Dr. Leah Windsor (MA '06) received her PhD in Political Science from the University
of Mississippi in 2012. Her dissertation was on "The Political Consequences of Natural
Disasters," with chapters examining sub-national contentious behavior, human rights,
and leadership tenure. In 2012 she became a Faculty Affiliate with the Institute for
Intelligent Systems at The University of Memphis, and she earned travel grants to
attend the annual conferences for The Society for Political Methodology in Chapel
Hill, NC as well as the American Political Science Association in New Orleans, LA.
In 2013 she was invited to present a paper entitled "Autocratic Leaders and Natural
Disasters" at the Visions in Methodology conference held at Florida State University.
In June 2014 she was selected to receive a $1.3m grant award from the Minerva Initiative
(Department of Defense). She serves as PI on this grant (summary below). Her co-authored
article on climate migration with Dr. Nicole Detraz was recently published in International Feminist Journal of Politics.
Minerva Initiative Grant:
This project will continue work from a previous Minerva grant Modeling Discourse and
Social Dynamics in Authoritarian Regimes (NSF #0904909) to analyze the speech of international
actors to detect motives, identify threats, and find predictive patterns of language
and behavior. This project has three components: identifying language patterns related
to armed political crises; identifying bluffs and threats pertinent to both national
and international security; and analyzing the relationship between language and contentious
behavior like protests, riots, and rebellions. We want to extend our analysis beyond
the existing corpora which focus heavily on China and the Middle East/North Africa
regions to encompass Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, where there are growing
security threats and ample opportunities to collect and analyze linguistic data.