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Programs, Centers, Initiatives, and Projects

Program in Agrarian Studies

The Program in Agrarian Studies at Yale is an experimental, interdisciplinary effort to reshape how a new generation of scholars understands rural life and society. Its basic goal is to infuse categories of social science research in danger of becoming purely statistical and abstract with the fresh air of popular knowledge and reasoning about poverty, subsistence, cultivation, justice, art, law, property, ritual life, cooperation, resource use, and state action. The many hands from many disciplines that have shaped this program share three premises. The first is that any satisfactory analysis of agrarian development must begin with the lived experience, understandings, and values of its historical subjects. The second premise is that the study of the Third World (and what was, until recently, called the Second World) must never be segregated from the historical study of the West, or the humanities from the social sciences. In this spirit, the program aims to bring together streams of scholarship that are rarely in touch. Finally, the program is convinced that the only way to loosen the nearly hegemonic grip of the separate disciplines on how questions are framed and answered is to concentrate on themes of signal importance to several disciplines. By building a sustained community of interdisciplinary conversation and by demonstrating what creative trespassing can accomplish, it hopes to set a standard of integrative work that will act as a magnet. The program began formally in the 1991–1992 academic year, thanks to support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and Yale University.

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Baltic Studies Program

The Baltic Studies Program is an interdisciplinary forum for the study of the Baltic Sea region, with an emphasis on the lands that comprise contemporary Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The program sponsors workshops, symposia, and lectures, and serves as a resource for and liaison among students and scholars whose work involves the Baltic region. The program hosts two visiting fellows from the region, appointed after a comprehensive international search held every other year.

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Conflict, Resilience, and Health Program

The Conflict, Resilience, and Health Program is an interdisciplinary group that works to build resilience and health in communities afflicted by armed conflict or structural violence. The program engages with academics, practitioners, and policy makers to promote innovations in global health research and to evaluate resilience-building interventions.

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Program on Democracy

The Program on Democracy encourages work at the intersection of democratic theory and empirical research on democracy. It supports research in which answers to the question “How should democracy work?” are informed by answers to the question “How does democracy work?” Emphasis is placed on research on new democratic institutions in developing countries. Ongoing international collaborative research in the program addresses topics such as academic leadership and building research capabilities. Other projects include the development and diffusion of databases; a project on the policy relevance of clientelism, patronage, and vote buying; and a project on political identities.

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European Union Studies Program

The Yale Program in European Union Studies is devoted to furthering the knowledge of students, faculty, and other members of the Yale community about the European Union and European integration. Through a program of lectures, seminars, workshops, conferences, short-term visitors, and summer research and internship grants, it seeks to promote greater knowledge about and understanding of the European Union.

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Fox International Fellowship Program

The goal of the Fox International Fellowship is to enhance mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries by promoting international scholarly exchanges and collaborations among the next generation of leaders. To accomplish this goal, the program seeks to identify and nurture those students who are interested in harnessing scholarly knowledge to respond to the world’s most pressing challenges. The program especially welcomes students enrolled in the social sciences and kindred disciplines in the professional schools. The Fox International Fellowship is a graduate student exchange program between Yale and nineteen world-renowned partner universities in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. There are more than five hundred alumni in the extensive Fox Fellowship network.

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Genocide Studies Program

The Genocide Studies Program (GSP) seeks to put worldwide genocidal events into comparative context and thereby make them more comprehensible in order that such atrocities can one day be eradicated. Comparative genocide research seeks to yield predictors that could enable the prevention of future disasters before they gain momentum.

Begun in 1998 as an expansion of Yale’s Cambodian Genocide Program, the GSP today conducts research, holds regular seminars, and sponsors events pertaining to the comparative, interdisciplinary, historical, and policy issues relating to the phenomenon of genocide; provides training to researchers from afflicted regions; and maintains a heavily trafficked Web site and genocide database.

