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Zack Taylor Headshot infront of bright backgroundWestern Team Led by Professor Taylor Launches Neighbourhood Change Web Portal

The face of Canadian cities has been almost completely transformed over the past several generations. Immigration, the decline of industry, the rise of office work and the service economy, infill and redevelopment – all have changed downtown and suburban neighbourhoods alike. While the Canadian census contains a wealth of information about neighbourhoods from the Second World War to the present, accessing these data and using them to visualize neighbourhood change has required specialized skills. 

To fill this gap, researchers from Western’s Network for Economic and Social Trends (NEST) have created an online map portal, the UNI-CEN Canadian Neighbourhood Change Explorer, 1951-2021, that enables Canadians to visually explore historical data from the 15 censuses taken over the seven decades spanning 1951 and 2021. The project is led by Professor Zack Taylor, who worked closely with Mitacs postdoctoral fellow Christopher Hewitt and developers in Esri Canada’s Education and Research group. Esri is a world leader in geographical analysis software. Aspects of the project were funded by Western’s Faculty of Social Science, Mitacs, the City of Toronto, and SSHRC. For more information, read the article in Western News.

Professor Chris Alcantara - Faculty Scholar Award

Professor Chris Alcantara has been selected as one of Western's Faculty Scholars for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 academic years. The award celebrates the complete scholar who has maintained an excellent record in teaching and research, and who has recently achieved prominence in one of these two domains. Congratulations!

Professor Biswas Mellamphy - New Publication

Academics, scientists, and policymakers have attempted to deal with the ‘Anthropocene’, a name for a new geological epoch meant to conceptualize the impact of humans as a geological force.  The term has served as the basis for competing narratives regarding environmental and humanitarian crises argue Nandita Biswas Mellamphy (Associate Professor, Political Science) and Jacob Vangeest (Ph.D candidate, Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism) in a recently published research article “Human, all too human? Anthropocene Narratives, Posthumanisms, and the Problem of ‘Post-anthropocentrism” in The Anthropocene Review, an international trans-disciplinary journal devoted to investigating the Anthropocene era from a wide range of scholarly perspectives from earth and environmental sciences to social sciences, material sciences, and humanities. Trans-disciplinarity emphasizes the potentials and capacities of seemingly non-related disciplines to learn from one another.   

Left) MPA student Rachel Yantha discusses the findings of her research into strong mayor powers in Ontario local governments, with London mayor Josh Morgan. (Caroline Jones/Office of Mayor Josh Morgan photo)Local Government Program - Partners with City of London

As grad students examine civic powers and functions, the Local Government Program partners with the City of London to help Western students research local governments with London mayor’s office. Mayor Josh Morgan expressed his support for the partnership and the work being done by the students. “This partnership has been extremely valuable for the students who have had a chance to participate. It has given them real-world experience in the midst of their studies and insight into some of the pressing issues facing the City of London and municipalities across Ontario,” said Professor and director of the Local Government Program, Joe Lyons.

Professor Alcantara – New Publication

Professor Chris Alcantara, along with former Western University PhD candidate John Kennedy and Dr. Jason Roy (WLU) have published a new paper entitled, “Don’t blame the messenger? An assessment of public regulations announcements and support for the governing party and the public policy” in Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties. They use a survey experiment to test whether who delivers an announcement about a new policy affects support for the government and the new policy. The answer? Mostly null effects except for one treatment. Download the paper here:

Two Years of War - Professor Dyczok

Two years marking Russia’s war against Ukraine Professor Marta Dyczok speaks in this news CBC news article “A Russian missile exploded near Zelenskyy. Experts say the Ukrainian leader's still Putin's top target” and was and interviewed on the Power Vertical Podcast along with former US Ambassador Steven Pifer on “Two Years of War”. 

