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From the mid-1950s to the early '70s, the United States sent thousands of musicians around the globe to further American interests. In the program’s heyday, musicians trekked to nearly every continent, playing jazz, classical music, the blues and much more according to Mershon affiliate Danielle Fosler-Lussier, associate professor in the School of Music, as she details in her recently published book, Music in America’s Cold War Diplomacy (University of California Press, 2015).

“Congress was convinced that the musicians would influence how people around the world thought about America,” she said. “The State Department-funded program turned the musicians into citizen diplomats, reaching out to people through big public concerts, small, intimate gatherings and everything in between.”

The research for Fosler-Lussier's book was supported by three faculty research grants from the Mershon Center. 

As part of her research, Fosler-Lussier created an interactive database detailing the musicians who appeared in countries throughout the world during the Cold War. Users can search geographically or by name to find that, for example, Dizzy Gillespie’s jazz band played in Argentina in the mid-1950s, the Westminster Singers performed in Libya in 1959, the Boston Symphony was in Australia in 1960, Benny Goodman entertained Russian audiences in 1962 and the Julliard String Quartet visited Poland in 1965.

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Geoffrey Parker

Mershon affiliate Geoffrey Parker, Andreas Dorpalen Professor of History and Distinguished University Professor, is no stranger in the arena of the world’s top awards and honors, among them the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences' Dr. A.H. Heineken Prize for History in 2012 — his discipline's Nobel Prize.

Parker's latest honor, his election as corresponding fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), has special resonance for him. “It was a particular pleasure and honor to learn that the Royal Society of Edinburgh has decided to elect me a Corresponding Fellow this year,” he said, “because I shall return to St. Andrews this spring as a Carnegie Centennial Professor, one of three appointed for 2016.”

"The Carnegie Trust has strong links with Ohio State, as well as with St Andrews: Some years ago it selected several departments at Ohio State to take part in the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate — an effort to identify and standardize best practices in postgraduate education," Parker said. "I was proud to take part in that process as a representative of the Department of History."

“Also, I spent 14 years teaching at St. Andrews, 1972-86, and since then I have returned several times to lecture — both there and at other Scottish universities.”

Created in 1783 by Royal Charter for “the advancement of learning and useful knowledge,” the Royal Society of Edinburgh is Scotland’s National Academy of Science and Letters. New fellows, elected to the RSE through a rigorous five-stage nomination process, include the full spectrum of disciplines, giving it a multidisciplinary perspective that is unique among national academies.

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Marcus Kurtz

Mershon affiliate Marcus Kurtz, professor of political science, was selected as Joan N. Huber Faculty Fellow for 2016 in recognition of his scholarship. The award is given in honor of emeritus professor Joan Huber, who served as dean of the Social and Behavioral Sciences from 1984 to 1992 and as Ohio State’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost until her retirement in 1993.

Kurtz’s research focuses on comparative politics, democratization, political economy and development, with a focus on Latin America. In 2014-15, he received a grant from the Mershon Center for "Property Rights, Political Conflict, and Economic Development."

His most recent book, Latin American State Building in Comparative Perspective: Social Foundations of Institutional Order (Cambridge University Press, 2013), provides an account of long-run institutional development in Latin America that emphasizes the social and political foundations of state-building processes. It has been described as a “landmark contribution to the study of state building in Latin America."

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Keren Yarhi-Milo

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?

Keren Yarhi-Milo explores this question in Knowing The Adversary: Leaders, Intelligence Organizations, and Assessments of Intentions in International Relations (Princeton University Press, 2014), winner of the Edgar S. Furniss Book Award, given annually by the Mershon Center.

Yarhi-Milo will speak at the Mershon Center at noon on Monday, March 28, 2016, about her latest research on “Who Fights for Reputation in International Politics? Leaders, Resolve and the Use of Force.” Read more and register at go.osu.edu/yarhi-milo.

In her book, Yarhi-Milo examines three cases in which states must determine whether adversaries pose a threat: Britain's assessments of Nazi Germany's intentions in the 1930s, America's assessments of the Soviet Union's intentions during the Carter administration, and the Reagan administration's assessments of Soviet intentions near the end of the Cold War.

She advances a new theoretical framework -- called selective attention -- that emphasizes organizational dynamics, personal diplomatic interactions, and cognitive and affective factors.

Yarhi-Milo finds that decision makers tend to determine the intentions of adversaries on the basis of pre-existing beliefs, theories, and personal impressions, while intelligence organizations tend to focus on changes in military capabilities.

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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