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Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition

Established in 1998 through a gift from Yale alumni Richard Gilder and Lewis Lehrman, the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition is dedicated to fostering education and research regarding all aspects of international slavery, especially the chattel slave system, its destruction, and its legacies. Through educational outreach, publications, international conferences, cultural events, and scholarly lectures, the Gilder Lehrman Center promotes an improved understanding of the role of slavery, slave resistance, and abolition in the founding of the modern world by encouraging intellectual exchange among scholars, teachers, and public historians. The center also offers research fellowships to graduate students, hosts visiting scholars, provides professional development workshops for secondary school teachers, and funds and awards the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, an annual award for the best nonfiction book written on the subject of slavery, resistance, or abolition.

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Yale Center for the Study of Globalization

The Yale Center for the Study of Globalization (YCSG) is devoted to examining the impact of our increasingly integrated world on individuals, communities, and nations. YCSG’s purpose is to support the creation and dissemination of ideas for seizing globalization’s opportunities and overcoming its challenges. The center is particularly focused on practical policies to enable the world’s poorest and weakest citizens to share in the benefits brought by globalization. It also explores solutions to problems that, even if they do not result directly from integration, are global in nature and can therefore be effectively addressed only through international cooperation.

The essence of the center’s strategy is collaboration, both with the rich intellectual resources of the Yale community and with a variety of institutions and individuals across the globe. In all its initiatives YCSG strives to enhance the connection of Yale with the international institutions charged with management of global challenges; thus the center extends the intellectual reach of its work well beyond the Yale community, to connect with outside institutions and people as it endeavors to make its output policy relevant. YCSG engages with multilateral institutions and other global organizations in such a way as to contribute toward better understanding global problems and the formulation of their solutions as well as influencing the attitudes and actions of policymakers in favor of international cooperation.

The center’s core issues include global development, international trade, financial globalization, and global public goods, giving priority to issues of global governance, including mitigation of climate change and global peace and security. In the area of global peace and security, YCSG’s work is on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament and halting global crime.

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Hellenic Studies Program

This program offers a comprehensive program of instruction in the modern Greek language at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels and cooperates closely with the Center for Language Study at Yale University for the development of technology-based teaching aids for the acquisition and mastering of modern Greek and the enrichment of other Hellenic-oriented courses. In addition, it offers a variety of courses in modern Greek literature and culture as well as in Ottoman and modern Greek history, providing students with the opportunity to study postclassical Greece in a broad geographical, historical, and comparative context. The program also fosters courses in other departments, including Byzantine history and Byzantine history of art.

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Center for Historical Enquiry and the Social Sciences

The Center for Historical Enquiry and the Social Sciences (CHESS) concerns itself with the interplay between history and the present, in the belief that its work will lead to fresh solutions to seemingly intractable contemporary problems. Because the historical dimension of social life is seldom fully understood—and therefore not adequately addressed—significant theoretical developments have too often been foreclosed. We aim to change that. By forging analytical tools to systematically examine the historical constraints and possibilities confronting social actors, the center expects to contribute to a fuller understanding of the range of possibilities for action inscribed in past and present.

This cross-disciplinary center also seeks to transcend the humanities and social sciences divide, bringing together a diverse complement of scholars to answer large questions that help us better understand the world we inhabit and seek to influence. The center’s scholars aim to create an environment in which we can learn from one another’s methodological expertise and substantive knowledge, and in which intellectual risks and experimentation are actively encouraged.

The centerpiece of CHESS is the weekly Friday workshop in which we collectively discuss precirculated papers. In addition, the center supports two annual conferences: a spring gathering focused on a general topic of interest and an annual winter graduate student conference. The center also supports ephemeral study groups designated by its constituent members. Finally, the center plans to launch courses organized around both significant scholarship in the historical social sciences and the variety of methods available to those pursuing scholarship in social science history.

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InterAsia Initiative

The InterAsia Initiative is a collaborative, multi-institutional group that aims to shift paradigms of how Asia is conceptualized by promoting collaborative research, scholarly networking, and public policy connections. In addition to Yale, members include the Social Science Research Council, the National University of Singapore, the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong, Göttingen University (Germany), the Arab Council for the Social Sciences (Lebanon), and Koç University (Turkey). Established in 2013 with support from the Carnegie Corporation, the initiative pushes inquiries beyond nation-states, land-based demarcations, imperial zones, and cultural boundaries, promoting research and conversations that address transregional connections. For critical moments of interaction, it includes historical and contemporary periods.

