Mershon Center for International Security Studies
February 23, 2015
In This Issue
Erik Nisbet
Associate Professor of Communication
His study on science bias was written as a press release, "Both liberals, conservatives can have science bias," from University Research Communications and has been picked up by multiple media outlets. 
In the Media
John Mueller
Senior Research Scientist
March 2015
Erik Nisbet
Associate Professor of Communication
"Russians don't trust the Internet - and it's making the country worse"
February 18, 2015

"Putin Stokes Paranoia About the Web"
February 18, 2015

"How Russia is building a psychological firewall against the West"
February 17, 2015

"Liberals Doubt Science, Too"
February 13, 2015

"Liberals And Conservatives Are Both Biased Against Science, But In Different Ways"
February 12, 2015

"Ideology Often Trumps Science, Especially Among Conservatives"
February 10, 2015

"Both liberals and conservatives reject science that refutes their views: Study"
February 9, 2015
Dakota Rudesill
Assistant Professor of Law
February 4, 2015
About Mershon Memo
Mershon Memo is a weekly e-mail newsletter distributed by the Mershon Center for International Security Studies, a unit of the Office of International Affairs at The Ohio State University.
Stay Connected

facebook twitter Picasa give
Mershon Events
Thursday, February 26, 2015

Williamson Murray
"The Iran-Iraq War: The War No One Knows About"
Noon, 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Williamson Murray Williamson Murray is adjunct professor at the Marine Corps University, having just completed a two-year stint as a Minerva Fellow at the Naval War College. He taught military and diplomatic history at Ohio State for many years. In 2012, he edited with Peter Mansoor Hybrid Warfare, Fighting Complex Opponents from the Ancient World to the Present (Cambridge University Press), based on a conference at the Mershon Center. In 2014, Murray published Successful Strategies, Triumphing in War and Peace from Antiquity to the Present, co-edited with Richard Sinnreich. He is currently completing an edited manuscript with Peter Mansoor for Cambridge on grand strategy and alliances, based on another Mershon Center conference. Read more and register at
Monday, March 2, 2015

Nick Cullather
"Central Intelligence before the CIA"
3:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Nick Cullather Nick Cullather is professor of history at the University of Indiana-Bloomington and a historian of U.S. foreign relations, specializing in the history of intelligence, development, and nation-building. The United States uses aid, covert operations, diet, statistics, and technology to reconstruct the social reality of countries around the world, and Cullather is interested in these subtle mechanisms of power. His most recent book, The Hungry World (2010), explores the use of food as a tool of psychological warfare and regime change during the Cold War. Currently, Cullather is investigating the early history of the CIA, and asking why a country so committed to pluralism and the marketplace of ideas staked its security on the novel notion of central intelligence. Read more and register at
Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Richard Zeckhauser
"The Wisdom of Crowds and the Stupidity of Herds"
3:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Richard Zeckhauser Richard Zeckhauser is the Frank P. Ramsey Professor of Political Economy at Harvard University. He pioneered the field of policy analysis and currently addresses an array of policy areas where uncertainty plays a major role. His seminal contributions to decision theory and behavioral economics include the concepts of status quo bias, quality-adjusted life years, and the analytics of ignorance. Zeckhauser has written or coauthored a dozen books - most recently Collaborative Governance: Private Roles for Public Goals, and The Patron's Payoff: Conspicuous Commissions in Renaissance Italy -- and 280 articles. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Econometric Society, and Institute of Medicine. Read more and register at
Thursday, March 12, 2015

Barbara Koremenos
"The Continent of International Law: (Im)precision and Reservations"
3:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Barbara Koremenos Barbara Koremenos is associate professor of political science at University of Michigan. She focuses on how international law can be structured to make international cooperation most successful. Koremenos has published in both political science and law journals, including the American Political Science Review, International Organization, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Legal Studies, and Law and Contemporary Problems. Koremenos received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for her research -- the first such winner to study international relations and law. Her book, The Continent of International Law, is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. Read more and register at
Friday, March 13, 2015

Karen Dawisha
"Is Putin's Russia a Kleptocracy? And So What?"
5:30 p.m., Faculty Club Grand Lounge, 181 South Oval Dr.

