Category Archives: Political Science

First Degree Murder as Self-Preservation: Religious Violence and Insecure Identity

Ask yourself the following questions: What is your identity? What is the most important part of your identity to a larger social group? To what lengths are you willing to go to preserve that identity (criticism of others or violence)? … Continue reading

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When Prophecy Succeeds?: The Islamic State Problem as an Imaginary Reality

The main point of this essay is that the Islamic State’s beliefs are so entrenched in its adherents’ identities that defeating them is all but an exercise in futility. There is no way to put the genie back in the … Continue reading

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Reform without Authority?

One of the problems—if you will—with Islam and why it is so difficult to reform is its lack of a central authority. Their prophet long dead and the Ottoman Caliphate long defunct, in the intervening years the closest we’ve come … Continue reading

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Clashes, Sex, and Cognitive Dissonance

Later this month I’m giving two public presentations (one at a conference and one in a small, 10-person room) about a paper I’ve been working on for about six months (it gets moved around the burners depending on my workload). … Continue reading

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Hunger (Strikes) Games: Palestinian Prisoners in Israel

This post has little to do with religion (aside from the Israel/Palestine debate), but I thought the subject worthy of an article on this blog. In 2012 Palestinian prisoners being held indefinitely in Israeli jails staged a massive and highly … Continue reading

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The Best Way to Convert an Atheist to Religion Is to Become an Atheist

The title above is probably not only provocative; it’s also highly counterintuitive. But please bear with me. Before I approach the religious part of this post—that it’s easier to convert an atheist to religion if you’re an atheist—I’m going to … Continue reading

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The Is-Ought Dilemma: And How a Young Suicide Bomber Learned Nothing

All we can talk about today is the reported suicide attack in Iraq by Australian teen and convert to Islam,¬†Jake Bilardi. Jake defected from his home country and middle class Melbourne family to join the Islamic State (IS) with dreams … Continue reading

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The Islamic State through Three Waltzian Lenses: An Analysis in IR Theory

In 1959 heavy-hitting, contemporary political scientist Kenneth Waltz published Man, the State, and War, a required reading for both undergraduate and graduate students in international politics. It’s often the fist book students of politics read because it gives them an … Continue reading

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Why Secularism Is Important (a video on international politics)

It’s been a while since I’ve made a video. It might be dry for some, but isn’t politics always dry? In this video I make an academic argument, with illustrations, why secularism is important. The examples I use come from … Continue reading

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Islamic Narratives of Victimhood: Terror not going away soon

In the years surrounding the US 9/11 attacks¬†we became aware of a strange phenomenon; Islamic terrorists were discussing their plans and goals publicly on Internet forums, without any regard for who may be watching. This was a double edged sword. … Continue reading

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