About the Presenters Fall 2017

Transitioning to a basic income in Australia: Policy innovation, preparedness and implementation
Jennifer Mays
Queensland University of Technology

Exploring the potential for designing and implementing a basic income scheme in Australia is timely, given the global renewed interest in basic income proposals. The crisis tendencies of neo-liberalism and pursuit of austerity measures by advanced western countries (USA, UK, and Australia) have contributed to a reinvigoration of the basic income debate. Much of the discussion has been due to the failures of neoliberalism in advanced western democracies to live up to its claims of producing strong economic growth and economic security. The momentum in Australia is also fuelled by the insights generated from international trials, experiments and modelling. Australia is at a point where it can go beyond merely debating the merits of a basic income proposal to undertaking innovative social and economic modelling specific to our region.

Macroeconomic modelling requires the development of a hybrid model that encapsulates social and economic dimensions such as political and macro-economic context, feasibility and innovation. In order for basic income to gain further traction in the Australian policy landscape, broad based support for the proposal is required. This colloquial will explore the three key themes of innovation, preparedness and implementation dimensions in the transition to a basic income scheme. The colloquial assesses contemporary experience, current priorities and the conceptual framework in preparation for the social and economic modelling of a basic income scheme in Australia. Attention will be paid to the consideration of
major hurdles to get over in transitioning to a basic income. For example, some of the hurdles include the false debates about can we afford it (cost, distributional impact and feasibility), everyone would stop working, it punishes innovation and hard work, this generation is solely responsible for success, and people should not get something for nothing. Insights from international leading policy experts will inform the development of a large-scale research project that pilots various basic income experiments nation-wide.

Jennifer Mays is Course Coordinator (Human Services) in the School of Public Health and Social Work, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. She has extensive professional and academic experience working in the university, and disability government, non-government and community sectors, spanning 20+ years. Jenni assists in the development and promotion of the Basic Income Guarantee Australia (BIGA) website. Her areas of research expertise include Basic Income, poverty, social policy (income support, disability), critical feminist disability theory (prevention of violence against women with disabilities), and comparative policy analysis, with an emphasis on qualitative research paradigms (comparative welfare state regimes, critical discourse analysis, ethnography). She has a strong track record in disability policy, community consultation, engagement and project management. In her capacity as an academic, Jenni has been committed to researching across these areas to enhance the social justice, citizenship and well-being of all, inclusive of people with disabilities, especially women with disabilities spanning international, national and local contexts. Her recent articles include: Mays, J. (2015). Australia’s disabling income support system: Tracing the history of the disability pension from 1908 to current. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 50(3), 253-276; and Mays, J. (2016). Countering the disablism: An alternative universal income support system based on egalitarianism. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 18(2), 106-117. She recently co-published the edited text book: Mays, J., Marston, G., & Tomlinson, J. (Eds.). (2016). Basic income in Australia and New Zealand: Perspectives from neo-liberal frontiers. Basic Income Series. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Justice and Solidarity in a Divided World
Grace Ji-Sun Kim
Earlham School of Religion


In a broken world of misgivings, misrepresentations, and misunderstandings among the diverse human family created by God, we need to go to the margins to create a pathway toward healing and hope. As a poor Jewish peasant teacher from Nazareth, Jesus was marginalized and stood in solidarity with the marginalized throughout the Roman Empire. Jesus’s incarnate life, kingdom teaching, and crucifixion on a Roman cross unveil God as a lover of justice, peace, and liberation.

Those in power often share a gospel of an all-powerful God that is disconnected from the poor’s daily struggles through which their community resists oppression and struggles to achieve fullness of life.  The God of the privileged does not exist in the margins but rather remains in the center, safe and secure from all alarm. The God of the center who may be spoken of in the margins, but never comes to live there, in the dire circumstances of dirt-poverty. The direct movement of coming towards the marginalized peoples with the intention of building deep solidarity with them as they “enflesh freedom” is an affront to the God of the privileged center.
Pushed to the margins, women around the globe have an attentive sensitivity to experiences of oppression. The deep wounds of women are raw and painful within a patriarchal world.  Traditional theologies posit that the God of the Center reaches out to the marginalized with inclusive love. Yet, in such theologies the center remains central command, determining who will be included and excluded. This creates an obvious structural disadvantage for those on the periphery.  In many ways, church politics and theology still rely upon modern, masculine epistemologies of the center and continue to institute them. Epistemologies of the center only perpetuates the status quo and keeps power with those who are at the center.  This center epistemology needs to be challenged and redefined so that the marginalized can claim their rightful seats at the table and voices in the dialogue.

