Congratulations to our recent graduates! Here we would like to introduce you to some of our recent BA, MA and PhD graduates, and highlight some of their research stories. Following is a slideshow of our faculty and students on convocation day.

BA’s who have completed an Honours Research Essay

Micaal Ahmed and supervisor Hans-Martin Jaeger

Micaal Ahmed and supervisor Hans-Martin Jaeger

Micaal Ahmed

Up Against the Odds: the Battle to Maintain International Peace and Protect Human Rights by The United Nations

I have been fascinated with the United Nations since my childhood. Its noble goals and ambition to make the world a better place even made me hope to work for the organization someday. However as I went through my undergrad and learnt more about the UN, I was often disappointed. I saw that in many attempts of maintaining international peace and security and protecting human rights the United Nations had failed. Reading about the international and civil conflicts in Kashmir, Israel-Palestine, Rwanda, and the Persian Gulf I wanted to find out just what had gone wrong with the United Nations in the past, and to investigate the reasons behind these failures.

In my HRE, I therefore examined the UN’s role in two cases – the Rwandan genocide (1994) and the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88) – in light of different theories of international organizations to find an answer to my question. I reached the conclusion that the causes of the UN’s failures are multi-faceted: not only have the Great Powers which run the organization been so focused on their own needs and benefits that they have prevented the organization from achieving what it stands for, but the UN’s own bureaucratic features and mismanagement have often also caused more damage than good.

As I finish my Journalism and Political Science degree and start working at iPolitics, I still aim to work for the United Nations someday after completing law school. However, my HRE with its criticisms of the organization has given me a better perspective on that dream.

Ebyan Ali and supervisor Hans-Martin Jaeger

Ebyan Ali and supervisor Hans-Martin Jaeger

Ebyan Ali

A Comparative Analysis of the Rwanda and Bosnia Genocides in Canadian Broadcasting Media

My HRE analyzes Western media representations of the Rwanda and Bosnia genocides in the 1990s, primarily focusing on Canadian broadcast coverage. It finds that Canadian news broadcasts framed both genocides, and especially the Rwandan one, in racially and culturally biased narratives of “savagery,” tribalism, apocalypse, and “white savior.”

I first became interested in this topic in a Human Rights course in my second year which left me shocked about the lack of international response to the Rwanda genocide. Other Political Science courses further motivated me to research this topic. Scholarly work on Western media portrayals of the genocide particularly piqued my curiosity, though work on Canadian news coverage was lacking. My HRE was a first step to fill this research gap which confirmed that Canadian coverage showed biases similar to other Western media.

In general, I am passionate about politics in the developing world, especially in Africa, along with the study of forced migration and refugee issues. I aspire to gain work experience in this field and hope to have the opportunity to help those living in conditions of war and forced migration.

Jacob Allin

Jacob Allin

Jacob Allin

Social Media: The Changing Nature of Politics and Political Communication

Jacob Allin recently completed his undergraduate degree in Political Science at Carleton, and he will pursue graduate studies at Western University. The culminating element of his degree was his Honours Research Essay that explored the use of social media in politics and political communication.

Jacob’s ambitious and innovative essay explored every major aspect of the uses and implications of social media in politics and political communication. Apart from the conclusions concerning the main themes of the paper, many secondary findings emerged relating to such things as which social media are used by politicians at different levels and what are the usage differences between right and left wing users. Beyond the obvious topical importance of this research, it points to some of the basic aspects of interaction, behavior and personality that are part of the fabric of democracy.

This paper was done against a rich background of personal enterprise and involvement in politics and communication. Jacob has been an active political consultant and organizer for a number of years, and he has also been an international observer at an American political convention.

This paper began under the guidance of Professor Conrad Winn and ultimately involved supervision by Scott Edward Bennett. Professor Andre Turcotte was involved in the evaluation of this paper.

