academic conferences

Conversation Hijacking: How Not To Insert Yourself into a Conversation by Pushing a Woman Out of It

by on 2014-10-21- 2 Comments

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.

Continue reading

How the Blogosphere Helps Junior Scholars?

by on 2014-01-31- Leave a reply

Dear Readers,

In this post, I would like to focus on the few ways in which the blogosphere and social media more generally help junior
Continue reading

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:

Continue reading

Don’t Stress About Networking

by on 2013-08-23- Leave a reply

Editor's Note:  This is a guest post from Professor Peter M. Haas of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Finding myself on the grey haired side of the academic divide and having experienced both sides of the process, let me reiterate David Lake’s points about networking with senior faculty.  While networking to make friends is a lovely idea, it doesn’t always work at a large professional event, nor with senior people who aren’t necessarily looking for junior friends.  The point at major international conferences, like APSA or ISA, is that networking isn’t really a social activity. It is an instrumental activity aimed at establishing name recognition for later interaction.  As they say, it is what it is.  I have found more specialized workshops and conferences a better place to network and meet, such as the annual Earth Systems Governance conferences.  They are more laid back and welcoming and they have far fewer distractions (fewer colleagues with whom to catch up, fewer publishers, fewer concurrent panels, and generally more time with less to do in more isolated venues).

Senior scholars do value the ideas of, and interactions with, junior scholars.  Indeed the source of change in the discipline comes from new ideas.  So the interaction is healthy and necessary.   Yet, everyone tends to be too busy at the large conferences.  The vast size and overbooking is actually a lamentable thing, and truly counterproductive for facilitating serendipitous contacts.

What you can hope for from networking at ISA or APSA is probably rather limited.
Continue reading

Networking at Conferences: Not Just for Graduate Students and Junior Faculty

by on 2013-08-22- 2 Comments

NetworkingEditor’s Note: This is a guest post by David Lake, who is the Jerri-Ann and Gary E. Jacobs Professor of Social Sciences and Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego.

I want to weigh in on “networking at conferences” debate here on the Duck (and elsewhere), some of which has been lost in subsequent controversy.

I agree with the prior posts by Saideman, Nexon, Sjoberg, and others, available here, that networking is less important than good research, and that networking among peers is far more valuable than networking with senior scholars. The most valuable thing you, as a junior scholar, can do at a conference is cultivate a group of peers who share your intellectual interests, who come from sufficiently different intellectual backgrounds (e.g., graduate programs) that you can learn lots of new things from them, and with whom you are personally comfortable and compatible.

Some of my closest and most trusted colleagues are those I met at the first few APSAs I attended. We started off as competitors for “attention” on panels, and ended up as collaborators, commiserators, sometimes colleagues, and in the end, good personal friends. These are the people who will keep you sane in the profession. They will read and comment on your work, share your professional worries and fears, understand the frustrations of balancing career and family, applaud your successes and, yes, cry with you at your failures (I remember one devastatingly bad presentation at an NBER conference from which I would not have recovered were it not for a couple of these good friends also attending and even more bottles of wine). You can’t plan these relationships, nor randomly roam the halls of the hotel looking for them, but be open to possibilities and take risks: ask a fellow panelist to coffee at the conference, follow up on an interesting discussion, and most important collaborate in organizing a panel on your mutual interests for a future conference.

But let me offer a slightly different perspective on networking from the other posts on this topic. Yes, approaching senior scholars is hard. I have done my share of approaching over the years, and recognize the courage it takes to introduce yourself to someone you know only through their writings. Now, more often than not, I’m the senior scholar– at least by age, if not yet self-image – who is being approached. Having been on both sides of these interactions, I recognize they can often (always?) be awkward. You will sometimes get shot down, as I was on numerous occasions. Not every overture will be reciprocated. But some will -- and truly rewarding interactions and mutually beneficial intellectual relationships can follow.
Continue reading

Social Media Before Conference Networking

by on 2013-08-21- 1 Comment

This is a guest post by Brent Sasley. Sasley is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Texas at Arlington. He blogs at Mideast Matrix and Open Zion. Follow him on Twitter.

The political science/IR blogosphere has been engaged in an interesting discussion in recent days: whether and how junior scholars should network at academic conferences (just follow the links from this piece to get them all or scroll down through Duck of Minerva’s main page).

