- Associate Professor
- Ph.D., University of Texas-Austin
- M.A., University of Miami
- B.S., SUNY-Oswego
- Department: Government and Economics
- Office: Beckham 330
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 859-622-4395
Dr. Barracca became interested in politics while an undergraduate student at State University of New York (SUNY) Oswego –near Syracuse. He watched events in Latin American, with coups and revolutions, and hated the injustice he saw. He took politics classes to learn more, and to learn how he could improve government around the world. With his primary interest in Latin America, he traveled to the University of Texas at Austin to learn from Peter Ward and Victoria Rodriguez, who were experts in Mexican politics.
Professor Barracca was interested in how to improve democracy in Mexico, and so he looks at the influence of federalism on Mexico’s government, and at the behavior of Mexico’s voters. This research, in turn, can explain how Mexico’s government can better serve its people. In 2005, when he came to EKU from his first teaching position at the University of Texas at El Paso, he was happy to see that Mexico, and much of the rest of Latin America, had improved dramatically, with all but a few countries in the region holding free and fair elections. , This led Dr. Barracca to turn his attention to a different area of the world for developing democracy: the Middle East and Central Asia. Specifically, Dr. Barracca began researching factors that promoted military intervention in politics by comparing military coups in Venezuela and Ecuador to coups in Pakistan.
Though he considers his research important, Dr. Barracca has always thought of himself as a teacher, which is why he loves to be at an instruction-oriented school like EKU. His research continues, but he spends more of his time teaching comparative government and political philosophy. In addition to the introduction to comparative course, he also teaches Latin American politics and the Politics of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Comparative government helps American students understand and appreciate their own government, he says. It also improves American government because our foreign policy can only be as good as our understanding of the world. Comparative government and political philosophy also improve students’ lives. Professor Barracca believes the liberal arts prepare students to live good, free lives –and to understand the world, Americans must understand other conceptions of government, justice, and the good life. This same process of learning is what led to democratization and prosperity in Latin America, and it can do the same in Central Asia.
Outside of class, Dr. Barracca has an interest in gardening and cooking, and is a fan of English period dramas, such as shown on Masterpiece Theater. He says that students should take every opportunity on campus to learn the great ideas of Western Civilization. Rather than being taken in by every new thought, they should also consider the thousands of years of experience preserved in the Western tradition, and use that to live the best life possible.