The Poligon

Our mission: the many-sided study of politics

Newsletter of the Carleton College Department of Political Science, July 2001

In this issue:

Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN) and Aisha Bierma '02
Washington DC students experience American politics in person

by Aisha A. Bierma ‘02

“My term in Washington, D.C. was the best part of my four years at Carleton,” stated political science major David Strandness ‘01.

Every year that Professor Steven E. Schier takes students on his Washington, D.C. American politics seminar, some students end up leaving with feelings similar to Strandness’s — sentiments that Schier likes to call “Potomac fever.” The twenty members of this winter’s seminar were no exception.

However, in many ways, this program was exceptional. The winter of 2001 was an especially exciting time to be in Washington, D.C., particularly due to the conflict surrounding the election. For example, the program’s participants were able to attend George W. Bush’s Inauguration, experiencing first-hand all of the protesters, cowboy hats, and miserable weather that went along with it. Students were also able to see current events unfold in other contexts, such as watching House debates on a key component of Bush’s tax bill.

The program also had a record number of speakers. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, the students ran around town, listening and asking questions of a variety of speakers. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN), Mark Dayton (D-MN), Paul Wellstone (D-MN) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) spoke to the group, as did several U.S. Representatives. The program provided opportunities to speak with many journalists as well, including Fred Barnes, Eleanor Clift, Mark Shields, Robert Novak, Chris Matthews, Margaret Carlson, and Sam Donaldson. Students met with other speakers in a variety of occupations, including political consultants, lobbyists, embassy employees, Capitol Hill staffers, and even a generational theorist.

Another exceptional aspect of the program was the level of cohesiveness among the student participants, which Schier notes as one of the best that he has observed.

Some aspects of the program were similar to other years, such as the student internships. The students spent their Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays on the job. The internships varied a great deal—from the White House to The Washington Monthly to the American Civil Liberties Union—and so did the students’ experiences. However, according to Schier, most participants came away from the internships with valuable contacts and a better understanding of Washington. The group also took trips to Williamsburg and Annapolis, making for a very busy ten weeks.

Many participants are spending this summer in D.C. or plan to go back again in the future, and the program certainly provided many useful D.C. contacts. However, Schier believes that the program’s main benefit is that its participants possess an understanding of American politics that is difficult to obtain without seeing Washington first-hand.

Vice President Richard Cheney and Chad Bayse ‘02. Chad was an intern in the Vice President's office during the Washington, D.C. off-campus program.

(Click here for more information and photos of the Washington, D.C. Program.)

Middle East policy discussed at 43rd Annual USAF Academy Assembly

by Prior Leary ‘01

The last week of February, I attended a conference at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The topic of the 43rd Academy Assembly was US Policy in the Middle East: The Struggle for Peace and Prosperity. Student delegates from about 75 schools in the United States met and discussed current policy issues for the Middle East. The goal was to come to a consensus on the direction we wanted US policy to take over the next few years. When we were not at conference tables arguing, there were guest lectures and other events associated with the topics being discussed.

Most of the discussion was centered around small groups; these were round table discussions. Each small group met together for many hours a day and argued over policy. There was a moderator for each group. In my case the moderator was a professor from the University of the Pacific. The people in my round table came from a wide range of colleges and backgrounds. There were cadets from the academy, ROTC members from different colleges, people from large state universities, and liberal arts students, like myself.

While for me the direction of the discussion seemed to be politically conservative, the cadets felt the opposite, saying they were not exposed to very many opposing or liberal ideologies. At first this made coming to consensus difficult, but finally we agreed on many of the topics. At the end of the day, one person from each group met to try to bring together what we had discussed. These often turned into heated debates as well, because the groups all came up with different solutions. When at the end of the conference, all of the groups met to combine our views, many of the stronger points and conclusions our group had made were weakened because of objections of other groups.

Here is a broad description of the direction the conference prescribed for US policy for the Middle East. Wider objectives included access to oil, promotion of human rights, and regional stability. For the topic “Peace in the Levant,” the policies recommended to achieve our objectives were to wait for opportunity and use multilateralism to regain credibility. (While our group adamantly opposed it, the conference allowed a definition of multilateralism that could mean US action with Great Britain and no other states or organizations. We argued for a broader definition, suggesting that an international organization’s support may be necessary for “multilateralism,” and education/public awareness.

The next topic was “Stability in the Gulf.” The policies recommended here were more ambitious, when compared to current policy. Policy prescriptions for Iran were to incrementally reduce sanctions and restore frozen assets with hopes of improving relations. For Iraq, a complete restructuring of sanctions was called for in order to improve the humanitarian situation. Although a majority called for elimination of the “No Fly Zone,” a consensus was not met. Finally, the conference recommended multilateral approaches as the best means to reduce terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and problems associated with resources.

