Précis, the biannual publication of the Center for International Studies (CIS), covers the wide range of center activities and tracks the accomplishments of faculty, researchers and affiliates. Features from the current issue include: an interview with Diane Davis, who recently received a USAID grant for eight case studies of urban resilience in situations of chronic violence; an excerpt from Democratic Insecurities: Violence, Trauma, and Intervention in Haiti by Erica Caple James; and an essay on "Much Ado About Decline" by graduate student Joshua Shifrinson.
Interview | Diane Davis
Diane Davis, a member of CIS, is a professor of political sociology in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Her current research is focused on cities in conflict and, within that area, police corruption and police violence. USAID is providing $385,000 for eight case studies of urban resilience in situations of chronic violence. Through this grant, Davis and John Tirman, executive director and principal research scientist at CIS, will explore how cities from Brazil to Pakistan cope with violence, and inform policymakers of promising practices.
Democratic Insecurities | Erica Caple James
On Jan. 12, as this book entered the final stages of production, Haiti was struck with a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions, the latest in a long series of catastrophes that have afflicted the nation and its people. The epicenter of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake was mere kilometers southwest of the nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince, where the ethnographic research discussed in this book was conducted. Between 1995 and 2000, James worked with survivors of human rights abuses from the 1991-94 coup years and studied the interveners that attempted to rehabilitate them as part of her project analyzing the role of humanitarian and development assistance in postconflict reconstruction. Current estimates are that 80 percent of the capital has been destroyed.
Much ado about decline | Joshua Itzkowitz Shifrinson
For at least the third time in the post-war era, the decline of American power is at the forefront of American foreign policy discourse. In perhaps the clearest manifestation of the decline hypothesis to date, President Obama argued in his 2010 State of the Union address: "China is not waiting to revamp its economy. Germany is not waiting. India is not waiting. These nations — they're not standing still. These nations aren't playing for second place ... Well, I do not accept second place for the United States of America [emphasis added]."