School of Politics and Global Studies (SPGS) at Arizona State University
Fall/Spring 2016-2017

Faculty Internal Speaker Series / SPGS Workshop


Time: Wednesdays, 12-1 p.m.
Location: SPGS, Lattie F. Coor Hall, Room 6761
Coordinator: Lenka Bustikova
Presenters: Faculty and Graduate Students

If you want to present at the School Workshop, please contact the coordinator.

SW Rules:
    1 - Paper must be circulated one week before the Workshop, i.e. by WEDNESDAY 10 p.m.
    2 - Graduate students must obtain permission of their advisor if they want to present a paper.
    3 - Preference will be given to those who actively participate in the Workshop.
    4 - Preference will be given to those who do not decline requests to be discussants.
    5 - Preference will be given to those who submit their Workshop paper on time.
    6 - Preference will be given to authors who show up when their paper is being discussed.
    7 - Preference will be given to first time presenters.

 Graduate student (GS) discussant prepares a 5-10 minute presentation.
 Faculty (F) discussant prepares a 5-10 minute presentation.

Schedule - Google Calendar (Mark Ramirez)


FALL 2016

  • September 28                 Mark von Hagen                    
        Wars, Revolutions, Peace Talks, and the Politics of National Self-Determination: Ukraine and Its Borderlands, 1914-1921
        Jennifer Kartner (D-GS)
        Lenka Bustikova (D-F)

    World War I, for all its destruction of lives and some empires, also marked the painful emergence of a new international order, in the words of Eric Weitz, "the Paris order" that issued from the Versailles peace negotiations and was key to defining "national minorities and majorities, thereby legitimating systems of minority rights and forced deportations." Taking Weitz's origins story back at least a year earlier to a largely forgotten treaty of Brest Litovsk, this paper seeks to explore the rise and fall of several new states (Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Bolshevik and White Russia) out of World War I and those states' continued shaping in conditions of civil and interstate war that continued after the first peace agreements. It also highlights the place of national self-determination and its allied projects of national autonomy in this multinational borderlands between empires in the national and social revolutions that transformed war and politics.
    Among the important claims are the roles of external powers, especially great powers or would-be great powers, in the rise of nations and states; those external powers - often unwittingly and certainly not self-consciously--enabled the national-liberation movements to realize their goals while also forcing compromises on many of those goals. This is an entangled relationship not often acknowledged in the national founding myths of the states currently occupying these lands, whose elites prefer a narrative that stresses the agency of the heroic national liberation movement leaders. On the other end, the survival of all those states in the region, except for Soviet Russia (and with the Brest-Litovsk Treaty it can be argued that even Soviet Russia survived thanks to the draconian peace it signed with the Central Powers in March 1918), depended on the diplomatic and military support of the outside powers or lack thereof, at one time the Central Powers, and then the victorious Entente states, all of which were confronted with analogous claims of national self-determination to their imperial states, but also found myriad ways of adapting empire to the new postwar politics of national self-determination, such as the mandate system of the League of Nations.

  • October 19                 Seyedbabak Rezaeedaryakenari and Cameron Thies                    
        Pacifying or Provoking: The Role of Financial Institutions in Intra-State Conflict
        Hao Wang (D-GS)
        Will Moore (D-F)

    Although scholars have previously studied the effect of political institutions on conflict processes, the influence of economic and financial institutions on the likelihood of conflict has not been explored in any detail. Currently, the literature assumes that access to domestic financial services is spatially and temporally constant and thus inconsequential to conflict processes. In this paper, we relax this assumption by developing a theoretical framework that links the differential access to financial institutions to the likelihood of conflict. Financial institutions can reduce the risk of conflict by providing financial risk management services. However, access to financial institutions can also increase the likelihood of conflict since they may represent a ''honeypot'' for opportunists and facilitate rebel funding. We argue that the ability of a state in protecting and monitoring financial institutions can strengthen the former effect and mitigate the latter one. We evaluate our hypotheses using data from different conflict event datasets at two levels: a cross-national analysis and a subnational analysis focused on Kenya. Our results suggest that both pacifying and provocative effects of financial institutions on conflict are present at both levels of analysis. Further, the results are consistent with our claim about the conditional effect of governance capacity.

