Plokhy, Serhii. 2015. The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine. New York: Basic Books. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Ukraine is currently embroiled in a tense fight with Russia to preserve its territorial integrity and political independence. But today's conflict is only the latest in a long history of battles over Ukraine's territory and its existence as a sovereign nation. As the award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy argues in The Gates of Europe, we must examine Ukraine's past in order to understand its present and future.

Situated between Central Europe, Russia, and the Middle East, Ukraine was shaped by the empires that used it as a strategic gateway between East and West—from the Roman and Ottoman empires to the Third Reich and the Soviet Union. For centuries, Ukraine has been a meeting place of various cultures. The mixing of sedentary and nomadic peoples and Christianity and Islam on the steppe borderland produced the class of ferocious warriors known as the Cossacks, for example, while the encounter between the Catholic and Orthodox churches created a religious tradition that bridges Western and Eastern Christianity. Ukraine has also been a home to millions of Jews, serving as the birthplace of Hassidism—and as one of the killing fields of the Holocaust.

Plokhy examines the history of Ukraine's search for its identity through the lives of the major figures in Ukrainian history: Prince Yaroslav the Wise of Kyiv, whose daughter Anna became queen of France; the Cossack ruler Ivan Mazepa, who was immortalized in the poems of Byron and Pushkin; Nikita Khrushchev and his protégé-turned-nemesis Leonid Brezhnev, who called Ukraine their home; and the heroes of the Maidan protests of 2013 and 2014, who embody the current struggle over Ukraine's future.

As Plokhy explains, today's crisis is a tragic case of history repeating itself, as Ukraine once again finds itself in the center of the battle of global proportions. An authoritative history of this vital country, The Gates of Europe provides a unique insight into the origins of the most dangerous international crisis since the end of the Cold War.

Moyn, Samuel. 2015. Christian Human Rights. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In Christian Human Rights, Samuel Moyn asserts that the rise of human rights after World War II was prefigured and inspired by a defense of the dignity of the human person that first arose in Christian churches and religious thought in the years just prior to the outbreak of the war. The Roman Catholic Church and transatlantic Protestant circles dominated the public discussion of the new principles in what became the last European golden age for the Christian faith. At the same time, West European governments after World War II, particularly in the ascendant Christian Democratic parties, became more tolerant of public expressions of religious piety. Human rights rose to public prominence in the space opened up by these dual developments of the early Cold War.

Moyn argues that human dignity became central to Christian political discourse as early as 1937. Pius XII's wartime Christmas addresses announced the basic idea of universal human rights as a principle of world, and not merely state, order. By focusing on the 1930s and 1940s, Moyn demonstrates how the language of human rights was separated from the secular heritage of the French Revolution and put to use by postwar democracies governed by Christian parties, which reinvented them to impose moral constraints on individuals, support conservative family structures, and preserve existing social hierarchies. The book ends with a provocative chapter that traces contemporary European struggles to assimilate Muslim immigrants to the continent's legacy of Christian human rights.

Peterson, Sarah Dryden. 2015. “Refugee Education in Countries of First Asylum: Breaking Open the Black Box of Pre-Resettlement Experiences.” Theory and Research in Education, 1-18. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The number of refugees who have fled across international borders due to conflict and persecution is at the highest level in recorded history. The vast majority of these refugees find exile in low-income countries neighboring their countries of origin. The refugee children who are resettled to North America, Europe, and Australia arrive with previous educational experiences in these countries of first asylum. This article examines these pre-resettlement educational experiences of refugee children, which to date have constituted a ‘black box’ in their post-resettlement education. Analysis is of data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, key informant interviews in 14 countries of first asylum, and ethnographic fieldwork and interviews in four countries. The article argues that contemporary conditions of conflict usefully inform conceptual understanding of refugee education globally, including the types of schools that refugees access in countries of first asylum and their rates of access. It further identifies three empirical themes that are common to the educational experiences of refugees in countries of first asylum: language barriers, teacher-centered pedagogy, and discrimination in school settings. The article examines the theoretical and practical relevance of these pre-resettlement educational experiences for post-resettlement education of refugee children.

Mugane, John M.. 2015. The Story of Swahili. Athens: Ohio University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Swahili, or more properly Kiswahili, was once an obscure littoral dialect of an East African Bantu language. Today more than one hundred million people use Swahili, making it one of the few truly international languages—Swahili is to eastern and central Africa what English is to the world. How this came about and why, of all African languages, it happened only to Swahili is the story that John M. Mugane sets out to explore.

The remarkable adaptability of Swahili has allowed Africans—and others—to tailor the language to their needs, extending its influence far beyond its place of origin. The Story of Swahili calls for a reevaluation of the widespread but fallacious assumption that cultural superiority, military conquest, and economic dominance determine the prosperity of any given language.

The Story of Swahili is about where languages come from, where they are now, and where they are headed, using the success of Swahili as a convenient point of entry. As a language that arose from contact between peoples from diverse cultures, Swahili is an excellent conveyor of the history of communities in eastern and central Africa as well as their associations throughout the Indian Ocean world. It is also a vibrant, living language that continues to adapt to the changing demands of global trade, technology, and communication.

Ramanna, Karthik. 2015. Political Standards: Corporate Interest, Ideology, and Leadership in the Shaping of Accounting Rules for the Market Economy. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Prudent, verifiable, and timely corporate accounting is a bedrock of our modern capitalist system. In recent years, however, the rules that govern corporate accounting have been subtly changed in ways that compromise these core principles, to the detriment of the economy at large. These changes have been driven by the private agendas of certain corporate special interests, aided selectively—and sometimes unwittingly—by arguments from business academia

With Political Standards, Karthik Ramanna develops the notion of “thin political markets” to describe a key problem facing technical rule-making in corporate accounting and beyond. When standard-setting boards attempt to regulate the accounting practices of corporations, they must draw on a small pool of qualified experts—but those experts almost always have strong commercial interests in the outcome. Meanwhile, standard setting rarely enjoys much attention from the general public. This absence of accountability, Ramanna argues, allows corporate managers to game the system. In the profit-maximization framework of modern capitalism, the only practicable solution is to reframe managerial norms when participating in thin political markets. Political Standards will be an essential resource for understanding how the rules of the game are set, whom they inevitably favor, and how the process can be changed for a better capitalism.

