About the Presenters Spring 2019

“Shaikh Qasim Al-Thani and the emergence of Qatar”
James Reardon-Anderson
Georgetown University in Qatar

This study traces the career of Sheikh Qasim (Jassim) bin Mohammed Al-Thani, the second in the line of Al-Thani rulers (later term “emirs”), who is widely regarded as the central figure in the establishment of the state of Qatar and the House of Al-Thani.  The main argument is that Sheikh Qasim was a tribal chief, who in that role followed the tradition of seeking both the security and the expansion of his realm by short-term initiatives that lacked strategic vision or purpose, but amounted over time in the creation of an independent political unit that had all the features of a modern state.  This is a revision of the view, celebrated by the hagiography of Qasim and the prevailing account of the state of Qatar and its ruling family, which presents Qasim as a heroic figure who set out to create something unknown to his contemporaries, and thus seeks to place the story of Qasim and of Qatar in a more realistic account of historical development.

James Reardon-Anderson is professor of history in the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar.  From 2005-09, he served as the founding dean of GUQ and served again as dean, from 2016-17, before returning full-time to the GUQ faculty.  He has written and published extensively on the history of China, and is now turning his attention to the history of Qatar and the Gulf. 

“Staging the Incas in Colonial Lima”
María Soledad Barbón
University of Massachusetts at Amherst

This talk centers on what constitutes one of the most important innovations in Lima’s festive culture during colonial times, namely the officially sanctioned participation of Amerindians as an ethnic group. Under Habsburg rule, Amerindians had offered festive tributes in other major cities, which most notably featured processions of Inca kings. It was, however, only in 1723 that the “Incas” were also brought to the capital of the viceroyalty. Drawing on a wide range of rare published and hitherto unknown manuscript materials, this talk traces the development of indigenous festivals from 1723 until 1790. During this period these fiestas underwent significant change: Inca processions were first reduced and then finally abolished; the providential view of Peru’s history, which emphasized the voluntary surrender of the Incas to the Spaniards faded into the background, and the military conquest was foregrounded. Indigenous performances were gradually stripped of traces of ambiguity. Archival records show that, despite outwardly praising and supporting Amerindian festivals, the colonial authorities never ceased to look with a wary eye at indigenous performance of fealty. Were they marching as vassals of the king or as rulers in their own right?

Professor Barbón holds a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from the University of Cologne, Germany. Her teaching and research interests include the literature and culture of colonial Latin America, transtatlantic studies, hemispheric studies, and anthropophagy. She is the author of Peruanische Satire am Vorabend der Unabhängigkeit (Droz) as well as of articles on colonial literature and culture. Her book Colonial Loyalties: Celebrating the Spanish Monarchy in Eighteenth-Century Lima is under contract with the University of Notre Dame Press. Before joining the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Massachusetts, she held appointments at the University of Cologne, the University of Michigan, and the University of Washington.

"The Long Road to Health: Healthcare Utilization Impacts of a Road Pavement Policy in Rural India"
Shilpa Aggarwal
Indian School of Business

Despite demand-stimulation efforts, coverage rates of many essential health services remain low in developing countries, suggesting that there may be binding supply constraints, such as poor access. This paper utilizes quasi-random variations in road pavement intensity to study the impact of improved access on adoption of reproductive health services. I find that road construction led to higher rates of institutional antenatal-care and deliveries, which translated into better medical care and vaccination coverage. Most gains accrue from repeat visits by existing patients, and some from new entrants into the formal health sector. Evidence suggests that beneficiaries travel farther to see better providers.

Shilpa Aggrawal is Assistant Professor at the Indian School of Business. Her area of research is in development economics where she has studied the effects of transportation infrastructure and microfinance on developing economies. She received her PhD in Economics from U.C. Santa Cruz in 2014.

"The Hermeneutics of Black Theology"
Clifton R. Clarke
Fuller Theological Seminary

This talk will explore how the biblical text is read and interpreted by key black theological scholars. It will particularly expose the privilege reading of the dominant white culture that serves to subjugate people of color in the USA.

