Amanda Murdie is Professor & Dean Rusk Scholar of International Relations in the Department of International Affairs in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia. She is the author of Help or Harm: The Human Security Effects of International NGOs (Stanford, 2014). Her main research interests include non-state actors, and human rights and human security.
When not blogging, Amanda enjoys hanging out with her two pre-teen daughters (as long as she can keep them away from their cell phones) and her fabulous significant other.
The following is a guest post by Rachel Harmon, a PhD student in Political Science at Emory University.
Recent events have prompted necessary discussions about mental health in academia, but a topic that remains underdiscussed are the challenges faced by individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As an adult diagnosed with ASD and current PhD student, I have personally experienced how ASD can be a strength or a struggle, conditional on the surrounding environment. ASD is a spectrum and effects each person differently, but for me, being autistic shapes every moment of every day of my life. I’m thankful that ASD has given me the ability to intensely focus on my research interests, making me a dedicated and creative researcher. At the same time, I have struggled to learn and communicate in the same ways that neurotypical students do. It takes enormous energy and mental space to navigate a world designed for the neurotypical, and most faculty are simply not trained on how to respond to or recognize the difficulties.
I have had significant ASD-related challenges in graduate school, but several people and resources have been crucial to my overall success. First, a TA during my first-year methods training took it upon herself to give me hours of additional assistance beyond what was required by her job when she saw how I struggled in the classroom setting. Second, I have developed two close friendships with people in my cohort; they have helped me navigate and interpret social interactions, monitor tone, and have stepped up for me when sensory processing is difficult. Finally, I have access to regular treatment through the Emory Autism Center and worked with a private tutor my first year. These resources are expensive and not covered by insurance. I hope that institutions find ways in the future to offer these types of assistance to all students with special needs.
The following is a guest post by Emily Hencken Ritter, Assistant Professor at the University of California, Merced.
Like so many, my heart and mind aches for the loss Will Moore’s death represents to humanity. He was as much a mentor to me in grad school and my career as if he had been on my dissertation committee. He supported me, critiqued my work, told me to be bold, and showed me I could be myself. Perhaps the most special thing he gave me was an example for generating bigger conversations. I attended conference after conference that he hosted not to present papers in panels but to get people to think outside of boxes and talk to one another. Will taught me about the community of science. His absence is so much greater than my loss.
One way that Will continues to help all the people he touched is by stimulating conversations about mental illness. I want to assist in this effort and be honest, as Will was, so that his scientific community can innovate in mental health as much as peace research.
The following is a guest post by Jana von Stein, Senior Lecturer of Political Science and International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington.
Will Moore’s suicide carries with it a special sorrow that I can’t yet even wrap my head (or heart) around. I met Will when I was on the job market in 2005, but it wasn’t until 2008 that we became close. My comradery with him did not revolve chiefly around academics, although he was a tremendous mentor to me. Instead, it revolved around tragedy.
“Somewhere, my son’s brain is in a jar in a medical researcher’s office,” Will bellowed to a group of us at the 2008 Peace Science conference.
What a strange thing to announce in public, I thought. I needed to know more. I shared with him that I was 5 months pregnant, and that the baby had been diagnosed with very complex heart defects. The neonatologists were optimistic, and I wanted to believe them, but I knew it was possible that my firstborn, like his, would die far too young.
The following is a guest post by Cyanne Loyle, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Indiana University.
With the devastating passing of Will Moore, many of us in Conflict Studies have begun to discuss the impact of our work on our mental health. Talking is important. So is seeking help when needed. But there is more that we can be and should be doing.
In January, I wrote a piece on research-related trauma and conflict studies. Will helped with this article. He thought it was high time that the field and the discipline had a serious discussion of mental illness. In this article, Alicia Simoni and I talk about the risks of research, how to identity trauma in our friends and ourselves, and best practices for our field.
There’s a new article today on Inside Higher Ed that talks about recent research in the journal Research in Higher Education on discrepancies in faculty service loads. Not surprisingly, the article finds that “women faculty perform significantly more service than men.” I think this is known; it’s why a lot of women are counseled to just say “no” whenever possible. As the article states, women are just more likely to “take care of the academic family.” Groan.
