showden

Carisa Showden Book Cover

Professor Carisa Showden, whose research focuses on political theory and feminist theory, recently published Choices Women Make, with The University of Minnesota Press.  Choices Women Make looks at the political, economic, and social forces affecting how different groups of women, in a variety of situations, exercise agency. In so doing, it interrogates what we mean when we say someone has "agency" or can act as an "agent" for herself. The book explains how agency--commonly understood as an individual construct--is fundamentally social and political in its development. To explore what social and political agency looks like, Showden looks at how and why different groups of women make decisions in the contexts of intimate partner violence, assisted reproduction, and prostitution.