2009 Archived News


Dr. Laura Stephenson appears on TVO's The Agenda with Steve Paikin

Dr. Laura Stephenson taped a segment for The Agenda on TVO that aired on Thursday, December 3. Dr. Stephenson talked about the 2007 referendum on electoral reform in Ontario, following up on a study that she co-wrote for the IRPP called “Ontario’s Referendum on Proportional Representation: Why Citizens Said No.” 

Dr. Erika Simpson gives a Lecture at the Canadian Forces College

Dr. Erika Simpson gave a lecture to 150 officers of the Joint Command and Staff Programme at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto on November 16th. The title of her lecture was "NATO: Current Controversies and Issues." As the officers taking this professional program are working toward graduate degrees, subsidized by DND, they are mostly Lieutenant-Colonels who have been deployed in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Germany, etc. They included 25 mid-level career officers from France, Nepal, Pakistan, Saudia Arabia, South Korea, and the UK. The question and answer period, and discussion was very lively.

Milestones of our Graduates - Presented a Paper at the NPSA

Asim Ali, a PhD candidate in the Department, presented a paper entitled "US foreign economic policy towards the rise of Sovereign Wealth Funds" at the 41st Annual Meeting of the Northeastern Political Science Association, November 19-21, 2009, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Additional details can be found at the Northeastern Political Science Association website.

Dr. Joanna Quinn Travels to South Africa

Dr. Joanna R. Quinn is presenting a paper entitled, “What of Reconciliation? Symbols, Rites & Ceremonies In Uganda,” on December 3, 2009 at a conference called “Beyond Reconciliation: Dealing with the Aftermath of Mass Trauma and Political Violence” at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa.

Close Encounters with Jeremy Bentham


Professor Long and Maya Long visit Jeremy Bentham.

Professor Doug Long is spending his Sabbatical Year at University College London (England) preparing selections from the manuscripts of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), the father of English utilitarianism, for publication. Not only are Bentham's manuscripts held at UCL - so is Bentham! His "auto-icon", a life-sized effigy using his actual skeleton fleshed out with paper mache, wearing Bentham's own clothes, crowned with a wax impression of his head, sits in the South Cloisters of UCL, through which Professor Long walks every day on his way to read the manuscripts. No actual haunting activities have been reported, but Professor Long sometimes feels the old boy is watching him!

Ukraine`s 2010 Election Watch

Professor Marta Dyczok is a contributor to the new "Ukraine`s 2010 Election Watch" blog launched by the Petro Jacyk Program for Study of Ukraine, Munk Center, University of Toronto. She will be monitoring and commenting on the role media is playing in the presidential electoral battle. See website Ukraine`s 2010 Election Watch.

The Second Edition of Do Think Tanks Matter? Assessing the Impact of Public Policy Institutes will be Translated into Simplified Chinese


The Second Edition of Donald Abelson’s book, Do Think Tanks Matter? Assessing the Impact of Public Policy Institutes (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2009) is being translated into Simplified Chinese by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS). Founded in 1958, SASS is China’s oldest institution for the humanities and social sciences and is the largest one outside the capital of Beijing. SASS is a leading think tank with close to 500 researchers working in several policy research areas. The book is expected to be released in 2010. Professor Abelson’s book has also been translated into Arabic. Please see a news article in the Western News.

UN Climate Change Negotiations in Barcelona, Spain


Professor Radoslav Dimitrov and his research assistant Jon Gamu (right) attended the United Nations climate change negotiations in Barcelona, Spain, November 2-6, 2009. Professor Dimitrov was a negotiator for the European Union, on the delegation of Bulgaria. Jon Gamu helped make audio and video records of the talks. The research project is on "Persuasion in World Politics" and examines argumentation in UN climate negotiations.

UN Negotiator for the European Union


Professor Dimitrov participating in climate talks in Barcelona, Spain. Professor Radoslav Dimitrov became a United Nations negotiator for the European Union at the UN climate change negotiations. He participated in the climate talks in Barcelona, Spain as a government delegate on the Bulgarian delegation. The conference was the last prelude to the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December 2009. Professor Dimitrov joined the EU Expert Group on Further Action, participated in EU coordination meetings and helped formulate the EU negotiating strategy for Copenhagen. His current research on "Persuasion in World Politics" is funded with a SSHRC grant and examines argumentation and techniques of persuasion in UN climate negotiations.

