What does any faculty member REALLY want for the holidays? It’s not a Lexus, it’s not jewelry, it’s a brand new revise-and-resubmit (R&R) manuscript. It’s really all that is on my list every year. That and, of course, world peace.
How can one get an R&R manuscript? So far, I think R&R decisions are the result of the following four conditions:
As has been widely reported in the Western media, on Friday, China’s state media finally officially announced two changes in human rights policies: (a) an end of the “Laojiao” policy of “re-education through labor” and (b) a change in the one-child policy in China, allowing two children per family if at least one of the parents was a single child (before both parents had to be only children). Other, somewhat underreported, changes coming from the same official media report about the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China included a reduction of crimes punishable by death and efforts “to ban extorting confessions through torture and physical abuse.” Also in the news last week concerning Chinese human rights: China will have a seat on the UN Human Rights Council in the New Year.
What do these changes mean for the human rights situation in China? Are they a sign of things to come or are these changes just “window dressing,” meant to divert attention away from the very pressing human rights problems within the state? Many experts have highlighted that it is the latter: for example, Steve Tsang, although saying that the steps are an “important step forward,” said that it would be “naive to think this effort will seriously address the human rights problems in China.” The famously negative NGO UN Watch also indicated that it was a “black day for human rights” when China and other human rights offenders were elected to the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday.
Tomorrow, my great friend and coauthor Dursun Peksen and I will collect our $200 for winning the best paper award at the annual meeting of ISA-Midwest in St. Louis. The paper, which I’ve talked about a little bit before at the Duck, is actually forthcoming now at the Journal of Politics. Dursun has won quite a few prizes before but this is my first time winning any sort of best paper award. The award information says the prize is supposed to be in cash. I’m hoping it is because this will probably be the first time I’ve had access to cash with my name on it since I was a kid. I’m unsure what to do with my take of the winnings but I know the money has to be spent while I’m at the conference – otherwise, I’m sure I’ll rethink my plan of action and want to do something sensible with it. Here are my ideas:
My first semester teaching as a PhD'd professor was tough - I was constantly struggling to stay on top of my research responsibilities and my family responsibilities. Add in teaching 2 new preps - something had to give! Well, I thought I found a solution - the textbook I was using for Intro to IR had already-made Powerpoint presentations! All I needed to do was change the name and date on the slides and - Voilà! - teaching duties done! Unfortunately, every time I tried that, I ended up looking exactly like this guy:
I had a boy break up with me once by saying “we’re not breaking up, we’re taking a break.” I guess the boy assumed that “taking a break” would be easier for me to accept than “breaking up.” He was right: it took me a while to actually figure out that “taking a break” was really synonymous with “breaking up.” For my teenage-girl angst, “taking a break” just sounded better. For the boy, “taking a break” was probably the safer option.
In both advocacy and research concerning of how people are treated by governmental and non-governmental actors, I think the same type of linguistic gymnastics occurs between the terms “human rights” and “human security.” However, I think the strategic use of the terms could have ramifications for both our research and advocacy.
As I’m sure all astute Duck readers are aware, today marks a critical day in the US House and Senate – if no deal is struck today on a spending bill, the US government will shut down at one minute after midnight on Tuesday morning. The issue at the heart of the controversy: a series of amendments to the spending bill that concern the Affordable Care Act (so-called “Obamacare”). In general, House Republicans are in favor of the amendments; Senate Democrats are against the amendments. So, both sides are holding firm to their stance on the amendments in hopes that the other side caves in before tomorrow. What are the likely outcomes of this situation?
As I post this today, senior faculty in my department are voting on my tenure case. I don’t really know how to describe what I’m feeling at the moment. It’s a combination of zen-like calm that I’m finally at this juncture in my career and a feeling of total and utter panic at the small-but-ever-present chance that things could go wrong. The odd thing: it’s not that I’m oscillating between these two states -I feel both at the same time. In a very real way, I’m Schrödinger’s cat: although I can’t be both tenured and denied at this university - at this very moment - I’m both.