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Program in Iranian Studies

The Program in Iranian Studies promotes study of Iran, Afghanistan, and the Persianate cultural sphere, with emphasis on regional and international affairs, domestic political developments, as well as society, history, religion, art, art history, culture, law, medicine and public health, economy, and the environment. The program strives to reflect diverse views on foreign policy as well as nongovernmental voices and views of deprived groups such as women, intellectual descanters, religious and ethnic minorities, and nonconformists. It also encourages study of Iran and Afghanistan within the broader context of the Middle East, and especially in relation to neighboring Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and other countries of the Persian Gulf, as well as Pakistan, India, China, and Central Asia.

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Japan at the Crossroads Project

Japan is passing through an inflection point in its history that will define its future—perhaps irreversibly—for generations to come. The goal of the Japan at the Crossroads Project is to raise the level of interest in Japan, as well as deepen and broaden the understanding of Japan and its global challenges among Yale students, scholars, faculty, and visitors on campus. The project supports a postdoctoral fellow or visiting professor; a visiting speakers series; an annual international conference; and research fellowships for Yale faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students to support research on contemporary Japan.

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Georg Walter Leitner Program in International and Comparative Political Economy

The Georg Walter Leitner Program in International and Comparative Political Economy promotes research and teaching about the interactions between politics and economics around the world. International and comparative political economy are critical and fast-growing areas of inquiry in the social sciences today. The program develops innovative activities and collaborations among faculty and students in a number of departments and schools across the University, including especially the departments of Economics and Political Science, as well as the Department of History and the Law School, to reflect the increasing synergies of these disciplines worldwide.

The many activities offered by the Leitner Program include a weekly political economy workshop and several conferences each year at which the leading research in related fields is presented and discussed. Recent conferences have focused on topics such as the Economics, Law, and Politics of the GATT/WTO; Distributive Politics; Redistribution, Public Goods, and Political Market Failures; Non-Democratic Regimes; and Politics and History. The program also hosts faculty visitors for one-year appointments. These visiting scholars present innovative new interdisciplinary work to the Yale community, collaborate on research with Yale faculty and students, and offer related courses for Yale students. The program also hosts a handful of research lunches each term, where political economy graduate students present their work in progress. Finally, the Leitner Program sponsors graduate and undergraduate student research fellowships and provides undergraduate senior essay assistance.

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Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence

The Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence is an interdisciplinary research program headquartered at and supported by the MacMillan Center. It fosters pioneering and rigorous theoretical and empirical research on human conflict in all its dimensions by promoting innovative approaches on questions related to the breakdown, emergence, and consolidation of local, national, or transnational political order; the origins, dynamics, and consequences of political polarization; the determinants of conflict actors and strategies; and the dynamics of violent escalation and de-escalation. The program encourages research that is question-driven, methodologically eclectic, and serious about context.

The program offers residential predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships and organizes various activities, from lectures to workshops and conferences. Since its establishment in 2004, the program has organized more than two hundred talks and a dozen conferences and workshops; hosted more than thirty fellows and visiting scholars; and nurtured tens of graduate and undergraduate student associates. Through its combined activities, the program has helped to make Yale the preeminent site for cutting-edge research on questions related to order, conflict, and violence.

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Political Violence FieldLab

The FieldLab is devoted to the study of political violence and its effects on civilians and combatants in wartime settings. It draws on multiple techniques—including field, lab, survey, and natural experiments as well as archival research and event data—to identify how political violence shapes wartime attitudes and behaviors. It is particularly interested in whether the effects of political violence on civilians can be reduced or mitigated via the provision of humanitarian and economic assistance. As a whole, its research agenda is guided by twin beliefs in the value of basic research on these topics and the importance of applied research that generates policy-relevant insights. As a result, its undergraduate and graduate associates are drawn from different disciplines, including political science, history, economics, and psychology. The FieldLab and its activities are supported by AidData, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the United States Institute of Peace. It is also affiliated with the Conflict, Resilience, and Health Program at the MacMillan Center.

