African and african american studies


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William C. Schaniel,

University of West Georgia and Global Scholastic Services
Suzzanne Kelley,

North Dakota State University
Thomas D. Isern,

North Dakota State University

“RCD: A Cold Case of Collective Memory”
The illegal introduction of the rabbit calicivirus disease (RCD) into New Zealand in 1997 is one of those outrageous acts that, in retrospect, no one seems to regret. It was, as the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment said, a “fiasco” of biosecurity. On the other hand, the European Gray rabbit has a long history as an agricultural and environmental pest in both Australia and New Zealand, and the disease has proved surprisingly efficacious in knocking back the pests and restoring the high country environment. Writing from the context of a regional history of the Lindis region of Central Otago, we interpret this incident from two perspectives: environmental history and social history. RCD raises puzzling questions about the role of animal ecology in environmental history. The circumstances of its introduction also invoke the concept of social banditry. Finally, RCD is an intriguing cold case of collective memory, or rather, collective amnesia. No one seems to know, or recall, who executed its outlaw introduction to the country.

Suzzanne Kelley,

North Dakota State University
“History & Memory in New Zealand's High Country”
For nearly two decades, my research partner and I have trekked the high country of Central Otago, learning what we could from the region of the Lindis. Trails have led us through cemeteries and rose gardens, and across the thresholds of legendary figures. We found in our most recent return, however, that the stories are changing, and so are the people who tell them. Beloved characters Max and Madge Snow of the splendid Morven Hills; Ross and Claire Mackay, the bee-keepers; Heather Perriam, with her fine merino yarns; and Willie Wong, with his aged and sweating dynamite in the back shed are gone or deceased. While we work to wrap up our research for our larger project—a scholarly endeavor titled Learning from the Lindis—our subjects of study are in constant transformation. Gone are the hale and hardy who managed the sheep stations. Rising from the dust and rabbit-strewn hills are the wise, who now write memoirs, or the newly-established vintners who transform the history and memories of the Lindis to suit new purposes. This evolution of place, occurring almost faster than we can write, allows us to add another layer of story, discerning the emergence of a wave of collective memory transformed by the old residents and adopted by the new.

Heather Steinmann,

Western New Mexico University
“Teaching Keri Hulme’s The Bone People: Emotional Response as Self-instruction”
This paper is a final report on a four-year study examining how several groups of students in the U.S. respond to Kari Hulme’s novel The Bone People in an aesthetic, rather than efferent way, experiencing issues involving the colonialism and post-colonialism of the New Zealand Maori. Instead of studying liminal states of gender, race, post-colonialism, violence, and love, in reading literary fiction, students experience what Louise M. Rosenblatt calls aesthetic reading, where “the reader’s attention is centered directly on what he is living through during his relationship with that particular text.” This differs from reading-for-information in that “efferent” reading, reading to take something away from the text, is outcome-centered. When students experience through reading, their empathetic reactions teach them about social issues by allowing them to teach themselves. Rather than returning to the stagnating debate regarding the societal import of literature and its inclusion in or exclusion from university course curriculum, this study uses grounded theory to qualitatively examine students’ affective responses to a novel over a period of four years to describe how the emotional relationship between an author and audience can be located and marked in the transformative moment. Previous results presented at WSSA showed students gravitating to psychological theories to explain the action of the characters; coding results from the last two years indicate students reading through a more personal lens, performing either evaluative or empathetic readings and responses to the literature.

Book Discussion

“Don Watson’s, The Bush: Travels in the Heart of Australia (Penguin 2014)”
Most Australians live in cities and cling to the coastal fringe, yet our sense of what an Australian is – or should be – is drawn from the vast and varied inland called the bush. But what do we mean by 'the bush,' and how has it shaped us? Starting with his forebears' battle to drive back nature and eke a living from the land, Don Watson explores the bush as it was and as it now is: the triumphs and the ruination, the commonplace and the bizarre, the stories we like to tell about ourselves and the national character, and those we don't. Via mountain ash and mallee, the birds and the beasts, slaughter, fire, flood and drought, swagmen, sheep and their shepherds, the strange and the familiar, the tragedies and the follies, the crimes and the myths and the hope – here is a journey that only our leading writer of non-fiction could take us on. At once magisterial in scope and alive with telling, wry detail, “The Bush” lets us see our landscape and its inhabitants afresh, examining what we have made, what we have destroyed, and what we have become in the process. No one who reads it will look at this country the same way again.


