Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Integrating Islam into the West

The rule of law evolves gradually over time, casting judgment on behavior as right or wrong. Media reports that the archbishop of Canterbury suggested Great Britain should adopt some aspects of Shariah or Islamic law ignited immediate protests. “Unfortunately, the media storm masked the real message of the speech, which concerned the authority of the secular state and its impact on religious minorities in general and Muslims in particular,” write Phillip Blond and Adrian Pabst for the International Herald Tribune. “For the genuine target of the archbishop's lecture is the increasingly authoritarian and anti-religious nature of the modern liberal state.” Laws in Europe’s secular societies ban public religious displays including head scarves, crucifixes or nativity scenes, thus alienating religious minorities from society. Societies must take care with laws not to marginalize or segregate minorities, impose one set of beliefs on the entire populace, or squash rationale debate, suggest Blond and Pabst. Some judgments of right or wrong are less ambiguous than others; legal systems must focus on priorities and allow individuals to make choices on the rest. – YaleGlobal
Phillip Blond, University of Cumbria
Adrian Pabst,
University of Nottingham

International Herald Tribune,
21 Feb 2008

LONDON: The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Rowan Williams – the titular head of the 77-million strong worldwide Anglican Church – ignited a huge controversy last week when he suggested in a lecture in the Royal Courts of Law that Britain should adopt certain aspects of Shariah law. This was done with the benign intention of integrating into British law the practices and beliefs of Britain's 1.8 million Muslims.

However, the archbishop's apparent suggestion that Muslims could opt out of secular common law for separate arbitration and judgement in Islamic religious courts created the impression of one law for Muslims and another for everybody else.

This incendiary idea (subsequently corrected by the archbishop) provoked a furor about states within states and a widespread fear that any license granted to Shariah law would also license its more extreme aspects. Unfortunately, the media storm masked the real message of the speech, which concerned the authority of the secular state and its impact on religious minorities in general and Muslims in particular.

For the genuine target of the archbishop's lecture is the increasingly authoritarian and anti-religious nature of the modern liberal state. Militant secularism has forbidden head scarves and wall-mounted crucifixes in France. It has also banned Roman Catholic adoption agencies in Britain for not selecting same-sex couples as potential foster parents. Under the banner of free speech, secular Italian leftists recently prevented Pope Benedict XVI from addressing La Sapienza University in Rome on the subject of rational enquiry.

Williams' legitimate religious concerns with freedom of conscience tie in with wider Western worries about the consequences of failing to integrate a growing, devout and alienated Islamic minority within a relativistic and increasingly aggressive secular culture.

However, the solution proposed by the archbishop repeats the errors of 1960s liberal multiculturalism. In conjuring up the idea of communities sharing the same space but leading separate lives, he unwittingly endorses a scenario that entrenches segregation and fractures any conception of a common good binding all citizens. Despite this, Williams at least recognizes that Britain is struggling to find a way of accommodating its increasingly ghettoized and radicalized Muslim population.

Clearly, the integration of Islam into secular democracies is a challenge that confronts the Western world as a whole and Europe in particular. Regrettably, there are problems with all the existing secular models of integration. British and Dutch versions of multiculturalism hoped to ensure the equal rights of all citizens, but both countries – in abandoning the cultural cohesion based around religion – lost the very medium in which majorities and minorities could share.

Germany eschewed its own Christian legacy in favor of an ethnic account of its identity. Though it grants generous socio-economic rights, the German model still refuses Muslim "guest workers" citizenship and thus participation in civic life.

In France, the Republican ideal appeals to immigrants, but its secular reality denies the primary religious form of their identity. Moreover, the Muslim population is discriminated against in the labor market and tends to be confined to the banlieues. The French model's refusal to accommodate religion prevents France from broadening its concept of French identity.

The trouble with all the European models is that they enshrine the primacy of secular law over and against religious principles. Far from ensuring neutrality and tolerance, the secular European state arrogates to itself the right to control and legislate all spheres of life; state constraints apply especially to religion and its civic influence. Legally, secularism outlaws any rival source of sovereignty or legitimacy. Politically, secularism denies religion any import in public debate and decision-making. Culturally, secularism enforces its own norms and standards upon all other belief systems. In consequence, the liberal promise of equality amounts to little more than the secular imposition of sameness. As such, contemporary liberalism is unable to recognize religions in their own right or grant them their proper autonomy.

