Congratulations, Amanda Clark! | Kent State University

Political Science Ph.D. Candidate wins University Fellowship

Congratulations, Amanda Clark!


Congratulations to Political Science PhD candidate Amanda Clark, who has been recognized with a prestigious University Fellowship for the 2016-2017 academic year! 

Amanda is researching the ways in which non-governmental organizations have framed appeals for anti-human trafficking policies in the U.S. Her dissertation uses press releases from and interviews with fourteen U.S. anti-trafficking NGOs working for legislation to combat human trafficking between 2008-2014. Amanda’s study looks specifically at whether, and if so how, messaging and discourse shifted around the implementation, deauthorization, and reauthorization of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA). Amanda is currently conducting her quantitative analysis of 789 press releases and interviewing key NGO representatives. The University Fellowship not only is a recognition of her research, but will enable her to make substantial progress in the upcoming year.
In addition to her important and timely research, Amanda has taught Political Economy and is currently teaching Comparative Politics for the Department of Political Science at KSU.
Amanda received her bachelor’s degree from Marietta College in International Business and French.  She received her master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Public and International Affairs with a concentration in International Political Economy.  After obtaining her master’s degree, Amanda worked in the international trade industry as a licensed U.S. Customs broker before returning to graduate school at Kent State to pursue her PhD in Political Science. Her main focus of study is Transnational Politics and Policy. 

Dissertation Title: Choosing Your Battles: NGO Framing Strategies on Human Trafficking in the US from 2008 to 2014
Abstract: Over twenty million people worldwide are estimated to be victims of human trafficking.  Human trafficking touches all countries due to the transnational nature of the supply and demand for victims.  Global attention was refocused on the issue in the late 1990s, mainly due to the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  The number of NGOs in the U.S. that address trafficking has grown steadily over the past few decades.  However, anti-human trafficking NGOs struggle with the low level of exposure of the issue for most Americans and its resulting low salience.  What are the discourses that NGOs use to define and propose solutions to the human trafficking issue? How do NGOs communicate these messages? Do either the messages or the delivery methods change over time due to political opportunities (or obstacles)?  A unique dataset will be created that will illustrate the discursive processes of NGOs over discrete time periods.  Data will be gathered from press releases and supplemented by interviews from fourteen U.S. anti-trafficking NGOs involved in the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) from 2008 to 2014.  This longitudinal analysis will focus on three unique time periods in analyzing NGO framing strategy: from the last reauthorization of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA) in 2008 to the lapse of the law in 2011; the time when the act was no longer authorized from late 2011 to early 2013; and after the law was reauthorized under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) from 2013 to 2014.  Patterns that emerge from this analysis will help elucidate how NGOs have used framing to define and propose solutions to the human trafficking issue and how their frames and framing strategies may have shifted as the political environment changed.