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2010-11 Mershon Center Speakers
2010-11 Mershon Center Speakers
Analysts and observers regularly observe that terrorists in the United States seem especially incapable of preparing and executing their attacks, such that they are often apprehended and make crucial mistakes. Why is this? Are homegrown terrorists in the United States especially subpar compared with other classes of terrorists? This presentation explores the interaction of three factors that explain the relative incapacity of terrorists in the United States: a security environment that generates a diverse array of mechanisms for detecting terrorist activity, a lack of experience in terrorist tradecraft among aspiring militants, and the way that the security environment precludes individuals...
An-Na`im discussed how almost all the constitutions of Muslim majority countries stipulate that Islam is the religion of the state. Many constitutions also stipulate that Shari`a is the source of legislation. In his lecture, An-Na`im will argue that such provisions are not only incoherent, as the state is incapable of having a religion or enforce Shari`a as such, but also inconsistent with the principle of constitutionalism itself. He will also highlight some of the problematic consequences of this confusion in the constitutional, political and legal experiences of Muslim majority countries.
The findings of a spatial analysis of the 77,000 secret war logs released by Wikileaks in summer 2010 are reviewed in the context of a broader review of the dynamics of conflict in Afghanistan-Pakistan. The reaction to the published paper in Eurasian Geography and Economics, Vol. 51 no. 4, 2010, the advisability of analyzing the confidential data by academics, and the wider issues of people's right to know versus state security secrets are presented as an invitation for a discussion and debate.
Dai, Xinyuan; Mattiacci, Eleonora
Dai discussed how recent studies of human rights treaties find that states increasingly endorse human rights norms but their behavior does not always or even usually conform to these norms. This gap between commitment and compliance is suggested to have persisted, if not increased. To many, such a gap would call into question the efficacy of international human rights institutions. She argues that the compliance gap, risks distorting the discrepancy between commitment and compliance. More important, to properly evaluate the effect of international human rights institutions, we must first understand the mechanisms by which seemingly weak international institutions impact states'...
Sarotte, Mary; McMahon, Robert
Mary Sarotte spoke about her award winning book, 1989.
Brennan, Geoffrey; Sayre-McCord, Geoff
Brennan's discussion was based off of a paper that is a response to a line of argument developed in a 1999 paper by Al Goldman and endorsed with minor modifications in Richard Tuck's book Free-Riding (Harvard University Press, 2008). The argument seeks to extend the scope of voter responsibility by appeal to a broadened account of causal efficacy. Goldman sees this argument as supplying moral reasons why individuals should vote and also as explaining why so many of them do vote. Brennan argued that in the voting case responsibility and causal efficacy should be maintained as independent notions, that Goldman's line...
Blaydes spoke about the contrasts between the development of Europe and the Islamic world, specifically looking at Egypt. She highlighted how the differences in military recruitment in Europe and the Islamic world ended up impacting the state-society relations. She points out that Western Europe and the Islamic world diverged politically before they diverged economically.
Kupchan discussed when and how adversaries are able to find their way from enmity to amity. He will draw on a wide range of historical cases to explore the sources of rapprochement and expose prevalent myths about the causes of peace.
Herrmann, Richard; Grimsley, Mark; Findley, Carter; Mansoor, Peter; Tamer, Georges; Webber, Sabra
The panel will analyze the issues surrounding the recent uprisings in the Middle East including Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, and Libya. Participants will discuss the historical background, forces driving change, and implications for the future of democracy in the Middle East and U.S. policy toward the region.
Kay discussed parts of his forthcoming book, Celtic Revival?: The Rise, Fall, and Renewal of Global Ireland (Rowman & Littlefield)
The East Asian developmental state is dead ... or, better, as it has been conceived by its major neo-Weberian theorists, it never lived. Thus, while some contemporary commentators on East Asian political economy have lamented the decline of the developmental state in key sites of its former dominance, like South Korea, I argue that the developmental state was always a different entity than it was made out to be by those who have promoted it as an alternative to neoliberalism. Examining the case of South Korean chaebol (conglomerates) in the 1960s-70s (the key period of South Korea's "take-off"), I suggest...
Simpson researches twentieth century U.S. foreign relations and international history, and has an interest in U.S.-southeast relations, political economy, human rights and development. He focuses on a global history of self-determination, exploring its political, cultural and legal descent through post-1945 U.S. foreign relations and international politics. His goal is to use the contested history of self-determination claims to re-think contemporary notions of human rights, sovereignty and international order as they intersected with the processes of decolonization, Cold War conflict and globalization.
Haddad addressed some of the misconceptions that many American people have about the Arab world.
Mearsheimer discussed how when the Cold War ended in 1989, there was much optimism about the future of international politics, and especially America's ability to lead the world toward the millennium. Two decades later, pessimism has replaced optimism, as the United States finds itself in losing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and unable to get Israel, Iran and North Korea to change their behavior on matters of critical importance to Washington. Mearsheimer will attempt to explain what went wrong and what can be done to fix the problems plaguing U.S. foreign policy.
Donner, discussed several stages of religious and political developments in the early Muslim community and how they shaped political concepts in Islam, which still dominate Islamic political thought.
Olcott examined how democratic institutions have been slow to take root in the states of Central Asia, but in recent years only the Kyrgyz have taken to the street in large numbers to oust their rulers. She will examine the questions: What are the prospects of social upheaval in the other countries? Is there strong support for secular democratic ideals? Are religious groups a dominant social force in most countries? Do the models of democratic transition that have been applied in the region for the past 20 years still apply?
Korsgaard spoke on her paper that is part of a larger project where she investigates questions on the origins of values and the implications of those origins for our relationships to non-human animals. She believes that all value is dependent on the existence of valuing beings.
Stevens is the author of States without Nations: Citizenship for Mortals (Columbia University Press, 2009). In her book, she explores alternatives to our current laws that base citizenship on parochial, unjust ideas about birth, and shows how these laws are connected to other archaic practices inconsistent with liberalism, including inheritance and marriage.
Exum discussed what has taken place in Afghanistan since President Obama took office and what to expect from 2011, when U.S. forces are scheduled to begin a transition, to 2014, when that transition is expected to be completed. He examined how we will be able to tell if the current military strategy is either succeeding or failing.
Raffo, Heather; ElSaffar, Amir
Heather Raffo, author and actress of the award winning one woman show 9 Parts of Desire, teams up with Amir ElSaffar, accomplished jazz trumpeter and Iraqi santoor player, for a dramatic evening of spoken word and melodic solos. Using characters from the acclaimed one-woman show like slam poetry, together they present a concert of urban and classical sounds that spring from both their Iraqi and American roots. Heather Raffo's 9 Parts of Desire, described by The New Yorker as "an example of how art can remake the world," details the lives of nine ordinary and extraordinary Iraqi women. Both mythical and...