This is a guest post from Matt Evans (firstname.lastname@example.org), who is Associate Professor of Political Science at Northwest Arkansas Community College. His words represent his own opinions as an individual, and not (necessarily) his employer. This is the fifth in the series on changing the field. #IRChange [i]
The answer for change is simple:
Political Scientists should consider how our ideas, practices, and institutions (dis)able our students financially; and then address these problems through our politics without retreat.
At my first in-person teaching job, the
department chair chose the books (before I was hired for the job). When I
taught the first class, I told students to return the books and get refunds
from the bookstore. Anything students needed, they would get as PDFs in the
course shell. Other jobs have compelled me (through various institutional
constraints) to use and keep the same for-profit textbook as the other
full-time teacher of the course.
In these classes, students frequently tell me
that they cannot buy the textbook immediately (because they are waiting on a
paycheck or more financial aid disbursement) and ask for an extension on the
first assignment. At other times, students drop the course (and sometimes tell
me about it after the fact). To be fair, whether I control the textbook choice
or not, students find themselves in a series of difficult economic situations –
that the book is one ingredient in their retention, advancement, and
intellectual growth – and I help them find resources to help them eat, not be
evicted from their home, or to prevent homeless (because critical theory
compels me so).
This is a guest post from James Guild who is a PhD candidate in political economy at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. His research interest is economic growth and infrastructure development in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, and his work has appeared in The Diplomat, Jakarta Post and New Mandala. Follow him on Twitter @jamesjguild
This is the fourth in the series on changing the field. #IRChange
The dominance of rational-positivist approaches to modern social science, particularly in the United States, has tended to privilege research designs featuring deductive hypotheses that can be rigorously tested, typically with large-n datasets. This means the role of culture, society and history is often situated lower on the methodological hierarchy. I think many would agree that culture and socially constructed meaning are important variables in understanding political and economic outcomes; but there is little consensus on how to define or measure them, which makes them tricky analytical concepts.
This is a guest post from Andrew A. Szarejko who is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Government at Georgetown University, where his research focuses on the origins of U.S. wars with Native nations. You may reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @Szarejko.
This is the third in our series on changing the field. Parts 1 and 2 are linked here. More submissions welcome! #IRChange
Many scholars of International Relations (IR), especially in the past couple decades, have sought to study and teach about a more diverse set of political actors to counter-act the biases of a relatively homogeneous professoriate. In a word, this has been described as an effort to decolonize IR. As was noted in a 2016 symposium in Perspectives on Politics, however, political scientists still all too frequently ignore indigenous groups—including Native nations in the United States, on which I will tend to focus here (for a note on terminology, see the Native American Journalists Association’s reporting guidelines).
This neglect has been especially evident in International Relations. In this post, I will make the case that IR as a subfield currently lags behind other subfields in examining indigenous experiences and that IR scholars ought to be doing more of this, and I will describe how one might bring such actors into research and teaching alike.
We’re re-upping this guest post as part of our series on changing the field. #IRChange. This is the second post (the first is here).
This is a guest post from several authors including:
- Jessica F. Green, Associate Professor, Political Science, University of Toronto (@greenprofgreen)
- David Konisky, Professor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University (@DavidKonisky)
- Megan Mullin, Associate Professor, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University (@mullinmeg)
- Stacy D. VanDeveer, Professor, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance, University of Massaschusetts, Boston (@StacyDVanDeveer)
- Johannes Urpelainen, Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (@jurpelai)
Climate change is arguably the
most urgent problem facing
humankind. It is not a single policy problem, but rather pervades all aspects
of state and society – affecting everything from geopolitics to local planning.
Yet, one is hard pressed to reach this conclusion given the current landscape
of political science.
Excellent work appears occasionally in
premier journals on the variety of political questions that climate change
raises. But given the centrality of
politics in contributing and responding to the climate change problem, there is
not enough of this work and — critically — much of it occurs outside the central discourses and journals
of our discipline. Some political scientists are instead engaging climate
change debates in policymaking, assessment and public venues. For example, Science and Nature seem to value contributions by political scientists. But
what of our discipline? How is it responding to climate change?
The following is a guest post by Leah C. Windsor and Kerry F. Crawford. Windsor is a Research Assistant Professor in the Institute for Intelligent Systems at The University of Memphis. Crawford is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at James Madison University. To take their survey, visit: https://tinyurl.com/drparentsurvey
This is the first in the series on changing the field of international relations. #IRChange
Academic families – especially dual-career spouses – with young children are struggling in more specific and remediable ways than we thought when we first launched our “Bias in Family Formation in Academia” survey last year. As parents of young children ourselves, we have a front row seat to competing demands of the early career and early childhood years.
We vastly underestimated the pervasiveness and ubiquity of obstacles, and the repetitive nature of the stories other academic parents wrote. We kept encountering the same problems: departmental and institutional refusal to accommodate legally-mandated family leave requests; hostile and toxic work environments for parents, especially mothers; and the unobservable emotional and physical toll of becoming parents, like fertility challenges, tough pregnancies and post-partum phases, and complicated adoptions.
The survey is part of a larger book project that recounts personal narratives of parents – mostly mothers – in their full-time roles as doctor and mom. Much has been written on the “leaky pipeline” whereby women exit the profession at higher rates than men, and on the “work-life balance” with competing suggestions of leaning in, tenure time-outs, and the (in)ability of women to “have it all.” We think of the pipeline as more of a “chutes and ladders” board game, where benefits of mentorship and supportive institutions can improve gender parity in the profession, elevating parents up the tenure-track ladder.
While there is good
reason to believe that overall the situation is improving, what we find is that
too many of the solutions focus on individual-level fixes, rather than
addressing the systemic origins of the problems. Policies about family
formation should be ubiquitously, transparently, and equitably communicated to
faculty, and FMLA provisions should be considered the bare minimum in order to
achieve a culture change of supporting academic families.
The following are themes and lessons – generally about U.S.-based institutions – we have identified through the 100-question survey of academic parents:
We are going to begin calls for contributions to thematic series. The Monkey Cage for example had a terrific series on the gender gap in political science.
The first in our call for contributions is for guest posts on how the discipline–broadly understood as international relations–should change. We will be using the hashtag #IRchange. This can be in terms of publishing, teaching, research, methods, whatever changes you think are needed. We have run a number of posts on the need for more environmental and climate change research, including this recent multi-author post on how the wider field could explore important questions related to climate change.
How should international relations research be conducted, taught, researched? What are the important and understudied areas or questions? Are there methods that the field isn’t deploying or not nearly enough? Whose work merits more attention? How should syllabi change? How should we think about hiring? What is our relevance to practice and wider world? What kinds of work should count towards tenure? Lots of these kinds of questions and more.
We are certain many of you have outstanding ideas. Send me or any of the permanent contributors a pitch or post. We are looking in the 800-1500 word range. Hyperlink your sources. If you haven’t written a blog post before, take a look at a few just to get a handle on the format.
We look forward to hearing from you!