The Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance maintains an active program of empirical and theoretical research and learning linked to the Institute’s policy and governance-related domains of interest to achieve more fully democratic societies at all geographic scales. We engage in research, capacity building, technical outreach and community-based participatory inquiry with and on behalf of those we serve, principally disadvantaged and vulnerable populations.
The Institute’s current research and project emphases are concentrated around these policy areas:
Community Voices Research Articles
We welcome you to read a series of short research articles linked to our Community Voices talks.
Community Voices Research Article Archive
Latest News & Events
December 3, 2013
Nick Copeland to speak on "Collective Action and the Fight for Human Rights and Community Autonomy in Guatemala"
Thursday, December 5Nick Copeland is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and American Indian Studies at Virginia Tech. His research interests include: postcolonial statecraft and democracy, sovereignty, affect, development, and citizenship in Guatemala and Latin America.
7:00pm, Fralin Auditorium
- Congratulations to Damion Blake (Adjunct Professor in the Virginia Tech Department of Political Science), whose paper titled "Security in troubled communities: The police, gangs, and dons in Jamaican garrisons" has been accepted to the 2014 Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) Conference to be held April 3-6, 2014 in Chicago, IL.
December 2, 2013
- The Virginia Humanities Conference invites proposals for papers, panel sessions, and performances that investigate any aspect of the humanities and its bodies. The deadline for proposals is January 20, 2014. Please click here for more details.
Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: The Humanities in Peril. Thank you for reading and enjoy!
November 26, 2013
- Call for Fellowship Applications: Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowship, Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, Stanford University. Applications are due January 17, 2014 (this is open to applicants outside of Stanford University). Please find more information about this opportunity here.
November 25, 2013
Congratulations to Lyusyena Kirakosyan (VTIPG post-doctoral research resident fellow), whose proposal was accepted for the Twelfth International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities in Universidad CEU San Pablo, Madrid, Spain, in June 2014. Lyusyena will be presenting her paper, titled "Exploring Strategies for Citizen-Driven Civic Creativity in Small Communities," which explores how three small jurisdictions in Virginia (Floyd County), West Virginia (McDowell County) and Georgia (Pine Lake) featured in the Community Voices series have coped with change through employing civic creativity and how research concerning such experiences can be used to promote an enriching change in thinking.
Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: Pondering the Minimum Health Insurance Standards Debate. Thank you for reading and enjoy!
November 21, 2013
Sabith Khan (PGG) has written a review of recent visitor Pankaj Rishi Kumar’s film titled In God’s Land. It can be found here.
November 19, 2013
- Hannah Arendt in Jerusalem: The Banality of Evil and the Politics of Responsibility, as ASPECT panel presentation featuring commentaries on the feature film Hannah Arendt, will be held in Surge 117A this evening at 6:00pm (please note that the original flyer indicated Surge 117C would be the location)
The latest issue of SPECTRA: The ASPECT journal (Vol. 2, No. 2) is now available.
November 18, 2013
Lyusyena Kirakosyan (VTIPG post-doctoral research resident fellow) attended the Maneuvering the Maze: Understanding Justice in Conflicts conference in Monterey, CA November 14-16, where she presented on “Exploring Theater as a Tool for Peace and Justice: The Case of Serbia’s Dah Teater” on behalf of herself and Max Stephenson. This annual conference seeks to explore the many notions of justice, the importance and role of justice in conflict and peace, the various approaches to justice, and the key players involved in providing, seeking and receiving justice.
Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: Governance by Abstract Assumption. Thank you for reading and enjoy!
November 15, 2013
The next RE: Reflections and Explorations of the fall semester has been posted: Engaging Backlash and Finding Common Grounds at Starbucks by Eli Jamison (ASPECT) - thank you for reading and enjoy!
