Past Seminar Series


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Introductory Seminar

2020-21 Perry World House Postdoctoral Fellows

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

The North-South Dialogue: Global Inequality and American Foreign Policy in the 1970s

Michael Franczak, Perry World House Postdoctoral Fellow

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Politics of Anticolonial Resistance: Violence, Nonviolence, and the Erosion of the British Empire

Richard McAlexander, Perry World House Postdoctoral Fellow

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Slow Harms and Citizen Action: Environmental Degradation and Policy Change in Latin American Cities

Veronica Herrera, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, UCLA

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Sisters Are Doing it for Themselves: How Female Combatants Gender Peace Agreements in Civil Wars

Jakana Thomas, Associate Professor of Political Science, Michigan State University

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Inhibitory Institutions: How Bureaucrats Improve Public Goods in Latin America

Alisha Holland, Associate Professor of Government, Harvard University

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Mass Protests and Ethnic Armies: How Coup Proofing Impacts Military Defection

Kristen Harkness, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of St Andrews

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

How Perilous are Paper Fans? Public Diplomacy through Confucius Classrooms and Implications for Chinese Influence

Naima Green-Riley, Raymond Vernon Fellow, Harvard University

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Institutional Compounding and the Continuity of Progressive City Planning

Andrea Restrepo-Mieth, Postdoctoral Fellow, Perry World House

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Topographies of Hope

Cindi Katz, Professor of Environmental Psychology, City University of New York

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Foundations of U.S. Public Opinion on Border Security

Lauren Pinson, Postdoctoral Fellow, Perry World House

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Durability Derived from Policy: Explaining El Salvador's Civil War Non-Recurrence

Meg Guliford, Penn Provost Postdoctoral Fellow, Perry World House

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

(IL)Legal Borders: Narratives of Banning and Belonging in the Persian Gulf, 1900-1971

Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Built Structures and the Idea of the State

Emily Gade, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Emory University

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Securitization, Racial Capitalism, and Refugee Surplus Populations: Making a Labor Frontier in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Shae Frydenlund, Postdoctoral Fellow, Perry World House

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Prolonged Social Contact Does Not Reshape Locals’ Attitudes toward Migrants in Wartime Settings

Yang-Yang Zhou, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of British Columbia

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Illegal Guns in Paradise: Why Governments Allow Illicit Firearms in Island Nations

Lauren Pinson, Postdoctoral Fellow, Perry World House

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

In Defense of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Francesca Parente, Postdoctoral Fellow, Perry World House

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The Psychology of Separation: Border Walls and International Neighborliness

Diana C. Mutz, Stouffer Professor of Political Science and Communication, University of Pennsylvania

Beth A. Simmons, Mitchell University Professor in Law, Political Science, and Business Ethics, University of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Revisiting the Domestic and International Implications of the Climate Intelligence Arms Race

Jesse M. Keenan, Associate Professor in the School of Architecture, Tulane University and Visiting Scholar, Perry World House

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Condominium Law and Institutional Change

André Sorensen, Professor of Geography, University of Toronto

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

From Pluribus to Unum? Statebuilding and the Imagined Community in 19th Century America

Melissa Lee, Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University and Lightning Scholar, Perry World House

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Border Orientation and Public Health

Beth Simmons, Andrea Mitchell University Professor in Law, Political Science and Business Ethics, University of Pennsylvania; Michael Kenwick, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University; and Gino Pauselli, Ph.D. Student, University of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Climate Policy, Health, and International Equity

Mark Budolfson, Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Studies, Population-Level Bioethics, and Philosophy, Rutgers University; Visiting Scholar, Perry World House

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Pax Americana: The Rise and Fall of the American World Order

Daniel Sargent, Associate Professor in the Department of History and Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California Berkeley


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Assessing Turkish Foreign Policy in an age of uncertainty: Regional Challenges, Global Aspirations

Meltem Müftüler-Baç, Perry World House Visiting Scholar

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Crippling Leviathan: How Foreign Subversion Weakens the State

 Melissa Lee, Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University and Emerging Scholars Policy Prize Recipient

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Private Sector Growth and Frustrated Human Development

Brian Ganson, Associate Professor, University of Stellenbosch Business School

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Beyond Naming and Shaming: Accusations and International Law in Cybersecurity

Duncan Hollis, Perry World House Visiting Scholar

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Bullets Over Borders: Why States Allow Illicit Trafficking

