David Vogel at the LSE

David Vogel was in London earlier this month and gave a public lecture at the London School of Economics where he discussed the issues he raises in his new book The Politics of Precaution.  A podcast of the event is now available to listen to.

 

Michael Ross interviews

Michael Ross, author of the recently published ‘The Oil Curse’ visited the UK in March and recorded a Guardian video and a podcast with VoxEU. Please follow the links to listen to either of these.

Princeton in Europe Lecture

Paul Seabright gave a fascinating and typically wide ranging talk “On Lying, Risk Taking and the Euro” for our second annual Princeton University Press
in Europe lecture on 18th April.  The talk, which is open to the public, honours our European Advisory Board.  In the lecture, Seabright argued that many of the factors which led to the Euro crisis were in plain sight from its launch.  The challenge is that in many different ways we are hard wired not to notice.  We tend for example to like to tell a morality tale with good guys and bad guys; we tend not to notice slow creeping crises; and we succumb to the very human desire not to rock the boat. Drawing on a wealth of economic data and the insights of neuroscience and behavioural economics, Seabright’s analysis is both compelling – and chilling.

Please click here to watch the lecture in full. You can also read more about this topic in an article in The Guardian, prompted by the Princeton in Europe Lecture.

David Scheffer in the UK

David Scheffer author of ‘All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals’ was in London this week and spoke at Chatham House. An audio recording of his talk is now available on their website. His trip coincided with the conviction on Wednesday 14th March of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo in what was the first verdict delivered by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. In an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme (please scroll down to 0824 for the clip) he was interviewed about this and the relationship of the United States to the court.

Michael Ross in the UK

Michael Ross whose new book, ‘The Oil Curse: How Petroleum Wealth Shapes the Development of Nations’, is published on 19 March will be visiting London later this month. He will be delivering one of the King’s Lectures in Ethics, organised jointly by The School of Law and the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS). The talk will be on 19 March from 6 – 8pm at the Safra Lecture Theatre, Kings College London, Strand Campus, London WC2R 2LS . The talk is unticketed and open to all.

David Scheffer in Europe

David Scheffer, author of the recently published ‘All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals’ will be touring Europe from 12 – 24 March, speaking in London, The Hague, Berlin, Cologne, Vienna, Budapest, Sarajevo and Brussels.  While in London he will be talking at the Society for Oriental and African Studies on 12th March and at Chatham House on 13 March.  Both these events are free and open to the public so please follow the links if you would like to sign up. For more detailed information on any of the other events in Europe please contact Caroline Priday cpriday@pupress.co.uk or @crpriday

David Scheffer on BBC R3 Nightwaves

David Scheffer, the first US ambassador for war crimes, has recently published All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals with Princeton University Press. In the book, he discusses bringing some of the most notorious war criminals to justice. David was interviewed on BBC Radio 3 NightWaves on 25th January and the interview is now available to listen again here.

What is the future of a new generation of European Muslims?

In Europe, the increasing presence of Islam has often provoked concerns about a threat to security and liberal democracy. Jonathan Laurence’s The Emancipation of Europe’s Muslims challenges these ideas and shows how the transformation of a new generation into European Muslims has consisted of a complex mix of achievements and tensions. The book recently received a terrific review in The Economist. Jonathan was kind enough to answer a few questions about his unique look at European Islam, the debates surrounding it, and the connection to the Arab awakening:

Q: Anders Breivik was recently declared insane by the court. His act of violence is widely condemned, but aren’t his anti-multiculturalist views fairly widespread?

For Breivik, the year is 1683 and an Islamic empire is storming the Gates of Vienna. Some of the views in his Internet-age manifesto are popular, although what he did in Oslo and Utoya is of course condemned. An Italian politician from a party in government spoke approvingly of the Norwegian’s belief that Europe had “given up on its cultural identity without a fight.” In December, a poll showed 76% of the French public thinks Islam is “progressing too much.” So the vocal concern over Islam’s growth and Muslims’ integration is no longer the exclusive domain of the far right. It has become ritual for heads of government to declare the failure of multiculturalism, a catchall description increasingly taken to mean the arrival of Muslims in Europe. Breivik may be legally insane, but he is not alone in thinking that Europe is at a turning point vis-à-vis its growing Islamic minorities.

Q: What does this mean for integration policy in European countries, and how have Muslim groups reacted? Is this what the Minaret and Burka bans were about?

On the one hand, the focus on religious fundamentalism led to several well known bans on Islamic symbols in public spaces, from headwear to architectural design. It also provoked acrimonious debate about whether Islam “belongs” and if its associated practices –in all their diversity—can be reconciled with national identity. On the other hand, history tells us this is fairly standard treatment for a new minority entering the crucible of the nation state and joining the general citizenry. Increasingly, however, Muslim communities perceive the sum total of public debate as something akin to religious persecution or a kulturkampf against Islam. It’s not just the religious conservatives or the pious, but Muslims as a “group” who increasingly feel stigmatized. Last month, community eminences in France, Germany (and the US) independently cited the Nazi era and the gradual marginalization of German Jews to describe the political environment. It is not the most encouraging sign, obviously, if the main icebreaker between Muslims and non-Muslims is whether it’s 1683 or the mid-1930s outside.

Q: How did it come to this point, and is this a dead end? Or are there trends in other directions?

