Spring 2013 Colloquium

The Feralization of Domestic House Cats: A Global Ecological Catastrophe!

Jason Luscier, Assistant Professor of Biology, Truman State University

Thursday, January 24, 2013. MG 2001. 7:00 pm

Free-roaming domestic house cats (Felis sylvestris catus) negatively impact native wildlife populations and human health around the globe. Several bird and mammal species have been driven to extinction solely from house cat predation. Many other species are experiencing population sinks in urban settings from cat predation. Cats also represent abundant vectors for mammalian diseases, and consequently many mammal species are exhibiting increased disease rates. This effect can even be seen in aquatic mammals where cat fecal run-off is contaminating waterways. All of these problems are more pronounced where populations of cats have gone feral and have congregated in large colonies in urban areas around the globe. Ecosystems cannot sustain over-inflated predator populations and thus effects on native wildlife can be drastic. Several techniques have been implemented to attempt to reduce urban feral cat populations, but none of them have been successful. Mostly, this is not a cat problem but a human problem. Ultimately, existence of feral cat populations and conservation of native wildlife are two things that cannot coexist.


Does Economic Globalization Influence the U.S. Policy Mood? A Study of U.S. Public Sentiment, 1956-2009

Dennis Quinn, Professor, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University

Thursday, February 14, 2013. MG 2001. 7:00 pm

The U.S. economy has become increasingly integrated with the world economy. Does this increasing economic globalization influence policy mood and voter sentiment? Previous international political economy (IPE) research has shown that voters enjoy the benefits of globalization but demand compensation for the associated risks. A hypothesis is that voters adopt a “compensatory” model whereby higher levels of imports (or exports) lead to a liberal (or conservative) shift in policy preferences over the size of government. The effects of rising import shares will be most pronounced under conditions of high unemployment. Using Stimson’s “Mood” as the dependent variable and estimating Error Correction models leads to the conclusion that the forces of economic globalization strongly influence policy mood. Rising imports lead to a leftward shift in Mood, both directly and interactively with unemployment. The results are consistent with a ‘real economy’ effect of trade on Mood. The results are robust to the inclusion of standard determinants of Mood.


Presidential Instability in South America

Meg Edwards, Visiting Professor of Political Science, Truman State University

Thursday, March 21, 2013. MG 2001. 7:00 pm

The issue of democratic stability is a central concern in the globalized world. Since the last wave of democratization, most countries in Latin America have transitioned to stable democratic governments. These changes, however, have corresponded with the emergence of a new form of presidential instability. Since the return to democracy, more than a quarter of elected presidents in South America have failed to complete their terms in office. These presidents face insurmountable opposition and leave office early via impeachment, resignation, or various other forms of removal, usually in the face of widespread protest and intense congressional proceedings. This phenomenon of presidential failure leads to new questions about democracy and the process of democratic consolidation. This presentation will provide in-depth information about some of the most notable instances of failure. It will also analyze the causes and consequences of presidential failure in South America.

Globalization at the Ends of the Earth: Rural Livelihoods and Wage Labor in Southern Chile’s Archipelago of Chiloé

Anton Daughters, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Truman State University

Thursday, April 18, 2013. MG 2001. 7:00 pm

For the past four decades, policy-makers in Santiago, Chile, have pushed laissez-faire free-market reforms on most sectors of the Chilean economy. On the Archipelago of Chiloé in southern Chile, these reforms have had the effect of introducing wage labor, on a massive scale, to communities that once relied primarily on collective practices of unpaid, reciprocal labor (mingas). This presentation will examine the role of these changing labor practices in the shaping of local identities. I will trace the modern history of Chiloé, the longstanding dependence of islanders on networks of reciprocity, and the erosion of those networks in the latter half of the twentieth century with the rapid growth of export-oriented fishing and aquaculture industries. I will connect that history to the identity dynamics of islanders today: the bemoaning among older generations of a loss of solidarity and the explicit criticism by younger generations of the isolation and material poverty of the past.