According to a news story in today?s Chicago Sun-Times, a report filed against his tenure by three members of the Political Science faculty ?claims that Finkelstein allegedly called a female staff member a ?bitch.?? The report also claimed that Finkelstein ?shunned? colleagues who disagreed with him and that his boorish conduct extended to ?dramatically closing his office door when his colleague arrives.? In addition to describing his abusive sexist behavior toward a subordinate, the report characterized Finkelstein as ?mean spirit? and as ?unprofessional.? This negative report was suppressed by Finkelstein supporters who leaked other, more favorable assessments.I tried to find this story at the Sun-Times web site and couldn't find it. Props to anyone who can find this story. UPDATE: Ask and you will receive. Props to Martin.
I expect [DeLong's belief] derives from the difference in scholarly discourse between History-Department historians and Economic-History historians: History-Department historians tend to operate individually, cooking up ideas slowly over time, until we can publish a book bristling with defenses, counterarguments, and qualifications; Economic-History historians tend to work with each other, to toss ideas out in working papers, conference papers, and articles long before they get committed to books (if indeed they ever do). Ideas in the latter form of discourse enjoy a more experimental status; one need not fully commit oneself to their defense; one can even play with them, scattering them like paper boats to test the wind and currents. In this respect, History-Department historians, and practitioners of other disciplines that emphasize books over articles, may be especially unsuited to derive benefits from blogging. We don't do brisk give-and-take. We lay the keels of large vessels slowly, load them with our ideas and evidence, and launch them deliberately. Thus projected, they rarely meet direct objection. A review cannot supply a counterargument of sufficient weight to scuttle them (and, perhaps acknowledging this, few reviews really try for a fair fight). Other historians' books follow their own paths, and normally avoid direct contact; engagements if inevitable usually occur briefly and inconclusively.With one possible exception, political scientists tend to fall in with the economists when it comes to sharing work -- we get a lot out of workshops, conferences, and the like (if you doubt this, consider the following hypothetical -- if Mearsheimer and Walt had actually presented the academic-y version of their "Israel Lobby" paper at a few public and private conferences, how many subsequent errors, omissions, and brushfires would have been avoided?). The possible exception is political theory, and here's why. In my experience, political theorists devote the greatest amount of energy to making their prose as precise as possible in their written work. For example, when theorists present their papers to an audience, they tend to read the actual text rather than riff from notes -- a practice shared by historians but not by other political science subfields. With these kind of practices, it would not be surprising that theorists act more like historians when it comes to questions of online publishing activities.
1) James Fearon. Really, this guy just sickens me. It's not enough that he gets cited by anyone and everyone, or that he's one of the few formal modelers who can explain their work to the innumerate. Now he's actually starting to write for a wider audience. He should just start a blog and shame all of us at this as well. 2) Elizabeth DeSombre. Because I have the pulse of the internets at my finger, I'm dimly aware that environmental issues might be kinda important over the next few decades. Beth always has an interesting take, she's published two books on environmental regulation, and I know for a fact that she read blogs. Go on, Beth, take the next step. 3) Michael Tierney. Mike is an occasional commenter to this blog, but he has a set of interesting research interests, ranging from World Bank governance to what other IR scholars think. In other words, he knows enough about enough topics to be well-suited to the blogosphere. Besides, he's living my dream -- he's gone back to teach at his alma mater. 4) David Victor. Hmmm.... let's check out his research interests -- energy policy, climate change, role of technology, innovation and competition in development. Too bad no one cares about those things. 5) Erik Gartzke. Erik has a citation count that would shock and awe entire departments. He's one of the best large-N security scholars in the field, and he's already had a blog run-in with R.J. Rummel. He doesn't bruise easily -- perfect for blogging. 6) Iain Johnston. China is an important country. You would think IR people would therefore know a lot about it, but you would be wrong (to be fair, this is being corrected very quickly. I have had conversations with at least a dozen colleagues planning research trips to China). Iain, on the other hand, knows a great deal about the place. He should share a little. 7) Sumit Ganguly. India is important too. Furthermore, Sumit holds the Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations, which just sounds great. 8) Amy Zegart. Not enough has been written about the organizational politics that plague foreign policy agencies. Amy, however, has written two excellent books on the topic. People should listen to her more often. 9) Hein Goemans. Hein is one of those people who has research programs exploding from his brain. I think a blog would do Hein good, allowing him to figure out which research ideas are really good and which ones just need a few blog posts. Plus, he was darn cute as a child. 10) Randy Schweller. Last fall, on 30 Rock, Alec Baldwin had a great line to describe one character: "In five years we'll either all be working for him or be dead by his hand." This is how I kind of feel about Randy's place in international relations. If Randy ever translates his seminar persona to the blogosphere, the rest of us will be as interesting as wallpaper paste.[Besides your fruitless exhortations, how can you entice these people into the blogosphere?--ed. I hereby plead the creators of the Fantasy IR game to offer five points to senior IR scholars who start blogs.] Readers are encouraged to offer their own suggestions.
