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*Department Chair

Andras Boros-Kazai

, (1989), international relations, adjunct associate professor
B.A., University of Pittsburgh; M.A., Ph.D., Indiana University


Andras Boros-Kazai is a native of Budapest, Hungary. He came to the United States in 1957 and earned his citizenship with five years of service in the U.S. Army (three of which he spent in Southeast Asia). He majored in English and Political Science at Kent State University and the University of Pittsburgh while working full-time as a concrete-maker, administrative assistant, bartender and jazz drummer. He earned graduate training in Area Studies at Indiana University, and earned a Ph.D. in History in 1982. Since 1975, Andras has taught courses in revolution, empire and ethnicity-nationalism, Central European, Central Asian and Balkan history, film in the socio-historical context as well as Hungarian language and culture at Indiana University, Ohio Northern University, University of South Dakota and at Defense Intelligence Institutions. Since 1989 he has been a part-time employee of Beloit College, teaching primarily interdisciplinary and First-Year Initiatives seminars. Andras conducts research in cultural history, ethnicity, cinema studies and immigration. His activities include consulting (AT&T, United Parcel Service and the courts) and translation (three plays, five volumes of fiction/non-fiction and numerous items for the U.S. government, academic publishers and research institutions). His spouse, Mary, is the Registrar at Beloit College.

Profile for Andras Boros-Kazai was last updated on Sep 3, 2015.

Ann Davies

, (1997), political science, associate professor, provost and dean of the college
B.A., Kenyon College; M.A., Ph.D., University of Chicago


Professor Ann Davies teaches courses in political theory and public law.  She serves as a pre-law advisor and contributes to the Legal Studies program. Dr. Davies is also provost and dean of the college effective fall 2009.

In her research, Ann specializes in liberal political thought and its reflection in modern U.S. jurisprudence.  Her recent publications include "In Law More than in Life?  Liberalism, Reason and Religion in Public Schools."  Rhetoric and Public Affairs 9:3 (Fall 2006) and "Modernity and the State: Enlightenment, Liberalism, and Political Development in the United States" in New Approaches to Comparative Politics: Insights from Political Theory (Ed. Jennifer S. Holmes, Lexington Books, 2003).  Her most recent conference presentations have focused on liberalism and the emotions as well as liberal theory's treatment of coercion within political systems.

Profile for Ann Davies was last updated on Sep 3, 2015.

Beth Dougherty

, (1996), chair, international relations, professor
B.A.,political science, Chatham College; M.A., Ph.D., Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia


Beth K. Dougherty is Manger Professor of International Relations and Professor of Political Science. She teaches courses on international politics, the politics of West Asia, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, human rights, the politics of mass atrocities, nationalism and ethnic conflict, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, and the war on terror. Beth’s research interests include transitional justice mechanisms such as international criminal tribunals and truth and reconciliation commissions, and the politics of Iraq and Turkey.  A 2003 Fulbright Scholar to Denmark, she spent four months at the Danish Institute for Human Rights in Copenhagen conducting research on the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Her most recent publication is A Historical Dictionary of Iraq (2013), which she co-authored with Edmund Ghareeb. She has traveled extensively in the Middle East and Africa, most recently to Turkey and Jordan in summer 2015.  Beth has received both campus and national awards for teaching: the 1999 Underkofler Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (Beloit College), and the 2001 Rowman and Littlefield Award for Innovative Teaching in Political Science, awarded through the American Political Science Association.

Profile for Beth Dougherty was last updated on Sep 3, 2015.

Georgia Duerst-Lahti

, (1986), political science, professor
B.S., University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; M.A., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison


Georgia Duerst-Lahti has researched and applied expertise on gender and women’s empowerment for three decades. Her studies have explored gender power and ideologies; women as elected officials, leaders, and candidates; and masculinities, especially as they apply to the US presidency.  At Beloit College and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, she has taught a host of courses related to women and gender, as well as serving as lead faculty for the annual Wisconsin Women In Government graduate leadership seminar. Since 2007, consulting as a gender specialist for the US State Department, Dr. Duerst-Lahti has turned her focus to empowering women around the world. Most recently her research and practice has concentrated on Southern Africa and women’s empowerment through ethical and sustainable development.  Her interest in women’s income and empowerment through indigenous natural products has resulted in several studies and a socially responsible, fair trade, family company that creates a market for rural women’s products. In addition, she has begun to explore the outcomes of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s global initiatives on women and how the foreign affairs and development bureaucracies have responded.

