Charli Carpenter

charli.carpenter@gmail.com

Charli Carpenter is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is the author of 'Innocent Women and Children': Gender, Norms and the Protection of Civilians (Ashgate, 2006), Forgetting Children Born of War: Setting the Human Rights Agenda in Bosnia and Beyond (Columbia, 2010), and ‘Lost’ Causes: Agenda-Setting in Global Issue Networks and the Shaping of Human Security (Cornell, 2014). Her main research interests include national security ethics, the protection of civilians, the laws of war, global agenda-setting, gender and political violence, humanitarian affairs, the role of information technology in human security, and the gap between intentions and outcomes among advocates of human security.

Museum of Science Fiction To Open in DC

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Here is a project worthy of interest by those Duck readers who are simultaneously politics and science fiction nerds: a non-profit effort to build a Museum of Science Fiction in Washington, DC.

The mission of the Museum of Science Fiction is to create a center of gravity where art and science are powered by imagination. Science fiction is the story of humanity: who we were, who we are, and who we dream to be. The Museum will present this story through displays, interactivity, and programs in ways that excite, educate, entertain, and create a new generation of dreamers.

Even more exciting is the holistic approach to science and society studies envisioned by the project:

Education is central to our mission. We believe that the science fiction presents an ideal device for sparking interest and spurring proficiency in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). But we’d like to go beyond STEM and broaden our focus to include the arts. We call it STEAM. We want to give teachers new tools. Cool tools that kids will love to use. Combined with inspiration and imagination, and creativity fueled by science fiction, our prospects look bright.

More exciting yet: a call for involvement by experts in all fields:

We have assembled a very talented team, but we can’t do it alone.

We welcome your involvement and support. To receive a copy of the museum’s planning document, please donateand download our prospectus. This document explains the who, what, where, when, how, and why behind the project.

If you have ideas to share or would like to volunteer, visit our contact page. Meanwhile, please have a look around our site and watch us evolve. With your help, we will make this happen.

Find out more here.

And speaking of social / science / fiction: only a few more days to submit your abstracts for the Star Wars and International Security panel at next year’s ISA Conference!

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FRIDAY NERD BLOGGING: Call for ISA Proposals on “Star Wars and International Security”

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Last Monday, on May the 4th, citizens around the globe celebrated International Star Wars Day. In honor of this important event, Patrick Thaddeus Jackson and I are pleased to announce an International Studies Association 2016 Conference panel on Star Wars for next year’s meeting.

We seek paper abstracts examining the relationship between the Star Wars franchise and socio-political dynamics in the area of international security, broadly defined. In other words, this panel focuses specifically on the inter-relationship between pop culture ideas and “real-world” security-seeking processes and practices.*

As such (following up on Dan Drezner’s and my Game of Thrones initiative from last year) PTJ and I are not seeking papers that critically analyze the franchise as a political text itself, or that apply pedagogical lessons from the show to the real world national security policy, or that treat the popular cultural artifacts or their fandom as a primary object of study.

Rather, we are interested in research notes that take seriously popular culture (in this case Star Wars) as implicated in real-world political phenomena in the area of international security, broadly defined. All methodological approaches are welcome, but authors should reflect on or empirically investigate connections between Star Wars’ fictional memes, concepts or allegories and the real-world security-seeking practices of states or other actors – and reflect on those connections. Continue reading

The “Future” of “Global” “Security” “Studies”

cybersecurityrsaLast Friday, I had the great pleasure to attend a workshop on “The Future of Global Security Studies” at University of Denver’s Sie Center for International Security and Diplomacy.

The event brought together authors for the inaugral special issue of ISA’s new journal, the Journal of Global Security Studies, which promises to showcase new research and new thinking in security studies, but also to bring diverse perspectives into dialogue. As such, the workshop was one of the most engaging I’ve ever attended: realists, big data proponents, feminists, and securitization scholars all in the same room for a day is (no pun of any sort intended) a blast.

My role was to discuss papers, and as one of several discussants I’ll be participating in the first JOGSS “Forum“* along with Stephen Walt, Joshua Goldstein, Jon Western and Alex Montgomery.  Our job in the “Forum” will be to pontificate on the special issue theme.

