2011-12 Mershon Center Speakers and Conferences

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    North Korea's Cold War
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-02-27) Lerner, Mitchell
    Perhaps no country in the modern era has perplexed Western observers as much as North Korea, a nation whose extraordinary secrecy and internal repression has generally prevented scholars from exploring its Cold War experience. As a result, the country remains to many an enigma, a land of provocation and intrigue that is often criticized but rarely understood. Then came the liquidation of the Soviet empire, and with it a torrent of new information from the archives of North Korea's former communist allies. Records from the embassies of Russia, East Germany, Poland, Romania, Albania, Hungary, and elsewhere, pulled back the curtain of secrecy that had long enshrouded North Korea, and for the first time allowed outsiders to begin to understand the policies of the "Hermit Kingdom." By utilizing these materials, this conference will examine the inner workings and foreign relations of North Korea during the Cold War, and in doing so will open a virtually unparalleled window into the nation's use of force and diplomacy during the Cold War and beyond.
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    Somalia at Crossroads: Foreign Intervention, Humanitarian Crisis, and Aspirations for Statehood
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-01-27) Mohamed, Jibril; Joseph, Laura; Malac, Deborah; Arman, Abukar
    This two-day conference will bring together some of the brightest minds in Somali affairs with the aim of deepening public discourse and understanding of the complex situation in Somalia and developing strong, pragmatic, and principled policy recommendations for, post-transition political development in Somalia. Issues discussed include the national roadmap, piracy, humanitarian crisis, frontline state military interventions, Diaspora remittance challenges and community development issues.
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    Good Works in Central America: Interrogating North American Voluntary Service
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-05-03) Borland, Katherine; Cardenal, Fernando
    Short-term delegations to Central America for the purpose of providing material aid, assisting with grassroots development, or offering direct service have proliferated in the last four decades. This conference critically examines travel-for-service and the micro-politics of encounters between privileged visitors (professionals, politically motivated groups, service-learning programs) and impoverished third-world communities they visit, as well as the larger implications of poverty relief efforts organized outside of and sometimes in opposition to existing national and international institutions. Such projects promise solutions to seemingly entrenched problems in poorer nations through virtuous vigorous action. Yet in actuality, the dynamics of cosmopolitan interaction are complex. This conference will provide an opportunity for students and faculty interested or already engaged in international service to reflect upon their motives, practices, and experiences and to consider not only their immediate accomplishments but the longer-term implications of the kind of citizen-diplomacy they aspire to enact. The keynote speaker, Nicaragua's Father Fernando Cardenal, has committed his life to direct service to the poor within the framework of a religious vocation and training, more specifically, liberation theology. In 1980, he directed Nicaragua's National Literacy Crusade, an internationally acclaimed voluntary effort to teach reading and writing to rural and underserved populations, organized through the revolutionary state as a nationalist project. The academic speakers come from a variety of positions within the university but share a concern for reflection and the identification of "best practices." They have all either volunteered with or facilitated volunteer missions/delegations.
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    Egypt and the Arab Spring Revolution
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-01-09) Abdel-Khalek, Gouda; Korayem, Karima; Aly, Hassan
    The Arab people revolted against unjust economic models that have left the vast majority of society destitute and marginalized in their own countries. For decades, inappropriate policies were prescribed and imposed by the very same international actors that are called upon today to facilitate the transition. The main questions to be addressed are:What are the main factors causing revolutions in the Arab world? What packages are on offer from G8, EU, IMF, World Bank and EBRD? How are these packages structured and targeted? What sectors will benefit? And what are the constraints? How much of a problem is inequality? Will concerns about social justice seriously be addressed? Why did Egypt new government initially turn down IMF and World Bank offers of policy support packages? The Arab Spring Revolution is facing three main challenges: Restoring Security: The lack of security is the first complaint of the Egyptians at present; they don't feel safe in the streets, at home, at work, etc. Lack of security has been also reflected in traffic chaos, which forms another source for public complaints. There are several factors which have lead to this result and which need to be tackled strictly. Although the security is relatively better at present as compared to eight months ago, when the youth revolution started, there are still much to be done to achieve an overall security in the country. Having a Comprehensive Economic View: The government lacks an economic view that targets raising growth and creating employment opportunities. The problem with the government is that each minister is dealing on his own with the problems and challenges in his ministry, which are many, without having an economic view for all the ministries to revolve the production wheel again, with all what this implies of raising production and creating employment. To achieve that, the government needs to have a think tank (as a high profile institute, or a group of well chosen experts), that puts alternative scenarios for an overall economic plan in which all the ministries have an assigned role to play, and also identifying the policies which enhance the private sector's role in investment and production within the market economy system adopted in Egypt. Establishing Democracy: The question is how to achieve democracy, with all what it involves of having multiple competitive political parties and a respectable election rules for choosing the president with limited powers by law. Changing the previous system which has been prevailing for almost 60 years (after the 1952 revolution), and which consists of one dominant party that formulates consistently the government is not an easy task. Even when Sadat, followed by Mubarak, allowed the existence of more than one political party, there continued to be one dominant party headed by the president and has always formed the government. One important factor for achieving democracy is that all those parties are competitive in power and have equal chance to formulate the government.