2001 graduates pursue varied careers

This year’s 59 graduating seniors in Political Science and Political Science/International Relations are moving on to a variety of career and educational plans. Here’s a sampling:

Kelly Hallberg will be working in Senator Tom Harkin’s Cedar Rapids District Office. The job will include constituent services, informing Iowans about the work the Senator is doing in Washington, writing press releases for local newspapers, and staffing outreach events. She plans to pursue a Masters in Public Policy in two years.

Ariel Tesher’s first step after graduation was his June 17 marriage to Melissa Salzmann ‘99. They plan to spend the next year in Israel. While Melissa is studying on a fellowship, Ariel will work with NGOs that use environmentalism to bridge the gaps between Israelis and Arabs.

Katie Harrison, Nick Macarelli and Jaimie Kelly are moving to Washington, D.C., to work for FDC Reports, a specialized news reporting agency that covers the health care industry.

David Strandness will also be in the capital. He is a staff assistant to Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-MN).

Several members of the class of ‘01 are working in the legal field. Matt Sarno plans to work as a litigation paralegal at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison in New York City. Melissa Kassier and Alicia Hancock both work for the Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Competition in Washington, D.C. Katie Stroebl accepted a position with Sullivan and Cromwell in New York as a legal assistant in litigation. Daniel Frank is a paralegal in the corporate real estate division for the Chicago law firm of Sonnenshein, Nath, and Rosenthal. He plans to attend law school in the near future.

Kyle Fetherolf plans to live and work in Minneapolis starting in the fall. He will be entering the workforce as a financial planner for North Star Resource Group, a firm with offices in Minneapolis, Madison, Des Moines, Albuquerque, Phoenix and Tucson.

Megan Clymer, Tim Cook, Chris Dostal, Lauren Mack, Justin Miller, Melissa Vanlandingham and Sam Holt are going to teach in the Ningxia Province in the Peoples Republic of China. Ted Mathys will teach at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

Cody Lujan is spending the summer chasing salmon and monster rainbow trout as the head flyfishing guide at the Talaview Lodge in Alaska. The lodge is a premier remote fishing destination located in the heart of the Alaskan bush that is reachable only by float plane. He then plans to spend the fall bowhunting and beginning the law school application process.

Class of 2001 Comps
Students celebrated the completion
of comps papers by plastering Willis Hall
with their reams of notes
and faculty quotes.

Awards presented to class of ‘02

Jason Richardson was awarded the Truman Scholarship, a $30,000 merit-based grant from the Harry S. Truman Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to find and recognize college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government, the non-profit or advocacy sectors, education or other public service; and to provide financial support for graduate study and leadership training.

Emily Yueh will use her Mellon Fellowship in Environmental Studies to study the environmental issues involved in the Three Gorges Dam project on the Yangtze River.

Chang-Lan Fellowships were awarded to several department majors. Prior Leary will use his Fellowship to retrace the footsteps of a famous British explorer in Xinjian Province. Akiko Nakano and Sara Karbeling plan a study of the relocation of people caused by the flooding of the Yangtze River for the Three Gorges Dam project. Jason Richardson will be traveling with China’s unemployed “floating population” and drawing parallels with the migration portrayed in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.

A Class of 1963 Fellowship was awarded to Christopher Heurlin. He will study industrial relations in Germany, examining how successfully the institutions governing West German trade unions and employers’ associations were transferred to the former East Germany.

Jessica Yarnall received an Environmental and Technical Studies Summer Internship award to work at the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C.

Aisha Bierma was awarded an Independent Research Fellowship. She will study the political culture and values in New Zealand, conducting focus groups and interviews.

IR Council caps another year of achievement

by Jessica Yarnall ‘02

Model UN participants (from left):
Art Kavaliauskas '04, Molly Bruder '03, Ted Mathys '01, Laura Janke '03, Diana Vogel '04, Jason Richardson '02, Charles Ansell '04, Lauren Mack '01, Matt Valley '03 and Megan Clymer '01


The International Relations Council (IRC) completed yet another year of successful events and Model United Nations competitions. Composed of students with an interest in international affairs, the IRC hosts panels, attends talks of interest in the cities, and competes in Model UN. This year, the group hosted cross-disciplinary panels on the future of Russia and the Free Trade Area of the Americas Agreement, drawing students and faculty from a wide range of departments to discuss these issues.

