Meet our graduate students

Recent Thesis


Recent MA Thesis

Explore the exciting Master’s theses completed by our recent MA students.

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Recent PhD Thesis

Explore working dissertation titles of our doctoral candidates (i.e., ABDs) as well as our completed dissertations.

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Our graduate students

We are home to a vibrant community of approximately 40 graduate students. Their work covers every field within Political Science and across our research clusters.

Camielle "Cami" Adams (MA Student)

Camielle "Cami" Adams (MA Student)

Field: International Relations

Cluster: Blades, Bombs, Bullets and 'Bots; Human Rights Violations and Protections; Public Opinion

Bio:  I study international relations and Canadian politics with a focus on far-right movements across Canadian and American borders, more specifically how social media is fueling the propagation of far-right political groups and policy. My research focuses on how social media introduces Westerners, particularly Americans and Canadians, to far-right ideologies and often reinforces those views through “echo chambers” or forums where those ideals often go unchallenged.

Diana Adongo

Diana Adongo (MA Student)

Field: Comparative Politics, Indigenous Politics, International Relations

Clusters: Human Rights Violations and Protections; Theorizing Beyond The Liberal Order, Blades, Bombs, Bullets and ‘Bots, Legal Regimes and Politics.

Bio: I am interested in the role of non-western countries in the international system, in the context of decolonization. My research specifically concerns the role of China, and their alternative form of development in Africa, and the risks and benefits associated with this alliance. My project will investigate the circumstances surrounding the involvement and partnerships of African nations in the Belt and Road initiative, to answer the question of why certain countries choose to ally themselves with Beijing through the Initiative. To accomplish this goal, I intend to draw from international relations scholarship of realism, and constructivism, coupled with post-colonial and decolonization scholarship.

I hope to benefit the field through understanding the survivability or sustainability of decolonized governance practices when faced with international agreements and treaties that focus on economic revitalization, while ignoring or potentially harming sociopolitical concerns.

Ben Adu Gyamfi (PhD Student)

Ben Adu Gyamfi (PhD Student)

Fields: Comparative Politics

Bio: I am interested in Public Administration and Public Sector Reforms, Public Policy, Local Governance, Business-Government Relations, International Development, Resource Management in Africa, and Institutional Theory (The New Institutionalism). The African continent as a whole has since the mid-1970s witnessed a renewed interest in and a drive towards decentralization as a “perennial tool for development” and an instrument for efficient and participatory governance. Yet, the level of development achieved in most parts of Africa is ‘nothing to write home about’. My current research, therefore, seeks to revisit the question: Why has decentralization failed to achieve its development goals in Africa.

Enoch Appiagyei (PhD Student)

Enoch Appiagyei (PhD Student)

Fields: International Relations

Bio: My area of specialization is International Law & the Politics of International Security. My research interests include International Ethics, International Criminal Punishment, International Courts, Human Rights, and Just War Theories.
For the most significant part of my doctoral studies, I seek to address the question of selective justice within the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Ashpal Atwal (MA Student)

Ashpal Atwal (MA Student)

Fields: Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics

Bio: My main areas of interest are Canadian political institutions and Canadian judicial politics. My research will look at the interaction and relationship between Indigenous peoples, the court system, and the use of litigation as a political strategy. My research looks to answer whether a unified legal mobilization strategy lead by Indigenous peoples could create a ‘dialogue’ between the Supreme Court and the different levels of government and if this legal tactic increases right claims for Indigenous peoples.

John Gabriel (JG) Cabayao (MA Student)

John Gabriel (JG) Cabayao (MA Student)

Fields: Comparative Politics (Southeast Asia), Indigenous Politics

Research Clusters: Environmental Politics

Bio: Kamusta, Bonjour, Hello!

My name is JG (he/him). I am a second-year master’s student, specialising in the comparative politics of Southeast Asia. I am interested in environmental politics, social movements, and Indigenous politics in the “postcolonial” state. My current research is a within-case study of Indigenous movements as well as peasant and rural movements in the Philippines. More specifically, how these groups responded to state policies concerning Indigenous land claims and agricultural land redistribution respectively. This research explores how developing states address the issue of land reform in the era of postcolonialism and neoliberalism. In future studies, I want to expand this comparative study by including similar cases from across Southeast Asia (e.g. Indonesia, Malaysia) as well as from Latin America (e.g. Bolivia, Peru).

