Cohen, Roger. 2015. “Counterrevolutionary Russia.” New York Times. Publisher's Version
New York Times op-ed written by Roger Cohen on June 25, 2015 from the 2015 WCFIA Talloires Conference that was held on June 19–21, 2015.
Dookeran, Winston. 2015. Crisis and Promise in the Caribbean. London: Ashgate. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The Caribbean is made up of a complex, enigmatic region, characterised by great disparities in size, population, geography, history, language, religion, race and politics. This is a region in which harmony and discord work in tandem, trying to link economic logic with political logic. This book is a useful tool not only for those specialists and students of regionalism but for all those putting their hands to the task of nation-building and those interested in the development processes of small states and economies. At the same time, this book is a comprehensive historical record especially highlighting hindrances to development in this region. This study raises two important issues: the ‘political imperative of convergence’ and the need for ‘appropriate correcting mechanisms’ that align the needs of the local with the regional. It is a volume that underlines the need for a change in strategy and makes proposals as to how to go about making those changes.
Smith, Dan. 2014. “Party Ideals and Practical Constraints in Kōmeitō Candidate Nominations.” In Kōmeitō: Politics and Religion in Japan. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley. Publisher's VersionAbstract
"Anyone interested in contemporary Japanese politics needs to read this book. Certainly, no student of Japanese party politics can afford not to read it. This volume illuminates Komeito's history, organization, electoral mobilization, and behavior in and out of power. More importantly, this book reorients our understanding of the intersection of religion and politics in Japan, a topic that has danced along the periphery of academic studies even as it has grabbed headlines in Japan and beyond. My only question is why scholars had to wait fifty years for such an incisive study of Komeito." –Robert Pekkanen, University of Washington
Barcia, Daniel. 2015. “Restless Liberty: The Fall of Florida's Maroon Haven and the Largest Slave Rebellion in Us History, 1835-1838.” Harvard University.Abstract
For more than two years, the United States waged war on Florida’s black rebels and lost. In 1835, a group of fearless and visionary runaway slaves, or maroons, living in Florida’s swamplands entered into an alliance with their enslaved brethren on plantations to rebel against white authority. Together, the blacks waged a successful guerilla campaign to secure their own freedom. Twenty-five years prior to the Emancipation Proclamation, the U.S. government’s decision to “set forth all Negroes . . . who delivered themselves up to the Commanding Office of the Troops . . . free” confirmed the rebels’ triumph over a nation still dominated by the pernicious and peculiar institution of slavery.  By the spring of 1838, the blacks rebels “felt themselves restored to that liberty of which they had so long been unjustly deprived . . . [and] were thoroughly convinced of the perfect safety and propriety of immediate emancipation.”  Amid an intensifying national debate over the status of slavery, this band of more than one thousand black rebels built—and fought for—a free society of their own. It was a rare and unheralded antebellum victory for liberty.
Do Facts Matter? Information and Misinformation in American Politics
Hochschild, Jennifer. 2015. Do Facts Matter? Information and Misinformation in American Politics. Oklahoma City: Oklahoma University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
A democracy falters when most of its citizens are uninformed or misinformed, when misinformation affects political decisions and actions, or when political actors foment misinformation—the state of affairs the United States faces today, as this timely book makes painfully clear. In Do Facts Matter? Jennifer L. Hochschild and Katherine Levine Einstein start with Thomas Jefferson’s ideal citizen, who knows and uses correct information to make policy or political choices. What, then, the authors ask, are the consequences if citizens are informed but do not act on their knowledge? More serious, what if they do act, but on incorrect information? Analyzing the use, nonuse, and misuse of facts in various cases—such as the call to impeach Bill Clinton, the response to global warming, Clarence Thomas’s appointment to the Supreme Court, the case for invading Iraq, beliefs about Barack Obama’s birthplace and religion, and the Affordable Care Act—Hochschild and Einstein argue persuasively that errors of commission (that is, acting on falsehoods) are even more troublesome than errors of omission. While citizens’ inability or unwillingness to use the facts they know in their political decision making may be frustrating, their acquisition and use of incorrect “knowledge” pose a far greater threat to a democratic political system. Do Facts Matter? looks beyond individual citizens to the role that political elites play in informing, misinforming, and encouraging or discouraging the use of accurate or mistaken information or beliefs. Hochschild and Einstein show that if a well-informed electorate remains a crucial component of a successful democracy, the deliberate concealment of political facts poses its greatest threat.
The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth
2015. The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth. Edited by Orlando Patterson and Ethan Fosse. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The Cultural Matrix seeks to unravel a uniquely American paradox: the socioeconomic crisis, segregation, and social isolation of disadvantaged black youth, on the one hand, and their extraordinary integration and prominence in popular culture on the other. Despite school dropout rates over 40 percent, a third spending time in prison, chronic unemployment, and endemic violence, black youth are among the most vibrant creators of popular culture in the world. They also espouse several deeply-held American values. To understand this conundrum, the authors bring culture back to the forefront of explanation, while avoiding the theoretical errors of earlier culture-of-poverty approaches and the causal timidity and special pleading of more recent ones. There is no single black youth culture, but a complex matrix of cultures—adapted mainstream, African-American vernacular, street culture, and hip-hop—that support and undermine, enrich and impoverish young lives. Hip-hop, for example, has had an enormous influence, not always to the advantage of its creators. However, its muscular message of primal honor and sensual indulgence is not motivated by a desire for separatism but by an insistence on sharing in the mainstream culture of consumption, power, and wealth. This interdisciplinary work draws on all the social sciences, as well as social philosophy and ethnomusicology, in a concerted effort to explain how culture, interacting with structural and environmental forces, influences the performance and control of violence, aesthetic productions, educational and work outcomes, familial, gender, and sexual relations, and the complex moral life of black youth.
Chang, Paul Y. 2015. Protest Dialectics: State Repression and South Korea's Democracy Movement, 1970-1979. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
1970s South Korea is characterized by many as the "dark age for democracy." Most scholarship on South Korea's democracy movement and civil society has focused on the "student revolution" in 1960 and the large protest cycles in the 1980s which were followed by Korea's transition to democracy in 1987. But in his groundbreaking work of political and social history of 1970s South Korea, Paul Chang highlights the importance of understanding the emergence and evolution of the democracy movement in this oft-ignored decade. Protest Dialectics journeys back to 1970s South Korea and provides readers with an in-depth understanding of the numerous events in the 1970s that laid the groundwork for the 1980s democracy movement and the formation of civil society today. Chang shows how the narrative of the 1970s as democracy's "dark age" obfuscates the important material and discursive developments that became the foundations for the movement in the 1980s which, in turn, paved the way for the institutionalization of civil society after transition in 1987. To correct for these oversights in the literature and to better understand the origins of South Korea's vibrant social movement sector this book presents a comprehensive analysis of the emergence and evolution of the democracy movement in the 1970s.
Panagiotis, Roilos. 2014. “Cavafy's Cultural Politics and the Poetics of Liminality.” Huffington Post. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Probing the work of C. P. Cavafy has been intriguing for me, not only because he is one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century European aesthetic culture, but also for another reason: as Cavafy records in his diary of his first trip to Greece in 1901 (written in English), he was positively predisposed toward the work of Georgios Roilos, an influential late nineteenth-early twentieth-century Greek painter, among the first to introduce impressionism in Greece, a professor and mentor of, among other artists, Giorgio de Chirico. In his diary entry for June 28, 1901, Cavafy reports that he visited Roilos in his studio and enjoyed his painting "The Battle of Pharsala": "At 4:30 I took the direction of the Polytechneion. The first person I met in the Odos Patision was Tsocopoulo [sic], who accompanied me to the Polytechneion and conducted me to the painter Roilos's study to see this artist's great picture 'The Battle of Pharsala.'" That encounter of the poet with the painter is one of the stories often narrated at home when I was a child—stories that later determined my scholarly attachment to cultural history and art.
Lepore, Jill. 2015. “Richer and Poorer: Accounting for Inequality.” The New Yorker. Publisher's VersionAbstract
For about a century, economic inequality has been measured on a scale, from zero to one, known as the Gini index and named after an Italian statistician, Corrado Gini, who devised it in 1912, when he was twenty-eight and the chair of statistics at the University of Cagliari. If all the income in the world were earned by one person and everyone else earned nothing, the world would have a Gini index of one. If everyone in the world earned exactly the same income, the world would have a Gini index of zero. The United States Census Bureau has been using Gini’s measurement to calculate income inequality in America since 1947. Between 1947 and 1968, the U.S. Gini index dropped to .386, the lowest ever recorded. Then it began to climb. … Robert Putnam’s new book, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis” (Simon & Schuster), is an attempt to set the statistics aside and, instead, tell a story. “Our Kids” begins with the story of the town where Putnam grew up, Port Clinton, Ohio. Putnam is a political scientist, but his argument is historical—it’s about change over time—and fuelled, in part, by nostalgia.…
