We’ve posted a background paper by Joseph Staruski, an MPP student at University of Massachusetts, on academic boycotts. The title is The Differential Outcomes of Contemporary Boycotting: An Analysis of the Global Boycotts against Israel and Russia. Abstract: “The academic community relies on international engagement to build reliable knowledge and conduct research. International academic engagement has recently stirred controversy because of the desire to cut ties with some countries whose actions fail to respect academic freedom and human rights. Academic boycotts are often a response to such offenses, but recent cases of boycotting in Israel and Russia show that boycotting can produce differential outcomes in similar cases. While Israel and Russia both are accused of committing war crimes and using their militaries to occupy territory, the boycott against Israel has seen far less success. Both boycotts appear to reinforce global power stratification, are accused of prejudice, and poorly communicate their values. Future boycott efforts should establish better ways of coordinating action among diverse entities, communicating values, applying principles consistently, and considering facts. If these steps are taken, boycotts might adopt a more procedural methodology and be less prone to criticism.” Download the paper.