What is, perhaps, somewhat surprising are the differences in the types of service that women and men perform. Women are more likely to perform internal service (“participation on campus-wide committees, faculty councils, task forces, projects, etc.”) than men but there is not a similar gendered discrepancy when it comes to service work that relates to professional organizations (ie service on journal boards, program chairs, committees related to professional associations like APSA or ISA, etc) or service at the international level.
Today’s the day! The ISA Online Media Caucus (OMC) Online Achievement in International Studies Awards Reception is TONIGHT. It’s the best party in town with the best people. Food and drink will be tremendous. If you miss it, SAD.
Seriously, 7:30 pm in Holiday 1. Come to see your friends win prizes, watch some AMAZING ignite-style speakers, and hobnob with a whole host of people who use social media to tell the world about their work.
And, if you don’t have plans this afternoon, come to the Online Media Caucus – Live Tweets for (Political) Science panel. We’ll be chatting about the utility of online media for promotion of scholarship and tweeting out about the awesome experience that is ISA. #ISA2017 #TC04
On behalf of the Online Media Caucus of ISA, I’m happy to announce the following shortlist (in no particular order) for this year’s Online Achievement in International Studies Awards (The Duckies):
The following is a guest post by Dani Nedal, PhD Candidate at Georgetown University and Predoctoral Fellow at Yale University.
The surprising political ascent of Donald Trump has prompted two contradictory reactions. One is the impulse to declare Trump, and everything about him, “unprecedented” (nay, unpresidented!). The other is to search through history for the appropriate analogies that help explain his rise to power and prepare us for his presidency. Comparisons have been drawn with Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and distant figures like Caligula. Others reject the fascism angle and compare Trump with American populists Andrew Jackson and George McGovern. History can be useful, but can also be misused and misleading. Finding appropriate analogies and understanding their limitations is important. Trump may retweet Mussolini quotes, adopt Nazi slogans, and heap praise on foreign autocrats, but at the end of the day his closest parallel is Richard Nixon. The similarities are many and deep, from personality traits like illeism (referring to themselves in the third person) and vindictiveness, to racist and xenophobic views, campaign strategies, foreign policy doctrine, willingness to engage in borderline treason to win elections, and more. It’s not a coincidence that Trump has a framed letter from Nixon in the Oval Office.
Dear My Not-So-Fictional Family Members of Facebook,
Greetings. We really haven’t hung out since that family reunion in 1996 but it’s been great to reconnect on Facebook. I love the pictures of your dog and it’s cool to see how much you now look like our grandfather. We have different political beliefs; I think we both know that now. I’ve turned into one of those Birkenstock-wearing liberals who likes science and “wastes my time” marching for rights that you think women already have. Your political beliefs are the polar opposite of that and today you’ve expressed how happy you are that President Trump is going to “give those terrorists what they deserve.”
I take it that you’ve heard that President Trump is poised to reinstate waterboarding, saying that “experts” have told him that torture “absolutely” works. I don’t know who President Trump talked to but I’ve studied this topic quite a bit from my ivory tower; I even worked on this topic for a DoD-funded project. Let me tell you: all the experts I know say torture does not work. Lots of evidence – collected from lots of countries and lots of terrorist groups over a long period of time – says the exact opposite: using torture will actually make our country more vulnerable to terrorists and terrorist attacks. In this era of “alternative” facts, I understand that you might dismiss my facts. However, I hope you’ll at least look at them:
Over the weekend, the Trump Administration had some interesting discussions with and about the press. First, talking at CIA headquarters on Saturday, President Trump remarked that he is in a “war” with reporters, who are the “most dishonest human beings on Earth.” Later that same day, his Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, accused the media of “shameful and wrong” reporting on the unbigly audience sizes at the inauguration. And, in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Trump Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway not only spoke of “alternative facts” about the inauguration’s audience size but also included a pretty blatant threat to journalist Check Todd:
“KELLYANNE CONWAY: Chuck, I mean, if we’re going to keep referring to our press secretary in those types of terms I think that we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here.”
As an American, I want to give our President the benefit of the doubt. However, this treatment of the press is deplorable and worrisome. And, sadly, it doesn’t appear to be new to Trump and the Trump campaign.
The following is a guest post by Jahara W. Matisek. Jahara “FRANKY” Matisek is a Major in the U.S. Air Force, with plenty of combat experience flying the C-17 and an instructor pilot tour in the T-6. He is an AFIT Ph.D. Student in Political Science at Northwestern University, a recent Summer Seminar participant in the Clements Center for National Security, and Coordinator for the War & Society Working Group at the Buffett Institute. Upon completion of his doctoral studies, Major Matisek will be Assistant Professor in the Military & Strategic Studies department at the U.S. Air Force Academy. The opinions espoused in the essay do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense, or U.S. government.
How bad would the Russian cyber-hack have to be in your mind to make you reconsider Trump being allowed to become President on the 20th of January?
I posed this provocative question to 28 individuals that are currently serving in the U.S. military, or had served at some point.
Depending on where you fall along the political spectrum and level of engagement, this question came off as a genuine question to some, and to others, it was perceived as a loaded/slanted question. Thing is, I intentionally asked this, not because I wanted a direct answer to the question, but because I wanted to understand the current sociological state of civil-military relations (CMR) relative to this incredibly divisive political election season. Understanding these answers can provide greater clarity to Peter Feaver’s civil-military problematique, where “the very institution created to protect the polity is given sufficient power to become a threat to the polity.” Indeed, it is right to openly wonder military attitudes concerning civilian control of the military under the pretext of political leadership that might be perceived as illegitimate.
Nonetheless, I was greatly surprised with the incredibly high percentage of responses from such an opening question directed at military personnel – given the contentious election and continued controversy. Even as a mid-level military officer, I was able to start with this type of question, and many opened up immediately – regardless of rank and position – telling me much more than I anticipated, to include about half of the respondents – on their own accord – admitting who they voted for. Continue reading
Grades are in, reviews submitted, and I’m headed out for the holiday season. I hope you are wrapping up the semester and/or enjoying a well-deserved break. Please remember to submit your nominations for the 2017 Duckies before the end of the year.
Thankfully, The Disaster that was 2016 will soon be behind us. I’m sure hoping 2017 will be better! With all the uncertainty of 2017, I am assured of one thing: ISA 2017 is right around the corner and will be AMAZING.
My favorite part of ISA for the last several years is the Online Achievement in International Studies Reception and Awarding of the Duckies! This year, the event will be held on Thursday, February 23rd at 7:30 pm. I’m excited about our Ignite speaker lineup – more information will be released on this soon. The ISA Online Media Caucus (OMC) is very thankful to have the support of Sage in hosting the reception.
Now is the time to submit your nominations for the 2017 Duckies. All nominations can be sent to email@example.com. We’ll be awarding Duckies in the following categories:
Best Blog (Group) in International Studies
Best Blog (Individual) in International Studies
Best Blog Post in International Studies
Best Twitter Account
Special Achievement in International Studies Online Media
As before, these awards are intended for English-language international studies blogs and bloggers whose online output has significant scholarly content. Award nominees or their designated representatives MUST be present at the Duckies.
January 1st, 2017 is the deadline for nominations. The Online Media Caucus and Sage will then judge the nominations and determine finalists for public voting as necessary. Self-nominations are encouraged.
There’s an interesting debate going on over at openGlobalRights. Drawing on their recent Social Problems article, Neve Gordon and Nitza Berkovitch provocatively accuse human rights quantitative scholars of “concealing social wrongs” by using quantitative cross-national data that does not account for the disproportionately high voter disenfranchisement among African Americans. Todd Landman and Chad Clay, two scholars known for their use/production of quantitative human rights data respond to Gordon and Berkovitch, saying that their piece ignores much quantitative human rights scholarship that is not at the cross-national level, fails to understand the coding decisions and methodology behind cross-national human rights data, and misses what we’ve learned from existing studies. It’s a great discussion and one I’m going to make sure my human rights students all read.
I’m going to take a slightly different approach here in responding to Gordon and Berkovitch, two scholars, I should note, that I have learned a lot from. I think this particular piece, however, is completely disingenuous: there is nothing special about qualitative analysis that necessarily implies that a researcher will observe/record/code group differences in the protection of human rights within a country.
The following is a guest post by Nives Dolšak, Professor, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs at the University of Washington, Seattle, and Aseem Prakash, Professor, Department of Political Science and Walker Family Professor for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle.
The Brexit vote has come and gone. After the initial shock, the world seems to have refocused on events elsewhere. Importantly, the British economy is doing fine; the British pound trades more or less at the same level against the US dollar or the Euro, as it did prior to the Brexit vote. Did then the media exaggerate the threat of Brexit to the British economy? While it is difficult to speculate about the long term consequences, at least in the short run, the British economy has not been punished for Brexit.
Perhaps, this should compel us to step back and think about media bias. We typically think of Fox News as offering a biased perspective. But is the liberal media any better? We offer an informal empirical examination of how the prestigious New York Times, portrayed the consequences of the Brexit vote in what we consider to be a biased way. The New York Times reflects and shapes elite opinion. An examination of its coverage can give a sense of the lessons the American elites’ perspective on Brexit, and more broadly, on economic and political integration.
There are many things worth dabbling in: Pokeman Go!, the arts, alternative medicine, old films, astrology, gourmet cuisine….the list could go on and on. I really like when people, including graduate students, tell me they are dabbling in these things or other hobbies. It’s probably going to help both their productivity and their overall happiness.
As much as I like “dabblers” in those types of things, here’s one that I’m really tired of graduate students saying they’re dabbling in:
The Academic Job Market
Every year, I get students that contact me saying that they are planning to “dip their feet in” or “dabble” in the tenure-track academic job market this year. And, every year, I’m left wondering why the heck they would even bother. This blog post is a sort of plea to graduate students: DON’T DABBLE IN THE JOB MARKET.
Grab your popcorn – opening ceremonies for Rio 2016 are tonight! It’s my favorite part of the Olympics; I really could do without the whole “sport” thing that comes after. And, one of my favorite parts of tonight’s opening ceremonies are when the various country teams get to be announced: the parade of nations. I love the outfits, the flags, the background stories, the family members crying, and the look on the faces of all the athletes who are in the midst of a dream realized. It’s too much and, much to my family’s chagrin, I probably will be crying by the end of it.
Until quite recently, I hadn’t really thought about all the interesting international relations topics that are connected to the Olympics. As someone who isn’t athletic and has never really paid attention to any competitive sporting event, the Olympics were just something that took over my regularly scheduled programming. However, I’m now coming to realize that there are a myriad of IR puzzles and possible research questions connected to these sporting mega-events and to the international sporting organizations (ISOs) that run them.
Hi, Ducks! It’s me, Amanda. It’s been a long time. I’ve not blogged in awhile. There were many reasons for the break. First, it was a busy spring: I finished up being the ISA Program Chair, got a new position I am excited about, and continued working on projects that I love.
It’s also been a very sad spring. In fact, it was a pretty sad year at the University of Missouri, where I’ve worked for the past 4 years.
The following is a guest post by Dan Reiter, the Samuel Dobbs Candler Professor of Political Science at Emory University.
Dr. Cullen Hendrix’s recent Duck of Minerva post on citation counts sparked a vibrant discussion about the value of citation counts as measures of scholarly productivity and reputation.
Beyond the question of whether citation count data should be used, we should also ask, how are citation count data being used? We already know that, for better or worse, citation count data are used in many quantitative rankings, such as those produced by Academic Analytics and the National Research Council. Many journal rankings use citation count data.
We should also ask this question: How are departments using citation count data for promotion decisions, a topic of central interest for all scholars?