Category Archives: News

Freedman Contains Multitudes


I Contain Multitudes PanelOn 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.

Dr. Paul FreedmanThe 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.

Scholars Abroad: 2017 Quandt Fund Winners

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.

Huskey Awards 2017 Presentations

The Huskey Awards are a place for A&S graduate students to share their research to an audience of many fields—presentations may be oral (10-12 minutes) or presented in a postering session (4-5 minutes). The graduate student presenters span Arts and Humanities, Biological & Biomedical Sciences, Physical Sciences & Mathematics, and Social & Behavorial Sciences. Three participants from the Department of Politics presented this year, Yaping Wang (International Relations) and Robert Kubinec (Foreign Affairs) in the Social Sciences competiton and Ross Mittiga (Government) in Arts and Humanities. All three presented orally. Ms. Wang and Mr. Mittiga both were both won second place for their categories.
The Graduate Student Council puts on the annual showcase as their most important event of the year with sponsorship from University of Virginia Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

Ross MittigaRoss 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.

Robert KuninecRobert Kubinec’s When Elites Fail to Undermine Democracy: Tunisia's Regime Transition Comparative Perspective Huskey Awards presentation draws from a chapter in his dissertation. He sees the Awards audience as interdisciplinary, and an opportunity to present with clarity and focus to non-political scientists. He says “If I can make the topic clear to a general audience, I should have no trouble with political scientists.” but also indicates just because someone IS a political scientist, doesn’t mean they will be familiar with his topic or his methods, and the Huskey presentation helps him hone his work.
Mr. Kubinec works hard for his clarity. For his Ph.D. he spent eight months in Tunisia and Egypt conducting research. In his  work he asks why and how do the behaviors of businessmen affect the governing bodies of these Middle East countries, why would they become a democracy and how would they remain that way? Tunisia’s democracy is now ancient among all the world’s democracies – 6 years old. Egypt which loudly became a democracy during Arab Spring, slipped back into military rule after only a few years. These two countries provide great material for his work in comparative politics and he picked them strategically—they’ve gone through recent and dramatic change, are relatively safe for field work (especially compared to Lybia which the Egyptian military uses as an example of what chaos could happen without their strong guidance)— and he indicates there is lots to learn from juxtaposing the two countries.
Before attending UVA for his Ph.D., Mr. Kubinec was in the Foreign Service for two years in Saudia Arabia. He got a Master’s in Middle East Studies at George Washington University and went to Jordan as part of a research component while attending; he also speaks Arabic and French and received his BA in International Relations at Wheaton College. He is patently obsessed with the Middle East.
His research continues and he is currently working with Professor John Owen on investigating Twitter use during uprisings in the Middle East. The app presents at least as much of a risk as an opportunity—activists and rebels sharing information about their activities, and that data being harvested and acted upon by regimes to identify and attack them.

Yaping WangAs 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.

This Means War. Or Does It?

Economic Interdependence and War book coverDale Copeland’s new book, Economic Interdependence and War has received the Best Book Award from the International Studies Association. Professor Copeland will receive his award at the 2017 ISA meeting on February 23. This is Copeland’s second book, and is spurring international relations experts to the use of words such as magisterialbold and original, and a landmark study. Grand statements for an important book.

"An extraordinary accomplishment. This magisterial work, by one of the leading scholars of international relations, brings together theory, history, and quantitative data to demonstrate the critical role economic relations play in the 'high politics' of war and peace. The evidence Copeland produces is fascinating and his argument is provocative and forceful."

Michael Mastanduno
Dartmouth College

The book examines the key cases from the last two hundred years of great power politics, including the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, the Russo-Japanese War, the two World Wars in Europe, the Pacific War, and the Cold War and its crises.  It also supports its historical work with a rigorous examination of the quantitative literature that has tended to dominate the study of trade and war up until now. The book ends with an examination of the book's implications for current affairs, particularly U.S.-China relations.

Professor Copeland's book shows how changing expectations of future trade drive great power interactions and the likelihood of war from the 1790s to the end of the 20th century. Copeland views liberal & economic realist theories as insightful but incomplete. Great powers, in calculating their long-term security interests, consider both the gains in power accruing from trade as well as the increased vulnerability to cut-off that such interdependence entails. When they have positive expectations about the commercial environment, they will see the gains as outweighing the risks, and will thus tend toward peaceful policies. Consider China's relatively moderate behavior after 1985 as it became integrated into the global economy. When expectations of the future become negative, however, and great powers worry about their ability to access key raw materials and markets, they tend to see hard-line policies and even war as necessary means to their long-term survival. Japan's increasingly aggressive behavior in East Asia from 1930 to 1941 is a sobering reminder of this dynamic.

