October 2, 2017 Newsletter


On Monday, September 25, a vote on establishing an independent Kurdish state was held in the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq.  Turnout was relatively high, at a reported 72 percent, and 92.73 percent of those who voted supported independence, in response to the question “Do you want the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdistani areas outside the administration of the Region to become an independent state?” (see here and here).  As the Financial Times reported, “The fallout from the vote has already begun, with Iraq vowing to impose a blockade on the area, and Turkey warned that it would give ‘the harshest response’ to any threat to its border as a result of the poll.” 
This Sunday, voters in Catalonia will participate in a referendum to determine whether or not Catalonia should separate from Spain and become an autonomous sovereign republic; the question is “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?” (see herehere, and here).  The Catalonian referendum has been declared illegal by the Spanish parliament and unconstitutional by the Spanish Constitutional Court, and the Spanish government has sent troops to Catalonia to prevent the vote from taking place.  The Financial Times reports that “If more than 50 percent of voters say Yes, the parliament says it will declare independence within 48 hours – regardless of the turnout.”  On September 18, 2014, the Scots held an independence referendum, asking “Should Scotland be an independent country?,” to which 55.3 percent of voters responded with a “no” vote; turnout in the referendum was nearly 85 percent.  The Scottish government, led by Scottish National Party Leader Nicola Sturgeon, continues to consider the option of another independence referendum for Scotland.
Is this the “age of secession?” Ryan Griffiths addresses this issue in his book Age of Secession:  The International and Domestic Determinants of State Birth.  From the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia to the “velvet divorce” of Czechoslovakia nearly 25 years ago to the civil war in Sudan that led to the secession of South Sudan, state separation appears to be replacing state consolidation.  It will be interesting to see the results of the referendum in Catalonia – where an apparent 41 percent of Catalonians oppose independence – and the response of the Spanish state.
Sad News.  One of our alumni, John Schuyler Gibson, died last week, at the age of 91.  A Professor Emeritus from Tufts University, Professor Gibson was a graduate of Oberlin College, and earned his master’s degree in Political Science here at CWRU, the prelude to his Ph.D. from Columbia University in International Law and Comparative Jurisprudence.  I met John because he was one of our many generous alumni donors to our department.  In June, John gave the department a gift of money and, as is my practice, I wrote to thank him.  In response to my letter, John phoned me, and we had a lovely conversation.  It was such a pleasure to speak with him, and such a dispiriting surprise to receive a message from his daughter, informing me that he had died earlier this month.  His obituary in the New York Times is here.  A memorial service will be held in John’s honor on Friday, October 13, 2017 at 11am at the Brewster Unitarian Church, 1969 Main Street, Brewster, MA, with a reception following.
As I wrote, it was a pleasure to meet John Gibson, if only through a phone conversation.  It was so inspiring to talk to someone in the ninth decade of his life who was still so positively connected to our department.  As department chair, my practice is to thank every person – alumna, alumnus, former faculty member, friend – who gives money to the discretionary fund of the department, no matter how much or how little.  We are grateful for the support of our alumni, our current students, and our friends throughout the world, and their generosity undergirds our undergraduate program, creates opportunities for our students that would not otherwise be possible, supports faculty research and undergraduate research assistantships, and much more.  
In other, less sad or contentious news, I strongly encourage our students, including sophomores and juniors, who might be interested in a Fulbright fellowship, to attend the meeting today from 1:00-2:00pm in Sears 354.
Finally, be sure to see Professor Jonathan Entin’s essay in The Conversationon gerrymandering and the upcoming Supreme Court case of Gill v. Whitford.
Flora Stone Mather Professor
Chair, Department of Political Science

“The welfare of each of us fundamentally depends upon the welfare of all of us.” 
 – Theodore Roosevelt



General Announcements


  • Represent CWRU at Propel Ohio Collegiate Leadership Summit
    Propel Ohio is a one-day statewide conference that promotes civic engagement and inspires undergraduate student leaders from across Ohio. Four students will be selected by President Snyder’s office to represent CWRU at Propel Ohio 2017 on November 17 at the University of Akron, which will feature guest speakers and workshops focusing on issues that affect childhood poverty. The application deadline is October 10.
  • The League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland, in coalition with Fair Districts Ohio, is collecting signatures for a citizen initiative to reform congressional redistricting. Details about the proposal can be found here. The League seeks interested persons to collect signatures. If you are interested in participating, see here.
  • Stay up to date with the department by following our Twitter feed! Check it for day to day opportunities and information!
  • Like us on Facebook! Our department will be regularly posting events, opportunities, and general information to our page!




