On November 7, anthropologist and historian Lilia Moritz Schwarcz offered a talk entitled, “Lima Barreto: A sad visionary in Brazil at the beginning of the XX century” as part of the Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies Lunchtime Colloquia. Professor Schwarcz is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Sao Paulo and a Visiting Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University. Her talk gave listeners a taste of the content of her recent publication Lima Barreto: Triste Visionário, published in 2017 by Companhia das Letras (Sao Paulo).
Afonso Henriques de Lima Barreto (1881-1922) was an Afro-Brazilian writer whose prescient critiques of Brazil’s structural racism and supposed “racial democracy” still have resonance today. His writings attempt to break apart the social Darwinism and racial determinism reigning in Brazil at the beginning of the 20th century. As Professor Schwarcz explained, the Portuguese word triste has two connotations, and Lima Barreto was both: he was sad, yes, but also persistent and stubborn.
Christopher Andrew, Emeritus Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Cambridge and former Official Historian of British Security Service MI5, delivered this year’s Stimson Lectures on World Affairs, a series of three lectures that took place over the course of the first week in November at the MacMillan Center. Known for his scholarship on the history of intelligence, he addressed the topic “The Lost History of Global Intelligence—and Why It Matters.”
Throughout the three lectures, Andrew stressed a few overarching themes. He noted that although the strategic importance of signal intelligence (SIGINT) is commonly accepted, there is a surprisingly poor understanding of its history. “No WWII or post-WWII profession was as ignorant of its own history as the intelligence community,” he said, attributing this ignorance to the inherently clandestine nature of espionage operations. Because of its ignorance of its history, the intelligence community is unable to learn from past mistakes. Andrew said, “intelligence history is not linear… it sometimes goes backwards.” He also expressed frustration at how modern SIGINT is commonly seen as more advanced than SIGINT in history, using as an example the code-breaking superiority under Queen Elizabeth I compared to that of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
It’s no accident that Indiana Jones was an archeologist, not an economist. Economists are better known for digging into data sets than digging up clues. But in recent years, a number of economists, particularly development economists, have led a revolution in the field—by going into the field.
Many of these new adventurers are motivated to better understand which new policies, philanthropic programs, or other interventions have the greatest positive impact for people in developing economies. The randomized controlled trial has become a key tool for them to compare the effects of an intervention with what would happen in the absence of such an action.
Yale’s Jackson Institute should become a school of global affairs featuring a robust, faculty-driven research program dedicated to solving real-world problems and shaping a better future for humanity, according to a vision described in an advisory committee report released Nov. 14.
Founded in 2010 largely as a teaching enterprise through a generous gift from John Jackson ’67 and Susan Jackson, the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs currently houses a thriving educational program that serves hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students each year. In 2017, Provost Benjamin Polak convened an advisory committee of eight senior faculty members to consider the institute’s future and assess whether Jackson should be transformed into an independent professional school.