Presentations at ISA and MPSA


Over the last month, I have been traveling in the United States visiting friends and family and attending academic conferences. In particular, I spoke at this year’s annual International Studies Association conference in San Diego and gave a poster session at the Midwest Political Science Association meeting in Chicago.

For both conferences, I presented what will hopefully become a chapter of my dissertation. It examines the results of an experiment I conducted last year in Israel on political narratives and popular attitudes toward territorial compromise in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Those with access to the MyISA database can read the paper here. If you do not have access but would like to read it, please contact me by email. If you would like to see the post, contact me by email for a copy in compressed form. The abstract can be viewed after the jump.

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Review: Shelef’s Evolving Nationalism

I am happy to announce a small publication which will appear this summer in the quarterly journal, Nationalism & Ethnic Politics: a review of Nadav Shelef’s new book, Evolving Nationalism: Homeland, Identity, and Religion in Israel. Copyright laws prevent me from posting the review here as well, but I will provide a link to the review once the journal is released. 

I can say, however, that this is a book very much worth the read if you have any interest in Israeli politics or the study of nationalism. Thanks to Professor Dani Miodownik in the Political Science Department at Hebrew University who encouraged me to do the review and connected me with the journal’s editor. More often than not, a good kick in the pants coupled with a useful connection is a great incentive to finally get writing. In the meantime, I have a more substantial article in the works and am planning a research trip back to Serbia in the near future. The fieldwork progresses apace. Stay tuned for more “adventures.”

Polls: Gaza Disengagement and Policy Considerations


With most international attention of late in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the question of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, the topic of Gaza has fallen notably to the wayside. This is in part because little has changed there since Operation Cast Lead in December 2008. Abducted Israeli serviceman Gilad Shalit is still held prisoner somewhere in the Strip, Hamas is still the reigning power estranged from the Palestinian Authority, and the Israeli maritime blockade (although considerably loosened) is still in place.

Gaza has just today returned to the headlines because of two stories. In the first, the Israeli government-appointed Turkel Commission has completed its internal investigation into the Israeli raid on the activist flotilla which attempted to breach the naval blockade in May 2010. The raid reached its climax when Israeli commandos boarded the lead ship, the Mavi Marmara, were attacked by the passengers, and resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish nationals. The Israeli commission found that the raid was legal under international law and the Israeli soldiers acted in self-defense. It also ruled that the Israeli naval blockade has caused a “lack of nutritional stability” rather than starvation and is legal in accordance with international law. The Turkish government has also dismissed the report, claiming it has “no value or credibility.”

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Interview with Gush Etzion Foundation


On Sunday, I spent much of the day in Gush Etzion, the most concentrated bloc of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Currently home to 20 communities, the area has over 75,000 Jewish residents and is located south of Jerusalem and north of Hebron.

The largest municipality, Beitar Illit, and second largest, Efrat, have about 40,000 and 8500 residents respectively. The twenty smaller communities receive municipal services and public funding through the Gush Etzion Regional Council (מועצה אזורית גוש עציון). While the Israeli government provides funding to the council as it does to each of the other 52 regional councils, the Gush Etzion Foundation collects private donations to address funding shortfalls and provide services over and above what the state considers necessary for the basic humanitarian services. Like the Golan Regional Council, privately collected funds contribute significantly to social, educational, cultural, and welfare activities run by in the Gush.

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Ulpan, Newspapers, and Apartment Found

ynet My post today will be a brief one. In ulpan, we covered a number of subject areas. We were reintroduced to the pi’el verb form and its many variations and exceptions in its conjugation and transitions from verb to noun forms. Not terribly exciting, but important to learn a language.

Among the more interesting activities we did today was an exercise skimming the newspaper for critical content. Everyone in class was given a copy of yesterday’s Yediot Ahronot (YNet online) in Hebrew and a sheet of simple questions about the content of the front section. In groups, we skimmed the paper and picked up elements of the stories, headlines, advertisements, and even obituaries. We are not exactly yet sitting down with a cup of coffee to read the whole newspaper, but our skills are all developing.

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Paper Submitted for ISA 2010 in New Orleans

On Friday, I submitted my paper, “’Kosovo is Serbia’: Nation and Homeland in Contentious Territorial Politics” for this year’s International Studies Association conference in New Orleans. I will be leaving for the Big Easy this Tuesday and returning to Chicago on Sunday.

While there, I intend to take in the local scene, go to a few jazz clubs, enjoy the ambiance, and, oh yeah, present my paper. 🙂 In all seriousness, I have a number of friends and colleagues whom I am looking forward to seeing again and catching up. ISA is always a great conference and I am thrilled to be presenting for my fourth year.

You can read the abstract of the paper on my earlier post announcing my acceptance to the conference and you can download the entire paper in PDF format from the links provided by AllAcademic here.  As always, your comments, critiques, and feedback are greatly appreciated.

Paper Submitted for ISA 2009 in New York

isa-logo I have finally submitted my paper, “Disputed Territoriality and Ethnohistorical Claims: Understanding Intractable Territorial Conflict in Israel, Serbia, and Armenia,” for this year’s International Studies Association conference in New York City.  All I have to do now is put together a coherent presentation for the panel discussion.

You can read the abstract on my earlier post announcing my acceptance to the conference and you can download the entire paper in PDF format from the links provided by AllAcademic here.  As always, your comments, critiques, and feedback are greatly appreciated.

Elites or Masses: Who Drives Israeli Resistance to Territorial Withdrawal?

With much time and energy spent, I have finished my paper at long last for Jeffrey Winters’ course on Oligarchy & Elite Rule

This paper explores some of the tensions that exist between theories of elite rule and theories of pluralism and social movements in the context of Israeli control of the West Bank and (formerly) Gaza.  As usual, I came into this paper thinking that I would get very little constructive out of it in terms of advancing my dissertation research agenda, and, as usual, I was surprised by how relevant it became. 

I stress that this paper is very tentative in its conclusions and form, but hopefully it adds some useful insights.  Included below is the opening section of the paper.  If you are interested in reading the whole thing, fire me off an email and I will be happy to send it to you for review.

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Norms versus Regimes

Things have been extraordinarily busy here so I haven’t been posting much in the last few days.  As of last night, I did finally complete one important assignment for my International Organization class with Karen Alter-Hanson.

In an effort to help us prepare for our comprehensive exams, we have been instructed to write one 6-8 page paper responding to a prelim style question.  In the spirit of the exercise, we are supposed to do it in one shot without notes and without making proper citations. 

(This is a particularly difficult thing to do as my apathetic impulse exponentially conquers my other mental faculties in this final quarter of course work :-p)

The question I addressed was: “How do norms affect state behavior?”  Check out my answer below and let me know how you think I did.

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Thought Piece: Toward a Theory of Oligarchy

The first few weeks back to classes have been surprisingly busy, so I haven’t had time to post much in the way of my work.  In the next few days, look for a review of Arend Lijphart’s The Politics of Accommodation and several subsequent works and academic responses.

In lieu of any real material progress, here is a half-baked thought piece for a very interesting class I am taking this quarter with Jeffery Winters on Oligarchy and Elite Rule.  So far, I am fairly skeptical but I imagine that I’ll come around by the end of the quarter.

The piece below is a response to several pieces by Karl Marx, John Manley, Gaetano Mosca, James Payne, Robert Dahl, and Darcy Leach.  If they grab your interest, let me know and I’ll send you the specific citations.   Enjoy…

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