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Welcome Everyone to the Academic Year 2021-2022!

For those new to our department, it’s great to have you onboard and we hope that you find your time with us to be a stimulating and rewarding academic experience. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Nov 17, 2021

Message from the Chair 

Welcome everyone to the academic year 2021-2022! For those new to our department, it’s great to have you onboard and we hope that you find your time with us to be a stimulating and rewarding academic experience.  For those returning, we are grateful that you will continue to study and teach politics in all its complexity with us.  The times we are living in raise many pressing questions of domestic and global public policy, and present new challenges to our understanding and realization of our political and ethical values. We very much look forward to navigating these troubled waters in collaboration with our students this year.

In addition to looking forward, it is important to also look back and reflect on what we have just come through. The past 18 months have revealed an overlapping set of urgent crises that no one discipline, much less a subfield, is fully equipped to tackle. This global pandemic after all is not just a health crisis, but rather a crisis of racism, an economic crisis, a democratic crisis, an inequality crisis, an education crisis, and so much more. COVID-19 has been accompanied by an escalation of racial and economic discrimination that is manifest locally, nationally and globally. It has brought rising food and housing insecurity, growing polarization and surging mistrust of public institutions and leaders, and a devastating and disproportionate toll on women, racial minorities, the poor, and other marginalized communities. Alongside this, Canadians have also experienced the increasingly tangible impacts of global climate change. And we have reckoned with searing evidence of crimes against humanity, in the form of widespread and systematic abuse of Indigenous children. 

All of this is enough to cause a sort of paralysis of despair. But paralysis is not in the DNA of our department. Instead, we are even more motivated to understand and address the deep-seeded problems that the past year-and-a-half has exposed. If one thing has brought me hope these past 18 months, it is to witness our faculty and students rise to the meet these crises head on. Our annual newsletter provides just a glimpse of the energy and talents we have applied – through research, teaching and learning, public outreach and awareness-building – to tackling the challenges that face us locally, nationally and as a global community.  

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to all members of our Political Science Department for your tremendous effort, patience and perseverance over the past academic year.  Our instructors worked extremely hard under trying conditions to deliver our educational programs in new and unprecedented ways while maintaining our commitment to teaching excellence and mentorship.  Our administrative staff has done a tremendous job keeping the department functioning as a collective unit, despite us being apart. 

Above all, I want to acknowledge our undergraduate and graduate students. Your commitment to your education and learning while dealing with myriad challenges and hardships has been inspiring.  Despite of our efforts to make things work, there’s nothing like being and learning together, a fact this past year-and-a-half has made all too clear.  I look forward to our offices, hallways and classrooms being once again full of your energy, passionate debate and, above all, friendship.

Karen Bird
Professor & Department Chair

Welcome to the newest members of the Political Science Department

We welcome several new members to our team. 

Notable Indigenous scholar Dr. Rob Innes joins the Department of Political Science while jointly appointed with the Indigenous Studies Program. Rob is a Plains Cree, Saulteaux, and Métis member of the Cowessess First Nation and comes from the University of Saskatchewan where he was the Department Head of Indigenous Studies. His areas of research include First Nations history, First Nation and Métis relations, and Indigenous masculinities. 
Dr. Emily Merson joins us in a 2-year contractually limited appointment and will teach a range of undergraduate courses principally in International Relations. Dr. Merson is also a highly active researcher with two books just published. Read our interview with Emily to find out more about her courses, research, and what she is most looking forward to post-COVID.
We are also thrilled to announce the appointment of Dr. Nathan Andrews, who takes up his post January 1, 2022. Nathan is a highly accomplished scholar who builds upon our existing strengths in international relations and global political economy, while expanding our areas of expertise in African politics and critical development studies. His research focuses on the political economy/ecology of natural resource extraction and development while he is also interested in foreign aid, non-western IR perspectives and research methods.
Patti Bochek joined us as Undergraduate Administrator from March-September 2021, teaming up with Wendy and Manuela in keeping our front office ticking. This was a short-term replacement for Rebekah Flynn, who has been seconded to the Faculty Office. We wish Patti the best as she has moved on to another position.

