Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences: May 27 - June 2
The CPSA conference dates within Congress are Tuesday, May 30 to Thursday, June 1.
Time: 01:00pm to 02:00pm | Location: HEI-201 (Heidelberg Centre)
Time: Cocktails available at 6:00 pm; Dinner from 6:30 pm - 10:30 pm |
Location: Dim Sum King (421 Dundas Street West, Toronto)
John Borrows, Freedom and Indigenous Constitutionalism. UTP, 2016.
A moving and impressive book that spans Canadian politics, political thought and legal theory, this work is a wide-ranging and deeply thoughtful consideration of the diverse ways that Indigenous traditions and practices address one of the fundamental questions of politics: how can we live together in ways that enhance freedom and respect? An extraordinarily nuanced work, the book combines classical legal and philosophical methods with Indigenous modes (including storytelling, evolving traditions, teachings on ‘living well in this world’, etc) to not only highlight the ways that Western legal and political systems often disregard the insights of Indigenous traditions, but also to show the ways that these living traditions nurture a variety of important emancipatory practices and perspectives. Rich in its insight, distinct in its methodological and theoretical approach, often personal in its voice, Borrow’s book not only forwards a variety of convincing arguments on specific questions. It also demonstrates more broadly that mainstream political science and philosophical/legal thought must engage much more actively with the vibrant traditions of Indigenous thought and practice.
Robert Schertzer, The Judicial Role in a Diverse Federation. UTP, 2016.
This book engages creative analysis and synthesis to address important and enduring questions about the contested nature of the Canadian nationality and the Supreme Court’s role in shaping Canadian federalism, in an original and inventive manner. Working at the interface of political theory, comparative politics, and studies of multi-nationality, the book moves effortlessly between an empirical analysis of more than 130 Supreme Court decisions over the past thirty years, and a normative reflection on the type of jurisprudence that would be consistent with principles of fairness and legitimacy in a plurinational context. The author makes a persuasive case to see the Canadian federation as a process and outcome of negotiation between competing perspectives, and that the judicial role in such a context is to encourage dialogue and political exchange between these perspectives rather than determining which perspective should prevail. Schertzer's imaginative bridging of federalism and judicial studies with political theory and comparative politics will ensure that questions of plurinationality continue to animate the study of Canadian political institutions.
Erin Tolley, Framed: Media and the Coverage of Race in Canadian Politics. UBC 2016.
Offering one of the first sustained studies of the ways in which race is represented in media coverage of Canadian politics, this book offers a much-needed and long overdue response to a significant void in the discipline of Canadian political science. Drawing on a wide range of rich empirical material and structured by a highly creative and rigorous multi-methods approach, the book clearly explains, operationalizes and systematically tests a variety of hypotheses derived from critical race perspectives. Examining the many ways that underlying assumptions about race and diversity deeply influence media coverage, Tolley’s book persuasively demonstrates (among other things) that visible minorities running for office are given less prominent and more negative treatment in the news – elements that function to significantly undermine their political viability (perhaps all the more so because these effects are often subtle and thus are frequently discounted by the media and public). Theoretical, methodologically and normatively insightful (the book also discusses some of the policy and political questions its findings raise), this is a book that will become a central reference point for political scientists studying racialized dynamics in Canadian politics.
Juliet Johnson. 2016. Priests of Prosperity: How Central Bankers Transformed the Postcommunist World. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
In this major contribution to the study of International Political Economy and Central and East European post-communist transitions, Juliet Johnson sheds new light on the powerful influence of a transnational network of central bankers. Her analysis reveals how this network integrated and socialized a new generation of public banking officials in ways that reflected dominant, Western ideas about the independent role of central banks in managing capitalist economies. Johnson’s findings emerge from a rich tapestry of evidence, in particular, extensive interviews across seventeen countries. The book’s fine-grained empirical analysis is located within an innovative theoretical and conceptual framework. Situated in the tumult of major political and economic transitions from command economies, and the more recent global financial crisis, Priests of Prosperity deserves a wide readership across many disciplines.
Vincent Pouliot. 2016. International Pecking Orders: the Politics and Practice of Multilateral Diplomacy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
In this inventive and theoretically sophisticated study, Vincent Pouliot challenges two contrasting conventional presumptions: That the international institution of multilateralism has an equalizing effect on collective decision-making among otherwise vastly different state powers, and that pre-existing material power imbalances determine which states’ voices matter in international diplomacy. Instead, based on extensive interviews with diplomatic practioners, and using sociological insights from Erving Goffman and Pierre Bourdieu, International Pecking Orders reveals how the practice of diplomacy matters. Using the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organizations as cases, Pouliot shows that multilateral diplomacy requires certain forms of practical mastery, and that it creates international social inequalities. Offering a wealth of evidence and deep, conceptual insight, International Pecking Orders will shape future debates about the nature of international hierarchies in global politics.
