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2012-2013

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  • Thumbnail for Religion and the death penalty
    Religion and the death penalty by Scully, Ellen S.

    Americans have questioned the morality of the death penalty for centuries. Recently, racial bias and a surge of death row exonerations have brought the death penalty back to media headlines. Although geographic, socio-economic, and racial disparities relating to the death penalty have been studied extensively, religious factors have not. This study seeks to understand why religion is consistently excluded from the death penalty debate, despite its proven importance in shaping Americans’ political attitudes, including those on the death penalty. Despite both belonging to the Christian Right, evangelical Protestants and American Catholics have opposing views regarding the death penalty; the former officially supports it, while the latter officially opposes it. Using data from the 2010 Census and the Pew Research Center, I create a probit model to discern whether large evangelical and Catholic populations help explain whether states use the death penalty. I find that large evangelical populations are not statistically significant in explaining states’ use of the death penalty, but large Catholic populations are statistically significant in reducing states’ probabilities of using the death penalty. Furthermore, I corroborate existing literature in finding that states that use the death penalty have lower incomes, more inequality, more Blacks, and more violence than states that do not use the death penalty.

  • Thumbnail for Sustainable development : finding a paradigm shift in Northern Thailand
    Sustainable development : finding a paradigm shift in Northern Thailand by Leichliter, Sydney Marie

    This paper seeks to explore the complex interactions of stakeholders in Northern Thailand’s rural development and examines the local, village-level impacts of different development discourses in an attempt to find what within these agendas has proven successful to local communities. Most important in this analysis is the role of local knowledge, villager agendas, and cultural durability in light of these projects. Looking at a variety of case studies from a number of different stakeholders in the conversation I analyze the impacts, both positive and negative, of the current rural development paradigms. Primarily, this paper examines the impacts of agricultural and forest development in ethnic hill tribe villages throughout Thailand. Rural villages in Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle, the area where Laos, Thailand and China converge, still heavily rely on agriculture for their own self-sufficiency and incomes (Bello et al. 1998), although, land transformation and ecological degradation has created land insecurity in many of these Northern regions (UHDP, personal communication, January 26, 2013). [Keywords: sustainable development, indigenous knowledge, Northern Thailand]