Research Portfolio Post #9: End of Term Mentor Meeting

My mentor, Professor Jackson and I met for around 45 minutes on Thursday, December 5th. I began the meeting by mentioning that I am choosing interpretivism for my research methodology for my final narrative paper, and then detailed decisions I made in my interpretivist research design and the implications those have for my research.

We also reflected on how my topic has changed since August at the beginning of SISU 206. I began my research with a focus on religion, but as of right now, religion does not seem to be relevant to my topic (unless I end up finding it tied into the discourse I am analyzing).

We went over things Professor Boesenecker told me to think about in my project, such as how not to reduce the discourse I am analyzing down to party rhetoric and broaden it. Professor Jackson also detailed that discourse is more than just official government statements, but also how the actors present themselves, looking at things like appearance, how they speak, and the setting in which they are speaking.

As for next steps looking forward to SISU 306, I told Professor Jackson I was having trouble finding certain Canadian government documents, specifically official records of Parliamentary votes and debates from before 2000. I told him I tried using the AU databases to find these, but unfortunately, many of those dealing with foreign government documents have outdated links. To address this, he told me to book an appointment with Clement Ho to find more primary sources. Also, because some of the documents I need might not be digitized yet, Professor Jackson mentioned going to the Canadian Embassy, as they might have publications of those documents. He also recommended booking a short appointment with Professor Schroeder to ask about where to start looking to gain knowledge on Canadian politics, as I am rather unfamiliar with it.

For reading over break, Professor Jackson gave me a book to read called Ozone Discourses by Karen Litfin. Although this book does not cover my specific topic area, it might be helpful for me to analyze the methods used in her research, specifically looking at discourse analysis of climate change among governments.

As for questions for SISU 306:

-How does the structure of the class vary from 206? Will we be mostly researching in class or in our own time?


Research Portfolio Post #2: Mentor Meeting

My mentor, Professor Patrick Jackson and I met on August 29th during his office hours from around 12:45 to 1:05. We could not meet for long, as multiple students of his were waiting to be seen. The meeting began and I stated my initial research topic. We began discussing how I became interested in my topic, and my past research on similar topics. Then, we related Professor Jackson’s experience and areas of interest to mine, discussing what insight he could contribute. From what I understood, he specializes in international relations theory, which explains his past position of Olson Scholars director, and belongs to the interpretivist school of thought. I then asked what he thought would be a good starting point for my research, besides the preliminary readings I had done over the summer. Professor Jackson recommended a book to me entitled “Scientific Cosmology and International Orders” by Bentley Allen, a political science professor at Johns Hopkins University who happens to be a friend of his. This book touches upon how scientific research plays into international politics and discourse, which I can relate back to the climate change aspect of my topic. I hope to use the information in this book to analyze international conferences and look at what shapes international environmental efforts, like the Paris Climate Agreement and the UNFCCC.

Professor Jackson then asked me what considered to be a theocracy, to which I had difficulty giving a clear-cut definition. I realized that many of the sources I read had fairly different guidelines for what could be considered theocracy, so one of the first steps in my research is deciding what how exactly I would define a theocracy. I am still unsure of how exactly I want to pursue my topic, whether it be through discourse analysis or a statistical analysis of actions by theocratic governments to reduce climate change. My next meeting with Professor Jackson is this Thursday, September 12th. By this meeting, I hope to have come up with what guidelines I consider necessary for a country to be considered a theocracy, and have almost completed the book that was recommended to me.