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date: 23 February 2018

Teaching Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration Studies

Summary and Keywords

A review of syllabi from members of the ethnicity, nationalism, and migration studies (ENMS) section of the International Studies Association shows that “teaching ethnic conflict” covers has several parts: the classical literature, main themes used in the classroom, including theories of ethnicity/nationalism, causes of ethnic conflict, responses, and regions of the world. One of the most prevalent themes in classical texts is identity formation. EMNS professors appear to focus on three approaches: primordialism, instrumentalism, and constructivism. It is assertable that each approach has dominated the discipline at specific times. While one approach may be the focal point of ENMS, each coexists with the others. The next most widely used topic in ENMS classrooms is theories of ethnic conflict. Ethnic conflict studies focus on in-group/out-group relationships and how the two conflict. Migration is also studied within the framework of ethnicity and nationalism, which may be attributed to their many interconnections. For example, the harsh treatment of ethnic minorities within a state may result in mass expulsion, ethnic cleansing, war, and even voluntary exile by the oppressed group. Government oppression may include mass violence, but also economic discrimination. This may result in ethnic peoples outside of their traditional homeland seeking asylum in another state that is friendlier to them.

Keywords: teaching, pedagogy, ethnicity, nationalism, migration studies, ethic conflict, International Studies Association

Introduction

The purpose of this essay is to examine and describe how ethnicity, nationalism, and migration studies (ENMS) are taught. To accomplish this, we collected syllabi from members of the ENMS section of the International Studies Association (ISA). The requests were compiled and emailed to ENMS professors by the ENMS’s section head. We divided these syllabi into two categories. The first encapsulates ethnicity and nationalism. Most of the syllabi dealing with ethnicity and nationalism focused on ethnic conflict. Some dealt with nationalism as a broader theme, but because they also included large sections on conflict, they are categorized as ethnic conflict. Therefore, the first topic deals with ethnic conflict. This essay’s second topic is migration. Migration studies appears to be more scattered in ENMS classrooms, and therefore its section is broader.

The essay divides information from the syllabi into several parts, including (1) the classic/seminal literature students must understand to be properly acquainted with the discipline; (2) the larger themes and ideas taught in the classroom; (3) some specifics of teaching itself, including regions and conflicts discussed, and the texts most often used; and (4) the books, articles, and/or other reading used, the nonacademic literature that appears most on syllabi, and alternative styles of teaching including the use of movies and guest speakers, and how grades are distributed.

This essay is organized into three sections. The first discusses ethnicity and nationalism, specifically focusing on ethnic conflict. The second section focuses on migration studies. Finally, the essay examines how courses are taught. The next section deals with “how” ENMS is taught. When reading this essay, remember that it is based solely on current ENMS syllabi. Therefore, what specific scholars in the field deem extremely important and relevant may not be mentioned. This is not an oversight but rather a deliberate method to limit discussion that does not focus on the issues studied inside ENMS classrooms. This essay focuses on what is taught and concentrated upon in the classrooms and not on the state of the discipline in its entirety.

Ethnicity and Nationalism

This section explains the state of the art of teaching ENMS, concentrating on ethnicity and nationalism, which most often pertains to ethnic conflict. Thus, “teaching ethnic conflict” has several parts: the classical literature, main themes used in the classroom, including theories of ethnicity/nationalism, causes of ethnic conflict, responses, and regions of the world. Further, this section looks at how ENMS are taught through methodology, outside resources, and perhaps an under-studied topic, class grading schemes. Each relates to what we found to be the most used in ENMS classrooms. When needed, based on author discretion, several other sources have been added. Before beginning, however, it is worth noting that the field has yet to identify common conceptualizations of the phenomena studied: ethnicity, nationalism, identity, race, etc. Sometimes these concepts overlap and in others, they are strictly separated. One must bear this in mind when studying ENMS; this debate, however, does not play a major role in EMNS classrooms.

The Classics

In almost every syllabus received, at least one of the following books was mandatory: Isaacs (1975); Gellner (1983); Anderson (1991); Connor (1994); Hutchinson and Smith (1996); Horowitz (2000); Hobsbawm and Ranger (2003); and usually at least one work of Anthony D. Smith. Without doubt, these are to be considered classics. But what is it exactly that makes them so critical in ENMS classrooms? It is uncertain how different professors utilize these works. The collected syllabi are not uniform in specifying what ideas, questions, and themes students are to consider from each of the readings. It can be rationally assumed, however, that professors encourage their students to understand each reading as the author him/herself expects. Therefore, to understand more fully the direction classes take, it is first necessary to briefly examine the themes and questions each book presents. A more detailed thematic analysis follows.

Isaacs (1975) focuses on the components of ethnic group identity. He illustrates what he terms “basic group identity” and seeks to answer, in one form or another, the question “What is ethnic group identity?” Isaacs’ approach focuses mostly upon primordial attachments starting with familial ties. Anderson (1991) addresses the same question but asserts that ethnic groups/nations are actually imagined communities that have no actual identity. Identity communities are created rather than formed naturally from primordial traits. Gellner (1983) focuses more on nationalism than identity. He asserts that nationalism is not based upon real traits, but is a political principle. In other words, nationalism is a tool used to obtain political ends. Gellner’s position is more rationally oriented. Connor (1994) argues that nationalism is in fact subconsciously formed and, like Isaacs, attaches significant importance to kinship ties and adds the associated myths, symbols, and perceptions. Subconscious perceptions, rather than rational choice, create national identity.

Hutchinson and Smith (1996) compiled a vast collection of essays covering topics ranging from the concepts, components, and theories of ethnicity to how ethnicity “works” in international relations. It is used for students to “taste” rather than “consume” the arguments of the major works concerning EMNS. Horowitz (2000) is the definitive work on ethnic groups in conflict. His aim is to “explore systematically and comparatively the politics of ethnic group conflict in severely divided societies” (p. xv). Some of Horowitz’s arguments that seem specifically important in the classroom are illustrated below. Hobsbawm and Ranger’s (2003) compilation focuses on elements of identity and nationalism, concentrating on the idea of traditions. The idea is that traditions, and therefore nationalism and identity, are actually invented and are not necessarily “real.” Like Anderson, Hobsbawm and Ranger’s argument focuses more upon the construction and rational use of “tradition.” Anthony D. Smith appears on every syllabus, though which works are used differs drastically. One can surmise, albeit insufficiently, the ideas classes focus upon on the history of nationalism, how it is formed, and how it has evolved from era to era. A common theme throughout most of his work concentrates on the perceived aspects of ethnic groups that create the beginnings of nationalistic sentiment, starting with the family to the ethnie to the national group. Smith concentrates on what may be called a historic ethno-symbolic approach.