Lauren Pinson, Perry World House Postdoctoral Fellow

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Save The Sea Lion: Community Science in the Galapagos Archipelago

Michael Weisberg, Perry World House Faculty Fellow

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Private Eyes in the Sky: Emerging Technology and the Political Consequences of Eroding Government Secrecy

Erik Lin-Greenberg, Perry World House Postdoctoral Fellow

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Open Borders, Local Closures: Curfews and Lebanon's Response to the Syrian Refugee Influx

Lama Mourad, Perry World House Postdoctoral Fellow

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

From Monitoring to Meddling: How Foreign Actors Influence Local Trust in Elections

Sarah Bush, Perry World House Lightning Scholar

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Administrative National Security

Elena Chachko, Perry World House Postdoctoral Fellow

Wednesday, February, 19, 2020

The Returnees

Stephanie Schwartz, Assistant Professor, University of Southern California

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

All Bark and No Bite: Why Right-Wing Nationalist Parties in Europe Fail to Deliver Foreign Policy Results

Andrew Moravcsik, Perry World House Visiting Scholar

Friday, February 28, 2020

From Freedom Fighters to Jihadists

Vera Mironova, Fellow, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Egalitarian Orbits: A New Regime for Geostationary Space

Lisa Ruth Rand, Haas Fellow, Science History Institute

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

A Short History of Humanitarian Urbanism

Marianne Potvin, Perry World House Postdoctoral Fellow

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Borders and Boundaries Project 

Professor Beth Simmons, Andrea Mitchell University Professor of Law, Politics, and Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania; Lauren Pinson, Perry World House Postdoctoral Fellow

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

What Explains U.S. Local Government Officials' Receptivity to New Refugees?

Robert Shaffer, Perry World House Postdoctoral Fellow

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Policy by Legislation or Policy by Decree? Understanding Attitudes toward Lawmaking Processes in Democratic and Authoritarian Contexts

Jonathan Chu, Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Populism and Voter Attitudes Toward International Organizations: Cross-Country and Experimental Evidence on the International Monetary Fund

Ayse Kaya Orloff, Perry World House Visiting Fellow



Thursday, January 12, 12 - 1:30pm | Military Power and the Brittleness of States in Arab Transition
Dr. Yezid Sayigh
Senior fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Social contracts that were eroding in many Arab states in the two decades up to 2010 have collapsed in most countries affected by the Arab Spring. In these countries, state failure, widening social gaps reflected in political alienation and ideological polarization, and the framing of socio-political challenges by global and regional powers within a framework of "counter-terrorism" are deconstructing the model of the modern state that was built over the past century. As it retreats, violence has become the main medium of politics and a central instrument in building institutions and organizing political power. Consequently, efforts by ruling elites or local power brokers and their international counterparts to rebuild and reintegrate state agencies of coercion (armed forces and security sectors) are either doomed to fail or help drive the emergence of new forms of state structuring and state-society relations.

Wednesday, January 18, 12 - 1:30pm | Bottom-Up Urbanism in China: Urban Villages and City Development
Stefan Al
Associate Professor of Urban Design at the University of Pennsylvania

China has witnessed the world’s largest urbanization drive, adding 400 million people to cities in only 35 years. Most of the new urban areas were built as car-oriented and mono-use “superblocks”, without human scale — planning mistakes the national government presently aims to correct through urban design guideline reform. But surprisingly, an alternative type of urbanization emerged from within China’s cities: urban villages, former agricultural villages that have become “urban” because of an influx of a large migrant population. These informal settlements exhibit pedestrian-oriented and mixed-use urban conditions that the formal city, restrained by dated zoning regulations that advantages vehicular transportation and mono-use, could not achieve. This presentation argues for the value of urban villages as places, and suggests that there are lessons in the urban villages for the formation of China’s new urban design guidelines.

Wednesday, January 25, 12 - 1:30pm | All Measures Short of War: The Contest for the 21st Century and the Future of American Power
Tom Wright
PWH Visiting Fellow and Director of Brookings’ Project on International Order and Strategy

Wednesday, February 1, 12 - 1:30pm | Leaving the Poor Behind? The Paradox of Urban Transformation in Africa’s Largest City
Daniel Agbiboa
Postdoctoral Fellow, Perry World House

Focusing on Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital and Africa’s largest city, this presentation analyzes the everyday challenges facing the city’s poor as they struggle to get by and exercise agency amidst a changing urban landscape of violent extortion, risk, and radical uncertainty. The analysis extends to the elite-driven ‘world-class’ megacity ambition and plan in Lagos (since 1999), which has resulted in the violent displacement of millions of ‘informal’ workers, adding another layer of vulnerability to their precarious existence.  

