Sakhi Naimpoor - Dissertation
Sakhi Naimpoor successfully completed his PhD, "NATO's Security Sector Reform in Afghanistan”, supervised by Professor Erika Simpson. Congratulations Sakhi!
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
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 - CPSG Doctoral Felow
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 Anderson, Laura 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:
Best wishes for the next part of your journey. You've made us proud! CONGRATULATIONS GRADUATES!
Graphic credit: Maddie McCready
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.
Professor 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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