September 27, 2022
With immigration among the top issues concerning Texans this election season, the impact of Gov. Greg Abbott’s migrant busing program will likely play a role in the outcome of the state’s November races. Walter Wilson is an associate professor of political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio who specializes in Latino politics and representation. In this interview, he discusses Abbott’s busing plan and its potential political ramifications.
Governors Abbott and desantis aim to score political points with migrant busing program, professor says. Texas Standard. (n.d.). Retrieved September 27, 2022, from https://www.texasstandard.org/stories/governors-abbott-and-desantis-aim-to-score-political-points-with-migrant-busing-program-professor-says/
September 27, 2022
Queen Elizabeth is being laid to rest, but not everybody is celebrating. In former colonies, there is a backlash against the pomp and circumstance. Some in India feel they are being forced to glorify an oppressive monarchy. “The anger is towards the institutionalized practices of the monarchy and what it represents,” says UTSA political science and geography professor Ritu Mathur, who specializes in postcolonialism research. The funeral is bringing up the legacies of colonialism, including calls for atonement and reparations.
Board, M. (2022, September 19). Queen's funeral not celebrated by all. News Radio 1200 WOAI. Retrieved September 27, 2022, from https://woai.iheart.com/content/2022-09-19-queens-funeral-not-celebrated-by-all/
September 27, 2022
It will be difficult for John Lira to win in November, said Jon Taylor, chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at the University of Texas at San Antonio. “This is where the power of incumbency comes into play. This is where money comes into play,” Taylor said. Tony Gonzales has outraised Lira by more than 10 to 1, according to campaign finance reports. The national Democratic party has put more of its focus on competitive districts in Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley than it has on District 23. “That I think is a big mistake by the Democrats,” Taylor said.
Smith, M. (2022, September 17). East El Paso voters key to flipping US house district 23, Democrat says. El Paso Matters. Retrieved September 27, 2022, from https://elpasomatters.org/2022/09/19/john-lira-aims-to-unseat-el-paso-congressman-tony-gonzales-in-midterm/
September 27, 2022
Data released from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security shows a 175% increase in individuals seeking refuge from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua between August 2021 and August 2022. Jon Taylor, a political science professor at UTSA, believes there’s a possible connection between migration influx and the current Biden administration policy. “Mexico agreed to not allow migrants from Honduras, from El Salvador, and from Central America to come to the United States. There’s nothing in the agreement about Nicaragua or Cuba and Venezuela,” Taylor said.
Cole, A., & Arredondo, J. (2022, September 22). Political science, economics experts explain possible reasons behind current influx in asylum seekers. KSAT. Retrieved September 27, 2022, from https://www.ksat.com/news/local/2022/09/22/political-science-economics-experts-explain-possible-reasons-behind-current-influx-in-asylum-seekers/
September 7, 2022
July 16-August 5 was a special time for 11 students, including seven from Geography, two from Global Affairs, one from Political Science, and one from Anthropology. They ventured 800 miles south to the Mesa Central of Mexico for three weeks in the (cool) highlands of Mexico, relatively rarely visited by students, led by their geography professors, Drs. Richard Jones and Miguel de Oliver. The theme of the course was “The Spanish-Amerindian Interface,” and the students experienced this interface at every turn in a mestizo country forged from conflict, where in 1521 “Tlatelolco fell into the hands of Hernan Cortes. It was neither a triumph or a defeat: it was the painful birth of the meztizo nation that is Mexico today.” (from a plaque in the Plaza of the Three Cultures, Mexico City).
In Guanajuato, students visited the Alhondiga, a granary, where in 1810 the Spanish elite sought refuge from the army of the priest Miguel Hidalgo, the most famous of Mexico’s heroes---before the door was breached and the gachupines were massacred in the first battle for Mexican independence. They also saw a collection of art produced by the most famous of Mexican muralists, Diego Rivera, at his birthplace in Guanajuato. Rivera is known for his political art depicting the struggles of peasants and Indians against the Spanish hierarchy of church and state and foreign domination, and his belief in socialism as the correct ethical future for Mexico. During their week in Guanajuato the students also had lectures from University of Guanajuato professors on water problems and the impact of tourism on the city; learned firsthand from other professors about the history of mining and the hacienda system; and enthusiastically bicycled into the adjacent highlands, followed by their professors at a slightly more labored pace.
In San Miguel de Allende, students trekked through the Canada de la Virgen to a sacred Otomi hilltop ceremonial center that was a pilgrimage site and center of learning more than a thousand years ago. They also toured Via Organica, an organic farm engaged in sustainable practices such as open grazing, silage produced from cactus, worm composting, water capture, intercropping, and other traditional techniques.
In Puebla, there was a daylong excursion to Cholula and the volcano Popocatepl, a volcano that is currently active. Cholula is notable for its pyramid, in volume the largest in the world, where the Cholulans were conquered in a bloody massacre in 1521 and a church built atop the pyramid---a major reason why it is 95% unrestored to this day. We then drove to the 12,000 foot level on the volcano, the taking-off point from which Charlie Galindo (our guide) and his students from the Autonomous Popular Univ. of Puebla release their drones and balloons to measure temperature and gaseous emissions from the volcano in order to predict future eruptions. Retrieving the devices from villagers---that was another story… Our last day in Puebla was marked by a visit to a migrant town, Preciosita, where we heard the harrowing experiences of migrants, followed by a piñata fiesta with the kids of the community.
