The Carleton University
Political Science Podcast — Let the conversation begin
If season one of the Carleton University Political Science Podcast was a single conversation on a turning point in human history, then season two is a musing on the impact of that turning point.
The year 2020 was a year unlike any other when nerves of politics, culture and injustice were exposed and – to borrow a phrase from a dear friend – became mixed into a big pot of crisis, instability and change. Each episode of season two interrogates unique and novel ‘exposed nerves’ within different political and social ecosystems in conversation with faculty of the Department of Political Science and its graduate body—from the illiberal politics of World Wrestling Entertainment and racialized standards of the beauty industry to the emergence of cyberspace as a new horizon of war and space as the final frontier of politics. If season one told a story of transition, season two mediates on the oscillation between continuity and rupture in its wake.
Mark your calendars
Every week the Department of Political Science posts a new inspiring podcast. Our upcoming episodes discuss ‘Colourism, Race and the Construction of Beauty with Amanda Charles’, followed by ‘Rumours of Restoration – Professor Aaron Ettinger on Foreign Policy and the Biden Administration’ the following week.
- Professor Kiera Ladner On Continuity, Rupture and Indigenous Politics in Canada
As the 2021 winter semester drew to a close just a few weeks ago, Carleton University’s Political Science Graduate Student Association held their third annual graduate student conference ‘Continuity or Rupture: Politics in the 2020s’. After the cancellation of academic conferences throughout 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s conference marked a return to form and featured the research of graduate students from across the world, as well as a keynote address by the incomparable Dr. Kiera Ladner.
Professor Ladner is not only an alumnus with Carleton University’s Department of Political Science, but is a Professor in the Department of Political Studies at the University of Manitoba and the Canada Research Chair in Miyo we’citowin, Indigenous Governance and Digital Sovereignties, as well as one of this countries most celebrated indigenous activists.
On this special episode of the Carleton University Political Science Podcast, we are pleased to share Dr. Ladner’s keynote address from the conference, where she discussed the topic of continuity and rupture as an enduring theme of indigenous resurgence and the fight for justice against settler colonialism in Canada.
- Professor Aaron Ettinger on Joe Biden and the Future of American Foreign Policy
With the inauguration of Joe Biden as President of the United States in January of this year, the tumultuous ‘America First’ foreign policy mandate of the Trump administration finally came to an end. For many of America’s traditional allies in the liberal international order, the past four years under President Trump have been a difficult period, marked by a retrenched global presence, disruptions to free trade, strained relations, and moonlights with authoritarian regimes from a once reliable and steadfast ally.
No doubt recognizing this, Biden would waste no time in heralding “America is back” and signing executive orders returning the US to the previously abandoned Paris Accords mere moments after being sworn in. But one can’t help but wonder if Biden’s plans for a renewed American presence in the world can ever erase the sting of “America First”.
What is the Biden doctrine of foreign policy, and how does Joe Biden seek to build bridges after four years of America building walls? To answer these questions and more I am joined by Professor Aaron Ettinger. Aaron is a professor with the Department of Political Science here at Carleton University specializing in global governance and American foreign policy.
- Amanda Roberts on Race, Colourism and the Beauty Industry
In January of this year, Kamala Harris celebrated her impending inauguration as the Vice President of United States by gracing the cover of Vogue Magazine. While it’s not uncommon for noteworthy female politicians to make the cover of Vogue, the cover actually gained notoriety for Vice President Harris’ presentation. Appearing washed out and poorly lit, the cover instantly stirred controversy with commenters questioning how the world’s most prestigious fashion magazine could print a cover of the second most powerful politician on the planet looking decidedly ‘un-Vogue’ and even messy.
While many would be shocked, scholars of race and critics of the fashion industry, however, were quick to highlight how the controversy surrounding Vice President Harris’ Vogue cover was only the most recent example of the ways in which the fashion and beauty industries have long been out of touch with any standard of beauty beyond whiteness. From technical aspects like lighting and make-up to fundamental knowledge of palettes and undertones, within the industry of beauty, there is a long and troublesome tradition of reifying intersectional forms of exclusion through the construction of standards of beauty that continue to this day to be based on a standard of whiteness. And it would seem that not even the Vice President of the United States is immune to it.
