Journal Articles

Resolving the Difference between Evolutionary Antecedents of Political Attitudes and Sources of Human Variation

4 November 2014

by Adam Lockyer and Peter K. Hatemi

Humans, despite the country they inhabit, the social structures they constitute, and the forms of governments they live under, universally possess political attitudes; that is, those attitudes towards sexual norms, out-groups, resource allocation, cooperation and fairness. It has been proposed that this near universal manifestation across societies remains ingrained in the psychological architecture of humans because of human evolution. However, there is enormous variation in political attitudes within and across populations, and this variation is not merely a function of social differences but derives, in part, through neurobiological differences within human populations. Thus, there is great confusion on the difference between what has evolved as universal, and what is due to individual variation. This confusion, results, in part on the lack of integration of the theoretical mechanisms that addresses how humans vary within evolutionarily adaptive universals. Here we seek to fill this lacuna by explicating how evolutionary biology and psychology account for the universal need for humans to have political attitudes while neurobiological differences account for variation within those evolved structures. Link to publishers

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American Art, Australian Focus, 1945-1975

18 September 2014

A special edition of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art (Vol 14, Issue 1, 2014), edited by the US Studies Centre's Professor Roger Benjamin has been published. Entitled “American Art, Australian Focus, 1945-1975”, the edition emerges from a series of seminars and conferences supported by the US Studies Centre. Link to journal

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The theater of inequality

19 August 2014

Like the ideology undergirding Occupy Wall Street, Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century exhibits a marked lack of historical consciousness and complexity, writes lecturer Thomas Adams. In this essay, he argues that Piketty confuses capitalism with capitalist social relations, and thus imagines solutions without politics, lacks coherence regarding the necessity for a revaluation of labor and a shrinking of the moral confines of the market, and hopes for a better world sans class politics as a mechanism. Read article

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Wither the Tea Party? The Future of a Political Movement

6 June 2014

In the midst of the Congressional primaries taking place across America this summer, the Tea Party’s history continues to be written. Tea Party membership and funding have continued to grow over the last year, yet many in the media have proclaimed the Tea Party dead. In this paper for Brookings, senior visiting scholar Christopher S. Parker argues that the Tea Party is a true grassroots movement and has real staying power in the current political climate. Download here

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The Imperialism of Economic Nationalism, 1890–1913

18 February 2014

In this essay, research associate Marc Palen debunks the common laissez-faire myth surrounding turn-of-the-century American foreign relations, allowing for a reconceptualisation of American imperialism from 1890 to 1913. The Republican Party, the party of protectionism, found itself riven by internal disagreements over the future of the protectionist system and US imperial expansion. From within Republican protectionist ranks arose a progressive wing that increasingly looked beyond the home market for the country’s growing American agricultural and manufacturing surpluses. They did so against staunch anti-imperial opposition not only from American free-trade independents, but also from the Republican Party’s isolationist home-market protectionists, who yet feared or disdained foreign markets and colonial acquisitions. These progressive Republican proponents of empire combined coercive trade reciprocity with protectionism—an expansive closed door—and worked hard to extend American imperial power through informal means of high tariff walls, closed US-controlled markets, and retaliatory reciprocity if possible, by formal annexation and military interventionism when necessary. The American Empire thus arose owing to the imperialism of economic nationalism, not the imperialism of free trade. Read more

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Adam Smith as advocate of empire

11 February 2014

In this article for The Historical Journal, research associate Marc Palen examines how The Wealth of Nations (1776) was transformed into an amorphous text regarding the imperial question throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Adam Smith had left behind an ambiguous legacy on the subject of empire: a legacy that left long-term effects upon subsequent British imperial debates. In his chapter on colonies, Smith had proposed both a scheme for the gradual devolution of the British empire and a theoretical scheme for imperial federation. In response to the growing global popularity of protectionism and imperial expansionism, the rapid development of new tools of globalisation, and the frequent onset of economic downturns throughout the late Victorian and Edwardian eras, turn-of-the-century proponents of British imperial federation formed into a formidable opposition to England’s prevailing free trade orthodoxy — Cobdenism — a free trade ideology which famously expanded upon the anti-imperial dimensions of The Wealth of Nations. Ironically, at the turn of the century many advocates for imperial federation also turned to Smith for their intellectual inspiration. Adam Smith thus became an advocate of empire, and his advocacy left an indelible intellectual mark upon the burgeoning British imperial crisis. Read article

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Australia's relations with China in turbulence

25 January 2014

Relations between the new Australian government and China got off to a rocky start, writes Centre visiting professor Linda Jakobson. In this essay for the Asan Forum, she focuses on relations between the two countries, saying that Australia’s political relationship with China is far less developed than its economic relationship. China is not merely an economic power but also a crucial political and security actor in the region, Jakobson argues, and underdeveloped political and strategic relations between Canberra and Beijing weaken Australia’s ability to exert influence regionally. Australia risks being viewed by China’s leaders merely as a provider of resources and a subordinate member in the alliance with the United States. Read article

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Book Review: China, the United States, and Global Order

31 July 2013

David R. Howell reviews Rosemary Foot and Andrew Walter's book China, the United States, and Global Order for the July issue of China Journal. Read review

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The Logic of Interoperability: Australia's Acquisition of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

30 April 2013

Although Australia has sent its own forces to fight alongside the US in every major American conflict since the Great War, it worries that this level of loyalty might not always be reciprocated. Australia has therefore maintained a position of self-reliance in all of its defence decisions. Using the F-35 program as an example, Dr Adam Lockyer argues that this logic of interoperability is becoming increasingly untenable. Read article

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Can Nations Succeed?

3 April 2013

Professor Margaret Levi writes that we are in an era of Big Books, books with a magisterial sweep of the history of the world. All share the desire to explain why some countries flourish, why some start and stall on the path to development, and why others seem never to find the path at all. In sociology, Big Books date back at least to Karl Marx and Max Weber. Their publication has been more or less regular ever since, and their authors tend to elaborate the sort of grand and general theories that have come under increasing attack in recent decades, given methodological advances that have transformed analytic tastes. Read article

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VIDEOS & INTERVIEWS

ABC 24

Ferguson verdict sparks riots, anger

With protests erupting in Ferguson, Missouri, honourary professor Edward Blakely looks at the implications for race, policing and the President.


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Associate professor Brendon O'Connor looks at the impact of the new US immigration reforms, which apply to up to 5 million undocumented migrants but Republicans say could cause a consitutional crisis.

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