Please note: This listing mistakenly had Robert Putnam listed as an author for a short period of time. Robert Putnam's book Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis is discussed in the article. (March 24, 2015)
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Cohen, Roger. 2015. “Counterrevolutionary Russia.” New York Times. Publisher's Version
New York Times op-ed written by Roger Cohen on June 25, 2015 from the 2015 WCFIA Talloires Conference that was held on June 19–21, 2015.
von Soest, Christian, and Michael Wahman. 2015. “.” Journal of Peace Research Vol. 52 (1): 17–31.
Since the end of the Cold War, Western powers have frequently used sanctions to fight declining levels of democracy and human rights violations abroad. However, some of the world’s most repressive autocracies have never been subjected to sanctions, while other more competitive authoritarian regimes have been exposed to repeated sanction episodes. In this article, we concentrate on the cost–benefit analysis of Western senders that issue democratic sanctions, those which aim to instigate democratization, against authoritarian states. We argue that Western leaders weight domestic and international pressure to impose sanctions against the probability of sanction success and the sender’s own political and economic costs. Their cost–benefit calculus is fundamentally influenced by the strength of trigger events indicating infringements of democratic and human rights. Western sanction senders are most likely to respond to coups d’e´tat, the most drastic trigger events, and tend to sanction vulnerable targets to a higher extent than stable authoritarian regimes. Senders are also more likely to sanction poor targets less integrated in the global economy and countries that do not align with the Western international political agenda, especially in responding to ‘weaker’ trigger events such as controversial elections. The analysis is carried out using a new dataset of US and EU sanctions against authoritarian states in the period 1990–2010.
Dryden-Peterson, Sarah. 2011. “The Politics of Higher Education for Refugees in a Global Movement for Basic Education.” Refuge 27 (2): 10-18.Abstract
In the context of Education for All (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), global movements for expanded access to education have focused on primary education. In refugee situations, where one-quarter of refugees do not have access to primary school and two-thirds do not have access to secondary school, donors and agencies resist supporting higher education with arguments that, at great cost, it stands to benefit a small and elite group. At the same time, refugees are clear that progression to higher levels of education is integrally connected with their future livelihoods and future stability for their regions of origin. This paper examines where higher education fits within a broader framework of refugee education and the politics of its provision, with attention to the policies and priorities of UN agencies, NGOs, national governments, and refugees themselves.
Baum, Matthew, and Yuri M Zhukov. 2015. “.” Journal of Peace Research.
Reporting bias–the media’s tendency to systematically underreport or overreport certain types of events–is a persistent problem for participants and observers of armed conflict. We argue that the nature of reporting bias depends on how news organizations navigate the political context in which they are based. Where government pressure on the media is limited–in democratic regimes–the scope of reporting should reflect conventional media preferences toward novel, large-scale, dramatic developments that challenge the conventional wisdom and highlight the unsustainability of the status quo. Where political constraints on reporting are more onerous–in non-democratic regimes–the more conservative preferences of the state will drive the scope of coverage, emphasizing the legitimacy and inevitability of the prevailing order. We test these propositions using new data on protest and political violence during the 2011 Libyan uprising and daily newspaper coverage of the Arab Spring from 113 countries. We uncover evidence of a status-quo media bias in non-democratic states, and a revisionist bias in democratic states. Media coverage in non-democracies underreported protests and nonviolent collective action by regime opponents, largely ignored government atrocities, and overreported those caused by rebels. We find the opposite patterns in democratic states.
McClendon, Gwyneth H. 2012. “Ethics of Using Public Officials as Field Experiment Subjects.” Newsletter of the Apsa Experimental Section 3 (1): 13-20. Author's websiteAbstract
In recent years, the number of field experiments using public officials as subjects has increased. Some of these experiments are relatively cheap and easy to replicate, and yet, the ethical guidelines for dealing with this particular class of subjects are in some ways both nascent and underdeveloped. If this line of research is to continue in a responsible manner, it is worth considering whether there are particular ethical questions raised by using elite, public servants as subjects and if so, how we might deal with those ethical questions. I am not a moral philosopher, and I do not have hard and fast answers to the issues I raise below. I am sympathetic to these types of experiments, having conducted one myself, but I am also sensitive to issues raised by their critics. I hope the following will encourage further debate. There are at least two reasons public officials differ from citizens as experimental subjects. First, when we use public officials as subjects, the behavior we are trying to observe and affect is usually part of their routine, public duties. This may mean that the societal benefits of the knowledge gleaned from these experiments are particularly great. But it also introduces questions about whose resources are being used while subjects take time to participate, as well as questions about debriefing and appropriate compensation. Second, public officials are a limited pool, and they often control public purse strings, including funding for universities and research. This difference introduces questions about researchers’ ethical responsibilities to other researchers when conducting experiments with public officials. Let me consider each of these differences in turn.
McClendon, Gwyneth H. 2013. “The Ethnicity–Policy Preference Link in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Comparative Political Studies 46 (5): 574-602. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Scholars have begun to investigate the mechanisms that link ethnic diversity to low levels of public goods provision but have paid only minimal attention to the role of preferences for public policies. Some argue that ethnic groups hold culturally distinctive preferences for goods and policies, and that such differences impede effective policy making, but these studies provide little evidence to support this claim. Others argue that preferences do not vary systematically across ethnic groups, but again the evidence is limited. In this article, we engage in a systematic exploration of the link between ethnic identity and preferences for public policies through a series of individual and aggregated analyses of Afrobarometer survey data from 18 sub-Saharan African countries. We find that in most countries, preferences do vary based on ethnic group membership. This variation is not merely an expression of individual-level socioeconomic differences or of group-level cultural differences. Instead, we suggest that citizens use ethnicity as a group heuristic for evaluating public policies in a few predictable ways: We find more persistent disagreement about public policies between politically relevant ethnic groups and where group disparities in wealth are high.
McClendon, Gwyneth H. 2014. “Social Esteem and Participation in Contentious Politics: A Field Experiment at an Lgbt Pride Rally.” American Journal of Political Science 58 (2): 279-290. Publisher's VersionAbstract
What motivates individuals to participate in contentious, political forms of collective action? In this article, I consider the possibility that the promise of social esteem from an ingroup can act as a powerful selective incentive for individuals to participate in contentious politics. I conducted a field experiment—the first to my knowledge to take place in the context of a political march, rally, or social-identity event—to isolate this esteem mechanism from others. Using measures of intent to attend, actual attendance, and reported attendance at a gay and lesbian pride event in New Jersey, I find evidence that the promise of social esteem boosts all three measures of participation. The article offers new theoretical and practical implications for the study of participation in nonvoting forms of collective action.
Mylonas, Harris, and Nadav G Shelef. 2014. “Which Land Is Our Land? Domestic Politics and Change in the Territorial Claims of Stateless Nationalist Movements.” Security Studies 23 (4): 54-786. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Why do stateless nationalist movements change the area they see as appropriately constituting the nation-state they aspire to establish? This article draws a number of hypotheses from the literature on nationalism and state formation and compares the predictions of each about the timing, direction, and process of change to the empirical record in two stateless national movements in the post-Ottoman space: Fatah and the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization. Based on this investigation, the article argues that shifts in the areas stateless nationalist movements seek as their nation-states occur as a byproduct of the politically competitive domestic environment in which these movements are embedded. As nationalist movements engage in the competition for mundane power and survival, their leaders may alter their rhetoric about the extent of the desired national state to meet immediate political challenges that are often only loosely related to territorial issues. If these, initially tactical, rhetorical modulations successfully resolve the short-term challenges that spurred their adoption, they can become institutionalized as comprising the new territorial scope of the desired national state.
Rothschild, Emma. 2014. “