PhD Candidate Mosannef – New Publication

PhD Candidate Daniel Mosannef has co-authored a new paper entitled, “Representative democracy and cabinet selection: The determinants of ministerial appointment in territorial government.” The paper, published in Canadian Public Administration and co-authored with Professors Christopher Alcantara and Jerald Sabin, applies time series techniques learned at Western (details about our methods training here) to examine cabinet selection in the Canadian Territories. The paper is open access and can be downloaded here. Congrats Daniel!

Megan Payler - Dissertation Defense

Megan Payler successfully completed her PhD, "Beyond Recognition: The Significance of External Legitimacy for De Facto States in the Global Arena," supervised by Professor Dave Armstrong. Congratulations, Megan!

Graduate students Jake Collie, Sam Routley, Noah VanderhoevenGraduate Students Collie, Routley, Vanderhoeven - Attend 2024 Bell Chair Conference

Graduate students Jake Collie, Sam Routley, Noah Vanderhoeven, attended the 2024 Bell Chair Canadian Politics Graduate Student Conference this past weekend at Carlton University in Ottawa. This conference is an opportunity to present and receive feedback on research from a scholarly audience. They each presented papers entitled: “Canada after Tsilhqot’in: The End of Terra Nullius, the Start of Reconciliation?” (Collie), “The Changing Face of Conservatism in Canada: Challenges to the Fusionist Consensus” (Routley), and “Professional sport as a form of political representation for historically excluded groups: a comparative analysis” (Vanderhoeven).

Professor Taylor - New Publication

Professor Zack Taylor and the University of Toronto’s Phil Triadafilopoulos have published a new article in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies entitled “The domestic politics of selective permeability: disaggregating the Canadian migration state.” Problematizing migration scholar James Hollifield’s influential conceptualization of the “migration state,” they theorize recent Canadian developments. Canada is sometimes held up as the paradigmatic centralised liberal migration state. Taylor and Triadafilopoulos present evidence of growing policy blurring, fragmentation, and decentralization as migration management programmes have been patched and layered in response to controversies and pressure from domestic interests, including employers, higher education institutions, advocacy groups, and subnational governments. As a result, volumes of temporary foreign workers and foreign students have increased tenfold since 2000. More generally, they propose that a strategy of disaggregation reveals the internal complexity of, and political tensions within, contemporary migration states.

First Clarke Fellow Awarded

Congratulations to Tyler Romualdi, Political Science PhD candidate, who has been chosen as the first Clarke Fellow as part of the Dr. Harold D. Clarke Graduate Quantitative Research Methodology Fellowship. This is awarded annually to a full-time graduate student in the PhD program in Political Science, based on demonstrated ability and interest in Quantitative Research Methodology. Well done, Tyler!

Image of Western President and Poli Sci FacultyIn the News - Political Science Newsmakers

Western University's Media Relations celebrated campus "newsmakers" this week. Political Science is Western's leader in media engagement and was well represented at the event. From left to right, Western President Alan Shepard, Professor Erika Simpson, Professor Laura Stephenson, Chair and Professor Matthew Lebo, Professor Marta Dyczok, Political Science PhD candidate Sam Routley, former American Studies Undergraduate student Justin Zadorsky, Professor Martin Horak, Professor Zack Taylor, and former Political Science Undergraduate student Cynthia Yi.

Professor Turgeon - Granted Innovative Research Projects SSHRC Funding

Professor Mathieu Turgeon along with dozens of other Western University researchers were awarded a total of $5 million in grant funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) this week for the latest round of innovative research projects. Mathieu Turgeon, has been awarded $245,305 for his project entitled “Climate change misinformation in Canada: Its prevalence, determinants and potential for inoculation and correction.” Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity this century. It is increasing the frequency and severity of weather events, causing death, suffering, and damage to property and the economy. The actions needed to slow down, mitigate, and adapt to the climate crisis require fundamentally reconfiguring the domestic political economy of states, triggering new distributional struggles between the winners and losers of climate change action, in which people who oppose such policies continue to deny, delay, and otherwise obstruct efforts toward a greener global economy. In this struggle, groups like political parties, public figures, international organizations (IOs), and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) mobilize for more action on climate change, while other groups like right-wing political parties, corporate and energy industry lobby groups, and conservative think-tanks push in the opposite direction. The climate change countermovement is especially challenging for democratic countries because government action in democracies requires the consent of the electorate. It is precisely because the masses can exert pressure on governments to act or not act regarding climate change that some actors campaign hard to discredit the science around climate change, its effects, and possible solutions. These actors spread misinformation to further their own economic interests and values by sowing doubt and division among mass publics, reducing the pressure on governments to swiftly enact strong measures to deal with climate change.