My own two cents is that it depends on the conference, on the specific sub-field, and on the individual academic. Some conferences—like APSA and ISA—are so big that giants in the field are always going to know they’re in demand, especially if they’ve been established for awhile. They will choose according to their own criteria whether and how to respond to people clamoring for their interest, and that doesn’t bode well for most of us.

Some sub-fields, though, are small enough that you can contact the big names and you’ll likely get a positive response and—even more importantly—genuine interest in meeting. The same goes for smaller conferences: The Association for Israel Studies is really small compared to APSA and ISA, and there is a much more intimate feel to its annual conventions. You can pretty much go up to anybody there and expect some engagement—although like at the bigger ones, you can (I know from experience) still get scholars who treat you like you’re a first-year undergrad excited simply to be in the same room as them, regardless of your own standing. Ego isn’t field-specific.

And, of course, some people are simply better at networking in person than others. Some people are more outgoing, charismatic, and insistent. Others, not so much.
Continue reading

In Defense of Networking

by on 2013-08-18- 4 Comments

There's been a lot of discussion, here (1)(2) and elsewhere (3)(4) about the value of networking. Dan Drezner suggests that the best kind of networking is doing good research, and that there is a small professional benefit to networking, but not much. Eric Voten agrees, suggesting that networking is not going to lead to significant professional opportunities. Dan Nexon suggests that one not network at all, but talk to and meet people as an end in itself. While there are a lot of gems of advice in all of these posts (do good research, be professional, have fun, don't chase around "big names" all star-struck), I think that the punchline of these posts (individually and collectively) misses the mark pretty significantly in a couple of ways. One way, as Will Moore points out, is that both the need to network and the act of networking is very different for (even junior) people positioned differently in the field on a number of axes, including graduate school, mentors, race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual identity, sexual preference, social skills, and competitiveness, to name a few. The need to network, the value of networking, the performance of networking, the reception of attempts to network, and the success of networking all differ across these and other axes. That is crucially important, and something where we should recognize the positions of privilege that we have ...
Continue reading

Academic Conferences: From “Networking” to Forming and Nurturing Social Ties

by on 2013-08-17- 7 Comments

I don't care much for APSA. Indeed, this year I am continuing my recent tradition of skipping it entirely. But it always occasions discussion in the political-science blogsphere. This year the focus of that discussion, at least as it pertains to conferencing as an activity, appears to be on "networking."

Steve recently echoed the substantive part of Brian's post in recommending a focus on meeting younger scholars rather than pursuing brief meetings with "big names" in the field. He also suggests a variety of social and professional events as good venues to meet people. Dan Drezner advises PhD students and untenured faculty not to get stressed about networking, and also provides some similar advice:

I would recommend that younger scholars realize the following when it comes to networking at APSA:

1)  The best kind of networking is always -- always -- to research, write and present really good papers.  Really.

2)  There is a small arbitrage opportunity to be had with the kind of networking that Rathbun is discussing.  You can try to make the Milners and the Keohanes and the Lakes of the world remember you.  That's a very crowded market, however, and they are bombarded with people trying to Get to Know Them.  Instead, connect with the people who seem to be writing/presenting the work that you find to be the most interesting.  That's how you'll improve your own ideas -- and then see (1) above.

3)  You don't have to network at all.  It likely helps your professional development a little bit on the margins, but not nearly as much as you would think.  The opportunity costs are small compared to researching and publishing good work.  Pour your manic energy into the latter far more than the former, and don't fret that you're missing all the cool parties if you don't feel like schmoozing.

Erik Voeten agrees with Dan:

I think this is both right and potentially useful for mental sanity. Small talk at conferences is not going to get your article accepted in that prestigious journal nor will it land you a job at that university you always wanted to be at. It is important to get to know the people in your field but that is a gradual process much of which takes place after people start inviting you because they like your work. Stay focused on meeting people with whom you share intellectual interests and don’t be too worried if some other grad student manages to line up coffees with all the “big people.” If you have to spend time in lobbies at all, consider playing bingo rather then seeking opportunities to have small talk with “VIPs.”

This is all good advice. But I have a slightly different spin: don't "network" at all.
Continue reading

Networking is Hard-Working

by on 2013-08-15- 11 Comments

The question of networking tends to arise as conferences approach.  With APSA less than two weeks away (which means discussants are going to be getting papers any day now--ok, in about a week if they are lucky), I thought I would post some thoughts about networking.  There was a post earlier today that did address such stuff, but, well, stuff happened.  A key point was lost in the course of events--that networking sideways and down is far easier and perhaps far more fruitful than trying to connect with the big names in the discipline.

