International Relations Major, Thucydides
5 hours ago
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Meet Foreign Policy Interrupted

Madeline Albright, former U.S. secretary of state, arrives in London on December 5, 2005. (Hird/Courtesy Reuters)

“My motto…for young and medium-aged women is that we have to learn to interrupt because you don’t get called on just because people think you should be. You have to have some thoughts and interrupt.”
Madeleine Albright

From CFR:

Elmira Bayrasli and Lauren Bohn are co-founders of Foreign Policy Interrupted, an important and unprecedented new initiative that aims to increase the number of female voices in foreign policy. Working from the ground up through a cohesive fellowship program, including media training and meaningful mentoring at partnering media institutions, FPI helps women break both internal and external barriers to more and better representation in and on the media.

"I’m a journalist, so I’ve encountered the disparity from a couple of angles. I’ve been reporting on the ground in the Middle East for the past three years and it’s interesting because the press corps in the region is largely female. Just yesterday, ahead of Egypt’s voting on a new constitution, I compiled a list of female journalists on the ground to follow on Twitter. There are tons. Yet when it comes to the analysis side of things, we don’t see as many women being positioned or positioning themselves, as expert voices. When producing a piece, I always try to include the opinions of female analysts, and women who are doing great work on the issues, but they’re typically a bit more reticent to assert their opinions than men.”

Subscribe here: http://fpinterrupted.com/

(h/t Colleen)

3 months ago
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Syrian peace talks yield potato diplomacy

For some watchers of international diplomacy, the somber road to Syrian peace was overrun Monday by potatoes…

This is the best thing I’ve read all day.

Syrian peace talks yield potato diplomacy

For some watchers of international diplomacy, the somber road to Syrian peace was overrun Monday by potatoes…

This is the best thing I’ve read all day.

3 months ago
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electeddevelopment:

The title is cute, but the outcomes are what really get me.
From Daniel W. Drezner’s Theories of International Politics and Zombies.

electeddevelopment:

The title is cute, but the outcomes are what really get me.

From Daniel W. Drezner’s Theories of International Politics and Zombies.

Cite Arrow via polyscinerd
3 months ago
11 months ago
11 months ago
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BuzzFeed/Foreign Policy Mashup? “11 BuzzFeed Lists that Explain the World” 

"The real point, however, is that entertaining pieces of web culture — often the iconic images known as "memes" — spread virally. This is the way the web now works: It’s a different kind of front page for the world, one where Overly Attached Girlfriend and a dead-serious exposé of Malaysian government propaganda in the U.S. media can and do coexist. So don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because the social web is full of cat pictures, great journalism is dying. (In fact, many great journalists are fond of cats.) This new viral world not only promotes the heck out of powerful original reporting, but it also is a crucial new channel for understanding closed, authoritarian societies, and for activists and campaigners from Russia to Zimbabwe to communicate with the outside world.
Then there are the lists, an old journalistic form reborn online with a vengeance: 21 Cats Who Aren’t Striking the Right Work/Life Balance, 10 NCAA Coaches Who Look EXACTLY Like Their Mascot. Once you stop laughing and start thinking, the extreme virulence of the social web just might revolutionize the way you think about the world too. Lists, I suggest to you, are the news of the future. Here are 11 we’d like to see on BuzzFeed — or ForeignPolicy.com — soon” 
(via 11 BuzzFeed Lists That Explain the World - By Ben Smith | Foreign Policy) h/t Christina

I absolutely agree with Ben Smith that social media and web culture are mixing up the way we digest serious, hard hitting news. Heck, I run a Tumblr called “IR Major, Thucydides” and reblog pictures of Ryan Gosling paired with international development quips, so dismissing Foreign Policy’s piece on memes would be more than a tad ironic.
However, I’m wary of Smith’s delight in proclaiming that lists are the news of the future. Lists aren’t news. They’re easy to breeze through, but they’re superficial. They shouldn’t replace well researched, longer articles. Which is not to dismiss them—if a list like “9 Disturbingly Good Jihadi Raps" can interest you enough that you delve into longer articles covering terrorism and ideology, excellent. But that’s all lists like the ones found in BuzzFeed’s politics section are: appetizers, not full meals.
Megan Garber made an excellent point about the increasing co-habitation of “pop” culture and “serious” culture when she wrote about Oreo’s response to the Mars Landing:

Last night, we landed a robot on Mars. Today, a sandwich cookie celebrates that accomplishment. The fluidity here between history and banality — and between science and pop culture — is, actually, kind of wonderful. It represents an access point to a fairly complicated news story. It makes the epic seem accessible, and it makes the accessible seem just a little (teensy, tiny) bit epic.

I echo Smith in hoping that we heartily embrace the interaction between frivolous memes and serious news. But as someone studying IR first and foremost and running a Tumblr on the side, I hope Garber’s critique rings truer. Memes and lists are wonderful, but they should serve as access points to more thoughtful analysis—they shouldn’t replace the news.

BuzzFeed/Foreign Policy Mashup? “11 BuzzFeed Lists that Explain the World”

"The real point, however, is that entertaining pieces of web culture — often the iconic images known as "memes" — spread virally. This is the way the web now works: It’s a different kind of front page for the world, one where Overly Attached Girlfriend and a dead-serious exposé of Malaysian government propaganda in the U.S. media can and do coexist. So don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because the social web is full of cat pictures, great journalism is dying. (In fact, many great journalists are fond of cats.) This new viral world not only promotes the heck out of powerful original reporting, but it also is a crucial new channel for understanding closed, authoritarian societies, and for activists and campaigners from Russia to Zimbabwe to communicate with the outside world.

Then there are the lists, an old journalistic form reborn online with a vengeance: 21 Cats Who Aren’t Striking the Right Work/Life Balance, 10 NCAA Coaches Who Look EXACTLY Like Their Mascot. Once you stop laughing and start thinking, the extreme virulence of the social web just might revolutionize the way you think about the world too. Lists, I suggest to you, are the news of the future. Here are 11 we’d like to see on BuzzFeed — or ForeignPolicy.com — soon” 

(via 11 BuzzFeed Lists That Explain the World - By Ben Smith | Foreign Policy) h/t Christina

I absolutely agree with Ben Smith that social media and web culture are mixing up the way we digest serious, hard hitting news. Heck, I run a Tumblr called “IR Major, Thucydides” and reblog pictures of Ryan Gosling paired with international development quips, so dismissing Foreign Policy’s piece on memes would be more than a tad ironic.

However, I’m wary of Smith’s delight in proclaiming that lists are the news of the future. Lists aren’t news. They’re easy to breeze through, but they’re superficial. They shouldn’t replace well researched, longer articles. Which is not to dismiss them—if a list like “9 Disturbingly Good Jihadi Raps" can interest you enough that you delve into longer articles covering terrorism and ideology, excellent. But that’s all lists like the ones found in BuzzFeed’s politics section are: appetizers, not full meals.

Megan Garber made an excellent point about the increasing co-habitation of “pop” culture and “serious” culture when she wrote about Oreo’s response to the Mars Landing:

Last night, we landed a robot on Mars. Today, a sandwich cookie celebrates that accomplishment. The fluidity here between history and banality — and between science and pop culture — is, actually, kind of wonderful. It represents an access point to a fairly complicated news story. It makes the epic seem accessible, and it makes the accessible seem just a little (teensy, tiny) bit epic.

I echo Smith in hoping that we heartily embrace the interaction between frivolous memes and serious news. But as someone studying IR first and foremost and running a Tumblr on the side, I hope Garber’s critique rings truer. Memes and lists are wonderful, but they should serve as access points to more thoughtful analysis—they shouldn’t replace the news.

1 year ago
1 year ago
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Dan Drezner is trolling us, and I love it.
The Geopolitics of ‘Girls’ - By Daniel W. Drezner | Foreign Policy:
This is the Golden Age for television shows that offer commentary, directly or allegorically, on world politics. Shows like AMC’s The Walking Dead and NBC’s Revolution examine how humans react to a Hobbesian system in which trust is a scarce commodity. Showtime’s Homeland and FX’s crackerjack The Americans explore the corrosive effects of espionage and counterintelligence during the War on Terror and Cold War respectively. HBO’s Game of Thrones combines a dollop of magic with the realpolitik of 17th-century Europe. I’m here to tell you: Forget all those shows. The true TV connoisseur appreciates that the most insightful television show about world politics airing right now is, obviously, Girls.
…Dunham’s Hannah Horvath, a struggling young writer who clearly represents the United States in all her fading hegemony. She borrows from others in order to afford her current lifestyle. Hannah manages to insert herself into every situation, making it all about her — a process that evokes myriad U.S. military interventions.
As for Hannah’s ostensible best friend, Allison Williams’ Marnie, she exemplifies Germany. There is much to admire in Marnie — her undeniable beauty, her self-assuredness, and her unwillingness to go into debt. Unfortunately, however, Marnie expects everyone else to behave the same way she does — and is truly flummoxed when others seem to prosper using a different recipe for success.
…If the female characters on Girls represent the West, the two most important male characters come from the BRICs. Ray is a coffee-shop manager, the oldest member of the group, and far and away the most cynical and angry character on the show. He scorns just about everything that every other character says or does, but seems unable to make much of himself. Ray is Russia personified. In contrast, Adam — Hannah’s former beau — is China. He’s a force to be reckoned with, but it’s not entirely clear whether he’s socialized into how the rest of Brooklyn society behaves. One could posit that Hannah’s relationship with Adam represents the promise and peril of the “responsible stakeholder" concept. On the one hand, Hannah seems to use her "soft power" to entice Adam into liking her a lot more than he originally thought — in other words, getting him to want what she wants. He begins to socialize with Hannah’s circle of friends. At the same time, Hannah is unsure just how much she wants to engage Adam, reflecting America’s ambivalence in its relationship with China. At the end of the first season, she is quite uneasy about moving in together. The result is an Adam that, much like China, is angry and frustrated at his treatment by others — which in turn leads to bellicose behavior, which in turn leads Hannah to call the cops and try to contain his behavior. The breakdown in the relationship between Hannah and Adam is yet another example of the security dilemma destroying lives.

Dan Drezner is trolling us, and I love it.

The Geopolitics of ‘Girls’ - By Daniel W. Drezner | Foreign Policy:

This is the Golden Age for television shows that offer commentary, directly or allegorically, on world politics. Shows like AMC’s The Walking Dead and NBC’s Revolution examine how humans react to a Hobbesian system in which trust is a scarce commodity. Showtime’s Homeland and FX’s crackerjack The Americans explore the corrosive effects of espionage and counterintelligence during the War on Terror and Cold War respectively. HBO’s Game of Thrones combines a dollop of magic with the realpolitik of 17th-century Europe. I’m here to tell you: Forget all those shows. The true TV connoisseur appreciates that the most insightful television show about world politics airing right now is, obviously, Girls.

…Dunham’s Hannah Horvath, a struggling young writer who clearly represents the United States in all her fading hegemony. She borrows from others in order to afford her current lifestyle. Hannah manages to insert herself into every situation, making it all about her — a process that evokes myriad U.S. military interventions.

As for Hannah’s ostensible best friend, Allison Williams’ Marnie, she exemplifies Germany. There is much to admire in Marnie — her undeniable beauty, her self-assuredness, and her unwillingness to go into debt. Unfortunately, however, Marnie expects everyone else to behave the same way she does — and is truly flummoxed when others seem to prosper using a different recipe for success.

…If the female characters on Girls represent the West, the two most important male characters come from the BRICs. Ray is a coffee-shop manager, the oldest member of the group, and far and away the most cynical and angry character on the show. He scorns just about everything that every other character says or does, but seems unable to make much of himself. Ray is Russia personified. In contrast, Adam — Hannah’s former beau — is China. He’s a force to be reckoned with, but it’s not entirely clear whether he’s socialized into how the rest of Brooklyn society behaves. One could posit that Hannah’s relationship with Adam represents the promise and peril of the “responsible stakeholder" concept. On the one hand, Hannah seems to use her "soft power" to entice Adam into liking her a lot more than he originally thought — in other words, getting him to want what she wants. He begins to socialize with Hannah’s circle of friends. At the same time, Hannah is unsure just how much she wants to engage Adam, reflecting America’s ambivalence in its relationship with China. At the end of the first season, she is quite uneasy about moving in together. The result is an Adam that, much like China, is angry and frustrated at his treatment by others — which in turn leads to bellicose behavior, which in turn leads Hannah to call the cops and try to contain his behavior. The breakdown in the relationship between Hannah and Adam is yet another example of the security dilemma destroying lives.

1 year ago
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Cite Arrow via ircats
1 year ago
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Catching “If I Catch You”

Looking at Brazil’s growth through the rise of “Ai, Se Eu Te Pego,” by Bryan McCann, fabulous Georgetown professor. (h/t to Sam!)

This is the Brazilian cultural industry at its most potent: its pop wizards have several decades of practice in capturing a hint of the deepest flavors in Brazilian music and swirling them in the cauldron of sweet confection, emerging with pop that still has some connection to roots.

It helps that Teló is telegenic, but within Brazil, it helps even more that he is country. Over the past twenty years Brazil’s middle class has grown from a small sliver of the population to a substantial base. That growth stems from booming agribusiness—frozen chicken, concentrated orange-juice, sugar cane refined into ethanol. Is it an accident that Teló’s value-added country-pop bears such striking similarities to these market-ready commodities?

The new middle-class not only depends on agribusiness, it is based in the countryside. Twenty-five years ago, the rural interior of Teló’s home-state of Paraná was about as culturally compelling as southern Indiana, and the countryside of Mato Grosso, where his career eventually took off, was an impoverished backland known primarily for intractable malaria. Today, you can walk into a café in Medianeira, Paraná or Conquista d’Oeste, Mato Grosso and expect global niceties like wi-fi, espresso, and drizzled vinaigrette. But the sound system will mostly be playing sertaneja-pop, because this class emergence is defined by staking a claim to belonging, rather than imitating outsiders, whether from Los Angeles or Rio de Janeiro. “Ai, Se Eu Te Pego” was tailor-made for this audience and its taste for uncomplicated pleasures that subordinate coastal influence to the comforting taste of home.

The global spread of “Ai, Se Eu Te Pego,” meanwhile, reflects the current enthusiasm for all things Brazilian, from Neymar (bicycle kicks) to Embraer (regional jets). This is why Brazil was awarded both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro: the green-and-yellow sells well these days. “Ai, Se Eu Te Pego” does not have enough staying power to take us all the way through the World Cup, but you can bet it will generate a new legion of Brazilophiles and spawn a new burst of accordion pop between now and then. Michel Teló has one-hit wonder written all over him, but what a hit. C’mon. “Nossa, nossa, assim você me mata.” “Goodness, gracious, looking that way you kill me.” You know you love it.

Read the whole article at PopMatters.

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