November 6, 2017 Newsletter


Opportunities and Announcements for the Week of November 6, 2017


The Department of Political Science has been busy this fall semester, and as a result, this will be a fairly lengthy Newsletter report.  First, we are holding our third annual Careers Colloquium for Political Scientists.  Our alumnus Chris Hook is returning to campus on November 10, to give a public lecture:  Managing Change in Times of Transition: How to Adapt and Succeed for Different Attorneys General, Secretaries, and Administrations.  Chris, who won this year’s College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Service Alumnus of the Year Award, worked for many years in the US Department of Justice and now is a budget analyst in the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.  In addition to his public lecture, Chris will hold a Careers Workshop on Saturday, November 11, at noon, for our students (lunch will be provided by the Department).  Please see the announcement, below, in this Newsletter.  I strongly encourage our students to attend both of these events.

Registration and Advising.  Registration for Spring Semester 2018 courses begins on Monday (November 13).  Students can find the registration schedule here

In the Spring Semester, the Department of Political Science is offering a range of courses, several of which are particularly timely, given current political events around the world.  For just a few examples, Professor McMann is offering her Politics of Russia course; Professor Moore is offering his Revolts and Revolutions course; Professor Lee is offering The Politics of Development of the Global South; Professor Schroeder is teaching The US and Asia; and Professor Posner is teaching The Politics of the European Union.  Professor Buchler is offering an experimental version of POSC321 Politics and Money, built around the use of modern science fiction literature to explore topics in money, politics and power. 

The Department is offering two SAGES Departmental Seminars:  Professor Lavelle’s International Relations Theory and my Comparative Elections and Electoral Systems.  As always, our regular introductory courses continue to be offered:  Professor Parris is teaching POSC109 The US Political System; Professor Lee is teaching POSC160 Introduction to Comparative Politics; and Professor Lavelle is offering POSC172 Introduction to International Relations

Note that Professors Laura Tartakoff and Joseph White will be on sabbatical in the spring semester, and will not be offering courses.  Perhaps more important for planning this semester, Professors McMann and Posner will be on sabbatical in the 2018-19 academic year; for those students hoping to take a course with either of these faculty members, think about taking a course this spring semester. 

As always, meet with your academic advisor to discuss which courses might be best for your schedule.

Senior Capstone Courses. As students are preparing to enroll in courses for the Spring 2018 semester, many students will be anticipating and planning for their capstone work.

POSC396 Senior Project SAGES Capstone is a requirement for completion of the Political Science major, as well as a requirement of the SAGES Program.  For those preparing to enroll in POSC396 for the spring term, please note that you will need to identify a capstone supervisor to enroll.  Identifying a faculty member to help direct your capstone work is one of the most important decisions you can make for developing a successful capstone project.  The other key decision a student must make in regard to the capstone project is the selection of the topic.  These choices are, of course, related:  students will want to choose a capstone supervisor who has interest and expertise in the area of their capstone topic.

I strongly encourage students who intend to enroll in POSC396 to talk to a range of professors in our department as they develop their capstone interests – and to talk with professors early in the process.  Talking with several of us will help students to focus their research interests and to identify the most appropriate and most likely capstone supervisor.  Professors in our department vary in terms of what we expect from our capstone advisees.  All of us expect significant writing, but we vary in terms of how we structure work expectations across the semester.  Some of us require biweekly meetings; others require completion of written work at specific dates. Depending on the capstone topic, some professors will require students to collect and analyze primary data; other professors will accept critical reviews of the scholarly literature.  In short, within the SAGES requirements for capstone work, professors vary in terms of their direction of capstone work, and it is important for the professor and the student to be agreed on the nature and structure of the proposed capstone.
Although our POSC curriculum does not require any particular list of courses or subfield concentrations, the strongest and most successful capstones are likely to have some basis in students’ coursework.  Students’ coursework in POSC, across their undergraduate career, is meaningful and can culminate in a highly successful capstone project.  Conversely, in a single semester, starting a topic de novo, with no prior coursework, is challenging.  Because students should consider with which professor(s) they will be able to do their best work, a good starting point is to reflect on success in courses the student has already taken.  Some professors in our department are reluctant to supervise capstone work for students they have not had in class.  Note that not every professor will be the best supervisor for every student, and not every student will work well with every professor.  Reflecting on one’s best course experiences and most successful course performance will help a student identify a good capstone supervisor – and, again, consulting with several POSC professors will help students find the best fit for their capstone work.
Two final points about capstone supervision:  1) students must present a capstone prospectus to their supervising professor (and the student and the professor must agree on  — and sign off on – the prospectus); and 2) POSC professors are limited to directing no more than five capstone projects in a single semester, and hence a preferred supervisor may not be available if he or she has already committed to multiple capstone supervisions.  For further information, see here. Thinking in advance about these choices – and discussing them with one’s academic advisor and with a range of professors in the department – will provide the basis for the best capstone, and best capstone experience, possible. 
And if students would like to see what a successful capstone project looks like, they should feel free to attend the Department’s Senior Capstone Presentation and Dinner, in the Senior Classroom of the Tinkham Veale University Center, on Thursday, November 16, from 5:00 to 8:00pm.  It’s an excellent opportunity to see the presentation process, and everyone is welcome.
Election Day is Tuesday, November 7.  If you are registered to vote in Ohio, you will be able to vote on two statewide issues:  Issue 1 and Issue 2.  You can find out about your ballot, these issues, and more through the Ohio Secretary of State’s webpage.
Flora Stone Mather Professor
Chair, Department of Political Science
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

 – Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863


General Announcements

  • November 13th is the first day to register for Spring 2018 classes. See what the Political Science Department is offering 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: Cleveland’s Muslim Community
November 3, 12:30-1:30p.m., KSL Dampeer Room
Ramez Islambouli, Lecturer of Arabic and Islam shares his perspectives on Muslim life and challenges in the Cleveland community in which he has lived since coming to CWRU as a student in 1985. What are the concerns, the divisions, the trends, the future?

Wellman Hill Grants Information Session
November 7, 6:00-7:00p.m., Mather House 100
The Wellman Hill Internship Grants Competition is intended to encourage Political Science majors to pursue and accept public service summer internships. Hear from previous recipients about their experiences at this session. Pizza and drinks will be provided.

Political Science Careers Colloquium
November 10, 4:30p.m., TVUC Senior Classroom (Lecture)
November 11, 12:00p.m., TVUC First Floor Conference Room (Workshop)
POSC alumnus Chris Hook (CAS ’03, GRS ’04) is currently working as a budget analyst with the U.S. Department of Housing and Development. He will give a public lecture titled “Managing Change in Times of Transition: How to Adapt and Succeed for different Attorneys General, Secretaries, and Administrations.” Mr. Hook will also lead a workshop for majors to discuss career options and strategies.
The Wedding Cake Divide: At the Intersection of Gay Rights, Free Speech, and Religious Liberty
November 3, 12:45-2:00p.m., Sears 357
This event will feature Jessie Hill of the School of Law. Lunch will be provided. RSVP to Dr. Terri Mester.

Stokes: Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future
November 3, 12:00p.m., Huntington Convention Center
November 3, 6:00-9:00p.m., Cuyahoga Community College Jerry Sue Thornton Center
November 4, 9:00a.m.-4:00p.m., CWRU Weatherhead George S. Dively Conference Center
A panel of educators and policy experts reviewed the strides the Stokes administration made in the late 1960’s in the areas of Cleveland’s education, healthcare, housing, jobs and safety. Join the discussion for future change at this weekend conference.

Defending the Constitution in the Age of Trump
November 6, 4:30-5:30p.m., Moot Courtroom
Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, will discuss the state of civil liberties in the age of Trump and whether our existing institutions can withstand the challenge of a norm-breaking presidency. This is a free event.

Trumponomics 2.0
November 6, 6:00-8:00p.m., Happy Dog at the Euclid Tavern
This event will feature Professor Pete Moore and other CWRU faculty presenting on foreign policy, health care, immigration, and other issues. Free food and soft drinks will be provided.

Race, Equity and Inclusion: How Cleveland Generates Wealth
November 7, 11:30-12:45p.m., Crawford Hall A13
Research Lunch Series with Kevin Alin and Peter Truog will discuss the Fund for Our Economic Future’s analysis that looks at how wealth is generated annually in the Cleveland MSA through a racial equity and inclusion lens. This is a free event. RSVP to

Spartan Club Toastmasters Open House
November 7, 12:00-1:00p.m., Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing Room 2280
Join the Spartan Club Toastmasters to find out how you can gain confidence and find your voice to improve your public speaking skills. The event will be a regular Toastmasters meeting with prepared speeches, table topics and supportive evaluations.

International Law and Fifty Years of Occupation
November 7, 12:30-2:00p.m., TVUC Senior Classroom
Lisa Hajjar will speak about the Israeli government’s approach to controlling the West Bank and Gaza, and changes in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the past fifty years involve evolving official reinterpretations of international humanitarian law (IHL) as well as human rights laws.

Putting the U.S. “War on Terror” in Historical and Global Context
November 7, 7:30-9:00p.m., The Happy Dog (West Side Location)
Sociology Professor Lisa Hajjar of the University of California,Santa Barbara will discuss the history of torture and how its ramifications affect U.S. politics, both nationally and globally.

Postdoctoral Lunchbox Seminar
November 8, 11:25-12:45p.m., Mather House
During this brown bag discussion, Dr. Nora Krinitsky will provide an overview of her research as well as a discussion of the article she is completing this year, which examines the Chicago NAACP’s interwar legal crusade against police violence.

The Myth of China’s Might — And What It Means for America  
November 8, 5:30-7:00p.m., The Union Club
Jeremy R. Haft, a 20 year veteran of the China market, adjunct professor at Georgetown University, and CEO of SafeSource Trading, an export trading firm, will discuss the rise of China and its true economic might. Student tickets are $5.

The Aesthetics of Politics and Stuff: James Van Der Zee’s Aspirational Portraiture
November 8, 7:00p.m., CMA Gallery 230
Key Jo Lee, assistant director of academic outreach, will host a guided close-looking session of two of Van Der Zee’s portraits on view in the exhibition From Riches to Rags: American Photography in the Depression. Free with Case ID.

Ohio 2018: Meet the Candidates: Nan Whaley
November 9, 12:00p.m., The City Club
Join The City Club for a conversation with Nan Whaley, the Mayor of Dayton and Democratic Candidate for Governor of Ohio. Nonmember tickets are $35.

Friday Lunch: Lead Poisoning in Cleveland: Why, After All These Years?
November 10, 12:30-1:30p.m., KSL Dampeer Room
The Cleveland Foundation reports that, “Greater Cleveland has a lead poisoning problem and it’s threatening our youngest residents.” Why, after forty years of effort, is lead poisoning, especially due to lead paint, still a problem? The issue gets plenty of publicity. But inadequate action. Environmental Health Sciences Professor Dorr Dearborn has worked on the issue, and been frustrated by the difficulties, for many years. He brings us his report as a scholar and advocate.

Educating for Struggle: State Violence Then and Now
November 16-18, TVUC
Internationally renowned activist and scholar Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and National Book Award-winner Ibram Kendi will deliver the keynote lectures for the Social Justice Institute’s fourth biennial intergenerational Think Tank, “Educating for Struggle: State Violence Then and Now.” All events are free.

Internship and Fellowship Opportunities

Latin American News Digest Internship
Spring 2018 internships are available for students writers and researchers to translate and condense articles from Latin American sources for weekly publications.

Congressman David P. Joyce
Internships are available at the Washington, DC office for fall, spring, and summer semesters. Although all internships in all offices are unpaid, students gain invaluable work experience. Interns will be asked to answer phones, run errands, research legislation for the Member and legislative staff, attend hearings and briefings and answer constituent letters on various issues before the House. As a result, interns learn about the legislative process and the many other functions of a congressional office. A biography of the congressman is available here.

International Affairs Research Fellowship
The James C. Gaither Junior Fellows Program provides an opportunity for graduating seniors and recent graduates to work at The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace for one year.

Dettelbach for Ohio Campaign
Interns will assist Democratic Candidate and Former US Attorney Steve Dettelbach’s 2018 campaign for Ohio Attorney General. Interns will help with policy research, volunteer management, fundraising, administrative staff support, and traveling with campaign staff within the campaign jurisdictions. To apply, please send a brief cover letter and resume to Millie Vaughan at


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

Job Opportunities

The Congressional Research Service
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) Government and Finance Division is seeking an Analyst in American National Government to analyze public policy issues related to the regulation and administration of elections and voting in the United States. The focus of the Division’s work in this area is on the role played by various institutions, policies, and procedures in shaping electoral processes and practices. The issues may include, but are not limited to, election administration, voter registration and turnout, apportionment and redistricting, voting rights, and other election policies and practices.
The ideal candidate will have experience conducting policy analysis in these areas and must be able to work as part of a collaborative team. Strong writing, research, and presentation skills are essential.

A Little Extra…

  • Professor Joseph White, Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy, commented on Ohio Issue #2 on WKSU.
  • Professor Kelly McMann was among V-Dem researchers plotting path forward at a recent conference in Rome.
  • Next summer, Ann Marie Smetona, Junior POSC major, will be an intern for ten weeks at the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland, which services both the countries of Switzerland and Lichtenstein.  Although she will be given a general overview of the embassy’s functions, most of her time will be spent in the consular department.  In order to protect and promote the interests of U.S. citizens abroad, the consular department works out the best way to handle crisis situations that would involve evacuation of U.S. citizens and seeks to inform U.S. travelers about the State Department’s traveler programs so that they can be readily informed about security issues.  Additionally, this department processes visa and passport applications and is where you would go if you lost your passport while traveling. Even though Bern is in the German-speaking portion of Switzerland, the embassy encourages familiarity with French and Italian since Switzerland is a multi-lingual country. 

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