Media, Democracy and Freedom. The Post Communist Experience, New publication from Marta Dyczok


Marta Dyczok and Oxana Gaman-Golutvina (eds.) have a new publication available, Media, Democracy and Freedom. The Post Communist Experience (Peter Lang, 2009). This volume brings together papers from an international group of scholars from various disciplines who, 'explore the complex relations between media, society, and the state, in this region over the past twenty years, and present theoretical arguments which challenge dominant views.' Details about the book can be found at the Peter Lang Publishing Group.

Islam’s Predicament, Perspectives of a Dissident Muslim - New Book by Salim Mansur


"In the face of Muslim extremism and terror that went global with 9/11, there remains the urgent need for Muslims to confront and repudiate those who have perverted their faith, or hijacked it, and made of Islam an ideology of bigotry and war (jihad). Islam’s Predicament is a small effort in that urgently needed larger and wider struggle against radical Muslims, or Islamists, who have wrecked the Muslim world and have spread fear and violence indiscriminately among non-Muslims.” - Salim Mansur, from the Preface.

Scholarly Activities - Professor Nandita Biswas Mellamphy attending Conferences in London, ON and Chile

Professor Nandita Biswas Mellamphy will be presenting a paper entitled "The 'Subject' as Trans-Individual" at the upcoming international conference of the Canadian Society for Continental Philosophy on October 16, 2009 (4:30-6:30pm, King’s University College, Labatt Hall 105B). The paper is part of a joint panel on Trans-Individuation, Technology and Politics and also features papers by Dan Mellamphy and Emanuele Leonardi (Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism, Western). Professor Nandita Biswas Mellamphy has been invited to present a paper entitled "Nietzsche's Experimental Ontology: A Political Physiology of Individuation." The international conference entitled "Nietzsche and the Becoming of Life," featuring North American, European and Latin American scholars, is hosted by the Institute for Humanities, Diego Portales University (Santiago, Chile) and will be held from November 2-4, 2009.

Do Think Tanks Matter? Assessing the Impact of Public Policy Institutes, Second Edition


Think tank directors often credit their institutes with influencing major policy debates and government legislation and many journalists and scholars believe the explosion of think tanks in the latter part of the twentieth century indicates their growing importance in the policy-making process. Abelson goes beyond assumptions, identifying the influence and relevance of public policy institutes in today’s political arena in the United States, where they've become an integral feature of the political landscape, and in Canada, where, despite recent growth in numbers, they enjoy less prominence than their US counterparts. By focusing on the policy cycle, issue articulation, policy formation, and implementation, Abelson argues that individual think tanks have sometimes played an important role in shaping the political dialogue and the policy preferences and choices of decision-makers but often in different ways and at different stages of the policy cycle. This revised and updated edition of the book includes up-to-date data (2000-08) on the growing visibility and policy relevance of think tanks in Canada and the United States. Written by Donald Abelson

Milestones of our Graduates - Completion of Program Requirements

The Department of Political Science is pleased to announce the following students have successfully completed their graduate program requirements and will graduate in October 2009. Well done to all our graduates!

PhD Dissertation

  • Brett Skinner, “Barriers to Health Policy Liberalization in Canada“, supervisor: Don Abelson.
  • Aaron Moore, “Planning Institutions and the Politics of Urban Development”, supervisor: Andrew Sancton

MA Thesis

  • Meghan Fougere, “Genocide and the Case for Institutional Responsibility”, supervisor: Richard Vernon
  • Rob Maciel, “Cosmopolitan Citizenship”, supervisor: Charles Jones
  • Mike Laurence, “Nietzsche’s Political Legacy” supervisor: Nandita Biswas Mellamphy

