Day: June 6, 2013

Who’s on Duck?

Having been newly promoted to permanent contributor, I’m delighted to join the esteemed Duck blogging crew (pictured above) on a more long-term basis. I’m looking forward to more lengthy substantive blog posts beyond the Thursday updates. I feel like I’ve been trapped in reviewer hell for weeks, just as it looked like I was clearing my inbox of book and article reviews, I kept getting another one in and the pieces always looked vaguely interesting. Taking note of Dan Nexon’s recent post about the difficulty journals have in getting reviews (let alone quality ones), I determined that I had to do my civic duty. Continue reading


SAGE and the Duck of Minerva

This is just a short note to explain the appearance of the phrase “temporarily un-gated PDF” in Peter Henne’s guest post about contagion and the Syrian civil war.

We’ve been linking to academic articles for quite some time, but usually to the abstracts or random versions available on the web. But after The Monkey Cage announced a partnership with academic publishers to temporarily un-gate political-science articles, it occurred to me that nothing prevented us from asking publishers to do the same for the Duck of Minerva.

I’m pleased to announce the SAGE is the first to do so. Thanks to David Mainwaring for making this possible. Continue reading


Is Syria Infecting the Middle East?

800px-Azaz_Syria_during_the_Syrian_Civil_War_Missing_front_of_HouseThis is a guest post by Peter S. Henne. Peter received his PhD from Georgetown University in May 2013, and was a Fellow at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia during 2012-2013. His research focuses on religion and foreign policy; he has also written on terrorism and religious conflict.

A recent article in The New York Times illustrates much of what, in my opinion, is concerning about US debate over the crisis in Syria. The piece makes the bold claim that the conflict in Syria is not only affecting the region, it is infecting it with sectarian tensions. The authors use dramatic language, like “a contagious sectarian conflict,” “shaking the foundations of countries cobbled together,” and “simmering” ethnic tensions in the region.

The authors committed a bit of a taste faux pas by combining public health, architectural and cooking metaphors in one relatively short article. But if readers can get beyond these overwrought images, they might notice another thing: there’s not much evidence to back up their broad claims. Continue reading


Thursday Morning Linkage

Ok, last week, I mentioned with anticipation how much I was looking forward to Game of Thrones. Little did I know it was the Red Wedding episode. I’ve looked for lighter fare stories this week and only sometimes does the world oblige. On the hopeful side of things, here is some good news:

  • A look back at the millions of lives saved through PEPFAR: 10 years later
  • A photographer captured all of the rare birds of paradise species in Papua New Guinea
  • The EU moves to curb overfishing with lower quotas: enforcement and removal of subsidies still key
  • A new cheap vinegar test can help cut cervical cancer deaths in India and the developing world
  • Finland’s generous baby box an incentive for pre-natal care and responsible for falling child mortality Continue reading

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