“Employing Strategic Empathy to Address Adversaries’ Acquisition, Threat, and Use of Strategic Weapons: A Fresh Look at ‘Demand-Side Factors”

James A. Lamson, Hanna Notte and Sarah Bidgood (James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies)

Strategic empathy is the sincere effort to identify and assess patterns of behavior and the underlying drivers and constraints that shape those patterns.  Through eight case studies involving three US adversaries – Russia, North Korea, and Iran – the authors suggest that a more holistic, nuanced understanding of the adversary can inform effective policy responses.

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How do you give back to a community that doesn’t want you?’: International LGBTQIA + students transformative education and tumultuous returns

Anne C. Campbell, International Education Management

Addressing Racism in the Gayborhood

Chong-suk Han, Sociology

Indigenous Perspectives on the Conflict-Environment Nexus

Dylan Moglen and Alex Christodoulou, Center for Conflict Studies

This project fundamentally reexamined the definition of conflict, resolution and transformation, with a focus on those perspectives not traditionally included in academic topics in this conversation. This project focused on communities that occupy a unique yet powerful space in the global imaginary: Indigenous communities living in the Amazon basin. In total this project engaged in dialogues with leaders and thinkers from over 9 different ethnicities in communities surrounding Leticia, Colombia, in the Pastaza region of Ecuador, and with communities and organizations near Nauta and Pucallpa, Peru.

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Monterey Trialogue Initiative

Anna Vasilieva, Initiative in Russian Studies

The 2023 Monterey Summer Symposium (MSS) on Russia combined historical and literary analysis of Russia, explorations of U.S. policy toward Russia, and extensive forays into the history, geography and ethnography of the South Caucasus. The typical discussion about Russia tends to focus on Europe or to focus exclusively on U.S.-Russian relations. The MSS introduced a local dimension by linking the complicated particularities of this world to the abstractions of geopolitics, such as empire and inter-state conflict. Over the course of sixteen days, historians, sociologists, literary scholars, ethnographers, journalists, think tankers, government officials and Armenians, Georgians and Russians related the big questions of the MSS to their own lives.

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Deconstructing the ‘Russian Idea’: Émigré Visions from Lenin to Putin

Rebecca A. Mitchell, History

This project explores how the “Russian Idea” (the cultural and philosophical concept that Russia has a unique, salvific mission to play in the modern world) evolved amongst the Russian émigré community after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Amid Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, the research raises important questions. How do these historical debates reverberate amid current violence and displacement? How do contemporary émigrés understand these historical debates? Among these groups, is the “Russian Idea” an imperialist discourse justifying expansionist policy or a means of preserving the unique value of Russian culture? 

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Investigating Online and Offline Intersections Between Militant Accelerationism and Great Power Relations

Alex Newhouse, Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism

How does the geopolitics of great powers interact with militant neo-fascists? Over the past twenty years, neo-fascist networks have become increasingly prominent actors in conflicts worldwide. Covering a spectrum of behavior from online harassment and agitation to mass shootings and participation in wars, neo-fascist activity is influential in asymmetric conflict worldwide. Global powers like the United States and Russia have, on occasion, interacted with these actors in their efforts to carry out their geopolitical strategies. Considering the impact of neo-fascist activity on social safety and civic life, it is thus vital to understand why and how great powers interact with neo-fascists, and to assess the impact of these overtures from states to non-state militants.

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We Live with Love for Each ‘Other’: How Muslim and Hindu Women Transform Conflict in Middle-Class India

Jennifer D. Ortegren, Religion

Meta-Perceptions, Trust, and the Transformation of Partisan Conflict

Andrea E. Robbett and Peter Hans Matthews, Economics

There are large ideological differences separating American political partisans. In some contexts, however, the differences in both perception and meta-perception are larger still, and the resulting “false polarization bias” is an important, and perhaps remediable, source of partisan animus.  Our experimental research is organized around an otherwise non-partisan “trust game” in which we correct either the perceptions or meta-perceptions of partners whose partisan affiliations differ.  As a consequence, we are able to estimate the causal effects of these perceptions and beliefs on trust and trustworthiness, both of which are essential to well-functioning economies and societies.  Our results will inform the broader conversation about conflict transformation, in particular the possibilities for reducing false polarization bias.

In Loco Parentis

James Chase Sanchez, Writing and Rhetoric

This documentary project studies how boarding schools marred by sexual abuse cover-up histories can transform their conflicts with survivors of said abuse. It further examines how legal issues and boards of trustees prevent them for helping—and sometimes acknowledging—previous wrongdoings, and how should they reconsider going forward. A case study of two schools explores how survivors feel about this abuse; how and why schools historically protected their own images instead of children; and ways they can move toward accountability today.

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