New in Research

Elvira María Restrepo publishes on extrajudicial killings in Colombia



Elvira María Restrepo, Associate Professor of International Studies at the Elliott School, published her new paper “Perverse Incentives: Extrajudicial Killings in Colombia” in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs.

In sobering detail, she brings to light the lethal and coordinated violence inflicted on innocent Colombians by the Colombian Public Force and incentivized by the lure of rewards. Restrepo emphasizes that a cascade of revelations and judicial decisions have slowly revealed a perverse culture in the Public Force in which citizens are seen as internal enemies.

She warns about the perils of leaving the Colombian security sector unreformed in a region where political instability and transitional organized crime is rampant, yet highlights hope in Colombia’s new Special Jurisdiction for Peace, stating its potential to shift transnational justice practice in a much needed move towards accountability.  

Paul Williams publishes article on peackeeping in Afghanistan



Writing for the IPI Global Observatory in “The Pitfalls of UN Peacekeeping in Afghanistan”, Professor of International Affairs Paul D. Williams highlights the requirements and risks behind sending a successful UN peacekeeping force into Afghanistan.

Williams recognizes the repeated calls for some form of a UN peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan, whether due to U.S. strategic interest, humanitarian grounds, or to ensure the Taliban keeps its promises. However, he argues that an intervention on that scale would require fulfilling a lengthy list of prerequisites that take time and political consensus, both of which are not readily available.

He also states that the lack of Taliban consent and active cooperation, the lack of a clear peace process in the country, and the presence of other actors, such as Al-Qaida and the Islamic State-Khorasan, will further complicate the situation. He posits that the energy used in debating the use of a robust peacekeeping reponse would be better used in ensuring that the longstanding Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, a UN program established to assist the state and its people in creating a foundation for sustainable peace, can continue to work under hazardous circumstances.  

Alexa Alice Joubin publishes essay on Anti-Asian Racism under Covid

cover page of the Global Social Security Review report by Alexa Alice Joubin


In her latest essay The Roots of Anti-Asian Racism in the U.S.: The Pandemic and ‘Yellow Peril’, Professor of English, Theatre, International Affairs, East Asian Languages and Cultures Alexa Alice Joubin observes the growing rise in anti-Asian sentiment and racism as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic through a historical and linguistic perspective. The essay was published in Global Social Security Review, under the Korean Institute for Health and Social Affairs in Sejong City, South Korea. 

Joubin writes that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the strict nature of stay-at-home orders led to a growth in online usage as individuals turned to social media to connect and socialize, including those who characterize east Asians as carriers of the disease. This was accompanied by an increase in anti-Asian and sinophobic behavior on platforms such as Reddit, Twitter, and 4Chan, which culminated in the rise of hate crimes targeting those of east Asian descent.

Following different moments in U.S history., Joubin explores how those of east-Asian descent have been historically associated with disease and unhygienic practices. She notes how the use of different terms, such as “yellow peril”, have been used throughout U.S. history to develop negative archetypes towards those of east-Asian descent while enforcing institutionalized racism and hostility. By examining anti-Asian sentiment through different lenses, Joubin offers strategies of inclusion in the post pandemic world through the use of history, political coalition, and legislation to decrease racist sentiments as steps towards a better society.


Sharon Squassoni publishes volume on nuclear negotiations

Image of the cover page of Sharon Squassoni's published volume, "Learning from Each Other"


In Learning From Each Other: How Iran and North Korea Approach Nuclear Negotiations, Research Professor of the Practice of International Affairs Sharon Squassoni provides a look into the debate revolving policy making through the lens of both Iran and North Korea.

Within a set of essays, Squassoni seeks to provide insight into a variety of questions: Do North Korea and Iran compare and contrast their relations with the United States? How do they view their ability to negotiate positive outcomes with the U.S.? Is there evidence of analysis in North Korean state-run media of Iran’s experience negotiating with the U.S., the EU-three, Russia, China, and the IAEA? And conversely, is there evidence in Iranian media for analysis of North Korea’s negotiations with the U.S., Russia, China, South Korea and Japan? The collection seeks to assess the lessons both states may have learned over time through interactions with the U.S.. The hope of this collection is that future U.S. policies can be crafted with more sensitivity to how they are perceived by countries beyond those targeted in the negotiations at hand. 

The essay collection is part of a broader project funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, under the Nuclear Boundaries Initiative

Vincent Ialenti featured in Science Magazine

Deep Time Reckoning book cover


The latest book by Assistant Research Professor of International Affairs Vincent Ialenti was recently featured in an article in Science Magazine. The book, Deep Time Reckoning, chronicles Dr. Ialenti's observations in Finland between 2012 and 2014 among the employees of Posiva. Posiva is a nuclear waste management firm charged with the demonstration that nuclear waste could be contained with no threat for future generations, and based on his observations, Dr. Ialenti offers practical strategies for lengthening the time horizons of environmental governance. Nurturing societal time-literacy, he argues, is increasingly vital as our planet's ecological crisis is complicated by a deflation of public enthusiasm for liberal arts education and science.

Dr. Ialenti is an anthropologist who studies the cultures of nuclear waste experts in Northern Europe and the United States. His research has been supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation. He has published in Social Studies of Science, the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Physics Today, and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. He holds a PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology from Cornell University.

Deep Time Reckoning was published by MIT Press in September 2020. Watch a recording of Dr. Ialenti's virtual book launch via the official Elliott School Youtube channel.

Albert Teich quoted in article on Biden's new Covid-19 Task Force



Albert Teich, Research Professor of Science, Technology & International Affairs at the Elliott School, was quoted in an article on Science|Business Network, a unique forum that convenes public and private sector leaders for networking, intelligence and debates on research and innovation.

In her article, Éanna Kelly describes the efforts made by president-elect Joe Biden on assembling a 12-member coronavirus task force comprised of scientists and health officials. This approach departs from that of the current administration and comes much closer to that of the Obama era. The Biden administration is also expected to incorporate science into policy areas beyond Covid, such as science diplomacy, climate research, and energy infrastructure overhaul. 

Dr. Teich is an expert in science and technology policy. His major current interests are in globalization and its impacts on U.S. science and technology and in federal government budgeting and priority-setting for research. He came to the Elliott School after a distinguished 32 year career with the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS), and holds both a B.S. in physics and a Ph.D. in political science from M.I.T.

Robert Sutter presents report on hardening U.S.-China Competition

Cover of "a hardening us-china competition" report


The Elliott School is pleased to share a report from the East-West Center in Washington, D.C., A Hardening US-China Competition: Asia Policy in America’s 2020 Elections and Regional Responses. The report is co-authored by ESIA Professor of Practice Robert Sutter, and Vice President of the East-West Center Dr. Satu Limaye

Dozens of experts from across the Indo-Pacific were interviewed for their perspectives on the American Asia policy debate. The authors assessed key issues in US regional relations, as well as the hopes, worries, and expectations of regional allies under the US-China rivalry. Their findings are listed under three categories in the report: America’s 2020 Election Debates on Asia Policy, Indo-Pacific Responses to US-China Hardening Rivalry, and US Relations with Indo-Pacific Countries Beyond US-China Relations. 

This report builds off of the Center’s 2020 Presidential Candidates on the Indo-Pacific tracker, which tracks candidate statements and social media related to Asia policy as part of the Center's Asia Matters for America/America Matters for Asia initiative

The East-West Center was established by the U.S. Congress in 1960 to promote better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue.

Sarah Wagner presents What Remains: Bringing America's Missing Home from the Vietnam War

What Remains book cover

Wagner, Harvard University Press, 2019

More than 1,600 Americans remain unaccounted for and presumed dead from the Vietnam War, and for their families, the war is not truly over until they come home. Advances in forensic science are now making it possible to identify and repatriate remains from the merest trace, renewing the hopes of military families in locating their missing.

As Elliott School Professor Sarah Wagner shows in her new book, the possibility of such homecomings compels the living to wrestle anew with their memories, the weight of their loved ones’ sacrifices, and what it means to fight and die on behalf of their nation.

Professor Wagner is a social anthropologist who previously studied the forensic efforts to identify victims of the Srebrenica genocide. Her research focuses on war and memory; nationalism; biotechnology and forensic science; post-conflict social reconstruction; forced migration and diaspora; interventionism; and military culture.

What Remains is published by Harvard University Press. Professor Wagner will be hosting a book talk at Politics and Prose on January 22nd, 2020, and another lecture on the same topic at the Elliott School on March 2nd, 2020. Please visit our Research page for forthcoming details on the lecture.

Elliott Professor Paul Williams publishes study on urban peacekeeping under attack in Mogadishu, 2007-2009

Mogadishu attacks

Violent events involving AMISOM, January - December 2009. Circle sizes represent event intensity. 

