I’m currently participating in the UCU strike, which is taking place at Warwick and sixty UK universities over issues of pensions, fair pay, the increased use of staff on short-term and part-time contracts, and pay gaps for women and non-white colleagues. I spent the morning out on my first picket line (in the rain, of course), discussing these concerns with colleagues.
Though not officially on the strike agenda, many of us are also concerned about the massive administrative burdens caused by a slew of metrics (often poorly considered or admittedly flawed), which are used for short-sighted evaluation and the constant, nearly fetishized ranking of universities. Salaries have gone down in real terms even as workloads and student fees have gone up.
It’s really no fun having to go on strike (and not just because of the rain). Of course, we’ll all lose eight days of pay. I certainly didn’t enjoy explaining to students that the term would end early and suddenly; one gets into this line of work because one believes in the value of education, so cancelling classes isn’t a decision taken lightly. We also know that most of us will ending up doing most of the work we miss over the strike days (though the union would rather we didn’t). Much of the work is simply displaced and unpaid. In my case, I worked nights and weekends to get feedback to students before the strike so that could work on their essays. I already have scheduled meetings with supervisees for after the strike, which would have been part of my normal schedule otherwise, but now is being done on what would be research time. As is often the case, research is pushed to nights, weekends, and unused holiday time–even though it makes up much of a our evaluation and promotion cases. But unfortunately–and despite Warwick’s more progressive position–at the national level, there has been little response from universities to these important issues. All of them have gotten measurably and demonstrably worse over the last decade. So, here we are…
Sebastian Bitar and I have published a new entry on “International Security in Latin America,” for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American Politics. The chapter surveys the state of the field relating to Latin American security, including topics such as state security, transnational organized crime, high homicide rates, borders, and more. In the region, “isolated state responses are insufficient to respond to transnational dynamics; although some coordination has been achieved, intergovernmental responses have produced limited gains and substantial unintended consequences.” The piece emerged from collaboration during Seb’s visit as an IAS in 2018; he is an associate professor at Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia.
The piece is available here: https://oxfordre.com/politics/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.001.0001/acrefore-9780190228637-e-1735
Max Paul Friedman and I have a couple short articles out that connect our Perspectives on Politics (currently open access) article more directly to current events.
The first was published last weekend in the Uruguayan newspaper La Diaria (Spanish). It’s written especially for a Uruguayan audience and relates to that country’s diplomatic traditions. Those are particularly interesting now because Uruguay has taken a rather contrarian position on the regional approach to Venezuela recently. That now includes stating an intention to leave the Rio Treaty on collective defense.
The second was published in Americas Quarterly. It looks at the invocation of the Rio Treaty last week by sixteen Western Hemisphere signatories. Tying that to the Larreta Doctrine–initially a proposal for the Rio Conference agenda–it argues that history makes the Rio Treaty a poor tool for promoting democracy: “The doctrine further offers a solution to the sovereignty dilemma by allowing representatives of a sovereign people to work out guarantees and permissions before they lose their voice to dictatorship. It could also help protect against violations of sovereignty in the form of, say, unilateral U.S. interventions or extended military occupations, common in the first third of the 20th century.”
Hot off the presses in Perspectives on Politics, “The Promise of Precommitment in Democracy and Human Rights: The Hopeful, Forgotten Failure of the Larreta Doctrine,” my new article with Max Paul Friedman.
We look back to a 1945-46 debate about how to square sovereignty and (non)intervention with the protection and promotion of human rights and democracy in Latin America. We explore ideas for a precommitment regime proposed and supported by fragile democracies in the region, and also backed by the United States. The article draws on archival work in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, and the United States. Thanks to the many, many people who hosted us, gave feedback, etc. We started this article in summer 2015, so it’s been a long road!
Thanks to British Council (Colombia), British Academy (Brazil), Fulbright (Chile), and the Truman Library Institute (USA) for providing generous travel funding. Thanks to FGV (Rio), PUC (Santiago), and UniAndes (Bogota) for hosting me during visits.
