World Politics Research Seminar Archive

2017-2018 past speakers

Title: TK

Author: Federica Carugati

Discussant: TBD

Abstract: TK

Federica Carugati is the associate director of the Ostrom Workshop and a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and Maurer School of Law at IU Bloomington. Her research focuses on two main topics: first, the development of political, legal, and economic institutions in pre-modern, citizen-centered, open-access governments; seconds, the lessons that the emergence, configuration, and breakdown of such institutions may hold for rethinking institution building in today's developing world. Federica is currently working on a book project based on her dissertation, titled The Athenian Constitution: Law, Democratic Stability, and Economic Growth in 4th century BCE Athens. The book analyzes the impact of legal innovation on democratic governance and economic performance in Classical Athens.

Title: Enmity in International Society

Author: Huss Banai

Discussant: Prashant Hosur Suhas

Abstract: This paper considers the nature and function of enmity in international politics using the English School framework. Enmity is both constrained and mediated by what Hedley Bull identified as the ‘rules of coexistence’ and ‘rules of cooperation’ that define the terms of membership in the society of states. Yet, paradoxically, the normative foundations of enmity also affect the rules and institutions of international society as they transcend the hard boundaries of nation-states and spill onto the more contingent (and much larger) arena of world society. Enmity is both a resource and a curse for elites in international society. It is this subversive characteristic of enmity that establishes a sort of dialectic between international and world societies, and that distinguishes a pluralist society of states from a solidarist one (in the ES parlance). While constructivist accounts of world politics tend to characterize enmity as a particular ‘Hobbesian culture’ of anarchy, realists and liberals view it as an inevitable outcome of politics – yet, neither approach provides an adequate account of its genesis and development within and among human societies. The English School’s interpretivist approach and methodological pluralism, as this paper will attempt to show, allows for just such an undertaking.

Huss Banai is Assistant Professor of International Studies in the School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University Bloomington. His research is focused on Iran’s political development as well as on US-Iran relations. As regards the former, I am currently working on a book manuscript on the tortuous path of liberal thought-practices in modern Iran, provisionally titled Hidden Liberalism in Modern Iran. His is the co-author of Becoming Enemies: U.S.-Iran Relations and the Iran-Iraq War (2012 Rowman & Littlefield) and his research has appeared in the Cambridge Review of International Affairs, International Politics Review, Security Dialogue, and other outlets.

Title: Responsiveness, If You Can Afford It: Public Opinion and Policy Outcomes in Fat and Lean Times

Author: Tim Hellwig

Discussant: Will Winecoff

Abstract: Traditional theories suggest that political parties have incentives to respond to public opinion. As parties come together to form governments, this responsiveness is also thought to be reflected in public policy. Research on representation has provided evidence in support of these democratic linkages. Conspicuously absent, however, is the notion of costs. We argue that the government’s cost of responding to the electorate is low under conditions of strong economic growth. Conversely, responding to electorates comes at a higher cost when the economy is depressed. Cross-national analyses of voters and governments in a set of advanced capitalist democracies produces results consistent with this expectation. Probing this result, additional analyses indicate that the reason for this outcome can be traced not to any misrepresentation of voter preferences on the part of governments but instead to the inability of policy makers to channel their position-taking statements into actual policy solutions. Study findings imply that democratic performance, expressed as responsiveness, comes at a cost, conditional on economic growth and the preferences of the electorate.

Timothy Hellwig is Professor of Political Science at Indiana University. He holds a B.A. from St. Cloud State University, an M.A. from American University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He has been a researcher at the International Foundation for Election Systems, on the faculty at the University of Houston, and a visiting researcher at the Australian National University, Gothenburg University, and the University of Essex. He previously served as Director of the Institute for European Studies in IU’s School of Global and International Studies.

His interests are in comparative political economy, political behavior, European politics, public policy, and research methods. He is author of Globalization and Mass Politics: Retaining the Room to Maneuver (Cambridge University Press), and his work appears in several journals and edited book, including the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Politics.

Title: The Political Economy of Emigration

Author: David Leblang

Discussant: Kevin Taber

Abstract: David Leblang is professor of politics at the University of Virginia and is a faculty associate at the Miller Center where he is the J. Wilson Newman Professor of Governance. He is also a professor of public policy at the University’s Batten School for Leadership and Public Policy, where he is director of the Global Policy Center. A specialist in political economy, Leblang has served as a consultant to the International Monetary Fund, The Directorate of Finance and Economics of the European Commission, and the Department of Defense.