Examining Economic Webs

.” Harvard Magazine. Publisher's VersionAbstract
“THERE WAS a longish period in the 1990s and the early part of this century when economic history was very much out of fashion, at least in history departments,” says Knowles professor of history Emma Rothschild. She has played a role in the recent revival of the field, originally established in the 1890s in Great Britain, the United States, and France. As director of the Joint Center for History and Economics, which is, as she puts it, “one center in two locations” (at Harvard and at Cambridge University), she has been shepherding new scholarly collaborations and directions. A project on the history of energy (and climate change) seeks to widen perspectives on past economic, social, and environmental processes by studying energy use and transformation. The field has been pursued in Cambridge, England, for some 20 years, says Rothschild, and has recently seen “outstanding work,” by Harvard doctoral students looking at early responses to climate change in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. “Climate change was then thought to be strongly associated with desertification,” she explains, “not with atmospheric change. They are very different physical processes.” Like an earlier project that elucidated the negative impacts of past economic crises on the health of millions of people—undertaken in the midst of the recession that began in 2008-2009—the study of the history of energy aims to be relevant to the concerns of the present. The center is also undertaking a quantitative approach to historical social networks. The idea of using network analysis—including computer-generated visualizations of social networks—came from conversations with economists, says Rothschild, “in particular Ben Golub,” a postdoctoral fellow at the center who in 2015 will join the Harvard economics faculty. Rothschild first used the technique while working on a book about the Johnstones, a Scottish family with global reach. “The book was an attempt to follow the lives of all the brothers and sisters,” both those who traveled the world and those who stayed home. Several became slave owners, while others strongly opposed the practice. The project in time expanded to follow the lives of some of the Johnstone slaves as well—and it continues to grow. “It’s an interesting example of how history is becoming more open-ended,” Rothschild reflects. “I feel the project is never going to be finished, because people keep finding new things about this large, eighteenth-century family.” Ian Kumekawa ’12 (now a doctoral student in history at Harvard), who worked with Rothschild on the project, says that what really excited him about getting involved with this story of empire, slavery, and commerce was the use of network visualization “not just [as] an infographic” but as “a research tool.” Rothschild is now studying 83 people who signed a document in eighteenth-century provincial France. “You can’t really hold the social connections among 83 people in your head,” she notes, “because it is beyond the capacity of the human social imagination. But by visualizing some of these relationships, you can see how information is likely to spread in a social network. It’s been an exciting collaboration in all sorts of ways among historians, economists, computer scientists, and others who work on visualization techniques,” but also, she emphasizes, “among very different kinds of historians.” In addition to Rothschild’s own study of poor artisans in eighteenth-century France, there are projects on ancient Rome, early-twentieth-century economists in Cambridge, England, and the spread of political information in seventeenth-century England. Despite her colleagues’ disparate interests, she says, “We’ve been finding quite a lot to talk about—it’s a different way of thinking.”
Khanna, Tarun. 2012. “

A 'core Periphery' Framework to Navigate Emerging Market Governments—Qualitative Evidence from a Biotechnology Multinational