And thanks to Max Paul Friedman for being such a tremendous coauthor, mentor, and friend.
Well, my department has updated my profile, so I guess I can make the good news official! I recently learned (on the 4th of July, in fact) that I’ve been promoted to Associate Professor at the University of Warwick. Time to place an order for new business cards! (The promotion isn’t effective until September 1, so I’ll keep them in the desk drawer for another month and half.)
UK universities don’t have tenure in the same way that most US universities do. That said, some aspects of the process are similar. There’s usually a probationary period. At Warwick, that’s usually five years, though you can apply for promotion earlier. In my case, my previous experience was taken into account, so the expectation when I was hired was that I’d apply for promotion after two years. The process is a bit less harsh than at comparable US universities, I think. A failure to get promotion does not necessarily signal the end of employment (e.g., promotion can be extended). At Warwick, though, it looks a bit like the tenure process, in that coming off probation and getting promoted go together.
Anyhow, it’s been a nice moment to reach out to some of my mentors and colleagues who gave me a lot of support along the way to share the good news. I’ve been incredibly lucky in many respects, but perhaps above all to have benefited from the kindness and support of so many tremendous people.
Next step…I should probably update my university profile picture to one that reflects the gray hair and glasses earned (incurred?) along the way.
My new article with Sebastián Bitar and Gabriel Jiménez Peña is now out in the Bulletin of Latin American Research (currently the no. 1 Latin America area studies journal by Impact Factor). The article emerged from collaboration during a British Council/Newton Fund ResearcherLinks grants, which allowed me to spend time at Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá. Later, Sebastián came to Warwick on an Institute of Advanced Studies grant, allowing us to thoroughly revise the article sitting side by side. Thanks to both for the research support, as well as to the many colleagues who gave us comments on earlier drafts, including at the Latin American Studies Association Congress in Lima.
Citation and link:
2019: “Domestic contestation and presidential prerogative in Colombian foreign policy,” Bulletin of Latin American Research, (Online Early View: DOI:10.1111/blar.12987). With Sebastián Bitar and Gabriel Jiménez Peña.
At long last, my review essay “There is no map: International Relations in the Americas” is out today in Latin American Research Review. It reviews six books and tries to offer some synthetic lessons on the evolution of international leadership in the Americas. Comments welcome!
Citation: Long, Tom. 2019. There Is No Map: International Relations in the Americas. Latin American Research Review 54(2), pp. 548–555. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25222/larr.459
Reconceptualizing Security in the Americas in the Twenty-First Century. Edited by Bruce M. Bagley, Jonathan D. Rosen, and Hanna S. Kassab. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2015. Pp. xix + 368. $49.99 paperback. ISBN: 9780739194874.
Brazil in the World: The International Relations of a South American Giant. By Sean W. Burges. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017. Pp. xi + 280. £30.00 paperback. ISBN: 9781526107404.
U.S.-Venezuela Relations since the 1990s: Coping with Midlevel Security Threats. By Javier Corrales and Carlos A. Romero. New York: Routledge, 2012. Pp. xii + 228. $47.95 paperback. ISBN: 9780415895255.
21st Century Democracy Promotion in the Americas: Standing Up for the Polity. By Jorge Heine and Brigitte Weiffen. New York: Routledge, 2015. Pp. xii + 208. $47.95 paperback. ISBN: 9780415626378.
Aspirational Power: Brazil on the Long Road to Global Influence. By David R. Mares and Harold A. Trinkunas. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2016. Pp. x + 224. $32.00 hardcover. ISBN: 9780815727958.
Precarious Paths to Freedom: The United States, Venezuela, and the Latin American Cold War. By Aragorn Storm Miller. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2016. Pp. xxi + 278. $65.00 hardcover. ISBN: 9780826356871.