Karen Dawisha The Midwest Slavic Association and Center for Slavic and East European Studies cordially invite you to the keynote address and opening reception for the 2015 Midwest Slavic Conference. Karen Dawisha will speak about the rise in politics of current Russian president Vladimir Putin and his kleptocratic regime based on work conducted for her recently published book, Putin's Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia? After her talk, the opening reception for the conference will take place. Both the keynote and reception are free and open to the public. To attend the keynote and reception, an RSVP is required by Tuesday, March 3, 2015. Those who RSVP by March will receive one drink ticket. The reception will feature a cash bar. Full details on the 2015 Midwest Slavic Conference, including registration information, can be found on the conference webpage.
Featured News
Alexander Wendt
Alexander Wendt speaks on "Quantum Mind and Social Science" during a workshop at the Mershon Center on April 23, 2013.
Wendt again named top scholar in international relations


In a periodic survey of faculty at more than 1,400 colleges and universities worldwide, Alexander Wendt was once again named as the most influential scholar in international relations over the past 20 years. Wendt is Ralph D. Mershon Professor of International Security at the Mershon Center.


The survey was part of the Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) Project done by the Theory and Practice of International Relations at the College of William and Mary in collaboration with Foreign Policy magazine. Wendt was also named for most influential scholar in international relations in the 2011 survey.


Wendt is author of Social Theory of International Politics (Cambridge, 1999), widely cited for bringing social constructivist theory to the field of international relations. His book argues that international politics is determined not primarily by material concerns such as wealth and power, but by states' perceptions of each other as rivals, enemies, and friends. Social Theory of International Politics was named Best Book of the Decade by the International Studies Association in 2006 and has been translated into 10 languages.


Wendt is also co-editor, with Duncan Snidal, of International Theory: A Journal of International Politics, Law and Philosophy. Other publications include New Systems Theories of World Politics (Palgrave, 2009), edited with Mathias Albert and Lars-Erik Cederman. Based on a 2005 Mershon Center conference, the book uses a number of systems theoretical approaches to analyze the structure and dynamics of the international system.


His forthcoming book, Quantum Mind and Social Science (Cambridge University Press), explores the implications for social science of thinking about human beings and society as quantum mechanical phenomena. Wendt suggests that man and society are quantum phenomena and addresses the implications of this hypothesis for three foundational issues in social science: the nature of human agency, the nature of society and the epistemology of social inquiry.


The survey also ranked Ohio State's PhD program in political science as 14th worldwide for international relations and its undergraduate program as 24th.


Other scholars named as influential in the 2014 survey include John Mearsheimer, James Fearon, Joseph Nye, Robert Jervis, and Peter Katzenstein, all of whom have spoken at the Mershon Center, as well as Furniss Award winners Kenneth Waltz and Stephen Walt.
Other Events
Tuesday, February 24, 2015

North Korea, Charlie Hebdo, and the Conflict between Free Speech and National Security
6:30 p.m., Saxbe Auditorium, Drinko Hall, 55 W. 12th Ave.
Sponsored by Alexander Hamilton Society - OSU Chapter

Speakers include Michael Rubin, resident scholar at American Enterprise Institute and senior lecturer at Naval War College, previously a Pentagon official focusing on the Middle East; and Jason Keiber, lecturer at The Ohio State University in political science and international studies.  Free Cane's chicken and Coke products provided.
Friday, February 27, 2015

Within, Beyond, & Back: A Symposium on Ecuador and Migration
2:30 p.m., 306 Pomerene Hall, 1760 Neil Ave.
Sponsored by Humanities Institute and Center for Latin American Studies 

A small Andean country of only 15 million, migration patterns within, from, and back to Ecuador are unusually dynamic and complex. Our panelists will discuss migration histories, the networks and cosmopolitanism characterizing contemporary flows within Ecuador and in the Ecuadorian diaspora, and the emerging social spaces created by return migrants and amenity migrants. We will also consider the experiences and challenges of Ecuadorian immigrants in central Ohio. 