Now, how successful are these disinformation campaigns? To what extent do they spread misinformation among the electorate? Is such misinformation consequential in shaping people's policy preferences when it comes to addressing climate change? Can misinformation about climate change be corrected or, better, is it possible to inoculate people against disinformation campaigns of that nature? These are some of the questions intended to address in this SSHRC-funded research project by examining the Canadian mass public. Congratulations Mathieu!

Professor Armstrong, Stephenson, and Alcantara – New Publication

Drs. Armstrong, Stephenson, and Alcantara have published a new paper in Party Politics called: “Do experts and citizens perceive party competition similarly?” This paper finds that party competition in Canada seems to be unidimensional (left-right) and that experts and citizens place the parties differently along this ideological dimension. The potential consequences of these findings are significant for those interested in understanding party competition, spatial voting, and the determinants of satisfaction with democracy. Download the paper for free here.

Professor Dyczok - Presentation on Conducting Research in Ukraine During War

Professor Marta Dyczok presented a TJ Speaker Series talk titled 'Conducting Research in Ukraine During War' on September 19. Professor Dyczok spent the month of August 2023 researching in Ukraine. She spoke about her experiences in Ukraine and how those experiences have impacted her research. A recording of the talk is available here.

Ryan Atkinson - Dissertation Defense

Ryan Atkinson successfully completed his PhD, "NATO Cyber Defence, 2000-2022," supervised by Professor Erika Simpson. Congratulations, Ryan!

Professor Friesen - Recent Article

A recent article of Professor Amanda Friesen has been named to the European Journal of Politics and Gender (EJPG) Student Reading List for 2023 and among the favourites in the gender equality and public policies category. Along with Kate Hunt, this article presents a case study of the 2018 Irish referendum to legalize abortion. Hunt and Friesen demonstrate the importance of conducting gender scholarship that accounts for men and masculinities, finding that both pro- and anti-abortion campaigners tried to sway men’s votes by using appeals to hegemonic masculinity. Entitled, "You can’t repeal regret’: targeting men for mobilisation in Ireland’s abortion debate," yhis study explores how social movement organisations involved in the abortion debate in the Republic of Ireland attempted to appeal to men in their campaign messages before the 2018 referendum on the Eighth Amendment concerning abortion.

Professors Brie and Alcantara – New Publication

Drs. Evelyne Brie and Christopher Alcantara have published a new paper with former undergraduate student and now PIP intern Cynthia Huo entitled, “Measuring Policy Diffusion in Federal Systems: The Case of Legalizing Cannabis in Canada under Time Constraints”. The paper, which appears in Publius: The Journal of Federalism, applies text-as-data techniques to measure the diffusion of policies related to the legalization of cannabis in Canada. Studies of policy diffusion in Canada frequently rely on qualitative techniques but their paper shows that different methods may tell different stories, which suggests multi-method approaches are preferable. You can download the paper here (gated).

Here’s the citation to the paper:

Evelyne Brie, Cynthia Huo, Christopher Alcantara, Measuring Policy Diffusion in Federal Systems: The Case of Legalizing Cannabis in Canada under Time Constraints, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 2023;,pjad036,

Trudeau Invite and Dyczok Zelensky SelfieProfessor Dyczok - Special Event Invitation from Trudeau and Selfie with President Zelensky

Professor Marta Dyczok continues to follow the War Against Ukraine and was recently invited to a special event hosted by Prime Minister Trudeau for Ukraine's President Zelensky. Dyczok even managed to get a selfie with Zelensky after giving him a copy of her book.

