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Jenna Bednar

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Core faculty

Jenna Bednar

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor of Public Policy and Political Science
Bednar's research combines positive political theory and systems theory to analyze how institutions remain effective in complex environments. She has contributed to the scholarly inquiry of the design of federalism; theoretical and experimental work on cultural evolution and institutional performance; and applied realms such as campaign contributions, transboundary water systems, and environmental sustainability.
State & Hill

Seeking a resilient democracy

Dec 12, 2023
Of all of the recent headlines about U.S. government dysfunction, election denialism, and voter dissatisfaction, one in particular worries Ford School political scientist Jenna Bednar. The New York Times reported in October 2022, “Voters See...
In the Media

Bednar on how Trump's abortion stance impacts his electoral chances

Nov 5, 2023 VG (Norway)
Jenna Bednar, VG (Norway): "As soon as a Republican politician takes a firm stance on abortion, he will probably upset one of these two important groups," Bednar explains to VG.  "The more ambiguous Trump can be, the better for his electoral...
In the Media

Bednar on the GOP presidential race

Sep 21, 2023 Orlando Sentinel
Jenna Bednar, Orlando Sentinel: "Abortion is a hot potato for Republicans. Governors like DeSantis are in a tough spot, pinned to a position that is a loser on the national...
In the Media

DeSantis creating a "big target" with anti-gay message - Bednar

Jul 11, 2023 Orlando Sentinel
Jenna Bednar, Orlando Sentinel: Jenna Bednar, a professor of political science at the University of Michigan, said DeSantis’ battle with Disney, in particular, looks from outside Florida to be a “vindictive” attack on a company that took a stance on...
In the Media

Freedom Caucus tactics may backfire - Bednar

Jun 10, 2023 Newsweek
Jenna Bednar, Newsweek: Jenna Bednar, professor of political science and public policy at the University of Michigan, told Newsweek that although the headaches will likely continue while some members keep McCarthy "hostage," it may inadvertently...
State & Hill

Faculty News, spring 2023

May 3, 2023
Dominique Adams-Santos, Celeste Watkins-Hayes, and PhD candidate Kayonne Christy contributed a chapter, "Narratives in Context: Locating Racism and Sexism in Black Women's Health Experiences," to The Routledge Companion to...
State & Hill

Faculty Findings, spring 2023

May 3, 2023
A fractured superpower  States have driven important federal policy changes around voting, civil and reproductive rights, environmental protections, and more. What happens when states take it upon themselves to experiment with energy, trade, and...
In the Media

Bednar critiques Florida Republicans' approach to 2024 elections

Apr 14, 2023 Sentinel & Enterprise
Jenna Bednar, Sentinel & Enterprise: "We had moderate voters crossing over what would be stereotypical party-line votes to support positions that they believe are the right policy choice for themselves and for their families. I don’t understand what...
In the Media

Slotkin senate race will test her campaign style - Bednar

Feb 28, 2023 Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press: "Slotkin has a remarkable gift for connecting with people at a human scale. She's transparent and earns their trust," said Jenna Bednar, a professor of political science and public policy at the University of Michigan. "(But)...
News

Showcasing student talent to inspire democratic engagement

Jan 15, 2023
Five student acts will vie for prizes at a free, festival-style concert at Hill Auditorium on January 21 in a performance that celebrates the grand finale of the Songs for Democracy competition. The competition invited students to compose...
In the Media

Bednar discusses who will replace Senator Stabenow

Jan 5, 2023 WSJM
Jenna Bednar, WSJM: "She opened that announcement by talking about the deep talent in the state in the Democratic party, and I think everybody is seeing that. There’s a number of people you could imagine throwing their hat in the...
In the Media

Bednar speculates about 2024 Michigan Senate seat

Jan 5, 2023 Newsweek
Jenna Bednar, Newsweek: "I think this is great news for both parties of Michigan. [Stabenow] opened her announcement by talking about how much talent is in the state. Oh my goodness does the Republican Party of Michigan need reorganization, as they...
State & Hill

Faculty News, fall 2022

Dec 19, 2022
Jenna Bednar published “The Fractured Superpower: Federalism is Remaking U.S. Democracy and Foreign Policy,” in Foreign Affairs. The Coalition for Networked Information, the Association of Research Libraries, and EDUCAUSE awarded Paul Courant the...
State & Hill

Discourse: Fordies in the news, fall 2022

Dec 19, 2022
“The line of students registering to vote on Election Day stretched across the University of Michigan campus, with students waiting for over four hours. There was a palpable sense of excitement and urgency around the election on campus. For many...
In the Media

Bednar discusses national reaction to DeSantis strategy

Dec 16, 2022 South Florida Sun Sentinel
Jenna Bednar, South Florida Sun Sentinel: "I just don’t see that as the same kind of rallying cry in Michigan that he might be receiving in Florida. Nobody was really getting excited about that. We are not as COVID-obsessed as some other states,...
In the Media

Bednar analyzes Michigan Democrats' agenda

Nov 17, 2022 Bridge Michigan
Jenna Bednar, Bridge Michigan: "Our governor's a very pragmatic leader, one who's going to carve out a positive forward-looking but centrist agenda. This isn’t a time for Democrats to say, ‘Oh, it's our turn, and we're going to move (toward) some...
In the Media

Bednar on Trump's influence in 2022 election

Nov 16, 2022 The New York Times
Jenna Bednar, The New York Times: "(Trump’s allure) has faded in many states. Even before the election, we saw signs of voter exhaustion with all things Trump. Here in Michigan, in the final weeks of the campaign many Republican candidates...
In the Media

Bednar's analysis of the roles of federalism

Nov 10, 2022 Council on Foreign Relations
Jenna Bednar, Council on Foreign Relations: "What’s the function of federalism? Why do we have it? And some people think about, well, federalism is for allocation—that is, to harmonize access to resources or maybe even just administrative...
News

Bednar breaks down Barrett-Slotkin race

Nov 1, 2022
In Michigan's seventh Congressional district, incumbent Elissa Slotkin is facing State Senator Tom Barrett. The race has quickly become one of the most expensive in the country, and is heavily influenced by the question of abortion access. Jenna...
Publication

The fractured superpower: Federalism and foreign policy

Oct 7, 2022
Though federalism is typically viewed in a domestic context, political scientist Jenna Bednar explores the balance of state and federal power and how it shapes U.S. foreign policy in Foreign Affairs. Bednar and co-author Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar,...
In the Media

Bednar discusses Trump's rally in Michigan

Oct 1, 2022 The Hill
Former President Donald Trump made a stop in Michigan last Saturday to support gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon. But, Jenna Bednar, professor of public policy and political science, says his rally could end up hurting Republicans in the...
In the Media

Bednar emphasizes role of abortion rights in MI gubernatorial race

Sep 29, 2022 NPR: The Takeaway
The national spotlight is on Michigan's gubernatorial election, which will effectively decide the future of reproductive rights in the state. Jenna Bednar, professor of public policy and political science, discussed how both parties are...