If you’ve been following the coronavirus outbreak, you’ve probably heard about the Princess Cruises ship, quarantined in Japan with thousands of passengers on board. It sounds like the veritable cruise ship from hell. Of the 1219 passengers screened for the virus, some 355 passengers tested positive for COVID-19, including some 44 Americans. The Americans were finally being evacuated today after having been quarantined on the ship since February 5th.
The horror of confining thousands to a boat underscores the incredible measures governments have undertaken to try to contain the virus. The Princess Cruises ship harkens back to the original meaning of the word quarantine as Howard Markel reminds us:
Quarantine laws — from the Italian “quaranta giorni,” meaning 40 days— were first developed in Venice in 1370, to keep the bubonic plague at bay by banning any ships and goods for the time it seemed to take most epidemics to burn themselves out.Howard Markel, New YorK Times
But, were these extreme measures justified? This is the third in the series on the coronavirus COVID-19. In my first post, I provided some background on the nature of the virus, from what we know. In the second, I reflected on the belated declaration of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization in late January 2020.
In this post, I want to reflect on both the international restrictions on travel to and from China. In the next post, I’ll reflect on China’s internal response.
In my first post on the coronavirus outbreak, I reviewed the nature of the disease. Here, I want to ask and answer the first of four questions I posed about whether a global public health emergency should have been declared earlier. In the next post, I’ll tackle the appropriateness of China’s quarantine measures, the adequacy of its overall response, and what should be done going forward.
The response to the COVID-19 coronavirus has been draconian. With the lunar year vacation looming at the end of January, China shut down travel out of the city of Wuhan on January 23rd (and severely restricted entry as well), soon extending to the wider province of Hubei, with a population of 58 million people.
Commerce and public outings in much of the rest of the China have also dropped markedly with cities like Shanghai looking like ghost towns after the government extending the lunar holiday and people stayed away from malls and other public places.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization finally declared the COVID-19 outbreak to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on January 30, 2020 after having deferred making such a declaration the week before.
In making the declaration, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised the Chinese response and argued against travel and trade restrictions with China, raising concerns he was being overly deferential to the Chinese government.
In response, the United States elevated its travel advisory warning citizens not to travel there and said it would deny entry to foreign nationals who recently visited China. On January 31, three American air carriers — American, Delta, and United suspended all flights to China temporarily, with some airlines cancelling all flights to China and Hong Kong through the end of April.
Should a PHEIC been declared earlier? Has it had an impact?
Even if you don’t study global health, you’ve probably been following the coronavirus outbreak in China with a mix of dread and fascination. Li Wenliang, the whistleblower Chinese doctor, who himself succumbed to the virus riveted the world. His death was mourned in China, even as the government initially censored conversations about his passing.
The Chinese government’s problematic response has created one of the most significant political challenges the Xi Jinping government has faced. Today, the heads of the Communist party in Hubei province and the city of Wuhan, the epicenter for the virus, were both fired.
This episode reminds us that global health is high politics. The stakes of a global outbreak for international relations, the global economy, and trade are enormous, independent of the impact on human lives. The nearly 1500 who have already died is a major tragedy, and we do not know if things are finally getting better.
This week, just as some analysts thought new cases had peaked, the Chinese government widened the definition to include suspected cases, since the diagnostic techniques for verifying infections have often produced false negatives, showing no infection even when people are symptomatic and ultimately do have the virus.
I’ve been hoping to have a roundtable on the topic on the Duck from global health experts, but many of the top folks I reached out to are just overwhelmed. If you are interested, do send me a note, as we would love to hear from you.
Here are the questions I posed, which I’m going to try and answer in a series of posts. This first post is mostly background on what I’ve learned about the coronavirus, but I ultimately hope to answer the following questions:
- What do you make of the WHO’s decision to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)? Too late? Impact?
- What do you make of various quarantine measures and airline flight cancellations to China?
- What’s your take on the adequacy of the Chinese response?
- What’s needed at this point to prevent this outbreak from becoming worse on the global level?
This is a guest post from Kindred Winecoff, current Chair of the Online
Media Caucus for ISA.
The Online Achievement in International Studies Reception and Awarding of
the Duckies will take place on Wednesday, March 25th at 7:30pm. As always
we’ll feature three speakers in the Ignite series and enjoy honoring our
winners together. The ISA Online Media Caucus (OMC) appreciates the
generous support of the Carnegie Corporation, the Mortara Center for
International Studies of Georgetown University, and the Canadian Defence and
Security Network of Carleton University.
Now is the time to submit your nominations for the 2020 Duckies. Please
send these nominations to email@example.com
by February 15, 2020. Self-nominations are encouraged! Note that the OMC
decided last year to change the award categories, in order to reflect the
evolution of the online media environment. We now award Duckies in the
The following is a guest post by Andrew Leber,
a PhD candidate in Government at Harvard University.