I’ve just published my first piece in The Conversation, which looks at the rising tide of illiberalism — of left and right — in Latin America. Given the news of the last few days, it has a particular focus on Venezuela. Check out the new piece over at The Conversation…“Venezuela: how Latin American tolerance of illiberalism let a nation slide into crisis”
Despite the news hook, the piece really seeks to underline some of the lessons from my International Affairs article from November: “Latin America and the liberal international order: An agenda for research.” That article is discussed here, with a link to an open-access copy.
I am thrilled that my article “Latin America and the liberal international order: An agenda for research” has been accepted at International Affairs. In perhaps a major journal record, it was accepted last week and is already scheduled to be published in the November 2018 issue.
The article emerged as a response to the January 2018 special issue of the journal, edited by Princeton’s John Ikenberry, on liberal international order. It expanded quite a bit from there, but it is really great to see it published in the journal that inspired it. International Affairs has been a leading outlet for discussion of the liberal international order from a broad range of scholarly perspectives, and with a focus on policy audiences. It’s also just a fantastic journal, and one of my favorites to read. I use articles from International Affairs in my classes frequently because they tend to emphasize clear argument, concise presentation, and strong writing.
I can only hope my own piece does the same! The abstract is below. Please drop me a line if you’d like the submitted draft. The final version will be out soon, but of course I’m glad to get responses and thoughts before then. As the title suggests, this article is Part 1 in what I hope will be an expanding research project.
Abstract: Recent debates about challenges to the Liberal International Order (LIO)
have led IR scholars, both those critical and supportive of the concept, to
examine LIO’s origins and effects. While this work has shed new light on
the evolution of international order, there has been a surprising absence:
Latin America. We explore the theoretical consequences of this empirical
gap for IR’s understanding of LIO. After assessing the literature’s
treatment of Latin American and LIO, we offer a macro-historical sketch of
the region’s role in the order’s critical junctures. LIO has shaped Latin
America, and Latin America has shaped LIO—but not always in the ways
supporters or critics might expect. Despite Latin America’s long liberal
traditions, LIO’s benefits for the region have often been narrow. The
region’s sovereignty and statehood evolved alongside LIO, with
international experiences very different from those of areas colonized
during LIO’s expansion. Latin American engagement shaped the practices
of great powers through international law and organization, cooperation
and resistance. Despite its participation in LIO’s founding moments, Latin
America was often accorded second-class treatment. The experience of
Latin American states over two centuries—independent but often
internationally unequal—offers a rich vein of experiences of the
consequences of partial inclusion or marginalization from LIO. Deeper
study of Latin America’s history with LIO casts light on the ways in which
non-great powers outside the order’s core shaped, and were shaped by,
the elements of the evolving order.
Busy media day, with appearances on DW News (Germany) and Al Jazeera English. Both spots were on Argentina’s mounting currency crisis, with the peso losing half its value this year and suffering a really steep drop last week.
The year-long decline owes to a number of structural constraints, but last week’s near panic was caused in large part by some botched communications that created a lot of uncertainty and enhanced doubts about President Macri’s fiscal management. The government will try to rectify that this week, but losing value against the dollar is much easier than getting it all back. This is a closely watched number in Argentina, with really big political implications. The only “positive” for Macri is that the Kircheristas are themselves caught up in problems with serious corruption alleged and lots of concerning evidence coming to light.
— Warwick Newsroom (@warwicknewsroom) September 3, 2018
I was looking at government budget plans that had the peso gradually falling to nearly 22 pesos to the dollar — by 2021. It’s now struggling to stay above 40. Those economic plans, like many others, have gone up in smoke.
I haven’t done much in this space for a while, but I will try to add a bit of summary about my time in Chile on the Fulbright from March to June, what I learned last week in Mexico for the Robert A. Pastor North American Research Initiative, and some very brief capsule reviews on some of the books I’ve been reading over the summer.