Today is Student Scholars Day, and several of our Political Science and International Relations students are featuring their work. If you have time, stop by Kirkhof or Henry Hall to check out their posters and presentations. Posters are made available all day, beginning at 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and the time poster presenters will be there can be found below.
David Leestma, "The Administration of the Hajj"
Poster, 9-10 a.m.
Henry Hall Atrium 013
For those with jurisdiction over the Hijaz, ensuring the safety and security of pilgrims has been a central tenet of governance. Although at times stemming from genuine piety, administrating the Hajj has additionally served to legitimate political power in both domestic and international spheres. Technological changes in transportation, and changes in international politics witnessed since the inception of the Saudi state have greatly altered the degree and scope of safety and security issues. By building off the scant literature on the Hajj, utilizing a range of Saudi and international press sources, supplemented by interviews with former Saudi government officials, this study uncovers the uniquely modern challenges to the Saudi government’s procurement of safety and security, and the policies employed by the Saudi government to ensure safety and security during the pilgrimage. A historical analysis of domestic and international security challenges reveals that Saudi Arabia has met those challenges by attempting to remove external political expressions from the pilgrimage, the employment of vast technological resources, and engineering innovation.
Mentor: Sebastian Maisel
Marc Plooster, "Principles or Resources: The Justice of Foundation Allowances in Michigan"
Poster, 9-10 a.m.
Kirkhof Center GRR 026
In 1994, Proposition A changed the way Public K-12 education is funded in Michigan. Beginning in 1994-1995, a system of foundational grants was established to shift the burden from local fund generation to State shared funding. The debate since 1994 has revolved around the ability of the foundation allowance system to meet the dynamic needs of school districts. Using foundation allowance totals and the Value-Added Matrix, I argue Proposition A violates John Rawls’ principles of justice. Rawls’ first principle states everyone (every school district) has a right to the greatest possible liberties so long as they do not violate others’ liberties. In his second principle, Rawls writes the greatest benefit goes to the least advantaged. Michigan’s hold harmless school districts are one example of the incompatibility. Using Ronald Dworkin’s equality of welfare and equality of resources, I propose a revised education funding system acceptable under Rawls’ principles of justice.
Mentor: Darren Walhof
Samuel Hanna, "Federalism as a Defense Against Semi-Authoritarian Control in the Rump Yugoslavia"
Presentation, 2:30-3:00 p.m.
Kirkhof Center 2201
In 2006 Montenegro became the first entity of the former Yugoslavia in fourteen years to declare its independence, but Vojvodina did not follow suit. I argue that this difference was due to the different administrative statuses of these territories after 1990. This understanding addresses a rarely-studied variable of semi-authoritarian regimes by showing that federal systems can undermine their stability. Miloševi solidified his control of Serbia by stripping Vojvodina and Kosovo of their autonomy in 1990, but Montenegro's continuing federal relationship with Serbia allowed Montenegrin political elites to increase their autonomy in order to shield themselves from Miloševi's growing tyranny, eventually leading to full independence. Without that option, leaders of Vojvodina focused on supporting the mainstream Serbian opposition. Thus the final dissolution of the Yugoslav federation was the result of local leaders using the federal system as an antidote to tyranny.
Mentor: Heather Tafel
Marissa Swartz, "Economic Context and Civic Engagement: the Effects of Localism in Four Michigan Cities"
Poster, 4-5 p.m.
Kirkhof Center GRR 016
The economic structure of a city affects the civic well-being of its residents. The degree of localism in an economy affects the area’s social capital, contributing to the development of its civic institutions. I examine the relationship between localism and social capital in case studies of four Michigan cities: Flint, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Pontiac. A more local, or independent economic structure, is resilient to harmful effects of globalization. Local business leaders support civic institutions. Bridging social capital flourishes, creating a civically engaged population. Big-business dominated economic structures, on the other hand, foster an unstable environment and are relatively more susceptible to the effect of global economic forces. The heart of a locality’s economic structure thus provides insight into the development of a city’s civic institutions.
Mentor: Whitt Kilburn