On this week’s episode of the podcast, we discuss these issues and more with Amanda Roberts. Amanda is a PhD candidate and instructor with Carleton University’s Department of Political Science specializing in political theory and intersectional feminism. She is also the mind behind the beauty blog Amanda Glowgetter, a lifestyle blog focusing issues of race, beauty, and mental health and well-being. Check it out at amandaglowgetter.ca/.
- Professor Andrea Chandler on Alexei Navalny and the 2021 Russian Anti-Corruption Protests
The Wall Street Journal once described Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny as the man Vladimir Putin fears the most on the planet. And judging by the activity of both the Russian President and the fearsome anti-corruption advocate, there is definitely a case to be made about just that.
Navalny has been a staunch critic of the controversial Russian President and the epidemic of corruption within his government for nearly a decade, taking his cause to civil society through various NGOs and to the public at large not only through a storied political career but also through powerful social media campaigns and self-produced documentaries.
Amassing a following of millions online, Navalny has become the face of the modern reformist movement in Russia. And while he has inspired a new generation of activism in his embattled homeland, he has also endured the brunt of its retaliation from the Kremlin through a myriad of criminal allegations, prison sentences and even attempts on his life.
In August of 2020, Navalny was poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent – a substance developed and used by Russian authorities against enemies abroad. This was the third time Navalny had been attacked using a chemical agent since 2017, but the outcome was by far the worst, with Navalny being forced into a medically-induced coma for nearly two weeks. Upon returning to Russia in January of this year, Navalny was immediately detained and later sentenced to two years in a remote prison for violating his parole.
The response among Russian citizens has been nothing short of historic, with protests emerging throughout the country in the days and weeks following Navalny’s detainment. Calling not only for his release but for a transformation of Russian governance towards greater accountability, transparency and respect for the rule of law, the current protests are the largest Russia has seen in over a decade and marks a potentially critical juncture in the Putin regimes two-decade control over the state.
This week on the Carleton University Political Science podcast we are joined by Professor Andrea Chandler. Dr. Chandler is a professor here with the Department of Political Science at Carleton specializing in Russian politics and governance, and the politics of gender in post-communist states.
- The Politics of the WWE with Paolo Gentile
Professional wrestling occupies a strange place in the pop-culture ether, walking a line between sport and theatricality unlike any other form of entertainment. Its appeal lies in its use of athleticism and realism to tell entirely fictional stories of good versus evil and the just versus the corrupt in a tradition of live performance that goes back well over a century; one that has existed in every continent on the planet, barring the Antarctic.
And for nearly five decades the spectacle that is professional wrestling has been defined by a single undisputed king – the brainchild of one Vincent Kennedy McMahon: World Wrestling Entertainment.
In fact, for many, the WWE is shorthand for the entire industry of “sports entertainment”, as it has defined the major trends and tropes of professional wrestling since the company’s inception and has taken the industry from a series of localized, territorial travelling circus shows to being a global phenomenon that intersects with nearly all forms of entertainment. The WWE is a publicly traded company that is worth billions and has spawned its own movie studio, network and publishing house alongside countless action figures, video games and hours of television.
And while Mr. McMahon would be the first to tell you that the WWE is just entertainment, it also just so happens to wear its politics on its sleeve.
From the constant use of racial stereotypes through the decades to the contemporary manifestation of anti-liberal storylines, the WWE is hardly an apolitical entity of entertainment, but is a discursive system that constructs and reifies specific forms of identity as good versus evil, and just versus corrupt.
And when one considers the personal politics of Vince McMahon, the man behind the WWE, we cannot help but consider the ways in which the politics of that man translate into the product itself and seek to shape and socialize the generations that watch every week.
To discuss these issues and more I am joined this week by Paolo Gentile – Paolo is a PhD student with the Department of Political Science here at Carleton University, specializing in political theory and the politics of social media.
- The Concept of Truth in Politics with Taylor Green
The Presidency of Donald Trump may very well be remembered for his administration’s contentious relationship with ‘the truth’. Indeed, when many speak of the current political age as the Post-Truth era of democracy, the catalyst is often seen as resting within the controversial Republican’s approach to politics.
From the rise of ‘alternative facts’ as a means to undermine scientific consensus to the President’s constant laments over media scrutiny and the framing of his critics as ‘fake news’, the legacy of the 45th President of the United States will likely remain always chained to the ways in which truth and fact came under fire in his tenure.
