Mershon Center for International Security Studies
January 16, 2018
In This Issue
Thomas Wood
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Wood has published "Sex Trafficking, Russian Infiltration, Birth Certificates, and Pedophilia: A Survey Experiment Correcting Fake News" with Ethan Porter and David Kirby in Journal of Experimental Political Science. The article examines research on fake news, asking whether its sheer depth allows for correction.
In the Media
Richard Gunther
Professor Emeritus of Political Science
  Cincinnati Enquirer
January 10, 2018

Randy Schweller
Professor of Political Science
"The case for Trump's foreign policy, according to a leading international relations scholar"
January 11, 2018
About Mershon Memo
Mershon Memo is a weekly e-mail newsletter distributed by the Mershon Center for International Security Studies, part of the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University.
Stay Connected

You Tube icon give
Mershon Events
Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - Today!

Gadi Baltiansky
3:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Gadi Baltiansky Gadi Baltiansky is director general of the Geneva Initiative in Israel, an NGO that promotes a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians through diplomatic, political, educational and public tools. Previously he served as a member of the official Israeli negotiation team with Syria and the Palestinians in 1999, and as a non-official advisor to the negotiating teams in 2007-08 and 2014-15. He also served as press secretary for the Israeli prime minister, advisor to the foreign minister, and press counselor at the embassy in Washington. At this event, Baltiansky will discuss steps to reach a breakthrough in the Israel-Palestine conflict, and the role of the United States. Read more and register at
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Mohammed Dajani
3:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Mohammed Dajani Mohammed Dajani is professor of political science, and worked as head of libraries and founding director of the American Studies Graduate Program at Al-Quds University (2002-2014). He is author of numerous books in English and Arabic including: Holocaust Human Agony: Is there a way out of violence? (2009), Wasatia: The Spirit of Islam (2009), Jerusalem from the Lens of Wasatia (2010); Dajani Glossary of Islamic Terms (2015). Teaching Moderation and Reconciliation in Midst of Conflict (2015). Dajani made headlines in spring 2014 when he led 27 Palestinian university students to visit Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Krakow to teach them about the Holocaust. His courage and dedication cost the professor his job at al-Quds University and compromised his personal safety. At this event, Dajani will argue that peace between Israeli and Palestinians is attainable. Read more and register at
Monday, January 29, 2018

The United States and East Asia Under President Trump
12:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

David KangDonald Trump's election to the presidency unsettled many areas of American foreign policy, but few more than the nation's relationship with East Asia. The list of serious issues that have emerged from East Asia over the past year is long and diverse: North Korea's nuclear program; the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative; America's withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership; the controversies over the THAAD missile system; questions related to cybersecurity, tariff policy, and human rights; territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas; and much more. This workshop will offer a one-year retrospective on U.S.-East Asian relations, with presentations by David Kang (left), professor of international relations and business at the University of Southern California; Mitchell Lerner, associate professor of history and director of the Institute for Korean Studies at The Ohio State University; James Matray, professor of history at California State University, Chico; Jennifer Miller, assistant professor of history at Dartmouth College; and Meredith Oyen, associate professor of history at University of Baltimore-Maryland County. Read more and register at
Mershon Research
Research on Human Rights

Principal Investigators: Amy Shuman and Wendy S. Hesford, Department of English

In June 2016, Professors Amy Shuman and Wendy S. Hesford took a team of undergraduate students to the Columbia University Human Rights Archives and the New York Human Rights Watch Film Festival. The students learned how archival materials are collected, processed, and catalogued and were given the opportunity to conduct research on migration, political asylum, and human trafficking.

Mershon affiliates Amy Shuman (bottom center) and Wendy Hesford (upper left) took a group of students to New York City last summer for archival research.
Shuman and Hesford's examination of archival documents focused on the affective, relational, and structuring logics of human trafficking and terrorism. Specifically, Shuman and Hesford's research examines news media coverage of conflicts surrounding the rise of the Islamic State.

Research from this trip resulted in a co-authored essay, "Precarious Narratives: Media Accounts of Islamic State Sexual Violence," forthcoming in the edited volume Precarious Rhetorics, to be published by The Ohio State University Press. In this essay, Hesford and Shuman elucidate the cultural and political work that representations of ISIS's enslavement and rape of Yazidi women and girls perform in the U.S. national and international human rights imaginary.

Shuman and Hesford, along with Jennifer Suchland, took a second group of students to conduct research at the Columbia University Human Rights Archives and attend the New York Human Rights Watch Film Festival in June 2017.

Besides examining representations of gendered sexual violence, students also researched the consequences of political asylum policy and the mass migration of people fleeing state conflict for international security. They focused on the kinds of data that are used to compile country reports on matters such as persecution of religious, political, and social communities; corruption; and failures of the state to protect particular groups.

Shuman and Hesford plan to co-author another essay for publication based on their research. In addition, undergraduate research has become a major part of the Human Rights in Transit program.

