A REEVALUATION OF JUDICIAL ETHICS IN LIGHT OF EMERGING SOCIAL MEDIA PHENOMENA
There is a large literature inquiring into judges’ use of social media – with debates revolving around the constraints of judges’ use of social media, but what much of the academic literature on judicial behavior on social media fails to account for is the algorithmic-driven feed influence that may impact judicial impartiality. Against the background of what many critics and members of the legal community alike have noted, there are growing concerns about the legitimacy crisis facing the judiciary. This paper proposes a reevaluation of judicial ethical framework for their personal and professional use of social media. It examines the challenges posed by social media algorithmic feeds, which are notably manipulative in conspicuous and inconspicuous ways. I then look at the current judicial guidelines in the U.S. states by the cases raised in the proceeding chapter. Afterwards, my argument will expand on the notions raised by C. Thi Nguyen and Cass Sunstein, as it pertains to the treatment of echo chambers and epistemic bubbles in compromising the judiciary. I will conclude with various recommendations on how the language of the current judicial guidelines regarding judicial conduct over social media can incorporate pertinent concerns to rouse public confidence and foster accountability.
Ruijun (Sophia) Liu
GENDERED SCIENCE COMMUNICATION: THE ROLE OF SPEAKER GENDER & PITCH IN PERCEIVED CREDIBILITY AND PERSUASION OF CLIMATE SCIENCE
Science communication is necessarily concerned with not only education, but also persuasion: strong persuasive messages have the power to shape scientific beliefs and influence policy support, especially for highly politicized topics such as climate change. Following the political psychology subfield of persuasion studies, this study explored how the persuasion process may be shaped by attributes irrelevant to the scientific information conveyed. Specifically, it is interested in how the voice pitch and gender of a speaker affect people’s perceptions and attitudes towards them and towards the scientific facts that they communicate. Looking specifically at climate science, this study examined how the American public respond to the same climate change message voiced by speakers with varying voice pitch and gender. Based on a survey experiment (N=645), it was found that both male and female speakers, regardless of their voice pitch, were similarly effective in changing participants’ climate beliefs. Moreover, all speakers were rated similarly by participants in terms of subjective expertise, benevolence, and integrity. The results of this study are inconsistent with prior studies which found a general preference for male voices and lower-pitched voices. This is especially surprising, given that science is a male-dominated field in which women are historically underrepresented and discriminated against. The results suggest that perhaps climate science content creators should focus on developing the most persuasive arguments, rather than overemphasizing the role of the presenter. Read the full paper here.
CALLED IN, KEPT OUT: EXPLAINING VARIATION IN CONSTRUCTION TRADE UNION BEHAVIOR TOWARDS MIGRANT WORKERS IN THE ADVANCED INDUSTRIAL DEMOCRACIES
In the advanced industrial democracies, migrant workers have become an integral part of construction sector workforces. Trade unions in skilled construction sectors across the rich democracies are experiencing new challenges brought by increasing labor migration inflows. New waves of labor migration inflows threaten to undermine wage levels, working conditions, and collective bargaining agreements. But construction trade unions have not come to a common conclusion on how best to approach these migrant workers. Broadly speaking, some construction trade unions show greater solidarity with migrant workers than others.
Based on cross-national evidence from Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and the United States, I seek to explain why variation in construction trade union behavior towards migrant workers exists within skilled construction sectors across the advanced industrial democratic world. I rely on process-tracing methods, primary and secondary source data, survey data, and in-depth interviews to identify a main hypothesis and uncover the causal process that explains why some construction trade unions take the path of solidarity with migrant workers while others do not. I find that more democratic construction trade unions, through deliberative mechanisms like dialogue and communicative processes, will demonstrate greater solidarity with migrant workers than less democratic construction trade unions.
My research findings build upon previous works in the literature on union decisionmaking and behavior and lend further evidence to support the claim that, in certain contexts, union democracy may lead to more ‘responsible’ unionism. In addition, my research has realworld implications for construction trade unions themselves. If construction trade unions want to maintain union power and protect wages, working conditions, and collective bargaining agreements in their skilled sectors through solidaristic tactics, they may first need to undergo democratizing organizational reforms.