Clifton Clarke is the Assistant Provost of African American Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is was born and raised in the United Kingdom and taught for many years at the University of Nottingham before moving to the USA to teach African American Studies.

“Modern Muslim Theology”
Martin Nguyen
Fairfield University

In this talk, Professor Nguyen presents a contemporary theological framework for Muslim Theologyrooted in the practice of the religious imagination. Concerned with cultivating a life of faith and righteousness for the present, the book re-conceptualizes key religious ideas, like revelation, tradition, and prayer, through an array of theological approaches (figurative, historical, narrative, and practical). In a field that has traditionally been dominated by Christian Theology, Professor Nguyen makes both a scholarly and practical intervention.

Martin Nguyen is Associate Professor of Islamic Religious Traditions in the Religious Studies Department, Faculty Chair for Diversity, and Director of the Islamic World Studies Minor Program at Fairfield University. He received his B.A. in Religious Studies and History from the University of Virginia and then went on to earn a Masters of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) from the Harvard Divinity School. Following this, he joined the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University where he completed a joint-program Ph.D. in Middle Eastern Studies and History.

"Just Labour Markets: Asset Equality versus Workplace Democracy?"
Christian Schemmel
University of Manchester

Liberal republican theories of justice require that people be protected against domination – against others’ capacity to interfere with significant choices or interests of theirs in an arbitrary, or uncontrolled, fashion (republican), while also insisting that they enjoy far-reaching autonomy in developing and exercising their own conception of the good (liberal). There is currently much debate about what kind of workplace regime these theories imply. Should they aim at a very competitive labour market in which all would be-employees have equal, and high, bargaining power over job choice and conditions because they possess equal assets (“a property-owning democracy”) – without much state regulation of how workplace relations ought to look like? Or is there is a strong case for mandating a high degree of workplace democracy on these theories? The former option looks attractive on both republican and liberal counts. Workers’ non-domination is secured by strong exit rights, and they remain able to freely choose their preferred work environment, including a non-democratic one.
     However, this paper argues that liberal republicans should nevertheless endorse a high degree of mandatory workplace democracy. This conclusion is favoured by the conjunction of two arguments. The first is that all labour markets need, on pain of being massively inefficient, a default workplace regime enshrined in corporate and employment law. But the very existence of such a default regime considerably constrains the possibility of free negotiation over job conditions which the equal assets-solution prizes. The second argument is that the default should be set in favour of workplace democracy, because workers - especially those lacking highly sought-after skills (and perhaps also those with hyperspecialised skills)  – tend to face difficulties of exit that employers do not face, even on a very competitive labour market characterized by equal background assets, and even under low to no involuntary unemployment. Exit can have high costs for workers, measured in disruption to personal lives, while not tending to disrupt the employers’ personal life to a similar extent (if she has one at all; corporations do not). If personal costs are high, economic opportunity of exit does not suffice for non-domination. Liberal objections to workplace democracy based on efficiency, exploitation, and non-perfectionism, have little purchase against this argument.  A better objection would have to show that exit has special protective capacities against domination for groups other than those most protected by workplace democracy, and that we should, on balance, favour their increased protection over that of the latter.
    If the argument is sound, it should be of interest not only for the debate in political philosophy on the socio-economic implications of liberal republicanism, but also for comparative political economy. One might think that different countries with different workplace regimes face different, but equally good, routes towards more social justice on the labour market, and in workplace regimes: those with some mandatory workplace democracy (for example, Sweden and Germany) should go for more of it, and those without (for example, the US and the UK) should aim at increasing and equalising employees' individual bargaining and exit powers. If the argument is sound, the second strategy cannot be as good as the first.

Christian Schemmel is a Lecturer in Political Theory at MANCEPT, (Manchester Centre for Political Theory), University of Manchester.  
Before joining MANCEPT, he  was a Research Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Studies “Justitia Amplificata –Rethinking Justice”, and a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute Florence. His research interests are theories of social justice and equality, liberalism and republicanism, global justice, political theory of the welfare state, and moral psychology (self-respect and other self-evaluative attitudes).