Society and Culture News

The Pope in Cuba: What Does it Mean?

Sep 21, 2015
"The worldwide popularity of Pope Francis and the oft expressed media speculation that he might use his visit to pressure the Cuban government to initiate major changes misconstrues the role of the Cuban church, as well as the purposes of the papal visits which were and are primarily pastoral aimed at fortifying the evangelizing capacity of the Cuban church," writes Margaret Crahan on the papal visit to Cuba.

“A Sacred Space Is Never Empty”

Sep 14, 2015
In continuation of our alumni interview series, we talked with Title VIII-supported Research Scholar Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock to hear her reflections on her fellowship. Dr. Smolkin-Rothrock, Assistant Professor of Russian History at Wesleyan University, is writing a book about the confrontation between scientific atheism and lived religion in the Soviet Union. See the discussion below on religious policy and atheism throughout Soviet history.

From Chechnya to Ukraine: Biopolitical Patriotism in Times of War

Sep 09, 2015
The following analysis uses Russian cinematographic narratives to help us understand the concept of biopolitical patriotism. More specifically, several Russian film representations of the two wars in Chechnya touch upon the idea of post-Soviet patriotism. This patriotism can be dubbed biopolitical, in the sense that the state, being neither its engine nor its key reference point, could take advantage of this patriotism’s ability to mobilize a population and could selectively use it for political purposes.

Everyday Law Enforcement in Russia

Sep 08, 2015
An Interview with Lauren McCarthy, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, upon the completion of her Title VIII Research Scholarship. Dr. McCarthy discusses her Kennan Institute project, which explored how and when Russian law enforcement agencies implemented laws on human trafficking in Russia from 2004-2013. Check out this interview for a sneak peak of Dr. McCarthy’s forthcoming book

Will ISIS Infect Bangladesh?

Aug 04, 2015
"Thanks to increased counterterrorism efforts spearheaded by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, IS has few allies that can help it tap into Bangladesh’s large Muslim population. Pro-IS sentiment, simply put, is very weak in Bangladesh," write Atif Jalal Ahmad and Michael Kugelman.

Iran’s President Rouhani: Assessing His First Two Years in Office

Jul 31, 2015
Two years into a term that promised to change the tone and substance of Iran’s politics and relationships around the world, a panel of experts gathered to assess President Rouhani’s performance beyond the nuclear deal. That’s the focus of this edition of REWIND.

Luther’s Fortress: Martin Luther and His Reformation Under Siege

Jul 31, 2015
Prolific author, acclaimed historian, and Wilson Center Senior Scholar, James Reston’s latest book draws on primary source correspondence, notes, and other writings to provide a gripping portrait of what may be the most productive months of Martin Luther’s life. Luther’s Fortress: Martin Luther and His Reformation Under Siege, chronicles a critical but little-known episode in Luther’s life, revealing its pivotal role in the history of Christianity. That’s the focus of this edition of Wilson Center NOW.

Tehran’s Promise

Jul 27, 2015
"After decades of living in a pariah nation, Iranians seem to crave normalcy—but on their own terms. Figuring out their relationship with the outside world is a big part of the transition," writes Robin Wright.

After One Year, Reporter Jason Rezaian Remains in Iranian Prison

Jul 22, 2015
"Some hoped that Jason Rezaian would be freed once an agreement was reached over Iran’s nuclear program, but the truth is that his fate-–like that of the other American-Iranians serving time–-was never dependent on the outcome of the nuclear negotiations," writes Haleh Esfandiari.
President Lyndon B Johnson signing the Civil Rights Bill, April 11, 1968

U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Upholding Housing Discrimination Law

Jul 15, 2015
Supreme Court upholds key tool for fighting housing bias by ruling on Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, challenging race-neutral policies that have negative effects on minorities.