In order to protect interim governments or facilitate humanitarian aid, peacekeeping operations are increasingly being deployed to high-threat environments without stable political agreements. In addition, many such operations are now based in capitals or major cities, whose urban environment poses a unique challenge to the incoming forces. 

To study how attacks on peacekeepers deployed in an urban environment affect their ability to operate, Elliott School Professor of International Affairs Paul Williams analyzed data on 122 violent events that occurred to the African Union Mission to Somalia’s (AMISOM) deployment to Mogadishu from 2007 to 2009. AMISOM is the peace operation that has come under the most sustained urban attacks in the modern era, mainly from the group Harakat al-Shabaab, which opposed their protection of the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

As Williams showed, despite initial setbacks due to the attacks, AMISOM was able to adapt to the terrain and fulfill its mandate of protecting the TFG. However, future study is expected to illuminate how attacks on peacekeepers can further escalate violence. The full study is available here via Third World Thematics.

Professor Williams’ research focuses on peace operations, emerging security threats, war and peace in Africa, and conflict resolution. He is also the Associate Director of the Security Policy Studies M.A. program at the Elliott School.

Hope M. Harrison: After the Berlin Wall: Memory and the Making of the New Germany, 1989 to the Present

Book cover of After the Berlin Wall: Memory and the Making of the New Germany, 1989 to the Present by Hope M. Harrison


With After the Berlin Wall: Memory and the Making of the New Germany, 1989 to the Present, Elliott School Associate Professor of History and International Affairs Hope M. Harrison draws on conceptions of national identity in contemporary Germany as an approach to the history and commemoration of the Berlin Wall over the past 30 years. The legacy of the Berlin Wall remains controversial as Germans consider its relevance to the present as a significant part of German collective memory. This book examines multiple German perspectives on the global memory of the Wall and their impact on a new German national narrative and memory policy. In an interview at the Wilson Center, Harrison offered additional insight on the premise of her new book: 

“Since Germany is the most powerful state in Europe, how its leaders and others see the nation and its history matters. More than any other state, Germans have focused their collective memory on a negative part of their history, the Holocaust, in contrast to most nations who look to glorious moments in their past to define their national identity.”

Hope M. Harrison, Associate Professor of History and International Affairs

Nemata Blyden: African Americans and Africa

Book cover of African Americas & Africa by Nemata Amelia Ibitayo Blyden


Recent trends, including rising immigration levels, globalization, and the United States’ first African American president, have raised the importance of recognizing the identity of “African Americans” and their relation to the African continent. Elliott School Associate Professor of History and International Affairs Nemata Blyden discusses this relationship between African Americans and Africa by mapping overlapping diasporas from the era of slavery to the present day in her new book Africans Americans and Africa. Through studies of works by African American individuals ranging from ex-slave and poet Phillis Wheatley to civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois, Nemata Blyden accentuates the evolution of a distinctly African American identity. The book addresses fundamental factors in the study of diverse identities as a result of association with African American history and culture. 

Ask the Author with Alexa Alice Joubin

Race (Routledge, the NEW CRITICAL IDIOM)


With their new book, Race (in Routledge’s New Critical Idiom series), Elliott School and CCAS Professor Alexa Alice Joubin and co-author Martin Orkin offer readers a guide to understanding the concept of race in historical and contemporary legislative, medical, and political contexts. The book also takes readers beyond the US to understand nuances of racial discourses in other parts of the world. To celebrate the publication, Professor Joubin offered additional insight on Race

"In the US, race often brings to mind people who are not white, while whiteness remains unmarked and serves as a benchmark category—as if white is not a race. A second feature in American racial discourses is the alignment of a race-based social group with innate or inner qualities rather than class. Third, the focus on black and white sometimes obscures other groups within the United States, such as Hispanics, Native Americans, and others that often fall under the rubric of ethnicities rather than 'race.'

Locations of race matter. In contrast to the continuing Anglo-European West remarking on non-white people, whiteness as a value in contemporary East Asia has become a yardstick of intelligence, beauty, and desirability. Even in the post-colonial world people still tend to internalize colonial categories of difference. 

The book draws on culturally and historically diverse materials to examine the intersections of race and gender in a global context, with particular attention to discourses in South Africa, Israel, India, Europe, the US, East Asia, and Asian America. Race close reads a wide array of examples from the Middle Ages and Renaissance to the twentieth century and probes a number of important questions.

If race is a central part of human identity, can one own or disown one’s race? To which community would a multiracial person, immigrant, or diasporic subject belong? What future is there for race as a viable analytical concept? The book argues that race is profoundly constituted by language and narratives. Race is a signifier that accumulates meaning by a chain of deferral to other categories of difference such as gender and class."

Alexa Alice JoubinProfessor of English and International Affairs

The Washington Quarterly Summer Issue has Arrived!

The Washington Quarterly


Make the most of your beach reaching and stay up to date with the latest in global security affairs. Hosted by the Elliott School of International Affairs, The Washington Quarterly features scholarly articles with disparate perspectives on issues concerning strategic change, public policy, and international relations. In this issue, article authors include: Brad Roberts, Representative (R-WI) Mike Gallagher, Mark S. Bell, Julia Macdonald, Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer, and Elliott School Visiting Scholar Emmanuel Dreyfus, among others. These contributors tackle tough questions about nuclear crises, the Donbass, deterrence, China, alliance management, Kashmir, and more. Read select articles, including Dreyfus and Vilmer’s “A People Oriented Peace Formula for the Donbass,” at the The Washington Quarterly or subscribe online at Taylor & Francis.

Jisoo Kim Elected Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Korean Studies

Korea Foundation Associate Professor of History and International Affairs Jisoo Kim


Congratulations to Elliott School Korea Foundation Associate Professor of History and International Affairs Jisoo Kim for her recent election to editor-in-chief of The Journal of Korean Studies. The foremost journal in Korean studies, the publication features articles on multidisciplinary subjects concerning Korea. In history, anthropology, contemporary geopolitics and beyond, the journal examines Korea-related topics of interest to scholars, students and the public alike. Professor Kim, who also directs the GW Institute for Korean Studies, will bring tremendous expertise and experience to her new role when she assumes her editor-in-chief functions later this year. A specialist in gender and legal history of early modern Korea, her research interests and endeavors engage a broad swath of subjects, including crime and justice, forensic medicine, literature, language and more. For more of her work, check out her award-winning book: The Emotions of Justice: Gender, Status and Legal Performance in Chosŏn Korea.

Apollo 11, the Moon and More with John M. Logsdon

Apollo 11

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, July 1969 (top).

John M. Logsdon (bottom right) with Buzz Aldrin

(bottom left) at SPI "One Giant Leap" event.

As the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, it sought the expertise of preeminent space policy and history scholar, and Elliott School Professor Emeritus, John M. Logsdon. As founder of the Elliott School’s Space Policy Institute (SPI) and award-winning author of John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon, Logsdon helped moderate the SPI "One giant leap: Space diplomacy past, present and future" event, which featured Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. He also offered uniquely qualified commentary and received special mention across a range of media. In addition to extensive US media attention, Logsdon interacted with print, radio or television outlets from Belgium, Brazil, France, Slovakia, Spain and the United Kingdom among other countries.

Don’t miss select coverage at: 

Historical Context: David H. Shinn on China-Africa Relations

David H. Shinn

Ambassador David H. Shinn

Adjunct Professor of International Affairs

Elliott School of International Affairs

With their timely tome, China-Africa and an Economic Transformation, editors Arkebe Oqubay and Justin Yifu Lin offer world-renowned scholars a perfect platform for insightful analysis on China’s rise, China-Africa ties, and economic transformations in China and Africa. Among the scholars contributing to the volume, the Elliott School’s Adjunct Professor David H. Shinn features prominently. With his chapter, “China-Africa ties in Historical Context,” Professor Shinn provides a vital framework for the edited volume and sets the stage for a variety of cross-disciplinary analyses from his fellow contributors. Few authors could bring more expertise to the subject; Professor Shinn served 37 years as a Foreign Service Officer with the US Department of State, including as ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. For more of Shinn’s work, don’t miss:

Research Professor Albert H. Teich Honored with AAAS Lifetime Membership



In 2019, Elliott School Research Professor Albert H. Teich celebrated his 50th anniversary as a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). To mark the occasion, AAAS awarded Professor Teich the elite honor of lifetime membership in the Association. Few scholars achieve this prestigious commendation and few are more deserving of the accolade. Prior to joining the Elliott School, Dr. Teich served 32 distinguished years with AAAS; for two decades, he directed the Association’s Science & Policy Programs and, in 2011, he finished his AAAS career as Senior Policy Adviser. As a Research Professor of International Affairs, Dr. Teich continues his science policy research at his Elliott School home: the Institute for International Science and Technology Policy. A renowned expert in his field, Teich has authored and edited numerous articles and texts. His 2018 publication, In Search of Evidence-based Science Policy: From the Endless Frontier to SciSIP, broke new ground in its field and offered the first delineation of how US science policy evolved, particularly within the university-National Science Foundation research ecosystem. Teich’s cross-disciplinary expertise in physics and political science and his extensive policy experience lend his analyses unique perspective in a world where science and technology increasingly define daily life. Congratulations to Dr. Teich for his lifetime AAAS election and the lifetime of achievement it signifies.

