Eric Shiraev, Ph.D. Books, Publications, Research, Teaching, and Collaborative Projects

The Character Assassination Project
Martijn Icks and I began our cooperation not long ago by almost accidentally coming across each other’s publications. We seemed an odd research team simply because we were studying apparently unrelated subjects. Defamation campaigns against Roman emperors, smear tactics of European monarchs and revolutionaries, and character attacks against the US presidential candidates—what do all these occurrences have in common? But something—thanks to the Internet, Skype, and our mutual curiosities—has clicked. We both realized that we shared a passion for studying human behavior across history and borders. We both were fascinated with the opportunities that the creative interactions between history and social sciences were giving us. When we asked our international colleagues to join us and discuss character assassination from a closer range, their response was enthusiastic. We gathered the first international seminar on character assassination in Heidelberg, Germany. Twenty-five scholars from eleven countries debated the “art of smear and defamation in history and today” and the result of the discussion has exceeded our expectations. Several academic publications are in the works.


What is character assassination?
Character assassination is a deliberate damage of an individual’s reputation. Most notable victims of character assassination are political leaders, officials, celebrities, scientists, athletes and other public figures. “Character assassins” target private lives, behavior, values, and identity of other people. Their biographical details are altered or fabricated. Intimate features become public. Achievements are questioned. Good intentions are doubted. Using exaggerations, mockery, allegations, lies, insinuations, and slander, the attackers try to hurt their victims morally and emotionally in the eyes of public opinion. To give some examples from recent American history, political opponents of U.S. President Richard Nixon commonly and deliberately portrayed him as a reclusive, paranoid, and aloof conspirator. Ronald Reagan was an ignorant cowboy, warmonger, or absent-minded old man. Bill Clinton’s opponents scorned him as a slick Willy, womanizer and liar. George W. Bush was stupid. Barack Obama repeatedly appeared in sarcastic attacks as a messiah or a lecturing professor unable to govern.  Character assassination is as old as human civilization. Throughout history, people of all ranks, occupations, and persuasions employ character attacks against their opponents. Numerous historical examples show that character assassination has often been a very effective weapon to win political battles, discredit unwelcome religious views, or settle personal scores. On the one hand, time, individuals, and circumstances change but the key methods of character assassination remain amazingly consistent. On the other hand, attacks are constantly refined and enhanced. Their speed and scope grow. Due to the rise of modern democracies and mass media, character attacks now reach a global audience in minutes.


The 2011 seminar, Character Assassination: the Art of Defamation throughout the Ages,
took place in Heidelberg, Germany, July 21-23, 2011.

Learn more about the seminar and future events planned by The International Society for the Study of Character Assassination (ISSCA):
http://characterattack.wordpress.com/

Look up for us on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Character-Assassination/22891089379895

                                    

                              Selected articles and book chapters (other subjects):


Shiraev, E. (2008). Sizing-up Obama in Russia. In: Harvard International Review. December. An Online Journal.

   Shiraev, E. and Klicperova, Marina (2007). Slovakia. In: Global Perspectives on the United States (D. Levinson and K. Christensen, Eds.).Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing, V. 2. pp. 569-572

     Shiraev, E. and Klicperova, Marina (2007). Czech Republic. In: Global Perspectives on the United States (D. Levinson and K. Christensen, Eds.).Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing, V. 1. pp. 161-165 

      Shiraev, E. and Makhovskaya, O. (2007). From the Cold War to Lukewarm Peace: Russian Views of September 11 and Beyond. In: (D.Farber, Ed.) What they Think of US: International Perceptions of the United States since 9/11. Princeton University Press, pp. 95-124.

     Shiraev, E. (2005). Introduction: After 9/11: Attitudes toward the United States. In Shlapentokh, V., Woods, J., and Shiraev, E. (Eds.). America: Sovereign Defender or a Cowboy Nation? London: Ashgate, pp. 1-14

     Shiraev, E. (2005). Russia’s views of America in a Historic Perspective. In Shlapentokh, V., Woods, J., and Shiraev, E. (Eds.). America: Sovereign Defender or a Cowboy Nation? London: Ashgate, pp. 45-52 

     Shiraev, E. (2005). “Sorry, but…” Russia’s Responses in the Wake of 9/11. In Shlapentokh, V., Woods, J., and Shiraev, E. (Eds.). America: Sovereign Defender or a Cowboy Nation? London: Ashgate, pp. 53-70

     Shiraev, E. and Julia Gradskova (2005). The Russian Family. In J.Roopnarine and U.Gielen (Eds.). Families in Global Perspective. Boston: Allyn& Bacon.