.” Global Strategy Journal 2 (1): 71-87.Abstract
We build on the emerging literature of influence-based models to study how multinational firms can navigate host governments. Our ‘core-periphery’ framework posits that the actions that an MNC takes with actors in what we call the ‘periphery’—comprised of state, quasi-state, and civil society actors—can lead to positive or negative influence with interconnected state actors in a ‘core.’ There are two mechanisms by which this can happen: engaging the periphery may either change the information set of the core or help align incentives of multiple core actors. Engaging the periphery might be particularly relevant in settings where the institutional framework is still emerging. We build a case study of a multinational firm in the biotechnology sector to illustrate how the core-periphery framework works in multiple emerging markets across institutional differences. The analysis is based on 32 interviews conducted with the CEO and other executives of Genzyme at the corporate headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in subsidiaries in Brazil, China, Costa Rica, France, India, and the United States.
Khanna, Tarun, Lakshmi Iyer, and Ashutosh Varshney. 2013. “

Caste and Entrepreneurship in India

.” Economic and Political Weekly.Abstract
It is now widely accepted that the lower castes have risen in Indian politics. Has there been a corresponding change in the economy? Using comprehensive data on enterprise ownership from the Economic Census of 1990, 1998 and 2005, this paper shows there are substantial caste differences in entrepreneurship across India. The scheduled castes and scheduled tribes are significantly under-represented in the ownership of enterprises and the share of the workforce employed by them. These differences are widespread across all states, have decreased very modestly between 1990 and 2005, and cannot be attributed to broad differences in access to physical or human capital.
Khanna, Tarun, and Prithwiraj Choudhury. 2013. “

Toward Resource Independence—Why State-Owned Entities Become Multinationals: An Empirical Study of India's Public R&d Laboratories

.” Journal of International Business Studies, 1-18.Abstract
In this paper, we build on the standard resource dependence theory (RDT) and its departure suggested by Vernon to offer a novel explanation for why state-owned entities (SOEs) might seek a global footprint and global cash flows: to achieve resource independence from other state actors. In the context of SOEs, the power use hypothesis of standard RDT can be used to analyze the dependence of SOEs on other state actors, such as government ministries and government agencies that have ownership and control rights in the SOE. Building on Vernon, we argue that the SOE can break free from this power imbalance and establish resource independence from other state actors by becoming a multinational firm and/or by generating global cash flows. We leverage a natural experiment in India and outline both quantitative and qualitative evidence from 42 Indian state-owned laboratories to support this argument.
Khanna, Tarun, and Santiago Mingo. 2013. “

Industrial Policy and the Creation of New Industries: Evidence from Brazil's Bioethanol Industry

.” Industrial and Corporate Change , 1-32.Abstract
Industrial policy programs are frequently used by governments to stimulate economic activity in particular sectors of the economy. This study explores how an industrial policy program can affect the creation and evolution of an industry and, ultimately, the long-term performance of firms. We examine the history of the Brazilian bioethanol industry, focusing on the industrial policy program implemented by the Brazilian government in the 1970s to develop the industry. We put together a novel data set containing detailed information about the history of bioethanol producers. Our findings show that plants founded during the industrial policy program tend to be, in the long run, more productive than those founded before the program was in place. Based on additional analyses and complementary fieldwork, we infer that the wave of acquisitions that occurred after the end of the industrial policy program had an important effect on the performance of the plants founded when the program was in place. Industrial policy, especially in conjunction with a competitive post-industrial policy business landscape, can succeed in nurturing competitive firms.
Simmons, Beth A. 2010. “

Treaty Compliance and Violation

.” Annual Review of Political Science 13: 273-296. Publisher's VersionAbstract
International law has enjoyed a recent renaissance as an important subfield of study within international relations. Two trends are evident in the recent literature. First, the obsession with theoretical labels is on the decline. Second, empirical, especially quantitative, work is burgeoning. This article reviews the literature in four issues areas—security, war, and peace; international trade; protection of the environment; and human rights—and concludes we have a much stronger basis for assessing claims about compliance and violation now than was the case only a few years ago. Still, the literature suffers from a few weaknesses, including problems of selection and endogeneity of treaties themselves and an enduring state-centric focus, despite the fact that researchers recognize that nonstate and substate actors influence treaty behavior. Nonetheless, the quality and quantity of new work demonstrates that international law has regained an important place in the study of international politics.
Davis, Diane. 2010. “

Irregular Armed Forces, Shifting Patterns of Commitment, and Fragmented Sovereignty in the Developing World

.” Theory and Society 39 (3-4): 397-413.Abstract
Historically, the study of state formation has involved a focus on the urban and national conditions under which states monopolize the means of coercion, generate legitimacy, and marshal sufficient economic resources to wage war against enemies while sustaining citizen allegiance through the extension of social programs, new forms of national solidarity, and citizenship. In Charles Tilly’s large body of work, these themes loomed large, and they have re-emerged in slightly reformulated ways in an unfinished manuscript that reflected on the relationship between capital and coercion in which he also integrated the element of commitment—or networks of trust—into the study of state formation. This article develops these same ideas but in new directions, casting them in light of contemporary rather than historical developments. Taking as its point of departure the accelerating rates of criminal violence and citizen insecurity in cities of the developing world, this essay suggests that random and targeted violence increasingly perpetrated by “irregular” armed forces pose a direct challenge to state legitimacy and national sovereignty. Through examination of urban and transnational non-state armed actors who use violence to accumulate capital and secure economic dominion, and whose activities reveal alternative networks of commitment, power, authority, and even self-governance, this essay identifies contemporary parallels with the pre-modern period studied by Charles Tilly, arguing that current patterns challenge prevailing national-state forms of sovereignty. Drawing evidence primarily from Mexico and other middle income developing countries that face growing insecurity and armed violence, the article examines the new “spatialities” of irregular armed force, how they form the basis for alternative networks of coercion, allegiance, and reciprocity that challenge old forms and scales of sovereignty, and what this means for the power and legitimacy of the traditional nation-state.
Simmons, Beth A. 2009. “

Should States Ratify the Protocol? Process and Consequences of the Optional Protocol of the Icescr

.” Norwegian Journal of Human Rights 27 (1): 64-81.Abstract
Proponents and opponents of ratification of the ICESCR‟s Optional Protocol have both exaggerated the consequences of giving individuals a “private right of standing” before the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights. But this article argues that, on balance, ratification should be encouraged. Individuals will bring new and urgent issues to the international agenda, and the dialog will help to encourage a better sense of states‟ international legal obligations under the treaty. The consequences for ESC rights are likely to be modestly positive, if outcomes under the OP of the ICCPR are any guide. Even states that already respect ESC rights in their domestic law should ratify, because there is a tendency, judging by the ratification behaviour relating to similar agreements, for states to emulate ratification practices of other states in their region. Ratification will neither end deprivation nor damage the credibility of the international legal system. It will be a modest step forward in consensus-formation of the meaning of ESC rights, which in turn is a positive step toward their ultimate provision.
Simmons, Beth A. 2009. “

