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Professor Taylor – Metropolitan Governance Panel at University of Toronto

Professor Zack Taylor participated in a panel discussion on “Making the Case for Regionalism” hosted by the University of Toronto’s School of Cities in partnership with the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) on January 17, 2023. He joined Don Iveson, 35th Mayor of Edmonton, former Chair of Canada’s Big City Mayors, and Canadian Urban Leader at the University of Toronto’s School of Cities, and Jen Nelles, Senior Research Fellow with the Innovation Caucus and co-director of the Oxford Regions, Innovation, and Enterprise Lab (ORIEL) at the Oxford Brookes University Business School to discuss how municipalities in Canada’s city-regions can better work together to address economic, social, and environmental problems. Professor Taylor is a faculty affiliate of the School of Cities and a fellow at IMFG, which commissioned his 2020 report on contemporary metropolitan governance models and practices in Canada.


Professor Emeritus Andrew Sancton publishes article on infrastructure finance

Professor Emeritus Andrew Sancton has published a new article, “Reassessing the Case for Development Charges in Canadian Municipalities,” in the journal Canadian Planning and Policy. In it he challenges dominant thinking about how new urban infrastructure should be financed, that “growth should pay for growth.” Instead, drawing on the experience of other jurisdictions, he argues that the costs of growth-related infrastructure and facilities should mostly be funded by taxpayers, who collectively benefit from urban agglomeration. As development charges constitute a substantial portion of the cost of new housing in Ontario, this would likely improve housing affordability. The article is based on a research report by Sancton published by Western’s Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance in 2021.


MA alumnus Jon Taylor publishes article

MA student Jon Taylor (2020–21) recently published an article in Canadian Political Science Review based on his final major research paper, which was supervised by Prof. Zack Taylor. Entitled “From Tinkering to Transformation: Gradual Institutional Change in New Brunswick’s Local Governance System,” the article situates the history of local governance reform in New Brunswick in the debate between two theoretical traditions in historical institutionalism: critical juncture analysis and gradual institutional change. While local government reform in New Brunswick appears to be a case of punctuated equilibrium followed by a half century of stagnation, it is in fact a case of incremental layering. Drawing on Mahoney and Thelen’s theory of gradual institutional change and Tsebelis’ theory of veto players, Taylor identifies the relevant change agents and tracks their influence through four prominent reform episodes since the 1970s.


Professors Nandita Biswas Mellamphy - New Publication!

Dr. Biswas Mellamphy's article entitled "Challenging the Humanist Genre of Gender: Posthumanisms and Feminisms" has been published recently in a new book called Different Voices: Gender and Posthumanism edited by Paola Partenza, Özlem Karadağ, and Emanuela Ettorre by Brill Publishing House established in 1683.


Professors Zack Taylor and Martin Horak – Commentary on Strong Mayors Published in Policy Options

 Professor Zack Taylor and Martin Horak have published a critical commentary on the Ontario government’s new “strong mayor” legislation in Policy Options, a digital magazine of the Institute for Research on Public Policy. They argue that Bill 39, which allows the mayor to pass bills with only one-third support of councillors is a gross violation of democratic principles and that the province’s political objective may be to download political responsibility for the housing crisis to mayors.


Welcome Professor Sebastián Vallejo Vera! 

We are thrilled to be welcoming Sebastián Vallejo Vera (https://www.svallejovera.com/) as an Assistant Professor of Political Science in Summer 2023. Dr. Vallejo Vera is the director of the interdisciplinary Laboratory of Computational Social Science - México (iLCSS) and a Research Fellow at the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Science Institute (University of Houston). He joins us from the School of Social Science and Government at the Tecnológico de Monterrey, México after earning his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Vellejo Vera's research explores the relationship between gendered political institutions and representation, and racial identity and racism in Latin America. In particular, he studies the gendered barriers in political institutions, and the strategic reaction of political actors when encountering these barriers. His methodological work applies novel Natural Language Processing (NLP) to a wide variety of text data, from legislative speeches to tweets, to answer substantive questions about gender, racism, and politics.


