New Books

Archive Wars: The Politics of History in Saudi Arabia

By Rosie Bsheer

Archive Wars book coverWith this book, Rosie Bsheer explores the increasing secularization of the postwar Saudi state and how it manifested in assembling a national archive and reordering urban space in Riyadh and Mecca. The elites' project was rife with ironies: in Riyadh, they employed world-renowned experts to fashion an imagined history, while at the same time in Mecca they were overseeing the obliteration of a thousand-year-old topography and its replacement with commercial megaprojects. Archive Wars shows how the Saudi state's response to the challenges of the Gulf War served to historicize a national space, territorialize a national history, and ultimately refract both through new modes of capital accumulation. (Read more at Stanford University Press)

Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Rosie Bsheer is an assistant professor of history at Harvard University.

Marijuana Boom: The Rise and Fall of Colombia's First Drug Paradise

By Lina Britto

Marijuana Boom book coverBefore Colombia became one of the world’s largest producers of cocaine in the 1980s, traffickers from the Caribbean coast partnered with American buyers in the 1970s to make the South American country the main supplier of marijuana for a booming US drug market, fueled by the US hippie counterculture. How did Colombia become central to the creation of an international drug trafficking circuit? Marijuana Boom is the story of this forgotten history. Combining deep archival research with unprecedented oral history, Lina Britto deciphers a puzzle: Why did the Colombian coffee republic, a model of Latin American representative democracy and economic modernization, transform into a drug paradise, and at what cost? (Read more at University of California Press)

Former Academy Scholar Lina Britto is an associate professor of history at the Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences, Northwestern University.

After Trump: Reconstructing the Presidency

By Bob Bauer and Jack L. Goldsmith

After Trump book coverIn After Trump: Reconstructing the Presidency, Bob Bauer and Jack Goldsmith provide a comprehensive roadmap for reform of the presidency in the post-Trump era—whether that comes in four months or four years. In fourteen chapters they offer more than fifty concrete proposals concerning presidential conflicts of interest, foreign influence on elections, pardon power abuse, assaults on the press, law enforcement independence, Special Counsel procedures, FBI investigations of presidents and presidential campaigns, the role of the White House Counsel, war powers, control of nuclear weapons, executive branch vacancies, domestic emergency powers, how one administration should examine possible crimes by the president of a prior administration, and more. Each set of reform proposals is preceded by rich descriptions of relevant presidential history, and relevant background law and norms, that place the proposed reforms in context. All of the proposals are prefaced by a chapter that explains how Trump—and, in some cases, his predecessors—conducted the presidency in ways that justify these reforms. After Trump will thus be essential reading for the coming debate on how to reconstruct the laws and norms that constitute and govern the world’s most powerful office. (Read more at Amazon)

Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Jack L. Goldsmith is the Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

Brand New Nation: Capitalist Dreams and Nationalist Designs in Twenty-First-Century India

By Ravinder Kaur

Brand New Nation book coverThe early twenty-first century was an optimistic moment of global futures-making. The chief narrative was the emergence of the BRICS nations—leading stars in the great spectacle of capitalist growth stories, branded afresh as resource-rich hubs of untapped talent and potential, and newly opened up for foreign investments. The old third-world nations were rapidly embracing the script of unbridled capitalism in the hope of arriving on the world stage. If the tantalizing promise of economic growth invited entrepreneurs to invest in the nation's exciting futures, it offered utopian visions of "good times," and even restoration of lost national glory, to the nation's citizens. Brand New Nation reaches into the past and, inevitably, the future of this phenomenon as well as the fundamental shifts it has wrought in our understanding of the nation-state. It reveals the on-the-ground experience of the relentless transformation of the nation-state into an "attractive investment destination" for global capital. (Read more at Stanford University Press)

Ravinder Kaur is a Visiting Fellow at the Weatherhead Research Cluster on Global Transformations. She is also an associate professor of cross-cultural and regional studies at the University of Copenhagen. 

