Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies has announced a new program, the Policy and Security Initiative (PSI), which will cultivate a community of historically-minded, theoretically-informed, and policy-engaged scholars who will critically evaluate and, when necessary, challenge prevailing policy assumptions. Joshua Shifrinson and Jayita Sarkar, assistant professors of international relations, will oversee PSI.
Supported in part by a grant from the Charles Koch Foundation, Shifrinson, Sarkar, and their team will explore the impact domestic actors have on U.S. foreign policy; survey the costs, risks, and impacts of foreign aid and alliance commitments; assess the use of history in grand strategy debates; bring new information to light that can inform grand strategy discussions; and consider the fiscal and domestic consequences of growing geopolitical competition on U.S. grand strategy.
The grant also will enable PSI to host two colloquia during the 2018-19 academic year that will bring BU researchers together with experts from the broader international relations, international security, and history academic communities to consider how conventional wisdoms in the policy and academic spaces need to be updated in light of new historical findings and theoretical insights. The first colloquium, slated for fall 2018, will focus on nuclear affairs and the second, scheduled for next spring, will consider the relationship between the United States, NATO, and Europe.
The initiative also will provide seed grants to support faculty and student research that utilizes history and or theory in sophisticated ways to evaluate underlying assumptions, approaches, and understandings in the international security policy arena. Shifrinson and Sarkar hope their historical scholarship and policy-focused research, which is currently missing in academia, will ensure policymakers and scholars engage deliberately to challenge existing viewpoints.