Should States Ratify the Protocol? Process and Consequences of the Optional Protocol of the Icescr

.” Norwegian Journal of Human Rights 27 (1).Abstract
Proponents and opponents of ratification of the ICESCR‟s Optional Protocol have both exaggerated the consequences of giving individuals a “private right of standing” before the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights. But this article argues that, on balance, ratification should be encouraged. Individuals will bring new and urgent issues to the international agenda, and the dialog will help to encourage a better sense of states‟ international legal obligations under the treaty. The consequences for ESC rights are likely to be modestly positive, if outcomes under the OP of the ICCPR are any guide. Even states that already respect ESC rights in their domestic law should ratify, because there is a tendency, judging by the ratification behaviour relating to similar agreements, for states to emulate ratification practices of other states in their region. Ratification will neither end deprivation nor damage the credibility of the international legal system. It will be a modest step forward in consensus-formation of the meaning of ESC rights, which in turn is a positive step toward their ultimate provision.
Simmons, Beth A. 2009. “

Civil Rights in International Law: Compliance with Aspects of the ‘International Bill of Rights’

.” Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 16 (2): 437-481.Abstract
International law has developed what many might consider a constitutional understanding of individual civil rights that individuals can claim vis-a-vis their own governments. This paper discusses the development of aspects of international law relating to civil rights, and argues that if this body of law is meaningful we should see evidence of links between acceptance of international legal obligation and domestic practices. Recognizing that external forms of enforcement of civil rights is unlikely (because not generally in the interest of potential "enforcers"), I argue that international civil rights treaties will have their greatest effect where stakeholders - local citizens - have the motive and the means to demand treaty compliance. This is most likely to be the case not in stable autocracies, where such demands are likely to be crushed, nor in stable democracies, where the motive to mobilize is attenuated due to rights saturation, but in transitional countries where the expected value of mobilization is maximized. Thus, I test the hypothesis that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is likely to have its greatest positive effects in transitional countries - those that have had some fleeting experience with democratic governance. This proposition is tested quantitatively with indicators for freedom of religious practice and fair trials. The proposition is weakly supported by extremely stringent statistical models that control for the endogeneity of the treaty commitments, country and year fixed effects, and other obvious influences on civil rights practices. I conclude that the International Bill of Rights has the power to influence the direction of rights practices in fluid political situations, but cannot magically transform autocracies into liberal guarantors of civil liberties. Still, these effects are important, and the most we can expect from scraps of paper which the international community has been reluctant to enforce.
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Dookeran, Winston. 2015. Crisis and Promise in the Caribbean. London: Ashgate. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The Caribbean is made up of a complex, enigmatic region, characterised by great disparities in size, population, geography, history, language, religion, race and politics. This is a region in which harmony and discord work in tandem, trying to link economic logic with political logic. This book is a useful tool not only for those specialists and students of regionalism but for all those putting their hands to the task of nation-building and those interested in the development processes of small states and economies. At the same time, this book is a comprehensive historical record especially highlighting hindrances to development in this region. This study raises two important issues: the ‘political imperative of convergence’ and the need for ‘appropriate correcting mechanisms’ that align the needs of the local with the regional. It is a volume that underlines the need for a change in strategy and makes proposals as to how to go about making those changes.
Chang, Paul Y. 2015. Protest Dialectics: State Repression and South Korea's Democracy Movement, 1970-1979. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
1970s South Korea is characterized by many as the "dark age for democracy." Most scholarship on South Korea's democracy movement and civil society has focused on the "student revolution" in 1960 and the large protest cycles in the 1980s which were followed by Korea's transition to democracy in 1987. But in his groundbreaking work of political and social history of 1970s South Korea, Paul Chang highlights the importance of understanding the emergence and evolution of the democracy movement in this oft-ignored decade. Protest Dialectics journeys back to 1970s South Korea and provides readers with an in-depth understanding of the numerous events in the 1970s that laid the groundwork for the 1980s democracy movement and the formation of civil society today. Chang shows how the narrative of the 1970s as democracy's "dark age" obfuscates the important material and discursive developments that became the foundations for the movement in the 1980s which, in turn, paved the way for the institutionalization of civil society after transition in 1987. To correct for these oversights in the literature and to better understand the origins of South Korea's vibrant social movement sector this book presents a comprehensive analysis of the emergence and evolution of the democracy movement in the 1970s.
The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth
2015. The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth. Edited by Orlando Patterson and Ethan Fosse. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The Cultural Matrix seeks to unravel a uniquely American paradox: the socioeconomic crisis, segregation, and social isolation of disadvantaged black youth, on the one hand, and their extraordinary integration and prominence in popular culture on the other. Despite school dropout rates over 40 percent, a third spending time in prison, chronic unemployment, and endemic violence, black youth are among the most vibrant creators of popular culture in the world. They also espouse several deeply-held American values. To understand this conundrum, the authors bring culture back to the forefront of explanation, while avoiding the theoretical errors of earlier culture-of-poverty approaches and the causal timidity and special pleading of more recent ones. There is no single black youth culture, but a complex matrix of cultures—adapted mainstream, African-American vernacular, street culture, and hip-hop—that support and undermine, enrich and impoverish young lives. Hip-hop, for example, has had an enormous influence, not always to the advantage of its creators. However, its muscular message of primal honor and sensual indulgence is not motivated by a desire for separatism but by an insistence on sharing in the mainstream culture of consumption, power, and wealth. This interdisciplinary work draws on all the social sciences, as well as social philosophy and ethnomusicology, in a concerted effort to explain how culture, interacting with structural and environmental forces, influences the performance and control of violence, aesthetic productions, educational and work outcomes, familial, gender, and sexual relations, and the complex moral life of black youth.
Do Facts Matter? Information and Misinformation in American Politics
Hochschild, Jennifer. 2015. Do Facts Matter? Information and Misinformation in American Politics. Oklahoma City: Oklahoma University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
A democracy falters when most of its citizens are uninformed or misinformed, when misinformation affects political decisions and actions, or when political actors foment misinformation—the state of affairs the United States faces today, as this timely book makes painfully clear. In Do Facts Matter? Jennifer L. Hochschild and Katherine Levine Einstein start with Thomas Jefferson’s ideal citizen, who knows and uses correct information to make policy or political choices. What, then, the authors ask, are the consequences if citizens are informed but do not act on their knowledge? More serious, what if they do act, but on incorrect information? Analyzing the use, nonuse, and misuse of facts in various cases—such as the call to impeach Bill Clinton, the response to global warming, Clarence Thomas’s appointment to the Supreme Court, the case for invading Iraq, beliefs about Barack Obama’s birthplace and religion, and the Affordable Care Act—Hochschild and Einstein argue persuasively that errors of commission (that is, acting on falsehoods) are even more troublesome than errors of omission. While citizens’ inability or unwillingness to use the facts they know in their political decision making may be frustrating, their acquisition and use of incorrect “knowledge” pose a far greater threat to a democratic political system. Do Facts Matter? looks beyond individual citizens to the role that political elites play in informing, misinforming, and encouraging or discouraging the use of accurate or mistaken information or beliefs. Hochschild and Einstein show that if a well-informed electorate remains a crucial component of a successful democracy, the deliberate concealment of political facts poses its greatest threat.