Academics who study China, which includes the author, habitually please the Chinese Communist Party, sometimes consciously, and often unconsciously. Our incentives are to conform, and we do so in numerous ways: through the research questions we ask or don?t ask, through the facts we report or ignore, through our use of language, and through what and how we teach. Foreign academics must cooperate with academics in China to collect data and co-author research. Surveys are conducted in a manner that is acceptable to the Party, and their content is limited to politically acceptable questions. For academics in China, such choices come naturally. The Western side plays along. China researchers are equally constrained in their solo research. Some Western China scholars have relatives in China. Others own apartments there. Those China scholars whose mother tongue is not Chinese have studied the language for years and have built their careers on this large and nontransferable investment. We benefit from our connections in China to obtain information and insights, and we protect these connections. Everybody is happy, Western readers for the up-to-date view from academia, we ourselves for prospering in our jobs, and the Party for getting us to do its advertising. China is fairly unique in that the incentives for academics all go one way: One does not upset the Party. What happens when we don?t play along is all too obvious. We can?t attract Chinese collaborators. When we poke around in China to do research we run into trouble. Li Shaomin, associate professor in the marketing department of City University in Hong Kong and a U.S. citizen, spent five months in a Chinese jail on charges of ?endangering state security.? In his own words, his crimes were his critical views of China?s political system, his visits to Taiwan, his use of Taiwanese funds to conduct research on politically sensitive issues, and his collecting research data in China. City University offered no support, and once he was released he went to teach at Old Dominion University in Virginia. One may wonder what five months in the hands of Chinese secret police does to one?s psyche, and what means the Party used to silence Mr. Li. To academics in Hong Kong, the signal was not lost. China researchers across different disciplines may not all be equally affected. Economists and political scientists are likely to come up against the Party constraint frequently, and perhaps severely. But even sociologists or ethnographers can reach the forbidden zone when doing network studies or examining ethnic minority cultures.[What about academics that rely on U.S. government funding? Isn't that the same thing?--ed. Potentially, and scholars have made this point. Because of the large number of U.S. foundations that can supply independent research funding, however, the effect is much more muted.] This paragraph stood out in particular:
Article after article pores over the potential economic reasons for the increase in income inequality in China. We ignore the fact that of the 3,220 Chinese citizens with a personal wealth of 100 million yuan ($13 million) or more, 2, 932 are children of high-level cadres. Of the key positions in the five industrial sectors?finance, foreign trade, land development, large-scale engineering and securities?85% to 90% are held by children of high-level cadres.
In 8 years, I've taught hundreds of students. 2 of them so alarmed me by their behavior, I contacted the Dean of Students office to see what could be done. The answer: nothing. The best I got was a half-baked assurance that voluntary counseling would be suggested to one of them (he was an undergraduate who had insisted on taking my graduate seminar, showed up and refused to leave on the first day of class, and then sent me increasingly enraged emails filled with expletives and threats to bring charges against me to the Dean of Students). I ended up having to have a staff member escort me to class in case the student showed up again. He didn't, fortunately. But I didn't follow up and I bet nobody else did, either. When a faculty or staff member reports disturbing student activity, what is the appropriate response? Can any actions be mandatory? What feedback loops should be regularly instituted? I don't have any answers, but I do have an acute sense of vulnerability -- universities, esp. public ones, are wide open.All professors have encountered or will encounter this problem in their careers -- the student who seems way too intense for their own good. That said, I'm also concerned about overreaction. What happened at Blacksburg is a rare event, and red-flagging students just for being intense and weird can create problems as well. [UPDATE: Megan McArdle elaborates on this point.] Time's Julie Rawe has one story on how different universities are coping with this problem. A few questions to faculty readers out there, however:
1) Have you ever encountered a student you suspected of being capable of violence on this scale? 2) What action did you take? 3) What, if anything, could or should universities do to improve security?