In an effort to both get my ideas moving for this contribution and crowdsource ideas and feedback, here are my initial thoughts / observations after the discussions I heard Friday. I’ll organize them by thinking about the thematic buzzwords “Future” “Global” “Security” and “Studies” in reverse order:  Continue reading

Friday Nerd Blogging

What? No “pirates?” Ironic, since the Season 4 finale set a new piracy record and now at 18.5 million viewers is the second most watched HBO show in history. What does this mean for mass understandings of foreign policy? Maybe nothing. Maybe something.

Belated ISA Recap: Norms in IR, Norm Violations in IR, Pop Culture in IR and Junior Scholar Panels

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So I’m a wee bit late to the post-International Studies Association Annual Conference blogging ritual, but better than never right? Continue reading

Reversing the Gun Sights, Revisited

In about a month, High Contracting Parties to the United Nations Convention on Conventional Weapons will again consider the humanitarian and ethical problems posed by fully autonomous lethal weapons. As I’ve written before, this issue in on the UN agenda due to a savvy and well-organized network of “humanitarian disarmament” NGOs. This coalition is keen to reconstruct governments’ interpretation of how to balance military utility with humanitarian concerns when it comes to emerging technologies of violence. Yet with the landmine and cluster munitions campaigns considered some of the landmark successes in global civil society advocacy, it is fascinating how little of the transnational advocacy networks scholarly literature focuses in empirical or theoretical terms on the humanitarian disarmament sector.

Nothing throws this into sharper relief than teaching a graduate seminar in human security, and attempting to blend “transnational advocacy” week with a humanitarian disarmament focus. Aside from seminal articles by Richard Price and Nina Tannenwald, plus my own now-very-dated piece and a scattering of analyses by Clifford Bob and Noha Shawki, one is hard pressed to find good theory-driven treatments of TAN politics that utilize empirics from the area of disarmament rather than human rights, development, humanitarian affairs or the environment. And I have yet to see TAN articles that address the reconstituted nuclear ban campaign, or developments around incendiary weapons or explosive violence.*

Thankfully, two recently published articles offer both an up-to-date overview of this advocacy landscape and suggestions for how to fill this analytical gap. Continue reading

Call For Applications: Guest Ducks

sitting ducksAs part of the new Duck, we have revamped our guest blogging policy.

The old policy, dating from way back when Dan and Patrick were slowly expanding the blog:

The procedure for bringing on guest bloggers is one of those “salami factory” things… and strangers just aren’t very likely to make it through the process.

In other words, guest blogging happened by invitation only.

At first it happened sort of ad hoc and accidentally. We would scout new talent in the blogosphere and offer upcoming bloggers a place to build a profile. Or we would reach out to those in our social networks we wanted to encourage to blog, especially women and minorities; or offer a place to others who were interested in giving it a try but unready to launch their own blog (as Dan and Patrick once did for me). As we institutionalized it, we came up with internal norms for recruitment and rotation, and sought to increasingly diversify our recruitment pool.

It’s worked well, but we have realized that no matter how hard we try, our social networks are an insufficiently diverse representation of the discipline and so yield insufficiently diverse results. We think we’re missing a lot of important talent not able to access us through social ties. Plus it’s a lot of work to constantly recruit and we want to find time to blog ourselves.

So here’s the new policy: anyone with a PhD in IR, plus some expertise in some substantive global policy issue area, and a willingness to post at least 200-500 words, at least once a week, can apply to become a guest for a six-month rotation. If you’re interested in a guest spot, send one of us a letter of interest (just as if you were proposing a one-off guest post) and we’ll consider you for our next rotation. Cheers!

What Would Nature Say About Ecological Warfare?


I thought of this incredible eco-ad campaign, NatureisSpeaking.org, when I read Bronwyn Leebaw’s fascinating article “Scorched Earth: Environmental War Crimes and International Justice” in Perspectives on Politics.  This is a much-overdue analysis of the place of the earth and environmental damage in the laws of armed conflict – two issues areas rarely studied by political scientists.

