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Programs and Initiatives

Program in Agrarian Studies

The Program in Agrarian Studies at Yale is an experimental, interdisciplinary effort to reshape how a new generation of scholars understands rural life and society. Its basic goal is to infuse categories of social science research in danger of becoming purely statistical and abstract with the fresh air of popular knowledge and reasoning about poverty, subsistence, cultivation, justice, art, law, property, ritual life, cooperation, resource use, and state action. The many hands from many disciplines that have shaped this program share three premises. The first is that any satisfactory analysis of agrarian development must begin with the lived experience, understandings, and values of its historical subjects. The second premise is that the study of the Third World (and what was, until recently, called the Second World) must never be segregated from the historical study of the West, or the humanities from the social sciences. In this spirit, the program aims to bring together streams of scholarship that are rarely in touch. Finally, the program is convinced that the only way to loosen the nearly hegemonic grip of the separate disciplines on how questions are framed and answered is to concentrate on themes of signal importance to several disciplines. By building a sustained community of interdisciplinary conversation and by demonstrating what creative trespassing can accomplish, it hopes to set a standard of integrative work that will act as a magnet. The program began formally in the 1991–1992 academic year, thanks to support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and Yale University.

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British Studies Program

The British Studies Program hosts a postdoctoral fellow and supports an ongoing fortnightly colloquium series on British Historical Studies in which faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, and visiting lecturers informally present and discuss developing scholarship and emerging themes.

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Conflict, Resilience, and Health Program

The Conflict, Resilience, and Health Program is an interdisciplinary group that works to build resilience and health in communities afflicted by armed conflict or structural violence. Led by Catherine Panter-Brick, this program engages with academics, practitioners, and policy makers to promote innovations in global health research and to evaluate resilience-building interventions.

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Program on Democracy

The Program on Democracy encourages work at the intersection of democratic theory and empirical research on democracy. It supports research in which answers to the question “How should democracy work?” are informed by answers to the question “How does democracy work?” Emphasis is placed on research on new democratic institutions in developing countries. Ongoing international collaborative research in the program addresses topics such as academic leadership and building research capabilities. Other projects include the development and diffusion of databases; a project on the policy relevance of clientelism, patronage, and vote buying; and a project on political identities.

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European Union Studies Program

The Yale Program in European Union Studies is devoted to furthering the knowledge of students, faculty, and other members of the Yale community about the European Union and European integration. Through a program of lectures, seminars, workshops, conferences, short-term visitors, and summer research and internship grants, it seeks to promote greater knowledge about and understanding of the European Union. In 2015–2016 the program will continue its focus on the still ongoing eurozone debt crisis, including the efforts to strengthen the euro area by creating an economic, fiscal, banking, and political union to accompany the monetary union that now exists. In addition, the program will focus attention on the geopolitical tensions that exist with Russia over Ukraine; the challenges created by large-scale migration across the Mediterranean and through the Balkans; the domestic and international consequences of the ongoing wars in Iraq, Syria, and Libya; the role of the EU in the nuclear negotiations with Iran; and the stalled Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations between the United States and the EU.

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Fox International Fellowship Program

Begun as an exchange between Yale and Moscow State University in 1989, the Fox Fellowship Program celebrated its quarter century by agreeing to a new exchange partnership with the University of Ghana. Fox Fellowships are intended to identify and develop future leaders who will contribute to global policies and international relations. Some eighteen students—graduate and professional school students and graduating seniors—hailing from elite universities in Accra, Berlin, Cambridge, Cape Town, Ghana, Istanbul, Mexico City, Moscow, New Delhi, Paris, São Paulo, Shanghai, Tel Aviv, and Tokyo come to Yale to do independent research each year, while a number of Yale students travel to the fellowship’s affiliated schools abroad.

The Fox Fellows are selected on the basis of academic achievement and demonstrated personal leadership and are expected to focus on fields with practical connections to promoting world peace, prosperity, and sustainability—including international relations; the social sciences; contemporary history, law, and medicine; management and business; environmental policy; and finance.