Esther and Colby are two of the amazing girls at Newton North High School here in this affluent suburb just outside Boston. ?Amazing girls? translation: Girls by the dozen who are high achieving, ambitious and confident (if not immune to the usual adolescent insecurities and meltdowns). Girls who do everything: Varsity sports. Student government. Theater. Community service. Girls who have grown up learning they can do anything a boy can do, which is anything they want to do. But being an amazing girl often doesn?t feel like enough these days when you?re competing with all the other amazing girls around the country who are applying to the same elite colleges that you have been encouraged to aspire to practically all your life.There's a lot of additional material on the Times web site -- including Esther's and Colby's college application essays. I confess that I'm not entirely sure why this is on the front page of the New York Times. Is it a news flash that smart boys like girls who are smart as well? The thesis I gleaned from Rimer's story is that, despite all the internal and external pressures placed on these adolescents, they're coping pretty damn well. I suppose it's nice to see a long story about well-adjusted adolescents -- but I really have to wonder if Bill Keller is getting a kickback on Rimer's book advance. As a Williams alum, however, my heart grew heavy when I read this section of the story:
Esther was in calculus class, the last period of the day when her cellphone rang. It was her father. The letter from Williams College ? her ideal of the small, liberal arts school ? had arrived. Her father would be at her brother?s basketball game when she got home. Her mother would still be at the office. Esther did not want to be alone when she opened the letter. ?Dad, can you bring it to school?? she asked. Ten minutes later, when her father arrived, Esther realized that he had somehow not registered the devastating thinness of the envelope. The admissions office was sorry. Williams had had a record number of highly qualified applicants for early admission this year. Esther had been rejected. Not deferred. Rejected. Her father hugged her as she cried outside her classroom, and then he drove her home. Esther said several days later: ?Maybe it hurt me that I wasn?t an athlete.? But she was already moving on. ?I chose Williams,? she said, with a shrug. ?They didn?t choose me back.? About that thin envelope: Mr. Mobley, unschooled in such intricacies, said he hadn?t paid much attention to it. He had wanted so much for his daughter to get into Williams, he said, and believed so strongly in her, that it was as if he had wished the letter into being an acceptance.It is actually Ms. Rimer who is unschooled in admission letter intricacies -- unless Williams has changed its practice in recent years, everyone gets a thin envelope. For those who are accepted, the thick envelope with all the pertinent information comes later. So Esther, don't blame your father for not being clued in (click on the story to see which colleges were bright enough to accept Esther -- she'll land on her feet). Meanwhile, the Boston Globe's Ralph Ranalli reports on the new Newton North High School that will be built in the next 5-10 years:
It is already tagged as the most expensive high school in Massachusetts: a $154.6 million showplace, designed by an internationally renowned architect and awaited with some anxiety by the residents of Newton. The new Newton North High School's design features a new outdoor stadium, an indoor swimming pool, state-of-the-art vocational education workshops, a glass-walled cafeteria, a restaurant, and an architecturally trendy zigzag shape. At 1,040 feet, the building is 200 feet longer than the Mall at Chestnut Hill. But now, even before ground has been broken, some are wondering how the cost got so huge, and whether the project is ushering in a new era of budget-buster high schools.UPDATE: Wow, in Episode #245 of How Gender Affects Interpretation in the Blogosphere, Bitch Ph.D has a very different take on the Times article: "Kinda depressing article.... high-achieving women feel a constant sense of inadequacy." Maybe I'm grading on a curve, but by the standards of In-Depth Newspaper Stories About Adolescent Girls, the subjects of Rimer's story seem remarkably well-adjusted.
This class on philosophy was really good, Professor Socrates is sooooo smart, I want to be just like him when I graduate (except not so short). I was amazed at how he could take just about any argument and prove it wrong.... Socrates is a real drag, I don't know how in hell he ever got tenure. He makes students feel bad by criticizing them all the time. He pretends like he's teaching them, but he's really ramming his ideas down student's throtes. He's always taking over the conversation and hardly lets anyone get a word in.... I learned a lot in this class, a lot of things I never knew before. From what I heard from other students, Professor Socrates is kind of weird, and at first I agreed with them, but then I figured out what he was up to. He showed us that the answers to some really important questions already are in our minds.Click here to read the rest of them.
