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Cuba Program Publishes Essay Collection with CLALS

Implications of Normalization - US/Cuba Banner Image

Implications of Normalization: Scholarly Perspectives on U.S.-Cuban Relations, a digital essay collection from the Cuba Program in collaboration with American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies, considers D-17—shorthand for December 17, 2014, the day when Barack Obama and Raúl Castro appeared on television simultaneously to announce their intention to restore diplomatic ties between Cuba and the United States—and its ramifications. Though a formal end to the US embargo requires legislation in Congress, the two presidents outlined a series of measures within their executive reach to begin the process of normalization, including an exchange of prisoners, expanded trade and travel, and a plan to reopen embassies in Havana and Washington. After more than a half century of estrangement and hostility, the surprise announcement, which came at the end of eighteen months of secret negotiations, was cause for both celebration and consternation. What does it mean to contemplate normalization between two countries with such a fraught history of interaction? How might experiences of normalization between the United States and other countries with which it has sought to reduce longstanding hostilities provide lessons for those who seek to understand the likely course of events with Cuba?

Edited by former SSRC program director Eric Hershberg with William M. LeoGrande, his colleague in the American University Department of Government, Implications of Normalization offers insights into these and other questions from leading experts in Canada, Europe, and Latin America, as well as Cuba and the United States. Drawing on the scholarship of the contributors and on a substantial body of academic research, the essays collected encompass a range of themes, from US-Cuba relations to hemispheric dynamics to the consequences for ongoing economic, political, and societal change in Cuba. Included is a piece by former SSRC Working Group on Cuba member Louis A. Pérez Jr., who reflects on the US tradition of paternalism and entitlement with regard to Cuba and questions how different the new policy actually is. Intended to inform the work of researchers, students, and practitioners, as well as the general public, the essays can be distributed freely [PDF download available].

Image credit: Luciano Melo/CLALS.

In Council News

Measure of America released Geographies of Opportunity: Ranking Well-Being by Congressional District, an in-depth look at how residents of America’s 436 congressional districts are faring in three fundamental areas of life: health, access to knowledge, and living standards [PDF available]. Urban studies theorist Richard Florida showcased the report’s application of MOA’s American Human Development Index in an article at the Atlantic’s CityLab, and program assistant Alex Powers explained the importance of actionable public data in a blog post at HealthData.gov.

MOA codirectors Sarah Burd-Sharps and Kristen Lewis briefed the California State Legislature on findings in their earlier human development report A Portrait of California 2014–2015 at a public event in Sacramento. Educational inequalities identified in that study were cited in a Pacific Standard piece, “What If Education Reform Got It All Wrong in the First Place?

Renata Segura, associate director of the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum, wrote about US sanctions against Venezuela for the International Peace Institute’s Global Observatory. Program coordinator Sabrina Stein, a delegate to the fifty-ninth session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, reflected on her experience at the CSW’s first-ever Young Women and Girls Forum in a piece for the UN Association of the United States of America.

CPPF deputy director Tatiana Carayannis presented on “The UN in the Congo: A Half-Century Engagement” at a Future UN Development System peacebuilding conference in Geneva, following a research trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which included field visits to two Justice and Security Research Program sites, as well as to the Inke refugee camp to initiate a project on access to justice for displaced populations.

The African Peacebuilding Network held a roundtable conference in Steyning, England, on “Peacebuilding in Africa: Evolving Challenges, Responses, and New Thinking,” in collaboration with Wilton Park and the African Leadership Centre, welcoming participants from the United Nations, the African Union, and a range of universities and think tanks. Earlier in the year, the APN hosted a training workshop on writing and dissemination for APN Individual Research grantees and Residential Postdoctoral fellows over several days in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Abe Fellowship Program, supporting US- and Japan-based researchers focusing on contemporary issues of pressing global concern, announced the results of its 2014 competitions, introducing twelve new Abe fellows, who will pursue international multidisciplinary research projects, and four new Abe Journalist fellows, who will produce analytical or feature stories to inform public debate or a policy community.

Abe fellow Sheila A. Smith (2006) published Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China (Columbia University Press), featuring intricate policy case studies, an outcome of her Abe project. Fellow Christa Altenstetter (2005) applied her Abe research in Medical Technology in Japan: The Politics of Regulation (Transaction Publishers), which examines the social, historical, and political conditions driving Japan’s “device gap.”

International Dissertation Research Fellowship fellow Narges Bajoghli’s (2013) ethnographic research with the paramilitary Basij wing of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard provided the basis for her LobeLog article explaining why the Revolutionary Guard supports the new nuclear accord.

IDRF and Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship fellow Stephanie Maher (2012 and 2011) drew on her fieldwork in Senegal for “Interrogating the Wave: Media Representations of African Migrant Youth,” a Youth Circulations photo essay.

DPDF fellow Kyrstin Mallon Andrews (2014) won the Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology’s Roseberry Nash Student Paper Contest for her essay “Sinks for the Press: Cholera and State Performance of Power at the Dominican Border,” which relates her research experience and findings on Hispaniola.

In Memoriam

The Council is greatly saddened at the loss of Visiting Committee member Norman H. Nie, leading scholar of American political behavior and public opinion and a pioneer in the development of statistical analysis software for the social sciences, and joins his many friends and colleagues in celebrating his lasting contributions to the academy and the world of technology.

From Our Forums

At Kujenga Amani, Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Doctoral Dissertation Research and Completion fellow and APN Individual Research grantee Godfrey Maringira (2011, 2012, and 2014) shares findings from his APN research in South Africa on the ex-combatant transition from violence to peace. Michael Pugh, a scholar of critical security studies and the political economy of peace formation, is interviewed about his experience at the Wilton Park peacebuilding conference.

The Immanent Frame features Islam and politics specialist and IDRF fellow Alexander Thurston (2011) on the intellectual genealogy of ISIS and what you need to read to understand it and religion and critical theorist Yvonne Sherwood on blasphemous cartoons past and present. In the ongoing Religion and Digital Culture series, divinity student Shamika Goddard shares her experience as a tech chaplain, and religion professor John Lardas Modern ponders eBay and the historical imagination.

On Deadline

Korean Studies Dissertation Workshop
Applications Due: May 1

Korean Studies Workshop for Junior Faculty
Applications Due: May 1

InterAsian Connections V: Seoul
Workshop Director Proposals Due: June 5