 

Alexander Chuchin (MA Student)

Alexander Chuchin (MA Student)

Fields: Canadian Politics; Comparative Politics

Research Cluster: Canadian Political Institutions; Elections and Representation; Public Opinion

Bio: My current research focuses on the development and the perceived decline of political institutions in advanced democracies. Likely the oldest Canadian tradition is to claim that Parliament is broken: Jeffrey Simpson patriated the oxymoron “benevolent dictator”; Donald Savoie lamented the end of “accountability” and the “beyond repair” convergence of federal departments; and a century before Lawrence Martin’s Harperland, the New York Times reported that Sir John A. Macdonald’s Canada was no longer democratic. Through assisting Prof. Anthony Sayer’s Canadian Elections Database, I am interested in exploring how and why Canada came to have one of the highest turnover rates in elected legislators, but one of the most stable governments among comparable democracies.

Rob Clifton (MA Student)

Rob Clifton (MA Student)

Fields: International Relations

Research Clusters: Blades, Bombs, Bullets and ‘Bots; Public Opinion; Canadian Political Institutions

Bio: The focus of my studies engage with recent Franklin Expedition discoveries, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, and how these relate to Canada's quest and narrative regarding Arctic sovereignty and how much can be understood through Securitization Theory. I received my Bachelor of Arts and Science at the University of Lethbridge, with Political Science and Psychology being my majors.

Meagan Cloutier (PhD Student)

Meagan Cloutier (PhD Student)

2020 Killam Pre-Doctoral Laureate Scholarship Winner

Fields: Canadian Politics, Gender and Politics

Research Clusters: Canadian Political Institutions, Gender and Politics, Elections and Representation

Bio: My master's thesis research found that constituency offices employ a greater number of women than men. This suggests that masculine dominance of more powerful political roles is replicated across multiple locations of electoral representation. My doctoral research extends this project by investigating how ideas about gender shape the work performed the constituency offices, and implications for women's involvement in politics. My doctoral research aims to understand the gendered division of labour of constituency offices, including what tasks are assigned to which employees and why. I also explore how the role of Members of Parliament as employers of their constituency offices, and how employee-employer interactions are structured by gender in these offices. I investigate the prevalence of (sexual) harassment in these positions and the gender differences in the recruitment of political staff into elected or more powerful political positions.

My research also explores the role of front-line workers in representative democracy, looking at the work and effectiveness of front-line workers, who are the first point of contact for constituents. My doctoral research aims to present many new insights, including backroom dynamics of political recruitment, MPs as employers, and gendered divisions of representational work in federal politics.
 

Laura Conrad (MA Student)

Laura Conrad (MA Student)

Fields: Canadian Politics

Clusters: Gender and Politics; Elections and Representation; Canadian Political Institutions

Bio: One of the main functions of political parties is to recruit individuals to run for elected office.
However, recruitment still occurs even in the absence of parties. My research looks at how
political recruitment happens in the non-partisan environment of municipal politics, specifically
focusing on the Alberta context. I am interested in looking at who recruits, if anyone, into
municipal politics, where candidates are recruited from, and how or if partisanship runs in the
background of these seemingly non-partisan elections. I am especially interested in the
gendered nature of recruitment. The prevailing literature concludes that women are less likely
to be recruited than men but I want to explore how the absence of political parties influences
these conclusions.

 

Ryan Crosschild (PhD Student)

Ryan Crosschild (PhD Student)

Fields: Indigenous Politics; Canadian Politics

Clusters: Theorizing Beyond the Liberal Order

Bio: Oki nikso'kowaiksi. Nitaniko Sikapiohkiitopi. Greetings, my name is Ryan and I am Nitsitapii from Kainaiwa (Blood Tribe), which is part of Siksikaitsitapi (Blackfoot Confederacy). I belong to the Fish Eaters Clan and serve as a member of the Grey Horse Society. I was born and raised in Lethbridge, and educated on the unceded territories of the Musqueam people at UBC where I completed my undergraduate degree in Political Science and Indigenous Studies. My research interests include Prairie Indigenous Political Philosophy and Indigiqueer resurgence and governance formations. My doctoral research builds off of my MA, in which I examined how Indigenous territorialities and the relational networks they carry, are central to the political resurgence of queer people within Blackfoot governance and resurgence formations. It flows from the concluding questions I raised in my MA about what it means to engage in highly divisive questions of memory in the context and aftermaths of targeted gender oppression and violence that my current PhD work unfolds. In my doctoral research I ask, how do we create pathways to decolonial futures in the presence of traditionalized heteropatriarchy and anthropocentrism in Indigenous governance and resurgence paradigms? Specifically, I turn to the Buffalo Treaty (2016) as way to understand how the removal of salient kin, in this case Buffalo, impacted Indigenous life and politics, and what political strategies are being adopted contemporarily to address it. This will afford me an opportunity to critically reflect on the way relational ethics and politics are negotiated, governed, and managed in contemporary expressions of inter-Indigenous/inter-being resurgence.

