CSC Welcomes Dr. Valentina Bartolucci

by Steven R. Corman The CSC extends a warm welcome to Dr. Valentina Bartolucci. She is a Fulbright Research Scholar resident here during the 2013-2014 academic year, studying public diplomacy as anti-terrorism.  Dr. Bartolucci is an Associate Researcher at the Interdisciplinary Centre of Science for Peace (Pisa), a Lecturer at the University of Pisa, Italy, and at the Marist college campus of Florence, Italy. Dr. Bartolucci is also a Visiting Fellow at the University of […] Read more »

Aftermath of a Buddhist Shrine Bombing in Indonesia

by Chris Lundry On Sunday evening, August 4, a small bomb detonated at the Ekayana Buddhist shrine in West Jakarta, Indonesia (story here). The blast injured three people and damaged the building, although if the second bomb found at the scene had detonated the toll likely would have been higher and the damage worse; the bombing was timed to coincide with well-attended sermon. Immediate speculation centered on the act as retaliation for the Burmese treatment […] Read more »

Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #65

by Bruce Gregory* Michele Acuto, “World Politics by Other Means? London, City Diplomacy and the Olympics,” paper delivered at the International Studies Association, San Francisco, April 2013. Acuto (Program for the Future of Cities, University of Oxford) looks at how global cities participate in world politics as political and “(para)diplomatic” actors. His case study of London’s activities in securing, planning, and managing the 2012 Summer Olympic Games explores the evolving role of cities as diplomatic […] Read more »

Return of a King: A Cautionary Narrative for Afghanistan

by Steven R. Corman Here is a quiz:  In what South Asian war did a country invade to pursue its own interests, overthrow an existing government and establish a client regime, encounter effective resistance by local insurgents despite the superiority of its army, fight to a stalemate, and withdraw when resources and interest waned back home?  If your answer did not include the British East India Company (EIC) invasion of Afghanistan in the 19th century, […] Read more »

Boston Bombings: Rumor, Conspiracy, Denial

By Chris Lundry It has been over a week since the grisly bombing at the Boston Marathon, and with one perpetrator killed and another captured, analysts are now searching for the “why” and “how” answers. How did a seemingly well-adjusted young man fall under the influence of his brother and deign to commit such an act? Are others involved? Are there ties to a larger group in the US or abroad? Although some of these […] Read more »

Diplomacy’s Public Dimension: Books, Articles, Websites #64

by Bruce Gregory* Christina Archetti, Understanding Terrorism in the Age of Global Media: A Communication Approach, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).  In a book that challenges conventional approaches to understanding the role of the media in terrorism studies, Archetti (University of Salford, UK) offers a new framework to explain ways “in which terrorism is socially constructed through communication.”  Her book includes four areas of inquiry: (1) the role of communication, “more or less mediated by technologies,” in […] Read more »

Narrating the Exit from Afghanistan

by Steven R. Corman With the United States and NATO set to withdraw all or most forces from Afghanistan in 2014, a key question is: How do we want to be remembered for our efforts there? The current narrative of the Afghanistan war is a mess. Yet the narrative of the war, as history tells it, will affect future domestic support for counterinsurgency operations and our credibility with local populations where conflicts take place. If […] Read more »

Narrative Landmines in Syria

by Steven R. Corman On Thursday, March 20, Small Wars Journal published Narrative Landmines: The Explosive Effects of Rumors in Syria and Around the World by Scott W. Ruston, Chris Lundry, Pauline Hope Cheong and Daniel Bernardi.  Ruston and Lundry are Assistant Research Professors at the CSC, and Cheong and Bernardi are former CSC affiliates. The essay addresses rumors in Syria, based on the narrative approach to rumors that the authors present in their book Narrative Landmines: Rumors, Islamist Extremism […] Read more »

The Difference between Story and Narrative

by Steven R. Corman A presentation by John Hagel, Chairman of Deloitte, at the recent SXSW conference has been getting a lot of play in the blogosphere.  In it, Hagel advocates differentiating story from narrative.  While he is right to draw the distinction and gets some of the differences right, he misses some key features of narratives that explain why they can be so persuasive. In his presentation, Hagel notes the power of stories for […] Read more »