The details on this event will be forthcoming.
January 19 workshop
The details on this event will be forthcoming.
January 19 workshop
An integral element of our mission is to support graduate research on the politics of race, ethnicity and gender. Therefore, we will hold the first annual REG Graduate Student Workshop on January 19, 2018. We invite applications from graduate students to present a working paper, receive feedback from a faculty discussant and receive a $200 gift certificate to the UVA Bookstore in recognition of their research excellence. Ph.D. students in the Department of Politics are eligible to apply. We anticipate selecting 3-4 students.
Proposed research papers must involve some aspect of race, ethnicity and/or gender. Papers may be standalone projects or a discrete component of a larger research project.
Workshop participants will be expected to
Submissions should include:
REG faculty from several subfields will evaluate abstracts on the importance of the questions they raise; the suitability of the approach they take; and their relevance to race, ethnicity and gender in the study of politics.
Abstracts and CVs must be submitted by email as a single PDF attachment to Nicholas Winter, by 5pm on December 15. Selections will be announced in early January, 2018.
It would be so nice to sum up Roger Herbert's path in a few simple words, but that is not going to happen. He graduated with his Ph.D. from the Department of Politics in 2016. But he was a Captain in the U.S. Navy as a SEAL before that, and a NOLS instructor, and a football and swim coach, and afterwards, the Director of an outdoor school for teens in the mountains of North Carolina (The Outdoor Academy). All the ands!
And next, he will be the General Robert T. Herres Distinguished Military Professor in Leadership and Ethics at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. A good place for him since he has been speaking on character development, leadership, and ethical decision making for much of his professional life, and (and another and) in his dissertation intrinsically bound international relations and political theory.
As we talk, Herbert compares and contrasts the two philosophers. On one hand he can peek at life as a Cartesian, and see a difference between mind and body—one, the other, or both, can be built up like a muscle. And then he's Aristotelian, there is no difference between mind and body, there is only one, and one is all there is. He was an athlete in college and came at academics in the reverse from most intellectuals, the physical and then the intellectual.
He states "One of my early influences and what got me interested in academics and intellectual pursuits was my Latin professor at Davidson, Professor Davies. He was exactly what you think a Latin professor would look like—Princeton guy, big coke-bottle glasses, bowtie."
“Our class was having a conversation about a verb tense, which is what you do in Latin class. The professor says ‘of course you know which is the correct verb tense here because you know how this (Virgil’s Aeneid) ends.’ We all looked at him puzzled—none of us knew how it ended because none of us had ever read the Aeneid. Dr. Davies, who assumed that this was at least the second reading for most of us, was disgusted. ‘I just don't understand your generation. You spend all this time in the gym trying make your bodies strong, and yet you do nothing to make your minds strong.’ The way he framed this struck me—that you can build a strong mind. It really had an influence on me.”
In the Navy Herbert used this metaphor with his junior officers as they joined his reading programs – the brain isn’t a muscle, but it acts that way; it’s something you can build and make stronger.
Herbert continues to integrate his mind and body, but considers himself a failure at yoga, only able to touch his kneecaps ;). His integration process is less formalized, but walking through the woods sets it in motion. He is a NOLS instructor, and his most recent job at the Outdoor Academy, a school for teens in the mountains of North Carolina helps unify the mental and the physical.
Most people who study international relations as a major don’t match it with political theory as a minor. The prevailing wisdom is to pick comparative politics or methodology. But Herbert says IR and PT come together in lots of productive ways, especially with some of the scholarly movements in the late 1990s and early 2000s; he says the constructivists, for example, put together those two sub-disciplines very well. He indicates his decision to meld the two areas was less strategic and just his areas of interest. His Master’s degrees and his professional life dealt with the IR side of political science, but his interests have always tapped into PT starting from when he went to Naval Postgraduate School in the early 1990s.