By contrast, the United States offers a strong integrated vision that allows for the public expression of religion under the auspices of a state that guarantees not just individual rights but also the autonomy of religious communities. Even though minorities in the United States have suffered discrimination, the American model of religious integration explicitly shields religion from excessive state interference. Thus loyalty to the state is not necessarily in conflict with loyalty to one's faith. Perhaps this explains why American Muslims appear more integrated and less alienated than their European counterparts. In part, this is because the European Enlightenment sought to protect the state from religion, whereas the American settlement aimed to protect religion from the state.

Thus, the real reason for Europe's failure to integrate Islam is the European commitment to secularism. Only a new settlement with religion can successfully incorporate the growing religious minorities in Western Europe. Secular liberalism is simply incapable of achieving this outcome. Paradoxically, what other faiths require for their proper recognition is the recovery of the indigenous European religious tradition – Christianity. Only Christianity can integrate other religions into a shared European project by acknowledging what secular ideologies cannot: a transcendent objective truth that exceeds human assertion but is open to rational discernment and debate. As such, Christianity outlines a non-secular model of the common good in which all can participate.

Rather than trying to defend religion through the guise of secular multiculturalism, the Archbishop of Canterbury should have been defending religious pluralism through Christianity. What Muslims most object to is not a difference of belief but its absence from European consciousness. Thus the recovery of Christianity in Europe is not a sectarian project but rather the only basis for the political integration of Muslims and peaceful religious coexistence.

Phillip Blond is a senior lecturer in philosophy and theology at the University of Cumbria. Adrian Pabst teaches religion and politics at the University of Nottingham and is a research fellow at the Luxembourg Institute for European and International Studies.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

“Paradigm Shift” Needed in Social Science Doctoral Education

Social Science PhDs – Five+ Years Out is a survey of 3,025 individuals who received their Ph.D.s between 1995 and 1999 in six fields, including political science, to assess the quality of doctoral education in U.S. social science programs.

The survey was conducted by the Center for Innovation and Research in Graduate Education (CIRGE) at the University of Washington. Similar to a report released in January by the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate (see related story “Five-Year Study Calls for Change”), the CIRGE study found current doctoral education programs lacking in preparing their students for the 21st-century job market. According to the report:Social science doctoral students need better career preparation and better support for learning to manage careers.

In particular, universities need to recognize that most men and women are in relationships, many with children, and this situation influences PhD careers; universities need to pay more attention to connecting research training with teaching, writing and publishing; and universities need to bring professional development competencies such as teamwork, working in interdisciplinary contexts, grant writing, and managing people and budgets, from the margins to the center of PhD education.

Respondents represented six fields of study -- anthropology, communications, geography, history, political science, and sociology. Of the 701 political scientists who responded, 37.8% were female, and the age in median years at the time the doctorate was awarded was 31.8 years. A majority (91.9%) of political scientists surveyed were employed full time, 30.6% were tenured faculty, 32% were in tenured-track positions, 25% were employed in the business/government/non-profit sector, and 12.4% were in other academic positions.

The job characteristic that the greatest percent (68.8%) of political scientists said they were “very satisfied” with was the autonomy of work, and the characteristic that the smallest percent (25.2%) said they were “very satisfied” with was salary.

When it comes to support from the dissertation chair or advisor, about one-half of all political science Ph.D.s said they were “very satisfied” with the quality of advice in developing their research topic (50.1%), the quality of guidance to complete the Ph.D. (51.4%), and support in making career decisions (52.6%). Fewer said they were “very satisfied” with the overall quality of mentoring (45.3%), support in their job search (40.2%), and help in publishing their research (25.3%).

The table below shows the percent of political science Ph.D.s who said a skill was “very important” and the percent who said the quality of training for that skill was “excellent.” (n=701)

Percent Who Said It Is "Very Important" Percent Who Said the Quality of Training Was "Excellent"
Thinking critically
Analyzing/synthesizing data
Designing research
Working with people from diverse social/educational backgrounds
Working in interdisciplinary context
Working collaboratively
Developing presentation skills
Writing proposals for funding
Managing people/budgets

To read a summary of the report, click here.

