2017-2021 News Archive



Professor Salim Mansur - Receives Canada Senate 150th Anniversary Medal

Professor Mansur was awarded a Senate 150th Anniversary Medal for his work to promote interfaith understanding.  The award ceremony took place in the Senate Chamber, Parliament of Canada, on November 29 and was presided by the Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker of the Senate. The award citation for Mansur noted, “Salim Mansur has done extensive work promoting interfaith understanding, particularly Jewish-Muslim reconciliation. An author, columnist and professor at Western University, he is a founding member of the board of directors for the Centre for Islamic Pluralism based in Washington, D.C.” The Senate 150th Anniversary Medal is intended to celebrate the achievements of Canadians who have made significant contributions to their community and commemorates the 150th anniversary of the first sitting of the Senate on November 6, 1867.

Abelson, Riddell-Dixon, Sabin – The Hill Times Top 100

Congratulations to the members of our Political Science family – Professor Don Abelson, Professor Emerita Elizabeth Riddell-Dixon, and Postdoctoral Fellow Jerald Sabin, who have books on  The Hill Times List of 100 Best Books in 2017!

Breaking The Ice: Canada, Sovereignty, and the Arctic Extended Continental Shelf,  by Elizabeth Riddell-Dixon, Dundurn, 343 pp., $28.99.  Religion and Canadian Party Politics , edited by David Rayside, Jerald Sabin, and Paul E.J. Thomas, UBC Press, 384 pp., $89.95.  Twenty-First Century Immigration to North America: Newcomers in Turbulent Times , edited by Victoria M. Esses and Donald E. Abelson, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 338 pp., $34.95. 

Professor Don Abelson - New Book

Professor Abelson's book, Northern Lights: Exploring Canada's Think Tank Landscape, (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2016) has been translated into Simplified Chinese by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Press. The book launch took place at the 2017 Shanghai Global Think Tank Forum on December 1, 2017. At the forum, Professor Abelson delivered a keynote address entitled, "Finding the Sweet Spot: Striking a balance between policy research and political advocacy." The third edition of his forthcoming book, Do Think Tanks Matter? Assessing the Impact of Public Policy Institutes (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2018), will also be translated by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Press.

Zheger Hassan - New Publication

Political Science PhD Graduate Zheger Hassan's publication " Baghdad Confronts Iraqi Kurdistan over Independence and Kirkuk" in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs.

Professor Joanna Quinn - Named RSC President-Elect 

The College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada is pleased to announce Professor Professor Quinn, as President-Elect. "It's an honour to be asked to serve as President of The College.  I look forward to working with Canada's emerging intellectual leaders to connect College members in useful and innovative ways that showcase the depth and breadth of our collective research", said President-Elect Joanna Quinn. "We're extremely proud of not only Professor Quinn's research at Western, which examines how societies acknowledge and cope with past crimes, but of her leadership within the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists," says John Capone, Western's Vice-President (Research). "It comes at a time Western and the RSC alike are taking great strides to increase scholarly connections and promote excellence in research."

Joanna Quinn will assume the office of President-Elect during the Celebration of Excellence of the RSC on the weekend of November 23-25, 2017 at the Fairmont Winnipeg Hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her two-year term as President of the College will begin in November 2018.

Dr. Jerald Sabin - New Publication

Dr. Jerald Sabin, SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellow in Political Science, released published a peer-reviewed study with the Institute for Research on Public Policy entitled: " A Federation within a Federation? Devolution and Indigenous Government in the Northwest Territories." According to the press release, "The Northwest Territories (NWT) is on the leading edge of political, constitutional and administrative changes that are fundamentally redefining the relationship between Indigenous people and the Canadian state, says a new study from the Institute for Research on Public Policy." According to the study’s author, Jerald Sabin, the speed of change and the peaceful means through which power was shared have been striking. As he says, “Internationally, this model is unprecedented. These new institutions and practices are designed to mediate and regularize intergovernmental relations in what is becoming Canada’s first federation within a federation.” More broadly, he concludes that this power-sharing model is a significant step toward embedding Indigenous and treaty rights in the public governance framework as well as the reconciliation of Indigenous and settler societies." Download the study here.

Nig AwardProfessor Narain - Awarded for Excellence

Professor Nigmendra Narain has been awarded the Western University Residence Life Teaching Award of Excellence for 2017. The Western University Residence Life Teaching Award of Excellence is a student-nominated accolade that celebrates and recognizes faculty members across the university who have made significant contributions to first-year undergraduate education and have gone above and beyond in supporting residence-based initiatives/events. Recipients have made lasting contributions towards fostering learning and development within the first-year student population in both the residence and university community. Nominations were received from residence sophs, staff and students and a small selection committee reviewed the impact that our faculty have had in our residence community.  Well done!

Professor Radoslav Dimitrov - Live from Bonn, Germany

Professor Dimitrov is attending the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany. He is representing Bulgaria and the European Union in the negotiations to operationalize the Paris Agreement, as well as teaching his classes on diplomacy and international relations via Skype videoconference live from the venue!  Professor Dimitrov also meets with members of the Canadian delegation, including Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada.

Professor Joanna Quinn - Reconciliation @ 150 Presentation

Saturday, October 28, Western's members of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada hosted an event entitled, " Making a Difference: Research for Social Justice" that showcased the research being done here at Western. The event was part of the College's cross-Canada “Wave” of public discussions. Professor Quinn in conversation with Cheryl Suzack (University of Toronto) presented on Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Professor Joanna Quinn - Named Fellow of Western's Africa Institute

Professor Quinn has been named a Fellow of Western’s Africa Institute, in recognition of her substantial contributions to The Africa Institution and to research, knowledge translation, and knowledge dissemination.  She has been recognized as a role model and inspiration to other faculty and students within the Africa Institute, their discipline, and the Western Community, and for serving as an excellent collaborator in partnership with African institutions and societies.  Fellows are esteemed for their high level professional and personal integrity.  An Africa Institute Fellow holds this honour for life.

Bob Young

In Memoriam – Professor Emeritus Bob Young

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing away of Dr. Bob Young.  Bob was a gifted teacher and scholar, and a mentor and dear friend to many. While his impressive body of work will shape our discipline for decades to come, it was his commitment to strengthening our department and his willingness to help his colleagues develop as full members of the academy that will be remembered most. Bob was a distinguished scholar, great mentor, and friend. We in Political Science wish to send our heartfelt condolences to Bob’s Wife, Louise Gadbois, and family, at this extremely sad time. Bob will be missed dearly.

Donations in Bob’s name will be gratefully received and may be made to the  Toronto General Hospital Transplant Unit, or to a charity of choice. Bob's Obituary in The London Free PressOn November 10, 2017, there will be a Celebration of Life in honour of Bob Young from 4-7pm. at Bellamere Winery and Event Centre, 1260 Gainsborough Road, London, Ontario. 

Friderike Spang - Dissertation Defense

Friderike Spang successfully completed her PhD, "Dealing with Disagreement: Towards a Conception of Feasible Compromise”, supervised by Professor Richard Vernon and Professor Charles Jones. Congratulations Rike!

Professor Nandita Biswas Mellamphy - Presentation 

Professor Biswas Mellamphy has been invited by the Posthumanism Research Institute to give a talk about politics in the information age entitled 'Approaching Posthuman Politics'. The event is free to all and will be held on Thursday October 19, 12:00pm in The Hawk’s Nest at Wilfrid Laurier University. 

The Barnard Scholarship 2017/18 Recipients

The Department has received $52,500 in funding for four recipients of The Dr. Frederick M.Barnard  Scholarship Trust for the 2017/2018 academic year. Political Science congratulates Political Science students Afifa Khwaja, Jacob Hunsburger, and Caleb Althorpe and Political Philosophy student Heather Stewart on receiving this year’s Dr. Frederick M. Barnard Scholarships. Mrs. Margot  Barnard has generously endowed a scholarship trust in memory of her late husband, Frederick Mechner Barnard  who was a distinguished political theorist and intellectual historian at Western from 1970 until his retirement in 1985. The Barnard Scholarship Trust offers scholarships to graduate students in Political Philosophy, entering MA or PhD programs in either Political Science or Philosophy at Western.

Professor Robert Young’s articles Available Freely by CJPS

As a tribute to his research and in memoriam to honour the memory of Professor Young, Canadian Journal of Political Science (CJPS) is offering free access to his articles. Four of the selected articles included are "Leaders' Communications in Public-interest and Material-interest Groups", "Steven Lukes's Radical View of Power", "How Do Peaceful Secessions Happen?", and "The Concept of Province-Building: A Critique".

Professor Dan Bousfield - New Article

Professor Bousfield has a new article in globalizations titled "Revisiting Cyber-Diplomacy: Canada–China Relations Online". This paper situates Canada–China relations in the context of recent internet developments and debates about information and communication technologies (ICTs) infrastructure.

Dianne Lalonde - Prize Finalist

PhD Candidate, Dianne Lalonde, is a finalist for the  Lieutenant Governor’s Visionaries Prize. Dianne is one of 6 finalists in the Reconciliation category and will be presenting in front of judges on Wednesday, September 13th in Thunder Bay.

Professor Joanna Quinn - New Book Chapter

Professor Quinn has a chapter in the just-released Research Handbook on Transitional Justice, edited by Cheryl Lawther, Luke Moffett, and Dov Jacobs, (Edward Elgar). Providing detailed and comprehensive coverage of the transitional justice field, this Research Handbook brings together leading scholars and practitioners to explore how societies deal with mass atrocities after periods of dictatorship or conflict. Situating the development of transitional justice in its historical context, social and political context, it analyses the legal instruments that have emerged.

Professor Christopher Alcantara - New Publication

Professor Alcantara has published a new paper in Canadian Public Administration called " Implementing comprehensive land claims agreements in Canada: Towards an analytical framework". This paper is currently in "Early View" but is scheduled for publication in the September 2017 (60) 3 issue. In this paper, Alcantara constructs "a framework for analyzing the interactions between Indigenous, federal, and provincial/territorial governments in the implementation of modern treaties in Canada. It finds that a useful way for conceptualizing these situations is to focus on two characteristics relating to the treaty provisions and the signatories while remaining sensitive to the effects of time and other contextual factors."

Milestones of our Graduates – Dr. Vine Employed as Deputy Treasurer

Ph.D. graduate Timothy Vine will be working with the City of Elliott Lake as Deputy Treasurer, putting his dissertation, which focused on reconciliation with Indigenous Canadians, into action, helping the city negotiate the purchase of Crown land, while respecting neighbouring Indigenous communities. Congratulations!

Professor Zack Taylor - Task Force Proposes Reforms to Toronto City Governance 

Last fall, Professor Taylor was appointed to a task force organized by University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance to propose feasible reforms to reinforce Toronto City Hall’s capacity for strategic decision making and priority-setting in the citywide interest. After four meetings, the task force released its final report, A Practical Blueprint for Change, on June 29. All of the proposed reforms can be adopted by Toronto’s council without changes to provincial legislation. Professor Taylor will work with the other task force members, including former Toronto city managers Joe Pennachetti and Shirley Hoy, CivicAction CEO Sevaun Palvetzian, and former councillors John Parker and David Soknacki, to support council's consideration of the report’s recommendations.

Milestones of our Graduates – Dr. Harrington Appointed as Assistant Professor

We are pleased to announce that beginning September 2017, Dr. Cameron Harrington (PhD 2014) will join the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University as an Assistant Professor. Congratulations!

Professors Caroline Dick and Christopher Alcantara - New Publication

Professors  Dick and  Alcantara have published a new paper in the  Canadian Journal of Law and Society called " Decolonization in a Digital Age: Cryptocurrencies and Indigenous Self-Determination in Canada" April 2017 (32) 1: 19-35.  This interdisciplinary paper "explores the extent to which digital currencies, such as Bitcoin or MazaCoin, might be used to facilitate Indigenous self-determination, political autonomy, and economic prosperity. Based on our review of the literature, we argue that cryptocurrencies demonstrate some potential for advancing these goals but that there are a number of potential roadblocks as well. Future research should investigate how Indigenous communities might use digital currencies and other related technologies to further their political, economic, and social goals."

Professor Zack Taylor - SSHRC Insight Development Grant on Urban Resilience 

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) has funded a collaborative project between Professor Taylor, Professors Carrie Mitchell and Sarah Burch at the University Waterloo, and Greg Oulahen at Ryerson University, on the process and politics of planning for resilience in Canadian cities. The project will examine how public, private, and community actors involved in Toronto and Vancouver’s planning processes interpret and operationalize the increasingly influential concept of resilience. This project is an extension of Professor Taylor’s earlier research, funded by the Government of Ontario, on urban resilience theory and its potential to inform social, economic, and environmental policymaking in the Toronto region. 

Professor Christopher Alcantara - APSA Book Award

Negotiating the Deal by Professor Alcantara, has been awarded the American Political Science Association's S.M. Lipset Best Book Award for 2017. The “Seymour Martin Lipset Best Book Award” is given to honor a significant contemporary contribution to the scholarship on Canadian politics, or Canada in a comparative perspective, or a comparative analysis of Canada with other countries, particularly the United States.

To quote the committee: This work was viewed, as one committee member put it, as offering "a significant contribution in our theoretical and practical understanding of why some treaty negotiations succeed and others fail." Moreover, the four diverse case studies of First Nations people (two from Newfoundland and Labrador and two from the Yukon Territory) are carefully done, using a variety of resource materials, including numerous interviews with those involved in the negotiating process. The use of the comparative method throughout the volume provides an important systematic dimension to the analysis as Alcantara identifies the key factors across these cases for success or failure of treaty negotiations. In all, this volume "should be essential reading for scholars and practitioners" for those seeking to understand relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. Moreover, the central findings may well be applicable to other nations seeking to address land and resource claims of indigenous communities.

The book also received the Best Book in Canadian Studies awarded by the Canadian Studies Network in 2014, the International Council for Canadian Studies Pierre Savard Award in 2015, and was a finalist for the CPSA's Donald Smiley Prize in 2014.

Michael Dietrich - Dissertation Defense

Michael Dietrich successfully completed his PhD, "Historical Institutionalism and the Politics of a Knowledge Economy", supervised by Professor Adam Harmes. Congratulations Michael!

Professors Spicer, McGregor, and Alcantara - New Publication

Drs. Zac Spicer, Michael McGregor (both alumni of our PhD program) and Christopher Alcantara have published a new article entitled " Political opportunity structures and the representation of women and visible minorities in municipal elections" in the latest issue of Electoral Studies  (August 2017) 48: 10-18. Their paper examines the effects of incumbency, salary, and district magnitude on the decision of visible minorities and women to run and win election in municipal contests. Their study has a surprising finding, with significant implications for debates about electoral reform.

Professors Martin Horak and Andrew Sancton – New Publication

Professors Horak and Sancton along with researchers Rachna Goswami and Umera Ali, have recently published a new guide entitled Municipal Resource Guide to Leading Practices in Cost Savings. Along with the support from the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs, this Guide, which features case studies from around Ontario, presents detailed profiles of 14 selected cases of leading practices in cost savings. The case studies come from municipalities of varying sizes in all regions of the province, and profile leading practices in a wide variety of service fields. In addition to these cases, the Guide presents a reference compendium of 159 cost-savings recommendations from recent Municipal Service Delivery Reviews. The Guide is intended to serve as a source of ideas and inspiration for Ontario’s local officials as they seek to provide the best possible services to their residents in challenging fiscal times.

Percy Sherwood - Teaching Assistant Award

MA Student, Percy Sherwood, has recently been awarded a Graduate Student Teaching Assistant Award. Each year, twenty awards are presented to Western’s most excellent teaching assistants by the Society of Graduate Students and in association with the School of Graduate and Post-doctoral Studies and the PSAC Local 610 Union for teaching assistants and post-doctoral associates. The award is in the amount of $500, which is awarded at a celebratory luncheon with the other award winners on June 8.

Previous years Political Science recipients of the Graduate Student Teaching Assistant Award for 2015-2016 include John Caldwell (MA ‘16) and Tom Randall (current PhD Candidate).

Jerry Sabin, PhDJane Kovarikova – Recent Articles

PhD Candidate Jane Kovarikova has recently been featured in the Western News and Toronto Star, discussing the child-protection system in Ontario, urging Ontario to take a deeper look at how at the province cares for Crown Wards and the resulting outcome of youth who age-out of the system, and recommending Ontario track foster children after they leave care.