Grace Ji-Sun Kim received her M.Div. from Knox College (University of Toronto) and her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. She is an Associate Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion.
Kim is the author or editor of 12 books, most recently,  Mother Daughter Speak, co-written with Elisabeth Sophia Lee; Making Peace with the Earth: Action and Advocacy for Climate Justice (WCC); Embracing the Other: The Transformative Spirit of Love (Eerdmans); and Here I Am: Faith Stories of Korean American Clergywomen (Judson Press).
Kim is a co-editor with Dr. Joseph Cheah for the Palgrave Macmillan Book Series, “Asian Christianity in the Diaspora”. Kim is on the Board of Directors for the American Academy of Religion. She is a co-chair of AAR’s steering committee, “Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching and Activism Group.” She is a steering committee member of AAR’s “Comparative Theology Group” and “Religion and Migration Group.”  She sits on the editorial board for the Journal for Religion and Popular Culture and is a referee for 3 journals: Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion, Journal of Religion and Popular Culture and The Global Studies Journal. She is an Advisory Board Member for the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School.
Kim writes for The Huffington Post, Sojourners, EthicsDaily.com, Wabash Center and Feminist Studies in Religion (co-editor).
She has also written for TIME, The Feminist Wire, Feminism and Religion, The Forum for Theological Education, 99 Brattle and The Nation.

Caravan of Martyrs
David Edwards
Williams College

Caravan of Martyrs examines the transformation of sacrificial ideology and ritual in Afghanistan from the beginning of the war in 1978 to the present. Sacrifice is viewed here as a simple machine for transforming biological death into diverse forms of social meaning. Beginning with a discussion of sacrifice as an instrument of peacemaking in the context of tribal feud, the book considers how sacrifice in the form of martyrdom was used as an instrument of political power by the Islamic political parties that rose up to oppose the Soviet occupiers in the 1980s. The book continues with an analysis of Taliban efforts to recast sacrifice as public scapegoating rituals intended to legitimize their authority, and then continues with an examination of the role of “Afghan Arabs,” most notably Abdullah ‘Azzam and Osama bin Laden, in transforming martyrdom from a retrospective conferral of status on the dead to the active pursuit of sacrificial death by the living. The book then looks at the development of suicide bombing in Afghanistan following September 11th. In contrast to most analyses that focus either on strategy or psychology, Caravan of Martyrs views suicide bombing in cultural terms and relates it to the structural and moral dilemmas created by American occupation and control. The final chapters focus on the role of Facebook and other forms of social media in creating a new cult of martyrs among Afghan youth and considers the implications of the rise of suicide bombing.

The Role of Analogy in Rhetoric and Cross-cultural Communication
Asun Lopez-Varala
Facultad Filología,
Universidad Complutense de Madrid


This lecture explores ways of opening textual formats prior to the digital era. It examines forms of hybrid narratology, that is, the juxtaposition of different sets of languages (natural, mathematical, geometric, etc.) in Lewis Carroll’s Alice books, and in two adaptations (one short filmic example from Svankmajer's Jabberworky and an online digital display) that this study can help understand similar mobilizing situations arising from the incorporation of layers of code to analogic interfaces in digitalization.

The research shows that forms of hybrid narratology were already there before the digital era, and that along with crossings in art representation, a process initially known as ekphrasis and more recently meta-representation, these forms contributed to the mobilization of spatio-temporal structures, opening the text in multiple ways.
However, the paradox is that, at the epistemological level of production, circulation and reception, these hybrid dialogic forms were (are) intended as points of consilience (the unification of knowledge). The argument behind this paper is that consilience is in close relationship to the idea of the complete work of art (Gesamtkunstwerk), the desire for an entity that holds the plurality of worlds within the unity of a nutshell. 