Ruling by Other Means: State-Mobilized Movements

Edited by Grzegorz Ekiert, Elizabeth J. Perry, and Xiaojun Yan

Ruling by Other Means book coverWhat do states gain by sending citizens into the streets? Ruling by Other Means investigates this question through the lens of State-Mobilized Movements (SMMs), an umbrella concept that includes a range of (often covertly organized) collective actions intended to advance state interests. The SMMs research agenda departs significantly from that of classic social movement and contentious politics theory, focused on threats to the state from seemingly autonomous societal actors. Existing theories assume that the goal of popular protest is to voice societal grievances, represent oppressed groups, and challenge state authorities and other powerholders. The chapters in this volume show, however, that states themselves organize citizens (sometimes surreptitiously and even transnationally) to act collectively to advance state goals. Drawn from different historical periods and diverse geographical regions, these case studies expand and improve our understanding of social movements, civil society and state-society relations under authoritarian regimes. (Read more at Cambridge University Press)

Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Grzegorz Ekiert is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Government at Harvard University.

Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Elizabeth J. Perry is the Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government at Harvard University.

On Justice: Philosophy, History, Foundations

By Mathias Risse

On Justice book coverThough much attention has been paid to different principles of justice, far less has been done reflecting on what the larger concern behind the notion is. In this work, Mathias Risse proposes that the perennial quest for justice is about ensuring that each individual has an appropriate place in what our uniquely human capacities permit us to build, produce, and maintain, and is appropriately respected for the capacity to hold such a place to begin with. Risse begins by investigating the role of political philosophers and exploring how to think about the global context where philosophical inquiry occurs. Next, he offers a quasi-historical narrative about how the notion of distributive justice identifies a genuinely human concern that arises independently of cultural context and has developed into the one we should adopt now. Finally, he investigates the core terms of this view, including stringency, moral value, ground and duties of justice. (Read more at Cambridge University Press)

Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Mathias Risse is the Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Philosophy and Public Administration at Harvard Kennedy School.

The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good?

By Michael J. Sandel

The Tyranny of Merit book coverThese are dangerous times for democracy. We live in an age of winners and losers, where the odds are stacked in favor of the already fortunate. Stalled social mobility and entrenched inequality give the lie to the American credo that "you can make it if you try." The consequence is a brew of anger and frustration that has fueled populist protest and extreme polarization, and led to deep distrust of both government and our fellow citizens—leaving us morally unprepared to face the profound challenges of our time.

World-renowned philosopher Michael J. Sandel argues that to overcome the crises that are upending our world, we must rethink the attitudes toward success and failure that have accompanied globalization and rising inequality. Sandel shows the hubris a meritocracy generates among the winners and the harsh judgement it imposes on those left behind, and traces the dire consequences across a wide swath of American life. He offers an alternative way of thinking about success--more attentive to the role of luck in human affairs, more conducive to an ethic of humility and solidarity, and more affirming of the dignity of work. The Tyranny of Merit points us toward a hopeful vision of a new politics of the common good. (Read more at Macmillan)

Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Michael Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University.

Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century, and Its Stumbles in the Twenty-First (Expanded Edition)

By Jeffry A. Frieden

Global Capitalism book coverAn authoritative, insightful, and highly readable history of the twentieth-century global economy, updated with a new chapter on the early decades of the new century. Global Capitalism guides the reader from the globalization of the early twentieth century and its swift collapse in the crises of 1914–45, to the return to global integration at the end of the century, and the subsequent retreat in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008. (Read more at W.W. Norton)

Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Jeffry A. Frieden is the Stanfield Professor of International Peace and chair of the Department of Government at Harvard University.

Politics for Profit: Business, Elections, and Policymaking in Russia

By David Szakonyi

Politics for Profit book coverBusinesspeople run for and win elected office around the world, with roughly one-third of members of parliament and numerous heads of states coming directly from the private sector. Yet we know little about why these politicians choose to leave the private sector and what they actually do while in government. In Politics for Profit, David Szakonyi brings to bear sweeping quantitative and qualitative evidence from Putin-era Russia to shed light on why businesspeople contest elections and what the consequences are for their firms and for society when they win. The book develops an original theory of businessperson candidacy as a type of corporate political activity undertaken in response to both economic competition and weak political parties. Szakonyi's evidence then shows that businesspeople help their firms reap huge gains in revenue and profitability while prioritizing investments in public infrastructure over human capital. The book finally evaluates policies for combatting political corruption. (Read more at Cambridge University Press)

Former Academy Scholar David Szakonyi is an assistant professor of political science at the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, The George Washington University.  

