“It is quite common to hear high officials in Washington and elsewhere speak of changing the map of the Middle East, as if ancient societies and myriad peoples can be shaken up like so many peanuts in a jar.”

― Edward W. Said

"A developing country that wants to develop its economy must first of all keep natural resources in its own hands."
- Deng Xiaoping

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Graduate Courses at Shanghai University - March 25 - June 1, Spring 2019

China and the Middle East/Africa
Instructor: Tugrul Keskin             

China will never seek hegemony or expansion – no matter what stage of development it reaches.
China’s socialist democracy best for Chinese people’s interests, no need to copy the political system of other countries.
19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China - Xi Jinping

Course Description and Objective:
This course will review and analyze the increased presence of PRC in the Contemporary Middle East. After the Deng Xiaoping came to power, he liberalized the Chinese state and economy. As a result of his economic policies, the PRC opened its doors to foreign investment and international companies. This trend created a “great transformation in Chinese society.”  Over the next thirty years, the Chinese middle class grew to a size of over three hundred fifty million people. David Harvey calls this process “neoliberalism with Chinese characteristics.” However, this economic transformation and the emergence of a large middle class in China created additional energy needs for the state and society. This led to a shift in Chinese foreign policy towards the Middle East. Therefore, over the last few years China, as an emerging global power, has heavily invested in the economies of Middle Eastern countries. However, there are other competitors in the Middle Eastern economic market; such as the United States and Europe. Although the Middle East is considered an American backyard, China is currently trying to enter the Middle Eastern market for its own energy and security needs. However, unlike in Africa, China has moved slowly in order not to disturb American National Interests. China is consequently sneaking into the Middle Eastern oil market without too much attention to this trend. In this class, we will review how the growing needs for oil and gas of the Chinese economy has shaped Chinese foreign policy in the Middle East after 1978. 

Think Tanks, International and Non-Governmental Organizations   
Instructor: Tugrul Keskin             
Of the many influences on the US foreign policy formulation, the role of think tanks is among the most important and appreciated.
Richard N. Haass
The current president of CFR and a former Director of Policy and Planning - U.S. Department of State     
Course Description and Objective:  In this course, we will examine the emergence and development of think tanks and international and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from a comparative perspective. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the concept of the modern state emerged out of the growth of capitalism and industrialization and led to the creation of a complex bureaucracy and an interconnected social, political and economic environment within the global political arena.  However, WWI and II gave birth to the UN (originally the League of Nations) as a venue for negotiation between nation-states in the international arena in order to prevent political conflicts.
We will also study the emergence, development and role of non-governmental organizations such as the Committee to Protect Journalists, Doctors Without Borders, Mercy Corps, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch. All of these organizations are fairly new to the global social and political arena.           

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Artificial Intelligence and TV Adds

Suicide by fired General Motors employee?

Mercedes-Benz 2019 A-Class "Say the Word" Big Game Commercial 

Best of Both Worlds - Sprint Big Game

Robots | Michelob ULTRA Super Bowl 2019 

Pringles | Sad Device Commercial (Official) 

TurboTax Live 2019 Super Bowl Teaser "RoboChild" (Official :30) TV ad 

SimpliSafe | "The Neighbors" Super Bowl Teaser

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Repeated History, US Backs Another Coup in Venezuela

Eugene Puryear interviews VA's Lucas Koerner about the US-backed coup attempt in Venezuela and the illegitimacy of Juan Guaidó’s claim to the presidency of the Caribbean nation.

In this special segment of "By Any Means Necessary" is joined by Lucas Koerner, writer at Venezulanalysis.com to talk about the ongoing attempts at a US-backed coup in Venezuela, the illegitimacy of Juan Guaidó’s claim to the presidency and the role of right-wing Latin American governments in supporting the efforts to overthrow the government of Nicolas Maduro.

LISTEN TO THIS NEWS: https://venezuelanalysis.com/audio/14251

The Empire Files: The U.S. School That Trains Dictators & Death Squads

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised - Chavez: Inside the Coup

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Academic Networks at Virginia Tech University



Sociology of Islam and Muslim Societies Academic Network at Virginia Tech

Sociology of Islam and Muslim Societies Academic Network Virginia Tech 

Our Objectives
We have created a mailing list for scholars who may be interested in exchanging academic information related with Islam and Muslim Societies. You will find the information necessary to be a subscriber to this list. This is a scholarly network on Islam and Muslim Societies, which facilitates the academic exchange of information on conferences, panels, articles, books, and events. This network does not promote the orientalist approach toward Islam and Muslim Societies. We believe that Islam is a part and parcel of World civilization and has contributed toward the humanistic value of mankind. However, the last two hundreds years of human history shows us that Muslim Societies have been subject to a colonialist process. This process has transformed Islam from its original meaning and message to that of a reactionary identity. Therefore, today in Muslim Societies we witness poverty, economic inequality, chaotic urbanization, corruption, anti-democratic regimes, gender inequality, and occupations.

