About the Presenters Fall 2018

"Current Approaches to World Literature: Reviewing the Debates".
Ian Almond
Georgetown University in Qatar

Over the past twenty years, the phrase "World Literature" has re-emerged from its origins in the nineteenth century (Goethe, Marx) to its diffusion today as a term of central debate - either a word which offers a gathering together of a variety of different writers and cultures, or alternatively a handy marketing term offering financial opportunities to universities, anthologists and global publishers. How is the term being contested today - what is its relationship to global commerce, geo-politics and that tired word, 'globalisation'? what exactly is at stake in the term? how do we arrive at an accurate and fair way of speaking about the history and cultural output of an entire planet - is it even a meaningful goal? or should we abandon the term completely and draw back realistically into the specifics of our own individual contexts and cultures?

Ian Almond is Professor of World Literature. He is the author of five books, most recently Two Faiths, One Banner (Harvard University Press, 2009) and The Thought of Nirad C. Chaudhuri (Cambridge University Press, 2015), and over forty articles in a variety of journals including PMLA, Radical Philosophy, ELH, New Literary History and the Harvard Theological Review. He specializes in comparative world literature, with a tri-continental emphasis on Mexico, Bengal and Turkey. His work has been translated into twelve languages (Arabic, Arabic, German, Korean, Indonesian, Bengali, Bosnian/Serbo-Croat, Russian, Polish, Portuguese, Persian, and Turkish). The Arabic translation of his book Sufism and Deconstruction was shortlisted (one of 7) for the largest literary prize in existence, the Sheikh Zayed Book Prize. The Korean translation of his book Two Faiths One Banner won the Book of the Month award.

“The Past as Prologue: NATO Enlargement and the Origins of Russian Revisionism”
Joshua Shifrinson
Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University

At Cold War’s end, did the United States promise the Soviet Union that the U.S. would not expand NATO into the USSR’s former Eastern European sphere of influence?  Since 1991, a range of former Soviet and Russian leaders have charged that NATO enlargement violated an American pledge not to expand the transatlantic alliance in the post-Cold War era; not coincidentally, they also point to this alleged violation when explaining the origins of Russian revisionism in its near abroad. Western scholars and policymakers, in contrast, largely reject Russian accusations, seeing Russian charges as a ploy to legitimate Russian aggression undertaken for other reasons.  Drawing on a range of recently declassified archival materials and international relations theory, this project re-evaluates claims of a NATO non-expansion pledge and the origins of NATO enlargement more generally.  I find that not only did American policymakers systematically imply to then-Soviet officials that NATO would not expand after the Cold War, but they were engaged in an effort to ensure that Europe’s post-Cold War security architecture would leave the United States with a free hand to enlarge NATO if it so chose.  These results - while certainly not justifying recent Russian aggression - thus carry implications for understanding the systemic sources of Russian behavior and highlight potential pathways for improving U.S.-Russian relations today.

Dr. Joshua Shifrinson research interests include US foreign policy, grand strategy, diplomatic history, and international relations theory. His forthcoming book, Rising Titans, Falling Giants: Rising States and the Fate of Declining Great Powers (Cornell University Press), draws heavily on the United States’ own growth as a great power to explore why some rising states prey upon declining great powers, while others embrace conciliatory and supportive strategies. Other projects investigate US-Soviet/Russian relations during and after the Cold War, alliance politics, and great power politics in the nuclear age using extensive archival research and other qualitative methods.
Shifrinson’s work has been supported by fellowships from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson Center, Dickey Center for International Understanding, and George Washington University’s Institute for Security and Conflict Studies.

"Internationalized Armed Conflicts in International Law"
Kubo Mačák 
Senior Lecturer in Law

This talk examines factors that transform a prima facie non-international armed conflict (NIAC) into an international armed conflict (IAC) and the consequences that follow from this process of internationalization. It examines in detail the historical development as well as the current state of the relevant rules of international humanitarian law.

