Western University Political ScienceFaculty of Social Science

Political Science Seminars

2018 Seminars

Title: Brexit, The 2017 British General Election and Beyond
 Dr. Harold D. Clarke
Date: March 23, 1:30 - 3:00PM
Location: Social Science Centre, Room 6210

Abstract: On June 23, 2016 the British electorate stunned political observers around the world by voting in a national referendum to leave the European Union. Then, in the May 2017 general election the many economic and political uncertainties created by the historic “Brexit” decision were magnified when voters denied Prime Minister Theresa May and her Conservative government a parliamentary majority. Using data from his national surveys of the British electorate and thousands of activists in Britain’s ring-wing populist UKIP Party, Professor Harold Clarke discusses the forces that shaped the choices voters made in the EU referendum and the 2017 election and what the future may hold as the Brexit negotiations unfold.

2017 Seminars

Title: Sovereignty and Canada's Arctic Extended Continental Shelf
 Dr. Elizabeth Riddell-Dixon
Date: November 24, 1:00 - 2:30PM
Location: Social Science Centre, Room 6210

Abstract: In this talk, Elizabeth Riddell-Dixon will contrast the traditional political science concept of sovereignty to the Inuit concept of pan-Arctic sovereignty. She will illuminate debates about sovereign state rights and conflict over Arctic resources. This talk draws from her newly published book, BREAKING THE ICE: CANADA, SOVEREIGNTY AND THE ARCTIC EXTENDED CONTINENTAL SHELF.

Title: Telling (Developmental) Tales out of School
Dr. Robert Vipond
November 16, 1:30 - 3:00PM
Social Science Centre, Room 9420

Title: Can the Right of Self-Determination Justify Immigration Controls?
Dr. David Miller
November 9, 3:00 - 4:30PM
 Social Science Centre, Room 4255

Abstract: Professor of Political Theory at Nuffield College, Oxford, and currently visiting professor at Queen's. He is the world's leading theorist of nationalism, and author of On Nationality, Citizenship and National Identity, National Responsibility and Global Justice, Strangers in our Midst, and many other works.

Title: Biometric Emotions: Affect for the Purposes of Security
Dr. Shoshana Magnet, University of Ottawa & The Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies
October 20, 1:00 - 3:00PM
 Social Science Centre, Room 5220

Abstract: The current security climate continues to privilege the body as one of the most reliable forms of identification. Biometric technologies and the ability to simplify the body into binary code­ remain a central feature of contemporary safety measures. From backscatter X-rays to biometric technologies, institutionalized forms of scrutiny rely heavily on codifying human bodies as part of new safety regimes. Race and racialization are central to any contemporary understanding of surveillance. Although facial recognition receives a disproportionate amount of attention, biometric identification is not limited to the face. The biometric identification of the body has expanded to include behaviour, launching the new field of behavioural biometrics. Behavioural biometric technologies understand each person's behavioural patterns as unique and measurable human deeds. Industry proponents claim that these technologies work in race-&-gender-neutral ways, but in fact these technologies code existing systems of discrimination, which is revealed if we look more closely at a current example: the digital codification of the US SPOT programme, aimed at identifying suspicious behaviour in airport lines.

Title: Laying Down the Law: When Advocacy Works
Speaker: Jane Kovarikova, PhD ABD
Date: 2:30PM, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017
Location: Social Science Centre, Room 4255

Abstract:  This talk will explore how to affect legislative change for social justice initiatives.  The story of a bill originally introduced in the Ontario legislature in 2013 that became law this summer illustrates a path to effective change. Lessons learned will be applied to the advocacy strategy behind a new not-for-profit, the Child Welfare Political Action Committee Canada, that will launch at Queen's Park this fall.  The advocacy formula includes: research, engagement organizing, media, and politics.

Title: Explaining the Underrepresentation of Women in US Electoral Politics
: Dr. Kathleen Dolan
Date: September 29, 2:00 - 3:00 PM
 Social Science Centre, Room 9420

Abstract:  In 2017, women continue to be dramatically underrepresented in elected office in the United States.  While scholars have theories to explain this situation, we know almost nothing about what the public sees as the reasons for the small number of women in office.  Drawing on the responses from a survey of 1600 conducted in 2014, I use blame attribution theory to examine public opinion on this important question.  In this project, I examine both system-level and individual-level explanations for women's underrepresentation.

Title: A Federation Within a Federation? Reconciling Indigenous and Westminster Parliamentary Government in Canada's North
: Dr. Jerald Sabin
Date: September 26, 10:00 - 11:00 AM
 Social Science Centre, Room 9420

Abstract: Northern Canada is on the leading edge of political, constitutional, and administrative changes that are fundamentally remaking the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the liberal democratic state. Public territorial and Indigenous governments are using institutions of executive, fiscal, and regulatory federalism to mediate and regularize their intergovernmental relations. This paper argues that two “federations within a federation” are emerging in the Northwest Territories and Yukon – an innovative model that reflects both Canada’s federal traditions and processes of reconciliation.