Mexico City was our destination for a final five days---the great metropolis of 20 million residents, with colossal environmental challenges and extraordinary beauty and culture and history. There was a walk up to a landmark of recent Mexican post-colonial history---Chapultepec Castle, the residence of Maxmillian and Carlotta, and later Porfirio Diaz; and experiences in contemporary history---Diego Rivera’s studio, and a lecture at the Colegio de Mexico by geography professor Boris Graizbord about Mexico City’s unbounded sprawl and water shortages (but it did not escape the students that Mexico City’s public green public spaces surpassed those of San Antonio, Houston, or Austin). But mostly Mexico City was about Mexico’s ancient cultures. At Teotihuacan, arguably the largest city in the world in 700 AD, they learned about the sophisticated architecture and family life in the residential compounds. At the Templo Mayor, located adjacent to and below the Cathedral on the Zocalo, they relived the archaeological discoveries as the hidden Aztec city slowly emerged from 1790 onwards. At the Museo de Anthropologia, a world-class museum, they braved a downpour as they viewed the resplendent ancient regional cultures---the Mexica, Maya, etc.---and the lesser known cultures of western Mexico. The final day in Mexico City culminated at Xochimilco on a lancha powered by a boatman with a pole---an area simultaneously a historic Aztec garden; a modern source of food for the city; a wildlife preserve; a water reservoir; and a major tourist attraction. As the afternoon waned and the Coronas took effect (21 and older), pointers from the guide were lost among marimba serenades &singing. No one fell into the canal.
November 23, 2020
The Model United Nations Society at the University of Texas at San Antonio just completed a very successful and enjoyable Alamo Model United Nations Conference. The annual conference was a two-day event held virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions on Friday, November 13th, and Saturday, November 14th, 2020. This year’s conference was attended by over 45 students from Baylor University, West Texas A&M, and the University of Texas at San Antonio. Guest speakers included Ms. Susan Sloan, Digital Communications Strategist & Author of A Seat at the Table: Women, Diplomacy, and Lessons for the World and Ambassador James F. Creagan, former US Ambassador to Honduras and the Eugene Scassa Visiting Professor in International Diplomacy at St. Mary’s University.
The conference was downsized from the traditional four committees to two committees to enhance the virtual experience, including the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The goal of Model United Nations is to give students a fully immersive experience as they step up as delegates for various nations, such as China, France, and Indonesia, in either the UNSC or the UNHRC. This allows students to put their theories of world politics into practice and experience what negotiation at the UN feels like. After country assignments, each student conducted research to prepare their positions and arguments in order to advance their respective country’s interests in alignment with the real-world UN process.
This year’s UNSC topics included the Yemeni Civil War and the persecution of ethnic minorities. Topics for the UNHRC involved child trafficking and the human rights of migrants and refugees. Each committee held two days of virtual discussion on their respective topics, and delegates worked together to draft and pass several United Nations Resolutions. In the UNHRC, councilmembers successfully passed four Resolutions, a monumental feat and testament to the dedication of the students throughout the Model UN process. In the UNSC, delegates passed three Resolutions, again displaying the dedication of students towards international affairs and sustainable cooperation on the world stage.
Model United Nations gives students the ability to experience the process of international policymaking and diplomacy firsthand as well as develop critical skills, ultimately preparing them for careers in government and foreign service as well as a variety of other industries and sectors. Planning has already started for the Fall 2021 Alamo Model United Nations Conference, which may be either in-person or virtual, depending on the impending circumstances. If you would like to learn more about Model UN or would like to be involved with the UTSA Model UN Society, please contact us at email@example.com visit our website at https://www.utsa-modelun.org/.
June 25, 2020
"The Geography Society clean up Elmendorf Lake together - February 2020"
May 13, 2020
Congratulations to Political Science Graduate student Derek Kubacki won 2nd place with his paper (Realist Theory and Russian Military Aggression in Eastern Europe Since the “end” of the Cold War) in the 2020 COLFA Research Paper Competition.
Congratulations are also in order for Kathryn Fisher who won 3rd place with her paper THINK TANKS AND FOREIGN POLICY: THE CASE OF THE PUTINMEDVEDEV TANDEMOCRACY.
November 14, 2019
November 14, 2019
UTSA celebrated GIS Day on November 12th
The Alamo Area MPO GIS team highlighted cutting-edge GIS techniques to over 60 students and facility in attendance at the University of Texas - San Antonio's 2019 GIS Day event! Sponsored by UTSA’s Political Science and Geography Departments and organized by Dr. Nazgol Bagheri, the event showcased six presentations with geography trivia and networking opportunities. Some of the presentation titles included: Vision Zero – Using GIS to Save Lives, Modelling a Utility Network in GIS and the AAMPO’s Empowering Citizens with GIS. The event was a huge success and we look forward to being part of next year’s event!
November 1, 2019
San Antonio’s Woolworth Building in Alamo Plaza makes global list of endangered sites.
Click here to read more.
October 29, 2019
October 21, 2019
October 18, 2019
October 18, 2019
October 18, 2019
Politics and Law students, Madison and Ileen competed in the Intercollegiate Moot Court Competition.
October 18, 2019
October 8, 2019
Geography majors Annie Burns and Forrest Wilkinson were awarded small grants ($1000) from the UTSA Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) to undertake research on Mexican poverty alleviation and sustainable agriculture during the spring semester of 2019. They worked under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Jones, simultaneously enrolling in Research Practicums to receive academic credit for their efforts. Upon completion of their projects in May 2019, both Annie and Forrest were recommended and inducted into COLFA’s Academy of Undergraduate Research Associates. This honor is “…a formal acknowledgement of extraordinary student research or creative activity beyond typical classroom requirements.”
Annie’s project was an investigation of whether religious missions in Mexico are contributing to the UN Millennium Development Goals. She carried out telephone interviews with the Program Director and Missionary Ambassador of the Caring Hearts Ministry in San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico (across the border from Yuma). She found that this Ministry was devoted to helping destitute populations in this border city---educating orphans, feeding the poor, helping the immobile poor meet their financial obligations, and offering medical outreach to surrounding communities. As revealed in her final paper, Caring Hearts was seen as actively addressing five of the eight Millennium Development Goals.