November 13, 2013
On Wednesday, December 4, Community Voices presents Penny Franklin, local and national union leader and civil rights activist from Christiansburg. Franklin will address the New River Valley community at 7:00 p.m. at the Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg. In her talk, “Stepping Up,” Ms. Franklin will share her life journey that has taken her from being uninvolved in community life to becoming the first African American elected to public office in Montgomery County. For more information, please visit http://communityvoices.info/
- event reminder: Hannah Arendt in Jerusalem: The Banality of Evil and the Politics of Responsibility
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Surge Hall Room 117C
November 12, 2013
- Women's and Gender Studies Program presents Film Screening and Conversation with Director, Pankaj Rishi Kumar
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Synopsis: The film is a journey into the sweet science of boxing being practiced by two Indian women. The film unfolds with them as they wrestle with their day to day existence of being a boxer and the conflicts that surround them. While one of the boxers, is facing hardships to become a champion, the other struggles with the limitations of her own body and need to prove that she too can box like her brother. Using cinema verité style and shot over a period of two and half years, the film articulates the boxers concerns and share experiences and ideas about their future.
- Department of Religion and Culture presents Film Screening and Conversation with Director, Pankaj Rishi Kumar
Friday, November 15, 2013
Theater of Learning, West Ambler Johnston
Synopsis: After taming a former wasteland through hard work and sweat and creating a community, the settlers start living there. The mythical birth of their village God Sudalai Swami unfolds the village’s unique journey to fight the oppression of the ‘big’ Vanamamalai Temple. Now that the clergy owns the land, the settlers are reduced to being tenant farmers and must make way for redevelopment after the land is sold off for a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). A dispute over god’s land begins. is not simply about the fight between the priests and the farmers. Using animation it recounts the history of the land and satirizes the exploitation perpetuated by religion and class distinction. The film looks at the land within the larger issue of development, forcing us to recognize the totalitarian attitude of the ideals of development, ostensibly to bring economic prosperity but rarely a benefit to real users. But the film’s most interesting element is the people living on this god’s land. Instead of fighting the temple or government, they accept this dire reality and try to find comfort in god’s will, perhaps because for them it is still the land of god.
November 11, 2013
Sabith Khan (PGG) recently had his abstract, "Modernity, Zakat and the American Muslim philanthropic imaginaries," selected to be part of a paper session themed theorizing alternative forms of giving, as a part of the Association of American Geographers' Annual Meeting in Tampa, Florida from April 8-12, 2014.
A podcast of Robert Ashford's conversation with Andrew Morikawa, Max Stephenson, and Woody Crenshaw on "Talk at the Table" is now available (click here).
Eric Hodges (PGG) spoke this past Saturday at TEDxVirginiaTech on the current boundary that exists between military veterans and civilian society and how higher education might be able to help bridge this divide.
Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: Defining the University Down. Thank you for reading and enjoy!
November 8, 2013
VTIPG fall film series
Friday, November 15, 2013
4:00pm, IPG conference room
A week from today will be the final film of the VTIPG fall film series. The film will be Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, a 2011 romantic comedy that offers insights into international development and diplomacy as well as opportunistic ventures to build cultural capital among nations.
RSVP to Sabith Khan, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holly Lesko (VTIPG Research Faculty) is currently attending the National Working Families Success Network Conference, held November 7-8 in Detroit, MI, an invite only conference sponsored by the WK Kellogg Foundation.
November 7, 2013
- The next RE: Reflections and Explorations of the fall semester has been posted: The Pension Puzzle and Practice Communities by Emily Swenson Brock (CPAP)
- Dr. Katherine Rask luncheon
Friday, November 8, 2013
Honors Residential College (HRC)
Junior Commons Room
A pizza lunchtime session with Dr. Katherine Rask, Tech Alum and recent PhD in Art History (2012) from Ohio State University. She will be giving a lecture later in the day (see below
Dr. Katherine Rask lecture on "The Archaeology of Ritual in Ancient Italy: The Courtyard Altar at Etruscan Poggio Colla"
Friday, November 8, 2013
Hahn Hall North Wing Room 130
November 6, 2013
- Call for Papers
Association for Nonprofit and Social Economy Research (ANSER) 2014 Conference
May 28-30, 2014
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
ANSER/ARES is a dynamic growing association that is organizing its seventh annual conference as part of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. ANSER brings together leading academic researchers, practitioners, consultants, policymakers and community organizations from Canada and internationally to discuss current and emergent issues, debates and challenges in the fields of civil society, social economy, and nonprofit research and practice. Join us for what promises to be an engaging and provocative conference. The theme for the seventh conference at Brock is: Nonprofits and the Social Economy, Pursuing Borders without Boundaries.