Read more about their research at
Other Events
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Joan Ruff
11:30 a.m., 
Boat House at Confluence Park, 
679 W. Spring St
Sponsored by Columbus Council on World Affairs

Joan Ruff In June 2017, a comprehensive report released by AARP, The Aging Readiness and Competitiveness Report, examines the preparedness of 12 countries around the world for facing the challenges of growth in populations aged sixty and over. This report focused on four key sectors: 1) Community and Infrastructure, 2) Productive Opportunity, 3) Healthcare and Wellness, and 4) Technological Engagement. On each of these, the report assessed countries as leaders, movers, or laggards; the report cites the United States as a leader on only one of the four sectors (technological engagement). Joan Ruff, J.D., is board chair for AARP. Read more and register
Friday, January 26, 2018

COMPAS Conference
8:45 a.m., 11th Floor, Thompson Library, 1858 Neil Ave. Mall
Sponsored by Center for Ethics and Human Values

COMPAS ReligionWhat role does religion play in the formation and preservation of national identity? What should we do when religious pluralism threatens the integrity of the political community? Are transnational religious commitments compatible with national political ones?  Read more

8:45 - 9 a.m. - Welcoming Remarks

9 - 11:45 a.m. - Sessions 1 and 2: Islam and the liberal state
9 - 10:30 a.m. : Presentations and Moderated Discussion
10:45 - 11:45 a.m.: Audience Q and A

Mustafa Akyol (Freedom Project, Wellesley College)
Zareena Grewal (American Studies and Religious Studies, Yale University)
Shadi Hamid (Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution)

Amna Akbar (Law, Ohio State University)

1:15 - 2:45 p.m. - Session 3: Religion and American national identity

Sam Haselby (Aeon Magazine)
Tisa Wenger (Divinity School, Yale University)

Korie Edwards (Sociology, Ohio State University)
Friday, January 26, 2018

Paul Wilkins
"Veteran Housing Issues"
12:30 p.m., 252 Drinko Hall, 55 N. 12th St.
Sponsored by Moritz College of Law

Paul Wilkins Please join the Moritz College of Law Grassbaugh Veterans Project on for a continuing legal education program on veterans housing issues. Paul Wilkins, chief litigation attorney for The Ohio State University Student Legal Services, will lead a conversation on the benefits and risks of purchasing real property, Veteran's Affairs loans vs. conventional loans vs. Federal Housing Administration loans, and ways to defend or avoid a foreclosure. Wilkins is a graduate of the Moritz College of Law and experienced litigator and appellate advocate. As a former Equal Justice Works Fellow and supervising attorney with Ohio State's former Student Housing Legal Clinic, he draws on his experiences to help student clients with varying legal matters.  Register here
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Naoyuki Agawa
"Japan-U.S. Relations in the Changing World: North Korea, China, and America First"
5 p.m.,  020 Page Hall, 1810 College Road
Sponsored by Institute for Japanese Studies

Naoyuki Agawa Naoyuki Agawa teaches American constitutional law and history as distinguished visiting professor of law at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. His books include Understanding America Today through Its Constitution (2017); A History of Constitutional Amendments and Other Changes in America (2016); and  American History through the United States Constitution (2004, 2013, and Yomiuri-Yoshino Sakuzo Award in 2005). At this event, Agawa will survey challenges in relations between the United States and East Asia, and argue that close Japan-U.S. cooperation in the area of security, economy, trade and investment is the key to better cope with these serious challenges, and to benefit the two countries as well as the whole Indo-Pacific region. Read more
Other News
'Origins' examines roots of conflict in Congo

Origins has published a new piece: " A New Congo Crisis?" by Sarah Van Beurden.

Ever since Joseph Conrad set his 1899 novel Heart of Darkness there, Congo has struck many observers as a paradox. An enormous territory located in the very core of Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is so rich in natural resources that it ought to be among the most prosperous countries on the continent. Yet, as historian Sarah Van Beurden explains this month, patterns of political repression, violence, and economic exploitation established in the 19th century colonial era continue to shape dynamics in Congo today.

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.
Polish Studies Initiative grant applications open

The Polish Studies Initiative of the Center for Slavic and East European Studies is seeking applications for faculty and graduate student research grants, as well as undergraduate and graduate student scholarships for study abroad and internships. 

Faculty and post-candidacy Ph.D. students can apply for up to $1,500 in funding to support research on Polish society and culture, including Polish-American culture, from any disciplinary perspective. Funds can be used for travel, conference attendance, or other research related expenses. 

Pre-candidacy Ph.D., graduate, professional, and undergraduate students can apply for up to $1,000 in scholarship funds to support participating in a study abroad program for Polish language or Polish area studies, in a domestic intensive Polish language program, or in an internship in Poland.

The deadline for applications is February 1, 2018. Read more and apply
Scholarships available for Cambridge security programme

The Cambridge Security Initiative at the University of Cambridge is offering five £2,300 Sir Richard Dearlove scholarships to study at its International Security and Intelligence Programme and Conference to take place July 9 through August 3, 2018.

This four-week summer programme offers a unique opportunity to work with leading practitioners and academics from the security and intelligence communities in the delightful riverside setting of Magdalene College. The university, now one of the highest ranked in the world, dates back to the early 13th century, and the earliest college foundations are clustered at the heart of the medieval city.

Chaired by Sir Richard Dearlove (formerly head of MI6, Britain's Secret Intelligence Service) and convened by Professor Michael Goodman and Dr. David Gioe, the International Security and Intelligence Programme (ISI) will consider the claims of state secrecy, the threat of nuclear proliferation, of cyber attack, of terrorism, the problems generated by the demand for regional security and the security challenges of revolutions and governing diversity. Intelligence collection, analysis of the product, and its dissemination to customers remain at the core of the intelligence cycle. Counterintelligence and covert action play more opaque but still vital roles at the heart of the nation state. Understanding these perspectives, what intelligence can achieve, but also its limitations, are major Programme and Conference themes.

The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time on February 23, 2018. Read more and apply
1501 Neil Avenue     |     Columbus, OH 43201     |     (614) 292-1681     |     Fax: (614) 292-2407