University of Southern California
  School of International Relations Graduate Association


Join us this fall for stimulating discussions of some topical books on international relations. All discussions will be held on Fridays 12-2pm*. Lunch will be provided. Check back here for details on book giveaways.

Friday September 16, 2005

Professor Laurie Brand discusses Resurrecting Empire by Rashid Khalidi.

Begun as the United States moved its armed forces into Iraq, Rashid Khalidi’s powerful and thoughtful new book examines the record of Western involvement in the region and analyzes the likely outcome of our most recent Middle East incursions. Drawing on his encyclopedic knowledge of the political and cultural history of the entire region as well as interviews and documents, Khalidi paints a chilling scenario of America’s present situation and yet offers a tangible alternative that can help the U.S.  find the path to peace rather than Empire.

Location: VKC Berkes Media Lounge

* This discussion only will be from 2-3:30pm



Friday October 7

Professor Gerardo Munck discusses Samuel Huntington’s Who Are We: The Challenges to America’s National Identity

The author of the seminal work The Clash of Civilizations here he turns his laser on America-or, rather, America as he thinks it ought to be. This book is an aggressive polemic whose central argument is that America at heart has been and in many ways should remain a Christian, Anglocentric country.

Location: VKC Berkes Media Lounge



Friday October 21

We are pleased to welcome Reza Aslan to discuss his book No God but God. Books will be available for purchase and a signing will follow the talk.

Though it is the fastest growing religion in the world, Islam remains shrouded by ignorance and fear. What is the essence of this ancient faith? Is it a religion of peace or war? How does Allah differ from the God of Jews and Christians? Can an Islamic State be founded on democratic values such as pluralism and human rights? A writer and scholar of comparative religions, Reza Aslan has garnered international acclaim for the passion and clarity he has brought to these questions. In No god but God, Aslan challenges the “clash of civilizations” mentality that has distorted our view of Islam and explains this critical faith in all its complexity, beauty, and compassion. 

Reza Aslan has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, NBC’s Meet the Press, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as well as several other print and television news sources.

*Location: Doheny Intellectual Commons



Friday November 18

Professor Robert English discusses Stephen Walt’s most recent book Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy

The U.S. currently wields unprecedented global power. Americans often assume that their global role is benevolent and their dominant position unchallenged, but other states are increasingly worried about U.S. dominance and are beginning to turn their concerns into action. Kennedy School professor and renowned scholar Stephen M. Walt analyzes the different strategies that states employ to counter U.S. power or to harness it for their own ends. These responses threaten America’s ability to achieve its foreign policy goals and may eventually undermine its dominant position. To prevent this, Walt argues, the United States must adopt a foreign policy that other states welcome, rather than one that reinforces their fear of American power.

12-2:00pm, VKC Berkes Media Lounge (3rd Floor); Lunch provided