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The US Centre PhD Summer Research Grants


The summer research grants aims to encourage innovative research on the United States and to support students pursuing postgraduate research on topics related to the Centre’s overall mission of promoting internationally-oriented scholarship on America’s changing role in the world.

 The grants will provide support to the development of early career scholars at the LSE while also aiming to help with research activities for example: including data collection, field work, and/or designing and implementing a survey. The grants are not intended for language study or purchasing equipment. The award will be for one year, and will be £2500. £1500 of the grant will be given up front and the further £1000 when the report is submitted. This is the first year of the programme.


 Research Projects 2019

1. Bowling with Guns: Grievance, resentment, and political action in themilitia movement and American right

Ariel Perkins

This research addresses three puzzles emerging from our accumulatedknowledge of the US militia movement. First, does it make sense to assume militia members aretriggered by the same structural grievances as wider partisan bases? Is there a connection betweenpartisan extremism and political action in the US case? Second, what explains ‘extremist’ forms ofmobilization (e.g. armed paramilitary drills) without ‘extremist’ outcomes (e.g. political violence)?Are militias meeting more for coffee than guns, and if so, how and why is such engagementpolitically coded? Third, nearly all primary accounts suggest recruits view membership as a civicduty and public good (Cooter 2013, Shapira 2013, Aho 1990). If this is the case, why does suchactivism manifest in non-traditional forms of democratic political engagement? Are enlisteesinfluenced by shared background characteristics or experiences (e.g. military service)?

2. Understanding Reneging: Why Allies Withdraw from Dual-Key Nuclear Sharing Commitments

Jacklyn Majnemer

This summer project will form a key part of a doctoral thesis, which explores the trajectory the dual-key nuclear sharing arrangements between the Canada and the US under NATO and NORAD. The core puzzle that drives my thesis is why some states renege on their previously-held alliance commitments, despite the structural incentives to cooperate within institutionalized alliances. It will be argued that a key source of leverage for reneging is the type of domestic coalition that supports defection, which can mitigate the perceived costs of defection. Coalitions that support reneging on a wide variety of commitments and question the fundamentals of alliance membership, or maximalist coalitions, provide more leverage than coalitions that only oppose a single commitment but generally support membership within the alliance, or minimalist coalitions. Maximalist coalitions have three main sources of bargaining power: a credible threat of total withdrawal from the alliance, a willingness to act unilaterally, and low vulnerability to being influenced by allies. Using Putnam’s two-level game as a model of intra-alliance negotiation, it will be argued that leaders that have the support of a maximalist coalition should be more likely to pursue a reneging strategy vis-à-vis the alliance and to succeed in their attempts to renege on their commitments if they can maintain this support.

3. Resisting Marxism and Imperialism in the Persian Gulf: Political Alliances and Revolutionary Transnationalism, 1965 – 1979

Marral Shamshiri-Fard

This PhD dissertation analyses the diplomatic and transnational Iranian involvement in the Dhofar revolution in the period of 1965-79 within the context of the global Cold War. Combining international and transnational history, it examines how the global Cold War shaped, and was shaped by, the ideas, actions, and decisions of individuals, states, and organisations, whether they were revolutionaries or statesmen; non-aligned, Western, or Eastern states; and activist, informal or institutional organisations. Building on existing scholarship which has tended to focus on the Moscow vs. Washington lens of Cold War history, this research projects instead centralises so-called Third World actors in Iran and Oman in order to understand how Western hegemony, namely, American dominance, was challenged in the defining period of the Global Sixties.