Benjamin D. Hopkins Discusses Afghan Independence on the BBC World Service

Afghanistan 1919

Dakka plain Afghanistan, 1919 (courtesy of NYPL).

To mark the centennial anniversary of Afghan independence from Britain, the BBC World Service dedicated a recent podcast episode to the creation of an independent Afghanistan in 1919. The episode, “How Afghanistan won its freedom from Britain,” unites three expert professors on Afghan history: Shah Mahmoud Hanifi, Sana Haroon, and the Elliott School's Benjamin D. Hopkins. Together, these professors offer a sweeping yet nuanced discussion of Afghan history with a special focus on 1919 and its repercussions. Critical topics include: the Third Anglo-Afghan War, Afghan declaration of independence, and decade-long rule of Amanullah Khan. Diving deeper, the discussion also examines Afghanistan’s financial and political relationship with Britain, the formation of Afghan national identity, and evolution of Afghanistan's leadership. This conversation is highly valuable for anyone interested in learning more about Afghanistan or geopolitical history in Central Asia. For more of Professor Hopkins’ work in this area, pick up his book The Making of Modern Afghanistan or check out his 2015 article in the The National Interest, “America’s Shocking Ignorance of Afghanistan.”

Capital Cities and Urban Sustainability – A New Volume from Robert W. Orttung

Capital Cities and Urban Sustainability


Demographic demands and environmental challenges have raised the importance of sustainable cities to new heights. In this context, the latest edited volume from Elliott School Research Professor Robert W. Orttung comes at a critical time. Using a series of case studies, Capital Cities and Urban Sustainability takes a timely look at policies in key urban issue areas. Addressing sanitation, technology, contracting, and more, the volume features chapters from international scholars on a variety of cross-disciplinary topics. Ultimately, while recognizing cities’ leadership in sustainable practices, the publication also outlines how municipalities can better employ innovative policies to ensure a more sustainable future for all constituencies and across the globe. Don’t miss out on this book critics praise as “unique,” “conceptually stimulating,” and “data rich.” And definitely don’t skip the chapters contributed by Elliott School Professors Linda Yarr and Robert W. Orttung.

Paul D. Williams: What Went Wrong with the Somali National Army?

AMISOM and the Somali National Army


Elliott School Associate Professor of International Affairs Paul D. Williams discusses this crucial question and more in new commentary published by War on the Rocks. Professor Williams brings substantial expertise to the subject. In 2018, he offered groundbreaking work on the African Union Mission in Somalia with his book: Fighting for Peace in Somalia: A History and Analysis of the African Union Mission (AMISOM), 2007-2017. Providing a holistic evaluation of this mission, the book is singular in its scope. It also cemented Williams as a leading voice on all things AMISOM. In subsequent pioneering research, published in February 2019 by the Journal of Strategic Studies, Williams shed new light on the international community’s eleven-year struggle to build the Somali National Army. Now, in “What Went Wrong with the Somali National Army,” Professor Williams analyzes why Somalia needs an army, what explains past failure, and how stakeholders can find a better way forward. Read the analysis in its entirety at War on the Rocks.

New Release: The Washington Quarterly Spring 2019

The Washington Quarterly Spring 2019


The spring installment of The Washington Quarterly spotlights two key themes in international strategy: provocations and new strategic challenges. To better understand present-day provocations, the issue features articles on managing great power competition, human rights, new nuclear challenges, and mediating between allies. It also examines what Rajesh Rajagopalan calls the big question: did India lose China? Finally, in a section dedicated to new strategic challenges, the journal hosts articles analyzing cyber strategy, geoeconomics, and network diplomacy in today’s complex world. In addition to Rajagopalan, this month’s contributors include: Patrick Porter, Rebecca Davis Gibbons, Rachel Elizabeth Whitlark, Rupal N. Mehta, Tricia Bacon, Lee Seong-hyon, Seth D. Kaplan, Wyatt Hoffman, Don Jung Kim, and Michael W. Manulak. For more, please visit The Washington Quarterly online.

Elliott School Celebrates Faculty Research Accomplishments

2019 Elliott School Research Celebration

Dean Brigety offers remarks at the 2019 Elliott School Faculty

Research Celebration, May 2, 2019. 

This May, Elliott School faculty, staff, and special guests gathered to celebrate an exemplary year in research achievements. Thanks to tireless efforts from faculty and research centers and institutes, 2018-2019 was a fantastic year for research at the Elliott School. As this year’s commemoration of accomplishments clearly indicates, Elliott School scholarship brought important insights to a diverse range of today’s great questions. This year's event offered an opportunity to honor this work and to confer Elliott School service commendations and awards. This year, outgoing director of the Institute for International Economic Policy (IIEP), Professor Maggie X. Chen, received a service commendation for her two outstanding years at the helm of IIEP. In addition, Research Professor Marlene Laruelle took home the 2019 Michael E. Brown Research Prize. As a recipient of this prize, Professor Laruelle served as a keynote speaker for the event and gave a fascinating address, which detailed her research journey and offered important lessons for any researcher in international affairs. 

Law and Society in East Asia: a Duo of Articles by Celeste Arrington

Celeste Arrington Analyzes Law, Society, and East Asia with a Duo of New Articles


In two months’ time, Elliott School Korea Foundation Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Celeste Arrington has published two cutting-edge articles in top-flight journals. Featured in the February 2019 issue of Comparative Political Studies, “Hiding in Plain Sight: Pseudonymity and Participation in Legal Mobilization,” explores how rules regarding privacy shape individuals’ decisions about sustained collective action via the courts. Critically, Arrington’s comparative analysis of litigation and court-supervised privacy protections in Japan and Korea reveals how seemingly technical aspects of law can have outsized political consequences. Meanwhile, Arrington's March 2019 Law & Society Review article, “The Mechanisms behind Litigation’s ‘Radiating Effects’: Historical Grievances against Japan,” investigates what drives litigation’s influence on social movements, irrespective of formal judicial decisions. Analyzing factors such as attribution of similarity, brokerage, issue dramatization, political cover, and intergroup discussions, the article expertly dissects the “radiating effects” and offers important conclusions for the ultimate impact of postwar compensation lawsuits in East Asia. For more of Professor Arrington’s work, check out her 2016 book: Accidental Activists: Victim Movements and Government Accountability in Japan and South Korea.

GW Today: GW Professor Hugh Gusterson Named Guggenheim Fellow

Hugh Gusterson


Dr. Gusterson will focus on writing a book about nuclear weapons testing in the post-Cold War era.

April 29, 2019

By Kristen Mitchell


Hugh Gusterson, a professor of anthropology and international affairs, has been awarded a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.

Dr. Gusterson’s recent research focuses on nuclear weapons and ethical thinking among scientists who have committed their professional lives to designing weapons of mass destruction. As a Guggenheim Fellow, Gusterson will complete his long-planned book tentatively titled “Tinkering with Armageddon.”

The book will analyze how the United States decided to end nuclear testing in the aftermath of the Cold War, and how in subsequent decades weapons scientists reinvented their field around simulation technology. The book is based on years of fieldwork at two US nuclear weapons labs and interviews with decision-makers in Washington, DC.

Continue to the complete article.

Developments in Russian Politics 9: Henry Hale Publishes Edited Volume

Developments in Russian Politics 9


Russian actions, Russian intentions, Russian policies: the Kremlin dominates global news cycles in a manner not seen since the Cold War. In this context, Elliott School Professor Henry Hale and his co-editors Richard Sakwa and Stephen White bring us an essential publication: Developments in Russian Politics 9. Featuring chapters from international Russia experts, this edited volume tackles a wide range of critical issues that are essential to understanding contemporary Russian domestic and foreign politics. Authoring a chapter of his own, Professor Hale trains his analysis on the evolution of Russia's political system. Elliott School Research Professor Marlene Laurelle also contributes to the publication, authoring a nuanced examination of national identity. Developments additionally investigates Russia's economic and social policy, the state of Russian federalism, protest and the rule of law, the military, and much more. Offering a comprehensive account of Russia's most recent developments, all chapters are new or extensively rewritten. The book is an indispensable volume for anyone looking to better understand the evolving nature of Russian politics in an ever-shifting international order. 