Five-Year Study of Doctoral Education Calls for Changes

The Formation of Scholars: Rethinking Doctoral Education for the Twenty-First Century (January 2008, Jossey Bass, 256 pages, $40) is the culmination of a five-year study by the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate (CID) of 84 doctoral-granting departments in six fields to assess how well they are preparing their graduates to be scholars in the 21st century.

The authors, George Walker, Chris Golde, Laura Jones, Andrea Conklin Bueschel, and Pat Hutchings, find doctoral education programs generally lacking. More teaching opportunities for graduate students are needed as well as “better, more systematic feedback and reflection that can turn pedagogical experience into pedagogical expertise.” Preparation for research has been taken for granted and ignored in reports and recommendations for doctoral education, they note. Additionally, graduate students “may be treated as cheap labor in the service of an adviser’s current project and personal advancement,” and funded research does not encourage the types of behaviors, such as creativity, collaboration, and risk taking, that are valued in today’s work world.

The participating departments in the CID study made a commitment to examine their purposes and effectiveness, implement changes in response to their findings, and monitor the effects of the changes. The authors report that, in some cases, departmental deliberations revealed “inconsistent and unclear expectations, uneven student access to important opportunities, poor communication between members of the program, and a general inattention to patterns of student progress and outcomes.”

The authors suggest four focal areas to guide change in doctoral education programs:

(1) Protocols for faculty and graduate students to question whether traditions, such as qualifying examinations and doctoral dissertations, serve their intended purposes;

(2) Attention to the “complex process of formation,” a phrase the authors use to describe the development of professional identity, guided by principles that delineate faculty and student responsibilities and emphasize collaboration and mutual respect;

(3) Adoption of an apprenticeship model that is reciprocal and fosters learning for both the professor and student, “with greater collective responsibility for the student experience”; and

(4) Cultures that are “lively” intellectual communities that celebrate “the advancement of learning and knowledge.”

To read more about the CID or to learn more about some of the participating departments and their work in the study, visit

© 2008 Midwest Political Science Association

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Colors of Earth (IV)


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Monday, February 11, 2008

A Turkish Perspective on EU-Turkey relations

Interview by Anne Andlauer
Kemal Kirişci, a professor in Bosporus University’s department of political science, built on his long experience in Turkey-EU relations to discuss seven confusing aspects of the issue.

His conclusion -- Turkey will join the EU if it sticks to its guns -- derives from this extensive experience.

The real impact of EU integration on the transformation of Turkey’s democracy

“Considerable literature has been written on the topic, with authors interestingly reaching roughly the same conclusion that the European Commission Report of 2004 reached. The EU engagement has indeed led to Turkey’s transformation to the point where it sufficiently meets the Copenhagen political criteria. Although this may sound very banal, it does reflect a major transformation in Turkey. One concrete manifestation of this is the way in which the Republican People’s Party [CHP] is today unashamedly referring to Turkish citizens of ‘Kurdish origin’ or ‘descent.’ I would argue that only a few years ago, you would not have heard CHP supporters or the state establishment such as Faruk Loğoğlu, currently the president of the Eurasian Strategic Studies Center [ASAM], talk about the ‘Kurdish problem,’ as they would rather refer to the ‘Southeastern problem.’ That is just one manifestation of how those reforms have trickled down to today.”

What do you find most worrisome?
“There is also recognition that these reforms have been sliding back in certain areas -- freedom of expression being a conspicuous one. What I find most worrisome and disappointing is the way in which bureaucrats, who had begun to change and think European membership could be real, slipped back into old ways of thinking about Turkey’s relations with the external world and in particular Europe and the European Union. The old, established way of thinking is often referred to as the “Sevres Syndrome.” Until about a year ago, these bureaucrats had begun to look at the EU and to nongovernmental organizations from outside Turkey as partners. But now they are breaking that cooperation and are much more distrustful of the international community. It is this particular type of retreat that I am most concerned about, and I attribute it primarily and overwhelmingly to the EU’s attitude toward Turkey over the last year and a half.”

