From the Office of the Department Head…
Hello, Happy New Year, and welcome back to our Political Science students, faculty, and staff. I hope everybody enjoyed the break and that you are as enthusiastic about 2016 as we are.
Congratulations to all the students who graduated in the Fall 2015 semester. You have a lot to be proud of, and so do your families.
Congratulations as well to some of our faculty members, who recently received awards.
- Professor Yue Zhang received a prestigious Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and is spending the year in Washington, DC, at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. Professor Zhang is using the fellowship to complete her book project about informal housing and urban governance in China, India, and Brazil.
- Professors Alexandra Filindra and Noah Kaplan received the Lucius Barker Award for the best paper presented at the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meeting in 2015. Their paper is titled, “Racial Resentment and Whites’ Gun Policy Preferences in Contemporary America.”
- Professors Filindra and Kaplan also received the 2015 Best Paper Award from the Public Policy Section of the American Political Science Association for their paper, “A Call to Arms: White Identity and Gun Control Policy Preferences in Post-Civil Rights America”
- One of our Ph.D. students and teaching assistants, Scott Braam, presented “A Portrait of Politics: The Wholesale Marketing of the Chicago Neighborhood of Pilsen,” which was selected as the recipient of the MPSA 2015 Best Poster Award. Scott will receive his award at the 2016 MPSA meeting in April.
Our Fall speaker series, coordinated by Prof. Alba Alexander, was a huge success. It culminated with a presentation by renowned author and public intellectual Garry Wills that packed Jane Addams Hull House with a standing-room-only audience. The Spring series promises to be at least as exciting. The series will include: John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, who will present a talk about the US and Russia; attorney and author Thomas Geoghegan, speaking about labor and politics; former NPR correspondent John Matisonn, with a talk on South Africa; Larry Bennett of DePaul University on “The New Chicago”; and Cathy Cohen of the University of Chicago, speaking on new media and new political movements. We will also co-sponsor two events on the Greek crisis.
And a word on the budget situation: as of this writing (January, 2016) the State of Illinois has been without a budget for seven months. However, please know that UIC is operating at full capacity regardless. Our enrollments are increasing and we are moving forward.
The study of Political Science is never more exciting and relevant than during a presidential election year. We have many courses that will help our students make sense of the events going on around us. And some are especially interesting, such as Prof. Katherine Floros’ new course on “The Politics of Harry Potter” (POLS 300, Symposium on Politics). This course is being taught for the first time and immediately filled up with sixty eager Harry Potter fans.
In addition to course work, our students make time for student organizations, internships, study abroad, student employment and much more. Our alumni choose careers that include employment with government agencies; working for interest groups and research organizations; joining the corporate world in marketing, public relations, government relations, journalism, and other specialties; and taking positions on the staffs of elected and appointed political officials. Many of our students go on to law school and have successful careers practicing law.
As faculty, it is our goal to enhance the student experience inside and outside the classroom. All of us are active scholars who publish books and articles in our specialties, and we also love to teach and spend time with our students. We make opportunities for our graduate and undergraduate students to engage side-by-side in faculty research, using a variety of methods and new technologies.
Wishing you a successful semester,
Professor Evan C. McKenzie
Fortress Europe or E Pluribus Unum? :
Multilevel Governance and the Governance
of Migration and Asylum in the EU
Conference to be held on September 22-24, 2016 in Chicago, IL
Submission deadline: March 5th, 2016
The European Union (EU) is facing an unprecedented crisis as hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants are risking their lives attempting to reach destinations across Europe. The crisis has demonstrated that the EU’s existing system of governance for asylum and migration is inadequate and fundamentally flawed. As member states - from Greece to Finland to Hungary to Germany – adopt divergent responses, European policy frameworks from the Dublin Regulations to the Schengen system are unraveling. The crisis is straining all levels of European governance, from local authorities to the EU. Ill-equipped and underfunded municipalities have transformed into tent cities, while regional and national governments are struggling to document and process thousands of applicants.
At the EU level, intense normative and economic conflicts have arisen concerning the appropriate response to the inflow of refugees. Coming on the back of a long period of economic crisis and austerity, the refugee crisis is sparking a battle over resources and a struggle over competing visions of Europe: one that is accepting and tolerant and the other xenophobic and ethnocentric. These clashes are testing the political foundations of the European Union as they reveal powerful centrifugal trends that favor closed borders and narrowly defined ethnic and national identities.
This academic symposium, a joint effort between the University of Illinois and Rutgers University, will bring together scholars working of questions of EU governance as well as migration policy to present their most recent research. The symposium is supported by a generous grant from the European Union Studies Association (EUSA). We are currently soliciting proposals, further information can be found Here.
Speaker Series - Gary Wills
"Learn about Islam before you criticize its followers, historian says"