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, no. 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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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, no. 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.
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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, no. 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.
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Rogoff, Kenneth S, and Carmen M Reinhart. 2009. The Aftermath of Financial Crises. American Economic Review 99, no. 2: 466-472. DASH RepositoryAbstract
A year ago, we presented a historical analysis comparing the run-up to the 2007 US subprime financial crisis with the antecedents of other banking crises in advanced economies since World War II (Reinhart and Rogoff 2008a). We showed that standard indicators for the United States, such as asset price inflation, rising leverage, large sustained current account deficits, and a slowing trajectory of economic growth, exhibited virtually all the signs of a country on the verge of a financial crisis - indeed, a severe one. In this paper, we engage in a similar comparative historical analysis that is focused on the aftermath of systemic banking crises.
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Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?
Sandel, Michael. 2009. Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. WebsiteAbstract
“For Michael Sandel, justice is not a spectator sport,” The Nation’s reviewer of Justice remarked. In his acclaimed book—based on his legendary Harvard course—Sandel offers a rare education in thinking through the complicated issues and controversies we face in public life today. It has emerged as a most lucid and engaging guide for those who yearn for a more robust and thoughtful public discourse. “In terms we can all understand,” wrote Jonathan Rauch in The New York Times, Justice“confronts us with the concepts that lurk...beneath our conflicts.” Affirmative action, same-sex marriage, physician-assisted suicide, abortion, national service, the moral limits of markets—Sandel relates the big questions of political philosophy to the most vexing issues of the day, and shows how a surer grasp of philosophy can help us make sense of politics, morality, and our own convictions as well. Justice is lively, thought-provoking, and wise—an essential new addition to the small shelf of books that speak convincingly to the hard questions of our civic life.
The Economics of Metonymy
Roilos, Panagiotis. 2009. The Economics of Metonymy. University of Illinois Press. WebsiteAbstract
Konstantinos P. Kavafis—known to the English-reading world as C. P. Cavafy—has been internationally recognized as an important poet and attracted the admiration of eminent literary figures such as E. M. Forster, F. T. Marinetti, W. H. Auden, George Seferis, and James Merrill. Cavafy's idiosyncratic poetry remains one of the most influential and perplexing voices of European modernism.Focusing on Cavafy's intriguing work, this book navigates new territories in critical theory and offers an interdisciplinary study of the construction of (homo)erotic desire in poetry in terms of metonymic discourse and anti-economic libidinal modalities. Panagiotis Roilos shows that problematizations of art production, market economy, and trafficability of erôs in diverse late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century European sociocultural and political contexts were re-articulated in Cavafy's poetry in new subversive ways that promoted an "unorthodox" discursive and libidinal anti-economy of jouissance.
Shorelines: Space and Rights in South India
Subramanian, Ajantha. 2009. Shorelines: Space and Rights in South India. Stanford University Press. WebsiteAbstract
After a clerical sanction prohibited them from fishing for a week, a group of Catholic fishers from a village on India's southwestern coast took their church to court. They called on the state to recognize them as custodians of the local sea, protect their right to regulate trawling, and reject the church's intermediary role.In Shorelines, Ajantha Subramanian argues that their struggle requires a rethinking of Indian democracy, citizenship, and environmentalism. Rather than see these fishers as non-moderns inhabiting a bounded cultural world, or as moderns wholly captured by the logic of state power, she illustrates how they constitute themselves as political subjects. In particular, she shows how they produced new geographies—of regionalism, common property, alternative technology, and fisher citizenship—that underpinned claims to rights, thus using space as an instrument of justice. Moving beyond the romantic myth of self-contained, natural-resource dependent populations, this work reveals the charged political maneuvers that bound subalterns and sovereigns in South Asia.In rich historical and ethnographic detail, Shorelines illuminates postcolonial rights politics as the product of particular histories of caste, religion, and development, allowing us to see how democracy is always "provincial."