(DIS)PLACED: A STORY OF THE WAR ON SOUTHEAST ASIAN REFUGEE YOUTH IN PHILADELPHIA FROM 1975-2000
Drawing from oral histories and archival material, this project will tell the story of how newly resettled Southeast Asian refugee youth in Philadelphia navigated their neighborhoods fraught with neoliberal under-resourcing, racism, bullying, and violence. As they formed gangs to assert their own sense of belonging and to protect themselves, the War on Drugs and the War on Crime against poor Black and Brown youth quickly swept these subjects of "American rescue" into prison, demonstrating how—for these refugees—the war truly never ended. This story contextualizes the lives of over 16,000 formerly incarcerated Southeast Asian refugees now facing deportation and the struggle to free the Southeast Asian refugee community from the ongoing violence of American imperialism.
Chinaza Ruth Okonkwo
IGBO ENWE EZE: TOWARDS AN INDIGENOUS IGBO CONCEPTION OF DEMOCRACY
Africa is not the first region one thinks of when reflecting on the nature and tradition of government and democracy. Nor is it the first region where one searches for inspirational representations of governmental institutions. Instead, whenever the words “Africa” and “government” are mentioned together it is usually to question whether Africans have ever had viable governmental systems. Complex, intentionally developed African political institutions are relegated solely to ideas of stereotypical chieftaincy and oppressive witchcraft leadership. Furthermore, specific indigenous political institutions and ideologies are consolidated and made representative of entire regions, erasing unique political theories and modes of organization. In Nigeria, the solidification of British colonial rule in the early twentieth century led to the creation of the “native administration,” a political formation based on the British experience with emirs in Northern Nigeria and a number of racist assessments and misunderstandings about the politics of West African ethnic groups. The rise of indirect rule through the “native administration” led to the destruction of vibrant political institutions across the continent, including the Igbos. My project and paper are concerned with the presence of democracy in pre-colonial Igbo political institutions as well as the contradiction that appears in pre-colonial Igbo political theory with the presence of gender discrimination that resulted in disparate social, political, and economic disadvantages. Therefore, this paper will serve as an introduction to democracy in Igbo political institutions and theory as well as the manner that gender influences Igbo politics through an examination of dual-sex political institutions and female power. I hope that this project provides the ground for greater inquiry concerning democracy within Igbo political institutions and philosophy.
ANALYZING THE INFLUENCE OF BIG TECH THROUGH THE RAWLSIAN BASIC STRUCTURE
In this paper, I attempt to contribute to recent debates around the influence of big tech corporations on liberal democratic systems by contextualizing the role of big tech within a Rawlsian conception of the basic structure. First, I narrowly critique Rawls’s distinction between the basic structure and corporate associations, arguing that the unique characteristics of big tech warrant an exception. Then, I argue that within the Rawlsian understanding of the basic structure, big tech is a “macro-institution,” with profound and coercive effects greater than the formal institutions of the basic structure. Finally, I discuss the implications for my argument, positing that big tech should not be considered a part of the basic structure but rather should be regulated by the state. Read the full paper here.
BUILDING THE BATTLE, LOSING THE WAR: THE DEFENSE ECONOMY, INDUSTRIAL CAPITALISM, AND THE COLD WAR’S FALLOUT IN ALABAMA’S ‘MODEL CITY’
Throughout the early twentieth century, Anniston, Alabama was a stronghold of military-industrial power in the United States. Due to its beginnings as a planned, industrial city, Anniston easily attracted formidable capital in the soil pipe, textile, and chemical industries, sparking economic and infrastructural development. Concurrently, the establishment of Fort McClellan and the Anniston Army Depot by the United States Army fused the manufacturing powers of the region with the Army's military conquests. Throughout WWI, WWII, and the Cold War years, military brigades such as the Women’s Army Corps, Military Police Corps, and Army Chemical Corps trained at McClellan, infusing the local economy with capital through job creation, contracts to local companies, and money spent off-base. Confounding phenomena of U.S. military deescalation in the late Cold War era, deindustrialization in the American manufacturing sector, and the increasingly technological orientation of global warmaking rendered much of Anniston's economy obsolete by the early 1970s. Despite wide-ranging activism from local boosters and politicians, the end of the twentieth century in Anniston would be marked by factory closings and military downsizing, culminating in the shuttering of Fort McClellan by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) in 1995. This thesis seeks to follow how the military, private corporations, governing bodies, and everyday Americans in Anniston interacted in a political economy driven by capitalist profit incentives and a military industrialism. It seeks, ultimately, to trace Anniston's tumultuous history in order to understand the impacts of the military-industrial complex on everyday American life in the twentieth century. Read the full paper here.