  • November 2                 Daniel Rothenberg                    
        Interpreting La Violencia: Tracing Genocide Claims in Guatemala
        Alan Simmons (D-GS)
        Ryan Welch (D-F)

    This paper considers the meaning and usefulness of genocide claims in Guatemala following the formal cessation of conflict in 1996. The essay focuses on three distinct genocide claims made in response the brutal counterinsurgency policies of the state in the early 1980s: the determination that the state committed genocide by the Guatemalan Truth Commission (1999); a case processed through the Spanish courts (1999-2012); and a criminal genocide case in Guatemalan domestic courts against Gen. Efrain Rios Montt and his intelligence chief Maurizio Rodriguez Sanchez (2011-present). The essay argues that the Guatemalan case provides a concrete example of the complexity of claiming genocide in legal terms - identifying intent, clarifying the targeting of victim groups, engaging the meaning of ''in whole or in part'' and assessing evidentiary claims for some or all of the five enumerated actions in the international definition - within a contested context overdetermined by competing political interests. The issue here is both one of ''translation,'' that is effectively communicating a complex legal concept to a broad public as well as a case study of the multiple ways and forums within which emerging international legal ideas and analyses proceed.

  • November 16                 Ryan Welch                    
        The Psychological Effects of State Socialization: IGO Membership and Respect for Human Rights
        Seyedbabak Rezaeedaryakenari (D-GS)
        Thorin Wright (D-F)

    Efforts to understand how international institutions influence domestic human rights practices have produced mixed results. We present an interdisciplinary theory that considers how loss of membership in international institutions affects states' human rights practices. Specifically, we predict that a loss of membership in international governmental organizations (IGOs) will decrease states' respect for human rights, as states that lose social ties to the international community will be less inclined to conform to behavior expected from community members. We incorporate social exclusion literature from the field of psychology to support this expectation. Social exclusion affects an individual's willingness to comply with rules and norms that maintain membership in a community, and we predict that these effects apply to states as they interact in international society. States value IGO membership because they want to be included among those actors that make decisions affecting the international community. Exclusion from this community decreases the psychological benefits derived from complying with societal norms, especially non-violent norms. Thus, we hypothesize that the loss of membership from IGOs subsequently excludes states from international society and adversely affects human rights practices at home. Using propensity score matching and regression analysis on a global cross-section across the years 1978 to 2012, we find empirical support for our theory.

Fall/Spring 2015-2016

FALL 2015
  • August 26                  Sarah Shair-Rosenfield
        When Women Run the Show: Female Executive Authority and Agenda Setting In Latin America    
        Discussant (GS): Joshua Thompson
        Discussant (F): Magda Hinojosa

  • September 9             Stephen Walker
        Revisiting the Operational Code of Vladimir Putin (Schafer, Nurmanova, Walker)    
        D (GS): Valeriy Dzutsev
        D (F): Sheldon Simon

  • September 16           Lenka Bustikova, Hasan Davulcu and David Siroky
        The Evolution of Extremism: Insights from Text Mining of Big Data    
        D (GS): Scott Swagerty
        D (F): Miki Kittilson
        Chair: Sarah Shair-Rosenfield

  • September 30           Ryan Welch
        JOB TALK
        Delegating Accountability: An Analysis of National Human Rights Institution Design Variation    
        Chair: Will Moore

  • October 7                  Dan Berliner
        The Politics of Government Responsiveness: Evidence from 1 Million Public Information Requests in Mexico    
        D (GS): Jennifer Kartner
        D (F): Carolyn Warner