Contentious Elections: From Ballots to Barricades
Norris, Pippa, Richard W Frank, and Ferran Martinez i Coma. 2015. Contentious Elections: From Ballots to Barricades. New York: Routledge. Publisher's VersionAbstract
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe the world has witnessed a rising tide of contentious elections ending in heated partisan debates, court challenges, street protests, and legitimacy challenges. In some cases, disputes have been settled peacefully through legal appeals and electoral reforms. In the worst cases, however, disputes have triggered bloodshed or government downfalls and military coups. Contentious elections are characterized by major challenges, with different degrees of severity, to the legitimacy of electoral actors, procedures, or outcomes. Despite growing concern, until recently little research has studied this phenomenon. The theory unfolded in this volume suggests that problems of electoral malpractice erode confidence in electoral authorities, spur peaceful protests demonstrating against the outcome, and, in the most severe cases, lead to outbreaks of conflict and violence. Understanding this process is of vital concern for domestic reformers and the international community, as well as attracting a growing new research agenda. The editors, from the Electoral Integrity Project, bring together scholars considering a range of fresh evidence– analyzing public opinion surveys of confidence in elections and voter turnout within specific countries, as well as expert perceptions of the existence of peaceful electoral demonstrations, and survey and aggregate data monitoring outbreaks of electoral violence. The book provides insights invaluable for studies in democracy and democratization, comparative politics, comparative elections, peace and conflict studies, comparative sociology, international development, comparative public opinion, political behavior, political institutions, and public policy.
Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis
Putnam, Robert D. 2015. Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. New York: Simon & Schuster. Publisher's VersionAbstract
A groundbreaking examination of the growing inequality gap from the bestselling author of Bowling Alone: why fewer Americans today have the opportunity for upward mobility. It’s the American dream: get a good education, work hard, buy a house, and achieve prosperity and success. This is the America we believe in—a nation of opportunity, constrained only by ability and effort. But during the last twenty-five years we have seen a disturbing “opportunity gap” emerge. Americans have always believed in equality of opportunity, the idea that all kids, regardless of their family background, should have a decent chance to improve their lot in life. Now, this central tenet of the American dream seems no longer true or at the least, much less true than it was. Robert Putnam—about whom The Economist said, “his scholarship is wide-ranging, his intelligence luminous, his tone modest, his prose unpretentious and frequently funny”—offers a personal but also authoritative look at this new American crisis. Putnam begins with his high school class of 1959 in Port Clinton, Ohio. By and large the vast majority of those students—“our kids”—went on to lives better than those of their parents. But their children and grandchildren have had harder lives amid diminishing prospects. Putnam tells the tale of lessening opportunity through poignant life stories of rich and poor kids from cities and suburbs across the country, drawing on a formidable body of research done especially for this book. Our Kids is a rare combination of individual testimony and rigorous evidence. Putnam provides a disturbing account of the American dream that should initiate a deep examination of the future of our country.
The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform
Brownlee, Jason, Tarek Masoud, and Andrew Reynolds. 2015. The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Several years after the Arab Spring began, democracy remains elusive in the Middle East. The Arab Spring that resides in the popular imagination is one in which a wave of mass mobilization swept the broader Middle East, toppled dictators, and cleared the way for democracy. The reality is that few Arab countries have experienced anything of the sort. While Tunisia made progress towards some type of constitutionally entrenched participatory rule, the other countries that overthrew their rulers Egypt, Yemen, and Libyaremain mired in authoritarianism and instability. Elsewhere in the Arab world uprisings were suppressed, subsided or never materialized. The Arab Springs modest harvest cries out for explanation. Why did regime change take place in only four Arab countries and why has democratic change proved so elusive in the countries that made attempts? This book attempts to answer those questions. First, by accounting for the full range of variance: from the absence or failure of uprisings in such places as Algeria and Saudi Arabia at one end to Tunisias rocky but hopeful transition at the other. Second, by examining the deep historical and structure variables that determined the balance of power between incumbents and opposition. Brownlee, Masoud, and Reynolds find that the success of domestic uprisings depended on the absence of a hereditary executive and a dearth of oil rents. Structural factors also cast a shadow over the transition process. Even when opposition forces toppled dictators, prior levels of socioeconomic development and state strength shaped whether nascent democracy, resurgent authoritarianism, or unbridled civil war would follow.
Routledge Handbook of Latin America in the World
Covarrubias, Ana. 2014. Routledge Handbook of Latin America in the World. Edited by Jorge I Domínguez. New York: Routledge. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The Handbook of Latin America in the World explains how the Latin American countries have both reacted and contributed to changing international dynamics over the last 30 years. It provides a comprehensive picture of Latin America’s global engagement by looking at specific processes and issues that link governments and other actors, social and economic, within the region and beyond. Leading scholars offer an up-to-date state of the field, theoretically and empirically, thus avoiding a narrow descriptive approach. The Handbook includes a section on theoretical approaches that analyze Latin America’s place in the international political and economic system and its foreign policy making. Other sections focus on the main countries, actors, and issues in Latin America’s international relations. In so doing, the book sheds light on the complexity of the international relations of selected countries, and on their efforts to act multilaterally. The Routledge Handbook of Latin America in the World is a must-have reference for academics, researchers, and students in the fields of Latin American politics, international relations, and area specialists of all regions of the world.
Currency Politics: The Political Economy of Exchange Rate Policy
Frieden, Jeffry. 2014. Currency Politics: The Political Economy of Exchange Rate Policy. Princeton University Press.Abstract
The exchange rate is the most important price in any economy, since it affects all other prices. Exchange rates are set, either directly or indirectly, by government policy. Exchange rates are also central to the global economy, for they profoundly influence all international economic activity. Despite the critical role of exchange rate policy, there are few definitive explanations of why governments choose the currency policies they do. Filled with in-depth cases and examples, Currency Politics presents a comprehensive analysis of the politics surrounding exchange rates. Identifying the motivations for currency policy preferences on the part of industries seeking to influence politicians, Jeffry Frieden shows how each industry's characteristics--including its exposure to currency risk and the price effects of exchange rate movements--determine those preferences. Frieden evaluates the accuracy of his theoretical arguments in a variety of historical and geographical settings: he looks at the politics of the gold standard, particularly in the United States, and he examines the political economy of European monetary integration. He also analyzes the politics of Latin American currency policy over the past forty years, and focuses on the daunting currency crises that have frequently debilitated Latin American nations, including Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil. With an ambitious mix of narrative and statistical investigation, Currency Politics clarifies the political and economic determinants of exchange rate policies.
