Skip to main content

Seminars / Reading Group

Matthew Evangelista, Barry Strauss, and Peter Katzenstein
Left to right: Faculty members Matthew Evangelista, Barry Strauss, and Peter Katzenstein engaged in lively debate during a panel discussion.

PACS Reading Group Discussions

This spring, the seminar will meet online from 11:25 AM-12:40 PM on Thursdays. Authors will join us for a discussion of their works, but will not deliver formal talks; instead, we will spend most of our time discussing pre-circulated reading. A link to the reading will be sent to participants upon registration. The authors and readings for this term will focus on four key issues: authoritarianism, racism, gender, and cybersecurity.

The schedule organized by week is below. A thematically-organized summary, with relevant dates, follows.

The full poster for the Spring 2021 Reading Group Series is available here.

Spring 2021

Thematic Keywords: Authoritarianism Race Gender | Cybersecurity

February 18

Gender

Valerie Hudson, University Distinguished Professor and George H.W. Bush Chair, Professor of International Affairs, Texas A&M, The First Political Order: How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide (Columbia University Press, 2020). Chapters 1 and 4. Register for Feb 18 seminar.

February 25

Authoritarianism

Anna Lührmann, “Disrupt Professor of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, "Distrupting the Autocratization Sequence: Towards Democratic Resilience,” working paper.  Register for Feb 25 seminar.

March 4

Gender

Mona Lena Krook, Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University, Violence Against Women in Politics (Oxford University Press, 2020). Chapters 8-11, especially chapter 9. Register for Mar 4 seminar.

March 11

Cybersecurity

Authoritarianism

Thomas Rid, Professor of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University, Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019). Excerpts: “What is Disinformation?” pp 1-14; Chapter 28 and 30, "A Century of Disinformation," pp 423-436. Co-sponsored by the Department of Science & Technology Studies (STS). Register for Mar 11 seminar. 

March 18

Cybersecurity

Authoritarianism

Margaret (Molly) Roberts, Professor of Political Science, University of California at San Diego, Censored: Distraction and Diversion Inside China's Great Firewall (Princeton University Press, 2018). Chapters 2 and 5. Register for Mar 18 seminar.

March 25

Race Gender

Keisha Blain, Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh, Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Struggle for Global Freedom (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). Chapters 2 and 3. Register for Mar 25 seminar.

April 1

Gender

Laura Sjoberg, Professor of Political Science, University of Florida, “Seducing Territory: Sex Acts and State Borders,” working paper. Register for Apr 1 seminar. 

April 8

Authoritarianism

Livio Di Lonardo, Bocconi University; Jessica Sun, University of Michigan Department of Political Science; Scott Tyson,  University of Rochester, “Autocratic Stability in the Shadow of Foreign Threats,” American Political Science Review 114, no. 4 (2020): 1247–65. Register for Apr 8 seminar.

April 22

Race 

Robbie Shilliam, Professor of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University, Decolonizing Politics: An Introduction (Wiley, April 2021). Chapter 5, “International Relations.” Register for Apr 22 seminar.

April 29

Race  Cybersecurity

Simon Egbert, Institute for Sociology, TU Berlin and Matthias Leese, Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich, Criminal Futures: Predictive Policing and Everyday Police Work (Routledge, 2020). Chapters 1, 7, and 9. Co-sponsored by the Department of Science & Technology Studies (STS). Register for Apr 29 seminar. 

May 6

Cybersecurity

Authoritarianism

Darren Byler, Department of Anthropology, University of Washington, “Digital Enclosure and Unfreedom in Northwest China,” working paper. Co-sponsored by the Departments of Anthropology and Science & Technology Studies (STS). Register for May 6 seminar. 

Authoritarianism 

Authoritarianism is on the rise around the world. On February 25, Anna Lührmann will discuss recent research on the rise of authoritarianism in political parties around the world, including the United States, and ways to improve democratic resilience. On March 11, Thomas Rid will join us for a discussion of his recent book, Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019), which examines both authoritarian and counter-authoritarian uses of disinformation. On March 18, Margaret Roberts will discuss how one authoritarian state, China uses information technology to diffuse legitimate political opposition. On April 8, Livio Di Lonardo, Jessica Sun, and Scott Tyson will join us for a discussion of their recent paper, “Autocratic Stability in the Shadow of Foreign Threats.” On April 15, the Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies and Southeast Asia Program will co-sponsor a panel discussion on authoritarianism in Southeast Asia. Finally, on May 6, Darren Byler will discuss China’s use of surveillance technology to control ethnic and religious minorities.

Race

Racism and ethnic discrimination continue to play major roles in both the practice and study of security. Disinformation campaigns have long exploited racial injustices within the United States, as documented in Thomas Rid’s recent book, Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019); he will join us for a discussion of the book on March 11. On March 25, Keisha Blain, author of Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Struggle for Global Freedom (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018) will join us for a discussion of challenges to global white supremacy. On April 22, Professor Robbie Shilliam, author Decolonizing Politics: An Introduction (Wiley, April 2021), will discuss the role of race and colonialism in the development of international relations as a field of academic study. On April 29, Simon Egbert and Matthias Leese will discuss their recent book, Predictive Policing and Everyday Police Work (Routledge, 2020), including its implications for racial and ethnic profiling. Finally, on May 6, Darren Byler will present his paper on “Digital Enclosure and Unfreedom in Northwest China,” showing how the Chinese government and tech companies have constructed a surveillance system to monitor and control Muslim populations.