Ross E. Burkhart,

Boise State University
John R. Baker,

Wittenberg University

"The Big Hammer: Ohio's Agency Rule Process and the Limited Use of Rule Invalidation"
Ohio is one of several states using legislative review of agency rules as a tool to make sure statutory intent is followed during the rule-making process. The process has been in place since 1977, and provides the Ohio General Assembly the ultimate power to invalidate a rule if it is viewed as inimical to legislative intent. This paper reviews the historical development of the process, and examines the instances in which resolutions of invalidation have been issued. The essential finding is that this ultimate tool is used infrequently, while a less formal process of bargaining and compromise is used to work out differences over rules that emerge between legislators, agencies, and relevant interest groups. Interviews with key staffers and review of hearing testimony serve as the foundation for the paper.

Ken Corbit,

University of Alabama
"Mesolevel Structures: The Interplay Between and Within Organized Sets"
Contemporary as well as antiquated social science research has attempted to explore the impact of structure and agency on the overall social arena. As a result, numerous theories have been developed to explain and predict the impacts of the causal factors, specifically with mesolevel structures, fields, orders and populations. Each of these provided additional insight into the afore mentioned arenas while additionally challenging existing theory on some levels.  In order to adequately discuss the concepts, this research paper will utilize Fligstein and McAdam (2012) research the “Gist of it” as its foundation.  I’ll present an overview of the article, and look at how mesolevel structure impacts Marxist theory. Ultimately my purpose is to argue that mesolevel structure weakens Marxist theory from a theoretical standpoint, but its inclusion would offer greater fullness, generalizability, and higher levels of explanation.

Natalia Kasianenko,

University of Nevada, Reno
"The Paradox of Eastern European Nationalism"
While there is no clear understanding of what nationalism is, scholars rely on nationalism as an explanatory variable in their research on international and domestic conflict, party politics, and democratization. This research paper clarifies the meaning of the term and opposes the view of nationalism as exclusively aggressive and xenophobic in nature. It brings attention to benign expressions of nationalism that get neglected in the context of Eastern European states. Finally, it contributes to the understanding of the origins of nationalism and how nationalism may evolve. The research paper explores the continuum of degrees that nationalism can take in Eastern Europe. It argues that nationalism may intensify and grow from weak degrees to more intense moderate gradations of nationalism and further to malignant and aggressive forms of nationalism. Weak and moderate degrees of nationalism are driven primarily by socio-political and cultural threats that either originate from masses or are imposed by elites. The element of issue saliency that connects the nationalist rhetoric of political elites and the concerns of the masses has been largely missing from the scholarly literature on nationalism. This paper explores the tipping point where nationalism turns from its moderate degrees to strong and aggressive ones.

Derek Kauneckis,

Ohio University
YiJyun Lin,

University of Nevada, Reno

"Climate Induced Conflict and Cooperation: Assessing the State of the Literature and Directions Forward"
As regions begin to experience what are thought to be the early impacts of climate change there is a growing literature on climate induced conflict.  While the potential for increased human conflict associated with climate change has profound implications for public policy, there has been little interaction across the two fields.  This has impacted both the public discourse around climate change, as well as research on the mechanisms that might link climate impacts to human behavior.  This presentation take a constructively critical review of the extant empirical literature, with a particular focus on how climate change is linked, or not, to current theory about the mechanisms of conflict.  Policy studies literature is drawn upon to understand what conflict reduction mechanisms may be in place that serve to buffer populations from impacts to the natural system, and how change can induce cooperation as well.  It then provides a theoretical framework of the conditions through which climate conflict might be expected to manifest itself.  Lastly, it outlines directions forward for research on the topic with specific attention on disaggregating causal mechanisms and better understanding of climate change impacts and their direct linkages to the societal processes that underlying cooperation and conflict.  

Markus Kemmelmeier,

University of Nevada, Reno
YiJyun Lin,

University of Nevada, Reno

"Climate Change’s Effect on Crime"
There is compelling evidence that heat precipitates greater violence and aggression. Many studies have documented that higher ambient temperatures are associated with increasing levels of violent crime. But whereas increasing annual temperatures in the U.S. lead to the expectation of growing levels of crime, rates of violent crime have declined precipitously over time. The present research seeks to mitigate this apparent contradiction by exploring the social conditions under which climatic anomalies are associated with the prevalence of criminal activity in the United States. The most comprehensive study to date by Ranson (2014, J of Envir. Econ. & Manag.) shows that warmer weather will trigger more violent crimes. Yet, by excluding key variables, Ranson may not have accounted for known predictors for crime, including critical cultural. In addition, Ranson’s conclusions are based on fixed-effect estimation, which are of little use in explaining longitudinal changes and cross-regional variability in crime, nor do they account for dependencies due to spatial proximity and shared political structures. Our research uses data from more than 3000 U.S. counties which reported 6 different crimes for each of 12 months for a period of 30 years, and makes use of mixed-effects and spatial models. By assuming that the social effects of climate change are contingent on social, economic, political, cultural and climatic conditions, our work documents how the interaction between climatic and non-climatic conditions shapes how changes in crime unfold over time and space.

Stefanie Kunze,

Northern Arizona University
"Black Pedagogy in American Indian Schools"
This paper involves an analysis of educational methods, discipline and punishment in American Indian Boarding Schools during the 1880-1930s. It is an investigation into the role of what has sometimes been termed “black pedagogy” in shaping and guiding much of the pedagogical practices commonly found in boarding schools. Black pedagogy, originally termed by German educationalist Katharina Rutschky, is a type of educational practice that was prevalent in Europe throughout the 1700s and 1800s. Practices in American Indian boarding schools of that time resemble much of these educational philosophies. This is a strong indication that European emigrants transplanted their own experiences and pedagogical training from their countries of origin into the American educational landscape. Recent Indian boarding school ‘survivor’ testimonies read similar to their European equivalents in their descriptions of physical and sexual abuse and neglect. This paper provides an analysis of the origins of Indian boarding school pedagogy and the stunning parallels between boarding schools on two different continents. While European boarding schools were intended to educate regular children, the Indian boarding schools were established for the purpose of assimilating indigenous children into the dominant Euro-American society.

YiJyun Lin,

University of Nevada, Reno
"Diseases, Crops, Institutions, and Culture: How Climate Variability Influences the Likelihood of Conflict"
Does climate variability indirectly affect the likelihood of social conflict via ecological conditions influencing diseases and crops? Does the strength of this relationship change as a function of the interaction between a country’s environmental conditions and institutional arrangements? Does the institutional arrangement further shape political culture in a way that increases the likelihood of social conflict? This topic is situated in the growing literature on the climate-conflict linkage, which has arrived at contradictory conclusions concerning these issues. Part of the problem is the insufficient modeling of the spatiotemporal effects of climate on conflict. The present study tests the joint effects of climate, geographic conditions, institutions, and culture on the likelihood of social conflict. My research uses a global data set combining country-level aggregate data with high-resolution gridded data on local climatic and geographic conditions. An instrumental variable (IV) approach is used to account for the problem of simultaneity between institutional arrangements and social conflict. Then, a three-level mixed-effect logit model is employed to examine the connection between climate and likelihood of social conflict.

Alexander Murray-Watters,

Carnegie Mellon University
"The Effect of Citizens United on Donation Networks in Nevada: A Graphical Network Analysis"
With the recent presidential candidacy of Lawrence Lessig, Citizens United and campaign finance have been frequently discussed in the media. Of particular interest is the claim that, following the Citizens United decision, financial contributions to political candidates changed in both structure and quantity. While a full analysis of this claim is beyond the scope of this paper, an initial, partial exploration is not. This study uses publicly available data released by the state of Nevada – specifically, the financial disclosures filed by candidates. Data were examined using graphical network analysis. The paper looks at patterns in Nevadan donation networks, both before and after the Citizens United decision. It addresses the following questions, with particular focus on whether existing patterns persist after Citizens United: Do donations cluster based on party and/or incumbency? Do out-of-state donations differ drastically from in-state donations? Do any of these patterns differ during mid-term versus general elections? Implications for further research will be discussed.

Ahmed Badawi Mustapha,

Middle East Technical University, Turkey
"Geopolitics, Humiliation, Sectarianism, and the Making of Violence (or Militancy) in the Middle East"
This study uses historical and international sociology, constructivism, structuralism and pluralism to explore how the interplay of ‘geopolitics’, ‘sectarianism’ and ‘humiliation’ helps in better explaining and understanding the making and perpetuation of violence or militancy in the Middle East. In particular, the study examines how the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or IS), and its operations could be intelligibly understood or explained by scrutinising the interaction between geopolitics, sectarianism and humiliation. There has been a number of research on the causes of violence or militancy in the region and IS group in particular. However, these works appear to have categorize the causes into endogenous, exogenous and in some rare cases, a complex admixture of both in varied proportions; and not well situated theoretically. These categorizations appear insufficient in helping our understanding of the state of affairs in the region. This research argues for a transcendental approach, which rises above the current categorizations and the need to be theoretically focused. This is achieved by exploring historiographical and contemporary accounts on geopolitics, humiliation and sectarianism using the above stated theoretical approaches. 

Lindsay M. Perez,

University of Nevada, Reno
Mauricio Alvarez,

University of Nevada, Reno

Susanne Martin,

University of Nevada, Reno

James T. Richardson,

University of Nevada, Reno

"Studying Radicalization in the Digital Age: Assumptions and Assessments of Internet Radicalization"
Studying terrorism and radicalization in the digital age involves acknowledging that the internet can serve as a platform to radicalize individuals.  Researchers seeking to understand, and potentially combat, methods terrorists use to radicalize others would benefit from measuring whether (or how) individuals are radicalized via the internet.  A wealth of research has been dedicated to explaining the methods by which terrorist groups use the internet to recruit new members and encourage them to adopt the same radical ideology.  Some research even suggests that the internet is used as a tool to radicalize individuals enough to support and potentially engage in acts of terror.  The discussion of internet radicalization has become so widespread within terrorism literature, that it appears researchers accept it as an established mechanism for encouraging radicalization.  The present study examined the degree to which terrorism literature includes an assessment of internet radicalization, rather than a description or assumption that this phenomenon occurs.  Results of a content analysis indicate that researchers typically describe internet radicalization in terms of methods terrorist groups use to disseminate information to potential members in hopes they become radicalized.

Umoh Samuel,

University of Kwa Zulu Natal Durban
Akabueze Oliver,

University of Lagos

"Political Elites, Opposition Party and Democratic Institutions in South Africa: The Politics of Julius Malema"
The paper examines to what extent the characteristics of political elites and opposition party strengthened or undermined South Africa’s democracy, with emphasis on the 2014 National elections. Julius Malema the Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) as political elite was the case study for the paper. Based on observations of the National Parliament session and interview with Member of Parliament, Cape Town, South Africa. Findings reveal that behaviors of some political elites undermine the quality of South Africa’s nascent democracy. Much debate focus on who governs, rather than on how to govern the citizens. The research is based Qualitative research method using interview with Members of Parliament and observation of parliament sessions to analyse the research.

Amber Overholser,

University of Nevada, Las Vegas
"Tule Springs and Basin and Range: A Tale of Two Monuments"
This was a big year for National Monument designations within the state of Nevada with the designations of Tule Springs Fossil Beds and the Basin and Range forever altering the use and protection status of these unique lands. Though the outcomes were the same; national monuments were created and preservation demands were met, the processes were vastly different. In this multiple case study I reviewed archival documents (public documents from local, state, and federal agencies); local and national media coverage, and conducted retrospective interviews with members of the Tule Springs Coalition as well as a representative from the Conservation Lands Foundation who was instrumental in the Basin and Range project. I examine the creation of these national monuments and discuss them within the context of the democratic process. Specifically, I look at who was involved, why the monuments were created now (versus in the future or never), and emphasize how the processes involve (or don’t) citizens in local and national decision making. A discussion of whether one avenue is actually more reflective of the democratic process and the value of citizen participation in long-term planning on local level is also provided. 

Julia Puaschunder,

The New School Department of Economics
"On Eternal Equity in the Fin-de-Millenaire"
Globalization leveraged ethicality to unprecedented momentum. Today's most pressing social dilemmas beyond the control of singular nation states call for attention to human ethicality to back governmental regulation. In a history of turning to natural law as a human-imbued moral compass for solving societal predicaments on a global scale in times of crises; behavioral economists currently examine the human natural drive towards intergenerational fairness. Understanding the bounds of human ethicality is key to avoid ethical downfalls on currently emerging societal dilemmas of financial social responsibility and man-made environmental decline infringing on intergenerational equity – the fairness to provide an at least as favorable standard of living to future generations as enjoyed today. Whilst evolutionary grounded and practiced ever since, intergenerational fairness has not been attributed as a natural behavioral law – a human-imbued drive being bound by human fallibility. A whole-rounded ethical decision making anomalies frame is missing to test the applicability of the bounded ethicality paradigm onto intergenerational concerns. Psychological insights' potential to improve human intergenerational conscientiousness on financial social responsibility and environmental ethicality is underexplored. This paper theoretically defines intergenerational equity as a natural behavioral law and captures human ethicality bounds and system downfalls within financial social responsibility.

Mariana Trejo Sánchez,

El Colegio de San Luis, A.C.
"Actors and Institutions of Governance: Use and Conservation of Beaches on the Northern Border of Mexico"
This paper aims to analyze the influence degree institutions and actors (political and social) have in the decision-making process in the Clean Beaches Committee of Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, in order to characterize how governance processes are articulated in a border area.

Nicholas Seltzer,

University of Nevada, Reno
"An Evolutionary Selection Model of Climate Change and Pastoralist Conflict in East Africa"
This multi-agent simulation tests an individual-level, evolutionary model of intergroup conflict. Design elements are abstracted from the arid and semi-arid regions of east Africa with potential implications for climate-change induced conflict. Agents were more likely to cooperate when resources were found in dense clusters, rather than widely dispersed. Conflict was more likely when inequities in land quality existed. These effects were further enhanced when agents possessed the ability to tactically coordinate their individual efforts, though in some cases dominant groups could prolong both peace and exclusive access to the best land through a primitive form of strategic deterrence. These results affirm the hypothesis that in-group cooperation and intergroup competition in humans are integrally related. Further, the degree to which they are related appeared to be dynamically responsive to environmental conditions. If true, this conclusion suggests environmental change this century could increase the risk of intergroup of conflict.

Stephen K. Shaw,

Northwest Nazarene University
"Dorothy Day, the Catholic Worker Movement, and American Political Radicalism"
Co-founded almost 85 years ago by Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day, the Catholic Worker Movement initiated Catholic radicalism in the United States. The Movement, through its Catholic Worker newspaper, houses of hospitality, and farms for the poor, became a gathering place for radicals, anarchists, intellectuals, activists, and others concerned with both religious and social revolution. Perhaps most well-known for its commitment to pacifism, the Movement also addressed international conflict, unions and workers' rights, civil rights, poverty and capitalism, and issues of war and peace. This paper analyzes the Movement within the context of Catholic radicalism and the American protest tradition.

Karen Simpson,

University of Nevada, Reno
Derek Kauneckis,

Ohio University

Azamat Tashev,

Ohio University

Loretta Singletary,

University of Nevada, Reno

"Exploring the Role of Local Governance System in Mitigating Climate Stress in the Truckee/Carson River Systems"
Multiple regions across are experiencing shifts in vegetation season, precipitation patterns, hydrological variability, and frequent occurrence of weather extremes.  Expectation are that they will intensify due to global climate change. The negative effects of these climate induced fluctuations in local natural-climatic conditions are referred to as a climate stress.  Climate stress is evident in conflict over the allocation of increasingly scarce water resources. In this context, the impact of institutions and the interaction among organizations tasked with water resource management are key to understanding the environment in which conflict occurs, and how it might be reduced. This paper will present an analysis of the impact of variation in governance arrangements on local conflict-reduction and cooperation in response to climate stress on water resources. The analysis will focus primarily on the Truckee-Carson River System in northern Nevada, using data derived from extensive fieldwork with local stakeholders and water managers. The high degree of climate vulnerability in this area, combined with diversity of local water uses, communities, and water management organizations, creates an ideal environment for the examination of how institutional environment impacts climate-driven conflict, the role of various forms of interaction, and methods for stimulating social learning in complex systems.

Young-Bin Son,

University of Nevada, Reno
"Inequality in South Korea: Determinants and the Quality of Institutional Structure"
Research in the field of inequality has stimulated a growing attention in Social Science. While South Korea has experienced both economic growth and depression for a long time, the issue of inequality has been emerged rapidly. To reduce inequality, Korean government has presented various policies, but it has been failed. Also, recent scholarship in South Korea has tended to evaluate and emphasize the success or failure of government intervention.  This paper attempts to provide the determinants on economic and social inequalities by using mixed research methods. Through the multi-level perspectives, I will narrow the gap of making casual mechanism between inequality and its determinants as well as provide deep interpretations of economic, social, political, and institutional structures on inequality. This will be followed by the capacities and qualities of politician, political party and government agencies, budgeting operation, and linkage between government and business. Furthermore, educational, electoral and religious factors will be considered. And then, I will argue that the compatibility between economic growth and reducing inequalities is confirmed in high quality of long-term strategies under strong institutional structures rather than short-term strategies.

Moana Vercoe,

TURN Research
Andrea Walters,

Claremont Graduate University

"Early Voting Brings Equity, Not Convenience to Native Voters Living on Reservations in Minnesota and South Dakota"
Compared to South Dakota that is renowned for the state’s poor record in relation to its American Indian population, Minnesota is considered relatively liberal in its treatment of the native population. While protracted litigation under the Voting Rights Act has resulted in the availability of satellite election offices on reservations in South Dakota, a series of meetings between Tribal leaders from three Minnesota tribes in the summer of 2014 and state representatives resulted in the similar provision of satellite election offices on these Minnesota reservations. The provision of satellite election offices that increase the temporal window for voting, while reducing the costs associated with travelling off-reservation to access the full range of voting services at election offices located in the county seats, provides a naturalistic experiment for testing the impact of early voting on impoverished communities in remote rural communities. While services such as those offered in satellite election office have largely been categorized as convenience voting with the literature, our results demonstrate that it is not convenience but equity that is achieved as satellite election services that bring equal access to reservations, thus increasing political participation through voter turnout.

Meghan Yost,

Heidelberg University
"The Dark Path to Recognition: Kurdish Identity in Turkey"
Since the formation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, the Kurds of southeast Anatolia have been restricted and repressed by the Turkish government and people. Issues involving the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, the Islamic State and the recent elections in Turkey have caused political and cultural tension between the two groups. Although the Turkish government claims that the Kurds have not been discriminated against, qualitative and quantitative evidence suggest otherwise. Recent reforms have resulted in some improvements to their status; however, more changes must be made to grant the Kurds political rights, cultural freedoms and social equality.

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