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Programs in International Educational Resources (PIER)

Programs in International Educational Resources (PIER) draws on Yale’s extensive resources, including its outstanding faculty and staff, to develop and implement programs, services, and resources designed to advance understanding of international and world regional issues through outreach to education and the public.

PIER provides a range of programs and services for educators, including summer institutes, professional development workshops, production and evaluation of educational materials, and curriculum development. Its student programs include teaching less commonly taught languages to high school students; arranging student-to-student classroom visits; and bringing together urban and suburban students to work on resolving pressing global issues.

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Program on Refugees, Forced Displacement, and Humanitarian Responses

The Program on Refugees, Forced Displacement, and Humanitarian Responses is an intellectual hub for research, teaching, and policy recommendations that takes a people-centered approach to the refugee experience—from internal displacement at home, to the transit experience inside and outside the camp, to challenges of resettlement and integration. Acting as a catalyst for innovation, it is open to new and unconventional ideas of research or public outreach. Rigorous, interdisciplinary, evidence-based research will be conducted and linked to policy and practice.

The program is a campus-wide initiative, drawing on the intellectual resources of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Yale’s twelve professional schools, including more than fifty Yale faculty and scholars in Anthropology, Economics, History, Sociology, Political Science, Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Law, Divinity, Management, and Forestry & Environmental Studies. It also will engage students who have been taking the lead in many initiatives on refugee and displacement issues on campus.

More broadly, the program will put the resources of academic institutions and the field experience of humanitarian workers and policy makers under one virtual roof, encompassing a wide range of issues that cover the entire refugee experience, to foster quality academic research and sound policy advice.

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Initiative on Religion, Politics, and Society

The MacMillan Center Initiative on Religion, Politics, and Society brings philosophical, comparative, and historical analysis to bear on contemporary political problems to stimulate new research agendas that in turn yield exciting insights into the connections between religion and politics. The initiative aims to harness Yale’s strengths in the fields of sociology, history, religious studies, and political science, together with critical perspectives from outside the United States, to contribute broader apprehensions of religion to scholarly and policy debates.

Among the topic areas it seeks to address are conflict, violence, and war; toleration, respect, and reconciliation; social movements and electoral politics; utopianism, communitarianism, and religion; religion as a source of identity; the place of religion in public life; and the impact of religion on civil society and the welfare state. The initiative emphasizes transnational dynamics.

The main components of the initiative are a colloquium and graduate student conference. The Colloquium on Religion and Politics meets monthly to discuss papers by invited guests on their current research. All faculty, students, and visitors to Yale are invited to attend. The Graduate Student Conference provides a forum for advanced students from across Yale and several partner institutions to engage with their peers and present work-in-progress.

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Project on Religious Freedom and Society in Africa

The goal of the Project on Religious Freedom and Society in Africa is critical inquiry into the connection between freedom of religion and societal well-being, and how the flourishing of persons and societies can be promoted on that basis. The project hosts several lectures; organizes interdisciplinary workshops, seminars, and conferences on religious freedom and society; offers small grants to support related initiatives and activities that are focused on particular areas of inquiry or particular regions of interest; and produces a series of working papers on selected themes of the project.

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Center for the Study of Representative Institutions

The Yale Center for the Study of Representative Institutions (YCRI) is an interdisciplinary pilot program established for the purpose of developing the study of the theory and practice of representative government in the Anglo-American tradition. YCRI is supported by the Thomas W. Smith Fund and the Jack Miller Center’s Commercial Republic Initiative, which is made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

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Russian Studies Project

Yale University has long been one of the nation’s leading centers for the study of Russia, as well as a meeting place for Americans and Russians pursuing mutual understanding and constructive engagement. With the rapidly shifting dynamics in Russia and its near and far regions, and new challenges to the U.S.-Russia relationship, a team of Yale faculty has collaborated to develop more robust programming. The Russian Studies Project, launched in January 2015, offers lively and multifaceted events to inform and engage student and faculty interests, drawing on the lessons of Russian history, the deep wellspring of Russian film culture, and the ideas of contemporary thinkers focused on Russia at this pivotal time. The project operates under the auspices of the European Studies Council.

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