Peter Brown and supervisor Randall Germain

Peter Brown and supervisor Randall Germain

Peter Brown

American Economic Hegemony and the World Trade Organization

The central theme of this Honour’s Research Essay is the past, present and future relationship between the United States, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Multilateral Trading System (MTS) more generally. This paper suggests that many of the challenges facing the WTO and the MTS must be understood within broader themes of the International Political Economy (IPE), including shifting power relations, the challenges of global governance, and the role of the economic hegemon in directing, supporting, and enforcing the multilateral trading system. The paper examines the future of the MTS under the impact of broader global political and economic change. I build on existing theoretical foundations in in IPE to understand if the rise of China together with regional and bilateral trade agreements signal  a retrenchment in U.S. leadership within the WTO, and more broadly a fundamental shift in the global trading system. My preliminary conclusions suggest this may indeed be the case. Further research is required to understand the impact of geopolitical and economic shifts on the WTO and the MTS, and whether potential risks to the MTS can be mitigated to avert a collapse of the system.

Supervisor Randall Germain says of Brown’s HRE: Peter Brown is one of the final BA in Global Politics students to graduate. His GPOL degree includes a double major with Economics, and his HRE reflects his interest in how the global trading system is organized and operates. His research blended political with economic analysis, and provides a synthetic overview of the state of the multilateral trading system today. Peter was a wonderful, independent and self-starting student to supervise, and his HRE was a strong research effort that earned a first class grade. He is now off to graduate school, where I am certain he will thrive.

Laura Green and supervisor Vandna Bhatia

Laura Green and supervisor Vandna Bhatia

Laura Green

Comparative Multi-Level Perspective Analysis: Community and Cooperative Renewable Energy in Germany and Ontario

Municipal governments and civil society organizations are increasingly playing a substantial role in climate change mitigation efforts, including the deployment of renewable energy technologies. My honours research essay utilizes the multi-level perspective developed in socio-technical transitions literature to comparatively examine the emergence of community based and cooperative renewable energy sectors in Germany and Ontario. Analysis of the varied landscape, regime and niche dynamics in each jurisdiction helps to explain why Germany’s community and cooperative renewable energy projects have experienced significantly more success than similar initiatives in Ontario.

Matthew Healy and supervisor Randall Germain

Matthew Healey and supervisor Randall Germain

Matthew Healey

Does the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ Protect Rwanda?

In this Honours Research Essay (HRE), Matthew Healey explores the origins and effects of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P) statement issued by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005, and endorsed by all UN members. Healey traces the origins of R2P to the international community’s response to genocide in Rwanda in 1994, and explores the different ways in which R2P protects vulnerable populations from the atrocity of genocide. One of the most innovative features of Healey’s HRE is the use of a ‘counter-factual’ to consider to what extent R2P might have altered the course of the Rwandan genocide if it had been in place in 1994. Healey concludes that although R2P might not have prevented the genocide, it would have altered its course and most likely would have prevented the full extent of the calamity being visited upon Rwanda’s Tutsi population. In other words, R2P is an important and positive change in the norms of international relations.

Supervisor Randall Germain says of Healey’s HRE: ‘Matt Healey’s use of a counter-factual analysis demonstrates how Carleton students can employ novel and innovative research techniques in their studies. Matt exemplifies how inter-disciplinary study can pay off: the combination of coursework in political science with coursework in law and legal studies enabled him to bring many lenses to his analysis of R2P. It was a first-rate piece of research.”

Rachel McLaughlin

Rachel McLaughlin

Rachel McLaughlin

Women & Descriptive Representation in Canada: The Joint Impact of Political Parties, the Electoral System and Political Culture on Female Candidates

My Honours Research Essay situates the issue of women’s representation in the context of political parties, electoral system and political culture. I argue that Canada’s current political sphere contributes to the underrepresentation of women, diminishing the role of descriptive representation Parliament should provide.

Following the existing literature, I employ a supply and demand framework in order to evaluate the interaction between the number of women who step forward to run (supply) and the number of women that parties either directly or indirectly support (demand). The supply and demand framework – a distinct but related set of decisions – explains the deficit in female representation.

