ITEMS & ISSUES
Updates readers on SSRC program activities and presents essays and occasional interviews on issues of public concern.
Editorial Director: Paul Price
Editor: Alyson Metzger
Editorial Assistant: Jessica Polebaum
Graphic Designer: Kate Northern
Web Development: Zach Zinn
Web Production: Zach Menchini
THE SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH COUNCIL
Leads innovation, builds interdisciplinary and international networks, and focuses research on important public issues. The Council achieves these aims by:
- convening and creating working groups to spark innovation or bring critical perspectives to intellectual or practical themes;
- mobilizing, synthesizing and focusing research-based knowledge to inform public discourse or practical action on specific issues;
- capacity building focused on individual fellows, institutions, and networks of relationships.
SSRC PROGRAM EMPHASES
Work at the SSRC is organized around six program emphases: Conflict and Peacebuilding; Development and Social Change; the Public Sphere; Knowledge and Learning; Strengthening Global Social Science; and New Directions in International Studies.
CONFLICT AND PEACEBUILDING
The SSRC has a long-standing commitment to understanding issues of international peace and security, including both conventional and new forms of war and broader human security challenges. Several lines of work at the Council carry this commitment forward: the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum (CPPF), bringing research-based knowledge to the UN and other policy-makers; the Program on Humanitarianism, Conflict and Peacebuilding in Africa; the Program on Gender, Security and HIV/AIDS; the development of a Global Center on Gender, Conflict Prevention, and Recovery; and the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project.
DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL CHANGE
The SSRC has been a leader in studies of economic growth since the days of Simon Kuznets and was at the center of both an earlier phase of optimistic modernization theory and more critical accounts of underdevelopment and structural inequality. Today, as issues of economic development have returned to center stage, the Council addresses the relationship of development to globally linked financial crises, environmental degradation, conflicts over resources, and persistent and growing inequality of access to education, health, income and wealth, even where growth occurs. The Council does this through a number of programs, including the American Human Development Project, the China Environment and Health Program, the Possible Futures book series, and several projects that look at the relationship between migration and social change.
THE PUBLIC SPHERE
Shifting boundaries between public and private have become central questions for the role of public communication in democracy, public institutions in delivering services, and religion as a part of both private and public life. SSRC programs in this area explore religion, secularism and public life; academia and public engagement on Islam; media and technology as they relate to a democratic public sphere; public and private responses to risk and catastrophe; public-private partnerships and innovative financing for public works; and the very role of social science itself in producing public knowledge.
KNOWLEDGE AND LEARNING
The Knowledge and Learning program area addresses significant changes occurring in the production, transmission, and acquisition of knowledge and learning skills. Current projects involve exploring digital media and learning to craft social media strategies to advance learning; promoting a broader and better understanding of mounting challenges in higher education; studying changing models of undergraduate and graduate training and new practices of scientific research; and nurturing both new research and public-private partnerships in K-12 education.
STRENGTHENING GLOBAL SOCIAL SCIENCE
The SSRC works around the world to enhance the capacity to conduct high-quality social science research and to increase the diversity of participation in international social science. This is done both for the sake of bringing the best social science to bear on issues of global and public import and to better inform the intellectual bases of international social science. Projects range from assisting the establishment of an Arab Council for the Social Sciences to assessing public health initiatives in Vietnam, from supporting advanced students through the International Dissertation Research Fellowship and other fellowship programs to strengthening PhD programs and opportunities for research and publication in Africa.
NEW DIRECTIONS IN INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
The SSRC is committed to a renewal in approaches, practices and opportunities for international studies in the United States. American universities have in the recent past faced a number of intellectual and institutional challenges that threaten such research. In an effort to reverse this trend the Council has focused on comparative studies of Title VI National Resource Centers and an ambitious initiative that explores transregional perspectives such as “InterAsia” and “GlobalAfrica.” Through these efforts and others to come, the Council attempts to improve significantly both the conditions and concepts necessary for a dynamic and thriving approach to international studies in the United States.