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Research, Teaching, and Engagement Updates

Julianne Beck | New Faculty Bring Energy and a Collaborative Spirit to Northwestern

November 16, 2023 – from Paula M. Trienens Institute for Sustainability and Energy
New faculty have joined Northwestern University this fall – several with a special interest in sustainability and energy topics. Their unique expertise brings opportunity for students from the classroom to the laboratories. It also sets the stage for discoveries that will lead to a more sustainable future.

Lauren Baker and Professor Kim Marion Suiseeya | Northwestern Sends Third Delegation to COP28

November 13, 2023 – from The Buffett Institute for Global Affairs
Lauren Baker is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at Northwestern. Her research examines the domestic impact of hosting global environmental governance events such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (UNFCCC COPs). Using ethnographic methods, her dissertation project focuses on the politics of garbage to illustrate how the spectacle of these mega-events are constructed and the political possibilities they create and foreclose. She is a graduate assistant and instructor with the Northwestern Middle East and North African Studies (MENA) cluster and taught several courses with Chicago Field Studies. She previously worked as Assistant Director at the Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS) and Associate Editor at The Monkey Cage, a political science blog hosted by The Washington Post.

Professor Chloe Thurston | The Political Development of American Debt Relief

November 13, 2023 – from University of Chicago Press
Americans have a long history with debt. They also have a long history of mobilizing for debt relief. Throughout the nineteenth century, indebted citizens demanded government protection from their financial burdens, challenging readings of the Constitution that exalted property rights at the expense of the vulnerable. Their appeals shaped the country’s periodic experiments with state debt relief and federal bankruptcy law, constituting a pre-industrial safety net. Yet, the twentieth century saw the erosion of debtor politics and the eventual retrenchment of bankruptcy protections. The Political Development of American Debt Relief traces how geographic, sectoral, and racial politics shaped debtor activism over time, enhancing our understanding of state-building, constitutionalism, and social policy.

Professor William Reno | It's Time to Ukrainify U.S. Military Assistance

November 10, 2023 – from Modern War Institute at West Point
Ukraine is in a bloody slugfest with Russia. It wasn’t supposed to become an ugly war of attrition—when Russian forces invaded last year, almost nobody expected Ukraine to hold out so long, much less hold its own. In less than two years, Western governments have provided over $80 billion of military aid to Ukraine. Along with training, that material support aimed to build a modern Ukrainian force that could conduct dynamic combined arms maneuver, which requires the close coordination of armor, infantry, artillery, and airpower. But some of the Western military training is not working. The US military, in particular, as the leading provider of support to Ukrainian forces, is repeating the mistakes of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Professor Danielle Gilbert | This Era of Hostage Diplomacy Requires New Answers

November 9, 2023 – from The Chicago Council on Global Affairs
From Hamas to Russia to Iran, hostage-taking is on the rise once again and hostage diplomacy has entered that arsenal of foreign policy tools by countries around the world. This week, Northwestern University’s Dani Gilbert guides us through what is new, what has worked and failed in the past, and why countries need new ways to respond to hostage-taking today.

Christoph Nguyen, PhD | Attributing blame: how political parties in Germany leverage cooperative federalism

November 9, 2023 – from Taylor & Francis Group
This study investigates how political parties used the federal structure of government for discursive blame attribution strategies in parliamentary debates during the Covid-19 crisis. The analysis focuses on the German case which is considered an embodiment of cooperative federalism. Largely intertwined responsibilities and joint decision making provide incentives for self-serving blame attribution strategies.

Professor Laurel Harbridge-Yong | With government funding running out soon, expect more brinkmanship despite public dismay at political gridlock

November 9, 2023 – from The Conversation
Much of the news coverage of the discussions and negotiations aimed at averting a government shutdown on Nov. 17, 2023, relies on pundits and their unnamed sources, on leaks, speculation, wishful thinking and maybe even the reading of tea leaves. The Conversation tapped an expert on congressional behavior, Northwestern University political scientist Laurel Harbridge-Yong, and asked her what she sees when she looks at the prolonged trouble Congress has had over the past few years coming to agreement on the debt ceiling and spending to keep the government open.

Rana Khoury | PhD Rana Khoury Leads Roundtable Discussion

November 8, 2023 – from American Political Science Association
Finally, the roundtable presents a creative discussion convened by Rana B. Khoury, a member of the editorial board, and Sean Yom on the principles and process of conflict research in the Middle East. It presents an edited transcript of a Zoom discussion involving five junior and senior scholars (Anne Irfan, Kevin Mazur, Sarah Parkinson, Stacey Philbrick Yadav, and Jonah Schulhofer-Wohl), who have all recently published well-received volumes on civil or interstate wars in the region. The wide-ranging dialogue touches on many important issues, among them the perils of fieldwork, the dilemmas of data sensitivity, the challenge of conceptualization, and which forms of knowledge production matter for the academy.

Samir Mayekar | Former deputy mayor Samir Mayekar appointed head of Polsky Center

November 8, 2023 – from Hyde Park Herald
Samir Mayekar, Chicago’s former deputy mayor of economic development, is the new leader of the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Mayekar, who served as deputy mayor under former Mayor Lori Lightfoot, is also a former White House staffer for the Barack Obama administration. In May, as the Lightfoot administration prepared to hand the city keys to Mayor Brandon Johnson, Mayekar learned about the position over breakfast with a friend at the U. of C. He graduated from Northwestern in 2006 with a degree in political science.

Loubna El Amine | Across the Border

November 7, 2023 – from London Review of Books
Official history textbooks in Lebanon stop in 1943 because people cannot agree on one version of the history that followed. They do not agree on the causes of the civil war from 1975 to 1990, or on what role various foreign forces, including the Palestine Liberation Organisation, played in it. But there is widespread agreement about the atrocities committed by Israel, including in Lebanon. There is also widespread agreement that the Palestinians have been denied freedom and the right to a dignified life in their homeland.