 Panel members include:
  • Brad Jokisch, Geography, Ohio University, "Extending the Sierra: How International Migration from Ecuador's Oriente Reflects Trans-Local Networks"
  • Michelle Wibbelsman, Spanish and Portuguese, Ohio State, "Otavalan Transitional Migrants: Indigenous Global Mobility"
  • Patricia Lombeyda, Founder and Principal, Villelomby Consultants and Cuatorianos Together, "The Challenges of Ecuadorians in Columbus, Ohio"
  • Anisa Kline, PhD Candidate, Spanish and Portuguese, Ohio State, "The Amenity Migrants of Cotacachi, Ecuador."
Read more
Friday, February 27, 2015

Mark Carey
"Glaciers, Gender, and Science: Toward a Feminist Glaciology"
3:30 p.m., 1080 Derby Hall, 154 N. Oval Mall
Sponsored by Department of Geography

Everyone knows that glaciers have become icons of global climate change-that ice cores and glacier measurements have provided critical baseline data for understanding climate history going back 800,000 years, as well as yielding clearly-visible evidence of climate change in the present as glaciers shrink. But what does gender have to do with any of this? It turns out a lot, as his presentation will show. From the heroic men studying Antarctic ice to the manly mountaineers measuring glaciers, and the dedicated Coast Guard experts bombing icebergs in the North Atlantic, glaciological knowledge and human-glacier interactions have been influenced by gender, historically and right up to the present. Men and women are also affected differently by glacier retreat, whether their vulnerability to glacial lake outburst floods or through their representations of ice through art and literature. The "feminist glaciology" approach proposed in this talk by Mark Carey, associate professor of history at University of Oregon, offers new ways to think about ice, a fresh understanding of the history of glaciology and cryospheric sciences, and a framework for approaching social research on climate and global environmental change.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Anupama Rao
"Remediation, Redress, and Affirmative Action in Comparative Frame: The Connected Histories of Race and Caste"
2 p.m., 168 Dulles Hall, 230 W. 17th Ave.
Sponsored by Center for Historical Research

The pivotal texts of radical anti-caste thinker, B.R. Ambedkar (The Annihilation of Caste, 1936), and W.E.B. Du Bois (Black Reconstruction, 1935) -- and the supplementarity of caste, class, and race in their writings --marks the interwar as a productive moment for new forms of comparison and critique. Indeed interwar globality -- and the forms of internationalism it made possible -- enabled Ambedkar and Du Bois to explore caste and race as structuring deep histories of dehumanization and dispossession. This paper takes these texts -- and interwar comparatism more generally -- as a pivotal if under-acknowledged moment that shaped policy debates that later occurred against the backdrop of global human rights discourse and decolonization, and which struggled to address complex practices of exclusion through bureaucratic means. The agenda of the paper is twofold. The first is to explore how the affirmative action state in India and the United States has produced a distinctive association between identity, and inequality. That is, I will argue that the affirmative action state is a historical-theoretical response to the problem of political "indifference." Second, I will examine how this structure of redress encourages strategies of equalization and new practices of claims-making that repoliticize personhood. In brief my aim is to explore the relationship between history, (postcolonial) constitution, and the "affirmative action" state.  The paper will be posted at
Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Democracy Studies Program Symposium
"The Voting Rights Act at 60"
Noon, Saxbe Auditorium, Drinko Hall, 55 W. 12th Ave.
4:45 p.m., Performance Hall, Ohio Union, 1739 N. High St. 
Presented by Moritz College of Law

Fifty years have passed since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 - a key piece of legislation that prohibits racial discrimination in voting - was signed into law. Yet, voting rights remains a hot topic today, as the hit film Selma, which describes protests in Selma, Alabama leading up to the passage of the act, makes its mark throughout the Hollywood awards season - and as politicians in Ohio work on legislative redistricting reform. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder, and debates still rage on the subject.


On March 4, two experts will address the history, legacy, and future of the Voting Rights Act in events presented by The Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Ohio, and the Kirwan Institute.


The Voting Rights Act at 50 with Pam Karlan, deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, will take place in Saxbe Auditorium from noon-1:30 p.m. Karlan, one of the nation's leading experts on voting and the political process, served as co-director of Stanford Law School's Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, and is co-author of leading casebooks on constitutional law, constitutional litigation, and the law of democracy. Karlan has served as a commissioner on the California Fair Political Practices Commission, and an assistant counsel and former cooperating attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.