The Future of Political Science: 100 Perspectives
King, Gary. 2009. The Future of Political Science: 100 Perspectives. Routledge. WebsiteAbstract
This book contains some of the newest, most exciting ideas now percolating among political scientists, from hallway conversations to conference room discussions. To spur future research, enrich classroom teaching, and direct non-specialist attention to cutting-edge ideas, a distinguished group of authors from various parts of this sprawling and pluralistic discipline has each contributed a brief essay about a single novel or insufficiently appreciated idea on some aspect of political science. The one hundred essays are concise, no more than a few pages apiece, and informal. While the contributions are highly diverse, readers can find unexpected connections across the volume, tracing echoes as well as diametrically opposed points of view. This book offers compelling points of departure for everyone who is concerned about political science - whether as a scholar, teacher, student, or interested reader.
Rethinking School Feeding: Social Safety Nets, Child Development, and the Education Sector
Jukes, Matthew. 2009. Rethinking School Feeding: Social Safety Nets, Child Development, and the Education Sector. World Bank Publications. WebsiteAbstract
The global food, fuel, and financial crises have given new prominence to school feeding as a potential safety net and as a social support measure that helps keep children in school. 'Rethinking School Feeding: Social Safety Nets, Child Development, and the Educator Sector' was written jointly by the World Bank Group and the World Food Programme (WFP), building on the comparative advantages of both organizations. It examines the evidence base for school feeding programs with the objective of better understanding how to develop and implement effective school feeding programs in two contexts: as a productive safety net that is part of the response to the social shocks of the global crises and as a fiscally sustainable investment in human capital, as part of long-term global efforts to achieve Education for All and to provide social protection to the poor. School feeding programs provide an explicit or implicit transfer to households and can increase school attendance, cognition, and educational achievement, particularly if supported by complementary actions such as deworming and food fortification. When combined with local purchases of food, school feeding can potentially be a force multiplier, benefiting both children and the local economy. Today, every country for which we have information is seeking to provide food, in some way and at some scale, to its schoolchildren. Coverage is most complete in high- and middle-income countries indeed it seems that most countries that can afford to provide food for their school children do so. But where the need is greatest, in terms of hunger, poverty, and poor social indicators, the programs tend to be the smallest, though usually targeted to the most food insecure regions. These programs are also those most reliant on external support, and WFP supports nearly all of them. So the key issue today is not whether countries will implement school feeding programs, but how and with what objective. The near universality of school feeding provides important opportunities for WFP, the World Bank, and other development partners to assist governments in rolling-out productive safety nets as part of the response to the current global crises and to sow the seeds for school feeding programs to transition into fiscally sustainable investments in human capital in the future. 'Rethinking School Feeding' will be useful to government agencies and nonprofit organizations working in education reform and food and nutrition policies.
Energy: Perspectives, Problems, and Prospects
McElroy, Michael B. 2009. Energy: Perspectives, Problems, and Prospects. Oxford University Press. WebsiteAbstract
The book offers a comprehensive account of how the world evolved to its present state in which humans now exercise a powerful, in many cases dominant, influence for global environmental change. It outlines the history that led to this position of dominance, in particular the role played by our increasing reliance on fossil sources of energy, on coal, oil and natural gas, and the problems that we are now forced to confront as a result of this history. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is greater now than at any time over at least the past 650,000 years with prospects to increase over the next few decades to levels not seen since dinosaurs roamed the Earth 65 million years ago. Comparable changes are evident also for methane and nitrous oxide and for a variety of other constituents of the atmosphere including species such as the ozone depleting chlorofluorocarbons for which there are no natural analogues. Increases in the concentrations of so-called greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are responsible for important changes in global and regional climate with consequences for the future of global society which, though difficult to predict in detail, are potentially catastrophic for a world poorly equipped to cope. Changes of climate in the past were repetitively responsible for the demise of important civilizations. These changes, however, were generally natural in origin in contrast to the changes now underway for which humans are directly responsible. The challenge is to transition to a new energy economy in which fossil fuels will play a much smaller role. We need as a matter of urgency to cut back on emissions of climate altering gases such as carbon dioxide while at the same time reducing our dependence on unreliable, potentially disruptive, though currently indispensable, sources of energy such as oil, the lifeblood of the global transportation system. The book concludes with a discussion of options for a more sustainable energy future, highlighting the potential for contributions from wind, sun, biomass, geothermal and nuclear, supplanting currently unsustainable reliance on coal, oil and natural gas.
