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St. Lawrence Senior Wins Writing Contest Award

A St. Lawrence University senior has won a statewide writing prize for his research paper on the rise of democracy in China.

Tatenda (Tate) Pasipanodya ’15 has been selected as the winner of the New York Conference on Asian Studies (NYCAS) 2014 Marleigh Grayer Ryan Undergraduate Writing Prize. He will travel to Long Island, New York, in September to attend the NYCAS conference and claim his prize.

Tate received a University Fellowship during the summer of 2014 so he could work on his research project titled “Political Economy and the Prospects for Democracy in China: A Comparative Study with Taiwan.” That project served as the foundation for the research paper that won him the award. His fellowship was sponsored by the Daniel F. '65 and Ann H. Sullivan Endowment for Student/Faculty Research and the Kathryn Fraser Mackay University Fellows Fund.

“I am looking into implementing all the research I have done on Asian countries in my study of development in Sub-Saharan African states, particularly my own country of origin, Zimbabwe,” Tate said.

Grace C. Huang, associate professor and chair of the Department of Government, served as Tate’s University Fellow faculty advisor during his summer research project. She said his work to date has laid the foundation for further scholarship, such as an honors thesis that will explore whether the political and economic development in Asia might have lessons for his home country of Zimbabwe.

“(Tate) won a SLU fellowship to continue researching this overall question of whether China will democratize, but the bigger question behind this is whether we would continue seeing democracy expand in the world,” she said. “This summer, under my guidance, he has explored international factors, domestic factors and leadership factors to examine more deeply whether China will democratize. He is answering bigger and bigger questions, but he is building a solid foundation to do so.”

A NYCAS evaluator commented, “This paper probes the research question of whether the middle class and the upper-middle class in China propel China into the path of democracy. It provides a historical background of the Chinese growing middle class, and critically examines the two opposite schools of thought.”

Read his award-winning paper.