One can see from the previous synopses that one of the most prevalent themes in each of these classics deals with identity formation, whether ethnic, national, or even state. It is necessary to understand the debate on identity formation to teach ENMS effectively. Because this theme is so crucial, this section concentrates on the evolutionary debate, drawing most of its literature directly from sources listed in the syllabi. An understanding of the state of ENMS teaching is obtainable after compiling the aforementioned classics. The arguments presented below are not necessarily the dominant themes throughout EMNS, but they do dominate classroom instruction.

Theories of Identity: The Evolutionary Circular Battle

Classical texts on identity formation challenge each other’s causal assertions. From the syllabi gathered, it seems that EMNS professors focus upon three approaches: primordialism, instrumentalism, and constructivism. It is assertable that each approach has dominated the discipline at specific times. While one approach may be the focal point of ENMS, each coexists with the others. Unlike other genres of political science, such as IR theory, which has one dominant paradigm (realism) that others continuously seek to discredit, ENMS involving identity approaches ebbs and flows, with one “winning” the battle at different times. It must be noted that cyclical patterns are visible throughout. Therefore, approaches to identity are not strictly evolutionary. Rather, as it progresses, it tends to be circular as well, with each approach’s credibility rising just as it seems another is becoming dominant. Still, primordialism is a fitting point upon which to begin.

Isaacs (1975) conceptualizes basic group identity as being comprised of given traits that exist from birth, shared by individuals. These traits include birthplace, individual and group name, language, history and origins, religion, and nationality. He argues that time and place affect identity, but it is set and inherited by biological remembrance of things past. To Isaacs, original identity is not constructed because one automatically acquires ethnic traits by birth. Isaacs recognizes, however, that identity is fluid and may change, but these changes are secondary sources and not as strong as birth-given traits.

Clifford Geertz argues that ethnic identities are formed from primordial attachments stemming from “natural” givens. He writes, “one is bound to one’s kinsman, one’s neighbor, one’s fellow believer, ipso facto; as the result not merely of personal affection, practical necessity, common interest, or incurred obligation, but at least in great part by virtue of some unaccountable absolute import attributed to the very tie itself” (1996:42). In other words, people identify with one another from some form of natural or even spiritual affinity (p. 42). Ethnicity is “based on a myth of collective ancestry, which usually carries with it traits believed to be innate. Some notion of ascription, however diluted, and affinity deriving from it are inseparable from the concept of ethnicity” (Horowitz 2000:52). He further contends that a strong sense of ethnic identity is based upon strong family ties. Of course, Weber reminds us that without strong historical memories, kinship ties mean little for community (1996:36).

Gellner fixates upon a definition of the nation, explaining it as a group with shared culture that wills to persist as communities (1983:53). For Gellner, the idea of the nation (and hence, national identity) is constructed. He explains that the nation is a new fad that is the preferred identity at that time. Nations were only created because of the rise of nationalism. In fact, the scholar explains that the shared culture is constructed. Relating to identity, the nation as a cultural unit creates the elements upon which identity rests and teaches those elements to the members, therefore imposing a constructed identity at birth (p. 60).

In opposition to the primordialist views, Gellner’s argument is interpreted as deconstructing the myth of primordial ties that define identity and instead asserts that all characteristics are chosen and forced upon group members. Here marks the rise of constructivism. For Gellner, nationalism, defined as one’s identification with a nation, is neither fixed at birth nor inscribed, but rather exists as the result of changing social conditions. In line with Gellner’s posturing, Hobsbawm argues that tradition, a trait associated with ethnicity and nationalism, is usually “invented” (2003). Invented tradition is a “set of practices […] which seek to inculcate certain values and norms of [behavior] by repetition, which automatically implies continuity with the past. In fact, where possible, they normally attempt to establish continuity with a suitable historic past” (p. 1). In other words, the criteria upon which groups are united and made whole are indeed “made.”

Tradition is invented according to three overlapping principles: those establishing or symbolizing social cohesion/membership of groups; those establishing or legitimizing institutions, status, or relations of authority; and those whose main purpose is socialization, the inculcation of beliefs, value systems, and conventions of behavior (Hobsbawm 2003:9). Traditions, then, are invented for a variety of reasons, the most important being the social cohesion of groups. Hobsbawm does admit that some traditions are “true” and that many are based on the idea of “truth.” In the main, however, tradition, and therefore one may even imply nationalism, is created.

Concerning a constructivist approach, Benedict Anderson argues that not only are traditions invented, but nations are completely imagined (1991) because members will never know most other members, will never meet them, nor will they ever hear of them, and thus a true sense of common descent cannot form. Accordingly, nationalism itself invents nations where they do not exist (p. 6). A variation of Anderson’s argument comes from Walker Connor, who agrees that traditions are invented, but argues that ethno-national beliefs such as common kinship and ancestry, whether constructed or not, have great significance for group identity (1994). He further argues that only when scholars give substantial credit to emotional and psychological symptoms of identity will they begin to understand ethno-nationalism. In other words, even if nations and ethnic groups are “invented” it is crucially important to perceive groups as they perceive themselves and to understand emotive effects on group behavior rather than attributing these effects to other causes.

Connor argues that only emotional understandings of group behavior can account for the passion that motivates ethnic violence. Horowitz agrees with Connor that the ideas of kinship and ancestry are foundational truths for ethnic groups and therefore must be understood by outsiders in order to understand the group. In fact, Horowitz (2000:64) goes further, arguing that familial ties are a leading cause of conflict, or at least conflict’s intensification. He writes:

Because ethnic affiliations are putatively birth affiliations, their compelling power in conflict is also understandable. If group members are potential relatives, a threat to any member of the group may be seen in somewhat the same light as a threat to the family. To call ethnicity a kin like affiliation is thus to call into play the panoply of rights and obligations, the unspoken understandings, and the mutual aspiration for well-being […]. And to take seriously the myth of ancestry and modal traits in common implies that, within group boundaries, there is something of ourselves within each other. In this light, identification with an ethnic group takes on a much more serious meaning, for it literally involves becoming one with the group.