Forrest’s study involved whether indigenous ecological agriculture in southern Mexico was being preserved and whether it was sustainable and economical for the farmers of the region. His project involved ten days in Yucatan, where he visited traditional and ecologically- sustainable farms and talked with farmers and professors with the University of Quintana Roo. He found that forest plants with food potential were being extracted from the rainforest and planted in the milpas; that communal groups were preserving milpa techniques; and that women’s groups were successfully organizing for community development. His final paper concluded that economic benefits were exceeded by ecological benefits of practices that provided alternative opportunities and security for farmers in the region. In addition to the OUR Scholarship, Forrest applied for and acquired a grant ($2000) from the UTSA Office of Sustainability to cover his travel expenses in Quintana Roo.
September 23, 2019
(Sept. 12, 2019) -- Global affairs and sociology double major and Honors College student Jay’Len Boone has been selected by the United Nations Association of the United States of America to serve as the Youth Observer to the United Nations for the 2019-2020 year.
UNA-USA appoints just one Youth Observer each year among a competitive pool of more than 200 students, aged 18-25. Recognized for his exceptional success as a UTSA student, Boone becomes the eighth student to serve in the role.
The program, which was created in 2012, aims to increase youth involvement in global affairs and connect young people in the U.S. to the mission of the United Nations.
Boone is excited to begin his work this year, recognizing the opportunity for impact as the U.S. representative.
“I feel so honored to serve in a role where I will get the chance to speak and work on the ground with youth from across the country. This opportunity provides me with a direct avenue to strengthen U.S. relations with the UN, a task that I will get to enlist American youth in helping me accomplish,” replied Boone.
At UTSA, Boone has excelled as a campus leader and peer mentor. He founded the nonprofit organization Sustainable Youth in Action, which empowers young people to solve social issues in their communities and is also a member of the President’s Student Advisory Council.
A team of UTSA students have joined the initiative, which has raised money and awarded seed grants for student social entrepreneurship and collective social action that operates outside the dependence on government funding and large charities.
Boone’s work with SYA is already very closely aligned with the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development goals, which operate as a blueprint to create a sustainable future without hunger, poverty, and inequality.
These same goals have been integrated into the Honors College curriculum for first year students. Boone relates that his introduction to the goals has guided the work he does both out of class and in class.
“The UTSA Honors College curriculum challenges students to think beyond the classroom and implement what they learn in our local San Antonio community. Our college's innovative Civic Ethos course teaches us that true service does not assume need but rather goes out of its way to explore and question the actual needs of a group,” said Boone. “I can't wait to take what I've learned from this and implement it across the nation. UTSA equips us with the tools we need to be effective community leaders.”
Outside of UTSA’s classrooms, Boone has engaged directly with many global issues pertinent to the UN’s goals, studying in South Africa as a Global Poverty Project Curtis Scholar, interning in Hong Kong as a Cultural Vistas Fellow, and most recently this summer, working in Saudi Arabia.
As the Youth Observer, Boone will represent American youth voices at the United Nations. His activity will include visiting high schools and colleges nationwide, serving as a UNA-USA delegate at UN conferences, and attending UN briefings.
Boone’s activity will be visible to the UTSA community through the Youth Observer’s social media, where he will be the moderator and face of all public accounts.
- Andrew Chapman
August 20, 2019
On Friday, May 10, 2019, Geography Career Night, sponsored by the Geography and Environmental Sustainability program and the Geography Society of UTSA, was held at the home of Dr. de Oliver in the King William District, for the benefit of some 40 undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, guests, and friends of geography. All were serenaded by the strings of sitar and guitar of Forrest Wilkinson and Esteban Spongberg, as a prelude to the speakers.
Dr. Jones led off by wishing bon voyage to our twelve graduating majors, and announcing Mastoris and Morris Geography Scholarship recipients Nicole Di Martino, Justin Guerra, Victoria Rodriguez, Esteban Spongberg, and Jewel Uzquiano. He commended the Geography Society co-presidents Tim Dupont and Brandon Stark. He announced the induction into AURA (the COLFA Academy of Undergraduate Research Associates) of Annie Burns, Justin Guerra, and Forrest Wilkinson. Finally, he presented a plaque to Annie Burns for the highest GPA of a junior or senior UTSA geography major in 2018-19.
The main purpose of Career Night is to inform majors of career opportunities in areas such as GIS, urban planning, and environmental sustainability. The 2019 speakers included:
Lani Cabico May, Director of Sustainability, UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, “Sustainability on Campus and Beyond”
Erica Ragsdale, Neighborhood Engagement Officer, City of San Antonio Neighborhood & Housing Services Department, “A Career in Urban Planning”
Brittany Legg, Query Management Analyst, Indeed, Austin (formerly with Apple, Austin, “Geography in Tech”
Jonathon James, GIS Specialist/Database Administrator, Floresville Electric Light and Power System, “From the Classroom to Light and Power”
The speakers emphasized the importance of getting involved as volunteers and interns prior to seeking a job. They introduced the audience to the various initiatives that UTSA, the City of San Antonio, and private firms are implementing to address environmental issues, neighborhood engagement, developing better maps, social applications of GIS, etc. They touted the value of life skills or “soft skills” in landing and keeping a position---curiosity, adaptability, ability to teach others, being a team player.
This event is the capstone of Geography Society activities during the year, and it gives students ideas and contacts that are frequently the first steps to internships and jobs in the San Antonio and Austin metro areas.
April 22, 2019
Image: Tim Degener/Lennart Steppe
Month of preparation paid off - the joint delegation of UTSA and Goethe University, Frankfurt, successfully represented France at the National Model UN and received the "Honorable Mention Delegation-Award as well as Position Paper Awards
January 29, 2019
Economic Impact of Immigration by State featuring a interview with Dr. Richard Jones.
