Professor Vladislav Zubok publishes new book, The Idea of Russia
Professor Vladislav Zubok’s newest book, The Idea of Russia: The Life and Work of Dmitry Likhachev, was released by IB Tauris this month. As the title indicates, The Idea of Russia focuses on the life and work of one of the most prominent Russian intellectuals of the twentieth century, Dmitry Likhachev (1906-1999). His life spanned virtually the entire century - a tumultuous period which saw Russia move from Tsarist rule under Nicholas II via the Russian Revolution and Civil War into seven decades of communism followed by Gorbachev's Perestroika and the rise of Putin. In 1928, shortly after completing his university education, Likhachev was arrested, charged with counter-revolutionary ideas and imprisoned in the Gulag, where he spent the next five years. Returning to a career in academia, specialising in Old Russian literature, Likhachev played a crucial role in the cultural life of twentieth-century Russia, campaigning for the protection of important cultural sites and historic monuments. He also founded museums dedicated to great Russian writers including Dostoevsky, Pushkin and Pasternak. In this, the first biography of Likhachev to appear in English, Professor Zubok provides a thoroughly-researched account of one of Russia's most extraordinary and influential public figures. Buy The Idea of Russia on Amazon UK. The Idea of Russia is a shorter English version of Dmitry Likhachev. The Life and the Century also authored by Professor Vladislav Zubok and published in Russia by Vita Nova in 2016.
Dr Joanna Lewis on Keith Somerville's Ivory for the the Africa at LSE Blog
Dr Joanna Lewis contributed a passionate and analytical review of BBC broadcaster Keith Somerville’s newest book, Ivory: Power and Poaching in Africa for the Africa at LSE blog (27 January 2017). Dr Lewis describes Somerville’s book as the best academic account to date of the history of the supply side of ivory trade. "He argues, that it is more the petty, everyday reality of corruption, crime and politics, which enables illegal poaching to survive (and even surge) when there is any kind of international push for a more extensive ban on the trade. The logic then is that hunting and therefore the trade should be regulated.” Dr Lewis, herself a passionate animal lover, concedes that “when the argument comes from Somerville, the heart has to yield to the head”. “Supporting and strengthening communities so they can manage wildlife responsibly from the bottom up, with some controlled hunting, is an argument that many wildlife experts have come to see is the only long term viable solution.”“Still”, concludes Dr Lewis, “what a deterrent it could be that, if caught, those men who organise the hunting and butchering of elephants for pleasure and for their tusks, also have something they hold dear cut off…” Read Dr Joanna Lewis’s full review of Ivory.
Dr Joanna Lewis reviews Martin Plaut's Understanding Eritrea in Times Higher Education
Dr Joanna Lewis, our expert in Modern Africa History, reviewed Matin Plaut’s newest book, Understanding Eritrea: Inside Africa’s Most Repressive State, in the Times Higher Education (26 January 2017). “Plaut’s extensive evidence shows how the regime’s repressive stance in power is a consequence of its ruler,” writes Dr Lewis. “A study of the North African country lays bare a ruler at war with his own people”. Read Dr Joanna Lewis’s review.
Dr Heather Jones talks about “The Howth Mauser" on BBC Radio 3 “The Essay”
Dr Heather Jones, a specialist in First World War Studies in our Department, contributed a 15-minute long piece to The Essay, a BBC3 Radio programme where leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond provide insights, opinions and intellectual surprises on a particular theme. In an episode aired on 27 January, under the theme of Gun Culture, Dr Jones talked about the deadly symbolism of the Howth Mauser and other guns as the struggles for freedom began in 20th Century Ireland. “The arrival of crate-loads of already out-of-date German rifles in 1914 proved electrifying to the Irish Nationalist struggle and the cult of the gun had deep meaning for all sides in the struggle to come." Download the podcast.
Dr Kristina Spohr on TV.Berlin
On 21 January, Dr Kristina Spohr was on TV.Berlin to talk about one of her latest books, Der Weltkanzler, with host Peter Brinkmann. She appeared on his weekly show 'Standort Berlin’. Der Weltkanzler, published by Theiss in 2016, is the extended German edition of Dr Spohr’s The Global Chancellor: Helmut Schmidt and the Reshaping of the International Order (OUP, 2016). The book retrieves Schmidt's true significance as a pivotal figure who helped reshape the global order during the crisis-ridden 1970s. Watch Part I and Part II (in German).
