Gwen Prowse

Gwen Prowse's picture



I am a joint PhD candidate in political science and African American studies. My work examines how everyday people become involved in civic life, narrate their experiences with government, and describe policy outcomes that ensure their flourishing. I am particularly concerned with how “state failures” (e.g., police violence, state response to natural disasters) affect the political lifeworlds of people subjugated by race and class. My research approach is multi-method and participatory.

I am a research fellow with the Institute for Social Policy Studies (ISPS) and affiliated with the Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School.  I graduated from Rutgers University—New Brunswick in 2011, with a BA in urban planning and public policy.  Before attending Yale, I worked as an organizer and educator in urban and rural communities in the US.

I am also a co-PI (with Vesla Weaver and Tracey Meares) for the Portals Policing Project, which examines how police-citizen interactions shape political knowledge and political discourse in majority-Black communities in the United States.


  • American political development
  • urban politics
  • race and ethnicity politics


  • Prowse, Gwen, Vesla M. Weaver, and Tracey L. Meares. The state from below: Distorted responsiveness in policed communities. Urban Affairs Review, 56(5), pp. 1423-1471.
  • Weaver, Vesla M., Gwen Prowse, and Spencer Piston. 2019. “Too Much Knowledge, Too Little Power: An Assessment of Political Knowledge in Highly Policed Communities.” The Journal of Politics. Symposium on Race and Law Enforcement.
  • Weaver, Vesla M., Gwen Prowse, and Spencer Piston. “Withdrawing or Drawing In? Political Discourse in Policed Communities.” Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics. Published online: 28 January 2020.
  • Weaver, Vesla M. and Gwen Prowse. 2020. “Racial Authoritarianism in U.S. Democracy.” Science. Policy Forum. 269:6508. pp. 1176-1178. Full text.

Public Work:

  • Interview for Barnard’s ThirdSpace@SPARK on Community Safety. link.
  • “How a 50-year-old report predicted America’s current racial reckoning.” 24 June 2020. (with Vesla Weaver). link.
  • “We listened to highly policed communities and here’s what we learned.” 17 June 2020. Washington Post: The Monkey Cage (with Vesla Weaver). link.
  • “The ‘abolish the police’ movement explained by 7 scholars and activists.” 12 June 2020. link.