Rodrik, Dani. 2015. Economics Rules. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In the wake of the financial crisis and the Great Recession, economics seems anything but a science. In this sharp, masterfully argued book, Dani Rodrik, a leading critic from within, takes a close look at economics to examine when it falls short and when it works, to give a surprisingly upbeat account of the discipline.

Drawing on the history of the field and his deep experience as a practitioner, Rodrik argues that economics can be a powerful tool that improves the world—but only when economists abandon universal theories and focus on getting the context right. Economics Rules argues that the discipline's much-derided mathematical models are its true strength. Models are the tools that make economics a science.

Too often, however, economists mistake a model for the model that applies everywhere and at all times. In six chapters that trace his discipline from Adam Smith to present-day work on globalization, Rodrik shows how diverse situations call for different models. Each model tells a partial story about how the world works. These stories offer wide-ranging, and sometimes contradictory, lessons—just as children’s fables offer diverse morals.

Whether the question concerns the rise of global inequality, the consequences of free trade, or the value of deficit spending, Rodrik explains how using the right models can deliver valuable new insights about social reality and public policy. Beyond the science, economics requires the craft to apply suitable models to the context.

At once a forceful critique and defense of the discipline, Economics Rules charts a path toward a more humble but more effective science.

McGirr, Lisa. 2015. The War on Alcohol. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. Publisher's VersionAbstract

A groundbreaking history of Prohibition and a new creation story for the powerful American state.

Prohibition has long been portrayed as a “noble experiment” that failed, a newsreel story of glamorous gangsters, flappers, and speakeasies. Now at last Lisa McGirr dismantles this cherished myth to reveal a much more significant history. Prohibition was the seedbed for a pivotal expansion of the federal government, the genesis of our contemporary penal state. Her deeply researched, eye-opening account uncovers patterns of enforcement still familiar today: the war on alcohol was waged disproportionately in African American, immigrant, and poor white communities. Alongside Jim Crow and other discriminatory laws, Prohibition brought coercion into everyday life and even into private homes. Its targets coalesced into an electoral base of urban, working-class voters that propelled FDR to the White House.

This outstanding history also reveals a new genome for the activist American state, one that shows the DNA of the right as well as the left. It was Herbert Hoover who built the extensive penal apparatus used by the federal government to combat the crime spawned by Prohibition. The subsequent federal wars on crime, on drugs, and on terror all display the inheritances of the war on alcohol. McGirr shows the powerful American state to be a bipartisan creation, a legacy not only of the New Deal and the Great Society but also of Prohibition and its progeny.

The War on Alcohol is history at its best—original, authoritative, and illuminating of our past and its continuing presence today.

Antràs, Pol. 2015. Global Production: Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Global Production is the first book to provide a fully comprehensive overview of the complicated issues facing multinational companies and their global sourcing strategies. Few international trade transactions today are based on the exchange of finished goods; rather, the majority of transactions are dominated by sales of individual components and intermediary services. Many firms organize global production around offshoring parts, components, and services to producers in distant countries, and contracts are drawn up specific to the parties and distinct legal systems involved. Pol Antràs examines the contractual frictions that arise in the international system of production and how these frictions influence the world economy.

Antràs discusses the inevitable complications that develop in contract negotiation and execution. He provides a unified framework that sheds light on the factors helping global firms determine production locations and other organizational choices. Antràs also implements a series of systematic empirical tests, based on recent data from the U.S. Customs and Census Offices, which demonstrate the relevance of contractual factors in global production decisions.

Using an integrated approach, Global Production is an excellent resource for researchers, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates interested in the inner workings of international economics and trade.

Ragab, Ahmed. 2015. The Medieval Islamic Hospital: Medicine, Religion, and Charity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The first monograph on the history of Islamic hospitals, this volume focuses on the under-examined Egyptian and Levantine institutions of the twelfth to fourteenth centuries. By the twelfth century, hospitals serving the sick and the poor could be found in nearly every Islamic city. Ahmed Ragab traces the varying origins and development of these institutions, locating them in their urban environments and linking them to charity networks and patrons' political projects. Following the paths of patients inside hospital wards, he investigates who they were and what kinds of experiences they had. The Medieval Islamic Hospital explores the medical networks surrounding early hospitals and sheds light on the particular brand of practice-oriented medicine they helped to develop. Providing a detailed picture of the effect of religion on medieval medicine, it will be essential reading for those interested in history of medicine, history of Islamic sciences, or history of the Mediterranean.

Tingley, Dustin H., and Helen V. Milner. 2015. Sailing the Water’s Edge. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

When engaging with other countries, the US government has a number of different policy instruments at its disposal, including foreign aid, international trade, and the use of military force. But what determines which policies are chosen? Does the United States rely too much on the use of military power and coercion in its foreign policies? Sailing the Water’s Edge focuses on how domestic US politics—in particular the interactions between the president, Congress, interest groups, bureaucratic institutions, and the public—have influenced foreign policy choices since World War II and shows why presidents have more control over some policy instruments than others. Presidential power matters and it varies systematically across policy instruments.

