Undergraduate Research

Name: Rachel Aiello
Section: Undergraduate Research
Professional Email: rachel.judith7@gmail.com
Professional Status: Undergraduate Student
Institution: Emmanuel College
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Politics of Ideology: An Analysis of State Level Sex Education Policy
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Co-author info: Faculty Sponsor: Adam Silver, Assistant Professor, Emmanuel College Email: silvera@emmanuel.edu
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United States sex education policies on the state level range from abstinence only education to more comprehensive policies that include abstinence and contraception education. This study seeks to explain these variations in policy from state to state. The thesis is that the prevailing political party in government at the time the policy is enacted affects the type of policy. The methodology involves coding forty-four state polices for levels of comprehensiveness and analyzes their relationship to state party composition at the time the regulations were enacted. The gender, sexual orientation and party of the legislative sponsor are considered, in addition to interest groups and court cases. Comprehensive sex education tends to be enacted in Democratic majorities, while abstinence-only policies are more likely to be passed under strong Republican majorities. The overall argument mirrors the ideological debate on cultural issues between the parties on the state and national levels.


Name: Nicole Baltzer
Section: Undergraduate Research
Professional Email: nabaltzer@gmail.com
Professional Status: Undergraduate Student
Institution: Muhlenberg College
Scheduling Preference: Saturday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Gender Performativity & Politics: How Donald Trump's Gender Performance Appeals to the Hypermasculine Ethos of Primary Voters
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Gender theorist Judith Butler explores how gender impacts human experience, arguing that gender is something one does rather than something one has. Studying gender performativity requires an examination of the ways in which individuals demonstrate traits, beliefs, or actions that are traditionally associated with a specific gender. Appealing to a group’s masculinity or femininity may be a tactic public figures use to gain support and garner positive public opinion. In the current US election, presidential candidate Donald Trump’s clinching of the Republican nomination has caused political scientists to question how exactly he has been able to gain the support of his party base, despite being financially and politically inaccessible to one of the party's primary demographic bases. This paper explores the ways in which Donald Trump’s performance of hypermasculinity has contributed to his success with appealing to voters. I examine how Trump has used gendered rhetoric to respond to policy debates, party issues, and events related to 2016 primary elections. Through his aggressive positions on gendered electoral issues such as war, terrorism, immigration, and gender politics (what he calls the "gender card") Trump has appealed to the Republican Party’s collective through a hypermasculine ethos, bringing white masculinity and notions of the American dream to the forefront of his campaign and, consequently, political debate.


Name: Richard Burke
Section: Undergraduate Research
Professional Email: richardburke128@gmail.com
Professional Status: Undergraduate Student
Institution: Fairfield University
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Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: The Tea Party and the Rise of Radical Rhetoric
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Co-author info: Gwendoline Alphonso (sponsor), Fairfield University, galphonso@fairfield.edu
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The Tea Party “insurgency” led Republicans to sweeping victories in the House during the 2010 midterm and its legacy propelled Republicans to a definitive victory again in 2014. Many (Skocpol & Williamson, 2011) have characterized the Tea Party phenomenon as a “political movement” or a “group of political activists” (Bailey, et. Al, 2012). Further scholarly attention (Abramowitz, 2011) has been directed at assessing the distinctive nature of the Tea Party phenomenon from the mainstream Republican Party. This paper contributes to both sets of literature by suggesting that, more than anything else, the Tea Party movement should be considered a political discursive strategy that is very much aligned, and inseparable from the Republican Party’s politics and organization. Using evidence from key events in Tea Party history, the paper argues that in the 7 years since its inception, the Tea Party has not developed any clear policy goals or political behavior which distinguishes it from the “establishment” faction of the Republican Party. Instead the movement is better conceived as a discursive strategy, which, the paper reveals, was employed to address a disenchanted, yet attentive public so as to secure the GOP’s dominance in the House. The paper identifies the elements of the radical rhetorical strategy deployed by Tea Party political actors, namely: 1) anti-Washington sentiment 2) strict constructionism 3) racialized interpretation of Americanism. It then demonstrates how this radical rhetoric was invoked by Republicans in the House as the primary means to: (1) critique and challenge the centrist policies of the Democratic Party, and 2) articulate popular dissatisfaction with the economy and with the dominant conservative fiscal politics of the last several decades. Furthermore it demonstrates the significance of this strategy within the prevailing electoral context of increasingly safe districts, shifts in the political priorities of wealthy donors, and increasing attentiveness of the public shaped by new media.