Abner Cohen explains instrumentalism, another approach on the causes of ethnic conflict. He writes, “Ethnicity is essentially a political phenomenon, as traditional customs are used only as idioms, and as mechanisms for political alignment” (1996:84). According to this view, ethnicity is used as a weapon in a form of interest group politics (Brass 1996). In fact, instrumentalism suggests that certain ethnic markers are purposively selected as rallying points for differing reasons. Depending on the goal, certain characteristics are chosen over others because they are beneficial to some person or group. Brass articulates, “Ethnic communities are created and transformed by particular elites in modernizing and in postindustrial societies undergoing dramatic social change” (1996:89). Thus, unlike primordialism and constructivism, instrumentalism places identity formation in a rationalist paradigm. Within this framework, elites rationally choose to form identity in order to maximize their utility, especially material gains that may result from ethnic solidarity and perhaps collective action.

Moving closer to primordialism, Gellner refines his earlier argument (1997) and conceptualizes nationalism as a “political principle which maintains that similarity of culture is the basic social bond” (p. 3). He seems to change his tone about the existence of fixed traits and argues that one is born into a particular culture; it is still not primordial in the sense of Isaacs, but it does somehow acknowledge his contribution. Grosby also reinvigorates primordialism, contending, “Ethnic groups and nationalities exist because there are traditions of belief and action towards primordial objects such as biological features and especially territorial location” (1996:55). Anthony D. Smith seems to bring all these theories together, though focusing on primordialism with a symbolic–political approach. Smith argues for an ethno-symbolic alternative, which articulates, “What gives nationalism its power are the myths, memories, traditions, and symbols of ethnic heritages and the ways in which a popular living past has been, and can be, rediscovered and reinterpreted by modern nationalist intelligentsias” (1999:9).

The evolution of ENMS appears and changes the concentration from primordial and biological ties to the construction of those indefinable concepts mentioned above. However, it also seems to circle back to an idea of some form of fixed traits. Based on the syllabi, the next most widely used topic in ENMS classrooms is theories of ethnic conflict. Ethnic conflict studies focus on in-group/out-group relationships and how the two conflict. This section concentrates on the most prevalent theories used in ENMS classrooms, including ancient hatreds, the “ethnic” security dilemma, instrumentalism, and constructivism.

Causes of Ethnic Conflict

What causes ethnic conflict? A popular idea among politicians and journalists for explaining the chaos during the Balkan wars in the 1990s was that conflicts between ethnic groups are inevitable. History provides enough evidence to conclude that conflicts between two particular ethnic groups in the past are likely to produce more conflicts in the future. One of the most famous accounts of the ancient hatred argument is displayed by Robert Kaplan’s Balkan Ghosts (1994). Kaplan argues that the Balkans have always been prone to war, so when war breaks out in this area, it should not be viewed as more than a natural occurrence. For most political scientists and humanitarians, Kaplan’s “explanation” of ethnic conflict was not satiable, as it did not give a realistic assessment on how conflicts actually started, nor how they could be stopped.

A more satisfying explanation of the eruption of ethnic violence is advanced by Barry Posen, who attributes conflict’s causality to the “ethnic security dilemma” (1993). Posen argues that ethnic conflict results when a central authority in a multiethnic empire collapses. Seen in this light, the ethnic security dilemma is remarkably similar to the classical understanding of the security dilemma, but state-actors are replaced by group-actors. Posen articulates that the security dilemma occurs when one group seeks to increase its security, and in so doing inadvertently threatens the security of other groups.

Posen explains, “One group is likely to assume that another group’s sense of identity, and the cohesion that it produces, is a danger” (p. 107). As one group’s solidarity increases, so too does its threat to other groups. Other groups try to increase their security as a result from a perceived threat and this action triggers a response from the first. Conflict between these groups becomes inevitable. Thus, Posen explains that ancient hatreds are not a sufficient causal variable of conflict and he places the ethnic security dilemma in the forefront.

Compatible with Posen’s argument, Lake and Rothchild argue that ethnic conflict is caused by “fears of the future lived through the past.” They contend that when information failures, problems of credible commitment, and security dilemmas occur, groups become apprehensive. This weakens the state these groups occupy and makes conflict likely (2001:126). Within these groups, “ethnic activists” and “political entrepreneurs” lead, manipulate, or take advantage of the situation and galvanize society further toward war. Ethnic activists are defined as “individuals with especially strong needs to identify with ethnic kin,” and political entrepreneurs are defined as “individuals who may not share the beliefs of extremists but who seek political office and power” (pp. 138–9). To increase their standing in the group, activists manipulate ethnicity and separate “previously integrated communities” along ethnic lines, which, combined with the three variables mentioned above (information failure, problems of credible commitment, and the security dilemma) can create conflict. For entrepreneurs, manipulation of ethnicity is a way toward self-aggrandizement, a method by which politicians seek to attain, build, or maintain political power. Lake and Rothchild therefore propose a complicated model of ethnic conflict that builds on Posen’s initial argument.

The concept of elite manipulation lay within the larger theoretical framework of instrumentalism. That is, ethnicity is used as an instrument for political power. Instrumentalism is thus placed within the rational-choice approach. Myriad writers have used this concept to explain the causes of ethnic conflict in separate ways. Snyder and Ballentine (2001) argue that media manipulation plays a “central role in promoting nationalist and ethnic conflict.” They stipulate, however, that the uncontrolled/uncensored “marketplace” of ideas is likely to exacerbate the problem. In transitioning societies, although the freedom of speech and press are sought, they should be monitored because otherwise elites and other ethnic “out-bidders” could use the media to their benefit. A free marketplace is desired only when proper democratic institutions are in place that limit the damage national “myth-makers” can cause.

Similarly, John Mueller (2001) argues that “ethnic” conflict results from “the ministrations of small […] bands of opportunistic marauders recruited by political leaders and operating under their general guidance” (p. 97). This forces out-group members to seek asylum in in-group communities for protection. In so doing, intergroup fighting precipitates and takes on the appearance of a genuine “ethnic/nationalist” conflict when in actuality, conflict resulted from successful elite manipulation. Snyder and Ballentine argue, as does Mueller, that groupness or identity is not the cause of ethnic conflict, but rather ethnicity is used as an instrument around which conflict is based.