Title: Using Experts to Measure Party Positions
 Dr. Ryan Bakker, Associate Professor, University of Georgia
April 21, 1:00 - 2:00 PM
Social Science Centre, Room 4255

Abstract: Research on political parties and elections often rely heavily on quantitative measures of political party positions across a variety of issues/dimensions. Over the past several decades, scholars have employed several different techniques for deriving these measures. Expert surveys are becoming a popular tool for developing measures such as these. In this talk, Dr. Bakker will introduce one of the most widely used sources of party positions, the Chapel Hill Expert Survey, and will discuss some of the main features and criticisms of using expert-based opinions in comparative research.

Title: The Trump Effect: USA & Global Governance
Speaker Panelists:
Chios Carmody (Law, Western), Radoslav Dimitrov (Political Science, Law) Jennifer Mustapha (Political Science, Western),Valerie Oosterveld (Law, Western)
January 26, 1:30 - 12:30 PM
University Community Centre (UCC), Room 56

Abstract: What can we expect from the next 4 years? Many agree we are entering a period of major political changes and uncertainty. This panel will address the likely impact of a Trump presidency on international law, world politics and global governance. Topics include US foreign policy and its consequences on international trade, security, human rights, and climate change governance.

2016 Seminars

Title: A Thucydides Trap? On the ‘Inevitability’ of U.S.-China Conflict
Dr. S. N. Jaffe (John Cabot University, Rome)
November 28, 1:00 PM
Social Science Centre, Room 4103

Abstract: International Relations and Greek Political Thought, Dr. Jaffe draws on his original interpretation of Thucydides’ account of the causes of war to explore arguments surrounding the ‘inevitability’ of growing conflict between the United States and China. Contrary to those who appropriate Thucydides as the original power transition theorist, he argues that the Thucydidean account in fact involves second image claims, which alter the character of the necessity (or ‘inevitability’) of conflict between rising powers and ruling ones. 

Dr. Jaffe is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at John Cabot University and an Associate Researcher at the Berlin Thucydides Center of the Freie Universität Berlin. His book Thucydides on the Outbreak of War: Character and Contest is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

Title: Party in the Street: The Anitwar Movement & The Democratic Party in the United States After 9/11
Speaker: Dr. Michael T. Heaney (Organizational Studies and Political Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
Date: November 25, 1:00 PM
Location: Social Science Centre, Room 5220

Abstract: Why did the U.S. antiwar movement stall once it helped elect a president who seemed to agree with its goals, even as wars continued? Interpreting data collected from thousands of participants in the anti-war movement, Dr. Heaney argues that the electoral success of the Democratic Party and President Barack Obama, as well as antipathy toward President George W. Bush, played a greater role in his collapse than did changes in foreign policy. His work challenges conventional understandings of interactions between social movements and political parties.

Title: Borders as Bridges, Borders as Barriers: Concepts and Consequences in Bordering the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory
Speaker:  Dr. Ian Kalman (Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Political Science, Western University)
Date: Thursday, November 10, 2016
Time: 1:00 - 3:00 PM
Location: Social Science Centre (SSC), Room 5220

Presentation Abstract:  How do different conceptions of borders engender different ways to legitimate movement within and through a territory?  This presentation discusses the unique geopolitical situation of Akwesasne, a single Mohawk community straddling the boundaries of Quebec, Ontario, and New York State.  In Akwesasne, where the site of the borderline and the sites of border enforcement are conceptually and geographically distant, state efforts at forcing an "ideal type" of border on a population which has historically rejected the border's legitimacy, have had substantial negative impacts on the lives of those dwelling within.  In this presentation, Ian will discuss the ways in which American and Canadian border enforcement policies and on-the-ground practices are rooted in their efforts to operationalize various, and at times mutually incompatible, conceptions of what constitutes a border. Finally, Akwesasne’s own efforts at developing an “alternative reporting” policy are discussed and these efforts within the context of longstanding Haudenosaunee practices of regulating movement at the “edge of the woods”.

Title: Get To Know Your Neighbours Series, Clinton vs. Trump: Is America Ready?
Speakers: Drs. Renan Levine (Political Science, University of Toronto, Scarborough), Jennifer Merolla (Political Science, University of California, Riverside), Matthew Lebo (Political Science, Stony Brook University, NY)
Date: Thursday, November 3
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: University Community Centre (UCC) Mustang Lounge

Title: Get To Know Your Neighbours Series, Clinton vs. Trump: Is The World Ready?
Speakers: Drs. Don Abelson, Jennifer Mustapha, Peter Ferguson, Aldona Sendzikas
Date: Monday, October 24
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: University Community Centre (UCC) Atrium

Title: The Department of Poltical Science Cocktail Reception with Senator Raynell Andreychuk
 Senator Raynell Andreychuk
Date: Tuesday, March 15
Time: 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Location: Social Science Centre Room 3036 (Faculty Lounge)