Blog Archives

How much will it cost to save our economy’s foundation?

During the past two summers, Pakistan was hit with catastrophic floods. The record flooding in the late summer of 2010 was the most devastating natural disaster in Pakistan’s history. The media coverage reported torrential rains as the cause, but there is much more to the story. When Pakistan was created in 1947, some 30 percent […] … learn more→

Landscape, literature, life

Over the past few years, the genre of ‘nature writing’ has seen a new sense of urgency, fostered by a growing awareness of a natural world under pressure. Dr Robert Macfarlane, from the University of Cambridge, Faculty of English, believes that writers have played, and continue to play, a central role in conservation by engaging […] … learn more→

Polarization vital for party-building

Far from destabilizing democratic institutions, polarization can play a vital role for opposition political parties. That’s the eye-opening conclusion American University School of Public Affairs professor Adrienne LeBas draws in her new book, From Protest to Parties: Party-Building and Democratization in Africa (2011: OUP). LeBas’s work studying opposition parties in the hybrid democracies of Zimbabwe, […] … learn more→

Unique languages, universal patterns

You don’t have to be a language maven to find the direct object in a basic English-language sentence. Just look next to the verb. Take a simple sentence: “I gave a book to Mary.” In this case the verb, “gave,” is quickly followed by “book,” the direct object. The sentence’s indirect object, “Mary,” lies farther […] … learn more→

Narratives of Conversion

A landmark project which seeks to map out the different routes through which women convert to Islam, and describe their experiences on entering the faith, has reached its conclusion. “Narratives of Conversion to Islam in Britain”, which is being run at the Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge in association with the […] … learn more→

India sees gains from gender quota

The use of gender quotas to achieve equal opportunity is a controversial political strategy, but one that seems to be achieving positive results in India. A new research paper co-authored by Harvard Kennedy School Professor Rohini Pande finds that the system designating female leaders for selected village councils in India has resulted in substantive gains […] … learn more→