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  • Author: Gary King, Melissa Sands
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: 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.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michelle Nicholasen
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: or more than two decades, economist Dani Rodrik has warned about the dangers of what he has called “hyperglobalization.” He has long argued that national economies and domestic policies should have priority amidst a rising tide of unfettered globalization and open markets. Today we have some evidence that he was right. Our race toward “one world economy” has produced consequences in the form of global social inequality and populist or extremist political movements, for example. Rodrik envisions a way to keep bringing down trade barriers while maintaining the integrity of the nation-state. His latest book, Straight Talk on Trade, is a synthesis of his monthly columns for Project Syndicate, and functions as a roadmap of Rodrik’s prolific analyses. The Weatherhead Center spoke to him about his long view on world economies.
  • Topic: Globalization, Science and Technology, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michelle Nicholasen, Lucie White
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: To what extent does poverty contribute to social exclusion? How can the exclusion of particular groups be reduced? These were just two of the questions scholars addressed at the Social Inclusion and Poverty Eradication Workshop on November 17–18, 2016, a two-day event co-sponsored by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, the Center for European Studies, and the Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP). The conference was convened by Weatherhead Center Director Michèle Lamont, Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies and professor of sociology and of African and African American studies at Harvard University; and Hilary Silver, professor of sociology and urban studies and professor of public policy at Brown University. Though the related challenges of poverty and exclusion have been exhaustively studied individually, their mutual interplay, in their socioeconomic and historical contexts, have rarely been mapped in a nuanced way. As Lamont and Silver emphasized in their remarks, only by subtle analysis of these interactions can responsive strategies be designed to alleviate the impacts of either factor. Lamont addressed the theme of intersection by calling for the reintroduction of the concept of “culture” into the study of poverty and social exclusion. Supporting this frame, keynote speaker Vijayendra Rao, lead economist for the World Bank’s Development Research Group, emphasized working within a local culture to help citizens arrive at their own solutions for more social engagement.
  • Topic: Poverty, Culture, World Bank, Discrimination, Socioeconomics , Exclusion
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David C. Atkinson
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Thomas Schelling’s passing last month represents a great loss to many in this community and beyond. He leaves a remarkably rich intellectual legacy. Among his many achievements, Schelling’s influence on the theory and practice of arms control cannot be overstated. He produced his seminal works on the subject—Strategy and Arms Control, published with Morton Halperin in 1961, and Arms and Influence, published in 1966—during his twelve years in residence at the Center for International Affairs (1959–1971). I had the pleasure of spending time with Professor Schelling at his home in Bethesda while researching my book on the history of the Center in 2005. Two things stood out from that conversation then, and perhaps even more so now in retrospect. First, Schelling was deeply committed to policy-relevant research, and his long life of work reflects that fact. Secondly—and relatedly—his work on the efficacy and control of nuclear weapons remains a singular benchmark for research in the field and a profoundly erudite and intelligent guide for today’s policy makers, just as it was for their predecessors some sixty years ago.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Military Strategy, Nuclear Power, Weapons
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nina Gheihman
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The year 2016 was hailed the “Year of Veganism.”[1] In the last year alone, Google searches for the term “vegan” increased by 32 percent; the World Health Organization classified processed meat as a carcinogen in the same class as cigarettes[2]; and a survey by Nutrition Business Journal found that more than a third of people consume dairy and meat alternatives regularly.[3] While many people still see veganism—the non-consumption of products derived from animals—as an extreme cultural practice, it is clear that veganism is no longer a marginalized social movement. This brings up the intriguing sociological question: How does a fringe cultural practice become mainstream? Cultural and organizational sociologists have long studied why people join social movements, how social movements grow, and their consequences. However, less well understood are the microdynamics by which social movements become culturally meaningful. In my preliminary research I argue that the primary driver of the increased interest in veganism over the last five years can be attributed to the emergence of a new class of promoters I call “cultural brokers” who have transformed what it means to be an activist today. These brokers have a foot in several worlds—some in the corporate realm, others in the media, and still others in academia. Given their position in these intersecting fields, they are able to draw on ideas and resources from various spheres, and therefore change the collective societal image we have of veganism. At the same time, given that veganism is an increasingly global movement, these brokers must be strategic to target their work in particular ways across social contexts, since what is effective in one society may not resonate in the same way in another setting. Why practice veganism? There are the proven health benefits of cutting out animal products, the huge environmental costs of meat, and the ethical issues of modern-day factory farming and food security. From a health perspective, plant foods have the potential to improve human health and reduce healthcare costs globally by preventing lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and certain site-specific cancers.[4] From an environmental perspective, according to a 2006 UN Report, livestock are responsible for approximately 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions[5], more than the entire global transportation sector.[6] Animal agriculture is also a dominant contributor to concurrent environmental problems such as land use, freshwater pollution, food waste, species extinction, deforestation and native habitat destruction, erosion, and pesticide usage for monoculture feed stocks.[7]