He is co-author of Democratic Politics and Financial Markets: Pricing Politics (2006) and more than thirty journal articles in publications including The American Political Science Review, The American Journal of Politics, International Organization, Economics and Politics, and the Journal of International Money and Finance. He has received research support from the National Science Foundation. More information can be found at his website:

2015-2016 past speakers

Title: "1914: New Facts and New Theories"

Author: Professor Jack Snyder

Since political scientists began writing about 1914 as a security dilemma, international relations theorists have developed new or revised theories of the causes of war, including offensive realism, the bargaining theory of war, and theories of tightly coupled systems that spin out of control. Meanwhile, historians have been offering new interpretations of the causes of the war, based in part on new evidence. In light of these new developments, what does the theory of the security dilemma contribute to understanding the causes of World War I and war in general?

Jack Snyder is Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science and the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia.

This event is sponsored by the Indiana University Center for American and Global Security.

Title: "Protecting the Capital? On repression and escalation in regions of natural resource extraction"

Author: Professor Jessica Steinberg

Anecdotal evidence suggests that states resort to force to protect economic assets threatened by conict, yet there has been limited investigation into whether states systematically rely on repression as to do so. Underlying these anecdotes, as well as broader policy decisions, is the assumption that regions with xed economic assets, such as natural resource extractive sites are of strategic importance to governments. To what extent does the strategic importance of these regions of natural resource ex- traction lead governments, and for that matter, local communities, to behave somehow dierently in these regions in comparison to others? Specically, do states use repres- sion in response to contentious behavior near mining sites so as to protect access to resource rents? And do agents of popular mobilization recognize the strategic impor- tance of these sites to the state, and thus escalate because they recognize they can threaten these economic assets? I evaluate whether regions of natural resource extrac- tion present a sort of unique strategic context by assessing whether governments and protesters behave systematically dierently in these regions relative to regions without signicant resource extraction. Relying on a dataset of social conict events and min- ing projects active in Africa between 1990 and 2011, I evaluate whether social con events near mining sites are more likely to be repressed than those farther away and whether such events are also more likely to escalate. The paper illuminates the im- portance of the spatial context for understanding subnational patterns of government repression, and indicating that the presence of such geographically xed sources of revenue creates a strategic context unique to these regions.

Jessica Steinberg is Assistant Professor of International Studies at Indiana University. Her areas of interest include the political economy of development, governance, and violent conflict. Her research agenda centers on understanding strategic dynamics in regions of limited state presence. Her current book project explores the strategic interactions between natural resource firms, governments, and local communities in regions of natural resource extraction, and how this strategic interaction yields variation in distributive outcomes and social conflict. In addition to the book project, she is also studying strategic incentives in conflict events reporting, FDI regulatory compliance in developing countries, and common pool resource management in post conflict environments. She relies on mixed methods in her research, and she has conducted fieldwork in India, Congo-Brazzaville, DRC, Mozambique, and Zambia.

Title: "Newspaper Readership and the formation of stereotypes: Why do Western Publics mistakenly believe that immigrants abuse benefits?"

Author: Professor Abdulkader Sinno, Antje Schwennicke, Scott Williamson, Hicham Bou Nassif

Why do Britons and several other Western publics believe that immigrants abuse welfare benefits in spite of strong evidence to the contrary? Perceptions of immigrants’ abuse of benefits have propelled populist parties to unprecedented gains, pushed right of center parties further right, increased societal tensions and led to restrictions on immigration and benefits in some countries. The data from an ad hoc survey we field reveals that the ratio of those who agree that immigrants abuse welfare over those who disagree is 2.5 times higher for readers of British tabloids when compared with others who otherwise share their characteristics and 2.3 times lower for readers of broadsheets when compared with those who otherwise share their traits. A dataset of the content of newspaper coverage that we compile explains why this is so—tabloid coverage of immigrants’ use of welfare is considerably more negative than coverage of white Britons’ while broadsheets’ coverage is generally comparable and slightly sympathetic for both categories. We explain how stereotypes of abusive behavior are created by analyzing another original dataset on how Muslims’ use of benefits is covered by eight of the largest-circulation newspapers in the UK. We find large differences in bias, frequency of coverage, the placement of articles, and in the framing of the topic across publication types. Our data also reveals that coverage of immigrants’ use of benefits is politically motivated. We conclude with a discussion of the policy and social consequences of the newspapers’ coverage choices.