Have a wonderful year! 

Dr. Inder Marwah received tenure and promotion last year and will be on sabbatical for the 2021-22 academic year. Inder will spend this time undertaking primary and secondary research on his current research project, Evolution Against Empire. The project examines how anti-imperialists drew on Darwinism and evolutionary theory to resist colonial domination at the turn of the 20th century, and is split between India and the Middle East.
Dr. Robert O’Brien will be on sabbatical leave for the 2021-22 academic year. Robert was awarded a SSHRC Insight grant and plans to write a book manuscript responding to the question: ‘What kind of internationalism is most suitable for the inhabitants of Western states in the present era of climate change?’  The research is designed to spark debate in the academic community and the wider public in advanced industrialized countries about whether our relationship to other political communities needs to change in order to successfully address climate change.

We wish you both the best in these endeavours.

Great News! 

Successful launch of the Master of Public Policy in Digital Society

May 2021 brought the first cohort of students to McMaster’s (virtual) campus as part of the newly launched MPP in Digital Society. This is the first professional degree to be offered in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Its aim is to train prospective policy leaders to navigate the rapidly changing dynamics of the technological landscape so as to more effectively address the complex social, political, and economic challenges that have accompanied the Digital Age. Several permanent and adjunct faculty in the Department of Political Science are teaching in the MPP, together with Dr. Cliff van der Linden who serves as Academic Director of the program. 

Announcing the George Breckenridge Memorial Academic Grant

Thanks to a generous donation from his family and friends, a new scholarship has been created in memory of Dr. George Breckenridge.  George taught in the Department of Political Science at McMaster from 1967 until his passing in December 2018.  He was a renowned expert on U.S. and U.K. politics who continued to teach, research and provide informative media commentary for many years after his retirement. 

The George Breckenridge Memorial Academic Grant is to be awarded to undergraduate students enrolled in a Political Science program who attain high averages and demonstrate financial need. 

Student-faculty collaborations

Political Theory professor Catherine Frost and international relations doctoral student Rebekah Pullen have a new co-authored article on international law and theory, forthcoming with the Journal of International Political Theory. It examines the legacy of the “father of modern international law,” Emer de Vattel, and suggests he is wrongly cast as the fall guy for isolationist internationalism. It also showcases the rich rewards of co-authoring between faculty and doctoral researchers.

The article is part of Frost’s SSHRC-funded project on “constituent power” and brought together her recent work on international constitutionalism with Pullen’s specialization in war and global governance. The item is already making an impact, as the journal editors have indicated they plan to use the piece in their course on global constitutionalism. The project benefited from a lively pre-COVID “Research in Progress” seminar which helped develop many of the ideas in the work, and special thanks go to the participants. 

Making an impact

Karen Bird is one of four leading researchers who have provided expert affidavits in a recent Charter challenge on fair voting. Because the present federal government and parliament have decided not to proceed with electoral reform, the plan of this challenge is to have the Supreme Court rule that our current voting system contravenes the Charter, and have it order the government to adopt a voting system that complies with the Charter and gives Canadians fair and equal representation. 

Vote Compass/Canada Votes 2021

Dr. Cliff van der Linden recently launched Vote Compass/Canada Votes 2021 in partnership with the CBC/Radio Canada’s coverage of the 2021 federal election. This is just the latest iteration of the Vote Compass voter advice application, which is designed to let users explore how they fit in Canada's political landscape by comparing how their views relate to the policy proposals of the parties and candidates. Vote Compass promotes electoral literacy and voter engagement, while from a research perspective the instrument has since its inception in 2011 facilitated the collection of many millions of data points from participants around the world. 


2020-21 Events at a Glance

The department maintained connection with students, colleagues and the public this year through virtual panels, guest speakers, and our ongoing Research in Progress Seminar series. Here is a quick snapshot of several of these events. 

Research in Progress Seminar (RIPS) - March 19, 2021
Past and contemporary dimensions of racial capitalism: dialectics of freedom, violence, and reproductive labour 

Tenth annual graduate student conference - March 11 – 13
2021 saw a virtual rendition of our tenth annual graduate student conference on the intersection of international relations and public policy. 

Can You Hear Me Now? A virtual book launch and discussion
On February 11, 2021 the department hosted former MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes who reflected on her road to politics, her time in the Trudeau government, and the barriers and challenges she encountered as a racialized woman in parliament. 

Research in Progress Seminar (RIPS) - February 10, 2021
Public responses to pandemic policy interventions: a survey of findings from the COVID-19 Monitor project 

Research in Progress Seminar (RIPS) – Oct. 28, 2020
Dr. Umut Özsu, Associate Professor, Carleton University, on “Completing Humanity: State Power, Self-Determination, and the Limits of the International Law of Decolonization.” 

Gary Younge in Conversation with Naomi Klein - Sept. 25, 2020
In partnership with the Socrates Project, the department presented "Care and Repair: A Framework for Recovery”, a public talk addressing the paths from the urgent crises of our time to a healthier, more sustainable and just future. 


Faculty achievements

Notable recognition: 

Congratulations to Dr. Netina Tan who has been named University Scholar. She will hold this position for four years, commencing July 1, 2021. The award speaks to Netina’s exceptional record of scholarly productivity, including her publications in numerous high impact journals and university presses, and her leadership role in multiple international collaborative research endeavors. It also recognizes Netina’s exemplary teaching and student mentorship, as well as her deep commitment to considering the real-world implications of the problems she studies. Read more about Netina’s work here.
Congratulations to Dr. Michelle Dion, Dr. Inder Marwah and Dr. Nathan Andrews for their well-earned promotions in academic rank.  Michelle was promoted to Full Professor. Inder and Nathan were each granted tenure and promoted to the rank of Associate Professor.
Congratulations to Dr. Cliff van der Linden, who is the winner of the 2021 McMaster Faculty of Social Sciences Early Career Researcher Award.

Research grants: 

The Department of Political Science had an unprecedented 100% success rate in faculty applications as Principle Investigators (PI) to the 2020 SSHRC Insight Grants program. Congratulations to those who were funded as PIs, co-applicants and collaborators on several newly funded SSHRC projects.

Selected publications:

Marshall Beier
Beier, J. Marshall and Jana Tabak, eds. 2021.  Childhoods in Peace and Conflict. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Beier, J. Marshall. 2021.  "Exceptional Childhood and COVID-19: Engaging Children in a Time of Civil Emergency."  Childhood: Journal of Global Child Research  28(1): 154-169.
Beier, J. Marshall. 2021. "Traditions, Truths, and Trolls: Critical Pedagogies in the Era of Fake News," in Heather Smith and David Hornsby, eds.,  Teaching International Relations in a Time of Disruption. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 63-73. [|].

Katherine Boothe
Boothe, Katherine. 2021. “(Re) Defining Legitimacy in Canadian Drug Assessment Policy? Comparing Ideas Over Time.” Health Economics, Policy and Law. First View,  1–16.
Just, Danielle and Katherine Boothe. 2020. “What did we learn from SARS and H1N1?” Policy Options, 29 December 2020.

Adrienne Davidson
Davidson, Adrienne, Samantha Burns, Delaine Hampton, Linda White, and Michal Perlman. 2020. “Child Care Policy and Child Care Burden: Policy Feedback Effects and Distributive Implications of Regulatory Decisions,” Journal of Behavioral Public Administration 3(2): 1-11.
Davidson, Adrienne, Linda White, Michal Perlman, Samantha Burns, and Delaine Hampton. 2021. “Policy Frameworks and Parental Choice: Behavioural Modeling of Parent Decision Making on Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Services,” Journal of Family Issues.
Davidson, Adrienne and Veldon Coburn. 2021. “Multiculturalism Policy Index: Indigenous Peoples.” Queen’s University.

Michelle Dion
Dion, Michelle. 2020. “Regulation of Sexuality in the Global South.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Oxford: Oxford UP. 
Dion, Michelle and Jordi Díez. 2020. “Does Knowing Mean Supporting? Social Contact and Support for Same-Sex Marriage in Argentina.” Politics, Groups and Identities. October 1, 1-17.  [|].
Embrett, Mark, Glen E. Randall, John N. Lavis, and Michelle L. Dion. 2020. “Conceptualizing characteristics of resources withdrawal from medical services: A systematic qualitative synthesis.” Health Research Policy and Systems, 18, 123: np.

Catherine Frost
Frost, Catherine. 2021. Language, Democracy and the Paradox of Constituent Power:  Declarations of Independence in Comparative Perspective. London: Routledge.

Peter Graefe
Graefe, Peter. 2021. Is Non-Centralization and Adequate Principle for Fiscal Federalism in a Multinational Context? Reflections from the Canadian Case. In F. Boucher & A. Noël (eds.) Fiscal Federalism in Multinational States: Autonomy, Equality, and Diversity. McGill-Queen’s University Press.
Graefe, Peter and X. Hubert Rioux. 2020. What Should Be Done With a ‘House in Order’? An Economic Perspective on Post-Liberal Quebec. American Review of Canadian Studies 50, 3, 293-308.

Shafiqul Huque
Ullah, A., M.A. Hossain and A.S. Huque. 2021. "Non-conventional migration: An evolving pattern in South Asia,"  Journal of Asian and African Studies. 
Nuri, R.P., H.M. Aldersey, S. Ghahari and A.S. Huque. 2021. "Service providers’ perspectives in providing services to children with disabilities and their families in Bangladesh," Disability and Rehabilitation. 10.1080/09638288.2021.1916629 
Huque, A.S. 2020. ‘In Search of Development and Governance: Practice and Challenges in a Globalized World,’ CIU Journal, 3: 1, pp. 1-19. [|]
Zafarullah, H. and A.S. Huque. 2021. "Corruption and its control: The pursuit of probity in Bangladesh," in K.K. Tummala, ed.,  Corruption in the Public Sector: An International Perspective, Bradford: Emerald,  pp. 57-77.

James Ingram
Ingram, James. 2021. “Civil Disobedience and Anarchism,” Cambridge Companion to Civil Disobedience, ed. William E. Scheuerman, Cambridge University Press.
Ingram, James. 2021. “Teoria crítica e póscolonialismo,” tr. Mariana Fidelis and Simone Fernandes, Dissonância: Revista de Theoria Crítica 4, no. 1.
Ingram, James S.D. Chrostowska. 2021. “Utopie,” Handbuch kritische Theorie, ed. Rahel Jaeggi, Martin Saar, and Robin Celikates, Metzler Verlag.

Inder Marwah
Marwah, Inder S. 2021. “Race, Culture and Ethnicity: On 'Monstrous Species' in the Age of Enlightenment.” In A Cultural History of Democracy, eds. Anna Plassart and Michael Mosher (Bloomsbury).
Marwah, Inder S. 2021. “Charles Mills' The Racial Contract.” In The Oxford Handbook of Classics in Contemporary Political Theory (Oxford).

