Blessing publishes paper on Muslim Brotherhood

Molly Blessing ’15 published an article in Al Nakhlah on the Muslim Brotherhood. The piece is entitled, “Responses to revolutions: A comparative analysis of the actions of the Muslim Brotherhood branches in Egypt and Syria in the wake of the Arab Spring.” Al Nakhlah is The Fletcher School’s online journal on Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilization. (Fletcher is part of Tufts University) Congratulations!

Blessing is a Chemistry major at UConn. She originally wrote the paper in Prof. Jeremy Pressman’s POLS 3402, “Contemporary International Politics.”

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Pressman on Hamas-Israel War

Over at UConn Today, Prof. Jeremy Pressman answered questions about the struggle to attain a ceasefire in Gaza and Israel. Pressman also wrote about the Government of Israel’s strategic goal at Political Violence @ a Glance, a political science blog focused on research on war, conflict, and their resolution.

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Hayes Wins Best Paper Award

Prof. Thomas Hayes co-authored the paper that won the best paper award, the Bailey Award, from APSA’s LGBT Caucus. The paper is “Testing Backlash: The Influence of Political Institutions on Public Attitudes toward Gay Rights” by Ben Bishin, Hayes, Matthew Incantalupo, and Tony Smith.

The award committee reported:

The Committee found this to be a well-executed study of a very timely topic. In light of recent advancements in the area of military inclusion, marriage equality and other issues, the possibility of political backlash has become an important problem for both academic and political communities to understand more thoroughly. Through an interesting experimental design Bishin, Hayes, Incantalupo and Smith find little evidence of increased intensity of attitudes regarding gays and lesbians and same-sex marriage, challenging key pillars of the backlash thesis with significant empirical evidence. By adding new dimensions to the study of political backlash, they move away from the simplistic, but often widely accepted conclusion that political advances necessarily lead to backlash (and the implication that such advances should therefore be avoided). Rather, they provide empirical evidence that challenges such easy and potentially politically reactionary conclusions.

If you will be attending the annual APSA conference, the award will be presented at the LGBT Caucus Business Meeting on Saturday, August 30, 2014, at 12:15 pm in the Omni Forum Room.

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Mexico’s President cites CIRI project

At a recent ceremony, the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, listed getting a better score on Prof. David Richards’s CIRI project’s physical integrity right index as one of 11 human rights goals the Mexican government has set for 2014-2018. Congratulations!

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Dyson on Morrissey

Over at The Monkey Cage, Professor Stephen Dyson reviewed the new record by Morrissey, focusing on the political themes the British singer has addressed over the years. Money quote: “[The new record] gives us cause to consider once more the question posed by Slate’s Stephen Metcalf: What is it about this man’s voice that breaks my heart?”


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Caribbean Philosophical Association annual meeting

Congratulations to Prof. Jane Anna Gordon, president of the Caribbean Philosophical Association (CPA), on the CPA’s 11th annual international meeting, held in St. Louis, Missouri in June. A detailed summary and slideshow are available for reading/viewing.

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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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