Post-Doc Jerald Sabin - Shortlisted for CPSA Prize

Dr. Jerald Sabin, SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellow, has been shortlisted for the CPSA Jill Vickers Prize which is "awarded to the author or authors of the best paper presented, in English or French, in any section of the 2017 conference programme of the Canadian Political Science Association on the topic of gender and politics."  

His paper, co-authored with Kyle Kirkup, is entitled “Competing Masculinities and Political Campaigns.”  According to the jury report, "This paper presents an investigation of competing masculinities during the 2015 Canadian election. Its empirical core comprises systematic content analysis of 756 articles from Canada’s top ten English newspapers. The authors find that Harper and Mulcair presented themselves (or their campaign teams did) as embodying “hegemonic” or traditional masculinity, and newspaper coverage duly picked up on that image. By contrast, Trudeau embodied a balance of hegemonic and subordinate masculinity. Given Trudeau’s success on election day, the authors ponder changing notions of masculinity. The paper provides a challenge to our conventional understanding of how politicians perform gender and sexuality, that will surely provoke further research, including the possibility that fluidity of gender presentation might be more available to men than to women."  Congratulations Dr. Sabin! 

Percy Sherwood – Presentation

MA Student, Percy Sherwood, will be presenting his paper entitled “Auto-Exceptionalism” at Acadia University in Nova Scotia for this year's SPT (Social and Political Thought) Graduate Student Conference. The conference gets underway May 5th, and will wrap up on Sunday, May7th.

Dr. Jerald Sabin – New Postdoctoral Fellow

We are pleased to announce the appointment of  Dr. Jerald Sabin as a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in our department. He will be working with Dr. Christopher Alcantara, beginning May 1. Dr. Sabin completed his Doctoral degree in Political Science at the University of Toronto in 2016 and has published several articles, book chapters, and a co-authored book on religion and Canadian party politics published by UBC Press this year.

His research interests include political development, liberal democratic institutions, identity politics, gender and sexuality, and the politics of Northern Canada. His scholarly agenda considers how identity intersects with Canadian liberal democracy, its institutions, and practices. Postmaterial and postcolonial identities – including those based in race, gender, and Indigeneity – are increasingly important in Canadian politics. As these identities are constitutionalized within our legal and political systems, his SSHRC postdoctoral project asks a critical question: what is the future of liberal democracy in Canada?

Kate Graham - The Mayors Project

To better understand the role of Mayors in Canada, PhD Candidate Kate Graham took a two month journey across Canada, stopping in the largest city of each of the 10 provinces. She interviewed, mayors past and present, city councilors, and other influencers in the cities to better understand the role of the mayor in that city. She kept an ongoing blog of her travels, The Mayors Project, and used social media to power local engagement.

Professor Christopher Alcantara - Presentation at Harvard University 

Professor Alcantara will be presenting some findings from his latest book (which has recently sold out!) at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University on 27 April 2017 as part of a workshop called, " Economic Issues Facing Indigenous People in Canada and the United States."  The "workshop is designed to convene academic economists and quantitative sociologists working on Aboriginal peoples' issues in the US and Canada, for the purpose of networking and sharing ideas, data sources, and research agendas" and includes presenters such as former Ontario Premier Bob Rae, economists Dominic Parker and Anke Kessler, and political scientist Miriam Jorgensen, among others.

Professor Christopher Alcantara and PhD Candidate Dianne Lalonde - Co-Author New Publication 

Professor Alcantara and PhD Candidate Dianne Lalonde, along with Professor Gary Wilson from UNBC, have co-authored a new paper called " Indigenous Research and Academic Freedom: A View from Political Scientists". It was recently published in Volume 8, Issue 2, 2017 of the International Indigenous Policy Journal. The paper argues that non-community-based research, in which the researcher exercises academic autonomy over the project, still has a role to play in Indigenous-focused research.  

Professor Zack Taylor – Named Munk School Fellow

Professor Taylor has been named a Fellow of the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.

Professor Erika Simpson - Opinion Editorial

Professor Simpson has authored an opinion editorial, “ A lot More to be Answered”  Published March 24 th, the editorial was carried by Postmedia, Canada’s largest newspaper chain. [Read More]

Professor Cristine de Clercy - Presentation at University of Calgary

Professor de Clercy gave a talk to students and faculty in the Department of Political Science at the University of Calgary on February 1 st, titled "The Structure of Party Discipline in Justin Trudeau's Liberal Caucus." The talk concerned how the Liberal leader has reformed institutional aspects of party leadership within the organization, and discussed how the rise of social media is mobilizing leaders to adapt to these new communication conduits.

Department of Political Science Professors Recognized

Congratulations to our Political Science Department Professors awarded the 2015-2016 USC Teaching Honour Roll Award of Excellence!

  • Dan Bousfield
  • Peter Ferguson
  • Erin Hannah
  • Martin Horak
  • Charles Jones
  • Jennifer Kirkham
  • Bruce Morrison
  • Jennifer Mustapha
  • Andrés Pérez
  • Joanna Quinn

Faculty members are awarded based on teaching evaluations from all of the classes a faculty member has taught in the previous academic year, including intersession but excluding distance studies courses, are included, whose total average scores meet or exceed 6.3 will be listed in the Honour Roll.

Professor Dan Bousfield - Teaching Award Recipient

Dan AwardProfessor  Bousfield is this year's recipient of the Marilyn Robinson Award for Excellence in Teaching. Professor Bousfield’s aim is to make the learning experience more accessible for his students. It is this approach that leads Bousfield  to always be experimenting with the use of technology and social media in his classes. Bousfield tries to approach his subject matter through shared interests with his students, bringing in what he describes as “found objects” – such as social media and pop culture - to engage the students. Congratulations!

Tim Vine - Dissertation Defense

Tim Vine successfully completed his PhD, " The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and Crown-Aboriginal Relations", supervised by Professor Joanna Quinn. Congratulations Tim!

Percy Sherwood – Presentation

MA Student Percy Sherwood will be presenting his paper entitled “The State of Exception Today” at the Western Law Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference on May 18-19. Top papers will be reviewed by the Editorial Staff of the Western Journal of Legal Studies for publication in the Journal’s Fall/Winter 2017-2018 issue, provided it meets the Journal’s publication format standards. This conference brings together graduate students in any and every discipline - because no problem can be solved by one discipline alone. 

Professor Marta Dyczok - Presentation at University of Saskatchewan

On Friday, February 17, Professor Dyczok presents at the 20th Annual Mohyla Lecture on " What's Changed? Evolution of Ukraine's Media Since Independence".

Professor Christopher Alcantara - Presentation at Memorial University

Professor Alcantara  will be delivering a presentation on Friday, February 10 as part of the Department of Political Science's Seminar Series at Memorial University. He will be talking about his latest co-authored book,  A Quiet Evolution: The Emergence of Indigenous - Local Intergovernmental Partnerships in Canada (University of Toronto Press: 2016).

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Professor Zack Taylor - Toronto Politics Research Profiled on CityLab

Professor Taylor's research with University of Toronto sociologist Daniel Silver and graduate student Fernando Calderón-Figueroa on the rise of suburban populism in Toronto was profiled by urban geographer Richard Florida on the Atlantic Magazine's CityLab blog. Their article in the International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society discusses how populism mobilization within a vibrant, multicultural metropolis problematizes the conventional understanding of populism as a reaction in the declining hinterland against cosmopolitan urban centres. Taylor, Silver, and Calderón-Figueroa identify the institutional, cultural, social, and economic processes that created an opportunity for populist mobilization in the city, one that Rob Ford and his brother Doug took advantage of in their 2010 and 2014 mayoral campaigns. The multicultural composition of Ford Nation sets it apart from white working-class populism found in contemporary American and European national politics.

Professor Dan Bousfield - New Journal Publication

International relations (IR) is traditionally taught from a detached standpoint, as the international realm is conceptualized as distinct from normative, emotional, and embodied realities. In this article, Professor Bousfield along with Heather Johnson and Jean Montsion, challenge this abstraction and focus on emotions to examine the intersection of race and international relations in how we teach and how students learn. Focusing on emotional labor, they maintain that students are taught and learn about the presence and absence of race in the discipline in specific ways. The article is called "Racialized Hearts and Minds: Emotional Labor and Affective Leadership in the Teaching/Learning of IR" and can be found at Oxford Academic.

Professor Christopher Alcantara - 100 Best Books in 2018

Professor Alcantara's book, A Quiet Evolution: The Emergence of Indigenous-Local Intergovernmental Partnerships in Canada, co-authored with Jen Nelles, has been named one of the 100 best political, history, public policy books in 2018 by the Hill Times. The book is published by University of Toronto Press. Check out the list of top 100 books here.

Political Science Faculty Launch New Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance

On November 23, Western’s Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance hosted its first official event: a public roundtable on The Intentional City: Shaping London’s Urban Future. This was an important moment for the new Centre, signalling its goal of productively engaging scholars across disciplinary boundaries and building new relationships between Western researchers and the community.

London is at a crossroads. Neither a core global city nor a place left behind, it occupies the open middle ground of Ontario’s and Canada’s urban future. What kind of future do we want for London, and how do we get there? Who should lead, and who needs to be at the table? What can London learn from other mid-size cities? Fundamentally, can London be an intentional city—one that knows what it is, knows what it wants to become, has assembled the resources, including community and intergovernmental support, to get there?

Moderated by the Centre’s associate director, Professor Martin Horak, the roundtable brought together civic leaders and academics for an open public discussion of these questions. Five panellists participated: Pierre Filion, Professor in the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo and an expert in mid-sized cities; Arielle Kayabaga, Councillor-Elect for City of London’s downtown Ward 13; Michelle Baldwin, Executive Director of London’s Pillar Nonprofit Network and Co-Founder of Innovation Works; John Fleming, Managing Director of Planning and City Planner for the City of London; and Neil Bradford, Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Huron University College. The director of the centre is Political Science faculty member Zack Taylor. For more information, visit http://nest.uwo.ca/urbancentre/.

Professor Nandita Biswas Mellamphy - Presentation at the New School NYC

Professor Biswas Mellamphy and Dr. Dan Mellamphy will be joining Dr. Anthony Dunne (Co-Director of DunneAndRaby.Co.UK), Dr. Ben Goertzel (CEO of SingularityNET), Dr. Gary Tomlinson (Director of the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University) and others for “Agent Intellects: Sentience, Sapience and Thalience on the Planetary Ledger” at The New School NYC this Saturday December the 8th.

Professor Zack Taylor - Joins GTA Housing Agenda Working Group

At the invitation of the City of Toronto, Professor Taylor has joined a working group of regional policymakers studying solutions to housing affordability in the Greater Toronto Area. The group was convened in the context of the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s consultations on housing affordability and supply.

Professor Laura Stephenson – New Publication

Voters do not always choose their preferred candidate on election day. Often they cast their ballots to prevent a particular outcome, as when their own preferred candidate has no hope of winning and they want to prevent another, undesirable candidate’s victory; or, they vote to promote a single-party majority in parliamentary systems, when their own candidate is from a party that has no hope of winning. In their thought-provoking book The Many Faces of Strategic Voting, Laura B. Stephenson, John H. Aldrich, and André Blais first provide a conceptual framework for understanding why people vote strategically, and what the differences are between sincere and strategic voting behaviors. Expert contributors then explore the many facets of strategic voting through case studies in Great Britain, Spain, Canada, Japan, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and the European Union.
“This is an excellent book that makes an important contribution to our understanding of voting behavior in a variety of contexts. The volume brings together a diverse set of contributors from around the world to address exciting and controversial questions about what motivates vote choice.” —Jeffrey Karp, Brunel University London

Sarah NimiganSarah Nimigan – Canadian Partnership for International Justice

Political Science and Centre for Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction PhD student Sarah Nimigan is part of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice delegation to the 17th Assembly of State Parties to the International Criminal Court. The ASP is one of the most important events in the field of international justice. 

Professor Erika Simpson - Foreign Affairs and International Trade Debate

Professor Simpson participated in the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade on Thursday, November 22 with new Senate testimony on ATT and Bill C-47 by Martin Butcher (OXFAM UK), Pratt & Whitney. This lively debate includes the new Arms Trade Treaty, Canada's proposed Bill C-47, the Saudi arms deal, the Export Permits for LAVs in the past and future and the role of Senators in their advisory role for overseeing new legislation. For a quicker overview and more information read the transcript here

Professor Marta Dyczok – November Presentations 

Monday November, 12 Professor Dyczok co-organized a panel and presented paper on “Media and the EuroMaidan,” at University of Toronto, MUNK School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, Center for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (CERES) Petro Jacyk Program on the Study of Ukraine. Event was titled, Ukraine’s EuroMaidan: Five Years Later. The other panelists were Ukraine’s Ambassador to Canada, the Honorable Andriy Shevchenko, and Professor Olexiy Haran from the National University of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Ukraine, Professor Olga Onuch, University of Manchester, and Professor Lucan Way, University of Toronto, Co-Director of Jacyk Program.

Thursday 15 November 15, Dyczok presented a paper on “Media in a Post-EuroMaidan Ukraine,” at George Washington University, Elliot School of International Affairs, Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES), at the invited Symposium, The Future of Ukraine: Realities, Risks, and Opportunities. The other speakers were Professor Peter Rolberg, Director of IERES, Professor Paul D’Anieri, University of California, Riverside, Prof. Andrew Wilson, University College, London, and Professor Georgiy Kasianov, Ukrainian Academy of Science.

Professor Don Abelson - New Publication

The Third Edition of Professor Abelson’s book, Do Think Tanks Matter? Assessing the Impact of Public Policy Institutes was recently published by McGill-Queen’s University Press.Professor Abelson also gave a Keynote address entitled, “Thinking About Success: How Think Tanks can Achieve Policy Influence,” at the 2018 Global Think Tank Forum in Shanghai on October 26.  The Forum is sponsored by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. This organization will be publishing the Simplified Chinese version of his book in late December or early January.

Kate Graham - Dissertation Defense

Kate Graham successfully completed her PhD, "Leading Canada's Cities? A Study of Urban Mayors”, supervised by Professor Emeritus Andrew Sancton. Congratulations Kate!

Professor Zack Taylor - Talks Local Autonomy on The Agdenda with Steve Paikin 

Professor Taylor appeared on the October 17th edition of TVOntario’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin on October 17, discussing whether cities need more powers with Globe and Mail international correspondent Doug Saunders and Enid Slack, Director of the University of Toronto’s Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance. 

Professor Martin Horak - Opinion Editorial Assessing Mayoral Candidates

How much stock should voters put in the promises of mayoral hopefuls? Virtually none says Professor Horak.  Mayors don’t have much more power than councillors, but there are qualities to look for when marking your ballot, says Horak in his recent opinion editorial, "Vision, communications key when picking a mayor".  Martin finishes by stating that we need mayors who can work effectively with others, bridge divides and lead on difficult and complex issues. Looking beyond the promises, we can learn much about mayoral candidates from the way they campaign. It’s up to us to investigate the options closely, and choose wisely.

Professor Zack Taylor - Comments on Toronto Politics and Calls to Increase Municipal Autonomy

In a feature article in the Globe and Mail by Doug Saunders which examined recent arguments in favour of greater autonomy for Toronto and other Canadian cities, Professor Taylor suggests that we should think carefully about the implications of local autonomy if taken to its extreme. “If we work from the premise that local autonomy and self-determination is always better, without any conditions or boundaries around it, then we end up looking a lot like the United States, and that produces a lot of inequities that I think we’re pretty glad we don’t have.” He went to say that “Our most pressing policy problems are found in cities, and probably the solutions are found in cities as well. So the question is, should we municipalize the problem? And I would rather suggest that we should formulate urban governance as multilevel governance – all levels of government are governing cities, and the test is how well they work together to do it, to leverage the different things that they’re good at.”

Professor Taylor also commented on the nature of political conflict in the City of Toronto in the Toronto Star’s ongoing series of articles about what divides and unites Torontonians. On the basis of research on Toronto’s political and social geography since its 1997 amalgamation, he stated that the stereotype of Toronto’s politics being driven by conflict between residents of prewar core and postwar suburban areas is overly simplistic. In several of the six elections since amalgamation, neighbourhoods have instead divided on socio-economic status. Professor Taylor also provided maps of neighbourhood voting behaviour for the article.