Continue reading

Belated Conference Proposal Advice

by on 2013-05-31- 2 Comments

A twitter friend of mine was trying to figure out how to put together his proposal for the International Studies Association's Annual Meeting.  The ISA has gotten into a nasty habit of having a really early deadline.  So, folks are thinking about it today since the deadline is tomorrow.  I have had a fair amount of experience on the other end, organizing the program for the Foreign Policy section of the APSA about a decade ago, doing the Ethnicity, Nationalism and Migration section of the ISA [ENMISA] a few years back, and then this masochism year of the Foreign Policy Analysis section of the ISA this past spring and the International Security section (with Idean Salehyan) of the APSA for the meeting in September.  So, I have opinions (no surprise to anyone):

Continue reading

Call for Abstracts: Millennium Conference, 19-20 October, 2013

by on 2013-05-30- Leave a reply

Civilization-Gods-and-Kinfs-ss1Millennium. Journal of International Studies
Annual Conference
"Rethinking the Standard(s) of Civilisation(s) in International Relations"
19-20 October 2013
London School of Economics and Political Science
Deadline for abstracts: 7 June, 2013

The theme of this year's conference will focus on the standard(s) of civilisation(s) in International Relations. In recent years, there has been a renewed scholarly interest in the concept of 'the standard of civilisation' in examining international norms, practices and policies entrenched in world politics, including international law, human rights, the status of women, good governance and globalisation, global markets, the EU policy of 'membership conditionality', and state-building. These are only some of the key aspects of international relations that illustrate the crucial relationship between civilisation and standards of conduct in global politics.
Continue reading

Call for Papers: 2013 International Studies Association-Northeast Annual Conference

by on 2013-05-24- 2 Comments

When: 8-9 November 2013
Where: at the Providence Biltmore, Providence, RI, USA
Submissions accepted 5 - 28 June 2013

The annual conference of the International Studies Association-Northeast (ISA-NE) will be held 8-9 November 2013 at the Providence Biltmore in Providence, Rhode Island. ISA-NE invites paper and panel proposals on any subject related to international studies, broadly defined. Topics might include international relations theory, international law and organizations, foreign policy, globalization, human rights, international development, conflict resolution, military/strategic studies, the environment, feminist and queer theory, gender studies, international political economy, and international political sociology, among others. ISA-NE expressly welcomes research from the full range of approaches to and philosophies of IR, including those using critical and postmodernist lenses.

We also encourage paper, panel, and roundtable proposals on subjects related to this year’s conference theme, Rethinking International Relations as International Hierarchies. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, theories of hierarchy, whether hierarchy/ies provides a more useful starting point for understanding global politics than the traditional anarchy problematique, and empirical analyses of international hierarchies. We especially encourage proposals from varied disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. We seek to showcase the work of advanced graduate students and junior as well as senior scholars, and we welcome innovative ideas about the format, structure, and content of conference sessions.

Continue reading

The worst questions to be asked at a conference

by on 2013-04-03- 5 Comments

The following is a guest post by Peter Henne.

--

Once again, the International Studies Association annual meeting is upon us, followed by the Midwest
Continue reading

ISA Survival Guide for Grad Students: the essential clothing, food, shelter, and networking dos and don’ts

by on 2013-03-24- 16 Comments

blog1It is time again for the International Studies Association Annual Conference. With thousands of attendees, a phone book full of panels, and a slough of receptions, dinners, meetings, and opportunities, the whole thing can be a bit overwhelming as a grad student (and for everyone else too!). You've likely received advice on how to present your work in 10 seconds or less- but what about the rest of the conference? Here are a couple of key tips for surviving the four days and getting the most out of the experience.
Before we get to the real essentials (food, shelter, and clothing), let's start with networking:
In addition to all the obvious tips (always wear your name tag, ask your supervisor to invite you along to some key dinners/meetings, hang out in the common areas and just generally act like you are speed dating, but for a job and contacts rather than for a mate) here are some more unconventional tips for making an impression:

