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Department of Government puts Sumantra Bose in the hot seat

Sumantra Bose|, professor of international and comparative politics at LSE's Government Department, is the latest academic to contribute to the LSE Government Department Hot Seat Podcast Series|.

Speaking on the themes examined in his new book, Contested Lands: Israel-Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia, Cyprus and Sri Lanka (Harvard University Press, 2007), Professor Bose was interviewed by Justin Gest, a doctoral student in the Government Department, on 18 September 2007.

In response to the question 'Political scientists examine systems of government, institutions and societies of people, but how can hate be examined in the same way?' Professor Bose replied: 'Hate is probably not best studied in the framework of political science. As you probably know, my specialism is in institutional design and I do think that institutional design plays a role in aggravating or mitigating conflict.'

'[But] For example... what happened in Bosnia...in the 1990s is that there were hidden memories, especially from the previous episode of inter-group violence between 1941 and 1945, which apparently were buried but hadn't gone away... they were latent, and reappeared in a rather nasty and brutal form. ...The study of institutions doesn't really have an explanation for this sudden resurgence of hatred - I think one has to adopt a much more multidisciplinary perspective looking at anthropology, history, social-psychology, even literature.'

'The reason I wrote my latest book Contested Lands is that I wanted to write about peace, and the prospects, however difficult, of peace. I was a bit fed up of writing about war and violence, and wanted to do something more positive and optimistic.'

Contested Lands is being published in the Indian subcontinent by HarperCollins India, Delhi, in October 2007 and in Arabic by Arab Scientific Publishers, Beirut, in early 2008.

Other LSE academics who have been interviewed for this series include Professor Dominic Lieven on Spy Games and the Nature and State of the Russo-British Relationship, Professor John Gray on his recent book Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia, and Professor Anne Phillips on Multiculturalism - Should members of a minority group be left to lead their lives as they see fit, even where their values differ from those of the majority?

To listen to the full interview with Professor Bose, see: Department of Government|

For more on Contested Lands: Israel-Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia, Cyprus and Sri Lanka, see Contested Lands: Israel-Palestine Kashmir Bosnia Cyprus and Sri Lanka|


26 September 2007