The death of Sultan Qaboos bin Said, and
the succession of Haitham bin Tariq as the country’s new ruler, was yet one
more high-profile news item this year amid the back-and-forth attacks and
tragic consequences of events further up the Gulf.
Yet for the world of political science, this transition calls to mind important questions for comparativists about authoritarian successions in particular and authoritarian institutions more general.
This post is cross-posted at Climate Security in Oceania.
For my course on climate security in Oceania, we read a post on the New Security Beat from Volker Boege from the Toda Institute. The piece is based on a wider report on climate and conflict in Oceania. He writes:
In overcrowded squatter settlements in the few urban centers in the Pacific Islands, domestic violence is increasing. These settlements are also often the sites of violent, sometimes deadly, conflicts between communities from different islands, many of whose members left their home islands because of the effects of climate change.
In the class, we had a vigorous conversation about whether domestic violence constitutes a security threat. Because violent conflict is relatively rare in the region in the contemporary era (the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea are exceptions), efforts to think through the connections have led to a more expansive emphasis on other links between climate and security. Here, Boege writes in the wider report:
In Oceania today violent conflict is mostly inter-group in the local context, usually at a relatively low level of intensity, or it is everyday dispersed violence, such as domestic violence against women and children. This everyday violence and these local low-intensity violent conflicts can often be linked to the social effects of climate change, in particular to climate migration.
The conversation about the boundaries of the field of security studies led me to have some further thoughts that I wanted to explore here.
This is a guest post by Kara Hooser and Austin Knuppe, Conflict to Peace Lab, Mershon Center for International Security Studies, The Ohio State University
Rebuilding social cohesion—restoring bonds of social trust that bind people
together in communities and enable them to peacefully coexist—commonly serves
as a central goal for peacebuilders engaging in communities fractured by
political violence. Despite a growing consensus
about the necessity of promoting social cohesion in the aftermath of widespread
violence, questions remain about how scholars, practitioners, and donors can
collaborate to implement effective peacebuilding practices.
To address these challenges, we brought
together sixteen scholars and practitioners for the inaugural peacebuilding
symposium of the Conflict 2 Peace Lab at the
Mershon Center for International Security Studies at The Ohio State
University. Drawing on lessons learned from similar
the gap” initiatives, we designed a workshop to
facilitate exchange and find spaces for building community and mutual learning.
Our time together focused on three themes: concepts and theories of social
cohesion, effective peacebuilding practices, and monitoring, evaluation, and
Finding Common Cause: Peacebuilding in Research and Practice
Over two days of structured discussion and
information conversations, several commonalities emerged.
This is a guest post from Prof. M. Victoria Pérez-Ríos. Pérez-Ríos holds a PhD in Political Science from The Graduate Center, CUNY (City University of New York); and graduated from the Law School of Saragossa, Spain. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and at the Social Science Department at LaGuardia Community College. Her research interests include civil rights, accountability & counterterrorism. She is currently writing a manuscript on memorials. Follow her at @victoriahhrr.
This post is based on an ISA 2019 panel on scholar-activism. We invite others to contribute to what we hope will be a wider series of blog posts on what it means to different faculty. Why do you think it is important to be both a scholar and activist (or do you disagree)? Look for the series with the hashtag #ScholarActivism
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A SCHOLAR-ACTIVIST?
This question made me think about what I understand by being a scholar. In my case scholarship has to seek the truth but not in a vacuum; it has to be transmitted to others and this is done through our peers and our students. As a result, I consider myself, foremost, a teacher. And, can I, as a teacher, not worry about, examine, and try to find solutions to unfairness in the world? As Paolo Freire explains, “[P]roblem-posing education involves a constant unveiling of reality… strives for the emergence of consciousness and critical intervention in reality.” Read: Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Moreover, in order to excel as a teacher, I need to be a life-long student.
This is a guest post from Paul Poast, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago.
Earlier this spring, Poast wrote a post about the Asshole Theory of US Foreign Policy and the structural conditions that may facilitate the United States playing the role of a jerk on the international stage. In part 2, we embedded Poast’s thread on President Trump’s gauche offer to buy Greenland from Denmark.
In part 3, Poast reflects on President Trump’s talk about extracting payment from Saudi Arabia for protection in light of previous burden-sharing episodes such as the first Gulf War. This is another embedded thread so you may have to click on the image to read the whole thread.
This is a call for a new series that grows out of a panel held at ISA earlier this spring. We have a few posts in process that come from participants on that panel, but we want to open it up to other contributors under the hashtag #ScholarActivism.
