Three I.S. Faculty Selected for CAP-Mellon Study Leave Program

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Professor Shadrack Nasong’o will spend the fall 2009 on a sabbatical in Kenya conducting both archival and field research for his project entitled From the Radical to the Sycophant: The Nature of Political Man in Kenya. The thrust of the project’s argument is that the nature of the Kenyan public space, as elsewhere in much of Africa, is such that the radicals and those imbued with political sobriety have remained endangered species whereas the conservatively hawkish and their “sycophantic” colleagues have remained predominant. This eventuality is what explains the lack of transformational leadership in country’s public space that is capable of transcending the corrupt politics that thrives on ethnicization of politics and politicization of ethnicity. Archival research will be conducted primarily at the Kenya National archives in Nairobi as well as in the major libraries and media houses in the country. Field research will be conducted primarily in the areas that were intensely affected by the post-2007 election conflict.

In addition to the research, Professor Nasong’o will also be refreshing and retooling his knowledge base on political developments and governance issues in Africa through consulting the latest publications on African politics by African scholars based on the continent. He will conduct this part of the sabbatical at the Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology’s Center for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance. He is particularly interested in their program on Peace and Conflict Studies, which happens to be consonant with his research project.


Professor David Romano will use his CAP-Mellon leave during the Spring 2010 semester.  He plans to take his wife and son with him to Germany, where he will study Kurdish and do research on the Turkish and Kurdish diasporas of Europe.  After spending the semester in Germany, Professor Romano will continue on to Iraqi Kurdistan to do some fieldwork.  Hopefully he will come back with plenty of anecdotes and tangential stories for the students in his Middle East politics classes.


Professor Amy Risley will use the CAP-Mellon Study Leave to complete her book manuscript on advocacy in Latin America.  The manuscript, which builds on her dissertation research, examines strategies that non-governmental organizations and other types of civil society groups use to engage in policy advocacy in Argentina and Chile.  The main issue areas to be analyzed in the manuscript are children’s rights, the environment, and government transparency and freedom of information.  The book will address a theme that has largely been neglected in existing scholarship: the policy impact of civil society activism in democratizing nations.  
Professor Risley will also focus on several projects in the area of gender and politics.  Specifically, she will research different aspects of global sex trafficking.  In an article manuscript, she will evaluate the US Government’s anti-trafficking policies under the Clinton and Bush Administrations.  A second manuscript will examine the impact of globalization and the “feminization” of poverty on trafficking.  In addition, she will continue to build on her prior interest in activism by investigating the political strategies, rhetoric, and collective action frames that participants in the international anti-trafficking movement have used.