The Worldwide Islam Scholars Network promotes C. Wright Mills’ Sociological Imagination perspectives in relation to Islam and Muslim Societies. Within this network of Sociologists, Political Scientists, Religious Studies Scholars, Historians, we will exchange scholarly information on Islam and Muslim societies.  

The Sociology of Islam Academic Mailing list at Virginia Tech University is a free professional and academic networking tool to encourage interaction between individuals & organizations involved in Islam/Sociology of Islam/Islamist Movements and related fields worldwide. Members and subscribers are encouraged to dialogue and share resources on books, articles, conferences, teaching, and other related purposes.

The Archive at Virginia Tech
April 2007 – October 2009
April 2014 - Present

The Archive at Portland State University
November 2009 – April 2014


*  Country                
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* Total number of academicians subscribed to the list:          3875
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This committee will review the cases and will decide about their compliance with stated rules, regulations and code of ethnics of the list. It will consist of 5 members. The majority of the voters will elect the members of this committee. Term Limit: Two years period.

Moderators: Moderator position is open to any of the subscribers of the Sociology of Islam and Muslim Societies Mailing List who has been in the list more than two years. Candidate for being a moderator should send her/his short CV to the list and the majority of the voters will elect it.Term Limit: One year.

Subscribers: The following people can be subscribers to the mailing list:

·      Emeritus/ Emeriti faculty with university email addresses
·      Full, Associate and Assistant Professors with university email addresses;
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·      Independent Scholars with university or institutional email addresses

If you would like to be a member of this academic network, please email me at tugrulk (at) vt.edu

Tugrul Keskin
Director of Center for the Global Governance
Shanghai University

Recent Books:
·         Middle East Studies after September 11 Neo-Orientalism, American Hegemony and Academia. Brill, 2018. https://brill.com/view/title/26757
·         U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East: From American Missionaries to the Islamic State. Routledge, 2018. https://www.routledge.com/US-Foreign-Policy-in-the-Middle-East-From-American-Missionaries-to-the/Gresh-Keskin/p/book/9780815347149

Editor of Sociology of Islam Journal (Brill)
Region Editor of Critical Sociology (Middle East and North Africa)

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War - Paul Scharre

W. W. Norton - 2018

A Pentagon defense expert and former U.S. Army Ranger explores what it would mean to give machines authority over the ultimate decision of life or death.  What happens when a Predator drone has as much autonomy as a Google car? Or when a weapon that can hunt its own targets is hacked? Although it sounds like science fiction, the technology already exists to create weapons that can attack targets without human input. Paul Scharre, a leading expert in emerging weapons technologies, draws on deep research and firsthand experience to explore how these next-generation weapons are changing warfare.  Scharre’s far-ranging investigation examines the emergence of autonomous weapons, the movement to ban them, and the legal and ethical issues surrounding their use. He spotlights artificial intelligence in military technology, spanning decades of innovation from German noise-seeking Wren torpedoes in World War II—antecedents of today’s homing missiles—to autonomous cyber weapons, submarine-hunting robot ships, and robot tank armies. Through interviews with defense experts, ethicists, psychologists, and activists, Scharre surveys what challenges might face "centaur warfighters" on future battlefields, which will combine human and machine cognition. We’ve made tremendous technological progress in the past few decades, but we have also glimpsed the terrifying mishaps that can result from complex automated systems—such as when advanced F-22 fighter jets experienced a computer meltdown the first time they flew over the International Date Line.  At least thirty countries already have defensive autonomous weapons that operate under human supervision. Around the globe, militaries are racing to build robotic weapons with increasing autonomy. The ethical questions within this book grow more pressing each day. To what extent should such technologies be advanced? And if responsible democracies ban them, would that stop rogue regimes from taking advantage? At the forefront of a game-changing debate, Army of None engages military history, global policy, and cutting-edge science to argue that we must embrace technology where it can make war more precise and humane, but without surrendering human judgment. When the choice is life or death, there is no replacement for the human heart.

