Haley J. Swedlund, a visiting scholar in the Council on African Studies at the MacMillan Center at Yale and an Assistant Professor at the Centre for International Conflict Analysis and Management (CICAM) at the Nijmegen School of Management, Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, recently spoke with Marilyn Wilkes about her forthcoming book, The Development Dance: How Donors and Recipients Negotiate the Delivery of Foreign Aid (available from Cornell University Press in...

Winning the “hearts and minds” of Afghan civilians is a key component of American strategy in Afghanistan, where war rages more than 16 years after NATO-backed forces knocked the Taliban from power.

A recent study co-authored by Yale political scientist Jason Lyall provides evidence that “hearts-and-minds” aid programs have an unintended consequence: Taliban insurgents target villages where aid projects have gained traction.

Lyall, associate professor of political science, and...

Osman, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, had a dream in which a tree sprouted from his navel. As the tree grew, its shade covered the earth; as Osman’s empire grew, it, too, covered the earth. This is the most widely accepted foundation myth of the longest-lasting empire in the history of Islam, and offers a telling clue to its unique legacy. Underlying every aspect of the Ottoman Empire’s  history — from its founding around 1300 to its end in the 20th century — is its successful management of...

A symposium on “Religion and Public Policy in Southeast Asia,” that focused on how religions influence public policy that affects women and religious minorities was held on March 10, 2017 in Henry R. Luce Hall. It gathered a team of panelists from the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS) and discussants from Yale along with about twenty participants to discuss the findings of recent research conducted by ICRS along this theme. ICRS is part of a larger international team of...

Mysteries of nature, modern enchantments, and the curse words of colorful incantations were among the many topics addressed in the two-day symposium “Magic and the Occult in Islam and Beyond,” held on March 2-3. Organized by Travis Zadeh (Yale University), the symposium brought together an international array of scholars with diverse areas of expertise. The papers and discussions that ensued addressed the place of the occult in Islamic thought and the modern challenges of thinking in...