Archive for the 'Politics & Policy' Category

13
Jan
11

the costs of justice

BRIAN GRODSKY, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE

What motivates a new regime to pursue justice measures against previous human rights abusers, from condemnations to criminal prosecutions? What deters them?

In his new book, The Costs of Justice, Brian Grodsky (cv) draws on 250 elite interviews and media analyses from four post-communist countries to argue that transitional justice is a function of the new leadership’s capacity to provide goods and services expected by constituents.

“New leaders who come to power have to balance the desire for justice that they may have with the public’s perceptions of [their] efficacy,” Grodsky argues. In other words, politicians responsible for making sure electricity stays on, schools remain open, and the employment rate is stable “pursue justice to the degree to which they think they can get away with pursuing justice.”

This book speaks to students, scholars, human rights practitioners, activists and policymakers, helping them to understand, from a domestic perspective, how political leaders make important decisions impacting the international community.

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12
Oct
10

community response to bedbugs

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF GEOGRAPHY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS DAWN BIEHLER

Since just before the year 2000, the U.S. has witnessed a resurgence of bedbugs, insects that had been mostly eradicated here in the middle of the twentieth century. In just the past few weeks, we have heard about infestations in an array of places: from federal government offices in Washington, to a public housing high-rise right here in Baltimore, to high-end Manhattan department stores. As bedbugs infiltrate public and private spaces alike, city governments, pest management professionals and regular people are scrambling to respond.

As a geographer and environmental historian, I look to our past experiences with bedbugs and other pests to reflect on responses to the current resurgence. History is an especially helpful tool for examining bedbugs because two generations of Americans have grown up with almost no exposure to these insects. Health officials and pest management professionals must reconstruct long-forgotten knowledge of bedbugs. My historical research on bedbugs and other pests reveals several key lessons for the way we deal with bedbugs today, and past experiences with bedbugs reinforce the importance of community involvement for successful bedbug control.

Dawn Biehler is the author of the forthcoming book, “Pests and the People: An Environmental History of Animals, Chemicals, and Health in the Home”

16
Jun
09

Twitter Revolution in Iran? Tools for Tumultuous Times

SOCIOLOGY PROFESSOR ZEYNEP TUFEKCI

The massive protests in the wake of Iran’s disputed election demonstrate how many-to-many communication technologies have the potential to radically change the nature of civic participation. Iran is not the first instance where these tools have been deployed to challenge a regime – from the Philippines to Burma, from the pro-immigrant rallies in the United States organized through text-messaging to Iran where Twitter has emerged as a central information dissemination channel, people are turning to their cell phones and their computers during times of upheaval.

Repressive regimes everywhere have long depended on their monopoly over one-to-many communication –i.e., they, and only they, can broadcast– and their ability to keep their population isolated from each other and the world. However, the genie seems to be finding it easier and easier to escape from the bottle. In Iran people are coordinating protests, organizing rallies and informing each other and the rest of the world of the latest developments through Twitter, Flicker, YouTube, Blogs and Facebook. In tumultuous times, these tools provide the opportunity to focus and direct the energy and the anger of millions of people.

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21
Apr
09

Gay Marriage losing its wedge?

Salon.com’s political experts, in a roundtable led by UMBC’s Tom Schaller, discuss whether gay marriage has lost its mojo as an electoral wedge issue for social conservatives:

conversations_logoIn 2004, gay marriage referendums littered state ballots and were used by Republicans to motivate social conservatives to turn out and vote for George W. Bush. A gay marriage referendum may have helped Bush win Ohio and reelection. Four years later, even though Barack Obama won California’s popular vote by landslide numbers, state voters passed Proposition 8, limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. This surprise from a socially liberal state was followed this month by what some think is an even more surprising decision by the Iowa Supreme Court to void the Hawkeye State’s gay marriage ban. Then, four days later, the Vermont Legislature overrode the governor’s veto in order to authorize gay marriage. This past Thursday, New York Gov. David Paterson introduced a same-sex marriage bill; on Friday, John McCain’s campaign manager suggested the GOP should back gay marriage. As both a policy issue and a political hot potato, gay marriage is back in the news. Can opposition to gay marriage still help the Republicans on Election Day, or have we reached a tipping point? Salon asked three guests to helps us weigh what is at stake in the ongoing battle to define marriage in America.

Read the full story here, or listen to the podcast here.

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05
Jan
09

2009 Resolutions: Research Evidence

Public Policy Professor Marvin Mandell

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19
Dec
08

2009 Resolutions: Clean Water For the World

Sociology Professor Andrea Kalfoglou

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03
Dec
08

A Health Care Prescription for the Obama Administration

Sociology Professor Andrea Kalfoglou
kalfoglou.jpg As a public health researcher and educator, I would like to see President-elect Obama go beyond his campaign pledge to make incremental improvements to the U.S. health care system and, instead, would like to see his administration completely overhaul the broken system that leaves more than 48 million U.S. residents without access to health care.
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