This is a guest post from Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham, an associate professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland. She is the author of Inside the Politics of Self-determination (Oxford University Press, 2014).
I was recently at a relatively small academic conference, one that I’ve been attending for years whenever I can. The size of the meeting encourages engagement between big names and small names, grad students and professors, and across genders. It is a classic academic mixer, filled with slightly awkward people, many of whom are slightly disheveled, talking about things that are really interesting in really boring ways (to outsiders).
I started attending as a grad student and have made a number of critical personal and professional connections. In addition to getting useful feedback on my own work, this venue is a great opportunity to reconnect with people in my field and get to know some new ones. While I began as a young grad student, I am now at place where I am a (newly) senior member in the field.
After the final session one day, while people trickled out of the room, I sat down with a colleague I hadn’t seen for years. I was just hearing about a fascinating research project he’s working on when another person (another senior man in the field, though I’m not sure that matters) walked up and sat down, smiled at me but did not introduce himself and started a totally independent conversation with my colleague. I got up a few minutes later to make another meeting, but this small event stayed with me.
The boon and bane of our academic enterprise is that we get feedback all the time on our work. Our work is better for it--that the hack-iest stuff I read is always stuff that is not submitted to any kind of refereeing process and relies instead on editors who seem to be blind to the hack-ness. The bane is that, well, rejection and criticism can not only delay publication but also hurt feelings. When well done, reviews further the enterprise. However, sometimes, reviews seem to make the authors dance in relatively unproductive ways. There have been lots of tweets and posts complaining about robustness checks--that reviewers have been asking authors to submit dozens (sometimes hundreds) of additional analyses.
My grievance du jour is something else--reviews that focus on stuff that one "should have cited."
I am not a fan of Scottish independence, so I thought we should get equal time from the Yes/Aye side:
I have been lax in my Friday Nerd Blogging duties lately. Partly because I have been so obsessed with NATO and its summit. Now that the communiques are launched, it is time to relax and embrace that fave NATO song:
I was going to post about my talk in Toronto on NATO , but now I have a slightly different NATO post to write: a response to this piece by Anne Applebaum proposing that Obama magically fix NATO. Given that the title of my talk was “The Present and Future of NATO: More of the Same,” it is inevitable that I would be a skeptic of Applebaum's piece.
I got into an extended twitter discussion about the 1992 LA riots. Why? Because that event helped to inform much of my thinking about ethnic conflict and because I see in Ferguson some key similarities despite the on-going events being about police aout of control rather than riots. How so?
A depressing series of news days lately. What can make us feel good? Jon Stewart? Stephen Colbert? Star Wars? How about all three?
What epitomizes American summer more than baseball? Star Wars! Well, Star Wars + baseball:
Silly sci-fi covered in patriotism sauce? There can be only one speech we can post here:
Too good and with the finale coming up, we need to double dip:
With the finale of this season of Game of Thrones upon us, I thought this take on the theme might be a suitable Friday Nerd entry.
With the fall of Mosul to the jihadists of Syria and Iraq, there is much blame-casting to be had. Some are blaming Obama for not keeping a residual force in Iraq although it is not clear that a small US force would have kept the Iraqi military from breaking.
This always, always frustrates me because it ignores what the US faced in 2009--the accumulation of dynamics produced by the bad decisions of the past. In this case, if people remember, there were many stories where Iraqi elites said two things: yes, we want the U.S. to stay, but no, we cannot say that in public. Why?
Obviously, too soon to tell. But with the new Obama announcement setting an enddate-ish, my nominee might just be:
I was a fan of X-Men long before I was a fan of Poli Sci. So, I am eagerly awaiting the chance to see Days of Future Past, which may or may not do kind things to one of the very best X-tales. +
Brian Cranston and Godzilla apparently did not get along that well:
One of the constant refrains one will hear in civil-military relations is that there is a gap between the civilians and the military--a deep, wide gap in values, perceptions and so on. Well, here is some proof (not great video) that the gap is over-rated:
This summer may be the most Marvelous yet with Captain America 2, Spider-Man 2, X-Men Days of Future Past (otherwise X-Men First Class 2) and Guardians of the Galaxy. Sure, not all are by Marvel Studios but all are based on Marvel Characters.
The stability-instability paradox is a concept from nuclear deterrence land: that if two sides both have nuclear weapons that can survive a first strike, it might just create deterrence at the strategic level AND free up both sides to engage in violence at lower levels. Sounds just like an air-headed theory that would never happen in reality because, you know, NUKES!*
* To be clear, I have not studied deterrence theory closely since grad school, so I may not have this entirely right, but I am pretty sure I have the basics.
I stopped collecting Spider-man long ago when it got all clone-tastic. I tend to hate TV/movies/comic books that use clones in their plots. However, there is one exception