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Political Science

WIPCS Conference: Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals


Democracy in the 21st Century?

An interdisciplinary conference for faculty and students
sponsored by Carthage College and The Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies
Thursday and Friday, April 16-17, 2015 at Carthage College

Carthage College and The Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies are pleased to invite faculty members and students, as well as the public, to explore questions of democracy.

In his speech to the U.S. Congress on January 6, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt presented what became known as the Four Freedoms: the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom of worship, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear. Seventy-four years on, these four freedoms still resonate throughout the world particularly in the discourse of Human Rights. President Roosevelt discussed the Four Freedoms as forming the foundation of democracy and stated that, “the world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society”. This conference asks questions related to the interconnection of the Four Freedoms, among others, and democracy and whether democracy is an end that should be pursued.

We encourage papers and posters related to these four freedoms as they apply to both domestic and international relations and democracy more broadly. Some questions to consider are:

  • In light of the Arab Spring and its after-effects, is democracy still a goal that should be sought or encouraged? Are certain social, cultural, or economic preconditions necessary for a country to become a “successful” democracy?
  • Are elections enough to be considered a democracy? What are some different models and where do human rights fit in? How should political minorities based on ethnic, racial, gender or religion be represented and protected?
  • How much participation in political and economic decision-making is necessary in a democracy? Do states have an obligation to broaden participation?”
  • Has democracy led to more equality and more security of person or state? Why have some democracies become much more politically, economically or socially unequal over the past several decades, while others have not?
  • Do democracy and capitalism have an inherent or sustainable association? In other words, will countries that adopt a democratic political system become wealthy and will countries that adopt capitalism become democracies? Is one or the other a “good thing”?
  • Does democracy, as it is practiced, address women’s rights in the private sphere?  Or is it more concerned with formal political rights in the public sphere?
  • Have democracies represented or treated indigenous groups and sovereign nations better than non-democracies?
  • Given the challenges of globalization and climate change, among others, should we think more about democratic global governance between states rather than democracy within states?
  • What ought to be the roles of activists and theorists in peacemaking and democratization?
  • What role do civil society and peace organizations play in the success or failure of a democracy?

Presentation Formats

We invite presentations in the following formats:

Traditional paper presentations: Presentations should be 10-20 minutes long. Papers should be based on individual or collaborative research and critical thinking. Student papers are eligible for cash prizes awarded by the Wisconsin Institute. To be considered for the prizes, students must submit finished work by February 23, 2015.

Roundtable discussions: Roundtables should include at least three participants.

Research posters: The posters will be on display during a one-hour poster session. All student and faculty presenters will be available at their posters to answer questions about their posters.

Creative presentations: Creative presentations include poems, short stories, visual art, songs, brief performance art, and theater. Visual artists will present digital slide talks about their work. Creative presentations will range from 10 to 20 minutes; applicants should specify the amount of time needed. Proposals should include the imagery as .jpg files and proposed topic abstract. Artists may bring original artwork and their own display elements for their presentation.

Proposals must designate the submission category and include your name, school, whether you are a student or faculty member, title of the presentation, and a 150-word abstract.

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2017), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

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    • 96% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

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    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • As a freshman in the highly selective Honors Program, learn how to gain expertise in anything from music to forest ecology. After that, tackle a contemporary social, economic, or political problem. If you like, you can live on an Honors-only floor of a Carthage residence hall. 

    • In 2016 and 2017, Carthage was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our athletic and recreation center, student union, computer labs, audiovisual production suite, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 10 years. Our new science center caps it off.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to athletic training, neuroscience to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of our students receive financial aid, a hefty chunk of which is scholarships and grants — including $1.25 million annually from the Presidential Scholarship Competition and numerous Merit Scholarships. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” says biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 30 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition, room, and board. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • Imagine presenting your original research at an international conference — as an undergraduate. Carthage is dedicated to undergraduate research. Learn more about current opportunities.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 11 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …

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