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May 2022 Monthly Digest

The Monthly Digest is a resource provided by Security in Context that provides a list of recent publications, calls, conferences and other items relevant to the critical global, security, and international political economy studies audience. In addition to new items, our digest may contain relatively recent entries, so please double check dates on any calls or conferences. All descriptions taken from their original sources unless otherwise indicated. If we’ve missed something, or you have items you’d like to contribute for future digests, please email us at: admin@securityincontext.com.

Books

The Struggle for Development in Iran: The Evolution of Governance, Economy, and Society

Pooya Azadi, Mohsen B. Mesgaran, Matin Mirramezani

This book provides a multidimensional analysis of Iran's struggle for development between 1970 and 2020, focusing on fundamentals, institutions, and socioeconomic trends. The past several decades in Iran have been a period of sluggish and noninclusive economic growth, ill-fated social engineering with an Islamic template, political repression, and extensive environmental degradation. The intellectual discourse surrounding the impediments of growth in Iran has been dominated by an exaggerated notion of the role of ideology, class struggles, imperialism, and historical contingencies, overlooking the profound impacts of institutions and fundamental socioeconomic trends. 

This book aims to fill this gap using positive economics and data-driven analysis to cover a wide array of topics, such as governance, corruption, macroeconomy, population dynamics, labor, financial systems, energy, water scarcity, and food security. Illustrating clearly the complex interactions among different dimensions of Iran's development, this book will be essential for researchers, policy makers, and journalists.

Sextarianism: Sovereignty, Secularism, and the State in Lebanon

Maya Mikdashi

The Lebanese state is structured through religious freedom and secular power sharing across sectarian groups. Every sect has specific laws that govern kinship matters like marriage or inheritance. Together with criminal and civil laws, these laws regulate and produce political difference. But whether women or men, Muslims or Christians, queer or straight, all people in Lebanon have one thing in common—they are biopolitical subjects forged through bureaucratic, ideological, and legal techniques of the state. 

With this book, Maya Mikdashi offers a new way to understand state power, theorizing how sex, sexuality, and sect shape and are shaped by law, secularism, and sovereignty. Drawing on court archives, public records, and ethnography of the Court of Cassation, the highest civil court in Lebanon, Mikdashi shows how political difference is entangled with religious, secular, and sexual difference. She presents state power as inevitably contingent, like the practices of everyday life it engenders, focusing on the regulation of religious conversion, the curation of legal archives, state and parastatal violence, and secular activism. Sextarianism locates state power in the experiences, transitions, uprisings, and violence that people in the Middle East continue to live.

A Brief History of Equality

Thomas Piketty

It’s easy to be pessimistic about inequality. We know it has increased dramatically in many parts of the world over the past two generations. No one has done more to reveal the problem than Thomas Piketty. Now, in this surprising and powerful new work, Piketty reminds us that the grand sweep of history gives us reasons to be optimistic. Over the centuries, he shows, we have been moving toward greater equality.

Piketty guides us with elegance and concision through the great movements that have made the modern world for better and worse: the growth of capitalism, revolutions, imperialism, slavery, wars, and the building of the welfare state. It’s a history of violence and social struggle, punctuated by regression and disaster. But through it all, Piketty shows, human societies have moved fitfully toward a more just distribution of income and assets, a reduction of racial and gender inequalities, and greater access to health care, education, and the rights of citizenship. Our rough march forward is political and ideological, an endless fight against injustice. To keep moving, Piketty argues, we need to learn and commit to what works, to institutional, legal, social, fiscal, and educational systems that can make equality a lasting reality. At the same time, we need to resist historical amnesia and the temptations of cultural separatism and intellectual compartmentalization. At stake is the quality of life for billions of people. We know we can do better, Piketty concludes. The past shows us how. The future is up to us.