Questions that you could explore include:
- What’s your idea of the appropriate balance between scholarship and activism?
- What’s been your experience?
- Does one’s activism potentially serve as grist for critiques that academics are indoctrinating students?
- Is activism different from policy engagement?
We welcome your thoughts on these questions and others.
This is a guest post from Matt Evans (firstname.lastname@example.org), who is Associate Professor of Political Science at Northwest Arkansas Community College. His words represent his own opinions as an individual, and not (necessarily) his employer. This is the fifth in the series on changing the field. #IRChange [i]
The answer for change is simple:
Political Scientists should consider how our ideas, practices, and institutions (dis)able our students financially; and then address these problems through our politics without retreat.
At my first in-person teaching job, the
department chair chose the books (before I was hired for the job). When I
taught the first class, I told students to return the books and get refunds
from the bookstore. Anything students needed, they would get as PDFs in the
course shell. Other jobs have compelled me (through various institutional
constraints) to use and keep the same for-profit textbook as the other
full-time teacher of the course.
In these classes, students frequently tell me
that they cannot buy the textbook immediately (because they are waiting on a
paycheck or more financial aid disbursement) and ask for an extension on the
first assignment. At other times, students drop the course (and sometimes tell
me about it after the fact). To be fair, whether I control the textbook choice
or not, students find themselves in a series of difficult economic situations –
that the book is one ingredient in their retention, advancement, and
intellectual growth – and I help them find resources to help them eat, not be
evicted from their home, or to prevent homeless (because critical theory
compels me so).
This is a guest post from James Guild who is a PhD candidate in political economy at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. His research interest is economic growth and infrastructure development in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, and his work has appeared in The Diplomat, Jakarta Post and New Mandala. Follow him on Twitter @jamesjguild
This is the fourth in the series on changing the field. #IRChange
The dominance of rational-positivist approaches to modern social science, particularly in the United States, has tended to privilege research designs featuring deductive hypotheses that can be rigorously tested, typically with large-n datasets. This means the role of culture, society and history is often situated lower on the methodological hierarchy. I think many would agree that culture and socially constructed meaning are important variables in understanding political and economic outcomes; but there is little consensus on how to define or measure them, which makes them tricky analytical concepts.
This is a guest post from Paul Poast, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago.
Earlier this spring, Poast wrote a post about the Asshole Theory of US Foreign Policy and the structural conditions that may facilitate the United States playing the role of a jerk on the international stage.
In light of President Trump’s overtures to buy Greenland from Denmark, Poast wrote a thread on Twitter about Denmark’s importance to NATO, suggesting why President Trump’s suggestion might be considered an asshole move.
What follows is an embedded thread using ThreaderApp. This is part II in the occasional #AssholeUSFP series. [Note: If full thread isn’t visible to you, click on the first thread and it will open in a new window. Full thread should be visible if you have a Threaderapp account. We’ll experiment with embedding features…]
We are pleased to announce our slate of new guest Ducks for the fall semester and beyond. We are also delighted to announce that longtime guest blogger Lisa Gaufman has joined us on a permanent basis.
We have two terrific guests from last year, Peter Henne and Luke Perez, who are staying on for the year. Luke has moved to Arizona State where he has started as an Assistant Professor so kudos to him!
We are also extending our partnership with the Bridging the Gap project which will periodically have folks from their academic network post here on a dedicated channel. Bridging the Gap is a terrific initiative for academics interesting policy and practice. They host annual workshops for graduate students and faculty to learn about how to make academic work relevant to policy audiences. Apply to participate if you haven’t already!
Our new guests include Evren Eken, Meg Guliford, Anne Harrington, Cullen Hendrix, Alexandra Stark, and Ajay Verghese. Read more about them below!
This is a guest post from Andrew A. Szarejko who is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Government at Georgetown University, where his research focuses on the origins of U.S. wars with Native nations. You may reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @Szarejko.
This is the third in our series on changing the field. Parts 1 and 2 are linked here. More submissions welcome! #IRChange
Many scholars of International Relations (IR), especially in the past couple decades, have sought to study and teach about a more diverse set of political actors to counter-act the biases of a relatively homogeneous professoriate. In a word, this has been described as an effort to decolonize IR. As was noted in a 2016 symposium in Perspectives on Politics, however, political scientists still all too frequently ignore indigenous groups—including Native nations in the United States, on which I will tend to focus here (for a note on terminology, see the Native American Journalists Association’s reporting guidelines).
This neglect has been especially evident in International Relations. In this post, I will make the case that IR as a subfield currently lags behind other subfields in examining indigenous experiences and that IR scholars ought to be doing more of this, and I will describe how one might bring such actors into research and teaching alike.
