2007-08 Mershon Center Research Projects

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    Dissent Repression Nexus in the Middle East 2008
    (2008) Meyer, Katherine; Jenkins, J. Craig
    The Middle East is often seen as caught in a cycle of dissent and repression, influencing almost all aspects of existence. This “dissent/repression nexus” is crucial because the Middle East lies at the crossroads of three continents and contains vast reserves of natural resources. Its conflicts have also spilled into other parts of the world. Despite the importance of understanding contention in the Middle East, there has been little systematic study of conflict dynamics in the region. To address these gaps, an interdisciplinary, multi-university team has set out to study the dissent/repression nexus in the Middle East. The project focuses on Egypt, Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Kuwait, and Turkey from 1990 to the present.
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    Comparative National Elections Project 2008
    (2008) Gunther, Richard
    The Comparative National Elections Project (CNEP) is a multi-year, multi-county examination of how citizens in democracies around the world receive information about policies, parties, candidates, and politics during the course of election campaigns.
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    Mershon Network of International Historians 2008
    (2008) Fink, Carole; Gurney, Ursula
    Since 2003, the Mershon Network of International Historians (MNIH) has acted as a unique online association for scholars engaged in the study of 20th century European international relations. The network’s mission has been to foster intellectual discussion, research, and teaching in the field of European diplomatic history. Located at www.mnih.org, the network's primary purpose is to promote collaborative research by scholars in international history. MNIH does this by announcing upcoming conferences around the world, listing recent publications in the field, publishing calls for papers, and publicizing fellowship and grant opportunities, prizes, and awards.
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    Passport: Newsletter of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations 2007-08
    (2008) Hahn, Peter; Lerner, Mitchell
    Since 1969, the newsletter for the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) has provided a forum for the discussion of issues related to the practice of American diplomacy, while also presenting historians of U.S. foreign policy with a reliable source of professional information. In 2003, the newsletter was renamed Passport, and editorship passed to Peter Hahn and Mitch Lerner, with support from the Mershon Center. Passport’s purpose is: To print essays on substantive issues related to the study of American diplomacy, particularly those focusing on newly opened archival materials -- To host debates among scholars -- To offer detailed information regarding new publications, scholarly competitions and awards, calls for papers and contributions, and other relevant resources
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    If It Bleeds, It Leads: Assessing Media Effects on Transnational Terrorism
    (2008) Crenshaw, Edward; Jenkins, J. Craig
    Do mass media make it more likely that terrorists will target democracies? Many scholars argue that yes, terrorists target democracies because democracies have mass media that will cover these acts of violence and therefore spread the terrorists' message. Crenshaw and Jenkins, however, see a flaw in this logic. All the databases that list terrorist acts get their data from the mass media; therefore, these databases count only the acts of terrorism that the media happen to cover. This means that media selection bias could skew the results of any research based on the data. To address this flaw, Crenshaw and Jenkins propose a new way to measure the role of mass media in terrorist attacks.
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    The Ecology of Terrorist Organizations
    (2008) Crenshaw, Edward; Jenkins, J. Craig
    How do terrorist organizations act as agents of change? Since Sept. 11 there has been enormous interest in terrorist groups. Large amounts of data have been collected about the terrorists and their attacks. However systematic, empirical data on terrorist organizations, along with data on political groups that choose not to use terrorism, have never been collected and analyzed. Edward Crenshaw and J. Craig Jenkins, along with a multidisciplinary team, will examine data collected by the Minorities at Risk Organizational Behavior (MAROB) project at University of Maryland's Center for International Development and Conflict Management. These data will be analyzed to study the birth and death of terrorist organizations as part of a larger social ecology.
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    Political Regimes, Financial Market Institutions and Stability in Asia
    (2008) Cooper, Mary
    How much does the type of government in a country affect the shape of its stock market? Are non-democratic regimes more likely to produce unstable financial markets? To begin answering these questions, Mary Cooper plans to compare the stock markets of China, India and Taiwan. China and India not only have experienced dramatically booming stock markets in recent years, but also are among the world's fastest-growing economies and are both of great strategic importance to the United States. Taiwan is smaller, but its complicated history and ongoing tensions with China make it significant.
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    Change in Personnel and Policy and the Legitimacy of the Supreme Court
    (2008) Caldeira, Gregory A.; Gibson, James
    Do ordinary Americans regard the Supreme Court as a political institution like Congress, in which decisions are subject to the ideology of its members? Or do they see the court as different, with judges who rule on the basis of impartial principles? And are people's views changed by events like a controversial nomination? Gregory Caldeira set out to answer these questions in research that has been supported by the Mershon Center since 2005. That year saw two Supreme Court nominations – John Roberts as chief justice and the controversial nomination of Samuel Alito. These events provided a golden opportunity for Caldeira and his research partner James Gibson, Sidney W. Souers Professor of Government at Washington University in St. Louis, to assess American knowledge about and attitudes toward the Supreme Court.
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    Political Asylum Policy and International Security
    (2008) Shuman, Amy; Bohmer, Carol
    In 2005, President Bush signed the Read ID Act, requiring applicants for asylum to provide documentation of their identity and allowing judges to deny asylum to anyone whose family may be connected with a terrorist group. The act is one example of how political asylum policy is intertwined with international security issues. In this project, Amy Shuman and Carol Bohmer examine how humanitarian concerns for refugees come into conflict with security concerns in the United States and Britain. While the goal of political asylum is to provide refuge for the applicant, the process must also protect the state. This contradiction is at the root of current problems in the system.