The slowing down of reforms: internal or external causes?
“Whether enthusiasm resurfaces and becomes conspicuous again will depend on the EU.”

“I would say the cause of that slipping back primarily comes from outside Turkey. It is especially driven by the ‘Nicolas Sarkozy factor,’ which encouraged Angela Merkel on that road. That has repercussions in Turkey as it does in the rest of Europe. Such repercussions have benefited those interest groups in Turkey who have always been skeptical about EU membership, and it has strengthened their hand vis-à-vis those who want the reform process to go ahead. In the government, on the other hand, I feel that there are those who had been genuinely committed to the European membership project, but there is also a group that had always been skeptical about it. I am speculating that this last group is quite happy at the moment. But then there is another group that is neutral and would not mind going along with the membership project, but is nervous about public opinion in Turkey. In 2006, the prime minister made a speech in Bilecik, which is a very symbolic city in the history of Turkish nationalism, and that was the point from which he could have fallen into the trap of populism and played the card of Turkish nationalism. But then he went back to a strategy that I think played a critical role in him winning the election this year. Right now, if there is indeed a reconsideration of Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), I think the larger group may take over again and that we may begin to see an EU enthusiasm, not matching the one from 2002-2004, but going at least half way there. Whether that enthusiasm surfaces and becomes conspicuous will again depend on the EU.”

EU skepticism in Turkey
“The Turkish public is euro-skeptic, but the leadership and the EU can change that.”
“EU skepticism in Turkey is both homogeneous and not. It is homogenous in the sense that Turkish education and socialization in general exploits this Sevres Syndrome. The majority of Turks look at the world through the glasses of the Sevres Syndrome, and whatever you say, their gut feeling is that there are all kinds of conspiracies going on in the world to weaken and divide up Turkey. This is something that you cannot easily change. Right now, I think the overwhelming majority of the Turkish public is utterly confused and surprised with what is going on with the United States, as they tend to believe that this is not real and that the US, in one way or another, is going to strike Turkey very bitterly. That said, leaders play a very important role and that enthusiasm of 2002-2004 was very much a product of the Justice and Development Party [AK Party] leadership and of civil society at large, who genuinely believed in this membership in addition to the fact that the EU kept sending the message that if Turkey met the Copenhagen criteria, negotiations would start. The public believed it and the EU delivered it. But now, this is no longer the situation, and everything will depend on the leadership and on the EU. But going back to the enthusiasm of 2002-2004 is going to be very difficult because the memory of being let down is going to be fresh and opened to populist exploitation. The moral of the story is that the Turkish public is skeptical but leaders can change that, if the EU is capable of supporting that leadership in the EU membership process.”

The core motives behind Turkey’s European ambition
“Turkey is a very schizophrenic society. On the one hand it has always felt distrusted and suspected by the West, while at the same time it has admired it, envied it and wanted to be part of it. It goes all the way back to the Ottoman Empire, which has always been a part of Europe. And I would go so far as to argue that France could not have taken its hexagonal shape without the Ottomans being part of that European diplomacy and politics. So on the one side you have this fear, this mistrust … that you have to beat somebody to build your own identity, and on the other the legacy of Atatürk, very much turned to Europe.

“The second aspect of it has to do with the history of the region, whose peoples have always been intermeshed with this part of Europe. People have been educated or married from this area, they have been part of the culture -- you cannot understand Chopin, Mozart, Rossini … without that continuity. Also, when you look at Turkish trade or movement of labor and capital, it has become much more diversified. It is more and more going to Russia, to Central Asia, increasingly to Iran ... and this is why you have generals, politicians, academics and journalists who argue that Turkey should look for alternatives to the EU. But when you really scratch the surface and look into the depths of these economic and social relationships, again you see Europe’s presence there.”

Where else do you see Europe’s presence?
“A third trend, and the one I wish had the heaviest weight, is democracy, human rights and pluralism. When the prime minister talks about these things, I think he believes in them much more than any other politician before him, but I still feel that is has not penetrated into his genes. For example, a couple of weeks ago in the context of the debate on affirmative action in favor of women, there was one lady who maybe was a bit aggressive and was arguing that even Rwanda had special quotas for women. The prime minister got mad and asked, ‘Should Turkey be like Rwanda?’ That reaction very much tells me that it is not yet there. But again, he is way ahead of many others before and in the present. Hand in hand with this I would include secularism, which is a very sensitive issue. Turkey has interpreted secularism in a very Jacobin, French manner, whereas the Anglo interpretation of secularism is much more flexible. I think there is a movement in that direction in Turkey, but it is a very painful one. Given that, when I look at the rest of the world, the only place where Turkey could fit in is Europe, not Egypt, not Syria, not even Russia. All these factors put together push Turkey, willingly or unwillingly, closer to Europe.”

Turkey and the EU ‘identity crisis’
“Selim Deringil wrote in the conclusion of a paper titled ‘The Turks and Europe: The Argument from History’ that ‘when your identity crisis has lasted for some 200 years, it is no longer a crisis, it is your identity.’ I mean, what is European identity? What is Turkish identity in that respect? Sarkozy’s definition of a European identity is a very Carolingian one, an identity that does not exist in Europe but is just in his mind and one that is divorced from reality in Turkey. Europe nowadays is going through a crisis because that identity and the reality no longer match. In that context, another game is being played in EU corridors which has nothing to do with EU identity but more with domestic politics at a time when clearly European public opinion is very concerned about Islam, terrorism and whatever Sept. 11 represents.”

The harmonization of immigration policies with the EU

“Turkey will not trigger a change in policy if it is not at least 60 percent sure that the membership is going to take place.”

“Normally, Turkey should have started to harmonize its policies and legislation in a wide area of issues that are listed in the accession partnership document -- and one area refers to immigration. But there is not much happening there. There was such childish enthusiasm that by 2005 Turkey would put into place legislation to adopt the Schengen visa system. They have given up, and I personally very much approve of it. That would have prevented a whole former Soviet world from moving in and out of Turkey as freely as they do nowadays. There is a conflict of interests there -- Turkey should have signed a re-admission agreement, but even the EU Commission has given up on trying to get that agreement. The reason for this is partly that the commission recognizes that Turkey has lost trust in the EU and that they are not going to accept the re-admission agreement as long as they do not trust the other side. Several observations can be made with regard to refugee policies, including this infamous lifting of the geographical limitation -- but Turkey will not trigger a change in policy if it is not at least 60 percent sure that the membership is going to take place.”

So immigration issues are very much tied up…
Yes, and I would argue that compared to other issues (environment, transportation, competition, etc.), this question is a much more difficult one. When you look at the agenda for the accession partnership document, there are many issues that, if Turkey could proceed with them, would benefit Turkey whether there is eventually membership or not. And I suspect that in those areas some progress will take place. But when it comes to immigration issues, it will not happen because adopting and implementing those policies could only be beneficial to Turkey if it becomes an EU member. If it doesn’t, it will undermine its interests in cutting jobs, to say nothing of rebuilding the walls of the Cold War era.”

What about immigration from Turkey?
“On that point, the negotiation document made it quite obvious that when membership occurs, Turkish citizens may not be able to enjoy the same kind of rights that the rest of European citizens do. On that, I and others have been arguing that a EU that engages and assists in Turkey’s economic growth and stability might discover 15-20 years down the line that even if they pressure Turkey, there might not be Turks willing to move and take up jobs in the EU. Two reasons for this: One is demographic because trends in Turkey show that the Turkish population is starting to age and that by 2022-2023 [the point when there might be free movement of labor if everything goes well], the proportion of population in the 15-64 bracket will be much smaller than today. The second factor is Turkish growth, which will absorb most of the population, as was the case after the accession of Greece, Portugal and Spain.”

Will Turkey ever join the EU?
“I have always been very consistent on that point. I have always argued that if Turkey can stick to its guns, it will become a member of the EU because if the EU blatantly blocks Turkey’s way, it will have inflicted damage on the one and only pillar that holds the EU together -- and that is ‘Pacta sunt servanda.’ Undermining that would be triggering the implosion that many are afraid of today. But I don’t know if Turkey can sticks to its guns because the Turkish public and Turkish politics are always very insecure and obsessed with what others are saying about Turkey. The United Kingdom was faced with the same problem when Charles De Gaulle vetoed negotiations for accession to the EU -- but Turkey is not the UK, and I am not sure Turkey has the same self-confidence to really go ahead. But if Turkey can do like the Brits did, meaning keep doing what is necessary, do its homework and avoid engaging in polemics, then it will eventually become an EU member state. But my concern is that Turkey is very sensitive and vulnerable to what is happening in EU corridors.”

