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Mershon News

Bear Braumoeller

Study finds capable governments more important than weather

COLUMBUS, Ohio – While climate change is expected to lead to more violence related to food scarcity, new research suggests that the strength of a country’s government plays a vital role in preventing uprisings.

“A capable government is even more important to keeping the peace than good weather,” said Bear Braumoeller, co-author of the study and associate professor of political science at The Ohio State University.

While previous studies had examined the impact of climate change-induced weather patterns on violence and the increased danger of violence in weak or failing states, this is the first study to demonstrate that the combination of the two risk factors is even more dangerous than they would be separately.

Braumoeller conducted the study with his former doctoral students Benjamin Jones, now at the University of Mississippi, and Eleonora Mattiacci, now at Amherst College.

Their results appear in the Journal of Peace Research.

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Efe Tokdemir

The Mershon Center has a new visiting scholar for 2017-18 academic year: Efe Tokdemir, a postdoctoral fellow with International Studies Association’s James N. Rosenau Fellowship, who will be working on projects examining causes and consequences of non-violent strategies of both state and non-state actors at the micro-level.

Tokdemir’s research interests lie at the intersection of international relations and comparative politics. His primary research agenda examines how state and non-state actors strategically develop policies in relation to their audience in order to achieve their goals, and how individuals respond to these policies in return. While he focuses on the impacts of state actors' foreign policies to win "hearts and minds'" abroad in his dissertation, he also studies violent non-state actors' reputation-building strategies by bridging individual- and group-level studies.

Tokdemir received his Ph.D. (2017) and M.A. (2015) in political science from Binghamton University, SUNY; and B.A. (2012) in political science and international relations from Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey. His work has so far appeared in various journals including Journal of Peace Research, Conflict Management and Peace Science, International Political Science Review, and Electoral Studies.

Dorothy Noyes

Mershon affiliate Dorothy Noyes, professor of English and comparative studies, has published a new book: Sustaining Interdisciplinary Collaboration: A Guide for the Academy (University of Illinois Press, 2017), co-authored with Regina Bendix and Kilian Bizer.

Sustaining Interdisciplinary Collaboration shows newcomers and veteran researchers how to craft associations that will lead to rich mutual learning under inevitably tricky conditions. Strikingly candid and always grounded, the authors draw a wealth of profound, practical lessons from an in-depth case study of a multiyear funded project on cultural property.

Examining the social dynamics of collaboration, they show readers how to anticipate sources of conflict, nurture trust, and jump-start thinking across disciplines. Researchers and institutions alike will learn to plan for each phase of a project life cycle, capturing insights and shepherding involvement along the way.

Because much of Noyes’s contribution to the book draws heavily from her work at the Mershon Center, we asked her about her long experience as a folklorist collaborating with scholars in international relations and security studies.

Q. How is your work in folklore studies informed by activities and events at the Mershon Center?

I’ve been at Mershon for almost as long as I’ve been at Ohio State because it offers such stimulating counterpoint to my own thinking. As a folklorist, I start with the ethnographic detail and work up to interpretation, comparison, and theory. The social scientists at Mershon often work in the other direction: That inspires me to join rigor to openness.

Learning from Mershon’s historians and political scientists has helped me to carry my interest in political performance into new arenas, such as cultural diplomacy. And I’ve learned how I and my students can explain our work better to others: This has made it easy for me to enter into interdisciplinary collaborations in Germany and elsewhere.

There isn’t a straight line of influence, but conversations at Mershon have been important for the framing of my current book project on the idea of exemplarity in liberal politics.

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Last week the American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced the election of 228 new members, including some of the world's most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists, as well as civic, business, and philanthropic leaders.

Among them were two Mershon faculty affiliates: Janet Box-Steffensmeier, Vernal Riffe Professor of Political Science and professor of sociology, and Geoffrey Parker, Andreas Dorpalen Professor of History.

"I am particularly thrilled by this honor because I'm one of three Ohio State University members in the Class of 2017 -- all of them from the College of Arts and Sciences," Parker said.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the country's oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from the academic, business, and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing — and opportunities available to — the nation and the world.

Members contribute to Academy publications and studies in science, engineering, and technology policy; global security and international affairs; the humanities, arts, and education; and American institutions and the public good.

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 7, 2017, in Cambridge, Mass.

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Each year, the Mershon Center for International Security Studies at The Ohio State University gives the Edgar S. Furniss Book Award to an author whose first book makes an exceptional contribution to the field of international security studies. The award commemorates the founding director of the Mershon Center, Edgar S. Furniss.

The Mershon Center is seeking nominations for the 2016 Furniss Book Award. The committee will consider any first book that makes a theoretical and policy impact on our understanding of any of the following themes:

  • Use of force and diplomacy.
  • Ideas, identities, and decisional processes that affect security.
  • Institutions that manage violent conflict.

The Furniss Book Award was given for the first time in 1983 and has been awarded to several of the field's most prominent scholars early in their careers. Previous winners include John Mearsheimer, Barry Posen, and Stephen Walt.

Please note that in order to be considered, the book must be the author's first and be copyrighted in 2016. Edited volumes are not eligible, nor are books by current Mershon Center affiliates due to conflict of interest. Copies of books submitted for the award cannot be returned. The deadline for receiving nominations for the 2016 award is May 31, 2017.

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Featured News

  • Keren Yarhi-Milo

    Yarhi-Milo’s ‘Knowing the Adversary’ wins Furniss Book Award

    States are more likely to engage in military buildups and pre-emptive strikes if they think their adversaries pose a tangible threat. But how do they make that determination?

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  • Jacob Shapiro

    Shapiro wins Furniss Book Award for ‘The Terrorist’s Dilemma’

    How do terrorist groups control their members? Do the tools groups use to monitor their operatives and enforce discipline create security vulnerabilities that governments can exploit?

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