Public Sentinel: News Media and Governance Reform
Norris, Pippa. 2009. Public Sentinel: News Media and Governance Reform. World Bank Publications. WebsiteAbstract
The purpose of this book is to inform governance advisors about the vital role of the news media for governance reform. This book approaches the issue of news media and governance with three broad questions that it attempts to answer on the basis of quantitative data and case studies. First, a normative approach asks: What ideal roles should media systems play to strengthen democratic governance and thus bolster human development? Second, an empirical approach considers independent evidence derived from cross-national comparisons and from selected case studies, asking: Under what conditions do media systems actually succeed or fail to fulfill these objectives? Third, a strategic approach asks: What policy interventions work most effectively to close the substantial gap that exists between the democratic promise and performance of the news media as an institution?
War Stories: The Causes and Consequences of Public Views of War
Baum, Matthew, and Tim Groeling. 2009. War Stories: The Causes and Consequences of Public Views of War. Princeton University Press. WebsiteAbstract
How does the American public formulate its opinions about U.S. foreign policy and military engagement abroad? War Stories argues that the media systematically distort the information the public vitally needs to determine whether to support such initiatives, for reasons having more to do with journalists' professional interests than the merits of the policies, and that this has significant consequences for national security. Matthew Baum and Tim Groeling develop a “strategic bias” theory that explains the foreign-policy communication process as a three-way interaction among the press, political elites, and the public, each of which has distinct interests, biases, and incentives.
Matthew A. Baum is the Marvin Kalb Professor of Global Communications and professor of public policy and government at Harvard University. Tim J. Groeling is associate professor of communication studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Securing the Peace: The Durable Settlement of Civil Wars
Toft, Monica Duffy. 2009. Securing the Peace: The Durable Settlement of Civil Wars. Princeton University Press. WebsiteAbstract
Timely and pathbreaking, Securing the Peace is the first book to explore the complete spectrum of civil war terminations, including negotiated settlements, military victories by governments and rebels, and stalemates and ceasefires. Examining the outcomes of all civil war terminations since 1940, Monica Toft develops a general theory of postwar stability, showing how third-party guarantees may not be the best option. She demonstrates that thorough security-sector reform plays a critical role in establishing peace over the long term.Much of the thinking in this area has centered on third parties presiding over the maintenance of negotiated settlements, but the problem with this focus is that fewer than a quarter of recent civil wars have ended this way. Furthermore, these settlements have been precarious, often resulting in a recurrence of war. Toft finds that military victory, especially victory by rebels, lends itself to a more durable peace. She argues for the importance of the security sector—the police and military—and explains that victories are more stable when governments can maintain order. Toft presents statistical evaluations and in-depth case studies that include El Salvador, Sudan, and Uganda to reveal that where the security sector remains robust, stability and democracy are likely to follow. An original and thoughtful reassessment of civil war terminations, Securing the Peace will interest all those concerned about resolving our world's most pressing conflicts.
Domínguez, Jorge I. 2009. La política exterior de Cuba (1962-2009).Abstract
Ha sido presidente de la Asociación de Estudios Latinoamericanos…muchos libros publicados fuera de Cuba supuestamente sobre su política exterior se dedican en su casi totalidad al estudio de la de otros países hacia Cuba, omitiendo un estudio serio sobre la política exterior de Cuba. Por el contrario, los capítulos de este libro presentan la política exterior de Cuba como un instrumento normal de un Estado que se defiende, promueve sus intereses internacionales, y busca ejercer un papel protagónico en el ámbito mundial. Y, sí, Cuba fue sujeto, no simplemente objeto, en sus relaciones internacionales y ese comportamiento merece estudio.
The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair: America on Trial
Temkin, Moshik. 2009. The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair: America on Trial. Yale University Press. WebsiteAbstract
What began as the obscure local case of two Italian immigrant anarchists accused of robbery and murder flared into an unprecedented political and legal scandal as the perception grew that their conviction was a judicial travesty and their execution a political murder. This book is the first to reveal the full national and international scope of the Sacco-Vanzetti affair, uncovering how and why the two men became the center of a global cause célèbre that shook public opinion and transformed America’s relationship with the world. Drawing on extensive research on two continents, and written with verve, this book connects the Sacco-Vanzetti affair to the most polarizing political and social concerns of its era. Moshik Temkin contends that the worldwide attention to the case was generated not only by the conviction that innocent men had been condemned for their radical politics and ethnic origins but also as part of a reaction to U.S. global supremacy and isolationism after World War I. The author further argues that the international protest, which helped make Sacco and Vanzetti famous men, ultimately provoked their executions. The book concludes by investigating the affair’s enduring repercussions and what they reveal about global political action, terrorism, jingoism, xenophobia, and the politics of our own time.