“When I was looking at Ph.D. programs that I would be interested in, and programs that would be interested in me as a political scientist, I don’t think the Department of Politics at UVA would have been inspired to bring me on board as a political theorist; I just didn’t have the PT cred.“ But matching theory with IR is a wise choice for a political scientist. Herbert got into it in this way:
At the Naval Postgraduate School “my most influential professor walked into the classroom and threw John Rawls’ Theory of Justice on my desk. ‘Read this and talk to me about it next week.’ I did read it in a week, and, although I must admit very limited comprehension, it opened up the door to political theory for me. It was also the first time I’d been treated as an intellectual and I really liked the way that felt.”
Herbert's dissertation, Cry Havoc: Rhetorical Mobilization and Foreign Policy Decision Making During War-threatening Crises, seems to give advice to presidents, but he states he has not spoken to one personally. The closest he came, was at the beginning of the Iraq War. He worked at the Pentagon and every morning he delivered maps to various places, including the Oval Office.
He was a Commander at the time and despite the lofty-sounding title, he claims that a Commander in the Pentagon is little more than a glorified coffee maker; it was not even particularly glorified. As a Commander he was Executive Assistant to one of the generals in the J3, the Directorate of Operations. In his words, he was the dude who carried the briefcase and the papers. The position did, however, allow him to sit in on high-level meetings and importantly, to hear how top officials viewed the challenge of communicating the administration’s policy preference (regime change in Iraq) to domestic and foreign audiences.
In his dissertation he asks: When leaders choose war, for whatever reason, how do they marshal domestic support for that? Modern war requires mobilization, sometimes of entire societies. “When you think about it, the material incentives for any of us to go to war are pretty small. IR has many theories about why states are pushed into situations which are tragically conflictual. But states don't fight wars, people fight wars.“
He asks how does that mobilization happen? And answers that it happens through rhetoric. He also argues rhetoric is a variable which can be measured. He turns to social movement theory to hypothesize about when a rhetorical mobilization campaign will resonate with the public—and when it won't.
His dissertation covers two case studies: Iraq 2003, a brilliant use of rhetoric by the Bush machine, and Roosevelt in 1940, a president unable to marshal public support for a war that really needed to be fought. Whether the Iraq war needed to be fought, Herbert doesn't address, but “it's a war which brought on all sorts of unintended consequences; it was a war which took the military by surprise.“
To some extent, Roosevelt was the first modern president when it comes to the use of mass media. Though reluctant to use it for propaganda, he ventured into it to garner support for the war. Polling, another new technology for presidents, had just come into use. He used Princeton professor Hadley Cantrill to plug-into what America was thinking on a daily basis.
Herbert indicates it was nothing like what we have now— we have a different media landscape including social media, reality TV, and all the other low-friction ways the internet brings us together and pushes us apart. “An administration or a campaign can leverage the current media landscape in ways we've never seen before. Maybe (media) is more important now than ever before in how leaders can marshal support.“
We spoke about other issues outside of his expertise, but still with an ethical bearing. Drone warfare—is the body or the mind responsible? He says drone technology has been erroneously conflated in ethical discourse with other technologies which make decisions autonomously. The human drone operator, while not in physical danger, is very much there – “it is a very personal form of warfare. From an ethical perspective, we should be careful about what we are talking about. Whether you are back in CONUS (the continental US) fighting a drone, or on the ground ten meters from your enemy, you always have rules of engagement, which are essentially algorithms for ethical decision making.”
He says the next big question will be about autonomous decision makers, “where we're turning over the decision-making keys to the castle to artificial intelligence.“ He says wisely, “I don't have enough background to comment on that.“
To my other tech related questions he offered, “Compared with other warfighting specialties, SEALs are pretty low-tech.“ But he did routinely employ a decision-making algorithm, a framework for moral reasoning that he evolved throughout his naval career.
