National Political Party Conventions & Social Justice Protests: Max Barrile ‘18

Max Barrile '18

Max Barrile ’18

In the midst of the heightened political rhetoric surrounding the 2016 presidential campaign and recent racial and social justice movements in the U.S., one SJU student is examining the extent to which history repeats itself.

Political science and international relations dual major Max Barrile ’18 will use his time as a Summer Scholar to conduct a comparative analysis of past and present protest activity at national political party conventions.

“I will be focusing mainly on the Chicago Democratic Convention in 1968, the Cleveland Republican Convention and the Philadelphia Democratic Convention of 2016 as case studies,” Max says.

He will also highlight racial-based protests at the conventions to determine similarities, differences and whether or not the previous protests effectively foreshadow today’s convention protests. His work will analyze the tactics of some of the most prominent social justice movements including: the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, the Black Panthers and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

“I love research and I love SJU, so applying for the Summer Scholars Program allowed me to stay on campus and do research as my summer job,” Max says. He adds that he hopes to gain “a greater understanding of  protests and protest movements, and to better understand the history of the Civil Rights Movement and how its current incarnations, BLM, for instance, have adopted similar tactics or adapted to modern times.”

Becki Scola, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of political science, further fostered Max’s commitment to social justice during an Intro to American Politics class she taught in the fall. Dr. Scola now serves as his mentor for the summer.

“Max’s project is timely, given the upcoming convention and presidential election, and his research question will lead to an interesting study of how protest impacts national politics and the presidential nomination process,” Dr. Scola says.

“I asked Dr. Scola to be my mentor because of her expertise in American politics and because she has an additional specialty in protest and social movements,” Max says.

Max’s current research will also coincide with his work in the fall when he interns with The Washington Center’s Academic Seminar for the Democratic National Committee.

With his passion for social justice, Max exemplifies an aspect of the magis. “I am a strong believer in equal rights for all. I also believe that a society is only successful when each of its members are free and treated equally,” he says.

During the regular academic year, Max is involved in Phi Sigma Pi and volunteers as a Hawk Host. He also participates in College Democrats, the Dean’s Leadership Program and the Appalachian Experience. He is a Dean’s Scholarship recipient and he studies in the Honors Program.

— Kayla E. Lane ’17

Office of University Communications


Summer Scholars Project: Tension at the Convention: National Nominating Conventions as Sites of Social and Political Protest

Mentor: Becki Scola, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of political science

High School: City Honors School #195 at Fosdick Masten Park, Buffalo, New York


Follow @sjuartssciences @haubschool on Twitter to learn about this year’s summer scholars. #SJUSSP