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Politics

Trans-Frontier Conservation Areas

Natalie Dennis (2015); Student Collaborator(s): Gailyn Portelance (2015); Heather Byrne (2015); Mentor(s): Pierre Englebert

Abstract: In this paper, we research the relationship between Trans-Frontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) and conflict in Africa. Using a large conflict data set covering the period 1997-2012, we find that conflicts produce fewer combat fatalities in TFCAs than elsewhere, possibly because of remoteness but also somewhat idiosyncratically as a function of the geographical displacement of some conflicts over time. Yet, we find more civilian fatalities from conflict in TFCA areas, an effect which correlates with even greater civilian deaths in border areas in general. In both instances of battle and civilian deaths, the so called “peace parks” of Southern Africa perform better. Looking at the relationship between TFCAs and border arbitrariness, we observe that the creation of TFCAs is more likely in areas of lower partition of ethnic groups across borders. Looking only at borders with conflicts, however, we find a greater proportion of partitioned people among TFCAs but fewer casualties altogether. By and large, a theme that emerges from our still very preliminary findings is that the more peaceful the context, the more likely TFCAs are to develop, as opposed to TFCAs themselves leading to peaceful environments.
Funding Provided by: Aubrey H. Seed and Eileen J. Seed Student Research Fund (ND, GP); Evelyn B. Craddock-McVicar Memorial Fund (HB)

Decentralization in the DR Congo

Gailyn Portelance (2015); Mentor(s): Pierre Englebert

Abstract: Many African countries have been experiencing rapid growth rates recently, going against most of what has been historically observed in terms of the structure of politics in Africa called neopatrimonialism -where rulers have no incentive to promote institutional or economic development that helps their citizens, because they can secure power through patron-client relationships. Have underlying conditions changed within African political structures so that developmental policy has become possible? Has growth become compatible with neopatrimonialism, are rulers simply becoming more benevolent, or is growth due to other changes (beyond commodity prices), that has become politically more feasible? These are a few of the questions that this research has begun this summer and will continue to be explored. My preliminary research included analyzing and organizing the wide range of literature available concerning causal arguments for development, how governance and institutions play a role, what is changing, if anything, within African politics, and eventually, any contributions or inferences that have been made towards politician incentive to enact developmental policy. Quantitative research included a collection of data on governance indicators and economic policy since 1980 of all Sub Saharan African countries in order to help identify in future research moments in time where major changes have occurred, and how that may correlate with policy enactments by the political elite and reveal incentive. The project will cumulate in a paper and conference my senior year.
Funding Provided by: Aubrey H. Seed and Eileen J. Seed Student Research Fund

Shifting Grounds for African Secessionism?

Heather Byrne (2015); Mentor(s): Pierre Englebert

Abstract: This summer I assisted Professor Pierre Englebert's research on recent developments in African secessionism given the recent secession of South Sudan in 2011, working to provide a concluding chapter on African Secessionism for an upcoming publication. It is generally admitted that Africa’s international law stands squarely on the side of the territorial integrity of postcolonial states, entertaining the right of self-determination in contexts of decolonization only. The reality is, however, more ambiguous. Building largely upon the examples in this book, we show in this paper that the notion of uti possidetis—the maintenance of colonially inherited boundaries—has been the object of inconsistent implementation and was largely overturned with the independence of South Sudan. Yet, although it represents a doctrinal reversal, the empirical record suggests that South Sudan has not significantly changed the calculus of secession for Africans, largely because of the high humanitarian threshold it sets for recognition. In comparison, the end of the Cold War had a more substantively stimulating effect. Beyond the continent’s salient secessionist conflicts, however, smaller and more ambiguous cases point to a legal and an ideological evolution. The legal one brings renewed emphasis on sub-national referenda. The ideological one suggests an increased coincidence of secessionism and Islamism, a potentially far-reaching trend which challenges our understanding of the nature of secessionism in Africa.
Funding Provided by: Evelyn B. Craddock-McVicar Memorial Fund

Christian Lawyering

Larkin Corrigan (2014); Student Collaborator(s): Tena Thau (2014); Joanmarie Del Vecchio (2015); Additional Collaborator(s): Joshua Wilson (University of Denver); Mentor(s): Amanda Hollis-Brusky

Abstract: In recent years, a Christian lawyering movement has emerged: there has been an increase in lawyers who view law not only as a profession but also as a calling from God. To research this movement, we compiled information about prominent Christian attorneys, Christian Public Interest Law Firms (PILFs), and Christian law schools. We collected data such as student enrollment and bar passage rates at law schools, compiled biographical information of attorneys and professors, and performed literature reviews of law reviews and articles and books published on the Christian legal worldview. Our conclusions are the following: Christian PILFs often have a mix of graduates from top-tier law schools and newer evangelical law schools. While early Christian PILFs lacked many of the features that made liberal PILFs successful, newer Christian PILFs have been more successful, initiating claims in court, increasing their out-of-court advocacy, and becoming more specialized. Some Christian law schools such as Regent University School of Law and Liberty School of Law are successful in their endowment size, alumni networks, and bar passage rates, while schools such as Ave Maria School of Law and Trinity Law School struggle with financial issues as well as the academic success of their students.
Funding Provided by: Hart Institute for American History (LC, TT); Aubrey H. Seed and Eileen J. Seed Student Research Fund (JD)

Investigate the notion of community in America

Trevor Smith (2015); Mentor(s): John Seery

Abstract: After a decline in traditional communities based off of neighborhoods or geographical proximity over the 20th century, a rise in communities based off of special interests exposed what had always been true about American community – instead of transcending or embracing difference, it served to reinforce and reproduce divisions in society. As a result, typically conceived American communities tend to limit a Levinasian infinite obligation to the Other by engendering a society in which the individual is primarily concerned only with the plight of those similar to the self. In attempting to consider the possibility of community that could transcend social and political partitions, I examine why current models of community are so attractive, and how community might function without infusing ideology or identity. In addition to the theory component, I study community identity and organizing in the passage of a controversial 2013 LGBTQ anti-discrimination bill in Pocatello, Idaho, in order to gain a sense of the functions of community both for LGBTQ organizers seeking to make their hometown friendlier to their identities and for their religious opposition resisting a perceived ideological imposition on their community and home.
Funding Provided by: Paul K. Richter and Evelyn E. Cook Richter Memorial Fund

‘The Excitement of the Hour’: Water Speculation and the Big Bear Valley Dam in Southern California’s Late¬19th/Early-20th Century Citrus Empire

Clare Anderson (2015); Student Collaborator(s): Tara Krishna (2014); Minerva Jimenez (2014 California State University, Fullerton); Mentor(s): Heather Williams

Abstract: The southern California citrus industry guaranteed wealth for early investors. In 1904 the statewide orange harvest was worth 40% more than the California gold industry. Paradoxically, however, the orange’s reputation as a risk-free investment hinged entirely upon an underlying industry that was enormously speculative: water. The Big Bear Valley Dam, on the headwaters of the Santa Ana River, exemplifies the ambitious projects that stemmed from the unholy union of private industry and water management. Water from Big Bear Lake—at that time, the largest reservoir ever built—was conveyed an astonishing thirty miles to groves in Redlands and San Bernardino. Enthused by this feat, water speculators planned to expand the system to the Alessandro and Perris tracts in present-day Moreno Valley, an extension which—had it reached fruition—would have stretched southwest approximately fifteen miles further. Using engineering documents and litigation associated with the Big Bear Valley Dam, this poster will examine the fantastical and staggeringly ambitious nature of turn-of¬-the-century water commercialization. I argue that speculators would take almost any gamble to turn the desert green, so certain was the profit of irrigated citrus land.
Funding Provided by: Aubrey H. Seed and Eileen J. Seed Student Research Fund (CA); Faucett Catalyst Fund (TK)

A Political Profile of the Santa Ana River: Idealism, Agribusiness, and Conflict in Southern California's Largest Watershed

Tara Krishna (2014); Student Collaborator(s): Clare Anderson (2015); Minerva Jimenez-Garcia (2014 California State University, Fullerton); Mentor(s): Heather Williams

Abstract: In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Santa Ana River Basin’s agreeable climate, fertile soil, and isolation from Eastern industrial life piqued the interest of individuals seeking to build idyllic, self-sustaining communities in the American West. The watershed’s early Anglo settlers—including George Chaffey, Matthew Gage, J.W. North, and Frank E. Brown—established mutual water companies to develop irrigation and citriculture in their colonies, valuing the cooperative emphasis of such ventures. I argue that these companies, ironically, facilitated industrial agriculture in Southern California, solidified the importance of property ownership, institutionalized racial/class inequality, and encouraged the exploitation of natural resources in the river’s watershed—thus disrupting the early settlers’ romantic visions. Public administrations (water districts, state and federal legislatures) interlocked with these private institutions to define water rights in the basin and engineer the river's surface and underground flow for lucrative agricultural, industrial, and domestic purposes. Current efforts to revive the river, spearheaded by environmental organizations like the Inland Empire Water Keeper, complicate the notion of the Santa Ana River as a consumable and salable entity, focusing instead on its recreational and ecological value. This project is an extension of Professor Heather Williams’ forthcoming history of the Santa Ana River.
Funding Provided by: Faucett Catalyst Fund (TK); Aubrey H. Seed and Eileen J. Seed Student Research Fund (CA)

Research at Pomona