Government and International Relations Colloquium Series

The Department of Government and International Relations Colloquium Series aims to showcase recent research by members of the Department, visiting scholars and international and interstate guests in an informal setting, conducive to lively debate. It is an open event and everyone is welcome to attend. If you would like to be informed of future events then please contact who will add your name to our email list. The Series is coordinated by .

Semester 2, 2016

Thursday 4 August 2016, 12-1.30pm
Speaker: Dr Jill Sheppard
Australian National University
Topic: Explaining anomalous political assimilation among immigrants to Australia

Recent studies of political behaviour have found that immigrants to Australia are disproportionately likely to donate time and money to election campaigns, in contrast to evidence from the United States, Canada, and western Europe. This study uses data the 2013 Australian Election Study, which oversampled first- and second-generation migrants, to examine participation in election campaign. Disaggregating immigrants by region of origin reveals substantial differences between ethnic groups, with Asian-born immigrants significantly more likely to participate in a campaign than Australian-born citizens, and other first-generation immigrants. However, Asian-born and European-born immigrants are significantly less likely to participate in non-campaign forms of participation, such as petition-signing and similar behaviours more adversarial toward the state. Multinomial logit analyses compare the effects of political socialisation, experience with democracy, post-migration experiences, and demographic covariates on their behaviour in Australia. Specifically, experience with, and orientation toward, autocracy predicts state-affirming political participation among Australian migrants. These results update previous findings from the Australian case (which preceded recent waves of immigration and declines in participation rates among Australian-born citizens), contrast starkly with evidence from similar liberal democracies, and offer normative implications for the integration of immigrants into democratic systems.

About the speaker: Dr Jill SheppardDr Jill Sheppard is a lecturer in ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods & School of Politics and International Relations. Her areas of expertise are Australian Government And Politics and Comparative Government And Politics. Her research interests are Political behaviour (voting, non-electoral participation and attitudes), Australian and comparative politics, Internet politics and e-participation, Survey and quantitative methodology.
Venue: Room 397 Merewether building, H04 [map]

Monday 22 August 2016, 12-1.30pm
Speaker: Professor Richard Sakwa
University of Kent
Topic: Russia between the Old West and New Asia: Alternative Modernities and Competing World Orders

When George Orwell coined the term ‘cold war’ in an article in Tribune in October 1945, he could hardly have imagined that 70 years later one of the most active debates would be whether the term ‘new cold war’ was the right one to describe the renewed period of confrontation between Russia and the West. The intervening period saw the 45-year Cold War until around 1989, followed by the 25 years of the ‘cold peace’. The nuclear balance helped prolong indefinitely a ‘peace that is no peace’, as Orwell put it. In 2014 the European security system established in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall collapsed in a spectacular manner. It turned out that for a quarter of a century Europe had been living in an extended period of indeterminacy, caught between the continuation of old institutions and practices while new structures and ideas failed to flourish. In those years none of the fundamental problems of European security were resolved, giving rise to the 25 years of the ‘cold peace’. The failure to create a genuinely inclusive and comprehensive peace order encompassing the whole continent gave way to a new period of confrontation and contestation and a new division of Europe. The first part of the lecture traces the crisis in world order up to 2014, and the second part examines the theoretical and empirical dynamics of the crisis today based on the idea of multiple modernities and world orders.

About the speaker: Richard_SRichard Sakwa is Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent at Canterbury and an Associate Fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House. After graduating in History from the London School of Economics, he took a PhD from the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Birmingham. He held lectureships at the Universities of Essex and California, Santa Cruz, before joining the University of Kent in 1987. He has published widely on Soviet, Russian and post-communist affairs. Books include Communism in Russia: An Interpretative Essay, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2010 (with a Russian version published by Rosspen in 2011), The Crisis of Russian Democracy: The Dual State, Factionalism and the Medvedev Succession (Cambridge University Press, 2011), Putin and the Oligarch: The Khodorkovsky - Yukos Affair (London and New York, I. B. Tauris, 2014) and Putin Redux: Power and Contradiction in Contemporary Russia (London and New York, Routledge, 2014). His latest book is Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands published with a new Afterword by I. B. Tauris in 2016. He is currently working on a book called Russia against the Rest: Problematizing the Post-Cold War Crisis of World Order (contracted for Cambridge University Press).
Venue: Room 397 Merewether building, H04 [map]

Monday 22 August 2016, 4-5.30pm
Speaker: Professor Andrew Russell
University of Manchester
Topic: Youth Politics: Engagement-Disengagement, Rights-Responsibilities, Policy and Practice.

