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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Jesse Driscoll

The breakup of the Soviet Union was unexpected and unexpectedly peaceful. Although a third of the new states fell into violent conflict, anarchy was soon brought under

control. What explains this relatively quick transition to order and stability in the post-Soviet periphery?

Jesse Driscoll, assistant professor of political science at University of California-San Diego, explores this question in Warlords and Coalition Politics in Post-Soviet States (Cambridge University Press, 2015), winner of the Mershon Center's Edgar S. Furniss Book Award.

Driscoll will speak at the Mershon Center at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 14, 2017. More information will be forthcoming

about this event.

In his book, Driscoll argues that the relative stability in the post-Soviet periphery cannot be explained by security guarantees from Russia or the United Nations. Rather, in the wake of a failed state, local warlords competed and colluded in a high-risk and ruthless game of forming coalitions that resulted in the emergence of well-functioning domestic hierarchies.

Drawing on a structured comparison of militia members in Georgia and Tajikistan, Driscoll combines rich comparative data with formal modeling, treating the post-Soviet space as a laboratory to observe the limits of great powers' efforts to shape domestic institutions in weak states.

The Furniss Award commemorates the founding director of the Mershon Center, Edgar S. Furniss, and is given annually to an author whose first book makes an exceptional contribution to the study of national and international security. Previous winners include John Mearsheimer, Barry Posen, and Stephen Walt.

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Hollie Nyseth Brehm

Mershon faculty affiliate Hollie Nyseth Brehm, assistant professor of sociology, has been selected by the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) for its Emerging Scholar Prize. The prize is awarded to one early-career scholar globally each year.

The IAGS is a global, interdisciplinary, nonpartisan organization that seeks to further research and teaching about the nature, causes and consequences of genocide, and advance policy studies on prevention of genocide. Nyseth Brehm will receive her prize at the IAGS conference in July in Brisbane, Australia.

Nyseth Brehm researches mass murder. Her work focuses on the causes and processes of genocide and on how countries rebuild in the aftermath of atrocity. She has lived and worked in Rwanda and Bosnia, where she interviewed both perpetrators and victims of genocide.

In 2014-15, Nyseth Brehm received a grant from the Mershon Center for her project on "Genocide, Justice, and Rwanda’s Gacaca Courts."

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Spring COMPAS Conference on Global Inequality

Each year the Center for Ethics and Human Values hosts a yearlong Conversations on Morality, Politics and Society program, this year centering on the theme of inequality.

The 2016-17 COMPAS program is exploring the complex ways in which inequalities in resources, opportunity, and treatment -- for example, along lines of class, race, and gender -- can produce or reinforce unequal outcomes in areas as diverse as health outcomes, criminal justice policy and practices, and political power.

The program is framed by two major interdisciplinary conferences. The fall conference, "When Do Inequalities Matter?" (September 22-23), featured a keynote lecture by Richard Wilkinson, the co-author of The Spirit Level. The spring COMPAS conference, sponsored by the Mershon Center for International Security Studies, will focus on global inequality.

The spring conference, to take place Thursday, March 30, through Friday, March 31, will begin by considering two basic questions facing proponents of global justice: how to measure well being as a way of assessing global inequalities, and whether rich nations have a duty to alleviate poverty around the globe.

The conference will then consider global inequality in a variety of domains that raise serious moral concerns, including global governance, trade, migration, and LGBTQ rights, with the aim of exploring how the causes and effects of different kinds of inequality interact with one another. For more, see the conference flyer (pdf).

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Lesley Ferris

One hundred years ago, the United States entered World War I. This year the Department of Theatre, with support from the Mershon Center, is marking this occasion by creating a new work centering on this world conflict.

World War I introduced industrialized warfare on a massive scale amidst a wave of belligerent nationalism. It still ranks as one of the world’s deadliest conflicts, dramatically changing borders in Europe and the Middle East.

Forbidden Zones: The Great War” draws from contemporary documents, letters, memoirs, poetry, commissioned art, and popular music, focusing on the Battle of the Somme, the largest battle on the Western Front.

Fought between July 1 and November 1, 1916, near the Somme River in France, the battle was one of the bloodiest in history. On the first day alone, the British suffered more than 57,000 casualties. By the end of the campaign, the Allies and Central Powers had lost more than 1.5 million men.

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