  • October 21                Devorah Manekin
        Symbolism or Materialism? A Public Opinion Approach to Territorial Conflict    
        D (GS): Seyedbabak Rezaeedaryakenari
        D (F): Thorin Wright

  • October 28               Valery Dzutsati
        Explaining Secessionist Violence: Regime Type, Mobilization Capacity and International Security    
        D (GS): Alan Simmons
        D (F): Devorah Manekin

  • November 4             Thorin Wright
        Sub-National Analysis of Repression Project (NSF/Draft)    
        D: Will Moore


  • February 3               Seyedbabak Rezaeedaryakenari and Cameron Thies        
        How economic sanctions compel an autocrat to oblige
        Discussant (GS): Valery Dzutsati
        Discussant (F): Reed Wood

    There is a consensus among scholars that authoritarian regimes can withstand economic sanctions better than democratic regimes. However, as policymakers have increasingly turned to sanctions, we observe variation across time and place in the behavior of authoritarian regimes in response to economic sanctions. Understanding the causes of these differences requires a more in-depth study of the domestic politics of authoritarian regimes. While there are a good number of theories about how authoritarian regimes work and survive, they cannot help us to explain the variation in response to sanctions. In addition to theoretical issues, scholars also lack adequate data about the domestic political economies of authoritarian regimes that prevents hypothesis testing at the subnational level. This study fills these gaps in the literature in two ways: first, we suggest a new framework for studying ‎how economic sanctions affect the domestic politics of an authoritarian regime; second, we use individual-level data to study the effect of sanctions on the pecuniary and non-pecuniary incentives for the members of the core group of authoritarian supporters. Our findings show how studying changes in the content of the autocrat-core group contract improves our understanding of the effects of sanctions on the domestic political economy of authoritarian regimes.

  • February 10             Will Moore (with Johanna K. Birnir and Stephen M. Saideman)
        Proportional Representation is Dead, Long Live PR! Institutional Effects on Conflict in Countries vs on Groups
        D (GS): Mijun Lee
        D (F): David Siroky

    One of the most important questions in the field of comparative politics is whether particular sets of political institutions can limit the extent to which political competition across ethnic cleavages turns violent. Excessive theoretical and empirical abstraction, combined with sample selection bias and insufficient attention to the level at which inferences are made, undermine existing work. Despite decades of study, therefore, there is no agreement in the literature about which institutions best diffuse ethnic group incentives to engage each other in war. In contrast, we make the case that institutional remedies only affect claims made by aggrieved groups whereas minorities whose concerns are already addressed in the extant system are unaffected by institutional remedies. Testing these new and more specific hypotheses we utilize a new unbiased version of the MAR data - All Minorities at Risk (AMAR). Also for the first time in the study of institutions and ethnic conflict, we use a multi-level model that allows for the simultaneous but separate accounting of country and group level dynamics. The analysis shows strong support for the idea that while aggregate levels of ethnic conflict may be higher in countries with permissive institutions, permissive institutions nevertheless mitigate the conflict incentives of discriminated ethnic groups. This non-intuitive finding illuminates why there has been such contention and disagreement to date.

  • March 2                     Ryan Welch
        The Effect of State Reputation on Human Rights Institution Adoption
        D (GS): Alan Simmons
        D (F): Dan Berliner

    Why do states adopt human rights institutions? A vague notion of social acceptance underlies many of the theories whether rationalist (e.g. expressive benefits) or constructivist (e.g. norms cascade). I argue that a better understanding of the society of states vis--a--vis legitimacy and reputation will push the scholarly conversation forward. Legitimacy flows from a minimum set of standards of the social identity called ``state.'' Reputation comes from an elevated status within the society of states. The differences between legitimacy and reputation and the complementarity that flows from that difference leads to testable hypotheses. States concerned about their place in the social hierarchy should adopt institutions with higher probability -- those shamed know others' beliefs about them; material capabilities can shield a state from those concerns. I estimate a series of hazards models and find that international shaming predicts human rights institution adoption in a concave manner. I also show that material dominance predicts adoption in the same pattern.