The notion of a just war, an ancient idea reinterpreted and reinvigorated in Michael Walzer's book Just and Unjust Wars had a profound influence on the post-Vietnam military. “We had lost touch with the language of the just war tradition in WWII and the Vietnam War. The military was very encouraged by the resurgence of this (tradition)—What does it mean to be a just warrior, what does it mean to have a just cause for war?“
He continues “It fascinates me, I've evolved my own framework for moral reasoning in combat that allowed me to make decisions both quickly and in long term. It's something I've developed with the help of Kant and Aristotle and Mill and Jesus and Mohammad and various other ethical traditions.“
It became a part of how he led his subordinates. While he was still on active duty, it was a work-in-progress, but he shared his evolving framework with his troops. “Every American soldier, before they go into combat, is familiarized with detailed rules of engagement to guide their conduct on the battlefield. But rules of engagement only take you so far, especially on the very complex battlefields on which SEALs typically fight.
“Of note, I'm currently running this school in Western North Carolina. I've introduced a leadership and ethics seminar, which every student goes through. I have found that the same framework of moral reasoning that benefitted me during my naval career has also been valuable for teenagers who also routinely face difficult choices with moral content and very real consequences.”
And will he continue the effort when teaching at Annapolis? He responds that "Every Youngster* at the Naval Academy will go through his ethics course."
At the Naval Academy, you are a Plebe (freshman), a Youngster (sophomore), a Junior, and then a Firsty (senior).
The staff that designs and delivers the course, Introduction to Moral Reasoning, includes a handful of philosophers and political theorists, “amazing scholars who put together the curriculum.“ Joining these scholars are 25-30 naval officers who have significant field experience. “On Monday, for example, a professor may lecture on Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative. The students will then break into sections led by one of the naval officers who will lead a discussion on the material covered in lecture and, importantly, put these esoteric ideas in perspective in the context of their military careers: lessons from the battlefield.“
The position has been around for about 20 years, but Herbert will not just show up and introduce his syllabus; As a professor he will be one of the people doing the lectures, and also someone who has been in battle. He speaks the language of both. He says “Every single combatant is a moral agent. Especially on today's battlefield and especially for those on the ground like SEALs, Marines, and Infantry folks who deal directly and at close quarters with other moral agents, individual choices can have lasting consequences…for good or harm. It is the nature of modern warfare that individual soldiers must exercise a great deal of autonomy, which is why we have to prepare them well to make those difficult choices.”
But while rules of engagement and detailed planning play an important role in this preparation, planning has its limits. Of plans he says “planning is priceless, but plans are useless.“ Once you get out on the battlefield, he says you better be ready to adapt, and this is especially important for the lower-level leaders—be tactically smart, but ethically on target. On the battlefield today, ethical behavior has strategic implications, and unethical behavior has huge strategic implications. “By promoting ethical decision making and the use of a framework for moral reasoning, we increase the likelihood that our soldiers will not only achieve desired results on the battlefield, but also come home as whole human beings—with as little damage as war can cause.“
For just getting into the program, he owes Mark Schwartz a huge debt of gratitude. When looking at schools, Herbert encountered reluctance from some programs when they heard a 50-year old say, “I want to go be a tenure-track professor somewhere,“ the implication being: we don't want you to sue us, but we're trying to welcome the next generation of scholars...and you look like our generation of scholars. Schwartz, Director of Graduate Studies at the time, saw this unconventional Ph.D. candidate and saw good things.
During his studies here he says “I studied under extraordinary scholars like Jen Rubenstein, Jeff Legro, Lawrie Balfour, Dale Copeland, Michael Smith, Lynn Sanders, Todd Sechser, Jim Ceaser, and John Owen.” Looking back, Herbert recognizes that not only was it a good decision for him to retire from the Navy to pursue his doctorate, but very important that he studied at UVA. “I am so pleased with where I ended up.”
Jim Childress from Religious Studies also contributed importantly to Herbert's experience at UVA and he continues a conversation with him today. “I consider Jim a mentor, in the same way I consider John Owen, the Chair of my Dissertation Committee, a mentor. I was trying to find my voice straddling IR and PT. I went to Jim who was offering a Just War course. My intent was to walk away from that course with a dissertation topic.“ He smiles and continued, “It didn't come out quite the way I'd hoped. My dissertation is an IR dissertation. It certainly has normative implications, but I don’t feel like I'd hit that sweet spot as an IR/PT scholar. He continues, “I still think the ethical dimension of conflict is a fertile ground to find this connection—after all, some of the best scholars in the Just War tradition are political theorists, and the normative aspects of war and peace certainly have a place in international relations scholarship.”
