Danielle Higgins

PhD Candidate, American University


I am a PhD Candidate and Adjunct instructor in the Department of Government at American University, as well as the Senior Researcher for Tadamun: the Cairo Urban Solidarity Initiative.

My dissertation examines the linkages between employment policies, women’s political participation, and societal gender roles, norms, and attitudes. I see my work as an effort to combine feminist theory and methodologies with political science research designs. My dissertation has implications for the power of policies to create pathways for women’s full equality, and family leave policies in particular are becoming increasingly important in political debates and discourse.

I also have expertise working with geospatial data, which I utilize in my research for Tadamun to investigate spatial inequality both broadly and from a gendered perspective. I have always loved maps (I took geography bees very seriously as a kid), and at Tadamun I produce maps that help us visualize the stark realities of poverty and inequality. Over the last five years, I’ve developed a deep interest and appreciation for urban issues, the right to the city, and spatial justice–I increasingly find myself automatically migrating to the urban studies sections of bookstores. Some of my recent work for Tadamun combines my interests in gender, employment issues, urban inequality, and spatial justice.

Just as my research spans subfields, my teaching does as well. I teach intro level classes in Comparative Politics, American Politics, and Political Theory. When I’m not prepping for class, doing research, or writing, I’m cooking vegetarian meals (well, learning how to cook vegetarian meals), doing yoga, or playing pick-up soccer.