When Meghan Bowden ’11 looked over the syllabus for a Law and Social Change seminar during her first few days as a graduate student at the University of Connecticut, she was astounded to see the reading list included work by Associate Professor of Political Science Paul Passavant.
Throughout the semester, Bowden’s class, taught by UConn Professor Jeff Dudas, discussed the various concepts and debates that exist within law and society, and Passavant’s book “No Escape: Freedom of Speech and the Paradox of Right” provided the perfect material for thought.
Bowden, who graduated from William Smith with bachelor’s degrees in political science and religious studies, is now pursuing her Ph.D in political theory and public law at UConn. At William Smith, Passavant served as the adviser for Bowden’s honors thesis.
“Professor Passavant’s expertise was perfectly targeted for the subject matter of my seminar,” says Bowden, who invited Passavant to visit the same week the seminar read his book. “Also, the opportunity to meet with the author is always one to seize. My colleagues absolutely appreciated his visit; there was a lengthy Q&A – a certain testament to the interest his research sparks.”
The UConn class was interested in his newer work as well. “We talked about how my current research connects back to my past research,” says Passavant, who is currently examining police and protest. “That was really useful to me.”
Passavant spoke to the class about the transition from dissertation to a book – an important period for any scholar, as many of the students were in the first stages of generating ideas for their own dissertations.
“A dissertation is the next step for these students, and to many of them, a book seems like an act of miraculous conception,” explains Passavant, whose first book originated from his dissertation. “I discussed the false starts, the blind alleys and dead ends, as well as the parts of initial conception wound up cut. I wanted them to know the messy parts of work, and how to get past initial frustrations, onto the right path that will lead somewhere fruitful.”
For Bowden, Passavant’s lecture served as a way to underscore the connections between her graduate and undergraduate careers – and the pursuit of the interests she discovered at the Colleges. “Time and again, I was able to discover and reinforce my intellectual passions for political theory and constitutional law at the Colleges,” explains Bowden. “For me, UConn is simply a continuation of those intellectual pursuits.
Passavant was grateful to see the Bowden’s transition from student to colleague. “It was truly rewarding seeing Meghan begin her career.”
In the photo above, Meghan Bowden’11 is photographed with HWS Professor Paul Passavant and UConn Professor Jeff Dudas.