Mershon Center for International Security Studies
November 7, 2017
In This Issue
Richard Gunther
Professor Emeritus Political Science
Richard Gunther gave testimony October 26 before a bipartisan committee of Ohio House and Senate members considering changes in how boundaries for Ohio's 16 congressional districts should be determined. In their separate testimony, Gunther and Carrie Davis, executive director of the Ohio League of Women Voters, offered specific criteria for change. The hearing was streamed live by the Ohio Channel.
In the Media
Paul Beck
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Social and Behavioral Sciences
"Issue 2 turns into prescription for confusion"
Columbus Dispatch
November 5, 2017
R. William Liddle
Professor Emeritus of Political Science
"Indonesia Revives Its Communist Ghosts"
U.S. News & World Report
October 23, 2017
Benjamin McKean
Assistant Professor of Political Science
"A Venezuela of the North?"
October 19, 2017
John Mueller
Woody Hayes Senior Research Scientist
"Redefining Winning in Afghanistan"
National Interest
September 5, 2017

"North Korea: The Case for Doing Nothing"
National Interest
October 19, 2017

"Are We Safe Enough?"
CATO Institute
October 25, 2017

"Why We Shouldn't Exaggerate the Scale of Terrorism"
November 1, 2017
Oded Shenkar
Ford Motor Company Chair in Global Business Management 
David Stebenne
Professor of History and Law
"America, Laboratory of Democracy: Drowning Government in a Bathtub"
BBC World Service
October 24, 2017
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.
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Mershon Events
Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Note new time!
Cosette Creamer
Noon, 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Cosette Creamer Cosette Creamer is Benjamin E. Lippincott Chair in Political Economy at the University of Minnesota and affiliated faculty at the University of Minnesota Law School. Her research and teaching interests rest at the intersection of international and comparative law, politics, and the empirical analysis of law. The substantive focus of her research spans trade and economic law, international arbitration and dispute resolution, and human rights. In this talk, Creamer will discuss when the WTO's dispute settlement system asserts authority over or defers to the regulatory choices of government. Read more and register at
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Manon Pignot
4:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Manon Pignot Manon Pignot is a French historian specializing in the experience of children during war. She is a senior lecturer at the Jules Verne University of Picardy and a junior member of the Institut Universitaire de France. In this event, she will discuss the growing subfield of "teen combatants"  in the history of children at war, the history of war violence in general, and World War I in particular. Too young to be legally enlisted as conscripts in 1914-1918, teen combatants also felt that they were too old to remain on the home front. This lecture will explore the cross-European phenomenon of "teen combatants" both as a rite of passage into male adulthood and as a transgression of wartime norms. Read more and register at
Thursday, November 30, 2017

Monica Toft
3:30 p.m., 120 Mershon Center, 1501 Neil Ave.

Monica Toft Monica Toft is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Diplomacy at Tufts University. Her areas of research include international security, ethnic and religious violence, civil wars and demography. Her most recent books include Securing the Peace (Princeton, 2011); Political Demography (Oxford, 2012); and God's Century (Norton, 2012). In this presentation, Toft will discuss her research on the political dimensions of demographic dynamics in key states during critical historical periods, which aims to facilitate a better understanding of demographic politics - one that is both theoretically informed and policy relevant. Read more and register at
Mershon News
Ohio veterans history project features interview with Mansoor

Peter Mansoor
Peter Mansoor
Poke around on the website for Ohio History Connection, and you are likely to run across their digital collections including Ohio Memory, a collaborative statewide digital library with content from over 360 cultural heritage institutions representing all 88 Ohio counties.

Within this online library is the Ohio Veterans Oral History Project, an initiative to collect and preserve the stories of Ohio's veterans. So far the project features videos with about 30 Ohio veterans including an interview with Mershon's Peter Mansoor, Gen. Raymond E. Mason Jr. Chair in Military History.

Mansoor's interview is a prime example of oral history, which features a person describing his or her own experiences. It is considered a primary historical source, preserving the past and connecting history with the present by documenting life as it unfolds.

In a video lasting almost six hours, Mansoor describes his life growing up in California; attending college at West Point; marriage and family; station stops at Fort Bliss, Fort Hood, and Fort Irwin; deployments to Germany; command experiences in Iraq; serving at the Council of Foreign Relations, Counterinsurgency Center at Fort Leavenworth, and Council of Colonels at the Pentagon; and as executive officer for Gen. David Petraeus during the surge in Iraq.

Throughout, Mansoor reflects on lessons during military training exercises, live combat, and at the front seat of history in Iraq after the United States had deposed Saddam Hussein, facing a growing insurgency and taking the first tenuous steps toward democracy.