Helen Milner and Dustin Tingley consider how Congress and interest groups have substantial material interests in and ideological divisions around certain issues and that these factors constrain presidents from applying specific tools. As a result, presidents select instruments that they have more control over, such as use of the military. This militarization of US foreign policy raises concerns about the nature of American engagement, substitution among policy tools, and the future of US foreign policy. Milner and Tingley explore whether American foreign policy will remain guided by a grand strategy of liberal internationalism, what affects American foreign policy successes and failures, and the role of US intelligence collection in shaping foreign policy. The authors support their arguments with rigorous theorizing, quantitative analysis, and focused case studies, such as US foreign policy in sub-Saharan Africa across two presidential administrations.

Sailing the Water’s Edge examines the importance of domestic political coalitions and institutions on the formation of American foreign policy.

Blier, Suzanne Preston. 2015. Art and Risk in Ancient Yoruba: Ife History, Power, and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In this book, Suzanne Preston Blier examines the intersection of art, risk, and creativity in early African arts from the Yoruba center of Ife and the striking ways that ancient Ife artworks inform society, politics, history, and religion. Yoruba art offers a unique lens into one of Africa's most important and least understood early civilizations—one whose historic arts have long been of interest to local residents and Westerners alike because of their tour-de-force visual power and technical complexity. Among the complementary subjects explored are questions of art making, art viewing, and aesthetics in the famed ancient Nigerian city-state, as well as the attendant risks and danger assumed by artists, patrons, and viewers alike in certain forms of subject matter and modes of portrayal, including unique genres of body marking, portraiture, animal symbolism, and regalia. This volume celebrates art, history, and the shared passion and skill with which the remarkable artists of early Ife sought to define their past for generations of viewers.

Lamont, Michèle. 2014. “Reflections Inspired by Ethnic Boundary Making: Institutions, Power, Networks by Andreas Wimmer.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 37 (5): 814-819. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This essay engages with Wimmer’s Ethnic Boundary Making to consider how cultural processes feed into inequality. It describes the strengths of the book, relates it to my early work, and draws on Lamont, Beljean, and Clair (forthcoming), to describe two types of identification processes (racialization and stigmatization) and two types of rationalization processes (standardization and evaluation) that contribute to an understanding of the relationship between symbolic and social boundaries. It stresses similarities and differences between approaches and suggests possible points for convergence.

More
Moyn, Samuel. 2015. Christian Human Rights. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In Christian Human Rights, Samuel Moyn asserts that the rise of human rights after World War II was prefigured and inspired by a defense of the dignity of the human person that first arose in Christian churches and religious thought in the years just prior to the outbreak of the war. The Roman Catholic Church and transatlantic Protestant circles dominated the public discussion of the new principles in what became the last European golden age for the Christian faith. At the same time, West European governments after World War II, particularly in the ascendant Christian Democratic parties, became more tolerant of public expressions of religious piety. Human rights rose to public prominence in the space opened up by these dual developments of the early Cold War.

Moyn argues that human dignity became central to Christian political discourse as early as 1937. Pius XII's wartime Christmas addresses announced the basic idea of universal human rights as a principle of world, and not merely state, order. By focusing on the 1930s and 1940s, Moyn demonstrates how the language of human rights was separated from the secular heritage of the French Revolution and put to use by postwar democracies governed by Christian parties, which reinvented them to impose moral constraints on individuals, support conservative family structures, and preserve existing social hierarchies. The book ends with a provocative chapter that traces contemporary European struggles to assimilate Muslim immigrants to the continent's legacy of Christian human rights.

Plokhy, Serhii. 2015. The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine. New York: Basic Books. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Ukraine is currently embroiled in a tense fight with Russia to preserve its territorial integrity and political independence. But today's conflict is only the latest in a long history of battles over Ukraine's territory and its existence as a sovereign nation. As the award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy argues in The Gates of Europe, we must examine Ukraine's past in order to understand its present and future.

Situated between Central Europe, Russia, and the Middle East, Ukraine was shaped by the empires that used it as a strategic gateway between East and West—from the Roman and Ottoman empires to the Third Reich and the Soviet Union. For centuries, Ukraine has been a meeting place of various cultures. The mixing of sedentary and nomadic peoples and Christianity and Islam on the steppe borderland produced the class of ferocious warriors known as the Cossacks, for example, while the encounter between the Catholic and Orthodox churches created a religious tradition that bridges Western and Eastern Christianity. Ukraine has also been a home to millions of Jews, serving as the birthplace of Hassidism—and as one of the killing fields of the Holocaust.

Plokhy examines the history of Ukraine's search for its identity through the lives of the major figures in Ukrainian history: Prince Yaroslav the Wise of Kyiv, whose daughter Anna became queen of France; the Cossack ruler Ivan Mazepa, who was immortalized in the poems of Byron and Pushkin; Nikita Khrushchev and his protégé-turned-nemesis Leonid Brezhnev, who called Ukraine their home; and the heroes of the Maidan protests of 2013 and 2014, who embody the current struggle over Ukraine's future.

As Plokhy explains, today's crisis is a tragic case of history repeating itself, as Ukraine once again finds itself in the center of the battle of global proportions. An authoritative history of this vital country, The Gates of Europe provides a unique insight into the origins of the most dangerous international crisis since the end of the Cold War.

Ramanna, Karthik. 2015. Political Standards: Corporate Interest, Ideology, and Leadership in the Shaping of Accounting Rules for the Market Economy. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Prudent, verifiable, and timely corporate accounting is a bedrock of our modern capitalist system. In recent years, however, the rules that govern corporate accounting have been subtly changed in ways that compromise these core principles, to the detriment of the economy at large. These changes have been driven by the private agendas of certain corporate special interests, aided selectively—and sometimes unwittingly—by arguments from business academia

With Political Standards, Karthik Ramanna develops the notion of “thin political markets” to describe a key problem facing technical rule-making in corporate accounting and beyond. When standard-setting boards attempt to regulate the accounting practices of corporations, they must draw on a small pool of qualified experts—but those experts almost always have strong commercial interests in the outcome. Meanwhile, standard setting rarely enjoys much attention from the general public. This absence of accountability, Ramanna argues, allows corporate managers to game the system. In the profit-maximization framework of modern capitalism, the only practicable solution is to reframe managerial norms when participating in thin political markets. Political Standards will be an essential resource for understanding how the rules of the game are set, whom they inevitably favor, and how the process can be changed for a better capitalism.