Friday Lunch: Nutritious in More Ways Than One? School Lunch and Student Performance
September 29, 12:30-1:30p.m., KSL Dampeer Room
Justin Gallagher Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Economics, will discuss the differences between school districts who contract with “healthy school lunch vendors” and those who do not, as well as their results about obesity and academic performance.

Career Fair Workshop
September 29, 12:30p.m., Clark Hall 206
Tom Matthews of the CWRU Career Center will provide resume tips and career advice in preparation for the October 5th Career Fair.

Fulbright U.S. Student Program Information Session
September 29, 1:00-2:00p.m., Sears 354
A Fulbright representative will be on campus to offer advice and information about the Fulbright program.

Social Justice Institute Teach-In: Authoritarianism and its Challenges to Democracy and College Campuses
September 29, 12:45-2:00p.m., Clapp Hall Room 108
Join History Professors John Flores and Kenneth Ledford and Law Professor Ayesha Bell Hardaway for a panel discussion to more deeply understand this historical moment, its call to action, and the role of the university. This is a free event. RSVP to socialjustice@case.edu.

Bad Medicine: The Nation’s Opioid Epidemic
September 29, 12:45-2:00p.m., Sears 356
This discussion will feature the Honorable Judge David T. Matia of the Cuyahoga County Drug Court.

Literature and Politics: A Panel Discussion
September 29, 3:15-4:15, Guilford House Parlor
Panelists will answer and discuss questions regarding the relationship between literature and politics, such as literary interpretation as a form of political action, our conception of literature and politics, and how the institutional setting of the university inflects political expression.

La Chinoise
September 30, 5:00p.m., Cinematheque
October 1, 8:20p.m., Cinematheque
A group of disenchanted French young people set up a Maoist cell in their apartment and try to put their revolutionary ideals into practice  Age 25 and under tickets are $7.

U.S. Energy Policy 2017: Making Carbon Great Again?
October 2, 4:30-6:00p.m., Moot Courtroom
A panel of energy policy experts will discuss the future of energy policy in the United States. This is a free event, but registration is required.

Six Years Later: An Exploration into the Syrian Civil War
October 25:30-7:30p.m., Oswald Conference Center
Faysal Itani, Resident Senior Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council will explore what is currently happening on the ground in Syria, the effect of U.S. policy under Trump on Syria and the region, and the future of Syria in a post-ISIS world. Student tickets are $5.

What Can the U.S. Learn from Healthcare Models around the World
October 37:30-9:00p.m., The Happy Dog (West Side Location)
Compared to other rich democracies, the U.S. spends much more of its national wealth on healthcare, has among the lowest life expectancy statistics, and is the only nation with large portions of its citizens uninsured. This panel, featuring Political Science Professor Joe White, will examine what the U.S. can learn from international healthcare models. This is a free event.

The New Exploitation Economy
October 3, 4:30-5:30p.m., TVUC Ballroom C
Katherine Boo, staff writer at The New Yorker and a former reporter and editor for The Washington Post who has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur “Genius” grant, and a National Magazine Award for Feature Writing, will provide field notes from global reporting on families who lack privilege and power. 

China and America in an Age of Turmoil
October 44:45-6:15p.m., Clark Hall 309
Johns Hopkins Professor David M. Lampton will look at policy options that should be considered as the United States, China, and the world move into this most uncertain period. This is a free event.

Green Business in Latin America
October 5, 9:00a.m., Peter B. Lewis Building Room 220
Experienced sustainability consultant Giovanni Ginatta will share his experience developing a sustainable value chain as co-founder of the Latin American Cacao Initiative. Come to learn more about the Biotrade Initiative and green business opportunities in Ecuador and the region. This is a free event.

