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Rana Khoury | In the Shade of the Sunna, Migration After the Arab Uprisings, & Female Electability

December 31, 2022 – from POMEPS Middle East Political Science Podcasts
Aaron Rock-Singer of the University of Wisconsin-Madison joins Marc Lynch on this week’s podcast to discuss his new book, In the Shade of the Sunna: Salafi Piety in the Twentieth-Century Middle East. The book analyzes how Salafism is a creation of the twentieth century and how its signature practices emerged primarily out of Salafis’ competition with other social movements. (Starts at 0:55). Rana Khoury of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Lama Mourad of Carleton University, and Rawan Arar of the University of Washington discuss their chapter in The Political Science of the Middle East: Theory and Research Since the Arab Uprisings, which focuses on how the region has governed and been affected by migration after the Arab Uprisings in 2011 (co-authored with Laurie Brand, Noora Lori, and Wendy Pearlman). (Starts at 28:29). Lindsay Benstead of Portland State University ...

Mneesha Gellman | What Would AMLO’s Electoral Reforms Mean for Mexico?

December 31, 2022 – from The Dialogue
Mneesha Gellman, assistant professor of political science at Emerson College: “I have spent much of my career decrying the way that procedural democracy—which is defined by having rules and procedures that facilitate free and fair elections—is confused for substantive democracy, in which citizens experience real democratic inclusion and empowerment beyond elections. This expanded notion of democracy is especially important for those who are the most marginalized in a given society, for example, Indigenous peoples, women and girls, and people who are incarcerated. I see President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s intention to reconfigure INE as problematic, but not necessarily for the same reasons that have been circulating in the media. Institutions are built and maintained by people; that means they are no more perfect than the people who run them. It also means institutions can change, ...

Cody Keenan | Politics and Prose Bookshop - Obama in Charleston: ‘Grace’ delves into White House response to horrific hate crime

December 31, 2022 – from 48 Hills
For every reader yearning heart and soul for rationality, solace, humor and, let’s say it, anything resembling grace, after the last few years, disappearing into a book can be the best medicine, surpassing even mind-enhancing, mood-altering drugs or alcohol. Books can be better than talking to a therapist or your mother, your dog or the nearest houseplant when it comes to providing all-too rare low-cost or free comfort.

Jonathan Schulman, James Druckman | A majority of Americans have not received the latest COVID booster, study finds

December 31, 2022 – from Northwestern Now
A survey of American adults found that nearly half reported having been infected with COVID-19 at least once, with 35% saying they have tested positive more than once. The report also revealed that a substantial majority of Americans have not yet received the latest bivalent booster shot. The new report provides a snapshot of the state of the pandemic at the end of 2022, including case rates, vaccine and booster shot uptake, antiviral treatment usage, mask wearing habits and flu shot rates. It sheds light on the state of vaccinations and ongoing health risks at a time when the nation is experiencing a “tripledemic” with flu, COVID-19 and the respiratory illness RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) circulating among Americans.

James Druckman | A combination of severe depression and conspiratorial beliefs is strongly associated with support for the January 6 riot, study finds

December 30, 2022 – from PsyPost
“The last several years in American politics have unfortunately introduced concern about political violence,” said study author James N. Druckman, the Payson S. Wild Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University and author of “Experimental Thinking: A Primer on Social Science Experiments.” “At the same time, the pandemic exacerbated rates of depressive symptoms such that roughly 30% of the population reported such symptoms. We were interested in understanding whether there were conditions under which the two relate to one another – with a very strong conviction that any such relationship is conditional and nuanced.” “Put another way, we are very sensitive to not stigmatizing those who suffer from depression,” Druckman explained. “We thus developed a theory that suggests the relationship depends on conspiratorial thinking and/or a participatory disposition/efficacy.”

William Reno | Putin, Zelensky Peace Deal Depends on Key Shift in War

December 30, 2022 – from Newsweek
Reno told Newsweek that he thinks "Zelensky realizes U.S. and NATO support for Ukraine has limits. He has to speak to concerns among legislators in the U.S. and governments in Europe that Ukraine is open to some sort of negotiated settlement that most pragmatic political leaders see as inevitable at some point." As for Russia's talk of negotiations, Reno said it is likely a strategy to divide Ukraine's supporters. "NATO has 30 members, each with different thresholds of risk and domestic political support for assisting Ukraine," Reno said. "Talk of a negotiated settlement lends support to those who are less inclined to provide Ukraine with resources and political backing." Reno believes the war will eventually end with a negotiated settlement because "Ukraine cannot defeat a nuclear-armed Russia," and "Russia is not capable of seizing and occupying all or a large part of Ukraine."

Amanda Sahar d’Urso | A Boundary of White Inclusion: The Role of Religion in Ethnoracial Assignment

December 29, 2022 – from Perspectives on Politics
How do White Americans operationalize Whiteness? This article argues that religion, in conjunction with country of origin, alters how self-identified White Americans assign ethnoracial labels to other groups. To test the role of religion in White assignment, this article uses the case of Muslims and of Americans from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Although MENA individuals are legally classified as White in the United States, they are subjected to racialization and often conflated with Muslims. Using an historical analysis of racial prerequisite court cases and a survey experiment, I find that country of origin and religion play separate, additive roles in racial assignment decisions, both historically and today. These findings also extend to perceived skin tone. This is important because many of the benefits that come from being White depend on whether others perceive an ...

William Reno | Failure at Bakhmut Would Be 'Psychologically' Damaging for Russia

December 29, 2022 – from Newsweek
Reno explained a couple of hypotheses, which aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, on why Russia may be so focused on seizing Bakhmut despite the limited tactical benefits that may offer. One of these is that Putin's subordinates may not be entirely transparent with him about the true situation in Ukraine, over fears for their safety. "As with many authoritarian systems, leadership cuts itself off from information needed to make effective decisions," Reno said. Another theory is that Russia's Bakhmut offensive may "reflect Putin's efforts to balance bureaucratic forces" aligned with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Prigozhin, and even the Kadyrovtsy troops loyal to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. "Allocating different tasks across the battlefield keeps these groups in contention with one another for presidential support," Reno said. "That makes it hard for any to assert their o
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