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College of Humanities and Social Sciences begins spring seminar series

Feb. 10, 2009 --  The College of Humanities and Social Sciences will be sponsoring a seminar series with speakers and presentations from different departments in the college. The seminars will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Wilson 217C ( the Konold Room). The series will begin Tuesday, Feb. 17, with Dr. Rollin Tusalem, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science. The series runs through Tuesday, April 14.

For more information, contact Dr. Veena Kulkarni, series coordinator, at (870) 972-3331, or e-mail her at

Feb. 17Dr. Rollin Tusalem, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, presents “Examining the Political-Economic Determinants of Coups d’état Events 1970-1990: The Role of Property Rights Protection.” Coup events launched against civilian governments are known to have led to democratic breakdowns and prolonged periods of political instability. Military regimes are also known to suppress many civil liberties and basic freedoms of citizens in the developing world. Existing research on the political-economic determinants of coup d’état events has not explored the role of property rights protection on decreasing the likelihood of its global and regional incidence. A plethora of qualitative research confirms that the military institutions of the developing world began to represent elite class values that reacted adversely to state attempts at the redistribution of wealth and the expropriation of property post 1970s. Thus far, no quantitative analysis has tested the assertions made by these cases. Using Time-Series Cross Sectional logistic regression models from the period 1970-1990, this study investigates the impact of the Contract Intensive Money Ratio and International Country Risk Guide measures, which are tapped as property rights proxy variables, on decreasing the likelihood of a coup.

Feb. 24Dr. Gregory Hansen, associate professor of English and folklore in the Department of English and Philosophy, will present “Occupational Folklife in Iowa.”  "Occupational folklife" refers to the traditional skills and knowledge shared within various work place communities. This session will feature a documentary video and educational resource that Dr. Gregory Hansen completed for the Smithsonian Institution. It is used in Iowa's public schools, and material from the video has been adapted to the on-line resource "Iowa Folklife: Our People, Communities, and Traditions." The presentation will show how occupational folklife is integral to the culture of towboat crews, commercial fishers, and the family farm in Iowa.

March 17Dr. Michael Botts, assistant professor of criminology in the Department of Criminology, Sociology, and Geography, will present “Antidepressant Use, Suicide and Violence.”  Criminal justice professionals who frequently come into contact with dangerous and violent individuals and situations have overlooked suicidal and violent behavior caused by antidepressants. Suicide and violent dangers stemming from antidepressant usage are examined and presented, by examining the open literature and internal company documents and information.  Reasons for the lack of awareness among criminal justice agencies are reviewed and discussed.

March 31Dr. Veena Kulkarni, assistant professor of sociology in the Department of Criminology, Sociology and Geography, will present “English Language Ability of Foreign Born in the United States: What Matters?” Previous research is limited, as it either does not distinguish between assimilation and cohort effect, focuses on one immigrant group, or is based on an older data set. This paper, using the pooled data from 1980 through 2000 Censuses and the 2001-2004 American Community Survey, is an attempt to separate the assimilation and cohort effect. In addition, it examines the contribution of age at migration and compares how assimilation varies for the major ethnic groups. Cohort effects are significant but positive assimilation exists controlling for cohort differences. Age at migration is significantly related, with highest rates of assimilation for people entering between the ages 15-25. There are notable inter-group variations in assimilation estimates. Hispanics and Eastern Europeans acquire English language proficiency quicker than the other groups. That can perhaps be attributed to the closer linguistic distance between Spanish and East European languages than between East Asian languages and English.

April 14Dr. Aiqun Hu, assistant professor in the Department of History, will present “Global Aspects of China’s Social Security Reform, 1980s-the Present.” This paper explores the global aspects of China’s social security reform since the 1980s in historical perspective. It argues that China’s social security reform was not just motivated and striven by China’s national forces, as the literature has normally assumed and argued. Instead, it was not only inspired and guided by global forces such as international organizations and international experts, but also a social learning process from other national experiences. This paper falls into three parts. The first part critically reviews the existing literature on China’s social security reform, proposing a new framework which not only analyzes the role of domestic forces but also the global aspects of the social security reform. The second part provides the global context of China’s social security reform. In the absence of this global context, China’s social security reform cannot be fully understood. The third part explores the global aspects of China’s social security reform and the interactions between national and global forces in the process of China’s social security reform since the 1980s. It shows that the global forces played a major or even critical role, but it was the national forces that determined the timing and specifics of the reform.



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