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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Mershon Center for International Security Studies

The College of Arts and Sciences seeks a director for the Mershon Center for International Security Studies, the intellectual center on campus for the study of national and international security in a global context.

The center director must hold a Ph.D. or equivalent degree and have a record of successful publication and teaching that justifies appointment at the rank of full professor. Experiences in governmental, inter-governmental, and/or non-governmental institutions and agencies dealing with security issues are desirable, as is significant experience of international engagement and collaboration generally.  Applicants should have a track record of academic leadership including grant seeking and institution building.

All interested applicants should submit a curriculum vita and a vision statement outlining their view of security studies and the direction they would like to take the center, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. by Tuesday, September 5, 2017. Read the full job description

Anthony Mughan Richard Gunther Paul Beck Erik Nisbet

Four Mershon Center faculty affiliates have received a $54,000 grant from the Directorate of Political Science in the National Science Foundation to conduct a post-election survey of the British electorate as part of a study comparing 2016 and 2017 elections in Britain, France, Germany, the United States and earlier studies of four countries in Southern Europe.

Principal investigators on the project, entitled “A Changing Electoral Politics in Western Democracies: Comparing the 2017 British Election to France, Germany, the United States, and Southern Europe within the Comparative National Election Study,” include Erik Nisbet, associate professor of communication; Paul Beck, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Social and Behavioral Sciences; Richard Gunther, professor emeritus of political science, and Anthony Mughan, professor of political science and director of the International Studies Program.

Drawing from the same questionnaire used for 49 post-election surveys in 27 countries over the past three decades, the study will allow researchers to do a systematic comparative analysis of voting behavior across eight western democracies, at least three of which have undergone substantial party-system realignment in recent years.

The survey includes voters in the:

  • June 2017 general election in Britain
  • November 2016 presidential election in the United States
  • May 2017 second-round presidential election in France
  • September 2017 federal legislative election in Germany.

Results of this research will help explain fundamental challenges in recent years to established patterns of voting behavior and party structures in Western democracies by focusing on such factors as responses to economic stress, changing patterns in distribution of political information, demand for and satisfaction with democracy, and political polarization.

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Skyler Cranmer

Skyler Cranmer, Carter Phillips and Sue Henry Associate Professor of Political Science and affiliate of the Mershon Center for International Security Studies and Ohio State Discovery Themes' Translational Data Analytics, is co-author of a new study finding that the United Nations acts more than just a bystander to world events.

Instead, Cranmer and collaborator Scott Pauls, professor of mathematics at Dartmouth College, found that the UN "provides a forum where diplomacy reduces the chance of war."

The study appears in the journal Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications. Their study is the first to present evidence that UN voting coalitions improve chance for peace and defensive alliances, not democratization.

In addition to analyzing the UN’s effectiveness at preventing war, Cranmer and Pauls also used General Assembly voting records for more than 65 years to assess the organization’s impact on the spread of democracy and the building of defensive alliances. The review of 5,143 UN General Assembly voting records from 1946 through 2011 found that the process of nations working together over time builds trust and facilitates fast, transparent communication that raises the chance of resolving crises peacefully.

"There is more nuance in voting records than was previously thought," said Cranmer. "The evidence demonstrates that the UN is more effective at achieving its mandate of avoiding wars than many experts think."

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Maciek SlomczynskiCraig Jenkins

Mershon affiliates Craig Jenkins, senior research scientist and professor emeritus of sociology, along with Maciek Slomczynski, professor emeritus of sociology, and Irina Tomescu-Dubrow, visiting scholar in sociology, have received a four-year, $1.4 million award from the National Science Foundation for the project, “Survey Data Recycling: New Analytic Framework, Integrated Database and Tools for Cross-National Social, Behavioral and Economic Research,” starting Sept. 1, 2017.

The award will support the development of a harmonized database derived from more than 3,000 national surveys administered over five decades to more than 3.5 million respondents from more than 150 countries. The project will enable innovative data-intensive research on major substantive topics of social science interest and advances the fields of comparative methodology and of survey data harmonization. Additional principal investigators include Spyros Blanas and Han-Wei Shen from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

The award grew out of a conference held at the Mershon Center in May, "Democracy, the State and Protest: International Perspectives on Methods for the Study of Protest," organized by Jenkins, Slomczynski, and Tomescu-Dubrow. The event examined the relationship between protest and democracy, with an emphasis on measurement and methodology. 

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