Wednesday, February 15, 12 - 1:30pm | The Demographic Logic of War, Peace, and Politics in Multi-ethnic States
Margarita Konaev
Postdoctoral Fellow, Perry World House

How do global and sub-national demographic shifts – changes in the size, distribution, composition, and growth rates of populations – shape efforts to prevent, manage, and resolve violent conflicts? To begin answering this broad question, this presentation focuses on how the demographic balance of power between competing ethnic groups affects the long-term viability of negotiated agreements in conflicts over national self-determination. Championed by the international community in Bosnia, Iraq, and most recently, Ukraine, power-sharing and autonomy-based solutions have become the preferred institutional framework for building peace and democracy in ethnically divided societies. Unfortunately, however, nearly half of these agreements collapse into renewed violence. Drawing on findings from a cross-national analysis of 103 violent national self-determination movements and evidence from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this research demonstrates that the demographic balance of power shapes how adversaries view the future of sharing political power and dividing control over territory within the boundaries of a single multi-ethnic state, which in turn can explain why peace endures after the cessation of hostilities in some conflicts but not in others. More broadly, this project cuts to the heart of policy debates about the promise and perils of political power sharing, the question of territorial partition as a solution to ethnonational strife, and the role of the international community in ending deadly conflicts. 

Tuesday, February 21, 12 - 1:30pm | The U.S., India, and Global Politics: A Conversation with Arun Singh
Arun Singh
Former Ambassador of India to the United States
Distinguished International Fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study of India

Wednesday, February 22, 12 - 1:30pm | Enabling Effective Governance:Connecting the local to the global
Eugenie L. Birch, Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research and Co-director of the Penn Institute for Urban Research
Mark Alan Hughes, Professor of Practice at PennDesign and Faculty Director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy
Bill Burke White, Richard Perry Professor and Director of Perry World House

Wednesday, March 15, 12 - 1:30pm | U.S. Interest in Middle East Oil: A Century of Expert Fabulism
Roger Stern
Visiting Scholar, Kleinman Center for Energy Policy
Faculty Fellow, School of Energy Economics, Policy & Commerce, University of Tulsa

The assumption that the United States has a national interest in Middle East oil has gone largely unquestioned by historians and political scientists. I assert that their assumption is wrong. The notion that US oil supply is or was ever so threatened as to require military protection is a confection, which I call “oil scarcity ideology.” Experts derived the ideology from a meaningless syllogism of secular apocalysm and economic fabulism. The apocalypse was impending peak oil. The economic fabulism was that other countries could and would try to interrupt US oil supply. The USSR, for example, was believed to be planning an invasion of the Middle East to offset its dwindling domestic production, and Middle East oil-producing countries were believed to possess an “oil weapon” with which they could punish the US by withholding supply. The conclusion of the syllogism was that the US must exert military force to protect Middle East supply. This sounded threatening, but since oil always proved abundant and was always obviously so based on market information, the syllogism was meaningless. There is nothing exceptional in the development of foreign policy by experts, but there was something exceptional in oil scarcity ideology as a basis for policy. The ideology resisted modification when its assumptions were proved wrong, which was always. Despite falsification, there was no learning. Rather, the scarcity ideology policymaking dynamic operated with increasing success. The result was serial escalations in the aggressiveness of US policy towards the Persian Gulf; the US commitment to share of Ottoman oil as spoils of World War I; the 1953 coup against Iran; the Carter Doctrine of 1980; support for Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88; and the 1991 Gulf War. Peak oil anxiety was high in 2003, but was less important as a rationale for the Second Gulf War and occupation of Iraq. By then, decades of US policy based on scarcity ideology had helped destabilize the region, a condition that provided more compelling rationales for intervention.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 12 - 1:30pm | Bitter Peace: How America’s Victory in the Cold War Led to Political Division, Failing Wars, and the Rise of Donald Trump
Dominic Tierney
Associate Professor of Political Science, Swarthmore College
Visiting Fellow in Residence, Perry World House

America today is a troubled land: fractious, discordant, mistrustful. Economic inequality is approaching record levels. Recent American wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq deteriorated into costly and unpopular quagmires. Confidence in many national institutions like the presidency, Congress, and the media, is at historic lows. To understand these divisions, people have pointed to globalization, post-industrial decay, and anxiety about fast-changing demographics. But a critical explanation was the unanticipated consequences of the end of the Cold War. The peaceful resolution of superpower competition was one of the greatest triumphs in American history. Just as the champagne corks cracked open in the West, however, Soviet official Georgi Arbatov told an American audience: “We are going to do a terrible thing to you. We are going to deprive you of an enemy.”

