Collaboration is the key to research and scholarly activity at Earlham. These experiences help students develop close relationships with faculty members, as well as learn critical thinking and research skills. All Politics faculty regularly engage in both Ford-Knight Research Projects (which have a three decade tradition at the college) and independent study projects. These provide a chance to join the ongoing research agendas of our faculty members, although there are also opportunities to pursue more individualized projects.
African Citizenship — Legal and Conceptual Dimensions: This collaborative research project engaged students in exploring African citizenship and applied the findings in both research projects and new course development. This opportunity leveraged Associate Professor of Politics Jennifer Seely’s past work on citizenship in Africa (in collaboration with Jeannette Money from the University of California at Davis), which uncovered a wide variety of legal approaches to citizenship on the part of African governments. For this project students expanded the use of an existing coding scheme for evaluating restrictions on access to citizenship in African states, and used secondary sources to research case studies to complement the quantitative analysis. A group of students who worked on this project in Spring 2010 presented their findings at the annual African Studies Association conference in Washington D.C. and ultimately worked with Dr. Seely to publish the work in the journal Citizenship Studies (click here to view article). Another student who worked on the project in Summer 2010 presented findings with Dr. Seely at the annual Midwest Political Science Association Conference in Chicago [“Changing Citizenship Laws in Africa: Namibia and Other ‘Late’ Independents.”].
Hydrocarbon Nation: This ongoing series of independent study projects has involved students in conducting research and writing case studies for chapters relating to various energy-related revolutions during the past two centuries. These case studies have contributed to a book being written by Associate Professor of Politics Thor Hogan, which is a political and economic history of the United States told through the lens of energy and climate policy. Students thus far have written case studies of the development of the national highway system and the green revolution. This spring students will be engaged in trying to understand the impact of generational dynamics on key realigning elections.
The View From Space: This collaborative research project involved students in conducting research and writing a rough draft for the epilogue to a book being written by Associate Professor of Politics Thor Hogan. When published, this will be the first book to describe and analyze the evolution of the Mission to Planet Earth (MPTE) initiative -- which is a satellite program intended to advance earth sciences. The book traces MTPE from its formative years in the 1980s to its political and technical struggles in the 1990s to its scientific successes in the 2000s. Students wrote sections on climate science, satellite technology, policy changes, and political challenges -- then worked as a group to provide a synthetic description of the first fifteen years of program implementation.