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    The Effect of Group Leaders
    (2008) Weinberg, Bruce
    Why do some people become leaders? Do group members see leaders as the same or different from themselves? Are leaders chosen because they are representative of the group, or do the actions of the group reflect the will of the leader? Bruce Weinberg tackles these questions by examining the effect of leaders on group behavior. To measure this, Weinberg used the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a data set covering more than 90,000 students in grades 7 though 12 in 132 schools nationwide. Schools make a great laboratory to study social interactions because the information is well defined and consistent from one school to the next.
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    Cultivating the Masses: Soviet State Intervention in its International Context, 1914-39
    (2008) Hoffmann, David
    The Russian Revolution, which seemed to promise liberation and equality for all people, resulted not in a Communist utopia but rather a Stalinist dictatorship, complete with collectivization, bloody purges, and unprecedented state intervention. How do historians explain these events? Most attribute Soviet policies to things unique to Russian and Soviet society, such as the Marxist ideology, autocratic political traditions, or Stalin's personality. Mershon associate and Professor of History David Hoffmann, however, sees Soviet state interventionism not as unique but as an integral part of world history. In his book Cultivating the Masses: Soviet State Intervention in its International Context, 1914-39, under contract with Cornell University Press, Hoffmann argues that the Soviet system was one response to a challenge facing all European countries after World War I – how to prepare and mobilize the population for mass warfare.
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    Sudanese Perspectives on the Darfur Conflict
    (2008) Sikainga, Ahmad
    Since 2004, the Sudanese region of Darfur has been the scene of a violent conflict that the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis and the United States labels genocide. According to reports, Arab Janjaweed militias hired by the Sudanese government have been launching raids, bombings, and attacks on villages in Darfur. Their targets are African-Muslim civilians who support rebel groups seeking political representation and economic reparations. The violence and destruction has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and displaced more than 2 million people from their homes. The tragic events in Darfur have attracted an unprecedented amount of international attention, yet this attention has focused on the human drama rather than analyzing the nature and root causes of the conflict. The Darfur tragedy has been simplified into accounts of "Arabs" killing "Africans," sustaining old stereotypes about Africa as a "dark continent" that is uniquely afflicted by ethnic and tribal wars.
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    Radicals on the Road: Third World Internationalism and American Orientalism during the Viet Nam Era
    (2008) Wu, Judy Tzu-Chun
    The Vietnam War was the longest conflict in American history, defining the political consciousness of a generation. In this book project, Judy Wu explores the lives of Americans who criticized their government's intervention in Southeast Asia
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    Immigrants, Assimilation, and Cultural Threat: A Political Exploration
    (2008) Mughan, Anthony
    Immigration is a controversial issue, dividing Democratic and Republican parties in the Untied States and contributing to the emergence of far-right parties in Europe such as the National Front in France, Vlaams Beland in Belgium, and Dansk Folkeparti in Denmark. Anthony Mughan sees the controversy over immigration as a product of globalization, and his research sheds light on it by using focus groups to uncover perceptions of immigrant assimilation.
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    Colonization in Reverse: Diaspora, Diplomacy, and the 'People's Art'
    (2008) Ferris, Lesley
    For modern multicultural societies to remain stable and secure, a variety of national and ethnic groups must negotiate their identities. Few events represent a successful negotiation as well as the Notting Hill Carnival, held each August in London. In this project, Lesley Ferris examines how Trinidadians used the carnival to negotiate their identity in modern Great Britain, a process poet Louise Bennett called "colonization in reverse."
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    Living Jerusalem: Cultures and Communities in Contention
    (2006) Horowitz, Amy
    Begun by the Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Living Jerusalem brings together scholars, students, and community leaders from Israel, Palestine and the United States. The project addresses questions that arise at the intersection of international security and cultural identity in disputed territories.
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    Symbolic Opposition to the USA Patriot Act
    (2007) Slomczynski, Kazimierz
    In this project, Slomczynski asks what prompts some local governments but not others to engage in such symbolic protest. While most research into protest examines actions such as meetings, demonstrations and strikes on behalf of a specific constituency, much less attention has been paid to protest within state structures. Yet such protest can have great influence over national policy, including security policy. Slomczynski answers his question by using the rubric of policy innovation, or the adoption of rules by legislative units for whom those rules are new.
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    Ostpolitik and Israel, 1966-74
    (2007) Fink, Carole
    Fink hopes to write a balanced history that enlarges our understanding of Ostpolitik and West Germany’s role in the Middle East. In doing so, her book will unite the history of Central Europe during the Cold War with the contemporary history of the Middle East, linking the heir to the Third Reich with the homeland of its victims.
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    Terror's Fourth Wave
    (2006) Crenshaw, Edward; Jenkins, J. Craig
    In “Terror’s Fourth Wave,” Crenshaw and Jenkins focused on ethno-Islamic terrorism by sampling only countries with a sizeable Muslim population -– either 70 nations with populations at least 10 percent Muslim, or 40 nations at least 50 percent Muslim. The ultimate goal was to determine the motivations for ethno-Islamic terrorism, and whether these motivations differ by target. Crenshaw and Jenkins found four triggering factors: a large secular government, greater rights for women, dependence on Western military support, and a sizeable but not dominant Muslim population.
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    Reconstructing the Cold War
    (2006) Hopf, Theodore
    In Reconstructing the Cold War: Identities, Institutions and Interests in Moscow's Foreign Policy Since 1945, Theodore Hopf is undertaking an ambitious project: a social constructivist account of the Cold War.