As Nadia Marzouki, Duncan McDonnell, and Olivier Roy remark, there is an important distinction to be drawn between the churches and the populist movements: “populists speak of identity and churches speak of faith.” Democracies will always bring forth populist movements when a broad cross-section of the democratic order feels, correctly or incorrectly, that their concerns are not being recognized by the establishment. For good or ill, these movements provide a corrective to the ruling order and call for reforms.
Robert O. Keohane
Robert O. Keohane is Professor of International Affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy (Princeton University Press, 1984/2005) and Power and Governance in a Partially Globalized World (Psychology Press, 2002). He is coauthor of Power and Interdependence (with Joseph S. Nye, Jr; Pearson, 1977/2012), and of Designing Social Inquiry (with Gary King and Sidney Verba; Princeton University Press, 1994). He has served as the editor of International Organization and as president of the International Studies Association and the American Political Science Association. He won the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order, 1989, and the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science, 2005. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences; he is a Corresponding Member of the British Academy. His most recent papers (coauthored with different partners) include “Contested Multilateralism” (Review of International Organizations, December 2014); “Anti-Americanism and Anti-Interventionism in Arabic Twitter Discourses” (Perspectives on Politics, March 2015), and “Organizational Ecology and Institutional Change in Global Governance” (International Organization, Spring 2016).
Tianna Paschel’s contribution to the "Reading Racial Conflict" series takes an international perspective. Her essay examines the roots and persistence of racial inequalities globally through the legacies of colonialism and impact of transnational capitalism. Paschel engages these questions of global justice through the lens of Walter Rodney and his extraordinarily influential book, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Paschel argues for the continued relevance of this classic work to understanding today’s global economy and its winners and losers.
A major SSRC project of the past decade, Producing Knowledge on World Regions, has taken an in-depth look at the configuration of regional studies and internationalization in higher education. One component of the project focused specifically on the Middle East, and here program director Seteney Shami and Cynthia Miller-Idriss draw attention to key transformations and continuities in Middle East studies and how they relate to both regional dynamics and American perceptions and policies.
Connected to many of the issues raised in the essay by Shami and Miller-Idriss, this 1993 essay from the archives provides a glimpse of an earlier moment in the reimagining of international and area studies. Timothy Mitchell and Lila Abu-Lughod described the rich discussion and debate that unfolded at an SSRC-sponsored conference held in Cairo designed to create dialogues between scholars of the Middle East and South Asia. A quite extraordinary group focused on the history and legacy of the “tradition-modernity” dualism, and how to best learn from the range of then-current critiques of what had become the dominant frame for understanding the (post)colonial world.
It is now abundantly clear to librarians, archivists, computer scientists, and many social scientists that we are in a transformational age. If we can understand and measure meaning from all of these data describing so much of human activity, we will finally be able to test and revise our most intricate theories of how the world is socially constructed through our symbolic interactions.
J. Phillip Thompson’s contribution to the "Reading Racial Conflict" series reflects on the concept of the two proletariats developed by W. E. B. Du Bois in his Black Reconstruction. Du Bois’s notion of a working class bifurcated along racial lines, Thompson argues, is critical for understandings of American capitalism and democracy. Thompson sees movements for racial justice as central to addressing inequalities, no less so than those directly claiming to represent the working class, which have historically tended to exclude black workers.
William G. O’Neill, director of the SSRC’s Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum, reflects on what a Donald Trump presidency may mean for the United Nations’ core objectives of international peace and security, economic development, and human rights. Based on candidate Trump’s public pronouncements and President-elect Trump’s cabinet appointments thus far, O’Neill envisions a dramatically different engagement, or perhaps a disengagement, with the UN’s mission and work.
Based in part on research in the SSRC’s archives, Jeremy Adelman and Margarita Fajardo chronicle an important moment in both the history of social science and the political economy of Latin America—the Council’s Joint Committee on Latin American Studies' work on the roots of bureaucratic authoritarianism. Through the 1970s, an interdisciplinary network of scholars from across the Americas interrogated the political and economic dimensions of military rule in Latin America. At the same time, insights from Latin American social science both informed the democratic transitions to come and reshaped research agendas in US scholarship.
The influence of the project discussed in the new essay by Adelman and Fajardo was widespread across a range of fields and world regions. Its most visible product was the book edited by David Collier entitled The New Authoritarianism in Latin America. In the 1978 essay from our archive, Collier provides of a preview of the book and the broader intellectual and political framework within which the Council contributed to a major intervention in the social sciences in the 1970s.
Delia Wendel, a fellow of the SSRC’s International Dissertation Research Fellowship program, demonstrates how spatial and social research strategies can be combined through her work in post-genocide Rwanda. Wendel’s contribution engages issues raised in our "Interdisciplinarity Now" theme through a critical analysis of Rwanda’s villagization policy as part of its peacebuilding efforts after a devastating civil war. Wendel’s work speaks directly to the concerns of the SSRC’s African Peacebuilding Network (APN) and its blog Kujenga Amani.