Orion Lewis

Assistant Professor of Political Science

 
 work(802) 443-5479
 fax802-443-3216
 Tuesday 12:00 - 3:00 and by appointment
 Robert A. Jones '59 House B03

My research and teaching interests focus on the role of oppositional tactical choice and political communication strategies in mobilizing societal actors against authoritarian regimes. I am interested in three broad questions: first, how do domestic and international actors affect authoritarian stability? Secondly, in what ways do the communication strategies of domestic challengers influence authoritarian institutional change? Thirdly, what are the political and economic levers that states use to influence change in domestic political environments? Empirically, I have explored these issues from a global perspective as well as in the geographic focus of China and East Asia. My work on China—focused on explaining gradual information liberalization in a formally controlled system—has also been a catalyst for examining the role of political communication in authoritarian institutional change.

Specialties: institutions and institutional change, social mobilization, intra-state conflict, political communication, democratization and durable authoritarianism

Research Publications: www.researchgate.net/profile/Orion_Lewis

Professional Experience: www.linkedin.com/in/orion/

Commentary and News: www.twitter.com/orionalewis

 

Courses

Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

IGST 0483 / PSCI 0483 - Rise of Asia and U.S. Policy      

The Rise of Asia and US Policy
In this course we will study what is arguably the most important strategic development of the 21st century: how the rise of Asia presents security challenges to the region and the United States. Drawing from international relations scholarship, the course will focus on foreign policy challenges and potential responses. These challenges include both traditional security and nontraditional areas such as water and the environment. We will integrate the analysis of these issues in South, East, and Southeast Asia with study of the policy process, in part through simulations and role-playing exercises. This course is equivalent to PSCI 0483. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CMP SOC

Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2017

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IGST 0501 - LAS Independent Project      

Latin American Studies Independent Project
(Approval Required)

Fall 2014

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IGST 0702 - EUS Senior Thesis      

European Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Winter 2016, Winter 2017, Winter 2018

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IGST 0703 - LAS Senior Thesis      

Latin American Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018

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IGST 0704 - EAS Senior Thesis      

East Asian Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015

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IPEC 0500 - Independent Project      

Independent Project
(Approval Required)

Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018

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IPEC 0700 - Intl.Pol.&Economics SR. Thesis      

Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018

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PSCI 0103 - Intro to Comparative Politics      

Introduction to Comparative Politics
This course offers an introduction to the comparative study of political systems and to the logic of comparative inquiry. How are different political systems created and organized? How and why do they change? Why are some democratic and others authoritarian? Why are some rich and others poor? Other topics covered in this course include nationalism and political ideologies, forms of representation, the relationship between state institutions and civil society, and globalization. The goal in this course is to use comparative methods to analyze questions of state institutions -- how they arise, change, and generate different economic, social, and political outcome. 3 hrs. lect./disc. (Comparative Politics) CMP SOC

Fall 2013

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PSCI 0278 - Politics of Insurgency      

The Politics of Insurgency
In this course we will survey the full range of insurgencies, from violent civil wars and classic insurgencies to strategically nonviolent movements. Drawing from the international relations and comparative politics literatures, this class will work to analyze an array of research questions on why insurgencies begin, endure, and terminate. We will also consider the efficacy of different resistance methods, the role of the international community, and the impact of insurgency on post-conflict outcomes. Students will synthesize course content in a professional research analysis that provides policy prescriptions for ongoing conflicts throughout the world. Note: To align the Middlebury and MIIS schedules, Middlebury students will need to begin their coursework prior to their return to campus for the Fall semester. (PSCI 0103 or 0109) 3 hrs. lect. (Comparative Politics)/ CMP SOC

Spring 2014

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PSCI 0292 - Political Communication      