Master’s Research Papers

  • Diala Al-Dabbas, “The Cost-Effectiveness of Climate Mitigation Policies. A Case Study of Germany”
  • Kaitlyn Armstrong, “Kurdish identity and the Pursuit of Political Rights”
  • Petra Bosma, “Transitional Justice Mechanisms in Post-Conflict Societies: Promoting Narrative Cohesion for Individuals and Society?”
  • Kelby Carter, “Referendums’ Ability to Drive Substantive participation in the Political Process: An Examination of Referendums, Participation, and the 1992 Charlottetown Accord”
  • Melissa Harris, “Climate Change as a Security Issue: The International Threats and the Implications for Canada"
  • Ryan Hill, “Relax? A Comprehensive Examination of Party Discipline in the Canadian House of Commons”
  • Kellie Hodges, “Deconstruct to Reconstruct: Habermas’s Theory of Communicative Action”
  • Ian Iatzko, “The United States and Israel: Explaining the Special Relationship”
  • Kyle Jackson, “No Oppression Left Unturned: The Historical Development of Latin American Liberation Theology”
  • Julianna Khou, “The Problem of Space in Social Science”
  • Adam Kochanski, “Liberal Peacebuilding and its Limitations: Evaluating United Nations Transitional Administration”
  • Joshua Kosir, “Consequences of a Triple-E Senate”
  • J. Patrick Merry, “Understanding 9/11: The Islamist Attacks on the United States”
  • Mark Mitchell, “(Un)Democracy from the Outside-In? – A Power Politics Approach to Democratization”
  • Daniel Powers, “An Academic Exploration into the Causes of Colombia’s Violence”
  • Esther Robson, “The Identity of a Politicized Evangelical: A discussion of evangelical mobilization in the United States”
  • Caroline Rodgers, “The Case For Intellectual Property Rights Reform: The Effects of IPRs on the Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies”
  • Adriano Serpa, “Campaign Finance Law: Issues and Implications for Democracy”
  • Darija Simic, “Primordialism, Instrumentalism and the Prospects for Reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina”

Milestones of our Graduates - Examiners Impressed with Defense

Congratulations to Aaron Moore for successfully defending his doctoral dissertation, “Planning Institutions and the Politics of Urban Development”, under the supervision of Professor Andy Sancton. Aaron's examiners were very impressed with his defense, and they suggested that he should seek to publish the thesis as a book with a top university press.

Nandita Biswas Mellamphy presenting at Cardiff University in Wales

Nandita Biswas Mellamphy has been invited to present at the next conference hosted by the international journal, Deleuze Studies. The paper entitled "Political, Anti-Political, Überpolitical: The Three Stigmata of Friedrich Nietzsche" will be presented at Cardiff University (Wales) on September 8, 2009. 

In Memoriam - Jeffery Roche and Hannah Gordon-Roche

Jeffery Roche, a Western alumnus and his new wife Hannah Gordon-Roche were killed in a car accident on June 26. Jeffery graduated in 2002 with an Honours BA in Political Science. Hannah was a PhD student in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. We in Political Science wish to send our heart felt condolences to the families at this extremely sad time. See Western News for full story.

Conducting Field Research on Traditional Practices of Justice


Dr. Joanna Quinn and Doctoral student Stephanie Vieille with Iteso woman.

Dr. Joanna Quinn and Doctoral student Stephanie Vieille are in Uganda to conduct field research on traditional practices of justice in Uganda. Dr. Quinn writes: "Greetings from Uganda! We’re here to look at what urban, educated youth (aged 18-35) in Kampala think about the use of traditional mechanisms of justice. This is my seventh wave of research for this project, for which I have previously interviewed government officials, religious leaders, traditional cultural leaders, and conflict-affected women. I had hypothesized that these young people wouldn’t know anything about them, and would certainly not advocate their use. We’ve only done seven interviews so far, but the people we’re talking to have confirmed that in spades. Among the interviewees have been several Youth MPs, whom we’ve interviewed at the Parliament of Uganda. Yesterday, after our interview was over, I casually asked whether they might give us a tour—and they did. And so we even sat for a while in the gallery watching the House in session. For a couple of Political Scientists like me and Stephanie, it was pretty great! I was surprised at how many politicians I recognized, and how many of those I have interviewed over the years, both in the Hall of Honour and in the House itself. One of the MPs who has done a lot of work on national reconciliation—former President (and despot!) Milton Obote’s son—even looked up at me and nodded in recognition. Pretty cool stuff."

Recent Scholarly Activities - Dr. Marta Dyczok

Dr. Marta Dyczok would like to extend her thanks to all the participants of the conference she recently organized on her research project, "Perspectives on Media and Communications in Ukraine," held on April 25-27, 2009. The presentations will soon be podcast on the conference website, and work is underway to publish the proceedings from the conference. A video report of the conference can be viewed on YouTube. It was prepared by one of the conference speakers, Professor Ruslan Deynychenko from Ukrainian University which co-organized this event (National University of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy). It has been posted on their School of Journalism blog.

