The Development Dilemma: Security, Prosperity, and a Return to History
By Robert H. Bates
Today’s developing nations emerged from the rubble of the Second World War. Only a handful of these countries have subsequently attained a level of prosperity and security comparable to that of the advanced industrial world. The implication is clear: those who study the developing world in order to learn how development can be achieved lack the data to do so.
In The Development Dilemma, Robert Bates responds to this challenge by turning to history, focusing on England and France. By the end of the eighteenth century, England stood poised to enter “the great transformation.” France by contrast verged on state failure, and life and property were insecure. Probing the histories of these countries, Bates uncovers a powerful tension between prosperity and security: both may be necessary for development, he argues, but efforts to achieve the one threaten the achievement of the other. A fundamental tension pervades the political economy of development. (Read more at Princeton University Press)
Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Robert H. Bates is the Eaton Professor of the Science of Government and professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.
The Nation as Mother And Other Visions of Nationhood
By Sugata Bose
'History matters in contemporary debates on nationalism,' Sugata Bose contends in The Nation as Mother. In this interconnected set of deeply researched and powerfully argued essays and speeches Bose explores the relationship between nation, reason, and religion in Indian political thought and practice. Offering a subtle interpretation of the ways of imagining the nation as mother, the book illuminates different visions of India as a free and flexible federal union that have acquired renewed salience today. Breaking out of the false dichotomy between secular nationalism and religious communalism, the author provides incisive analyses of the political legacies of Tagore and Gandhi, Nehru and Bose, Aurobindo and Jinnah, and a range of other thinkers and leaders of the anticolonial movement. The essays question assumptions about any necessary contradiction between cosmopolitanism and patriotism and the tendency among religious majoritarians and secularists alike to confuse uniformity with unity. The speeches in Parliament draw on a rich historical repertoire to offer valuable lessons in political ethics. In arguing against the dangers of an intolerant religious majoritarianism, this book makes a case for concepts of layered and shared sovereignty that might enable an overarching sense of Indian nationhood to coexist with multiple identities of the country's diverse populace. The Nation as Mother delves into history on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of freedom to evoke an alternative future of a new India based on cultural intimacy among its different communities. (Read more at Penguin Random House)
Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Sugata Bose is the Gardiner Professor of Oceanic History and Affairs at Harvard University.
Everyone Loses: The Ukraine Crisis and the Ruinous Contest for Post-Soviet Eurasia
By Timothy J. Colton and Samuel Charap
Disorder erupted in Ukraine in 2014, involving the overthrow of a sitting government, the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula, and a violent insurrection, supported by Moscow, in the east of the country.
This Adelphi book argues that the crisis has yielded a ruinous outcome, in which all the parties are worse off and international security has deteriorated. This negative-sum scenario resulted from years of zero-sum behavior on the part of Russia and the West in post-Soviet Eurasia, which the authors rigorously analyse. The rivalry was manageable in the early period after the Cold War, only to become entrenched and bitter a decade later. The upshot has been systematic losses for Russia, the West, and the countries caught in between. (Read more at Routledge)
Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Timothy J. Colton is the Morris and Anna Feldberg Professor of Government and Russian Studies at Harvard University.
The Wisdom of Finance: Discovering Humanity in the World of Risk and Return
By Mihir A. Desai
In 1688, essayist Josef de la Vega described finance as both “the fairest and most deceitful business . . . the noblest and the most infamous in the world, the finest and most vulgar on earth.”
The characterization of finance as deceitful, infamous, and vulgar still rings true today—particularly in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. But, what happened to the fairest, noblest, and finest profession that de la Vega saw?
De la Vega hit on an essential truth that has been forgotten: finance can be just as principled, life-affirming, and worthy as it can be fraught with questionable practices. Today, finance is shrouded in mystery for outsiders, while many insiders are uneasy with the disrepute of their profession. How can finance become more accessible and also recover its nobility?
Harvard Business School professor Mihir Desai, in his “last lecture” to the graduating Harvard MBA class of 2015, took up the cause of restoring humanity to finance. With incisive wit and irony, his lecture drew upon a rich knowledge of literature, film, history, and philosophy to explain the inner workings of finance in a manner that has never been seen before. (Read more at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Mihir A. Desai is the Mizuho Financial Group Professor of Finance at Harvard Business School, and professor of law at Harvard Law School.