Professor at the University of Virginia, Dale Copeland is recipient of numerous awards, including MacArthur and Mellon Fellowships and a post-doctoral fellowship at the Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University.

Professor Copeland will present at this year's ISA conference on February 25, 2017 at 1:45 PM in the Hilton Baltimore. His paper is "America on the Brink: Systemic Theory and the Future of Great Power War and Peace."

Dale Copeland

Fulfilling the Fulbright: James Savage’s Teaching and Research Award

James Savage will be teaching and conducting research at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna for Spring 2017 semester. The Fulbright-Diplomatic Academy Visiting Professor of International Studies award, will allow professor Savage to teach courses on U.S. Foreign Policy and Failed States and State Building, while conducting research on Funding for Research and Development in Austria.

The Academy was founded in 1754 as the Oriental Academy to train diplomats for the Habsburg monarchy. It later became the Consular Academy and in 1964, the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. In 1996 an independent public training institution.

The Diplomatic Academy of Vienna describes itself as "a postgraduate professional school, dedicated to preparing talented university and college graduates for international careers and positions of leadership in international organizations, the EU, in public service and in international business." They focus on international relations, political science, international and EU law, economics, history and languages.

Savage's research includes comparative budgetary, fiscal, and macroeconomic policy with an emphasis on the United States, the European Union, Iraq and Japan. He is particularly interested in the development of macrobudgetary rules, procedures, and institutions in these countries, and how they influence fiscal outcomes.

In addition to his research, Savage’s service to the University includes serving as Executive Assistant to the President for Federal Relations, Assistant Vice President for Research and Federal Relations and Director, Masters of Administration and Mid-Career Programs.

Additional information on the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna.
Additional information of the Fulbright-Diplomatic Academy Visiting Professor of International Studies award.



James Savage

Teach-In on Refugees, Migration, and Borders

Teach-InAs part of a nationwide teach-in on Refugees, Migration, and Borders, University of Virginia faculty from the Department of Politics, School of Law Department of History, Department of Religious Studies, and others will conduct a one-day program to familiarize students and our community in the state of the world’s borders, recent U.S. immigration policy changes, and international migration.

The event will be held in Ruffner Hall G008 (Curry School of Education building) on Wednesday, February 8th 1:00-3:30. The program will begin with a Panel Discussion from 1:00-2:00, followed by a Question and Answer period with professors from 2:00-3:00. Refreshments will be served.

David Leblang (Politics)
Jennifer Rubenstein (Politics)
Richard Schragger (Law School)
Rachel Potter (Politics)
Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner (Politics)
Lucila Figueroa (Politics)
Sandip Sukhtankar (Economics)
James Loeffler (History)
Sahar Akhtar (Philosophy)
Murad Idris (Politics)

Charles H. Koch Award to Support Internships Related to Foreign Affairs

We are pleased to announce the fourth annual competition for the Charles H. Koch Jr. Award to provide financial support up to $5000 to help cover the expenses of internships related to foreign affairs of students in the College of Arts and Sciences during the summer of 2018. The judges of the competition will give priority to funding internships requiring travel abroad. In order to maximize the assistance provided by the fellowship, they may decide to divide the funds among more than one student.

Applications should include:

1. A cover letter not more than two pages in length describing how the student’s need and the nature of the internship.
2. A budget estimating how the fellowship funds will be used.
3. A resume
4. A transcript
5. The name and email address of UVa faculty member willing to serve as a reference should the need arise.

All application material should be submitted via email to Lynn Sanders, Director of Undergraduate Program, Department of Politics by no later than 5:00 PM Friday March 16, 2018. Winners will be announced during the week beginning Tuesday March 20, 2017.

Who is Charles H. Koch Jr.?

Professor Charles H. Koch Jr. was a professor of law at the College of William & Mary from 1979 until his passing in 2012. Professor Koch's areas of expertise included administrative law, comparative constitutional systems, electricity, the European Union, and federal courts. While he primarily focused on U.S. administrative law, he began learning and teaching about the European Union because he saw its growing importance both to the U.S. in the global legal environment and ultimately to domestic law.