In Depth with Editors Kathryn Kleppinger and Laura Reeck

Post-Migratory Cultures in Postcolonial France


With Post-Migratory Cultures in Postcolonial France, editors Kathryn Kleppinger and Laura Reeck present a skillfully crafted investigation of French post-migratory postcolonial minorities’ influence on French national identity and contemporary cultural production. Post-Migratory Cultures convenes esteemed contributors for diverse and fascinating discussions of hip hop, laïcité, literature, and more. Experts qualify the book as “excellent,” “intelligent,” and “illuminating.” To commemorate their book launch, Kleppinger and Reeck reflected on their editorial journey:

"One major concern that this volume raises is the failure of French media and policymakers to acknowledge the full complexity of France’s contemporary social demographics. Too often the population we have called post-migratory postcolonial minorities (postcolonial second and third generations) continues to be seen as ‘immigrants’ or ‘foreigners’ who need to be ‘integrated’ into the nation, when they have in fact been raised within the contours of French Republic. With this book, we have attempted to move beyond paradigms and discussions of immigration and migration to anchor all of the cultural producers very squarely in France where they participate in the present and future of France as French citizens. With this participation, of course, they bring a range of questions, concerns, doubts, and hopes specific to the legacy of French colonialism and the future of the Republic as ‘colorblind’ and ‘une et indivisible’ [one and indivisible].

We also address gaps in scholarship by moving resolutely toward examining what about the 21st century will make it distinctive, and what events, occurrences, and conversations in this contemporary history will mark cultural production. All of the cultural production featured in our volume occupies the space between the conceptual categories used in literary and cultural studies of ‘French’ (for Metropolitan France) and ‘Francophone’ (for French-language production from outside France). And, within the literary series that the volume was published in, this book is the first to focus exclusively on France as a postcolonial space.

In editing the essays in this volume, we were surprised by the depth and obviousness of the convergences that emerged across graphic novels, rap, literary pamphlets, new media, and visual art—especially regarding post-memory, the weaknesses of institutions/institutional memory, the diversification of banlieue identities, Blackness, and Islamophobia. The unique stubbornness of the literary establishment in France to recognize and consecrate certain forms of authorship and certain authors tout court proved equally surprising. By contrast, other platforms and venues, such as the dance stage, seem more inclined to inclusivity.

Importantly, particularly for French policymakers, this volume identifies that using institutionalized social vocabulary in France to speak about differences within immigrant communities is insufficient. Different social realities are too often homogenized, and people of color are too often stripped of their difference. ‘Issu(e) de la diversité’ [of ‘diverse’ heritage] is also insufficient terminology in that it homogenizes different forms of diversity and continues to perpetuate the paradox of people being at once highly visible and invisible.

More generally, this work indicates that the most inventive, innovative, forward-looking cultural producers in France are post-migratory postcolonial minorities. They bring a complexified view of France and Frenchness to their art and activism. As French society continues to work through forms of postcoloniality, these cultural producers will play an important part in giving expression to and taking a stand on inclusion, access, and respect for differences."

Kathryn Kleppinger, GW Associate Professor of Francophone Studies and International Affairs 

Laura Reeck, Allegheny College Professor of French and International Studies, and Lyle and Mary Biehler Chair in Modern Languages

With Book Awards and a Ducky, Faculty Make a Splash at ISA Conference

Elliott School ISA Award Winners

Elliott School Professors Zhemukhov (left), Bouka (center), and Grynaviski (right).

Elliott School Professors Sufian N. ZhemukhovYolande Bouka, and Eric Grynaviski won prestigious awards at the 2019 Annual International Studies Association (ISA) Convention in Toronto. In recognition of her consistent track record of exemplary international studies content, the ISA's Online Media Caucus honored Professor Bouka's text, "Wakanda, Afrofuturism, and Decolonizing International Relations Scholarship," with the 2019 Ducky Best Blog Post in International Studies award. Professor Zhemukhov was likewise honored for his 2017 book with Mikhail A. Alexseev: Mass Religious Ritual and Intergroup Tolerance: The Muslim Pilgrims' Paradox. The book received the 2019 Religion and International Relations Book Award, which goes to a text that excels in originality, significance, and rigor. Last but not least, Professor Grynaviski's monograph, America's Middlemen: Power at the Edge of Empiretook home the  2018 Best Book on Diplomacy Award, which is conferred by the ISA's Diplomatic Studies Section. This award is not Grynaviski's first, in 2015 he won the APSA Robert L. Jervis and Paul W. Schroeder Best Book Award for his 2014 book: Constructive Illusions: Misperceiving the Origins of International Cooperation. Congratulations to Professors Bouka, Zhemukhov, and Grynaviski for these awards and for their outstanding scholarship!

Water: Problems and Possibilities

Water: Problems and Possibilities, An Interdisciplinary Conference at the Elliott School of International Affairs


An Interdisciplinary Conference at the Elliott School of International Affairs, GW

To mark World Water Day 2019, GW faculty and outside experts gathered to discuss one of today's great questions: the future of water in the 21st century. Hosted by the Elliott School of International Affairs, the flagship interdisciplinary, intra-university conference analyzed water issues from multiple angles. From storm water, to conflict, to the use of art in water-related protest movements and beyond, scholars from disparate fields convened to tackle multiple water issues with the understanding that as water and waterways connect distant human populations, so too does water provide a thematic link between scholarly disciplines. For a deeper dive on these issues, discover move about participants Linda Yarr, Bob Orttung, Deepa Ollapally, Janis Goodman, Alexandra Campbell-Ferrari, Luke Wilson, Melissa Keeley, Rumana Riffat, Marcus King, and Winston Yu.

Nuclear Security Working Group Names 2019 Congressional Fellowship Class

Nuclear Security Working Group


The Nuclear Security Working Group, a non-partisan group of experts working to promote discourse and build consensus on the United States' most pressing nuclear issues, has announced its newest class of Congressional Nuclear Security Fellows. The working group, which is currently chaired by Elliott School Research Professor Janne Nolan, established the fellowship program in 2017. For the following three years, under the administration of George Washington University, the program has provided the next generation of national security professionals the opportunity to spend a year working on Capitol Hill. This year's cohort includes nine highly qualified individuals who will be placed in congressional offices through 2020. Those interested in joining the ranks of next year's fellowship class should visit the fellowship website; applications for the 2020 class open this June!

Marlene Laruelle Wins the 2019 Michael E. Brown Research Prize

Marlene Laruelle

Dr. Marlene Laruelle

Research Professor of International Affairs

Elliott School of International Affairs

The Elliott School of International Affairs is proud to announce Research Professor of International Affairs Marlene Laruelle as the winner of the 2019 Michael E. Brown Research Prize. Established in 2015 and awarded by the Elliott School faculty, this annual prize recognizes a faculty member who has made an outstanding contribution to the scholarly and policy relevant understanding of one or more important international issues.

In 2018 alone, Professor Laruelle published six volumes while also serving as Research Professor of International Affairs, Director of the Central Asia Program, Co-director of PONARS Eurasia, and Associate Director of the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (IERES). Her colleagues spare no praise in describing her accomplishments. She is, according to IERES Director Peter Rollberg, "a researcher of enormous productivity and versatility, an internationally recognized expert in fields as diverse as Russian nationalism, Central Asia, and the Arctic; moreover, she is known as a wonderful colleague who generously shares her resources with researchers from around the world, as well as undergraduate and graduate students."

Colleagues Hope Harrison and Henry Hale echo this praise noting, "Marlene Laruelle's prolific, interdisciplinary and influential scholarship on nationalism, culture, politics, and history in Eurasia has won her acclaim from scholars, policymakers, and funders." She is, in short, a scholar, a leader, and a most deserving recipient of the Michael E. Brown Research Prize. Congratulations Professor Laruelle!

Professors Glaser and McClintock Win OVPR Faculty Research Awards

Professors Glaser and McClintock

Professors Charlie Glaser (left) and Cynthia McClintock (right)

Elliott School faculty feature prominently among this year's OVPR Faculty Research Award winners. Professor Charlie Glaser, in recognition of the exceptional nature and impact of his work in international security studies, will receive the Distinguished Scholar Award. Professor Cynthia McClintock will be honored for her outstanding contribution to student academic and professional development, with the inaugural Research Mentorship Award. The awards will be officially celebrated at the Annual Faculty Honors Ceremony on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. Congratulations to Professors Glaser and McClintock for these well merited awards!

