Call for Proposals: ISA Midwest 2014

by on 2014-04-17- Leave a reply

Dear all,

I'm currently the program chair for ISA Midwest 2014.  The conference will take place from November 7th to 9th at the Hilton Ballpark in St. Louis.  This is a fabulous conference - one I'd really recommend for all scholars but one that is especially inviting for junior scholars.  Here is the call for proposals:

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An Academic Woman’s Rant of the Week: Self-Promotion

by on 2014-04-14- 4 Comments

This week’s installment of An Academic Woman’s Rant of the Week concerns self-promotion and self-citation differences between men and women.

The idea for this installment came to me while I was having a celebratory drink with K. Chad Clay and Jim Piazza at ISA.  We were celebrating our recent Political Research Quarterly article (also coauthored with Sam Bell).[1]  Chad had just presented a new Bell, Clay, Murdie paper[2] at a panel that I wasn’t able to attend.  When I asked Chad if he had any questions from the floor, Chad said that he did get some questions but that he was able to answer them with reference to our forthcoming International Studies Quarterly article (coauthored also with Colin Barry, Sam Bell, and Mike Flynn).[3]

“Doesn’t that make you feel bad?” I said, “It always embarrasses me to have to reference one of my other pieces.”

“No,” Chad replied, “Given all of the recent stuff about the citation gap, I think that's a gendered-thing.”

A gendered-thing?  Really?

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An Academic Woman’s Rant of the Week: Professor vs. Teacher and Dr. vs. Mrs.

by on 2014-04-09- 8 Comments

Like any good protestant preacher, I’ve decided to start a multi-week series where we can examine a topic in depth from multiple angles.[1]  My chosen topic: women in academia.  This is a topic that has been written on extensively in peer-reviewed articles and on the blogosphere (see The Monkey Cage's wonderful discussion for a recent summary).  However, to my knowledge, most of those writing on the topic have been senior: the perspective of a woman “in the trenches” (ie junior) has been somewhat missing in the discussion.  I want to add my two-cents to the discussion and I’ve purposely decided to make the tone of this discussion somewhat light.  Yet, make no mistake, I’m very aware that there are some very nasty, horrible, and life-altering components to this topic.  Maybe one day I’ll talk about those aspects as well.

Anywho –  with an eye towards making the tone somewhat light, I’ve decided to title this series “An Academic Woman’s Rant of the Week” – this is a nod to Jo Dee Messina’s song “A Woman’s Rant,” which I love. My first rant:  academic titles and gendered (mis)perceptions.

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Translating Conference-Speak

by on 2014-04-02- 2 Comments

I’m leaving for the Midwest Political Science Association conference this afternoon, a wonderful 3 days since I returned from ISA.  I’m a little (*cough*) “conferenced-out” – it wasn’t a good idea to do both conferences so close to each other.  I am excited, however, to see all the fabulous IO panels at Midwest.

As I finished up the last of my conference slides this morning, I was reflecting on the “conference-ese” we all use and what our phrases actually mean.  To the untrained participant, the phrase might not get noticed.  For the seasoned conference participant, however, it is obvious what the phrase really means.  Let me translate some of these:

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How ISA is Like a Kansas Family Reunion

by on 2014-03-14- 3 Comments

As Megan noted, ISA is coming up.  I hope to see all of you at the blogging reception on Thursday evening, March 27th.

As I’ve been preparing for the conference these last couple of weeks, I’m also preparing to be “blessed” with an unexpected visit from my grandparents in-laws today.[1] One of the "bonuses" of having them in my life has been their annual family reunion, held on a hot summer’s day outside of a town of 500 in Kansas.  There are many similarities between this event and ISA (or other major academic conferences).  Let me give you a few:

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“A Social Science of Human Rights” – Some New Social Science

by on 2014-03-07- 3 Comments

 This morning, I woke up with a very nice notice about the 50th Anniversary Issue of Journal of Peace Research  in my inbox.  The issue is worth checking out – there’s some good stuff in there.

As a human rights scholar, I was really interested in the “A Social Science of Human Rights” piece by Emilie Hafner-Burton.  While I'm happy to see human rights get a mention in this important issue, I think there is some significant literature that has been missed by Hafner-Burton's review.  I want to bring attention to this not as a “wait, why wasn’t I cited?” but because the piece raises a few questions and makes some claims to which we already have some increasingly solid answers.  Let me bring attention to a few of the statements from the review piece:

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Depression and Academia – Let’s Talk

by on 2014-03-04- 14 Comments

Today, I fly to give a talk at my alma-mater.  As my advisor told me, it’s a victory lap.  It feels good – 5 years post PhD, great job, excitement about the future, and my family still intact.  However, the thought of going back also has me a little anxious: you see, I don’t have good memories about life in grad school.  My university was great, my advisors were fantastic, and my colleagues were super smart.  However, the whole experience was wrought with periods of anxiety, stress, and depression.   In short, my mental health really sucked in grad school.