Gender

Gender is integral to understanding both political violence and challenges to it.  On February 18, Valerie Hudson, a co-author of The First Political Order: How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide (Columbia University Press 2020), will discuss how communal organization and patriarchy affect governance and conflict around the world.  On March 4, Mona Krook will discuss how female politicians are increasingly subject to direct, violent attacks in her new book, Violence Against Women in Politics (Oxford University Press, 2020).  On March 25, Keisha Blain, author of Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Struggle for Global Freedom (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018) will discuss the leadership of Black women in challenging racial injustice. On April 1, Laura Sjoberg will discuss the interrelationships between sex, marriage, borders and state making (“Seducing Territory: Sex Acts and State Borders”). Additionally, the Gender and Security Sector Lab, launched by Reppy Fellow Sabrina Karim will be hosting a once a month workshop series on the first Monday of every month.  Please email Priscilla Teresa Torres (ptt29@cornell.edu) for more information. 

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity, broadly construed, often cuts across the issues above. On March 11, Thomas Rid will discuss not only the pre-internet history of disinformation, but also how tactics have changed with the growth of the internet and social media. On March 18, Margaret Roberts will discuss how China uses information technology to maintain its own authoritarian conception of cybersecurity. On April 29, Simon Egbert and Matthias Leese will discuss how new information technologies do and do not transform everyday policing practices. And on May 6, Darren Byler will discuss the use of information technology to surveil and control Muslim populations in China.


Peace and Conflict Studies involves a wide range of scholarly topics. For a broader sense of what interests researchers and graduate trainees at the Reppy Institute, a list of previous seminar topics is shared below.

Fall 2020

9/10       Jennifer Lind, Associate Professor, Department of Government, Dartmouth College, “Comparing National Power in an Age of Transition,” working paper.

9/17       Jack Paine, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Rochester, “Strategic Civil War Aims and the Resource Curse,” Working paper, May 4, 2020.  NOTE SPECIAL TIME: 12:30-1:45 pm.

9/24       Emily Ritter, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, and Director of Graduate Studies, Vanderbilt University (with Peter Carey, PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science, University of California, Merced; Curtis Bell, One Earth Future Foundation & University of Colorado at Boulder; and Scott Wolford, Professor, Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin) “Oil Discoveries, Civil War, and Preventive State Repression,” Journal of Peace Research, forthcoming.  Note that only Emily Ritter will join.

10/1       Adom Getachew, Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Political Science and the College, University of Chicago, Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination (University of Chicago Press, 2019). Introduction and Chapter 4. Please note that this event will be hosted by Buffalo Street Books, not Cornell University.  To understand why, see https://www.academicsolidaritystatement.com/ and https://cornellgradunion.org.

10/8       Fiona B. Adamson, Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS, University of London, “Pushing the Boundaries: Can We “Decolonize” Security Studies?” Journal of Global Security Studies, 5(1), 2020, 129–135.

10/15     William Spaniel, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Pittsburgh and Iris Malone, Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, “The Uncertainty Trade-off: Reexamining Opportunity Costs and War,” International Studies Quarterly 63(4) December 2019, 1025–34.  Both Spaniel and Malone are attending.

10/22     Muhammet Bas, Associate Professor of Political Science, New York University Abu Dhabi and Andrew Coe, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Vanderbilt University, “Give Peace a (Second) Chance: A Theory of Nonproliferation Deals,” International Studies Quarterly (2018) 62, 606–617.  Note that only Andrew Coe will join.

10/29     Stuart Schrader, Associate Director of the Program in Racism, Immigration; and Citizenship and Lecturer/Assistant Research Scientist, Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University, Badges without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing (University of California Press, 2019). Introduction and Chapter 1. 

11/5       Ian Lustick, Professor and Bess W. Heyman Chair, Political Science Department, University of Pennsylvania, Paradigm Lost: From Two-State Solution to One-State Reality (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019). Chapter 5, “The One State Reality and Its Future.”

11/12     Sarah Kreps, John L. Wetherill Professor of Government, Cornell University, Social Media and International Relations (Cambridge University Press, 2020). 

12/3       Gaurav Kampani, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Tulsa, “The West's Imagined versus India’s Conventional Nuclear Reality.”

12/10     Rebecca Hester, Assistant Professor, Department of Science, Technology, and Society, Virginia Tech. and Owain D. Williams, Lecturer in International Relations, School of Politics & International Studies, University of Leeds, “The somatic-security industrial complex: theorizing the political economy of informationalized biology,” Review of International Political Economy, Vol 20, issue 1, 2020, 98-124. Co-sponsored by the Department of Science & Technology Studies.  Note that only Rebecca Hester will join.