Professor Finneron-Burns - New First Book & Edited Book

What We Owe to Future People. A Contractualist Account of Intergenerational Ethics discusses a range of different issues relating to future generations rather than focusing narrowly on one area and is now available for pre-order. What do we owe future people? Intergenerational ethics is of great philosophical and practical importance, given human beings' ability to affect not only the quality of life of future people, but also how many of them there will be (if any at all). This book develops a distinctly contractualist answer to this question--we need to justify our actions to them on grounds they could not reasonably reject.

The book develops principles of intergenerational ethics in four main areas. How good a life are we required to leave future people? When is it permissible for an individual to procreate? Should we try to ensure as many people as possible live in the future or allow humans to become extinct? How does the fact that we do not always know how our actions will affect future people change what we owe them? The book answers these questions by using the contractualist method to develop general moral principles in these areas, and then applying those principles to real-world, concrete situations that individuals and states face every day.

The Oxford Handbook of Population Ethics (2022) presents up-to-date theoretical analyses of various problems associated with the moral standing of future people and animals in current decision-making and can be purchased here

Edited by Professor Elizabeth Finneron-Burns alongside Gustaf Arrhenius, Krister Bykvist, Tim Campbell (ed.), this handbook presents up-to-date theoretical analyses of problems associated with the moral standing of future people in current decision-making. Congratulations Elizabeth!

Professor Emeritus Don Abelson - New Position

We are happy to announce Professor Emeritus Don Abelsons new position, effective October 1. Abelson has been appointed as the Inaugural Academic Director, Wilson College of Leadership and Civic Engagement, and Professor, Political Science, at McMaster University. Congratulations!

Professor Friesen – CRC in Political Psychology (SSHRC Tier 2)

Professor Amanda Friesen, has been named as CRC in Political Psychology (SSHRC Tier 2), examining the nature of political engagement. Working as the director of The Body Politics Lab, political science and psychology professor Amanda Friesen’s research looks at what stops people from being equally involved in politics and how this can harm our ability to work together to solve problems as a society. Her research will compare political engagement to other risk-taking activities, with the intent to design better deliberative spaces. It will also explore how individuals respond in political and non-political conversations, and whether gender and age impact the quality and content of discussion. Congratulations!

Professor Taylor – In The News

On Sunday, August 27, 2023, Professor Taylor published an opinion piece in the Toronto Star on the need to stabilize big-city finances across the country, and discusses the feasibility of giving municipalities across the country a share of federal HST revenues. He concludes that while it is a feasible solution, it would require the federal and provincial governments to agree – which won’t be easy. On Monday, August 21, Professor Taylor also appeared on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin to discuss the Greenbelt scandal enveloping the provincial government, specifically the Auditor General’s report that detailed favourable treatment for property developers with connections to Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservative Party.

Professor Simpson - New Article

Professor Erika Simpson has published a new article in the Hill Times regarding fears of nuclear meltdown and war over the Black Sea should push global community to action. To read the full article visit the Hill Times website here:

Professors Taylor and Armstrong – New publication

With Jack Lucas (University of Calgary) and Ryan Bakker (University of Essex), Professors Taylor and Armstrong published a new article in Comparative Political Studies in August 2023 comparing the historical development of the urban-rural divide in legislative representation in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. They conclude that the urban-rural cleavage in national politics has never been larger, although each country has reached this point through different processes.

Professor Taylor – New publication

As part of a long-running project on liberating historical Canadian Census data funded by a Faculty of Social Science research development grant and hosted by Western’s Network on Economic and Social Trends, Mitacs postdoctoral fellow Christopher Hewitt and Prof. Taylor published an article in Cartographic Journal in August 2023 outlining the procedures they used to digitize paper maps of census tract boundaries and associated data for the 1951, 1956, and 1961, and 1966 Censuses. Census tracts are neighbourhood-sized units. Prior to this project, digital boundaries and data were only available for the post-1971 period. This new data product will unlock new possibilities for postwar neighbourhood change research.

