What is Terrorism?

"Free the Uighurs" protest

The recent shootings in Kansas, as well as various events over the past few years involving individual acts of violence, have led people to ask why some of these events are considered to be merely crimes (homicides), some considered hate crimes, and others considered to be terrorism.  Anthony Lemieux engages this question directly over at Psychology Today in response to yesterday’s events. Every semester that I teach International Relations, we spend a week dedicated to dissecting global terrorism (we spend longer on the issue when I teach Civil War and Terrorism as a full class) and we spend part of that Continue reading

QP LIVE! Where to Find Us at MPSA 2014

It's the time of year that I affectionately call "conference season," i.e. the springtime one-two punch of the annual meetings of the International Studies Association and the Midwest Political Science Association.  This week, thousands of political scientists will descend upon Chicago hoping to learn about new research, present some research of their own, and/or connect with old friends and new colleagues.  Your trusty bloggers here at the Quantitative Peace will be among those making the trek, so, in case you are interested in seeing the kind of stuff we work on when we're not blogging, I've put together a schedule Continue reading

While the IR people are away, the Americanists will play.

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Joshua N. Zingher, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at Binghamton University. The content of this post is based on Josh’s paper, ‘An Analysis of the Changing Social Bases of America’s Political Parties: 1952-2008’, appearing in Electoral Studies. This piece is cross-posted at the London School of Economics’ USAPP Blog, which can be found here.    Demographic changes mean that traditional Republican constituencies are shrinking as the Democrats’ grow. It is difficult to discuss electoral politics in the United States without talking in terms of social groups.  Journalistic accounts of party Continue reading

Bipartisanship and the Foreign Policy Bureaucracy

Editor’s note: A version of this piece is cross-posted at the LSE USAPP blog, and can be found here. This post is based on my recent article, The International and Domestic Sources of Bipartisanship in U.S. Foreign Policy, in Political Research Quarterly. — The idea that foreign policy and national security issues are somehow exempt from the partisan rancor that often characterizes domestic politics is perhaps best encapsulated by the old adage, “politics stops at the water’s edge.” In American foreign policy, nowhere is this spirit better exemplified than by President Franklin Roosevelt’s appointment of Henry L. Stimson as Secretary of Continue reading

To Nobody’s Surprise…

Last night, Idaho Governor Butch Otter signed SB 1254 into law, making Idaho the seventh state in the US to allow concealed weapons on college and university campuses. The law allows anyone with an enhanced concealed weapons permit to carry on campus. However, they are are not allowed to carry in dormitories or in public entertainment facilities. I wonder if I can start holding my classes in Bronco Stadium. But I digress. From a political science perspective, I find the passage of SB 1254 intriguing on several fronts. First, it is not at all surprising that Republicans in the Idaho state Continue reading

Troop Deployment Research and Poland

Interstate conflict is a rare phenomenon. Since 1816, the Correlates of War project only counts 96 different wars occurring over an almost 200 year period.  Given Russia’s incursion into the Crimean peninsula, it is of little surprise that IR scholar blogging activity has been rampant the past week; we may just have conflict 97 just around the corner. It is of little surprise that Ukraine is on the forefront of our discussions across twitter, blogs, and other forms of social media.  It is an intellectually ripe ground for explanation, prediction, and is an important teaching tool for me.  In the classroom, the Continue reading

The Military and Competitive Sports

I missed my last post, but thankfully I'm on top of this week's edition.  Kyleanne Hunter and Oliver Kaplan have a piece at Political Violence @ a Glance discussing some of the military roots of the biathlon. I've never known much about the sport's history, but it certainly makes sense that its origins are so closely tied to the kinds of security needs that Hunter and Kaplan cite. This was particularly interesting to me as both my wife and I grew up close to Lake Placid, New York. Lake Placid hosted the winter Olympics twice—once in 1932 and again in 1980—and continues Continue reading

The Conversation on Political Science & Public Engagement

As I'm sure most of you are aware, Nicholas Kristof believes that American academics (especially political scientists) don't do enough to engage with the public.  Political scientists have responded: Steve Saideman discusses how Kristof's complaints are oddly out of date, the importance of academic journals, and his role in the ISA blogging dustup; Erik Voeten points out that we're doing a lot of relevant research and more outreach than ever before;  Will Moore reminds us that professors are already getting their ideas out to the public by teaching them to the next generation and sheds some light on the reasoning behind the ISA blogging Continue reading

The Private Provision of Security

One of the basic functions of government in the modern era is to provide security for its citizens. Sometimes governments are unwilling or incapable of producing enough security, and so instead they will delegate the use of force to private citizens so they can provide security themselves. Here are two recent examples: Although the Mexican government has made some progress with its fight against drug cartels, drug related violence still plagues certain regions of Mexico. In response, some Mexican citizens have formed vigilante groups to help fight back against the cartels. For a while the groups have been helping the government officials fight Continue reading