Dr. Abshire has visited more than three dozen countries and is motivated to share her love of experiencing different societies and cultures through her courses on comparative politics and international relations. She teaches a range of introductory courses in these areas as well as advanced courses on European politics, Asian politics, nationalism, comparative public policy, and occasional seminars on topics like globalization, genocide, and political grassroots movements. She has taken students to experience international relations first-hand through participation in Model European Union simulations.
As part of her training, Dr. Abshire lived in Germany for two years and Austria for a year; two of these years were supported by grants from the Fulbright Program. Living in other societies has given her first-person perspectives that enrich her teaching and students often comment on how examples from her visits to various countries add meaning and color to the material covered in her classes. In the increasingly integrated world we live in today, Dr. Abshire believes it is essential for each of her students to develop an awareness of global issues and our roles as global citizens as a means to succeed in the competitive climate of globalization. Dr. Abshire seeks to begin with the basics and help students work to higher and deeper levels of understanding on how political systems and societies work in different parts of the world. While her formal education was focused on European politics, since coming to IU Southeast, she has worked to add Asia as a specialty to help students gain understandings of this region, especially some of its giants like China and India.
Dr. Abshire’s research interests focus on conflict management in ethnically divided societies. Ethnic nationalism is a leading cause of domestic and international conflict, yet various societies have managed to accommodate diversity though government policies that offer rights and protections to minority groups – Dr. Abshire’s work has explored some of these policy approaches in places like Italy, Northern Ireland, Spain, and Finland. Her interest in diverse societies combined with the addition of Asia to her areas of focus led her to explore Singaporean politics and society. That eventually resulted in a book, History of Singapore from Greenwood Press (2011), which explores the development of Singapore’s multicultural society and status as a small, but economically significant global actor through Singapore’s extensive experience with economic globalization across the centuries. Dr. Abshire seeks to enrich her courses by integrating findings from her research as they fit thematically into her courses.
Dr. Abshire hopes to inspire her students to be active and engaged citizens of the world and to share her excitement at learning about and experiencing different cultural interactions.