Kubo joined the University of Exeter as a Lecturer in Law in August 2013 and has been a Senior Lecturer since August 2016. He also led the mooting programme at Exeter Law School from 2013 to 2016. He holds the degrees of DPhil, MPhil, and MJur from the University of Oxford, and an undergraduate degree in law from Charles University in Prague. In 2012, he was awarded the Diploma of the Hague Academy of International Law.

"Pluralism and Contentious Politics in France"
Amanda Garrett
Georgetown University in Qatar

Why do we see urban riots in some local European contexts but not in others? Using the natural social science experiment of the 2005 riots in France, this study aims to deepen our understanding of the conditions under which minorities engage in violent political confrontations with the state. In contrast with accounts that emphasize the effects of socio-economic inequality, cultural variables or national integration regimes, this research proposes a distinctively political explanation for group violence at the local level in Europe. More specifically, when the breadth and depth of the relationship between local political elites and minority populations is either too robust or too feeble, the risk of minority conflict increases as minorities experience diminished leverage vis-à-vis the socio-political infrastructure; whereas the features of strong party competition and strategic minority alliances militate against the onset of violence by decreasing its value as a tool for political expression.

Amanda Garrett is an Assistant Professor of political science at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar. Dr. Garrett received her Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University in 2013. She specializes in comparative and international politics, with a focus on the implications of migration and ethnic diversity in advanced democracies. Her work has examined the domestic consequences of international immigration and integration, the determinants of ethnic violence, the political incorporation of minorities, and the role of Islam in western societies.
From 2013 to 2015 Dr. Garrett worked as a Lecturer in Comparative Ethnic Politics and Conflict at Harvard and as a Visiting Research Scholar at the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies at New York University. She has also been a fellow in the Multidisciplinary Program for Inequality and Social Policy at the Kennedy School of Government (2008-2013), a visiting researcher at Sciences Po Paris (2012), and an International Parliamentary Fellow at the German Bundestag in Berlin (2006). Dr. Garrett’s research has been supported by the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship Program, the National Science Foundation’s Multidisciplinary Program for Inequality and Social Policy, and the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. Dr. Garrett holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley (2005).

"Revolutionary Nonviolence"
Mark Lance
Georgetown University

When we consider social movements to transform society, there is a tendency to associate nonviolence with modest or reformist aspirations. Violence, it is often assumed is inherently more radical, and more suited to changing the fundamental features of our social situation. This is wrong, I believe, on both pragmatic and conceptual grounds. Pragmatically, such associations involve both a limited awareness of the range of possible nonviolent tactics, and an unreasonably optimistic assessment of the likely effects of violence. Conceptually, one can argue that a proper understanding of what it takes to bring about truly radical changes in society implies that such changes must be largely and strategically nonviolent. This is not to say that the achievement of radical change will never involve isolated acts of violence, but that the primary strategic course will be nonviolent. 

This paper is a part of a book project with Matt Meyer in which our primary aim is to build a plausible strategic vision of nonviolent revolutionary change in the contemporary world.

Mark Lance is currently a Professor in both the philosophy department and the program on justice and peace, which he co-founded. Professor Lance works mostly in the areas of philosophy of language, metaphysics and epistemology, and philosophical logic, but writes as well on pragmatism, feminism, meta-ethics, the foundations of mathematics, anarchist theory and applied issues of social justice activism. He has published over 40 articles and two books, most recently two papers on the nature of normativity. He is currently writing a book on revolutionary nonviolence, continuing his normative pragmatics project with Rebecca Kukla, finishing a paper on the nature of faith that has a lot to do with normative pragmatics and nothing to do with God, and working with The Truth Telling Project on a wide range of resources to educate and organize around White Supremacy. Outside of philosophy, Prof. Lance is an activist, organizer, and popular educator on issues of social justice, anarchism, and revolutionary nonviolence, a rower, and a chess player.