November 13, 2018
November 2nd through Sunday, November 4th, the Model United Nations Society, in partnership with the Department of Political Science and Geography, hosted the 2018 Alamo Model United Nations Conference. The conference included four committees: UN Security Council (SC), UN Historical Security Council, UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The SC discussed small arms reduction, weapons of mass destruction proliferation, and naval conflicts and territorial disputes. The historic SC discussed the Yugoslavian crisis set in the year 1992. UNODC discussed firearm prevention, sex trafficking, and the opioid crisis. UNICEF discussed the rights and needs of transgender children, children with disabilities, and HIV/AIDS prevention. All committees were successful in passing at least one resolution throughout the duration of the conference, and all delegates successfully developed public speaking, diplomacy, and group collaboration skills. While the conference left all delegates, staff, and chairs tired, the weekend was very rewarding. The Model United Nations Society would like to thank all who participated for their effort, and invite everyone to consider attending the 2019 Alamo Model United Nations Conference next fall.
September 25, 2018
FIELD COURSE TAKES STUDENTS TO THE CENTRAL MEXICAN HIGHLANDS
Dr. Miguel de Oliver and Dr. Richard Jones taught a Summer II (2018) course on the social and economic geography of Mexico that included a classroom portion followed by an intensive two weeks in Guanajuato, Puebla, and Mexico City. The primary focus of the field portion of the course was to bring the geography and history of Mexico to life for students—for instance, to venture deep into a Guanajuato silver mine to see how the peones managed, barefoot, to bring 120-pound loads of ore up on their backs; to proceed up the slope of an active volcano and learn how drone-monitoring of its heat and gases is pointing to additional eruptions in the near future, and later to visit a migrant village in Puebla and hear the gripping stories of death at the border; to be punted among the canals and floating gardens of an ancient lake to experience how the Aztecs farmed and ferried people and produce in pre-Columbian Mexico City.
The group of eight undergraduate students and two faculty left July 24th on a circuitous Injerjet flight from San Antonio to León, Guanajuato, with stops in Monterrey and Mexico City, leaving at 11am and arriving at 11pm, only to find that their hotel reservations in downtown Guanajuato had all but evaporated, a victim of the Guanajuato International Film Festival. These things do occasionally happen in Mexico, and the professors being well-versed in such happenings, took this in stride and arranged alternate lodging for some of the party until the faux pas could be worked out the next morning with the hotel manager. This was the first of what were to be many adventures.
Guanajuato is a bowl filled with jewels, a topographic basin with churches, balconied inns and businesses, the rising ramparts of the University of Guanajuato, and multi-colored homes---all strung together by streets and callejones (pedestrian alleyways) interspersed with green plazas and jardines. Four hundred years ago this valley was occupied by 50 haciendas vying for control of the richest silver vein in the world, the Veta Madre, running high along one lip of the bowl. On their first day in the city, the group surveyed this scene, ascending the opposite lip of the bowl, up to the El Pípila monument---honoring the miner who in 1810, with a slab of stone on his back as protection against Spanish guns above, ascended to the door of the Alhondiga (granary) and burned it down, allowing the peasant army of Manuel Hidalgo to stream in and kill all of the gauchupines ensconced inside---the first battle for Mexican Independence. The same day, the group visited the ex-Hacienda San Gabriel de Barrera, the most famous of the early haciendas, with its patio for separating the silver from the ore, and its ornate mansion where the guide painted a picture of the patriarchal, racially-stratified society that held sway until Independence swept away the Spanish---only to install a Mexican creole society in their place. Both the Alhondiga and the hacienda emphasized various observations and questions that were points of discussion in the classroom. The second day in Guanajuato saw the group on the slope of a nearby mountain, where they were treated to an ecological farming and reforestation project, and from where they descended on bicycles to the outskirts of the city. On the third day the students were exposed to early-morning lectures on the architecture of Guanajuato and the role of water in the economic geography of the Bajio and adjacent highlands, given by an architecture professor and a geography professor, respectively, from the University of Guanajuato. Afterwards, the group entered a silver mine, San Cayetano, and then was led by the geography professor up to the Cristo Rey de Cubilete, a church and pilgrimage site for Catholic faithful from across the country; they then descended into the Bajío, specifically the Puerto Interior, a large industrial park in Silao for TNCs such as Magna, VW, Primera Plus, Nishikawa, etc. The geography professor gave professional insights on sustainability issues---reforestation as well as the sustainability of commercial agriculture and water extraction in the Bajio---that were appreciated by the students. They emphasized sustainable development---the core of our program of Geography and Environmental Sustainability. The fourth day in Guanajuato was spent in nearby San Miguel de Allende, at the ecological farm known as Via Orgánica, and it was similarly appreciated by the students. The mission of this farm is to educate local students, international visitors, and local farmers in the practices of raising pesticide-free vegetables, free-grazing chickens, and various edible cacti. Organic fertilizers are produced using worm-composting and aromatic flowers are raised for pollination. The produce from the operation supplies the Via Orgánica Restaurant in San Miguel (where we ate lunch), which is patronized by the large American retirement community there. Our final full day in the Guanajuato area found us at a Classical Otomí ceremonial center, Canyon de la Virgen, under the tutelage of a dynamic guide and archaeologist whose description of the astronomical orientation of the center, its role as an ancient pilgrimage destination and school, and the burials found at the site, were consummately fascinating.
