Tag Archive for Government Department

Chakravarti Authors Sing the Rage: Listening to Anger after Mass Violence

New book by Sonali Chakravarti

New book by Sonali Chakravarti.

Sonali Chakravarti, assistant professor of government, is the author of Sing the Rage: Listening to Anger after Mass Violence, published by University Of Chicago Press on April 23.

In Sing the Rage, Sonali Chakravarti examines the relationship between anger and justice through a careful look at the emotionally charged South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Between 1996 and 1998, the commission saw, day after day, individuals taking the stand to speak—to cry, scream, and wail—about the atrocities of apartheid. Uncomfortable and surprising, these public emotional displays, she argues, proved to be of immense value, vital to the success of transitional justice and future political possibilities.

Chakravarti takes up the issue from Adam Smith and Hannah Arendt, who famously understood both the dangers of anger in politics and the costs of its exclusion. Building on their perspectives, she argues that the expression and reception of anger reveal truths otherwise unavailable to us about the emerging political order, the obstacles to full civic participation, and indeed the limits—the frontiers—of political life altogether. Most important, anger and the development of skills needed to truly listen to it foster trust among citizens and recognition of shared dignity and worth. An urgent work of political philosophy in an era of continued revolution, Sing the Rage offers a clear understanding of one of our most volatile—and important—political responses.

Knight Foundation Supports Wesleyan Media Project

The Wesleyan Media Project received a grant of $74,851 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to track and analyze campaign ad spending in the 2014 midterm election cycle.

The project is directed by Assistant Professor of Government Erika Franklin Fowler, along with Michael Franz of Bowdoin College and Travis Ridout of Washington State University. A resource for journalists, policymakers, scholars and voters, the project has worked to increase transparency in federal elections since it was established in 2010 with support from the Knight Foundation.

Government Class Visits Local Court, Speaks with Clerk, Judges

An upper-level political theory seminar, "Citizens, Judges, Juries: Who Decides in Democracy," taught by Sonali Chakravarti, assistant professor of government, visited the Middlesex County Courthouse on April 22 to see proceedings and speak with the clerk and two judges. Students had the opportunity to talk about the relationship between the law and racial injustice, discretion in sentencing, jury nullification, and the current populist movement to change the way family law courts adjudicate custody cases. This is the first semester that this course is offered and the first time Professor Chakravarti took students to the courthouse. Pictured in the photo are (from left to right) Sam Furnival ’15, Ben Romero ’16, Ruby Lang ’17, Yiyang Wang ’15, Hannah Goodman ’16, Aiden King ’14, Deputy Chief Clerk Jonathan Field, Ari Ebstein ’16, and Hadas Werman ’14 with Professor Chakravarti to the far right.

An upper-level political theory seminar, “Citizens, Judges, Juries: Who Decides in Democracy,” taught by Sonali Chakravarti, assistant professor of government, visited the Middlesex County Courthouse on April 22 to see proceedings and speak with the clerk and two judges. Students had the opportunity to talk about the relationship between the law and racial injustice, discretion in sentencing, jury nullification, and the current populist movement to change the way family law courts adjudicate custody cases. This is the first semester that this course is offered and the first time Professor Chakravarti took students to the courthouse. Pictured in the photo are, from left, Sam Furnival ’15, Ben Romero ’16, Ruby Lang ’17, Yiyang Wang ’15, Hannah Goodman ’16, Aiden King ’14, Deputy Chief Clerk Jonathan Field, Ari Ebstein ’16, and Hadas Werman ’14 with Professor Chakravarti to the far right.

Finn’s New Book Offers Moral, Philosophical Interpretation of Constitution

Book by John Finn.

Book by John Finn.

John Finn, professor of government, is the author of Peopling the Constitution (Constitutional Thinking), published by the University Press of Kansas on Feb. 24.

According to the University Press of Kansas, Peopling the Constitution outlines a very different view of the Constitution as a moral and philosophical statement about who we are as a nation. This “Civic Constitution” constitutes us as a civic body politic, transforming “the people” into a singular political entity. Juxtaposing this view with the legal model, the “Juridic Constitution,” Finn offers a comprehensive account of the Civic Constitution as a public affirmation of the shared principles of national self-identity, and as a particular vision of political community in which we the people play a significant and ongoing role in achieving a constitutional way of life. The Civic Constitution is the constitution of dialogical engagement, of contested meanings, of political principles, of education, of conversation.

Peopling the Constitution offers a new interpretation of the American constitutional project in an effort to revive a robust understanding of citizenship. It considers the entire constitutional project, from its founding and maintenance to its failure, with insights into topics ranging from the practice of deliberative democracy and the meaning of citizenship, to constitutional fidelity, civic virtue, the separation of powers, federalism, and constitutional interpretation. The Civic Constitution, in Finn’s telling, is primarily a political project requiring an active, engaged, and most importantly, constitutionally educated citizenry committed to the civic virtues of civility and tending. When we as citizens are unwilling or unable to tend to and sustain the Constitution, and when constitutional questions reduce to legal questions and obscure civic interests, constitutional rot results. And in post-9/11 America, Finn argues, constitutional rot has begun to set in.