Norrin M. Ripsman. 2016. Peacemaking from Above, Peace From Below: Ending Conflict Between Regional Rivals. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
Norrin M. Ripsman expertly crafts an engaging and comprehensive study of the challenges involved in pacifying enduring conflicts and the determinants of lasting peace following successful diplomacy. Combining theoretical tools from normally conflicting traditions, such as realism, liberalism, and constructivism, the book provides compelling evidence to support its central arguments: Peacemaking requires top-down, state led initiatives rooted in geopolitical realities. By contrast, maintaining a peace requires the right bottom-up, societal conditions. Based on a qualitative analysis of salient 20th century cases in Europe, the Middle East and beyond, Ripsman’s analytical conclusions have important policy implications related to when and how external interventions in regional conflicts should be orchestrated. Peacemaking from Above, Peace From Below will have significant impact on future scholarly and policy debates on international peace and conflict.
Short-list of 2016 Conference Papers
Candace Johnson, “Transnational Reproductive Rights Regimes in the Context of Zika Virus”
This paper examines the political dimensions of the Zika virus in regard to maternal health. The virus itself is borderless, but policy to contain Zika is defined by state borders. Documenting the distinctive historical, cultural, and economic context of public policy in each state serves to undermine the apparent universality of pregnancy by highlighting the situated nature of the pregnant body and women’s experience. This paper is ambitious in scope, empirically rich and conceptually sophisticated. It is also a politically engaged paper that not only makes a compelling case for maternal health policy directives coming from the global North to address the complex social and biomedical sources of infection and maternal health by, fundamentally, putting women’s reproductive rights ahead of controlling mosquitos, but also the steps that need to be taken to create a women’s cross-border solidarity to pursue such policy.
Joanna Everitt and Tracey Raney, “Winning as a Woman / Winning as a Lesbian: Voter Attitudes Towards Kathleen Wynne in the 2014 Ontario Election”
Everitt and Raney’s paper uses the Ontario provincial election study to examine the effect of questions relating to sexual orientation and gender stereotypes to shape voter attitudes towards party leaders in the 2014 Ontario election. Overall, this paper is concise and polished, with a tight comprehensive literature review and a straightforward presentation of strong results. The authors find that stereotypes relating to the sexual orientation of Liberal Party leader Kathleen Wynne played less of a role in the election than might be expected. Wynne had higher credibility on LGBT issues, but that credibility did not affect her overall profile of support (or opposition) among voters. A gender gap persisted, but men and women drew (differently) on a wide range of items when evaluating their leadership choices.
Jerald Sabin and Kyle Kirkup, “Competing Masculinities and Political Campaigns”
This paper presents an investigation of competing masculinities during the 2015 Canadian election. Its empirical core comprises systematic content analysis of 756 articles from Canada’s top ten English newspapers. The authors find that Harper and Mulcair presented themselves (or their campaign teams did) as embodying “hegemonic” or traditional masculinity, and newspaper coverage duly picked up on that image. By contrast, Trudeau embodied a balance of hegemonic and subordinate masculinity. Given Trudeau’s success on election day, the authors ponder changing notions of masculinity. The paper provides a challenge to our conventional understanding of how politicians perform gender and sexuality, that will surely provoke further research, including the possibility that fluidity of gender presentation might be more available to men than to women.
Sule Bayrak, ‘Contextualizing Discretion: Micro-dynamics of Canada’s Refugee Determination System’, Université de Montréal
From the first line of the introduction – where the author recalls meeting a lawyer and his refugee claimant – this thesis draws you in to its subject matter. Using ethnographic methodologies (including Street Level Bureaucracy Theory) the thesis explores the work of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). It finds that, even in environments where strict rules regulate the discretion of actors, it is in practice difficult to prevent agents from interpreting their goals and jobs in divergent ways. The result is that IRBs make uneven and divergent decisions about refugee claimants.
Nadège Compaore, Re-politicizing State Sovereignty in Global Governance: A Political Economy of Transparency in the Oil Sectors of Gabon and Ghana, Queen's University, 2015
This dissertation makes a contribution to current understandings of states’ agency in international relation theories, especially when it comes to the behaviour of postcolonial states. Based on a rich body of empirical research, the analysis considers three different African states’ – Ghana, Gabon and South Africa – strategic compliance with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Bridging content analysis and critical analysis, the dissertation engages with several novel approaches in the subfield with originality, while maintaining theoretical rigour. The authors’ findings, as they relate to sovereignty and natural resources, have resonance beyond the cases and could impact the broader literature on governance.
Maude Benoît, Reconfiguration de l’État et renouvellement de l’action publique agricole, Université Laval, 2015
The thesis takes on original look, both systematic and sophisticated, at a classic domain of public policies in Canada: agriculture. By applying a comparative approach, the study explains the institutionalization and the variations of trajectories that have occurred in the agri-environmental policies of Quebec and France between 1990 and 2013. The thesis combines the neo-institutional theories and the contributions on the ‘referentials’, while mobilizing a large number of empirical data gathered through interviews, literature searches and discourse analysis. The demonstration of the filtration role played by the central agricultural organizations from each country in the face of pressures for new environmental policies is very convincing.
Paul Nadasdy, “First Nations, Citizenship and Animals, or Why Northern Indigenous People Might Not Want to Live in Zoopolis,” 49:1, 1-20.
This imaginative and wide-ranging analysis examines the model of human-animal relations put forward in Donaldson and Kymlicka’s recent Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights from the perspective of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada’s North. Melding anthropological studies with analysis of the citizenship regimes which have emerged from settled comprehensive land claims and self-government agreements, Nadasdy challenges the universality that Donaldson and Kymlicka claim for their interpretation of human society. He argues that Zoopolis’ implicit liberalism and its assumptions about the territorial underpinnings of human political organization are invalid for certain Northern Indigenous peoples. In contrasting Indigenous world views – and in particular, understandings of the relations of humans and animals – with the liberal, statist perspective of Zoopolis, Nadasdy raises complex, important questions not only in political theory but also about the place of Indigenous peoples and thought in the Canadian polity.
David B. MacDonald, “Do We Need Kiwi Lessons in Biculturalism? Considering the Usefulness of Aotearoa New Zealand’s Pākehā Identity in Re-Articulating Indigenous Settler Relations in Canada,” 49:4, 643-64.
In the context of developing an agenda for reconciliation along the lines recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, David MacDonald assesses the development of Indigenous-settler biculturalism in Aotearoa/New Zealand and the possibility of lessons for Canada. MacDonald provides an overview of Indigenous Māori mobilization leading to greater indigenous recognition and inclusion, at least in the form of symbolic forms of biculturalism. Highlighting the use of the Māori term Pākehā by non-indigenous settlers as a self-designation, MacDonald explores the possibility of analogous terms such as settlers, treaty persons, or Kiciwamanawak (cousins) in the Canadian context. He notes the utility of using these relational identity-markers to problematize the Eurocentric and colonizing aspects of the settler state. He also notes the problems of identity-markers which exclude non-European settlers, as well as problems in their deployment in concrete terms to address continued inequality, political alienation, and structural discrimination. The discussion in the article is thus a useful reminder to not let inclusive language/terms act “as rhetorical screens for continued inaction” on Indigenous issues in settler societies.
Dietlind Stolle, Allison Harell, Stuart Soroka and Jessica Behnke, “Religious Symbols, Multiculturalism and Policy Attitudes,” 49:2, 335-58.
This article examines how support for multiculturalism policy varies across the types of benefits and the ethnicity/religiosity of recipient groups. Canada is often thought to be a very tolerant country, but Stolle and her colleagues confirm that this support is more restrained. Using a unique survey experiment conducted within the 2011 Canadian Election Study, the authors assess the effect of ethnicity and religious symbols on support for funding of ethno-religious group activities and their access to public spaces. By presenting respondents with three different vignettes---each using an image of either a woman of Portuguese descent, of Turkish-Muslim origin, or a woman wearing a hijab---the authors demonstrate that the level of assimilationist attitudes polarizes Canadian public opinion when it comes to providing financial aid and services to more culturally distant groups. Canadians are also influenced in their assessments of multicultural policies by the financial cost of these programs. The results of this analysis find that Canadian support for multicultural policies is embedded in the understanding that these policies integrate and, to a certain degree assimilate, minority groups. In the current international context, this important study raises the question of the extent to which Canadian society would support a large influx of immigrants in need of financial support.