A FRIENDSHIP BETRAYED: THE JONATHAN POLLARD SPY CASE AND AMERICAN-ISRAELI RELATIONS
The Pollard affair was an ugly stain on American-Israeli relations for thirty-five years. Jonathan Pollard’s name has become notorious, and many who otherwise know little about the United States government, Israel, or espionage recognize it. This thesis addresses both the government-to-government relations and the “people-to-people” aspects of the case, since the Pollard operation betrayed both types of relationships. While the governments handled the case dramatically, neither they nor the press ever truly worried that the relationship between the two close allies would be fundamentally affected, which proved true. This was not the same with the American Jewish community, which felt betrayed by the Israeli government, first because of Pollard’s recruitment, and then because of the way that Israel handled the case. The central argument of this paper is that the broken trust and the rift between American Jewry and Israelis that the case caused and exacerbated left the most significant impact on the overall relationship between the United States and Israel, as it exacerbated a slowly beginning trend among American Jews of willingness to publicly criticize Israeli policies. While American Jews, and many non-Jewish officials within the United States government, came to sympathize with Pollard over time and advocated on his behalf, none of the efforts to secure his early release came to fruition. He was only released on parole in 2015 because his sentence mandated that he be eligible after thirty years. Understanding the dynamics of the case, both between the governments and between American Jews and Israelis, clarifies the relationship between all of these entities: between the American and Israeli governments, between American Jewry and the United States, and between American Jewry and Israel. Read the full paper here.
“IT IS NECESSARY TO MAKE A COMPLETE BREACH WITH THE PAST:” HOW THE FAILURES OF THE SECOND BOER WAR SHAPED BRITISH POLICY, POLITICS, AND SOCIETY IN THE EDWARDIAN ERA
This thesis studies the British response to the Second Boer War -- the investigations into problems and possible solutions, wholesale military reorganization, and major social reform -- as a distinct period of British history separate from both the Victorian age and World War I. The period between the Second Boer War (1899-1902) and World War I (1914-1918), largely overlapping with the reign of King Edward VII (r. 1901-1910), is rarely considered on its own terms. Depending on the context, it is either considered the prelude to World War I or the end to the Victorian era. As such, the immediate impact of the Boer War on the momentous changes that occurred during the Edwardian Era has been overlooked in favor of longer narratives. Military historians have considered how the reforms impacted British military capability effectiveness in World War I, while social historians have focused on how the broadening of the franchise, rise of trade unionism, spread of socialist ideology and the decline of the landed aristocracy led to the period’s social welfare reforms. Political historians have considered how the reforms and subsequent constitutional crisis contributed to the permanent decline of the Liberal Party after World War I and its replacement by the Labour Party. What I have done is combined all these fields to consider how the Second Boer War led to change in the Edwardian Era. As such, I have both taken the scholarship out of silos and considered the Edwardian Era not as the epilogue or prologue to something else, but a period worth studying in its own right.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE, MASS INCARCERATION, AND COVID-19: UNDERSTANDING PRISON HEALTH AND PRISON HEALTH ACTIVISM IN THE UNITED STATES
America’s jails and prisons are epicenters of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the devastation of the ongoing public health crisis continues to fall harder on the nation’s incarcerated population. This thesis seeks to examine recent and longer threads of historical context from the twentieth century to the present to better understand and contextualize the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on incarcerated individuals in the United States and the rapid and intense development of prison health activism in response. It challenges dominant narratives of the coronavirus story in America’s jails and prisons that focus almost exclusively on poorer health statistics behind bars, correctional facilities as high density COVID-19 transmission hubs, and public health-centered protests by proponents of criminal justice reform. This paper advances the claim that the COVID-19 crisis in correctional facilities and the rampant rise of prison health activism throughout the United States are not new, isolated, and unanticipated phenomena. Rather, they embody a continual train of enduring legacies, and a doomed aftermath of deep-rooted failures, pertaining to prison health and prison health activism across the country. As a result, this paper proposes that a historical analysis of prison health and prison health activism enables a more complete understanding of what has shaped, informed, and accelerated the present-day COVID-19 disaster in America’s correctional facilities. Read the full paper here.