Spring 2017 Calendar

Featuring Perry World House's affiliated faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting fellows, PWH Seminars are designed to showcase and workshop policy relevant research in progress. Seminars are generally held each Wednesday in the Perry World House conference room and are intended for faculty and graduate students. If you would like to be added to the PWH Seminars mailing list, please email worldhouse@pwh.upenn.edu. 

Thursday, January 12, 12 - 1:30pm

Military Power and the Brittleness of States in Arab Transition
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, 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 is presently aims to correct through urban design guideline reform. But surprisingly, an alternative type or 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
Thomas Wright
Director, Project on International Order and Strategy, Brookings Institution

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, 2017

Special Seminar

The U.S., India, and Global Politics
Ambassador Arun K. 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
Bill Burke-White
Director of Perry World House and Professor of Law
Mark Alan Hughes
Professor of Practice at PennDesign and Faculty Director of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy

Wednesday, March 15, 12 - 1:30pm

US 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

Thursday, April 6, 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 me 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.

Wednesday, April 12, 12 - 1:30pm

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