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Our Graduate Students

Ben Adu Gyamfi

PhD – Comparative Politics

I am interested in Public Administration and Public Sector Reforms, Public Policy, Local Governance, Business-Government Relations, International Development, Resource Management in Africa, and Institutional Theory (The New Institutionalism). The African continent as a whole has since the mid-1970s witnessed a renewed interest in and a drive towards decentralization as a “perennial tool for development” and an instrument for efficient and participatory governance. Yet, the level of development achieved in most parts of Africa is 'nothing to write home about'. My current research, therefore, seeks to revisit the question: Why has decentralization failed to achieve its development goals in Africa.

Andrew Basso

PhD Candidate – Comparative Politics

I research atrocity crimes, human rights and rights violations, international security and the ethics of war, international relations, and Indigenous issues. My article "Towards a Theory of Displacement Atrocities" in Genocide Studies and Prevention identifies how displacement has been used a weapon to perpetrate atrocity crimes. My dissertation expands on this article to create a typology of Displacement Atrocity crimes using four vastly different historical cases.

I also study the use of displacement as a security threat to individuals, states, and systems. Another collaborative project series deals with domicide — the destruction of the home — in contemporary and historical contexts. Additionally, I am working on another project exploring the nexus of the military and medicine in situations of biological security threats (pandemic level situations, specifically) through the teachings of just war theory. Finally, I am examining the rise of the new semi-authoritarian democracies in the world and differentiating these regimes from illiberal democracies.

Chelsea Boutilier

MA – International Relations

My research interests are terrorism, radicalization/de-radicalization, political violence, and tools of political communication. Specifically, my research aims to focus on terrorist organizations and their utilization of social media as a tool of political communication. Terrorist propaganda can be a powerful tool in a world where information flows rapidly across borders and has the ability to reach wide audiences. My research will compare terrorist propaganda campaigns between states and will seek to determine their marked similarities and differences.

Alexander Carleton

MA – Canadian

My research interests revolve around Canadian political issues, such as the Supreme Court, The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and Canadian elections. Currently my thesis topic is looking to address the issue of the collapse of the Catholic vote for the Liberal Party of Canada. That Catholics outside of Quebec voted Liberal is one of the little known secrets to Liberal hegemony in the 20th century. Using New Brunswick as the area of study due to its diversity in linguistic and ethnic cleavages pertaining to the Catholic vote, I am investigating whether or not the Catholic-Liberal vote collapsed in New Brunswick as it did in the rest of Canada federally, and along what lines it did, if at all.

Chris Carlile

MA – Canadian

I am doing my research on databases and communication technology in elections campaigns. I am concentrating on how new technology is changing campaigning and how these changes are impacting campaigns here in Alberta.

Audrey Cheung

MA – Comparative Politics

Currently, my political research interests center around environmental policy analysis.  In particular, I am interested in analyzing policies concerning the implementation of wind generated electrical power in Canada and the United States. I hope to uncover what policy, or combination of policies, maximizes the contribution of wind power in electricity generation within alberta. Previously, in the medical field, I examined possible causes of neuropathic pain and nerve degeneration, in patients and mice, afflicted with diabetes or multiple sclerosis. 

Brice Coates

PhD – International Relations

I am a Ph.D. student at the Department of Political Science. My major field of study is International Relations with a focus on national security and intelligence. I am interested in the organizations of intelligence and how national security institutions are managed. My doctoral thesis focuses on U.S. intelligence services and the factors that shape organizational culture and direct change. In addition to my academic experience, I worked as a researcher at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., and am a member of the University of Calgary Research Ethics Board.

Nigel Cones

PhD Candidate – Political Thought

I am primarily interested in contemporary and postmodern political theory and on asking whether Michel Foucault’s broad model of non-state power relations and post-liberal individualistic ethics improves our ability to critique the effects of power on individuals. The specific problem I address is how to rebuild individual autonomy using the idea of self-constitution, inspired by Foucault's late-career ethical turn to the Greco-Roman care of the self. Varied secondary research interests include neoliberal political thought, postmodern international relations theory, paternalistic public policy, the politics of the census, and Thucydides’ History.

Julie Croskill

PhD Candidate – Canadian

My research examines how gender affects the content and delivery of political candidates' election campaigns. Looking at candidates at the provincial/state level in Canada and Australia, I assess whether differences emerge in the way that male and female candidates present themselves, and if the candidates alter their message based on the gender of the voters they are seeking to appeal to. In addition to my dissertation project, i am also interested in electoral behavior and research methods.

Lucas Czarnecki

MA – Comparative Politics

My current research focuses on voting behaviour. Specifically, in regards to how social capital influences a citizen's propensity to vote in high and low-salient elections. My interests also include social psychology and evolutionary theory. In this regard I am most interested in how human cognition shapes political decision-making.