Leebaw examines representations of the natural environment in laws of war as they have evolved in four stages:

  • under Grotius, a conception of Nature as Property, with protections articulated in the same way that men were once protected from the rape of “their women”  during wars
  • under early efforts to ban chemical weapons, the notion of Nature as Combatant, with chemical weapons’ development and prohibition internationally relying both on a notion that the weapons were too “inhumane” to use on humans in battle yet perfectly appropriate to use against insects domestically – insects being framed as ‘the enemy’ and later themselves conscripted into military service.
  • under the environmental movement of the 60s, the notion of Nature as Pandora’s Box, an untameable force preparing to unleash ecological consequences humans can’t predict or absorb – a yet-anthropocentric discourse which viewed natural disaster in consequentialist terms
  • Nature as Victim, a view more associated with the resurgent notion of “ecocide” as an international judicial claim – a perspective invented by Richard Falk in the 70s but ill-reflected in treaty law on environmental war crimes and revitalized in the post-Rome Statute era of international criminal law.

Reading this, and enjoying the many theoretical directions Leebaw maps out for scholars rethinking boundaries between national, global, human and planetary security, I was brought back to the NatureisSpeaking.org movement and the distinctively gaialogical way I Am the Ocean frames the planet – as fundamentally indifferent to the human race. Continue reading

Friday Nerd Blogging: Winter is Coming to #ISA2015

More information about the genesis of this panel here. Paper abstracts here. Continue reading

Counting on the Media: A Reply to Mack and Pinker

It’s always nice to read good news. And it’s nice to read evidence-based arguments in the popular press. Over the holiday, Andrew Mack and Steven Pinker offered a little of each over the holidays in their article “The World Is Not Falling Apart.” Therein, they marshal of human security indicators upon indicators – number of rapes reported, number of civilians killed, number of wars breaking out, number of homicides –  to argue that at the global level the trendlines are mostly pointing downward. In championing “an evidence-based mindset on the state of the world,” the authors place the blame for our current misconceptions on “a misleading formula of journalistic narration”:

“Reporters give lavish coverage to gun bursts, explosions and viral videos, oblivious to how representative they are and apparently innocent of the fact that many were contrived as journalistic bait… News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen… The only sound way to appraise the state of the world is to count. How many violent acts has the world seen compared with the number of opportunities?”

This seemingly sensible argument does contain one fundamental paradox, however: some of the data-sets on which Mack and Pinker rely are themselves based on news reports. Continue reading

Death Counts and War Commemoration

Among the various things I’ve read in the run-up to Veterans Day / Remembrance Day is this article by University of Auckland’s Tom Gregory, entitled, “Body Counts Disguise The True Horror of What Wars Do to Bodies”:

“Relying on these statistics alone may provide us with a brief glimpse at the suffering of those affected, but it ends up concealing the violence it is supposed to expose. When dealing only with numbers, we tend to lose sight of the bodies that are left broken by the machinery of war, along with the individuals who are busy living and dying on the battlefield.”

This is an important perspective. As much as numbers illuminate war’s costs, they can hide its grim realities. Still, I would argue that this is not such a zero-sum game and that on balance the construction of casualty metrics helps rather than harms the cause of reducing and mitigating war’s impact. Continue reading

Disaster Politics and the American Red Cross

This is a guest post by Wendy Wong, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Toronto, Director of the Trudeau Center for Peace, Conflict and Justice, and author of Internal Affairs: How the Structure of NGOs Transforms Human Rights.

When the great fall from grace (especially those who have built their reputations on being high-minded and altruistic), it makes a great story. And that’s exactly the view of the expose written by NPR and ProPublica that hits us with the punchline: the American Red Cross (ARC) is mismanaged, somewhat incompetent at its job, and misguided in its priorities!

In their lengthy story, the reporters document missteps in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac and make the case that the ARC has diverted funds that should be used for disaster relief for its own brand-promoting purposes. They use some ARC documents, but mostly base their claims on a handful interviews with external critics of the organization (current ARC representatives make cameo appearances).

To be frank, the ARC has had more than its fair share of high profile mess-ups, starting with 9/11 in the 2000s and more recently, with. There are real problems the ARC should deal with that the article does a good job pointing out: resource waste, sex offenders mingling with children in relief centers, slow response time unbecoming of the reputation of the organizations that was founded in 1881. But … is this really an expose, or are nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) at the forefront of trying to ameliorate overwhelming disaster conditions that no one, or even group, of actors could hope to address effectively?

