Recent Publications

Secret Wars: Covert Conflict in International Politics
Austin Carson, Political Science

Secret Wars is the first book to systematically analyze the ways powerful states covertly participate in foreign wars, showing a recurring pattern of such behavior stretching from World War I to U.S.-occupied Iraq. Investigating what governments keep secret during wars and why, Austin Carson argues that leaders maintain the secrecy of state involvement as a response to the persistent concern of limiting war. Keeping interventions “ ackstage" helps control escalation dynamics, insulating leaders from domestic pressures while communicating their interest in keeping a war contained. Carson shows that covert interventions can help control escalation, but they are almost always detected by other major powers. However, the shared value of limiting war can lead adversaries to keep secret the interventions they detect, as when American leaders concealed clashes with Soviet pilots during the Korean War. Escalation concerns can also cause leaders to ignore covert interventions that have become an open secret. From Nazi Germany's role in the Spanish Civil War to American covert operations during the Vietnam War, Carson presents new insights about some of the most influential conflicts of the twentieth century.

 

The Perpetual Immigrant and the Limits of Athenian Democracy
Demetra Kasimis, Political Science

In this new work, Demetra Kasimis makes visible the long-overlooked centrality of immigration to the originary practices of democracy and political theory in Athens. She dismantles the interpretive and political assumptions that have led readers to turn away from the metic and reveals the key role this figure plays in such texts as Plato's Republic. The result is a series of original readings that boldly reframes urgent questions about how democracies order their non-citizen members.

 

Historical Anthropologies of Political Experience in Siin, Senegal
Francois Richard, Anthropology

Reluctant Landscapes is an exploration of the making and remaking of political experience and physical landscapes among rural communities in the Siin province of Senegal between the late 1500s and the onset of World War II. By recovering the histories of farmers and commoners who made up African states' demographic core in this period, Richard shows their crucial--but often overlooked--role in the making of Siin history. The book also delves into the fraught relation between the Seereer, a minority ethnic and religious group, and the Senegalese nation-state, with Siin's perceived "primitive" conservatism standing at odds with the country's Islamic modernity. Through a deep engagement with oral, documentary, archaeological, and ethnographic archives, Richard's groundbreaking study revisits the four-hundred-year history of a rural community shunted to the margins of Senegal's national imagination.

 

Thinking Through Statistics
John Levi Martin, Sociology

Thinking Through Statistics is a primer on how to maintain rigorous data standards in social science work, and one that makes a strong case for revising the way that we try to use statistics to support our theories. But don't let that daunt you. With clever examples and witty takeaways, John Levi Martin proves himself to be a most affable tour guide through these scholarly waters.

Martin argues that the task of social statistics isn't to estimate parameters, but to reject false theory. He illustrates common pitfalls that can keep researchers from doing just that using a combination of visualizations, re-analyses, and simulations. Thinking Through Statistics gives social science practitioners accessible insight into troves of wisdom that would normally have to be earned through arduous trial and error, and it does so with a lighthearted approach that ensures this field guide is anything but stodgy.

 

Autocracy and Redistribution : The Politics of Land Reform
Michael Albertus, Political Science

When and why do countries redistribute land to the landless? What political purposes does land reform serve, and what place does it have in today's world? A longstanding literature dating back to Aristotle and echoed in important recent works holds that redistribution should be both higher and more targeted at the poor under democracy. Yet comprehensive historical data to test this claim has been lacking. This book shows that land redistribution - the most consequential form of redistribution in the developing world - occurs more often under dictatorship than democracy. It offers a novel theory of land reform and develops a typology of land reform policies. Albertus leverages original data spanning the world and dating back to 1900 to extensively test the theory using statistical analysis and case studies of key countries such as Egypt, Peru, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. These findings call for rethinking much of the common wisdom about redistribution and regimes.

 

Enchanted America: How Intuition and Reason Divide Our Politics
J. Eric Oliver, Political Science

America is in civic chaos, its politics rife with conspiracy theories and false information. Nationalism and authoritarianism are on the rise, while scientists, universities, and news organizations are viewed with increasing mistrust. Its citizens reject scientific evidence on climate change and vaccinations while embracing myths of impending apocalypse. And then there is Donald Trump, a presidential candidate who won the support of millions of conservative Christians despite having no moral or political convictions. What is going on? The answer, according to J. Eric Oliver and Thomas J. Wood, can be found in the most important force shaping American politics today: human intuition. Much of what seems to be irrational in American politics arises from the growing divide in how its citizens make sense of the world.