His gratitude towards his teachers is overwhelming, but no doubt the Department of Politics should also be thanking Roger for picking the University of Virginia.
Ethics 2016: Capt. Roger Herbert: Courage - Can we teach it? Can we learn it?
Herbert in his role as Director of The Outdoor Academy in the mountains of North Carolina
Carah Ong Whaley discusses the implications of the 2017 election results with Sam Wood, WJBC, the Voice of Central Illinois.
Carah Ong Whaley from the University of Virginia joined WJBC’s Sam Wood this week to discuss Tuesday’s big election in Virginia.
There is a new initiative to bring some transparency to hiring in Political Science: see #PSJMInfo on Twitter. Following the best examples of internet activism, the Department of Politics at the University joins other leading institutions to fight the FAKE NEWS! surrounding hiring, especially the information and disinformation on rumor sites. The idea is to tweet to the hash tag when calls have been made for interviews, but not to announce the names of candidates. This allows some calming to the candidate pool, as well as to candidates who don’t make it to the final rounds. A little information goes a long way.
Brantly Womack is currently enjoying a one-month position as visiting scholar at China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU), the university associated with China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He presented a lecture, “Comparing the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and the 2017 Global Political Crisis,” at CFAU and at Beijing University, China University of Politics and Law, Nankai University in Tianjin, and Jilin University in Changchun. He presented a paper, China, ASEAN, and the Re-Centering of Asia,” at CFAU and at Guizhou University. At the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau he talked about “Xi Jinping and Continuing Political Reform in China” and participated in a seminar on the English translation of Chinese political terms. He held a graduate seminar at CFAU on asymmetry theory, and has met with leading Chinese scholars in international relations at Tsinghua University and Renmin University (Jin Canrong, Shi Yinhong, Yan Xuetong, Yu Keping, Sun Xuefeng).
Despite what you may conjure from the headline of this story, it is not about the politics of football—the power players and the trades, the Superbowl and DeflateGate, severe head injuries or insights into quarterbacks in panty hose. Allen Lynch, professor in the Department of Political Science at UVA, is a place kicker for the Virginia Silverbacks, a semipro team in the Atlantic Football League, filled with (mostly) 25-30 year-olds who love playing football and never wanted to give it up after high school or college. It’s a beautiful sight.
For Professor Allen it’s about the resumption of kicking for a team. He played for two years in high school and four years at Stony Brook (State University of New York, Long Island)—he was there during the early years of football at Stony Brook, a club team, though in his first season there in '73, the team fell apart after the 4th game, having lost their initial game 69-6 to Albany State. The coach said he’d never coach again.
Despite that shattering experience, something inspired the club to give it another shot in 1974. By 1975, the team was playing at the National Championship (against Westchester Community College)—Stony Brook showed vast improvement in skill, but still scored a loss. He notes they played on astroturf, perhaps that was the cause. Or perhaps because WCC had 90 great players to Stony Brook’s 40, many playing offense and defense, tongues hanging out.
I try to entice him into the topic of sports vs. academics, but he doesn't bite. Dr. Lynch did indicate THAT during his college game, once a month he’d have to leave practice early and attend a student government meeting, still in uniform, to make sure they didn’t cut the team’s $10,000 budget.
"At that time there were no NCAA level sports at Stony Brook and it reflected the true spirit of amatuerism. You base a school on academics—and if you want to play sports, you form a club. Now they probably have a $1,000,000 budget and are in the NCAA. We created a monster.” In Lynch's time the team would mow the grass, erect goalposts, fence the field, and hire the coach.
Following graduation Professor Lynch was getting ready for try-outs for the Canadian Football League, but unfortunately got a full scholarship to graduate school at Columbia. He says it was a good thing because he was a straight-toe kicker and the future wasn’t in straight-toe kicking. Despite being sidetracked into political science he kept kicking — a bag of footballs at a high school field on Saturday mornings. Most modern kickers approach the ball soccer style, but he still uses a square toe shoe. He laments that there are no replacements for that shoe and jokes about buying up all the square toe shoes on eBay—an imagined market of square toe shoe futures.
