- 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 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.
- Alexandra Wishart on Defund the Police, Police Brutality, and Racism in the United States
Eight minutes and forty-six seconds – that’s how long Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on the neck of George Floyd during an arrest over an alleged counterfeit $20 bill on the evening of May 25th, 2020.
The incident was captured on camera by bystanders on the street and saw Floyd repeatedly beg officers to let him go, crying out “I can’t breathe” as onlookers equally pleaded with officers to no avail – eerily reminiscent of the last words uttered by Eric Garner in the final moments of his life in 2014, when he was also choked to death by a police officer in New York for selling cigarettes on the street.
Eight minutes and forty-six seconds – that’s how long it took police to kill a man, and to spark a national revolt in the process. These incidents and countless others like them over centuries have led to a global outcry against racism and police brutality in the US, with protests even amidst the fear of COVID-19 not only taking place in every state in the American union, but states around the world.
Fighting back against the bigotry and systematic targeting of black and brown bodies since the very inception of the nation, citizens of all colours and backgrounds have taken to the streets, calling for not only the prosecution of police officers guilty of racialized violence, but a radical re-evaluation of not only policing but the nature of race in America today.
As curfews are being enacted and quarantines are defied in the name of equality and justice I spoke with Alexandra Wishart about the institutionalization of racism in the United States. Alex is a critical race scholar and one of the PhD students here at Carleton’s Department of Political Science. Her experience with the issues at play with racism in America come not only from a history of teaching American Politics at institutions like Georgia State University, but through many years as an activist in the American south where she spent most of her life.
- Taylor Green on Political Philosophy and COVID-19: Lessons and Allusions
The response to COVID-19 across the world has been unlike anything experienced in the contemporary era. Changing the nature of human experience from interaction to isolation, the virus has had a previously unimaginable impact on states, societies and economies around the world.
The political impact of Coronavirus has been immense, but perhaps more significant has been the philosophical impact on the human condition itself.
What are the impacts on the psyche as death and disease take on a global scale? How does humanity continue to progress when – to take a page from Yeats – in the widening gyre things fall apart and the centre cannot hold? And what are some of the lessons we can learn from theorists throughout history who wrote in times of pestilence and plague?
In the second episode in our series on the politics of COVID-19, we take a look at the contributions made by political theorists in our understanding of Coronavirus and its social, economic and political impacts, and look to history to find philosophical inferences that can be drawn from plagues and disease in the past.
To discuss these issues I am joined by Taylor Green. Taylor is a PhD student with Carleton University’s Department of Political Science specializing in political theory, the philosophy of technology and Canadian political thought.
For more information on Taylor and his work, check out his Department profile:
- Paul Thomas on the (Canadian) Politics of COVID-19
Since our last episode the world has fundamentally changed. COVID-19 – born from the alleged consumption of a bat purchased in an illegal market in Wuhan, China – has spread across the globe and in a sense put humanity on hold. Millions have caught it, hundreds of thousands have died, and in its wake a new reality of social distancing has emerged, where the best hope in combating the disease lies in people’s capacity to no longer interact in person.
Across the world states have struggled to face the disease and save lives, enacting a myriad of policies and approaches to mitigate the human and economic damage of COVID 19. And as would be expected the results have been mixed, ranging from East Asian success stories to the abject failure of the Trump administration in the United States to adequately deal with the disease.
In the first of a series of podcasts on COVID-19 this episode will focus on the Canadian response to coronavirus. At the present time nearly fifty thousand Canadian citizens have contracted it, with deaths inching towards three thousand nation-wide. While hope lies in the fact that contraction rates have begun to slow, anxiety has continued to rise as politicians and policy-makers have begun to discuss the re-opening local economies after nearly two months in stasis.
Joining us to talk about the Canadian response to COVID-19 is Paul Thomas, a senior research associate with the Samara Center for Democracy and an adjunct professor with the Department of Political Science here at Carleton University.
- Aaron Ettinger on the Democratic Primaries and the Chances of an American Leftist Foreign Policy
Later this year, controversial American President Donald Trump will make his first bid for re-election against a currently unknown Democratic candidate. And in many ways the face to find that candidate has stirred just as much intrigue as the inevitable campaign road ahead.
Over the past few months the playing field of over 20 potential leadership nominees has whittled down to just a select few, with each offering a different vision of what the party should look like in the years ahead.
In many ways these diverging views also result in very different visions of public policy, not the least of which including a policy area heavily impacted by President Trump’s “America First” vision – foreign policy.