Tara Cranna (PhD Student)

Tara Cranna (PhD Student)

Fields: Canadian Politics and International Relations

Clusters: Blades, Bombs, Bullets and ‘Bots; Gender and Politics

Bio: My research interests focus on terrorism studies and counterterrorism policy. While my master’s thesis focused on the use of sexual violence by terrorist groups, my PhD dissertation will be switching gears to look at the way governments, particularly Canada, securitize an act as one of terrorism. Why are some crimes automatically deemed to be terrorism, while others are labelled as hate crimes? What implications does this have for prevention and justice? I am particularly interested in looking at the way that gender may impact this process of securitization. 

Ryan Dean (PhD Candidate)

Ryan Dean (PhD Candidate)

Fields: International Relations

Research Clusters: Blades, Bombs, Bullets and ‘Bots

Bio: I study international relations and Canadian politics with a focus on Arctic relations. My dissertation looks at Canadian policy formulation towards the Arctic since the 1980s. Specifically, I am interested in the creation of security threats by various stakeholders to the Canadian Arctic and the construction and deconstruction of these threats as political practices to attain policy goals.

Bryanne De Castro Rocha (MA Student)

Bryanne De Castro Rocha (MA Student)

Fields: International Relations

Bio:  I study sustainable development, more specifically how benefits are distributed between countries. The concept of Education for Sustainable Development is key because it can help reduce inequalities globally and domestically.

Rachel Grigg (MA Student)

Rachel Grigg (MA Student)

Fields: Canadian Politics

Research Clusters: Gender and Politics; Elections and Representations

Bio: My research focuses on elections and voter behaviour and representation of women in Canadian politics at the federal and provincial level of government. I am interested in political ambition and the factors that encourage or discourage women from running for elected office. Additionally, I’m interested in the effect of the media on elections and voter behaviour, particularly the impact of gendered news and how the media influences vote choice.

Alex Hayes (MA Student)

Alex Hayes (MA Student)

Fields: Canadian Politics

Bio: I focus on Canadian Politics. More specifically, voters, elections, and political parties. I look at how parties, voters, and elections shift over time. Currently, my research focuses on a descriptive analysis of women's representation in the provincial elections of western Canada.

Samuel Ho

Samuel Ho (MA Student)

Field: Comparative Politics

Clusters: Theorizing Beyond The Liberal Order; Blades, Bombs, Bullets and ‘Bots

Bio: My research interests are in civil-military relations, institutions, and social organization in general. Such as how do different social groups (like the military) function and act both within their organizations and with others in society. I am especially interested in civil-military relations in the People’s Republic of China and how that relationship has shaped the role and place of military in that society.

Andrew Kemle (MA Student)

Andrew Kemle (MA Student)

Fields: Political Theory

Research Cluster: Theorizing Beyond the Liberal Order

Bio: My research uses Public Sphere Theory—and Nancy Fraser's contributions to it in particular--as a lens to analyse the challenges neoliberalism has created for liberal-democratic institutions and norms. I am particularly interested in the public sphere's ability to form legitimate public opinion and translate that into political action in light of the social, economic, and institutional changes undergone in the “neoliberal era”. A normative aspect of my work will consider alternative forms of democracy: specifically, that of cosmopolitanism and anarchism. A secondary interest is the political economy of development and how alternative solutions to governance issues in the developed world could be applied to similar issues in the periphery.

Comfort Kwarteng (PhD Candidate)

Comfort Kwarteng (PhD Candidate)

Fields: Comparative Politics

Research Clusters: Gender and Politics; Human Rights Violations and Protections

Bio: Comfort Tiwaa Kwarteng is a PhD candidate and Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Calgary, specializing in Comparative Politics and International Relations with interests in health, policy, security, migration, gender, domestic violence, and African Politics. She had her MA (Political Science) at Brock University and her bachelor education in Political Science and Archaeology at the University of Ghana.

