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The PoliSci Newsletter

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

Dr. Michael Allen Chats with Boise Weekly

Citizen_MichaelAllen“In anticipation of his Saturday, April 25 public presentation on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Boise Weekly sat down with Dr. Michael Allen to talk about the terrorist regime known as ISIS” (Boise Weekly). In the interview, Dr. Allen responds to questions regarding ISIS’s objectives and how to measure their success as a terrorist group. Read more of the interview with Dr. Allen here.

Original Source: Boise Weekly – 4/22/15

Justin Vaughn’s Survey Quoted by New York Times

VaughnJ-1209-150x150Justin Vaughn, an assistant professor for the Department of Political Science, conducted a survey with the help of Brandon Rottinghaus of University of Houston that was quoted in an article by the New York Times about the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Read the full article, “Abraham Lincoln, the One President All of Them Want to Be More Like” at the New York Times.

Original Source: The Update – 4/15/2015; New York Times – 4/14/2015

Greg Raymond Quoted in Serbian Newspaper

Greg Raymond, a political science professor at Boise State University, is a frequent contributor to Danas, a daily newspaper published in Belgrade, Serbia. According to The Update, “He was recently interviewed on the foreign policy implications of the planned visit to the United States by Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić”.

Original Source: The Update – 4/14/2015,

New Dean of Public Service

dean“Corey Cook, who worked in public policy education at the University of San Francisco, has been named the inaugural dean of Boise State University’s College of Public Service. The college, which will combine several departments including political science, criminal justice and military science, becomes operational in early July.”

Original Source: Idaho Statesman – 4/8/2015

“Controlling the Message”

Justin Vaughn recently edited a book titled “Controlling the Message: New Media in American Political Campaigns” with the help of Victoria Farrar-Myers. This book contains a series of essays featuring research conducted during the 2012 elections. Chapter authors “look at the impact of YouTube and the flow of information across social media”, the impact new media technology has had on political journalism, and how it affects the way citizens engage with campaigns and each other (Library Jornal). Released on March 27, “Controlling the Message” was recently listed by Library Journal as an Editors’ Spring Pick.