Selected for the long list of the 2009 Cundill International Prize in History at McGill University. 
Patterson, Orlando. 2009. A Job Too Big for One Man. WebsiteAbstract
IN the year since his election, as he has since he first appeared on the national stage, Barack Obama has embodied the fundamental paradoxes of race in America: that we live in a still racially fragmented society; that we share a public culture with an outsized black presence, but that in the privacy of homes and neighborhoods we are more segregated than in the Jim Crow era; that we worship more fervently than any other advanced nation, in churches and synagogues that define our separate ethnic identities and differences, to gods proclaiming the unity of mankind. Why are we this strange way? Is President Obama the ultimate expression of our peculiarities? Has he made a difference? Can he? Will he?We became this way because of the peculiar tragedies and triumphs of our past. Race and racism scar all advanced nations, but America is peculiar because slavery thrived internally and race became a defining feature of personal identity.Slavery was quintessentially an institution of exclusion: the slave first and foremost was someone who did not belong to and had no claims on the public order, nor any legitimate private existence, since both were appropriated by the slaveholder. The Act of Emancipation abolished only the first part of slavery, the master’s ownership; far from removing the concept of the ex-slave as someone who did not belong, it reinforced it. The nightmare of the Jim Crow era then extended and reinforced the public slavery of black Americans right up through the middle of the 20th century.At the same time, the status of blacks as permanent outsiders made whiteness a treasured personal attribute in a manner inconceivable to Europeans. Whiteness had no real meaning to pre-immigration Swedes or Irishmen because they were all white. But it became meaningful the moment they landed in America, where it was eagerly embraced as a free cultural resource in assimilating to the white republic. In America race had the same significance as gender and age as defining qualities of personhood.The great achievement of the civil rights movement was to finally abolish the lingering public culture of slavery and to create the opportunities that fostered the black middle class and black political leadership. This was a sea change. But Mr. Obama, by virtue of his unusual background as a biracial child reared by loving, though not unprejudiced, white caregivers, is acutely aware that the crude, dominating racism of the past simply morphed into a subtler cultural racism of the private sphere—significantly altered though hardly less damaging.Seeing blacks as culturally different—a perception legitimized by the nation’s celebration of diversity and identity—permits all kinds of complicated attitudes and misjudgments. Their differences can be celebrated on playing fields, dance floors and television, in theaters, hip-hop and cinema, and not least of all in that most public and ambivalently regarded arena of mass engagement: politics. But in the disciplined cultural spaces of marriages, homes, neighborhoods, schools and churches, these same differences become the source of Apollonian dread.What then can we expect of Mr. Obama? One thing we can be sure of is that he will not be leading any national conversations on race, convinced as he must be that they exacerbate rather than illuminate. During the campaign last year he spoke eloquently on the subject, but only when he was forced to do so by the uproar over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. And since he took office, his one foray into racial politics—his reaction to the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr.—was a near political disaster that must have reinforced his reluctance.Mr. Obama’s writings, politics and personal relations suggest instead that he prefers a three-pronged strategy. First, he is committed to the universalist position that the best way to help the black and Latino poor is to help all disadvantaged people, Appalachian whites included. The outrage of black over-incarceration will be remedied by quietly reforming the justice system.Second, Mr. Obama appears convinced that residential segregation lies at the heart of both black problems and cultural racism. He is a committed integrationist and seems to favor policies intended to move people out of the inner cities.Third, he clearly considers education to be the major solution and has tried to lavishly finance our schools, despite the fiscal crisis. More broadly, he will quietly promote policies that celebrate the common culture of America, emphasizing the extraordinary role of blacks and other minorities in this continuing creation.At the same time, Mr. Obama seems to believe that the problems of black Americans are in part attributable to certain behaviors among them—most notably absentee fathers, dropping out of school and violence—which not only constrain their choices but rationalize the disfiguring processes of white cultural racism that extend the pathologies of the few to all black Americans. As a deeply committed family man, Mr. Obama has already made clear that he will use the bully pulpit of the presidency to encourage internal cultural reformation.All of these approaches are likely to alienate the identity-seeped segment of black leadership, and they will not prevent the extreme cultural right from accusing him of overplaying race, whatever he does.The uniqueness of Mr. Obama provides both obstacles and opportunities. My students have found that many young inner city blacks, while they admire him, find him too remote from their lives to be a role model. His policies, if properly carried out, might very well improve their chances in life, but in the end he is more likely to influence the racial attitudes of middle-class blacks and younger white Americans. This is all we can reasonably expect. It will take far more than a single presidency to fully end America’s long struggle with race.