Raj Lakhan (MA Student)

Raj Lakhan (MA Student)

Fields: International Relations

Bio: My research interests include areas of proliferation and arms control. I am particularly interested in studying how successful in a global arms treaty would be in stopping the proliferation of hypersonic weapons.

Tamara Manolache (MA Student)

Tamara Manolache (MA Student)

Field: International Relations

Cluster: Public Opinion; Theorizing Beyond The Liberal Order

Bio: I am passionate about international relations, history, and comparative politics. My area of research includes economics, foreign policies, and strategies, specifically the US-China trade war and the way it affects Canada. My project will represent an analysis of Canada’s political and trade strategies in the context of the US-China trade war, starting from the assumption that Canada will benefit in some sectors of the industry, and in others it will lose from international taxes and tariffs.  

Reed Merrill (MA Student)

Reed Merrill (MA Student)

Fields: Canadian Politics

Clusters: Elections and Representation, Canadian Political Institutions

Bio: In democratic theory there is a long history of concern for how size influences the quality of
democracy. My current project contributes to that tradition by studying the consequences of
municipal population size on incumbent success rates and the advantages enjoyed by
incumbent candidates due to their incumbent status. This is accomplished by modelling
Canadian municipal elections data.

Dawn Moffat McMaster (PhD Student)

Dawn Moffat McMaster (PhD Student)

Fields: Canadian Politics, Gender and Politics, Comparative Politics

Research Clusters: Canadian Political Institutions, Gender and Politics, Elections and Representation, Public Opinion 

Bio: My doctoral work will focus on the non-profit sector as a potential pipeline to electoral success in Canadian Politics. I’m interested in whether women’s overrepresentation in the not-for-profit sector may contribute to greater interest in and potential success as political candidates across various levels of government in Canada. I theorize that the backgrounds of candidates in the private and /or not-for-profit sectors may have an influence on identification of potential candidates and the success of those candidates. More broadly, I’m interested in the growing influence of the not-for-profit sector on electoral politics and political institutions. 

I have been engaged in community social innovation research at Grande Prairie Regional College, and my most recent work has been on a SSHRC-funded project on Youth Civic Engagement in Northern Resource Economies. I see community engagement as fundamental to the role of academics in the public sphere, and this informs both my academic and civic practices.  

Lauren Moslow (PhD Candidate)

Lauren Moslow (PhD Candidate)

Fields: International Relations

Bio: My research interests include Canadian and American foreign and defence policies, circumpolar relations and Arctic sovereignty and security studies. As a PhD candidate (ABD) my thesis examines the extent to which Arctic states are collaborating on the development of disputed natural resources, (oil and gas, fish stocks, minerals) in an environmentally sustainable manner and in accordance with the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Arctic state compliance with the tenants of the Polar Code and the Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement, are also investigated.

Cara Peacock (MA Student)

Cara Peacock (MA Student)

Fields: Political Theory; Indigenous Politics

Clusters: Gender and Politics; Theorizing Beyond the Liberal Order

Bio: I study political theory and Indigenous politics, focusing specifically on Western political
thought at the nexus of race and colonialism, Indigenous political thought, and Indigenous
feminist thought. My research theorizes settler-colonialism as an ontological problem, meaning
that settler-colonialism is not merely a historical event, set of relations, or a structure but
rather it forms a discrete ontology. Moreover, my research looks at Indigenous women’s
political organizing through Idle No More, examining how Indigenous women’s political action challenges the logics and ontology settler-colonialism and how their on-the-ground political
organizing informs the theoretical and political base of Indigenous feminism. Additionally, I am
interested in how this political organizing creates important ruptures in the settler-colonial
ontology and world-making, wherein Indigenous women can world anew, effectively
empowering Indigenous women and communities, while strengthening larger Indigenous
movements of sovereignty, self-determination, and decolonization.

 

Zach Pfeifer

Zach Pfeifer (MA Student)

Field: Political Theory

Cluster: Theorizing Beyond the Liberal Order

Bio: My research interests are the conceptual formation and decay of political communities. I am particularly interested in the formation of the West as a distinct political community and how the understanding of this community both shapes and is shaped by historical narratives. My research approach draws on the traditions of the history of political thought and the history of ideas. 

