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POLSC 291 Directed Research Opportunities

At least one course in the field of research and permission of a Faculty Supervisor. Students may take independent study only with full-time members of the department. As a general rule, the students should have taken a prior course with this instructor. Departmental permission will not be granted without explicit approval by the instructor. Students should have their faculty supervisor sign the Independent Study Form and submit the completed form to the Political Science Department in HW1724.

Legislating Accountability: The Politics of Rights and Reform in Contemporary India.
Contact Prof. Rob Jenkins.

 India has enacted a wave of legislation in recent years that has sought to give concrete legal form to ideas of constitution of 1950. This includes the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (2005), the Right to Education Act (2009), the Forest Rights Act (2006). Others such as the National Food Security Act are currently before the Indian Parliament. To what extent do these laws share conceptual or structural features, and in what ways do they differ? To what extent was their enactment driven by decisions of India's judiciary? To what extent have the accountability provisions in these and related pieces of legislation been successful in ensuring that they are enforced? Students will engage in empirical and conceptual research to advance answers to these related questions.

The Politics of Exposure: Corruption and Anti-Corruption in Contemporary India.
Contact Prof. Rob Jenkins.

 Movements against corruption (the abuse of public power for private gain) have existed since India's independent in 1947. National and provincial anti-corruption campaigns have occasionally played a major role in shaping electoral contestation, and (purportedly) even outcomes. Grassroots struggles against corruption at the local level in India have been aided by recent freedom of information legislation, the Right to Information Act (RTIA) 2005. How has the RTIA been used to expose the misdeeds of public office holders? What patterns emerge with respect to the types of users of the RTIA; the types of public authorities targeted; the means by which information has been used to mobilize civic and political actors; and the results achieved? Students will engage in empirical and conceptual research to advance answers to these and related questions.

American Funding of International Affairs: Congress and the Politics of Foreign Aid.
Contact Prof. Charles Tien.

 Funding for International Affairs includes money for international development, humanitarian assistance, international security, the State Department, foreign exchange activities, and military sales. How have these different funding accounts fared over time? What explains the changing levels of funding over time? Do presidents have more power than Congress in determining international affairs funding levels. Students will work on a theoretical and empirical research project to help answer these questions.