Lynching and Local Justice: Legitimacy and Accountability in Weak States

By Danielle F. Jung and Dara Kay Cohen

Lynching and Local Justice book coverWhat are the social and political consequences of poor state governance and low state legitimacy? Under what conditions does lynching—lethal, extralegal group violence to punish offenses to the community—become an acceptable practice? We argue lynching emerges when neither the state nor its challengers have a monopoly over legitimate authority. When authority is contested or ambiguous, mass punishment for transgressions can emerge that is public, brutal, and requires broad participation. Using new cross-national data, we demonstrate lynching is a persistent problem in dozens of countries over the last four decades. Drawing on original survey and interview data from Haiti and South Africa, we show how lynching emerges and becomes accepted. Specifically, support for lynching most likely occurs in one of three conditions: when states fail to provide governance, when non-state actors provide social services, or when neighbors must rely on self-help. (Read more at Cambridge University Press)

Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Dara Kay Cohen is the Ford Foundation Associate Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.

Accountability in Global Governance

By Gisela Hirschmann

Accountability in Global Governance book coverHow can international organizations (IOs) like the United Nations (UN) and their implementing partners be held accountable if their actions and policies violate fundamental human rights? This book provides a new conceptual framework to study pluralist accountability, whereby third parties hold IOs and their implementing partners accountable for human rights violations.

Based on a rich study of UN-mandated operations in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kosovo, the EU Troika's austerity policy, and Global Public-Private Health Partnerships in India, this book analyzes how competition and human rights vulnerability shape the evolution of pluralist accountability in response to diverse human rights violations, such as human trafficking, the violation of the rights of detainees, economic rights, and the right to consent in clinical trials. While highlighting the importance of alternative accountability mechanisms for legitimacy of IOs, this book also argues that pluralist accountability should not be regarded as a panacea for IOs' legitimacy problems, as it is often less legalized and might cause multiple accountability disorder. (Read more at Oxford University Press)

Former Visiting Scholar Gisela Hirschmann is an assistant professor of international relations at the Institute for Political Science, Leiden University.

Ours Once More: Folklore, Ideology, and the Making of Modern Greece (Expanded Edition)

By Michael Herzfeld

Ours Once More book coverWhen this work—one that contributes to both the history and anthropology fields—first appeared in 1982, it was hailed as a landmark study of the role of folklore in nation-building. It has since been highly influential in reshaping the analysis of Greek and European cultural dynamics. In this expanded edition, a new introduction by the author and an epilogue by Sharon Macdonald document its importance for the emergence of serious anthropological interest in European culture and society and for current debates about Greece’s often contested place in the complex politics of the European Union. (Read more at Berghahn Books)

Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate (emeritus) Michael Herzfeld is the Ernest E. Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences, Emeritus, at Harvard University.

China and Europe on the New Silk Road: Connecting Universities Across Eurasia

Edited by Marijk van der Wende, William C. Kirby, Nian Cai Liu, and Simon Marginson

China and Europe on the New Silk Road book coverThe global order, based on international governance and multilateral trade mechanisms in the aftermath of the Second World War, is changing rapidly and creating waves of uncertainty. This is especially true in higher education, a field increasingly built on international cooperation and the free movement of students, academics, knowledge, and ideas. Meanwhile, China has announced its plans for a "New Silk Road" (NSR) and is developing its higher education and research systems at speed. In this book an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars from Europe, China, the USA, Russia, and Australia investigate how academic mobility and cooperation is taking shape along the New Silk Road and what difference it will make, if any, in the global higher education landscape. (Read more at Oxford University Press)

Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate William C. Kirby is the T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies and Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.

Implementing Deeper Learning and 21st Education Reforms: Building an Education Renaissance After a Global Pandemic

Edited by Fernando M. Reimers

Implementing Deeper Learning book coverThis open access book is a comparative analysis of recent large scale education reforms that broadened curriculum goals to better prepare students for the twenty-first century. The book examines what governments actually do when they broaden curriculum goals, with attention to the details of implementation. To this end, the book examines system level reforms in six countries at various levels of development. The study includes system level reforms in jurisdictions where students achieve high levels in international assessments of basic literacies, such as Singapore and Ontario, Canada, as well as in nations where students achieve much lower levels, such as Kenya, Mexico, Punjab-Pakistan and Zimbabwe. The chapters examine system-level reforms that focus on strengthening the capacity to teach the basics, as in Ontario and Pakistan, as well as reforms that aim at building the capacity to teach a much broader set of competencies and skills, such as Kenya, Mexico, Singapore and Zimbabwe. (Read more at Springer)

Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Fernando M. Reimers is the Ford Foundation Professor of International Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education.