  • Topic: Environment, Food, Social Movement, Veganism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michelle Nicholasen
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: If you live in a developed country, you are among those enjoying the “Long Peace,” a period marked by the absence of large scale interstate war since the end of 1945. It is the longest period of such calm in modern history. During this same time period, however, the world’s pockets of conflict have moved away from the frontiers and turned, instead, inward. “The Long Peace stands under a dark shadow—the shadow of civil war,” writes Harvard historian and Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate David Armitage, whose new book, Civil Wars: A History in Ideas tracks the evolution of human understanding of civil war over two millennia.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Civil War, Peace, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Michelle Nicholasen
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In one of the popular Madeline children’s stories, the well-known redheaded French schoolgirl runs away with her friend Pepito to join a caravan of Gypsies who train them to perform in their traveling circus. At first they are thrilled not to have to go to school or brush their teeth. But when they become homesick, the Gypsy mother sews them into a lion costume, effectively kidnapping them. Of course it ends well, with a rescued Madeline exchanging farewells with the affectionate Gypsy mother and children and returning to boarding school. Is this a harmless children’s adventure story or does it perpetuate an enduring stereotype of criminality and indifference among a little-understood ethnic group? The educational crisis of Romani children (pejoratively referenced as “Gypsies”) is just one of many research topics spearheaded by a faculty team from the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center on Health and Human Rights at Harvard. Ask an American if they know someone of Roma heritage, and they will likely draw a blank. But mention the word “Gypsy” and a flood of associations will come to mind, especially from childhood.
  • Topic: Culture, Ethnicity, Diversity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Adrien Abecassis
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: One of the key questions in the current debate on the causes of the rise of populism is whether the economic harshness and distrust in traditional political parties increase or decrease election turnout. This question was debated in a recent roundtable discussion, organized by the Weatherhead Research Cluster on Global Populism, on the economic and cultural causes of populism’s prevalence. Would voters struck by economic shocks—those whose futures seemed to be vulnerable, and who have lost their sense of security about their own lives and that of their children’s—tend to vote to prevent this from happening? Or would their suffering cause them to retreat and withdraw from political elections? And indeed, the answer is not obvious: Luigi Guiso et al. found that economic security shocks significantly increased the likelihood of abstention, while David Autor et al. showed that economic shocks due to foreign trade competition raised—not lowered—voter turnout.
  • Topic: Elections, Populism, Political Parties, Election Interference
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Meg Murphy
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Peter Galison, the Joseph Pellegrino University Professor at Harvard University, is fascinated by the “concrete visuals behind what might appear to be pure abstraction.” His new film Containment is about nuclear waste and its safekeeping for now and the next 10,000 years. The film is co-directed with Robb Moss, Harvard College Professor and chair of the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, a friend with whom Galison also produced the documentary Secrecy, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008. A historian of science and a physicist, Galison, the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant,” is known for his keen investigations into the outer edge of physics and scientific experimentation. He spoke with the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, where he is a Faculty Associate, about the recurring concepts that drive his curiosity and the thought process that led to Containment.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Nuclear Waste, Physics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Meg Murphy
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The International Criminal Court is saving civilian lives in multiple countries, according to research that provides the first quantitative evidence. The study by professors at Harvard University and Texas A&M, which will be featured in the summer issue of the journal International Organization, has drawn widespread attention from people on either side of a polarized debate about the ICC’s role in international justice. Vocal critics have long claimed the ICC is an ineffective obstacle to peace processes while enthusiasts believe it useful in advancing global peace and security. The underlying question: is the ICC irreparably flawed or an institution worth investing in? Now researchers Beth A. Simmons and Hyeran Jo have contributed a systematic study that can impartially inform this pressing debate in international affairs.
  • Topic: United Nations, Legal Theory , Peace, International Criminal Court (ICC)
  • Political Geography: Global Focus