The Space between Us: Social Geography and Politics
By Ryan D. Enos
The Space between Us brings the connection between geography, psychology, and politics to life. By going into the neighborhoods of real cities, Enos shows how our perceptions of racial, ethnic, and religious groups are intuitively shaped by where these groups live and interact daily. Through the lens of numerous examples across the globe and drawing on a compelling combination of research techniques including field and laboratory experiments, big data analysis, and small-scale interactions, this timely book provides a new understanding of how geography shapes politics and how members of groups think about each other. Enos' analysis is punctuated with personal accounts from the field. His rigorous research unfolds in accessible writing that will appeal to specialists and non-specialists alike, illuminating the profound effects of social geography on how we relate to, think about, and politically interact across groups in the fabric of our daily lives. (Read more at Cambridge University Press)
Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Ryan D. Enos is an associate professor of government at Harvard University.
The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President
By Noah Feldman
Over the course of his life, James Madison changed the United States three times: First, he designed the Constitution, led the struggle for its adoption and ratification, then drafted the Bill of Rights. As an older, cannier politician he co-founded the original Republican party, setting the course of American political partisanship. Finally, having pioneered a foreign policy based on economic sanctions, he took the United States into a high-risk conflict, becoming the first wartime president and, despite the odds, winning.
Now Noah Feldman offers an intriguing portrait of this elusive genius and the constitutional republic he created—and how both evolved to meet unforeseen challenges. Madison hoped to eradicate partisanship yet found himself giving voice to, and institutionalizing, the political divide. Madison’s lifelong loyalty to Thomas Jefferson led to an irrevocable break with George Washington, hero of the American Revolution. Madison closely collaborated with Alexander Hamilton on the Federalist papers—yet their different visions for the United States left them enemies. (Read more at Penguin Random House)
Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Noah Feldman is the Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School.
The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World
By Maya Jasanoff
Migration, terrorism, the tensions between global capitalism and nationalism, and a communications revolution: these forces shaped Joseph Conrad’s destiny at the dawn of the twentieth century. In this brilliant new interpretation of one of the great voices in modern literature, Maya Jasanoff reveals Conrad as a prophet of globalization. As an immigrant from Poland to England, and in travels from Malaya to Congo to the Caribbean, Conrad navigated an interconnected world, and captured it in a literary oeuvre of extraordinary depth. His life story delivers a history of globalization from the inside out, and reflects powerfully on the aspirations and challenges of the modern world.
Joseph Conrad was born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski in 1857, to Polish parents in the Russian Empire. At sixteen he left the landlocked heart of Europe to become a sailor, and for the next twenty years travelled the world’s oceans before settling permanently in England as an author. He saw the surging, competitive “new imperialism” that planted a flag in almost every populated part of the globe. He got a close look, too, at the places “beyond the end of telegraph cables and mail-boat lines,” and the hypocrisy of the west’s most cherished ideals. (Read more at Penguin Random House)
Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Maya Jasanoff is a professor of history at Harvard University.
The First Serious Optimist: A. C. Pigou and the Birth of Welfare Economics
By Ian Kumekawa
The First Serious Optimist is an intellectual biography of the British economist A. C. Pigou (1877–1959), a founder of welfare economics and one of the twentieth century's most important and original thinkers. Though long overshadowed by his intellectual rival John Maynard Keynes, Pigou was instrumental in focusing economics on the public welfare. And his reputation is experiencing a renaissance today, in part because his idea of "externalities" or spillover costs is the basis of carbon taxes. Drawing from a wealth of archival sources, Ian Kumekawa tells how Pigou reshaped the way the public thinks about the economic role of government and the way economists think about the public good. (Read more at Princeton University Press)
Weatherhead Center Graduate Research Associate Ian Kumekawa is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at Harvard University.
The Contentious Public Sphere: Law, Media, and Authoritarian Rule in China
By Ya-Wen Lei
Since the mid-2000s, public opinion and debate in China have become increasingly common and consequential, despite the ongoing censorship of speech and regulation of civil society. How did this happen? In The Contentious Public Sphere, Ya-Wen Lei shows how the Chinese state drew on law, the media, and the Internet to further an authoritarian project of modernization, but in so doing, inadvertently created a nationwide public sphere in China—one the state must now endeavor to control. Lei examines the influence this unruly sphere has had on Chinese politics and the ways that the state has responded.