Unlike the Guanajuato portion, the Puebla portion of the field course was a “package,” including slide presentations by UPAEP professors; guides; lodging; meals; and transportation---organized by the head of short-term international student programs at the Popular Autonomous University of the State of Puebla (UPAEP). Arriving at UPAEP late on July 30th by a series of taxis and buses, we were put up in university dorms for the three nights of our stay. Our first day in Puebla took us along a jarring road up the slopes of yet another mountain, this time the active Volcano Popocatepetl (17,000 ft. +), with the professors joking about making sacrificial victims of any complaining students. This adventure (fortunately no students misbehaved) was followed immediately by a guided tour of Cholula, the prehistoric pyramid near Puebla that is the largest in volume in the world. Benefited by another excellent, and sympathetic, guide, we questioned why this gem (and the nearby temples and burial grounds) has not been fully excavated, to learn that it has much to do with the Catholic church that graces its summit. Again, this was relevant to the classroom portion of the course, where we discussed the church’s role in the development or underdevelopment of colonial Mexico. Our final day in Puebla carried us 100km north to Preciosita, a village that provided a unique window on poverty, US migration, and how one village has responded to this migration---all extended topics of the course. Three viejitas (older women) gave harrowing accounts of the hazards and personal tragedies faced by their sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, and spouses in their attempts to cross the border and work in the United States. One of these women showed us yet another example of organic agriculture (swine biogas, worm composting, native plant medicines), funded by UPAEP and US/Mexican foundations, with the express aim to stop US migration from their town. A high point of the Puebla portion was the piñata celebration and gift-giving to the children of Preciosita, that made a lasting impression on the students for its spontaneity and uniqueness.
The field course finished with three days in Mexico City---another high point not least because we stayed in a towering hotel in the Zona Rosa, with a view of the new (earthquake-proof) skyscrapers that now embellish the skyline along the Paseo de la Reforma. The first morning we strolled along Insurgentes Ave. to Chapultepec Castle---a magnet since prehistoric times, the home of Mexican presidents until the 1930s, but most famous for what happened there in September 1847 as US troops were advancing on the Castle at the end of the US/Mexican War. Six cadets of the military academy at the Castle refused their commander’s order to retreat, preferring to die there instead; one (Juan Escutia) is believed to have wrapped himself in the Mexican flag before plummeting to his death from the cliff face that surrounds the castle. We dwelled for some time at the statues and monuments to Los Niños Heroes, honored throughout Mexico. After visiting the castle, our party walked to the famous Anthropology Museum in another part of Chapultepec Park. On the second day of our stay in the D.F. (Distrito Federal) we began the day at the Casa Azul, the home of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera that is now a museum devoted to the life and work of Frida. On this day we also took a launch (trajinera) on lake Xochimilco in the southern part of Mexico City, described in the first paragraph. It provided an immersion into Mexican history and popular culture not experienced elsewhere on the trip. One student took this a little too far, with a spontaneous dip in the canal. Our final day in Mexico City was marked by a relatively uneventful subway journey to the main downtown plaza (the Zócalo) with visits to the Cathedral, the National Palace, and (a few blocks away) the Palacio de Bellas Artes.
The group returned to San Antonio early on August 6th. The course culminated with the final exam and presentations by student duos on major questions raised during the field portion of the course.
Below are two students’ comments on what the course meant to them:
The Guanajuato-Puebla study abroad course summer 2018 was a life changing experience. Studying abroad in Mexico opened my eyes to the importance of stepping out of my comfort zone, where I learned so much about myself, others and the world. Being immersed into Mexican society was so amazing, traveling to different cultural sites, museums and experiencing life in a different culture is the best way to learn about it. After this trip I have made life long relationships with my classmates’ and professors, I appreciate the diversity of cultures, and have become a world traveler.
The trip had a lasting effect on my perception of Mexico as well as my perception of the United States. Through hearing stories about low factory wages or treacherous journeys across the border, I obtained a more complete understanding of the hardship of the Mexican people, especially those in rural areas, compared to the average US American. The Mexican people, despite their lower rung on the economic world ladder, were exceedingly friendly and generous. We were welcomed in and fed in several homes during our stay. Overall my experience left me with a great admiration for the people of Mexico.
Bicycle excursion, Guanajuato
Los Niños Heroes
Los Profesores Heroes
May 4, 2018
Honors student Raven Douglas presented this year at the Undergraduate Research & Creativity Showcase. With the help of her Faculty Supervisor Dr. Walt Wilson, she presented her thesis, "Before and After the Texas Voter ID Law. How did SB14 Impact voter turnout among communities of color during the 2014 mid-term election.
March 30, 2018
This past Wednesday, March 28, the Model United Nations Society hosted a panel on the Politics and Science of Nuclear Warfare. Panelists included two professors from the Department of Political Science and Geography, Dr. Mathur and Dr. Thayer, and one professor from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dr. Sooby Wood. It was a great multidisciplinary event covering a wide range of topics and viewpoints on nuclear warfare and technology. The panel had a great turnout demonstrating an interest and eagerness amongst UTSA students and the community. The Model United Nations Society would like to thank everyone who came and the wonderful panelists for giving important insight on such a big topic.
Visit the Society Website for upcoming events & join us for our fall conference!
February 22, 2018
The weekend of February 15-17, five UTSA students had the privilege of attending the MSC Student Conference on National Affairs ‘63 at Texas A&M University in College Station. The overarching theme of this year’s conference was “New World Disorder: Reconsidering America’s Roles, Responsibilities, and Relationships”. The theme was broken down into individual “roundtable” topics, ranging anywhere from espionage to territorial conflicts in the Middle East, and drug cartels to international intelligence agreements. The purpose of each roundtable was to debate their respective topic and create an original policy paper to help negate the issue. At the end of the conference, the roundtables submitted their policy to a judge - usually a high-ranking military officer - along with a policy presentation and skit that was performed in front of the entire conference. One of the UTSA students, Sarah-Madeleine Torres, won an award with her roundtable group for ‘Best Policy Presentation’ for the topic “Sharing is Caring: The Shadowy World of Intelligence Agreements”. Throughout the conference, several influential speakers gave presentations as well. This year alone a North Korean Defector, the South Korean Consulate General, a Congressman, and retired four-star General Frank Grass all came to share their unique insights and perspectives on policies and international issues. The Department of Political Science and Geography sponsored the five students that attended MSC SCONA ‘63. It is an invaluable experience that undoubtedly helped the students learn leadership and cooperation skills, as well as afford networking opportunities that will excel in their future careers.
