Publications

The Weatherhead Center has developed a presence on the Internet that, to a growing readership, is playing a significant role in the projection of Harvard scholarship on international affairs. The site includes: published journal articles; op-eds and other pieces written by or about the Center’s Faculty Associates; and recent books by Faculty Associates, including editorial summaries. The Center is always adding to the collection of published journal articles available on its site and responding to the interests of Center faculty and other users in making the site an indispensable scholarly tool.

Universities require faculty and students planning research involving human subjects to pass formal certification tests and then submit research plans for prior approval. Those who diligently take the tests may better understand certain important legal requirements but, at the same time, are often misled into thinking they can apply these rules to their own work which, in fact, they are not permitted to do. They will also be missing many other legal requirements not mentioned in their training but which govern their behaviors. Finally, the training leaves them likely to completely misunderstand the essentially political situation they find themselves in. The resulting risks to their universities, collaborators, and careers may be catastrophic, in addition to contributing to the more common ordinary frustrations of researchers with the system. To avoid these problems, faculty and students conducting research about and for the public need to understand that they are public figures, to whom different rules apply, ones that political scientists have long studied. University administrators (and faculty in their part-time roles as administrators) need to reorient their perspectives as well. University research compliance bureaucracies have grown, in well-meaning but sometimes unproductive ways that are not required by federal laws or guidelines. We offer advice to faculty and students for how to deal with the system as it exists now, and suggestions for changes in university research compliance bureaucracies, that should benefit faculty, students, staff, university budgets, and our research subjects.

McClendon, Gwyneth H. Forthcoming. “Individualism and Empowerment in Pentecostal Sermons: New Evidence from Nairobi, Kenya.” African Affairs. Oxford University Press. Abstract

Pentecostal and Charismatic churches are rapidly growing in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and the developing world. In this paper we present new evidence on the theologies and activities of these popular churches, having gathered sermon texts and interview data from a random sample of them in Nairobi, Kenya. We find that Pentecostal churches in Nairobi are remarkably consistent in the messages they disseminate, despite greatvariation in church and membership characteristics across congregations. We argue that the dominant theme in the sermons is a focus on cultivating believers' sense of their own potential and autonomy as individuals. Other topics commonly associated with Pentecostal churches, such as getting rich quickly and social conservatism, are not as central. The focus on individual autonomy also stands in stark contrast to more collectivist agendas of social change. Indeed, the individualist theme is accompanied by a relative lack of social service provision, reflecting an approach to economic development that focuses on individual mental transformation rather than material handouts or systemic reform.

Unruly Waters: How Rains, Rivers, Coasts, and Seas Have Shaped Asia's History

Asia’s history has been shaped by her waters. In Unruly Waters, historian Sunil Amrith reimagines Asia’s history through the stories of its rains, rivers, coasts, and seas–and of the weather-watchers and engineers, mapmakers and farmers who have sought to control them. Looking out from India, he shows how dreams and fears of water shaped visions of political independence and economic development, provoked efforts to reshape nature through dams and pumps, and unleashed powerful tensions within and between nations.

Today, Asian nations are racing to construct hundreds of dams in the Himalayas, with dire environmental impacts; hundreds of millions crowd into coastal cities threatened by cyclones and storm surges. In an age of climate change, Unruly Waters is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand Asia’s past and its future.

The Hell of Good Intentions: America's Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy

From the New York Times–bestselling author Stephen M. Walt, The Hell of Good Intentions dissects the faults and foibles of recent American foreign policy—explaining why it has been plagued by disasters like the “forever wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan and outlining what can be done to fix it.

In 1992, the United States stood at the pinnacle of world power and Americans were confident that a new era of peace and prosperity was at hand. Twenty-five years later, those hopes have been dashed. Relations with Russia and China have soured, the European Union is wobbling, nationalism and populism are on the rise, and the United States is stuck in costly and pointless wars that have squandered trillions of dollars and undermined its influence around the world.

The root of this dismal record, Walt argues, is the American foreign policy establishment’s stubborn commitment to a strategy of “liberal hegemony.” Since the end of the Cold War, Republicans and Democrats alike have tried to use U.S. power to spread democracy, open markets, and other liberal values into every nook and cranny of the planet. This strategy was doomed to fail, but its proponents in the foreign policy elite were never held accountable and kept repeating the same mistakes.