Crossing a Line: Laws, Violence, and Roadblocks to Palestinian Political Expression

Amahl Bishara

Palestinians living on different sides of the Green Line make up approximately one-fifth of Israeli citizens and about four-fifths of the population of the West Bank. In both groups, activists assert that they share a single political struggle for national liberation. Yet, obstacles inhibit their ability to speak to each other and as a collective. Geopolitical boundaries fragment Palestinians into ever smaller groups. Crossing a Line enters these distinct environments for political expression and action of Palestinians who carry Israeli citizenship and Palestinians subject to Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, and considers how Palestinians are differently impacted by dispossession, settler colonialism, and militarism.

Amahl Bishara looks to sites of political practice—journalism, historical commemorations, street demonstrations, social media, in prison, and on the road—to analyze how Palestinians create collectivities in these varied circumstances. She draws on firsthand research, personal interviews, and public media to examine how people shape and reshape meanings in circumstances of constraint. In considering these different environments for political expression and action, Bishara illuminates how expression is always grounded in place—and how a people can struggle together for liberation even when they cannot join together in protest.

Scholarships/Fellowships

Call for Applications Mellon Fellowship Program Columbia Global Centers | Amman

Deadline: July 2nd, 2022

Thanks to the generosity of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Columbia Global Centers | Amman (Amman Center) has established the Mellon Fellowship Program. A 12-month fellowship to support emerging displaced scholars working in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

Eligible candidates are scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who have been forcibly uprooted from their home countries and respective academic institutions. They could be graduate students who have had their education disrupted or post-doctoral scholars in the early stages of their careers. Creative writers, artists, curators, and scholars working on interdisciplinary projects are encouraged to apply.

Fellows are expected to make a public presentation at the end of their fellowship of the work they have produced during the fellowship year. The goal of the program is to create opportunities for scholars to reintegrate into academia and resume their academic pursuits.

Journal Articles

International Studies Quarterly, Volume 66, Issue 2, June 2022

Original articles in this volume include: 

Provocation, Public Opinion, and International Disputes: Evidence from China

Allan Dafoe, Samuel Liu, Brian O'Keefe, Jessica Chen Weiss

Defending Society, Building the Nation: Rebel Governance as Competing Biopolitics

David Brenner, Martina Tazzioli

Interests, Institutions, and the Environment: An Examination of Fisheries Subsidies.

Stephanie J Rickard

Solidarity through Cynicism? The Influence of Russian Conspiracy Narratives Abroad

Scott Radnitz

International Bureaucrats and Organizational Performance: Country-Specific Knowledge and Sectoral Knowledge in World Bank Projects

Mirko Heinzel

The Embodiment of Hegemony: Diplomatic Practices in the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry

Lourdes Aguas, Stephen Pampinella

Wrestlemania! Summit Diplomacy and Foreign Policy Performance after Trump

Benjamin S Day, Alister Wedderburn

Political Agency, Victimhood, and Gender in Contexts of Armed Conflict: Moving beyond Dichotomies

Anne-Kathrin Kreft, Philipp Schulz

Who Securitizes? Climate Change Discourse in the United Nations

Sabrina B Arias

‘Little people do little things’: the motivation and recruitment of Viet Cong child soldiers

Mai Anh Nguyen

Children have comprised a significant part of past and present military conflicts; however, attempts to understand their motivations have generally focused on coerced recruitment. When children join military groups without physical coercion, they are portrayed as being driven by economic and social deprivations. This article investigates factors that have been disproportionately overlooked as motivators for child soldiers – social contexts, relationships, and personal histories. To this end, I use a relational approach to analyse life histories of former Viet Cong child soldiers. I explore their lives prior to joining the Viet Cong guerrillas and trace how their choice to do so had been shaped by societal factors including family, perceptions of a good childhood, and previous war exposure. My interviews further indicate that children actively reproduced and appropriated the same practices that predisposed them to take up arms. Evaluated against the backdrop of their social and internal lives, the decision of child soldiers to participate in the Vietnam War is understood to be a product of their personal and social histories. These findings challenge the stereotypical image of the passive child soldier. Such historisation of children’s recruitment helps to destigmatise child soldiers’ experience and allow for a more nuanced understanding of their decisions.