Let’s put the report in perspective. Continue reading

Networking "Toxic Remnants of War" on the Disarmament Agenda

With the United Nations First Committee on Disarmament and International Security convening in New York this month, one point of debate will be the potential health risks of depleted uranium weapons in post-conflict zones. And rightly so: depleted uranium is a byproduct of nuclear enrichment processes used in armor-piercing incendiary projectiles to penetrate tanks, and correspondingly to harden armor against attack. Since the Gulf War, veterans groups, doctors and civil society groups have raised concerns about the possible health effects on humans of radioactive DU dust left in the environment. Now, A10 gunships are headed back to Iraq, a nation that has already absorbed 400,000kg of DU contamination, according to the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons.  This month’s discussion at the UN follows a UNGA report released earlier this year, in which Iraq, not so surprisingly, joined a handful of other nations in calling for an outright ban of these weapons.

Early in my research for my new book ‘Lost’ Causes, I considered depleted uranium as an interesting case of agenda-vetting in the humanitarian disarmament NGO arena. A far-flung network of organizations has been lobbying for a ban since 2003, and language has been percolating in General Assembly First Committee resolutions since 2007, culminating most recently in the Secretary-General’s report on the topic this summer. In short, the issue is gaining momentum in non-binding “soft law.” But the DU issue has not been as prominent to date in disarmament circles of NGOs pushing treaty prohibitions on weapons in general, and major organizations like the International Committee for the Red Cross and Human Rights Watch have not prioritized the issue of DU on their formal agendas. Instead the most prominent issues on the NGO disarmament agenda since 2005 have included cluster munitions, small arms, autonomous weapons and, to a more limited degree, incendiary and explosive weapons. As this graph of NGO campaign affiliations from 2012 shows, organizations associated with the ICBUW are relatively disconnected from other disarmament campaigns, with more ties to the nuclear and environmental movements than to the humanitarian disarmament mainstream.*

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In many respects, this is not at all surprising given the nature of the DU issue, which cuts across health, environment and arms control. My research has found that highly inter-sectional issues often have the hardest time finding a foothold in existing advocacy terrain. Also, elite advocacy NGOs gravitate for strategic reasons toward campaigns where they can a) combine testimonial and statistical evidence, and b) identify a clear causal link between the cause and effect of a humanitarian problem. Testimonial evidence is abundant here – much anecdotal evidence points to carcinogenic effects, including increased birth defects in areas exposed to DU. But generalizable scientific evidence is less so: few large-scale epidemiological studies have been carried out.  “We know without a doubt that DU in humans is harmful and that contamination needs to be cleaned-up,” ICBUW Coordinator Doug Weir told me. “The main question is to what extent are civilians being exposed to it.”

Despite these obstacles, in recent years the ICBUW has made some noticeable strides in messaging and networking its issue in transnational civil society.   Continue reading

Saturday Nerd Blogging: The Skynet Factor and the Killer Robot Campaign

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A day late, but not a penny short: at the Monkey Cage this week I look at the interplay between science fiction references and the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots:

The media might be forgiven for using such terms and images as click-bait. But some people have accused the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots of invoking “Hollywood paranoia” as well.  NBCNews tech writer Keith Wagstaff asked whether “hysteria over the robopocalypse could hold back technology that could save human lives.” At the conference, autonomous weapons proponent Professor Ronald Arkin criticized the global coalition for holding a position based on “pathos” and “hype.” Another expert, Nils Melzer of the Geneva Center for Security Policy began his slideshow with an image from “Terminator 2,” saying he would be taking an “objective” view rather than “demonizing” these weapons – a veiled jab at NGOs. Even earlier, Greg McNeal of Forbes Magazine criticized the campaign for “scare-mongering,” using Hollywood archetypes.

Is this fair? A closer look at the history and tactics of the global coalition tells a different story: a story of global civil society organizations maneuvering in a balanced way in a socio-cultural context in which they must persuade multiple stakeholders – governments, militaries, and the global public – to take a “far-out” issue dead seriously; and in which they face push-back by opponents who use claims of “hyperbole” in attempts to discredit them. In this version of the story, a number of common claims about the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots turn out to be myths.

Continue reading

Why I'm Not At APSA This Labor Day

changethedateEvery year at this time I receive several queries a day from colleagues, would-be colleagues and students asking me if I’ll be “at APSA” – the Annual Conference of the American Political Science Association – and when we could meet up for a coffee.

Every year I reply several times a day:

“Sadly, I won’t be at APSA this year because it conflicts with the start of school for my children.”