New Modern Asian Studies special issue co-edited by Dr Valeria Zanier
Dr Valeria Zanier, an historian of Contemporary China, and a 2016-17 Visiting Research Fellow in our department, has co-edited the latest special issue of Modern Asian Studies (vol. 51, issue 1, 2017). The issue, entitled “Circumventing the Cold War: the parallel diplomacy of economic and cultural exchanges between Western Europe and Socialist China in the 1950s and 1960s”, is one of Dr Zanier's research outputs, carried out from 2013-15, whilst based in our Department as a Marie Curie (IEF) FP7 Senior Fellow. The special issue includes an introduction, co-written with Dr Angela Romano (European University Institute), and an article authored by Dr Zanier, “Western European Industrialists and China’s Dream of Self-reliance: the Case of ENI (1956-1965)". The special issue “brings together historians with expertise on China and Western Europe with the explicit intent to question the dominant narrative that argues in favour of the early 1970s, and the US move in particular, being the starting point of meaningful relations between the West and the PRC, relegates Western European states to the role of followers, and implies that Mao had curbed previous attempts at linking with the West.” Dr Zanier's article “explores the relationship between Chinese officials and Western European industrialists, revealing that in the second half of the 1950s, there already was a specific Western European interest to cater to China’s high market potential, and that this was met with favour on the Chinese side. In order to become a strong and independent country, PRC was especially interested to evaluate the most variegated range of offers in the chemical and energy sectors."
The Global Chancellor receives positive reviews in the US
Dr Kristina Spohr’s The Global Chancellor, published by Oxford University Press last year, has received positive reviews in the United States. Foreign Affairs, the leading magazine for analysis and debate of foreign policy, economics and global affairs, claims in this month’s issue that “[Dr Spohr] has done readers a service by crafting a well-documented English-language treatment of this leading twentieth-century statesman” (January/February 2017, vol. 96, no. 1). Read the review in Foreign Affairs (free access). Choice magazine, the publishing branch of the American Library Association, highly recommends Dr Spohr’s book in this month’s issue. “Spohr deftly designs a political history that goes beyond the ordinary political biography”, argues Dr R. A. Harper, “engaging the reader to reevaluate the complex (and now often forgotten) times when Schmidt served and his ability to manage many unknowns” (January 2017, vol. 54, no. 5). Read the review in Choice Reviews (free for LSE users). Last year, the Wall Street Journal also reviewed Dr Spohr’s book, claiming that “[t]he strength of the book is the way it illuminates Schmidt's thinking on both economic and strategic questions and the relationship between them" (29 July 2016). Read the review in the Wall Street Journal (paid subscription).
"Putin's Revenge": Dr Kristina Spohr co-writes cover essay for New Statesman
Dr Kristina Spohr and Professor David Reynolds (University of Cambridge), co-editors of Transcending the Cold War (2016), contributed an essay to the latest edition of New Statesman (13-19 January 2017). Featured on the cover of the weekly magazine, their essay, “Putin’s revenge: why the Russian leader is obsessed with America”, traces the end of the Soviet Union, Yeltsin’s failed attempt to create a new Russia and the rise of Vladimir Putin’s strong state amid a new world disorder. “Today’s Russian-American stand-off revolves around differing approaches to international relations", they argue. "Although we may not be back in the era of bipolarity some of the new ways are also old ways. Under Putin, Russia seems to have resumed its historic quest for position against the West and its insatiable desire for recognition as America’s equal.” Read the full article in the New Statesmen (free access).
New publication by Dr Tanya Harmer
Dr Tanya Harmer, a specialist in the Cold War in Latin America with a particular interest in the international, transnational and global dynamics of the struggle, contributed a chapter to the edited volume Foreign Policy at the Periphery released in early January. The book, edited by Dr Bevan Sewell and Dr Maria Ryan from University of Nottingham, features original essays by leading scholars and examines relationships among new nations and the United States from the end of the Second World War through the global war on terror. Dr Harmer’s chapter, titled "Dialogue or Détente: Henry Kissinger, Latin America, and the Prospects for a New Inter-American Understanding, 1973-1977”, covers Henry Kissinger’s policies toward Latin America during the 1970s.
Crumbling continent: new article by Dr David Motadel
Dr David Motadel, our expert on the history of modern Europe and Europe’s relations with the wider world, contributed an article to the Times Literary Supplement (no. 5936, 6 January 2017). The article, entitled "Anarchy Loosed upon the World", delves on the long end of the First World War and violence in interwar Europe. Read the article in the Times Literary Supplement (with subscription).