Ryan Dean

PhD – International Relations

I study international relations and Canadian politics with a focus on Arctic relations. My dissertation looks at Canadian policy formulation towards the Arctic since the 1980s. Specifically, I am interested in the creation of security threats by various stakeholders to the Canadian Arctic and the construction and deconstruction of these threats as political practices to attain policy goals.

Mark Harding

PhD Candidate – Canadian

I am interested in the relationship between the judicial and elected branches of government in common law systems and Canadian constitutionalism. My research investigates the extent of “inter-institutional dialogue” between courts and legislatures in Canada, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. My dissertation research assesses the formal institutional structure of judicial review to the reality of policy dialogue within each case country. This research highlights how judicial power grows in a manner currently overlooked within the literature. In each case country, the judiciary uses the bill of rights to update or revise other areas of the law. This process takes place when the bill of rights is used to update common law rules and to re-interpret statutes. This process raises questions about the appropriate division of labour between courts and legislatures and the possibility of a balanced institutional dialogue.

Mariana Hipólito

PhD Candidate Comparative Politics

My major field of study is Comparative Politics with a focus on Latin America and my research interests include democracy and regional integration institutions such as Mercosur. My dissertation focuses on the elements that make possible for democratic accountability to be created under the unlikely conditions of governments of “salvadores de la patria”. It particularly examines the case of Brazil, which was a non-institutionalized democracy in the early 1990s, but seems to have broken the pattern by developing a network of democratic accountability since then.

Andrew Klain

MA – Canadian

My research interest is environmental policy at the local, national and international level. Specifically, I am interested in two items. The first is trans-boundary issues, such as waterways, that are present and used in more than one political jurisdiction. The second item is migratory resources (ie. fish and caribou/deer/moose). Both items fall under what can be considered 'common pool resources' and can fall prey to what is known as 'the tragedy of the commons'. This is where individual actors attempt to reap the greatest benefit while sharing a commonly accessible resource. As each actors demands increase for the specific resource, it directly harms other actors accessibility to the resources. If all actors continue this behavior, the commonly shared resource is depleted. My research focuses on seeking what policies, governance structures and management regimes are best suited to mitigate this phenomenon and protect these natural resources.

Chris Kleingertner

MA – Canadian

I am interested in researching a variety of overlapping subjects mostly surrounding Canadian foreign policy as it relates to military issues, peace support operations, and terrorism in general. More specifically those topics as they relate to Canada's contributions to West African security.

Jeanne Liendo

MA – Comparative Politics

My primary field of study is comparative politics, with a focus on energy policy and politics, and a regional concentration in Latin America. My research looks at the interplay between sectoral institutions and the political-economic system of left-wing governments to analyse the performance of the hydrocarbon sector. It particularly examines the case of Bolivia and Venezuela, whose oil and gas industries have performed so differently in spite of their similar political agendas. I propose an alternative account that stresses the importance of political factors in which country's development model is embedded to explain variations within the energy sector.

Bethany Matchullis

MA – Comparative Politics

My research interests focus on the voice and engagement of marginalized groups within political systems. I am interested in studying indigenous movements in Africa to analyze their varying impacts on society and politics. My work will concentrate on practical and theoretical tools which may contribute to the understanding of how a given 'system' can be transformed to include diverse political identities and interests.

Chance A. Minnett Watchel

PhD Candidate – Canadian

I'm interested in Canadian politics and public policy. My dissertation examines LGBT politics in Alberta. Specifically, I seek to understand how institutional and cultural factors affect the Alberta government's handling of policy debates specific to the LGBT community.

Connor Molineaux

MA – Canadian

I am interested in Canadian political institutions including courts, legislatures, and particularly federalism. Overlaps in jurisdiction and an imbalance in revenue generating capacity make a degree of federal-provincial conflict inevitable. My current research seeks to examine the factors that affect how governments negotiate and create policy when both levels of government have an interest in the outcome. I am interested in how the shape of this conflict changes when governments have similar policy preferences, such as when a provincial government and the federal government are led by the same party.

Lauren Moslow

PhD Candidate – International Relations

My research interests include Canadian and American foreign and defence policies, circumpolar relations and Arctic sovereignty and security studies. As a PhD candidate (ABD) my thesis examines the extent to which Arctic states are collaborating on the development of disputed natural resources, (oil and gas, fish stocks, minerals) in an environmentally sustainable manner and in accordance with the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Arctic state compliance with the tenants of the Polar Code and the Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement, are also investigated.

Elizabeth Pando

PhD Candidate – Comparative Politics

I am interested in policies of immigration, particularly why and how states use their immigration policies to respond to the care crisis by importing care workers, and how this alters the landscape of welfare (care) provision. My dissertation will explore how these processes occur in Canada, a traditional immigration country, and Chile, a country which in recent years has become a destination for workers from other countries in Latin America.