Paul Scharre: Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War

Films/Movies and International Relations (Updated on January 16, 2019)

1.     Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) Trailer
2.     The Great Dictator 1940 Official Trailer
3.     Foreign Correspondent 1940 Official Trailer
4.     Citizen Kane (1941) Official Trailer #1 - Orson Welles Movie
5.     Casablanca (1942) Official Trailer - Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman Movie HD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkL9l7qovsE
6.     All the King's Men (1949) Trailer
7.     The Manchurian Candidate Official Trailer #1 - Frank Sinatra Movie (1962) HD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LDfx_bsVJU
8.     Advise & Consent (1962) Official Trailer - Henry Fonda, Lew Ayres Movie HD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eb1RQ7prJY  
9.     Lawrence Of Arabia Theatrical Movie Trailer (1962) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veJ96Pptsvg
10.  Dr Strangelove - Official Trailer [1964]
11.  Seven Days In May (1964) Official Trailer - Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas Conspiracy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWL06waOAGw
12.  The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)
13.  The Battle of Algiers - Official Trailer (1966)
14.  The Baader Meinhof Complex (1967) - Trailer
15.  Burn! - Marlon Brando Movie (1969)
16.  Army of Shadows (1969)
17.  The Conformist - Official Trailer (1970)
18.  The Confession (1970)
19.  State of Siege (1972)
20.  The Parallax View (1974) - Trailer
21.  https://Three Days of the Condor (1975) - Trailer
22.  All The President's Men (1976) Official Trailer - Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DC3YFyah_Yg
23.  Breaker Morant (1980)
24.  Reds (1981) Trailer
25.  Missing (1982) TRAILER
26.  Brazil - 1985
27.  Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) trailer
28.  The Beast of War (1988) Trailer
29.  Scandal - 1989 
30.  The Hunt for Red October (1990)
31.  Burnt By The Sun Trailer 1994
32.  Land and Freedom (1995)
33.  NIXON Original Theatrical Trailer (1995)
34.  WAG THE DOG - Trailer - (1997)
35.  Brave New World Trailer (1998) Aldous Huxley
36.  Bulworth - Trailer 1998
37.  The Truman Show (1998)
38.  Election (1999) Official Trailer #1 - Reese Witherspoon Movie HD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBgM_Kw6PSM
39.  Thirteen Days - Trailer (2001)
40.  Conspiracy (2001)  
41.  Goodbye Lenin! [2003] - Trailer
42.  Madras Cafe (2013)
43.  HOTEL RWANDA (2004) - Official Movie Trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZzfxL90100
44.  Syriana (2005) Official Trailer - George Clooney, Matt Damon Movie HD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvTni7Nggi0
45.  Munich (2005) - Trailer
46.  V For Vendetta (2005) Official Trailer #1 - Sc-Fi Thriller HD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSA7mAHolAw
47.  The Good Shepherd (2006) - Trailer
48.  Babel Trailer HQ (2006)
49.  The Last King of Scotland (2006)
50.  In the Loop (2009)
51.  Charlie Wilson's War Official Trailer #1 - Tom Hanks Movie (2007) HD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1mnSjjeC2o
52.  Milk (2008) - Movie Trailer
53.  Oorlogswinter (2008)
54.  Burn After Reading Official Trailer #1 - Brad Pitt Movie (2008) HD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVCHSiRWjJM
55.  12 Monkeys - 2009
56.  Into the Storm (2009)
57.  The Ghost Writer (2010) Official Trailer - Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan Movie HD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3NrIz5lwVo
58.  The Iron Lady Official Movie Trailer [2011]
59.  Margin Call (2011)
60.  Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) - Official Trailer
61.  Argo Official Trailer #1 (2012) Ben Affleck Thriller Movie HD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW3WfSFgrVY
62.  Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom Official Trailer #1 (2013) - Idris Elba, Naomie Harris Movie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAglZjX3HOk  
63.  Kill the Messenger Official Trailer #1 (2014)
64.  The Imitation Game Official Trailer #1 (2014) - Benedict Cumberbatch Movie HD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuPZUUED5uk
65.  Bridge of Spies Official Trailer #1 (2015) - Tom Hanks Cold War Thriller HD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBBuzHrZBro
66.  Eye in the Sky Official North American Trailer (2015) - Aaron Paul, Helen Mirren War Thriller HD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOqeoj669xg
67.  The Post - 2017| Official Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrXlY6gzTTM
Red Sparrow - 2017| Official Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmUL6wMpMWw