The competing narratives of victimization –and self-affirmation—are not new. But Muslims and non-Muslims do seem to be talking past one another at a moment when they need to be in constructive conversation. Nonetheless, it’s important to recognize the degree of cooperation that already exists between community leaders and European governments. A recent stunt to name Europe’s “tallest minaret” (35 meters) after Nicolas Sarkozy is not as ironic as it first appears. In many ways, European Islam has flourished in the past decade. When Sarkozy was interior minister in 2002–4, he helped forge the still-running French Council for the Muslim Religion and started a trend among his European colleagues to guarantee equal religious rights to Muslims. “State-mosque” relations have advanced by leaps and bounds. A thousand Islamic prayer spaces have opened in France in the last ten years. One hundred and thirty schools in Germany’s most populous state (North Rhine Westphalia) now offer Islamic instruction alongside existing religious classes, and the first class of German Muslim theologians began their doctoral program this fall. The list goes on. European governments and Muslim organizations have gotten to know one another better, and community leaders have been brought into a context that encourages their continued adaptation to life as a minority in Europe.

Q: You argue in the book that it’s not 1683 or 1938, but that European countries are at a crucial “nation-building” moment in between. What does your book have to say about the Arab awakening?

The book shows how Europeans responded to the same questions now confronting North African governments: how to balance religious freedom and the democratic rule of law? Can Islamist movements behave “moderately and democratically”? The first generation of European Islamists fled political persecution at home, and some of the religious tension in European countries is rooted in their old political battles. Perhaps the “settling” of Islam’s status in their countries of origin will engender a new dynamic and allow integration to proceed in Europe. On the other hand, European Muslims have made their home in Europe and are not as personally involved in 2011’s events as could be assumed. Nonetheless, the image of Muslim masses protesting peacefully and organizing themselves democratically could contribute in the long run to a continuing “normalization” of how Islamic populations and societies are perceived in Western democracies.

Jonathan Laurence is associate professor of political science at Boston College.

David Marquand participates in British Academy Panel Event

The ideas in David Marquand’s book ‘The End of the West: The
Once and Future Europe’
were the subject of a panel event at the British Academy on 29 November.
In front of a capacity audience David and his fellow panellists Rt Hon
Professor Shirley Williams and Professors Paulo Pombeni and Christopher Hill
addressed a range of issues, from how  Europe should respond to the
changing global balance of power, to the growing demands for recognition by the
ethnic communities within its borders and the legitimacy deficit of its
politicians.  There were also a variety of suggestions as to how the
current crisis in the Eurozone might be resolved.  To hear this event in
full follow the link below.

http://www.britac.ac.uk/events/2011/The_End_of_the_West.cfm

‘Exceptional People’ features in Economist’s 2011 roundup

 

Congratulations to authors Ian Goldin, Geoffrey Cameron and
Meera Balarajan whose book ‘Exceptional People: How Migration Shaped our World
and will Define our Future’
was listed in the Economist’s Best Books of 2011.

Edwidge Danticat honored with the 2011 Langston Hughes Medal

Congratulations to Edwidge Danticat, author of Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work, who has been honored with the 2011 Langston Hughes Medal from City College of New York. The award recognizes the body of Danticat’s work.

“The Langston Hughes Medal is awarded to highly distinguished writers from throughout the African American diaspora for their distinguished contributions to the arts and letters. Among past recipients of this award are James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Brooks, Toni Cade Bambara, Paule Marshall, Toni Morrison, Ralph W. Ellison, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, August Wilson, Chinua Achebe, Derek Walcott, and Octavia Butler, to name a few.”

Here is a video of a Q&A with the author at the 2011 Langston Hughes Festival:

Is Berlusconi creating a new “royal court”?

This is the argument of Maurizio Viroli’s The Liberty of Servants, a new book that is featured in this terrific article by Rachel Donadio in today’s NY Times. Donadio writes:

To a growing number of critics, the lurid party details, as well as a semi-conspiratorial attitude in which criticism is seen as disloyalty, are the latest evidence that the Berlusconi government, although democratically elected, has devolved into something from a different age: a royal court, in which everyone, from his coalition partners to his attractive young guests, serves at the pleasure of the prince.

And while this court system may have functioned fairly well in earlier centuries, it fails miserably when confronted by the multitude of economic challenges faced by Italy (whose credit rating, much like the US, was recently downgraded by the S&P and whose borrowing rates are rising). So, how is the royal court system preventing change and allowing Berlusconi to stay in power?

As Donadio explains, “the government’s success is tied less to external economic reality than to internal political calculation.” A point that Maurizio elaborates by saying, “Usually a court systems falls when the ‘signore’ is no longer able to offer protection, benefits, money.”

This explains why Berlusconi endures in spite of a falling approval rating in Italy, according to Donadio who writes, “his loyalists are standing by him — at least for now — because none of them has enough power to replace him. All are tied to Mr. Berlusconi, sometimes through complex personal arrangements that transcend institutional roles, as some of the wiretaps indicate.”

Read Donadio’s complete article (which includes excerpts from wire tap transcripts) here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/21/world/europe/despite-wiretaps-and-economic-woe-berlusconi-endures.html

To read a chapter from Maurizio’s incredibly timely book, please visit this site: Chapter 1 (PDF)