His Silverbacks are mainly from Charlottesville and Albemarle county, with a few from Culpeper, Richmond, and Louisa. All were high school players, some were UVA players, some played arena football. Everyone has a day job, a family, and still loves football. Beyond the individual, it is a network of local guys led by coach and owner, Jamie Davis, who sometimes suits up to play QB. Davis played several seasons in NFL Europe, based in Switzerland.
Q: Are you a more aggressive player as an academic?
A: No, you’ll see I stay pretty close to mid-field. If the opposition does break through, I stay far enough away to bluff him to the sidelines.
Q: Does it make you happier playing with a team?
A: No question about it. Team Spirit! Common Enterprise. Football is emotional, violent; it’s all for one—or everyone is going to fall down.
Q: As I was taking pictures on the sideline I was afraid of catching an elbow. Would they resent me being that close?
A: The Team gets totally psyched. If they hit you it would be nothing personal, they’re just hyped up.
Q: What’s it like playing on this team?
A: I feel more accepted here. My earlier teams, they didn't respect the kicker as much.
He claims there’s really not a lot of difference between his behavior before he joined the team and after, but “My wife and mother see a difference, they say I'm happier."
There were so many poor choices for this story's headline. Some I've considered: Kicks are for Kids, Play Ball!, Lynch Kick Ass!, but it’s ultimately about a man having fun on Saturday mornings. Dr. Lynch says "it’s incongruous, it’s a scream."
"The extra point really captures the form — almost perfect."
Joe Namath on Beautymist Pantyhose.
On Tuesday, April 4th Paul Freedman (Politics), Lou Bloomfield (Physics), Stephen Cushman (English), and Martien Halvorson-Taylor (Religious Studies) each spoke about themselves for fifteen minutes. In most situations this might sound unduly self-centered, but it was actually the topic of I Contain Multitudes: A Quartet of Favorite UVA Professors Converses about "The Self", the brainchild of Creative Writing's Lisa Russ Spaar. While it sounds like a program of professors letting it all hang out, they were restrained about themselves and each focused on the topic as it related to their field.
In her introduction Dr. Russ Spaar naturally referred to Whitman, Dickerson, and Emerson, but also spoke about how Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and SnapChat have all gone extinct before we learned to use them, how the Word of the Year is not a word (a pictograph, the emoji), and how, in poetry we don't solve for x. She set history and context as a launching place for her four friends.
First, Dr. Bloomfield lamented how most scientists have turned into businessmen – managers, who scrabble to make their labs and discoveries profitable. He pointed out how we let integrity take care of itself...and it never does. And that the biggest display of self on Grounds is when a building is named after you. But not all his observations about the self were tilted downward, he still finds joy in generosity and play, the things that drew him to science in the first place. He notes, in case we forgot, that the world is not a zero-sum game and that he entered science "to do something really useful, to make the world a better place."
Dr. Cushman focused sharply on The Self; the word and concept of ego came into English in 1789 in the light of Romanticism and continued onward into the shadow of Freud—"the I at the Center of the Universe." Cushman's also noted the difficulty and necessity of getting his Cushman-self out of the transaction between the students and the works they are reading, and yet being there too. "How does this work?" he was not the only speaker to find paradox in the observation of self.
The Department of Politics' Dr. Paul Freedman admits to Googling "I contain multitudes." He was happily surprised by results referencing the microbiome, surely the best example of multitudes. He suggests that we invite the trillions of others into the conversation, that they will have something to say about The Self, perhaps as something concealed, as something yet to be revealed, and then as something uncovered and exposed. He mentions his students efforts to suss out the political stance of each professor in the department, which way do you lean, hidden in every question? As if Google was not available to them-selves as well.
