Despite a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic, remote learning, and the standard stress of college, 72 Politics seniors completed theses. Some designed and conducted surveys. Others poured over digital archival research. A handful finished with over 100 pages of original, pathbreaking work.

Madeleine Marr, a Politics concentrator focused on American Politics, authored a thesis on housing policy in the United States under the expert guidance of Prof. Tali Mendelberg. While most literature on the topic focuses on racially privileged groups and their resistance to affordable housing, Madeleine chose to spotlight activists. “I compared two factions of the pro-housing movement - YIMBYs and equity organizations - to investigate whether they represent the interests of those who have historically had the least say in local planning/zoning meetings but are the most impacted by the housing crisis,” she told us.

What Madeleine discovered is more promising than the extant literature suggests. “Contrary to the current understanding of pro-housing organizing, I found that people who want more affordable housing are not unorganizable…[there is] potential for pro-housing organizing.”

Professor Mendelberg praised her advisee’s sharp and well-argued thesis. “House affordability is a pressing crisis, all the more so for economically disadvantaged people yet it receives little scholarly attention in political science,” she said. The intersectional dimension of Madeleine’s thesis struck Professor Mendelberg as particularly innovative. The project “points to the importance of understanding local organizing on housing affordability through an intersectional lens.”

Research and politics will color Madeleine’s postgraduate career as well. After graduating from Princeton, she plans to pursue a masters degree in political science after working on the Hill in a policy capacity.