Nidhi Panwar

MA – International Relations

My research interests include transnational terrorist networks operating in South Asia, motivations behind terrorism and religious nationalisms. Specifically, I am interested in studying the extent to which the rise of Hindu nationalism and the subsequent alienation and targeting of Muslims as 'foreigners' have contributed to the phenomenon of 'home grown terrorism' in India.

John Santos

MA –Canadian

I am interested in elections, parties, voter behaviour, and political culture in Canada, especially in how these differ across regions. I have a particular interest in the work conducted by election studies teams at both the federal and provincial level. My research will explore what differences exist between the attitudes of voters in Alberta and voters of analogous parties in other parts of Canada.

Evgeniia (Jen) Sidorova

PhD – Comparative Politics

I am interested in the policy of Arctic offshore oil and gas extraction and its effects on the well-being of Indigenous communities and environment. My research will compare the Arctic regions of Russia, Canada and the United States (Alaska) to identify the best way of dealing with negative externalities of petroleum extraction in these particular regions.  I also consider the possibility of international cooperation between the Arctic regions and indigenous organizations in these selected countries.

Sara Skinner

PhD Candidate – Comparative Politics

I am interested in the logic that underpins violence and how that violence is taken into consideration when intervention missions are considered. Specifically, I ask: What are the logics of violence within political violence and would crafting response and recovery operations based on these logics produce better outcomes?

Dylan Thiessen

MA –Canadian

I have a particular interest in elections, electoral systems, issues of representation, and Indigenous politics. As a non-Indigenous scholar, however, I will not focus on Indigenous politics in terms of what Indigenous groups can or should do in this current age of reconciliation. Instead, I will critique the framework of the liberal democratic state and its institutions in the context of its colonial history and relationship with Indigenous groups, and analyze the threat these institutions pose towards the reconciliation project that the state itself is advancing. Theories of liberalism and democracy, data on political behaviour, and an analysis of electoral and political institutions will be utilized in this project.

David Ignatius Torre

PhD Candidate – International Relations

I am PhD Candidate (ABD) and Sessional Instructor at the University of Calgary in the Department of Political Science. My thesis focuses on the factors that shape a state’s relationship to commercial nuclear power: whether to adopt, maintain, expand, phase out, or abandon their existing/proposed nuclear capacity. My principal research interests include: issues related to the development of commercial nuclear power, questions of non-proliferation, counterproliferation, international relations theory, energy security, securitization theory, the politics of climate change, low carbon technologies, American foreign policy, rogue states, and sexual ethics.

Camilo Torres

MA Comparative Politics

My current research focuses on forms of political communication and the construction of identity among victims, perpetrators, and bystanders in instances of genocide, in an effort to elaborate on existing theories about genocidal policies and decision-making. Additionally, I am interested in how regimes construct their visions of an idealized, post-atrocity society and how this affects patterns of communication and development before the radicalization of the genocidal state.

Paulo Veneracion

MA – International Relations

I am a first year MA Political Science student with a focus on International Relations. My research interests lie in US Foreign and Security Policy and International Relations. I aim to examine how US policy decisions shape and alter the international environment in which both states and non-state actors operate. In particular, I am interested in studying how shifts in US policies affect the behaviours and decisions of other states, especially Canada. I also aim to expand and apply my knowledge of core theoretical paradigms from which to view global politics at all levels of analysis.

Ricardo Vernet

PhD – Comparative Politics

My research explores the failure of democratic transition in Haiti. I look at specific factors in Haiti's authoritarian legacy that affects the prospect of democratic transition. The research hopes to develop a framework for assessing the viability of democratization in non-democratic regimes. in this context, Haiti presents a compelling case because transition to democracy led to an acute political crisis in the country. In examining this dichotomy, the project looks at how particular initiatives support stable democratic transitions in developing countries.  it uses this approach to provide insights on transitional strategies for new democratic regimes. I am also interested in the politics of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), human rights, and failed states.

Jessica Weber

MA – Canadian

I am interested in the relationship between the provincial and federal governments and how this affects oil politics in Alberta.  Specifically, I am interested in overlapping and disjointed jurisdictional issues concerning the development of natural resources and environmental protection. Areas of interest to me are federalism, environmental policy, interprovincial trade, royalty regimes, and energy policy.

Talia Wells

MA – International Relations

My research focus is environmental security in the Canadian Arctic and environmental global governance. I am interested in the way in which climate change is reshaping our notion of environmental security in the Arctic, the Canadian government response to these changes, and the way in which science and research initiatives are translated into adaptive governance responses in the region.