Donald Trump won the presidency promising to end the misguided policies of the foreign policy “Blob” and to pursue a wiser approach. But his erratic and impulsive style of governing, combined with a deeply flawed understanding of world politics, are making a bad situation worse. The best alternative, Walt argues, is a return to the realist strategy of “offshore balancing,” which eschews regime change, nation-building, and other forms of global social engineering. The American people would surely welcome a more restrained foreign policy, one that allowed greater attention to problems here at home. This long-overdue shift will require abandoning the futile quest for liberal hegemony and building a foreign policy establishment with a more realistic view of American power.

Clear-eyed, candid, and elegantly written, Stephen M. Walt’s The Hell of Good Intentions offers both a compelling diagnosis of America’s recent foreign policy follies and a proven formula for renewed success.

Dynasties and Democracy: The Inherited Incumbency Advantage in Japan

Although democracy is, in principle, the antithesis of dynastic rule, families with multiple members in elective office continue to be common around the world. In most democracies, the proportion of such "democratic dynasties" declines over time, and rarely exceeds ten percent of all legislators. Japan is a startling exception, with over a quarter of all legislators in recent years being dynastic. In Dynasties and Democracy, Daniel M. Smith sets out to explain when and why dynasties persist in democracies, and why their numbers are only now beginning to wane in Japan—questions that have long perplexed regional experts.

Smith introduces a compelling comparative theory to explain variation in the presence of dynasties across democracies and political parties. Drawing on extensive legislator-level data from twelve democracies and detailed candidate-level data from Japan, he examines the inherited advantage that members of dynasties reap throughout their political careers—from candidate selection, to election, to promotion into cabinet. Smith shows how the nature and extent of this advantage, as well as its consequences for representation, vary significantly with the institutional context of electoral rules and features of party organization. His findings extend far beyond Japan, shedding light on the causes and consequences of dynastic politics for democracies around the world.

Piety and Patienthood in Medieval Islam
Ragab, Ahmed. 2018. Piety and Patienthood in Medieval Islam. New York: Routledge. Publisher's Version Abstract

How did pious medieval Muslims experience health and disease? Rooted in the prophet’s experiences with medicine and healing, Muslim pietistic literature developed cosmologies in which physical suffering and medical interventions interacted with religious obligations and spiritual health. This book traces the development of prophetic medical literature and religious writings around health and disease to give a new perspective on how patienthood was conditioned by the intersection of medicine and Islam.

The author investigates the early and foundational writings on prophetic medicine and related pietistic writings on health and disease produced during the Islamic Classical Age. Looking at attitudes from and towards clerics, physicians and patients, sickness and health are gradually revealed as a social, gendered, religious, and cultural experience. Patients are shown to experience certain sensoria that are conditioned not only by medical knowledge, but also by religious and pietistic attitudes.

This is a fascinating insight into the development of Muslim pieties and the traditions of medical practice. It will be of great interest to scholars interested in Islamic Studies, history of religion, history of medicine, science and religion and the history of embodied religious practice, particularly in matters of health and medicine.

The Development Century: A Global History
Macekura, Stephen J., and Erez Manela, ed. 2018. The Development Century: A Global History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Publisher's Version Abstract
This anthology offers a cutting-edge perspective on how development has shaped the history of the modern world. Stephen J. Macekura and Erez Manela have gathered together leading historians to examine development on the international, regional, and national levels, as well as local manifestations of development initiatives and transnational organizing on behalf of alternative approaches. Themes include the relationship between empire and development, the role of international institutions, the influence of the Cold War, decolonization and post-colonial development strategies, reform and resistance to development, development and global health, and the ecological effects of development. The Development Century examines how ideas and discourses about development have shaped its practices on the ground; explores the ways in which policymakers and experts attempted to implement development through specific institutions and policies; and analyzes development initiatives and their effect of local environments and people.
Where the Party Rules: The Rank and File of China's Communist State
In most non-democratic countries, today governing forty-four percent of the world population, the power of the regime rests upon a ruling party. Contrasting with conventional notions that authoritarian regime parties serve to contain elite conflict and manipulate electoral-legislative processes, this book presents the case of China and shows that rank and-file members of the Communist Party allow the state to penetrate local communities. Subnational comparative analysis demonstrates that in 'red areas' with high party saturation, the state is most effectively enforcing policy and collecting taxes. Because party membership patterns are extremely enduring, they must be explained by events prior to the Communist takeover in 1949. Frontlines during the anti-colonial Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) continue to shape China's political map even today. Newly available evidence from the Great Leap Forward (1958–1961) and the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) shows how a strong local party basis sustained the regime in times of existential crisis.
Trust: Creating the Foundation for Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries

Entrepreneurial ventures often fail in the developing world because of the lack of something taken for granted in the developed world: trust. Over centuries, the developed world has built customs and institutions such as enforceable contracts, an impartial legal system, and credible regulatory bodies—and even unofficial but respected sources of information such as Yelp and Consumer Reports—that have created a high level of what scholar and entrepreneur Tarun Khanna calls "ambient trust." 