Nathan Tillo – New USRI Poster 

Political Science undergraduate student Nathan Tillo has created a poster that summarizes some of the work he has been doing this summer as part of Western’s Undergraduate Student Research Internship Program. His project, under the supervision of Dr. Christopher Alcantara, applies insights from game theory to describe and explain intergovernmental negotiations between the federal and provincial governments in Canada in the realm of health care. The plan is to eventually publish the results of the project in an academic journal. Check out his poster here.

Jeremy Roberts - Dissertation Defense

Jeremy Roberts successfully completed his PhD, "The Populist Radical Right in the United States: Lessons from Europe," supervised by Professor Cristine de Clercy. Congratulations, Jeremy!

PhD Candidate Jesse Mehravar - New Publication

Congratulations to second year PhD student Jesse Mehravar, who has published a new paper co-authored with Professors Christopher Alcantara (Western) and Jason Roy (WLU), entitled, “Does Simulating Financial Equality Reduce the Political Donations Gender Gap?” Political Studies Review Online First (Open Access).

This publication uses data from Western University Network for Economic and Social Trends (NEST). This paper came out of a RAship that Jesse completed with Professor Alcantara during the first year of his PhD in the Fall of 2022, a great testament to our mentorship within PhD program. The department normally assigns incoming PhD students to faculty members as research assistants so they can learn about and be mentored in the art of publishing. This paper is the outcome of that RAship. Well done Jesse!

Caleb Althorpe - Dissertation Defense

Caleb Althorpe successfully completed his PhD, "Justice and Meaningful Work," supervised by Professor Richard Vernon and Professor Charles Jones. Congratulations, Caleb!

Professor Taylor – New Article Publication

Professor Zack Taylor published an article in Canadian Journal of Political Science with Jack Lucas (University of Calgary), freelance cartographer J.P. Kirby, and Mitacs Postdoctoral Fellow Christopher Hewitt entitled “Canada's Federal Electoral Districts, 1867–2021: New Digital Boundary Files and a Comparative Investigation of District Compactness.” Published in May 2023, the article introduces a complete, open-access dataset of Canadian federal electoral district boundaries and associated data spanning the full post-Confederation period, and conducts a comparative analysis of district compactness for the Canadian districts and American congressional districts. They find that, in contrast to the United States, postwar institutional changes to district boundary-drawing processes had little effect on district compactness in Canada.

Professor Finneron-Burns - New Publication

Professor Elizabeth Finneron-Burns has published a new article, "Luck Egalitarianism and Non-overlapping Generations." In this paper, Professor Finneron-Burns argues that there are good reasons to limit the scope of luck egalitarianism to co-existing people.

Professor Taylor – New Dataset

Professor Zack Taylor and Australian election analyst David Barry have released a new comprehensive dataset of Australian election results and digitized electoral district boundaries dating from the country’s inception in 1901. This will be an invaluable resource for Australian and comparative electoral geography researchers.

Doctoral Student Afifa Khwaja - New Publication

Political Science PhD candidate Afifa Khwaja has just published one of her dissertation chapters in the Journal of International Political Theory. The article, ”A Human Right to Political Membership and the Right to Territory" is available on line here.

Professor Taylor – New Book Chapter

Professor Zack Taylor co-authored a chapter entitled “Leading Beyond: Building Relationships for Intergovernmental Collaboration” with the former chief administrative officer of the Cities of Winnipeg and Victoria, Gail Stephens. The chapter appears in a University of Toronto Press book edited by David Siegel, Michael Fenn, and Gordon Mackintosh, The Roles of Canadian City Managers: In Their Own Words, published in May 2023.

Professor Taylor – New Report

Professor Zack Taylor edited and co-authored a Forum report for the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance at University of Toronto on the subject of Ontario’s new strong mayors legislation. Released in May 2023, “Strong(er) Mayors in Ontario – What Difference Will They Make?” includes commentary by professor Taylor and contributions from Karen Chapple (Director, School of Cities, University of Toronto), Matt Elliott (Toronto Star), Alison Smith (University of Toronto), and Gabriel Eidelman (University of Toronto).

