In the Monkey Cage’s recent symposium on gender and political science, David Lake writes how important it is that our scholarly networks become less gendered, how male scholars must make an effort to mentor women in the field. In my view, the importance of mentorship cannot be understated. Without the support of several scholars in security studies, not all but many of them men, I may have indeed decided that this field was not for someone like me.
In my first year of graduate school, I was beginning to see myself as more of an “IR theory” than a “security studies” student (yes, whatever that means). But in May of 1997, our department administrator called me into her office to talk teaching assistant assignments. “We’d like you to be a T.A. for Warner Schilling’s class,” she said. I was thrilled, but terrified. The course was “Weapons, Strategy, and War,” and if there was one thing I was absolutely certain about, it was that I did not know enough about weapons, or strategy, or war to be teaching anyone anything about those topics. And, having taken this course with Schilling, I knew that this was not for the faint of heart. I would have to guide undergraduates through the basics of shot and pike, of column and line, of counterforce and McNamara curves. I very simply was not qualified.