Mason, Schmaltz present jointly at OPSA annual conference

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Mason, Schmaltz present jointly at OPSA annual conference

Northwestern Oklahoma State University Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Aaron L. Mason and Associate Professor of History Dr. Eric J. Schmaltz gave a joint presentation at the annual conference of the Oklahoma Political Science Association (OPSA) held in early November 2014 at Redlands Community College in El Reno.

The title of their presentation was “Comparative Federalism between the Former Soviet Union, the Russian Federation and the United States:  Ethnic Minority Rights and Sovereignty in the Case of Ethnic Germans and the Cherokee Nation.”

Their study explores how historical, political and socio-economic factors have helped shape and transform these systems in relation to their respective ethnic minorities.  It also recognizes the historical oscillations of policy formulations toward ethnic minorities in these large states, including efforts promoting integration, notions of autonomy and treaty rights, balkanization amid demographic changes, and even tragic episodes of mass population removal. 

 “We intend to develop further this ongoing project into a viable research article for ‘Oklahoma Politics,’ the OPSA’s annual journal publication,” Schmaltz said. “It represents one exciting way for us to think outside of the box on topics that stem from our own traditional research interests.”

Mason and Schmaltz narrow their focus by comparing two specific ethnic minorities that have each encountered a broad spectrum of government policy approaches.  In the American case, relations between the US Government and the Cherokee Nation receive attention.  The Russian case is devoted to affairs between the Kremlin and the Volga Germans and other ethnic German subgroups.

One conference highlight was Mason winning this year’s OPSA Teacher of the Year Award. 

“This was a pleasant surprise,” Mason said. “It is quite an honor to be recognized by one’s peers in this way.”

For more information contact Schmaltz at or (580) 327-8526.