Ohio State Navbar

The Ohio State University

Mershon Center for International Security Studies

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."

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

John Carlarne

Hollie Nyseth Brehm

Two Mershon Center faculty affiliates will headline this year's TEDx Ohio State University.

Hollie Nyseth Brehm, assistant professor of sociology, teaches classes on conflict, global crime, and terrorism. Her research 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.

Nyseth Brehm is a member of a government atrocity prevention task force and regularly consults with the Rwandan National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide. She also volunteers with the Center for Victims of Torture and is a core member of I-Activism, which provides humanitarian action to people affected by mass atrocity in Darfur.

In 2014-15, Nyseth Brehm and Christopher Uggen, from University of Minnesota, won a research grant from the Mershon Center for "Genocide, Justice, and Rwanda's Gacaca Courts." Visit her website at hollienysethbrehm.weebly.com.

John S. Carlarne is peace studies coordinator at the Mershon Center. His work as a British Army officer, police officer, peace and human rights activist has taken him to places of genocide and violence, and to communities of peace and hope. An anthropologist by training, his current research focuses on the evolutionary basis of meaning.

In 2014-15, Carlarne and Christopher Gelpi, Chair of Peace Studies, won a Mershon Center grant for "Training to Talk Peace: An Experimental Analysis of Non-Violent Communication Workshop." He is currently working to make Columbus a hub for peace and nonviolence by organizing an annual Ohio Peace Festival.

TEDx Ohio State University takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 5, 2016, at Mershon Auditorium, 1871 N. High St. The event is sold out, but a waiting list is available, and it will be livestreamed. Read more and register at tedx.osu.edu.

Read more ...

Amy Shuman


Mershon affiliates Hollie Nyseth Brehm and Amy Shuman have received the 2016 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. This is the university’s most prestigious teaching award, recognizing a maximum of 10 faculty members for their teaching excellence each year.

Nyseth Brehm is assistant professor of sociology studying mass violence, human rights violations, and mass crime — why they occur, how they occur, their effects, and responses to them. Her research on genocide courts in Rwanda was supported by the Mershon Center.

Shuman is professor of English specializing in folklore, narrative, and critical theory. She is author of books and articles on conversational narrative, literacy, political asylum, disability, food customs, feminist theory and critical theory.

At the Mershon Center, Shuman has organized numerous conferences and symposia, as well as recevied grants for her research on political asylum. She currently serves as director of Disability Studies and director of the Diversity and Identity Studies Collective.

Read more ...