Research Professor Tashi Rabgey: Special Guest on Sinica Podcast

Sinica Podcast

Photo by Fred Wong (VOA) [Public domain]

Don't miss SupChina's recent "Sinica Podcast" episode, discussing the securitization of Xinjiang and Tibet and the growing assimilationism in China's minority policies, featuring Elliott School Research Professor Tashi Rabgey. Podcast hosts Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn brought together Rabgey and Georgetown Professor Jim Millward for a critical discussion of China's politics of ethnic minorities and the processes of assimilation at a time of heightened tension in both regions. An expert on regional governance and multination statehood, Professor Rabgey analyzed the ethnicization of the issues and explained why territorial politics, or "territoriality," provide a corrective for understanding the real stakes in the securitization of both regions, remarking, "It's been a long time since we've been able to make visible the relationship between peoples and space." For more on these and other critical issues, check out the podcast episode in its entirety.

The Washington Quarterly: Provocations and Pakistan's Nuclear Strategy

The Washington Quarterly: Pakistan's Nuclear Strategy


Spring may be on the horizon but it's not too late to catch up with the 2019 winter issue of The Washington Quarterly. A global security journal hosted by the Elliott School of International Affairs, The Washington Quarterly prides itself on offering diverse analysis of strategic changes, trends, and international relations with a focus on important public policy implications. The scholarship in the winter 2019 issue focuses on two themes: provocations and Pakistan's nuclear strategy. With regard to the former, the journal looks at burying the two-war construct, reviving long-term competition, Germany's outlook, and assessing China's rise. On the latter, authors take a deep-dive on Pakistan's nuclear trajectory and the rationale behind its nuclear restraint. To read more, please visit the The Washington Quarterly website or, better yet, subscribe at Taylor & Francis Online.

Professor Hugh Gusterson Featured in Current Anthropology

Hugh Gusterson

Dr. Hugh Gusterson

Professor of Anthropology

& International Affairs

Elliott School of International Affairs

With his February 2019 Current Anthropology article, "Drone Warfare in Waziristan and the New Military Humanism," award-winning author and Elliott School Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs Hugh Gusterson brings his extensive expertise to the question of military use of drones. In the best traditions of anthropological analysis, Gusterson's article attempts to unpack the inescapable contradiction between "drone essentialism" and observed processes of "ethical slippage." This is not the first time Gusterson has broached this difficult topic. His 2016 book, Drone Warfare, which examined how drones have redefined the modern battlefield space, won the 2017 Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize. This annual prize honors a work of scholarship that explores the tension between civil liberties and national security in contemporary society. For more of Gusterson's work, please see his monographs:

Laura Engel Draws Lessons from Research on Global Education

Laura Engel

Dr. Laura Engel

Associate Professor of International

Education & International Affairs

Elliott School of International Affairs

Graduate School of Education & 

Human Development

George Washington University

In a recent Education Week Global Learning Blog, Elliott School and Graduate School of Education & Human Development Associate Professor of International Education and International Affairs Laura Engel and her fellow researchers Heidi Gibson and Kayla Gatalica unveiled critical lessons from their investigation into global education initiatives in the United States. Their research, involving virtual and in-person site visits to education programs in North Carolina, Virginia, and Illinois as well as an extended case study of the work of the District of Columbia's public school global education team, led Engel and her collaborators to draw important conclusions on how to make progress toward key global education goals. Most importantly, their work revealed the power of:

  • champions who sought to invest in global education,
  • leveraging partnerships among diverse stakeholders,
  • developing and telling the story of the importance of global education, and
  • building a network to create opportunities.

Above all, the blog notes, "Across the four contexts and our lessons learned, there is a clear value added when district and state leaders connect and share practices, policies, and research about global education in K-12 US settings."  

Central Asia Program Releases Russia's Policy in Syria and the Middle East 

Russia's Policy in Syria and the Middle East


Based out of the Elliott School's Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, the Central Asia Program (CAP), is dedicated to promoting high-quality academic research on contemporary Central Asia while serving as an interface for policy, academic, diplomatic, and business communities. With the publication of Russia's Policy in Syria and the Middle East, CAP has once again placed its timely research at the forefront of interdisciplinary debates surrounding the wider Central Asian space. Edited by Elliott School Research Professor Marlene Laruelle, the volume features nine papers addressing the themes of Russia's engagement strategies in the Middle East and Russia's military involvement in Syria and its impact. Russia's Policy is an essential volume for anyone interested in understanding Moscow's involvement in the region and a worthy successor to previous CAP publications including:

Remi Jedwab Published in the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics

Professor of Economics and International Affairs Remi Jedwab

Dr. Remi Jedwab

Associate Professor of Economics 

& International Affairs

Elliott School of International Affairs

The Elliott School is proud to announce that the prestigious American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics chose Elliott School Associate Professor of Economics and International Affairs Remi Jedwab's article, "The Urban Mortality Transition and Poor-Country Urbanization," for publication in its January issue. The journal, which is dedicated to studies of aggregate fluctuations and growth as well as the role of policy in that context, is highly selective, publishing only four issues per year. Dr. Jedwab's article, co-authored with the University of Houston Professor of Economics Dietrich Vollrath, uses novel historical data and an innovative framework to shed new light on the world's fastest-growing cities, which, unlike the historical norm, are currently found in low-income countries. Among other powerful findings, Jedwab and Dietrich's work shows that between 1950 and 2005 the urban mortality transition could have doubled both the urbanization rate and the size of informal urban areas in their sample. The article is a must-read for anyone interested in development economics, urban economics, or political economy. For more of Jedwab's recent articles please see:

Associate Professor Emmanuel Teitelbaum Featured on BYURadio

Emmanuel Teitelbaum

Dr. Emmanuel Teitelbaum

Associate Professor of Political

Science & International Affairs

Elliott School of International Affairs

To go beyond the headlines and the soundbites for an in-depth discussion of "Ethical Clothing and American Brands," the BYURadio podcast series "Top of the Mind With Julie Rose" sought the expertise of Elliott School Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Emmanuel Teitelbaum. In the past decade, as pressure to produce clothing in socially responsible ways mounted on American companies, big brands dedicated entire divisions to ensuring their production would not rely on child or sweatshop labor. Yet, in light of tragedies in Bangladesh and beyond, Teitelbaum and Rose discuss what, if any, real progress has been made. As an expert on South Asian politics and the political economy of development and labor, Professor Teitelbaum is uniquely qualified to weigh in on this important topic. For more of Teitelbaum's work, please see his monograph: Mobilizing Restraint: Democracy and Industrial Conflict in Post-Reform South Asia

Ask the Author with John M. Logsdon

Ronald Reagan and the Space Frontier


Resoundingly reviewed as “a must-read,” Ronald Reagan and the Space Frontier is the latest publication from award-winning author and Elliott School Professor Emeritus John M. Logsdon. With what former NASA Chief Historian Roger D. Launius calls “verve and style” and “unparalleled knowledge,” Dr. Logsdon has crafted the first comprehensive telling of the Reagan administration’s civilian and commercial space policies. Gilbert Rye, the former National Security Council director for space programs, went so far as to describe the book’s “insightful analysis” as “a critical foundation that will benefit students, public servants, and industry executives for many years to come.” In the run-up to the book’s official launch, Dr. Logsdon offered further insight on his groundbreaking publication:

Ronald Reagan and the Space Frontier is my third (and likely last!) study of presidential decision-making on space, following John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon (2010) and After Apollo? Richard Nixon and the American Space Program (2015). Reagan was personally the most pro-space president in US history, and made decisions with respect to the space shuttle, a space station, international space cooperation, and space commercialization that merited a full treatment.

Although Reagan viewed space as the ‘final frontier,’ his administration’s decisions on space were much more pragmatic than visionary. I might have expected him to set ambitious goals for NASA, but he did not impose his perspectives on what policy options were offered him. Instead, he allowed the alternative futures in space to be defined by often contentious interactions among his advisers, and chose the path forward from what they defined as feasible, given the president's concern about budget deficits and his other priorities. Reagan was, of course, a “great communicator,” and dressed his space decisions in rhetoric about 'American exceptionalism' and the rightful role of the United States as a global leader.

Some have accused Reagan of ‘sleepwalking through history.’ That is not the image of Ronald Reagan that comes through in my book. He had a particular style of leadership, setting out his broad priorities and allowing his staff and agency heads to devise ways of achieving them. He thought through the options presented to him, then chose a course of action that fit into his overall image of where the United States should be headed. He was not a detail-oriented, top-down decision maker, but he was a leader.”