Lectures & Webinars

KnowWar project final conference “Solidarities in Conflict and War Zones”

The Syrian Center for Policy Research (SCPR) held the final conference of the KnowWar project " Solidarities in Conflict and War Zones" in May 11-12, 2022.

Initiated by social movements, the revolts in the Arab world over the last decade have reinforced the relevance of inclusive political systems based on fundamental socio-economic rights. Given the massive material and immaterial destruction, the unprecedented levels of war crimes and forced displacements societies in some Arab countries are confronted with, it comes as no surprise that the initial hopes of creating just and sustained processes to overcome authoritarianism, poverty, and imperial interventions have diminished. Furthermore, Israeli dominance on the Palestinian society in its different localities appears to be as strong as ever. However, cycles of mobilization and protests continue albeit under fundamentally changed circumstances.

In countries subject to counterrevolutions, the space for dissent has diminished to levels lower than they were prior to the conflict. In addition, the analytical confusion about conflict dynamics has made it clear that protests and uprisings in conflict zones under overall imperial conditions cannot be adequately analyzed by adopting mainstream research strategies, tools and epistemologies. Researching back by innovatively creating transformative epistemologies and methodologies has thus become one of the fundamental challenges for KnowWar.   

Against this background and based on reconfiguring solidarities in conflict and war zones, the research project KnowWar rests on the following pillars:

  •  To research on solidarities in and between marginalized Syrian, Palestinian, and Lebanese communities in Lebanon,
  • to work out a concept of solidarity economy under conditions of armed conflict in Syria and colonial occupation in Palestine, and
  • to conceptualize epistemologies for transformative research strategies.

Job Openings

Political Science Professor Position on Gender and Diversity in Politics

Université Laval

The Department of Political Science at Université Laval invites applications for a full-time tenure-track position on Gender and Diversity in Politics. Applications from all areas of the discipline are welcomed.

The appointee’s duties will include teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels, supervising Master’s and Doctoral students, engaging in research and publications, participating in all aspects of academic life and any other activity foreseen in the Collective Agreement. 

Application deadline: August 31st 2022

Job starting date: November 1st 2022

The detailed call for applications can be consulted here: https://www.rh.ulaval.ca/emploi/HCM/5801/votreexpertise

Visiting Assistant Professor in International Relations and Comparative Politics

St. Lawrence University

The Government Department at St. Lawrence University invites applications for a one-year visiting assistant professor in international relations and comparative politics. The successful candidate will be prepared to teach Introduction to International Relations and Introduction to Comparative Politics as well as upper-level elective courses in their regional and substantive areas of expertise. The position is open in regards to areas of focus. The position begins August 2022 and the teaching load is three courses per semester. Applicants should have their Ph.D. in Political Science by August 15, 2022, but ABD candidates may be considered. The successful candidate will join a department of 11 full-time faculty members who are passionate about supporting our liberal arts curriculum through diverse and inclusive pedagogies and scholarly agendas. Our supportive department colleagues regularly provide feedback and mentoring to visiting faculty to foster pedagogical and professional development.

Podcasts

SiC Podcasts' Special Episode - Smear Campaigns Against Palestinian Voices: A Conversation with Khaled Barakat

Khaled Barakat is a Palestinian-Canadian activist and writer, currently based in Vancouver, who was recently subjected to a media and political campaign aimed at silencing him and those fighting for Palestinian rights in Canada. Attempts to criminalize Barakat originated in an article published in the right-wing newspaper The National Post, and quickly became subject of debate in the Canadian Senate, with a conservative senator going so far as to asking the government to expel Barakat, a Canadian citizen, from the country. The campaign against Khaled Barakat is one of many smear campaigns being launched against pro-Palestinian voices, a phenomenon that seems to be increasing nowadays.

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