Josh Morency

Josh Morency

Where No Bomb Has Gone Before: How to Think About the Use of Digital Force and the Law of War Online

In this paper, I attempt to examine and explain the impact that developments in applied sciences and technology have had on war. In doing so, I examine not only how the introduction of new technologies has changed the manner in which war is conducted, but also how technology has become a lens under which the idea of war itself is coloured. Focusing specifically on the role of technology in the historical evolution of the western tradition of war, I come to argue that, over the last century, a technological rationality arose as a means of harmonizing the conflicting paradigms of the strategic absolute and moral restraint in warfare. Further, in examining particularly the development of cyber warfare and autonomous weapons technologies by America and its Western allies, I argue that the technological rationality of western warfare has become its own self-reinforcing cycle, which has ultimately made the goal of the ideally-balanced war between strategic beneficence and moral duty harder to obtain and the security situation of the West even more delicate.

Clive Ngan

Clive Ngan

Clive Ngan

Canada as a Mosaic: An Analysis of Governing Parties’ Conceptualization of Canadian Multiculturalism Policy since 1963

My HRE featured both a quantitative and qualitative analysis of Canadian multiculturalism policy over the past 50 years or so. The analysis, which began in 1963, sought to determine the validity of the idea that Liberal governments have been more engaged in multicultural friendly activities than their Conservative counterparts. On the qualitative side, my paper analyzed the merits and consequences of each Prime Minister’s major achievements on the file. For instance, Pierre Trudeau’s 1971 Multiculturalism Policy adoption was studied as well as the passing of Brian Mulroney’s 1988 Multiculturalism Act. On the quantitative side, a number of key terms related to the file were tracked throughout various documents. These documents included Throne Speeches, Budget Speeches as well as any Prime Ministerial Statements on multiculturalism. By tracking the usage of these terms, the goal was to determine whether or not multiculturalism constituted a major priority for the government of the day.  All in all, my findings demonstrated that there was indeed validity to the idea of Liberal governments being more multicultural friendly than Conservative ones.

Sarah Painchaud and supervisor Jeff Sahadeo

Sarah Painchaud and supervisor Jeff Sahadeo

Sarah Painchaud

The ‘New Scramble for Africa’? US and Chinese Economic and Geopolitical Competition for African Oil and Gas Resources

Sarah produced a thoughtful and well-researched essay on Chinese and US actions, and counter-actions, across Africa.  China has become the most recent major player to expand its influence on the continent and seek a share of its vast natural resources.   Sarah looked across time and space and considered Chinese—and American— actions to be “neo-imperial.”  Multinational and state-linked corporations do the heavy lifting of extracting wealth from Africa, which differentiates the contemporary period from the European empire-building that occurred during the “Scramble for Africa” at the end of the nineteenth century.  The United States and China are also as likely to collude as to compete, realizing that there is room across the continent for both of them to realize economic goals that will benefit their businesses and countries.  The essay was beautifully written and Sarah’s examiner characterized as “formidable” her research base, which included documents from African, Chinese and US corporations as well as international non-governmental organizations.  I greatly enjoyed working with Sarah to refine her arguments and appreciated her willingness to revise and improve through the sometimes-challenging but always-rewarding process.

Julia Parsons

Julia Parsons

Julia Parsons

Changing the Operations of Partisans: How a Mixed-Member Proportional Electoral System Would Shape the Inner Workings of Political Parties in Canada

Following the 2015 federal campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proclaimed that this would be the last election held under a first-past-the-post system. While the government has effectively stalled their own process of electoral reform, the issue of how Canadians elect their representatives is still of import to many citizens. My essay focuses on the impact that electoral reform could have on political parties if Canada were to change to a mixed-member proportional system. There has been much discussion in Canada regarding the use of mixed-member proportional as an alternative electoral system to the current model. My research primarily focused on comparing the experience in New Zealand, a country that recently switched to a mixed-member proportional system, to what Canada would likely experience if electoral reform of this nature occurred. I found that altering Canada’s electoral system would have a significant effect on the functioning of Canada’s political parties, as it would impact their candidate selection, election campaigning, how government formation would ensue and how party leaders are chosen. My essay concludes that with changes to these elements of political parties, the effects of a mixed-member proportional electoral system would have a lasting impact on Canadian democracy, as the country’s political culture is heavily reliant on political parties.