Prof Asun López-Varela is Associate Professor at Facultad Filología, Universidad Complutense de Madrid since 1994. She holds a PhD Anglo-American Culture and Literary Studies, and Diploma of Advance Studies in Spanish Literature from UNED, and a Master in Education Management from the Open University London. Her research interests are Comparative and World Literature, Cultural and Education Studies, as well as Cognitive and Intermedial Semiotics.
In 2007 she created the research program  Studies on Intermediality and Intercultural Mediation SIIM. López-Varela has been visiting scholar at Brown University (2010) and Harvard University (2013) and  visiting professor at Delhi University (2011), Beijng Language and Culture University (every year since 2012), Kazakh National University, Almaty (2013, 2014). Tamkang University, Taipei & Sun Jat Sen Univ. Kaohsiung (2014-2015).  

Micro-histories of Southern Afghanistan and the Taliban
Alex Strick van Linschoten


Many articles and books have been written about the Taliban, but much of this has been polemic in nature and has ignored the growing mass of primary source material that is available to the interested researcher. This talk will outline the movement's pre-2001 history using unpublished written accounts -- some books, some archival newspapers -- which have thus far never been used by historians. I will explain the importance of these accounts, and possible future uses by researchers seeking to explain the Taliban movement.

Alex Strick van Linschoten is the author and editor of three acclaimed books relating to the Afghan Taliban. He received his PhD from King's College London at the War Studies Department in 2016. He is currently working on an anthology/reader of primary sources relating to the Afghan Taliban and lives in Amman.

The Causes and Consequences of Agricultural Specialization in Brazil
Heitor Pellegrina
New York University in Abu Dhabi

Pellegrina formulates and estimates a quantitative spatial equilibrium model to study causes and consequences of the regional patterns of agricultural specialization in Brazil. He found that both heterogeneities in natural advantages across counties and input intensity across crops are central causes of agricultural specialization, but that differences in transportation costs across crops play a minor role. He evaluates the effects of trade with China and public research that adapted soybeans to tropical regions. These shocks expanded the production of land-intensive crops in particular regions, releasing labor to economic activities elsewhere, generating gains that are not captured by local measures of the impact of these shocks. Moreover, macroeconomic conditions shape the return to adapting soybeans, for example, the internal rate of return is 30% lower in the absence of trade with China.

Dr. Pellegrina studies the role of the agricultural sector within developing economies.  He recently received his PhD from Brown University and will begin teaching at at NYU Abu Dhabi in Fall 2018.

The Political Economy of Basic Income Experiments
Karl Widerquist
Georgetown University in Qatar


Many countries are considering running basic income experiments or pilot projects. Interest is so high that it seems likely that there will be several government-run basic income projects within the next few years. This development signals an enormous increase in interest in basic income, and it signals that the interest has reached the highest levels of power. But a basic income experiment can be a mixed blessing for the basic income movement. It can deflect political momentum at a time when it is peaking and put off wider action to a time when the political situation is less favorable. The results can be spun in damaging ways. This article discusses some of the promise and some of the problems that could come with the basic income experiments that are likely to take place in the following years. Hopefully, this discussion will provide insights that will help make the most of the experiments.

Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor at SFS-Qatar, specializing in political philosophy. His research is mostly in the area of distributive justice—the ethics of who has what. He holds two doctorates—one in Political Theory form Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996).

Before coming to Georgetown he was lecturer in Political Theory at the University of Reading (UK) and a Murphy Fellow at Tulane University in New Orleans (LA). He has written or edited six books. He is the author of Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). He is coauthor of Economics for Social Workers (Columbia University Press 2002). He is coeditor of, Basic Income: An Anthology of Contemporary Research (Wiley-Blackwell 2013), Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend: Examining its Suitability as a Model (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), Exporting the Alaska Model: Adapting the Permanent Fund Dividend for Reform around the World (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), and the Ethics and Economics of the Basic Income Guarantee (Ashgate 2005). He is currently under contract to author or coauthor two more books: Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press 2014) and Justice as the Pursuit of Accord (Palgrave Macmillan 2015). He was a founding editor of the journal Basic Income Studies, and he has published more than a twenty scholarly articles and book chapters. His articles have appeared in journals such as Political Studies; the Eastern Economic Journal; Politics and Society; and Politics, Philosophy, and Economics.