Gagnon (2004) also argues that elite competition creates an environment for ethnic conflict. Countering the argument that elites manipulate the population to gain or maintain power, Gagnon argues that political elites already in power use ethnic violence as a way to demobilize their competition. The extent of the challenging threat determines the amount of violence advanced by the status-quo regime. Indeed “ethnic” wars, as Mueller argues, have nothing to do with “ethnicity.” Rather, conflict is created and aimed at any group that is actively “mobilizing against the interests of conservative elites and calling for fundamental changes to the structures of economic and political power” (Gagnon 2004:180). Instead of peacefully losing a political battle, regime leaders shift the discourse from political problems to issues of injustice along ethnic lines.

It is fitting that in an essay on contemporaneous teaching, the rise of globalization is a key feature. This approach stipulates that ethnic mobilization and conflict can result from one ethnic group perceiving that they are receiving fewer benefits or resources than another. This phenomenon is referred to as relative deprivation. Milton Esman (2004) argues that ethnic groups that have not been touched by globalization or those that believe they have been affected negatively by globalization through the loss of jobs, income, and security solidify around their ethnicity as a bastion of security. Esman argues, “Globalization has the effect of strengthening separatist sentiments among homeland peoples” (p. 25). The economic costs versus benefits of conflict are then calculated. If the calculations suggest that a group is better off economically in their own state, conflict is likely. Globalization is also likely to produce conflict on the periphery where many ethnic groups refuse to assimilate into the world economy from fear of losing their ancestral roots. Here, the underbelly of globalization is exposed, showing the conflict between traditionalism and modernization. If the complete globalization of the world economy is inevitable, it is likely conflict follows. Perhaps an example is the case of the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. Slovenia, a nation incorporated into Yugoslavia, argued that its economy was far better than the rest of the country and that it should receive more recognition and benefits without having to share too much of its resources. Although this may not be the sole cause of the 10-day war between Yugoslavia proper and Slovenia, it surely added fuel to the fire.

Globalization and modernization explains “the origins of ethnic conflict [and] also the form of that conflict, and the success or failure of specific ethnic political movements” (Newman 1991:452). Modernization by itself, however, does not explain ethnic conflict. Harff and Gurr (2004) argue there are several reasons that modernization spreads ethnic violence. First, modernization threatens ethnic solidarities and this prompts ethnic groups to mobilize in defense of their way of life. Thus, modernization is combined with ethnic primordialism to spawn conflict. Second, modernization is used as a way to attain goals by ethnic elites to increase attention to intergroup economic differences. This approach, of course, combines modernization with instrumentalism.

Gurr (1998) further argues that the industrialization and modernization of the global economy has advanced some groups and harmed others. When these two groups are in the same society, the disadvantaged group is likely to mobilize to overcome their plight. Harff and Gurr elaborate, “When peoples of different ethnic groups compete directly for the same scarce resources and positions, their ethnic identities become more important to them and group boundaries are more sharply defined” (2004:97). If one group is more successful than another, the awareness of inequality is mapped on ethnic lines, creating the atmosphere for ethnic conflict.

The argument that globalization increases the likelihood of ethnic conflict is not without opponents. John Ishiyama (2004) explores the relationship using quantitative analysis. He argues that there is no direct relationship between globalization and ethnic conflict. Ishiyama maintains, however, that some ethnic protests correlate positively. So, does globalization breed nationalism and conflict? As Mary Kaldor argues, it is too early to tell (2004). Kaldor articulates that globalization could transform society into a forward-looking cosmopolitan world where nationalism is integrated and progressivism is achieved. But she does not think this scenario likely. Rather, she asserts that movements such as global Islamic fundamentalism are a backlash from globalization and that the “new-nationalism” created by cosmopolitan integration may lead to an anarchic international structure ripe for violence. The debate continues and will fuel the field of ENMS for years to come. It seems, then, that globalization affects not just conflict, but also the study of conflict. Thus far, this essay has explored the classical literature used most in the classroom as well as the theories and causes of nationalism and ethnic conflict likely to appear in ENMS syllabi. Concluding the typical semester, then, is the presentation of responses to and management of ethnic strife. The next section is devoted to these understandings.

Responses to Ethnic Conflict

Ethnic partition, power sharing, and third party intervention, including humanitarian and military, comprise the most common responses to ethnic conflict used in classrooms. By far, the most assigned article on ethnic partition is Chaim Kaufmann’s (2001) “Possible and Impossible Solutions to Ethnic Civil Wars.” The author argues that ethnic identities are particularly strong during conflict, making a peaceful solution that appeals to both sides of the conflict unlikely. Power sharing, state rebuilding, and identity reconstruction will all fail to resolve ethnic conflict because they “do nothing to dampen the security dilemma.” To resolve the conflict, Kaufmann belies the idea of political partition with ethnic separation. The point is to separate the groups and provide each with enough defenses so that both sides have a deterrent. Ethnic hatred cannot be dampened, and therefore, as Publius argues, government must be made to counter passion with reason. Only the Leviathan can control ethnic conflict with forced separation.

Of course, partition does not go unchallenged. Nicholas Sambanis (2000) argues that partition is likely to cause conflict, or at least it does not stop conflict from recurring. Indeed, partition is positively associated with the recurrence of violence. He writes, “Population movements to partition states during or after civil war are coerced, painful, and costly, and they may sow the seeds of future conflict” (p. 478). The author finds that partition is more likely where ethnic groups are large and the state is modernized. He argues that rather than partition, ethnic groups should be integrated. The diversity of ethnic groups combined with effective institutions is likely to reduce conflict and perhaps ethnic antagonism. The international community should intervene to install a negotiated settlement combined with integration, diversity, and democratic institutions. From empirical data, Sambanis finds that partition may be an “impossible solution to ethnic civil war.” Sambanis is not without his challengers. Chapman and Roeder (2007) believe that partition is likely to reduce conflict if it results in the complete separation of groups into sovereign democratic states. If only autonomy is granted in a partitioned settlement, the recurrence of violence is likely, as Sambanis contends. The key, then, is effective democratic institutions. Berg and Ben-Porat contest that both partition and power sharing work in some situations, but not in others. The structure often determines which solution will increase or decrease the likelihood of the return of conflict. They argue, however, that there is a better way than either/or. They suggest, “Transnational democracy and a crossing and blurring of territorial borders and of ethnic boundaries offers the best possibilities for conflict resolution, as distinct from the mere containment, regulation or management of conflict” (p. 35). In other words, the deterritorialization combined with transnational, democratic, pluralistic institutions must integrate ethnic communities and “teach” them the ways of peace.