I haven't worked a "real job" since being an undergrad. However, I often get asked by undergrads for advice about preparations for real world policy jobs. I recently asked my former PhD student, Kate Kidder, a research associate at the Center for a New American Security, to provide some advice for an undergrad wanting to get into the policy world. Kate's response was awesome. So awesome, in fact, that I asked her to share it with the Duck community:
Having all read the canonical signaling literature within International Relations, new faculty members in IR are faced with a crucial and excruciating dilemma: how best to decorate their academic office. The following blog post examines this dilemma in detail and is intended to create an inter-university dialogue and research agenda on the issue.
In my grad class every semester, I always ask the students if IR is really the best field for studying human security. Undoubtedly, I get some students who respond that political science is the best discipline and IR is the best field – or even the only field – to really study human security. However, I usually also get a large minority of the students who acknowledge off the bat that most of the phenomena we study could be similarly examined in other social sciences or -gasp!- could even be looked at by people in the humanities.
It’s almost APSA time and it seems all my friends are busy planning really wonderful sporting engagements for times they aren’t in panels. This always puts me in a bind – I thought we became academics because we were bad at sports! I can’t throw a Frisbee and soccer requires too much coordination. So, I’ve compiled a list of the fun and somewhat aerobic things I plan to do at APSA, none of which require much coordination but all of which provide some thrill if carried out correctly:
Yesterday, four Neo-Nazis were finally sentenced for their roles in a series of brutal killings of Roma families in Hungary in 2008 and 2009. Although the convictions have been applauded as a human rights victory, advocates are still demanding that Hungary steps up to the plate and protects the rights of Roma, a historically at-risk minority. The killings were not isolated events against Roma in Hungary; other discriminatory actions have been occurring, without punitive consequences, for quite some time.
Why are Roma still discriminated against in Hungary? Hungary is an EU state. The state’s overall level of human rights practices is not altogether that bad but the level of on-the-ground discrimination against this minority group is appalling. Unfortunately, the discrimination in Hungary against the Roma is not unusual. What, if anything, can be done to lessen discrimination against the Roma and other minority groups?
Recently, I finished teaching a month long summer course on International Relations to mainly first and second year undergrads at the University of Missouri. Although I’ve taught summer courses before, this was actually one of my first experiences with having to –for the love of all things holy! – do what my public school teaching spouse does and ACTIVELY TEACH IN A CLASSROOM WITH THE SAME STUDENTS EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK.
Robert’s review of The American Culture of War yesterday was both extremely funny and informative. It also mentioned a problem I’ve seen in a lot of the civil-military relations literature: too much over-identification with a political leaning or ideology. This area of scholarship reminds me sometimes of Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men” – if I’m walking around the annual conference of the Inter-University Seminar at Armed Forces and Society without a uniform on, I’m immediately put in a category by some scholars. That’s unfortunate – understanding the determinants of civil-military relations and its influence on international relations is a really important area of research. Thankfully, not all scholarship in this area is that way. In the interest of providing an example of research that could serve as a counterpoint to the work outlined in Robert’s review, let me highlight some additional scholarship that my former colleague/advisor/buddy, Dale Herspring and I have done on the subject.
I keep seeing this article pop around websites this morning: "Rule No. 1 for Female Academics: Don’t Have a Baby."
The Center for a New American Security released a report yesterday entitled “The Seven Deadly Sins of Defense Spending.” In it, they lay out some very basic (but very fundamental) ways that the DoD can cut costs but “preserve a strong and highly capable U.S. military.” Many of the suggested cuts seem like something you would see Dunder Mifflin being advised to do: reduce redundancy in IT management, cut pay allowances, increase pharmaceutical cost sharing, etc.
Hopefully, another semester has come to a close for you and you’re catching up on some much needed research/sleep. After I’ve doled out grades for my students, I usually get a nice big stack of evaluations of my teaching abilities, filled out by those very same students who squeaked by with a “C-“in my class. At my previous university, it was the ONLY way my teaching was evaluated; for better or worse, no senior faculty or peers ever evaluated my teaching content, style, or skills in the classroom. A whopping 40% of my annual evaluation came from what my students recorded on bubble-sheets and, occasionally, their written comments.
In between making organic cupcakes for my daughters’ school, completing a grant application, tending my organic vegetables, and finishing an R&R for a journal, I came across this little gem of a working paper (thanks to Freakonomics Blog). This new research shows the following:
"Couples where the wife earns more than the husband are less satisfied with their marriage and are more likely to divorce. Finally, based on time use surveys, the gender gap in non-market work is larger if the wife earns more than the husband" (abstract).