  • Do get up and head down to the lobby if you have jet lag and can't sleep at 4am. There is always the potential that you'll be invited to join a tequila tasting/debate on the norm diffusion/poker game, or that you'll see your academic idol passed out in the lobby- who wants to miss that for reruns of 'What Not To Wear' in the hotel room?
  • Do Google image all of your academic idols. If you end up behind Ole Waever in the Starbucks lineup you don't want to miss the chance to (quickly) introduce yourself and tell him you use his work in your thesis. Also, if Ole comes to your panel, and you don't recognize him, and he asks a difficult question about securitization (hey, it is possible!) you don't want to a) accuse him he doesn't know what he's talking about b) go into detail about what an idiot you think Ole Waever is c) ask him if he's related to Kevin Bacon because there is something familiar about him. On that note, Don't (ever) use the coffee lineup, receptions, or the bar as an opportunity to ask someone like Ole to explain what they mean by social security or to tell them what aspects of their theory you think they got wrong. You may be right, and you may be brilliant, but there is a fine line between making an impression and burning a bridge/looking like a total douche.
  • Don't follow the advice "ask a question at every panel, but start by talking about your research first." People who tell you to do this want you to fail. Yes, you should ask questions if and only if you have a strong, relevant question- let's be honest, that won't be at every panel. And, yes you should always introduce yourself first. But no one wants the Q&A time hijacked by someone pitching their own research- save that for the bar or receptions.

Ok, on to the other essentials:
Continue reading

Call for papers: European Consortium on Political Research, Sept 4-7

by on 2013-01-29- Leave a reply

In case folks have missed it, there is an upcoming deadline (FRIDAY!) for the 2013 ECPR General Conference in Bordeaux, September 4-7th.  Unlike many other conferences, EPCR paper proposals are submitted to already-organized panels. This often results in more cohesive panels and, one hopes, more helpful feedback.  Paper proposals are due this coming Friday and can be submitted through the various organized sections listed here.  ... And the conference is in Bordeaux, which is lovely and features nifty, futuristic trams built by Alain Juppé (pre-scandal).

For those of you who work on political violence, I've posted that section's call below. For those working on intra-state violence, please take a look at the abstract for my own panel, "New Methodological Approaches to Local Context & Violence."

Continue reading

Note for ISA-NE Participants

by on 2012-10-27- 3 Comments

The ISA-NE leadership is monitoring the weather situation. We hope that everything is cleared out in time for the conference. We will keep you all posted as to developments.

Continue reading

Announcing the 2013 Blogging Reception and Awards at ISA

by on 2012-10-22- 21 Comments

The staff of the Duck of Minerva is very pleased to announce: (1) the first-ever blogging reception at the International Studies Association (ISA) annual convention; and (2) the Online Achievement in International Studies (OAIS) Awards.

Thanks to the generous support of SAGE and the efforts of SAGE editor David Mainwaring, we will be hosting a reception at the 2013 International Studies Association Annual Convention in San Francisco. Details to follow in updates, but the reception is scheduled for the night of Thursday, April 4th.  A number of prominent bloggers will give brief Ignite-style presentations—verbal versions of blog posts, if you will. The current schedule includes Dan Drezner, Erica Chenoweth, Robert Farley, and Steve Walt.

At the 2013 reception we will announce the winners of the first-ever Online Achievements in International Studies Awards.  For 2013 there will be five awards:

  • Special Achievement in International-Studies Blogging;
  • Best Blog (Group) in International Studies;
  • Best Blog (Individual) in International Studies;
  • Best Blog Post in International Studies; and
  • Most Promising New Blog (Group or Individual) in International Studies.

We intend for each of these awards – with the exception of the “Special Achievement” category – to become an annual institution. The “Special Achievement” award will be awarded at the discretion of the Duck of Minerva staff. More about the awards below the fold. This same information is collected here (the link is also on the menu bar). UPDATE: Nominations should be logged on this post.

Continue reading

#virtualAPSA2012 – Issues of and Responses to Internet Governance

by on 2012-08-31- Leave a reply

A partial panel, via Luke M. Perez, who has set up a page for the #virtualAPSA2012 project.
Continue reading

#virtualAPSA2012 – Rob Farley, “Abolish the Airforce”

by on 2012-08-30- 1 Comment

Rob's panel was "Abolish the Air Force," scheduled for 10:15am on Sunday.
Continue reading

#virtualAPSA2012 – Phil Arena, “Crisis Bargaining and Domestic Opposition”

by on 2012-08-29- 4 Comments

Phil Arena was supposed to present his paper, "Crisis Bargaining and Domestic Opposition" at APSA. If you are reading this on an RSS feed, you
Continue reading