Dec. 7, 2009
Leah Seupersad, 404-413-1354
ATLANTA - With several books published this year, political science experts at Georgia State University have analyzed the comprehensive costs of the U.S. foreign oil addiction, examined the consequences of the Iraq War and explored the worldwide growth of nongovernmental organizations. The professors will be available to discuss their research at a book celebration and book signing from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dec. 14 at Manuel's Tavern, 602 N Highland Ave NE. This event is free and open to the public.
About the authors:
John Duffield, professor of political science, is the author of "Over a Barrel: The Costs of U.S. Foreign Oil Dependence," which analyzes the comprehensive costs of U.S. foreign oil addiction - both economic and policy-related. "Foreign oil dependence has shaped our foreign policy and compromised our goals of democratization, human rights development and other values," Duffield says. Duffield is also the author of the new book "Balance Sheet," which provides a comprehensive evaluation of the consequences of the Iraq war for the national security of the United States.
Scott Graves, assistant professor of political science, and Robert Howard, associate professor of political science, examine every judicial recess appointment from 1789 to 2005, in the book "Justice Takes a Recess." The authors discover that U.S. presidents are strategic when they unilaterally appoint federal judges during Senate recesses, which can upset the separation of powers envisioned by the framers, shifting power away from one branch of government and toward another. "Recess appointments made sense when the Congress took long breaks, transportation was poor and people did not live that long," Howard said. "The president needed to keep government going. All those reasons are gone now and instead the president uses brief vacation recesses to appoint judges not out of necessity, but out of political considerations."
Robert Howard is also author of the book "Getting a Poor Return." Howard demonstrates that long-cherished beliefs such as equality before the law are more wishful thinking than reality. Courts, he argues, differ little from national policy makers in their approach to tax policy and tax enforcement. Examining the tax litigation process, particularly the influence and impact of competing courts, Howard discovers that fairness before the law may be a laudable goal, but the appointment process ensures that tax policy and tax enforcement rulings by the courts reflect the perspectives of the dominant political coalition. "The book is so timely because taxes and tax policy dominate so much of our national debate and courts and judges are always accused of being activist and going against the wishes of the democratic majority," Howard said. "I wanted to examine these claims and see how influential these so called "activist" courts are in the determination and outcomes on this all important issue."
Kim Reimann, associate professor of political science, says her book, "The Rise of Japanese NGOs: Activism from Above" analyzes the emergence of NGOs as important political players globally. Using the case of Japan, Reimann explores the political factors that have shaped NGO growth over time and shows how activism has been cultivated from "above" by both states and international political factors. "Americans take the existence NGOs for granted since ours is a country with many kinds of citizen-organized groups. But in many parts of the world NGOs are fairly recent phenomena, even in rich countries like Japan. With this book, I show that activism does not simply bubble up from below, but also has been actively promoted from above."
Carrie Manning, professor of political science, is author of "The Making of Democrats: Elections and Party Development in Postwar Bosnia, El Salvador, and Mozambique." "Democratization has become the cornerstone of post-civil war state reconstruction, but the role of political parties in the success or failure of democratic statebuilding is understudied," Manning says. The book examines four parties in three countries over 10 years or more of electoral politics: Renamo in Mozambique, the Croatian Democratic Union and the Serbian Democratic Party in Bosnia and the FMLN in El Salvador.
Jason Reifler, assistant professor of political science, is an expert on public opinion and political behavior. Reifler is the author of "Paying the Human Costs of War." From the Korean War to the current conflict in Iraq, "Paying the Human Costs of War" examines the ways in which the American public decides whether to support the use of military force. Contrary to the conventional view, the authors demonstrate that the public does not respond reflexively and solely to the number of casualties in a conflict. Instead, the book argues that the public makes reasoned and reasonable cost-benefit calculations for their continued support of a war based on the justifications for it and the likelihood it will succeed, along with the costs that have been suffered in casualties.
Jelena Subotic, assistant professor political science, is an expert in International relations theory, international organizations and human rights. In her book, "Hijacked Justice: Dealing with the Past in the Balkans", Subotic traces the design, implementation, and political outcomes of institutions established to deal with the legacies of violence in the aftermath of the Yugoslav wars. She finds that international efforts to establish accountability for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia have been used to pursue very different local political goals. In order to avoid the pitfalls of hijacked justice, Subotic argues, the international community should focus on broader and deeper social transformation of postconflict societies, instead on emphasizing only arrests of war crimes suspects.