    No workshop on March 16. Bradford Jones colloquium.
    No workshop on March 23. Meeting.

  • April 6             Steven T. Landis, Seyedbabak Rezaeedaryakenari, Cameron G. Thies
        Organized Conflict, Aerial Visibility, and Strategic Coordination
        D (GS): Christopher Davis
        D (F): Reyko Huang

    The pathways from climate change to conflict are subjects of major academic debate and much uncertainty. Most of the current research has tended to focus on testing indirect pathways that relate climate change to political violence via income shocks and food price disturbances, rather than more direct pathways such as how optimal battlefield circumstances may be undermined by changing environmental conditions. In this paper, we address this issue by analyzing how climatological changes may directly condition the strategic interaction of governments and rebel groups. We argue that favorable climatological conditions are used as a coordinating mechanism for combatants to plan and execute their respective strategies by reducing the exogenous uncertainties associated with the costly nature of warfare. Due to a higher degree of logistical and bureaucratic impediments, we hypothesize that government-initiated violence is more dependent on climate stability relative to rebel-initiated violence. Conversely, given the frequent power disparities between governments and rebel groups, we hypothesize that rebel groups are less sensitive to changing climate conditions and are more willing to initiate attacks during episodes of inclement weather in an effort to offset their material disadvantages when conflict is least expected. Using a research design constrained to 1983 - 2009, we test for evidence of an association between aerial visibility and diverging patterns of conflict initiation between rebel groups and governments on a global sample of civil war onsets and a subsample of rebel-government battles in Africa.

    No workshop on April 13. Four Corners Conflict Network C.

  • April 20                 Reed Wood                        
        Female Combatants and Civil Conflict Outcomes
        D (GS): Alicia Ellis
        D (F): Milli Lake

    Few studies have systematically analyzed patterns of women's participation in armed resistance movements, and far fewer have considered the potential influence the inclusion of female combatants might exert on conflict processes. In this manuscript, we frame the decision to recruit and employ female combatants as a strategic choice, and link this decision to the rebel leadership's expectations regarding female recruits' influence on a various aspects of the conflict. Specifically, we argue that the presence of female combatants - particularly in highly visible roles - benefits rebels by signaling the group's legitimacy to both domestic and international audiences and signaling resolve to the government it challenge. Empirically, we anticipate that rebel groups that employ female combatants are more likely to leverage concessions from the state, thereby terminating the conflict in via peace agreement. We examine hypotheses drawn from this argument using a novel new dataset on women's participation in rebel organizations active between 1979 and 2009. The results of competing risks models provide strong support for our argument. Ultimately, the results suggest that the inclusion of female combatants exerts substantial influence on conflict processes - a feature of civil conflict that has thus far been largely ignored by scholars of civil conflict.

  • April 27                 Reyko Huang                    
        Religion, Tactics, and Violent Conflict
        D (GS): Seyedbabak Rezaeedaryakenari
        D (F): Devorah Manekin

    Numerous studies of religious terrorism and insurgency presume ideological motivation for conflict based on belligerent groups' self-identification as religiously-driven actors. This paper challenges the assumptions on which such arguments are based. Drawing on both conflict and ethnic politics literatures, it presents the theoretical foundations of an instrumentalist approach to religion and violence and derives a set of testable empirical implications. The instrumentalist approach is widely used, but few works are explicit about its theoretical underpinnings or its inherent opposition to essentialism. To further substantiate this approach, the paper introduces a typology of religious instrumentalism that conceptualizes religion as manifesting in three possible forms in politics: an identity, an ideology, and an institution. It demonstrates the utility of the typology by marshaling suggestive evidence from a range of civil wars. The paper speaks to the large literature on rebel behavior, the growing body of work on religion and conflict, and an emerging inquiry into the role of ideology in political violence.