I had a fantastic time at APSA last week. Early-stage PhD students, it’s definitely worth attending even if you’re not presenting. Here are some of the papers that really stood out to me:
- Shivaji Mukherjee is doing some very interesting work on how colonial-era British institutions in India may help to predict today’s Maoist insurgency in the southern and eastern states.
- Also in India, I really liked Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner‘s research on the varied strategies that citizens use to make claims on the state.
- Mark Dincecco and Massimiliano Gaetano Onorato have a thought-provoking paper on how medieval warfare led to the consolidation of major cities in Europe.
- Kendra Koivu is doing some interesting research on how organized criminal groups use violence internally (to keep order in their ranks) and externally (to compete with other groups). I couldn’t find this paper online, but her earlier work on relationships between states and organized crime groups looks good as well.
- Finally, Alexandra Hartman (with coauthor Ben Morse) presented some fascinating results from a study examining why Liberians decided to host refugees from Côte d’Ivoire during the recent Ivoirian civil war. Moving beyond the standard (shallow) model of ethnic politics in Africa, they also looked at whether Liberians’ own experiences of conflict helped them to empathize with the Ivoirians, and led them to host people from different ethnic or religious groups. Also not online yet, but I’d keep an eye out for this; it’s a really welcome move towards more contextualized and frankly more respectful understandings of African political life.