Arend Lijphart (1977) argues that a consociational model of democracy reduces conflict. He explains that a consociational model can reduce conflict and create stability in democratic states with several ethnic groups. Lijphart asserts that political elites must cooperate to form coalition governments that incorporate executive power sharing, separation of powers, checks and balances, and a form of federalism that divides powers in the various levels of government. Further, power must be shared between various political parties representing various peoples and interests, including the protection of minorities, proportional representation, ethnic autonomy, and a written constitution that prevents government intrusiveness. If these criteria are met, in a sound and efficient way, power sharing may reduce the chances of conflict, at least in multiethnic states.

There are arguments against power sharing, however. Anthony Downes (2004) argues that settlements that either diffuse or share power are “far from stellar.” Power sharing solutions or other solutions that leave conflicting ethnic groups living in the same state do not work because each side is unsure of the others’ intentions, which could lead to the ethnic security dilemma. Downes concludes partition and independence is the solution unless there is complete victory of one side over the other. Deterrence is achieved and each side achieves sovereignty. Downes’ main argument, then, is that power sharing fails because “Nationalist parties dominate politics, institutions become gridlocked, and refugees returning to their old homes face a violent reception” (p. 277). Accordingly, separation through independence is preferable.

Most courses also examine outside intervention. Much of the debate concerning intervention is the role international institutions play, especially the UN. Three main types of intervention are often mentioned in the literature: peacekeeping, peacemaking, and peacebuilding. Taras and Ganguly (2006) explain the nuanced differences in detail. Peacekeeping involves the direct, physical intervention of third-party forces to halt the fighting. The authors explain, “The target of peacekeeping operations are thus the foot soldiers of the disputing sides, and the aim of the operations is to curb the soldiers’ bellicose behavior, at least temporarily, to create an environment conducive for political negotiations and relief operations” (p. 91). Three conditions must be met for peacekeeping to succeed. First, all parties involved in the conflict must agree to having forces on the ground; second, peacekeepers must be impartial; and third, third-party use of force must be limited and only defensive in nature.

Peacemaking involves mostly diplomatic activity that concentrates on bringing conflicting leaders to a political settlement through peaceful negotiations. Peacemakers, therefore, “play the role of an intermediary during negotiating process between the adversaries” (p. 92). Techniques for being successful as peacemakers include arbitration, mediation, and facilitation. Peacebuilding, on the other hand, involves third-party actors taking long-term socioeconomic steps aimed mostly at the masses to change each group’s perceptions and attitudes toward each other. Peacebuilding requires intermediators to possess and dedicate large financial resources to the conflict area and the international community’s perseverance and patience.

Byman and Seybolt (2003) argue that military intervention rarely succeeds and often backfires. The authors maintain most interventions focus on, or by happenstance employ, only short-term solutions. This of course does not solve conflict. Therefore, if a state chooses to intervene, it must consider several options. If they cannot be met, the state is discouraged from intervention. Specific policies considered are:

Providing humanitarian relief to refugees; quarantining the conflict to prevent it from spreading; serving as an arsenal to create a local balance of power; militarily supporting one side to help it win a complete victory; transferring populations to reduce hostile ethnic commingling; and deploying troops before a conflict begins in order to reduce local fears.

(Byman and Seybolt 2003:35)

Perhaps no single solution cures communal conflict, but a combination of some of these policies buoyed by experience from past interventions increases the likelihood of success. They stress that if half-measures are taken or conditions are not ripe for intervention, states should not intervene. Otherwise, intervention may worsen the situation. So, when should states intervene?

An interesting field of study concerning intervention borrows an idea from economics: moral hazard. This theory appears often in classroom syllabi. Alan Kuperman (2005) argues that intervention can actually cause genocidal violence. It does so by creating a moral hazard that encourages risk taking. The international community typically seeks to protect against genocidal violence with humanitarian military intervention. This tactic often encourages vulnerable groups to risk rebellion and trigger genocidal retribution. A full rebellion would not occur if the world did not provide “insurance” to the rebellious group that genocide would not occur. Crawford and Kuperman explain the concept of moral hazard: “When people are protected by insurance, some of them will behave fraudulently or irresponsibly, becoming victims because of the resulting insurance payout” (p. 143). The idea of acting to stop genocide actually precipitates it. The vulnerable group loses all deterrence once held by the threat of the dominant group retaliating with massive brutality. But with the international norm of intervention, such violent retaliation is prevented. Therefore, the rebellious group is presented with a win–win situation. Kuperman (2008) explains that if the state eschews violence against the rebellious group, the group wins; if the international community steps in to protect the group from retaliation, the group wins. Kuperman evinces this with the case of NATO intervention against Serbia concerning Kosovo. Without the promise of intervention, the Kosovar Albanians would not have started their rebellious activity in fear of retaliation of the Serbs. The Serbs did retaliate, and, as predicted, the international community stepped in to protect the vulnerable and “innocent” perpetrators. The calculation by the Kosovar Albanians was correct as they now have their new-found sovereignty.

Robert Rauchhaus (2005) argues that for a moral hazard to exist, outside interveners must be unable to observe actions of actors that are at risk. As a result, he posits that moral hazard theory is not responsible for the actions Kuperman suggests, asserting that it is not relevant for conflict management since it is relatively impossible for third parties to take any hidden actions, a requirement for moral hazard to exist. Third-party agents would do better to focus on methods to punish aggressors and perpetrators of human rights atrocities. Further, third-party interveners should question why they intervene if they cannot punish aggressors and they cannot stop violence, but may, in fact, make matters worse.

Alan Kuperman (2008) retaliates against his detractors. The author argues that in most cases, with the notable and tragic exception of the Nazi Holocaust, genocides do not occur unless a rebellious group causes them. Therefore, he questions the international norm of the “Responsibility to Protect.” He acknowledges that if the international community seeks to intervene with good intentions, they must dislodge from humanitarian intervention to not make matters worse. Kuperman suggests, however, that there are four ways in which the difficulties can be mitigated: states could eschew intervention on behalf of rebellious groups unless state retaliation was grossly disproportionate (which genocide clearly is); states could expend substantial resources to encourage states to address grievances of nonviolent groups; they could avoid coercing regimes to surrender sovereignty unless willing first to deploy a legitimate preventive military intervention; and they could deliver purely humanitarian aid to civilians who are clearly at risk and which will not benefit the rebels. This discussion of moral hazard ends the sections dealing with the formal literature and debates presented in ENMS classrooms regarding ethnicity and nationalism. The next section concentrates on migration studies.