Empire of Cotton
Beckert, Sven. 2014. Empire of Cotton. New York: Random House. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The epic story of the rise and fall of the empire of cotton, its centrality to the world economy, and its making and remaking of global capitalism. Cotton is so ubiquitous as to be almost invisible, yet understanding its history is key to understanding the origins of modern capitalism. Sven Beckert’s rich, fascinating book tells the story of how, in a remarkably brief period, European entrepreneurs and powerful statesmen recast the world’s most significant manufacturing industry, combining imperial expansion and slave labor with new machines and wage workers to change the world. Here is the story of how, beginning well before the advent of machine production in the 1780s, these men captured ancient trades and skills in Asia, and combined them with the expropriation of lands in the Americas and the enslavement of African workers to crucially reshape the disparate realms of cotton that had existed for millennia, and how industrial capitalism gave birth to an empire, and how this force transformed the world. The empire of cotton was, from the beginning, a fulcrum of constant global struggle between slaves and planters, merchants and statesmen, workers and factory owners. Beckert makes clear how these forces ushered in the world of modern capitalism, including the vast wealth and disturbing inequalities that are with us today. The result is a book as unsettling as it is enlightening: a book that brilliantly weaves together the story of cotton with how the present global world came to exist.
Africa’s Development in Historical Perspective
2014. Africa’S Development in Historical Perspective. Edited by Robert H Bates, Nathan Nunn, James A Robinson, and Emmanuel Akyeampong. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This edited volume addresses the root causes of Africa’s persistent poverty through an investigation of its longue durée history. It interrogates the African past through disease and demography, institutions and governance, African economies and the impact of the export slave trade, colonialism, Africa in the world economy, and culture’s influence on accumulation and investment. Several of the chapters take a comparative perspective, placing Africa’s developments aside other global patterns. The readership for this book spans from the informed lay reader with an interest in Africa, academics and undergraduate and graduate students, policy makers, and those in the development world.
The Politics of Representation in the Global Age: Identification, Mobilization, and Adjudication
2014. The Politics of Representation in the Global Age: Identification, Mobilization, and Adjudication. Edited by Peter A Hall, Wade Jacoby, Jonah Levy, and Sophie Meunier. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
How has the process of political representation changed in the era of globalization? The representation of interests is at the heart of democracy, but how is it that some interests secure a strong voice, while others do not? While each person has multiple interests linked to different dimensions of his or her identity, much of the existing academic literature assumes that interests are given prior to politics by a person’s socioeconomic, institutional, or cultural situation. This book mounts a radical challenge to this view, arguing that interests are actively forged through processes of politics. The book develops an analytic framework for understanding how representation takes place—based on processes of identification, mobilization, and adjudication—and explores how these processes have evolved over time. Through a wide variety of case studies, the chapters explore how actors identify their interests, mobilize them into action, and resolve conflicts among them.
Herzog, Tamar. 2014. Frontiers of Possession: Spain and Portugal in Europe and the Americas. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Frontiers of Possession asks how territorial borders were established in Europe and the Americas during the early modern period and challenges the standard view that national boundaries are largely determined by military conflicts and treaties. Focusing on Spanish and Portuguese claims in the New and Old Worlds, Tamar Herzog reconstructs the different ways land rights were negotiated and enforced, sometimes violently, among people who remembered old possessions or envisioned new ones: farmers and nobles, clergymen and missionaries, settlers and indigenous peoples. Questioning the habitual narrative that sees the Americas as a logical extension of the Old World, Herzog portrays Spain and Portugal on both sides of the Atlantic as one unified imperial space. She begins in the Americas, where Iberian conquerors had to decide who could settle the land, who could harvest fruit and cut timber, and who had river rights for travel and trade. The presence of indigenous peoples as enemies to vanquish or allies to befriend, along with the vastness of the land, complicated the picture, as did the promise of unlimited wealth. In Europe, meanwhile, the formation and reformation of boundaries could last centuries, as ancient entitlements clashed with evolving economic conditions and changing political views and juridical doctrines regarding how land could be acquired and maintained. Herzog demonstrates that the same fundamental questions had to be addressed in Europe and in the Americas. Territorial control was always subject to negotiation, as neighbors and outsiders, in their quotidian interactions, carved out and defended new frontiers of possession.
The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union
Plokhii, Serhii. 2014. The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union. New York: Basic Books. Publisher's VersionAbstract
On Christmas Day, 1991, President George H. W. Bush addressed the nation to declare an American victory in the Cold War: earlier that day Mikhail Gorbachev had resigned as the first and last Soviet president. The enshrining of that narrative, one in which the end of the Cold War was linked to the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the triumph of democratic values over communism, took center stage in American public discourse immediately after Bush’s speech and has persisted for decades—with disastrous consequences for American standing in the world. As prize-winning historian Serhii Plokhy reveals in The Last Empire, the collapse of the Soviet Union was anything but the handiwork of the United States. On the contrary, American leaders dreaded the possibility that the Soviet Union—weakened by infighting and economic turmoil—might suddenly crumble, throwing all of Eurasia into chaos. Bush was firmly committed to supporting his ally and personal friend Gorbachev, and remained wary of nationalist or radical leaders such as recently elected Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Fearing what might happen to the large Soviet nuclear arsenal in the event of the union’s collapse, Bush stood by Gorbachev as he resisted the growing independence movements in Ukraine, Moldova, and the Caucasus. Plokhy’s detailed, authoritative account shows that it was only after the movement for independence of the republics had gained undeniable momentum on the eve of the Ukrainian vote for independence that fall that Bush finally abandoned Gorbachev to his fate.
Advanced Introduction to Comparative Constitutional Law
Tushnet, Mark. 2014. Advanced Introduction to Comparative Constitutional Law. Cheltenham Glos: Edward Elgar Publishing. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Elgar Advanced Introductions are stimulating and thoughtful introductions to major fields in the social sciences and law, expertly written by the world’s leading scholars. Designed to be accessible yet rigorous, they offer concise and lucid surveys of the substantive and policy issues associated with discrete subject areas. Mark Tushnet, a world-renowned scholar of constitutional law, presents an introduction to comparative constitutional law through an analysis of topics at the cutting-edge of contemporary scholarship. His authoritative study investigates constitution making, including the problem of unconstitutional constitutional amendments; recent developments in forms of constitutional review, including “the battle of the courts”; proportionality analysis and its alternatives; and the emergence of a new “transparency” branch in constitutions around the world. Throughout, the book draws upon examples from a wide range of nations, demonstrating that the field of comparative constitutional law now truly encompasses the world.
African Religions: A Very Short Introduction
Olupona, Jacob K. 2014.