Professor Zack Taylor - Strong Mayors Event

On October 19, 2022, Professor Taylor organized and moderated a panel discussion entitled “Strong(er) Mayors: What Difference Will They Make?” at the University of Toronto’s Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance. The panel featured Gabriel Eidelman (School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto), Alison Smith (Political Science, University of Toronto), Matt Elliot (Toronto Star), and Karen Chapple (School of Cities, University of Toronto). Building on the event, he has written an IMFG commentary on the Ontario government’s strong mayor reforms.


Professor Zack Taylor - Appointed Co-Editor of Territory, Politics, Governance

In November 2022, Professor Zack Taylor was appointed to a five-year term as co-editor of the journal Territory, Politics, Governance. Published by the UK-based Regional Studies Association, TPG is a leading interdisciplinary journal committed to the development of theory and empirical research on spatial politics and the governance of space, including federalism and multi-level governance, territorial political identities, globalization, migration, and geopolitical conflict

Assistant Professor Finneron-Burns - Book Interview

Assistant Professor Elizabeth Finneron-Burns and co-author Gustaf Arrhenius were interviewed about their recent book, The Oxford Handbook on Population Ethics. Read the full interview with the Institute for Future Studies here. For those interested, the book can be purchased through the publisher, Oxford University Press here.


Professor Chris Alcantara - New Article Publication 

Professor Chris Alcantara's paper, entitled "Improving equity, diversity and inclusion needs more than just lip service in education," has been published in Policy Options, a digital magazine of the Institute for Research on Public Policy. Professor Alcantara argues that implementing EDI policies in the education sector is a step in the right direction; however, these policies often fail to address the underlying bias and resistance to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Read his article to learn more about alternative approaches to EDI policy implementation in the education sector.


PhD Candidate Caleb Althorpe - New Article Publication

PhD Candidate Caleb Althorpe's article entitled "Meaningful Work, Nonperfectionism, and Reciprocity" has recently been published in Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy. The paper argues that there ought to be a place for meaningful work in a liberal theory of justice (even in ideal theory). Congratulations, Caleb!


Western Political Science Alumni Wins Mayoral Race

Josh Morgan, an alumni of the MA program in Political Science at Western, has been elected London's 65th mayor. To learn more about his platform, please visit his website. Congratulations, Josh!


Dr. Nicole McMahon Successfully Completes PhD!

Congratulations to Dr. Nicole McMahon for completing her PhD at Western University. Nicole's dissertation was entitled "Transgender Visibility in Military Policy and Anti-Discrimination Legislation: Comparing Canada to Australia."

Dr. McMahon is ready for hire. For more information on her research and teaching, please visit nicolefmcmahon.com.

Special thanks to Professor Chris Alcantara for supervising Dr. McMahon while she completed her doctorate!


PhD Student James Collie - Memory Politics Essay Competition Winner

PhD student James Collie is one of two winners of University of Victoria's Jean Monnet Network European Memory Politics essay competition. His winning paper is entitled "Canada's Contradiction of Legitimacy: Remembering Colonialism, Forgetting the Nation-to-Nation Relationship."

James has been invited to attend a conference entitled "Addressing the Past - Shaping the Future: Memory Politics in Europe and Canada." The conference will take place from October 21st-October 23rd, 2022. The program for the conference can be found here. Congratulations, James!


Former Student Yuxuan Jiang - New Article Publication in British Medical Journal

One of our former students has just published an article on the impact of the Ukraine crisis in the British Medical Journal (impact factor 93.33), which is the 4th highest-ranking medical journal in the world. The article considers the impact of the war in Ukraine and the global pandemic on global health governance reform.

Yuxuan Jiang took electives on international politics in the Department of Political Science. Currently he is studying medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton. Yuxuan also contributed a great deal to a Simulation of a UN Crisis by crafting the resolution that met with unanimous approval by over 140 students representing most of the world's State Parties. He plans to combine his understanding of policy-making with his medical background by pursuing a career in health policy. Congratulations, Yuxuan Jiang! 


Professor Alcantara - 2022 Yvan Allaire Medal Recipient

Professor Chris Alcantara has received the 2022 Yvan Allaire Medal from the Royal Society of Canada for his outstanding research and insights into the complex political relationships between Indigenous communities and all three levels of government in Canada. To read the full story by Rob Rombouts, please visit: Christopher Alcantara receives Royal Society of Canada Yvan Allaire Medal. Congratulations!

To read about the other six Western faculty members being honoured by the Royal Society of Canada, please visit: Royal Society of Canada celebrates Western Scholars. 


Professor Alcantara, Cynthia Huo, and Philip Charbonneau - New Article Publication

Professor Chris Alcantara's co-authored paper with fourth-year student Cynthia Huo and PhD graduate Philip Charbonneau entitled "Overcoming barriers to Indigenous-local water sharing agreements in Canada" has been published in Canadian Public Administration. To read the full article, please visit this website. Congratulations!


Professor Joe Lyons and Zac Spicer (PhD '13) - New Article Publication

Professor Joe Lyons and Zac Spicer (PhD '13) have recently published a new article entitled: "Small Town, Short Work Week: Evaluating the Effects of a Compressed Work Week Pilot in Zorra, Ontario, Canada" in the journal State and Local Government Review. The paper is open access and can be downloaded for free here. Congratulations! 


Professors Anderson and Turgeon - New Edited Book

Professors Anderson and Turgeon have co-edited a new book entitlted "Comparative Public Opinion," which has been published in Routledge. The book presents a comprehensive examination of public opinion in the democratic world. To read the full book, please visit: Comparative Public Opinion.


Professors Alcantara and Armstrong - New Publication

Professors Alcantara and Armstrong have co-authored a new paper entitled "Covid-19 Policy Convergence in Response to Knightian Uncertainty" with Chris Kam (UBC), Anthony Sayers (University of Calgary), and Christa Scholtz (McGill University).

The paper has been published in Political Studies Review and uses game theory to model elite decision making early in the pandemic. The paper is open access and can be downloaded for free: Covid-19 Policy Convergence in Response to Knightian Uncertainty.


PhD Students James Collie and Hannah Verrips - Finalist Paper Published

We are thrilled to announce that a paper co-authored by PhD students James Collie and Hannah Verrips has been published as a finalist in the 9th National Student Paper Competition by the Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration (CAPPA). Congratulations, James and Hannah! 

The paper, entitled “Not All Fire is Bad: Indigenous Fire Stewardship in Canada,” proposes an alternative to current approaches to wildfire management called ‘Indigenous Fire Stewardship (IFS).' Collie and Verrips argue that a more collaborative approach is needed to support Indigenous communities affected by wildfires.

To read the full paper, please visit: Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration.


Nicole McMahon - Dissertation Defense

Nicole McMahon successfully completed her PhD, "Policy Momentum and Transgender Policy Inclusion: Explaining National Policy Change," supervised by Professor Chris Alcantara. Congratulations, Nicole!


Professor Simpson - New Article and Opinion Column (Op Ed)

Professor Erika Simpson, president of the Canadian Peace Research Association, and co-author of How to De-escalate Dangerous Nuclear Weapons and Force Deployments in Europe, has a new opinion column in The Hill Times entitlted "NATO's new world order relies on multilateralism to strengthen its nuclear defence posture."

Professor Simpson also commented on the January 6th U.S. Capitol hearings and their relevance to Canadians in a new Global News article entitled: "U.S. Capitol hearings: Why should Canadians care? Extremism, security experts weigh in." Those with a particular interest in International Politics are encouraged to read these pieces. 


Incoming Assistant Professor Brie - New Feature

Evelyne Brie, an incoming assistant professor, was recently featured in a story by Western Social Science, in which she discusses the importance of examining the role of group identity in divided societies. In particular, Brie employs a quantitative approach to understand how group-level identities impact political resentment and voting behaviour. To read the full article, please visit: Examining the role of group identity in divided societies. 