This is not the case in the developing world. But Khanna shows that rather than become casualties of mistrust, smart entrepreneurs can adopt the mindset that, like it or not, it's up to them to weave their own independent web of trust—with their employees, their partners, their clients, their customers, and society as a whole. This can be challenging, and it requires innovative approaches in places where the level of societal mistrust is so high that an official certification of quality simply arouses suspicion—and lowers sales! Using vivid examples from Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and elsewhere, Khanna's stories show how entrepreneurs can build on existing customs and practices instead of trying to push against them. He highlights the role new technologies can play (but cautions that these are not panaceas) and explains how entrepreneurs can find dependable partners in national and local governments to create impact at scale.

As far back as the eighteenth century, Adam Smith recognized trust as what Khanna calls "the hidden engine of economic progress." "Frankness and openness conciliate confidence," Smith wrote. "We trust the man who seems willing to trust us." That kind of confidence is critical to entrepreneurial success, but in the developing world entrepreneurs have to establish it through their own efforts. As Khanna puts it, "The entrepreneur must not just create, she must create the conditions to create."

Threshold: Emergency Responders on the US-Mexico Border
Jusionyte, Ieva. 2018. Threshold: Emergency Responders on the US-Mexico Border. Oakland: University of California Press. Publisher's Version Abstract

Emergency responders on the US-Mexico border operate at the edges of two states. They rush patients to hospitals across country lines, tend to the broken bones of migrants who jump over the wall, and put out fires that know no national boundaries. Paramedics and firefighters on both sides of the border are tasked with saving lives and preventing disasters in the harsh terrain at the center of divisive national debates.

Ieva Jusionyte’s firsthand experience as an emergency responder provides the background for her gripping examination of the politics of injury and rescue in the militarized region surrounding the US-Mexico border. Operating in this area, firefighters and paramedics are torn between their mandate as frontline state actors and their responsibility as professional rescuers, between the limits of law and pull of ethics. From this vantage they witness what unfolds when territorial sovereignty, tactical infrastructure, and the natural environment collide. Jusionyte reveals the binational brotherhood that forms in this crucible to stand in the way of catastrophe. Through beautiful ethnography and a uniquely personal perspective, Threshold provides a new way to understand politicized issues ranging from border security and undocumented migration to public access to healthcare today.

More

Unruly Waters: How Rains, Rivers, Coasts, and Seas Have Shaped Asia's History

Unruly Waters: How Rains, Rivers, Coasts, and Seas Have Shaped Asia's History

Asia’s history has been shaped by her waters. In Unruly Waters, historian Sunil Amrith reimagines Asia’s history through the stories of its rains, rivers, coasts, and seas–and of the weather-watchers and engineers, mapmakers and farmers who have sought to control them. Looking out from India, he shows how dreams and fears of water shaped visions of political independence and economic development, provoked efforts to reshape nature through dams and pumps, and unleashed powerful tensions within and between nations.

Today, Asian nations are racing to construct hundreds of dams in the Himalayas, with dire environmental impacts; hundreds of millions crowd into coastal cities threatened by cyclones and storm surges. In an age of climate change, Unruly Waters is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand Asia’s past and its future.

Read more

The Hell of Good Intentions: America's Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy

The Hell of Good Intentions: America's Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy

From the New York Times–bestselling author Stephen M. Walt, The Hell of Good Intentions dissects the faults and foibles of recent American foreign policy—explaining why it has been plagued by disasters like the “forever wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan and outlining what can be done to fix it.

In 1992, the United States stood at the pinnacle of world power and Americans were confident that a new era of peace and prosperity was at hand. Twenty-five years later, those hopes have been dashed. Relations with Russia and China have soured, the European Union is wobbling, nationalism and populism are on the rise, and the United States is stuck in costly and pointless wars that have squandered trillions of dollars and undermined its influence around the world.