Migration Studies

Why study migration within the framework of ethnicity and nationalism? Many interconnections exist. For example, the harsh treatment of ethnic minorities within a state may result in mass expulsion, ethnic cleansing, war, and even voluntary exile by the oppressed group. Government oppression may include mass violence, but also economic discrimination. This may result in ethnic peoples outside of their traditional homeland seeking asylum in another state that is friendlier to them. Further, an ethnic conflict within a state may result in members of the diaspora returning in order to assist their ethnic brethren in their causes.

Migration has become a cultural, socioeconomic, health, security, and political issue. It is viewed through a multitude of lenses, particularly in a world growing ever more globalized. Migration may be willingly undertaken, semi-voluntary, or forced upon a population. Forced migration includes involuntary population transfers, ethnic cleansing, internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees, and human trafficking.

The Literature

It is challenging to separate ethnicity, nationalism, and migration in the literature, particularly that featured in the syllabi examined for this section. Nearly every resource includes more than one of the three areas of focus. There are some identifiable traits, however; ENMS professors approach migration mainly through contemporary writing and research. Diverging theories and paradigms, approaches, and considerable variations are apparent in ENMS, including migration studies. Notably, an interdisciplinary approach is apparent in the highlighted literature on migration, drawing from anthropology, history, international law, sociology, women’s/gender studies, psychology, philosophy (particularly ethics and epistemology), social work, international relations theory, political science, and peace/conflict studies. This richly interrelated literature is a significant asset, but also often leads to subtopic or specialized field-oriented courses.

The majority of courses begin with an introduction, however brief, to the history of migration. Most quickly move to migration theory and then to present-day migration. There are few books or articles repeated from one syllabus to the next, a distinctive contrast to the classical and core literature found in studies of ethnicity and nationalism. Still, there are various books and specialized journals for migration studies and more general journals that regularly feature articles on migration issues.

Some books dedicated to migration include theories, quantitative, and case study approaches (Massey et al. 1998; Siddique and Appleyard 2001; Castles and Miller 2003; Mobasher and Sadri 2004; Messina and Lahav 2005; Parekh 2006; Brettell and Hollifield 2007). Others address more specific issues relevant to migration, such as sovereignty (Sassen 1996), forced/coerced migration (Papastergiadis 2000; Eltis 2002), human security and international conflict (Crocker et al. 1996; Lammers 1999), and gender and migration (Martin 1992; Boyle and Halfacree 1999; Willis and Yeoh 2000). Certain volumes are also regionally or country specific, including refugees and/or migrants in the United States (Donahue and Flowers 2002), Africa (Blavo 1999), and Asia (Muntarbhorn 1992).

Theory development offers its own complexities (Massey et al. 1993; Alba and Nee 1997; Schindlmayr 2003). In a very readable overview, Juan Arango (2000) points out that migration theory building is quite new, beginning mostly in the latter third of the twentieth century. Neoclassical theory arose largely from development economics and centered on already familiar concepts of rational choice, wages, and utility maximizing behaviors. This theory could not, however, adequately explain why, given massive wage and other differentials, relatively few individuals migrate. In other words, it did not address the political dimensions of migration such as restrictions on immigration and emigration, or the characteristics of receiving and sending states. People do not appear to move “just for money.”

Yet the newer theories of migration also incorporate economics. Some, including Stark’s labor migration work, focus on the sending side of migration, and on market theory that examines receiving states, particularly economically developed countries (Stark 1991; Arango 2000). Sassen (1998) and Massey et al. (1998) apply a world system theoretical approach borrowed from international relations to migration. Earlier, Massey et al. (1987) drew on social capital theory to test the explanatory power of migration networks. The value of social networks, which underlie migration networks, is widely recognized as one of the most important explanatory variables in migration (Castles 2000). Massey et al. (1998) include a cumulative causation approach to explain migration’s self-perpetuating, self-sustaining characteristics. These causes include perceptions of relative deprivation, a “migration culture,” the unequal distribution of human capital, and growth of certain job types and levels. Cumulative causation is related to the migration network theoretical approach. It is very interesting to note that there is significant study of why people move, but there is little corresponding study on why people stay (Arango 2000).

Applied Migration Theory: Theory into Practice

Regional studies are of significant interest when considering theory in actual practice. For example, an entire special issue of the International Social Science Journal (vol. 52, no. 165, 2000) was devoted to regional studies of migration. Fargues (2004) examines Arab migration to the EU, Geddes (2004) and Gerson (2007) study admission of immigrants to EU states, along with relevant sovereignty questions, and Adepoju (2001) addresses the sub-Saharan African region and its organizations related to migration.

Examined through the lens of migration, gender studies and the feminization of migration are also significant (Kofman 1999). There has been a great deal of attention paid to the “maid trade,” especially from the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Carla Freeman (2000) examines “high tech and high heels,” pink-collar workers, and women’s identity in the Caribbean. Ho (2006) analyzes feminization of Chinese women in Australia. Some authors examine sexual orientation issues and rights of refugees (McGhee 2001; Johnson 2007). These assume, however, a sociological and human rights approach rather than a more political standpoint. Future research is likely to investigate whether individuals flee to escape persecution because of their sexual orientation, and what rights such persons may have in their home countries versus receiving states.

Racism directed at and emanating from refugees is a topic attracting growing research and scholarship. Ibrahim argues there may be new racial elements attached to the ever-growing discourse on risk and security related to migration, which she terms the “securitization of migration” (2005). Using discourse analysis from publications in Canada regarding almost 600 migrants on the Canadian west coast, she examines how migrants are portrayed as a threat to human security. Rudolph (2003) takes on a similar premise. Religion is also a subject area of growing importance (Muzaffar 2001; Men 2002; Levitt 2003; Hirschman 2004; Ali 2007). Questions generally involve the rights of religious immigrants in secular states (Fetzer and Soper 2005), particularly Muslims and Hindus of varying ethnicities. There are further studies examining the role of ethnic communities in the states to which individuals with religious affiliations migrate.