Here are some of our MA graduates

from left to right

From left to right Kimberley-Ann Meijer, Melanie Winzer, Matthew Jarrett, Hodan Moalim, Mason Krawczyk

A few photos of our MA’s on convocation day:

Here are some of our PhD graduates

Josee Bolduc and Prof. Farhang Rajaee

Josée Bolduc and Thesis Supervisor Farhang Rajaee

 Josée Bolduc

Disclosing the Tacit Identity in Majority Culture

In this dissertation, I introduce the notion of tacit group identity as a central element in the identity construction of majority cultures, and as a source of influence in their conception of and interaction with otherness. Indeed, I argue that exploring the tacit identity of majority cultures reveals the presence of unreflective biases and assumptions that translate into normative statements where institutions and official discourse reflect a majority culture back onto itself.

Tyler Chamberlain

Tyler Chamberlain

Tyler Chamberlain

Clarifying the Conflict Between Modern Science and Natural Right

This dissertation explores the troubled relationship between natural right and modern science. It proceeds by comparing the ancient (Plato and Aristotle) and modern (Descartes and Bacon) conceptions of natural inquiry, through the categories of aims and attunements. I argue that whereas the aim of Platonic and Aristotelian science was wisdom of the whole, which attuned it to the ultimate causes of everything, the aim of Cartesian and Baconian science was the ability to control nature which attuned it to repeatable laws of behavior. The modern focus on matter and its laws, turned science away from ultimate causes so that such questions came to be regarded as unscientific. Thus the conflict is between competing conceptions of science, not simply inadequate observations of the ancients having been corrected by the more careful observations of the moderns.

Jeff Collins and Prof. Elinor Sloan

Jeff Collins and Thesis Supervisor Elinor Sloan

Jeffrey Collins

Executive (In) Decision? Explaining Delays in Canada’s Defence Procurement System, 2006-2015

This dissertation asks how delays in Canada’s defence procurement system can be explained. In answering this question, the hypothesis tested is that of the ‘political executive’; the political body composed of the prime minister, cabinet and their advisors who sit at the apex of the federal government. With final decision-making powers over defence policy and budgets, the political executive has been inferred in existing scholarship as a decisive factor in delaying Major Crown Projects (MCPs) from moving through the procurement process but this has never been the subject to a scholarly analysis. Three other independent variables commonly identified in the literature as causing procurement delays were tested alongside the political executive: (1) the defence procurement bureaucracy; (2) the defence industry; (3) and Canada’s military alliances and involvement in the Afghanistan war (2001-2014).

Janice Freamo and Prof. Tom Darby

Janice Freamo and Thesis Supervisor Tom Darby

Janice Freamo

Google, Grandfathers and God(s): Nietzsche and Plato on Ancestral Authority

The ever-changing technological landscape is shifting generational patterns of authority. Authority is grounded in knowledge. Knowledge—technical, moral, or otherwise— commonly proceeds from an older generation to a younger one. This is changing. Younger generations in the Western world are posing their questions to Google rather than Grandpa, or God. Such challenges to the hierarchy of generational knowledge are not entirely novel though. The history of Western political thought suggests that they are telling indicators of impending political change.