And perhaps no greater example of this exists than the end of that tenure. Mr. Trump’s recent electoral loss to the now President-elect Joe Biden has sparked a stream of conspiracy and accusations from the Republican leader, with allegations of fraud and electoral tampering being posted by the President almost hourly on Twitter in the weeks since election night.
While Mr. Biden’s victory has been confirmed at the state level, by the Supreme Court and by the Electoral College, it hasn’t stopped President Trump from attempting to undermine that victory – even if no credible data exists to support his claims.
What place does truth have in an era of post-truth politics? How does democracy survive in an age when the truth is so easily reduced and reconstituted by leaders and citizens alike? And can we ever return to a politics of truth as the core of democratic practice?
On this week’s episode of the Carleton University Political Science Podcast, we interrogate these questions and more and turn to the canon of political theory and philosophy for answers. Joining us this week is Taylor Green – Taylor is a political theorist and PhD candidate with the Department of Political Science, specializing in the pangs of modernity and the philosophy of technology.
- The Politics of Brexit and the Future of EU-UK Relations with Achim Hurrelmann
On December 31, 2020 – whether an agreement, deal or accord has been struck or not – the United Kingdom will formally exit from the European Union, ending decades of economic and political partnership. In the four years since the people of the UK ‘voted leave’ in the historic UK-EU membership referendum of 2016, the road to Brexit has hardly been straight-forward but rather has been mired in stalemate, politicking and, at times, even resentment too.
The outcome has saw one of the worst-case scenarios for the UK and EU emerge as a potential possibility, with a no-deal BREXIT being on the table at the present moment despite the deadline for the UK’s exodus quickly approaching. At the present moment this podcast is being released, that deadline is only a few short weeks away.
In many ways the politics of Brexit stretch back far beyond just the past four years, but reflect centuries of contention between the UK and its European neighbours, and marks only the most recent phase in an ever-changing relationship. And while nationalism and Euro-discontent are very much at the fore of the UK’s decision to leave, these processes dig far deeper into the bedrock of British politics than just the rhetoric of the UKip movement.
What are the sources of Brexit and British discontent with the Pan-European project? How has this impacted relations not only with the UK and the EU, but with long-standing partners like Canada and the United States? And what does Brexit mean for not only the future of UK-EU relations, but the global community as a whole?
To delve into these questions and more, we spoke with Professor Achim Hurrelmann. Professor Hurrelmann is a professor with not only the Department of Political Science here at Carleton University, but also with the Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (EURUS). He is also the co-director of Carleton’s Center for European Studies and is an expert in the politics of the EU, democracy and state theory.
You can follow Professor Hurrelmann on Twitter @achimhurrelmann.
- Space - the Final Political Frontier with Kiernan McClelland
To look upon the cosmos is to gaze upon the ultimate gestalt. For some, space is the limitless horizon for human progress – it is our eventual destination. Others may see it as the realm of science fiction and fancy; a place where the imagination runs wild. And yet for many others it is merely a dark void – a vacuum full of stars. However, throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, space has emerged as one of the most important policy areas in contemporary governance.
From communications and climate science to the recent controversies surrounding the Trump administration’s campaign promise to build colonies on other planets, space presents a dynamic area of policy and international cooperation – and one that is generally pretty misunderstood.
Is space the final frontier, politically-speaking? To answer this question and many more as it relates to the politics of space, we are joined this week by Kiernan McClelland. Kiernan is a PhD candidate with the Department of Political Science here at Carleton University specializing in the strategic application of space power in Canada and the politics of planetary defence.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Kiernan’s work, make sure to follow him on Twitter @canuckonaut. “War and Peace in Outer Space” is available for pre-order through Amazon and Oxford University Press.
- Cybersecurity and Cyberwarfare - New Horizons of Conflict with Alex Rudolph
The past two decades has saw a level of global interconnectedness far beyond the scope and imagination of the past two millennia. The expanse of information and communications technology since the 1990s has been nothing short of revolutionary, creating a modern condition where the lens to which people view the world is filtered through mobile networks and the screens of their smartphone.
While the ubiquity of the internet has no doubt made for an easier life, it has also created a myriad of new complexities, from fragmentation and isolation to new forms of warfare and insecurity. In the case of the latter, the internet has in recent years emerged as a new space for conflict with the rise of cyberwarfare and cybersecurity as domains of politics, creating an entirely new horizon of possibility for conflict and war.