John M. Logsdon

Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs

Professor Alison S. Brooks featured in Smithsonian Magazine

Alison S. Brooks

Dr. Alison S. Brooks

Professor of Anthropology

& International Affairs

Elliott School of

International Affairs

In their Smithsonian Magazine article, “What We Learned About Our Human Origins in 2018,” Smithsonian experts, paleolithic archaeologist Ella Beaudoin and paleoanthropologist Briana Pobiner, outline a year of significant discoveries in human evolution. For Beaudoin and Pobiner, among all the discoveries of the past year that allowed the world to better know what it means to be human, those resulting from Elliott School Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs Alison Brooks’ work at the Olorgesailie site in southern Kenya rank in the top six. For years, Professor Brooks and Smithsonian paleoanthropologist Rick Potts have co-lead a team exploring archaeological and paleoenvironmental records at Olorgesailie. In 2018, the Olorgesailie team published three papers in Science documenting human behavioral change and climatic variation. Among other exciting findings, Brooks and Potts’ work indicates that early humans responded to climatic uncertainty with enhanced innovation, social connection, and symbolic communication. For further information on these discoveries, please see their Science papers:

Professor Emeritus John M. Logsdon Publishes Much-Anticipated Book

John Logsdon

Dr. John M. Logsdon offers remarks at the Kennedy Space Center.

With the publication of Ronald Reagan and the Space Frontier, world-renowned historian and space policy analyst John M. Logsdon has authored yet another definitive account of presidential space policy. Drawing on first-hand accounts and declassified documents, the book offers a comprehensive history of President Reagan’s civilian and commercial space policies—from the space shuttle, to the space station, and beyond. With NASA at a crossroads at the beginning of Reagan’s first term, Logsdon’s detailed and discerning account reveals that the president’s optimism and enthusiasm for US space activities ultimately made him among the most pro-space presidents in American history. For anyone interested in space exploration, Ronald Reagan and the Space Frontier is an essential history and deserving successor to Logsdon’s other award-winning texts, notably: John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon and After Apollo? Richard Nixon and the American Space Program.

Ask the Author with Attiya Ahmad

Attiya Ahmad

Dr. Attiya Ahmad conducts research on halal tourism in Granada, Spain.

In 2017, Elliott School Associate Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs Attiya Ahmad published Everyday Conversions: Islam, Domestic Work, and South Asian Migrant Women in Kuwait. Critics praised Professor Ahmad’s analysis of domestic worker conversions to Islam as “engaging and worthwhile,” “poignant and patient,” and an “enormous contribution.” The Middle East Studies Association recently joined critics in lauding Ahmad’s work, awarding her the 2018 Fatima Mernissi Book Award for outstanding scholarship in the studies of gender, sexuality, and women’s lived experience. After receiving the award, Professor Ahmad took the time to discuss the development of her acclaimed book: 

"I initially set out to research the transnational development of an Islamic women’s movement in the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf region, a project that interrogated the interrelation between transnational migration and Islamic reform. While conducting preliminary fieldwork in Kuwait, I learned of migrant domestic workers’ conversion—a relatively widespread phenomenon that many people in the region knew about but was understudied. My fascination grew the more I learned about this phenomenon and the often incommensurably different ways in which it was discussed and understood by different groups.

I was appreciative of how being attentive to gender relations and using feminist theories helped me to make sense of and analyze the gendered interrelation of domestic labour and Islamic piety. This book really underscores how important gender relations are to the interrelation of Islamic movements, labour relations, transnational migration, and the politics of citizenship. Though my work focuses on the Gulf and broader Indian Ocean and Inter-Asian regions, it is an insight those focusing on other regions could also really benefit from."

Attiya Ahmad 

Associate Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs

Marc Lynch Recognized on Foreign Affairs' "The Best of Print 2018" List.

From among the many influential publications featured in Foreign Affairs each year, the magazine selects only ten for its annual “The Best of Print” list. This year, Elliott School Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Marc Lynch features prominently on that list. In the Foreign Affairs September/October 2018 print edition, Professor Lynch published “The New Arab Order.” An insightful and essential delineation of power, violence, and order—or rather disorder—in today’s Middle East, it’s little wonder Foreign Affairs recognized “The New Arab Order” among 2018's ten best. This is not the first time Lynch's scholarship has won acclaim. Kirkus Reviews awarded his last book, The New Arab Wars: Uprisings and Anarchy in the Middle East, a starred review, commending it as, "An excellent, clear distillation of recent events." For more of Dr. Lynch's publications, please visit his faculty webpage.

Fang-Shou, Xi Jinping, and China’s Future: Elliott School Professor David Shambaugh Gives In-Depth Interview.

David Shambaugh Gives In-Depth Interview


War on the Rocks dedicated the most recent season of its "Jaw Jaw" podcast series to all things China. It’s little surprise, therefore, that the podcast recently featured Elliott School Professor of Political Science and International Affairs David Shambaugh. Author of numerous publications, including China's Future and China Goes Global: The Partial Power, Professor Shambaugh is an internationally recognized authority on contemporary China. In a wide-ranging interview with University of Virginia Professor Brad Carson, Professor Shambaugh offered his expertise on the past, present, and future of Chinese politics and policy. The insightful and instructive installment of the podcast, titled "Vicious Cycle: The Opening and Closing of Chinese Politics," is a can’t-miss discussion for anyone interested in the Asia-Pacific region.

US Nuclear Waste Management: The Elliott School's Institute for International Science & Technology Policy Co-Authors Three-Year Study

Reset of America’s Nuclear Waste Management: Strategy and Policy


The Elliott School's Institute for International Science & Technology Policy (IISTP) and Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) have spent more than three years seeking a better way forward for US nuclear waste policy. As part of the Reset initiative, IISTP and CISAC examined the US nuclear waste management program and sought to identify key problems and potential solutions. The recently published report, "Reset of America’s Nuclear Waste Management: Strategy and Policy," is the culmination of this investigation. The study summarizes the main issues raised over the course of five meetings of world-class steering committee experts and offers “center of gravity” ideas for forging new nuclear waste management strategy and policy. Among other proposals, it includes recommendations on:

  • a new national radioactive waste management organization with a new funding strategy;
  • integration of the back-end of the US nuclear fuel cycle;
  • public engagement and consent-based siting; and 
  • regulations, risk, and safety for the geologic disposal of radioactive waste.

For more, please read the full report.

Security in Africa: New Publications from Associate Professor Paul Williams

Paul Williams

Dr. Paul D. Williams answers questions at a book launch celebrating the 2018 publication of his monograph: Fighting for Peace in Somalia: A History and Analysis of the African Union Mission (AMISOM), 2007-2017.

Elliott School Associate Professor of International Affairs Paul Williams continues his impressive record of publication, authoring two new analyses on security in Africa. Following the August 2018 publication of his monograph, Fighting for Peace in Somalia: A History and Analysis of the African Union Mission (AMISOM), 2007-2017, Williams again turned his attention to Somalia, serving as lead author of the December 2018 EPON Report: "Assessing the Effectiveness of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)." The report targets two critical questions: to what extent has AMISOM succeeded in its strategic objectives and to what degree has the mission influenced broader Somali political and security dynamics. Meanwhile, with co-author Nina Wilén, Williams trained his expertise on Central Africa for the Journal of Modern African Studies article: "The African Union and coercive diplomacy: the case of Burundi." This article outlines the African Union's (AU) 2015 threat to use military force against the government of Burundi's wishes and goes inside the AU's conflict management toolkit by examining the effectiveness and credibility of AU coercive diplomacy.


Research Professor Marlene Laruelle Publishes Sixth Book of the Year

Marlene Laruelle

Dr. Marlene Laruelle

Research Professor of International Affairs

Director, Central Asia Program

Associate Director, Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies

Elliott School of International Affairs

With the publication of Russian Nationalism: Imaginaries, Doctrines and Political Battlefields, Elliott School Research Professor Marlene Laruelle caps a remarkable year of publication. Russian Nationalism is Laruelle's second monograph of the year; earlier, she wrote Understanding Russia: The Challenges of Transformation with INALCO's Jean Radvanyi. Her 2018 edited volumes include: 

Laruelle also collaborated with Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies Director Peter Rollberg to publish the co-edited volume: Mass Media in the Post-Soviet World: Market Forces, State Actors, and Political Manipulation in the Informational Environment after Communism. Congratulations to Professor Laruelle for a truly outstanding year of scholarship.


In recognition of her 2017 book, Everyday Conversions: Islam, Domestic Work, and South Asian Migrant Women in Kuwait, the Middle East Studies Association awarded Elliott School Associate Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs Attiya Ahmad the 2018 Fatima Mernissi Book Award. Named for scholar and public intellectual Fatima Mernissi, this annual award honors outstanding scholarship in studies of gender, sexuality, and women's lived experience. The award committee expressed pride in giving this honor to a book that is, "lovingly researched, quiet in its aim, and yet stunning in its delineation of the lives of the women studied." For more on this stunning book, please see the official award announcement.


