mw. P.H. (Penny) Sheets

  • Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen
    Programmagroep: Political Communication & Journalism
  • Kloveniersburgwal  48
    1012 CX  Amsterdam
    Kamernummer: C0.05

About me:
I am an assistant professor of Political Communication at the University of Amsterdam.  I received my Ph.D. in Communication in 2011 from the University of Washington, in Seattle. Prior to my time in Seattle, I received an M.A. in Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota, and a B.A. in Italian from the University of Michigan. I am originally from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, in Minnesota.

My research focuses on strategic political communication, news, and persuasion, with a specific interest in how group identity cues by political actors and journalists affect political attitudes and behavior. Please navigate to the adjacent pages for information on my research and teaching.

Selected Publications:
Sheets, P., Domke, D., Wells, C., Lingle, C., Ballantyne, A., Al-Sumait, F., & Cordingley, K. (2011).America, America: National identity, presidential politics, and national mood. Mass Communication & Society, 14 , 765-786.  DOI: 10.1080/15205436.2010.551017.

Rowling, C. M., Jones, T. M., Sheets, P. (2011). Some dared call it torture: Cultural resonance, Abu Ghraib, and a selectively echoing press. Journal of Communication, 61, 1043-1061 .  DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2011.01600.x

Sheets, P., Domke, D., & Greenwald, A. G. (2011). God and country: The partisan psychology of the presidency, religion, and nation. Political Psychology , 32 (3), 459-484.  DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9221.2010.00820.x

Jones, T. M. & Sheets, P. (2009). Torture in the eye of the beholder: Social identity, news coverage, and Abu Ghraib. Political Communication , 26 (3), 278-295.  DOI: 10.1080/10584600903053460

Selected Research Projects

National identity-protective framing and military policy
...with Tim Jones (Bellevue College) and Chuck Rowling (University of Nebraska-Kearney).  In these studies, we have developed a framework for understanding how the White House and U.S. military rhetorically respond to crisis, how journalists in turn report on such responses, and how voters are affected by such patterns. This includes both international comparative and U.S.-based research.

Immigration cues and far-right support
My research here at ASCoR looks at competing group identity cues in immigration and political debates in the European context.  One study examines the effect of cueing different immigrant groups on support for far-right political parties.  I also plan to explore how different immigrant groups are differentially treated in news and political discourse here in the Netherlands, and what sorts of messages prompt more or less identification across ethnic/cultural lines.

Multicultural patriotism
My dissertation developed the idea of non-normative political candidates using a rhetorical strategy of "multicultural patriotism"--fusing their own politically vulnerable identity with national identity--to try to understand how minority candidates can speak to majority voters.  I plan to continue to develop and refine this framework, including extending it into the EU context.

Implicit identification and persuasion
Several of these studies have incorporated implicit measures of identity and attitudes, primarily the Implicit Association Test.  Contentious and highly politicized attitudes are often subject to unconscious influence, making the study of these processes alongside the conscious ones quite interesting.

For a copy of my CV, please email me.

My teaching, like my research, focuses substantially on the relationships between political actors, mass media, and public opinion. At UvA, I teach a number of courses focusing on American media and politics, but also courses on political communication more generally.  


Spring, 2013

  • M.A. seminar on Political Communication: Journalism & the Media (co-taught).

Fall, 2012

  • M.A. seminar on the Media & the U.S. Presidential Election (co-taught).
  • B.A. topic course on Propaganda & Patriotism in the U.S. & Europe.

Spring, 2012

  • M.A. seminar on Political Communication: Journalism & the Media (co-taught).
  • B.A. topic course on campaigning, spin, and strategic electoral communication.

Fall, 2011

  • B.A. seminar on U.S.Media & Politics.
  • M.A. seminar on Transformations in EU Journalism &Governance (co-taught) - Erasmus Mundus program.


  • C.M. Rowling, J. Gilmore & P.H. Sheets (2014). When threats are internal: Cascading frames, national identity, and the U.S. war in Afghanistan. In Paper presented at the International Studies Association, Toronto, Canada.


  • P. Sheets, L. Bos & H. Boomgaarden (2013). Media cues and citizen support for right-wing populist parties. In Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Hilton Metropole Hotel, London, England, Jun 17, 2013 Vol. 2013. Conference papers: International Communication Association: annual meeting. Washington, DC: International Communication Association.
  • C.M. Rowling, P.H. Sheets & T.M. Jones (2013). Frame contestation in the news: National identity, cultural resonance, and U.S. drone policy. International Journal of Communication, 7, 2231-2253.
  • H.G. Boomgaarden, P.H. Sheets & L. Bos (2013). Implicit and explicit measures of far-right support. In Paper presented at the European Consortium of Political Research, Bordeaux, France.
  • P.H. Sheets, C.M. Rowling & T.M. Jones (2013). American Atrocity Revisited: National Identity, My Lai and a Selectively Echoing Press. In Paper presented at the meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL.
  • P.H. Sheets, C.M. Rowling & T.M. Jones (2013). Differential news framing of unmanned aerial drones: A cross-national comparison. In Paper presented at the Media, War & Conflict 5th Anniversary Conference, London, UK.
  • P.H. Sheets, L. Bos & H.G. Boomgaarden (2013). Media cues and support for right-wing populist parties. In Paper presented at the European Consortium for Political Research, Bordeaux, France.
  • P.H. Sheets, L. Bos & H. Boomgaarden (2013). Media cues and citizen support for right-wing populist parties. In Paper presented at the Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.




  • P.N. Howard, L. Busch & P.H. Sheets (2010). Which public policies help narrow the digital divide? Internet access and social inequality in Canada and the United States. Canadian Journal of Communication, 35, 109-128.


  • T.M. Jones & P.H. Sheets (2009). Torture in the eye of the beholder: Social identity, news coverage, and Abu Ghraib. Political Communication, 26(3), 278-295. 10.1080/10584600903053460


  • Y. Lelkes, A. Malka & P.H. Sheets (2013). Democratic like us? The effects of anti-semitism, political orientation, and democracy salience on attitudes toward Israel. In Paper presented at the New York Area Political Psychology Workshop, New York, USA.
  • P.H. Sheets, L. Bos & H. Boomgaarden (2013). Media cues and citizen support for right-wing populist parties. In Paper presented at the Council for European Studies Conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


  • P. Sheets (2011). [Review of the book Presidential campaign rhetoric in an age of confessional politics]. Political Communication, 28(4), 474-476.
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