November 9, 2017
On Friday, November 3, through Sunday, November 5, the Model United Nations Society at UTSA, graciously supported by the Department of Political Science & Geography, hosted the 2017 Alamo Model United Nations Conference. In its fourth instance, more than 110 UTSA student delegates, including international students from ITAM Mexico and local High school simulated three different UN committees, including the UN Security Council, the UN Economic and Social Council, and the UN Human Rights Council. In these committees, students of different backgrounds and majors came together for three long days, lasting from early morning hours into late evenings, to discuss global issues. This year’s topics were Climate Change, Gender Equality, and Migration.
Various global crises came up during the conference which further challenged the delegates to multilaterally come up with resolutions. As different viewpoints clashed, debates got heated yet always remained civil and appropriate to the UN framework, with lunch and dinner provided by the conference hosts to further ensure delegates working together. As resolutions were written and proposed, students developed their soft skills, moved out of their comfort zones, and shined as UN delegates. For most students involved, this was a new but also formative experience which clearly enriched their studies here at UTSA. To top things off, the event was completed by an expert presentation delivered by Prof. Jeffrey Addicot, who is currently the director at the St. Mary’s University, Center for Terrorism Law. By the end of the third day, Security Council, ECOSOC, and Human Rights Council delegates left home satisfied at the accomplishments they achieved and the many, many resolutions passed.
After this successful conference, Faculty Advisor Dr. Matthias Hofferberth is dedicated to host the 2017 Alamo Model UN Conference in the Fall next year, as well as taking the Model United Nations team to compete with other student delegates at the National Model United Nations Conference in New York. For more questions on the Model United Nations Society at UTSA or this particular conference, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to https://www.facebook.com/munsatutsa for more information.
September 18, 2017
THe Undergraduate Political Science Association presents a Constitutional Celebration.
September 11, 2017
Last week, ten UTSA students participated in a Model United Nations Conference hosted by ITAM (Autonomous Technology Institute of Mexico) in the heart of Mexico City. Based and structured on the actual United Nations in New York City, Model United Nations conferences simulate international diplomacy at the highest level for High school and University students across the country and even internationally.
This year's conference was special since it marked the 20th anniversary of ITAM conferences. For three days, students from universities and high schools from around the world came together to discuss pressing global issues. The UTSA delegation was sponsored by the Department of Political Science & Geography and was led by Dr. Matthias Hofferberth. The committees UTSA students participated in were the Security Council, Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and the Organization of American States (OAS). Among other topics, human trafficking, women empowerment, and the situation in Venezuela were discussed.
All the delegates recognized that while they entered the room as strangers the first day, they all left as friends with a newfound appreciation of international relations in the end. In addition, Walker Adams (United States / Security Council) received the prestigious award of “Best Delegate” which is an honor given by the Committee Chairs to the delegate who showcased and represented their country to the highest standard. We congratulate him!
If you are interested in Model UN and want to participate in such great events, please reach out to Walker Adams who is currently the Secretary General for the Model United Nations Society at UTSA. The next upcoming event will be the 2017 Alamo Model United Nations Conference held November 3rd through 5th at UTSA Main Campus. This conference is open to all students and a great way to learn more about Model UN and make friends. For the application click here or visit the Society’s Facebook site to get in touch and for more information.
Jerry Sharp (UTSA Model UN Under-Secretary of Logistics)
August 28, 2017
Studying abroad is undoubtedly one of the more enriching experiences that a student can have. Our trip to Frankfurt, Germany was a remarkable experience; surrounded by breathtaking architecture, truly inspiring historical reminders, and a resolute German culture. Not to mention, there was no better person than Dr. Matthias Hofferberth to guide this study abroad program. As a former student and teacher at Goethe-Universität, Dr. Hofferberth let his expertise and passion shine through to show us globalization from a transatlantic perspective, and not just teach it, which made all the difference.
As a class we experienced various perspectives that allowed for a truly in depth look at the effects and the future of globalization. During the two week period we were at all times surrounded by the topics of the course. The class discussion stays with you as you walk the streets of downtown Frankfurt and even when you travel to Heidelberg and view a nearly 800-year-old castle. As Thomas Friedman once wrote, “globalization is everything and its opposite”.
This program went far beyond the classroom and suggested each student to broaden their view as the world reaches a new dimension of complexity and interconnectedness. While exploring Frankfurt we experienced the influence of Turkish immigration on the cosmopolitan city. Most of us enjoyed more Turkish kebabs than German schnitzel. We were mostly afforded the ability to speak in English rather than communicate in the native German language. These two seemingly simple things are a part of the massive web that is globalization. The class gave an intricate and substantial meaning to these simple encounters.
The classroom itself was a setting that was more than conducive to discuss globalization, as the class was comprised of American students from UTSA and local German students from Goethe. Dr. Hofferberth provided us with the tools to consider our environment, no matter our country of origin, from a variety of theories, schools of thought, and paradigms. In the end, we were challenged to find globalization on our own as the final paper assigned each student to analyze a visualization (photo, graph, etc.) of globalization, an assignment that allowed for great creativity and permission to challenge what we had learned in class.
In addition, there were nearly daily excursions to the city of Frankfurt and neighboring cities. These field trips provided the students to not only learn about the area, but also explore the innumerable pathways to a career in Global Affairs or Political Science. For instance, we visited the U.S. Consulate, Wiesbaden U.S. Army Base Lucius Clay Kaserne, Hessischer Landtag, Frankfurt Airport, and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Just as well, we were able to learn more about higher education opportunities from Goethe University faculty.
We strongly encourage any students to explore their opportunities to study abroad, particularly with this program through the Department of Political Science and Geography. The adventure of a new country and university is worthwhile, but so is the introspection, the adventure of oneself, as the world opens itself to your imagination.
To learn more about this program, please go to studyabroad.utsa.edu or go to the UTSA Education Abroad office at Main Building 1.204.
