News from ISA

Entries for August 2020


ISA Statement Regarding Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert's Imprisonment in Iran

The International Studies Association (ISA) strongly condemns the arrest and detention of Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a dual British-Australian national and scholar of the Middle East and Lecturer at Melbourne University, by the Iranian government. In 2018, Dr. Moore-Gilbert traveled to Iran to attend a university program on Islam for foreign academics. While there, she was detained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on unsubstantiated charges of espionage and sentenced to a decade in prison in a secret trial.  

For further information about ISA’s deliberative processes on academic freedom concerns and the committee’s charge from the Governing Council, please see:



In Memoriam: Amy Eckert

The International Studies community has lost an impressive and brilliant colleague. Amy Eckert passed away suddenly on July 30, 2020. Her contributions in international ethics were significant. She had earned both a Ph.D and a J.D and used her background in philosophy and law to advance our understanding of Morality and Law in modern warfare. In particular she focused on newly emerging war practices such as the use of automated weapons such as drones and the use of private military corporations. She was wrestling with what these new developments meant for traditional western discourse on what we call Just War theory, both how we conceptualize justified use of force (what we call jus ad bellum) and the practices of war (or jus in bello). She wrote Outsourcing War and co-authored The Future of Just War and Rethinking the 21 st Century, laying out her well-developed arguments on these issues.

But her passions were vast. She was dedicated in particular to two specific causes: the humanitarian impact of warfare and the welfare of cats. This was why her most passionate project was publicizing the work and commitment of Muhammad Aljaleel, so co-called “Cat Man of Aleppo.” His work with Ernesto Cat Sanctuary, saving the cats caught in the middle of that conflict in Syria, captured the world’s attention in a BBC video in 2016. It moved Amy. She kept all of us updated as to his narrative, and raised awareness and money to help him and his cats. This represented how she viewed conflict, where our attention should be on those caught in the cross-fire. They had no political or economic stake in the conflict. They were just trying to survive it. War destroys regardless of technology used, and Amy wanted us all to remember this. She was thrilled that he was able to return to Aleppo and is working saving children as well as cats. He represents the human and feline spirit of survival, dedication, and rebirth.

If Amy could have adopted every cat without a home, she would have. Instead, she found this incredible cat at a cate café near her home in Colorado. Truman was an older cat that had difficulty finding a home because he was FIV-Positive. Amy took him home and made him an internet star (at least among her friends). Nothing captures Amy’s heart quite like Truman’s story. When she passed, her friends immediately inquired about Truman. Fortunately, the cat café has found him a wonderful new home. Amy would be very happy to know this.

On July 30, 2020, Professor Amy Eckert of Metropolitan State of Denver passed away. The international studies community lost a colleague. I have lost a dear friend. She will be missed.



In Memoriam: Ole R. Holsti

Ole R. Holsti, George V. Allen Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Duke University, died on July 2, 2020, at the age of 86 from complications of lymphoma.  He was a noted authority on public opinion and American foreign policy, belief systems and foreign policy, and decision-making, as well as having been a pioneer of content analysis in the early part of his career. Much of his work was at the interface of psychology and political science.  He held both a B.A. (1954) and PhD (1962) from Stanford University. He was on the Duke faculty on a full-time basis from 1974 to 1998, after teaching at Stanford, the University of British Columbia, and the University of California, Davis. He remained active while an emeritus member of the Duke faculty, publishing Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy in 2004.

Professor Holsti was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford) and a Guggenheim Fellow in 1981-82. He was President of the International Studies Association in 1979-80 and of ISA West in 1969-70. He received distinguished lifetime achievement awards from both the American Political Science Association and the International Society for Political Psychology. He received the Nevitt Sanford Award from the International Society for Political Psychology, the Howard Johnson Award for Distinguished Teaching, and the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award. In 2014 ISA West honored him with a Distinguished Scholar Award, which is now awarded annually and named in his honor.

Professor Holsti was part of the first wave of scholars who brought the methods of behavioralism to bear on questions of foreign policy, particularly crisis management and foreign policy world views -- topics that had hitherto been the province principally of historians and political philosophers. His path-breaking work on content analysis was among his most influential scholarship, shaping the field for decades. Building on this work, he developed a long-term collaboration with James Rosenau studying the foreign policy attitudes of both elites and the general public. He was a key figure arguing against the so-called Almond-Lippmann consensus that dismissed American public opinion as hopelessly inchoate and ill-informed; Holsti argued that public attitudes, at both the elite and mass level, moved in rational ways in response to changing circumstances. Though a sharp critics of American foreign policy mistakes, Holsti’s scholarship reflected an underlying optimism that the democratic process could prove resilient and restorative even after costly errors.

To his professional associates, students, and personal acquaintances, Professor Holsti was an exemplary colleague, mentor, and friend. He read others’ works carefully, offering perceptive suggestions, always in a positive vein. In department meetings, he could be counted on to bring thoughtful values, not personal interest or bias, to the discussions at hand. It was hard for others to act up when Ole was in the room. He was relentlessly determined and independent to the end of his life.

Those of us who knew Ole Holsti personally also admired him for other qualities. He was a dedicated road and trail runner, later taking up competitive race-walking only after most people give up walking quickly at all. He was outspoken on issues of foreign policy where he had a strong view. He was personally generous. He was a dedicated father and grandfather. He was relentlessly determined and independent to the end of his life.

After Professor Holsti had retired from Duke and his wife had died, he moved to Salt Lake City to be near his daughter, Maija, her husband, and his two beloved grandchildren. Even during his last illness, he had the determination, although weak, successfully to walk across the stage with his family for his grandson’s high school graduation. As his daughter has written, the appropriate word for Ole in Finnish is Sisu, which means extraordinary determination in the face of extreme adversity, and courage that is presented typically in situations where success is unlikely. It expresses itself in taking action against the odds, and displaying courage and resoluteness in the face of adversity.

Professor Holsti’s colleagues at Duke, his friends in the profession, and his friends in the world of runners, will miss him enormously.



ISA Nominating Committee Report 2021

After careful review of the nominees and deliberations, the ISA Nominating Committee agreed on a slate of candidates for ISA officers. The committee was pleased to have strong candidates for each position to include the final slate of candidates. If elected, they will serve ISA well in their capacities as officers and representatives of the association.


06 Maintenance Notice

The ISA website will be unable from approximately 6pm - 8:00pm Eastern (NYC, EDT), Thursday, August 6th, time while we undergo maintenance. Many ...



Apply Now for ISA-Northeast 2020 Pedagogy and Methodology Workshops

We are writing with a reminder about today's deadline for applications to the Pedagogy Workshop for junior faculty and the Interpretive and Relational Research Methodology Workshop for graduate students to be held on November 14, 2020, as part of this year’s ISA-Northeast virtual conference. 

All applications must be received by the end of the day today, August 10th



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