A Zimbabwean St. Lawrence Senior Wins Writing Contest Award

Tatenda Pasipanodya, a St. Lawrence University senior from Zimbabwe, 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 a 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. “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.”
Here is a link to his award-winning paper:   MGR2014__[Tatenda Pasipanodya] 

2 thoughts on “A Zimbabwean St. Lawrence Senior Wins Writing Contest Award

  1. Mr. Mhangami says:

    Really well done paper, I’d have to agree with Mr. Pasipandoya. China is an interesting case and arguably a unique member of the non-democratic states across the world. However, it is China’s uniqueness that is the very reason why we cannot confidently predict (long term) how the social-political face of China will appear.


    • I couldn’t agree more, his research paper is an excellent piece of literature! I agree with his perspective too that China’s social and political history is unique and thus few, if any, parallels can be drawn with another state. However, I am leaning towards the optimists on this issue… I do agree that China’s middle class in apprehensive of democratization for the sake of keeping the political power balance in the state it is now. But, I wonder whether Mr Pasipanodya was right in saying he does not see democratization becoming a reality in China “for the foreseeable future”.. Because despite the fact that I have not been able to find the stats to prove that rural China will soon become a minority on the population and thus political landscape, I think this will happen in the foreseeable future. Hence, i’m persuaded to say democratization might very well happen in the foreseeable future. Given that the middle class in urban China is projected to become a whooping 60% by 2016, the middle class will become the majority and their sentiments on democratization will change.


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