Professor Christopher Alcantara - Visiting Stanford University

Professor Alcantara has been invited to participate in a workshop hosted by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University on the topic of "Renewing Indigenous Economies." The workshop brings together economists, legal scholars, Indigenous studies faculty, political scientists and practitioners from North America, Australia, and New Zealand to discuss new and cutting edge empirical research on the subject of Indigenous wealth and economic development. Dr. Alcantara's expertise as it relates to this workshop is in the fields of private property rights, economic development corporations, and Indigenous self-government.  The workshop runs from September 21 to 23.

Professor Nandita Biswas Mellamphy - Presentation for The Friedrich Nietzsche Society Annual Conference

Professor Biswas Mellamphy will be presenting a keynote lecture in Europe at the annual conference of The Friedrich Nietzsche Society (FNS2018) on Thursday, September 20.  This year’s conference is devoted to the topic of Nietzsche and the Politics of Difference.  

Professor Zack Taylor - Presents to South African Government Delegation

On August 28, Professor Taylor presented to members of the South African Municipal Demarcation Board, a body responsible for redrawing municipal boundaries in post-Apartheid South African. The delegation came to Toronto to learn about the Canadian experience with municipal boundary change, regional governance, and local public finance. The all-day workshop was hosted by the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto, of which Professor Taylor is a Fellow. Professors David Siegel and Zac Spicer, who teach in Western’s graduate Local Government Master of Public Administration program, also participated.

Professor Stephenson - Module 6 Planning Committee for the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) Member

Professor Laura Stephenson has been confirmed as a new member of the Module 6 Planning Committee for the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES). The CSES is an international collaboration of election study teams that include a common module of survey questions in their studies. The Planning Committee is responsible for developing the research agenda and questionnaires that will be implemented in each country.

Professor Laura Stephenson - New SSHRC Insight Grant 

Congratulations to Professor Stephenson (principal applicant), who has been awarded a SSHRC Insight Grant to study “Attitudes toward democracy and elections in Canada”.  Her co-applicants are Allison Harell (UQAM), Peter Loewen (University of Toronto) and Daniel Rubenson (Ryerson University). The project will develop and field a number of surveys, including the 2019 Canadian Election Study. The research produced will help us to better understand elections, political behaviour and the range and intensity of policy preferences across the country. ($343,474.00)

Rob LeoneProfessor Rob Leone – New Roles in Toronto and NY

Professor Leone is departing to pursue more work in the field of public affairs consulting with Earnscliffe as a principal in the firm’s Toronto office. Rob will also be taking up an academic post with Niagara University in Lewiston, NY and Toronto where he will be overseeing the University’s current and future programs in Toronto and teaching in the PhD program in Leadership and Public Policy in Lewiston next year. Rob will remain with the department teaching for the Fall term. Congratulations to Rob and we wish him all the best as he begins this next chapter!

Erika Simpson Ontario Power Generation TourProfessor Erika Simpson - Tour's Ontario Power Generation’s Low and Intermediate Nuclear facility and Used Fuel Processing and Storage Buildings

Professor Simpson was invited to tour Ontario Power Generation’s Low and Intermediate Nuclear facility and Used Fuel Processing and Storage Buildings, visiting the Low and Intermediate Nuclear Waste Facility and the proposed site for the Deep Geologic Repository (DGR). Professor Simpson was able to see the waste volume reduction building, control room, yard storage, used fuel processing and storage buildings, accompanied on the tour by Fred Kuntz, Manager, Corporate Relations and Communications – Bruce County, Ontario Power Generation (OPG); Lynda Cain, Senior Communications Advisor, OPG; and DGR Project Manager Donna Pawlowski, all of whom provided expert input on the tour. NWMO geoscientist Dylan Luhowy also delivered a briefing in the DGR Core Samples Storage Facility. (Photo credit Ontario Power Generation).

Professor Don Abelson - Named Director, Mulroney Institute of Government at St. Francis Xavier University

Professor Don AbelsonProfessor Abelson has been appointed the founding Director of the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government, and the inaugural ECN Capital Chair in Canada-U.S. Relations at St. Francis Xavier University.

A specialist in Canadian-American relations, U.S. politics and U.S. foreign policy, Dr. Abelson brings over two decades of extensive scholarly and research experience to the position, particularly around the role of think tanks and their efforts to influence public opinion and public policy.

Abelson has been with Western for the past 25 years, and served as Professor and chair, Department of Political Science, Director of the Centre for American Studies and Director of the Canada-US Institute.  Don will be missed, however we wish him the best of luck as he embraces this exciting opportunity! Congratulations!

Professor Christopher Alcantara - New SSHRC Insight Grant 

Congratulations to Professor Alcantara (co-applicant), who has been awarded a SSHRC Insight Grant totalling $371,300.  The title of their project is: "Water Servicing Agreements between First Nations and Municipalities in Ontario" and the rest of the research team includes PI Brady Deaton (Economics, University of Guelph)  and co-applicant Sheri Longboat (Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph). 

"We aim to explore the potential for water sharing among First Nations and municipalities in Ontario, and assess the potential for water sharing as a solution in the portfolio of solutions needed to address drinking water issues on reserves. To the extent that it is not a likely solution, we want to better understand why this is the case. We aim to quantitatively identify the potential scope for water sharing between First Nations and municipalities in the province, as well as factors that influence communities – both First Nation and municipal – to choose to engage, or not engage, in these exchanges. We also aim to explore through qualitative case study analyses community openness to, and attitudes regarding, water sharing and inter-local cooperation in specific contexts. Each case explored will be a community in proximity to a potential municipal water sharing partner, that has also had – or is currently experiencing – water quality challenges." 

Carleton Model NATO 2018 - Award Recipients

February 22-25, a group of Western University Political Science students attended this years Carleton University Model NATO Conference in Ottawa. This unique four-day conference/simulation brings together over 100 students from across Canada to debate the most pressing transatlantic and international security issues. The core of the event is an intensive and immersive two-day simulation of NATO decision-making and crisis management.  Well done to all who attended and congratulations to the following award winners:

  • Military Committee, Honourable Mention: Jaya Scott, United -States of America, (Western University)
  • Committee on Proliferation, Best Position Paper: Trisha Kershaw, Portugal (Western University
  • Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Best Delegate: Jaquelin Coulson, Czech Republic (Western University
  • Civilian Emergency Protection Committee, Honourable Mention: Sarah Wyatt, United States of America (Western University)

Professor Laura Stephenson - Promoted to Full Professor

Professor Laura StephensonThe department is pleased to announce the promotion of Professor Stephenson to Full Professor, effective 1 July 2018.  Dr. Stephenson is a leading scholar of political behaviour, elections and electoral systems, Canadian politics, and Comparative Politics.  She has published co-edited and co-authored books as well as over 38 journal articles and book chapters. She is one of the investigators of the 2019 Canadian Election Study and has served as Undergraduate Chair of our department and Program Coordinator of the annual Canadian Political Science Association conference, among many other important service roles to the university and the discipline. Congratulations Dr. Stephenson!

Shereen Graeme TA Award Winners 2018

2018 Political Science TA Award Recipients - Arcis and Cannon 

Congratulations to Shereen Arcis and Graeme Cannon, Political Science MA Students and recipients of the 2018 TA Awards. 

Each year, SOGS recognizes the efforts of our extraordinary TAs who dedicate themselves to teaching and the educational experience of students at Western University with the Graduate Student Teaching Assistant (GSTA) Awards. Awards of $500 are presented annually to graduate students, divided equally across the divisions of the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS). Award recipients are selected by the GSTA Committee based on the results of standard evaluations and written comments provided by nominees’ students. Since 2005, the nomination and evaluation process is completed entirely online. The awards are sponsored by the Society of Graduate Students, PSAC 610 (the Graduate Teaching Assistants’ Union), and the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS). Well done!

Professor Zack Taylor - Joins CBC Ontario Election Panel

Professor Taylor joined King’s University College’s Jacquetta Newman and Fanshawe College’s Matt Farrell on CBC Radio London’s weekly morning election analysis panel to discuss what the results mean for london

To listen to the post election panel, visit CBC London Morning.

Professor Rob Jonasson - Western Gazette Article

Professor Jonasson shares why provincial politics should matter to students in this Western Gazette article. With the 2018 provincial election, student political engagement has been dismal in comparison to 2015. Professor Robert Jonasson says that “most people, including students, tend to vote more on average across Canada for federal elections."

Drs. Jerald Sabin and Ian Kalman - New Appointments

Two postdoctoral fellows in the Department of Political Science at Western University have accepted faculty positions in Canada and Vietnam.

Dr. Jerald Sabin has accepted a tenure-track position at Bishop's University and Dr. Ian Kalman will join Fulbright University Vietnam, starting July 1.  Both had been working with Dr. Christopher Alcantara on a variety of projects relating to Indigenous-settler relations in Canada.

Dr. Alcantara's previous SSHRC post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Michael Morden, took a job at the Mowat Centre and is now research director at Samara Canada. Congratulations to Jerry and Ian as they move on to the next stage of their academic careers!

Professor Zack Taylor - Weighs In On American Metropolitan Governance  

Professor Taylor published a commentary in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on May 23 about proposed reforms to the structure of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council, the United States’ largest regional planning and service delivery agency, and the only one that is appointed by the state governor. He argues that partisan debates over accountability are missing the point because they ignore the historical choices that led to its creation in the 1960s. The Twin Cities Metropolitan Council features prominently in Professor Taylor’s forthcoming book, which is a comparative historical study of metropolitan governance and planning in the United States and Canada.

Professor Marta Dyczok - Toronto Panel Moderator

Professor Dyczok moderated a panel featuring Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilyev this past week meeting with the community in Toronto, commemorating Stalin's 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars, talking about the current human rights situation in Crimea, with Ukraine's Ambassador to Canada Andriy Shevchenko, head of Ukrainian Canadian Congress Paul Grod, head of Crimean Tatar Association of Canada Rustem Irsay. Thank you Ihor Michalchyshyn, and to Elvira Saale for the photo.

Professor David Armstrong - Named Canada Research Chair (Tier II)

Professor Armstrong’s work will provide a set of statistical tools enabling researchers to better test theories about the causes and consequences of political phenomena.

The ‘big data’ is driving development of more and more flexible techniques to analyze large data files. One of the biggest questions for researchers is: How does what we learn from these new methods relate to what we have learned through other methods in the last 75 years of data collection and analysis?

Armstrong’s research has broad implications across the medical, natural and social sciences. There are many fields where experiments (the gold standard of understanding causality) are not possible. These new methods will allow researchers to make more causal statements with observational (non-experimental) data.

In a ‘big data’ world, the importance of theory is diminished in favour of sophisticated software that can uncover the important factors relating causes to consequences in a flexible way. The focus is not on a test, but on trying to predict the political outcome of interest.

Armstrong’s research is aimed at integrating these two approaches. His work merges the flexibility of methods for discovering relationships in big data with more conventional methods, allowing for a much deeper and more nuanced understanding of how political phenomena work.

Professors Charles Jones and Richard Vernon - New Book

Professors Jones and Vernon have written a new book titled Patriotism. "Jones and Vernon’s Patriotism is simply the best available introduction to the tangled questions about citizenship and belonging that roil contemporary political theory. They write with unfailing grace and clarity, their command of the relevant scholarship is peerless, and they are scrupulously fair to rival viewpoints. They deserve a very wide readership." - Eamonn Callan, Stanford University. 

Department of Political Science Professors Recognized

Congratulations to our Political Science Department Professors awarded the 2016-2017 USC Teaching Honour Roll Award of Excellence!

  • Dan Bousfield
  • Nandita Biswas Mellamphy
  • Caroline Dick
  • Radoslav Dimitrov
  • Zachary Taylor
  • Andrés Pérez
  • Joanna Quinn
  • Richard Vernon

Faculty members are awarded based on teaching evaluations from all of the classes a faculty member has taught in the previous academic year, including intersession but excluding distance studies courses, are included, whose total average scores meet or exceed 6.3 will be listed in the Honour Roll.

Professor Joanna Quinn - Global Congress of the Scholars at Risk Network

Professor Quinn is in Berlin, Germany to attend the Global Congress of the Scholars at Risk Network. Scholars at Risk is an international network of institutions and individuals whose mission it is to protect scholars and promote academic freedom. By arranging temporary academic positions at member universities and colleges, Scholars at Risk offers safety to scholars facing grave threats, so scholars’ ideas are not lost and they can keep working until conditions improve and they are able to return to their home countries. See www.scholarsatrisk.org for more information.

Professor Zack Taylor - Ontario 360 project Contribution

Working with Dr. Gabriel Eidelman of the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance, Professor Taylor is one of 30 contributors to the Ontario 360 project, an evidence-based, nonpartisan scan of Ontario’s challenges and opportunities in the context of the June 2018 provincial election. Their transition briefing on Municipal Affairs recommends the appointment of a new ‘Who Does What’ panel to study the provincial-municipal relationship with the aim of clarifying political accountability and improving local public service quality.

Professor Nandita Biswas Mellamphy - Presentation

Professor Biswas Mellamphy, presented "Hacking the Data Body" at the Inaugural Workshop of The Posthumanism Research Network (PRN) at Brock University.  The institute seeks to investigate the status and limits of the “human” in an era in which multiple crises — global warming, superintelligent computers, genetic engineering, and massive species extinction, to name but a few — mark the precariousness of exclusively human-centred practice and thought.  The keynote address of this Workshop by Dr. William Brown from  the University of Roehampton on “Expressions and Images of the Post-human in Current Cinema, Propaganda and Politics” is based in part on works of Professor Biswas Mellamphy and other scholars.

Professor  Marta Dyzcok – New Publication

Professor Dyczok contributes a chapter on Ukraine in a new publication by the Soviet and Post-Soveit Politics and Society (SSPS)'s Mass Media in the Post-Soviet World edited by Marlene Laruelle and Peter Rollberg. This collection covers the major trends of the media environment of the post-Communist world and their recent development, with special focus on Russia and the post-Soviet space. More details here.

Professor Zack Taylor – Panel Discussion Participation

On March 27, Professor Zack Taylor will participate in a panel discussion on “Legacies of the Megacity: Toronto’s Amalgamation 20 Years Later” organized by the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs. Prof. Taylor will be joined by Shirley Hoy, former City Manager, City of Toronto; John Matheson, former Chief of Staff to Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing; and Alexandra Flynn, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto. 

Professor Christopher Alcantara – Western News Article

Professor Alcantara said going negative in an election has no effect in winning over voters and, in fact, has a negative effect on the attacker’s own campaign. In the Western News Article "Attack Ads Become a Double Negative," he says going positive, finding star candidates to drop into specific ridings and getting the all-important endorsement, can push a party across the finish line. 

Professor Zack Taylor - University of Manitoba Lecture

On March 5, Professor Taylor will give an invited Food For Thought lecture at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Architecture and City Planning Program on resilience thinking in urban planning practice. While in Winnipeg, he will also meet with the Partnership of the Manitoba Capital Region to talk about what the region can learn from international experience with different models of metropolitan governance.

Professor Radoslav Dimitrov – Redesigning EU

Professor Dimitrov is helping redesign the European Union’s negotiating strategy in international climate negotiations in Brussels, Belgium and Sofia, Bulgaria. He made a presentation to the EU Commission and the EU climate diplomacy team and proposed a 10-point strategy in political communication. The EU accepted the proposal and established a formal group to implement his ideas.

Professor Don Abelson - Presentations

Over Reading Week, Professor Abelson traveled to London, UK giving a number of presentations on Think Tanks:

“Think Tanks and the Trump Presidency.” Presentation to the Policy Research and Think-Tanks Research Seminar, University of Bath (London campus), London, UK, February 16, 2018.

“How to Measure the Impact of Think Tanks.” Presentation to the OTT (On Think Tanks) Conference, London, UK, February 15, 2018.

 “Think Tanks, Expertise and the Crisis of the Liberal Order in the Trump Era.” Presentation to the Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS), City University London (CUL), February 15, 2018.

City of Sarnia and Local Government Program Partnership

Local Government students are working to solve pressing policy and administrative challenges with the City of Sarnia.  Policies include cannabis control, updating the local noise bylaw, and a communications plan for telephone and Internet voting; 17 graduate students in the London university’s Local Government Program are tackling how to make them work.  Having another set of eyes is going to free up time for city staff, said Sarnia Deputy Clerk James Jenkins, and potentially give city officials different perspectives to consider. 