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Genocide Studies Program

The Genocide Studies Program (GSP) seeks to put worldwide genocidal events into comparative context and thereby make them more comprehensible in order that such atrocities can one day be eradicated. Comparative genocide research seeks to yield predictors that could enable the prevention of future disasters before they gain momentum.

Begun in 1998 as an expansion of Yale’s Cambodian Genocide Program, the GSP today conducts research, holds regular seminars, and sponsors events pertaining to the comparative, interdisciplinary, historical, and policy issues relating to the phenomenon of genocide; provides training to researchers from afflicted regions; and maintains a heavily trafficked Web site and genocide database.

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Global Justice Program

Launched in 2008 by Thomas Pogge, Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs, this program robustly engages the themes of Justice and Distribution: Local, National, Regional, Global, one of the major rubrics framing the research agenda of the MacMillan Center. Involving Yale students and faculty as well as a changing cast of about a dozen visiting students and scholars, the Global Justice Program (GJP) hosts a weekly workshop where Global Justice Fellows and others can share and receive feedback on their research. The GJP also engages in various projects. Academics Stand Against Poverty aims to mobilize the capacities and resources of academia toward the eradication of global poverty by contributing to a better understanding of why severe poverty persists, how it can be reduced, and why its reduction is morally imperative (http://academicsstand.org). Incentives for Global Health is elaborating the blueprint of a proposed pay-for-performance mechanism, the Health Impact Fund (HIF), that would offer pharmaceutical innovators the option to register any new product—thereby undertaking to offer it worldwide at a price no higher than the lowest feasible cost of production and distribution while becoming entitled to receive ten annual reward payments according to its product’s global health impact (http://healthimpactfund.org). Working with the NGO Global Financial Integrity, the GJP’s Illicit Financial Flows project analyzes and seeks to find remedies against the huge losses rich and especially poor countries suffer from embezzlement and tax evasion/avoidance as facilitated by tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions. The FemPov project has been conducting consultative fieldwork with Oxfam GB and two other NGOs in eighteen poor communities in six developing countries, thereby developing a gender-sensitive multidimensional Individual Deprivation Measure that is far more reliable at tracking poverty than conventional measures (https://www.iwda.org.au/introducing-the-individual-deprivation-measure). Involving a number of distinguished jurists from southern and northern countries, the Mitigation Project has been exploring the existing legal obligations of states, and then of corporations and other legal entities, to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global climate change. Much of the GJP’s work has been showcased in large annual conferences at Yale (the next one is scheduled for October 30–November 1, 2015) and has, through these and other venues, influenced debates about the post-2015 development agenda and inspired fruitful collaboration among global justice centers worldwide.

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Yale Center for the Study of Globalization

The Yale Center for the Study of Globalization (YCSG) is devoted to examining the impact of our increasingly integrated world on individuals, communities, and nations. YCSG’s purpose is to support the creation and dissemination of ideas for seizing globalization’s opportunities and overcoming its challenges. The center is particularly focused on practical policies to enable the world’s poorest and weakest citizens to share in the benefits brought by globalization. It also explores solutions to problems that, even if they do not result directly from integration, are global in nature and can therefore be effectively addressed only through international cooperation.

The essence of the center’s strategy is collaboration, both with the rich intellectual resources of the Yale community and with a variety of institutions and individuals across the globe. In all its initiatives YCSG strives to enhance the connection of Yale with the international institutions charged with management of global challenges; thus the center extends the intellectual reach of its work well beyond the Yale community, to connect with outside institutions and people as it endeavors to make its output policy relevant. YCSG engages with multilateral institutions and other global organizations in such a way as to contribute toward better understanding global problems and the formulation of their solutions as well as influencing the attitudes and actions of policymakers in favor of international cooperation.

The center’s core issues include global development, international trade, financial globalization, and global public goods, giving priority to issues of global governance, including mitigation of climate change and global peace and security. In the area of global peace and security, YCSG’s work is on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament and halting global crime.