     Shiraev, E. and Terrio, D. (2003). Russian Decision-making Regarding Bosnia: Indifferent Public and Feuding Elites. In: R.Sobel & E.Shiraev (Eds.), International Public Opinion and the Bosnia Crisis. Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield.

    Shiraev, E. and Sobel R. (2003). Public Opinion and Foreign Policy: A Comparative Analysis of Linkages. In: R. Sobel & E. Shiraev (Eds.), International Public Opinion and the Bosnia Crisis. Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield.

     Shiraev, E. and Sobel R. (2003). Does Public Opinion Matter? In: R. Sobel & E. Shiraev (Eds.), International Public Opinion and the Bosnia Crisis. Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield.

      Shiraev, E. and Sigelman, L. (2002). The Rational Attacker in Russia? Negative Campaigning in Russian Presidential Elections. The Journal of Politics, 64, 1, 45-62.

      Shiraev, E. (2001). Why do They Hate the West? Oost-Europa Verkenningen (Netherlands), December, pp. 66-77.

   Shiraev, E. and Valenty, L. (2001). The 1996 Russian Presidential Candidates: A Content Analysis of Motivational Configuration and Conceptual/Integrative Complexity. In O.Feldman and L. Valenty (Eds.), Profiling Political Leaders: Cross-Cultural Studies of Personality and Behavior. Greenwood.

     Shiraev, E. (2000). People Say, Advisers Advise, and Officials Decide: Toward a Comparative Analysis of Opinion-Policy Linkages. In: R. Shapiro, B. Nacos, and P.Isernia (Eds.), Decision-Making in the Glass House. Boulder: Rowman & Littlefield.

    Shiraev, E. and Zubok, V. (2000). Against the West: Anti-Western Attitudes as a Mediating Factor in Russia’s Opinion-Policy Links (1991-1999). In R. Shapiro, B. Nacos, and P. Isernia (Eds.), Decision-Making in the Glass House. Boulder: Rowman & Littlefield.

     Shiraev, E. and Glad, B. (1999). The Reformer in the Office. In: Shiraev, E. and Glad, B. (Eds.),  The Russian Transformation. New York: St.Martin's Press, pp. 3-22.

     Shiraev, E. and Glad, B. (1999). A Profile of Mikhail Gorbachev: Psychological and Sociological Underpinnings. In: Shiraev, E. and Glad, B. (Eds.),  The Russian Transformation. New York: St.Martin's Press, pp. 23-52.

     Shiraev, E. (1999). The New Nomenclature and Increasing Income Inequality. In: Shiraev, E. and Glad, B. (Eds.),  The Russian Transformation. New York: St.Martin's Press, pp. 109-118.

     Shiraev, E. (1999). Attitudinal Changes During the Transition. In: Shiraev, E. and Glad, B. (Eds.),  The Russian Transformation. New York: St.Martin's Press, pp. 155-166.

     Shiraev, E. and Glad, B. (1999). Generational Adaptations to the Transition. In: Shiraev, E. and Glad, B. (Eds.),  The Russian Transformation. New York: St.Martin's Press, pp. 167-178.

    Shiraev, E. (1999). Gender Roles and Political Transformations. In: Shiraev, E. and Glad, B. (Eds.),  The Russian Transformation. New York: St.Martin's Press, pp. 199-212.

     Shiraev, E. (1999). The Post Soviet Orientations toward the United States and the West. In: Shiraev, E. and Glad, B. (Eds.),  The Russian Transformation. New York: St.Martin's Press, pp. 227-238.

     Shiraev, E., McDermott, R. & Koopman C. (1998). Beliefs About International Security Among Russian and American National Security Elites. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 4(1), 35-57.