A Student Remembers Prof. Clifford

In the fall of 2014, Sergio Goncalves ‘13, a POLS major, will be starting the graduate program in history at Brandeis University. While at UConn, Goncalves worked on a senior honors thesis with Prof. Garry Clifford. The thesis was entitled “Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Ruth Sarles, and the Battle Against American Intervention in World War II.” It consisted of two essays analyzing the respective roles of Anne Morrow Lindbergh and of Ruth Sarles in a protracted national debate over the question of United States intervention in the Second World War. This national conversation occurred during the period of the war preceding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Personal Note from Sergio Goncalves:

I fondly recall working with my thesis advisor, Dr. J. Garry Clifford. Through his countless suggestions, Dr. Clifford provided me with the guidance I needed to make my thesis as clear, coherent, and authoritative as possible.

It should be noted that in the 1980s, Dr. Clifford interviewed Ruth Sarles and also photocopied her correspondence from the early 1940s. Needless to say, I extensively utilized information from these sources in my essay on Sarles, who in 1941 was the head of the Bureau for Research and Congressional Liaison of the anti-interventionist America First Committee. In this capacity, Sarles’s activities included composing bulletins and reports, furnishing anti-interventionist Senators and Congressmen with data, helping members of Congress write resolutions and speeches, booking noninterventionist speakers for both radio broadcasts and America First rallies, and suggesting strategies to America First national headquarters in Chicago. Notwithstanding the demonstrably vital role Sarles played within the America First Committee, to date no scholar has published an extensive analysis of this role. Dr. Clifford had long hoped to one day publish a scholarly article about Sarles.

With this brief note, I would like to thank Dr. Clifford one last time for introducing me to Ruth Sarles and to the broader topic of pre-World War II isolationist critics of the foreign policy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. As Dr. Clifford stressed, though they were wrong on the specific issue of World War II, these critics are worthy of commendation for their skepticism of excessive Executive Branch dominance in the conduct of United States foreign relations.

I shall never forget Dr. John Garry Clifford, an indefatigable mentor who inspired me to pursue further studies in history.

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Dyson on Bush, Blair

Professor Stephen Dyson was asked by the British Political Studies Association to comment on the secret letters between Tony Blair and George W. Bush about the Iraq War. Money quote: “The people’s quotidian affairs seem to be the legitimate business of government but, to paraphrase one of our most venerable political commentators, world peace is apparently none of ours.” Congratulations!

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Kashwan on Monkey Cage re: India’s Elections

Prof. Prakash Kashwan’s post on “India’s elections and the politics of development” appeared on the Monkey Cage at the Washington Post. Congratulations!

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Two New Book Series via Prof. Gordon

Prof. Jane Gordon (POLS) – together with Neil Roberts (Williams College), Nelson Maldonado Torres (Rutgers-New Brunswick), and Lewis Gordon (UConn) – is creating two book series with Rowman and Littlefield International, one entitled “Creolizing the Canon” and the other “Global Critical Caribbean Thought.”

Prof. Jane Gordon says, “We will begin considering proposals for monographs and edited volumes immediately!”

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POLS Professors on Ukraine Panel

POLS Professors Bayulgen, Pressman, and Dyson participated in a forum on the situation in Ukraine. Photo by Robert Wishart:


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Photo from “Exploring the Value of Political Life” Panel

POLS Professors Dudas (moderator), Gordon, Arat, Lee, and Morrell recently served on a panel discussion, “Exploring the Value of Political Life.” Picture via Robert Wishart:


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Hertel Publishes “Hungry for Justice”

Prof. Shareen Hertel (POLS) has a forthcoming article, entitled: “Hungry for Justice: Social Mobilization on the Right to Food in India.” It will appear in Development & Change. Congratulations!

Abstract: This article explores the potential and limits of contemporary economic
rights-based social activism by analysing an ongoing “Right to Food
Campaign” in India. While social movement theory often positions radical
and reform strategies as alternatives, the RTF campaign has adopted a
hybrid strategy: it has made a radical legal demand that the right to food
be recognized as intrinsic to the right to life, while seeking implementation
of this right through reform of existing Government feeding programs. The
campaign’s dual strategy reflects two distinct logics of human rights: a
logic of non-derogable rights that are immediately actionable (such as the
right to life) and a logic of progressive implementation of rights that can
only be realized fully over time (such as economic rights). The paper draws
on original data (ie, field interviews, a legal events dataset, and a media
events dataset) to demonstrate that the campaign’s radical legal demands
framed around the non-derogable right to life have been better fulfilled
than its reformist ones around progressive implementation. The RTF
campaign’s relative success in galvanizing legal action on hunger is
tempered by ongoing challenges in sustaining grassroots-level mobilization
and influencing public policy implementation.

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