Fall 2015 Mini-Conference

Fall 2015 Mini-Conference
On Sunday, November 22nd, from 1 pm – 3pm, in Dunn 108, three fourth year students engaged attendees regarding issues ranging from high school history curricula to global epidemics and national identity. The topics this were some of our most diverse, and we are excited to be further broadening the scope of our conference.

Charlotte Henderson:
“The Role of High School Curriculum in the Development of Canadian Citizenship: A Look at the Alberta Social Studies 20-1 and Nova Scotia Canadian History 11 Curricula”

This study looked at how citizenship is developed in Alberta’s Social Studies 20-1 and Nova Scotia’s Canadian History 11 curriculums with the goal of determining differences in the presentation of citizenship and its impact on students. The theory is that curricula are developed from the selective tradition of a region, and that this impacts how the notions of citizenship are regionally conceptualized. In order to accomplish this, themes from previous research, including the nature of citizenship and official knowledge, the role of social studies, history, textbooks, and teachers in citizenship development, and the economics of education, were assessed. These themes were then applied to a content analysis of the two aforementioned curriculums in addition to a broader analysis of social studies in their respective provinces.

Andrew Rintoul:
“Conceptualizing Global Health Governance: Inadequacies Revealed in the Face of Ebola”

This study uses the 2014 outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) as a case study to illustrate the inadequacies of global health governance. As was demonstrated by EVD 2014, hegemonic global entities remain unable to adequately respond to epidemics, revealing flaws within global health governance more broadly. Using the theoretical underpinnings of David Roberts in his work, Global Governance and Biopolitics: Regulating Human Security (2010), this study will examine the place of global health governance within the contemporary notion of human security. Will EVD 2014 fundamentally change the way the international community responds to infectious disease epidemics in the future and will global health governance experience the necessary amendments?

James Beirne
“Canadian Foreign Policy and National Identity”
Stephen Harper was widely recognised as having attempted to alter Canada’s national identity. Its approach to foreign policy has been characterised as a shift away from liberal internationalism and towards a more unilateral interventionism. Recent engagement in Iraq and Syria is one policy which apparently represents a step in this direction. But how does a change in policy actually affect a state’s national identity? Constructivist theory has tended to look at the effect of identity on behaviour, but the reverse relationship has been less examined. Actions tend to fit into socially defined roles, so if action changes then we should expect to often see an accompanying change in identity. To study this, we can look at key moments which prompted major, long-term shifts in a state’s foreign policy. If a state acts “out of character”, we can examine how the state responds to this challenge to its identity. If the official identity discourse accepts the challenge and changes in response, we can say the identity has changed.



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