Finally Dr. Halvorson-Taylor spoke on the Bible, a book which clearly contains multitudes. She addressed humankind as male, female, and then self as a undifferentiated mass, not as individuals at all. Each self has directionality in time—aharit, that which lies ahead, and ki-aharit, that which lies behind. This self imagines that it "lives into the future," – the self is prepositionally challenged, a person in a rowboat, their back to the future and their front to the past.
The audience was given a chance to show themselves as well, addressing critical thinking, surveys, and smart phones: "What do we know of ourselves?" "We are conscious of our ignorance." "We think we know ourselves. And sometimes we are wrong."
I Contain Multitudes was held at the Fralin Museum of Art in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center for Teaching Excellence, and the College of Arts and Sciences.
Winners of the 2017 Quandt Fund
Gregory Lannon, for research in Czechoslovakia and Japan on Russian foreign policy toward Eastern Europe and Japan in the early 1990s. He will do archival research in both Prague and Hokkaido.
Carolyn Coberly, for research in Moscow on the role of non-governmental political parties in an authoritarian regime.
Jennifer Simons for research in France on the role of ethnic and religious minorities in the rise of radical right-wing parties in Europe.
Aurora Lofton, for an internship in Oxford to increase her understanding of the international refugee problem.
Yuang Cao, for research in Cangdong village in Guangdong Province, China, on how a very remote region is affected by larger issues of national politics.
Ross Mittiga’s presentation, What’s the Problem with Geo-Engineering?, was both eye-opening and heartbreaking. Unlike many of the Huskey Award speakers, this presentation was not based on his dissertation—rather he followed a crooked path from the literature on Climate Change to the dark corner of emergency response, solutions of last resort. Geo-Engineering is a topic which should be a challenge to the rational thinker as well as any ethical thinker.
Rarely does a presentation automatically grab your attention like this one. Geo-engineering is a dramatic and extreme approach to global warming; it involves deliberate, large-scale intervention in the Earth’s natural systems to counteract climate change. There are two primary categories: Solar Radiation Management (SRM), and Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR). Within these categories are many proposed methods; among these Mr. Mittiga spoke on one of the most common proposals, stratospheric sulfate injections (SSI), which involves releasing sulfate aerosols into the atmosphere to reduce how much sunlight reaches the earth—like an enormous smog parasol. It sounds so simple, and the (known) side effect?—the sky will turn from blue to white. There are many variants on geo-engineering, all scary and many are ethically questionable.
At the start of graduate school, he was determined do something useful with political theory. After a conversation with Danielle Allen, a political theorist at Princeton University he decided on the issue of climate change, the most important problem of our generation, a problem he had followed since high school. She revealed her methodological approach—identify a problem and then work backward to whatever literature is most relevant, finding and using primary texts. Allen’s problem-first approach inspired him to place it at the center of his research.
Mr. Mittiga is currently running for State Delegate, Virginia District 57.
As a political scientist, Yaping Wang has always had an interest in territorial disputes and is now looking at how governments propagandize these disputes. Border conflicts are the most dangerous kind of international event and the kind most likely to turn into a militarized conflict. Propaganda could make these disputes even more dangerous and long-lasting as well.
Her dissertation reaches into the topic using four conflicts/crises between China and Vietnam as case studies — the naval clash in the Paracels in 1974, the border war in 1979, the skirmish in the Spratlys in 1988, and finally the oil rig standoff in 2014. She uses her work-in-progress dissertation as a basis for her presentation The Dog that Barks: State-led Propaganda Campaigns on Territorial Disputes.
Ms. Wang collects evidence in original sources through extensive fieldwork in China and Vietnam, including archival work in numerous locations and interviews with retired government officials and journalists. She recognizes the difficulty in conducting field work in authoritarian countries, but acknowledges that it is still possible to overcome some of these challenges through creative means and hard work. She also carries out computer-assisted content analysis of People’s Daily to provide quantitative data on these cases. She’s devised a simple and effective matrix to determine causal inference in the government’s media behavior.
A native of People's Republic of China (PRC), she is now a permanent resident of the U.S. and lives in Washington, D.C. She is starting in the fall a predoctoral fellowship at George Washington University to continue to work on her dissertation.