Abdulkader Sinno is Associate Professor of Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies at Indiana University. His research focuses on the politics of the Middle East, North Africa, and Afghanistan, and of Muslims in Western Europe and North America. His work has been published by Cornell University Press, Indiana University Press, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, the American Historical Review, and other outlets.

Title: “Defending the Realm: The Appointment of Female Defense Ministers Worldwide”

Author: Professor Diana Z. O’Brien

Though the defense ministry has been a bastion of male power, a growing number of states have appointed women to this portfolio. What explains men’s dominance in these positions? Which factors predict women’s ascension to this post? With comprehensive cross-national data on women’s ministerial appointments in the post-Cold War era, we develop and test three sets of hypotheses concerning women’s access to the defense ministry. We show that women remain excluded when the portfolio’s remit reinforces traditional beliefs about the masculinity of the position, particularly in military dictatorships and states engaged in international conflict. By contrast, female defense ministers emerge when expectations about women’s role in politics have changed—i.e. in states with female chief executives and parliamentarians. Women are also first appointed to the post when its meaning diverges from traditional conceptions of the portfolio, particularly in countries concerned with peacekeeping and in former military states with left governments.

Diana Z. O’Brien is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Indiana University. Her research interests include women and politics, representation, political parties, political institutions, European politics, research methods, and quantitative methodology. Diana has published articles or has articles forthcoming in scholarly journals such as the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Politics & Gender, Comparative Politics, and the Journal of Politics. More information about Diana is available at

This paper will be discussed by Professor Karen Rasler of the Department of Political Science at Indiana University.

Title: “Violent Punjab, Quiescent Bengal, and the Partition of India”

Author: Professor Sumit Ganguly

This paper looks at three different theoretical explanations - Synder and Ballentine’s argument about democratization, nationalism, and ideas; Fearon’s commitment problem; and Posen’s ethnic security dilemma - to account for the different outcomes in the Punjab and Bengal in 1946-47. In contrast to traditional social-scientific analyses that choose one explanation from among competing explanations, this paper argues for “analytical eclecticism”. It will be shown that each explanation accounts for the migration and violence in the Punjab (and its relative absence in Bengal) during the different stages leading to the end of British colonial rule. The interplay of politics at the provincial and national levels, the competing ideas of post-independence states, and the militarization of Punjabi society (but not Bengali society) resulting from British Indian army recruitment policies explain the differences between the two cases.

Sumit Ganguly is Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations, Director of the Center on American and Global Security, and Professor of Political Science at Indiana University. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (New York) and the International Institute Strategic Studies (London). His recent research focuses on international security and India’s foreign policy, and has been or will be published by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Columbia University Press, Foreign Affairs, Security Studies, International Security, and other outlets.

Title: “The Politics of the Federal Reserve's International Crisis Lending”

Author: Professor William Kindred Winecoff

The United States Federal Reserve engaged in significant lending to foreign banks and opened currency swaps with foreign governments during the period of global financial instability from 2007-2011. This paper argues that that these actions were not primarily intended to benefit American firms, as domestic lending facilities at both the Fed and U.S. Treasury were sufficient to stabilize American finance, so the Fed's global activities are only understandable in their systemic context. I argue that the Fed's international lending was designed to prevent the global financial system from fragmenting as it had during the 1930s. By maintaining the structural integrity of the global system, the Fed reinforced the position of U.S. banks at the core of that structure, thus maintaining America's hegemonic position in global finance. I utilize inferential network methods to demonstrate that Fed bilateral lending and currency swaps went to countries proportionate to their importance to the global banking system. While the Fed's international lending and liquidity support benefited American finance, this does not necessarily indicate that the Fed has been captured by narrow interests. Rather, the Fed's crisis lending was geopolitically motivated.

William Kindred Winecoff is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Indiana University. He researches the politics of the world economy, in particular the global financial system, and other international processes. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in International Studies Quarterly, Perspectives on Politics, and Business and Politics. More information about his work can be found at his website,

The paper will be discussed by Sarah Bauerle Danzman of the School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University.