Austin Knuppe
Ohio State University
When Does Foreign Security Assistance Undermine Local Security Providers?: Evidence from Iraq

How does foreign security assistance affect civilian support for local security providers in fragile states? Can external states advise and assist their local partners without undermining these groups’ reputations in the eyes of local noncombatants? I investigate these questions in the context of contemporary Iraq, where a U.S.-led coalition advises, assists, and equips the Iraqi army and federal police in their campaign against the Islamic State. Through a series of surveys and embedded experiments, I investigate the conditions under which foreign assistance undermines public trust in local security provision. These studies form the empirical cornerstone of a larger project investigating the determinants of public legitimacy for security institutions in fragile states.

Austin Knuppe is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at The Ohio State University. With concentrations in international relations and political methodology, his research interests include post-conflict statebuilding, militia politics, and the study of religion in international politics. His dissertation examines US security force assistance to the anti-ISIL coalition in Iraq, focusing on how noncombatants perceive of the legitimacy of foreign support to local security providers. Other work develops a typology of state building strategies used by great powers, as well as how non-state militias legitimize their activity in the eyes of the civilian population.  His work has been supported by the U.S. Institute of Peace, the John Templeton Foundation, the Mershon Center for International Security Studies, and the Ohio State Decision Science Collaborative.

Anatol Lieven
Georgetown University in Qatar
"How Many Babies Did Putin Eat Last Month? A report from the Valdai Conference, October 2017."

The quality of leadership in Western democracies today does not hold up well in comparison with the leadership of Russia or China. The West has maintained its advantage through the legitimacy of its democratic institutions. However, those institutions appear to be crumbling as a result of deepening cultural, racial and class differences, and a failure to address the issue of migration.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin seems to be in very good shape. He will almost certainly stand for election as president again next year (and win, naturally). On the other hand, we heard nothing about further economic reforms. If these possible under the system that Putin has created, then they will have to wait for the next Russian presidency in 2024; and, of course, one of the greatest tests of his system—as of any governing system—will be whether it survives the transition from its founder to his successor.
On relations with the West, there has been no change since Trump’s inauguration. While Western leaders see the “ball in Russia’s court” when it comes to seeking a resolution of the Ukraine conflict under the Minsk agreement, Putin remarked that Russia believes that under that agreement, the ball is in the West’s court when it comes to bringing Kiev to negotiate an agreement on autonomy with the Donbas.
Moscow remains committed to the Iran nuclear deal, but hopes Germany, France and Britain will take the lead in standing up for it. Once upon a time, they would have hoped that the Europeans would form a bloc with Russia on this, but after repeated disappointments that hope has faded. However, the Russian establishment’s long-term goal is still to form a cooperative partnership with Germany to maintain stability in Europe in accordance with their common interests.

Professor Anatol Lieven teaches International Politics at Georgetown University in Qatar. He received a BA in History (double first) and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Cambridge. Before joining academia, he spent most of his career as a foreign correspondent for British newspapers, and later as a member of think tanks in Washington DC. Between 2007 and 2014 he worked in the War Studies Department of King’s College London, where he remains a visiting professor.
His main project at present is a book on the history of the Pashtun ethnicity in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the context of the wider history and theoretical analysis of modern nationalism (commissioned by Yale University Press).
His taught courses at Georgetown in Qatar include international security issues; US foreign policy; war and diplomacy in Afghanistan and South Asia; comparative political systems and the history, theory and comparative study of nationalism.
He is author of numerous books, including Pakistan: A Hard Country (2012); America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism (second edition 2012); and Ukraine and Russia: A Fraternal Rivalry (1999).