It is clear that young people in the many established democracies are not completely disengaged with politics. Indeed youth activists were frequently seen to be at the heart of the success of recent phenomena , especially in ‘new politics’ from both sides of the Scottish Referendum campaign, the rise of the SNP and other challenger parties, and the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader in the UK.

However, the picture of youth politics is more complex than is commonly portrayed and understanding the nature of engagement/disengagement of young people is necessary in order to apply effectively to the policy arena.

Using evidence from the UK, Europe and Africa Andrew Russell argues that in order to take youth rights seriously some of the current repertoires of campaigning need to be restructured. In particular he believes that some of the arguments about youth rights are inconsistent and troubling. He argues for instance that the case for lowering the voting age in the UK (a common prescription put forward for improving youth engagement) is less persuasive now than it has been for the past 50 years.

About the speaker: Andrew RAndrew Russell is Professor of Politics at the University of Manchester. He has written extensively on party politics and engagement of hard to reach groups – especially young people and some minority ethnic communities. He served on the UK Electoral Commission’s Project Board into the Age of Majority whose recommendations led to the reduction of the minimum age of candidature in UK (from 21 to 18) elections in 2006 and was on the advisory board of the Youth Citizenship Commission. He was international mentor to a team of OSI youth fellows in Central and Eastern Europe from 2008-10 , and was an official election observer for the Commonwealth during the 2009 elections in Mozambique. He is a board member of the Campaign for Social Science.
Venue: Room 397 Merewether building, H04 [map]

Thursday 8 September 2016, 12-1:30pm
Speaker: Professor Michael Barnett
George Washington University
Topic: Human Rights and Humanitarianism: Are these Distinctions without a Difference?

Human rights and humanitarianism are emerging as distinct fields of practice and scholarly inquiry, alongside a growing recognition that the boundaries between them are increasingly porous. This talk considers whether and how a practice perspective might help us sort through the differences between human rights and humanitarianism, and, in turn, how this exercise contributes to an understanding of the limits and promise of a practice perspective.

About the speaker: alex_prichardMichael Barnett is University Professor of International Affairs and Political Science at the George Washington University. His research interests include the Middle East, humanitarian action, global governance, global ethics, and the United Nations. Among his many books are Eyewitness to a Genocide: The United Nations and Rwanda; Dialogues in Arab Politics: Negotiations in Regional Order; Empire of Humanity: A History of Humanitarianism; Rules for the World: International Organizations in World Politics (with Martha Finnemore); Security Communities (co-edited with Emanuel Adler); Sacred Aid (co-edited with Janice Stein); Power and Global Governance (co-edited with Raymond Duvall); and Humanitarianism in Question (co-edited with Thomas Weiss). 
Currently, he is an Associate Editor of International Organization. His current research projects range from international paternalism, the changing architecture of global governance, to the relationship between human rights and humanitarianism. His most recent book is The Star and the Stripes: A History of the Foreign Policies of the American Jews (Princeton University Press).
Venue: Room 397 Merewether building, H04 [map]

Tuesday 4 October 2016, 12-1:30pm Joint Seminar with Political Economy
Speaker: Professor Andrew Hindmoor
University of Sheffield and University of Queensland
Topic: Through the looking glass: Austerity and the left in Britain

Our sense of history defines how we think about who we are. The left has a pretty clear sense of Britain’s recent history. It is the history of austerity. The Conservatives returned to office in 2010 and reverted to type. They cut taxes and slashed public expenditure and brushed aside anyone who dared suggest any economic alternatives. The costs of austerity were loaded on to the poor. Labour lost in 2015 because it failed to challenge the Conservatives and instead offered the electorate austerity-light. I think this history is wrong. Austerity is one part of a larger story. The left holds to a remorselessly bleak view of British political history – one in which Margaret Thatcher’s election in 1979 marked the start of a still-continuing decline and fall marked by inequality, social decay, rampant individualism, political failure and, above all, the triumph of a free-market neoliberal ideology. This is wrong because Britain has in many respects become a much more politically progressive country over the last four decades.