Dr. Jerald Sabin - New Publication 

Dr. Jerald Sabin, SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellow in Political Science at Western, has co-authored a new paper with Dr. Andrea Olive in PS: Political Science & Politics 51 (1): 183-189, entitled "Slack: Adopting Social-Networking Platforms for Active Learning." 

According to the abstract: "Online learning in postsecondary institutions has increased dramatically across the United States and Canada. Although research demonstrates the benefits of online learning for student success, instructors face challenges in facilitating communication, delivering course content, and navigating outdated and cumbersome technologies. The authors examine the use of a free third-party platform called Slack as a tool to facilitate better communication among students and faculty, enable the delivery of diverse and dynamic course content, and reach students in an online course that supports both independent and collaborative learning. The authors present a case study of Slack’s use in an online second-year environmental politics course taught at a large Canadian public university. There is a significant and growing literature on how to best engage students in online learning, including active and social learning models as promising approaches to digital teaching. The authors argue that using collaborative social technologies such as Slack—which both replicates and integrates the online and social-media environments that students already inhabit—can assist faculty in meeting their pedagogical goals online. The article documents the instructors’ experience in managing discussion and involving students in their online learning through active learning exercises. Best practices are examined." 

Professor Salim Mansur - New Book

Professor Mansur has written a new book titled The Qur'an Problem and Islamism: Reflections of a Dissident Muslim.  This book is about religion and politics, about Muslims and Islam, and the internal debate within the world of Islam about Islamic reform and what it entails. Mansur discusses the difference between Islam, as a world religion within the Abrahamic tradition of monotheism, and Islamism, as a political ideology and a theology of jihad, and how historically Islam as a religion was turned into the ideology of Islamism, or political Islam. The sacred text of Islam is the Qur’an, and the challenge of any text lies in how it is read, understood, and practiced.

Kenny Ie - Dissertation Defense

Kenny Ie successfully completed his PhD, "Prime Ministers and Public Expectations: A Study of Institutional Change”, supervised by Professor Cris de Clercy. Congratulations Kenny!

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Professor Zack Taylor – Speaking on Toronto City Charter Panel

Over the last year, a series of controversial provincial decisions affecting Toronto's Council size, budget, and transit system offer a reminder of the power that provinces have over municipalities in this country. As a result, an old debate has emerged about whether the City of Toronto should have more power and autonomy over its own affairs. As part of this debate, some have proposed that Toronto should pursue a “city charter” that gives it specific powers, roles, and responsibilities that cannot be changed by higher orders of government. Professor Taylor will join Professor Patricia Wood (York), Prof. Kristin Good (Dalhousie), and Bruce Ryder (Osgoode Hall Law School) in a public discussion on Charting a New Path: Does Toronto Need a City Charter, sponsored by the Urban Land Institute in partnership with the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. The event will be held in the auditorium of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, University of Toronto, 1 Spadina Crescent, 5-7pm, Thursday, November 28, 2019. For more information, or to register to attend the panel discussion, visit this link.

Ph.D. Student Sarah Nimigan - New Journal Piece

Ph.D. student Sarah Nimigan has published a new piece in the Journal of International Criminal Justice, entitled “The Malabo Protocol, the ICC, and the Idea of ‘Regional Complementarity’."  A preview of the article is available  here.

Professor Christopher Alcantara - New Publication

Professor Alcantara  has co-authored a new article in the journal, Political Behavior (impact factor 2.531), entitled:   "Do Constraints Limit Opportunism? Incumbent Electoral Performance Before and After (Partially) Fixed Election Dates." The paper investigates whether incumbent parties benefit from controlling the election timing power. According to the abstract:

"Over the last two decades, a number of Westminster parliamentary countries have adopted fixed or partially fixed election dates in response to growing public concerns about the ability of First Ministers to unfairly manipulate the timing of elections. Do First Ministers and their political parties gain an electoral advantage by controlling the timing of elections? Does that advantage disappear after the introduction of legislation constraining opportunistic election timing? We address these questions by analyzing and comparing 37 years of election results in eight Canadian provinces prior and subsequent to the passage of election timing legislation. Our evidence suggests that critics of the election timing power may be justified in calling for limits to this discretionary power." 

Professor Adam Harmes - New Book

Professor Harmes  has published a new book entitled   The Politics of Fiscal Federalism: Neoliberalism versus Social Democracy in Multilevel Governance  (McGill-Queen’s University Press). In this comprehensive account of the left-right politics of multilevel governance across federal, regional, and global levels, Harmes identifies both free-market and interventionist political projects related to fiscal federalism. He argues that these projects, and the interests that promote them, explain a diverse range of phenomena across national contexts, levels of governance, and over time. This includes the free-market origins of British euroscepticism and the Brexit vote, the complex politics behind the NAFTA renegotiations, the emergence of both populist and progressive challenges to global free trade, and the left-right dynamics of US and Canadian federalism.

Professor Zack Taylor – Leading Two New Funded Research Projects

Professor Taylor  is investigator of two new multi-year collaborative research projects funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council: The City in Canadian Political Development and Canada’s Implicit Urban Policy.

The first, in partnership with Jack Lucas (University of Calgary), The City in Canadian Political Development  project will investigate a gap in our understanding of Canadian politics: how the country’s transformation from an agrarian society in 1867 to a highly urbanized one today shaped political representation, conflict, and policy agendas. This five-year project will construct original datasets to analyze the effects of urban and suburban expansion on the long-term development since Confederation of five dimensions of Canadian federal politics—urban, suburban, and rural representation in the House of Commons; government and opposition caucuses, and cabinets; political parties and the party system; and public policy attention as articulated in Throne Speeches—and then theorize and explain these effects. Long-term patterns and episodes of change in urban representation and attention will be explained using in-depth qualitative research. This mixed-methods approach will produce a new account of how urban places and people have shaped Canadian political development. Taylor and Lucas are the project’s co-principal investigators with Western Political Science’s Professor Dave Armstrong acting in a collaborator role. The $95,727 SSHRC Insight Grant will fund training and research by graduate student researchers at Western and the University of Calgary.

The second project, in partnership with Neil Bradford (Huron University College) and Alison Smith (University of Toronto) is entitled Canada’s Implicit Urban Policy Unlike some countries that have official urban policies, Canada has multiple federal-provincial-municipal relationships that span diverse policy areas, from housing to transportation to economic development. These add up to an implicit urban policy. Through detailed case studies of different policy initiatives in large, medium, and small cities across the country, Taylor, Bradford, and Smith will examine how multi-level urban governance “hits the ground” in order to understand how participants perceive roles, goals, and relationships, and learn through collaboration. The project will advance theories of public policy and multi-level governance, while also benefiting policy communities by expanding our knowledge of governance in practice. This three-year, $62,542 project is funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant and will support skills development and research by graduate and undergraduate students at Western, Huron, and the University of Toronto. Students interested in working on these projects are invited to contact   Professor Taylor.

Professor Laura Stephenson – Democracy Project Heads SSHRC Recipients

Professor Stephenson heads a new Western-led partnership that aims to take the pulse of Canadian democracy and improve the health of electoral participation, newly awarded $2.5 million from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Beset by political misinformation, disinformation, populism and polarization, democracy faces some of its biggest challenges in a generation. Now, a new Western-led partnership aims to take the pulse of Canadian democracy and improve the health of electoral participation.

The Consortium on Electoral Democracy/Consortium de la démocratie électorale (C-dem) is a nationwide research network addressing issues central to a robust nation – political engagement, representation, public opinion, electoral behaviour and systems, electioneering and factors that shape and make policy.

The grant is the largest among the 97 Western projects and research areas which will collectively receive $8.4 million in SSHRC grants as part of a $285-million funding announcement made Wednesday by Federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan.

Professor Zachary Taylor – Featured on Electric Cities Podcast

Professor Taylor joined host Jeremy Warson to discuss Toronto governance and politics on the Urban Land Institute’s  Electric Cities podcast. Drawing on his new book, Shaping the Metropolis, Professor Taylor explored the potential for greater municipal autonomy, arguing that Canadian advocates of big-city charters should be careful what they wish for and be clearer about what problem they are trying to solve. Founded in 1936, the Urban Land Institute is a global non-profit association of land-use professionals.

Political Science Welcomes New Faculty Member Elizabeth Finneron-Burns

Finneron-Burns HeadshotElizabeth Finneron-Burns  is joining the Department of Political Science as an Assistant Professor.

Finneron-Burns has a PhD from Oxford University, and researches obligations to future generations, and how we make decisions related to these concerns.

“It's obvious that many of the policy decisions we make will affect the quality of life future people will enjoy. Take climate change for example. If we fail to mitigate, the people who will live in the future will suffer tremendously,” said Finneron-Burns. “On the other hand, if we take the appropriate steps to stop/slow warming, people in future will probably live very good lives.” 

Finneron-Burns takes these considerations a step further, and looks at how our responses to concerns may impact how many people, and who, may even exist in the future.

“Taking climate change as an example again, the lifestyle changes we make in order to mitigate (e.g. driving less, traveling less, being vegetarian) will likely affect who we meet as potential partners, when we choose to have children, and how many children we choose to have,” said Finneron-Burns. “Some people who would have existed if we didn't mitigate climate change will never exist if we do mitigate. My research looks at how the fact that our decisions affect not only how good a life future people have but also their very existence and numbers changes what our duties to them are.”

While considering the impacts on future generations, Finneron-Burns is also interested in the question of human extinction, which she examined in a journal article, "What's Wrong with Human Extinction?" published in the Canadian Journal of Philosophy. In the article, Finneron-Burns examines the moral and contractual obligations people have to prevent human extinction. 

In coming to Western, Finneron-Burns returns to Ontario, where she completed her undergraduate degree, and where she served for several years as a policy advisor for the government of Ontario.

"I'm very excited! I'm looking forward to working with some of Canada's best students and political scientists,” said Finneron-Burns, on coming to Western. “Though as a Queen's grad, I will probably struggle with my loyalties at football games!”

Professor Marta Dyczok - Presentation

On May 28, Professor Dyczok  delivered an invited lecture at the University of Victoria titled, ‘Infotainment on Steroids: How and Actor Won a Presidential Landslide without Campaigning’ about the Ukrainian presidential election.

Thomas E. Randall - Dissertation

Thomas Randall successfully completed his PhD, "Frontiers of Care”, supervised by Professors Richard Vernon and Charles Jones. Congratulations Tom!

Professor Radoslav Dimitrov - Western News: Unlocking Freedom That Engages Students

Western will host the Times Higher Education (THE) Teaching Excellence Summit June 4-6, the first time the event has been hosted in Canada. It will be dedicated to discussing teaching, celebrating achievement and exploring how to advance the practice towards greater success. Attendees will include higher education leaders, innovators, investors and government policy-makers from around the world.

Professor Dimitrovs is one of a series of stories highlighting teaching excellence at Western. Dimitrov emphasizes it’s key to continuously improve our methods of teaching because “we live in difficult times where the stakes are high” and young people sometimes feel disconnected from the political and social developments that are shaping their lives.

“Finding an effective way to get them deeply and genuinely involved in issues is important. We need this younger generation to participate fully in our lives,” he said. “This is why it is tremendously gratifying to find methods of teaching that succeeds in making the students truly involved and deeply excited. It is also gratifying to see them develop transferable skills they can use in various professions.” 

Professor Joanna Quinn - New Publication

Professor Quinn has published a new paper entitled “Diaspora influence on the thin sympathetic response in transitional justice,” which examines how the Haitian diaspora community in Montreal influenced the Canadian agency, Rights and Democracy, to support the Haitian truth commission.

Professor Christopher Alcantara - New Publication

Professor Alcantara has published a new paper entitled "Diversifying Methodologies: A Haudenosaunee/Settler Approach for Measuring Indigenous-Local Intergovernmental Success" in the Canadian Journal of Political Science Vol. 52 Issue 1, (2019) pages 21-38. The paper, published with former postdoctoral fellow Ian Kalman (Fulbright University Vietnam), proposes a unique approach to studying Indigenous - settler political relationships. It suggests that students and scholars should consider applying Indigenous and non-Indigenous frameworks concurrently (e.g. in parallel) when analyzing the dynamics and outcomes of Indigenous-settler partnerships. The result is a richer and more accurate assessment that should be more useful to academics and policymakers alike.

Professor Marta Dyczok - Presentations

Professor Dyczok was invited to appear before the  Canadian Senate Committee on Global Affairs and International Trade  on May 9 to  speak  about the recent Presidential Elections in Ukraine.  Professor Dyczok spoke at Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto on May 7, on the panel, "What Does the Election of Volodymyr Zelensky Mean For Ukraine,” an event co-organized by The Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine and the Center for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies.  Other panelists included Professor Oleksandr Fisun (Karazin Kharkiv National University), Professor Anna Shternshis (University of Toronto), and Professor Lucan Way (University of Toronto).  Photo by Larysa Iarovenko (CERES Administrator).

Professor Christopher Alcantara - New Publication

Professor Alcantara has published a new paper entitled "Indigenous Multilevel Governance and Power Relations" in the journal, Territory, Politics, Governance Vol. 7 Issue 2, (2019) pages 250-264 (2017 journal impact factor 2.023). The paper, published with former SSHRC postdoctoral fellow Michael Morden (now Research Director at Samara), examines the concept of multilevel governance as it relates to Indigenous politics in settler countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. Using impact and benefit agreements in Canada as a case study, it explores the importance of power relations in shaping the kinds of multilevel governance processes that have emerged in these countries. Download a free copy   here  (first 50 downloads are free).

Political Science Welcomes New Chair Matthew Lebo

This coming August, we will welcome Matthew Lebo as a professor and as the new Department chair.

Lebo is currently chair of the Department of Political Science and Director of the Center for Behavioral Political Economy at Stony Brook University in New York.

Lebo researches politics and political parties in the United States and the United Kingdom. Much of his research has focused on how politicians and political parties structure and coordinate choices to win legislative battles and win elections, making trade-offs between electoral and legislative decisions. He is also interested in elections and election cycles.  

His book on the state of party politics in the   United States, Strategic Party Government: Why Winning Trumps Ideology, written with Greg Koger, was published in 2017.  

He also has interests in political methodology, researching the tools used to study political data over time, and developing new tools for time-series analysis.

“This is a great opportunity for the department,” said  Bob Andersen, Dean of the Faculty of Social Science. “Matt is an exceptional scholar and a proven administrator.”

Lebo has published many articles in the top political science journals, including in the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, and The Journal of Politics.

Lebo sees the chair position as “a great opportunity to advance the Department of Political Science at Western, work with new colleagues and develop new programs.”  

Lebo foresees that meeting the needs of students will be among the most important undertakings of the department in the near future.

“Political Science is a hot topic with growing interest from undergrads and graduate students who are want to learn skills that make for valuable degrees,” said Lebo. “So meeting the demands of students is a challenge and finding the right tools to send people out in the world with a degree in political science is a something you always have to adapt to.”  

In coming to Western, Lebo returns to his roots, as he originally started his undergraduate studies at Western, and then completed his BA and MA at the University of Toronto. He completed his PhD at the University of North Texas.

“Western is an incredible university and where I got my start in Political Science,” said Lebo. “The social sciences are strong and getting stronger. It’s an exciting time to be joining the faculty in a leadership role.”

Professor Zack Taylor – New Book

Professor Taylor is pleased to announce the publication of his new book, Shaping the Metropolis: Institutions and Urbanization in the United States and Canada (McGill-Queen’s University Press). In the book, he compares the historical development of American and Canadian urban governance, both at the national level and through specific metropolitan case studies. Examining Minneapolis-St Paul and Portland, Oregon, in the United States, and Toronto and Vancouver in Canada, Taylor shows how differences in the structure of governing institutions in American states and Canadian provinces cumulatively produced different forms of urban governance. Arguing that since the nineteenth century American state governments have responded less effectively to rapid urban growth than Canadian provinces, he shows that the concentration of authority in Canadian provincial governments enabled the rapid adoption of coherent urban policies after the Second World War, while dispersed authority in American state governments fostered indecision and catered to parochial interests. 

