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Conferences and Research Reports

Past Conferences

Middle East Studies Association of North America 50th Anniversary Meeting

The MESA annual meetings for November 2016 took place at the Copley Marriott in Boston. Valentine M. Moghadam, International Affairs Director and Professor of Sociology, had been asked to chair the 2016 Program Committee, and she mobilized a group of dedicated scholars, including several from Northeastern University. The Program Committee worked hard on evaluating all the incoming abstracts and finalizing a program befitting a 50th anniversary conference. The keynote speaker was former UN official Lakhdar Brahimi, and a summary of his important talk will be available shortly. What follows are summaries of two special sessions, which should be of interest to many Northeastern students and faculty, and others interested in the topics of the Arab Spring six years on, and the attempted coup in Turkey and its ramifications. These summaries have been written by Val Moghadam.

To read the special summaries report, please click here.

Human Rights, Politics, and Globalization from Below

In September of 2016, Professor Jackie Smith, Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh, gave her lecture on Human Rights, Politics, and Globalization from Below. In a rapidly globalizing world, a particular area of concern is in the world’s increasingly populous cities, where human rights violations have been exacerbated as a result of neoliberal globalization and climate change. Increased privatization of urban housing markets, reductions in state provisions for social welfare, ageing urban infrastructures, and growing income inequalities have contributed to growing segregation in cities and intensified exclusions and conflicts across race, class, and other divides.

In response to these pressures, we’re now seeing more instances of local initiatives to implement international human rights in local settings. Such initiatives reflect processes of “globalization from below” in that they are not simply aimed at making demands on the state, but rather they include locally-rooted efforts to articulate and help realize alternative visions about how communities (and the larger world-system in which they are situated) should be organized. This talk examined urban, place-based initiatives for the “right to the city,” with a particular focus on Professor Smith’s local work in Pittsburgh as part of that city’s Human Rights City Alliance. She considered how global processes have shaped the emergence, since the 1990s, of these trans-local projects to redefine communities and to challenge conventional definitions of development and progress.

To read a report on Professor Smith’s talk, please click here.

Iran’s Conservatives Stifle Moves to Expand Women’s Rights: An Interview with Professor Moghadam

On July 5, 2016, the Editors of the World Politics Review interviewed Professor Moghadam regarding the state of women’s rights in Iran. To read the full interview, please click here.

Panels and Protests at the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) Conference; New York

Professor Moghadam, IAF Director and Professor of Sociology and International Affairs, attended the LASA annual meetings, held in New York City on 27-30 May 2016. She took part in a panel on gender transformations and women’s human rights, organized by Professor Graciela Di Marco of UNSAM, Buenos Aires. Professors Di Marco and Moghadam have known each other since 2004 and have collaborated on a number of workshops (e.g., in France in 2006, Buenos Aires in 2008, Tunis in 2013, and Chicago in 2014), as well as publications pertaining to globalization, social movements, democracy, and women’s rights. At the LASA conference, Prof. Moghadam presented a paper on her current research on democratic transitions and women’s rights, comparing developments in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia after the Arab Spring with three Latin American cases from democracy’s “third wave”: Argentina, Brazil, and Chile.  Prof. Di Marco is also working on the comparison, and the two plan to co-author a paper on the subject.

Many panels at the LASA conference were devoted to issues of women’s participation and rights, violence against women, and feminist movements, but many also were devoted to the current turmoil in Latin American countries and the decline of the “pink wave” with the electoral gains of conservative political parties. One highlight of the conference was a protest by many LASA participants, appalled by the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and by LASA’s invitation as keynote speaker of former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who called the impeachment a victory for democracy. Cardoso withdrew from the conference upon learning of the impending protest. The accompanying photos (taken by Prof. Moghadam) show LASA participants wearing t-shirts and holding a large banner protesting both the impeachment of President Rousseff and Cardoso’s stance.

Additionally, Professor Graciela Di Marco of Buenos Aires, on whose panel Professor Moghadam presented a paper on her recent research comparing Arab Spring and Latin American democratizations, is featured in this video on the protests at the conference. You may view the video here.



Women’s Empowerment and International Organizations: Achievements, Opportunities, and Constraints

On April 22, 2016 the Gender and Development Initiative, the Northeastern Humanities Center, the International Affairs Program, and the Center for International Affairs and World Cultures held a one-day conference, Women’s Empowerment and International Organizations. The conference was organized to address the following questions:

The conference provided a platform for considering the main themes, debates, and questions that will move us into the next stage of feminist efforts to promote the empowerment of women through research, policy, and practice.

To read a report on the conference, please click here.

Gender, Care, Employment, and Macroeconomics; New York

A conference on Gender and Macroeconomics: Current State of Research and Future Directions took place in New York City, organized by the Levy Institute of Bard College and the Hewlett Foundation, on 9-11 March 2016.

Participants were members of the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE) and related researchers who work on gender and development or gender and macroeconomics issues. Dr. Bilge Erten, assistant professor of economics and international affairs, attended as a speaker and discussant, and Dr. Valentine M. Moghadam, director of the International Affairs Program (IAF) and professor of sociology and international affairs, attended as an observer – in both cases as part of the activities associated with Northeastern University’s Gender and Development Initiative. Launched in 2014 by the International Affairs Program and the Department of Economics, the GAD Initiative is currently funded by the Tier 1 grant with the support of the College of Social Sciences and the Humanities and is led by Dr. Moghadam, Dr. Erten, and Dr. Catalina Herrera-Almanza, assistant professor of economics and international affairs.

To read the full conference report, please click here.

The Precariat: A New Dangerous Class

Guy Standing, author of The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class, and A Precariat Charter, spoke about his new work to an overflow group of students and faculty in the Raytheon Amphitheater on February 22nd, 2016.

Standing defines the precariat as an emerging class of people facing lives of economic insecurity, moving in and out of jobs that give little meaning to their lives. As such, they develop emotions of anomie, anxiety, alienation, and anger. The precariat is a “dangerous class” because it is internally divided, including college graduates without career prospects, adjuncts and other involuntary part-time workers, migrants and other vulnerable groups that tend to be vilified, as well as what Standing called “atavists” and “nostalgics”. Lacking agency, its members may be susceptible to the calls of political extremism.

To read a report on the event, please click here.
Guy Standing is a professor of Development Studies at SOAS, University of London, and a founder and co-President of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), an NGO promoting basic income as a right. He was previously Director of the Socio-Economic Security Programme of the International Labour Organisation.

Examining the effectiveness of human trafficking legislation

In January of 2016, Professor Amy Farrell of the School of Criminal Justice completed a study with several research partners about the efficacy of  anti-human trafficking efforts. In the first-ever report on the subject, Professor Farrell and her partners found that it is more comprehensive laws on trafficking, rather than harsher criminal penalties, that lead to more prosecutions. To read the news@Northeastern articles on her study and her report, please click here.

Growing tensions between Saudi Arabia, Iran

Professor Valentine Moghadam, Director of the International Affairs Program and Professor of Sociology, was interviewed by Joe O’Connell of Northeastern News about rising tensions and conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran after the Saudi government executed 47 people accused of terrorism, including a Shiite cleric. To read Professor Moghadam’s responses in the interview, please click here.

Recent Publications: Professor Denise Garcia

Professor Denise Garcia of International Affairs and Political Science has recently had a new article published with the European Journal of International Security. Her article, “Future Arms, Technologies, and International Law,” is available here.

Maia Cross at COP21 2

The Paris Climate Talks; Paris, France

Professor Mai’a Cross of International Affairs and Political Science attended the UN climate summit as part of the Northeastern University observer delegation.  The summit took place from November 30, 2015 to December 12, 2015 in Paris.  Professor Cross engaged in participant observation as research for three upcoming publications focused on the role of the EU in pushing for a global agreement on climate.

To view Professors Garcia and Cross’ report on the conference, please click here.

Responding to Mass Violence in the Aftermath of Beirut and Paris

On the evening of 17 November 2015, the College of Social Sciences and Humanities organized a multi-disciplinary panel, consisting of CSSH faculty members, analyzing the most recent attacks by ISIS in Paris and Beirut. The panelists addressed the issue from various disciplinary and political perspectives: international law, European policies and institutions, counter-terrorism, resilience, and the political turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa. An intense Q&A, moderated by Dean Uta Poiger, followed with the overflow audience.

To see reports on Professors Moghadam and Cross’ presentations, please click here.
To see the Northeastern News coverage of the panel, please click here.
Panelists included:
Max Abrahms, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Mai’a Davis Cross, Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs
Steve Flynn, Professor of Political Science, Director of Security and Resilience Studies Master’s Program
Denise Garcia, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs
Valentine Moghadam, Professor of Sociology, Director of International Affairs and Middle East Studies
Moderated by:
Uta G. Poiger, Dean of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Europe in Crisis Panel

“Europe in Crisis: What lies ahead?” featured a panel of NEU experts who discussed various dimensions of the European Union’s current crises, including migration, Greek debt, NATO’s activities, Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, the rise of extremism, and the refugee crisis. Professors Tony Jones, Natalie Bormann, Tim Cresswell, Mai’a Davis Cross and Ioannis Livanis also debated the future of the EU, from efforts to strengthen the Eurozone, to the impending British referendum on EU membership, all of which have the potential to fundamentally change the nature of this quasi-federal entity that has kept Europe at peace for more than half a century. These issues are currently at the forefront of policymakers’ thinking in determining the path ahead for Europe. As an actor that encompasses more than half a billion citizens and the largest economy in the world, the EU’s ability to overcome these crises has great implications for global politics and stability.

To see the NU News write-up of this panel, please click here.

To read a full report on the panel, please click here.

Recent Publications: Professor Mai’a Cross

Professor Mai’a Cross is currently finishing a book entitled, The Politics of Crisis in Europe (under contract with Cambridge University Press).  This book seeks to explain the resilience of the European Union in the face of repeated crises that are often seen as likely to derail its very existence.  While it is often observed that these crises serve as opportunities for more integration, scholars have yet to offer an explanation for why this is true.  This book is the first to identify a pattern across EU crises – specifically, the 2003 Iraq crisis, 2005 constitutional crisis, and 2010-12 Eurozone crisis.

Prof. Cross argues that we cannot understand the nature and severity of these crises without delving into the role of societal reaction to events and the nature of social narratives about crisis, especially those advanced by the media.  The EU is plagued by episodes of what she calls integrational panic – periods of often overblown, existential crisis in which social narratives about events create the perception that the “end of Europe” is at hand.  While most explanations of crisis focus on systemic or structural flaws in the European institutional structure, this narratives approach also explains a renewed will to find consensus post-crisis.  Using the concept of catharsis, Cross argues that narratives about crises provide the means to openly air underlying societal tensions that would otherwise remain under the surface, and impede further integration.

Annual Conference of the International Association for Feminist Economics; Berlin, Germany

Professor Val Moghadam attended the Annual Conference of the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE). The theme of this year’s conferernce was Gender Equality in Challenging Times and revolved around ” . . .Europe’s policies of austerity and their gender implications; the ethics of care and the salience of social reproduction; the gender dynamics of paid and unpaid labor; household inequalities and other dynamics; social programs, public works, and welfare; and fiscal policy, financialization, and implications for gender equality and for democracy.”

You may read her report on the conference here.

The winners and losers of the nuclear deal with Iran

Professor Valentine Moghadam, Director of the International Affairs Program and Professor of Sociology, was interviewed by Jason Kornwitz of Northeastern News about the nuclear deal with Iran. To read Professor Moghadam’s analysis of the situation, please click here.

Val Moghadam and Carol Mann, co-organizer and president, Women in War

Val Moghadam and Carol Mann, co-organizer and president, Women in War

Upholding Gendered Peace at a Time of War; Beirut, Lebanon

In June 2015 Professor Valentine Moghadam traveled to Beirut, Lebanon to give one of the keynote speeches at the conference Upholding Gendered Peace at a Time of War at the Lebanese American University.  The key issues addressed at the conference “pertained to the record of the Arab Spring thus far; the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa region; and women’s roles in religious extremism, conflicts, peace-building, and political leadership.”

To see Professor Moghadam’s report on the conference, please click here.

Recent Publications: Professor Dov Waxman

Professor Dov Waxman is currently finishing a book, provisionally entitled Trouble in The Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel, which will be published by Princeton University Press in Spring 2016.  The central thesis of this book is that a major transformation is currently taking place in the American Jewish relationship with Israel.  The age of unquestioning and uncritical American Jewish support for Israel is over.  The pro-Israel consensus that once united American Jews is eroding, and Israel is fast becoming a source of division rather than unity for American Jewry.  As the consensus concerning Israel within the American Jewish community is slowly coming apart, a new era of American Jewish conflict over Israel is replacing the old era of solidarity.  In the book, he explains why the American Jewish consensus over Israel is unraveling, and he examines the consequences of this development.
He is also starting work on his next book, which will be published by Oxford University Press, as part of their popular “What Everyone Needs to Know” series.  The book The Arab-Israeli Conflict: What Everyone Needs to Know will provide a concise, accessible, and balanced primer about the history and politics of this bitter, long-running, and seemingly intractable conflict.

Recent Publications: Professor Denise Garcia

Professor of International Affairs and Political Science Denise Garcia has recently had a new article published online in Foreign Affairs about her research on robotic warfare. Her article, “Battle Bots: How the World Should Prepare Itself for Robotic Warfare,” can be viewed here.

Recent Publications: Professor Mai’a Cross

Professor Mai’a Cross, Professor of International Affairs and Political Science, has had two articles published in 2015 so far. The first, “The Limits of Epistemic Communities: EU Security Agencies,” seeks to shed light on why some expert groups do not form epistemic communities, and how this changes the nature of their influence. In so doing, the goal is to sharpen the parameters of what constitutes epistemic communities, and add to our understanding of why they emerge. Dr. Cross examines the cases of the European Defence Agency (EDA) and EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen). This article was published in a special issue of Politics & Governance, entitled “The Role of Expert Knowledge in EU Executive Institutions.”

The second, co-authored with Ph.D. Candidate Ms. Xinru Ma, was published online in January 2015 (and is forthcoming in print) in Journal of European Public Policy. “EU Crises & Integrational Panic: The Role of the Media.” The article focuses on the role of international media coverage in framing certain events as crises and seeks to draw out a pattern across three prominent case studies: the 2003 Iraq crisis, 2005 Constitutional crisis, and 2010–2 Eurozone crisis. Detailed media content analysis shows that the international media was not just reporting on crises, it was framing challenges and setbacks to EU integration as existential threats.

Recent Publications: Professor Valentine Moghadam

51dMPNYqI7L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Professor Valentine Moghadam, Director of the International Affairs Program and Professor of Sociology, has had two new publications come out in the past 6 months. The first is “Transnational Feminist Activism and Movement-building,” the 2nd chapter in The Oxford Handbook of Transnational Feminist Movements (April 2015), edited by Rawwida Baksh and Wendy Harcourt.

The second publication, the article “‘Resistance is Fertile’: Revisiting Maternalist Frames across Cases of Women’s Mobilization,” can be found online, and will be published in the July-August 2015 edition of Women’s Studies International Forum. The artical was co-authoried with a former Ph.D. student of Professor Moghadam’s, Ms. Michelle Carreon. You may read and download the article here.






Recent Publications: Gaining Freedoms – a New Book by Professor Berna Turam

In the Spring of 2015 Professor Berna Turam published a new book with Stanford University Press. The abstract is below.

pid_22821“Gaining Freedoms reveals a new locus for global political change: everyday urban contestation. Cities are often assumed hotbeds of socio-economic division, but this assessment overlooks the importance of urban space and the everyday activities of urban life for empowerment, emancipation, and democratization. Through proximity, neighborhoods, streets, and squares can create unconventional power contestations over lifestyle and consumption. And through struggle, negotiation, and cooperation, competing claims across groups can become platforms to defend freedom and rights from government encroachments.

Drawing on more than seven years of fieldwork in three contested urban sites—a downtown neighborhood and a university campus in Istanbul, and a Turkish neighborhood in Berlin—Berna Turam shows how democratic contestation echoes through urban space. Countering common assumptions that Turkey is strongly polarized between Islamists and secularists, she illustrates how contested urban space encourages creative politics, the kind of politics that advance rights, expression, and representation shared between pious and secular groups. Exceptional moments of protest, like the recent Gezi protests which bookend this study, offer clear external signs of upheaval and disruption, but it is the everyday contestation and interaction that forge alliances and inspire change. Ultimately, Turam argues that the process of democratization is not the reduction of conflict, but rather the capacity to form new alliances out of conflict.”



Global Knowledge, Power and Social Change: The Contribution of Transnational Feminist Movements

FishbowlOn March 17 2015, Ph.D. Candidate Anjuli Ferreira-Fahlberg attended this panel at the Commission on the Status of Women in New York. According to Ms. Ferreira-Fahlberg’s report, “This one and a half hour panel provided an opportunity for the contributors to the recently launched Oxford Handbook of Transnational Feminist Movements and the wider audience to discuss these questions and to bring up new questions and issues concerning feminist movements across the globe. With well over 100 people in attendance, including both budding and seasoned feminist scholars and activists, several important themes, concerns, and strategies were raised as the group informally articulated a state of the field on transnational feminist movements.”

To read Ms. Ferreira-Fahlberg’s report in its entirety, please download it here.

The Paris Attacks: A Northeastern Forum

Paris, 7-9 January 2015: 17 people are killed in armed attacks on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, at a kosher supermarket, and on the streets. The attacks raise many questions germane to our teaching, research, and learning at Northeastern University, and to our concerns as citizens: free speech versus hate speech; multiculturalism versus marginalization and extremism; Islamophobia and anti-Semitism; terrorism and the fallout from foreign policy; religion and international affairs.

On the 25th of February, 2015, the International Affairs Program organized a panel discussion examining various aspects and implications of the attacks in Paris. The speakers were Professor Moghadam (panel organizer), Dr. Max Abrahms, Dr. Shakir Mustafa, Dr. Gordana Rabrenovic, and Professor Dov Waxman. A lively and wide-ranging discussion followed.

The panel discussion presentations are posted here.

Images from Dr. Shakir Mustafa’s presentation can be found here.

Seasons of the Arab Spring

On January 22nd, 2015, Seasons of the Arab Spring was a panel discussion that examined the diverse trajectories of the mass social protests of 2011 in the Arab countries, the Gezi protests in Turkey and policies of the Erdogan government, and the challenges posed by jihadism, democracy reversals, and external intervention. The speakers were Dr. Val Moghadam, Director of the International Affairs Program and Professor of Sociology; Dr. Berna Turam, Associate Professor of International Affairs and Sociology; Dr. Denis Sullivan, Professor of International Affairs and Political Science; Dr. Emily Cury, Assistant Director of the Boston Consortium of Arab Region Studies, and PhD candidate Shamiran Mako, Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University for discussion on the fascinating aspects of the Arab Spring.

You may download and read the panel reports here.

International Norms and Agreements: Denise Garcia’s work

Sadeleer Faculty with Jordan Prince Mired in Maputo

In 2014, Denise Garcia continued her work on international security and international law, expanding her research to analyze the ways in which new international norms are formed about existing issues like climate change and arms control. Furthering the constructive school of thought, Professor Garcia published and presented a number of papers on foreign policy and global norms after going on multiple research trips. She also attended the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly and Humanitarian Disarmament and Arms Control Campaigns Forum in New York. Read more about her work here.





Recent Publications: Professor Denise Garcia

Several years of research in Geneva, Switzerland has led Professor Denise Garcia, Professor of International Affairs and Political Science, to introduce a novel concept of “Human Security Regimes.” Her article, published by the journal International Affairs of the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatam House, explores how these regimes appear in the security area, usually in opposition to the aspirations of the most powerful states. To read her article, please click here.

Looking ahead: The global economy

Professor Bilge Erten, Assistant Professor of International Affairs and Economics, was interviewed by Jason Kornwitz of Northeastern News regarding her analysis of the global economic outlook of 2015. To read Professor Erten’s responses in the interview, please click here.

Recent Publications: Bilge Erten

Professor Bilge Erten’s research project with colleague Professor Fiona Tregenna of the University of Johannesburg focuses on the effects (if any) of trade liberalization on labor market outcomes, particularly in the case of developing countries with large vulnerable population and weak social safety nets. In the first outcome of their project, they examine how greater trade openness in post-Apartheid South Africa affected employment by race, gender, and skills, using district-level analysis.

To read the abstract of their article, please click here.

Arab Countries in Transition: Gender Rights and Constitutional Reforms

Professor Valentine Moghadam traveled to Beirut, Lebanon in June 2014 to participate in the international conference Arab Countries in Transition: Gender Rights and Constitutional Reforms organized by The Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World (IWSAW) of the Lebanese American University (LAU), in collaboration with the Women and Memory Forum – Egypt; Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Rule of Law Program MENA Region; and the Danish Center for Information on Gender, Equality, and Diversity (KVINFO).

You may read her report on the conference here.

Mediterranean Women’s Rights in the Aftermath of the ‘Arab Uprisings’

In June of 2013, Professor Valentine Moghadam attended and participated in the International Forum: Mediterranean Women’s Rights in the Aftermath of the ‘Arab Uprisings’  in Fes, Morocco. To read her full report on the forum, please click here.

World Social Forum: The University as an Open Space

In March 2013, Professor Valentine Moghadam attended the World Social Forum: The University as an Open Space conference in Tunis, Tunisia. To read her report on the forum, please click here.