Professor Horak - Western News ArticleProfessor Martin Horak downtown London

Political Science Professor Martin Horak took his students out of the classroom and into the downtown core on a walking tour of key London landmarks to analyze how political decisions shape a city. Follow the class here on a field trip through the city centre.

Professor Lyons – New Article 

Professor Joe Lyons has co-authored a new paper with Zachary Spicer (PhD’13) and Morgan Calvert (MPA’19) in Canadian Public Administration, entitled “Preparedness and crisis-driven policy change: COVID-19, digital readiness, and information technology professionals in Canadian local government.” 

Professor Finneron-Burns and PhD Candidate Caleb Althorpe

Professor Elizabeth Finneron-Burns and PhD Candidate Caleb Althorpe have a new publication, “Are Saviour Siblings a Special Case in Procreative Ethics?” forthcoming in the Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy. While the journal’s website takes some time to post, the article has been put on Scholarship@Western in the meantime.

Professor Dyczok - New Exhibition

Organizers standing in front of the wall of diplomas

Unissued Diplomas Exhibit comes to Western University located in the DB Weldon Library with the help of Professor Marta Dyczok.

Unissued Diplomas is a photo exhibit of Ukrainian students killed by Russians in their genocidal war against Ukraine. A group of Ukrainian students who found refuge at the University of Toronto created the exhibit to mark one year of Russia’s escalated war and launched it at over 45 universities worldwide on February 24.

With the help of some amazing librarians and students, Professor Dyczok was able to bring the exhibit to Western. Alison Wetheral of Weldon Library made an exhibit space available immediately. Anastasiia Dovbina, a 3rd year Politician Science student from the University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy who is currently at U of T and one of the exhibit creators, helped pack and load the exhibit. At the other end Alison organized a team of librarians and some students who helped unload and mount the exhibit. They included Madeleine Spezowka from the Western Ukrainian Students Club, Abigail Sobin, who’s taking my Russia’s War Against Ukraine course, Khrystyna Nyshshei, a new PhD student from Ukraine, and others.

You can find it at the entrance of the Weldon Library, and it will be there through Convocation. One of the students featured in the exhibit was a friend of a graduate from the Western History Department, Dr. Max Sviezhentsev. Max continues to be on the frontline fighting to chase out the Russian invaders from his homeland.

Professor Friesen - New Book

In 2020, as COVID-19 swept across the world, many churches closed their doors – at the request of governments - to slow the spread of the disease. Services moved online and church leaders shared public health messages. Yet, some churches stood in opposition, defying public health measures.

What made the difference, and why did some churches adopt while others opposed public health measures? Professor Amanda Friesen and her colleague Paul Djupe saw an opportunity to understand what role religion – and different expressions of religion – can have in encouraging collective action.

Their findings are published in “An Epidemic among My People: Religion, Politics and COVID-19 in the United States” and highlight how particular aspects of religion – such as denomination, whether the congregation was led by a man or woman, and belief in prosperity gospel – correlate to different understandings of and responses to, the pandemic.

The book was recently included in the Knowledge Unlatched Select 2023 Humanities and Social Science Frontlist Collection for Open Access publication, making it available for anyone to access. Learn more about the book in this recent article by Rob Rombouts from the Social Science Deans office.

Professor Dyzcok - New Articles

Professor Marta Dyczok has recently published two articles about Russia’s war against Ukraine and media. “Ukraine’s Information Warriors,” was published in the Journal of Democracy. The article is based on her long-time research on Ukraine’s media and personal insights. “Zelens′kyi uses his communication skills as a weapon of war,” was co-authored with Political Science former graduate student Yerin Chung, and is a quantitative/qualitative analysis of Ukraine’s president’s speeches in the first 50 days of escalated war, published in Canadian Slavonic Papers. Both are available open access.