Milestones of our Graduates - Presentation at Conference held at the University of Warwick

Cameron Harrington presented at the 2nd Annual Graduate Conference in Security Studies, "Security Beyond Borders?" at the University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom on June 11 -12, 2009. His presentation was entitled "Freshwater Scarcity and Critical Securitization." Cameron is a Doctoral candidate in political science.

Undergraduate Scholarship & Award Winners 2009

The Department of Political Science is pleased to announce the following students have been awarded scholarships and awards based on academic achievement and financial need. Our 2009 winners are:

  • Martin Westmacott Award
    David Beitelman
  • 4th Year Gold Medal
    Andrea Campbell
  • S.F. Glass Gold Medal Award in Political Science
    Michael Hurley
  • Andrew Grant Scholarship
    Sarah Martens
    Alexandra Teodorescu
  • Barnes Memorial Award
    Steve Wallace

Congratulations to all winners!

Milestones of our Graduates - Doctoral Fellowship Winner

Congratulations to Alison Braley for winning a SSHRCC Doctoral Fellowship. Alison is working under the supervision of Professor Richard Vernon. Her tentative title is "Little Liberals: Parents' Rights, Children's Rights, and Cultural Transmission." We wish Alison the best of luck with this promising research project.

Milestones of our Graduates - Paper accepted for Publication

Adam Kochanski's research colloquium paper on arms embargoes was accepted (after winning in a country-wide competition) for publication in Inquiry & Insight, the University of Waterloo's peer-reviewed Graduate Journal of Political Science. Adam is a Master’s candidate in our Department whose research specializes on reducing the worldwide trade in small arms and light weapons.

Milestones of our Graduates - Successful Defence of PhD Dissertation

Congratulations to Deb Chapman for successfully defending her PhD dissertation on May 15, 2009. Many thanks to Doug Long for expert supervision. Deb's thesis involved a significant amount of impressive fieldwork in Mexico. Her title is 'Delinking as Resistance to Transnationalized Corporatism: A Study of State-Society Relations in Mexico, 1982-2006.'

Milestones of our Graduates - Award Recipient

Kyle Jackson, MA candidate in the Department Political Science is one of the winners of the 2008-2009 Graduate Student Teaching Awards. This award recognizes outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Assistants (TA). Kyle was nominated in recognition of the hard work, commitment, energy and enthusiasm he displayed as a TA. Award nominees and recipients are recognized at a reception held in May. The awards are sponsored by the The Society of Graduate Students, the Graduate Teaching Assistants' Union, and the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Teaching Canadian Local Government in China


In this picture, Professor Tim Cobban is shown with "Alice" his expert sequential translator as he teaches a course about Canadian local government to local officials and students at Xiamen University in China. The course runs from May 18-22.

Erika Simpson - National Film Board of Canada Podcast

Dr. Erika Simpson appears on a new podcast put together by the National Film Board of Canada. The podcast features 4 panelists in different parts of the country: Patrick Boyer, Douglas Roche, Erika Simpson, and Sergei Plekhanov. The NFB podcasts are taken from screenings in Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton to accompany a new documentary, "The Strangest Dream." These clips are online in time for the UN PrepCom and Ottawa PNND screenings in May. It was expressed that Dr. Simpson's brilliant comments after the film helped engage audiences and make "The Strangest Dream" Canadian screenings a great success.

Milestones of our Graduates - Impressive PhD Dissertation

Congratulations to Anna Esselment, who successfully defended her PhD dissertation, "Family Matters: The Role of Partisanship in Federal-Provincial Relations in Canada," on April 16th. Anna's doctoral research was supervised by Professor Bob Young, who reports that the examiners were impressed with the quality of the written work and the deftness of the oral defence.

Peter Ferguson awarded Teaching Excellence Award by the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance

On April 1, Peter Ferguson received the Teaching Excellence Award from the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance at their annual Partners in Higher Education Dinner held at Stop 33 in the Sutton Place Hotel, Toronto. Speakers at the awards dinner included the Honorable John Milloy, MPP for Kitchener Centre and Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, as well as the Honorable Bob Rae, MP for Toronto Centre and foreign affairs critic for the Liberal Party. OUSA represents over 140,000 Ontario post-secondary students with the aim of improving affordability, accountability and quality of higher education in the province.