Everyday Conversions: Islam, Domestic Work, and South Asian Migrant Women in Kuwait


Ask the Author with Al Teich

In Search of Evidence Based Science Policy


In Search of Evidence-Based Science Policy: From the Endless Frontier to SciSIP is the latest publication from Elliott School Research Professor, and former Director of Science & Policy Programs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Al Teich. In advance of the book’s launch, Dr. Teich reflected on both the book’s evolution and the evolution of US science policy research:

"When President George W. Bush's science advisor, Jack Marburger, gave the keynote address at the AAAS Forum on Science & Technology Policy in 2005, he criticized the science policy research community for failing to provide information that policymakers could use. I was troubled by his critique of my field but encouraged when the National Science Foundation (NSF) established a new research program to support work that could provide the basis for a more ‘scientific’ (i.e., evidence-based) science policy. When I was asked to give a talk to AAAS a few years later, I chose the evolution of science policy research as my topic and that lit the spark that led me to write this book.

The federal government, including NSF, has been engaged in science policy at least since 1950. It has created a series of research programs, each of which in turn has disappeared. I was surprised by the absence of connections between these programs. When the most recent one—the Science of Science and Innovation Policy (SciSIP)—was established in 2007 virtually no one involved in it seemed to be aware of the fact that a similar program existed from the 1970s to 1994.

With support from the SciSIP program, science and innovation policy research have been making significant strides in recent years. The advent of ‘big data’ and new computational capabilities and techniques for merging datasets are taking their places in science and innovation policy research. Yet to be seen is how useful these advances will be for policymakers, whether improved communication between researchers and policymakers and increased involvement of policymakers in shaping research can yield results that are both scientifically valid and relevant to policymakers."

Al Teich

Research Professor of Science, Technology, and International Affairs

Ask the Author with Ilana Feldman

Life Lived in Relief


Reviewers describe Elliott School Professor Ilana Feldman’s new book, Life Lived in Relief: Humanitarian Predicaments and Palestinian Refugee Politics, as a “formidable” and “definitive” account of the Palestinian refugees’ experience of protracted displacement. To mark the publication’s launch, Professor Feldman spoke about her author experience:

“The roots of this project lie in my earlier research in the Gaza Strip. While conducting ethnographic fieldwork in Gaza in the late 1990s, I was struck by the significance of the distinctions between ‘refugees’ and ‘natives’ in social relations and political discourse. The entire population is Palestinian, so these distinctions did not define membership in the national community, but they matter for how people were members of that community. I wanted to better understand how these categories emerged, and I began by researching the aftermath of the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948, the beginning of humanitarian assistance to the displaced, and the population categories that were required to manage this assistance. This initial research revealed multidimensional and often contradictory effects of humanitarian decisions and procedures, and it led me to investigate the Palestinian relief experience with humanitarianism over seven decades and across five fields of assistance (Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria).

As I conducted this research, I was struck by just how vibrant and complex humanitarian spaces are. The scholarly literature on humanitarianism, aid providers’ own definitions of their missions, and recipients’ evaluations of this assistance all often emphasize the limits of humanitarianism—the limits of its mandate, the limits of its capacity to engage recipients as full human beings, and the limits of its ability to meet people’s multidimensional needs. Even as these limits are real, they only partially define the humanitarian experience. I was struck by the range of things that people are able to do with humanitarian tools. They press political claims, they work to alter their present and future conditions, they build complex relationships in and through categories that are meant only to manage aid delivery.

In a global political environment in which concern for refugees and migrants seems in short supply, the long Palestinian experience with displacement that I explore in Life Lived in Relief has much to teach us. It shows that humanitarian compassion—responses that address people primarily as suffering subjects and that focus on alleviating that suffering—is not an adequate alternative to a politics of hate and xenophobia. As Palestinians have insisted for seventy years, displaced persons also have political claims on us. Refugees will pursue these claims whether we recognize them or not, but their actions do not relieve us of our obligations.”

Ilana Feldman

Professor of Anthropology, History, and International Affairs

Ask the Author with Marlene Laruelle 

Understanding Russia


With their new book, Understanding Russia: The Challenges of Transformation, Elliott School Research Professor Marlene Laruelle and co-author Jean Radvanyi offer readers what reviewers are calling a “timely,” “well-researched,” and “erudite” guide for understanding the geostrategic factors that drive today’s Russia. To celebrate the book’s launch, Professor Laruelle offered insight on Understanding Russia's origin and import:

"In a post-Cold War context, Russia’s image in the US has never been so negative. Western pundits seem happy to rekindle fear of Russia. But at the same time—and this is a key point of this book—Russia is fearful too. More than twenty-five years after the end of the Soviet Union, multiple ghosts haunt both the Russian elites and the greater society—from concerns about demographic and economic decline to worries about the country’s vulnerability to external intervention. We thought it was important to ‘deconstruct’ Russia as a threat and show the deep, structural reasons that explain Russia’s behavior in and perceptions of the world.

When we apply analytical frameworks that social sciences have developed for other parts of the world to Russia, we do not see Russia as an 'other.' We do not see it as fundamentally and radically different from 'us.' We do not see it as an 'exception.' On the contrary, we see it as part of a continuum with the West. It’s important to recognize that, despite conventional descriptions, today’s Russia is a much more 'normal' country than it is perceived to be. Its social and ideological changes are in fact in tune with those happening in the rest of the world—especially those taking place in Europe."

Marlene Laruelle

Research Professor of International Affairs

Ask the Author with Paul Heer

Ask the Author with Paul Heer


With his new book, Mr. X and the Pacific: George F. Kennan and American Policy in East Asia, veteran East Asia analyst and Elliott School Adjunct Professor Paul Heer sheds new light on Kennan’s legacy. Before his book launch, Heer took a moment to discuss the book that critics call "meticulously researched," "necessary," and "fascinating”:

"As a Cold War-era student of diplomatic history, I was a longtime disciple of George F. Kennan’s realist perspective on the Soviet Union (and his own work as a historian). My subsequent professional experience as an intelligence analyst on East Asian affairs led me to a greater appreciation for Kennan’s involvement with US policy in the Far East—and a realization that this aspect of his career had largely been overlooked by other scholars. So when I returned to academia for my doctoral studies at GW, I combined my academic and professional interests into a subject that would also fill a gap in the historical record.  

As I researched the dissertation that eventually became the book, I was surprised at how narrowly Kennan applied his famous doctrine of 'containment' within East Asia—and especially by his persistent dismissal of the strategic importance of China. I was also surprised that no other scholar had 'stolen my thunder' by recognizing that the depth and extent of Kennan’s involvement with the Far East merited a book-length examination!

The key takeaway from Kennan’s experience with East Asia is that Washington needs to recognize the limits on American influence, power, and interests in the Far East, and should calibrate and rationalize its engagement and strategic objectives there accordingly."

Paul J. Heer

Adjunct Professor of International Affairs

Elliott School Research Centers and Institutes Win Prestigious Title VI Grants

Elliott School Research


September 2018

The Elliott School of International Affairs’ Sigur Center for Asian Studies, GW Institute for Korean Studies (GWIKS), and Institute for Middle East Studies (IMES) have been awarded approximately $3 million in grant funding under the US Department of Education’s prestigious Title VI program over the four-year life of the grant.

The Sigur Center and Institute for Korean Studies together received the highly regarded designation of National Resource Center (NRC) for East Asian Studies. The designation—the first time these two centers have received NRC status—enhances the institutes’ ability to engage the broader public community, including students, K-12 educators, HBCUs, policymakers, military veterans, journalists and the general public on regional and global issues of importance. With this award, GW joins a handful of other world-leading universities, including Stanford, Columbia, and the University of Chicago, which have likewise been recognized with this honor.

“The recognition of our programmatic excellence significantly enhances our reputation and funding resources. It demonstrates the scholarly excellence and will increase public outreach which have long been hallmarks of the center’s collective intellectual life,” Sigur Center Director Ben Hopkins said.

Additionally, the Sigur Center, GWIKS and IMES have been awarded over 90 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships which support undergraduate and graduate students studying modern foreign languages and related area or international studies. 

"The Elliott School is a place where learning and leadership come together,” said Reuben E. Brigety, II, dean of the Elliott School. “These awards reflect the serious commitment we have made to enhance our regional area studies and foreign language acquisition. The Title VI grants underscore the importance and relevance of research at GW.”

About Title VI
Title VI is a provision of the 1965 Higher Education Act, funding centers for area studies that serve as vital national resources for world regional knowledge and foreign language training. National Resource Centers teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels and conduct research focused on specific world regions, international studies, and the teaching of less commonly taught languages. The FLAS fellowship program complements the NRC program, providing opportunities for outstanding undergraduate and graduate students to engage in area studies and world language training.

About the Sigur Center for Asian Studies
The Sigur Center for Asian Studies is a university research institute and the academic home of the Asian Studies Program of the Elliott School of International Affairs at GW. Its mission is to increase the quality and broaden the scope of scholarly research and publication on Asia, promote US-Asian scholarly interaction, and educate a new generation of students, scholars, analysts, and policymakers.