He will discuss the book at two upcoming events: On May 23, he will give a public lecture entitled  “Who Runs Toronto? Provincial Control or More Autonomy for Toronto?”  at the Toronto Public Library (6:30pm, Runnymede branch). On June 5, 2019, he will talk about the book at a  lunchtime roundtable  at the annual meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association in Vancouver.

Professor Zack Taylor – Mexico City Metropolitan Governance Workshop

On April 24, Professor Taylor is participating in a multinational workshop on the construction of metropolitan governance institutions. Funded by the United Kingdom Global Challenges Research Fund, the workshop is organized by the University of Manchester with participation from scholars and practitioners from the UK, Mexico, Brazil. Professor Taylor will present on the complexity of designing and modelling the function of metropolitan institutions.

Professor Marta Dyczok - Presentation

Professor Dyczok presented a paper on Ukraine’s Media After the Euromaidan at the International Symposium, “Assessing the Euromaidan of 2014 Five Years Later,” Penn State University, April 11. 

Professor Zack Taylor – Presentations on Municipal Governance Reform in Ontario

It’s a busy time on the municipal beat in Ontario! On April 9, Professor Taylor will present on “How We Got Here: Local Government Reform in Ontario Since 1945” at the University of Toronto’s Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance. He will discuss how and why the provincial government undertook prior rounds of municipal restructuring in the context of the Ford government’s announcement that it is reviewing governance and responsibilities of Ontario’s eight regional municipalities (Durham, Halton, Muskoka District, Niagara, Oxford County, Peel, Waterloo, York), Simcoe County, and their lower-tier municipalities. Relatedly, Professor Taylor and the University of Toronto Urban Policy Lab’s Gabriel Eidelman will also discuss the provincial-municipal relationship in a session at the 2019 Municipal Leaders Forum of the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario on March 29, 2019. Earlier this year, Professor Taylor also spoke on a panel at Ryerson University on “Rethinking City Governance: How Much Control Should the Province Have Over Our Cities?” with former Ontario cabinet minister Sean Conway, former federal cabinet minister Peter van Loan, Toronto city councillor Kristyn Wong Tam, and Toronto Star columnist Royson James.

Professor Rado Dimitrov - Wins 2019 Western Green Award

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Rado Dimitrov  is a recipient of the 2019 Western Green Award, presented by Western's Office of Sustainability. Dr. Dimitrov is being recognized for his contributions to raising campus awareness of climate change and sharing his first-hand accounts of UN Climate conferences. Congratulations, Rado!

Professor Marta Dyczok - Presentation

Friday, March 8, Professor Dyczok spoke at a Panel, “Voice of War,” at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto, ahead of the performance of a play about Ukraine and war. The other speakers were Professor Frank Sysyn and Dmytro Lavrenchuk. The play was written and performed by Lianna Makuch.  Read the Toronto Star review   here

Nigmendra Narain - Awarded USC Teaching Award

Congratulations to Nigmendra Narain for being one of only four winners -- university-wide-- of the 2018-19 University Students' Council and Western Alumni Association Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. This is not Nig's first award for teaching excellence: he is a past winner of the University's Angela Armitt Award. Nig's teaching covers a wide range of fields, including international relations, but he is widely known for his many years of co-teaching and co-ordinating Politics 1020E, our introductory course in political science. Well done and well deserved, Nig!

Professor Laura Stephenson - 2019 Faculty Scholars Award

Dr. Stephenson has been awarded a prestigious 2019 Faculty Scholars Award  by the University of Western Ontario.  Dr. Stephenson, a leading scholar of voting behaviour and electoral systems, recently received a SSHRC grant to head up a team of top scholars to oversee the Canadian Election Study.  This award recognizes her impressive scholarly and teaching achievements thus far and will help her continue her groundbreaking work on electoral systems, partisanship, and strategic voting. Congratulations!

According to Western's Office of the President, "Established in 2005, the Faculty Scholars Award recognizes significant recent scholarly achievements in teaching or research. Nominated by faculty deans and selected by the Faculty Selection committee chaired by the Provost, the recipients have an international presence in their discipline and are considered all-round scholars. Winners hold the title “Faculty Scholar” for two years and receive $7,000 each year for scholarly activities, as well as receiving a citation." 

PhD Candidate Nicole McMahon - New Publication

PhD Candidate Nicole McMahon has published a new paper entitled " Running for elected office: Indigenous candidates, ambition and self-government" in the journal, Politics, Groups, and Identities. Co-authored with   Dr. Christopher Alcantara, the paper explores the motivations behind Indigenous candidates running for office in Nunatsiavut, Labrador, a self-governing region. Their findings explore the extent to which existing theories of political ambition, built mainly to explain non-Indigenous candidates, apply to Indigenous ones. Congratulations Nicole!

Professor Mathieu Turgeon - Understanding the Impact of Misinformation Article

Professor Turgeon's next project examines the role of misinformation and political polarization, specifically knowledge shared through social media. Turgeon is particularly interested in how behaviours changed based on increased knowledge of the law. “Turnout is generally pretty low in democracies,” said Turgeon, “and compulsory voting is the best institutional arrangement to make people vote because most people tend to comply with the law.” Lack of political knowledge will play a large part in Turgeon’s next project as well. Turgeon recently received a grant from Facebook to examine the role of misinformation and political polarization. Turgeon will focus on WhatsApp, a messaging app that is very popular in Brazil, and which was heavily used in the 2018 Brazilian presidential election to share political information. The app, which is owned by Facebook, has more than 100 million users in Brazil.

Turgeon HeadshotProfessor Mathieu Turgeon - New Professor in Political Science

We are pleased to announce the arrival of our newest faculty member, Dr. Mathieu Turgeon. Mathieu is an expert on political behaviour, political psychology, and statistical and survey methodology. A true comparativist, his work has been published in four languages – English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish – and covers Latin America, France, Brazil, the United States, and Canada. He is the recipient of numerous significant research grants on voting behaviour, political attitudes, and electoral accountability. His current research includes a project entitled "Misinformation, Self-Interest and Cognitive Style". Welcome, Mathieu!

Professor Nigmendra Narain - Judge for Western's Got Talent

Western's Got Talent will be hosting their annual talent show on January 25th at 6:30 PM in the Mustang Lounge.  This event showcases Western talent where particiapants get to decide the winner that will take home a prize of $500. Tickets can be purchased for $10 thanks to the generous donations from Amazon and Dance Steps. All show proceeds will be donated to Doctors Without Borders.  Professor Narain  has been named as one of the judges and reveals some of his hidden talents on this videoHope to see you there to support your fellow Mustangs!

Alcantara HeadshotProfessor Christopher Alcantara - Promoted to Full Professor

The Department of Political Science is very pleased to announce that our esteemed colleague, Professor Alcantara, has been promoted to the rank of Professor, effective July 1, 2019. Dr. Alcantara is a well-known expert in multilevel governance, intergovernmental cooperation, Indigenous governance, institutional design and public policy. Dr. Alcantara has a very long and impressive list of publications, including multiple books and articles in a wide variety of journals. His many publications show his remarkable dexterity as a researcher, incorporating many different research approaches and methodologies into his numerous projects. Dr. Alcantara is also a well-respected teacher and supervisor. His promotion is a testament to his research prowess and status in the discipline. Congratulations Chris!

Professor Laura Stephenson - University of Calgary Talk

Professor Stephenson  will present “Rethinking Strategic Voting” in the Political Science Speakers Series at the University of Calgary on Friday, January 25. Based on a co-authored chapter in a recent book, her talk will outline a new conceptualization of strategic voting, focusing on not only individual preferences and expectations but also the various outcomes that voters may seek to influence in different institutional contexts.

Professor Zack Taylor - Article Published on Political Polarization in Ontario in Inroads Magazine

In a recent article in I nroads: The Canadian Journal of Opinion  called “Ontario’s ‘Places That Don’t Matter’ Send a Message: The Fault Lines Dividing the Province are Getting Deeper”, Professor Taylor  argues that the long-term changes in Ontario’s economy are driving political polarization on rural, small urban, and metropolitan lines. Geographer Andrés Rodríguez-Pose recently argued that progressive elites have erred by focusing on growing income inequality (the expanding divide between rich and poor people) while ignoring territorial inequality (the expanding divide between successful and declining places). Populists has been most successful in subnational regions that are the casualties of globalization: rural and old industrial regions that have experienced sustained job loss and decline relative to high-growth metropolises where the high-value-added service economy is concentrated. In his article, Professor Taylor makes the case that this is what has occurred in Ontario, and that a retreat from polarization is unlikely given current trends and incentives.

Professor Zack Taylor - Receives Grant to Digitize Historical Census

The Faculty of Social Science has awarded a Faculty Research Development Fund grant to Professor Taylor, who will use it to digitize neighbourhood-scale data from the 1951, 1956, 1961, and 1966 Canadian Census.  Currently, no census tract-level data have been digitized prior to the 1971 Census year. Making these data available to researchers will make it possible to study in new ways the historical development of, and change in, international and domestic migration, urban settlement patterns, inter-group relations, economic change, and political representation. He will hire and train two graduate students to perform the work over the summer, after which the information will be made publicly available through the ScholarsGeoPortal.

Professor Joanna Quinn - 3 Minute Thesis Presentation

Professor Quinn represented the Faculty of Social Science at the 3 Minute Thesis 2019 Challenge Celebration Kick-Off on January 8 hosted by the Western University School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Graduate students were invited to watch Professors take on the 3MT challenge, discover a passion for creating their own 3MT, and to experience the exciting research happening across campus. 3MT is a research communication opportunity where graduate students have three minutes to present their research and its impact to an audience of non-specialists. One slide, three minutes! Watch the presentation here.

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Professor Alcantara - 2020 Best Books list

Dr. Christopher Alcantara's two books have been included in The Hill Times' List of 100 Best Books in 2020. The two books are: Jason Roy and Christopher Alcantara. Winning and Keeping Power in Canadian Politics. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press) and Gary Wilson, Christopher Alcantara, and Thierry Rodon. Nested Federalism and Inuit Governance in the Canadian Arctic. (Vancouver: UBC Press). This list is "compiled by editor Kate Malloy, and based on Canada’s non-fiction bestsellers’ lists in 2020, publishers, the Writers Trust, book reviews, and opinions. The list is always offered in alphabetical order." Congratulations, Professor Alcantara!

PhD Candidates Caplan and McMahon - New Publication

Senior PhD students Michelle Caplan and Nicole McMahon have co-authored a new paper with Professor Christopher Alcantara entitled, "Representing the Constituency: Institutional Design and Legislative Behaviour" published in Representation: Journal of Representative Democracy. The paper draws upon a number of techniques learned in our methods classes to analyze legislative representation and Indigenous self-government. The paper is open access and you can download it for free here.

According to the abstract: In most democratic countries, elected officials must balance the interests of their constituents against the interests of the broader electorate. One factor that is thought to affect this balance is the nature of the political offices that politicians occupy. Is this assumption true? We investigate the effect of one’s elected position on the likelihood of raising local issues in legislative assemblies by examining the Nunatsiavut Assembly, the legislative body of the Nunatsiavut Government in Labrador, Canada. The Assembly is unique because of the diverse range of elected positions that comprise it, which vary significantly in terms of the kinds of representational incentives that they impose upon their office holders. We assess the effect of these different positions on the likelihood of raising local issues by analyzing 48 Nunatsiavut Hansards using computer-assisted dictionary analysis. We also draw upon six elite interviews with current members. On balance, the evidence suggests that one’s position does affect the likelihood of raising local issues in legislative assemblies. Congratulations Michelle and Nicole!

Professor Stephenson - New Centre Launches to Understand the Politics Behind It All

“So much of what we do is political,” said Professor Laura Stephenson, “Understanding how people behave as citizens – what influences us, what gets us engaged, what people believe - is a growing area of importance.” Stephenson, Professor in the Department of Political Science, is the director of the recently launched Centre for the Study of Political Behaviour (CSPB).

The CSPB brings together researchers from across the Faculty of Social Science, as well as King’s University College and the Ivey School of Business, to study political behaviour. “Our goal is to enhance the study of political behaviour at Western, to bring people together and to facilitate interdisciplinary discussions,” said Stephenson. The CSPB joins the six other centres that make up the Network for Economics and Social Trends (NEST). The work done through the CSPB will be related to the work undertaken by the other NEST centres. Stephenson points to the use of big data in the study of political behaviour as an example connecting the CSPB to the Centre for Computational and Quantitative Social Science. Social inequality and migration are also both political issues and are areas examined by other centres.

The Centre will act as an institutional home for the activities of the Consortium on Electoral Democracy/ Consortium de la démocratie électoral (C-Dem). C-Dem conducts the long-running Canadian Election Study, as well as electoral studies at the provincial level, to facilitate the study of changing trends in how Canadians feel about democracy, react to issues and perceive politicians, and how these attitudes impact their views and vote choice. While the centre is launching in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and related restrictions on meeting, centre members are still engaging in online reading groups and speaking events. Stephenson foresees a more formal speaker series in the future, as well as events intended to facilitate interest from undergraduate and graduate students. Stephenson feels that research from the centre, and events hosted by the CSPB, can help broaden student perspectives of what studying political behaviour means.

“There are lots of faculty members who study political behaviour, but not a lot of students that do,” said Stephenson. “There will be a lot of opportunities for students to get involved and use the data that will be available through C-Dem.” “I think there is a renewed importance in understanding political behaviour,” said Stephenson. “With the U.S. election, provincial elections, and protests against school re-opening policies, it’s become obvious that studies of people’s behaviour are important – not only what people do, but also what motivates them.”

Along with Stephenson, other members of the Centre include:

  • Christopher Alcantara, Professor, Political Science
  • Robert Andersen, Ivey School of Business
  • Cameron Anderson, Associate Professor, Political Science
  • David Armstrong, Associate Professor, Political Science
  • Edward Bell, Professor of Sociology, Brescia
  • Alex Benson, Assistant Professor, Psychology
  • Joanie Bouchard, Postdoctoral Researcher, Political Science
  • Miranda Goode, Associate Professor, Ivey Business School
  • Andrea Lawlor, Associate Professor, Political Science, King's College
  • Matthew Lebo, Professor and Chair, Political Science
  • Julie Aitken Shermer, Professor, DAN Department of Management & Organizational Studies
  • Zachary Taylor, Assistant Professor, Political Science
  • Mathieu Turgeon, Associate Professor, Political Science
  • Anna Zajacova, Associate Professor, Sociology

Professor Taylor – New Publication

Professor Taylor has published one of the inaugural entries in the new Oxford Bibliography of Urban Studies. The entry includes overviews and 82 annotated sources covering Toronto’s local and metropolitan governance; environmental, social, economic, and architectural history; immigration and demography, and land-use and infrastructure planning. Published by Oxford University Press, Oxford Bibliographies are comprehensive and authoritative thematic research guides whose entries are commissioned from leading scholars in their respective fields. Professor Taylor’s contribution was featured in an episode of the Oxford Comment, a monthly podcast featuring insights from OUP authors.

Masters Student Patrick Persaud - New Publication

Political Science Masters student, Patrick Persaud, has published a new article entitled, "Effect of dipole–dipole interactions on the one-photon and two-photon photoluminescence in an ensemble of quantum dots doped in a polymer matrix" in the OSA Publishing Journal of the Optical Society of America.

Persaud comes to us with a diverse education and shows how our program can be useful for people with all sorts of backgrounds, receiving an MSc in Physics, with his research focusing on quantum optics (how light and matter interact on a very small scale). His thesis work was published in several articles, where he helped to create some theories that predicted the optical behavior (how light gets absorbed and emitted) of several types of nano-scaled systems. These systems are being explored as potential cancer therapies, biological tracking tools, light-based computers, and micro-sensors. Having very small tools that are safe in a human body opens up many doors for disease treatment and detection. He is also part of the Rotman Institute of Philosophy where he currently works with Professor Desjardins on the ethics of robots in the environment and recently finished a paper where they modeled honeybee population dynamics in the presence of robotic pollinators and started to develop a framework which policy makers can use to help make decisions regarding regulations of robots in the environment.

In the above mentioned paper, Patrick developed a theory that describes the optical behavior of a nano-scaled system that is encased in a polymer matrix, and demonstrated that changes to the polymer matrix effected how the nano-system absorbed and emitted light. For example, if you have an encased nano-system and shine a laser on it, it will have certain optical properties (absorption, reflection, emission) that we can measure. If you put that same nano-system in an acid that alters the chemical properties of the encasing polymer and repeat my measurement, the measured optical properties will be different. In essence we can use these systems to act as very small sensors, where the polymer material interacts with the environment and through this we can detect what is in the environment. Congratulations Patrick!