Proposals are due January 12, 2014.
November 5, 2013
- What is Art?
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Squires Room 341 / 345
Drawing from six international contemporary art exhibitions of his own digital photomicrographs, Timothy Bromage explores the question: what is art?
- Lyusyena Kirakosyan is participating in a pilot of a virtual post-Conference of the 20th Canadian Conference on Global Health: Politics meaning and scope of sustainability and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, where she is presenting a paper discussing violence practiced against disabled Brazilians as an issue of sustainable development. The purpose of the paper is to suggest ways in which violence against disabled Brazilians can be addressed in public policies as a sustainable development issue and thus help close the “gap” between disabled and non-disabled populations to create truly sustainable democratic societies that honor human dignity. The paper reviews and discussions at the conference will last for 3-4 weeks. The virtual conference is a result of the collaboration between the Canadian Society for International Health and University of Calgary's Collaborative Interdisciplinary Student Research Team.
- Hannah Arendt in Jerusalem: The Banality of Evil and the Politics of Responsibility
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Surge Hall Room 117C
An ASPECT panel presentation featuring commentaries on the feature film Hannah Arendt, showing at the Lyric Theatre, November 16-21, 2013
November 4, 2013
- VTIPG would like to congratulate Jocelyn Widmer (Assistant Professor, UAP), who has been awarded a fellowship under the Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Fellowship Program at the National Academies for Spring 2014. She will be working within the Institute of Medicine's Board on Children, Youth and Families on a Forum project "Investing in Young Children Globally" (jointly sponsored by the Board on Global Health). Forum activities will highlight the science and economics of integrated investments in young children living in low resourced regions of the world across the areas of health, education, nutrition, and social protection, with a particular focus on women's empowerment. When Jocelyn interviewed with the Board Director, she indicated that she wanted Jocelyn to be the voice of Haiti on this Forum, which is a strong endorsement of Jocelyn's research in Haiti over the past few years.
- Max Stephenson's latest Soundings commentary has been posted: Policy Judgments and the Commons. Thank you for reading and enjoy!
- November 13, 7:00pm, VBI auditorium: David George Haskell, author of The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch of Nature, will visit Virginia Tech to give a talk on his book.
November 1, 2013
- November 6, 8:00pm-9:30pm, McBryde 129: Ahmed Salah will visit Virginia Tech to give a talk on Revolution and its Aftermath: Lessons Learned from Egypt. Please find additional details on the event flyer.
Congratulations to Sabith Khan (PGG), who has been chosen to participate in a Professional Development Workshop for diverse and minority scholars on November 20, prior to the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) Annual Conference in Hartford, CT.
- Congratulations to Brendan Brink-Halloran (PGG), who successfully defended his dissertation on Tuesday. The title of his effort is Agency and Citizenship in the Barrio: Exploring the Intersection of Participation, Politics and Urban Development in Guatemala City. Brendan's committee members are John Browder (Urban Affairs and Planning), James Dubinsky (English), Karen Hult (Political Science/CPAP), Laura Zanotti (Political Science), and Max Stephenson (VTIPG Director) as the committee chair. Brendan is the 19th affiliated doctoral student to complete his doctorate since IPG was created on July 1, 2006. He will be traveling shortly to begin his new position with the Open Society Institute Transparency and Accountability Program in London.
Blogs & Commentaries
weekly commentary from the Director of IPG, Max Stephenson Jr.
quarterly reflection from the Director of IPG, Max Stephenson Jr.