Model United Nations, one of the main activities of IRC, had another extremely successful season. Forty students on four teams traveled to San Francisco, Boston, New York and Istanbul to compete with students from colleges and universities around the world. Analogous to the United Nations, each Model UN conference has several different committees discussing current topics on the UN agenda such as sustainable development, human rights, peacekeeping, and security issues. The Carleton team represents one country on several committees at the Conference. Each team member prepares background research and practices twice a week with fellow team members for about ten weeks prior to attending a conference.

At the end of debating and forming resolutions at the conference, several delegates and teams are recognized for their outstanding performances. Carleton is fortunate to have a tradition of accomplishment in this activity. This year, the New York team placed 2nd overall in their competition; the Harvard Worlds team brought home four individual awards from Istanbul; the Berkeley team was awarded six individual delegate awards; and the Harvard team took home two individual awards from Boston.

“Focusing on teamwork and having fun is what allows us to do well,” says graduating IRC officer and International Relations major Lauren Mack, “People are genuinely interested in international affairs and the real problems that face diplomats on a daily basis in the United Nations.”

If you are interested in learning more about the International Relations Council, please feel free to contact: Jeff Hellman (hellmanj), Jessica Yarnall (yarnallj), Jason Richardson (richardj) or Alex Cook (cooka).

Honors for the Class of 2001

The Political Science Department hosted a dinner May 29 to honor and say farewell to the Class of 2001 majors in Political Science and International Relations. In addition to honoring the many students who received awards, the evening featured entertainment provided by the seniors. In their skit (a top secret production that was the subject of much speculation in preceding weeks), students deftly portrayed each faculty member in the role of different Cabinet members managing a crisis at the White House.

Seven seniors were awarded Distinction for their Political Science and International Relations comprehensive integrative exercises this spring. The following students chose the exam option, which required writing essays in response to questions in two subfields of their choice plus a discipline question:

Catherine Harrison—American politics and political theory
Jaimie Kelley–American politics and political theory
Ted Mathys—international relations and comparative politics
David Strandness–American politics and political theory

Laura Clise received Distinction for her comps paper “Opening the Window for Reform in China: Sociopolitical Consequences of the Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution.” Using John Keeler’s “Window for Reform” model, which links political and economic crisis to the reform process, Clise analyzed the proximate effects of the Cultural Revolution on the reform transition. She argued that “the sociopolitical legacies of the Cultural Revolution provided the window of opportunity for the emergence of a reform coalition. Developing an understanding of the legacy of the Cultural Revolution in relation to the reform process in China is an important foundation for evaluating subsequent political and economic change, and the impact of reform on the political system, the economy, and society.” Her faculty advisor for the project was Roy Grow.

Daniel Frank was honored for his paper “An Unexpected Civil-Military Dynamic: The Chilean Case,” advised by Al Montero. His paper asks how it is possible that a political space has opened up for human rights claims in Chile given that the Pinochet regime marks the strongest case of authoritarian enclaves. Frank’s project—a longitudinal study of this outlier case—“offers a modification of current democratization theory by arguing that certain doctrinal and institutional changes within the Chilean military, the judiciary, and human rights movements enabled an explosive resurgence in human rights claims that set powerful precedents.”

Kelly Hallberg was awarded Distinction for her paper “Improved Access or Co-optation: An Analysis of the Impact of External Support on Social Movements.” She argues that, “in isolation, professional organizations will become co-opted by elite patronage. However, with pressure from grassroots indigenous organizations that draw resources from the movement’s base, professional organizations can serve an important role in gaining tangible benefits for disenfranchised groups.” Using case materials from the Latino pan-ethnic movement in Chicago and the Civil Rights Movement, Hallberg also argues that by focusing exclusively on the impact of external economic support of social movements, scholars overlook the moderating influence of political incorporation. Her advisor was Richard Keiser.

The Technos International Prize was presented to Megan Clymer, for outstanding academic achievement and commitment to furthering the cause of international understanding.

The Scott Tyler Bergner Prize was awarded to Catherine Harrison and Jennifer Houghton in recognition of outstanding academic records and demonstrating excellence of thought and character. This prize was established in 1978 to honor the memory of Scott Tyler Bergner.

President Stephen R. Lewis, Jr. and Kimiko Tanaka of the Tanaka Foundation present the Technos International Prize to Megan Clymer ‘01 (center)

Jeong-Sup Hyun was awarded the Dana Award for Personal Achievement. It was established in memory of The Reverend Malcolm McGregor Dana, who was a Carleton Trustee from 1878 to 1888. This award is given annually to a young man in the senior class who has achieved a balance of high scholarship, exceptional leadership abilities, and outstanding Christian character. The award is made in the hope that these qualities will be dedicated to public service.