* Kirişci is the author of the recently published “Turkish Foreign Policy in Turbulent Times” (Chaillot Papers, No. 92, European Union Institute for Security Studies, Paris, September 2006) and “Turkey: A Country of Transition from Emigration to Immigration” (Mediterranean Politics Vol. 12, No. 1, March 2007)


Friday, February 08, 2008

2008: The Demise of Neoliberal Globalization

Political philosophers have long debated about whether governments, corporations or other entities are most efficient in delivering services for groups of citizens or world markets. Neoliberal globalization is an old idea for achieving efficiency that gained prominence in the 1980s, according to sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein, and implies that governments should allow corporations to cross borders freely, resist public ownership of corporations and minimize social-welfare payments to citizens. Economic success did not follow political success in communist regimes, Wallerstein suggests, and discontent accompanies growing income inequality. For the US, the neoliberal policies not only boosted the stock market but also an unwieldy credit bubble, the ramifications of which are yet uncertain. Neoliberal policies have fallen out of favor, Wallerstein notes, and the question remains whether redistribution or Keynesian policies can restore stability in a timely way. – YaleGlobal

Immanuel Wallerstein
Fernand Braudel Center, 4 Feb 2008

The ideology of neoliberal globalization has been on a roll since the early 1980s. It was not in fact a new idea in the history of the modern world-system, although it claimed to be one. It was rather the very old idea that the governments of the world should get out of the way of large, efficient enterprises in their efforts to prevail in the world market. The first policy implication was that governments, all governments, should permit these corporations freely to cross every frontier with their goods and their capital. The second policy implication was that the governments, all governments, should renounce any role as owners themselves of these productive enterprises, privatizing whatever they own. And the third policy implication was that governments, all governments, should minimize, if not eliminate, any and all kinds of social welfare transfer payments to their populations. This old idea had always been cyclically in fashion.

In the 1980s, these ideas were proposed as a counterview to the equally old Keynesian and/or socialist views that had been prevailing in most countries around the world: that economies should be mixed (state plus private enterprises); that governments should protect their citizens from the depredations of foreign-owned quasi-monopolist corporations; and that governments should try to equalize life chances by transferring benefits to their less well-off residents (especially education, health, and lifetime guarantees of income levels), which required of course taxation of better-off residents and corporate enterprises.

The program of neoliberal globalization took advantage of the worldwide profit stagnation that began after a long period of unprecedented global expansion in the post-1945 period up to the beginning of the 1970s, which had encouraged the Keynesian and/or socialist views to dominate policy. The profit stagnation created balance-of-payments problems for a very large number of the world's governments, especially in the global South and the so-called socialist bloc of nations. The neoliberal counteroffensive was led by the right-wing governments of the United States and Great Britain (Reagan and Thatcher) plus the two main intergovernmental financial agencies - the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and these jointly created and enforced what came to be called the Washington Consensus. The slogan of this global joint policy was coined by Mrs. Thatcher: TINA, or There is No Alternative. The slogan was intended to convey to all governments that they had to fall in line with the policy recommendations, or they would be punished by slow growth and the refusal of international assistance in any difficulties they might face.

The Washington Consensus promised renewed economic growth to everyone and a way out of the global profit stagnation. Politically, the proponents of neoliberal globalization were highly successful. Government after government - in the global South, in the socialist bloc, and in the strong Western countries - privatized industries, opened their frontiers to trade and financial transactions, and cut back on the welfare state. Socialist ideas, even Keynesian ideas, were largely discredited in public opinion and renounced by political elites. The most dramatic visible consequence was the fall of the Communist regimes in east-central Europe and the former Soviet Union plus the adoption of a market-friendly policy by still-nominally socialist China.