Milestones of our Graduates - Presented a Paper at Illinois State University Conference

Laszlo Sarkany, a PhD candidate in the Department presented a paper at the 17th Annual Illinois State University Conference for Students of Political Science, held in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois, on March 20th. The paper is entitled, “Historical Institutionalism and the US Objections to the International Criminal Court: The Importance of the Post-Cold War Temporal Context,” and it examines how certain changes taking place within the international realm since the end of the Cold War can shed light on the US objections to the Court. The paper also hypothesizes that via the causal mechanisms of historical institutionalism one is able to conclude that the longer the US objects to the Court – and the more embedded these objections will become – the more difficult it will prove to change course at a later point in time. Additional information and the full text of the paper can be found at the conference website.

Richard Vernon Recognized and Honoured for Outstanding Scholarly Career


Richard Vernon is being recognized and honoured for his outstanding scholarly career by receiving the Distinguished University Professorship Award. This award was established in 2005 to recognize sustained excellence as a complete scholar. A ceremony to honour and celebrate Richard's outstanding achievement will be held on Thursday, April 23 at Conron Hall. Congratulations Richard! Additional details can be found in the Western News article.

Milestones of our Graduates - Scholars Discuss Human Security

Adam Kochanski, a Masters candidate, was among 11 young scholars who were invited to share their research at the First Annual Centre for International Policy Studies Conference, entitled “Revitalizing Human Security? An Analysis of Theory and Practice,” at the University of Ottawa from March 26-27, 2009. Multidisciplinary in nature, the conference sought to address some of the questions raised by today's increasingly complex human security environment. As part of the panel on small arms, Adam presented a paper entitled “State Interests versus Collective Security: Understanding the International Small Arms Non-Regime,” in which he discussed how human security has been threatened by the repeated failures of multilateral negotiations to create a legally binding Arms Trade Treaty. At the end of the day, Adam participated in a roundtable discussion on human security with the Hon. Alan Rock, Professor Don Hubert, Professor Brian Job, Professor Roland Paris, and all of his fellow co-panelists.

Dr. C. Heike Schotten presents at the first Neitzsche Workshop @ Western


On May 12, 2009, Dr. C. Heike Schotten will present "Reading Nietzsche in the Wake of the 2008-2009 War on Gaza: On Masters, Slaves, and the Politics of Philosophical Consistency," as part of the first Nietzsche Workshop @ Western. Dr. Schotten is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at UMass Boston and author of the book Revolutionizing Nietzsche: Decadence, Politics and Sexuality (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). All are welcome to attend. For more information, contact Dr. Nandita Biswas Mellamphy.

Easter Seals Telethon on CBC

On Sunday April 5th Josh Morgan, Recruitment and Development Officer of the Local Government Program in Political Science has been invited to participate in the Easter Seals Telethon on CBC. As President of the Optimist Club of Oakridge Acres, he has been asked to come and discuss their donation to the Easter Seal’s Camp Woodeden. The Club donated $30,000 towards the construction of a sledge hockey rink. This was matched by a $30,000 donation from the Komoka Kilworth Optimist Club and a $5,000 donation from the Byron Optimists. Doug Kinchen (from Komoka Kilworth) and Josh will be there to talk about their donation and ongoing commitment to Easter Seals programs. This is just one of the many initiatives that the Oakridge Optimists are participating in. Currently the club is deploying a $100,000 Ontario Trillium Foundation grant to make improvements to the Oakridge Arena and the recently named Oakridge Optimist Community Park.

Dr. Andrew Sancton - Short-listed for the Donner Prize


Andy Sancton's book, The Limits of Boundaries: Why City-regions Cannot be Self-Governing, has been short-listed for the Donner Prize for the best book on Canadian public policy in 2008. The Donner Prize is awarded annually by the Donner Canadian Foundation.

Compassion in Action Conference 2009

Dr. Joanna Quinn has been invited to speak at the Compassion in Action Conference organized by Western's University Students’ Council on March 27, 2009. Compassion in Action is geared to encouraging student activism, and bringing awareness to various issues of social justice. The Conference will host a diverse selection of seminars and workshops geared to students' personal interests. The organizers hope that this Conference will provide students with the knowledge and resources needed to pursue their passions for social change.

Recognition for Outstanding Teaching at Western 2008-09


Peter Ferguson and Charles Jones receiving their USC Teaching Awards at Conron Hall on March 24, 2009.