Using interviews, newspaper articles, online texts, official documents, and national surveys, Lei shows that the development of the public sphere in China has provided an unprecedented forum for citizens to influence the public agenda, demand accountability from the government, and organize around the concepts of law and rights. She demonstrates how citizens came to understand themselves as legal subjects, how legal and media professionals began to collaborate in unexpected ways, and how existing conditions of political and economic fragmentation created unintended opportunities for political critique, particularly with the rise of the Internet. The emergence of this public sphere—and its uncertain future—is a pressing issue with important implications for the political prospects of the Chinese people. (Read more at Princeton University Press)
Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Ya-Wen Lei is an assistant professor of sociology at Harvard University.
Ethno-erotic Economies: Sexuality, Money, and Belonging in Kenya
By George Paul Meiu
Ethno-erotic Economies explores a fascinating case of tourism focused on sex and culture in coastal Kenya, where young men deploy stereotypes of African warriors to help them establish transactional sexual relationships with European women. In bars and on beaches, young men deliberately cultivate their images as sexually potent African men to attract women, sometimes for a night, in other cases for long-term relationships.
George Paul Meiu uses his deep familiarity with the communities these men come from to explore the long-term effects of markets of ethnic culture and sexuality on a wide range of aspects of life in rural Kenya, including kinship, ritual, gender, intimate affection, and conceptions of aging. What happens to these communities when young men return with such surprising wealth? And how do they use it to improve their social standing locally? By answering these questions, Ethno-erotic Economies offers a complex look at how intimacy and ethnicity come together to shape the pathways of global and local trade in the postcolonial world. (Read more at University of Chicago Press)
Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate George Paul Meiu is an assistant professor of anthropology and African and African American studies at Harvard University.
Election Watchdogs: Transparency, Accountability and Integrity
Edited by Pippa Norris and Alessandro Nai
Recent decades have seen growing concern regarding problems of electoral integrity. The most overt malpractices used by rulers include imprisoning dissidents, harassing adversaries, coercing voters, vote-rigging counts, and even blatant disregard for the popular vote. Elsewhere minor irregularities are common, exemplified by inaccurate voter registers, maladministration of polling facilities, lack of security in absentee ballots, pro-government media bias, ballot miscounts, and gerrymandering. Serious violations of human rights that undermine electoral credibility are widely condemned by domestic observers and the international community. Recent protests about integrity have mobilized in countries as diverse as Russia, Mexico, and Egypt. However, long-standing democracies are far from immune to these ills; past problems include the notorious hanging chads in Florida in 2000 and more recent accusations of voter fraud and voter suppression during the Obama-Romney contest. When problems come to light, however, is anyone held to account and are effective remedies implemented? (Read more at Oxford University Press)
Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Pippa Norris is the Paul F. McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at Harvard Kennedy School, and Laureate Research Fellow and professor of government and international relations at the University of Sydney.
Lost Kingdom: The Quest for Empire and the Making of the Russian Nation
By Serhii Plokhy
In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimea and attempted to seize a portion of Ukraine. While the world watched in outrage, this blatant violation of national sovereignty was only the latest iteration of a centuries-long effort to expand Russian boundaries and create a pan-Russian nation.
In Lost Kingdom, award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy argues that we can only understand the confluence of Russian imperialism and nationalism today by delving into the nation's history. Spanning over 500 years, from the end of the Mongol rule to the present day, Plokhy shows how leaders from Ivan the Terrible to Joseph Stalin to Vladimir Putin exploited existing forms of identity, warfare, and territorial expansion to achieve imperial supremacy. (Read more at Basic Books)
Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Serhii Plokhy is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard University.
One Student at a Time: Leading the Global Education Movement
By Fernando M. Reimers
This is a study of the challenges faced by education leaders who are working around the world to expand educational opportunities, with an analysis of the lessons they have learned in addressing these challenges.
Reimers recently chaired a Global Alliance which produced a framework for collective impact in strengthening teacher preparation and support (Connecting the Dots to build the future teaching and learning). This report has been translated and published in Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish and used to steer national dialogues on how to create conditions to strengthen the teaching profession and improve the relevance of instruction. (Read more at CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)
Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Fernando M. Reimers is the Ford Foundation Professor of International Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy
By Dani Rodrik
Not so long ago the nation-state seemed to be on its deathbed, condemned to irrelevance by the forces of globalization and technology. Now it is back with a vengeance, propelled by a groundswell of populists around the world. In Straight Talk on Trade, Dani Rodrik, an early and outspoken critic of economic globalization taken too far, goes beyond the populist backlash and offers a more reasoned explanation for why our elites’ and technocrats’ obsession with hyper-globalization made it more difficult for nations to achieve legitimate economic and social objectives at home: economic prosperity, financial stability, and equity.