Government’s Dancey, Fowler, Gallarotti, Lim, McGuire, Rutland, Schwartz, Wiliarty Published in 2013

Logan Dancey,  assistant professor of government, is the co-author of  “Heuristics Behaving Badly: Party Cues and Voter Knowledge,” published in American Journal of Political Science 57 No. 2, 312-325, April 2013.

Erika Franklin Fowler, assistant professor of government, is the co-author of  “Political and News Media Factors Shaping Public Awareness of the HPV Vaccine,” published in Women’s Health Issues 23 No. 3, e143-e151, 2013.

Giulio Gallarotti, professor of government, professor of environmental studies, tutor in the College of Social Studies,  is the author of “The Enduring Importance of Hobbes in the Study of IR,” published in e-International Relations, Jan. 10, 2013.

Elvin Lim, associate professor of government, is the author of “The Anti-Federalist Strand in Progressive Politics,” published in Political Research Quarterly, 66 No. 1, 32-45, March 2013.

James McGuire, chair and professor of government, professor of Latin American studies, is the author of  “Political Regime and Social Performance,” published in Contemporary Politics, 19 No. 1, 55-75, March 2013.

Peter Rutland, the Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of government, professor of Russian and Eastern European studies, tutor in the College of Social Studies, is the author of “Neoliberalism and the Russian Transition,” published in Review of International Political Economy20 No. 2, 332-362, April 2013.

Nancy Schwartz, professor of government, tutor in the college of social studies, is the author of “Introduction: Generations,” published in  Polity 45 No. 2, 245-248, April 2013.

Sarah Wiliarty, associate professor of government, director of the Public Affairs Center, is the author of “Nuclear Power in Germany and France,” published in Polity 45 No. 2, 281-296, April 2013.

Eisner Authors 2 New Books on Economics, Politics

EisnerAmericanbookcropMarc Eisner, the Henry Merritt Wriston Chair in Public Policy, professor of government, professor of environmental studies, is the author of The American Political Economy: Institutional Evolution of Market and State, published by Routledge in 2014. Policy debates are often grounded within the conceptual confines of a state-market dichotomy, as though the two existed in complete isolation. In this innovative text, Eisner portrays the state and the market as inextricably linked, exploring the variety of institutions subsumed by the market and the role that the state plays in creating the institutional foundations of economic activity. Through a historical approach, Eisner situates the study of American political economy within a larger evolutionary-institutional framework that integrates perspectives in American political development and economic sociology. This volume provides a rich understanding of the complexity of U.S. economic policy, explaining how public policies become embedded in bureaucracy and reinforced by organized beneficiaries and public expectations.

Eisnerbookcrop

Eisner also is the co-author of Economics, Politics, and American Public Policy published by M. E. Sharpe in 2013. This text introduces students to the interrelationship of politics and economics in American public policymaking: how economic concerns have been legislated into law since Franklin Roosevelt’s time and how politics (e.g., Washington gridlock) affects the economy and the making of public policy. Students learn how to measure various indicators of economic performance, how the U.S. economy works (domestically and with international linkages), and how and why policymakers act to stabilize an economy in an economic downturn. Additionally, many social insurance programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) are explained and the current fiscal issues concerning current/future costs are treated in some detail. The book concludes with a full chapter case study on the Obama administration’s response to the Great Recession and its dealings with Congress; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is also discussed.

Lim Delivers “Senior Voices” Baccalaureate Address

Elvin Lim

Elvin Lim

Elvin Lim, associate professor of government, presented the following remarks during the “Senior Voices” baccalaureate address on May 25:

As we gather today to commemorate the last four years of our seniors’ career at Wesleyan, perhaps some of you are feeling some trepidation about your futures outside of this ivory tower. So I have decided to direct my remarks today on the subject of contingency, and the human reaction to it, uncertainty, which is the source of all our hopes and fears.

Plato had said that in order to understand the nature of justice, we must first observe its incarnations in just republics. So I shall try to do the same in my effort to understand contingency. Perhaps if we analyzed how civilizations have coped with uncertainty, we may better understand how we, as individuals, can cope with uncertainty. I will propose that the collective solution for uncertainty – stamping it out – is exactly opposite to the individual solution: embracing it.

So how did ancient, or pre-modern societies cope with uncertainty? Quite simply, they defined it away. And they did it in two ways. The Pagan religions tended to characterize the Gods as crazy. Contingency came in the form of the capricious Gods. The Judeo-Christian religions went the other way. They understood their God to be all-knowing and omnipotent. Since God was all-knowing, there was no contingency. We may not know what is to come, but God does. This can be encapsulated in the common phrase, “everything happens for a reason.” That was how we coped with uncertainty.

