Ann-Marie Szymanski

Associate Professor of Political Science
218 Dale Hall Tower
325-6436
ams@ou.edu

Curriculum Vitae

B.A. with Honors, Rutgers University, 1989
M.A., Cornell University, 1992
Ph.D., Cornell University, 1998

Teaching and Research Interests:  American Politics, American Political Thought, Interest Groups and Social Movements, The Presidency, and Religion and Politics

Professor Ann-Marie Szymanski joined the Department of Political Science in 1996. Her book Pathways to Prohibition: Radicals, Moderates, and Social Movement Outcomes was published in 2003. Articles have appeared in Journal of Southern History and Journal of Policy History.

Research interests include the role of social movements in American political development, especially the Temperance movement; the American presidency; and religion and politics in America.

Current Research:  To this point, my research agenda has been largely concerned with revising my dissertation for publication as a book, Pathways to Prohibition: Radicals, Moderates, and Social Movement Outcomes, which was published by Duke University Press in 2003. This book makes a contribution to the literature on social movements, to historical institutionalism as an approach to understanding political change, and to the study of the anti-liquor movement as a crusade that can illuminate the political, legal, and enforcement issues raised by morals reform. As the offspring of all three of these literatures, Pathways to Prohibition offers not only a revised account of the American temperance movement, but also a new understanding of how strategic choices interact with broad-based changes in state structure to generate social movement outcomes. This book is about the power of grassroots activism, and how one social movement successfully exploited that power. It chronicles the prohibitionists' decision to pursue modest goals, and demonstrates why this strategic choice helped them to secure an amendment to the U.S. constitution. Furthermore, it explains why the drys adopted a locally-based strategy when they did, and traces the origins of this strategy to changes in state structure and to new collective beliefs about the appropriate distribution of government authority.

In addition to Pathways to Prohibition, I have also published an article, "Dry Compulsions: Prohibition and the Creation of State-Level Enforcement Agencies" in the Journal of Policy History. Here, I argue that the anti-liquor movement's shift from pri-vate to public enforcement efforts stemmed partly from its sense that state governments could finally offer effective alternatives to private enforcement, and partly from political developments that supported the growth of administrative power, such as the election of reform politicians. Meanwhile, an article entitled "Beyond Parochialism: Southern Progressivism, Prohibition, and State Building" was published in 2003 in the Journal of Southern History. It contends that many scholars overestimate the impact of northern reform efforts on southern progressivism, while underestimating the influence of southern progressivism on national reform campaigns and state-building efforts after 1900.

More recently, I have embarked on the arduous process of collecting raw data for a big new research project, which seeks to trace the shift from private to public regulation in the United States. In a nutshell, this project seeks to amend Stephen Skowronek's formulation of the early American state as "a state of courts and parties" to instead read "a state of courts, parties, and voluntary associations," and to explain why Americans gradually abandoned voluntary associations in favor of public regulatory regimes. My initial research has involved anti-theft societies, which were quasi-vigilante groups that formed across the United States to detect and apprehend thieves and to recover stolen property.

My earliest take on these groups was incorporated into a paper co-authored with Loren Gatch entitled "The Propriety of Property? Legal Culture and Economic Rights in Early America." An early draft of this paper was presented by Gatch at the Southwestern Political Science Association meeting in March 2001; we co-presented this paper at the American Political Science Association meeting in September 2001. More recently, I updated my portion of this paper for the 2002 Journal of Policy History Conference, and it is entitled, "Horse Thieves, Vigilantes, and the Reduction of Crime Rates in Nineteenth-Century America."