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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Journal of Refugee Studies

Scaling the UN Refugee Summit: A reading list

The United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants will be held on 19 September 2016 at the UNHQ in New York. The high-level meeting to address large movements of refugees and migrants is expected to endorse an Outcome Document that commits states to negotiating a ‘Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework’ and separately a ‘Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,’ for adoption in 2018.

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9780198207436_450

Britain, Ireland, and their Union: 1800-1921

Historians of both Britain and Ireland have too often adopted a blinkered approach in which their countries have been envisaged as somehow divorced from the continent in which they are geographically placed. If America and the Empire get an occasional mention, Europe as a whole has largely been ignored. Of course the British-Irish relationship had (and has) its peculiarities.

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9780199841271

America’s nuclear strategy: core obligations for our next president

Plainly, whoever is elected president in November, his or her most urgent obligations will center on American national security. In turn, this will mean an utterly primary emphasis on nuclear strategy. Moreover, concerning such specific primacy, there can be no plausible or compelling counter-arguments. In world politics, some truths are clearly unassailable. For one, nuclear strategy is a “game” that pertinent world leaders must play, whether they like it, or not.

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9780198786245

Moral responsibilities when waging war

In his long-awaited report on the circumstances surrounding the United Kingdom’s decision to join forces with the United States and invade Iraq in 2003, Sir John Chilcot lists a number of failings on the part of the then-British leadership.

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Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Wounded religious sentiments and the law in India

We live in world suffused with offended religious sentiments: depictions of Muhammad in newspaper cartoons and hackneyed films spark violent global protests; courthouse officials in the US South refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses in defiance of the Supreme Court; and in India, authors threatened by thugs on the Hindu Right “die” publicly in order to avoid a less metaphorical demise.

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9780199387533

A cautionary tale from the history of NGOs

The contemporary world features more than twenty thousand international NGOs in almost every field of human activity, including humanitarian assistance, environmental protection, human rights promotion, and technical standardization, amongst numerous other issues

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9780190627324

Small donor democracy? Don’t count on it

Hillary Clinton says she wants to get big money out of elections, and one of the ways she wants to do it is to curb the influence of big donors by mobilizing lots of small ones. This reform idea has become very popular recently, thanks to the concern about super PACs and billionaires that has been growing since Citizens United. But the idea is an old one. The first serious small-donor programs began more than 100 years ago, and they have been working more or less continually ever since.

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Baylis 7e

Saying “Black lives matter”

As the political season in the United States heats up, it has become controversial in certain circles to say “Black Lives Matter.” A few (perhaps even many) object because they don’t believe that black lives matter equally. Most, however, it seems to me, are responding out of fundamental misunderstandings of what “Black Lives Matter” means in the USA in 2016. (I will set aside crude partisanship as an explanation that, to the extent that it is true, does not require further comment.)

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14682621 african affairs

Africa-based scholars in academic publishing: Q&A with Celia Nyamweru

In an effort to address current discussions regarding Africa-based scholars in academic publishing, the editors of African Affairs reached out to Celia Nyamweru for input from her personal experiences. Celia Nyamweru spent 18 years teaching at Kenyatta University (KU) and another 18 years teaching at a US university with a strong undergraduate focus on Africa.

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9780198718642

Leibniz and Europe

At the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, national states were on the rise. Versailles was constructed as a stage on which the Sun King, Louis XIV, acted out the pageant of absolute sovereignty while his armies annexed neighbouring territories for the greater glory of France. At the death of Charles II of Spain in November 1700, the Spanish throne and its extensive possessions in Italy, the Low Countries and the New World passed to his grandson, Philip, Duke of Anjou.

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9780190460679

Why are Americans addicted to polls?

Before going into battle, Roman generals would donate a goat to their favorite god and ask their neighborhood temple priest to interpret a pile of pigeon poop to predict if they would take down the Greeks over on the next island. Americans in the nineteenth century had fortune tellers read their hands read and phrenologists check out the bumps on their heads. Statistics came along by the late 1800s, then “scientific polls” which did something similar.

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9780199914081

Why does the Democratic Party want the Cadillac tax abolished?

Democratic Party platform for 2016 repudiates a major provision of Obamacare – but no one has said this out loud. In particular, the Democratic Party has now officially called for abolition of the “Cadillac tax,” the Obamacare levy designed to control health care costs by taxing expensive employer health plans. Tucked away on page 35 of the Democratic platform is this enigmatic sentence: We will repeal the excise tax on high-cost health insurance and find revenue to offset it because we need to contain the long-term growth of health care costs.”

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Foreign Policy Analysis

Identity, foreign policy, and the post-Arab uprising struggle for power in the Middle East

In recent years, there has been a greater emphasis put on understanding the international relations of the post-Arab uprising in the Middle East. An unprecedented combination of widespread state failure, competitive interference, and instrumentalization of sectarianism by three rival would-be regional hegemons (Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran) in failing states has produced a spiral of sectarianism at the grassroots level.

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9780199669042_450

The body politic: art, pain, and Putin

The phrase ‘scrotum artist’ was never going to be easy to ignore when it appeared in a newspaper headline. It is also a phrase that has made me reflect upon the nature of politics, the issue of public expectations, and even the role of a university professor of politics. In a previous blog I reflected on the experience of running a citizens’ assembly and how the emotional demands and rewards of the experience had been quite unexpected.

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9780198727507_450

When to talk and when to walk

In the spring of 2014, after Russia annexed the Crimea, the German chancellor Angela Merkel took to the air. She jetted some 20,000 kms around the globe, visiting nine cities in seven days – from Washington to Moscow, from Paris to Kiev – holding one meeting after another with key world leaders in the hope of brokering a peace-deal. Haunted by the centenary of 1914, Merkel saw summitry as the only way to stop Europe from ‘sleepwalking’ into another great war.

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Murphy: Liberty, Conscience, and Toleration

Two Williams go to trial: judges, juries, and liberty of conscience

On this date in 1670: a trial gets underway. The two defendants had been arrested several weeks earlier while preaching to a crowd in the street, and charged with unlawful assembly and creating a riot. Their trial, slated to begin on 1 September, had been pushed back to 3 September after preliminary wrangling between the judge and the defendants. And so on this date – 246 years ago today – the defendants were called before the bench.

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