How does Joe Biden’s vision of America’s place in the world differ from Bernie Sanders’, or Elizabeth Warren’s for that matter? To answer these questions we’re joined this week on the Carleton University Political Science Podcast by Dr. Aaron Ettinger, a professor here at Carleton’s Department of Political Science specializing in American Foreign policy.
Professor Ettinger recently published “Is there an emerging left-wing foreign policy in the United States?”
- Killing the King - Waller Newell on Donald Trump and the Politics of Impeachment
The controversy surrounding the Trump administration recently reached a new zenith with the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives enacting the articles of impeachment, resulting in only the third impeachment trial in American history currently unfolding within the Senate.
Spawning from an alleged withholding of foreign aid as a means to pressure a foreign government – in this case, the Ukrainian government under Volodymyr Zelensky – into investigating one of the American President’s domestic rivals, the trial has put questions of the limits of Presidential privilege, the abuse of power and founders intent front and centre in American political discourse.
As the trial reaches its end, we spoke with Professor Waller R. Newell about the impeachment proceedings. Professor Newell is one of the longest-tenured faculty members with the Department of Political Science at Carleton University and is an expert in the great canon of political theory. As one of his seminal works “Tyrants: A History of Power, Injustice and Terror” enjoys the release of a newly expanded volume, Professor Newell discusses the politics of impeachment and the legacy of the Trump administration on this episode of the Carleton University Political Science Podcast.
- James Milner on New Challenges and New Hopes at the Global Refugee Forum
This past December the United Nations High Commission for Refugees held its first Global Refugee Forum – a massive conference in Geneva featuring policy makers and civil society organizations from around the world.
The meeting sought to take the blueprint created by the UN’s Compact on Refugees and forge it into action, resulting in the announcement of nearly 800 pledges related to the plights faced by migrating bodies and marginalized people across the globe. And one of the attendees of the Global Refugee Forum was Carleton University’s own James Milner.
Professor Milner is an associate professor with the Department of Political Science, and one of the most respected migration scholars in the world today. He is also the project director of LERRN, the Local Engagement Refugee Research Network – a major collaborative research project bringing together academics and civil society organizations from around the world – and has worked as a consultant to the UN’s High Commission for Refugees.
On this week’s episode of the Carleton University Political Science Podcast Professor Milner offers his reflections on the Global Refugee Forum, the push for a more inclusive global order in migration policy, and the road required to turn pledges and hopes into substantive policy change.
- On Star Wars and Political Theory with Jeremy Keats
As one of the biggest and longest-running franchises in cinematic history, the Star Wars saga has maintained a special and revered place in the hearts of millions around the world. Walking the line between Hollywood tentpole and cultural meditation, Star Wars is a cinematic phenomenon unlike any other, using archetypes as much as storytelling and special effects to make ontological statements on spirituality, philosophy, and indeed politics as well.
As a cultural text, the Jedi saga heralds to larger questions relevant to our contemporary political context such as the struggle between tradition and modernity, the overarching role of technology and the rise of nativism and extreme exclusionary politics, which begs us as political scientists to ask two interrelated questions: what are the political inferences that can be drawn from the Star Wars saga? And how can political philosophy aid us achieving a deeper and richer understanding of the mythos of that famed tale from a long time ago in a galaxy far away?
- The Politics of the Game - Professor Aaron Ettinger on Sports and Politics
The Colin Kaepernick-NFL situation took an unexpected turn in recent weeks when the exiled former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers was invited to a public practice by the Atlanta Falcons. For three years Kaepernick has been forced to sit on the sidelines, exiled from the 49ers and blacklisted by the ownership of every other NFL franchise for his controversial choice to “take the knee” during the ceremonial playing of the American national anthem in protest of the increasing violence against African American citizens perpetrated by American law enforcement.
While Kaepernick’s return to the field was surprising, the muted response by the NFL and its various franchises was not, with the vast majority of teams choosing to ignore the practice altogether, citing the inconvenience of a last-minute change in venue and an alleged lack of need for an elite-level quarterback on the bench.
But while Kaepernick continues to be treated as a pariah by the league he has become a contemporary folk hero for anti-oppression social movements throughout the United States and the world at large, and a central part of the #BlackLivesMatter movement that has come to redefine social movement activity in the digital age.