About the GW Institute for Korean Studies 
Founded in 2016, the GW Institute for Korean Studies is a university-wide institute housed in the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. The establishment of the GWIKS in 2016 was made possible by a generous grant from the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS). The mission of GWIKS is to consolidate, strengthen, and grow the existing Korean studies program at GW, and more generally in the greater DC area and beyond. The institute enables and enhances productive research and education relationships within GW, and among many experts throughout the region and the world.

About the Institute for Middle East Studies 
The Institute for Middle East Studies was founded in 2007 as part of a broad, university-wide initiative to support academic work on the Middle East. IMES faculty represent a breadth of disciplines from political science and history to anthropology, art history, and media and public affairs.

Ask the Author with Melani McAlister

Melani McAlister

Dr. Melani McAlister 

Professor of American Studies

& International Affairs

Elliott School of International Affairs

Professor Melani McAlister’s latest book, The Kingdom of God Has No Borders, is a groundbreaking, transnational study of American evangelical politics. Critics laud the monograph as “meticulously researched,” “deeply absorbing,” and, quite simply, “an enthralling work of stunning originality and ingenuity.” Prior to her book launch, McAlister took the time to discuss her book’s beginnings and conclusions:

"I am generally interested in how ordinary people become invested in international issues. My first book was on American perceptions of the Middle East, and I knew that US evangelicals were an important component of US support for Israel. I followed that thread and discovered the very broad range of ways that US evangelical Christians, both black and white, were invested in international issues regarding the Middle East and also Africa. That led me to this broad history of American evangelicals in a global context, starting with debates about decolonization in the 1960s and ending with the debate over anti-homosexuality laws in Uganda.

I was surprised at how vigorous the debates have been among evangelicals, about issues including racism, gender politics, global poverty, religious oppression, and the US war in Iraq. This is a conservative movement, but not monolithically so, and not always in ways we expect. I was also surprised at just how global evangelicalism is. Americans tend to be a bit narrow in our understandings of the world, and this is true for evangelicals too, in general. But increasingly American evangelicals have had to start taking seriously the fact that Christianity is a global religion, numerically stronger in the global South, and that has led them to become more aware of the issues facing people outside the US, from HIV-AIDS to debt relief. Being more global isn't always a liberalizing force for evangelicals—sometimes it can strengthen conservative arguments about gender and sexuality or about conflicts between Christians and Muslims—but once we scholars pay attention to transnational realities, it changes how we see the politics among Americans. As I say in the book, the profound political differences that exist among evangelicals are easier to see if your vision encompasses both Kinshasa and Kansas.

Going forward, it’s important to pay attention to the evangelical world beyond white American evangelical conservatives. They are certainly very important, and they were a major force behind the election of President Trump, but both in the US and internationally, there are key political divisions to consider. People of color constitute 25-45% of the US evangelical community, and they are a clear majority globally. They share some views with white Americans and they disagree strongly on others. We need to pay attention to the complexity, diversity, and debates that characterize American evangelicals and their global context."

Melani McAlister

Professor of American Studies and International Affairs


Rollie Lal analyzes: "China, India, and the Slippery Business of Oil."

Elliott School Research

Dr. Rollie Lal

Visiting Associate Professor

Elliott School of International Affairs

The latest edition of the Centre on Asia and Globalisation's China-India Brief features Elliott School Visiting Associate Professor Rollie Lal. In a guest column, Lal analyzes China, India, and global oil and energy markets, noting, "China and India’s rapid economic growth in the past few decades has been fueled (pun intended) by rising levels of energy consumption, and the global implications of these heavy-weights as players in the oil market cannot be underestimated." To learn more, read her complete column: "China, India, and the Slippery Business of Oil."

Ask the Author with Associate Professor Paul D. Williams

Elliott School Research

Dr. Paul D. Williams (third from the left) on a research trip to Mogadishu.

In his August 2018 publication, Fighting for Peace in Somalia: A History and Analysis of the African Union Mission (AMISOM), 2007-2017, author and Elliott School Associate Professor Paul D. Williams offers the first comprehensive analysis of the African Union's longest-running mission. In advance of his book launch, Professor Williams reflected on research incentives, insights, and implications:

"AMISOM is now the world’s largest and most dangerous peace operation. I wanted to understand how it could stabilize one of the world’s most failed states and whether it could defeat one of the world’s most deadly insurgent groups, Harakat al-Shabaab. As well as being the African Union’s longest, largest, and most costly operation, AMISOM also exemplifies the complex challenges of 'partnership peacekeeping,' the process by which multiple international organizations and states try and work together to stabilize the host country.

In doing the research, I was most surprised by the intensity and brutality of the war against al-Shabaab as well as by the continual sacrifices made and hardships endured by the peacekeepers. I was also struck by the large gap between the capabilities given to AMISOM and the expectations placed upon it to deliver peace in Somalia.

The key takeaway is that politicians should not expect peacekeepers to deliver peace in Somalia in the absence of a viable political strategy to resolve the country’s multiple armed conflicts."

Paul D. Williams

Associate Professor of International Affairs


GWToday: Putin Uses ‘Divide and Rule’ Tactics against His Hardline Allies

Elliott School Research

Elliott School Professor Peter Reddaway’s new book explores how the Russian President Vladimir Putin has maintained power for almost two decades. (Colette Kent/Elliott School of International Affairs)

Elliott School Professor Peter Reddaway’s new book explores how the Russian president has maintained power for almost two decades.

September 10, 2018

By Tatyana Hopkins


Though Russian President Vladimir Putin may find his exercise of power gratifying in some ways, he probably also finds it “increasingly exhausting” but fears what would happen to him if he steps down, said George Washington University Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs Peter Reddaway.

“I think he has similar feelings about retirement to what a lot of us have—that it's time to do different things,” Mr. Reddaway said. “But I think it is very difficult for him to resign or to retire at the end of a term in office because he doesn't feel safe doing it.”

Read the full article here.

Jonathan Chaves on Poetry Spoken Here

Elliott School Research

Dr. Jonathan Chaves

Professor of Chinese

Elliott School of International Affairs

Congratulations to poet, Elliott School professor, and master translator of classical Chinese poetry Jonathan Chaves for his recent two-part feature on the Poetry Spoken Here podcast. Host and poet Charlie Rossiter interviews Chaves in episodes 72 and 73 of this bi-monthly poetry discussion. To explore more, check out Jonathan Chaves' latest book: Cave of the Immortals: The Poetry and Prose of Bamboo Painter Wen Tong (1019-1079).


Dr. Albert Teich: In Search of Evidence-Based Science Policy

Elliott School Research

Dr. Albert H. Teich

Research Professor

Elliott School of International Affairs

With the publication of his latest monograph, In Search of Evidence-Based Science Policy: From the Endless Frontier to SciSIP, Dr. Albert Teich tracks the evolution of US science policy research largely as it has been conducted in universities and supported by the National Science Foundation, from its beginnings in the early 1960s to the present time, from reliance on expert opinion to more systematic, empirical studies. It examines how a community developed, the growth and decline of federal support, the emergence of the SciSIP (Science of Science and Innovation Policy) program and the ways in which that program has fostered new approaches to science policy. It concludes that the tools and data sets being created by program researchers can have significant impacts on policy, not just in science and technology, but in other fields as well.

Dr. Teich is a research professor of science, technology, and international affairs with the Elliott School's Institute for International Science & Technology Policy. He came to the Elliott School in February 2012, following a distinguished 32-year career with the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Ask the Author with Professor Emeritus Peter Reddaway

Elliott School Research


In his latest publication, Russia's Domestic Security Wars: Putin's Use of Divide and Rule Against His Hardline Allies, Peter Reddaway draws on extensive research to construct a detailed study of Russian President Putin's methods of staying in power. Reviewers herald the book as, "gripping," "brilliant," and, "a must-read." In conjunction with his book launch, Professor Reddaway took the time to discuss research ideas, surprises, and takeaways:

“I was led to this topic by President Putin's chronic instinct for secrecy and deception. He assiduously promotes an image of the ruling Russian elite as being, with rare exceptions, united and harmonious. So I dug into his relations with his support groups and found a very different picture: in fact, he encourages and secretively promotes feuds between them, so that they will use their spare energies on these and not on devising ways to gain influence and limit his power (and ultimately perhaps take his power away from him).

In doing the research, I was most surprised by the intensity of the warfare between the two hardline groups I chose to focus on. They hardly hesitated to murder key supporters of the other side, nor to attack each other viciously in the media.

The key takeaway is that Putin has to resort to such measures because he is much less powerful, and potentially more vulnerable, than he pretends to be.”

Peter Reddaway

Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs