January 8, 2010

Jason Pang ’10 Has a ‘Phenomenal Experience’ Working with Professor John Kincaid

He writes about his research on federal issues; Pang will attend UCLA School of Law in the fall

Jason Pang ’10 (San Francisco, Calif.) a double major in government & law and philosophy, is performing EXCEL research with John Kincaid, Meyner Professor of Government and Public Service, on two book projects focusing on federalist governments. Pang is also president of Lafayette’s Mock Trial team, a Lafayette College Democrat, and the student representative to the Faculty Committee on Diversity. In the fall, he will be attending UCLA School of Law. He believes his research with Kincaid has provided substantial benefits to his future career.

Working one-on-one with Professor Kincaid has been a phenomenal experience for me because he’s one of the premier experts on federalism in the world. This type of substantive undergraduate research is what separates Lafayette from its peers as a great place to learn for the unusually curious student. Under the supervision of Professor Kincaid, I have interacted with a number of leading scholars on federalism, ranging from law professors from elite law schools in Australia to government leaders in Russia.

I currently assist Professor Kincaid with two research projects. The first investigates the Bush Administration’s approach to federalism and intergovernmental relations during President Bush’s eight years in office, which will eventually be used to produce a book. For the project, I research legislation proposed, supported, or opposed by the Bush Administration; positions on U.S. Supreme Court Cases dealing with the balance of federal-state powers; approaches to fiscal federalism; and other related matters found in Bush’s speeches, proclamations, and other public documents. I then quantify the data to analyze how much emphasis the Bush Administration has placed on federalist issues.

My second project is assisting Professor Kincaid in editing a series of books called the Global Dialogue on Federalism, which contrasts theoretical and practical perspectives on various federal systems. I organize and send out draft chapters to experts on federal countries for review. After several round of reviews, the chapters are compiled into manuscripts, which are ultimately published by McGill-Queen’s University Press. Thus far, I have assisted in publishing Volume 7, which analyzes unity and diversity in various federal countries, and am currently organizing Volume 8, which analyzes political parties and representation in various federal countries.

What makes the Global Dialogue series so unique is the sheer amount of people involved in creating the predominant source of information on federal issues, which is accessible to both political leaders and expert scholars. In an era of increasing world-wide violence, federalism offers a viable form of government to accommodate both the desire for democracy and minority rights in a pluralistic society.

My immersion in federal issues allowed me to pursue an independent study last semester on federalism and the Canadian Supreme Court. Furthermore, I’m currently applying the research and analytic skills developed under Professor Kincaid to my honors thesis on gay rights and the  Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment under Helena Silverstein, professor of government and law.

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