Politics and International Affairs

Michaelle Browers

  • Arab Shi‘i Political Thought Since 1958: A Generation’s Politicization
    NEH Fellowship

The work focuses on a generation of Arab Shi‘i intellectuals who studied in Najaf, Iraq, in the 1960s. They went on to found some of the most important Shi‘i political and social organizations in various Arab countries, particularly Lebanon. Their discourse of resistance took hold, first, in communist and socialist guises and, later, by revitalizing Islamic notions of protest and revolution and reconceptualizing authority and political agency. Dr. Browers argues that this trend differs from the understanding of Shi‘i Islamism that emerged in Iran since it developed in response to the political marginalization of the Shi‘i compared to other religious and ethnic groups in Arab countries and was negotiated against competing nationalist, Arab nationalist, socialist, and traditionalist discourses.

  • Cross-ideological Alliances in the Arab Region: Strategic Framing and Ideological Transformation
    Awarded 3 months during summer 2006 in Egypt, Lebanon, and Yemen Source: Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES), Fulbright Scholar Award
  • Reformation in Contemporary Islamic Thought
    Awarded American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) Fellowship for Postdoctoral Scholars; CAORC Multicountry Fellowship
    Source: Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, United States Department of State (DoS)

Dr. Browers will undertake the first systematic examination of the writings of a growing number of important Islamic thinkers who are revising orthodox approaches to traditional Islamic texts. Her research locates these thinkers and the responses to their work in the debate over whether we are witnessing a “growing Islamic fundamentalism” or an “emerging Islamic Reformation” in the Middle East.

John Dinan 
The Meaning and Development of State Constitutional Education Clauses
Awarded $15,117 for the period 5/15/06 to 12/31/06
Sponsor: Anonymous

Many recent state court decisions have interpreted state constitutional education clauses, in particular, their adequacy, equity, and uniformity provisions, in ways that have had significant consequences for state education policy. This project investigates the meaning and development of these clauses in order to determine whether they were intended to grant a judicially enforceable right to an equitable, adequate, and uniform education or to serve other purposes. Dr. Dinan will analyze the speeches surrounding their adoption and revision in the 114 extant state convention debates to determine the extent to which delegates aimed to create judicially enforceable rights that would be used to overturn legislative judgments or hortatory and aspirational ideals, leaving the details of the funding and operation of state school systems to the legislature.

Katy Harriger

  • Follow-up study on the impact of the Democracy Fellows program on alumni
    Awarded $44,620 for the period 3/1/13 to 9/1/14
    Source: Kettering Foundation

From 2001-2005, Professor Harriger and Jill McMillan, Professor Emerita of Communication, worked with a group of 30 Wake Forest students, designated Democracy Fellows, who were taught to practice deliberation dialogue. Each year, the fellows were compared with classmates who were not exposed to the deliberation treatment. At the conclusion, they differed from their peers in their understanding of citizen engagement (working with others to solve problems v. pursuing self-interest) and the long-term usefulness of deliberation skills. The research was published in Speaking of Politics: Preparing College Students for Democratic Citizenship through Deliberative Dialogue (Kettering Foundation Press, 2007). The follow-up study examines the following questions: Do Democracy Fellows continue to differ from their peers in their attitudes about politics and citizenship? Are they using the lessons they learned in other aspects of their lives? If so, how? If not, why? Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean for Academic Advising Christy Buchanan and a Psychology graduate student join Harriger and McMillan in the new study.

  • CIRCLE Study on College Students and Civic Engagement
    Awarded $1,200 for the period 9/7/06 to 12/31/06
    Source: Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE)

The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at the University of Maryland and the Kettering Foundation are partnering with nine campuses across the country to study college student civic engagement. Professor Harriger will work with John Dinan, Associate Professor of Political Science, to organize and host three focus groups of randomly selected Wake Forest students. They will be asked questions about their level of involvement with politics and civic life, their attitudes about the political process, and the opportunities they have for engagement at Wake Forest. The data gathered will be used in a nationwide report and made available to Wake Forest.

Wei-Chin Lee
International conference and associated programs
Awarded $80,000 for the period 1/1/2016 to 12/31/16
Source: Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office

Funds will be deployed to support: (1) a 2016 international conference where scholars and advanced PhD students from all over the world will present academic papers on Taiwan in the Realm of Asia; (2) an edited volume of selected conference papers; (3) scholarly lecture events on significant international questions concerning Taiwan, China, and the US at US colleges and universities, including Wake Forest University; and (4) a Taiwan National Security Survey project managed by Duke University’s Center for Taiwan Studies.

Sarah Lischer
Going Home to Fight? Explaining Refugee Return and Violence
Awarded $13,305 for the period 9/30/10 to 6/20/11
Source: International Peace Research Institute, Oslo This project asks under what conditions military groups, organized in exile, continue to apply violence for political purposes when they return to their country of origin. First, a framework will be developed to determine the extent to which returnees from militarized refugee contexts engage in violence after repatriation. Prevalence will be mapped, and a comparative study of all relevant post-Cold War cases conducted, particularly Afghanistan and Rwanda.

Luis Roniger
Exile, transnational migration, and the transformation of public culture: Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay
Awarded $7,360 for the period 10/1/12 to 9/30/13
Source: Bi-National Science Foundation

This project analyzes the roles, literary and scientific works, public standing, and institutional insertion of intellectuals and academics who returned to these countries after their democratization in the 1980s, addressing an important and poorly researched area in the sociology of culture of postauthoritarian periods.

Will Walldorf
To shape our world for good:  Master narratives and patterns of forceful regime change in United States foreign policy, 1900-2011
Awarded $13,500 for the period 6/10/15 to 8/30/15
Source: New City Commons Foundation

Wars to change regimes have been the most common and violent forms of conflict in international politics over the past century. They often cause widespread destruction and civilian casualties and leave a trail of political violence and chaos, as Iraq and Libya attest. Democratic great powers, especially the United States, have been leading initiators of such wars since 1900: why in some instances but not others? Dr. Walldorf’s book answers this question by exploring a largely ignored factor: master narratives. He finds that a national master narrative, or democracy consensus, about the efficacy and desirability of advancing liberal political order abroad plays a critical role in policy decisions supporting forceful regime change. Drawing on scholarship in political science, sociology, and social psychology, he examines why the strength of the democracy-consensus narrative changes, sometimes strengthening other important master narratives about foreign policy, to affect decisions about how much force to apply in specific cases of regime promotion abroad. The book elucidates international conflict and offers lessons about how to curb an especially common and destructive form of violence.