This is more or less the truth but I confess it’s not the complete truth. First, I’ve realized this canned response implies I might be there next year, whereas I’ve actually been AWOL from Labor-Day-Weekend APSAs pretty much since my second child hit grade school and it’s time I admit that’s not changing. Second, the “conflict” I described is less of a conflict every year as my kids get older, yet I’m still not coming back to APSA, so that’s less and less the real reason for my absence.

The truer response to the question is that I skip APSA every year not because my son needs me desperately on the first day of school, but because I’m boycotting. I’m boycotting my professional organization for scheduling a conference so as to inhibit work-life-balance and pose an undue burden on parents in the profession, especially mothers. I’m boycotting APSA because they have done this year by year over the protest of their members. What began as an irreconcilable personal conflict for a parent of grade schoolers and partner to a dual-career spouse – what began, that is, as a simple work-life balance choice – has turned over the years into a political statement that I’ll continue to make until APSA’s policy changes. Continue reading

Civic Action at a Federal Detention Center

About two weeks ago I had pledged to go on blogging hiatus in order to vacation with my family, a pledge I only broke once so far. However, while traveling south from Durango, CO with my partner and son last week, I ran across this post by LGM’s Erik Loomis,’ on the treatment of Central American refugees in US facilities north of the Mexican border. I also read the entire linked document by Wendy Cervantes, an Immigration and Child Rights expert First Focus – one of several NGOs who were permitted to tour the facility in Artesia, New Mexico, the previous week. I also found other sources on the subject including this, this, this, and this.

All these articles point to overcrowding and the absence of adequate medical care and legal representation for these families, as well as the wider problem of what international lawyers call “refoulement” – forcible return of asylum seekers who likely face persecution or violence in their home country. This is of course a violation of the Refugees Convention, which requires governments to accept and aid individuals fleeing their country due to a well-founded fear of persecution should they return; and which prohibits them from forcibly returning such people or prosecuting them as illegal immigrants.*

Our route by car from Albuquerque to Roswell / Carlsbad took us directly past Artesia. It seemed wrong to carry on cavorting through limestone caves and UFO museums knowing we were driving right by a facility where refugee women and children were being held, allegedly without adequate supplies. So we decided to make a brief detour and see what would happen if we drove up to the base asking questions and offering help. Our primary objective was to obtain an audience with someone, anyone, in a position to receive feedback from some concerned citizens about the fate of the refugees. Continue reading

Genital Mutilation: Facts, Fictions, Faux-Feminism and Fortitude

isisAlthough I’m technically off the grid, the news that ISIS proclaimed women and girls in Mosul should submit to genital mutilation (FGM), and the report’s subsequent debunking, compel me to emerge from hiatus.

Leaving aside why a fake report on FGM should be viewed as needed to discredit a group who is  executing civilian, forcibly displacing minotiries and destroying cultural property,  I have mixed feelings about the outcry this story raised.

On the one hand it indicates a widespread norm in the West, in UN circles and among the Muslim population in Mosul to view FGM as a heinous human rights violation: that’s a good thing.  That said, the appropriation of women’s issues to denigrate men “we” might wish to cast as barbaric enemies has a long history and has rarely served women or feminist interests. Using feminist causes for propagandistic ends should not be confused with genuine feminism (which we can define for simplicity’s sake as HuffPo did today) since it undermines efforts to reach gender equality in two ways.

First,  it perpetuates conflict through stereotyping and emnification, conflicts in which women often suffer disproportionately.  If we are following global affairs critically, we should be conscious of these dynamics and find ways to promote women’s human rights without contributing to war propaganda. Second, pointing fingers at “Them” blinds “Us” to ways in which our own institutions and policies also perpetuate harmful gendered practices. Too often the media spotlight on barbaric foreigners closes the space for feminist activists on the home front to press for greater gender equity at home. And simplistic narratives of bad men oppressing women in foreign lands obscure the complexity of these practices – which implicate and affect men as well as women – and too often substitute for exploring efforts at change.

playgirlIn the case of genital cutting, for example, consider some actual facts: Even though ISIS is apparently not going to be forcibly circumcising girls and women in Iraq, millions of girls do face non therapeutic genital cutting in the Mideast/Africa / Southeast Asia.  Female circumcision as practiced in the US as recently as the 1970s: Playgirl magazine promoted it in 1973, and Blue Cross Blue Shield covered the procedure until 1977. The US no longer tolerated circumcision of girls, but baby boys are still cut primarily for cultural reasons in the US – as well as Africa, Israel, Canada, Australia, much of the Muslim world and parts of Europe. Moreover, inter-sex children undergo involuntary genital surgeries in the name of gender ‘normalcy’.