We are thrilled to welcome Evelyne Brie to Western University and the Department next month! 


Professor Taylor and Professor Horak – New Grant

Over the next five years, the Money and Local Democracy Project / Projet sur l’argent et la democratie locale will conduct a far-reaching investigation of campaign finance regulation and local election campaigning. Funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant following pilot work funded by Western Faculty of Social Science research seed grants, the project is led by Professors Zack Taylor and Martin Horak at Western; Sandra Breux at l’Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Montréal; and Kristin Good at Dalhousie University.

This mixed-methods project will entail the largest survey of election candidates ever conducted in Canada – over 4,000 candidates in 183 municipalities in all 10 provinces, which are home to four out of five Canadians – as well as an analysis of candidates’ campaign finance disclosures over three election cycles and in-depth interviews with former candidates and campaign managers. The project will contribute new insights, both nationally and internationally, into whether differently configured campaign finance regimes create more competitive elections, how local candidates campaign, and enduring questions regarding the influence of money in politics.


Professor Alcantara and PhD Student Shanaya Vanhooren - New Article Publication 

Professor Christopher Alcantara has co-authored a paper entitled "Improving First Nations water security through governance" with PhD Candidate Shanaya Vanhooren and University of Guelph scholar Sherri Longboat.

The article has been deemed one of the top ten most downloaded articles in Canadian Public Administration/Administration Publique du Canada between 2019-2020. Congratulations, Professor Alcantara and PhD Candidate Shanaya Vanhooren! 

The paper examines an under-appreciated tool for improving First Nations water security, and develops a framework to guide the design and analysis of First Nations water governance models. To read the full paper, please visit: Wiley Online Library.


Professor Alcantara and Professor Armstrong - New Article Publication 

Christopher Alcantara, Professor and Graduate Chair; and David Armstrong, Associate Professor, have recently published a new article entitled "Locating federalism: Non-financial assets and public policy in Canada."

The article argues that non-financial asset ownership is a useful, yet often overlooked measure of power among the different levels of government. To read the full article, please visit: Wiley Library Online. 


Political Science Alumnus Enters Mayoral Race

Local Government Program (LGP) Recruitment and Development Officer, Deputy Mayor, and Political Science Alumnus, Josh Morgan, is running for London Mayor Fall 2022. To read the full story, please visit Global News.


Local Government Program (LGP) Expands to Western's Downtown Site

The Local Government Program (LGP) was recently featured in a Western News article announcing a new downtown hub located at 450 Talbot Street in London, Ontario.

The article highlights the 13 new projects that have been selected to drive experiential learning and partnerships between Western and the greater London community. This new site will allow the Local Government Program to offer alternative-format courses, further contributing to its long-standing reputation as a "rigorous professional program with a national reputation and community orientation."

To read the full article by Western News, please visit: Western's downtown site to bolster community connections.


Professor Biswas Mellamphy, Professor Girard, and Campbell - New Article Publication

Nandita Biswas Mellamphy, Associate Professor and Undergraduate Chair; Tyler Girard, SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow; and Anne Campbell, Gold Medalist in Political Science (UWO, 2021) and Canadian Parliamentary Intern (2021-2022), have just published a new article entitled 'Interpreting crises through narratives: the construction of a COVID-19 policy narrative by Canada's political parties' in Critical Policy Studies. Congratulations, Nandita, Tyler, and Anne!

This article focuses on the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada and poses the question: how was a crisis narrative constructed, and to what extent did the features of the emergent narrative vary across political elites? To read the full article, please visit: Critical Policy Studies.


Caleb Althorpe, PhD Candidate – New Article Publication

Caleb Althorpe, a PhD Candidate in Political Science, has recently had his article titled 'What is Meaningful Work?' published in Social Theory and Practice. Congratulations Caleb!