PhD Candidate Tyler Girard - New Publication

PhD Candidate Tyler Girard has published a new, single-authored paper in the American Political Science Review, which is widely regarded as the discipline's top journal in political science (2019 Impact Factor: 4.183; 5 year impact factor: 5.716). The paper is entitled: "Reconciling the Theoretical and Empirical Study of International Norms: A New Approach to Measurement" and represents a major achievement in Tyler's career as he finishes his PhD and enters the job market this year. Well done!

According to the abstract: "Despite extensive research on international norms, our approach to measurement has not kept pace with theoretical advancements. Existing research often relies on single indicators to facilitate cross-national analysis or employs case-study designs that provide greater nuance but restricted scope. Given these limitations, this note argues that item-response theory (IRT) provides a framework for strengthening the link between our theoretical understanding of norms and empirical measurement of norm adoption. In turn, I develop a modified Bayesian model with substantively informed dynamic priors. The proposed approach is evaluated with the lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) equality norm, using 13 policies and laws across 196 countries (1990–2017). The results are broadly consistent with theoretical expectations while also providing new empirical evidence on the evolution of the norm across space and time. This note highlights the significant potential in greater interaction between both latent measurement approaches and scholarship on international norms."

Dr. Lerner Head ShotPolitical Science Welcomes New Postdoctoral Fellow - Dr. Lerner

Dr. Alexis Lerner is the Department of Political Science’s newest addition. She comes to Western as a Presidential Data Postdoctoral Fellow. Dr. Lerner earned her PhD in Political Science and Jewish Studies from the University of Toronto in 2020, where she was an award-winning instructor of applied statistics and data science, and peace and conflict studies.

Dr. Lerner’s research is on the intersection of authoritarianism and dissent, with a regional focus on the post-Soviet region. In her dissertation, titled “Authoritarian Dissent Management: Repression of the Nonsystemic Political Opposition in the Post-Soviet Region,” she argued that political opposition candidates with robust prominence abroad are less likely to encounter state repression in a election cycle because of the potential for transnational ex-ante and/or ex-post disciplinary action. To evidence this claim, Dr. Lerner collected an original dataset of 4,083 potential presidential candidates across the post-Soviet region from 1991-2018, which she analyzed through a mixed-methods approach, including Random Forest classification, logistic regression, and in-depth case studies.

As a Presidential Data Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Lerner will teach two rotating courses for university-wide non-STEM faculty: Data and AI Without Tears and Foundations of Data Science. She will also be conducting her own research. In Fall 2020, Dr. Lerner will finalize her book manuscript for Post-Soviet Graffiti: Free Speech in the Streets (under advance contract with University of Toronto Press), which demonstrates that street art is a viable tool for political communication, and effective in circumventing autocratic censorship. Post-Soviet Graffiti culminates Dr. Lerner’s ten-year ethnographic study of political street art across the post-Soviet and post-Communist Europe regions. An article-length version of this book, published by Comparative Political Studies in 2019, uses spatial mapping to evidence the Kremlin’s co-optation of subversive channels and actors. This article received an honourable mention from APSA’s Political Communication section’s “Walter Lippmann Best Published Article Award” in 2020. Dr. Lerner’s work on state-society relations can also be found in the Arctic Review of Law and Politics and the Journal of Jewish Thought.

Following the completion of her manuscript, Dr. Lerner will conduct a survey experiment on 70,000 grade 8-12 students (and their teachers) from across Ontario about what they know about the Holocaust/anti-Semitism before and after a treatment (an education day organized by Liberation-75). She will also survey both students and teachers one year after the treatment to assess what they have retained. This survey experiment has two objectives: to map out what ‘gen z’ knows about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, and to assess which pedagogical approaches are most effective for ‘gen z’ students.

Prior to her time at Western, Dr. Lerner was a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute (2017-2019), a Visiting Research Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2016-2017), and the Director of Research for the Stanford University US-Russia Forum (2016-2018). Dr. Lerner’s research has been supported by the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), an Ontario Graduate Scholarship, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Cosmos Club of Washington, D.C., and the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University, among other generous organizations.

She is excited to be at Western and for this opportunity to deepen her commitment to both data literacy and methodological pluralism. She has ‘met’ several members of the department—faculty and students, alike—and would welcome all invitations to chat about research ideas, talk through data problems, or connect over virtual coffee.

PhD Student Kennedy - New Publication

3rd year PhD student John Kennedy has co-authored a new paper with Professors Christopher Alcantara and Dave Armstrong entitled, "Do governments keep their promises? An analysis of speeches from the throne," published in Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions. 2019 Impact Factor: 2.899 (24/180 Political Science, 12/48 Public Administration).

According to the abstract: "Political parties regularly make promises to the public about what they hope to accomplish if and when they are elected to office. Once in office, the winning party, usually via the executive branch, announces its agenda by delivering a “speech from the throne” or a “state of the union/nation” address in the legislature. To what extent are governments able to fulfill the promises they make in these speeches? To answer this question, we investigate the impact of three structural constraints on promise fulfillment over time—procedural (e.g., majority vs. minority configurations); informational (e.g., new vs. incumbent governments); and economic (economic recession)—using an original dataset drawn from Canadian speeches from the throne between 1962 and 2013. Our findings, which both challenge and confirm the findings of existing literature on promise fulfillment, suggest that only procedural and economic constraints matter." Congratulations John! Find the paper here.

Professor Taylor – New Publication

How does place affect politics? In a new article in Urban Affairs Review, Professor Taylor and collaborators Jan Doering (McGill) and Dan Silver (Toronto) compare neighbourhood-scale mayoral election results over two decades in Chicago, Toronto, and London, UK.


They find that support for different candidates is strongly geographically divided, which they characterize as the spatial articulation of political cleavages. In each city, voting patterns are equally or more geographically concentrated than populations defined by race, income, and poverty. While group-based interests define Chicago’s cleavage structure, place and location are paramount in Toronto and London. They conclude by proposing a research agenda for investigating urban political geography and advance a preliminary typology of urban political cleavages and the conditions under which they may arise. The article is part of a larger project on “place and politics” funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. To learn more, see this blog post on the research.

Professor Alcantara - New Book

Dr. Christopher Alcantara has co-authored a new book with Jason Roy entitled Winning and Keeping Power in Canadian Politics published by University of Toronto Press in August 2020. In this book, Roy and Alcantara use a series of experiment to investigate a number of commonly held assumptions about elections and governing Canada in the 21st century. Do negative campaigns win elections? Do voters abandon candidates accused of scandalous behaviour? Do government apologies affect prospects for re-election? This book has the answers!

According to Andre Blais, "An intriguing book that examines the success and failure of a wide array of strategies parties use to win and keep power. A fresh perspective with an innovative experimental design. Read it. You will love it." Stuart Soroka says: "Roy and Alcantara offer a uniquely accessible and comprehensive study of factors that matter (and do not matter) to political support. Experimental work on some of the major features of political campaigns highlights the many ways in which the contents of election campaigns can alter information-seeking and vote intentions. Winning and Keeping Power in Canadian Politics offers a rich exploration of the ways in which information and institutions affect Canadian political behaviour."

Tammy Lambert and Tamara Hinan - Dissertation Defenses

Congratulations to Tammy Lambert on the successful defense of her PhD dissertation, entitled "The Goldstone Commission in South Africa’s Transition: Linking Gradual Institutional Change and Information-Gathering Institutions."

Congratulations to Tamara Hinan on the successful defense of her PhD dissertation, entitled "Exhuming norms: Investigating forced disappearances in Ireland and internationally."

Professor Taylor - New Publication

In a major new research report for the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, Professor Zack Taylor takes stock of metropolitan governance practices and innovation in Canada.

While Canada was best known in the postwar decades for innovating two-tier metropolitan local governments in Toronto, Montréal, Winnipeg, and other cities, this model no longer exists at the metropolitan scale anywhere in the country. Instead, Taylor identifies five distinct models in operation, sometimes in combination with one another: the “unicity,” or single-tier municipal model; the compulsory regional intergovernmental organization; the voluntary intermunicipal partnership; the metropolitan single-purpose body; and the provincial policy overlay. This diversity of institutional forms found across Canada reflects variation in both provincial systems of local government and geographies of urban settlement. It also points to both the flexibility of Canadian governance and policy making and the central role provincial governments play as “metropolitan metagovernors.”

The report is the third in a series entitled “Perspectives on Regional Governance: Global, National, and Local,” which examines how different jurisdictions in Canada and around the world have implemented regional governance models to help cities tackle longstanding challenges that cross municipal boundaries. The Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, at which Professor Taylor is a Fellow, is an academic research hub and non-partisan think tank based in the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto.

Professor Dick – New Publication

Professor Caroline Dick has published a new article in Feminist Legal Studies examining how the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) perpetuates sexism in the legal realm. She does so by juxtaposing the CJC’s handling of two judicial misconduct complaints, one in which a male judge exhibited bias against women while adjudicating a sexual assault trial and a second in which graphic, sexual pictures of a female judge were posted on the Internet without her knowledge or consent. While the courtroom misconduct of the male judge was excused by the CJC, the female judge was doggedly pursued by the Council, leading to her resignation. The proposition offered is that the CJC’s gendered record in disposing of judicial misconduct cases perpetuates the use of sexist stereotypes not only in sexual assault cases but in judicial misconduct proceedings by requiring victims of sexual abuse to qualify as ‘ideal victims’ to receive the law’s full protection.

Ontario Graduate Scholarship Winners 2020-2021

The department is pleased to announce that six of our PhD students have been awarded Ontario Graduate Scholarships from the provincial government this year. Valued at $15,000, these merit-based scholarships are meant to support the research activities and training of our graduate students.

The following students have been awarded an OGS for the coming year:

  • Merlin Beier
  • Elizabeth Brown
  • Philip Charbonneau
  • John Kennedy
  • Megan Payler
  • John Santos


Graduate Students Vanhooren and Kurs - SSHRC Winners

The department is pleased to announce that PhD Candidate Shanaya Vanhooren and incoming MA student Charlotte Kurs have both won Canada Graduate Scholarships from SSHRC this year! According to SSHRC, "The CGS D program supports high-calibre students engaged in doctoral programs in all academic disciplines. This support [valued at $35000 a year] allows scholars to fully concentrate on their doctoral studies, to seek out the best research mentors in their chosen fields and contribute to the Canadian research ecosystem during and beyond the tenure of their awards." The CGS M has a similar objective and provides MA students with $17500 for one year.

Shanaya is entering her third year of the PhD program, working with Dr. Zack Taylor, and has already published a number of articles in academic journals. Charlotte was one of her top undergraduate students at Western and will be starting our MA program in the Fall. Congratulations Shanaya and Charlotte on this wonderful achievement!

PhD Student Philip Charbonneau - CSPG Doctoral Fellow

Philip Charbonneau, a 2nd year political science PhD student in our program, has been awarded a prestigious Canadian Study of Parliament Group Doctoral Fellowship. Worth $8000, Philip will use these funds to collect data for his PhD dissertation project, which is supervised by Professors Christopher Alcantara, Cameron Anderson and Andrea Lawlor. According to the CSPG committee, "The members of the selection committee were very impressed with your application. Your research addresses an under-studied aspect of political science and has clear objectives and contributions in mind. We are confident that your study will advance our understanding of the parliamentary careers of Indigenous Members of Parliament." Congratulations Philip!

Professor Taylor – New Publication

In a new article published in Regional Studies, and co-authored with the University of Waterloo’s Carrie Mitchell and UBC’s Joanne Fitzgibbons, Professor Zack Taylor investigates how planners, as policymakers, think about future risks and uncertainty. They conducted a discourse analysis of strategies prepared under the Rockefeller Foundation’s influential 100 Resilient Cities program. They found that while the strategies and the processes that produced them are ostensibly forward-looking and cognizant of uncertainty, most presume a knowable future and focus on well-understood or recently experienced risks. Few strategies acknowledge the future’s inherent unknowability. Those that do emphasize community self-help, while the others describe top-down, government-led initiatives. Most strategies also present an image of societal consensus, downplaying the potential for legitimate disagreement over means and ends. They conclude that while planning is supposed to be about managing future uncertainty, most planners seem to be backward-looking and technocratic in orientation rather than imaginative and forward-looking. This is unfortunate as contemporary decisions have long-term impacts that may be irreversible and distribute costs and benefits unevenly across society.

Professors Anderson, Stephenson and PhD Student John Kennedy – New Publication

PhD student John Kennedy and Professors Cameron AndersonLaura Stephenson have recently published "The Canada-US Relationship: An Updated Evaluation of Public Opinion" in the American Review of Canadian Studies Journal, Volume 50, 2020 - Issue 1: Canada-US Relations in the Age of Donald Trump.  Despite the political turbulence of the Trump-Trudeau era, the US-Canada relationship remains workable on many policy fronts. Against this backdrop, this article explores this relationship by first focusing on public opinion toward “the other,” including general sentiments as well as political leadership specifically, before turning to public opinion in specific policy fields, such as bilateral trade, security, energy, and diplomacy. They broadly find that Canadians are more likely than Americans to draw distinctions between Canada and the US and view the relationship in more cautious terms. By contrast, opinion in the US appears to be much more positive about the relationship.

Wishing our Political Science 2020 Graduates Congratulations!

Congratulations Graduates, you've made it to graduation 2020! Not in normal circumstances, but that certainly in no way diminishes your accomplishment! We congratulate you on your years of work, learning with your colleagues and professors, gaining memorable experiences, and finishing under exceptional circumstances. Graduating under extraordinary circumstances makes YOU all extraordinary graduates!

We’d like to celebrate this milestone in a special way. Political Science graduating Students, Faculty, Staff and Graduate Students please link over to the OWL Graduation Poli Sci 2020 page and check out these features of our Graduation website:

Graduation Card, Celebration of Graduates List, Testimonials for the three Departmental Award Winners, and Messages from your fellow graduates, professors, administrators and others

Grad Card Final     Grad List Final

Professor Laura Stephenson - New Publication

Professor Stephenson along with Laura French Bourgeois and Allison Harell have recently published “To follow or not to follow: Social norms and civic duty during a pandemic” in the Canadian Journal of Political Science. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread calls from government officials for people to drastically change their behaviour to slow the spread of the disease. From self-quarantining to maintaining physical distance from others, these measures only work if there is widespread adherence. This article explores how one's sense of duty and one's perception of other people's behaviour shape who follows health recommendations. Drawing on the 2020 Democracy Checkup survey, they show that one's own sense of duty and a belief that most other Canadians are adhering to the rules decrease how often people report breaking the rules. Furthermore, among those who lack a sense of duty, a belief that others are following the rules is particularly important. The paper concludes by discussing how collective action in a pandemic depends on ensuring a broad sense that Canadians are in the crisis together, with everyone doing their part.

Professor Dave Armstrong - New Publication 

Professor Armstrong and Jack Lucas have recently published “Measuring and Comparing Municipal Policy Responses to COVID-19” in the Canadian Journal of Political Science. Municipal governments are experts in social non-distancing. From swimming pools to libraries, streetcars to public parks, municipalities bring residents together and move them around—services vital to a vibrant community in ordinary times, but potentially disastrous in a pandemic. Municipal decisions to shutter these services and enforce social distancing are thus crucial for a successful COVID-19 response.  Using a survey of 551 councillors in 306 Canadian municipalities to measure the aggressiveness of municipal COVID-19 policy responses, they show that aggressiveness is strongly related to municipal population size and case totals and modestly related to province and local ideology and that these findings reflect a widespread commitment among Canadian municipalities to aggressive policy action while also revealing important features of Canada's political geography.

Professor and Department Chair Matt Lebo - Awarded 2020 Excellence in Mentoring Award

Dr. Matt Lebo, Chair of the Department of Political Science, has been named a co-recipient of the prestigious 2020 Excellence in Mentoring Award by the Society of Political Methodology. According to the citation, "Professor Lebo has been an active and engaged methods mentor, as reflected in his more than a dozen publications co-authored with students, many published in prestigious journals such as Political Analysis, the American Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Politics." Of particular note is his work with underrepresented groups: “Of the nearly 20 nominations the committee received, a third were from women and more than 20 percent were from international students.” According to one letter from one of the women scholars who nominated Professor Lebo, “Women are significantly underrepresented in political science and particularly political methodology. Efforts like Matt’s go a long way toward encouraging women to be more active and successful in the field.”