With the generous support of the Beloit College Sanger Summer Scholars Program and the Keefer Fund for faculty development, she has placed student interns and researchers in Swaziland, Botswana, and Namibia since 2010. This site-based approach to learning extends the pedagogy she has employed with her students in US politics since joining the Beloit College faculty in 1986. Her upcoming sabbatical will enable her to develop more field sites for internships and independent studies in Southern Africa and ethical development projects.

In applying her expertise, she held top state and national offices in the National Women’s Political Caucus and spearheaded several women candidate recruitment and training initiatives at the state and local levels.  She also has served as president of professional women’s associations in political science and on the executive council for the Midwest Political Science Association. Her real world political experience comes from six years elected to her local school board, where she chaired a $25M building project. Dr. Duerst-Lahti also is actively sought by the news media for her expert analysis. Her insights can be found in national newspapers such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times. She has appeared on CNN, Fox News, and many region TV and radio stations. In addition, she continues as a regular guest expert on public radio.

Georgia Duerst-Lahti earned her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin Madison, joining the Beloit College faculty in 1986. She has advised on the Washington Semester program throughout her time there, served four years as associate dean, and held many other administrative and faculty committee posts. With her husband Tris Lahti, she has two adult children.

Profile for Georgia Duerst-Lahti was last updated on Sep 3, 2015.

Rachel Ellett

, (2008), political science, associate professor
B.A., Sheffield University ( UK); M.A., Ph.D., Northeastern University


Rachel Ellett is Associate Professor of Political Science. Rachel received her PhD in Political Science from Northeastern University in 2008. Her research interests lie at the intersection of law and politics in eastern and southern Africa.  Her book Pathways to Judicial Power in Transitional States, was published by Routledge in 2013. She has published in, among others, Comparative Politics, Journal of Law and Courts and Law and Social Inquiry.

Her work begins from the assumption that an effective legal system and judiciary is critical to securing good governance and democracy. Yet the role of the judiciary and, the mechanisms by which judicial independence and power are established remain poorly understood in sub-Saharan Africa. Rachel's work explores courts as political institutions; institutions fully embedded in the logic of elite calculations, while also recognizing that judges shape their own legitimacy and empowerment. Rachel consults with the U.S. based organization Freedom House and has written extensive reports on judicial independence in Lesotho, Malawi and Zambia.

Rachel teaches courses in international and comparative politics, and African Studies. Courses offered include politics of international development, contemporary African politics, comparative law and courts, building democracy and women and politics in Africa.

Profile for Rachel Ellett was last updated on Sep 3, 2015.

John A. McMahon

, (2016), political science, visiting assistant professor
B.A. and M.A., International Relations, University of Denver; M.Phil and Ph.D., Political Science, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

John McMahon joined Beloit College in 2016 after completing his Ph.D. in political theory and a Certificate in women's studies from The Graduate Center, CUNY. He teaches courses primarily in political theory, and also teaches constitutional law and American politics. John's major research project, “Feeling Political: Affect, Emotion, and Ethics in Western Political Theory,” builds on his dissertation to investigate the significance of emotion and affect in the political theory canon, reading Thomas Hobbes, Karl Marx, Simone de Beauvoir, and twentieth century materialist feminism to examine the under-analyzed import of embodiment in their works. More generally, his research interests include modern and contemporary political theory, emotion and affect, feminist theory, and neoliberalism. John is a co-host of two podcasts - the Always Already Podcast, a critical theory podcast, as well as the New Books in Global Ethics and Politics podcast - and has published in Contemporary Political Theory, philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism, and the Boston Review

Find out more about John by visiting his website  or viewing his CV

Profile for John A. McMahon was last updated on Sep 7, 2016.

Rongal Nikora

, (2013), political science, assistant professor
B.A., College of William and Mary; M.A., University of Notre Dame; M.A., University of New Mexico; Ph.D., University of New Mexico


Rongal D. Nikora joined the faculty at Beloit College in 2013 as an assistant professor for Health and Society. In this capacity, he currently teaches courses in U.S. federal government and politics, U.S. health policy, and comparative health systems.

Nikora earned his B.A. in religious studies from the College of William and Mary in 1995, his M.A. in international peace studies and conflict resolution from the University of Notre Dame in 2001, and his M.A. and doctorate in political science from the University of New Mexico in 2010 and 2013, respectively. His research interests include the politics of race and ethnicity, domestic and global health inequalities, national health care systems, and public health policy. His dissertation explored how the historical legacies of racism, specifically anti-miscegenation laws once common across the U.S., may indirectly impact modern-day racial disparities in infant mortality rates.

Nikora lived for over a decade in Japan, and holds certified top-level (ikkyu) language proficiency in Japanese.

Profile for Rongal Nikora was last updated on Sep 3, 2015.