This article argues that two orthodox views of meaningful work - the subjective view and the autonomy view - are deficient. It then proposes and defends the contributive view of meaningful work, where what makes work meaningful is both its complexity and the extent to which a worker is involved in its contributive aspect. To read the full article by Caleb Althorpe, please visit: Social Theory and Practice.


Professor Girard – New Tenure-Track Position

Professor Girard (PhD '21) has recently accepted a tenure-track position at Purdue University in Indiana, a Research-1 University within the top-tier of American Universities. Congratulations, Professor Girard!

The appointment is a major accomplishment for a Canadian-trained Political Science PhD, and reflective of changes in the Department of Political Science at Western University. Girard acknowledges the outstanding mentorship opportunities and methodology training in the graduate program as playing a critical role in his success. To read the full story by Rob Rombouts, please visit: Western Political Science PhD accepts tenure-track position at top-tier American university.


Professor Finneron-Burns – Edited Publication

Professor Finneron-Burns' edited volume, titled 'Oxford Handbook of Population Ethics,' has now been published with Oxford University Press.

The essays included in this handbook discuss the value of population change, as well as our obligation to protect future generations from current issues; such as climate change, family planning, and the prioritization of health care. To read the full handbook, please visit Oxford University Press.


Professor Quinn – New Publication

Professor Quinn has a new article in Australian Outlook titled 'Building An Understanding of the Past and Our Responsibility for the Present.'

On the anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, a human rights crisis unfolds in Ukraine. To avert genocides, we must acknowledge the dark reality of these horrific events. To read the full article please visit International Affairs.


Professor Horak and Professor Taylor – New Publication

In 2021, Professors Horak and Taylor were invited to contribute to the Canadian dataset and profile report to an international project on measuring local autonomy funded by the European Commission. Published in April 2022, the final report by project leaders Andreas Ladner, Nicolas Keuffer, and Alexander Bastenian of the University of Lausanne, Self-rule index for local authorities in the EU, Council of Europe and OECD countries, 1990–2020, compares 57 countries over 30 years. The report finds that local autonomy measured across eleven dimensions has increased in most countries. Compared to the average, Canada scores lower on institutional depth, policy scope, effective political discretion, the conditionality of the financial transfer system, borrowing autonomy, legal protection, administrative supervision, and national access, and higher on fiscal autonomy, fiscal self-reliance, and organizational autonomy. Overall, Canada scores 45 out of 100 on the Local Autonomy Index compared to the mean score of 57. Professors Horak and Taylor are grateful for the research support of Amanda Gutzke, who collected data for the project as an Undergraduate Student Research Internship in Summer 2021.


Alumni Moses Latingo Odida - Documentary Production

Moses Latigo Odida (M.A. 2010) has produced a documentary entitled: 'Links to Justice: A Documentary about Combatting the School-to-Prison Pipeline' in conjunction with the Black Legal Action Centre.


Christopher Hewitt – Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Christopher Hewitt will hold a one-year Mitacs Accelerate Postdoctoral Fellowship at industry partner Esri Canada under the supervision of Professor Zack Taylor. An accomplished cartographer and spatial analyst, Dr. Hewitt will acquire the skills to construct a state-of-the-art spatial database of historical census data accessible through a map-based web portal that will facilitate data discovery and analysis. Esri is the world’s leading provider of spatial analysis software tools. This project is a companion to Professor Taylor’s Canadian Communities Policy Observatory project at Western’s Network of Economic and Social Trends (NEST).


Professor Taylor – New Grant

In February 2022, Professor Zack Taylor participated with a group of British and Canadian scholars in a joint British Academy-CiFAR Knowledge Frontiers Symposium on the Good City, where he presented and discussed his research on local autonomy and multi-level governance. This led to a successful application in partnership with Professor Matthew Wargent at the University of Cardiff for a seed grant to establish a new research network on devolution, local autonomy, and the multi-level governance of place in Britain and Canada. The grant will fund a workshop attended by British and Canadian scholars in Cardiff in Fall 2022. A follow-up workshop will be held in Canada in 2023.


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