Peter Ferguson and Charles Jones are among the four recipients of the 2008-2009 USC Teaching Awards. This award is to acknowledge outstanding teachers at Western and to recognize the innovative teaching methods and techniques demonstrated by our faculty members. They will receive their awards at a ceremony on Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 held at 5:00 pm in Conron Hall, University College, Room 224. Congratulations to Peter and Charles for being recognized for their outstanding contribution to teaching.

Invitation to Exclusive International Round-Table Discussion

Nandita Biswas Mellamphy has been invited to participate in an exclusive international round-table discussion entitled "Trans-individuation, Technology, Politics" with the French philosopher and Cultural Director of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (student of Jacques Derrida), Bernard Stiegler. The conference entitled "New French Thought" will be held at Villanova University on April 3-4, 2009.

Milestones of our Graduates - Security Scholars Exchange Ideas

Adam Kochanski, a Masters Candidate in the Department of Political Science, joined nearly 30 young military and security studies scholars from across Canada, to exchange ideas at the Eleventh Annual Strategic Studies and Security Consortium Conference, entitled “New Strategies for Security: Emergent and Innovative Thought in Security and Defence Studies,” at the University of Calgary from March 12-14, 2009. The Conference provided participants with a forum to discuss a wide range of contemporary security issues, including: asymmetric conflict and response; North America’s strategic environment; Russian energy politics; cultural and ethnic conflicts; and, hard and soft power projection. As part of the panel on evolving security norms and regimes, Adam presented a paper entitled “State Sovereignty and the Failure to Negotiate an International Small Arms and Light Weapons Regime,” in which he advanced the argument that US opposition and a lack of support from other key states have undermined efforts to create an Arms Trade Treaty. In addition, Adam suggested that global norms may be emerging in this policy arena by pointing to a number of significant recent events.

Professor Doug Long - Recent Scholarly Activities

Professor Doug Long recently delivered a paper on Jeremy Bentham's Theory of Jurisprudence to a meeting of the International Society for Utilitarian Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He also signed a contract to co-edit the Encyclopedia of Utilitarianism for Continuum Press (USA).

Dr Joanna Quinn - Upcoming Scholarly Activities

Dr. Joanna Quinn has been invited to present a paper, “Post-Genocide: Social Reconstruction Through Transitional Justice,” at the upcoming Conference, "Remembering Rwanda15: Lessons Learned/Not Learned." The Conference will be held at the University of Toronto from March 20-22, 2009.

Milestones of our Graduates - Graduate Research Award

Katherine Simonds, has been awarded the 2008-2009 Simons Foundation-ISROP Graduate Research Award. This award supports research and writing leading to the completion of a major research paper or thesis on an issue related to disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation. Katherine graduated from Honours Political Science at Western in June 2007 and is currently in her second year of her Master's in International Affairs at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA), Carleton University. Katherine is working with Professor Trevor Findlay, Chair of International Affairs and Director of the Canadian Centre for Treaty Compliance. She is writing her major research paper on chemical and biological weapons. Early in December 2008 Katherine travelled to Geneva to observe the Meeting of States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention, and the Hague for the Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Last year she was also awarded the William Barton Arms Control Award for Graduate Research on Arms Control, Disarmament and Nonproliferation.

Milestones of our Graduates - Young Scholars Share Research

Adam Kochanski, a Masters Candidate in the Department of Political Science, was one of nearly 30 young scholars from across Canada and abroad, who shared their research at the Fourth Annual Graduate Student Symposium, entitled “Geopolitics vs. Global Governance: Reinterpreting International Security,” at Dalhousie University from March 5-6, 2009. The “Geopolitics” sub-theme examined security and defence issues important to Canada, including the implications of emerging great and regional powers, WMD proliferation, regional security, the “War on Terror,” and the “New War.” In contrast, the “Global Governance” sub-theme analyzed the means to deal with global security issues, focusing on Canada’s commitments to the International arena through its role within multilateral regimes. As part of the panel on weapons proliferation and climate change, Adam presented a paper entitled “Small Arms, Big Agendas: Explaining the Current Impasse in Multilateral Negotiations to Limit Proliferation,” in which he described why UN-mandated efforts have failed to produce a legally binding treaty in this policy arena.