Rodrik, Dani. 2015. Economics Rules. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In the wake of the financial crisis and the Great Recession, economics seems anything but a science. In this sharp, masterfully argued book, Dani Rodrik, a leading critic from within, takes a close look at economics to examine when it falls short and when it works, to give a surprisingly upbeat account of the discipline.

Drawing on the history of the field and his deep experience as a practitioner, Rodrik argues that economics can be a powerful tool that improves the world—but only when economists abandon universal theories and focus on getting the context right. Economics Rules argues that the discipline's much-derided mathematical models are its true strength. Models are the tools that make economics a science.

Too often, however, economists mistake a model for the model that applies everywhere and at all times. In six chapters that trace his discipline from Adam Smith to present-day work on globalization, Rodrik shows how diverse situations call for different models. Each model tells a partial story about how the world works. These stories offer wide-ranging, and sometimes contradictory, lessons—just as children’s fables offer diverse morals.

Whether the question concerns the rise of global inequality, the consequences of free trade, or the value of deficit spending, Rodrik explains how using the right models can deliver valuable new insights about social reality and public policy. Beyond the science, economics requires the craft to apply suitable models to the context.

At once a forceful critique and defense of the discipline, Economics Rules charts a path toward a more humble but more effective science.

Mugane, John M.. 2015. The Story of Swahili. Athens: Ohio University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Swahili, or more properly Kiswahili, was once an obscure littoral dialect of an East African Bantu language. Today more than one hundred million people use Swahili, making it one of the few truly international languages—Swahili is to eastern and central Africa what English is to the world. How this came about and why, of all African languages, it happened only to Swahili is the story that John M. Mugane sets out to explore.

The remarkable adaptability of Swahili has allowed Africans—and others—to tailor the language to their needs, extending its influence far beyond its place of origin. The Story of Swahili calls for a reevaluation of the widespread but fallacious assumption that cultural superiority, military conquest, and economic dominance determine the prosperity of any given language.

The Story of Swahili is about where languages come from, where they are now, and where they are headed, using the success of Swahili as a convenient point of entry. As a language that arose from contact between peoples from diverse cultures, Swahili is an excellent conveyor of the history of communities in eastern and central Africa as well as their associations throughout the Indian Ocean world. It is also a vibrant, living language that continues to adapt to the changing demands of global trade, technology, and communication.

Blier, Suzanne Preston. 2015. Art and Risk in Ancient Yoruba: Ife History, Power, and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In this book, Suzanne Preston Blier examines the intersection of art, risk, and creativity in early African arts from the Yoruba center of Ife and the striking ways that ancient Ife artworks inform society, politics, history, and religion. Yoruba art offers a unique lens into one of Africa's most important and least understood early civilizations—one whose historic arts have long been of interest to local residents and Westerners alike because of their tour-de-force visual power and technical complexity. Among the complementary subjects explored are questions of art making, art viewing, and aesthetics in the famed ancient Nigerian city-state, as well as the attendant risks and danger assumed by artists, patrons, and viewers alike in certain forms of subject matter and modes of portrayal, including unique genres of body marking, portraiture, animal symbolism, and regalia. This volume celebrates art, history, and the shared passion and skill with which the remarkable artists of early Ife sought to define their past for generations of viewers.

Tingley, Dustin H., and Helen V. Milner. 2015. Sailing the Water’s Edge. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

When engaging with other countries, the US government has a number of different policy instruments at its disposal, including foreign aid, international trade, and the use of military force. But what determines which policies are chosen? Does the United States rely too much on the use of military power and coercion in its foreign policies? Sailing the Water’s Edge focuses on how domestic US politics—in particular the interactions between the president, Congress, interest groups, bureaucratic institutions, and the public—have influenced foreign policy choices since World War II and shows why presidents have more control over some policy instruments than others. Presidential power matters and it varies systematically across policy instruments.

Helen Milner and Dustin Tingley consider how Congress and interest groups have substantial material interests in and ideological divisions around certain issues and that these factors constrain presidents from applying specific tools. As a result, presidents select instruments that they have more control over, such as use of the military. This militarization of US foreign policy raises concerns about the nature of American engagement, substitution among policy tools, and the future of US foreign policy. Milner and Tingley explore whether American foreign policy will remain guided by a grand strategy of liberal internationalism, what affects American foreign policy successes and failures, and the role of US intelligence collection in shaping foreign policy. The authors support their arguments with rigorous theorizing, quantitative analysis, and focused case studies, such as US foreign policy in sub-Saharan Africa across two presidential administrations.

Sailing the Water’s Edge examines the importance of domestic political coalitions and institutions on the formation of American foreign policy.

Ragab, Ahmed. 2015. The Medieval Islamic Hospital: Medicine, Religion, and Charity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The first monograph on the history of Islamic hospitals, this volume focuses on the under-examined Egyptian and Levantine institutions of the twelfth to fourteenth centuries. By the twelfth century, hospitals serving the sick and the poor could be found in nearly every Islamic city. Ahmed Ragab traces the varying origins and development of these institutions, locating them in their urban environments and linking them to charity networks and patrons' political projects. Following the paths of patients inside hospital wards, he investigates who they were and what kinds of experiences they had. The Medieval Islamic Hospital explores the medical networks surrounding early hospitals and sheds light on the particular brand of practice-oriented medicine they helped to develop. Providing a detailed picture of the effect of religion on medieval medicine, it will be essential reading for those interested in history of medicine, history of Islamic sciences, or history of the Mediterranean.