And he’s not alone in this regard – from Megan Rapinoe and the women of American soccer pushing not only for equality within their sport but American society at large, to Lebron James’ Twitter critiques of the American President, athletes have emerged as some of the most prolific and influential non-political voices in the political world. And while the practice of this agency has taken a very specific shape in the current era of #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter and social media, the tradition of the ‘athlete as rebel’ is one that has a long history, stretching back to Tommie Smith and John Carlos, Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson.
On this week’s podcast we focus on the politics of the game using an institutional lens, dissecting the institutional logics of both elite and amateur sport leagues, the place of politics in sports and the political agency of athletes with Professor Aaron Ettinger, an assistant professor specializing in international relations and foreign policy with Carleton University’s Department of Political Science.
- Louise Cockram on The Trials of Being a First Time MP in Canada
After one of the most controversial and scandal-ridden federal election campaigns in recent history, Canadians made their voices heard in selecting the Liberal Party to a second consecutive government. And while Election Night 2019 saw the re-election of many longstanding Members of Parliament, it would also see the emergence of many new MP’s taking their seat in the House of Commons for the very first time.
For these rookie MP’s the life of a parliamentarian is a novel experience they’ve never encountered before, and this begs a simple question: what is it like for first time MP’s to formally enter the world of Canadian politics? This week on the Carleton University Political Sceince Podcast we talk with PhD candidate Louise Cockram about her researcher on the experience of rookie MP’s in the House of Commons and the trials of orientation they face when taking their seat in Parliament.
- Paul Thomas: #Elxn43 and Why Campaigns Matter
On Monday October 21 Canadians will be heading to the polls to name their choice to lead the country for the next four years. After several months of controversy, scandal and politicking, Justin Trudeau’s incumbent Liberal Party has found itself in a dead-heat with Andrew Scheer and the Conservative Party of Canada, with no clear winner in sight.
As the campaign comes to a close and Election Day 2019 looms we talk with Professor Paul Thomas – one of the many Canadianists from our department – about the election, the key issues for Canadians and the state of the Canadian democracy in this week’s episode of the Carleton University Political Science Podcast.
- Waller R. Newell: The Revolutionary Longing for Political Wholeness
Waller R. Newell describes his course Concepts of Political Community ll: The Revolutionary Longing for Political Wholeness. PSCI 5309 is offered Winter 2020.
What is the meaning of political life? Is it meant to protect our rights as individuals, leaving us free to work hard and prosper in private life? That is the recipe for the classical liberalism of Locke and the early modern social contract theorists. But what if political life is about much more than this? What if it is meant to give us a sense of participating in a community of our fellow citizens? What if the purpose of life is not merely utility, but nobility and virtue? In this course, we will explore that alternative as it emerges through the Philosophy of Freedom, launched by Rousseau and developed in the works of Kant, Schiller, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche and Heidegger and their ever more revolutionary and even illiberal expectations for the future transformation of the human condition, a Third Age of collective bliss variously evoked by Marx’s proletariat, Nietzsche’s Superman and Heidegger’s vision of the German “community of destiny.”
- Waller R. Newell: Political Modernity as the Conquest of Nature
Waller R. Newell describes his course Political Theory ll: Political Modernity as the Conquest of Nature. PSCI 6301 is offered Winter 2020.
In this course, we will examine how the modern political project can be expressed as the conquest of nature. We will begin with the Platonic-Aristotelian teaching that human beings should live within the natural order, criticizing the view of the Sophists that we can assert our mastery over nature to achieve power through exploiting others. Machiavelli inaugurates the full-blown modern project for the conquest of nature to create power and prosperity for princes and peoples, which both was and was not a return to the Sophists owing to the impact of the concept of the Creator God. Machiavelli’s prescription for the modern state is carried forward by his successors including Bacon and Hobbes until it is forced to a screeching halt by the great protest of the Philosophy of Freedom begun by Rousseau and continuing through Hegel and the historical school. We end with Heidegger, who takes us back to the beginning by arguing that global technology, the summation of the modern political project, is grounded in ancient Greek techne but constitutes a radical modification of it. We will conclude with some critical engagements of Heidegger’s understanding of modernity as technology by thinkers including George P. Grant and Leo Strauss.
- Andrea Chandler: Vladimir Putin: What can Canadians learn from his 20 year rule?
Russia’s Vladimir Putin has now been in power for 20 years. Is he a successful leader? What does Putin’s longevity mean for Canadians? Professor Andrea Chandler, author of three books on Russian and post-Soviet politics, offers her reflections on these questions.