Lauren Mack received the Second Century Student Award, which was established to honor a student who has made an outstanding contribution to the College through significant service to others, on or off campus, which enriches and strengthens the institution and the lives of its members.

The Stimson Prize was founded in 1873 by the Reverend Henry Stimson, D.D. to encourage public speech. It is awarded to the student who contributes most to the quality of debate or public speaking at Carleton College. Elizabeth Marquez and Ted Mathys were both honored this year.

The following senior majors were named to Mortarboard, a national honor society recognizing students who have combined distinguished scholarship, leadership, and service to their colleagues and the college community:

Laura Clise
Kelly Hallberg
Catherine Harrison
Jennifer Houghton
Melissa Kassier
Jaimie Kelley
Melissa Vanlandingham

The Carleton Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was established in 1913 and elects its membership from students who rank in the highest 15 percent of their graduating class and meet other prescribed criteria. These department majors were selected:

Laura Clise
Daniel Frank
David Fujisaki
Kelly Hallberg
Alicia Hancock
Catherine Harrison
Jennifer Houghton
Jaimie Kelley
Ted Mathys
David Strandness

Faculty activities

Barbara Allen taught constitutional development at the Fulbright American Studies Summer Institute on the U.S. Constitution July 3-13. The Institute was held at the Center for the Study of Federalism at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. Professor Allen also presented “Democracy in the United States: Covenant and the Federal Matrix” at Georgetown University BMW Center for German and European Studies April 6, 2001. Her presentation was sponsored by the German Ministry of Economic Affairs Scholars Conference.

Professor Allen’s article “Martin Luther King’s Civil Disobedience and the American Covenant Tradition” will be published this fall in Publius: The Journal of Federalism (Vol. 30, No. 4, Fall, 2001, pp.71-113). She also co-wrote “The Electoral College in Historical and Philosophical Perspective” (with Philip Abbott, Russell Hanson and Donald Lutz) in Choosing the President: The Electoral College and Beyond, eds. Burdett Loomis and Paul Schumaker.

Prof. Barbara Allen teaching at the Fulbright American Studies Summer Institute on the U.S. Constitution

Two of Allen’s classes and one taught by Benedict Professor John Sullivan undertook extensive research on Twin Cities TV news coverage of local and national elections, with assistance from media expert Dean Alger. The students’ research (content analysis of TV news coverage) was the foundation for an article in the Star Tribune exposing the lackluster coverage. The students also conducted depth-interviews with voters and focus groups in Northfield, Apple Valley, Owatonna and Minneapolis (several congressional districts) to explore citizens’ views about the elections, campaign advertising, and the political information available from TV news.

Laurence Cooper published an article on Plato, “Beyond the Tripartite Soul: The Dynamic Psychology of the Republic,” in The Review of Politics and a chapter on Rousseau and Plato, “Emile, or On Philosophy? Rousseau’s Modified Platonism,” in an edited volume on “Rousseau and the Ancients.” Professor Cooper presented a paper at last year’s APSA annual meeting in Washington and will present another at this year’s annual meeting in San Francisco in August. The latter paper represents the first stage in his work toward a new book on thymos (spiritedness), eros, and politics. He was elected to another two-year term as Secretary-Treasurer of the international and interdisciplinary Rousseau Association at its recent colloquium in Montreal. Professor Cooper also served as the Truman Scholarship Coordinator at Carleton and as a faculty advisor to the Departmental Curriculum Committee during 2000-01.


Rich Keiser has been a panelist on numerous campus panels during the past year, including Debating the Presidential Debate, Post-Election Discussion Panel, African American/Jewish Dialogue, Affirmative Action in the 21st Century, and Is the Democratic Party Dead? He organized student participation in the annual Tour de Sprawl, a bus and bicycle tour of Minneapolis Metro Area suburban development, in September. Professor Keiser worked with students to organize a panel entitled, Behind the Swoosh: The Struggles of Workers Making Nike Shoes, at which Jeff Ballinger, founder and director of Press for Change, spoke. In February, he organized a panel entitled Careers in Public Policy and Urban Planning at which Ann Markusen (University of Minnesota, Humphrey Institute) spoke.

Among the conferences he participated in during the past year, two were particularly noteworthy. Professor Keiser was a participant in the ACM conference on Globalization and the City in April. He also was selected as one of twenty participants in the National Dialogue on Brownfields Redevelopment, in Washington, Houston and Chicago, sponsored by Environmental Law Institute and Center for Land Renewal. The group will meet three times during the year to repare a set of policy recommendations for the Bush administration and the nation’s governors.