His mentoring also extends far beyond Western and Stony Brook University, his previous institution, as the citation notes: “The breadth of Professor Lebo’s mentoring influence was also reflected in the wide array of institutions from which the committee received letters, from leading research universities to strong liberal arts colleges to the non-academic, private sector.” Special note was made of Professor Lebo’s well-read and widely-used article in PS: Political Science and Politics, “Managing Your Career Pipeline”.

The faculty of social science and the department of political science are lucky to have Dr. Lebo as the chair of the department of political science and congratulate him on this well-deserved award!

The full citation reads as follows: “The many nominations the committee received for Professor Lebo are one of many elements that attest to his dedication to mentoring throughout his students’ careers and on a variety of concerns both professional and personal. One of our discipline’s leading time series scholars, Professor Lebo has been an active and engaged methods mentor, as reflected in his more than a dozen publications co-authored with students, many published in prestigious journals such as Political Analysis, the American Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Politics.

As one of his letter writers notes, Professor Lebo was “pivotal to the creation of a useful methods sequence in the department” at Stony Brook University.” Professor Lebo’s mentoring extends well beyond the institutions at which he has worked, such as Stony Brook University and, now as Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario. His widely-used PS: Political Science & Politics article, “Managing Your Research Pipeline” is in many ways a mentoring article, guiding young scholars on how to build a productive pipeline that will help them gain tenure. The breadth of Professor Lebo’s mentoring influence was also reflected in the wide array of institutions from which the committee received letters, from leading research universities to strong liberal arts colleges to the non-academic, private sector.

The committee was especially struck by Professor Lebo’s commitment to mentoring students from underrepresented groups. Of the nearly 20 nominations the committee received, a third were from women and more than 20 percent were from international students. Professor Lebo has been a stand-out advocate for women in the methods community. One of the women who nominated him states, “We have had several conversations about ways to improve gender dynamics in the discipline to ensure no one is excluded from opportunity and burdens are distributed equally.” The letter also states “He encouraged me to submit a proposal for the Polmeth Summer Meeting, a conference I hadn't considered given the highly competitive selection process. I have participated in five Polmeths and two VIM meetings thus far, which would not have happened had Matt not given me a push.” Another letter from one of the women scholars who nominated Professor Lebo states “Women are significantly underrepresented in political science and particularly political methodology. Efforts like Matt’s go a long way toward encouraging women to be more active and successful in the field.”

The committee was also struck by Professor Lebo’s continued dedication to his students long after they have graduated and the holistic nature of his commitment to them, including navigating gender issues in their departments and on addressing work-life issues. One of his letter writers notes “Matt is one of those professors who cares about their students personally as well as professionally.” This concern is reflected in the fact that, when told his former students planned to nominate him for this award, Professor Lebo specifically asked that no current students be asked to write letters due to the added stresses they were experiencing related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As one of his letter writers notes, “Matt cares about his students as whole people, and he does so long after they've left his department.””

The prize committee consisted of Dave Darmofal (South Carolina), Amber Boydstun (UC, Davis), and Guillermo Rosas (Wash U).

PhD Student Shanaya Vanhooren - New Publication

PhD student Shanaya Vanhooren has pushed a new paper in Canadian Public Administration entitled "Improving First Nations Water Security Through Governance". The paper is co-authored with Drs Christopher Alcantara and Sheri Longboat (University of Guelph) and will appear in the June 2020 issue of the journal. According to the abstract: "Many First Nations communities lack access to safe drinking water. In this article, we examine an under-appreciated tool for improving First Nations water security – governance – and develop a framework for guiding the design and analysis of First Nations water governance models. In particular, we argue that three key ideas from the public administration literature – financial resources, regulation, and formalization – should be integrated with Indigenous insights and philosophies that are specific to each First Nations community. We illustrate how this might work by focusing on the insights, traditions, and philosophies of an Anishinaabek community in southern Ontario." Congratulations Shanaya!

Professor Cris de Clercy - House of Commons Standing Committee

Dr. Cristine de Clercy was invited to appear as a witness before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. The Committee is studying how the House of Commons can execute its parliamentary duties during the COVIV-19 pandemic. One of three political scientists called to address the Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, on April 29th Dr. de Clercy spoke about the constitutional capacity of the House to determine its meeting process, and how the temporary modification of certain procedures may impinge parliamentary privilege.

Professor Laura Stephenson - C-DEM Canadian Election Study Data Released

The Consortium on Electoral Democracy/Consortium de la démocratie électorale (C-Dem) are thrilled to announce that the 2019 Canadian Election Study (CES) data is now publicly available! The CES this year included a dual-mode, two-wave data collection with a rolling cross-section during the 2019 federal election campaign and a post-election follow-up survey. The online survey data (n=37,822) and documentation can be accessed here. The phone survey data (n=4021) and documentation are available here. Thanks goes out to the CES team, Laura Stephenson, Allison Harell, Daniel Rubenson, and Peter Loewen for their hard work, as well as the invaluable research support provided by Joanie Bouchard, Laura French Bourgeois and Benjamin Allen Stevens. Thanks as well to the CRSH/SSHRC for their generous support of this research, as well as the many researchers and partners who provided invaluable input. C-Dem are excited to read the fascinating research that will be facilitated by this data.

Nigmendra Narain - Awarded UWOFA Tom Murphy Memorial Award

Congratulations to Nigmendra Narain who received the UWOFA Tom Murphy Memorial Award. The Tom Murphy Memorial Award for Outstanding Service to UWOFA was established in honour of the late Tom Murphy, a long-standing UWOFA member. Recipients are selected based on outstanding contributions to the Association. Nigmendra has been at Western University since 2000 and an active member of UWOFA since 2014. Nig was a dynamic and effective member of the Strike Action Committee during faculty negotiations in 2018 and he brought that same energy to the librarians and archivists again in 2019. In 2019 he chaired the Information Technology subcommittee of the Strike Services Committee, where his expertise and dedication to the technical aspects of building the infrastructure in the event of a strike were invaluable. His commitment to UWOFA and his expertise made sure UWOFA was ready.

More broadly, Nig’s enthusiasm, experience and support contributed directly to the success of our strike preparation efforts. He sees the big picture and shows strong empathy for individuals. Throughout negotiations he helped the Strike Action Committee stay grounded with his calm, practical advice and offered comic relief with his quirky sense of humour. The committee quickly became accustomed to his cheerful refrain, “Team work makes the dream work,” which was both a motivating message and a constant reminder of the importance of solidarity. In addition, he has served on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee representing Members holding Limited Term appointments. Nig is respected by other Members, exemplifies the values of UWOFA and is a worthy recipient of this prestigious honour.  Narain has been elected the President of UWOFA for the 2021-22 year.  Well done!

MA Student Joy SpearChief-Morris - Olympic Dream On Hold

Joy Spear Chief-Morris’ dream of representing Canada at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, is on hold.  Master’s students, Joy Spear Chief-Morris has been in training for the Olympics and learned last week (with the rest of Canada!) that she will not be able to compete due to the COVID-19 disruption.

On March 24, the IOC announced the Games “must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”

“We’re in uncharted territory right now and having the Games proceed at a time like this without the consideration for the health and safety of not just us as athletes, but as human beings, as well as the health and safety of all of those who are involved in these Games was irresponsible for the IOC. I am thankful that the IOC has agreed to postpone the Games for those reasons,” says SpearChief-Morris. Read more on the  piece about Joy on APTN here.

Rado Dimitrov and studentProfessor Dimitrov - Helping Students, Classes Team Up for Climate Change Action

Diplomats and scientists representing 20 countries gathered at Western earlier this week to confront the challenges of climate change. And while the ‘diplomats’ were third-year Political Science students and the ‘scientists’ third-year Geography students, the importance of mission was not lost on the participants. “We are constructing an international community that tackles the problem of climate change and designs an effective solution to the problem,” said Professor Radoslav Dimitrov, whose Global Climate Politics class joined forces with Beth Hundey’s Environmental Change Geography class for their first collaboration. “The scientists inform the diplomats, as policy makers, and offer them the best scientific information on global warming. “Based on that, every delegation will formulate its national interest and negotiating position on the matter – all with complete freedom without any interference from us. It’s a great opportunity for the scientists to learn as much as possible about how policy-makers do their work and what considerations go into the process, and for diplomats to take seriously the input scientists bring to table.” Dimitrov said once everyone has had the opportunity to interact and share their thoughts, his students will use this new information and, following United Nations protocol, begin to negotiate with the other represented countries. “Every country’s goal is to seek a collective outcome that best reflects their national preferences and interests,” he said. Letting the students take control of the process leads to a more effective experiential-learning experience, he added.  Read more in the Western News article.

Professor Taylor and MA student Alec Dobson – New Publication

In their new report, Power and Purpose: Canadian Municipal Law in Transition, Professor Zack Taylor and MA student Alec Dobson examine the state of municipal empowerment by presenting an overview of municipal law in Canada’s 10 provinces.

They identify similarities and variations within and among the provinces in how they articulate the provincial-municipal relationship, municipal powers and jurisdiction, the organization of municipal institutions, and financial powers. The paper, which is the first such overview prepared in almost two decades, identifies five trends:

  • Provinces increasingly recognize municipalities as accountable, democratic governments.
  • Municipal grants of authority are becoming more expansive and permissive.
  • The courts have increasingly demonstrated a generous interpretation of municipal authority.
  • Big cities operate more and more under bespoke legal arrangements, but their long-term impact remains unclear.
  • Fiscal empowerment lags legal empowerment.

The paper is the first in a series of papers being prepared for the Urban Project, an initiative led by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) that brings city leaders together with other levels of government, academia, civil society, and the private sector to identify actionable and scalable solutions to the biggest challenges facing Canada’s cities. The paper is copublished by the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance in the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and Western’s Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance.

Professor Christopher Alcantara - New Book

Dr. Alcantara has co-authored a new book entitled Nested Federalism and Inuit Governance in the Canadian Arctic with Gary N. Wilson and Thierry Rodon, published by UBC Press in February 2020. Based on 10 years of in-depth qualitative research, the book chronicles the political journey toward self-governance taken by three predominantly Inuit regions over the past forty years: Nunavik in northern Québec, the Inuvialuit Settlement Region in the western Northwest Territories, and Nunatsiavut in northern Labrador. The authors investigate the internal dynamics of these regions and their relationships with other levels of government in several key policy areas. This meticulous analysis offers new insight into the evolution of Indigenous self-government, as well as its consequences for Indigenous communities and for the future of Canadian federalism.

Transitional Justice Centre - New book

The TJ Centre’s latest book, Transitional Justice in Comparative Perspective: Preconditions for Success, edited by Political Science alumni Samar El-Masri, Ph.D. candidate Tammy Lambert, and Professor Joanna R. Quinn, looks at the challenges and the factors that hinder progress and prevent the transitional justice mechanisms from reaching their desired outcomes.

CPSA Announces the New English-language Editorial Team for the Canadian Journal of Political Science (CJPS)

The Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA) Board of Directors is pleased to introduce the new CJPS English-language Editorial Team (based at Western University) comprised of Cameron Anderson as Co-editor, Christopher Alcantara as Assistant Editor, Nandita Biswas Mellamphy as Assistant Editor, and Martin Horak as Book Review Editor.  The new editors will take on full responsibilities for the CJPS on July 1, 2020.  CJPS thanks the new team members for their willingness to take on this important service to the Canadian Political Science community and look forward to their stewardship of it. Congratulations Team!

Professors Lyons, Spicer, Graham - New Book

Professors Zachary Spicer, Joseph Lyons, and Kate Graham are pleased to announce the publication of their new book, Local Government in Practice: Cases in Governance, Planning and Policy (Emond Publishing). This book is intended as a teaching resource to help equip students to effectively deal with contemporary challenges within local government. Through a series of evidence-based simulated cases, readers examine situations to better grasp the intricacies of this dynamic and rapidly changing environment.

A diverse range of themes, including council–staff relations, finance, planning and economic development, intergovernmental relations, environmental and health policy, and municipal regulation, provides students with comprehensive coverage of local government in practice.

PhD Candidate Nicole McMahon - New Publication

PhD Candidate Nicole McMahon has co-authored a new paper with Professors Alcantara and Stephenson in PS: Political Science & Politics entitled: "The Qualifying Field Exam: What is it Good For?" 53 (1): 94-99 January 2020. According to the abstract: "Most political scientists self-identify as a comparativist, theorist, Americanist, or another label corresponding with the qualifying field exams (QFE) that they passed during their doctoral studies. Passing the QFE indicates that a graduate student or faculty member is broadly familiar with the full range of theories, approaches, and debates within a subfield or research theme. The value of the QFE as a form of certification, however, depends on the extent to which the subfield or theme is cohesive in and of itself as well as whether departmental lists draw on a common pool of publications. This article investigates the value of the QFE by examining the cohesiveness of 16 Canadian politics PhD QFE lists. Our findings suggest that it is problematic to assume that scholars who pass a QFE share a common knowledge base." Congratulations Nicole!

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Professors Armstrong, Taylor, and Lucas – New Article

Professor Dave Armstrong, Professor Zack Taylor, and Professor Jack Lucas, who is visiting our department from the University of Calgary, have published a new article in the 'Canadian Journal of Political Science' on the historical emergence of the urban-rural divide in Canadian parliamentary representation. Their article in 'The Conversation' summarizing the findings is available here.

Isaac Bayor - Dissertation

Isaac Bayor successfully completed his PhD thesis, 'How can Local Transitional Justice Mechanisms Work Towards Measures of Non-Recurrence?' supervised by Professor Joanna QuinnCongratulations Isaac!

Professor Finneron-Burns - New Publication

Professor Elizabeth Finneron-Burns has recently published a new article 'Human Extinction and Moral Worthwhileness,' published online by Cambridge University Press. In it she looks at whether it might be wrong to permit human extinction because it makes past people’s sacrifices less worthwhile. 

PhD Candidate Althorpe and Professor Horak  - New Article

PhD candidate Caleb Althorpe and Professor Martin Horak have published an article in Urban Affairs Review called 'The End of the Right to the City: A Radical-Cooperative View.' The article is a theoretical re-consideration of the popular concept of the 'right to the city.' Althorpe and Horak argue that the transformative power of this concept lies in its vision of a different kind of urban society, one in which inhabitants can pursue their material and social needs through self-governed cooperation. This 'radical-cooperative' view of the right to the city has roots in real practices of everyday social cooperation that exist in the cities of today. Moving these cooperative practices out of the margins of urban society, they argue, requires a combination of grassroots political mobilization and state action that insulates spaces and sectors of cooperative urban life from the forces of global capitalism. You can read the article here.

Professor Finneron-Burns - Ethics of Human Extinction Radio Interview

Professor Elizabeth Finneron-Burns discusses methods of population control, if these methods can be morally justified and reasons why we might consider human extinction to be wrong during her interview with Australian Radio 3CR.

Sarah Nimigan - Dissertation

Sarah Nimigan successfully completed her PhD dissertation,'The Problems Facing the International Criminal Court: African Perspectives,' supervised by Professor Joanna Quinn. Congratulations Sarah!

Professor Emeritus Abelson - Forthcoming Book

Professor Emeritus Don Abelson, current Director, Brian Mulroney Institute of Government, Steven K. Hudson Chair in Canada-US Relations, and Professor, Political Science, St. Francis Xavier University has a forthcoming book entitled 'Transatlantic Relationships' edited alongside Stephen Brooks, Professor of Political Science at the University of Windsor and director of the European Union Study Abroad Program, a collaboration of the University of Windsor and Western University.

Governor General's Gold Medal awarded to PhD Political Science graduate – Dr. Tyler Girard

Western Political Science PhD graduate Tyler Girard has been awarded the prestigious Governor General’s Gold Medal for 2021. The award is in recognition of his outstanding academic and research excellence and his remarkable contributions to the development of his research field. “The academic leaders who put your nomination forward were struck by the unique personal talents you have displayed in your collaborations with colleagues,” said Linda Miller, Vice-Provost (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies).