Name: Stephanie Chan
Section: Undergraduate Research
Professional Email: skchan@umass.edu
Professional Status: Undergraduate Student
Institution: University of Massachusetts Amherst
Scheduling Preference: Saturday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Creative Citizenship: Immigrant Political Participation
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Political participation is foundational to democracy and key to being a good American citizen. Through their reconceptualization of political participation, immigrants, both citizen and non-citizen, have the opportunity to enable a new kind of civic citizenship and to delegitimize and disempower the exclusionary legal category of citizenship. I argue that immigrant students to the United States innovatively understand political participation as they create their own political identities in relation to American nation. Through a combination of discourse analysis, participant observation, and interviews, I study student conceptions of political participation on three college campuses. This more nuanced understanding of political participation is critical for the development of a more diverse polity as young people, immigrants, and especially young immigrants reshape what it means to be American.


Name: Pavitra Chari
Section: Environmental Politics & Policy
Professional Email: pavitrachari@gmail.com
Professional Status: Undergraduate Student
Institution: Northeastern University
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Rainbow Saris and Magic Teas: Nanotechnology Policies, Markets, and Regulations in China and India
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Picture a future where shirts clean themselves, cell phones charge in 30 seconds, and elevators go up to space! Nanotechnology is a transforming technology that opens up the path to many amazing applications. But as with any new technology, it risks creating problems to the environment, health, and safety. This situation is problematic with emerging economies developing nanotechnology now; these countries have limited regulatory frameworks in place, and only in rare cases are these specific to nanotechnology.Using China and India as case studies, I evaluated divergent regulatory stances in developing countries and placed the results within the context of existing literature on the EU and US. I compared regulatory stances by analyzing political structures, key legislation, and policies in three sectors that are commonly influenced by nanomaterials: chemicals, agriculture, and textiles. These three sectors are important for economic development, but also represent different political interests. The results support the argument that politics, not science, informs decision-making in China and India. By focusing in these sectors, these countries are ignoring research in applications of nanotechnology that could solve pressing problems including access to clean water, treating diseases, and harnessing energy. China and India may be setting examples for the rest of the developing world. While a diverse group of developing countries have adopted national nanotechnology strategies, the actual policies of promotion and regulation vary substantially across sector and across country. These case studies reflect a wider trend of regulatory variation across sectors, and how political motivations play into regulatory decisions.


Name: Bronte Forsgren
Section: Undergraduate Research
Professional Email: bronte.forsgren@gmail.com
Professional Status: Undergraduate Student
Institution: Utah State University
Scheduling Preference: Saturday Morning
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: "Never Forget”: The Impact of Identity on Armenia’s Foreign Policy Options
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Co-author info: Mary Briggs, Utah State University, mary.briggs@aggiemail.usu.edu Sarah Peck, Utah State University, peck.sarahemily@gmail.com
Co-presenter info: Mary Briggs, Utah State University, mary.briggs@aggiemail.usu.edu Sarah Peck, Utah State University, peck.sarahemily@gmail.com
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Defined by its strong ethnic, religious, and cultural identity, Armenia occupies a difficult geopolitical position in the Caucasus. As the rest of the world globalizes, Armenia is suffocated economically and politically under the dominance of Russia. Opportunities to diversify its dependence on Russia are limited by Armenia’s difficult relationships with neighboring countries. The longstanding border conflict with Azerbaijan is viewed as critical to retaining the Armenian nation, and Armenia’s relationship with Turkey bears national and historical scars. These conflicts, along with a long history of religious isolation and ethnic persecution, have solidified traits of a strong, cohesive Armenian identity that play a considerable role in its foreign policy. These include pride in being the first Christian nation, homogeneity, perceptions of vulnerability, political distrust, and strong emigration patterns. Recommendations from the international community often fail to acknowledge these core identity traits driving Armenian foreign policy. This paper explores these factors, displays their impact on Armenian political culture, and proves that Armenia retains viable options to distance itself from Russian control such as strengthening institutions, diversifying economic ties, and investing in upcoming generations, all while retaining its unique national culture. Research methods include in-country observation and interviews, data analysis, and literature review.