John A. Rapp*

, (1986), department chair, political science, professor
B.A., American University; M.A., Indiana University; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Phone: 608-363-2335

John Rapp joined the faculty at Beloit College in 1986 where he teaches courses in comparative politics. He founded the Asian Studies program in 1987 and served as its chair for ten years. He also served as chair of the Political Science department from 1996-1999 and again starting in 2014. From 2002-2005 he served as Director of Asian Studies Programming under the first installment of Beloit's Freeman Foundation grant.  In 1988-89 he was interim director of the Center for Language Studies, Beloit's summer intensive language program.

His primary teaching interests include Chinese politics, Communist and post-Communist systems, comparative democracies and electoral systems, and Chinese and comparative political thought. Besides his regular comparative politics offerings, he teaches courses on comparative revolutions, dissent, anarchism, and political fiction.

In March 2005 he led a faculty-staff study tour to Hong Kong and Guangdong in the People's Republic of China. In May 2006 he participated in a Beloit faculty-staff study tour to Hungary, and in the summer of 2007 he joined a faculty-staff travel group to China to help inaugurate Beloit's two new exchange programs in Kaifeng and Jinan. He also taught a concentrated mini-course on German politics at Beloit’s former exchange program in Hamburg, Germany in 1999.  He has been selected to participate in several seminars for college professors over the years, including CIEE Faculty Development Seminars in Berlin (June 1990) and Hong Kong (1992), as well as the American Political Science Association (APSA) seminar on Japanese Politics (August 1990). His awards include the Beloit College Mouat Chair for Younger Faculty in International Studies from 1992-96, a faculty sabbatical grant to the University of Michigan in 1992-93 from the Program on Inter-institutional Collaboration in Area Studies (PICAS); a National Endowment for the Humanities Reading Grant for Private College Faculty (which included travel to Hungary) in May-June 1990; and a Pacific Cultural Foundation (PCF) Faculty Research Grant for the Fall of 2000.

His publications include the books Daoism and Anarchism: Critiques of State Autonomy in Anciewnt and Mdoern China (NY and London: Bloomsbury Press, 2012) and Autocracy and China's Rebel Founding Emperors: Comparing Chairman Mao and Ming Taizu (coauthored with Anita Andrew) (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Press, 2000). His published articles and book chapters include “Anarchism or Nihilism?: The Buddhist-Influenced Thought of Wu Nengzi,” in Alexandre Christoyannopoulos (ed.), Religious Anarchism: New Perspectives(Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009); “Daoism as Utopian or Accommodationist: Radical Daoism Reexamined in Light of the Guodian Manuscripts,” in Laurence Davis and Ruth Kinna (eds.), Anarchism and Utopianism (University of Manchester Press, 2009); “Clashing Dilemmas: Hong Rengan, Issachar Roberts, and a Taiping ‘Murder’ Mystery,” Journal of Historical Biography 4 (Autumn 2008): 27-58, online at;  “Utopian, Anti-Utopian, and Dystopian Ideas in Philosophical Daoism,” Comparative Asian Development 2:2 (Fall 2003): 211-231; “Maoism and Anarchism: Mao Zedong's Response to the Anarchist Critique of Marxism,” Anarchist Studies 9 (2001): 3-28; “Daoism and Anarchism Reconsidered,”Anarchist Studies 6: 2 (October1998): 123-152; and “The Fate of Marxist Democrats in Leninist Party-States:China's Debate on the Asiatic Mode of Production,” Theory and Society16 (1987): 709-740.  He is currently working on a biography project on Issachar J.Roberts, the 19th century southern Baptist China missionary who served as mentor and advisor to the leaders of China’s Taiping rebellion.

Profile for John A. Rapp was last updated on Sep 3, 2015.

Pablo Toral

, (2003), political science, associate professor of International Relations and Environmental Studies.
B.A., Universidad Complutense (Spain); M.A., Ph.D., Florida International University.


Pablo Toral,  professor of international relations and environmental studies, joined the Beloit College faculty in the Fall of 2003. His teaching and research interests include international political economy, environmental politics, international relations theory, international governance and development, with a focus on Latin America and Europe. Pablo received his PhD in international relations from Florida International University in 2003. He also holds a BA in journalism and an MA in international studies.

His publications include Multinational Enterprises in Latin America since the 1990s (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), Latin America's Quest for Globalization: The Role of Spanish Firms (edited with Felix E. Martin. London: Ashgate, 2005) and The Reconquest of the New World. Multinational Enterprises and Spain's Direct Investment in Latin America (London: Ashgate, 2001).

Profile for Pablo Toral was last updated on Dec 5, 2017.