Kristin Fabbe and Giorgi Areshidze were recently hired by the Claremont McKenna Government Department.
Ms. Fabbe will be joining Claremont McKenna from MIT and Mr. Areshidze, from Georgia, by way of the U. of Texas, will both be teaching in the government department proper. (Neither are supporters of terrorist organizations, insofar as I can tell, which is to the Government departments credit.)
Fabbe's dissertation is outlined here. According to the MIT website, her research interests
broadly include identity politics, ethnic conflict, state-building, nationalism and the relationship between religion and politics. She is currently working on her dissertation, which explains the varying success of secular revolutions in post-Ottoman states. The study is based on historical research documenting the strategic relationship between modernizing reformers and religious authorities in Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Albania, Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia and Cyprus.Areshidze's dissertation is summarized here:
Dissertation examines the post-Reformation debate on religious toleration and church establishment in British and European political theory. The aim of the dissertation is to reanimate the debate between the most prominent supporters of church establishment, Thomas Hobbes and David Hume, and the proponents of liberal disestablishment, John Locke and Adam Smith, in order to bring to light the competing strategies that were proposed for the promotion of religious toleration.Update (12/30): Here's a fuller dissertation topic:
Title: “Theocratic Transition and Democracy: Enlightenment Approaches to Religious Reform and Constitutionalism in Western and Islamic Societies.”Dissertation Abstract: I present a critical analysis and comparison of the early modern critiques of Christianity and of the institutional strategies for achieving religious toleration through an examination of the thought of Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Smith and Tocqueville. I argue that the contemporary dialogue over religion is limited by its uncritical acceptance of the American experience with the constitutional regime of religious freedom, which takes its bearings from the scheme of religious disestablishment that Locke articulated in the Letter Concerning Toleration. The aim of my dissertation is to correct this distortion of the history and theory of liberalism, to restore the original theological and practical flexibility of liberal politics, and to articulate competing constitutional arrangements for theocratic reform and transition that are not exhausted by “neutrality.” Instead of presenting a monolithic argument in favor of disestablishment, the early modern liberal thinkers favored a combination of different institutional and educational strategies, tailored to national and local conditions, for reforming the Church and for advancing popular enlightenment. I turn to Hobbes and Hume to recover this case for religious establishment, and contrast and compare their arguments to those of Locke and Smith. In revealing the peculiar strengths and weakness of both church establishment and free exercise, early modern rationalists presented a set of flexible institutional and practical guidelines that could inform political statesmanship in its pursuit of the agenda of popular religious reform. Through an analysis of Tocqueville’s Democracy in America and the Old Regime, I show that the uncritical focus on Locke’s regime of disestablishment captures only one side of the complex and multifaceted historical experience of liberalism with religion in Europe and America, and does not do justice to the rich theoretical and political debate that shaped liberalism. Not just Hobbes and Hume, but even Locke himself, in his early Two Tracts and even in the Letter, presented strong practical arguments for and theoretical justifications of limited but real state religious establishments as institutional engines of theological reform. The recovery of this debate is meant to contribute to the capacity of liberal theory to engage in a critical dialogue with non-liberal religion, and to its capacity to articulate competing constitutional and institutional structures that , while unfamiliar to us, may be more suited for theocratic transitions in non-Western and non-Christian societies than the regime of neutrality.
You can read what Mr. Areshidze wrote about America's involvement in his native Georgia below, when he was a student at Middlebury.
Georgians seeking peace, welcome U.S. presence University Wire March 7, 2002, Thursday
LENGTH: 1007 words
HEADLINE: Georgians seeking peace, welcome U.S. presence
BYLINE: By Giorgi Areshidze, The Middlebury Campus
SOURCE: Middlebury College
DATELINE: Middlebury, Vt.
The latest news in the war on terrorism concerns the deployment of United States troops in my home country, the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, to train the Georgian military to fight the terrorist threat in the Pankisi Gorge. Pankisi is located in northern Georgia and hosts anywhere from 5,000 to 7,000 Chechen refugees. Russia considers many of them terrorists. According to Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace the United States is concerned about the possibility of a "link between Chechnya and al Qaeda" and the potential that "members of al Qaeda have gone to" Pankisi. The United States is sending advisers to train Georgian forces ostensibly to apprehend those individuals in the Pankisi region who are connected to al Qaeda. The real reason, however, is to strengthen the Georgian state, expand the American sphere of influence and help defend Georgian sovereignty against Russian imperialism. For this, most of my fellow countrymen are very grateful.