Western faculty members who nominated Girard describe his dissertation as impactful, and a significant addition to our understanding of the origins and role of ambiguity in driving global policy agendas. Established in 1873 by Lord Dufferin, the Academic Medals were created to encourage academic excellence across the nation. Over the years, the Gold Medal has become one of the most prestigious awards that graduate scholars in Canada can receive. Congratulations, Tyler!

PhD Candidate Tyler Girard - Dissertation Defense and SSHRC Postdoc

PhD candidate Tyler Girard has successfully defended his dissertation, with no revisions, titled: ‘Explaining the Origins and Evolution of the Global Financial Inclusion Agenda’. Tyler has also been awarded a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. His postdoctoral project, ’Bringing the Individual Back In: Leadership, Public Opinion, and Explanations of Global Norm Adoption’, will be undertaken at Duke University under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Stegmueller. This project examines the role played by leader characteristics and public opinion in the adoption of global norms through the application of Bayesian statistical analysis. Congratulations Tyler!

MPA Grad Elmond Bandauko – Vanier Scholar

Elmond Bandauko, who completed his MPA in the Local Government Program in 2018 and is currently a PhD student in the Department of Geography and Environment, is a recipient of a 2021-2022 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. Elmond is one of only five Western PhD students to win this prestigious award this year. More info about Elmond and the award can be found here.

PhD Alumni Spicer - New Tenure-Track Job

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Zac Spicer, an alumni of our PhD program, has been hired as an Associate Professor (tenure-track) in the School of Public Policy & Administration at York University! Dr. Spicer is a leading scholar of Canadian politics and local government, having completed his PhD at Western under the supervision of Professor Emeritus Andrew Sancton. He has published two books and twenty-eight journal articles. Most recently, he was the Director of Research and Outreach with the Institute of Public Administration of Canada. Congratulations Zac!

Professor Quinn - Understanding the Lasting Effects of Residential Schools

Writing in The Conversation, Dr. Joanna Quinn, says Canadians need help to build an understanding of the basic facts about specific harms in Canada and speaks to why many Canadians do not seem to care about the lasting effects of residential schools. Listen here to the unpublished Cafe podcast, as Dr. Quinn and others take a look at the story of residential schools in Canada and the impact of the discovery on Indigenous people across Canada. 

Professor Taylor – New Grant

Dr. Zack Taylor is part of a research team that recently received a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant. Over the next two years, the Canadian Census Discovery Partnership will complete a bilingual inventory of all historical Census products back to the first Census of New France in 1665, engage stakeholders on needs, and lay the groundwork for future data mobilization tools and research applications. The team includes data librarians from five universities across Canada, Statistics Canada, and Library and Archives Canada. As a Co-Investigator on the project, Dr. Taylor, who along with Dr. Dave Armstrong and Dr. Vicki Esses is creating the Canadian Communities Policy Observatory within Western’s Network on Economic and Social Trends (NEST), will contribute his expertise on the historical Canadian Census and data mobilization and visualization.

MPA Grad Aren Plante - New Publication

Aren Plante, who completed his Master of Public Administration at Western University last year, recently published a magazine article based on the major research paper he wrote under the supervision of Professor Christopher Alcantara. Congratulations Aren! Check out his magazine article HERE.

Professor Taylor – New Report on New Brunswick Municipal Reform

Professor Zack Taylor has prepared a report with M.A. student Jon Taylor in response to the Government of New Brunswick’s nationally significant initiative to reform the province’s local government system. Entitled Representative Regionalization: Toward More Equitable, Democratic, Responsive, and Efficient Local Government in New Brunswick, the report was published by Western’s Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance on May 27, 2021.

Today, 30% of New Brunswickers do not have elected local representation. There is widespread concern about inequitable tax burdens and sprawl around the larger cities, and some local authorities are having trouble providing core services. The report recommends strengthening New Brunswick’s 12 Regional Service Commissions along the lines of British Columbia’s regional districts, which have successfully coordinated service delivery and land-use planning in that province since the 1960s. The report describes the history and key features of regional districts and shows how modest reforms to the Regional Service Commissions could make local governance in New Brunswick more flexible, democratic, responsive, and accountable. Past reforms which tried to amalgamate municipalities failed because they would have been highly disruptive to existing institutions. Representative regionalization would be much less disruptive because it would keep existing local governments intact while promoting more efficient and democratic decision-making at the regional level.

PhD Candidate John Kennedy - New Publication

3rd year PhD Candidate John Kennedy has co-authored a new paper with Drs. Dave Armstrong and Christopher Alcantara entitled, "Exploring the effects of electorate size on indigenous voter turnout", published in Politics, Groups, and Identities. According to the abstract:

"A growing body of scholarship suggests that Indigenous peoples abstain from voting in national and subnational elections because of colonialism and so classic determinants of turnout do not apply. We investigate this argument by examining the relationship between electorate size and voter turnout in federal, provincial and regional elections in five Inuit communities in Canada, leveraging the fact that these communities are mostly similar across a range of factors. Given that these communities negotiated and established their own regional government in 2005 and given the colonial and settler nature of the federal and provincial governments, we expect classic determinants of turnout, such as electorate size, to apply only at the regional level. Surprisingly, however, we find that electorate size influences turnout at the federal and regional levels but not at the provincial level." Congratulations John! Download your free copy HERE.

Head Shot of GirardTyler Girard - Develops Method to Measure the Growth of International Norms

Tracking how different societies and countries change over time is not easy. Understanding what makes different states move toward an international norm requires tracking complex and differing causes and changes. But Tyler Girard has developed a way.

Inspired by an assignment in a research methods course, Girard, a PhD student in the Department of Political Science, developed a new way to measure the international norms around lesbian, gay and bisexual equality. Girard then turned a class assignment into a paper published in the top-rated journal in his field.

The paper, ‘Reconciling the Theoretical and Empirical Study of International Norms: A New Approach to Measurement’ was published in the February 2021 issue of the American Political Science Review.

“It’s hard to overstate how important it is to have an article published in the APSR”, said Dave Armstrong, professor, and Canada Research Chair in Political Methodology. “It’s the journal of record for political science. To have that on his CV already, will immediately make Tyler more competitive.”

In the paper, Girard brought a quantitative approach to the study of international norms, an approach that has not typically been used. International norms, Girard said “are a shared understanding of appropriate behaviour.” While there have been theoretical approaches to determine how norms change over time, and how certain countries adopt them, there has not been a way to empirically measure the adoption of international norms in a way that is consistent with theory. Read the rest of the article here. Congratulations Tyler!

New Partnership with Schulich Doctor of Medicine (MD) Program

Western’s Local Government Program (LGP) has teamed up with Schulich Medicine & Dentistry's MD+ Program to offer our Graduate Diploma in Public Administration (GDPA) concurrently with the Doctor of Medicine (MD) Program. Interested individuals can get further details here.  

Professor Quinn - New Book

Professor Joanna Quinn has recently written a book called Thin Sympathy: A Strategy to Thicken Transitional Justice with the University of Pennsylvania Press. Quinn spent twenty years working in Uganda and uses its particular case as a lens through which she examines the failure of deeply divided societies to acknowledge the past and proposes that the needed remedy is the development of a very rudimentary understanding—what she calls "thin sympathy"—among individuals in each of the different factions and groups of the other's suffering prior to establishing any transitional justice process. Based on 440 extensive interviews with elites and other thought leaders in government, traditional institutions, faith groups, and NGOs, as well as with women and children throughout the country, Thin Sympathy argues that the acquisition of a basic understanding of what has taken place in the past will enable the development of a more durable transitional justice process. The cover art is a batik painted by the extraordinary and talented Ugandan artist Bonny Kabugo. He lives with a disability sustained during state-sponsored violence under a former regime. 

Professor Dyczok – Russia’s Growing Escalations Against Ukraine News Article

In a recent Global News article, as Global concern rises over Russian troops nearing Ukraine border, Professor Dyczok says, “Putin is flexing his muscles. Trump was very much an apologist for him and now there’s a new regime in place. This is an election year in Russia, and Putin’s popularity has been dropping drastically.” She goes on to say that “the best way to divert attention from domestic problems? Go on a foreign policy extravaganza.” Dyczok joins others as they discuss more on the Russian build up on Ukraine’s border. 

Joanna Quinn - New Publications

Professor Joanna Quinn has recently published the following: David Hoogenboom and Joanna R. Quinn, “Transitional Justice and the Diaspora: Examining the impact of the Haitian Diaspora on the Haitian Truth Commission,” Griffith Law Review. Hoogenboom was a PhD student from the Western Political Science Department. Joanna R. Quinn, “The Impact of State Abdication on Transitional Justice: When Non-State Actors Fill the Post-Transition Gap,” Peacebuilding. Adam Kochanski and Joanna R. Quinn, “Letting the State Off the Hook? Dilemmas of Holding the State to Account in Times of Transition,” Peacebuilding. Adam was an M.A. student from the Western Political Science Department.

Professor Elizabeth Finneron-Burns - New Publication

Professor Elizabeth Finneron-Burns has recently published a study entitled "State Pensions and the Duties of Retirees" published in the Oxford Handbook of Intergenerational Ethics. In it Finneron-Burns discusses what duties citizens have to ensure that universal pension schemes are sustainable for generations to come in the future.

PhD Candidate John Kennedy - New Publication

Third year PhD Candidate John Kennedy has co-authored a new publication entitled, "Does Federalism Prevent Democratic Accountability? Assigning Responsibility for Rates of COVID-19 Testing", published in Political Studies Review (Impact Factor 1.053). The paper, co-authored with Anthony Sayers (University of Calgary) and Christopher Alcantara, draws upon democracy data collected by C-Dem, which is co-led by Dr. Laura Stephenson. According to the abstract:

"Does federalism prevent citizens from holding governments accountable for their actions? The pandemic represents the ideal scenario for testing the effects of federalism on democratic accountability because citizens are highly motivated to hold governments accountable for preventing or failing to prevent the rapid transmission of the virus. Previous research suggests that a number of institutional and political factors complicate the accountability function in federal systems. We add to this literature by assessing the effect of one political factor, exclusivity (measured in terms of policy variation at one level), on accountability. The coronavirus pandemic provides a unique opportunity to assess this factor given the high levels of issue saliency, media attention, and low levels of intergovernmental and interparty conflict it has generated. Drawing on original data from the May 2020 Democratic Checkup Survey and public data from the Canadian National Microbiology Laboratory, our preliminary findings suggest that interprovincial policy variation with respect to coronavirus testing is not correlated with public assessments of the adequacy of provincial testing, and so it seems that Canadians are not able to assign responsibility to the correct level of government despite ideal conditions for doing so." Congratulations John! Download the open access article here: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/14789299211001690

Professor Taylor and PhD Candidate Vanhooren – New Publication

Dr. Zack Taylor and PhD Candidate Shanaya Vanhooren have published an article in Canadian Public Administration on the regulation of election campaign finance in Canadian municipalities. Comparing campaign finance regimes in the ten provinces, they find considerable variation in the sophistication and stringency of the rules governing donation to, fundraising by, and expenditure by candidates and third-party organizations. They find very different approaches to disclosure and the handling of surplus funds. While some provinces, including British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario have tightened up their rules in recent years, local campaign finance remains substantially unregulated in several provinces. Municipal campaign finance is an important object of study for a variety of reasons, not least the potential influence of business and property developers in local politics, evidence of corruption in Canadian local government, and the fact that local electoral success is often the launchpad of future provincial and federal political careers. Taylor and Vanhooren conclude by outlining a research agenda for future work, including exploiting variation across local and provincial jurisdictions to analyze the effects of different types of rules and restrictions – something that is contested in the international literature on campaign finance. Congratulations Shanaya!

Professor de Clercy - New Publication

Professor Cristine de Clercy, along with co-authors Brenda Nguyen and Gerard Seijts have recently published a study entitled “Do Canadians and Americans Evaluate Leader Character Similarly? Comparing Perceptions of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Justin Trudeau" in the American Review of Canadian Studies. The writers investigate whether a framework drawn from the field of organizational management can be used by citizens of two countries with different political history and culture to assess character. Drawing on a survey administered two weeks before the 2016 US presidential election, we report that Canadians and Americans are the same in how they evaluate eleven dimensions of character: both considered all dimensions as essential in political leaders. The results also showed an appreciable gap between the perceived importance of the character dimensions and whether respondents believe three national leaders—Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Justin Trudeau—live up to these expectations. However, the two groups differ in their evaluation of the specific dimensions of character among these political leaders. Canadians are less supportive of Trump’s character array than that of Clinton or Trudeau. Also, Canadian Conservatives are less supportive of Trump’s character than are American Republicans.

Local Government Program - New Permanent online stream of its Graduate Diploma in Public Administration (GDPA)

Western’s Local Government Program is thrilled to announce the approval of a permanent online stream of its Graduate Diploma in Public Administration (GDPA). Western’s GDPA is the go-to program for mid-career local government professionals who seek a rigorous, highly interactive opportunity to develop their policy skills, management knowledge, and leadership potential. This new online stream will make the GDPA accessible for local government professionals across Canada. The application window will open this spring, with the first cohort starting in September. Details and updates about this exciting new program will be provided on the program’s website as they become available: https://localgovernment.uwo.ca/. Those interested in the program may also email localgov@uwo.ca to have their name included on a list of a prospective applicants.

Dr. Lerner Head Shot

Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Alexis Lerner - New Position

Alexis Lerner, Presidential Data Postdoctoral Fellow in Political Science at Western, has accepted a job at the United States Naval Academy! The tenure track position begins in December and is in International Relations and Comparative Politics with a focus on Russia and Eastern Europe. Congratulations Alexis!

Professors Anderson and Stephenson - New Book

Professors Cameron Anderson and Laura Stephenson recent book entitled 'What is Democracy and How Do We Study It?' includes chapters from many Western Political Science faculty members past and present such as: Charles Jones, Richard Vernon, Dave Armstrong, Bruce Morrison, Joe Lyons, Nandita Biswas Mellamphy, Dan Bousfield, Andy Sancton, and Rob Leone. There are many different ways to do political science research. This book takes a core question that motivates research in political science – what is democracy? – and presents, in a single volume, original research demonstrating a variety of approaches to studying it. The approaches and related methods covered by the chapters in this book include normative political theory, positivist quantitative analysis, behaviouralism, critical theory, post-structuralism, historical institutionalism, process tracing, case studies, and literature reviews. Readers are confronted with the different assumptions that researchers make when entering the research process and can compare and contrast the many different ways that a single question can be studied. This book will be enlightening for students of democracy as well as those interested in research design and methodological approaches. Congratulations!

Professor Dyczok - New Book

Columbia University’s Harriman Institute is having a virtual book talk on Professor Marta Dyczok's forthcoming book, Ukraine Calling. This event will be held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live on Thursday, April 22 at 12pm ET. There will be no in-person event. Tune in here on YouTube Live. This book is like a time capsule. It’s a selection of interviews that aired on Hromadske Radio’s (Public Radio Ukraine) Ukraine Calling show. They capture what people were thinking during a critical time in the country’s history, from the July 2016 NATO Summit through to Volodymyr Zelensky’s 2019 landslide election victories. Decision makers, opinion makers, and others commented on events of the day and larger issues from politics to sports, religion, history, war, books, diplomacy, health, business, art and more. Interview guests include Canada’s then Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. Writer Andrey Kurkov. Crimean political prisoner Hennadii Afanasiev. UNHRC’s Pablo Mateu. Ethnologist Ihor Poshyvailo. Cameo appearance by Borys Johnson. These interviews provide a unique, kaleidoscopic perspective on Ukraine as it was on the receiving end of a hybrid war from Russia. Congratulations!

Professor Don Abelson - New Book

Don Abelson, former Western Political Science Chair and Professor now Director, Brian Mulroney Institute of Government, along with Steven K. Hudson Chair in Canada-US Relations and Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science, St. Francis Xavier University and Christopher J. Rastrick, Director of Policy and Deputy Chief of Staff, Ministry of Education, Government of Ontario, Canada have edited a new book entitled Handbook on Think Tanks in Public Policy. This important Handbook is a comprehensive guide to the role, function and perceived impact of policy research-oriented institutions in North America, Europe and beyond. Over 20 international scholars explore the diverse and eclectic world of think tanks to reveal their structure, governance and unique position in occupying a critical space on the public-policy landscape. Congratulations!

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