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    Sink the Sinks?! Public and Private Regulation of Carbon Sinks in the Climate Change Regime
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-05-16) Green, Jessica
    Forests cover approximately 30 percent of the globe, and felling of forests accounts for about 25 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions. This paper examines the long and storied history of carbon sinks in the climate change regime. In particular, it traces the positions of civil society, represented by the transnational advocacy network Climate Action Network (CAN). It explains why CAN, once vehemently opposed to carbon sinks in the Kyoto Protocol, has become an active supporter of sinks in other parts of the climate regime, including in private carbon markets. The paper uses this case to draw out the implications for the role of civil society in shaping both public and private forms of regulation.
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    Globalization's Perils: From Archie Bunker to Occupy Wall Street
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-05-11) Zeiler, Thomas
    Thomas W. Zeiler is Professor of History and International Affairs at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he also directs the Global Studies Academic Program. He teaches U.S. diplomatic history and globalization.
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    Iranian Islam and Democracy: Paradox of State and Religion
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-05-08) Khalaji, Mehdi
    By declaring Shiism the official state religion and granting the Shiite jurist (ayatollah) guardianship over the government, the Islamic Republic has changed the nature of the religious institution and religiosity of Iranian society. On the one hand, it has empowered religious institutions; on the other, it has deprived them of their independence and their civil nature.The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is cementing its political and economic power over both the clergy and the country. This might possibly lead to the Islamic Republic's secularization. However, the fact that the Islamic Republic is becoming more militarized and less clerical makes Shiism still the central theoretical and practical issue surrounding the democratization of Iran.
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    Transformations of the Public Sphere
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-04-13) Mergenthaler, May
    This conference investigates the historical and contemporary significance of the public sphere and modern social imaginaries—of the discourses, norms, and ideas shared by members of a given society. The motivation for such an investigation arises from the growing interdependence of different nations, regions, and communities that demands and generates new ways of political, legal, economic, strategic, and cultural forms of cooperation. What kind of public spaces facilitate and what kind of shared imaginaries support such cooperation? What aspects in society hinder productive communication and interaction? Does productive social cooperation presuppose certain governmental, in particular democratic structures? Answers to these and related questions will be developed by drawing on several relevant disciplines, including, but not limited to social and political science, cultural theory, philosophy, history, history of science, and media studies.
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    Tales of Trickery, Tales of Endurance: Gender, Performance, and Politics in the Islamic World and Beyond
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-05-18) Noyes, Dorothy; Lloyd, Barbara
    Professor Margaret Mills, retiring in June 2012 from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, has made major contributions to the study of women in contemporary Afghanistan, the folklore of the Persian-speaking world and South Asia, women’s oral traditions, and traditional pedagogies. She has helped us to think about the rhetorical dimension of oral traditions; the gendering of religious experience; the partitioning of the traditional public sphere into gendered and performative situations; how literacies and pedagogies are mobilized to form political identities; how individual and collective expressive repertoires respond to war and displacement. This conference assembles some of her former students and longterm colleagues to discuss new developments in these lines of research.
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    The Terrorism Delusion
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-05-22) Mueller, John
    It seems increasingly likely that the reaction to the terrorism attacks of September 11, 2001, has been massively disproportionate to the real threat al-Qaeda has ever actually presented either as an international menace or as an inspiration or model to homegrown amateurs. In result, we have been living a decade of delusion as trillions of dollars have been expended and tens of thousands of lives have been snuffed out in a frantic, ill-conceived effort to react to an event that, however tragic and dramatic in the first instance, should have been seen, at least in the fullness of time, to be of only limited significance (Warning: This talk includes reference to The Wizard of Oz and The Emperor's New Clothes and may not be suitable for all audiences.)
