My research addresses questions on agenda setting and policy adoption on low salience issues. In my dissertation project I specifically investigate the issue of underage marriage policy in the United States, asking how this issue went from relative obscurity to the agendas of a majority of state legislatures in the span of five years. Only in the last five years have state legislatures begun to address the continued loopholes that allow children, mainly girls, to marry as minors. This shift has happened in the absence of high public salience or well-resourced lobby groups. My dissertation is a book project that is interdisciplinary in nature and takes a mixed-methods approach to answering questions on how an overlooked issue ascends the policy agenda. The project includes two in-depth case studies on state action on underage marriage and uses these case studies to assist in building a quantitative model on policymaking that includes evidence from social movement actions and media. This research was awarded the Berenice A. Carroll Feminism, Peace, and Social Justice Award through the department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Purdue University and the Ross-Lynn Research Scholar Fellowship from Purdue University.
Refereed Forester, Summer, Kaitlin Kelly-Thompson, Amber Lusvardi,* and S. Laurel Weldon. “New Dimensions of Global Feminist Influence: Tracking Feminist Mobilization Worldwide, 1975-2015.” International Studies Quarterly. https://doi.org/10.1093/isq/sqab093 *Equal authorship
Datta, Srijani,Kaitlin Kelly-Thompson, Summer Forester, AmberLusvardi,* and S. Laurel Weldon. 2021. “Domestic Workers from Margin to Center: Pandemic Politics, Protest, and Policy.” Journal of Cultural Research. https://doi.org/10.1080/14797585.2022.2040336 *Equal authorship
Revise and Resubmit Hoewe, Jennifer, Amber Lusvardi, Eric Wiemer, and Janel Jett. “Examining the Effects of Cable News Selection on Americans’ Political Attitudes.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly.
Papers in preparation for submission Weldon, S. Laurel, Summer Forester, Kaitlin Kelly-Thompson, and Amber Lusvardi. “Feminism as a Force for Economic Empowerment Worldwide. Results from a Global Analysis.”
Kelly-Thompson, Kaitlin, Amber Lusvardi, Summer Forester, and S. Laurel Weldon. “When and How Does Transnational Feminism Promote Gender Justice?”
Wiemer, Eric, Amber Lusvardi, and Janel Jett. “‘Believe Survivors’ or ‘Enough Already’: How Elite Discourse Shapes Public Understanding of Focusing Events.”