The special circumstances of child and elderly refugees/IDPs are also gaining importance (Chenoweth and Burdick 2001; Goveas 2002; Montgomery 2002; Bastia 2005). Receiving states may bear a greater burden for these two refugee/IDP groups, neither of which may be able to contribute financially to their well-being, and who may have unique needs for both assistance and protection due to their particular vulnerabilities. Medical care and disease control are key issues not only among refugees and/or IDPs who are in camps or other challenging environments, but also for the populations among which they settle (Gibney 1999; Åsander et al. 2004; Finch et al. 2004; Yang 2004; Booysen 2006; Grove and Zwi 2006). Economic and political costs of health care and disease control can be significant. Furthermore, cultures and belief sets may clash when health, sexual activity, and/or birth control are involved.

Human trafficking, especially in the sex trade, is a still-developing area of study (von Struensee 2000; Aronowitz 2001; Nadig 2002; Agustin 2006), although it is a difficult issue to analyze because of its deeply hidden nature. Due to circumstances such as lack of resources, political corruption, the presence and influence of organized crime, and institutional deficits, receiving states (and transit states) may have difficulty controlling and eliminating human trafficking. There will always be those who wish desperately to leave a state and will be willing to take risks to do so, including dealing with those trafficking individuals across borders, sometimes simply to “help” them migrate, but other times for the sex trade, as indentured or child labor, illegal drug couriers, or for other purposes.

Forced and coerced migration in the face of violent conflict, government instability, natural disaster, and ethnic cleansing are important areas of study (Greenhill 2002; Martin 2002; Muggah 2003; Kälin 2005; Mai 2005). If intrastate conflict continues to increase as projected, it will become ever more vital to understand migrants from such situations, and to address the effects they have on host states, on domestic resources, and on the international community. Coercion can take many forms, including direct persecution, government programs to “encourage” out-migration, and political decisions made purposely to discriminate against a group, tribe, nation, or community. Forced migration often results from unbearable circumstances such as human security, economic, environmental, or resource devastation, terrorism, violent ethnic conflict, cultural or religious pressures, and natural disasters like earthquakes, droughts, or tsunamis.

These issues raise critical questions of how originating and receiving countries and organizations manage migration. Greater analytical attention is directed to policies and practices, to the actors involved, and to issues like xenophobia, racism, and exacerbated prejudices (Mayadas and Elliot 1992; Afolayan 2001; Richmond 2001; Zachariah et al. 2001; Martin 2002; Campbell 2003; Carens 2003; Colic-Peisker 2005; Ibrahim 2005; Zetter 2007). Refugee resettlement, assimilation, integration, and incorporation are all under examination, and provide fruitful areas for classroom examination (Al-Haj 2002; G.P. Freeman 2004; Nannestad 2004; Schiller et al. 2005). One major organization, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), offers a solid, accessible opportunity to study how one entity addresses such issues (Adelman 2001; Cohen 2005; Feller 2006).

Protection of migrants, refugees, and IDPs has taken on new importance as reflected in recent literature (Taran 2000; Lawday 2007; Mahmoud 2007). One need only look to the EU to see how complex the questions regarding citizenship, incorporation, and integration in particular have become. Protection also extends to violence against those in refugee and IDP camps and elsewhere. Furthermore, femicide has gained new meanings to include rape campaigns, forced sexual service, and other violence against women of all ages. Diasporas and transnational linkages are also achieving greater significance in an ever more globalized world, perhaps necessitating new theoretical frameworks (Bauböck 2003).

ENMS: In the Classroom

Besides the aforementioned topics, it was interesting to notice which regions and/or conflicts of the world were most often taught. Most classrooms focused on two main conflicts: the wars in the former Republic of Yugoslavia and the genocide in Rwanda. The current situation in the Sudan, most notably Darfur, is also frequently reviewed. In Africa, Nigeria is focused upon in several classes. The Caucasus received special attention as well, specifically Chechnya. In Canada, Quebec was studied quite frequently.

It is noteworthy that almost no classrooms concentrated on Asia other than the Sri Lankan conflict. A plethora of disputes exist in all of Asia that offer fertile ground for discussion, particularly China’s disputes with its ethnic groups. Given China’s trouble with “Islamic terrorism” in its Xinjiang province, home to ethnic Uyghur, this lack of attention is disconcerting. Also astonishing is the disregard for situations in the Middle East as less than one-quarter of all syllabi discussed the region at all. In those syllabi that did, topics focused mostly on Iraq and Kurdistan. And with the recent attention internationally on the war in Afghanistan, it is stunning that no syllabi devoted time to the discussion of Afghanistan’s several ethnic groups and their continuing conflicts with each other, the Taliban, and, now, NATO forces. Although Africa is mentioned quite frequently in the classroom, a noticeable absence is the Great Lakes region. And unfortunately, there is an absence of at least a week’s devotion to the Nazi Holocaust. These authors believe it vital for this tragic event to be remembered in ENMS classrooms, as “Never again” has its origins in the plight of European Jews.

For migration specifically, there is an emphasis on the Americas, especially on Central America and Mexico. Canada also receives attention, although it is interesting to note that relatively few classrooms mention the immigration issues so important in the United States. Migration syllabi also focus upon India and Pakistan, and on China’s internal population transfers, especially of ethnic Han, and Tibet. Central Europe, Central Asia, and the Caucasus receive more attention in the scholarly literature, but are not notably featured in teaching syllabi. This seems a significant oversight given the regions’ political and economic challenges, human security, minority rights, and other issues, which, when coupled with strong senses of ethnic identity and nationalist fervor, have resulted in significant migration levels.

Regarding textbooks, it is encouraging that most classes do not assign what are traditionally known as textbooks, that is, those encyclopedic-like books. Rather, there are a significant number of classical books and articles assigned, and frequent use of compendiums and professor-created readers. By far the most often used text is Taras and Ganguly’s Understanding Ethnic Conflict (2006). The authors lay out in detail almost everything about ethnic conflict, including the causes of and solutions to war. Lake and Rothchild (1998) is also frequently used in the classroom. This text considers two main topics: how, why, and when ethnic conflicts spread across national borders, and how such conflict can be best managed. Brown (2001) contains seminal articles including the causes of ethnic conflict, options for international action, and political change. Two volumes detail the concepts and thoughts surrounding ethnicity. The first, Glazer and Moynihan (1975), is a classical text for ENMS. The volume contains pieces from seminal works, containing such authors as Harold Isaacs, Donald Horowitz, John Porter, Milton Esman, and Richard Pipes, to name a few. Each of these pieces focuses on a general theory of ethnicity, the evolution of ethnicity, or comparisons between the newly forming states versus the old empires.