Without an external adversary to unite Americans, U.S. politics became polarized, income inequality heightened, and racial division widened. Washington succumbed to hubris, and was lured into wild adventures, including the invasion of Iraq. Meanwhile, enemies and rivals seized the opportunities provided by American hegemony to improve their position. Ultimately, these dynamics laid the path to the Trump presidency. From the American Revolution onward, Americans have often required a powerful enemy to create social and political cohesion. Perhaps most surprisingly, the American left needs an enemy. We tend to think that foreign threats and wartime demands strengthen the political right, by triggering political repression and channeling resources into the military. But the presence of adversaries has historically aided progressive social change, including income equality, civil rights, and U.S. backing for international institutions. Can Americans survive an age of peacewithout tearing themselves apart?

Wednesday, April 5, 12 - 1:30pm | The Road From the Paris Climate Agreement
Andrew Light
George Mason University & World Resources Institute
2013-2016,  Senior Climate Change Adviser, U.S. Department of State

In December 2015, over 190 countries met in Paris for the 21st meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change where they succeeded in creating a new international climate agreement.  Many have heralded the outcome as a groundbreaking achievement for international diplomacy and global climate action.  Others have argued that the climate commitments that parties brought to the table in Paris are ultimately too weak to achieve the agreements’ lofty aspirations.  To better understand the significance of the new Paris Agreement we will review the recent history of the UN climate negotiations, how this outcome evolved from earlier failed attempts in this process, and be sure what its impact could be.  A more pressing question however may be what new future for global climate cooperation is now required of us after Paris, especially in light of the last federal election in the United States.  To close the current gap between the Paris pledges for emission reductions, and what is needed to achieve our long-term goals for climate stabilization, we will need to continue to strengthen the profile of climate change as equal to other global priorities, and find new opportunities for enhanced climate action that all parties can embrace despite their differing domestic circumstances.

Tuesday, April 11, 12 - 1:30pm | Is There a Nobel Prize in Economics?
Per Krusell
Savings Banks Foundations and Swedbank Chair in Macroeconomics at Stockholm University

Co-sponsored with the Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, April 12, 12 - 1:30pm | The Built Environment: State Presence at Border Crossings in the Modern World
Beth Simmons
Andrew Mitchell University Professor of Law and Political Science, University of Pennsylvania

Co-sponsored with the Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics

Wednesday, April 19, 12 - 1:30pm

Jockin Arputham, President, Slum/Shack Dwellers International; Perry World House Visiting Fellow
Ahmet İçduyguDean, College of Social Sciences and Humanities; Director, Migration Research Center, Koç University, Istanbul
Arafat JamalHead, Inter-Agency Coordination Service, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; Perry World House Visiting Fellow
Aisa Kirabo KacyiraUnited Nations Assistant Secretary-General; Deputy Executive Director, UN-Habitat; Perry World House Visiting Fellow
Ian KlausFormer Senior Adviser for Global Cities, U.S. Department of State; Deputy Negotiator, U.S. Delegation to Habitat III; Perry World House Visiting Fellow
Rose MolokoaneDeputy Director, Slum/Shack Dwellers International; National Coordinator, South Africa Alliance and the Federation of the Urban Poor (FEDUP)
Anne RichardAssistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration (2012-2017); Perry World House Visiting Fellow

Roundtable dialogue on Global Shifts: Urbanization, Migration, and Demography--An Examination of Marginalization and Inequality. The visiting fellows discussed the challenges, opportunities, and intersections of their work in advance of the Global Shifts annual conference.

Tuesday, May 2, 2 - 3:30pm | The New Face of Global Cooperation on Climate Change
David Victor
Professor, School of Global Policy and Strategy, UC San Diego
Director, the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation