Belkin, Aaron 1966-
BELKIN, Aaron 1966-
CAREER: Professor and author. Stanford University, Stanford, CA, visiting lecturer, 1998; University of California, Santa Barbara, assistant professor, 1998—; Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, director, 1999—. Member of governing council, International Society of Political Psychology, 1999-2001.
MEMBER: American Political Science Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: Predoctoral fellowship, Center for International Security and Arms Control, Stanford University, 1995-96; MacArthur postdoctoral fellowship, University of California, Berkeley, 1996-97.
(Editor, with Philip E. Tetlock) CounterfactualThought Experiments in World Politics: Logical, Methodological, and Psychological Perspectives, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1996.
(Editor, with Geoffrey Bateman) Don't Ask, Don'tTell: Debating the Gay Ban in the Military, Lynne Rienner Publishers (Boulder, CO), 2003.
United We Stand?: Divide-and-Conquer Politics and the Logic of International Hostility, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 2005.
Contributor to periodicals, including the International Security, Security Studies, Police Quarterly, International Journal, Third World Quarterly, and Political Psychology.
SIDELIGHTS: Author Aaron Belkin began studying and writing about political and international issues when he was an undergraduate student at Brown University. In 1998, he earned his doctorate in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and has worked as a political science professor at Stanford University and the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). He also serves as the director of UCSB's Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military (CSSMM). Belkin specializes in civil-military relations and security studies. Over the years, Belkin has published numerous articles for journals and magazines, has spoken at many universities, military schools, and organizations, and is frequently a source for national newspapers and magazines.
In 1996, Belkin coedited his first book, Counterfactual Thought Experiments in World Politics: Logical Methodological, and Psychological Perspectives, with Philip E. Tetlock. The book explores the roles counterfactual reasoning plays in the study of world politics. Contributors include James Fearon, Richard Lebow, Margaret Levi, and Bruce Russett.
Belkin coedited the anthology Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Debating the Gay Ban in the Military, with CSSMM colleague Geoffrey Bateman. The book grew from a 2000 conference sponsored by the CSSMM on the same subject. It was published on the tenth anniversary of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, a government policy advising gay military personnel to not reveal their sexual orientation.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell begins with an overview of the major arguments for and against allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the U.S. military, and then provides a historical look at the military's stance on this issue. Subsequent chapters consist of an edited transcript from the conference addressing specific concerns such as preserving soldier privacy, preserving unit cohesion, and the monetary cost to the military and the nation to uphold the ban. In a later chapter, two gay former service members relate their experiences in the military, and how the policies affected them. In the appendix, the editors provide the full text of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
While Belkin and Bateman approached proponents of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy to attend the conference, none were willing to participate, and therefore the majority of the book's voices are in favor of lifting the policy. "For readers on both sides of the issue, [the book furthers] our understanding and [offers] useful, diverse, and divergent facts, findings, and arguments," wrote Women's Review of Books contributor Lynne Goulquer, despite the book's lack of balance.
Critics, in general, reacted positively to Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Some highlighted the transcript format as a vehicle for lively discussion. "I found the discussions pertinent, interesting, and grounded in personal experience or relevant research," commented Juanita Firestone in the Journal of Political and Military Sociology. Other reviewers lauded the editors' ability to meld many voices and discussion points into a clear and compelling book. In his review for Contemporary Sociology, contributor Chris Bourg concluded, "The editors combine discussions of research, policy perspectives and opinions, and personal narratives into a coherent and timely contribution to the literature on this important topic."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Advocate, March 30, 2004, Lisa Neff, "Gay in the Navy," p. 32; June 22, 2004, Mike Hudson, "The Future of Gay," p. 59.
Contemporary Sociology, July 2004, Chris Bourg, review of Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Debating the Gay Ban in the Military, p. 429.
Journal of Political and Military Sociology, summer, 2003, Juanita M. Firestone, review of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, p. 149.
Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, January 23, 2003, Vincent J. Schodolski, "Military Loses Able Recruits with Gay Rule," p. 1.
Library Journal, June 1, 2003, David Azzolina, review of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, p. 150.
Parameters, summer, 2004, Joseph A. Craft, "Legitimate Debate, or Gay Propaganda?"
Women's Review of Books, May, 2004, Lynne Gouliquer, "Ask and Tell," p. 22.
Atlanta Executive Network Web site,http://www.aen.org/newsletters/0402/ (February, 2004), "Aaron Belkin."
Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military,http://www.gaymilitary.ucsb.edu/ (December 13, 2004), "Aaron Belkin."
Lynne Rienner Publishers Web site,http://www.rienner.com/ (December 13, 2004).
University of California—Santa Barbara Web site,http://www.polsci.ucsb.edu/ (December 13, 2004), "Aaron Belkin."*