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Hellenic Studies Program

This program offers a comprehensive program of instruction in the modern Greek language at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels and cooperates closely with the Center for Language Study at Yale University for the development of technology-based teaching aids for the acquisition and mastering of modern Greek and the enrichment of other Hellenic-oriented courses. In addition, it offers a variety of courses in modern Greek literature and culture as well as in Ottoman and modern Greek history, providing students with the opportunity to study postclassical Greece in a broad geographical, historical, and comparative context. The program also fosters courses in other departments, including Byzantine history and Byzantine history of art.

The program also welcomes Paris Aslanidis as lecturer in Political Science and Hellenic Studies in 2015–2016. His doctoral dissertation at the University of Macedonia explored the movements of the Great Recession from the perspective of populism theory, using quantitative and qualitative methods. His current research interests include social movements, populism, Greek politics, and methods of text analysis. At Yale he will be teaching courses on the populist movements in Europe and the Americas as well as on the euro crisis.

The highlight of the fall term’s events is the annual Stavros Niarchos Foundation Lecture on September 21: Nanno Marinatos (University of Illinois at Chicago) will talk on Akrotiri on Thera: Its Excavation and Reception from a Cosmopolitan City to a Local Village. Her talk will focus on Thera (aka Santorini), one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece, famous for its Minoan wall paintings, and modern reception of the site. Additionally, the program is planning talks by Yale faculty Stathis Kalyvas (Political Science) on the publication of his new book, Modern Greece: What Everyone Needs to Know, and Langdon Hammer on the publication of his groundbreaking biography, James Merrill: Life and Art, and Merrill’s relationship to Greece.

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Center for Historical Enquiry and the Social Sciences

The Center for Historical Enquiry and the Social Sciences (CHESS) concerns itself with the interplay between history and the present, in the belief that its work will lead to fresh solutions to seemingly intractable contemporary problems. Because the historical dimension of social life is seldom fully understood—and therefore not adequately addressed—significant theoretical developments have too often been foreclosed. We aim to change that. By forging analytical tools to systematically examine the historical constraints and possibilities confronting social actors, the center expects to contribute to a fuller understanding of the range of possibilities for action inscribed in past and present.

This new cross-disciplinary center also seeks to transcend the humanities and social sciences divide, bringing together a diverse complement of scholars to answer large questions that help us better understand the world we inhabit and seek to influence. The center’s scholars aim to create an environment in which we can learn from one another’s methodological expertise and substantive knowledge, and in which intellectual risks and experimentation are actively encouraged.

The centerpiece of CHESS is the weekly Friday workshop in which we will collectively discuss precirculated papers. In addition, the center supports two annual conferences: a spring gathering focused on a general topic of interest and an annual winter graduate student conference. The center will also support ephemeral study groups designated by its constituent members. Finally, the center plans to launch courses organized around both significant scholarship in the historical social sciences and the variety of methods available to those pursuing scholarship in social science history.

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InterAsia Initiative

The InterAsia Initiative is a collaborative, multi-institutional group that aims to shift paradigms of how Asia is conceptualized by promoting collaborative research, scholarly networking, and public policy connections. In addition to Yale, members include the Social Science Research Council, the National University of Singapore, the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong, Göttingen University (Germany), the Arab Council for the Social Sciences (Lebanon), and Koç University (Turkey). Established in 2013 with support from the Carnegie Corporation, the initiative pushes inquiries beyond nation-states, land-based demarcations, imperial zones, and cultural boundaries, promoting research and conversations that address transregional connections. For critical moments of interaction, it includes historical and contemporary periods.

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Georg Walter Leitner Program in International and Comparative Political Economy

The Georg Walter Leitner Program in International and Comparative Political Economy promotes research and teaching about the interactions between politics and economics around the world. International and comparative political economy are critical and fast-growing areas of inquiry in the social sciences today. The program develops innovative activities and collaborations among faculty and students in a number of departments and schools across the University, including especially the departments of Economics and Political Science, as well as the Department of History and the Law School, to reflect the increasing synergies of these disciplines worldwide.