About the speaker: Andrew HindmoorAndrew completed a PhD at the London School of Economics in 1996. He has lectured at the London School of Economics, Durham University, the University of Exeter and the University of Queensland in Australia. Prior to moving to Sheffield he was Associate Dean of Research at the Faculty of Social Science in the University of Queensland. Professor Hindmoor has received a national teaching award from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council. He is an Associate Editor of the journal New Political Economy and a member of the Editorial Board of the Government and Opposition. He was the Academic co-convenor of the 2015 Political Studies Association conference in Sheffield. Professor Hindmoor’s research and teaching interests include British politics, political economy, public policy and rational choice theory.
Venue: Darlington Centre the Boardroom, H02 [map]

Thursday 13 October 2016, 12-1:30pm
Speaker: Dr Caroline Close
Université Libre de Bruxelles CEVIPOL
Host: Associate Professor Anika Gauja
Department of Government and International Relations
Topic: Morality politics in the European Parliament: An Analysis of MEPs’ Vote on Abortion and Embryonic Stem Cell Research (1998-2013)

This research examines how the members of the European Parliament (MEPs) vote on morality issues, i.e. issues that are framed in terms of (religious) values. The literature on MEPs’ voting behaviour and on European parliamentary group cohesion is well-documented. Theoretically, the principal-agent framework has helped to understand the extent to which MEPs represent and act in accordance with the interests of their electoral constituency, national party or government, or European parliamentary group. Empirically, roll-call voting, survey data and legislative speeches analysis have been used to grasp these dynamics. The current research aims at assessing the extent to which morality politics confirms or challenges our knowledge of legislative dynamics in the European Parliament (EP). Morality politics has indeed the potential to alter legislative behaviour in the EP given (1) their non-binding character at the European Union level, and (2) the fact that they affect individuals’ personal values and convictions. The research focuses on two types of issues that have been debated within the European institutions: that of abortion, tackled through parliamentary reports on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR); and that of human embryonic stem cell research (hESCR), dealt with through the successive European research framework programs. This research uses both existing quantitative data (roll call voting, MEP survey, national parties’ manifesto data) and qualitative analysis (interviews with MEPs). The interviews provide extensive and unique information on how MEPs explain their voting behaviour on morality issues and that of their colleagues. Among other results, the interviews confirm the role of different 'principals' in determining how an MEP votes on morality issues, but the respondents also insist on the great degree of freedom that the European parliamentary arena offers to its members to express their personal values and convictions on these topics. Besides, both the aggregate and the individual-level data show important disparity between European groups and national contexts in terms of cohesion and positioning, and indicate that morality issues, although non-binding, constitute a key field for the expression of ‘culture wars’ in the European Union.

About the speaker: CarolineCCaroline Close is a FNRS Postdoctoral Researcher at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium), in the Centre for the Study of Politics (CEVIPOL). Her main research interests are party cohesion, party organisation, party ideology, democratic innovations and legislative studies. She is involved in the international MAPP network (Members and Activists of Political Parties). She has recently published an article in Party Politics, entitled 'Parliamentary party loyalty and party family: the missing link?'. From September to December 2016, she will be a Visiting Fellow at the University of Sydney.
Venue: Room 397 Merewether building, H04 [map]

Thursday 27 October 2016, 12-1:30pm
Speaker: Professor Allan McConnell
Department of Government and International Relations
Topic: Hidden Agendas: The Dark Side of Public Policy