Milestones of our Graduates - Paper Accepted for Publication in Human Rights Review

David Hoogenboom and Stéphanie Vieille, Doctoral candidates in the Department of Political Science, co-authored a paper entitled, “"Rebuilding Social Fabric in Failed States: Examining Transitional Justice in Bosnia" and presented at the Canadian Political Science Association Conference in Vancouver last June. Their paper has been accepted for publication in the academic journal, Human Rights Review. Their supervisor is Dr. Joanna Quinn.

Specialists in International Relations attend Convention in New York

Specialists in international relations from the Department presented papers and attended panels at the annual convention of the International Studies Association held in New York City on February 15-18. The International Studies Association Annual Convention is the world's largest gathering of international relations specialists. The Association has members from around the world and over 3000 attended the 2009 Convention. Departmental participants included faculty members Erika Simpson, Joanna Quinn and Adam Harmes as well as Doctoral candidate Steven Seligman.

Milestones of our Graduates - Presenting a Paper in Calgary

Ajay Gajaria, a former 4th year undergraduate student in our Honors Specialization Program, has won the opportunity to present a paper he wrote last year on India-Pakistan’s nuclear standoff at the New Strategies for Security: Emergent and Innovative Thought in Security and Defence Studies Conference hosted by the University of Calgary, March 12-14, 2009. Ajay wrote the paper entitled, “Nuclear Proliferation and India-Pakistan Security” last year as part of his work in the “International Security 4408F” course taught by Professor Erika Simpson and he is now a MPA candidate in our Local Government Masters of Public Administration Program here at Western. The Strategic Studies and Security Consortium (S3C) provides a forum for discussion, debate and an intellectual network with other students, faculties, the military, and the larger International community.

Perspectives on Media and Communications in Ukraine

Communications are one of the most basic features of human behaviour, and have been at the centre of Ukraine’s transformation process from glasnost to the present. Yet mass media remains a little studied topic within study of the post-communist transformations and the democratization project more broadly. This Conference will focus the role media is playing in one post-communist country, Ukraine, and will examine the issues from a variety of perspectives. It will bring together an International group of the top scholars and practitioners who conduct research and work in various aspects of media, journalism and communications in Ukraine, and the larger context in which they operate. This interdisciplinary group includes political scientists, communications scholars, a legal expert, NGO actors and a historian. Conference dates and locations: April 25, 2009, The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada; April 27, 2009, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.  Conference organizers: Marta Dyczok, DPhil (Oxon), Western and Yevhen Fedchenko, Dean of Journalism, NaUKMA

New Frontiers in Global Environmental Governance Conference

Professor Radoslav Dimitrov presented his research on "Decoy Institutions and Global Governance Preemption," at the CIGI Conference on "New Frontiers in Global Environmental Governance," January 28-30. This 'by-invitation-only' Conference brought twenty scholars of environmental governance from around the world, at the Center for International Governance Innovation. Professor Dimitrov's concept of 'decoy institutions' that are designed to preclude policymaking drew considerable attention and was debated throughout the Conference.

Milestones of our Graduates - Presenting at International Studies Association Annual Convention

Steven Seligman, PhD candidate in the Department will be presenting a paper at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, "Exploring the Past, Anticipating the Future," held in New York City on February 15-18. The paper is titled "The Limits of Solidarity among Democracies: Human Rights Voting at the United Nations" and examines the voting records of states at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council during the period 1992-2008. Steven argues that the voting records of democracies differed from the voting records of non-democracies, but also that the voting records of Western democracies differed from the voting records of democracies in the developing world.

Milestones of our Graduates - Presenting at the Political Science Graduate Students Conference in Ottawa

Mike Laurence MA candidate, Liz Sutherland, PhD candidate and Cameron Harrington, PhD candidate in the Department will be presenting at the Political Science Graduate Students Conference (CRESP) held at the University of Ottawa, February 12-13, 2009. Mike Laurence's paper is entitled: "Manufacturing Contexts: The Institution of the University and Narrative Construction in Nazi Germany," Liz Sutherland paper is entitled: “The ‘Ethical Subject’ and Responsibility Towards the ‘Other’ in the Context of Multicultural Canada,” and Cameron Harrington's paper is entitled: "Fluid Identities: A Critical Account of Water Securitization."

