Beyond Numbers: Comparing Mechanisms for Substantive Representation of Ethnic Minorities and Indigenous Peoples Conference, 5-8 December 2018

Co-organized by

Netina Tan and Karen Bird



This three-day workshop, held at McMaster University from December 5-8, 2018, brought together Canadian and international political scientists to examine how ethnic quotas, reserved seats, and alternative approaches vary globally, with particular interest on their substantive impact.

Ethnic Quotas Bookmark_3Dec

Conference Highlights:

  • Distinguished scholars with knowledge of the issues in countries such as Lebanon, India, South Africa, Croatia, Serbia, Taiwan, New Zealand, Singapore, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico, the US, and Canada
  • Training opportunities for interested scholars and graduate students in this area of research
  • Collaborative output from the workshop will be organized into a
  • special issue or book publication

Key Themes:

  • Global variations in formal and informal mechanisms of ethnic inclusion, outcomes for targeted groups, and implications on democracy
  • Comparison of recent (e.g. Singapore, Bolivia, Croatia, Burundi, Iraq) and longstanding (e.g. New Zealand, India) institutional mechanisms for ethnic representation

Program Highlights:

Wednesday, Dec 5th, 2018: Keynote and Welcome Dinner


  • 6:30pm: Welcome Reception & Registration
  • 7:00pm: Dinner
  • 8:00pm: Keynote Speech, “Representation by Design” – David Lublin (American University)

Thursday, Dec 6th, 2018:


  • 8-8:45 am: Breakfast
  • 8:45-10:15am: Panel 1 – Improving Representation: Theoretical and Empirical Challenge (Chair: Matthijs Bogaards; Paper Presenters: Jelena Loncar, Jelena Loncar, Jackie F. Steele; Discussant: Catherine Frost)
  • 10:30-12:00pm: Panel 2 – Institutional Reforms and Representative Outcomes (Chair: Rachel Barnett; Paper Presenters: Lisa R. Handley, John C. Courtney, Michael Pal; Discussants: Karen Bird, Bill Cross)
  • 1:00-2:30pm: Panel 3 – Global Perspectives on Indigenous Representation (Chair: Allison McCulloch; Paper Presenters: Kharis Templeman, Christina Ewig, David B. MacDonald, Roberta Rice; Discussants: Meaghan Williams, Oscar Mejía Mesa)
  • 2:45-4:15pm: Panel 4 – Consociational and Centripetal Settings for Ethnic Inclusion (Chair: Lisa R. Handley; Paper Presenters: Matthijs Bogaards, Allison McCulloch, Benjamin Reilly; Discussants: Robert Schertzer, Jelena Loncar)
  • 4:30-5:45pm: Panel 5 – Federalism, Self-Governance and Representation in the Canadian Context (Chair: Roberta Rice; Paper Presenters: Oscar Mejía Mesa, Meaghan Williams, Robert Schertzer; Discussant: Peter Graefe)
  • 6:15-7:30pm: Roundtable Discussion – Toward More Effective Indigenous and Minority Representation in Canada: Electoral Boundary Developments in Nova Scotia and Ontario’s Far North (Dave Levac, Dr. Michael Pal, Dr. Kenneth Deveau, Guy Bourgouin, Dr. John Courtney)
  • 7:30pm: Dinner

Friday, Dec 7th, 2018:


  • 8-8:45am: Breakfast
  • 8:45-10:15am: Panel 6 – The Role of Political Parties in Ethnic Representation: Comparing Canada (Chair: Jackie F. Steele; Paper Presenters: Bill Cross, Quinn M. Albaugh, Benjamin Forest; Discussant: Jo Saglie)
  • 10:30-12pm: Panel 7 – Deep Cleavages, Democracy and Minority Inclusion: Comparing Globally (Chair: Christina Ewig; Paper Presenters: Siniša Tatalović, Jo Saglie, Bassel Salloukh, Netina Tan and Cassandra Preece; Discussants: Benjamin Reilly, Allison McCulloch)
  • 12-1:00 pm: Lunch with Roundtable Discussion of Research Contributions and Publication Plans (Karen Bird, Netina Tan)
lr wilson outside

L.R. Willson Hall

Methods Training Modules:

  • 1:00-2:15 pm: Module 1 – Automated textual analysis of parliamentary debates 
  • 2:30-3:45 pm: Module 2 – GIS and geo-political mapping of ethnic diversity 
    4:00-5:15 pm: Module 3 – Using the Vote Compass datasets to study minority populations

Saturday, Dec 8th, 2018: Research Planning Meeting 


For additional program details, download the conference program.

For more conference information, visit the conference website here.