5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

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Explaining the Soviet ‘West’ and ‘Exotic’: Lithuanian and Georgian Writers

March 26, 2013 // 3:30pm — 5:30pm
Soviet writers were some of the most publicly recognizable intellectuals and were tasked by the state to transform society. The presentation outlined Georgian and Lithuanian writers, members of Writers’ Union, focusing on their participation in the establishment and the dynamics of ideas. The perspective of three generations in both countries reveals the rise of ethnic (local) interests and the disconnection of everyday-life from official goals. Both writers’ organizations expressed a clear character of localism (mestnichestvo), but the Georgian case illustrates more active participation at the central level while Lithuanian writers maintained a more peripheral and less active role in the druzhba narodov (“friendship of peoples”) narratives.
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Exiting Anarchy: Militia Politics after the Post-Soviet Wars

March 21, 2013 // 4:00pm — 5:30pm
Jesse Driscoll, Academy Scholar, Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, Harvard University, and Assistant Professor of Political Science, School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California at San Diego discussed his forthcoming book on how political order emerged in Tajikistan and Georgia after the violent chaos of the Soviet collapse.

1989 After 1989: Memory in Transition in Central and Eastern Europe

March 14, 2013 // 12:00pm — 1:00pm
The eastern European revolutions of 1989 were a watershed in global history. Despite this, in the two decades since, their meaning has become a source of debate. While they have been promoted as a founding myth for a newly unified Europe, eastern Europeans have repeatedly represented them as a moment of betrayal, martyrdom, liberation, victory, disappointment, loss, colonization, or nostalgia.

Climate Change and Migration in Mexico: A Report Launch

February 15, 2013 // 9:00am — 10:30am
The conversation around immigration and Mexico has long been tied to the United States and the prevailing economic conditions in both countries. But a new report from the Royal United Services Institute argues that as temperatures rise and precipitation patterns change over the course of the next century, climate too will increasingly become a driver of both internal and international migration in Mexico.
Photo by Mona Youssef

The Resistible Rise of the Islamists?

February 27, 2013 // 12:00pm — 1:00pm
Some call it the Islamist winter while others talk of revolution betrayed. Neither claim portrays accurately what is happening in Arab countries in the throes of popular uprisings and rapid political change. The rise of Islamist parties in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings took most by surprise, including in some cases the Islamist parties themselves, which were more successful than they dared to hope. Coupled with the disarray of the secular opposition, the success of Islamist parties augurs poorly for democracy, because a strong, competitive opposition is the only guarantee against the emergence of a new authoritarianism.

Communicating Synthetic Biology: How the Media Covers Emerging Technology

February 26, 2013 // 12:00pm — 2:00pm
From Neanderthal clones to cheap vaccines, the emerging field of synthetic biology has garnered much mainstream press coverage in recent years – and found itself at the center of a hot debate about our expectations for biotechnology.
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Stalin’s Curse: Battling for Communism in War and Cold War

March 05, 2013 // 12:00pm — 1:00pm
"Exciting, deeply engaged, and shrewdly perceptive, Stalin's Curse is an unprecedented revelation of the sinister machinations of Stalin's Kremlin." Based on newly declassified archival materials author Robert Gellately offers a more clearly defined picture of what went on behind the scenes.

Strengthening Responses to Climate Variability in South Asia

February 07, 2013 // 9:00am — 10:30am
Climate change and conflict can create a self-reinforcing feedback loop: Climate change exacerbates existing conflicts, while conflict makes adapting to climate change more difficult, said Janani Vivekananda of International Alert at the Wilson Center on February 7. She presented the results of nine case studies conducted in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal to find how communities are affected by and adapting to climate change in conflict-prone settings.

The Rise and Decline of the American "Empire": Power and its Limits in Comparative Perspective

March 12, 2013 // 3:30pm — 5:00pm
Geir Lundestad's latest book explores the rapidly growing literature on the rise and fall of the United States. Lundestad argues that after 1945 the US has definitely been the most dominant power the world has seen and that it has successfully met the challenges from, first, the Soviet Union and, then, Japan, and the European Union. Now, however, the United States is in decline: its vast military power is being challenged by asymmetrical wars, its economic growth is slow and its debt is rising rapidly, the political system is proving unable to meet these challenges in a satisfactory way. While the US is still likely to remain the world's leading power for the foreseeable future, it is being challenged by China, particularly economically, and also by several other regional Great Powers.

Taiwan and the U.S. Pivot to Asia: New Realities in the Region?

February 26, 2013 // 3:30pm — 5:30pm
As the United States rebalances its diplomatic and military focus toward Asia, some analysts have voiced concern about what a greater U.S. presence in the region might mean for cross-Strait relations. While ties between China and Taiwan have improved in recent years, will the U.S. pivot toward Asia shape the further evolution of cross-Strait relations? Will other Taiwanese interests be impacted by the rebalance? Could Chinese uneasiness about the rebalance work to Taiwan’s detriment? From Washington’s perspective, how does Taiwan fit into the pivot?

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