This is a guest post by Professor Cynthia Weber, Department of International Relations at the University of Sussex
- am currently a MA student looking to move into a PhD program in the next 2 years. I am interested in studying queer IR and was wondering if you can recommend some good programs. I’m more interested in systemic theorizing than individual level (1st image) type of stuff. Thanks.
A Google search for Political Science Rumors describes the site as ‘The forum for Political Scientists to discuss Political Science and rumors in the profession’. Others describe it more harshly: ‘Caffeinated’ describes it as ‘that nest of vipers’ that should not be listened to by anyone ‘unless you are a therapist and then please do!’. The site seems to be directed at ABDs, recent PhDs, and others just starting out in the field who are looking for information about educational programs, conferencing, publishing, and landing a job. But, as Caffeinated points out, it can have a nasty edge to it, which is something an MA student like Michaela would not necessarily know.
Michaela’s post generated four types of responses. One was to query what Queer IR is. A second was to answer her question with concrete suggests for where to study. A third was to warn her that studying Queer IR would never get her a job. A fourth was to be gleefully homophobic in ridiculing queers, Queer IR and specific pieces of Queer IR scholarship as well as OPs (Oppressed Peoples) and ‘our current crop of gender/ethnic/sexual “studies” departments’ that OPs apparently work in and support. A large number of posts – which I will not repeat here – were in this fourth category of responses. The website – which posts comments anonymously and refers to posters through randomly-generated pseudonyms – allows readers to vote ‘Yea’ in favor of posted comments or ‘Nay’ against posted comments. Leaving out comments that were ambiguous, this is how the votes tallied as of April 5, 2014:
- Openly Hostile and/or Overtly Homophobic posts: Yea – 210 Ney – 18
- Supportive/Constructive posts that answered Michaela’s question: Yea – 41 Ney – 3
- Fight-back posts against the Hostility and/or Homophobia: Yea – 9 Ney – 16
- Michaela’s original post asking where to study Queer IR was also voted on: Yea – 4; Ney – 8.
A colleague brought this feed to my attention because the Queer IR scholarship attacked in the feed was authored by me. After nearly three decades of doing poststructuralist, feminist and queer scholarship, such attacks are old news. What is deeply troubling to me about this feed is not what these attacks mean for me personally or for my scholarship but what the gleefully hostile and/or homophobic posts and their endorsements by the site’s community of readers do in and to (those in) the discipline of IR. Among the things they do are: Continue reading