He received his B.A. from the University of Maryland, his J.D. from George Washington University and his LL.M. from the University of Chicago. Prior to joining the William & Mary faculty in 1979, he worked as a staff attorney in the Office of the General Counsel of the Federal Trade Commission and taught at DePaul University College of Law. He served as Assistant Chief Reporter of the ABA's Administrative Law of the European Union Project and was Past President of the Committee on Sections and Annual Meetings of the Administrative Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools. He was a member of the ABA's United Nations Affairs Coordinating Committee. He also served for seven years as Editor-in-Chief of the Administrative Law Review and twice acted as a consultant to the Administrative Conference of the United States.

Professor Koch was a prolific writer, publishing books for both teaching and practice, and numerous articles in law reviews and practitioner-oriented journals. His books included Administrative Law and Practice (2d ed.), Administrative Law of the European Union, Volume 1 (with George Bermann), Federal Practice and Procedure Volumes 32 and 33 (with Charles Alan Wright), Administrative Law: Cases and Materials (5th ed., with William Jordan & Richard Murphy), West's Federal Administrative Practice, Volume 7, The Federal Administrative Judiciary (with Paul Verkuil, Daniel Gifford, Richard Pierce and Jeffrey Lubbers) and Fundamentals of Administrative Practice (with Donald Rothschild).

He is survived by his wife, Denise, and his son, Andrew (COL '12).

Professor Charles H Koch Jr
Professor Charles H. Koch Jr.

Quandt International Grant for Political Science Research Abroad

William QuandtApplication Information

For complete application and submission details go to the Quandt Fund site.

Deadline for this year is March 3, 2017.


Grants of up to $3000 are made to:

  • Politics students, undergraduate and graduate, for international study in any region or country, including structured programs and individual research;
  • Politics faculty, for research abroad.

Grants can be used from May to December of the year of award, and recipients are expected to submit a brief report on their field experience within two months of their return.

Only Nicholas Can Go to China

croppedpeking-university-outside-by-lakeIt's no longer true that only Nixon can go to China—Nicholas Winter toured the country at the request of the U.S. State Department to tell the story of the 2016 Presidential Election as part of their Public Affairs Programming. That phrase refers to Richard Nixon as the first U.S. president to go to the Republic of China in almost 100 years. Nixon's reputation as a staunch anti-Communist meant he could visit without being perceived as soft on Communism by his critics. Professor Winter did not need that armor—he went there to freely answer the many Trump and Clinton questions from Chinese students and faculty, diplomats, and embassy staff. He hit five cities in two weeks.

His first stop, Beijing, included three schools and the U.S. Embassy (see his adventure map to the side). Beijing is viewed as the center of the universe in China, a place where much of the important political and creative work of the country is being done. He spoke at the World Economics and Politics—Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, School of Government—Peking University, Renming University, and the U.S. Embassy in the Beijing America Center.

Peking University was his first time using a translator which added some additional administrative duty (reading his Powerpoint slides for example). Translation was consecutive, after each phrase, as opposed to simultaneous (visualize the earpieces in the delegates at the U.N.).

In Beijing the Embassy media team interviewed him for a short video on What Does Politics Mean to Me?, and for some other short insights on political topics. Sign up for our newsletter for notification when the videos are posted. Winter was interviewed by a mob of journalists after his talk (see sidebar for coverage). 

Following Beijing he went to Chengdu, a small city of 14.3 million people, speaking twice at the U.S. Consulate General, first co-hosting a movie night (By the People) followed with a second night watching the third presidential debate. In Chendu he also conducted a discussion group  at the Jiansu Tea House, and spoke at Yanjiyou Bookstore in the Raffles Center. He was reminded that despite the prevalence of capitalism, which we equate with democracy, the country is still governed by an authoritarian regime—an armed soldier followed him into a convenience store and requested he delete photos he had taken of a white building with a red star on top.

On to Nanjing (pop. 8.2 million) he spoke at the School of Foreign Languages—Southeast University, twice at the School of Government—Nanjing University, and at the Johns-Hopkins Center. The Johns Hopskins Center is a co-venture with Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies to support internationalization in higher education.

In Shenyang (pop. 6.3 million), provincial capital and largest city of Liaoning Province he spoke at the Lazy Bee Café, an English-Corner gathering and informal discussion, a dinner talk with American Consulate Staff, to students and faculty at Liaoning Academy of Social Science (LASS) and Northeast University, and the U.S. Consulate General.

He concluded with Changchun (pop. 7.6 million), the capital and largest city of Jilin Province, located in the northeast of China, with a lunch discussion with Chinese Fulbright Alumni, and at the School of Humanities and Arts—Northeast Normal University.