Political Communication
How are media and communications technology re-shaping politics? From a global comparative perspective—ranging from the United States to the Middle East and to Asia—this course will survey the historical development of communications, the role of media in shaping public opinion and behavior, the impact of new media, and the rise of transnational satellite TV. Conceptually, the course will assess the importance of communications for understanding authoritarianism, democracy, and foreign policy. We will develop general comparative frameworks for understanding the growing importance of communications in the information age, while clarifying the limitations of media for shaping polities. (This course is not open to students who have taken PSCI 0413) 3 hrs. lect. (Comparative Politics)/ AAL CMP SOC

Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

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PSCI 0380 - Int'l Relations of East Asia      

International Relations of East Asia
Although the power of East Asian states makes the region central to US foreign policy and the study of international politics in general, most international relations theorists rely heavily upon European history and case studies. In this course, we will explore IR theory and East Asian politics in an attempt to enrich both. We will review major events in East Asia, explore advanced theoretical readings and their applications to the region, and finally, use these theories to understand issues like energy security, territorial disputes, and prospects for democratic development. (PSCI 0109) (PSCI 0109 or PSCI 0201) 3 hrs. lect/disc. (International Relations and Foreign Policy)/ AAL NOA SOC

Fall 2015

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PSCI 0392 - Insurgency and Security Policy      

Insurgency and Security Policy
In the post-Cold War era insurgency is the predominant form of conflict and now tops the list of major security concerns. Understanding the origins and tactics of insurgency in cases around the world in comparative perspective allows students to develop nuanced analyses of how security strategy should be improved to combat emergent non-state threats. How have insurgent tactics evolved in response to changing military, political, technological, and geographical conditions? What are the implications for international intervention and homeland security policy? This course brings Middlebury and Monterey students together in pursuit of this broad policy objective. Note: To align the Middlebury and MIIS schedules, Middlebury students will need to begin their coursework prior to the end of Winter Term, and will need to be available to meet during the course’s non-standard time. 4 hrs. lect./disc. (International Relations and Foreign Policy)/ CMP SOC

Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018

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PSCI 0413 - Mass Media&Democratization      

Media and Democratization
The news media can either support or undermine non-democratic regimes. This tension between media liberalization and political control is well-captured in Yuezhi Zhao’s book Communication in China: Political Economy, Power and Conflict, which will serve as a thematic anchor for this course. We will examine the impact of print, television, and new media on democratization in Eastern Europe, East Asia, and Africa, while drawing from the literature on democratic transitions and the communications literature on media effects. The goal of the course is to understand the causes of press freedom, its role in the erosion of state control, and its implications for the survival of authoritarian regimes. 3 hrs. sem. (Comparative Politics)/ CMP SOC

Spring 2014

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PSCI 0483 - Rise of Asia and U.S. Policy      

The Rise of Asia and US Policy
In this course we will study what is arguably the most important strategic development of the 21st century: how the rise of Asia presents security challenges to the region and the United States. Drawing from international relations scholarship, the course will focus on foreign policy challenges and potential responses. These challenges include both traditional security and nontraditional areas such as water and the environment. We will integrate the analysis of these issues in South, East, and Southeast Asia with study of the policy process, in part through simulations and role-playing exercises. This course is equivalent to IGST 0483. 3 hrs. sem. (Comparative Politics)/ AAL CMP NOA SOC

Fall 2016

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PSCI 0500 - Independent Project      

Independent Projects
A program of independent work designed to meet the individual needs of advanced students. (Approval required)

Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018

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PSCI 0700 - Honors Thesis      

Honors Thesis
(Approval required)

Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018

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SUMR 1006 - Trade/Diplomacy/Dev. in China      

Trade, Diplomacy and Development in China
In this off-campus course we will conduct academic research to explore the topics of trade, diplomacy, and development in China. In the spring, students will work with the professors to develop projects before the program, including designing appropriate research methodology such as interviews, statistical analysis, and other methodologies. Next, in June, we will travel to China where top scholars will workshop our research ideas, and then travel to two research sites in teams consisting of a professor and a team of MIIS and Middlebury students. At each site, the team will conduct fieldwork using the methodologies developed on campus. Our hope is that students will select an area of interest that will become the focus of a final project continued into the next year as a senior thesis, masters thesis, or independent study. All publications from this fieldwork will list student names as either coauthors or research assistants. Students will be expected to adhere to all safety and health policies, and to engage in culturally sensitive practices. Some familiarity with Chinese political economy and language would be helpful, but we will have MIIS interpreters accompanying each team to help those without the necessary language skills.
In addition to the application form, interested students should also email the following information to olewis@middlebury.edu">middlebury.edu">middlebury.edu: an unofficial transcript; a short statement that includes major, minor(s), year abroad experiences (past or planned); and a two-page single-spaced essay (500 words) explaining why you would like to take the course, your goals for the experience, and the particular strengths, interests, and experiences you would bring to the course. Please submit the application materials to Professor Lewis (olewis@middlebury.edu). For additional information, please contact Professor Lewis (olewis@middlebury.edu), or Professor Liang (wliang@miis.edu). Application Deadline: February 26th.

Dates: June 7, 2016 – July 5, 2016
June 7-14 Beijing Orientation
June 14-July 5 Field Site (Beijing or Kunming)

Program Costs: $6,000 plus travel and personal expenses AAL Summer Study SOC

Summer Study 2016

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MIIS 8500 - Middlebury Students at MIIS      

non-standard grade WTR

Winter 2015

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NPTG 8540 - Glbztn,Terrorism&4thGenWarfare      

Globalization, Terrorism and Fourth Generation Warfare



How does globalization change the nature of terrorism and create a global counterinsurgency campaign, also known as fourth generation warfare? What are the connections between organizations, conflict regions, and the developed world?

This course will focus on the global aspects of counterterrorism and counter insurgency policy by focusing on a series of modules that disaggregates globalization processes:

1. migration, immigration and the movement of people,

2. international markets and financing,

3. global communications, and

4. the connections between international relations, foreign-policy, and extremist organizations.

Skill development focuses on policy evaluation and analysis, briefings and presentation, collaborative project management, and simulated negotiation and policy making.

Spring 2018 - MIIS

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NPTG 8546 - Insurgency &Terrorism Compared      

This course situates the study of terrorism as a tactic of insurgency in the media age, explains why a cleric in Yemen has global influence, and why the United States and its allies are engaged in a global counter-insurgency operation, also known as fourth generation warfare. Drawing on general security studies frameworks, it allows students to understand the evolution of terrorist tactics and how they compare to or combine with other forms of political violence. For example, is ISIS a terrorist group, a guerrilla insurgency, or a government? Did it emerge as a key group because of state weakness in Syria and Iraq, because they are skilled tacticians in kinetic warfare, or because of the effectiveness of their communications and recruitment strategies? Understanding terrorism and insurgency as a political process allows one to evaluate the full panoply of causes of terrorism, as well as the variety of policies that need to be in place to counter it—ranging from intelligence gathering and the prevention of radicalization, to kinetic force, to state-building and international coalition building.

Spring 2017 - MIIS

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NPTG 8560 - Spcl Ops& CT ResearchPracticum      

Special Operations and Global Counterterrorism Research Practicum



Global counterterrorism operations have coincided with the dramatic growth of special operations forces. As forces specifically designed for asymmetric, embedded and culturally aware operations, there is an important need for the policy community and the military to understand lessons learned and evaluate strategic and operational success across the ever-expanding range of special operations activity. This course will allow students to collaborate on a large-scale database that documents lessons learned and facilitates research. Students will work with their colleague, retired Chief Warrant Officer Charles Woodson to create the Special Operations Research database. Training will focus on qualitative and quantitative research methodology, the technology of filming and organizing a digital library, and collaborative project management. The primary deliverable, in addition to the database, will be an original policy analysis derived from the data collected.

Spring 2018 - MIIS

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