Mershon Center for International Security Studies
August 31 , 2015
In This Issue
Amy Shuman
Professor, Department of English

Shuman was one of six Ohio State faculty members to receive a 2015 Distinguished Scholar Award. Shuman is recognized as a pioneer in studying the use of narrative in everyday life and the political asylum process. She developed theories of how narrative is used in everyday life, especially the question of who tells stories to whom, how stories travel and how they are used in public discourse.  Read more
Scott Levi
Associate Professor of History

Levi received a grant for $186,630 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to conduct the NEH Summer Institute 2016, "Central Asia in World History."  The institute will provide an exceptional learning opportunity for middle and high school teachers next summer. This initiative is in partnership with the Center for Slavic and East European Studies.  Read more
Richard Herrmann
Interim Director, Mershon Center

Herrmann, professor and chair of political science, has been named to serve a two-year term on Ohio State's Board of Trustees' Academic Affairs and Student Life Committee. Herrmann replaces Janet Box-Steffensmeier, divisional dean of social and behavioral sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, whose two-year term ended in June.
In the Media
Paul Beck
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Social and Behavioral Sciences
August 6, 2015

Joan Cashin
Assistant Professor of History
"This Myth Obscures the Surprising Truth About the Confederacy"
July 2, 2015
Richard Gunther
Professor Emeritus of Political Science
"Is a politically unbiased map possible for Florida?"
August 15, 2015
Peter Mansoor
Gen. Raymond E. Mason Chair in Military History
USA Today
August 26, 2015
John Mueller
Senior Research Scientist

"The Risks of Nuclear Weapons: An Exchange"
Scientific American
August 3, 2015

"The hidden cost of airport security"
Canberra Times
July 25, 2015

"Why the ISIS threat is totally overblown"
The Week
July 23, 2015

"John Mueller's book Overblown is featured on CNN's Smerconish"
CATO Institute
July 18, 2015
Geoffrey Parker
Andreas Dorpalen Professor of History
Climate History
July 23, 2015
About Mershon Memo
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Welcome to Fall 2015!

The Mershon Center for International Security Studies has a busy schedule of activities this semester. Below is a listing of our events for September. To read more and register for each event, simply click on the links. If you have any questions, contact Mershon Center event coordinator Steven Blalock or public relations coordinator Cathy Becker. We hope to see you soon!
Mershon Events
Thursday, September 10, 2015

Charles Mills
Noon, 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Charles Mills Charles Mills is John Evans Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy at Northwestern University. He works in social and political philosophy, particularly in oppositional political theory as centered on class, gender, and race. His first book, The Racial Contract (Cornell, 1997), won a Myers Outstanding Book Award for the study of bigotry and human rights in North America. It has been adopted widely in courses across the United States. In this talk, Mills will look at different dimensions of racial in/equality, the theoretical problems it poses, and offer some suggestions as to how these challenges might be addressed. Read more and register at
Monday, September 14, 2015

Edgar S. Furniss Book Award Winner
Jacob Shapiro
3:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Jacob Shapiro Jacob Shapiro is associate professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University and co-directs the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project. Shapiro is author of The Terrorist's Dilemma: Managing Violent Covert Organizations, winner of the 2013 Edgar S. Furniss Book Award. The Terrorist's Dilemma is the first book to systematically examine the great variation in how terrorist groups are structured. Employing a broad range of agency theory, historical case studies, and terrorists' own internal documents, Shapiro provocatively discusses the core managerial challenges that terrorists face and illustrates how their political goals interact with the operational environment to push them to organize in particular ways. Read more and register at
Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Viacheslav Morozov
3:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Viacheslav Morozov Viacheslav Morozov is professor of E.U.-Russia studies at the University of Tartu. Before moving to Taru in 2010, he taught for 13 years at St. Petersburg State University, where he defended his Ph.D. in world history in 1997. His recent research focuses on how Russia's political and social development has been conditioned by the country's poistion in the international system. This approach is laid out in his most recent book, Russia's Postcolonial Identity: A Subaltern Empire in a Eurocentric World (Palgrave, 2015), which highlights the fact that Russia, in spite of its great power identity and imperial ambition, has been unable to overcome economic and normative dependency on the West. Read more and register at
Monday, September 21, 2015

Ingrid Hehmeyer
11:30 a.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Ingrid Hehmeyer Ingrid Hehmeyer is an agricultural engineer, pharmacist, and archaeologist who serves as associate professor in the history of science and technology at Ryerson University in Ontario. She specializes in human-environmental relationships in the arid regions of ancient and medieval Arabia. Her current field research focuses on the history of water technology in medieval Yemen, where she investigates technical innovations in hydraulic engineering and strategies for water management that allowed people to live under harsh environmental conditions. A lunch conversation will be held after the talk for graduate students in which Heymeyer will talk informally about her fieldwork in Yemen and how the traditional knowledge of contemporary farmers sheds light on the archaeological evidence.  Read more and register at
Friday, September 25, 2015