We’re re-upping this guest post as part of our series on changing the field. #IRChange. This is the second post (the first is here).
This is a guest post from several authors including:
- Jessica F. Green, Associate Professor, Political Science, University of Toronto (@greenprofgreen)
- David Konisky, Professor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University (@DavidKonisky)
- Megan Mullin, Associate Professor, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University (@mullinmeg)
- Stacy D. VanDeveer, Professor, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance, University of Massaschusetts, Boston (@StacyDVanDeveer)
- Johannes Urpelainen, Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (@jurpelai)
Climate change is arguably the
most urgent problem facing
humankind. It is not a single policy problem, but rather pervades all aspects
of state and society – affecting everything from geopolitics to local planning.
Yet, one is hard pressed to reach this conclusion given the current landscape
of political science.
Excellent work appears occasionally in
premier journals on the variety of political questions that climate change
raises. But given the centrality of
politics in contributing and responding to the climate change problem, there is
not enough of this work and — critically — much of it occurs outside the central discourses and journals
of our discipline. Some political scientists are instead engaging climate
change debates in policymaking, assessment and public venues. For example, Science and Nature seem to value contributions by political scientists. But
what of our discipline? How is it responding to climate change?
This is a guest post from William G. Nomikos,
Assistant Professor of Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis.
Follow him on Twitter @wnomikos.
Recent relations between North Korea and the United States suggest a puzzle for International Relations. The Trump administration has relied on what it has called a “maximum pressure” campaign—a set of sections and threats of military escalation—to prevent North Korean nuclear missile tests and to roll back North Korean nuclear proliferation.
According to the prominent theory of International Relations known as “audience costs,” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un should take maximum pressure threats seriously. President Donald Trump is facing a challenging re-election campaign and voters should punish him if he makes a threat but subsequently backs down. Yet North Korea has shown very little signs of taking these threats seriously. If anything, North Korea has advanced its nuclear weapons program.
What explains this divergence between a well-established theory, a robust set of empirical evidence and North Korea-U.S. relations? Do audiences care about reputation in foreign policy? Probably not. In my recently published research with Nicholas Sambanis, we find that domestic audiences care more about a leader’s perceived competence than their ability to manage the nation’s reputation. In this study, we identify a new mechanism by which audiences evaluate leaders in foreign policy crises and find that existing research overestimates “audience costs.”
We are going to begin calls for contributions to thematic series. The Monkey Cage for example had a terrific series on the gender gap in political science.
The first in our call for contributions is for guest posts on how the discipline–broadly understood as international relations–should change. We will be using the hashtag #IRchange. This can be in terms of publishing, teaching, research, methods, whatever changes you think are needed. We have run a number of posts on the need for more environmental and climate change research, including this recent multi-author post on how the wider field could explore important questions related to climate change.
How should international relations research be conducted, taught, researched? What are the important and understudied areas or questions? Are there methods that the field isn’t deploying or not nearly enough? Whose work merits more attention? How should syllabi change? How should we think about hiring? What is our relevance to practice and wider world? What kinds of work should count towards tenure? Lots of these kinds of questions and more.
We are certain many of you have outstanding ideas. Send me or any of the permanent contributors a pitch or post. We are looking in the 800-1500 word range. Hyperlink your sources. If you haven’t written a blog post before, take a look at a few just to get a handle on the format.
We look forward to hearing from you!
This is a guest post from Bear Braumoeller, Professor of Political
Science at The Ohio State University. Follow him on Twitter @Prof_BearB.
Graduate study in the social sciences is overwhelmingly oriented toward the process of researching and writing a dissertation that will become a book. We very rarely talk about any other aspect of publishing—how to approach an editor, how to design a book with a specific audience in mind, or how to (gasp!) market a book.
The latter topic came to mind recently when Professor Matthew Shugart complimented the cover of my forthcoming book and asked what the story was behind it. That question prompted enough discussion that Josh Busby asked me to go into in more detail in a post for Duck of Minerva, in case the answers are of use to other authors who are facing this question.
This is a guest post from Ben-zion Telefus. He holds a Ph.D. from Bar-Ilan University (2015), where he researched the war on drugs in the US and the EU foreign and security policies. Follow him on Twitter @BenzionTelefus
When Israelis vote in the coming September 17th re-run elections
the issue on the ballot will remain the same: Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu’s political and legal future. Netanyahu’s control over Israel for the
past decade led many to
describe him as a sophisticated “Machiavellian”
politician who mastered every available means to ensure his political power. Yet
using the term “Machiavellian” to describe Netanyahu is an injustice
to Machiavelli’s political thought and creates a misleading portrait of
Netanyahu, who is anything but the prince Machiavelli envisioned.