Name: Micayla Hersey
Section: Public Policy & Public Administration
Professional Email: Micaylahersey@gmail.com
Professional Status: Undergraduate Student
Institution: University of West Georgia
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Voter Registration: The Case for the ERIC System
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The right of an American citizen to vote is the foundation of our country. However, 1 in 8 registration records is inaccurate and out of date. In 2008 alone, 2.2 million people lost their right to vote specifically due to registration problems. One of the most recent efforts to deal with the voter registration problems is the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) that Pew Charitable Trusts created in 2012. This study examines the effects of the ERIC system by using a mixed method of qualitative and quantitative voter data. Qualitatively, it conducted a case study that examined the major differences between the widely-used Cross-Check system and the ERIC system. The quantitative research involved voter registration and population data from both ERIC and non-ERIC states, to analyze if there was a correlation between the system change from the Cross-Check system to ERIC that increased voter registration. The research found that the ERIC system was more successful than Cross-Check at finding registration errors that could prevent citizens from being able to vote. The key reason for this success is the use of national data bases over state databases. The ERIC system has also proven to keep sensitive information secure. More importantly, the data showed that the voter registration numbers in ERIC states have been improved steadily. This study also provides some important implications for registration system reform.


Name: Joan Iezin
Section: Undergraduate Research
Professional Email: joanmiezin@gmail.com
Professional Status: Undergraduate Student
Institution: Fairfield University
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Paper Title: Resisting Capitalism, Not Globalization
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Seattle was the setting of a massive protest against the WTO in 1999, and in 2015 anti-TPP demonstrations erupted across Asia, Europe, and North America. In 2009 Hactivists released classified information concerning the US military-industrial complex over the Internet, and in 2012 The Occupy Wall Street movement set up a tent city in Zuccotti Party New York to protest the economic power of the 1%. What these popular movements, with different agendas, methods of organizing, and physical contexts, share in common is that all have been categorized as anti-globalization movements. The aim of my paper is to argue that the label anti-globalization, which has been attached to these four popular movements is misleading as to what these popular movements desire to achieve. There are three parts to my argument. First, what these movements share in common is that whether from a neo-liberal or a neo-anarchist perspective, all are pro-globalization, not anti-globalization. Second, all borrow from the ideas of horizontalidad found in neo-anarchist thought. Third, all consider neoliberal capitalism to be the focal point of their protest. My project examines the tactics and aims of these popular movements by analyzing the theory and praxis of their modes of social interaction and governance as well as their goals. The aim of my paper is to change the discursive narrative as to how these popular movements are perceived.


Name: Chambailli Khan
Section: Undergraduate Research
Professional Email: dr_yasirapt@yahoo.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: University of Peshawar
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
Participation Type: Moderator
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Name: Hannah Lougheed
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Professional Email: hannahlougheed@gmail.com
Professional Status: Undergraduate Student
Institution: Shippensburg University
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: A Case Study of the Strategic Use of Refugee Resettlement through Local Integration in Clarkston, Georgia
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The Strategic Use of Resettlement (SUR), established by the UNHCR, better evaluates refugee resettlement as a multifaceted approach to relocation. It is understood to be a tool used to monitor the outcomes of refugee resettlement by assessing the beneficial aftereffects that may be experienced by other refugees, varying states, and the larger international arena. SUR evaluates the refugee resettlement process holistically, weighing outcomes of the resettlement process for all states involved, instead of solely those refugees relocated. The projected outcomes for SUR is to help foster the growth of a more dynamic and global resettlement process that begins strategically in the home state and remains a priority in both the second country relocation and finally, third country resettlement. Successful local integration is seen through a variety of socio-cultural aspects, and an important factor in SUR; it reduces the chances of repatriation or refoulement, thus providing resettlement success for states and the UNHCR. This paper will evaluate the city of Clarkston, Georgia from a policy analysis perspective. I will be finding integration successes and failures by addressing the major stakeholders in resettlement: refugees, local NGOs and the Government (state and local). In doing so, I will evaluate its implemented integration tools as they are guided by SUR and seek to draw conclusions on the effectiveness or shortcomings of this program in Clarkston, Georgia.