Political Science Students Witness the Inauguration of America's 44th President

On Tuesday January 20, 18 members of the Organization for Political Science Students (OPSS) experienced the once-in-a-lifetime inauguration of America's 44th President and first African-American President, Barack Obama. Danielle Da Silva, the OPSS President says, "It was an incredible opportunity that took a great deal of hard work to organize. We started booking transport and accommodation in mid-October, just days before prices went soaring." OPSS was able to offer the trip for $200 per person with a little help from the SSC SOGS fund. They even created fundraising opportunities for students who could not afford the trip by making original Obama T-shirts.

If you would like to join the OPSS or buy a T-shirt (now being sold for charity), please e-mail opss.uwo@gmail.com.

Danielle Alexis Khan Da Silva
President, Organization for Political Science Students
The University of Western Ontario

Gordon McBean Presents at the MSEC Speaker Series

Dr. Gordon McBean, Internationally renowned expert on climate change and environmental issues and Professor in Western's Department of Geography presents, "Our Climate is Changing: How should we respond?" at The Major's Sustainable Energy Council (MSEC) Sustainable Energy Speaker Series in 2009.  This presentation will take place Tuesday, February 10 at 7:30 pm in the Community Gallery located inside Museum London. Admission is free and everyone is welcome to attend.

Milestones of our Graduates - Participating in Conference at Guelph University

Hélène Lawler, PhD candidate will be participating in the Sixth Annual Conference For Social Research in Organic Agriculture, being held at Guelph University on January 23, 2009, and part of the 28th Annual Guelph Organic Conference. Hélène’s presentation entitled, “Barriers to Change: Is an Alternative Food System Really Possible?”, stems from her dissertation research and fieldwork. She deconstructs the hegemonic power structures surrounding consumer culture and the corporatization of knowledge, searching for spaces in which ecologically and socially sustainable food systems can and have emerged.

The Future of Nuclear Weapons: Abolition in the Post-Bush Era

Dr. Erika Simpson spoke at a Conference, "The Future of Nuclear Weapons: Abolition in the Post-Bush Era" on Friday, January 16, 2009. The Center on Terrorism at City University in New York City hosted a Conference on nuclear proliferation and the future of nuclear weapons. Some of the most important voices in the antinuclear movement during the course of the last half century--Robert Jay Lifton, Richard Falk, Martin Sherwin and Charles Strozier--led the discussion on the future of nuclear weapons at this day-long event. Speakers and participants were by invitation only and included the 18 "Lifton Fellows" who have been appointed since 2000. As a former Lifton Fellow, Erika gave a presentation on the challenges facing nuclear abolition and chaired the final discussion. The specific goal of the Lifton Fellowship Program has been to foster awareness and activism about nuclear weapons among the next generation of young Americans. This Conference was a continuation of that conversation and an attempt to formulate strategies for moving toward the abolition of nuclear weapons in the post-Bush era. TheCconference and the Lifton Fellows Program were funded by The Simons Foundation. For more information, see the Center on Terrorism’s website.

Recently Published Articles that Take an Interdisciplinary Perspective on the 'Political'

Professor Nandita Biswas Mellamphy has recently published two articles that take an interdisciplinary perspective on the 'political'. The first, co-authored with Dan Mellamphy, Lecturer at the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism, is called "Paulitics" (on the political implications of St. Paul the Apostle) which has been published in the recent issue of Symposium: the Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy (vol. 12: 2, 2008); the second is entitled "Corporealizing Thought: Retranslating the Eternal Return Back into Politics" which appears in the new 2008 anthology Nietzsche, Power, Politics: Rethinking Nietzsche's Legacy for Political Thought (DeGruyter, 2008).

Trip to Witness the Historical Inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama

January 17th, Western Political Science students will be embarking on a trip to Washington, DC to witness the historical inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama. They will join another 4-5 million spectators on January 20th. The OPSS (Organization for Political Science Students), headed by 4th year student and President, Danielle Da Silva, has worked tirelessly since early October 2008 to put this trip together for as many students as possible. Sites that will be visited on the trip include Arlington National Cemetery, the National Mall, Smithsonian Museums, and the National Archives. They have also made special appointments to meet with officials at the Heritage Foundation and the Pentagon. Sacha Kumar, OPSS' Former President initiated the soon-to-be 'annual tradition' of taking political science students to Washington, DC in February of 2008. Western News article by Heather Travis - "Political Science Students Obama-Bound." If you are interested in joining the OPSS, contact opss.uwo@gmail.com. Danielle Alexis Khan Da Silva, President, Organization for Political Science Students, The University of Western Ontario.

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