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The “Baptist-Burqa” Network and LGBT Advocacy

by on 2014-02-28- 4 Comments

It’s been a big and extremely depressing week for the rights of sexual minorities.  Despite some minor victories in Texas and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s veto, anti-gay bills remain on the agenda in many US states.  Things continue to get worse in Uganda and Russia.  What can be done to help stop the abuse?

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Guest Post: Considering the BDS Movement from a Human Rights Perspective

by on 2014-02-11- 15 Comments

The following is a guest post by Joel R. Pruce, a post-doctoral fellow in human rights studies at the University of Dayton. 

The transnational movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel continues to capture headlines and prompt crucial debate on the status of Palestinian claims to national self-determination and individual human rights protection, and the global public’s moral responsibility with respect to the ongoing conflict. Recent episodes, including the academic boycott passed by the American Studies Association and the SodaStream/ScarJo/Oxfam love triangle, signal that BDS is penetrating discourse and influencing decisions of prominent actors. Since sufficient vitriolic ink on this topic has been spilled prior to the current contribution, the approach here is to propose a critique of the BDS movement from a universal human rights perspective, in order to provide a consensus-based reference point with which to orient reasonable debate, while engaging with the movement itself in its own terms.

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“Shame” on you, ISA

by on 2014-01-29- 4 Comments

Dear ISA Governing Council,

Greetings.  You probably don’t know me but I’m a long-time user of your services.  My first real conference experience was at ISA Chicago in 2007.  I practiced my 10 minute presentation for hours in my hotel room and had to borrow $250 from my mom to attend.  I really benefited, however, from the feedback I received from all 7 people in the audience.  I’ve routinely attended ISA conferences in the time since 2007 and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  I’ve reviewed and contributed to ISA journals multiple times and am currently serving the Association as both program chair for the ISA-Midwest section and as an associate editor for International Studies Quarterly.  Up until yesterday, I did complain about your fees from time to time but didn’t really have any problems with the Association. Leaving aside any jokes I could make about poor panel audience, the Association is an asset to all of us in the profession.

Yesterday, however, I was saddened to learn via Facebook that there is currently a proposal to stop editorial team members from contributing to personal or professional blogs. As I understand it, this proposal comes directly from members of the Executive Committee, which are part of your Governing Council. I tried to look for the proposal on the ISA website but can’t seem to find it posted there.

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Shouldn’t we call it the “having-a-husband” penalty?

by on 2014-01-07- Leave a reply

As Jennifer Grose at Slate reported this morning, a paper by Wendy Stock and John Siegfried at the most recent AEA meetings, had some very
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Dear Kansas Board of Regents

by on 2013-12-19- 19 Comments

Dear Kansas Board of Regents,

Greetings.  You probably don’t know me but I’ve been a long-time user of your services.  I started my college career
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Human Rights Week Roundup: New Work by (Somewhat) New Scholars

by on 2013-12-13- Leave a reply

December 10th was UN Human Rights Day, starting off Human Rights Week.  In many regards, 2013 has been a very good year for human rights
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The Holiday Boost: Why You Should Submit a Manuscript before Winter Break

by on 2013-11-26- 1 Comment

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:

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Tactical Concessions or a Kiss Off? Understanding Recent Changes in Chinese Human Rights Policies

by on 2013-11-20- Leave a reply

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.

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The Cash Prize: A Decision Experiment

by on 2013-11-07- 4 Comments

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.[1]  Dursun has won quite a few prizes before but this is my first time winning any sort of best paper award.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]  Here are my ideas:

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Another Great Video – Why You Should NEVER Lecture from the Book’s Slides

by on 2013-10-22- 1 Comment

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:

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Creative Rebranding? Human Rights vs. Human Security

by on 2013-10-16- 5 Comments

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[1] 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.

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Game of Chicken and the US Government Shutdown: What Game Theory Can Tell Us About Likely Outcomes

by on 2013-09-30- 12 Comments

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?

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Schrödinger’s Cat and the Tenure Vote

by on 2013-09-13- 2 Comments

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.

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