Shelby Carson & Brooklyn Clow, Frankfurt Study Abroad Alumni 2017
May 15, 2017
The Department of Political Science & Geography hosted 80 students from Memorial and Kennedy High School on May 11th for College Day.
Matthias Hofferberth addresses high school students about college opportunities at UTSA.
April 24, 2017
April 20, 2017
2017 Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry Showcase
Shelby Carson (Political Science Major) presented:
Pulling Heartstrings: Moral Rhetoric and It's Influence on Partisan Journalists When Employed by the President of the United States in the State of the Union Address
Monica Pepping (Political Science and Global Affairs Major) presented:
Aging in Mexico: A Case Study of U.S. Senior Citizens and their Quality of Life in San Migual de Allende
April 17, 2017
Friday, May 26 - Sunday, May 28
Belo Center for New Media
The University of Texas at Austin
Looking to learn what it takes to create a
successful political campaign, advocate for a cause,
or run for office?
Seats are limited and will be filled on
a first-come, first-serve basis.
Don't miss this opportunity to hear from active political professionals about what it's like to work on a campaign. Republican and Democratic experts will explain the basic fundamentals of how to run a campaign, answer your questions about race strategies and tactics, and share lessons they have learned in the field.
Campaign Bootcamp also features a unique, interactive component where participants work together on mock campaign teams to craft a real-life campaign plan for their candidate. At the end of the weekend, teams present their plans to our mock "Texas Campaign Commission" of political professionals to try and win their endorsement.
Visit our website to learn more about the weekend, available scholarships and group discounts,
and what is covered in registration.
Check out some of
this year's Bootcamp trainers!
Luke Marchant (R)
Vice President at Hill + Knowlton
& former political director for U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
Matt Glazer (D)
Director of the Austin Young Chamber of Commerce
& former executive director for Progress Texas
Taylor Holden (D)
Development Director at ProgressNow Colorado
& former executive director for the Dallas County Democratic Party
Tyler Norris (R)
Communications Manager at Public BluePrint
& former grassroots coordinator at Texans for Ted Cruz
Liz Chadderdon (D)
President of the Chadderdon Group and direct mail expert
Pasha Moore (R)
Founder of Holland Taucher Consulting Group
and leading fundraising professional
Rob Johnson (R)
Founder of Johnson Strategies
& former senior adviser to Carly Fiorina and Rick Perry
Chris Perkins (R)
Partner at Ragner Research Partners and expert pollster
Executive Communication Coach at Quantified Communications
More speakers to be announced soon.
If you are in need of any assistance during the event
or have any questions about the weekend,
please email Taylor Foody or call 512-471-2135.
April 14, 2017
The Department of Political Science & Geography hosted over 100 students from South San High school on 4/13 for College Day.
Javier Oliva addresses high school students about college opportunities at UTSA.
April 13, 2017
Tuesday, April 18, Noon - 1:00
Wednesday April 19, Noon - 1:00
March 23, 2017
March 20, 2017
Three of our department's students are presenting at the COLFA conference:
Alejandra Munoz- Torres-
Is a Political Science Undergraduate student- Sponsored by Dr. Stefanova
Presenting- The role of domestic political economy in achieving transitional justice.
Is a Political Science Graduate student - Sponsored by Dr. Stefanova
Presenting- From Rus’ to Ukraine: Political Memory and Soul Searching in the Post Soviet Era
Is a Global Affairs Undergraduate student- Sponsored by Dr. Hofferberth
Presenting- NATO and Its Continued Presence
February 24, 2017
The UTSA community is saddened by Dr. John Miller Morris’s sudden passing.
Dr. Richard Jones, Professor in Geography, remembers on how Dr. Morris brought to UTSA students an intellectual perspective that sprang from his own consummate scholarship, and his curiosity about so many things. His rapport with students was patent, particularly his taking a personal interest in them and their careers. “Your teaching methods are amazing,” wrote one student. Another noted that Dr. Morris “is the best teacher I have had in college. He involved himself actively and took an interest in the students’ learning.” A third student offered that “I am a business student and I have taken all my electives with him…” A fourth wrote: “Professor Morris is an excellent teacher. He captivates the students’ attention from the beginning to usually a little past the end of class. His lectures provide intriguing information that is both informative and applicable to understanding past, present, and future.” A not uncommon refrain was that of a final student: “Morris is awesome! Greatest instructor at UTSA in my opinion. Major influence on my life.”
In 1996-97, Dr. Morris was awarded the Dean's Outstanding Teaching Award for undergraduate teaching, in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. In 2010, he won the Regent’s Outstanding Teaching Award. In 2012 he was awarded the prestigious Piper Professor Award, the first at UTSA in nine years and one of only nine in the history of the institution.
It might be imagined that someone who spoke five languages and traveled extensively (including extended time in Russia, Austria, Israel, and Mexico) would have a global perspective, and Morris did. It is interesting that he also had a Texas perspective, from his upbringing in the Texas Panhandle and his research on the area. He was involved in local planning issues, particularly environmental planning and activism in Austin. There is hardly a topic on which John did not have some degree of expertise.
John Miller Morris died from complications of heart bypass surgery on Thursday, February 16, 2017. He can never be replaced, and we in the department of Political Science and Geography are still mourning his death.
Please join us in honoring John Miller Morris by helping to support the students he dedicated himself to teaching.
Donations can be made at the following link.
January 31, 2017
January 11, 2017
A panel event featuring:
Dr. Matthew Brogdon, Dept. of Political Science and Geography
Dr. Bryan Gervais, Dept. of Political Science and Geography
Dr. Luis Hestres, Dept. of Communication
Dr. Richard Jones, Dept. of Political Science and Geography
Dr. Ritu Mathur, Dept. of Political Science and Geography
November 10, 2016
PSG STUDENT/FACULTY EXCHANGE WITH MEXICAN UNIVERSITY
In October 2016 a Framework Agreement of Cooperation was signed between UTSA and the University of Guanajuato, Mexico. It states that UTSA and UdeG will among other things, “Receive undergraduate and graduate students of the partner institution for periods of study and/or research; (and) Organize symposia, conferences, short courses, and meetings on research issues.” The agreement was signed by Dr. René Zenteno, Vice-provost for International Initiatives, UTSA, and Dr. Luís Felipe Guerrero Agripino, General Rector, UdeG.