Name: Russell Luke
Section: Undergraduate Research
Professional Email: lukere01@mail.buffalostate.edu
Professional Status: Undergraduate Student
Institution: SUNY Buffalo State
Scheduling Preference: Saturday Morning
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Does Venezuela’s Past Dictate its Future?
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Venezuela’s political and economic history is responsible for its current instability. The history of Spanish colonization, and its lingering effects, continues to sabotage Venezuela’s future, following Acemoglu & Robinson’s theory of path dependency (2012). The causes of the current issues and instability can be traced to Venezuela’s political institutions and their history. First the Spanish, then American and European Corporations imposed an extractive economic system that fundamentally shaped both the society and political institutions of Venezuela. The current political, economic and societal issues facing many South American nations have their roots in the historical oppression and exploitation by external forces. Brazil has been a popular subject in the media lately, with the allegations of corruption and overall political instability, but this situation is not unique to Brazil. Rather, this is the instability that Acemoglu & Robinson argue is due to the political institutions and history of these nations (2012). Venezuela is an appropriate test for this theory. If Acemoglu and Robinson’s theory is correct, Nicolas Maduro, the current President of Venezuela will lead a corrupt and extractive regime at the expense of democratic political institutions and Venezuelans will suffer (2012). How long Maduro can retain power and what measures he will use remain to be seen. This will be a case study of the current economic, political and societal issues that plague Venezuela. This case study will also examine the sources of these issues and analyze how these affect the current regime. Acemoglu, D., & Robinson, J. A. (2012). Why nations fail: The origins of power, prosperity, and poverty. New York: Crown.


Name: Michael Meltzer
Section: Undergraduate Research
Professional Email: mmeltzer@ramapo.edu
Professional Status: Undergraduate Student
Institution: Ramapo College of NJ
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: In the Name of Terrorism: The Kurdish Question in Turkey
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The ancestors of Turkish Kurds have sought self-determination upon their native land since long before the state of Turkey was established. Despite Iraqi and Syrian Kurds often making headlines since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war and rise of the Islamic State, the question of the Turkish Kurds remains obfuscated by conflicting international interests and conflations with the quintessential buzz word of the modern Middle East: terrorism. However, despite containing the largest percentage of Kurds of any country in the world, approximately 16 million, or 20 percent of the country’s population, Turkey does not grant national minority rights to Kurds and has a long history of suppressing their cultural heritage. This geopolitical gridlock has played catalyst to a silent civil war in southeast Turkey, which gets lumped in with sectarian terrorism in the narrative of the 24/7 ISIS news cycle. The United States seems content to consider Kurdish political groups in Turkey as terrorists despite remarkably similar circumstances to that which called for aid in Iraq and Syria. My paper will employ a historical perspective to examine Turko-Kurdish identity politics with regard to international distinctions between civil war and terrorism.


Name: Kisha Patel
Section: Undergraduate Research
Professional Email: kipatel@ursinus.edu
Professional Status: Undergraduate Student
Institution: Ursinus College
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Paper Title: My Body, Not My Say: Regulation of Reproductive Freedom in America
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Women’s bodies have been legislated for years. Many people associate regulation beginning in 1973 when Roe V. Wade was decided. Even though legislation has affected women for much longer, understanding the implications of this decision are fundamental to analyze the debate over the constitutionality of abortion today. I examined the opinion written by Justice Blackmun in Roe v. Wade that changed the way abortion was looked at in America. The basis in which Justice Blackmun founded his decision was important in how abortion would be regulated and argued in the future. Therefore it is important to understand the man behind the decision. Justice Blackmun’s decision was controversial because confronted legal standards of individual rights and privacy going on to say, “If the right of privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child”. Justice Blackmun went against the norm to carefully dissect the constitutionality of abortion, regardless of what others around him believed. He made sure to research both the medical procedure and the constitutional language in the 9th and 14th amendment. To understand his decision, I also conducted in depth analysis of Justice Blackmun’s biographies that contain notes from during the trial. This highlights the pivotal role of Justice Blackmun in shaping reproductive freedom in the future. I combined this with research of specific Supreme Court Cases and Congressional Bills that try to regulate reproductive freedom post the Roe decision. Specifically, I looked at 48 pieces of congressional legislation from the 114th Congress that limit women's reproductive freedom through abortion bans, non-accessible health care, and cuts in federal spending towards Planned Parenthood. I also examined Supreme Court cases regarding reproductive freedom and studied the arguments on the constitutionality of abortion regulation. When examining many Supreme Court opinions on reproductive freedom, and found that many justices supported the infringement on women’s rights to their respective bodies by preventing women from having abortions or having access to contraceptives. I use the Roe decision to examine the constitutionally of the current restrictions being placed on women’s bodies and argue that these laws and regulations against women infringe on their ability to participate equally in society, limiting their rights as citizens.