David Schmidtz
3:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

David Schmidtz David Schmidtz Kendric Professor and founding director of the Center for Philosophy of Freedom at the University of Arizona. David is editor-in-chief of Social Philosophy and Policy and author of Rational Choice and Moral Agency (Princeton), Elements of Justice (Cambridge), Person, Polis, Planet (Oxford), and co-author of Social Welfare and Individual Responsibility (Cambridge, with Bob Goodin) plus Brief History of Liberty (Blackwell, with Jason Brennan). He currently is working on Markets in Education with Harry Brighouse for Oxford University Press. In this presentation, Schmidtz will consider how plausible it would be, if utility were all that mattered, to think consequentialist morality is about maximizing utility. He will focus on how much less plausible that reduction becomes if, as a matter of empirical fact, affecting people's payoffs is only one of several ways of affecting people. Read more and register at
Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Scott Snyder
Noon, 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Scott Snyder Scott Snyder is senior fellow for Korea studies and director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. The program examines South Korea's efforts to contribute on the international stage; its potential influence and contributions as a middle power in East Asia; and the peninsular, regional, and global implications of North Korean instability. Snyder is co-author of The Japan-South Korea Identity Clash: East Asian Security and the United States (Columbia, 2015). In this talk, Snyder will isolate competing notions of national identity as the main obstacle to a productive Japan-South Korea partnership. Through public opinion data, interviews, and years of observation, he argues that incompatible, rapidly changing conceptions of national identity in Japan and South Korea have complicated territorial claims and international policy. Read more and register at
Mershon News
Elections project website comes to Mershon


Democratization has been a consistent theme of activities at the Mershon Center, whether through events or research. The showcase project in this initiative, long supported by the center, is the Comparative National Elections Project (CNEP), one of the largest and longest-running projects of its kind in the world.


CNEP logo

This month the Mershon Center began housing the project's website at


Co-directed by Mershon affiliates Richard Gunther and Paul Beck, CNEP is a partnership among scholars who have conducted election surveys across the democratic world. Founded in the late 1980s, it now includes 41 surveys from 1990 to 2015 in 24 different countries on five continents, with multiple election surveys in 11 countries. CNEP-based surveys are projected in up to eight future elections.


At their core, the CNEP surveys focus on common questions on the following research topics: personal discussion networks, use of the mass media (television, newspapers, radio, and various electronic sites), political information from associations, contacts by political parties, socio-political values, attitudes towards democracy, civic participation, the integrity of the electoral process, and voting behavior in the most recent election. Read more

Other Events
Wednesday, September 16, 2015

William Brustein and Louisa Roberts
The Socialism of Fools? The Leftist Origins of Modern Anti-Semitism
4 p.m. Barnes & Noble, 1598 N. High St.
Sponsored by Alexander Hamilton Society

William Brustein William Brustein (left) and Louisa Roberts will give readers a glimpse of their new book, The Socialism of Fools? The Leftist Origins of Modern Anti-Semitism (Cambridge, 2015), which examines the role that the historic European left played in developing and espousing anti-Semitic views. Anti-Semitism, as it has existed historically in Europe, is generally thought of as having been a phenomenon of the policial right. Brustein, vice provost for global strategies and international affairs, and Roberts, a graduate student in sociology at Ohio State, collaborated to research a wide range of primary and secondary sources, including the analysis of left- and right-wing newspaper stories, to trace the relationship between the political left and anti-Semitism in France, Germany and Great Britain from the French Revolution to World War II, ultimately concluding that the relationship between the left and anti-Semitism has been much more profound than previously believed. Read more and register
Other News
Brandesky named director of Slavic Center


Joseph Brandesky

Joseph Brandesky, the Martha W. Farmer endowed professor in the Department of Theatre at Ohio State Lima, has been named director of the Center for Slavic and East European Studies (CSEES) effective September 1.


Brandesky will oversee the center's promotion of the interdisciplinary study of the Baltics, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Eurasia and Russia, and the administration of a master's degree in Slavic and East European Studies. CSEES is also home to the Polish Studies Initiative and the Slovene Research Institute.


The center is one of Ohio State's federally funded Title VI National Resource Centers which fosters education in area studies and awards Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship grants. Brandesky succeeds Yana Hashamova, chair of the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures, who led the center for seven years and inspired unprecedented growth. Read more

'Origins' examines 50 years of independence in Singapore


Origins has published its new article: "Singapore at 50," by Derek Heng.


This year 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Singapore's independence. And while many in the West have expressed deep concern over Singapore's record on civil liberties and political restrictions, there is no question that the tiny island nation has emerged as major economic force not only in the Asia Pacific region but globally.


This month, historian Derek Heng looks back over a much longer history to examine how Singapore emerged from the control of larger powers over several centuries. As Singapore celebrates, he reminds us that this port-city state, despite its many successes, has long remained an unlikely proposition. 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.

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