Skip to Main Content

The PoliSci Newsletter

Mike Touchton Quoted in Anniston Star

Assistant Professor Michael Touchton was quoted in an article in the Anniston (Alabama) Star about plans for redevelopment of Fort McClellan as a possible retirement community. The fort was closed in 1999 in a post-Cold-War realignment. Read the story, “McClellan redevelopment picking up, but long road ahead”, at The Anniston Star.

Boise State to host 10th annual Minidoka Civil Liberties Symposium

Boise State will host the 10th annual Minidoka Civil Liberties Symposium June 24-25. The event features two days of speakers covering topics including immigration, historical civil liberties violations in America and how they still affect us today.

“The symposium was inspired by a desire to tell the story of the Japanese American incarceration during World War II as an extreme example of the violation of civil liberties of Americans,” explained political science professor Ross Burkhart. “In particular, the Minidoka camp, only a couple of hours away from Boise, makes this historical black eye close to Idahoans.”

Speakers will include former legislator Nicole LeFavour, lobbyist Bill Roden and Tom Ikeda, educator and founder of Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project, among others.

Boise State partners with the National Park Service, Friends of Minidoka, the College of Southern Idaho and the Idaho American Civil Liberties Union to produce and host the symposium. Students are welcome to attend the symposium for workshop credit or for non-credit, as are community members. Students who would like to attend the symposium for one course credit are encouraged to contact Burkhart at

The symposium will run 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. June 24-25. Registration is $70, which includes breakfast and lunch both days. For more information or to register, go to

Justin Vaughn Published in The Conversation

VaughnJ-1209-150x150Assistant Professor Justin Vaughn was recently published on the Academic website The Conversation.  His article, titled “Is George W Bush a burden or blessing for Jeb Bush’s 2016 campaign?”, examines whether the legacy of former president George W. Bush will help or hinder Jeb Bush’s bid for the Republican nomination.

Brian Wampler’s New Book

Political science professor Brian Wampler’s latest book took him and his family more than 6,000 miles to witnessWampler's second book, Activating Democracy in Brazil participatory democracy in action.

A Fulbright Scholar in 2009 and 2010, Wampler spent time in Belo Horizonte, the sixth largest city in Brazil. For the next year he studied how Brazil’s new constitution in 1988 changed life in the country. For the last two and a half decades Brazil has included citizen councils in nearly all of the country’s public policy decisions. But a major change in government policy doesn’t happen overnight and some municipalities have been more apt to change than others.


Justin Vaughn Published in New York Times

VaughnJ-1209-150x150Justin S. Vaughn authored an op-ed on the nation’s best and worst ex-presidents for The New York Times. “The Making of a Great Ex-President” was published in the Sunday edition of the Times.

Brian Wampler Organizes Conference

Photo-Wampler,BrianBrian Wampler helped organize an international conference on participation and public policy in Brazil. In addition to organizing the conference, he presented at the conference’s opening roundtable and gave the closing remarks.


Brian Wampler Publishes New Book

Photo-Wampler,BrianBrian Wampler, professor of political science at Boise State University, has published a new book titled ACTIVATING DEMOCRACY IN BRAZIL: Popular Participation, Social Justice, and Interlocking Institutions.

In 1988, Brazil’s Constitution marked the formal establishment of a new democratic regime. In the ensuing two and a half decades, Brazilian citizens, civil society organizations, and public officials have undertaken the slow, arduous task of building new institutions to ensure that Brazilian citizens have access to rights that improve their quality of life, expand their voice and vote, change the distribution of public goods, and deepen the quality of democracy. According to Wampler, the 1988 Constitution marks the formal start of the participatory citizenship regime, but there has been tremendous variation in how citizens and public officials have carried it out. This book demonstrates that the variation results from the interplay of five factors: state formation, the development of civil society, government support for citizens’ use of their voice and vote, the degree of public resources available for spending on services and public goods, and the rules that regulate forms of participation, representation, and deliberation within participatory venues. By focusing on multiple democratic institutions over a twenty-year period, this book illustrates how the participatory citizenship regime generates political and social change.

“Brian Wampler has written the best book so far on the ‘real working’ of participatory government in Brazil. Wampler provides the reader with a multidimensional analysis of government in Belo Horizonte that goes from the grassroots level to several different government policies. In the end, he manages to provide an excellent view of how participatory policies weave together government and civil society actors. Everyone interested in participatory government should read this book.” —Leonardo Avritzer, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

ACTIVATING DEMOCRACY IN BRAZIL is available from the University of Notre Dame Press in paperback and as an e-book.

ACTIVATING DEMOCRACY IN BRAZIL is part of the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies series.

Justin Vaughn chimes in about Obama’s legacy

VaughnJ-1209-150x150Justin Vaughn was quoted in an Associated Press article that ran in several media outlets, including the Detroit News. It was titled “Obama’s presidential legacy begins to take shape.” As Obama begins to talk about post-administration goals, Vaughn notes that the issues president’s choose to embrace out of office tend to stem from personal values or events that occurred during their administration. Read “Obama’s presidential legacy begins to take shape” here.

Original Source: Detroit News – 5/6/15

Scott Yenor’s Article Published in The Federalist

In the article titled “In Defense of Planet Fitness”, Scott Yenor argues that a fitness centers’ policy to allow members to use the respective facilities of their self-declared gender identity is just “fine”. In response to a member of Planet Fitness who revoked her membership due to the nature of this policy, Yenor states “If you do not like Planet Fitness’s policy on showers, then go to a health club that has sex-segregated policies”. This leads to a more broad discussion on non-discriminatory laws. Read more of “In Defense of Planet Fitness” here.

Original Sources: The Update – 4/23/15, The Federalist – 3/26/15

New School of Public Service

The Vice President, Laura Simic, comments on the changes that will be occurring as the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs dissolves into the new School of Public Service and College of Arts and Science. The new School of Public Service, with Corey Cook serving as its inaugural dean, “is made up of rich and diverse academic programs that will prepare students, public servants, and leaders to think both regionally and globally in an interdependent world”. Read more about SPS here.

Original Source: Read more about the New School of Public Service from the Vice President – 4/21/15