Research

"This is a major book. It transcends the imagined great divide between East and West by examining the role of travel in shaping one's imagination of societies-both one's own and those of others. By giving equal weight to the sense of rootedness and difference in European and Muslim travel accounts, Roxanne Euben shows the fluid points of convergence and divergence in European and Muslim concepts of others. To paraphrase Claude Lévi-Strauss, Euben's book is good to think with."—Dale F. Eickelman, Dartmouth College

Roxanne L. Euben is the Ralph Emerson and Alice Freeman Palmer Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College. She is the author of "Enemy in the Mirror: Islamic Fundamentalism and the Limits of Modern Rationalism" (Princeton).

 

Wealthy, educated, and more privileged people are more likely to participate and be represented in politics than their poorer, less educated, and less privileged counterparts. To reduce these inequalities, we need a better understanding of how the disadvantaged become motivated to participate. Moved to Action fills the current gap in this area of research by examining the commitments and pathways through which the underprivileged become engaged in politics.

Drawing on original, in-depth interviews with political activists and large-scale survey data, author Hahrie C. Han contests the traditional idea that people must be politicized before they participate, and that only idiosyncratic factors outside the control of the political system can drive motivation. Her findings show that that highly personal commitments, such as the quality of children's education or the desire to help a friend, have a disproportionately large impact in motivating political participation among people with fewer resources. Han makes the case that civic and political organizations can lay the foundation for greater citizen participation by helping people recognize the connections between their personal commitments and politics.

Heading upcountry in Africa to visit small farms is absolutely exhilarating given the dramatic beauty of big skies, red soil, and arid vistas, but eventually the two-lane tarmac narrows to rutted dirt, and the journey must continue on foot. The farmers you eventually meet are mostly women, hardworking but visibly poor. They have no improved seeds, no chemical fertilizers, no irrigation, and with their meager crops they earn less than a dollar a day. Many are malnourished.

Nearly two-thirds of Africans are employed in agriculture, yet on a per-capita basis they produce roughly 20 percent less than they did in 1970. Although modern agricultural science was the key to reducing rural poverty in Asia, modern farm science—including biotechnology—has recently been kept out of Africa.

In Starved for Science Robert Paarlberg explains why poor African farmers are denied access to productive technologies, particularly genetically engineered seeds with improved resistance to insects and drought. He traces this obstacle to the current opposition to farm science in prosperous countries. Having embraced agricultural science to become well-fed themselves, those in wealthy countries are now instructing Africans—on the most dubious grounds—not to do the same.

In a book sure to generate intense debate, Paarlberg details how this cultural turn against agricultural science among affluent societies is now being exported, inappropriately, to Africa. Those who are opposed to the use of agricultural technologies are telling African farmers that, in effect, it would be just as well for them to remain poor.

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Contact Us

Department of Political Science
Pendleton East 249
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481

Tel: 781.283.2194
Fax: 781.283.3644

William A. Joseph
Department Chair

Lynda Davis Jeha & Cyndy Northgraves
Administrative Assistants

Professors:  Burke, Euben, Joseph, Just, Krieger, Moon, Murphy, Paarlberg

Associate Professors:  Candland, Goddard, Han, Scherer

Assistant Professors:  GrattanHajjMacDonald, Woolfalk

Senior Lecturer:  Wasserspring

 

Visiting Faculty: 
McAllister, Park

 

Transfer Credit Advisor: Joseph

Faculty on Leave 
2013-14: Krieger, MacDonald, Paarlberg

 

 

 

Seminar Applications Fall 2014
Deadline Tuesday, April 1 by 4:00 pm

Senior Thesis
Deadline Friday, April 25, 2014

Class of 2015 Honors Thesis Proposal
Friday April 18, 2014 by 4:00 p.m.

Political Science Writing Prize
Friday, April 11, 2014