The root of this dismal record, Walt argues, is the American foreign policy establishment’s stubborn commitment to a strategy of “liberal hegemony.” Since the end of the Cold War, Republicans and Democrats alike have tried to use U.S. power to spread democracy, open markets, and other liberal values into every nook and cranny of the planet. This strategy was doomed to fail, but its proponents in the foreign policy elite were never held accountable and kept repeating the same mistakes.

Donald Trump won the presidency promising to end the misguided policies of the foreign policy “Blob” and to pursue a wiser approach. But his erratic and impulsive style of governing, combined with a deeply flawed understanding of world politics, are making a bad situation worse. The best alternative, Walt argues, is a return to the realist strategy of “offshore balancing,” which eschews regime change, nation-building, and other forms of global social engineering. The American people would surely welcome a more restrained foreign policy, one that allowed greater attention to problems here at home. This long-overdue shift will require abandoning the futile quest for liberal hegemony and building a foreign policy establishment with a more realistic view of American power.

Clear-eyed, candid, and elegantly written, Stephen M. Walt’s The Hell of Good Intentions offers both a compelling diagnosis of America’s recent foreign policy follies and a proven formula for renewed success.

Read more

Dynasties and Democracy: The Inherited Incumbency Advantage in Japan

Dynasties and Democracy: The Inherited Incumbency Advantage in Japan

Although democracy is, in principle, the antithesis of dynastic rule, families with multiple members in elective office continue to be common around the world. In most democracies, the proportion of such "democratic dynasties" declines over time, and rarely exceeds ten percent of all legislators. Japan is a startling exception, with over a quarter of all legislators in recent years being dynastic. In Dynasties and Democracy, Daniel M. Smith sets out to explain when and why dynasties persist in democracies, and why their numbers are only now beginning to wane in Japan—questions that have long perplexed regional experts.

Smith introduces a compelling comparative theory to explain variation in the presence of dynasties across democracies and political parties. Drawing on extensive legislator-level data from twelve democracies and detailed candidate-level data from Japan, he examines the inherited advantage that members of dynasties reap throughout their political careers—from candidate selection, to election, to promotion into cabinet. Smith shows how the nature and extent of this advantage, as well as its consequences for representation, vary significantly with the institutional context of electoral rules and features of party organization. His findings extend far beyond Japan, shedding light on the causes and consequences of dynastic politics for democracies around the world.

Read more

Piety and Patienthood in Medieval Islam

Piety and Patienthood in Medieval Islam
Ragab, Ahmed. 2018. Piety and Patienthood in Medieval Islam. New York: Routledge. Publisher's Version Abstract

How did pious medieval Muslims experience health and disease? Rooted in the prophet’s experiences with medicine and healing, Muslim pietistic literature developed cosmologies in which physical suffering and medical interventions interacted with religious obligations and spiritual health. This book traces the development of prophetic medical literature and religious writings around health and disease to give a new perspective on how patienthood was conditioned by the intersection of medicine and Islam.

The author investigates the early and foundational writings on prophetic medicine and related pietistic writings on health and disease produced during the Islamic Classical Age. Looking at attitudes from and towards clerics, physicians and patients, sickness and health are gradually revealed as a social, gendered, religious, and cultural experience. Patients are shown to experience certain sensoria that are conditioned not only by medical knowledge, but also by religious and pietistic attitudes.

This is a fascinating insight into the development of Muslim pieties and the traditions of medical practice. It will be of great interest to scholars interested in Islamic Studies, history of religion, history of medicine, science and religion and the history of embodied religious practice, particularly in matters of health and medicine.

Read more

The Development Century: A Global History

The Development Century: A Global History
Macekura, Stephen J., and Erez Manela, ed. 2018. The Development Century: A Global History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Publisher's Version Abstract
This anthology offers a cutting-edge perspective on how development has shaped the history of the modern world. Stephen J. Macekura and Erez Manela have gathered together leading historians to examine development on the international, regional, and national levels, as well as local manifestations of development initiatives and transnational organizing on behalf of alternative approaches. Themes include the relationship between empire and development, the role of international institutions, the influence of the Cold War, decolonization and post-colonial development strategies, reform and resistance to development, development and global health, and the ecological effects of development. The Development Century examines how ideas and discourses about development have shaped its practices on the ground; explores the ways in which policymakers and experts attempted to implement development through specific institutions and policies; and analyzes development initiatives and their effect of local environments and people.
Read more
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McClendon, Gwyneth H. 2016. “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.

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