The Voting Rights Act at 50 with Secretary Thomas E. Perez will take place from 4:45 - 7 p.m. in the Union Performance Hall. Secretary Perez was nominated by President Obama and sworn in as the nation's 26th secretary of labor in 2013. Before that, he served as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the U. S. Department of Justice, where his responsibilities included the enforcement of voting rights laws. Secretary Perez formerly served as the secretary of Maryland's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. This event will include a reception and hors d'oeuvres. Guest should arrive at this event between 4:30 and 4:45 p.m. as the presentation by the secretary will begin promptly at 5 p.m.


Lunch will be provided at the noon event to those who register. Reception and hors d'oeuvres will follow the evening event. Read more and register

Friday, March 6, 2015

Ohio State Law Journal Symposium
"State Constitutions in the United States Federal System: An Exploration of the Construction, Execution, and Interpretation of State Founding Documents"

8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Saxbe Auditorium, Drinko Hall, 55 W. 12th Ave.
Presented by Moritz College of Law

State constitutional law has historically been under-studied in comparison to federal constitutionalism and yet, it is an extremely important source of American law. this symposium will explore the various structural aspects of state constitutional law.


Panelists will examine where state constitutions fit in to our federal system and how they are to be interpreted, amended, and utilized by advocates amidst the backdrop of its federal counterpart. They will also debate topics including popular constitutionalism, state constitutional independence, individual rights' protections, state administrative agencies, and more.


Featured guests will include:

  • James Gardner - Professor of Law at SUNY Buffalo.
  • Sanford Levinson - Professor of Law, Professor of Government, University of Texas at Austin.
  • The Honorable Goodwin Liu - Associate Justice, California Supreme Court.
  • Ann Lousin - Professor of Law, John Marshall Law School.
  • Jim Rossi - Professor of Law, Vanderbilt Law School.
  • Aaron Saiger - Professor of Law, Fordham University.
  • Miriam Seifter - Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin.
  • Virginia Seitz - Former United States Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel and current Partner at Sidley Austin LLP.
  • Steven Steinglass - Professor Emeritus, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.
  • The Honorable Jeffrey Sutton - Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Adjunct Professor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.
  • Alan Tarr - Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University at Camden.
  • Robert Williams - Professor of Law, Rutgers School of Law.

Registration is required. Reserve your spot today.

Friday, March 27, 2015

I/S Journal Symposium
"The Future of Internet Regulation"
8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Saxbe Auditorium, Drinko Hall, 55 W. 12th Ave.
Presented by Moritz College of Law

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is in the midst of an "open networks" rule making process. So far, it has drawn more than 1.1 million public comments. Why? Because the Internet is the central communications medium of our time. It presents unprecedented opportunities and challenges in virtually every domain of social, economic, political, and cultural life. How governments respond to this issue will have enormous impacts.


Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the FCC, will present the opening policy keynote at "The Future of Internet Regulation," a public symposium hosted by I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society. Following Chairman Wheeler's speech, panels of distinguished academics will discuss such critical issues as net neutrality, Internet freedom, and the future of Internet governance. The day will conclude with a lecture by William Dutton, formerly the founding director of the Oxford Internet Institute. 


Admission is free, and lunch will be provided to advance registrants. Read more and register

Other News
'Origins' traces history of water crisis in California


Origins has published its new article: "The West without Water: What Can Past Droughts Tell Us About Tomorrow?," by B. Lynn Ingram.


Almost as soon as European settlers arrived in California, they began advertising the place as the American Garden of Eden. And just as quickly people realized it was a garden with a very precarious water supply. Currently, California is in the middle of a years-long drought and the water crisis is threatening the region's vital agricultural economy, not to mention the quality of life of its people, plants, and animals. 

This month B. Lynn Ingram, professor of geography and earth & planetary science, examines how a deep historical account of California's water patterns can help us plan for the future.The whole article can be found at


About Origins: Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective is a monthly ad-free magazine that features top scholars on today's most pressing topics. Published by The Ohio State History Department, its authors include National Book Award winners and world-renowned scholars. You can also explore reviews of popular history books on the Origins website as well as the new monthly feature Milestones.

1501 Neil Avenue     |     Columbus, OH 43201     |     (614) 292-1681     |     Fax: (614) 292-2407