Antràs, Pol. 2015. Global Production: Firms, Contracts, and Trade Structure. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Global Production is the first book to provide a fully comprehensive overview of the complicated issues facing multinational companies and their global sourcing strategies. Few international trade transactions today are based on the exchange of finished goods; rather, the majority of transactions are dominated by sales of individual components and intermediary services. Many firms organize global production around offshoring parts, components, and services to producers in distant countries, and contracts are drawn up specific to the parties and distinct legal systems involved. Pol Antràs examines the contractual frictions that arise in the international system of production and how these frictions influence the world economy.

Antràs discusses the inevitable complications that develop in contract negotiation and execution. He provides a unified framework that sheds light on the factors helping global firms determine production locations and other organizational choices. Antràs also implements a series of systematic empirical tests, based on recent data from the U.S. Customs and Census Offices, which demonstrate the relevance of contractual factors in global production decisions.

Using an integrated approach, Global Production is an excellent resource for researchers, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates interested in the inner workings of international economics and trade.

McGirr, Lisa. 2015. The War on Alcohol. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. Publisher's VersionAbstract

A groundbreaking history of Prohibition and a new creation story for the powerful American state.

Prohibition has long been portrayed as a “noble experiment” that failed, a newsreel story of glamorous gangsters, flappers, and speakeasies. Now at last Lisa McGirr dismantles this cherished myth to reveal a much more significant history. Prohibition was the seedbed for a pivotal expansion of the federal government, the genesis of our contemporary penal state. Her deeply researched, eye-opening account uncovers patterns of enforcement still familiar today: the war on alcohol was waged disproportionately in African American, immigrant, and poor white communities. Alongside Jim Crow and other discriminatory laws, Prohibition brought coercion into everyday life and even into private homes. Its targets coalesced into an electoral base of urban, working-class voters that propelled FDR to the White House.

This outstanding history also reveals a new genome for the activist American state, one that shows the DNA of the right as well as the left. It was Herbert Hoover who built the extensive penal apparatus used by the federal government to combat the crime spawned by Prohibition. The subsequent federal wars on crime, on drugs, and on terror all display the inheritances of the war on alcohol. McGirr shows the powerful American state to be a bipartisan creation, a legacy not only of the New Deal and the Great Society but also of Prohibition and its progeny.

The War on Alcohol is history at its best—original, authoritative, and illuminating of our past and its continuing presence today.

Artifacts and Allegiances: How Museums Put the Nation and the World on Display
Levitt, Peggy. 2015. Artifacts and Allegiances: How Museums Put the Nation and the World on Display. Oakland, California: University of California Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

What can we learn about nationalism by looking at a country’s cultural institutions? How do the history and culture of particular cities help explain how museums represent diversity? Artifacts and Allegiances takes us around the world to tell the compelling story of how museums today are making sense of immigration and globalization. Based on firsthand conversations with museum directors, curators, and policymakers; descriptions of current and future exhibitions; and inside stories about the famous paintings and iconic objects that define collections across the globe, this work provides a close-up view of how different kinds of institutions balance nationalism and cosmopolitanism. By comparing museums in Europe, the United States, Asia, and the Middle East, Peggy Levitt offers a fresh perspective on the role of the museum in shaping citizens. Taken together, these accounts tell the fascinating story of a sea change underway in the museum world at large.

Kissinger: 1923-1968: The Idealist
Ferguson, Niall. 2015. Kissinger: 1923-1968: The Idealist. Penguin Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The definitive biography of Henry Kissinger, based on unprecedented access to his private papers

No American statesman has been as revered or as reviled as Henry Kissinger. Once hailed as “Super K”—the “indispensable man” whose advice has been sought by every president from Kennedy to Obama—he has also been hounded by conspiracy theorists, scouring his every “telcon” for evidence of Machiavellian malfeasance. Yet as Niall Ferguson shows in this magisterial two-volume biography, drawing not only on Kissinger’s hitherto closed private papers but also on documents from more than a hundred archives around the world, the idea of Kissinger as the ruthless arch-realist is based on a profound misunderstanding.

The first half of Kissinger’s life is usually skimmed over as a quintessential tale of American ascent: the Jewish refugee from Hitler’s Germany who made it to the White House. But in this first of two volumes, Ferguson shows that what Kissinger achieved before his appointment as Richard Nixon’s national security adviser was astonishing in its own right. Toiling as a teenager in a New York factory, he studied indefatigably at night. He was drafted into the U.S. infantry and saw action at the Battle of the Bulge—as well as the liberation of a concentration camp—but ended his army career interrogating Nazis. It was at Harvard that Kissinger found his vocation. Having immersed himself in the philosophy of Kant and the diplomacy of Metternich, he shot to celebrity by arguing for “limited nuclear war.” Nelson Rockefeller hired him. Kennedy called him to Camelot. Yet Kissinger’s rise was anything but irresistible. Dogged by press gaffes and disappointed by “Rocky,” Kissinger seemed stuck—until a trip to Vietnam changed everything.
 
The Idealist is the story of one of the most important strategic thinkers America has ever produced. It is also a political Bildungsroman, explaining how “Dr. Strangelove” ended up as consigliere to a politician he had always abhorred. Like Ferguson’s classic two-volume history of the House of Rothschild, Kissinger sheds dazzling new light on an entire era. The essential account of an extraordinary life, it recasts the Cold War world.

The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa
Juma, Calestous. 2015. The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

African agriculture is currently at a crossroads, at which persistent food shortages are compounded by threats from climate change. But, as this book argues, Africa faces three major opportunities that can transform its agriculture into a force for economic growth: advances in science and technology; the creation of regional markets; and the emergence of a new crop of entrepreneurial leaders dedicated to the continent's economic improvement. 