From ransomware and monitoring to the undermining of elections and the hollowing out of democracy, issues of cybersecurity and cyberwarfare have become existential political concerns – and yet, governments around the world have struggled to respond to the new threats the world of the cyber has presented to the state.
To help make sense of the politics of cybersecurity and cyberwarfare I’m joined this week by Alex Rudolph. Alex is a PhD student with Carleton’s Department of Political Science, specializing in the interaction between state, society and cyberspace. You can find out more about Alex’s work by following him on Twitter @alexfrudolph.
- Melissa Haussman on The Institutional and Intersectional Constraints to Diversity In US Politics
Without a doubt the biggest political issue in the world right now is the US Presidential election, and the many controversies surrounding it. From issues with ballots and access to the very laws surrounding the election itself, the events of this week have done much to illuminate the problems plaguing the institutions of representative governance in America today.
Amidst the noise and confusion surrounding the final tally however existed some causes for celebration, namely in the form of several historic victories by candidates representing a diverse array of traditionally marginalized communities. From Richie Torres and Mondaire Jones becoming the first openly gay black men in Congress to Sarah McBride becoming the first transgender state senator, these victories were undeniably historic, not only because of their occurrence in the wake of one of the most controversial elections in recent history, but because of the way in which they breached the walls of the traditionally exclusionary American political system.
From classism in campaign finance, to the patriarchal structures of candidate selection to the overarching racialized nature of party politics, the representative institutions of the American republic have long-since been marred by a structural exclusion of minority groups. Which make the advances of minority candidates this week a huge victory indeed.
This isn’t an indictment solely targeted at the United States as structures of intersectional exclusion are part and parcel of democracy in the western world. But the American example this week shows that maybe a fast track to institutional change is possible.
This week on the Carleton Political Science Podcast we discuss structures of minority exclusion in the representative institutions of the United States, Canada, England and more with Professor Melissa Haussman. Professor Haussman is a specialist in American government with the Department of Political Science, and has written extensively on comparative North American politics and the politics of gender throughout a myriad of institutional contexts. Just a side note: while we’re releasing this episode on the heels of Election Night 2020, this podcast was recorded in the final days of the campaign. Regardless though, Professor Haussman offers a fascinating look at the intersectional politics at play during the American election and beyond.
- The Politics of the Game - Round 2 with Professor Aaron Ettinger and Alexandra Wishart
Just a few short weeks ago Lebron James led the Los Angeles Lakers to a record-tying seventeenth NBA Championship. The victory capped off what may be the most unique NBA season in league history, not only because of the unprecedented ‘NBA Bubble’ in which the games took place due to COVID-19, but because of the central place the politics of race and justice held throughout the abbreviated season.
The murder of George Floyd at the hands Minneapolis police officers in May of this year catalyzed a protest movement felt across the world – and perhaps in no other public space was it more evident than on the court of the 2020 NBA Season. Players throughout the league wore jersey’s adorned in slogans deriding police brutality against Black Americans, while “Black Lives Matter” was sprawled along the court of every game.
And while “King James” indeed led his team to a historic title win, James’ activism both on and off the court may be what he is best remembered for in the 2020 season, as he led the charge for athletes across leagues to engage in an unimaginable level of anti-racist and anti-oppression activism.
From the multi-sport wildcat strike in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, to the ever-militant NFL allowing players to wear anti-oppression slogans as stickers during games, the year in sports of 2020 was simply one where politics and sports became intertwined in a way that has never happened before, and may never happen again.
This week on the Carleton University Political Science Podcast we’re proud to bring you a spiritual sequel to one of our favourite episodes from last year – The Politics of the Game. Joining me again is Professor Aaron Ettinger, a member of our faculty here at Carleton specializing in international relations and American foreign policy, as well as Alexandra Wishart – a PhD student and critical race scholar here at the Department of Political Science specializing in citizenship regimes in civil wars.
- Stages of Consciousness of Racism: A Conversation with Dr. Annette Isaac
In this Bell Chair Lecture Series conversation between Dr. Annette Isaac and PhD Candidate Amanda Roberts, Dr. Isaac outlines her evolving stages of consciousness of racism during her time at Carleton University, University of Alberta, and in international development. The conversation begins with an opening statement by Dr. Isaac to frame the discussion, then moves into a Q&A portion discussing racism and anti-racism in Canada, issues of representation, missing cues and imposter syndrome, and advice for grad students on building community.