Stephen McBride
Whiteside, Heather, Stephen McBride and Bryan Evans. 2021. Varieties of Austerity Bristol: Bristol University Press.
McBride, Stephen, Bryan M. Evans and Dieter Plehwe eds. 2021. The Changing Politics and Policy of Austerity. Bristol: Policy Press
McBride, Stephen and Joy Schnittker. 2021. “Taking Institutions Seriously: Alternatives for a New Public Purpose” Alternate Routes, vol. 32.
McBride, Stephen, Sorin Mitrea and Mohammad Ferdosi. 2021. “The Comparative Political Economy of Low Wages”, in Bryan Evans, Carlo Fanelli and Tom McDowell, eds. Rising Up: The Fight for Living Wage Work in Canada Vancouver: UBC Press.
McBride, Stephen and Joy Schnittker. 2021. “Politics as an alternative to constitutionalization” in Stephen McBride, Bryan, M. Evans and Dieter Plehwe, eds, The Changing Politics and Policy of Austerity. Bristol: Policy Press.
Evans, Bryan, Stephen McBride, and James Watson. 2021. “Negotiated Austerity? A Comparative Survey of Social Concertation in Canada, Denmark, Ireland and Spain” in Stephen McBride, Bryan M. Evans and Dieter Plehwe eds, The Changing Politics and Policy of Austerity. Bristol: Policy Press.

Peter Nyers
Nyers, Peter. 2021. "Petitions and Protest: Refugees and the Haunting of Canadian Citizenship," in Vinh Nguyen and Thy Phu, eds., Refugee States: Critical Refugee Studies in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Nyers, Peter. 2021. "Protection" and "Struggle" (multi-authored), in Nicholas De Genova and Martina Tazzioli, eds. "Minor Keywords of Political Theory: Migration as a Critical Standpoint." Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space

Robert O’Brien
O’Brien, Robert. 2021. “Revisiting Rosa Luxemburg’s Internationalism.” Journal of International Political Theory, 17 (1): 58-80.
Robert O’Brien and Eddie Webster. 2020. “Ten Years of the Global Labour Journal: Reflecting on the Rise of the New Global Labour Studies.” Global Labour Journal, 11 (1): 4-17.

Tony Porter
Kellow, Aynsley, Tony Porter and Karsten Ronit, editors. 2021. Handbook of Business and Public Policy. Edward Elgar. With Introductory chapter by the editors, “Business and Public Policy: introducing the field”, pp. 1-23.
Sheluchin, Anwar and Tony Porter. 2021. “Business and financial regulation,” in Kellow, Aynsley, Tony Porter and Karsten Ronit, editors. Handbook of Business and Public Policy. Edward Elgar, pp. 358-74.

Alina Sajed
Sajed, Alina. 2021. "Rethinking Hegemony, Capital and Class-Formation in the Nasserist Project: Introduction to the Discussion on Salem’s Anticolonial Afterlives." International Politics Reviews 9:1, 40-49.
Sajed, Alina. 2021. "Postcolonialism." In Richard Devetak and Jacqui True (eds), Theories of International Relations, 6th edition. Macmillan International.

Netina Tan
Tan, Netina. 2021. “Gender Quotas, Reserved Seats and Electoral Incentives in Asia.” In Women, Power, and Political Representation: Canadian and Comparative Perspectives, edited by Roosmajin de Geus, Erin Trolley, Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant, and Peter John Loewen, 108–18. Toronto, Canada: Toronto University Press.
Tan, Netina. 2021. “Ethnicity, Gender and the Vote.” In Voting in a Time of Change: Singapore’s 2020 General Election, edited by Kevin YL Tan and Terence Lee, 227–46. Ethos Books.

Lana Wylie
Wylie, Lana L. 2021. "Cuba’s response to COVID-19: lessons for the future."  Journal of Tourism Futures. |


Student achievements

Awards & recognition: 

Helen Beny
Ontario Graduate Scholarship 2021
Cassidy Bereskin
Chancellor’s Gold Medal 2020
Michaël Désormeaux
Ontario Graduate Scholarships 2021
Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC)
Mohammad Ferdosi
Collaborator on SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant
John Hayes
International Development Research Centre’s 2020 Doctoral Research Award
Shauna Hughey
Ontario Graduate Scholarship 2021
Emma Miller
SSHRC CGS-Master’s Scholarship 2021
Joy Schnittker
Ontario Graduate Fellowship 2021

