Steven Smallpage

Associate Professor of Political Science, Director of CPOR, Institute for Social Research, and the Pre-Law Program

Broadly speaking, my expertise is in how people (especially Americans) think about politics. In this way, my main areas of concern are both political psychology and political philosophy. I have published extensively in the field of American political psychology; while this field is often heavily quantitative, it nevertheless has considerable philosophical importance.

My research agenda so far has focused on the factors that drive people to believe in conspiracy theories. In the American context, the factors are largely two: partisanship and political suspicion. My research agenda has evolved to include numerous aspects of partisanship, including political tolerance, political polarization, and political values. My research agenda has also evolved in the other direction: the philosophy of political suspicion or political (dis)trust.

  • PhD, political science, Michigan State University
  • MA, political theory and Jewish studies, The University of Toronto
  • BA, political science, American University, Washington, D.C.


Steven Smallpage


Steven Smallpage's main research areas are empirical political psychology, American political culture and development, and the history of normative political philosophy. He has coauthored forthcoming research on the importance of American political values on polarization. His current book project examines the historical, philosophical and empirical aspects of conspiracy thinking in the American mass public.

More About Steven Smallpage

Areas of Expertise

  • American Politics
  • History of Political Philosophy
  • Political Psychology
  • Public Opinion and Political Behavior
  • Conspiracy Theories

Course Sampling

  • Introduction to Political Science
  • Seminar in American Politics
  • Political Psychology
  • American Constitutional Law
  • And many more

  • Empirical and normative study of liberal democracy
  • Polarization
  • Political values
  • Conspiracy theories
  • Political teaching of John Locke

  • "Values and Political Predispositions in the Age of Polarization: Examining the Relationship between Partisanship and Ideology, 1988-2012." With Robert N. Lupton and Adam M. Enders. 2018, British Journal of Political Science.
  • "Are All 'Birthers' Republicans?: On the Relationship Between Conspiratorial Thinking and Partisanship." With Adam M. Enders and Robert N. Lupton. British Journal of Political Science.
  • "The Partisan Contours of Conspiracy Theory Beliefs." With Adam M. Enders and Joe Uscinski. Research & Politics.
  • "On the Measurement of Conspiracy Beliefs." With Adam M. Enders. Research & Politics.
  • "Distrust of Official Information, Partisan Motivated Reasoning, and Conspiracy Beliefs." With Adam M. Enders. Political Communication.
  • "Polls, Plots, and Part Politics: Conspiracy Thinking in America," with Adam M. Enders. In Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them ed. Joseph Uscinski. Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
  • "Conspiracy Thinking, Tolerance, and Democracy." In Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them ed. Joseph Uscinski. Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
  • John Locke's 'Busie Head' Liberalism, book manuscript under review.