Read the rest of the story at
Other Events
Tuesday, November 7, 2017

J.D. Vance
4:30 p.m., Mershon Auditorium, 1871 N. High St.
Sponsored by Provost's Lecture Program

J.D. Vance J.D. Vance will propose a hands-on approach to problems facing his native state of Ohio: opioid addiction, under-preparedness of the workforce, and domestic instability. Through his non-profit organization, Our Ohio Renewal, Vance, a 2009 alumnus of Ohio State, will tackle these issues that shaped his upbringing in Middletown, Ohio, subject of Hillbilly Elegy, Vance's No. 1 New York Times best-seller.  Described as a "brilliant book" and  "one of the most important" reads of 2016,  Hillbilly Elegy  is a searing portrait of the lives of the white working class, providing timely perspective on the rise of political populism and the growing concerns of many Americans.  Read more and register
Monday, November 13, 2017

Kaoru Iokibe
4 p.m., 100 Ramseyer Hall, 29 W. Woodruff Ave.
Sponsored by Institute for Japanese Studies

Kaoru Iokibe Kaoru Iokibe is professor at the Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, University of Tokyo. His research comprises the political and diplomatic history of modern Japan. In 2003 he published his first book about the formation of the opposition party in Japan. His second book, published in 2010, is about Meiji Japan's restoration of sovereignty through the revision of "unequal treaties" (now under translation into English). This talk illustrates the history of Japan-U.S. relations, from Admiral Perry's Black Ships and the subsequent opening of Japan until today's frequent political, economic, military, and cultural interactions between the two countries. Read more and register
Other News
Theatre project pairs acting students with veterans

When the Ohio State Department of Theatre embarked on a new program last spring to use active workshops based on Shakespeare's plays to interact with military personnel, veterans and their families, the goal was to help them find new ways to give expression to their experiences as they transitioned from soldiers to civilians.

Yes, that happened. But surprisingly, the graduate-student actors from Ohio State gained as much from the experience as the veterans. They didn't just lead the workshops. They learned and grew from them, too.

Beyond All Recognition
Theatre students Joe Kopyt as Andy and Mandy Mitchell as Denise in Beyond All Recognition. Photo by Matt Hazard
The workshops were overseen by Mershon affiliate Kevin McClatchy, assistant professor in the Department of Theatre. The 10-week series of workshops created opportunities for participants to connect with one another and explore their challenges and triumphs in a safe and playful atmosphere. 

Nine MFA acting students led the active workshops, attended by 10 military veterans and one active duty soldier, along with family members and caregivers. Theatre-based activities centered on Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Henry V and Othello gave the groups a chance to interact.

"It was great to watch people go from wondering why they were exploring Shakespeare to having a profound and memorable communal experience," McClatchy said. "They were doing something fun and engaging with one another ... and maybe even something more."

The end result of the project is a public production, titled Beyond All Recognition, based upon their experiences with the military veterans and their families. This new work will be performed November 8 to 19 in the Roy Bowen Theatre at the Drake Performance and Event Center. 

Purchase tickets by calling the Ohio State Theatre Office at (614) 292-2295 or visiting
Speakers to discuss Russian and Chinese revolutions

Please join us for a special program to mark the centennial of the 1917 Russian Revolution. Two eminent scholars of modern Russia and China will discuss the how these two communist revolutions transformed global history and still influence our world today as part of the Center for Historical Research two-year program. "'You Say You Want a Revolution?' Revolutions in Comparative Perspective." The event takes place  Wednesday, November 8, from 3-4:30 165 Thompson Library, 1858 Neil Ave. Mall.

Steve Smith Steve Smith, senior research fellow at Oxford University, is the author of six books on revolution and society in Russia and China, including Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History (Cambridge University Press, 2008). His current work is on the politics of the supernatural in the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, as authorities tried to eliminate superstition from daily life while ordinary people deployed religious and magical beliefs to deal with the turbulent changes that revolution brought.

Michael David-Fox Michael David-Fox, professor of history at Georgetown University, researches modern Russian and Soviet history and a founding editor of the pathbreaking journal  Kritika. He has published widely on the political, cultural, and intellectual history of Russia and the Soviet Union, including Showcasing the Great Experiment: Cultural Diplomacy and Western Visitors to the Soviet Union, 1921-1941 (Oxford University Press, 2012). His new work is on the history of the Nazi occupation of the USSR during World War II.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Russian and Eastern European Seminar and the East Asian Studies Center. For more information, please visit
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