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Monica Duffy Toft

Monica Duffy Toft

Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

 

Experience

Former Associate Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

Current Affiliation: Professor of Government and Public Policy, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

 

 

By Date

 

2014

AP Photo

March 2014

"Grounds for Hope: The Evolutionary Science behind Territorial Conflict"

Policy Brief

By Dominic D.P. Johnson and Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

In the future, territorial conflict is likely to become more important, as populations grow and resources decline, and as territorial disputes expand into new domains, such as the polar regions, outer space and near-Earth orbits, radio frequency bands, the internet, and the commercial control of land. To avoid war and to enable other positive effects to follow, resolving conflicts is critical. Should territorial issues be resolved, studies have found that demilitarization and democratization are more likely to ensue. States will have a better chance of achieving these goals if they step back and recognize the broader patterns of territoriality in nature, of which humans are just one particularly deadly example.

 

 

AP Photo

Winter 2013/14

"Grounds for War: The Evolution of Territorial Conflict"

Journal Article, International Security, issue 3, volume 38

By Dominic D.P. Johnson and Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

International relations theory has thus far failed to account for the recurrence and severity of territorial conflict, especially over land with little or no value. Evolutionary biology offers a unique explanation for this behavior. An examination of territoriality across the animal kingdom as well as evolutionary game theory that deals with territorial behavior generates novel predictions about when territorial conflict is likely to occur.

 

2012

March 16, 2012

Religious Freedom and Religious Extremism

Event Report

By Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

Monica Duffy Toft moderates panel at Religious Freedom and Extemism conference at Georgetown University: "How Repression Breeds Religious Extremism - and How Religious Freedom Does the Opposite"

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/FreedomandR&showFullAbstract=1

 

 

March 7, 2012

Call for Applications: Religious Violence Summer Program at Columbia University

Announcement

By Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

The Hertog Global Strategy Initiative seeks talented undergraduate and graduate students for its 2012 seminar on the History and Future of Religious Violence and Apocalyptic Movements.

 

2011

October, 2011

Islam and the Role of Elites

Policy Brief

By Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

This policy brief provides background information on how Islam in its various manifestations has developed and spread throughout the world and the role of elites in this evolution. Having emerged in seventh-century Arabia, Muslim communities have formed and thrived across the globe. Indeed today, the majority of Muslims live outside of the Middle East. From the earliest days of Islam, the movement of people and ideas has impacted the institutions of political power in countless regions and modern nation-states. Such changes in religious and political landscapes have occurred partially with the help of decisions by the ruling elites about the desired character of their states. This brief points to a few key reasons why past elites have incorporated Islam into their bids for power and, with that precedent, why todayís religious bids for control more often occur within Muslim societies as elites compete for power.

 

 

AP Photo

September 17, 2011

"The 'Glocalized' Roots of Religious Politics: Extremism from Below, Not Abroad"

Op-Ed, The Huffington Post

By Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

"What the Arab uprisings revealed is that today's people, in the Arab world assuredly but not only there, desire less a unified ideology around a single leader or leadership that touts triumphalism over some form of evil and more a system of governance that promotes accountability, transparency and protects every individual's needs and interests."

 

 

AP Photo

August 11, 2011

"The Dangers of Secularism in the Middle East"

Op-Ed, Christian Science Monitor

By Daniel Philpott, Timothy Samuel Shah and Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

"...[W]e find that religious groups are most likely to be peaceful and supportive of democracy when they live under regimes that respect their autonomy. Islamic countries as diverse as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mali, Senegal, and Turkey demonstrate that when Islamic parties participate in politics they not only operate by the rules of the democratic game but also, in time, become more moderate."

 

 

Summer 2011

"Correspondence: Civil War Settlements and the Prospects for Peace"

Journal Article, International Security, issue 1, volume 36

By Laurie Nathan and Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

Laurie Nathan responds to Monica Duffy Toft's spring 2010 International Security article, "Ending Civil Wars: A Case for Rebel Victory?"

 

 

AP Photo

May 20, 2011

"God and Terror"

Op-Ed, Public Discourse

By Timothy Samuel Shah, Daniel Philpott and Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

"...[R]eligion has made a political comeback, abetted by globalization, democratization, and technological development. Those religious actors who are most closely integrated with state authority and who hold a political theology that calls for state sponsorship, the subordination of minorities, and the use of violence are most likely to be violent. Those who have remained independent of state authority and carry a political theology that prescribes democracy, peace, and reconciliation are most likely to be peaceful and democratic."

 

 

AP Photo

May 18, 2011

"God and Democratic Diplomacy"

Op-Ed, Public Discourse

By Timothy Samuel Shah, Daniel Philpott and Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

"Democracy, with its open debate and its popular control, was supposed to have exposed religion as a crutch for primitive people. Surprisingly, though, religion has profited precisely from the open debate and room to operate that democracy affords. The best squelchers of religion are, in fact, secular dictators."

 

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