Said Yaqub Ibrahimi and Prof. Elinor Sloan

Said Yaqub Ibrahimi and Thesis Supervisor Elinor Sloan

Said Yaqub Ibrahimi

State Fragility and International Security: The Rise of Salafi-Jihadi Groups in a World of Fragile States

Since the end of the Cold War, extremist Islamism has become a focal point of international security debate in academic and policy research. Much of the existing literature on Salafi-Jihadi Groups (SJGs), conventionally known as terrorist groups, examines the root causes of the emergence of these groups through the lens of three levels: individual, group, and international levels. Thus, individual extremists’ desire for jihad, Islamism as a group ideology, and the sole great power’s post-Cold War policies in the Middle East are considered as the three dominant root causes of the emergence of SJGs in the literature. If these three causal determinants are to hold, it begs the question of why SJGs do not emerge in every Muslim majority country where these elements persist. Why, for instance, did individual jihadis’ personal desire for transnational jihad, Islamist ideology, and the US post-Cold War policies produce SJGs in Afghanistan and the post-Saddam Hussein Iraq but not in Saudi Arabia and Qatar? What factor, then, is responsible for this contradictory outcome in countries which in terms of the presence of the root cause of SJGs are similar?

Christopher Miller and Prof. Christina Gabriel

Christopher Miller and Thesis Supervisor Christina Gabriel

Christopher Miller

Testing the boundaries of employer-driven agricultural migration: privatization and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, 2002-2011

The recent growth of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) parallels the international trend toward the revival of guestworker programs.  This growth, however, is simply the most visible sign of a fundamental restructuring of the institutional framework that governs the program.  This shift is rooted in a broader transformation of the political economy of the Canadian state that has resulted in a new form of migration control, one which embodies the logic and practices of neoliberalism – a paradigm revolving around the privatization and retrenchment of certain state functions, the globalization of markets, and the construction of economically-competitive individuals.  In the context of the TFWP, this has resulted in an “offloading” of administrative functions from the federal government to third party actors, as well as the creation of a more employer-driven TFWP that is sensitive to businesses’ demands for a flexible and reliable labour pool.  This thesis employs a case study of the TFWP’s agricultural components during the period of 2002 until 2011, drawing in large part on federal ministerial documentation obtained through the Access to Information Act.  It questions why this era of increasing privatization reversed course and culminated in the creation of a new government program, the Agricultural Stream.

Megan Pickup

Megan Pickup

Megan Pickup

An Emerging, Post-Neoliberal Power: The Practice of Brazilian South-South Cooperation in Haiti

This study examines the practice of Brazil’s humanitarian and development cooperation with Haiti. Brazil is one of several “emerging donors” to have significantly increased their provision of development cooperation over the past decade as part of broader shifts in global political economy, raising questions as to how cooperation functions in terms of these powers’ broader foreign policy objectives. The dissertation situates the question in literature that asks why states are motivated to provide development cooperation, how cooperation impacts recipient states, and expectations for the foreign policy behaviour of emerging countries in general, and for Brazil specifically. The project is based on extensive fieldwork carried out in Brazil and Haiti with 57 individuals and groups in Portuguese, French, and English, as well as Kreyól (with the assistance of an interpreter).

Matthew Thompson and Prof. Jonathan Malloy

Matthew Thompson and Department Chair Jonathan Malloy

Matthew Thompson

Maintaining Party Unity: Analyzing the Conservative Party of Canada’s Integration of the Progressive Conservative and Canadian Alliance Parties

Federal conservative parties in Canada have long been plagued by several persistent cleavages and internal conflict.  This conflict has hindered the party electorally and contributed to a splintering of right-wing votes between competing right-wing parties in the 1990s.  The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) formed from a merger of the Progressive Conservative (PC) party and the Canadian Alliance in 2003.  This analysis explores how the new party was able to maintain unity and prevent the long-standing cleavages from disrupting the party.  The comparative literature on party factions is utilized to guide the analysis as the new party contained faction like elements.  Policy issues and personnel/patronage distribution are stressed as significant considerations by the comparative literature as well literature on the PC’s internal fighting.  The analysis thus focuses on how the CPC approached these areas to understand how the party maintained unity.

Political Science Faculty enjoy student successes on convocation day: