THIS MONTH'S HEADLINES:
The annual political science dinner will be held at The Olive Garden on Peach Street on Monday, April 15, at 7 PM. Graduating political science majors are the guests of honor, but all are invited to attend, and most political science faculty members will be there as well. Friends and significant others are also welcome. We use the regular menu, and people pay for their own meals. Dressing up is not necessary. To attend, RSVP to Dr. Speel no later than Friday, April 12.
In Fall 2013, we will offer sections of all four introductory-level PL SC courses - PL SC 001, PL SC 003, PL SC 014, and PL SC 017. These other courses will also be offered:
PL SC 022 - Politics of the Developing Areas
This course offers a panorama of politics in that part of the world that sometimes gets the least attention—Asia (outside China), Africa, Latin America. One of the course’s central tasks is to ask how “politics” in the broadest sense promotes or retards growth in some of the poorest, if most politically dynamic countries. We spend some time considering one of the most distinctive features of the developing world, environmental challenges involving food production, clean air and fresh water. Finally, the course considers politics in the Middle East and its continuing impact on the United States. This course has no prerequisites and fulfills GS, IL, and other cultures requirements.
PL SC 437 - War in World Politics
Pour 2 oz of economic expansion defense industries, 1 oz each of authoritarianism, propaganda, and decreasing domestic approval ratings of leadership, muddle with diplomacy. Shake for 30 seconds over ice. Garnish with an accident of personalities, and you have the perfect cocktail for war. But should we drink it? Sign up for War in World Politics with Dr. Schneider and discuss among ourselves.
PL SC 458 - Government and Politics of East Asia
Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a gradual shift in the economic and political center of gravity of international relations towards the Asia-Pacific region. In the aftermath of the US pivot to Asia, the Asia-Pacific has started to be considered as the most significant and consequential region of world politics. This class intends to provide a multidisciplinary overview of dynamics shaping politics, economics and societies of East Asian nations. It has three main components: a) issues related to political and economic systems of major powers in the region (including topics such as democratization and human rights, internet censorship, Tibet and Xinjiang); b) foreign policies of these nations towards each other, their strategies and goals, (including issues such as Taiwan, North Korea and South Korea, South China Sea disputes, territorial conflicts, historical problems); and c) bilateral relations of these nations with the United States (major issue areas such as Trans-Pacific Partnership Initiative, currency manipulation debates, Burma/ Myanmar opening, US political and military rebalancing) . Different texts and articles as well as different forms of visual materials (such as movies and documentaries) will be used throughout the semester in order to provide a comprehensive picture of the politics and social relations of the region. This course counts towards the other cultures requirement.
PL SC 471 - American Constitutional Law
Do individual states have the right to legalize the use of recreational marijuana? Will the proposed assault weapons ban violate the 2nd Amendment? What gives Congress the authority to require employers to provide comprehensive health care to its employees? These are just a few of the many questions that the United States Supreme Court has addressed or may address in the 2010s, making this one of the most important decades in Constitutional Law in a generation. Together with the changing nature of the Supreme Court itself - politically and demographically - it makes this a very interesting time to study Constitutional Law. The course examines the history of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and how they shape American politics. The course will be useful to any student who plans on attending law school on pursuing post-graduate studies in American government. Students who are considering a career in law enforcement, journalism or social work will find the course interesting as well.
PL SC 482 - American State and Urban Politics
Health Care. Same-sex marriage. Illegal immigration. Drinking Ages. Public Education. Guns. Rights for the disabled. What is the proper role for federal, state, and local governments with these policy issues in the American federal system? How do state legislatures, governors, and court systems differ between Pennsylvania and other states? What are the causes and potential solutions to American urban problems? How can states and cities improve their economic situations? These questions will all be discussed in American State and Urban Politics.
PUBPL 305 - Leadership Studies: Mega Issues for America
There are titanic issues confronting the United States related to American self-understanding: what is America for, why are we at war, who really controls the country, examine aspects of gender, environment, religion, science, and culture wars. These issues comprise politics, economics, history, education, religion, and science. The course will be integrative and will immerse students in an holistic context for learning that leads to a greater ability to make connections, and solve problems. The teachers will not try to force comparisons, but it is important for the world today to let class members see some interrelationships. This course has no prerequisite. PUBPL 305 will be co-taught by Rev. Charles Brock and by Kathy Dahlkemper. Rev. Brock is the director of Penn State Behrend's Institute on the American Dream. He received his divinity degree from Harvard University and a Master of Letters degree from Oxford University in England, where he regularly teaches. Kathy Dahlkemper was a member of the US House of Representatives from Erie between 2009-2010, where she served on the Committees on Agriculture, Small Business, and Science and Technology. She served as the chair of the Small Business Subcommittee on Regulations, Health Care, and Trade. PUBPL 305 will count as a course toward requirements in either the political science major or the political science minor at Penn State Behrend.
28 Penn State Behrend students had a memorable Spring Break in Washington this month as part of the course PL SC 177 - Politics and Government in Washington DC. The students met with all four local members of Congress, toured the Capitol, Library of Congress, Pentagon, Ford's Theatre, and the State Department Diplomatic Reception Rooms, had briefings at the Embassies of Bulgaria, Canada, and Romania and at the Organization of American States and the US Institute of Peace, and visited C-SPAN, the National Archives, Arlington National Cemetery, the Supreme Court, and the Kennedy Center, and all of Washington's most prominent memorials and monuments, including the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
Some of the highlights were unexpected, such as a major snowstorm predicted for Washington that shut down the federal government and resulted in 0 inches of accumulated snow, watching in person from the Senate Gallery a filibuster by Senator Rand Paul against the use of military drones, which turned out to be the longest Senate filibuster since 1992, and the announcement that White House tours were suspended starting March 9, the day of our scheduled White House tour, due to budget sequestration, leading to our group being featured on the front page of the Erie Times-News.
Check out photos from the trip.
While in Washington, PL SC 177 students met with many of our Penn State Behrend political science alumni who now work there, a large number of whom took PL SC 177 themselves when they were Behrend students.
Yuri Unno hosted the group and answered questions at Toyota Motor North America's Washington office, where she is a senior manager for international trade strategy. Sam Epps, a former SGA president, hosted the group and answered questions at the Washington local offices for Unite Here, a union for restaurant, hotel, and casino employees, where he is political director. Alan Quinlan, a former SGA president and a Behrend alumni fellow, hosted the group and answered questions at the offices of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, where Quinlan is president of one of the top Democratic political consulting firms in Washington. Pete Weichlein, CEO at the US Association of Former Members of Congress, joined former Congressman Phil English of Erie to host the group and answer questions at the headquarters of Arent Fox, one of the top law and lobbying firms in Washington.
Karena Bibbins, a senior account executive at Edelman, one of the top public relations firms in the world, joined the group for lunch one day at International Square. And four alumni joined the group for an informal get together one evening at Pentagon City Mall in order to share entertaining stories of working in Washington and to offer advice to current students. These alumni included Aimee Peterson, Senior Director at the Advisory Board Company, a health care research and consulting firm, Lauren Piera, a program analyst at the Department of Justice, Ron Ridgley, a US Capitol police officer, and Derek Pangallo, a systems administrator for the United States Senate.
Aimee Peterson, our Washington alumna with the Advisory Board Company, let us know of a Summer internship opportunity in Washington that is described here.
In addition, Dave Mitchell, director of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's regional office in Erie, has let us know about internship opportunities at his office. Senator Casey, Senator Toomey, and Representative Kelly are always looking for interns at their Erie offices, and all local state legislators, as well as Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott, accept interns as well. For more information about how to contact their offices or apply for internships with these offices, contact Dr. Speel.
For information on how to obtain academic credit for internships, go to the internship policies link on this website.
The deadline to apply for stipends for Summer tuition for unpaid internships is Monday, March 25, at 8 AM. For details see the February Political Science newsletter sent last month.
On Wednesday, April 3, at 7:30 PM, in Burke 180, the Political Science Society, the History Club, and the Creative Writing Program are hosting a presentation from Jeff Schmidt, executive director of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Sierra Club, titled "Beyond Coal in Pennsylvania," about how to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions.
On Thursday, April 18, at 6:00 PM, in Reed 112, the Political Science Society will be hosting a discussion forum on gun control, co-sponsored with College Republicans and College Democrats. All are welcome to attend and join the discussion. Snacks and refreshments will be available.
The Political Science Society is also looking for officers next year. For details, contact President Katrina Cowart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The College Republicans meets Mondays at 5:30 PM in the back of Bruno's. The group is selling t-shirts this semester with a blue outline of President Nixon on the front and a Nixon quote on the back that says "I played by the rules of politics as I found them." The t-shirts will be sold for $10 outside Bruno's on Tuesday and Wednesday between 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM. For more information or to join, contact CR President Nick Loukides at email@example.com or join their Facebook page.
The College Democrats will be holding elections in early April for a new president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary. To find out more, contact CD President Ayodele (Dillon) Osibodu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. John Gamble will be attending the International Studies Association annual convention in early April, where he will be the discussant for a panel titled "European Union Foreign Policy: Aid, Trade, & Humanitarian Intervention," and where he will be the chair and a participant for a roundtable discussion on "International Law's Pursuit of I(G)Os, NGOs, etc...: Have Changes in their Names Obscured their Relevance."
Dr. Kilic Kanat has published an article titled "Evolution of Turkish-Israeli Relations 1992-2008: Causes, Actors, and Reactions," in the Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. In April, he will present a paper titled "Using Multiple Diversionary Strategies in an International Conflict: The Case of Saddam Hussein's Threat to Use Force and Use of Force towards Israel and Kuwait," at the Midwest Political Science Association annual conference in Chicago. Also in April, Dr. Kanat will give a lecture on "Turkish-American Relations During the Obama Administration," at the Niagara Foundation in Columbus, Ohio.
Dr. Robert Speel was interviewed for two articles in the Erie Times-News in March, one about the cancellation of a White House tour for his PL SC 177 class, and one about the lack of Republican candidates for Erie city office this year.