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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Trump in Wonderland

Four days after Donald Trump’s inauguration, an unlikely novel reached the top of Amazon’s bestseller list. It was not the latest potboiler by John Grisham, Stephen King, or any other likely suspect. Topping the list on 24 January was 1984, George Orwell’s 68-year-old masterpiece about a dystopian society in which the ruling authorities routinely alter the meanings of words and facts to suit their own purposes.

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International Affairs

The divide – France, Germany, and political NATO

Europe’s unity is under threat, and if France and Germany cannot muster the will to rescue the European project of integration and cooperation, then all bets are really off. Those who imagine that the EU could falter to no great effect are being naïve. A failed EU would pull down NATO and other vestiges of Western unity, and we would be returning to a 19th century balance of power diplomacy.

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Today’s Great Crossings: a historian’s view on Trump’s travel ban

Drawing parallels between Jackson’s era and our own is, according to President Trump, “really appropriate” for “certain obvious reasons.” Indeed, both are eras of rapid change characterized by anxieties over race, immigration, citizenship, and America’s destiny. In the Jacksonian era, the United States, within the span of a few decades, transformed from an East Coast nation into a transcontinental empire.

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“Freedom! Freedom!”: 100 years since the fall of the Tsar

As midnight approached on 15 March 1917 (2 March on the Russian calendar), Tsar Nicholas II signed his manifesto of abdication, ending centuries of autocratic monarchical rule in Russia. Nicholas accepted the situation with his typical mixture of resignation and faith: “The Lord God saw fit to send down upon Russia a new harsh ordeal…During these decisive days for the life of Russia, We considered it a duty of conscience to facilitate Our people’s close unity…In agreement with the State Duma, We consider it to be for the good to abdicate from the Throne of the Russian State… May the Lord God help Russia.”

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Why we are failing to end wartime rape

In recent years, the world has become all too aware of the prevalence of rape and other forms of sexual violence perpetrated in war. As a result, gender-based violence has become an increasingly common consideration in foreign policy agendas, with sexual violence becoming the cornerstone of the women, peace, and security agenda of the past decade.

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Public Opinion Quarterly

The polls aren’t skewed, media coverage is

The perceived failures of election forecasting in 2016 have caused many to suggest the polls are broken. However, scholars are quick to point out that more than polling failure this election has demonstrated that people have a hard time thinking probabilistically about election outcomes. Our research suggests skewed media coverage of polls may also be to blame: News media are likely to cover the most newsworthy polls.

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Aleppo: the key to conflict resolution in the Syrian civil war?

Finally, just a couple months ahead of the sixth year’s end in the conflict, an agreement has been reached in Astana, Kazakhstan on 24 January 2016 by the participation of the major domestic and international state and nonstate actors, who had stake in the conflict. Why is Aleppo significant? Why are there external states supporting various rebel groups? And, why did the conflict in Syria take so long to resolve?

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Reproductive rights and equality under challenge in the US

If the Trump administration and the current Congress have their way, however, state restrictions on abortion are likely to flourish and may ultimately prevail. Far less likely, however, is careful ethical consideration of what these changes may mean. Even now, many US women find abortion beyond their reach either economically or geographically. These women and their children face what may be life-limiting challenges.

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Celebrating International Women Day: women in the changing world of peacekeeping

Celebrated for the first time by the UN on 8 March, 1977, the International Women’s Day serves as a way to mark women’s contributions all around the globe. One area where women’s contributions are particularly worthy of celebration is in United Nations peacekeeping missions. Since the deployment of the first peacekeeping mission in 1948 to 1989, the end of the Cold War, only twenty women served in peacekeeping missions.

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The right way to amend the Johnson Amendment

President Trump, reiterating the position he took during the presidential campaign, has reaffirmed his pledge to “get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment.”The Johnson Amendment is the portion of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code which prohibits tax-exempt institutions from participating in political campaigns.

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What happens after the Women’s March? Gender and immigrant/refugee rights

On the morning of President Trump’s inauguration, women stood back to back, with their hair braided to each other, on the Paso del Norte Bridge, which connects El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. As activist Xochitl R. Nicholson explained, the gesture of braiding, one often performed by women, symbolized women’s solidarity in the face of anti-immigrant discrimination.

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The culture of nastiness and the paradox of civility

Headlines are by their very nature designed to catch the eye, but Teddy Wayne’s ‘The Culture of Nastiness’ (New York Times, 18 February 2017) certainly caught my attention. Why? Because increasing survey evidence and datasets have identified growing social concerns about declining levels of civility. Politics, it would seem, has become raw, rude, direct, divisive… and don’t just think Trump…

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On language and defiance: a Q & A with Ilan Stavans

“The Trump Administration has taken down from the White House official website all references to Spanish. This to me is another symptom of its anti-globalist views.” We caught up with Ilan Stavans, Editor in Chief of Oxford Bibliographies in Latino Studies, to discuss his recent New York Times editorial, the use of the Spanish language in the United States, and why Spanish isn’t a foreign language in the US.

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It’s time to talk about power, part II

In the first installment, Miller challenged the popular trope that ‘checks and balances’ in American politics serves to limit power, protect liberty, or promote the balance between the interests of political minorities and majorities. The stark example of Donald J. Trump’s election, despite his loss of the majority vote and limited support within his own party, highlight just how out of touch this trope is.

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The Liberation Panther Movement and political activism

Scholars of protest and social movements argue that voicing a vocabulary of resistance, challenging taken-for-granted assumptions and mapping out how things could be different are as important a part of the revolution as building the barricades and engaging in armed struggle. They invest the audience with a sense of the possibilities for change and encourage them to contest age old inequities.

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Did Margaret Thatcher say that?

Margaret Thatcher, the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was a fearless leader who became of one of the most notable figures of 20th century British politics. She arguably had the greatest enduring influence of any of Britain’s post-war Prime Ministers. She is remembered for her extraordinary political impact, but also for her memorable turns of phrase.

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