Name: Bethany Pritchard
Section: Undergraduate Research
Professional Email: blp5qe@virginia.edu
Professional Status: Undergraduate Student
Institution: University of Virginia
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: In Ten Seconds or Less; Snapchat and Campaign Discourse
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From February 1, 2016 through March 6, 2016, this study collected 1,451 Snapchats posted by the Democratic and Republican candidates for president as well as posts made by Snapchat users on the public Live Story feature. Following the collection of data, a content analysis was run on these posts to understand how Snapchat was used. This resulted in the discovering that most candidates use their own Snapchat accounts to display the size of their crowds, which Jeb Bush being the outlier. Bush’s content featured more behind the scenes images and helped the viewer connect more than content about crowd size. Additionally, a simple survey of 275 social media users was conducted to gauge the interest Snapchat users have with politics on this new media. Overwhelmingly, I found very little use and viewing of the political Live Stories and an even smaller number of people following individual candidates. Large social media such as Facebook and Twitter also had simple beginnings, but the innate design of Snapchat seems to limit its success in campaigns. From the results of this study, I do not think that this new media will have a large impact on the 2016 election, or any election in the near future. The media, as it is now, serves to make the candidates appear relatable and provide transparency.


Name: Adam Silver
Section: Undergraduate Research
Professional Email: rachel.judith7@gmail.com
Professional Status: Undergraduate Student
Institution: Emmanuel College
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Politics of Ideology: An Analysis of State Level Sex Education Policy
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Co-author info: Faculty Sponsor: Adam Silver, Assistant Professor, Emmanuel College Email: silvera@emmanuel.edu
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Abstract:
United States sex education policies on the state level range from abstinence only education to more comprehensive policies that include abstinence and contraception education. This study seeks to explain these variations in policy from state to state. The thesis is that the prevailing political party in government at the time the policy is enacted affects the type of policy. The methodology involves coding forty-four state polices for levels of comprehensiveness and analyzes their relationship to state party composition at the time the regulations were enacted. The gender, sexual orientation and party of the legislative sponsor are considered, in addition to interest groups and court cases. Comprehensive sex education tends to be enacted in Democratic majorities, while abstinence-only policies are more likely to be passed under strong Republican majorities. The overall argument mirrors the ideological debate on cultural issues between the parties on the state and national levels.


Name: Therese Stirling
Section: Undergraduate Research
Professional Email: tstirling@umass.edu
Professional Status: Undergraduate Student
Institution: University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Paper Title: The Power of Access: Cross-Cutting Equality in a time of Authoritarianism
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This study investigates the relationship between generalized trust and educational gender equality in Turkey and Jordan between 1991-2014. This study assimilates democratic preconditions from Putnam and Lipset into the standard democratic framework outlined by Dhal, Collier and Levitsky and seeks to highlight the unexplored significance of gender equal participation in the applicability of those preconditions. Employing a most similar comparative method of analysis, I operationalize measures of educational gender equality and generalized trust by isolating the Gross Enrollment Gender Parity Index (GPI) and an array of World Values Survey questions. Using Turkey and Jordan as focal points, I analyze a variety of theoretically informed controls to assess primary determining factors perpetuating authoritarianism in the Middle East. This study assesses how socioeconomic and political marginalization of women, evident in low educational gender equality, inhibits the development of generalized trust, and subsequently the development of high quality liberal democracy.