Russian leaders have sent mixed messages about the deployment of United States advisors. On March 1 Russian President Putin stated that he "support[s] this fight no matter who takes part in it" and that the presence of American forces in Georgia is "no tragedy." However, most other Russian politicians have not been supportive. Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov declared that United States involvement "could further aggravate the situation in the region which is difficult as it is." Boris Nemstov, leader of the Union of Rightist Forces, a so-called liberal political group in the Duma, the Russian parliament, said that Georgian President Eduard Shevarnadze, the former Soviet foreign minister who is often credited with helping end the Cold War, is pursuing "an absolutely crazy policy by orienting the country only towards the U.S."
Georgia is located in the Caucasus Mountains, bordering Russia to its north, Turkey and Armenia to the south, the Black Sea to the west and Azerbaijan to the east. It lies at the crossroad between the East and the West, connecting Central Asia and China to Europe, through the ancient route known as the Silk Road. Furthermore, Georgian territory serves as a critical route for various functioning and planned energy pipelines, which transport oil and gas from the Caspian Sea basin to the West. Ever since 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed, the United States has invested heavily in Georgia, which has received more per-capita United States foreign aid than any other country, excluding Israel. Russia, meanwhile, has done everything to control Georgia, by making Georgia its colony, like it has done in Belarus, Armenia and Moldova. This can be achieved by installing a pro-Moscow regime in the Georgian capital Tbilisi.
The Georgian state is very weak and cannot control the situation in Pankisi. The problem there arose as a result of the Russian genocide in Chechnya. Russia restarted the war in Chechnya in 1999, supposedly to fight terrorists, but in reality to ensure then Prime Minister Putin's ascension to the Presidency. Some Chechen refugees fled across the border into Georgia to the safety of the Pankisi Gorge. Chechen fighters soon followed. Russia has used the Pankisi issue as a means of aggravating Georgia by placing military pressure upon the country. The Washington Post reported on Feb. 27, 2002, that "more than once Russian warplanes have dropped bombs on Georgian territory." Russian pressure has also taken on a non-military form -- it has engaged in psychological warfare against the Georgian people by regularly cutting off the natural gas and electricity supplies in the winter months. Considering this history, the Georgian government has not been inclined to accept the Russian proposal for joint operations in Pankisi. Such operations would only place Georgia under Russian influence, while accomplishing little in Pankisi, which is far more difficult to clean up than Chechnya, a region Russia has not been able to take control of for a decade. Fortunately, at least one Russian leader recognizes this; Alexei Arbatov, the deputy head of the Russian parliament's Defense Committee, has said that "today Russia is in no position to independently eradicate the terrorist hot spots" and must depend on America.
By helping Georgia, the United States is extending its assistance to an important strategic ally -- one that wishes to be a part of the West. Georgia not only needs assistance in cleaning up the Pankisi region and dealing with the immediate threat of terrorism, but also in standing up to the long-term threat of Russian imperialism. Fortunately, Washington understands this. According to Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy J.D. Crouch, the United States mission will "have some benefits in the global war on terrorism" but primarily it will serve the international policy program that the United States has been pursuing since the breakdown of the Soviet Union, which adheres to the belief "that it [is] very important that we maintain the sovereignty, [and the] territorial integrity of a number of the countries in the former Soviet Union," especially Georgia.
Training Georgian troops will not only combat a potential threat of terrorism, but also (and far more importantly) help strengthen a staunch United States ally in a strategically vital region. For much of the 1990s, the United States used to say that the Caucasus Mountains formed a red line that Russia could not cross.
With Russia once again having come very close to crossing that line, President Bush should be commended for deciding to support Georgia's sovereignty and democratic development with an initiative that will make a real difference.
American involvement in Georgia is precisely what the Bush doctrine calls for, and is a step that all freedom-loving people should welcome as we fight in defense of liberty, a modern way of life and against a potential rise of another "evil" Russian empire.
(C) 2002 The Middlebury Campus via U-WIRE
LOAD-DATE: March 7, 2002