Great IR Thinkers: Robert O. Keohane

In 1965, Robert Keohane completed his PhD dissertation at Harvard University on the politics of the UN General Assembly. The question he tried to answer was whether institutions matter in explaining state behavior, or whether the latter could be deduced solely from the distribution of power. Over 30 years later, Keohane is still examining this question, and the ways in which he dealt with the question over the years have put him on the list of the most important political thinkers of our time.

Keohane was born in 1941 at the University of Chicago Hospitals. When he was 10, the family moved to Mount Carroll, Illinois, where he attended public school; after the 10th grade, at the age of only 16, Keohane was an early entrant to Shimer College, a small offshoot of the College of the University of Chicago, where his parents were professors.

In 1965, he took up a teaching position at Swarthmore College. In 1969, after joining the board of editors for the journal International Organization, which has since become one of the leading journals in the field, Keohane began his remarkable research collaboration with Joseph S. Nye. He moved to California in 1973 to teach at Stanford University. In 1985, Keohane returned to Harvard, where he stayed for the next decade. In 1996, he was appointed James Duke Professor of International Relations at Duke University.

CSS News

Meeting Tomorrow’s Security Challenges

Theme International Security Forum (ISF)
Theme of the International Security Forum (ISF) 2011, courtesy of Tim Wendel, ISN

Can the world find a new blueprint for collective action to resolve global, regional and national challenges, or will shifting power patterns lead to further fragmentation? This challenging question is at the core of the upcoming International Security Forum (ISF) 2011.

The biannual conference’s topic is “Regional and Global Security: Meeting Tomorrow’s Challenges Today”. During the three days, speakers and participants will discuss the implications of the economic and geopolitical shifts for the international security agenda on the global and regional level.

  • On the first day, the sessions will look at the future handling of nuclear weapons, at migration and security, and at challenges and opportunities associated with public-private cooperation in security governance.
  • The 24 panel sessions on the second day will explore five different themes: 9/11 Plus Ten, Regional Security: Local Dynamics – Global Impact, Present and Future of Conflict, Human Security, and State Failure / State Building.

Russian and Eurasian Security Network

Russian and Eurasian Security Network
Russian and Eurasian Security Network

We are happy to announce that the Russian and Eurasian Security Network (RES) has launched a Facebook fan page.

The RES is a global initiative of leading academic institutes, think-tanks, NGOs and media organizations. It offers a framework for studying security-related developments in Russia and the states of the Eurasian region. The RES hosts two original content publications which can be subscribed to via newsletter; the Russian Analytical Digest (RAD) and the Caucasus Analytical Digest (CAD).

The RES Facebook fan page is a place to discuss our publications and share your thoughts on developments in Russia and Eurasia. We aim to encourage greater dialog among analysts, policymakers and academics interested in the Russian and Eurasian region and invite you to join the discussion!

A Seasonal Reading List

Candle light, photo: Alesa Dam/flickr
Candle light, photo: Alesa Dam/flickr

In light of our weekly theme – religion and international affairs – we thought we’d link to an excellent reading list compiled by Foreign Affairs on this very timely and often ignored topic.

Whether seen as a civilizational clash; a clash between modernity and traditionalism; secularism and religion, the nature of conflict in the international realm makes it clear that powerful forces are at play and tend to evolve, more than ever, around religious identities and clashing interpretations thereof.

As Foreign Affairs notes, the relevance and effectiveness of US and indeed western foreign policy depends on acknowledging the place religion occupies in global politics and engaging in candid conversations that include both secular and religious voices.

Instead of allowing religiously couched fear-mongering to take root in our minds and in our policy, and effectively allowing Huntington’s ‘clash’ to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, we need to engage openly with religion in the political realm, while keeping in mind that religious rhetoric often masks deep socio-political malaise and distinctly non-spiritual problems.

Partner Blogs, Take One

Blogs, blogs, blogs, photo: Kristina B/flickr
Blogs, blogs, blogs, photo: Kristina B/flickr

Many members of our extensive partner network maintain excellent and informative blogs, often specific to that partner’s area of focus. Here are some of them (in no particular order):

More to follow in the new year. We hope you found these recommendations useful!