Allan McConnell (presenting) and David Marsh

Democratically-elected governments come to power and claim to govern in the public interest. Yet there is little more damning than the discovery they have been deliberately misleading citizens and other stakeholders about government’s motives and goals. Hidden agendas can damage public trust in political figures/policy processes, and harness energies towards producing outcomes that covertly serve some interests and perhaps even damage others. Yet for all the concepts, theories and heuristics that exist across a vast range of political phenomena, we have not been able to find a single article which examines the concept of ‘hidden agendas’ per se. This presentation/paper provides a novel heuristic to help analysts approach this important but grossly under-researched topic. After tackling difficult methodological issues surrounding how we research the 'hidden', it addresses issues such as who hides? What do they hide? What tools/ techniques are used to hide? What are the consequences of hidden agendas that remain hidden? And what are the consequences once hidden agendas are exposed?

About the speaker: AllanMAllan McConnell is a political scientist whose main interests lie in various aspects of public policy making. He is particularly interested in issues of success and failure. Aspects of his research deal with the policy and political dimensions of crises, disasters and policy failures. Issues include contingency planning, political leadership, accountability, inquiries and learning. One of the main themes is the political nature (large P and small p) of public authority responses to crisis, rather than them being simply 'rational' responses to extraordinary phenomena. Other aspects of his research focus on the issue of policy success. A recent book Understanding Policy Success: Rethinking Public Policy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) deals with this rarely-studied topic, including the relationship between success and failure. In doing so it helps explain, he argues, many under-researched phenomena, such as hidden agendas, 'policy on the hoof' and 'good politics but bad policy'. Allan is currently working on several solo and collaborative projects which develop these themes in areas such as the global financial crisis, Scottish devolution, hidden agendas, models of the policy process and the politics of policy inaction.
Venue: Room 397 Merewether building, H04 [map]

Tuesday 8 November 2016, 12-1:30pm
Speaker: Professor Ron Krebs
University of Minnesota
Topic: War and the Fate of Democracy: Battlefield Lessons and the Politics of the Exceptional

Liberal-democratic institutions suffer amidst insecurity and violence: executive authority grows while checks on the executive wither, rights of due process are set aside, free expression fades, the rule of law is undermined. But the long-run impact of violent conflict on contestation is both more important and less well understood. In contrast to unidirectional arguments—that war sparks a backlash against executive overstepping, or that it casts a long shadow as emergency measures become the “new normal”—I aver that violence and warfare do not produce uniform effects on political institutions and practices and should not feature as the unvarying subjects of a simplistic morality play: sometimes they bolster and sometimes they weaken contestation. Whereas many believe that only high-intensity, long-lasting wars have lasting consequences, I maintain that even limited threats and military campaigns can leave a deep imprint on domestic politics. I argue instead that violence’s effects hinge on narratives of identity and how they collide with or are reinforced by the nation’s experiences on the field of battle. When battlefield experience reinforces narratives of superiority, contestation suffers at home; when it undermines those narratives, contestation is invigorated. I also show that how wars are framed—as total, transformative, or restorative—shapes the terrain of contestation. To illustrate these dynamics, I draw on cross-national evidence, but focus especially on Israel in the half-century since the 1967 war.

About the speaker: RonRon Krebs is Beverly and Richard Fink Professor in the Liberal Arts and Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. He is the author most recently of Narrative and the Making of US National Security(Cambridge UP, 2015), which received the 2016 Robert L. Jervis and Paul W. Schroeder Best Book Award in International History and Politics and the 2016 Giovanni Sartori Book Award, for the best book developing or applying qualitative methods, from the American Political Science Association. Ron Krebs is co-editor of “Rhetoric & Grand Strategy,” a special issue of Security Studies (2015), co-editor of In War's Wake: International Conflict and the Fate of Liberal Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2010), and author of Fighting for Rights: Military Service and the Politics of Citizenship (Cornell University Press, 2006). He currently sits on the editorial boards of Security Studies and the Journal of Global Security Studies.
Venue: Room 397 Merewether building, H04 [map]

Semester 1, 2016

Thursday 3 March 2016, 12-1.30pm
Speaker: Professor Brian Woodall
Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology
Topic: Energy Security, Environmental Angst, and Japan’s Evolving Developmental State

Many assumed that the Fukushima nuclear crisis would dictate a swift, dramatic reconfiguration of the institutional infrastructure of Japanese energy policy. Yet, to date, changes have been surprisingly modest. Moreover, despite compelling reasons to do so, Japanese policymakers and business leaders have yet to embrace a strategy that fully exploits renewable energy resources, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and expands cleantech capabilities and use. Why not? The central thesis of this study is that these and other puzzling counterfactuals of Japanese energy policymaking derive from institutional hangover, structural rigidities, and path dependence that are by-products of Japan’s postwar approach to economic development. Although the basic institutional architecture of Japanese energy policy has been overhauled only a handful of times, each instance was precipitated by mounting discontent over the environmental consequences – and other “social costs” – of energy policy choices. This research employs an unique brand of institutionalist theory to explain the ongoing saga and broad implications of Japan’s energy policy choices and their environmental consequences.

About the speaker: Prof Brian WoodallBrian Woodall is a professor in Georgia Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs. He received his PhD in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley, and has held faculty positions at the University of California at Irvine and at Harvard University as well as visiting appointments at the University of Tokyo, Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Tōhoku University. His major publications include Growing Democracy in Japan: The Parliamentary Cabinet System Since 1868, Japan Under Construction: Corruption, Politics, and Public Works, and Japan's Changing World Role, and, as co-editor and contributor, Elections in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan Under the Single Non-Transferable Vote. He has received funding support from the Fulbright Commission (U.S. Japan Educational Commission), Coca-Cola Foundation, U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission, the Abe Fellowship Program of the Social Science Research Council, the University of California Pacific Rim Research Program, and the Japan Foundation. His current research explores issues related to Japanese and East Asian energy and environmental policies.
Venue: Darlington Centre Conference Room [map]

Thursday 24 March 2016, 12-1:30pm
Speaker: Professor Gideon Aran
The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
Topic: Three Comments on Suicide Terrorism

Terrorism research is monopolized by Political Scientists. International Relations Academics, and to a lesser degree, specialists in Strategy, Intelligence, Military Affairs, Psychology, Law, Communication, and Area Studies.

I would like to propose an alternative perspective – an Anthropological one. The distinct contribution of my discipline's outlook is not only theoretical but rather also methodological. Hence, the data and arguments that I will present in the seminar were drawn from a field-study that drew evidence from primary sources. The latter involved extensive observations and in-depth interviews.

I will discuss the case study of Palestinian suicide terrorism within 1967 Israel during the Second Intifada, 2000-2005. My study focuses on the actual arena where the explosions took place. An attempt was made to get as close as possible – in time and place – to the encounter of the perpetrator of the violent act with his/her target community. The complex linkage between the perpetrator and the victims of the attack is the empirical as well as analytical focus of my study.

The insight and data I bring are drawn from my forthcoming book titled Accidental Monsters and the Cult of Dismembered Limbs: a Study of Suicide Terrorism (Columbia University Press).

About the speaker: Professor Gideon_AranGideon Aran is a professor of sociology and anthropology at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. His field of expertise is the social scientific study of religion, on the one hand, and extremism, militancy and violence, on the other hand. In recent years he focused his teaching and writing on the intersection where the above two meet, namely fundamentalism and contemporary as well as historical forms of ultra-religiosity; oppositional underground cells; political (Ethno-National) charismatic radical cults; and religious terrorism, in various Western and Middle Eastern contexts, especially in the Jewish/Israeli one and with regard to the conflict with the Palestinians in particular.
Venue: Darlington Centre Conference Room [map]

Thursday 7 April 2016, 12-1.30pm
Speaker: Dr Ryan Griffiths
University of Sydney
Topic: Between Eurocentrism and Babel: A Framework for the Analysis of States, State Systems, and International Orders

Mindful of the growing interest in non-Western forms of political order, we propose a framework for the analysis of states, state systems, and international orders. We posit a culturally neutral definition of the state and outline a method for assessing variation in political organization both within and above the state. This framework cleanly delineates hierarchy from anarchy and can be applied to a diverse set of state systems. We then show how the content of international orders is inter-related with state and system structure and the local density (interaction capacity) of the region. We argue that our framework captures the similarities and exposes the differences between different systems and orders over time and space. It strikes a balance between the traditional focus on the Western experience and the current trend toward regional studies in which it is difficult to accumulate knowledge across systems.

About the speaker: Griffiths_RyanGriffiths' research focuses on two related areas. The first examines the dynamics of secession with a particular emphasis on the international and domestic causes of secessionist conflict over time. He has recently begun a second book that looks at the relationship between democracy and secessionist outcomes, a project that is being funded by an ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award. The second research area investigates the organization of the international system, with a specific interest in sovereignty and different types of political order, historically and in the future. Griffiths is one of the lead investigators on the International System(s) Dataset (ISD) Project, an effort supported by an ARC Discovery Grant.
Venue: Room 397 Merewether building, H04 [map]

Thursday 14 April 2016, 12-1:30pm
Speaker: Dr Alex Prichard
University of Exeter
Topic: Occupy Anarchy! A reply to Jack Donnelly's 'The Discourse of Anarchy in IR'

Jack Donnelly recently argued that because anarchy is not a transhistorical feature of international systems, and because research geared around the concept has produced no new insights, that anarchy fails as a key concept for the field. IR should, he argues, revert to using anarchy in its common or garden sense, to mean peril and disorder. I disagree. I argue that Donnelly's literalist approach to concept analysis closes down how we might understand the use of anarchy in IR theory. Deploying a contextualist approach to concepts, I re-read Waltz to show that anarchy is fundamentally about freedom and security, not a variable or 'demarcation criteria'. I use this re-reading of Waltz to lead into discussion of anarchist accounts of anarchy and argue that for anarchists anarchy is the ontological precondition of politics and freedom as such. For anarchists, like Waltz, defending anarchy is central to defending an account of freedom and security. Where anarchists and Waltz part company is around the relative merits of the state and capitalism to that end. Reverting to an account of anarchy as peril and disorder plays into the hands of the statist, Hobbesian discourse that Donnelly nominally rejects.

About the speaker: alex_prichardDr Alex Prichard was appointed lecturer in International Relations at the University of Exeter in 2012. He was previously LSE Fellow in International Political Theory (2010-2012), an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Bristol (2009-2010), and before that a Teaching Fellow and Research Officer at the University of Bath (2008-2009). In 2005 he co-founded the PSA Anarchist Studies Network, and in 2012 he co-founded and now co-edit the monograph series 'Contemporary Anarchist Studies', published by Manchester University Press and distributed in the USA by Oxford University Press. The series is the only one dedicated to contemporary writing on anarchist theory and practice. Full details on how to submit manuscript proposals can be found on the MUP website.
Venue: Room 397 Merewether building, H04 [map]

Thursday 5 May 2016, 12-1:30pm
Speaker: Associate Professor Robert Mickey
The University of Michigan
Topic: Why American Efforts at Nation-Building Usually Fail: Evidence from Iraq and the Post-Civil War Reconstruction of the U. S. South

Proponents of American nation-building haven’t gone away. Rather, they argue that by avoiding strategic and tactical missteps, nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan would have succeeded.

This presentation offers a different, and structural, view of nation-building. First, it provides a more comprehensive conceptual understanding of five core components of nation-building, each of which is very difficult to accomplish. Second, it highlights the importance of sequencing, and suggests why progress on some dimensions of nation-building may imperil success on others. Third, it explores how nation-building is rendered extremely difficult by agrarian structures based upon large landholdings and the coercive recruitment and deployment of agrarian labor. Fourth, when labor-repressive agriculture impedes nation-building, it does so in ways that lower the likelihood of future success.

These claims are advanced by comparing efforts to reconstruct the post-Civil War U. S. South as well as the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.