African Religions: A Very Short Introduction

. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
What are African religions? African Religions: A Very Short Introduction answers this question by examining primarily indigenous religious traditions on the African continent, as well as exploring Christianity and Islam. It focuses on the diversity of ethnic groups, languages, cultures, and worldviews, emphasizing the continent's regional diversity. Olupona examines a wide range of African religious traditions on their own terms and in their social, cultural, and political contexts. For example, the book moves beyond ethnographic descriptions and interpretations of core beliefs and practices to look at how African religion has engaged issues of socioeconomic development and power relations. Olupona examines the myths and sacred stories about the origins of the universe that define ethnic groups and national identities throughout Africa. He also discusses spiritual agents in the African cosmos such as God, spirits, and ancestors. In addition to myths and deities, Olupona focuses on the people central to African religions, including medicine men and women, rainmakers, witches, magicians, and divine kings, and how they serve as authority figures and intermediaries between the social world and the cosmic realm. African Religions: A Very Short Introduction discusses a wide variety of religious practices, including music and dance, calendrical rituals and festivals, celebrations for the gods' birthdays, and rituals accompanying stages of life such as birth, puberty, marriage, elderhood, and death. In addition to exploring indigenous religions, Olupona examines the ways Islam and Christianity as outside traditions encountered indigenous African religion. He shows how these incoming faith traditions altered the face and the future of indigenous African religions as well as how indigenous religions shaped two world religions in Africa and the diaspora. Olupona draws on archaeological and historical sources, as well as ethnographic materials based on fieldwork. He shows that African religions are not static traditions, but have responded to changes within their local communities and to fluxes caused by outside influences, and spread with diaspora and migration.
Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same-Sex Desire in Contemporary Iran
Najmabadi, Afsaneh. 2014.

Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same-Sex Desire in Contemporary Iran

. Durham: Duke University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Since the mid-1980s, the Islamic Republic of Iran has permitted, and partially subsidized, sex reassignment surgery. In Professing Selves, Afsaneh Najmabadi explores the meaning of transsexuality in contemporary Iran. Combining historical and ethnographic research, she describes how, in the postrevolutionary era, the domains of law, psychology and psychiatry, Islamic jurisprudence, and biomedicine became invested in distinguishing between the acceptable "true" transsexual and other categories of identification, notably the "true" homosexual, an unacceptable category of existence in Iran. Najmabadi argues that this collaboration among medical authorities, specialized clerics, and state officials—which made transsexuality a legally tolerated, if not exactly celebrated, category of being—grew out of Iran's particular experience of Islamicized modernity. Paradoxically, state regulation has produced new spaces for non-normative living in Iran, since determining who is genuinely "trans" depends largely on the stories that people choose to tell, on the selves that they profess.
30-Second Ancient Egypt
2014.

30-Second Ancient Egypt

. Edited by Peter der Manuelian. Ivy Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We’ve all heard of pyramids, hieroglyphs and Cleopatra, but how much do you really know about ancient Egypt? Why was the Nile integral to the unification of Egypt? What is the mystery surrounding Queen Hetepheres’ tomb? What did the Amarna Letters reveal? What did the ancient Egyptians eat and drink? 30-Second Ancient Egypt presents a unique insight into one of the most brilliant and beguiling civilisations, where technological innovations and architectural wonders emerge among mysterious gods and burial rites. Each entry is summarised in just 30 seconds using nothing more than two pages, 300 words and a single picture. From royal dynasties and Tutankhamun’s tomb, to hieroglyphs and mummification, interspersed with biographies of Egypt’s most intriguing rulers, this is the quickest path to understanding the 50 key ideas and innovations that developed and defined one of the world’s great civilisations.
After the Revolution: Youth, Democracy, and the Politics of Disappointment in Serbia
Greenberg, Jessica. 2014.

After the Revolution: Youth, Democracy, and the Politics of Disappointment in Serbia

. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
What happens to student activism once mass protests have disappeared from view, and youth no longer embody the political frustrations and hopes of a nation? After the Revolution chronicles the lives of student activists as they confront the possibilities and disappointments of democracy in the shadow of the recent revolution in Serbia. Greenberg's narrative highlights the stories of young student activists as they seek to define their role and articulate a new form of legitimate political activity, post-socialism. When student activists in Serbia helped topple dictator Slobodan Milosevic on October 5, 2000, they unexpectedly found that the post-revolutionary period brought even greater problems. How do you actually live and practice democracy in the wake of war and the shadow of a recent revolution? How do young Serbians attempt to translate the energy and excitement generated by wide scale mobilization into the slow work of building democratic institutions? Greenberg navigates through the ranks of student organizations as they transition their activism from the streets back into the halls of the university. In exploring the everyday practices of student activists - their triumphs and frustrations - After the Revolution argues that disappointment is not a failure of democracy but a fundamental feature of how people live and practice it. This fascinating book develops a critical vocabulary for the social life of disappointment with the aim of helping citizens, scholars, and policymakers worldwide escape the trap of framing new democracies as doomed to failure.
The Rise and Fall of Human Rights: Cynicism and Politics in Occupied Palestine
Allen, Lori. 2014.

The Rise and Fall of Human Rights: Cynicism and Politics in Occupied Palestine

. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The Rise and Fall of Human Rights provides a groundbreaking ethnographic investigation of the Palestinian human rights world - its NGOs, activists, and "victims," as well as their politics, training, and discourse - since 1979. Though human rights activity began as a means of struggle against the Israeli occupation, in failing to end the Israeli occupation, protect basic human rights, or establish an accountable Palestinian government, the human rights industry has become the object of cynicism for many Palestinians. But far from indicating apathy, such cynicism generates a productive critique of domestic politics and Western interventionism. This book illuminates the successes and failures of Palestinians' varied engagements with human rights in their quest for independence.
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