Rodrik takes globalization’s cheerleaders to task, not for emphasizing economics over other values, but for practicing bad economics and ignoring the discipline’s own nuances that should have called for caution. He makes a case for a pluralist world economy where nation-states retain sufficient autonomy to fashion their own social contracts and develop economic strategies tailored to their needs. Rather than calling for closed borders or defending protectionists, Rodrik shows how we can restore a sensible balance between national and global governance. Ranging over the recent experiences of advanced countries, the eurozone, and developing nations, Rodrik charts a way forward with new ideas about how to reconcile today’s inequitable economic and technological trends with liberal democracy and social inclusion. (Read more at Princeton University Press)
Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Dani Rodrik is the Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard Kennedy School.
Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century
By Kathryn Sikkink
Evidence for Hope makes the case that, yes, human rights work. Critics may counter that the movement is in serious jeopardy or even a questionable byproduct of Western imperialism. They point out that Guantánamo is still open, the Arab Spring protests have been crushed, and governments are cracking down on NGOs everywhere. But respected human rights expert Kathryn Sikkink draws on decades of research and fieldwork to provide a rigorous rebuttal to pessimistic doubts about human rights laws and institutions. She demonstrates that change comes slowly and as the result of struggle, but in the long term, human rights movements have been vastly effective.
Attacks on the human rights movement’s credibility are based on the faulty premise that human rights ideas emerged in North America and Europe and were imposed on developing southern nations. Starting in the 1940s, Latin American leaders and activists were actually early advocates for the international protection of human rights. Sikkink shows that activists and scholars disagree about the efficacy of human rights because they use different yardsticks to measure progress. Comparing the present to the past, she shows that genocide and violence against civilians have declined over time, while access to healthcare and education has increased dramatically. Cognitive and news biases contribute to pervasive cynicism, but Sikkink’s investigation into past and current trends indicates that human rights is not in its twilight. Instead, this is a period of vibrant activism that has made impressive improvements in human well-being. (Read more at Princeton University Press)
Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Kathryn Sikkink is the Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.
The Art and Science of Social Research
By Mary C. Waters et al.
Written by a team of internationally renowned sociologists with experience in both the field and the classroom, The Art and Science of Social Research offers authoritative and balanced coverage of the full range of methods used to study the social world. The authors highlight the challenges of investigating the unpredictable topic of human lives while providing insights into what really happens in the field, the laboratory, and the survey call center. (Read more at W. W. Norton & Company)
Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Mary C. Waters is the M. E. Zukerman Professor of Sociology at Harvard University.
The Cold War: A World History
By Odd Arne Westad
As Germany and then Japan surrendered in 1945 there was a tremendous hope that a new and much better world could be created from the moral and physical ruins of the conflict. Instead, the combination of the huge power of the USA and USSR and the near-total collapse of most of their rivals created a unique, grim new environment: the Cold War.
For over forty years the demands of the Cold War shaped the life of almost all of us. There was no part of the world where East and West did not, ultimately, demand a blind and absolute allegiance, and nowhere into which the West and East did not reach. Countries as remote from each other as Korea, Angola and Cuba were defined by their allegiances. Almost all civil wars became proxy conflicts for the superpowers. Europe was seemingly split in two indefinitely. (Read more at Penguin Random House)
Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Odd Arne Westad is the S.T. Lee Professor of U.S.-Asia Relations at Harvard Kennedy School.
The Mediterranean Incarnate: Region Formation between Sicily and Tunisia since World War II
By Naor Ben Yehoyada
In The Mediterranean Incarnate, anthropologist Naor Ben Yehoyada takes us aboard the Naumachos for a thirty-seven-day voyage in the fishing grounds between Sicily and Tunisia. He also takes us on a historical exploration of the past eighty years to show how the Mediterranean has reemerged as a modern transnational region. From Sicilian poaching in North African territory to the construction of the TransMediterranean gas pipeline, Ben Yehoyada examines the transformation of political action, imaginaries, and relations in the central Mediterranean while detailing the remarkable bonds that have formed between the Sicilians and Tunisians who live on its waters. (Read more at University of Chicago Press)
Former Weatherhead Center Academy Scholar Naor Ben Yehoyada is an assistant professor of anthropology at Columbia University.