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    Saddam's World View: The Iran-Iraq War and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-04-30) Murray, Williamson
    Williamson Murray is a Minerva Fellow at the Naval War College and professor emeritus of history at The Ohio State University. He studies military and diplomatic history and is currently working on a number projects related to operational history of the Civil War, study of the Iran-Iraq War, and hybrid warfare.
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    The Breakdown of Representation in American Politics
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-04-26) Fiorina, Morris
    Morris P. Fiorina is the Wendt Family Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution. Fiorina has written widely on American government and politics, with special emphasis on topics in the study of representation and elections.
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    Language and Identity: The Impact on the Middle East
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-05-22) Suleiman, Camelia
    Language and Identity in the Israel-Palestine Conflict: The Politics of Self-Perception in the Middle East discusses how the conflict between Israel and Palestine is, and remains to be, one of the most widely and passionately debated issues in the Middle East and in the field of international politics. An important part of this conflict is the dimension of self-perception of both Israelis and Palestinians caught up in its midst. Here, Suleiman, using her background in linguistic analysis, examines the interplay of language and identity, feminism and nationalism, and how the concepts of spatial and temporal boundaries affect self-perception. She does this through interviews with peace activists from a variety of backgrounds: Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, Jewish Israelis, as well as Palestinians from Ramallah, officially holders of Jordanian passports. By emphasizing the importance of these levels of official identity, Suleiman explores how self-perception is influenced, negotiated and manifested, and how place of birth and residence play a major role in this conflict. This book therefore holds vital firsthand analysis of the conflict and its impact upon both Israelis and Palestinians, making it crucial for anyone involved in Middle East studies, conflict studies and international relations.
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    The Arab Awakening: One Year On
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-04-21) Muasher, Marwan
    Marwan Muasher is vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment. He served as foreign minister (2002–04) and deputy prime minister (2004–05) of Jordan, and his career has spanned the areas of diplomacy, development, civil society, and communications. He is also a senior fellow at Yale University.
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    Anti-politics: The Utopian Turn in Democratic Theory Today
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-05-07) Rosenblum, Nancy
    Nancy Rosenblum is the Senator Joseph Clark Professor of Ethics in Politics and Government. Her field of research is political theory, both historical and contemporary political thought.
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    The Arab Uprising
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-05-01) Lynch, Marc
    Marc Lynch is associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, where he is the director of the Institute for Middle East Studies and of the Project on Middle East Political Science. He is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and edits the Middle East Channel for ForeignPolicy.com.
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    Social Language Processing: Arab Spring Twitterology and Beyond
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-04-20) Beaver, David
    David I. Beaver is associate professor of linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin. He researches and teaches on the semantics and pragmatics of natural languages, in particular on how information is organized at the sentence and discourse level. Within this, he has worked on presupposition, anaphora, topic and focus. He also has interests in temporal and event semantics, in simulations of language evolution, and in broader philisophical, psychological and computational themes from cognitive science.
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    Securing National Science Foundation Funding
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-04-19) Katherine, Meyer
    Katherine Meyer is program director for sociology in the Division of Social and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation and professor emeritus at The Ohio State University. She is a faculty affiliate of the Mershon Center and principal investigator of Rentierism and Conflict in the Middle East with Hassan Aly and J. Craig Jenkins, and Dissent/Repression Nexus in the Middle East with J. Craig Jenkins.
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    Egypt: Islam, Revolution, and Prospects for Democracy
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-04-19) Baker, Raymond
    Raymond William Baker is professor of international politics at Trinity College and director of the International Council for Middle East Studies in Washington, D.C. He is an internationally recognized authority on the Arab and Islamic world.
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    China's Policies Toward the Middle East
    (Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies, 2012-04-16) Zhu, Feng
    Zhu Feng is professor of international studies and deputy director of the Center for International and Strategic Studies at Peking University. He is also senior research fellow at the China Institute of Peace and Development and the Center for Contemporary World Affairs. He writes extensively on regional security in East Asia, the North Korean nuclear issue, U.S. national security strategy, and China-U.S. relations.