Hahrie Han

(781) 283-2140
Political Science
B.A., Harvard University; M.A., Ph.D., Stanford University
Pendleton Hall East Rm. 236

Hahrie Han
Associate Professor of Political Science

Political Scientist interested in the politics of social policy, civic associations, civic engagement, engagement organizing, political activism, health and environmental politics, polarization, and elections.

Hahrie Han is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College, where she also serves as advisory faculty of the Environmental Studies Program, and the American Studies program. She is also co-founder and co-director of the Project on Public Leadership and Action, co-director of the Wellesley in Washington program, and was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholar at Harvard University (2009-2011). She specializes in the politics of social policy, focusing particularly on the role that civic associations play in mobilizing participation in politics and policy advocacy. Her recently published book, How Organizations Develop Activists: Civic Associations and Leadership in the 21st Century (Oxford University Press 2014) examines the strategies that the most effective civic associations use to engage activists and develop civic leaders in health and environmental politics. Another book,Groundbreakers: How Obama's 2.1 Million Activists Transformed Field Campaigns in America (co-authored with Elizabeth McKenna, Oxford Univ. Press 2014) describes the strategies the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaign used to engage so many grassroots activists in communities across America. Her first book, Moved to Action: Motivation, Participation, and Inequality in American Politics (Stanford University Press, 2009) examined the ways in which people become motivated to participate in politics, looking particularly at means of engaging underprivileged populations in political action. The book was the subject of a series of “Critical Dialogues” in Perspectives on Politics, an Author-Meets-Critics panel at the Southern Political Science Association, and positive reviews elsewhere. Hahrie’s work on participation, civic associations, primary elections, and congressional polarization has been published in outlets including American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Perspectives on Politics, British Journal of Political Science, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Behavior, and elsewhere. Her work was awarded the 2013 Outstanding Academic Publication on Membership Organizations Award by the Institute for Nonprofit Research, Education, and Engagement.

Hahrie has also consulted and done research with a wide range of civic and political organizations around the world. These organizations include the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Mothers Out Front, MoveOn.org, Reform Immigration for America Now, the National Korean-American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC), ReThink Health, Doctors for America, the Counties Manukau District Health Board in Auckland, New Zealand, the Healthcare Improvement Unit at Cardiff University in Wales, America's HealthTogether, and others. She has also been involved in numerous efforts to make academic work relevant to the world of practice, including serving as the Co-founder and Co-Director of the Project on Public Leadership and Action at Wellesley College, the Co-Chair of the Civic Engagement Working Group at the Scholars Strategy Network, the Chair of the Leading Change Research Network, and on the steering committee of the Gettysburg Project. She also acted as co-convenor of a Policy Advisory Committee for the 2008 Obama campaign and served as Chair of the Advisory Committee to the EAC Agency Review Team on the Obama-Biden Transition Team and also as National Issues and Policy Advisor to Senator Bill Bradley’s presidential campaign in 1999-2000.  She received her Ph.D. in American Politics from Stanford University in 2005 and her B.A. in American History and Literature from Harvard University in 1997. She was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow from 2002-2005 and received Stanford University’s Centennial Teaching Award in 2002 and Wellesley College’s Apgar Award for Innovative Teaching in 2006. She is the daughter of Korean immigrants, grew up in Houston, Texas, and now lives in Arlington, MA with her husband and two living children.