The only problem with this great political success was that it was not matched by economic success. The profit stagnation in industrial enterprises worldwide continued. The surge upward of the stock markets everywhere was based not on productive profits but largely on speculative financial manipulations. The distribution of income worldwide and within countries became very skewed - a massive increase in the income of the top 10% and especially of the top 1% of the world's populations, but a decline in real income of much of the rest of the world's populations.

Disillusionment with the glories of an unrestrained "market" began to set in by the mid-1990s. This could be seen in many developments: the return to power of more social-welfare-oriented governments in many countries; the turn back to calling for government protectionist policies, especially by labor movements and organizations of rural workers; the worldwide growth of an alterglobalization movement whose slogan was "another world is possible."

This political reaction grew slowly but steadily. Meanwhile, the proponents of neoliberal globalization not only persisted but increased their pressure with the regime of George W. Bush. Bush's government pushed simultaneously more distorted income distribution (via very large tax cuts for the very well-off) and a foreign policy of unilateral macho militarism (the Iraq invasion). It financed this by a fantastic expansion of borrowing (indebtedness) via the sale of U.S. treasury bonds to the controllers of world energy supplies and low-cost production facilities.

It looked good on paper, if all one read were the figures on the stock markets. But it was a super-credit bubble that was bound to burst, and is now bursting. The Iraq invasion (plus Afghanistan plus Pakistan) are proving a great military and political fiasco. The economic solidity of the United States has been discredited, causing a radical fall in the dollar. And the stock markets of the world are trembling as they face the pricking of the bubble.

So what are the policy conclusions that governments and populations are drawing? There seem to be four in the offing. The first is the end of the role of the U.S. dollar as the reserve currency of the world, which renders impossible the continuance of the policy of super-indebtedness of both the government of the United States and its consumers. The second is the return to a high degree of protectionism, both in the global North and the global South. The third is the return of state acquisition of failing enterprises and the implementation of Keynesian measures. The last is the return of more social-welfare redistributive policies.

The political balance is swinging back. Neoliberal globalization will be written about ten years from now as a cyclical swing in the history of the capitalist world-economy. The real question is not whether this phase is over but whether the swing back will be able, as in the past, to restore a state of relative equilibrium in the world-system. Or has too much damage been done? And are we now in for more violent chaos in the world-economy and therefore in the world-system as a whole.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Professional Grant Proposal Writing Workshop

The Grant Institute's Grants 101: Professional Grant Proposal Writing Workshop will be held in Providence, Rhode Island, April 16 - 18, 2008. Interested development professionals, researchers, faculty, and graduate students should register as soon as possible, as demand means that seats will fill up quickly. Please forward, post, and distribute this e-mail to your colleagues and listservs.

All participants will receive certification in professional grant writing from the Institute. For more information call (888) 824 - 4424 or visit The Grant Institute at

Please find the program description below:

The Grant Institute
Grants 101: Professional Grant Proposal Writing Workshop
will be held in
Providence, Rhode Island
April 16 - 18, 2008
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

The Grant Institute's Grants 101 course is an intensive and detailed introduction to the process, structure, and skill of professional proposal writing. This course is characterized by its ability to act as a thorough overview, introduction, and refresher at the same time. In this course, participants will learn the entire proposal writing process and complete the course with a solid understanding of not only the ideal proposal structure, but a holistic understanding of the essential factors, which determine whether or not a program gets funded. Through the completion of interactive exercises and activities, participants will complement expert lectures by putting proven techniques into practice. This course is designed for both the beginner looking for a thorough introduction and the intermediate looking for a refresher course that will strengthen their grant acquisition skills. This class, simply put, is designed to get results by creating professional grant proposal writers.

Participants will become competent program planning and proposal writing professionals after successful completion of the Grants 101 course. In three active and informative days, students will be exposed to the art of successful grant writing practices, and led on a journey that ends with a masterful grant proposal.

Grants 101 consists of three (3) courses that will be completed during the three-day workshop.

(1) Fundamentals of Program Planning

This course is centered on the belief that "it's all about the program." This intensive course will teach professional program development essentials and program evaluation. While most grant writing "workshops" treat program development and evaluation as separate from the writing of a proposal, this class will teach students the relationship between overall program planning and grant writing.

