Seven political science students from the University of Arkansas at Monticello presented original research papers to the Southern Political Science Association’s annual national conference in New Orleans January 9-11.
The conference brought together professors and students specializing in the social sciences from around the world. UAM students presented papers on panels that included representatives from the University of Melbourne (Australia), the National Chung Hsing University (Taiwan), the University of Toronto, Rutgers University and Vanderbilt University.
Willie “Rex” Davis, Courtney Thrower, Amanda Thompson and Reba Worthen of Monticello, Daniel Degges of Crossett, Hunter Fowler of Glenwood and Reva Humphries of Dewitt comprised the seven-person UAM delegation. Each student gave a 15-minute conference presentation of their individual research papers in political science, criminal justice or social work to different panels during the course of the conference.
Davis, a senior social work and political science double major, and Worthen, a junior criminal justice major with a political science minor, presented papers applying a political science perspective to issues grounded in social work and criminal justice. Davis’ paper, entitled “Veterans Storming the Hill for their Rights: The Innovative IAVA Approach to Lobbying,” addressed issues related to finding effective ways to provide better services to returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Worthen’s paper, entitled “’Something’s Gotta Give’: Recidivism versus Rehabilitation in the Criminal Justice System,” considered innovative ways to reduce the number of repeat offenders returning to prison in the United States.
Fowler, a junior political science major, Humphries, a senior political science major, and Degges, a senior history and political science double major, presented theoretical papers that attempted to find better ways to understand empirical events through a new appraisal of existing theory. Degges’ paper, entitled “The Recipe for Revolution: A Study of Success and Failure in Revolutionary Movements,” addressed ways to assess how revolutions begin by looking at the importance of the early leaders of burgeoning social movements. Fowler’s paper, entitled: “Legitimate or not Legitimate? That is the Question: A Reappraisal of Legitimacy in Authoritarian Regimes,” assessed the potential to find more holistic ways to assess the successes and failures of non-democratic regimes to better understand them.Humphries’ paper, entitled “Silent Screams of a Forbidden Trade: Power Relations in the Sex Trade,” looked for better ways to conceptualize power relations within human trafficking syndicates to better address this growing international problem.
Thrower, a senior political science and criminal justice double major, and Thompson, a senior political science major, presented papers focusing on issues of international law and state sovereignty. Thompson’s paper, entitled “Should Countries ‘Go It Alone’: Comparing Unilateral Efforts of Counterterrorism and United Nations Initiatives,” assessed the successes and failures of unilateral attempts by countries to fight terrorist threats, as opposed to coordinated attempts by the United Nations. Thrower’s paper, entitled “The Competing Interests of International Law and State Sovereignty: A Legal Conundrum,” looked at ways to resolve competing interests related to state sovereignty and international law when considering military campaigns in the international community.
“Presenting research papers and participating in a national conference like this one provides students with experiences that cannot be matched in the classroom,” said Dr. Rick Clubb, acting interim dean of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “The quality of our students’ presentations was exceptional. It lets them know they can compete with anyone. This is a great motivator for our students, as is the opportunity to meet and interact with students from other universities. The political science students have excelled in taking advantage of these opportunities and in responding to the associated challenges. I am also grateful that the University supports student involvement in programs of this nature.”
Clubb lauded Dr. Carol Strong, associate professor of political science, for mentoring the students who participated in the conference. “The School and I are proud of these students and the work Dr. Strong has done in mentoring them,” Clubb said. “I am excited to see what they will accomplish in the future.”