The End of the Road

What a close to my final week in Uganda! From Monday to Wednesday, I was traveling around the rapidly-expanding city of Hoima and Lake Albert, which are in the western part of Uganda, to attend a conference on monitoring environmental compliance in the oil and natural gas sectors. This conference brought representatives from dozens of several civil society organizations together with government and oil/natural gas sector officials in an attempt to ensure that all parties involved, most especially marginalized groups, benefit from the recent discovery of Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest untapped oil deposits. However, it often appeared that industry groups and the government sought to limit criticism of extractive activities and their negative impacts on Uganda’s citizens. In our guided tours, we saw much of this. Of the 3 sites that we visited, on buses paid for by Tullow Oil, 2 had been inactive for months and the only active site, Kingfisher Field, we viewed from a distance. This gave valuable insight into some of the issues that Transparency International staff face in promoting an open, productive dialogue between citizens, civil society organizations, government officials, and private industry.

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Coding Disputes

As a large portion of my honors thesis, I will be using a large n database to conduct quantitative comparisons across different territorial disputes. Before I am able to do the tests, however, I must first complete my database and code every dispute (since 1949) to test my hypotheses. As I have done so, I have run up against a number of difficult coding decisions that could potentially change the face of my dataset and, through that, my results. Here are some of the questions that I face: [Read more...]

Historical Analogies in the Pivot to Asia

In 2011, the Obama administration unveiled a much-publicized “pivot to Asia”—a grand strategy to strengthen America’s position in the region through the overt use of military, diplomatic, economic, and cultural instruments. “Pivot” is an appropriate title; it is a definitive break from past policy. Waxing engagement and waning containment characterized American strategy towards China in the 1990s and 2000s. Now, it seems, the U.S. government is refocusing on military balancing.

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Translation of Li’s Poem “Cicada”

Just translated another Li’s poem and I feel it’s really hard to keep the poem’s original tone. There’re only five syllables in each line in the original work, while iambic pentameter barely allows me to extract most literal meanings. Therefore, I let go all his fancy language, which is almost untranslatable. The original poem doesn’t have any pronoun, which makes it mostly consist of many pictures rather than the poet’s conversation with a cicada.

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Different Views about the Romantic Theme in Li Shang-yin’s poetry

After roughly looking over the criticisms of the most important scholars over the past 10 centuries, I found many people, though have reached a consensus that Li is a romantic poet, hold different view on the themes of his love poems. There’re basically three opinions.

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