PhD Candidate Shanaya Vanhooren and Professor Horak - New Publication

Professor Martin Horak and PhD student Shanaya Vanhooren have published "Somebody to Lean On: Community Ties, Social Exchange, and Practical Help during the COVID-19 Pandemic" in City & Community, a leading urban sociology journal. Based on data gathered in Western's Recovery and resilience: Covid-19 survey project, Horak and Vanhooren's analysis shows that local social relationships are important and widespread sources of practical help for individuals and households in times of community-wide crisis.

PhD Candidate Michelle Caplan and Professors Alcantara and Turgeon - New Article Publication

A new paper co-authored with one of our PhD students, Michelle Caplan, Professors Chris Alcantara and Mathieu Turgeon, in the "Institutional change and partisanship in the Canadian Senate," The Journal of Legislative Studies. The paper uses causal inference and text-as-data techniques to examine the impact of Justin Trudeau's decision to expel Liberal Senators from his caucus on whether Senators are more or less likely to raise women's issues in the Senate.  

Abstract: The Canadian Senate was originally designed to act as an independent check on the House of Commons but over time, rampant and increasing partisanship rendered the Senate illegitimate in the eyes of the public. In 2014, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau tried to reverse these trends by expelling all Liberal Senators from his party in hopes of reducing partisanship and restoring the Senate to its original, independent function. To what extent did this decision reduce partisanship? Using a difference-in-differences design, we analyse almost 7000 interventions over an 11-year period to find that partisanship remains strong in the Senate, with ex-Liberal Senators more likely to raise women's issues compared to Conservative Senators post-2014. This trend seems consistent with the Liberal Party's strong and the Conservative Party's weak feminist agenda after the Liberals formed the government in 2015.

Professor Friesen - New Book

Professor Amanda Friesens new book The topical volume, An Epidemic among My People, explains how the COVID-19 pandemic stress tested American religious communities and created a new politics of religion centered on public health. 

Friesen and co-editor, Paul A. Djupe (Denison University), and contributors, consider how the virus and government policy affected religion in America. Chapters examine the link between the prosperity gospel and conspiracy theories, the increased purchase of firearms by evangelicals, the politics of challenging public health orders as religious freedom claims, and the reactions of Christian nationalists, racial groups, and female clergy to the pandemic (and pandemic politics). As sharp lines were drawn between people and their governments during this uncertain time, An Epidemic among My People provides a comprehensive portrait of religion in American public life.

Professor Lyons – New Book Chapter

Professor Joe Lyons has published a co-authored book chapter with Zachary Spicer (PhD’13) and Dave Taylor (MPA’17) about municipally owned corporations in Canada. The chapter is part of a co-edited book entitled, Corporatisation in Local Government: Context, Evidence and Perspectives from 19 Countries and can be accessed here:

Professor Simpson - New Article

Professor Erika Simpson has published a new co-authored article in the Hill Times regarding negotiating a new Minsk III accord as the Ukraine war hits a crossroads. To read the full article visit the Hill Times website here: 

Professor Finneron-Burns - New French Language Interview

Professor Elizabeth Finneron-Burns was interviewed in Usbek & Rica about longtermism and our obligation to the future. To read the full interview (in French), visit the website here:

Professor Alcantara - New Publication

Dr. Christopher Alcantara has published a new paper in Governance that seeks to measure accountability in Indigenous-local intergovernmental agreements. The paper is co-authored with former PhD student and now Assistant Professor of Political Science at Purdue University, Dr. Tyler Girard, former PhD student and now Associate Professor of Political Science at York University, Dr. Zac Spicer, and Dr. Jen Nelles. The paper is open access and can be downloaded for free here: 

Citation of the paper:Spicer, Z., Girard, T., Nelles, J., & Alcantara, C. (2023). Measuring accountability in interlocal agreements between Indigenous and local governments. Governance, 1–16.

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 - Published 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 Professor 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. Nandita 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

Professors 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 ( 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 Zack 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 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

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 Dave 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 Elizabeth 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 Joanna 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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