(2) Professional Grant Writing

Designed for both the novice and experienced grant writer, this course will make each student an overall proposal writing specialist. In addition to teaching the basic components of a grant proposal, successful approaches, and the do's and don'ts of grant writing, this course is infused with expert principles that will lead to a mastery of the process. Strategy resides at the forefront of this course's intent to illustrate grant writing as an integrated, multidimensional, and dynamic endeavor. Each student will learn to stop writing the grant and to start writing the story. Ultimately, this class will illustrate how each component of the grant proposal represents an opportunity to use proven techniques for generating support.

(3) Grant Research

At its foundation, this course will address the basics of foundation, corporation, and government grant research. However, this course will teach a strategic funding research approach that encourages students to see research not as something they do before they write a proposal, but as an integrated part of the grant seeking process. Students will be exposed to online and database research tools, as well as publications and directories that contain information about foundation, corporation, and government grant opportunities. Focusing on funding sources and basic social science research, this course teaches students how to use research as part of a strategic grant acquisition effort.

$597.00 tuition includes all materials and certificates.

Each student will receive:
*The Grant Institute Certificate in Professional Grant Writing
*The Grant Institute's Guide to Successful Grant Writing
*The Grant Institute Grant Writer's Workbook with sample proposals, forms, and outlines

Registration Methods

1) On-Line - Complete the online registration form at under Register Now. We'll send your confirmation by e-mail.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Sufism: The Formative Period

Ahmet Karamustafa
Washington University - St. Louis
University of California Press, 2007
"Karamustafa's new work is easily the best book I've read on the subject of early Sufism. The author does a fine job of combining analysis with synthesis, and he incorporates into his historical overview a generous sampling of the stories of a significant number of major characters. Perhaps the greatest achievement is Karamustafa's skill in making an immensely complex and potentially amorphous topic understandable. He manages to weave together very accessibly strands of history from diverse cultural and historical contexts across the central middle east, but the narrative remains concrete and avoids indulging more than necessary in discussing 'theoretical' issues. This is a very thoughtful treatment and I believe it will make a wonderful contribution toward a more integrated, comprehensive understanding of one of the most interesting subjects in late antique/early medieval Islamic religious history."--
John Renard, St. Louis University

"Ahmet Karamustafa's Sufism: The Formative Period is an absorbing and persuasive presentation of the development of Sufism, based on a thorough mastery of the original sources and epitomizing the discoveries of modern scholarship. Students of Sufism and religious studies will welcome this important contribution to Islamic studies."--Carl W. Ernst, William R. Kenan, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"Concisely and efficiently, Ahmet Karamustafa presents us with a survey of the early development of Sufism that is at once analytic and informative, and fully attentive to social and intellectual as well as purely religious concerns. It supersedes all previous overviews of the formative period of Sufi thought and institutions."--Hamid Algar, University of California, Berkeley

"Leaving behind the more speculative approaches to Sufism and Islam of an earlier generation, and based on a comprehensive review of the most recent results of international scholarship in the field, including the author's own original research work, this book provides a highly informative and objective historical overview of the main mystical movements that contributed significantly to the shaping of medieval Muslim society. Elegantly written, it is a must for all those concerned."--Dr. Hermann Landolt, McGill University, Montreal and Institute of Ismaili Studies, London


Ahmet T. Karamustafa bases this study on a fresh reading of the primary sources and, by integrating the findings of recent scholarship on the subject, presents a unified narrative of Sufism's historical development. His innovative analytical framework reveals the emergence of mystical currents in Islam during the ninth century and traces the rapid spread of Iraq-based Sufism to other regions of the Islamic world, providing an integrated, comprehensive understanding of one of the most compelling aspects of late antique, early medieval Islamic religious history.

Copub: Edinburgh University Press


Ahmet T. Karamustafa is Associate Professor of History and Religious Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of God's Unruly Friends: Dervish Groups in the Islamic Later Middle Period, 1200-1550 (1994) and Vahidi's Menakib-i Hvoca-i Cihan ve Netice-i Can: Critical Edition and Historical Analysis (1993), and co-editor of Cartography in the Traditional Islamic and South Asian Societies (1992).


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