CONGRATULATIONS to our recent Ph.D. Grads: 

Khaled Al-Kassimi
Thesis: Jus Gentium & the Arab as Muselmänner: The “Islamist Winter” is the Pre-Emptive (Creative) Chaos of the “Arab Spring” Multiplying Necropolises
Jacob Muirhead
Thesis: The Potential of Contracting in Global Agri-Food Governance
Colette Nyirakamana
Thesis: Incentives, Rules, Power, and Discretion: A Comparative Analysis of Local Financial Autonomy Building in the Cities of Accra and Nairobi
Suneth Wijeratne
Thesis: Examining Other Diplomacies of Sri Lankan Workers in South Korea: A Human-Centric Approach to Diplomatic Studies

2020-21 Graduates: 

M.A. Global Politics
Magnolia Hamzeloee
Ryan Hart
Matthew Healey
Calvin Khalesi
Jordan Lentinello

M.A. Political Science
Anthony Baciu
Chantalle Bryne
Simarjit Dhillon
Neil Donato
Nicole Fiorillo
Brenna Friesen
Kennedy Fung
Meghan Hachey
Joshua Masotti
Rida Mohsin
Domenico Pasqualino
Brenda Passariello
Anisha Prasad

Doctor of Philosophy Political Science
Khaled Al-Kassimi
Jacob Muirhead
Colette Nyirakamana
Suneth Wijeratne

Alumni Careers:

Charles Conteh (PhD 2007) was promoted to Professor in the Department of Political Science, Brock University.
Jessica H. Franklin (PhD 2012) served as Policy Lead for the Ontario Long-term Care COVID-19 Commission Secretariat, which issued its final report in April 2021. Before this, she worked as a Team Lead in the Provincial Anti-Human Trafficking Coordination Office in the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.
Kassandra Loewen (MA 2017) is a Performance and Information Management Intern, Indigenous Primary Health Care Council.
James Nguyen (BA 2015), who earned a PhD in Political Science (political theory/international relations) this year from the University of California at Irvine. James has now returned to Ottawa to work at Natural Resources Canada and teach at Carleton.
Hubert Rioux (PhD 2017) is a Researcher at the Institut de Recherche en économie contemporaine.
Jaskiran Shoker (BA 2015, MA 2017) is a Senior Policy Advisor with the Ontario Cabinet Office. Prior to her current role, Jaskiran was a Senior Consultant with Counsel Public Affairs, a public affairs and government relations agency.
Alexander Stover (MA 2020) is working within Corporate Affairs Support Staff, Elections Ontario.
Douglas Wong (MA 2013) is a Policy Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Government of Canada. |


Contact us
At the time we began preparing this newsletter, the Department of Political Science was working entirely remotely in response to COVID-19.  We expect a gradual return to in-person activities beginning in September, with some limited opportunities for in-person learning this Fall. We remain optimistic that most or all courses will be offered in-person in Winter 2022.  Throughout this period of transition, please send any inquiries via email wherever possible.

For inquiries regarding Political Science BA Degrees, Minors, and Specializations:
Undergraduate Administrator – Patti Bochek
Undergraduate Chair – Dr. Marshall Beier
Faculty Advisors for all areas including
* Specialization in Global Citizenship: Dr. Lana Wylie
* Specialization in Public Law & Judicial Studies: Dr. Shafiq Huque (Fall term); Dr. Greg Flynn (Winter term)

For inquiries regarding Political Science Graduate Degrees:
Graduate Administrator – Manuela Dozzi
Graduate Chair – Dr. Stephen McBride
Faculty Advisors:
* MA Political Science & PhD majors in Comparative Public Policy: Dr. Katie Boothe (Fall term); Dr. Peter Graefe (Winter term)
* MA Global Politics & PhD majors in International Relations: Dr. Alina Sajed

For all general inquiries: 


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