Filled with case studies from within Africa and success stories from developing nations around the world, The New Harvest outlines the policies and institutional changes necessary to promote agricultural innovation across the African continent. Incorporating research from academia, government, civil society, and private industry, the book suggests multiple ways that individual African countries can work together at the regional level to develop local knowledge and resources, harness technological innovation, encourage entrepreneurship, increase agricultural output, create markets, and improve infrastructure.

Is the American Century Over?
Nye, Joseph S., Jr.. 2015. Is the American Century Over?. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Abstract

For more than a century, the United States has been the world's most powerful state. Now some analysts predict that China will soon take its place. Does this mean that we are living in a post-American world? Will China's rapid rise spark a new Cold War between the two titans?

In this compelling essay, world renowned foreign policy analyst, Joseph Nye, explains why the American century is far from over and what the US must do to retain its lead in an era of increasingly diffuse power politics. America's superpower status may well be tempered by its own domestic problems and China's economic boom, he argues, but its military, economic and soft power capabilities will continue to outstrip those of its closest rivals for decades to come.

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.

More
Peterson, Sarah Dryden. 2015. “Refugee Education in Countries of First Asylum: Breaking Open the Black Box of Pre-Resettlement Experiences.” Theory and Research in Education, 1-18. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The number of refugees who have fled across international borders due to conflict and persecution is at the highest level in recorded history. The vast majority of these refugees find exile in low-income countries neighboring their countries of origin. The refugee children who are resettled to North America, Europe, and Australia arrive with previous educational experiences in these countries of first asylum. This article examines these pre-resettlement educational experiences of refugee children, which to date have constituted a ‘black box’ in their post-resettlement education. Analysis is of data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, key informant interviews in 14 countries of first asylum, and ethnographic fieldwork and interviews in four countries. The article argues that contemporary conditions of conflict usefully inform conceptual understanding of refugee education globally, including the types of schools that refugees access in countries of first asylum and their rates of access. It further identifies three empirical themes that are common to the educational experiences of refugees in countries of first asylum: language barriers, teacher-centered pedagogy, and discrimination in school settings. The article examines the theoretical and practical relevance of these pre-resettlement educational experiences for post-resettlement education of refugee children.

Lamont, Michèle. 2014. “Reflections Inspired by Ethnic Boundary Making: Institutions, Power, Networks by Andreas Wimmer.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 37 (5): 814-819. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This essay engages with Wimmer’s Ethnic Boundary Making to consider how cultural processes feed into inequality. It describes the strengths of the book, relates it to my early work, and draws on Lamont, Beljean, and Clair (forthcoming), to describe two types of identification processes (racialization and stigmatization) and two types of rationalization processes (standardization and evaluation) that contribute to an understanding of the relationship between symbolic and social boundaries. It stresses similarities and differences between approaches and suggests possible points for convergence.

Lamont, Michèle, Charles Camic, and Neil Gross. 2014. “Looking Back at Social Knowledge in the Making.” Sociologica 2.Abstract

We are grateful to Matteo Bortolini for initiating a symposium around Social Knowledge in the Making (SKM). As a collective project, this book was with us for several years and was a welcomed opportunity for stimulating dialogue between the three co-editors. It is with pleasure that we now respond to Matteo’s invitation to reflect on the fate of the adventure two years after the book’s publication. We address how it has been received, whether the reception has met our expectations, and respond to the specific reactions of Kelly Moore, Johannes Angermuller, and Kristoffer Kropp published in this symposium. We appreciate that these talented sociologists of the social sciences and the humanities took on the challenge of engaging our work.

Lamont, Michèle, and Nicolas Duvoux. 2014. “How Neo-Liberalism has Transformed France’s Symbolic Boundaries?.” French Politics, Culture & Society 32 (2): 57-75. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This paper considers changes in the symbolic boundaries of French society under the influence of neoliberalism. As compared to the early nineties, stronger boundaries toward the poor and Blacks are now being drawn while North-African immigrants and their offsprings continue to be largely perceived as outside the community of those who deserve recognition and protection. Moreover, while the social reproduction of upper-middle class privileges has largely remained unchanged, there is a blurring of the symbolic boundaries separating the middle and working class as the latter has undergone strong individualization. Also, the youth is now bearing the brunt of France’s non-adaptation to changes in the economy and is increasingly marginalized. The result is a dramatic change in the overall contours of the French symbolic community, with a narrowed definition of cultural membership, and this, against a background of growing inequality, unemployment, and intolerance in a more open and deregulated labor market.

Mylonas, Harris. 2015. “Book Review: KOSTIS KORNETIS. Children of the Dictatorship: Student Resistance, Cultural Politics, and the “Long 1960s” in Greece..” The American Historical Review. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Children of the Dictatorship: Student Resistance, Cultural Politics, and the “Long 1960s” in Greece is the first scholarly attempt to write the history of the people who arguably shaped the post-Junta period in Greece (1974 to present) that some have vilified and others glorified. It is an anatomy of the “Polytechnic Generation” of Greeks born between 1949 and 1954 who participated in left-wing resistance movements during the Junta (1967–1974) and particularly those who remained active in politics thereafter. Kostis Kornetis contributes to the still scarce literature on the Greek dictatorship, problematizing the self-image of the Polytechnic Generation. Kornetis dispels many myths. He debunks the widely held conviction in the literature that foreign cultural influences stupefied the youth and the hypothesis that these protest activities during the dictatorship were a continuation of the protest wave of the 1950s, as well as the still popular view in Greece that the Polytechnic Generation brought down the Junta.