The many activities offered by the Leitner Program include a weekly political economy workshop and several conferences each year at which the leading research in related fields is presented and discussed. Recent conferences have focused on topics such as the Economics, Law, and Politics of the GATT/WTO; Distributive Politics; Redistribution, Public Goods, and Political Market Failures; Non-Democratic Regimes; and Politics and History. The program also hosts faculty visitors for one-year appointments. These visiting scholars present innovative new interdisciplinary work to the Yale community, collaborate on research with Yale faculty and students, and offer related courses for Yale students. The program also hosts a handful of research lunches each term, where political economy graduate students present their work in progress. Finally, the Leitner Program sponsors graduate and undergraduate student research fellowships and provides undergraduate senior essay assistance.

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Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence

The Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence is an interdisciplinary research program headquartered at and supported by the MacMillan Center. It fosters pioneering and rigorous theoretical and empirical research on human conflict in all its dimensions by promoting innovative approaches on questions related to the breakdown, emergence, and consolidation of local, national, or transnational political order; the origins, dynamics, and consequences of political polarization; the determinants of conflict actors and strategies; and the dynamics of violent escalation and de-escalation. The program encourages research that is question-driven, methodologically eclectic, and serious about context.

The program offers residential predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships and organizes various activities, from lectures to workshops and conferences. Since its establishment in 2004, the program has organized more than two hundred talks and a dozen conferences and workshops; hosted more than thirty fellows and visiting scholars; and nurtured tens of graduate and undergraduate student associates. Through its combined activities, the program has helped to make Yale the preeminent site for cutting-edge research on questions related to order, conflict, and violence.

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Programs in International Educational Resources (PIER)

Programs in International Educational Resources (PIER) draws on Yale’s extensive resources, including its outstanding faculty and staff, to develop and implement programs, services, and resources designed to advance understanding of international and world regional issues through outreach to education and the public.

PIER provides a range of programs and services for educators, including summer institutes, professional development workshops, production and evaluation of educational materials, and curriculum development. Its student programs include teaching less commonly taught languages to high school students; arranging student-to-student classroom visits; and bringing together urban and suburban students to work on resolving pressing global issues.

PIER aims to provide low barrier access to program participants by creating enduring ties within Yale, and to the broader educational communities in Connecticut and across the country. PIER supports the University’s efforts to help develop New Haven’s economic and educational potential by facilitating the access of New Haven Public Schools to its programming.

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Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition

Established in 1998 through a gift from Yale alumni Richard Gilder and Lewis Lehrman, the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition is dedicated to fostering education and research regarding all aspects of international slavery, especially the chattel slave system, its destruction, and its legacies. Through educational outreach, publications, international conferences, cultural events, and scholarly lectures, the Gilder Lehrman Center promotes an improved understanding of the role of slavery, slave resistance, and abolition in the founding of the modern world by encouraging intellectual exchange among scholars, teachers, and public historians. The center also offers research fellowships to graduate students, hosts visiting scholars, provides professional development workshops for secondary school teachers, and funds and awards the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, an annual award for the best nonfiction book written on the subject of slavery, resistance, or abolition.

For the 2015–2016 academic year the Gilder Lehrman Center plans to offer a wide range of events and fellowship opportunities, including the annual visiting fellowship on modern-day slavery and human trafficking. In collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the center hosted a four-day Public History Institute in July 2015, which brought together Yale students, historians, and public history professionals to explore issues in interpreting African American history for the public. In late October, the center will host its 17th Annual International Fall Conference: Antislavery Republics: The Politics of Abolition in the Spanish Atlantic. The center will also feature other lectures and programs given by its growing number of visiting scholars, research affiliates, and graduate student fellowship recipients. In addition to public programs, the center plans to continue its major outreach initiatives for elementary and secondary school teachers, including a seminar series for teachers in New Haven and Cincinnati in partnership with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

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