Julia Hellwege, Ph.D.


University of South Dakota

Address: 414 E. Clark st., Dakota Hall 233 B

City: Vermillion, South Dakota - 57069

Country: United States

About Me:

My primary interests lie in the study of political institutions and elite behavior, with a focus on identity-based representation. My current research agenda explores the relationship between parenthood and bill-sponsorship among members of Congress, the effect of diversity on legislative approval, and the legislative behavior of minority women. My work has appeared in various journals, including American Politics Research; Social Science Quarterly; Politics, Groups, and Identity; Journal of Interpersonal Violence, and in the edited book Latinas in American Politics (Lexington Books). I am regularly cited in the media, particularly on questions of women and women of color as elected officials. I also engage in a practical application of politics as a founder of the New Mexico chapter of the political training program Ready to Runand as an advisory board member for the South Dakota program. In June 2018, I was elected to the Vermillion, SD city council.

Research Interests

Gender and Politics

Legislative Politics

Race, Ethnicity and Politics

Specific Areas of Interest

Political Representation

Descriptive Representation

Women's Political Representation

Substantive Representation

Identity Politics

Countries of Interest

United States


Journal Articles:

(2018) Blame Avoidance and Transgender Individuals’ Attributions About Rape: Unpacking Gendered Assumptions in Defensive Attribution Research, Journal of Interpersonal Violence

Tags: LGBTQIA Politics, Crime Politics

This research examines how binary gender (male or female) interacts with trans status (cis or trans) to determine rape myth acceptance (RMA), perceived similarity, victim empathy, and victim blaming. Utilizing vignette methodology with an acquaintance rape scenario with a heterosexual female victim, we analyze these variables using multivariate ordinary least squares (OLS) and ordered logit regression. We find support for the argument that both harm avoidance and blame avoidance are operating to predict similarity, empathy, and victim blaming experienced by cisgender and transgender individuals. We argue that this is based on in-group identification from both gender identity and perceived likelihood of future victimization. Specifically, we find that cisgender men have the lowest rates of perceived similarity. Transgender women have the highest rates of empathy whereas cisgender women and trans men have lower rates of victim blaming than cisgender men. Results suggest that the interaction between binary gender and trans status influence perceptions of rape myths and victimization.

(2018) Working Mothers Represent: How Children Affect the Legislative Agenda of Women in Congress, American Politics Research

Tags: Legislative Politics, Gender and Politics

Issues and policies pertaining to children and families are often labeled “women’s issues” and assumed to be on the radar of all women, but we argue that they are more salient for mothers, particularly working mothers, than for other women. This study examines the role of motherhood as an identity for women in Congress by looking at the introduction of bills that affect children and families from 1973 through 2013. We define working mothers as women who have children below 18 years of age at home while they are in office, as opposed to those who have adult children or no children. Our findings show that Congressional working mothers are more likely to introduce legislation that address issues specific to parents and children. We also find that legislation specifically dealing with children’s health and welfare is more likely to be introduced by members with children than those without.

(2018) Left to Their Own Devices: A Student-Centered Approach to Civic Engagement, Journal of Political Science Education

Tags: Political Participation

Scholars have suggested that civic engagement in the United States is declining and some have argued that institutions of higher education are responsible for the fostering of civic engagement through efforts such as service learning. These opportunities may be created either through a top-down approach with student assignment to specific groups and activities, or a more unrestricted approach allowing individual activities with experience reports. As an instructor of an American Government course, I sought to examine the effects of a student-directed, group approach on students’ assignment evaluation. This article offers an approach to student civic engagement activities under minimal supervision. Students were offered class time, provided access to an online discussion forum, and instruction to utilize America: The Owner’s Manual (Graham 2009). Finally, students were given the direction to “collectively decide on a project in the spirit of ‘community service’”. Evaluation of the learning objectives relies on feedback through regular progress reports, presentation of results, and a survey of students’ evaluation of the project.