Saaka Sulemana (PhD Student)

Saaka Sulemana Saaka (PhD Student)

Fields: Comparative Politics and International Relations

Bio: Prior to joining U of C, I earned a bachelor's in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Ghana and an MA in Political Science (Public Policy) from Brock University. My broad research interests include comparative public policy, social policy, gender policy, and gender and politics, specifically female representation (political & portfolio appointments) in developing countries, from both historical and contemporary perspectives and how that shapes (if any) gender policy discourse. 

Ruth Thorkelson (MA Student)

Ruth Thorkelson (MA Student)

Field: Canadian politics

Bio: My focus is Canadian politics, and my research is in the intersection of incumbency, party discipline, and political communications. While national campaigns use mass voter contact profiles, I am interested in the use of local and specific voter outreach material and activation programs by individual MPs, both during elections and their terms. I am interested in identifying success or failure in riding-specific voter outreach and activation.

Camilo Torres (MA Student)

Camilo Torres (MA Student)

Fields: Comparative Politics

Bio: My current research focuses on forms of political communication and the construction of identity among victims, perpetrators, and bystanders in instances of genocide, in an effort to elaborate on existing theories about genocidal policies and decision-making. Additionally, I am interested in how regimes construct their visions of an idealized, post-atrocity society and how this affects patterns of communication and development before the radicalization of the genocidal state.

Dakoda Trithara (PhD Candidate)

Dakoda Trithara (PhD Candidate)

2020–21 Eyes High International Doctoral Recruitment Scholarship Winner

Fields: International Relations

Research Cluster: Legal Regimes and Politics

Bio: I study international relations and comparative politics with a focus on technology, platform governance, and cyber norms. Cyberspace, an environment where information is created, stored, and exchanged, is a domain where various actors such as states, multinational corporations, and other non-state actors interact and compete with one another. Meanwhile, cyber activities are becoming part of everyday functions for individuals across societies. My research interests include examining how humans interact in cyberspace for political purposes, how states assert their digital sovereignty, and how various global actors contest digital rights and the content moderation regime.

Ricardo Vernet (PhD Candidate)

Ricardo Vernet (PhD Candidate)

Fields: Comparative Politics

Research Clusters: Elections and Representation; Human Rights Violations and Protections; Latin American Politics; Theorizing Beyond The Liberal Order

Bio: I am interested in the development of political regimes. My focus is particularly on the factors that explain the propensity of different types of political regimes to survive. My current project examines the process of democratization in Haiti and Nicaragua. The two countries share striking similarities, yet transition to democracy in both cases resulted in divergent political regimes. My project attempts to explain why the process of democratization led to different political outcomes. I also have a strong interest in comparative politics, failed states, Caribbean politics, and peasant studies.

Ginamaria Vetro (MA Student)

Ginamaria Vetro (MA Student)

Field: Comparative Politics

Research Clusters: Latin American Politics; Gender and Politics

Bio: In recent years, there has been an increase in reports of harassment and violence directed at
women in politics around the globe. While these incidences were once considered inherent to
the political game, they are now perceived to be gender-based, aimed specifically at excluding
women from political participation because they are women. This phenomenon has been
termed “violence against women in politics” (VAWIP). While most of the research on VAWIP
has been directed at women in the electoral sphere, I am interested in examining women who
engage in politics through extra institutional channels, such as social movements. Existing
research has shown that it is most often marginalized women that participate in politics
through these extra institutional channels. As such, my research takes an intersectional
approach and examines women in Latin America and their experiences with political violence
that are linked not only to their gender, but also their race, class, sexual orientation, and other
potential sources of oppression.

Ariane Wilson (MA Student)

Ariane Wilson (MA Student)

Research Field: Indigenous Politics

Research Cluster(s): Theorizing beyond the liberal order

Bio: My research interests focus on Indigenous governance, identity, and membership in the Canadian context. More specifically, I am interested in unpacking the ways in which membership codes can be revitalized in an era of Indian Act governance. I plan on examining the political implications of moving away from colonially imposed criteria for determining band membership and the way that rejecting Indian Act governance enables the assertion of Indigenous sovereignty and nationhood.

Sara Winger (PhD Candidate)

Sara Winger (PhD Candidate)

Fields: Comparative Politics

Bio: I am interested in the logic that underpins violence and how that violence is taken into consideration when intervention missions are considered. Specifically, I ask: What are the logics of violence within political violence and would crafting response and recovery operations based on these logics produce better outcomes?