Professor Keiser authored two articles recently, “Continuity and Change in Philadelphia’s Biracial Regime,” in R. Browning, D. Marshall, and D. Tabb, eds., Racial Politics in American Cities, 3rd edition (Longman, forthcoming); and “Political Machines,” Oxford Companion to Politics of the World, 2nd edition (Oxford University Press, 2001). He also served as a faculty advisor to the Departmental Curriculum Committee during 2000-01.

Prof. Al Montero received a contract from Penn State University Press for his forthcoming book titled, Shifting States in Global Markets: Subnational Industrial Policy in Contemporary Brazil and Spain. The project compares the political causes of successful and unsuccessful subnational economic policy-making in multiple regions of Brazil and Spain. It also offers some comparative assessments involving the Mexican states. Prof. Montero and his University of Minnesota colleague, David J. Samuels, were offered a contract from the University of Notre Dame Press for their forthcoming edited volume titled, The Politics of Decentralization in Latin America.

Prof. Montero has published numerous articles over the past year, including “After Decentralization: Patterns of Intergovernmental Conflict in Argentina, Brazil, Spain, and Mexico.” Publius: The Journal of Federalism (Forthcoming); “Delegative Dilemmas and Horizontal Logics: Subnational Industrial Policy in Brazil and Spain.” Studies in Comparative International Development 36:3 (Fall 2001); “Making and Remaking ‘Good Government’ in Brazil: Subnational Industrial Policy in Minas Gerais.” Latin American Politics and Society 43:2 (Summer 2001); and contributions to Portuguese-language texts.

In May 2001, Prof. Montero presented a paper titled, “Competitive Federalism and Distributive Conflict in Democratic Brazil,” at the “Reforming Brazil” conference held at the Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies, the Graduate Center, City University of New York, May 17-19, 2001. He will present a follow-up study at this year’s American Political Science Association annual meeting in San Francisco.

Most important of all, Prof. Montero and his wife, Mar Valdecantos, are expecting their first child this summer! When he is not changing diapers, Prof. Montero will be preparing to lead Carleton’s off-campus program on the European Union in Maastricht, The Netherlands, which is scheduled for Spring 2002.

Robert Packer traveled to China during winter break to do research on political economy. He gave a talk on African Political Economy to the United Nations Association of Minnesota at the University of St. Thomas last August. He was interviewed on BBC Radio International about the Mid-East crisis and US-British relations. Prof. Packer was also quoted on several international issues in a Dec. 30, 2000 Star Tribune column titled “A look ahead to 2001; Family challenges, with twists; Stories making fresh news have been around for years.” In an Oct. 8 Star Tribune article, Packer discussed Al Gore’s and George W. Bush’s differing opinons on foreign policy and how those differences might affect U.S. power and influence.

Steven Schier chaired a panel at the Midwest Political Science Association meetings in Chicago in April. He has signed several authors for his series of books on American politics for Peter Lang publishers. His edited volume, The Postmodern President: Bill Clinton’s Legacy in U.S. Politics was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. His Washington D.C. booksigning aired on CSPAN2 in April. Professor Schier provided commentary on the election season for KSTP television in the Twin Cities last fall. He has received a substantial Bush grant to complete a book on the American election season next year for Georgetown University Press.

Kimberly Smith was awarded the Merle Curti Award for intellectual history by the Organization of American Historians for her book, The Dominion of Voice: Riot, Reason and Romance in Antebellum Politics. Her article “Mere Nostaligia: Notes on a Progressive Paratheory,” was published in Rhetoric and Public Affairs (Winter 2000), and “Mere Taste: Democracy and the Politics of Beauty,” in the Wisconsin Environmental Law Journal (Summer 2000). Professor Smith served as Carleton’s Law Advisor during 2000-01 and will continue in that capacity.


Norm Vig attended a conference in April on “Equity and Global Climate Change” at the Pew Center in Washington. He presented a paper on “Science and Technology Advice to European Parliaments” at a workshop on restoring science and technology advice to Congress at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Washington on June 14. He is looking forward to spending more time at a cabin he and Carol are building on the North Shore of Lake Superior this summer.

If they could see me now…

Alumni News from Far and Wide

1960s Alumni Responses
1970s Alumni Responses
1980s Alumni Responses
1990s Alumni Responses
2000s Alumni Responses

The Poligon is a publication of the Carleton College Department of Political Science. Please submit contributions or comments on the Alumni Response Form.

or send to:
Tricia Peterson, Editor
Department of Political Science
Carleton College
One North College Street
Northfield, MN 55057-4025
Phone: 507-646-4117
Fax: 507-646-5615

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