About the speaker: FeldmanI teach and study U.S. politics in historical (and occasionally cross-national) perspective. I'm interested in the contemporary politics of American economic inequality, racial politics, and American political development. At the undergraduate level, I teach the department's introductory course to U.S. politics, as well as courses on the politics of economic inequality, America's political economy, U.S. policymaking, race and American political development, urban politics, southern political development, and slavery. I have also helped run the department's honors thesis program. For graduate students, I teach the department's pro-seminar in U.S. politics, American political development, U.S. political economy, organized interests, and race and American political development. I have also taught seminars on U.S. parties, urban politics, and regimes and regime change, as well as causal inference in small-n research (with Anna Grzymala-Busse). Since 2008, I have served as a core faculty member of the University of Michigan site of the RWJ Scholars in Health Policy Research Program.
Venue: Room 397 Merewether building, H04 [map]

Thursday 12 May 2016, 12-1:30pm
Speaker: Professor Stanley Feldman
Stony Brook University
Topic: Compassionate Policy Support: The Interplay of Empathy and Ideology

Empathy is a basic human ability and a critical foundation of social cooperation and caregiving. In modern societies it is a likely motivator of support for social welfare programs. Drawing on data from two studies, we examine the power of empathy to shape support for social welfare policies across the U.S. political spectrum and examine the consequences of potential conflicts between empathy and political ideology. We draw on recent research on the dynamics of empathy to explain how people control their feelings of sympathy when it becomes too costly or conflicts with their values. We assess empathic ability with Baron-Cohen and colleagues’ (2001) “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” task and find that it powerfully increases support for an individual welfare recipient and social welfare policies among political liberals in the U.S. In contrast, empathy decreases support for the same welfare recipient and a range of social welfare policies among political conservatives. We also show that conservatives are more willing to express support for needy individuals when empathy does not conflict with their ideological views. In essence, empathy drives support for social welfare policies among many Americans but creates a difficult conflict for those who most strongly endorse individualism and other conservative values. We discuss the political implications of our findings.

About the speaker: FeldmanMy research focuses on the origins of political preferences. I am particularly interested in the structure of political ideology and values, and the psychological bases of attitudes and opinions. I am currently working on projects to better understand the nature and complexity of ideology and the implications of this complexity for explanations of core political attitudes and beliefs. My work has examined the impact of personality characteristics on political attitudes, particularly authoritarianism. I am developing a new research project to look at the effects of oxytocin on political orientations. I am also interested in the role of emotions in politics.
Venue: Room 397 Merewether building, H04 [map]

Thursday 26 May 2016, 12-1:30pm
Speaker: Associate Professor Anne McNevin
The New School for Social Research, The New School
Topic: Human Displacement and the Crisis of Hospitality: Reflections on the Spirit of Refugee Law and the Example of Acehnese Fishermen

Pointing to the proliferation of non-entrée strategies amongst states that are signatories to the Refugee Convention, I suggest in this paper that the current ‘refugee crisis’ is better understood as a crisis of hospitality. Drawing on Jacques Derrida’s reflections on the subject, I argue that hospitality, rather than compliance with international law, provides a better register through which to assess the desirability of various (prevailing and extraordinary) responses to human displacement. The focus then shifts to a particular arena of the crisis of hospitality in the South East Asian context. I draw attention to the rescue of Rohingya in the Andaman Sea by Acehnese Fishermen in May 2015. I engage this specific example as evidence of the hospitality and normative pluralism that exist beyond the compulsions of law with respect to human displacement and that play a part in shaping wider responses. I engage this example, also, in a mode of critique. The actions of the Acehnese fishermen can be read on one hand as an implicit critique of the technical rationality of the international refugee regime, and on the other, as a resource for renewing the spirit of international refugee law.

About the speaker: AnneAnne McNevin is Associate Professor of Politics at The New School. Her research interests include critical and post-colonial International Relations; theories of citizenship; radical democratic theories; migration studies, border studies, and governmentality. She is author of Contesting Citizenship: Irregular Migrants and New Frontiers of the Political (Columbia UP, 2011) and associate editor of Citizenship Studies. Anne is currently collaborating with anthropologist Antje Missbach on a project about “Migration Management” in the Indonesian context.
Venue: Room 397 Merewether building, H04 [map]