(2018) "Differential Influence of the Great Recession on Political Participation among Race and Ethnic Groups", Social Science Quarterly

Tags: Race, Ethnicity and Politics, Political Participation

Objective. Our study seeks to understand the role of perceived economic stress of the Great Recession on political participation among blacks, whites, and Latinos. Methods. We use the 2012 Collaborative Multi-Racial Political Study and negative binomial regression to examine the impact of financial hardship on black, Hispanic, and white political participation. Results. We find that political participation among whites is unaffected by the Great Recession and is largely motivated by political interest. Blacks are mobilized by financial hardship even after controlling for political enthusiasm and linked fate. Hispanics have the lowest level of political participation. Conclusion. Overall, we conclude that the Great Recession did affect political behavior but differently across race and ethnic groups; specifically, Hispanics were least likely to politically engage if they experienced negative consequences of the Great Recession.

(2017) "Civic Engagement Across the Disciplines and Across the Campus: Track Summary", Political Science and Politics

The 14th APSA Teaching and Learning Conference (TLC) was held February 10–12, 2017 in Long Beach, California. This year’s program committee organized a dynamic program of sessions and workshops around the theme “The 21st Century Classroom: Creating an Engaging Environment for All Students,” focusing on best practices and inventive methodologies for the political science classroom.

(2014) Review Essay on Women's Legislative Representation, Politics Groups and Identities

Tags: Gender and Politics, Legislative Politics

Reviews: The diversity paradox: political parties, legislatures and the organizational foundations of representation in America, by Kristin Kanthak and George A. Krause, Oxford University Press, 2012 How women represent women: political parties, gender, and representation in the state legislatures, by Tracy L. Osborn, Oxford University Press, 2012 Women in the club: gender and policy making in the senate, Michele L. Swers, University of Chicago Press, 2013

Book Chapters:

(2016) "Advantages and Disadvantages for Latina Officeholders: The Case of New Mexico", Lexington Books

Tags: Legislative Politics, Gender and Politics, Race, Ethnicity and Politics

In Latinas in American Politics: Shaping the Future of American Politics. Navarro, Sharon A., Samantha L. Hernandez & Leslie A. Navarro, eds.

Media Appearances:

TV Appearances:

(2018) KDLT News

Does Ballot Order Matter?

(2018) KDLT News

Negative Campaign Ads: Do They Work?

(2018) KSFY News

“Do Political Endorsements Matter?”

(2018) KDLT News

“With Election Day Approaching, are Voters Excited or Fatigued?”

(2018) KSFY News

“Will Millennials Turnout to Vote this Election Day?”

(2018) KSFY News

“Getting the Independent Vote, More People Registering As Independent.”

(2018) KSFY News

“App Shows You’re your Contacts Voted and Party Affiliation.”

(2017) SD Public Broadcasting

Live televised 3-person panel to discuss the “State of the Nation”

Radio Appearances:

(2018) S

“Advertising and Motivating Voters”

Newspaper Quotes:

(2019) SD Newswatch

“Women to have ‘larger voice’ in 2019 SD Legislature”. SD Newswatch. Printed in eight regional outlets

(2019) Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan

“Gov. Noem Could Offer Different Perspective, USD Prof Believes.”

(2018) Bloomberg BNA- Daily Tax Report

Online Sales Tax Supporter Wins South Dakota Governor Primary

(2018) NBC News Latino

"Can a Latina Primary Candidate’s Win Bring Democrats Back to their Roots?"

(2018) Bustle Magazine

“Protests Outside the White House Could Soon Be Limited & Experts Are Sounding the Alarm”

(2018) Rapid City Journal

“Higher education a low priority in governor’s race”

(2017) Sioux City Journal

"1 year away: South Dakota governor race tilts Republican"

(2016) Slate

South Dakota’s Proxy War Over Political Transparency


(2018) NBC News

"'Still a man's domain': Latinas face hurdles in politics despite making strides Despite making strides winning seats for political office, Latinas still face cultural and institutional hurdles"

(2016) WalletHub

States with the Best & Worst Representation on Election Day