McGuire’s Book Chapter, Article Published in Latin American, Politics Publications

James McGuire

James McGuire, professor and chair of government, professor of Latin American studies, tutor in the College of Social Studies, recently had a book chapter and an article published.

The chapter, titled, “Social Policies in Latin America: Causes, Characteristics, and Consequences,” appeared in Routledge Handbook of Latin American Politics, edited by Peter Kingstone and Deborah J. Yashar and published March 8 by Routledge. The chapter classifies the main social policies enacted in Latin America from 1920 through 2010, explores the effects of those policies on the well-being of the poor, and outlines some of the forces and circumstances that led to the policies. Its main findings are that social assistance and public provision of many basic social services improved in Latin America after about 1990, even as the coverage of social insurance programs fell; that democracy and authoritarianism played an important and multifaceted role in shaping and constraining social policymaking in the region; and that a full explanation for why Latin American social policies evolved in the way that they did requires taking into account a wider range of factors than are usually invoked to explain the origins and evolution of welfare states in advanced industrial countries.

In March, McGuire also had an article, titled, “Political Regime and Social Performance,” published in Contemporary Politics. In this article, McGuire examines the association between political regime form and social performance, as measured by the infant mortality rate, using time-series cross-sectional regression analysis of 155 to 180 countries observed annually from 1972 to 2007. Controlling for other factors likely to affect infant mortality, democracies are found to have lower infant mortality rates than authoritarian regimes, and long-term democratic experience is found to matter more than short-term democratic practice. Among authoritarian regime types, one-party regimes have lower infant mortality rates than military or limited multiparty regimes, which have lower infant mortality than monarchies.

Rutland’s Op-Ed on Mali Conflict Published in 2 News Publications

In an op-ed published Jan. 15 in The New York Times/ International Herald TribunePeter Rutland, Colin and Nancy Cambell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of government and professor of Russian and Eastern European studies, contradicts the popular narrative that the current conflict in Mali is caused by militant Islam. Rather, he writes, “the core of the conflict is the nationalist secession movement of the Tuareg people — one that in recent months has been hijacked by Islamist radicals.”

Rutland reminds readers: “In the Cold War, the West had a hard time separating out communism from nationalism. That failure led to a string of disastrous interventions, from Cuba to Vietnam. It was easier to see leaders such as Fidel Castro and Ho Chi Minh as tools of Moscow than try to deal with their legitimate nationalist demands.” He argues, “The same mistake is now being made in the ‘war on terror.’”

Finn Records Audio Series on the First Amendment

John Finn, professor of government

John Finn, professor of government.

John Finn, professor of government, recently finished recording a 12 lecture audio series on the First Amendment for “The Great Courses,” which offers college courses by engaging professors.

Finn’s course on “The First Amendment and You: What Everyone Should Know,” is a practical guide to understanding the protections and limitations implied by this fundamental constitutional provision.

Finn, an internationally-recognized expert on constitutional law and theory, helps listeners grasp why we have a First Amendment, what and whom it protects, and why it matters. Finn is also an internationally-recognized expert on constitutional law and political violence. His public lectures include testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, as well as lectures in Bolivia, Canada, Chile, England, France, Italy and Spain.

This is Finn’s second course for the Teaching Company. His other course is on “Civil Liberties and the Bill of Rights.”

For more information or to purchase the recording, visit The Great Courses website.

Dancey’s Op-Ed on Linda McMahon Published in Hartford Courant

On Nov. 11, The Hartford Courant published an op-ed by Assistant Professor of Government Logan Dancey about Republican Linda McMahon’s second unsuccessful bid for Connecticut’s U.S. Senate Seat, despite spending more than $40 million in her campaign against Democrat Chris Murphy. Dancey writes that McMahon’s loss is reflective of a larger, nationwide decline in split-ticket voting. That is, voters now are much more loyal to one party, and less likely to choose candidates for President and Congress that belong to different political parties.

Government’s Dancey Teaching Course on Campaigns, Elections

Logan Dancey joined the Government Department this fall. He enjoys teaching Wesleyan’s “intellectually curious” students.

Assistant Professor of Government Logan Dancey started teaching at Wesleyan this semester—the perfect time, he says, to be teaching a course on Campaigns and Elections.

“The unfolding presidential and congressional elections continually give us new events to think about as we read and discuss broader theories about the importance and meaning of campaigns and elections,” Dancey says. And though Congress has mostly ground to a halt this election season—meaning a dearth of current events to discuss in his Congressional Policymaking class—the increasing polarization in Congress has led to many interesting and important discussions in that course nevertheless.

Dancey describes the students in his classes as “intellectually curious.”

“They ask great questions and consistently show a desire to really understand a concept or theory. The students definitely keep me on my toes, but ultimately it makes class discussion more interesting and thought-provoking,” he says.