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Political Science Students - Accomplishments

Political Science


Claudia Wright Essay Prize Winner, Runners Up and Jury Comments
for essays written throughout the 2018-2019 academic year

First Prize:  $150    Runners-up:  $50 each

Winner:

Declan Moulden, “Reforming Leviathan: The Developing Relations Between the Chinese Government and Its National Oil Companies” for Prof. Bird’s POL-4605-600 DR: State-Owned Enterprises (Fall 2018)

Runners Up (in alphabetical order):

Riley Black, “‘Til debt do us part: An analysis of international debt and China’s Belt and Road Initiative” for Prof. Silvius’ POL-4415-001 Political Economy and the State (Fall 2018)

Kyle Friesen, “Walking Down Potemkin Streets: An Analysis of Canada’s Policy on ‘Voluntary’ Prostitution’” for Prof. Grace’s POL-3300-001 Public Policy Process, (Fall 2018)

Luc Moulaison, “Edmund Burke’s aesthetic-political critique of the French Revolution,” for Prof. Boucher’s POL-2200-001 Social & Political Philosophy (F/W 2018-19)

Darren Sedor, “The Significance of Rousseau’s Concept of Civil Religion,” for Prof. Boucher’s POL-2200-001 Social & Political Philosophy (F/W 2018-19)

 

Jury: Prof Joanne Boucher, Prof. Peter Ives (Chair) and Prof. Tanya Narozhna

Jury’s Comments:

Winner:

Declan Moulden, “Reforming Leviathan: The Developing Relations Between the Chinese Government and Its National Oil Companies”

In this superbly written and meticulously researched essay, Declan Moulden shows how – contrary to representations in the media and much scholarship – many of the state owned enterprises in the oil and gas sector have considerable agency to act independently of the Chinese government and Chinese Communist Party. These oil companies are not merely tools to implement government policy domestically and internationally. Moulden utilizes the theoretical framework of principal-agent theory to detail the complicated governance arrangements revealing key decisions and actions that cannot be explained merely through recourse to the central government’s interests. Moulden navigates the intricate incentive and policy structures to show that while there is much pressure on the various state owned enterprises dealing with energy we need to approach China as much more than a monolithic entity if we are to truly understand this important country. Moulden’s grasp of a wide set of research literature and his fabulous synthesis of it into a coherent analysis provides an excellent appreciation of the nuances of the so-called Chinese economic miracle.

Runners Up (alphabetical order):

Riley Black, “‘Til debt do us part: An analysis of international debt and China’s Belt and Road Initiative”

Riley Black provides a sophisticated analysis of China's Belt and Road Initiative, a multi-billion dollar undertaking that is arguably the central foreign policy initiative under President Xi Jinping.  Black looks at this multi-faceted phenomenon by considering the politics of international debt, a valuable, subtle, but powerful mechanism through which to cut through contemporary analysis of China's 'grand strategy' ambitions. Demonstrating a clear understanding of heterodox and critical approaches to the study of international debt, Black performs subtle and detailed analysis of contemporary Chinese lending practices in the context of concrete projects within the Belt and Road Initiative. As such, he demonstrates keen political economy sensibilities in this well executed and deftly written paper.

 

Kyle Friesen, “Walking Down Potemkin Streets: An Analysis of Canada’s Policy on ‘Voluntary’ Prostitution’”

In this substantively researched, well written and cogently argued investigation of the federal government’s policy on prostitution, Kyle Friesen presents key debates advanced by leading policy advocates and policy officials asking important questions about the efficacy of types of government action and inaction, and the complexities of responding to conflicting social ideas and views about women’s “voluntary adult prostitution.”  Friesen deftly applied relevant policy sciences literature arguing that resultant gaps due to incoherent responses of Canadian governments reflect.

 

Luc Moulaison, “Edmund Burke’s aesthetic-political critique of the French Revolution”

In this essay, Luc Moulaison presents a sophisticated argument that Edmund Burke’s famous political critique of the French Revolution must be understood through his earlier writings on aesthetics. Moulaison demonstrates the interwoven nature of Burke’s Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of the Sublime and the Beautiful and his Reflections on the Revolution in France through careful readings of both. This essay demonstrates the centrality of Burke’s aesthetics to his response to the French Revolution.


Darren Sedor, “The Significance of Rousseau’s Concept of Civil Religion”

This essay provides a clear and sympathetic account of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s proposals for a civil religion in The Social Contract. Darren Sedor argues that Rousseau’s recommendations attempt to reconcile the perennial dilemmas to political rule posed by the twin pulls of the civic and religious allegiances. He also successfully shows the ways in which Rousseau’s vision of a civil religion is always guided by his primary concern for the common good.



Congratulations to all of you!