Orlando Patterson, a professor of sociology at Harvard, is the author of The Ordeal of Integration: Progress and Resentment in America’s "Racial" Crisis.
2009. Chronicler of History’s Sweep. WebsiteAbstract
“Growing up, I don’t know if I ever thought of becoming a teacher,” said Erez Manela, recently tenured professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “I was always supposed to become a doctor or a lawyer.”Manela actually began by studying foreign languages as an undergraduate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, not far from his hometown of Haifa, Israel. He soon discovered that courses in East Asian and Middle Eastern history complemented his interests in Chinese, Arabic, and Persian. Though he saw a future in academia, history was not a field he had expected to pursue. “I didn’t yet conceive of it as something you could do as a profession, but rather something you might study to know more about the world,” he said. Previously the Dunwalke Associate Professor of American History, Manela now specializes in modern international history and the history of the United States in the world. His first book, “The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism” (Oxford, 2007), explored the impact of President Woodrow Wilson’s rhetoric on nationalist movements in Asia and the Middle East in the wake of World War I. Manela’s current research revolves around the global campaign to eradicate smallpox in the 1960s and ‘70s.Manela considers his undergraduate experience the source of some of his main intellectual questions.In college, “I realized that in the modern period—during the 19th and early 20th centuries—there were really fascinating parallels between the history of the Ottoman Empire and the history of East Asia, particularly China,” Manela said. “That really intrigued me…I kept wondering how I could study these parallels in a way that wasn’t simply comparative. I wanted to put everything into one big framework and tell the story as connected.” Manela decided to concentrate on international history as a graduate student at Yale, partly because he was reluctant to give up studying any of the countries or languages he had embraced in college.“I couldn’t bear the thought of focusing on just one of them,” he said. “I wanted to put it all to good use.” Studying international history has allowed Manela to break free of the nation as an analytical framework and devote new attention to transnational actors, organizations, and themes. When Manela arrived at Harvard in 2003, history professors Akira Iriye (now emeritus) and the late Ernest May served as inspirational figures for him, as they too were concerned with these pioneering directions in international history. (May even taught Manela the basics of PowerPoint by jotting a few commands on an index card during his first semester at Harvard.) “Teaching with them…was a tremendously formative experience for me,” Manela said. “Together, they established an amazing tradition of international history in this department.” A member of Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Manela considers the interdisciplinary community of scholars and students his “second home” within the University. He served as the Weatherhead’s director of undergraduate student programs for four years, and is now director of graduate student programs. Manela spends most of his free time with his three daughters, but sometimes revisits an old interest: chess. Occasionally he challenges the regulars in Harvard Square. “Once upon a time I used to play chess fairly well,” he said, “but that’s history.” Manela is grateful to have the chance to study a subject that many people can pursue only as a hobby, even though he never did live up to expectations of becoming a doctor or a lawyer. “I think this is a decent alternative,” he said with a grin.
Ma'oz, Moshe. 2009. The Meeting of Civilizations: Muslim, Christian, and Jewish. Sussex Academic Press. WebsiteAbstract
The horrific acts of anti-Western and anti-Jewish terrorism carried out by Muslim fanatics during the last decades have been labelled by politicians, religious leaders and scholars as a ‘Clash of Civilizations’. However, as the contributors to this book set out to explain, these acts cannot be considered an Islamic onslaught on Judeo-Christian Civilisation. While the hostile ideas, words and deeds perpetrated by individual supporters among the three monotheistic civilisations cannot be ignored, history has demonstrated a more positive, constructive, albeit complex, relationship among Muslim, Christians and Jews during medieval and modern times. For long periods of time they shared divine and human values, co-operated in cultural, economic and political fields, and influenced one another's thinking.This book examines religious and historical themes of these three civilising religions, the impact of education on their interrelationship, the problem of Jerusalem, as well as contemporary interfaith relations. Noted scholars and theologians—Jewish, Christian and Muslim—from the United States, Canada, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Palestine and Turkey contribute to this book, the theme of which was first presented at an international conference organised by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and the Divinity School, Harvard University.
Liviatan, Ofrit. 2009. Judicial Activism and Religion-Based Tensions in India and Israel. Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law. WebsiteAbstract
Contemporary democratic reality is characterized by the growing role of courts in politics, as social activists regularly utilize the judicial process in an attempt to secure their values and interests as law. Observers of constitutional politics generally explain this phenomenon in the recent constitutional transformations worldwide, manifested primarily in the enactment of bills of rights accompanied by judicial review powers. These constitutional transformations enabled and simplified the ability of those with limited access to the majoritarian-led parliamentary process to challenge governmental policies through the courts.1 As a result, law has come to be perceived as a compelling mechanism to effectuate progressive change and facilitate authoritative resolutions to conflicts.2 In societies divided along religious lines, the appeal of litigation has been particularly strong, with secular and religious groups increasingly viewing it as a principal opportunity to mold the public sphere in accordance with their political and moral preferences.This paper seeks to evaluate the efforts to achieve these perceived goals—of effectuating change and managing conflict—through the judicial process, by examining its effects in the context of the religion-based conflicts of India and Israel. By way of an empirical comparison the paper considers: (i) the judicial impact on the realization of fundamental rights, the rectification of existing discriminatory practices, and the advancement toward a more pluralist and egalitarian society; (ii) the judicial contribution to generating authoritative resolution to religion-based conflicts; and (iii) possible long term social and political implications stemming from judicial intervention in policy questions concerning hotly disputed religion-based conflicts. 
Varshney, Ashutosh. 2009. State of the Union. WebsiteAbstract
The emerging security debate on the first anniversary of the Mumbai attacks has neglected a vital constitutional question. Does federalism by any chance weaken India’s counter-terrorism effort? Without considering the relationship between federalism and national security, we will not understand the underlying factors driving India’s counter-terrorism effort. The nation’s centre-state laws and practices are a principal obstacle in developing a stronger response. If not addressed imaginatively, Mumbai-style attacks simply cannot be ruled out. Scholars of comparative federalism generally call India’s linguistic federation a spectacular institutional success. One of the greatest indicators of the success is the disappearance of language riots, common in the 1950s and 1960s, after the linguistic reorganisation of states was completed. But for all its successes, India’s federalism now faces a new and extremely serious challenge. Central to India’s internal security are three laws and practices. First, according to India’s Constitution, internal law and order are entirely on the so-called “state list”, not on the “Central list” or “concurrent list”. Only under President’s rule can Delhi take over the internal security of a state. “Federal crime” is not a concept in Indian law, as is it in the US, and it cannot be introduced unless the Constitution is amended. Its relevance has been debated within government circles since the late 1960s, but the idea of federal crimes remains legally elusive. Even when the Indian Airlines flight from Kathmandu was diverted to Kandahar in December 1999, leading to India’s external affairs minister agreeing to a humiliating agreement that released well-known terrorists from Indian jails in return for the safety of passengers, the case was not, and could not be, registered as a federal crime. Indian Airlines reported to Delhi police that its plane, due to arrive in Delhi, was missing. “Hamaara hawaai jahaaz nahin aayaa”. It was registered as a Delhi-based crime. Second, Central agencies—including the national security guards (or commandos), who are especially trained for urban terrorism—simply cannot function without the cooperation of state police. Requisition from state governments is legally required before the commandos can be used. India’s commandos were all based in Delhi when Mumbai was terrorised. After Mumbai, hubs have been created in Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai. As a consequence, they can be deployed more quickly, but for operations, they still need the assistance of state police. NSG commandos have no knowledge of local specificities. State police remains the greatest repository of ground-level intelligence in India.Third, all serious students of terrorism recognise that intelligence is central to the prevention of terrorism. Since terrorists are willing to sacrifice their lives, one can only try to minimise damage, not avoid it, once the act of terror has begun. Unfortunately, India’s intelligence system is fractured and weak. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the institution often identified as the leading intelligence agency of India, is most unlike America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In contrast to the FBI, which combines intelligence and investigation functions, the CBI is primarily an ex-post investigation body, not an intelligence collecting agency. For the latter, it depends primarily on state police, and secondarily on Delhi’s Intelligence Bureau (IB). The CBI was established under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946. Its direct jurisdiction covers Delhi and the centrally administered Union Territories. Unlike the FBI, it can not pursue investigation at the state level on its own. To investigate, it must receive state requisition or consent, or be ordered to do so by the Supreme Court or a High Court. In other words, for it to function well, it depends heavily on state police. It can also team up with Delhi’s Intelligence Bureau (IB), but the IB reports to India’s home ministry, whereas the CBI reports to the ministry of personnel. The cooperation is not always forthcoming. More importantly, the IB simply does not have the same intelligence-gathering machinery as the state police does. State governments have the constitutional right to deny permission for CBI investigations. Goa, for example, did so during the late 1990s. Maharashtra did not hand over cases concerning the Mumbai blasts of 1993 to the CBI for almost a year. Northeastern states have often denied permission to the CBI. At the root of this problem is the dark underbelly of Indian politics: corruption and vendetta. The CBI is not trusted by state leaders for they believe it is politically used by Delhi to target adversaries. The adversaries may be accused of corruption, or even violent crime. It does not matter that such corruption or criminal conduct may often be real, not imagined. But over the last 20-30 years, as politicians accused of crime and corruption have, in particular, risen in politics, the CBI has been caught in a political crossfire. Delhi often wants to use it, but the CBI faces enormous resistance at the state level, especially if the state government is run by a coalition or political party different from that ruling in Delhi. So long as the Congress party ruled both in Delhi and the states, there was no such resistance. Such matters were handled as internal negotiations within the party. Moreover, in the 1950s and 1960s, the era of Congress dominance, no one had imagined the possibility of terror, let alone cross-border terror. The rise of a coalitional era might have made Indian politics much more democratic, federal and competitive, but national security has suffered as a consequence. Although this problem cannot be fully resolved unless corruption and crime begin to disappear from Indian politics, India’s political process has thrown up a potential solution. Via a Parliamentary act, a National Investigation Agency (NIA) was created after the Mumbai attacks. In theory, the NIA can become India’s FBI, but serious impediments remain. The NIA Act was created using an entry related to defence of India on the Central list. Of all security matters, only defence of India is handled by Delhi. What is generally called internal, as opposed to external, security is almost entirely under state jurisdiction. The NIA Act is not a constitutional amendment, which would have required approval of two thirds of Parliament and half the states, not easily possible in a coalitional era. The concept of a federal crime, requiring a constitutional amendment, has still not been introduced precisely for the same reason. States would not give consent if they believe that the NIA might become a much more powerful CBI.The NIA does not yet have an elaborate organisational structure of its own. And that may not happen until two conditions are satisfied. First, if more Mumbai-style attacks happen, it is possible for security to become an overriding national objective that no political party can ignore without peril. Thus far, terrorism is an element in India’s elite politics, not in its mass politics. It does not determine election outcomes. Second, if the Congress party, currently showing signs of revival, becomes even stronger, both in national Parliament and at the state level, it would also allow the possibility of a constitutional amendment. The first condition is not desirable, the second somewhat improbable, if not impossible, at the moment. India’s home minister is well known for his intellectual firepower, but his hands are tied. He can only do the following: modernise the intelligence system through new technologies; try to generate a better knowledge system—for example, a national counter-terrorism centre—that supports national security; create institutions that seek to coordinate the rather fractured intelligence. State governments might also create their own commando forces, as Maharashtra appears to be doing and Andhra did some years back. All of these measures would help, but the home minister cannot legally force a state government to accept the dictates of the NIA unless a constitutional amendment introducing the concept of federal crime is put through. However desirable such a concept in the 21st century might be, India’s federal polity will not easily allow it to come about.
Ashutosh Varshney is a professor of political science at Brown University. His books include, Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India.