The second, Hutchinson and Smith (1996), contains a plethora of phenomena surrounding ethnicity, including terminology, theories of ethnicity, ethnicity in history, ethnicity and modernization, religion, language, and race. The two final chapters focus on nationalism and the idea of transcending ethnicity. Harff and Gurr (2004) focus on the Minorities at Risk project, containing dozens of variables that supply ways to measure and analyze over 200 minority groups. In this volume, the authors examine the ethnopolitical changing world order, the different categorization of minority groups, a framework for analysis of mobilization and conflict, as well as several case studies, including the Kurds in Iraq, the Miskitos in Nicaragua, Malaysian Chinese, and Turks in Germany. The book further examines the process of mobilization, international dimensions, how groups affect the international system, and how to respond to minority group challenges.

Milton Esman (2004) addresses much of the typical literature, including the causes of ethnic conflict and the creation of ethnic identity. He also focuses on ideas of pluralism, specifically ethnic domination, power sharing, and integration. Giannakos (2002) contains chapters focusing on the effects of religion, identity, and politics on ethnic conflict. These concepts are analyzed in several cases, including Stalin’s USSR and its implications for post-Soviet politics, ethnic conflict in Georgia, democracy in Africa, centralization in Indonesia, and sources and responses to violent conflict in South Asia. Stefan Wolff (2006) also analyzes most prominent themes. Many of the aforementioned texts are edited volumes or books containing a wide range of subjects and case studies. Two books that differ, however, but are still largely used in the classrooms are, first, Stuart Kaufman (2001), in which the author analyzes the effect of symbolic politics on ethnic conflicts, and, second, Monica Toft (2003), which examines the effects of geography and territory on ethnic conflict. Besides the above texts, which are strictly academic in nature, several other sources of nonacademic material are used in ENMS classrooms.

Specifically noteworthy is the use of journalistic and/or memoir accounts of painful events, for instance, the genocide in Rwanda, the killings in Sudan, and refugees in Bosnia. Books that were used in several syllabi covering both sections described above include A Long Way Gone (Beah 2007); Shake Hands with the Devil (Dallaire and Beardsley 2004); God Grew Tired of Us (Dau 2007); Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (Fadiman 1997); We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families (Gourevitch 1998); Do They Hear You When You Cry? (Kassindja 1998); Machete Season (Hatzfeld 2005); The Suitcase (Mertus et al. 1997); and The Key to My Neighbor’s House (Neuffer 2001).

A variety of films were featured: God Grew Tired of Us (2005); POV: Lost Boys of the Sudan (2003); The Devil Came on Horseback (2007); Darfur Diaries (2004); Sometimes in April (2005); Rwanda: Triumph of Evil (1998); Hotel Rwanda (2004); Pretty Village Pretty Flame (1996); No-Man’s Land (2001); Vukovar (1994); Prisoners of the Mountains (1996); Balseros (2002); Rain in a Dry Land (2007); My Mother’s Village (2001); In this World (2003); and Well-Founded Fear. Guest speakers are utilized, although there were relatively few instances of this mentioned specifically. This is likely because such speakers appear on an ad hoc basis. Representatives of NGOs and other relevant organizations and agencies were among those who are cited (more frequently in courses taught in Canada). Many specific speakers were on syllabi from Canadian classrooms, and typically addressed migration. One’s own classroom, department, or campus may offer opportunities; an author of this section invited a class member to speak about experiences as a refugee family from Kosovo in Macedonia in 2000–1, and their subsequent emigration to the US. Recently, a student whose extended family emigrated from Southern Thailand offered to present.

Finally, we believe that it is important to discuss the grading schemes used in these classrooms. Many professors will admit to the difficulty and concern grade distribution engenders. Encouraging is the rise in group discussion and active participation for significant overall percentage points. There is also a substantial increase in the importance of online debates as well. Many classes have significant portions dedicated to online forums and chat boards, especially Vista and Blackboard. Also interesting is the shift from “traditional” tests involving the standardized formats of multiple-choice, true/false, fill in the blanks, and short answer etc., to the much more challenging formats of long essay tests and periodic short papers. A majority of instructors use a research paper for a significant portion of the overall grade. There are also syllabi emphasizing reading quizzes and/or weekly written assignments covering reading materials. In most classes, either the mid-term or final constituted a large portion of the final grade. Finally, most classes recommend reading daily newspapers focusing on international events. Instructors would do well to suggest reading non-US based dailies.

References

(Note that the authors have tried to use sources as they appear in the classroom. In other words, rather than referencing original works, the authors have referenced sources that appear in compilations, essays, and in edited volumes. This style of references gives the audience a quick source of class material.)

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Ho, C. (2006) Migration as Feminisation? Chinese Women’s Experiences of Work and Family in Australia. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 32 (3), 497–514.Find this resource:

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank ISA, the project managers of the ISA Compendium, the anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful insights, and section members of Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration Studies, especially Nukhet Sandal and Patrick James. Many thanks also to Kimberly Romanello, Eddie Bryan, and Christopher Paskewich.

Craig Douglas Albert would like to thank his research assistants and copy-editors Kimberly Romanello and Edward J. Bryan, the Department of Political Science at the University of Connecticut, especially Jennifer Sterling-Folker, Jeremy Pressman, Howard Reiter, J. Garry Clifford, and Mark Boyer. Special thanks are also extended to Dr. Raymond Whiting of Augusta State University, and Chris Paskewich of the University of Connecticut.

Mary Frances Rosett Lebamoff thanks Drs. John Allen Williams and Alexandru Grigorescu of Loyola University Chicago, Stefan Wolff of the University of Nottingham (UK), and Dr. Anaruth Gordon and her colleague James W. Schuler for their inspiration, guidance, and counsel. She remains particularly grateful for the unconditional, loving encouragement and support from her late father, Alexander T. Lebamoff, MD, and from her children.