None of this is consistent with human rights unless chosen voluntarily by consenting adults, according to the Genital Integrity movement, which is meeting this weekend for its Bi-ennial Symposium in Boulder, CO.  I have been attending this meeting to present research findings from my recently published book project and can attest to the inspiringly multi-vocal and genuine efforts here to eradicate all forms of genital cutting – in a way that engages, respects and builds bridges to communities who engage in it, with fortitude and compassion, rather than demonizing.  Continue reading

What I’ll Be Reading While Off The Grid

beach-reading1As of tomorrow I am turning on my “vacation” auto-responder, ceasing blogging for a bit, and hitting the road for some combined business/leisure.

Highlights will include:

Between all this I’ll drag along various bits of light reading, among them the following, in case you’re interested in reading along: Continue reading

Rape-Stoves, Techno-Rationality and Global Humanitarian Policy

Cookstove_1Samer Abdelnour and Akbar Saeed have published a terrific article in International Political Sociology. “Technologizing Humanitarian Space: Darfur Advocacy and the Rape-Stove Panacea” critically traces the emergence of fuel-efficient cook-stoves as a global “solution” to sexual violence in refugee camps.

Here’s the abstract:

We examine how an unassuming domestic technology—the fuel-efficient stove—came to be construed as an effective tool for reducing sexual violence globally. Highlighting the process of problematization, the linking of problems with actionable solutions, we show how US-based humanitarian advocacy organizations drew upon spatial, gender, perpetrator, racial, and interventionist representations to advance the notion that “stoves reduce rape” in Darfur. Though their effectiveness in Darfur remains questionable, efficient stoves were consequently adopted as a universal technical panacea for sexual violence in any conflict or refugee camp context. By examining the emergence and global diffusion of the rape-stove problematization, our study documents an important example of the technologizing of humanitarian space. We postulate fuel-efficient stoves to be a technology of Othering able to simplify, combine, decontextualize, and transform problematizations from their originating contexts elsewhere. When humanitarian advocates construe immensely complex crises as “manageable problems,” the promotion of simple technical panaceas may inadvertently increase the burden of poverty for user-beneficiaries and silence the voices of those they claim to champion and serve.

I remember teaching about the firewood/rape nexus in refugee settings during my days at GSPIA, but I was not aware of how the technology had proliferated since then or of many of the pernicious side effects of this technocratic solution to a multi-dimensional problem (here is an op-ed version by Abdelnour). It was nice to read a detailed critical assessment of such a policy, and to think about how many other globalized practices are doing more harm than good (or maybe some good and some harm) in places where well-meaning agents are struggling to deal with so much nastiness. Fuel-efficient cook-stoves to reduce rape are a band-aid, but so are refugee settings themselves: technocratic efforts to cordon off nastiness from vulnerable populations, and cordon off vulnerable populations from their host societies. The takeaway is that looking below the rug of humanitarian policy leads to some pessimistic conclusions. Continue reading

Gaza Thinkage, Outside-The-Box

gaza bombLots of ink is being spilled over Gaza. Watching and reading, I am reminded of something I read early in my career, while writing my second book. This thing I read was a manual for reporters, written by veteran British war correspondents Annabel McGoldrick and Jake Lynch. Jaded by knowledge of how the media can exacerbate or dampen conflicts, their manual contained specific suggestions for producing “peace journalism.”

For example, McGoldrick and Lynch suggest reporters avoid portraying conflicts in zero-sum terms, emphasizing essentialist divisions, adopting language that victimizes or demonizes, or reporting only the horrors. Instead, they suggest, war reporters should “disaggregate the two parties into many smaller groups pursuing many goals,” engage in “asking questions that reveal areas of common ground,” and ask victims “how they are coping and what they think.”

Like many I am today watching unfolding events in Gaza with sadness, outrage and a sense of helplessness. As a non-expert in the region, I have very little value to add in terms of insights. But what I can do, I figure, is a) pass along things I’ve seen come across my feeds that exemplify this kind of reporting and b) dwell especially on some under-covered angles that might complicate the conventional story of intractable hatreds in ways consistent with McGoldrick and Lynch’s suggestions. Continue reading

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