Dr. Annette Isaac is an author and scholar with experience studying women and gender, feminism in Canada and the developing world, race, ethnicity, globalization, and more. She is co-author of Politics of Race, and in her recent memoir, Missing The Cues. Tales of a Newcomer’s Life in Canada, Dr. Isaac shares the subtle messages and hints that most newcomers in Canada tend to miss while building their social and professional lives. She not only studied at Carleton University, but was also an Adjunct Research Professor and Instructor in the Department of Political Science for a number of years.
Correction: Near the end of this talk Dr. Isaac referred to the valedictorian speech Chadwick Boseman gave at Howard last year, when she intended to describe it as his commencement speech.
- Mira Sucharov on the Politics of Netflix and the Importance of Engaged Scholarship
When COVID-19 took hold of the world seven months ago, it caused a retrenchment of life unlike anything the world has ever seen. Seeking refuge at home, many people found solace and distraction in binge-watching movies and television, putting streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime at the heart of essential services for the survival of the great quarantine of 2020.
But, not unlike some dystopic nightmare found on Netflix’s Black Mirror, our experience of entertainment is not apolitical. In many ways the political assumptions of our modes of entertainment, and the streaming services we use to access this content, is arguably more important than its ever been, as all eyes are currently – for better or worse – gazing in the same direction.
What are the politics of Netflix and its myriad of content, and how does the political assumptions of the films, television shows and documentaries we consume impact our own political reality? These questions and more will tackled in a unique first year seminar that will be held in the winter semester here at Carleton by Professor Mira Sucharov.
A world-renowned expert in the politics of Israel and Palestine and prolific author of scholarship and media alike, Professor Sucharov is one of the most beloved members of our community here at the Department of Political Science at Carleton University. Last week Professor Sucharov also achieved a major publication milestone with the release of ‘Borders and Belonging’, a memoir capturing her experiences in activism and academia in Canada, Israel and beyond.
As she celebrates the release of her new book, we talk with Professor Mira Sucharov about the task of writing memoirs, the importance of engaged scholarship and the politics of Netflix on this week’s episode of the Carleton University Political Science Podcast.
- A Philosophical Look at the State of Democracy with Ali Elyasi
By sway, sanction and even violence, democracy has become the standard to which political power is legitimized and contested in the world today. Yet at the same time, while democracy may be the viewed by many as the most legitimate of regime types, the state of democracy in 2020 is not quite secure.
Across the world traditionally stable democracies face crises of participation, and the tide of exclusionary populism sweeping across the western world would seem to indicate a potential impasse for liberal democracy and its central norms of peace, order and good government.
As the United States prepares for a Presidential campaign trail like none before, and COVID-19 heralds fear of democratic backslide throughout the global south, I spoke with Ali Elyasi about the theoretical state of democracy in the world today. Ali is a PhD student with the Department of Political Science, specializing in ancient political theory and international relations.
- Jonathan Malloy on Education and Community in the Age of Social Distancing
Traditionally the fall is a time of transition, not only in terms of weather, but for students it means the beginning of a new year. To enter a new classroom. To be part of a whole new environment.
However, amidst the continued fear and threat of COVID-19, the Fall of 2020 is a beginning to a new school year unlike any other.
For students and teaching staff at Carleton, and universities across the country, this has meant engaging in a pedagogical shift unlike any time in history and moving instruction almost entirely online. This continental shift has come with its fair share of challenges, challenges that professors, teaching assistants, staff and students themselves are trying to find solutions to with each passing day.
How can one create a meaningful educational experience for students online? How do we foster community in socially distant environments? And are there actually opportunities for innovation hidden deep within education at a distance – opportunities which may pave the way for more progressive and enlightened pedagogy?
To discuss these questions and more we spoke to Professor Jonathan Malloy. A pillar of the community at Carleton University, Professor Malloy has been with the Department of Political Science for over two decades, taking on the role of department chair from 2012 to 2018. A renowned expert in Canadian politics, as well as in the mentorship and career development of graduate students, Professor Malloy is the current Bell Chair in Canadian Parliamentary Democracy and will chair the Canadian Political Science Association’s annual conference next year at Congress 2021.
Join PhD candidate Asif Hameed each week as he discusses and brings to light issues that matter with academic experts, offering dynamic perspectives on the current affairs of an ever-changing world.