Mylonas, Harris, and Keith Darden. 2015. “Threats to Territorial Integrity, National Mass Schooling, and Linguistic Commonality.” Comparative Political Studies, 1-34.Abstract

Why are some countries more linguistically homogeneous than others? We posit that the international environment in which a state develops partially determines the extent of its linguistic commonality and national cohesion. Specifically, the presence of an external threat of territorial conquest or externally supported secession leads governing elites to have stronger incentives to pursue nation-building strategies to generate national cohesion, often leading to the cultivation of a common national language through mass schooling. Comparing cases with similar levels of initial linguistic heterogeneity, state capacity, and development, but in different international environments, we find that states that did not face external threats to their territorial integrity were more likely to outsource education and other tools for constructing identity to missionaries or other groups, or not to invest in assimilation at all, leading to higher ethnic heterogeneity. States developing in high threat environments were more likely to invest in nation-building strategies to homogenize their populations.

Cohen, Dara Kay. 2015. “Do States Delegate Shameful Violence to Militias? Patterns of Sexual Violence in Recent Armed Conflicts.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 59: 877-898. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Existing research maintains that governments delegate extreme, gratuitous, or excessively brutal violence to militias. However, analyzing all militias in armed conflicts from 1989 to 2009, we find that this argument does not account for the observed patterns of sexual violence, a form of violence that should be especially likely to be delegated by governments. Instead, we find that states commit sexual violence as a complement to—rather than a substitute for—violence perpetrated by militias. Rather than the logic of delegation, we argue that two characteristics of militia groups increase the probability of perpetrating sexual violence. First, we find that militias that have recruited children are associated with higher levels of sexual violence. This lends support to a socialization hypothesis, in which sexual violence may be used as a tool for building group cohesion. Second, we find that militias that were trained by states are associated with higher levels of sexual violence, which provides evidence for sexual violence as a ‘‘practice’’ of armed groups. These two complementary results suggest that militia-perpetrated sexual violence follows a different logic and is neither the result of delegation nor, perhaps, indiscipline.

Mylonas, Harris. 2015. “Review of Onur Yıldırım's Diplomacy and Displacement: Reconsidering the Turco-Greek Exchange of Populations, 1922-1934.” Journal of Cold War Studies 17 (3): 268-270. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This book will be of interest to students of the Cold War because it examines the antecedents of the many population movements not only during the interwar period but also after World War II. The Turco-Greek population exchange was not the first exchange in the Balkans (a Greek-Bulgarian voluntary population exchange was signed in 1919, as discussed by Theodora Dragostinova in Between Two Motherlands: Nationality and Emigration among the Greeks of Bulgaria, 1900-1949, published by Cornell University Press in 2011), but because of the large scale of the Greek-Turkish exchange—resulting in more than a million refugees in Greece and half a million in Turkey—its obligatory character, and its relatively organized nature, it has become a reference point for the “transfer of large ethno-religious groups by means of which minorities were forcibly uprooted under the aegis of international law to contribute, in turn, to the reconstitution of ethnically ‘pure’ homogeneous states” (p. 10). Many of the examples that are discussed, however, are hardly comparable to the TurcoGreek population exchange and instead constitute instances of disorderly exoduses or unilateral ethnic cleansing.

Hager, Sandy Brian. 2015. “Corporate Ownership of the Public Debt: Mapping the New Aristocracy of Finance.” Socio-Economic Review. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In various writings Karl Marx made references to an ‘aristocracy of finance’ in Western Europe and the USA that dominated ownership of the public debt. Drawing on original research, this article offers the first comprehensive analysis of public debt ownership within the US corporate sector. The research shows that over the past three decades, and especially in the context of the current crisis, a new aristocracy of finance has emerged, as holdings of the public debt have become rapidly concentrated in favour of large corporations classified within Finance, Insurance and Real Estate. Operationalizing Wolfgang Streeck's concept of the ‘debt state’, the article goes on to demonstrate how concentration in ownership of the public debt reinforces patterns of social inequality and proceeds in tandem with a shift in government policy, one that prioritizes the interests of government bondholders over the general citizenry.

Mylonas, Harris. 2015. “Methodological Problems in the Study of Nation-Building: Behaviorism and Historicist Solutions in Political Science.” Social Science Quarterly 96 (3): 740-758. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The goal of this article is to highlight the methodological problems involved in the study of nation-building and propose solutions. I identify three categories of methodological problems that flow from respective practices in social science research: (i) inferring intentions from observed behavior or outcomes; (ii) relying on census data to infer a country's ethnic diversity; and (iii) arbitrary periodization and anachronism, that is, attributing certain actions to concepts and/or phenomena that were not politically salient or even understood by the actors under study.

King, Gary, Konstantin Kashin, and Samir Soneji. 2015. “Systematic Bias and Nontransparency in US Social Security Administration Forecasts.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 29 (2): 239-258. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The financial stability of four of the five largest U.S. federal entitlement programs, strategic decision making in several industries, and many academic publications all depend on the accuracy of demographic and financial forecasts made by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Although the SSA has performed these forecasts since 1942, no systematic and comprehensive evaluation of their accuracy has ever been published by SSA or anyone else. The absence of a systematic evaluation of forecasts is a concern because the SSA relies on informal procedures that are potentially subject to inadvertent biases and does not share with the public, the scientific community, or other parts of SSA sufficient data or information necessary to replicate or improve its forecasts. These issues result in SSA holding a monopoly position in policy debates as the sole supplier of fully independent forecasts and evaluations of proposals to change Social Security. To assist with the forecasting evaluation problem, we collect all SSA forecasts for years that have passed and discover error patterns that could have been—and could now be—used to improve future forecasts. Specifically, we find that after 2000, SSA forecasting errors grew considerably larger and most of these errors made the Social Security Trust Funds look more financially secure than they actually were. In addition, SSA's reported uncertainty intervals are overconfident and increasingly so after 2000. We discuss the implications of these systematic forecasting biases for public policy.

King, Gary, Matthew Blackwell, and James Honaker. 2015. “A Unified Approach to Measurement Error and Missing Data: Overview and Applications.” Sociological Methods and Research, 1-39. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Although social scientists devote considerable effort to mitigating measurement error during data collection, they often ignore the issue during data analysis. And although many statistical methods have been proposed for reducing measurement error-induced biases, few have been widely used because of implausible assumptions, high levels of model dependence, difficult computation, or inapplicability with multiple mismeasured variables. We develop an easy-to-use alternative without these problems; it generalizes the popular multiple imputation (MI) framework by treating missing data problems as a limiting special case of extreme measurement error, and corrects for both. Like MI, the proposed framework is a simple two-step procedure, so that in the second step researchers can use whatever statistical method they would have if there had been no problem in the first place. We also offer empirical illustrations, open source software that implements all the methods described herein, and a companion paper with technical details and extensions (Blackwell, Honaker, and King, 2014b).

McClendon, Gwyneth H. Forthcoming. “Race and Responsiveness: An Experiment with South African Politicians.” Journal of Experimental Political Science.Abstract

Do politicians engage in ethnic and racial favoritism when conducting constituency service? This article presents results from a replication field experiment with local South African politicians that tested for racial bias in responsiveness to requests about public goods provision. The experiment represents an adaptation of similar experiments conducted in the United States, extending the design to a different institutional environment, albeit one with a similar racially-charged history. Although one might suppose that politicians in South Africa would seek to avoid racial bias given the recent transition to full democracy, I find that South African politicians—both black and white—are more responsive to same-race constituents than to other-race constituents. Same-race bias is evident in both the dominant and the main opposition political parties. Moreover, politicians are not particularly responsive to anyone. Implications for the further study of democratic responsiveness are discussed.

Kertzer, Joshua D. 2012. “Folk Realism: Testing the Microfoundations of Realism in Ordinary Citizens.” International Studies Quarterly 56 (2): 245–258. Publisher's VersionAbstract

International Relations scholars have long debated whether the American public is allergic to realism, which raises the question of how they would “contract” it in the first place. We argue that realism isn’t just an IR paradigm, but a belief system, whose relationship with other ideological systems in public opinion has rarely been fully examined. Operationalizing this disposition in ordinary citizens as “folk realism,” we investigate its relationship with a variety of personality traits, foreign policy orientations, and political knowledge. We then present the results of a laboratory experiment probing psychological microfoundations for realist theory, manipulating the amount of information subjects have about a foreign policy conflict to determine whether uncertainty leads individuals to adopt more realist views, and whether realists and idealists respond to uncertainty and fear differently. We find that many of realism’s causal mechanisms are conditional on whether subjects already hold realist views, and suggest that emotions like fear may play a larger role in realist theory than many realists have assumed.

King, Gary, Matthew Blackwell, and James Honaker. Forthcoming. “A Unified Approach to Measurement Error and Missing Data: Details and Extensions.” Sociological Methods and Research. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We extend a unified and easy-to-use approach to measurement error and missing data. In our companion article, Blackwell, Honaker, and King give an intuitive overview of the new technique, along with practical suggestions and empirical applications. Here, we offer more precise technical details, more sophisticated measurement error model specifications and estimation procedures, and analyses to assess the approach’s robustness to correlated measurement errors and to errors in categorical variables. These results support using the technique to reduce bias and increase efficiency in a wide variety of empirical research.

Kertzer, Joshua D, and Brian C Rathbun. 2015. “Fair is Fair: Social Preferences and Reciprocity in International Politics.” World Politics. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Behavioral economics has shown that people often diverge from classical assumptions about self-interested behavior: they have social preferences and are concerned about issues of fairness and reciprocity. Social psychologists show that these preferences vary across actors, with some displaying more prosocial value orientations than others. Integrating a laboratory bargaining experiment with original archival research on Anglo-French and Franco-German diplomacy during the interwar period, the authors show how fairness and reciprocity matter in social interactions. That prosocials do not exploit their bargaining leverage to the degree that proselfs do helps explain why some pairs of actors are better able to avoid bargaining failure than others. In the face of consistent egoism on the part of negotiating partners, however, prosocials engage in negative reciprocity and adopt the same behaviors as proselfs.

Leaning, Jennifer. 2013. “Natural Disasters, Armed Conflict, and Public Health.” The New England Journal of Medicine 369 (19): 1836-42.Abstract

Natural disasters and armed conflict have marked human existence throughout history and have always caused peaks in mortality and morbidity. But in recent times, the scale and scope of these events have increased markedly. Since 1990, natural disasters have affected about 217 million people every year,1 and about 300 million people now live amidst violent insecurity around the world.2 The immediate and longer-term effects of these disruptions on large populations constitute humanitarian crises. In recent decades, public health interventions in the humanitarian response have made gains in the equity and quality of emergency assistance.

Kertzer, Joshua D. 2013. “Making Sense of Isolationism: Foreign Policy Mood as a Multilevel Phenomenon.” The Journal of Politics 75 (01). Publisher's VersionAbstract

Political scientists have long been interested in the American public’s foreign policy mood, but they have typically separated the microlevel question (who’s more likely to support isolationism?) from the macrolevel one (when does isolationism’s popularity increase?), even though public opinion is inherently a multilevel phenomenon, as the answers to these two questions interact. Showing how multilevel models can deal with the effects of time rather than just space, I find that both guns and butter drive foreign policy mood, but in different ways. When economic assessments sour, the public’s appetite for isolationism increases, but the impact of these individual-level perceptions is constrained by aggregate economic conditions, which are sufficiently salient that they are accessible irrespective of knowledge. The nature of the international security environment, however, predominantly affects foreign policy mood amongst high-knowledge individuals, thereby suggesting that low- and high-knowledge individuals’ foreign policy views are shaped by different situational cues.

More