This agreement resulted from the summer 2016 Guanajuato field course, Geography and Social Change in Mexico (GRG 3143/4953 and GRG 6973), led by Drs. Richard Jones and Miguel de Oliver of the Department of Political Science and Geography, from July 13-August 7, 2016. After 1½ weeks in the classroom at UTSA, the group (accompanied by Dr. Nazgol Bagheri), struck out for two weeks in Guanajuato. The seven undergraduates and two graduates were exposed to a rich variety of activities. There were two classroom presentations by professors from the university. Otherwise, students had ample opportunities to investigate the historic district, its colonial buildings and monuments, its parks and plazas and markets. They visited the most famous museums of the city (Alhóndiga, Diego Rivera, Museo del Pueblo), and a hacienda. Guanajuato is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in the silver-mining district of central Mexico, and has been called the most beautiful colonial city in the country. For excursions into the countryside the group rented a van, enabling them to visit Dolores Hidalgo, San Miguel Allende, a prehistoric archaeological site (Cañon de la Virgen), an organic farm, and the agro-industrial area known as the Bajío. They also off-road biked from the top of a nearby mountain into the heart of the city.
At the very end of the trip, the group took a bus to Mexico City for an intense two days including excursions to the Zócalo and the Parque de Chapultepec.
One student’s comments summarize how much they gained from the course:
“As a student, I have gained a deeper understanding of Mexican culture, history and customs from this study abroad. I am originally from Monterrey, Mexico, but having moved to the U.S. when I was 3 years old, I never had been truly immersed in the Mexican culture growing up. Being able to go to Mexico was an experience unlike anything I could ever read in a book. Seeing so many historical sites was an incredible experience, certainly one of my most favorite aspects of the trip. Walking around the city of Guanajuato was amazing! There were so many festivals, weddings and quinceneras happening, it was truly beautiful to see. Talking with the local people was very educational because I had to speak Spanish. This trip has also helped with my career plans because I am an aspiring urban planner.”
November 2, 2016
Election Party!!!! Click HERE for more information.
November 1, 2016
On Friday, October 28, through Sunday, October 30, the Department of Political Science & Geography together with the Model United Nations Society at UTSA hosted the 2016 Alamo Model United Nations conference. In its third instance, 70 UTSA student delegates simulated the Economic and Social Council, as well as, the Security Council at this conference. This three day event, which lasted from the early morning hours into the late evening, brought together UTSA students of different backgrounds and majors to discuss world issues. This year’s topics were Non-State Terrorism, Gender Violence & Femicide, and Cyber Security and Internet Access as a Human Right. Various global crises came up during the conference which further challenged the delegates to multilaterally come up with resolutions. As different viewpoints clashed, debates got heated yet always remained civil and appropriate to the UN framework, with lunch and dinner provided by the conference hosts to further ensure delegates working together. To top things off, the event was completed by an expert presentation delivered by Laurence Vaughan, Information Communication Technology Specialist, who is currently employed at the United Nations Secretariat, Department of Information. By the end of the third day, ECOSOC and Security Council delegates left home satisfied at the accomplishments achieved and the many, many resolutions passed.
After this successful conference, Dr. Matthias Hofferberth is planning on hosting the next Alamo Model UN conference in the Fall next year, as well as taking the Model United Nations team to compete with other student delegates at the National Model United Nations Conference in New York. For more questions on the Model United Nations Society at UTSA or this particular conference, please contact email@example.com or go to https://www.facebook.com/munsatutsa for more information.
October 17, 2016
Presidential Debate Watch Party
Dr. Walter Wilson
Dr. David Romero
Dr. Bryan Gervais
Dr. Stephen Amberg
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Starts at 7:00pm
September 23, 2016
On Wednesday, September 21, the Department of Political Science & Geography sent two teams of 5 students and one professor each to participate in the World Quest Trivia Event held by the San Antonio World Affairs Council. The competition consisted of over 35 teams from a variety of backgrounds to include academic, city government, and even the food industry. Participants were given the opportunity to network with students from other academic institutions as well as employees from the government and private sectors. The questions came from a wide range of topics to include Current World News, Arts & Culture, and Food Around The World. Although the questions proved to be quite challenging, both teams were more than up to the task and powered through the total of 60 questions. Everyone had a great time and we will compete again next year!
September 1, 2016
The Department of Political Science & Geography together with the the Model United Nations Society at UTSA invite all students to participate in this year's Alamo Model UN Conference. The conference will be hosted in the UTSA University Center and will feature a simulation of the UN Security Council and the UN Economic and Social Council. It is part of the department's signature experience and will host more than 70 students!
July 15, 2016
Cassandra Libhart is a first generation college graduate working on her Master of Arts Degree in Geography. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology, at UTSA, in 2014. Her expected graduation term for her MA in Geography is spring 2017. Ms. Libhart recently received several scholarship awards, to include a UTSA grant, The Valero Endowed Scholarship and The Leo Block Endowed Scholarship. Cassandra decided to pursue her Masters in Geography once she learned that Geography encompasses multiple disciplines. Her research focuses on deforestation in South East Asia. The UTSA Department of Political Science and Geography is very proud of her accomplishments and expects great things from her!
June 22, 2016
Dr. Nazgol Bagheri was featured as a GeoMentor on ESRI website.
To view Dr. Nazgol Bagheri's June 2016 GeoMentor Spotlight click here.
Main Office: MS 4.03.62
Department of Political Science and Geography
University of Texas at San Antonio
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San Antonio, TX 78249-1644