BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - An O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs doctoral graduate has been honored with three national awards, making history along the way.
Anthony DeMattee’s work, “Domesticating Civil Society: How and Why Governments Use Laws to Regulate CSOs” has been honored with the Leonard D. White Award for best dissertation in the field of public administration, the Edward S. Corwin Award for best dissertation in the field of public law, and the Best Dissertation Award in Human Rights. All three are awarded by the American Political Science Association.
DeMattee, who earned his Ph.D. from the O’Neill School in 2020, is believed to be the first scholar in history—dating back to 1964—to earn two named subfield awards and an organized section award. He is currently a National Science Foundation-funded postdoctoral scholar at Emory University.
DeMattee credited the O’Neill School, and in particular his dissertation adviser Dr. Jennifer Brass, for their support.
“This unique accomplishment would not have been possible without Jen Brass and O’Neill’s joint Ph.D. program,” DeMattee said. “It is an amazing school with a collection of outstanding faculty and programs.”
DeMattee left a career as an NGO consultant in Haiti and Central Asia to pursue his doctoral degree in 2014. He said he chose the O’Neill School because of faculty members like Brass and the school’s joint Ph.D. program in public policy.
“I am delighted to see Tony’s outstanding research awarded with two APSA awards as well as a third APSA section award,” Brass said. “This unusual level of recognition for dissertation research reflects the novel questions he asks and methods he uses to understand how and why governments regulate nonprofits, NGOs, and civil society organizations in places around the world.”
DeMattee’s book-length dissertation addresses “the timely concern that there is a growing trend of restrictive regulations on civil society organizations aimed at keeping governments in power and weakening democratic opposition,” the award committee wrote in its award citation. “(Anthony) suggests that contrary to conventional wisdom, laws regulating CSOs are not new and that non-democratic regimes often pass permissive permissions.”
Using data collected from 17 countries and from 1872 to 2019—an impressive 147-year span—DeMattee used five different methods to explain “the conditions under which governments enact and enforce permissive and restrictive legal provisions.”
“The O’Neill School faculty, such as Dr. Brass, have a rich and deep history of producing outstanding doctoral students, and Anthony has continued that tradition” said Dean Siân Mooney, “We’re so proud of his achievements and can’t wait to see where he goes next.”
DeMattee will be on the job market after he completes his final year of his postdoctoral fellowship. To learn more about him and his work, visit his website.
About the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs
The O’Neill School is a world leader in public and environmental affairs and is the largest school of public administration and public policy in the United States. In the 2022 "Best Graduate Public Affairs Programs" by U.S. News & World Report, the O'Neill School is one of the top-ranked programs in the country. Five of its specialty programs are ranked in the top-five listings, including top-ranked concentrations in environmental policy and management; nonprofit management; and public finance.