All About Research Abroad
October 5, 4:00p.m., Tomlinson 135
SOURCE and the Office of Education Abroad will present information and tips about conducting research abroad. A Q&A session will follow.

The Future of Puerto Rican Statehood
October 6, 12:00p.m., The City Club
WCPN host Tony Ganzer talks with Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez and independence activist Oscar Lopez Rivera on the future of Puerto Rico’s statehood and independence movements. Tickets for nonmembers are $35.

Power of Diversity: Beverly Guy-Shaftall
October 9, 4:30-6:00p.m., TVUC Ballroom C
Beverly Guy-Sheftall, PhD, Director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College will present a lecture and book signing event “Lessons from Charlottesville: Intersectionality 101.”

Wellman Hill 10th Anniversary Celebration
October 14, 5:00-7:00p.m., home of Professors Elliot Posner and Gillian Weiss
Please join us for drinks and hors d’oeuvres to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Wellman Hill Political Science Internship Grants Program. RSVP to Anna Conboy by October 1.


Internship and Fellowship Opportunities


Kelvin Smith Library Freedman Student Fellowship
This scholarship is designed to advance research and education in the digital scholarship field for undergraduate and graduate students at Case Western Reserve University. We are proud to announce this year’s theme, Urban Planning in Modern America, using the KSL Ernst J. Bohn collection. The application deadline is October 6.

Stanford Law Research Fellowship
Several Stanford law professors are seeking full-time Research Fellows to begin work in the summer of 2018. This is a unique opportunity for graduating seniors and recent college graduates to participate in groundbreaking empirical legal and social science research. The first round of applications are due October 30.

PPIA International Affairs Fellowship
This summer program is designed to prepare students for graduate studies in international affairs and public policy. Applications are due November 1.

Previously posted opportunities can be found on the department webpage. Please make sure to check regularly as to not miss approaching deadlines! 

Employment Opportunities

Hamilton Place Strategies

Entry-level Analyst and Associate positions are open for May 2018 graduates at Hamilton Place Strategies, a public affairs consulting firm. They have posted these opportunities to the Case Western Reserve University job portal, and the link to our application is here, which closes September 30. We have also set up virtual info sessions over the next two weeks, which students can join by signing up here.

Scholarship Opportunities

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
The Gilman scholarship is a U.S. Department of State grant program that enables students with limited finances to study or intern abroad. The scholarship is open to U.S. students who receive the Federal Pell Grant at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in education or intern abroad programs across the globe. Applications for Spring 2018 are due October 3.


Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer with the Cleveland Council on World Affairs
CCWA is currently seeking volunteers to assist with their Model UN program for middle and high school students. Please contact ccwa@ccwa.org for more information.



A Little Extra…


  • Professor Jonathan Entin’s recent article, “Is Partisan Gerrymandering Illegal? The Supreme Court Will Decide”.
  • Mark Patteson (BA POSC 2017) has written the following about his experience in the JETS (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program:

    “I live in Yugawa-mura, a small village of 3000 people surrounded by mountains in the Aizu region of Fukushima prefecture. I teach English in the village’s middle school and elementary schools. I also lead a weekly English club for adults and do occasional work in the village government office. The JET Program also emphasizes internationalization, especially in areas outside of the major cities that have few foreigners. This involves me broadly engaging in cultural exchange activities like participating in village festivals and ceremonies. 

    “Though the job itself is not relevant to my degree in political science, my placement in Fukushima directly connects to my academic interests.  My senior project examined the Fukushima nuclear disaster and its effects on Japanese energy security. Since arriving in Yugawa, I have encountered dozens of radiation measuring stations and new or under construction solar power arrays. During a JET Program welcome ceremony, I even briefly met the Fukushima prefectural governor, who has become an important figure in advocating for the denuclearization of the world’s energy supply. Across Japan, prefectural or local governments typically act as veto points in the restart of nuclear reactors, making it difficult for the LDP party to reduce energy import dependence at the national level. Working in the village hall, I am also learning about how local government operates in Japan’s slowly depopulating villages and the measures  taken to preserve the community.”

    For students interested in the JETS Program, see https://jetprogramusa.org/.  Our alumna Lindsey Beasley (BA POSC 2011) was also a JETS participant in 2011-2013, in Mugi, Japan.



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