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.
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
Elliott School Professors Sufian N. Zhemukhov, Yolande 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 Empire, took 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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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:
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."
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:
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 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:
- "History, Path Dependence and Development: Evidence from Colonial Railroads, Settlers and Cities in Kenya," with Edward Kerby and Alexander Moradi, The Economic Journal August 2017 Vol. 127, Issue 603.
- "The Permanent Effects of Transportation Revolutions in Poor Countries: Evidence from Africa," with Alexander Moradi, Review of Economics and Statistics May 2016, Vol. 98, No. 2.
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.
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.”
Professor Emeritus of Political Science and 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:
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.
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."
Associate Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
- Entangled Far Rights: A Russian-European Intellectual Romance in the 20th century;
- Tajikistan on the Move: Statebuilding and Societal Transformations; and
- Being Muslim in Central Asia: Practices, Politics, and Identities.
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.
Elliott School Associate Professor Attiya Ahmad Wins Prestigious Book Award
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.
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."
Research Professor of Science, Technology, and International Affairs
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.”
Professor of Anthropology, History, and International Affairs
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."
Research Professor of International Affairs
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."
Adjunct Professor of International Affairs
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.
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."
Professor of American Studies and 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."
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."
Associate Professor 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.
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).
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).
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.”
Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs