Faculty Achievements: Late Fall 2020

Evelyn Simien was recognized by Provost Carl Lejuez for her contribution to the UConn Anti-Black Racism Course currently being offered University-wide to students, faculty, and staff. According to the Provost, “This is an important course that required considerable effort from all involved and I wanted to express my deepest appreciation … your own expertise and scholarship in these areas adds considerably to the intellectual depth and breadth of the material.”

Virginia Hettinger, Ronald Schurin, Susan Herbst, and Vin Moscardelli all volunteered to attend and answer questions at student watch parties held across the Storrs campus on election night. The events were hosted by UConn’s Undergraduate Student Government.

Jeremy Pressman wrote a guest post for Professor Juan Cole’s Informed Comment website.  Pressman wrote about President Trump, Israel, and the use of military force in the context of his recently published book, The sword is not enough: Arabs, Israelis, and the limits of military force  (Manchester University Press, 2020). He was also interviewed on “Tel Aviv Review” about the new book.

Pressman also delivered the opening address to the 22nd annual UConn Model U.N. Conference on November 6. A few weeks earlier, on October 16, Pressman and Erica Chenoweth of Harvard University wrote “This summer’s Black Lives Matter protesters were overwhelmingly peaceful, our research finds,” in the Washington Post.

Pressman published a new article, “Gender Imbalance in Expert Testimony at US Senate Hearings,” in The Forum (Volume 18, No. 2 (2020), pp.197-205). The article studies witnesses who testified before four U.S. Senate committees from 2003 to 2015.  He also published an analysis of the Bahrain-Israel-UAE normalization agreements at Political Violence @ a Glance.

On October 20, Thomas Hayes and Jeremy Pressman co-wrote an op-ed in the Connecticut Mirror arguing that people should vote because of what it signals and how the exercise of such rights strengthens democracy. Two days later, they published a letter in the Daily Campus, also discussing voting and its importance in a healthy democracy. Hayes and Pressman published the articles as part of an op-ed subcommittee of the American Political Science Association’s (APSA) Election Assistance Task Force; the aim was to encourage a robust democratic election and correct misinformation related to the election and voting.

The Department’s newly-hired faculty members led an academic job market panel for graduate students on November 11.  Hosted by the Department’s graduate placement director, Evelyn Simien, the panel featured Salih Emre Gercek, Hind Ahmed Zaki, Miles M. Evers, and Frank Griggs.

Zehra Arat delivered concluding remarks at the international virtual conference, “Feminists Discuss the Attacks on the Istanbul Convention,” organized by the Women’s Platform for Equality. The conference was held on October15, 2020.

Arat also presented two papers at recent conferences: (1) “Challenges of Freedom of Religion,” presented at the virtual conference on “Advancing Human Rights and Religious Freedom,” organized by the Human Rights Media on October 30; and (2) “Global Normative Encounters: Human Rights and Their Rivals,” paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Political Science Association, September 9-13.

Shareen Hertel co-authored (with former UConn honors student Rajeshwari Majumdar, among others) an article titled: “Developments in the Field: Big Data on BHR — Innovative Approaches to Analyzing the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre Database.” It was published in the Business and Human Rights Journal.

Hertel also co-organized a late September workshop on COVID-19 research at the nexus of engineering and human rights, which featured contributors from the School of Engineering, UConn Heath, UConn School of Social Work, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  The list of contributors included Prakash Kashwan as well.

Hertel contributed a blog posting to OpenGlobal Rights, one of the leading sources of policy debate in the field of human rights. The piece on “Mobilizing Empathy for a Truly Cosmopolitan Human Rights” stems from her involvement in an interdisciplinary collaborative project on human rights and cosmopolitan approaches.

Finally, Hertel will be a featured speaker for the Connecticut/Baden-Wurttemberg Human Rights Research Consortium’s November 9th conference on “Human Rights in Times of Crisis” and she has organized and will moderate a “Business & Human Rights Roundtable on Collegiate Licensing” to be held November 20th.  It is open to all faculty, students, and community members.

Paul Herrnson was interviewed by several media outlets about the 2020 election, including the CTPost and The New Haven Register. 

Evan Perkoski’s co-authored article entitled “The Death and Life of Terrorist Networks: How Alliances Help Militants Survive” was published in Foreign Affairs and is currently available online.

Perkoski also briefed officials from the United Nations this past October about ongoing research addressing the severity and duration of state-led mass violence.

Perkoski contributed a blog post entitled “Civil Society to the Rescue” in Political Violence at a Glance.  He was also interviewed about civil society’s effect on mass violence in UConn Today.

Jeffrey Ladewig recorded a broadcast on the nature of redistricting with the Connecticut Democracy Center and the Connecticut Old State House. 

David Richards gave an invited talk titled “Torture in the Time of COVID” at the “Human Rights in Times of Crisis” conference of the Connecticut-Baden-Württemberg Human Rights Research Consortium.  He also appeared on Iran International TV criticizing Iran’s torture of the environmentalists jailed and sentenced as spies.

Richards also founded “@Torture_Blog” as part of a larger project, which includes the publication of an online encyclopedia of torture.

Prakash Kashwan was interviewed by New Hampshire Public Radio for the podcast Outside/In. He joined historian Karl Jacoby, indigenous writer and environmental activist Rosalyn LaPier, environmental scientist Hadrian Cook, and the former United Nations Special Rapporteur to discuss the rights of indigenous peoples Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, for an episode on the theme of Fortress Conservation broadcast on November 5, 2020. 

Kashwan was interviewed about ongoing debates on forest and indigenous land rights debates in India. His assessment features extensively in this report published in Down to Earth magazine entitled: “Inter-ministerial panel for FRA: A giant step backwards, say experts.” 

Kashwan also engaged in an extended conversation with Iain Kerr, Associate Professor of Innovation Design and Co-Director of the MIX Lab at the Feliciano Center of Montclair State University. Their conversation focused on the topic of the various intersections of Race & Ecology and was live-streamed at Radio Free Montclair, as part of the Montclair Design Week. 

Finally, Kashwan moderated an international panel on climate change at the Eugene Environmental Film Festival which included British journalist Dan McDougal, Canadian scholar-activist Ian Mauro, green entrepreneur Harriet Festing, and mixed media artist Diane Tuft, who is also a UConn Alumna. The proceedings of the panel can be streamed on-demand. 

Christine Sylvester‘s invited oral interview for the Leverhulme Women and the History of International Thought Project at Oxford University is now available online.

Beth Ginsberg’s undergraduate class in electoral behavior at Stamford has been sharing information about registration, voting, candidates, and issues related to the 2020 election on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. 

Charles Venator-Santiago was a guest on Colin McEnroe’s radio show, The Wheelhouse, the day after the 2020 election. The panel analyzed the elections in Connecticut and across the nation. He is also working as an advisor/consultant on a series of projects for an exhibit by the Latino Gallery at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

David Yalof was interviewed in early October on the UConn 360 Podcast about the future of the Supreme Court.  Yalof was also interviewed by Wayne Norman at WILI in Willimantic about the appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.