While the HERI [Higher Education Research Institute] does an annual survey of incoming college freshmen that includes questions about political beliefs, no one has tried tracking changes in student political beliefs over the college years. One interesting glimpse is provided by HERI's 2004 report on political attitudes among freshmen and college graduates. In 1994, 82 percent of students in the class of 1998 agreed that "the federal government should do more to control the sale of handguns" and 61 percent agreed that abortion should be legal. In 1998, these opinions were held by, respectively, 83 percent and 65 percent of college graduates in that cohort. Thus, while college-educated Americans appear to be much more liberal than the general population-at least on certain issues-they also seem to hold those views before they first enter a college classroom.... What is difficult either to deny or to quantify is that, especially at the more prestigious colleges and universities, the social climate fosters a strong presumption of liberal like-mindedness and a marginalization of dissent. Being left of center is the norm, and it is freely assumed that other people around you, be they students or faculty members, will share in your joy at the Democratic victories in Congress or your dismay at the passage of a ballot initiative prohibiting racial preferences in college admissions. This can translate into not only a chilly climate for conservatives but in some cases outright hostility. If a student doesn't subscribe to the campus orthodoxy, the likely effect is not to convert her but to alienate her from intellectual life. Others learn only about a narrow range of ideas. One woman, a Ph.D. student in the social sciences at a Midwestern university, told me recently that when she started reading conservative, libertarian, or otherwise heretical blogs, "it was a whole perspective I had never been exposed to before in anything other than caricature." When that's the norm, the harm is less to dissenters than to the life of the mind. It's not good for any group of people to spend a lot of time listening only to like-minded others. It is especially bad for a profession whose lifeblood is the exchange of ideas.
America's great universities are in fact becoming global. They are the brand names for excellence -- drawing in the brightest students and faculty and giving them unparalleled opportunities. This is where the openness and freewheeling diversity of American life provide us a huge advantage over tighter, more homogeneous cultures. We give people the freedom to think and create -- and prosper from those activities -- in ways that no other country can match. This "education power" may be the best long-term hope for dealing with U.S. troubles abroad. Global polls show that after the Iraq debacle, the rest of the world mistrusts America and its values. But there is one striking exception to this anti-Americanism, and that is education. American-style universities, colleges and schools are sprouting up around the world.... What worries... university presidents is that at a time when the world's best and brightest are still hungry for an American education, U.S. immigration regulations are making it too hard for students to come here. That's shooting ourselves in the foot. Pentagon generals are always bragging about their "smart bombs," which sometimes go wide of the target. American education is a smart bomb that actually works. When we think about the foreign outreach efforts by these university presidents and dozens of others, we should recognize that they are a national security asset -- making the world safer, as well as wiser.I hope Ignatius is correct -- but as a useful corrective, one should check out William Brody's "College Goes Global" in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs. Brody, the president of Johns Hopkins, has some experience in exporting American education, and offers some sobering advice:
Since the end of World War II, the United States has been recognized as the world leader in higher education. It has more colleges and universities, enrolls and graduates more students, and spends more on advanced education and research than any other nation. Each year, more than half a million foreigners come to the United States to study. A widely cited article written by researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University that looked at the academic ranking of universities worldwide based on faculty quality and research output found that more than half of the top 100 universities in the world -- and 17 of the top 20 -- were in the United States. It would also seem that higher education is a market ripe for globalization and that U.S. universities -- by right of their acknowledged achievements, outstanding reputations, and considerable advantages in size and wealth -- are predestined to take on the world in the way that Boeing, IBM, Intel, and Microsoft have done within their respective industries. But as the president of a U.S. university that has operated one campus in China for two decades and another campus in Italy for more than half a century, I can say that consolidating U.S. dominance in international education will not be as easy or as likely as it seems.... The loosening of the affiliation between faculty and universities is an inevitable consequence of the globalization of knowledge. In the quantum physics model, faculty obey a kind of uncertainty principle: you may know where a professor is at any given time or you may know his institutional affiliation. But the more you try to ascertain the former, the less sure you may be about the latter, and vice versa. This phenomenon prompted the former president of Boston University, John Silber, to actually propose taking roll call to see whether faculty members were on campus. But such a measure would go against the grain of how knowledge is generated and diffused in today's information-sharing environment, and Silber's proposal unsurprisingly has come to nothing. One consequence of these changes is that the relationship between faculty and universities has become more and more one-sided. Tenure provides a lifetime, no-cut contract for faculty. But professors' and researchers' allegiance is linked to their research, and they have no requirement to stay until retirement with the university that granted them tenure. At the same time, faculty whose field of study becomes obsolete or is no longer within the primary purview of the university's mission cannot be removed. This is a potential Achilles' heel for world-class universities bent on remaining relevant in an environment that places a premium on research and development and evolves at a rapid pace.... Drucker, Friedman, and others may have observed that the power of the nation-state has withered, but by no means has it disappeared. Universities and the nations they call home exist in an extremely close and elaborately constructed symbiosis. Every nation in one way or another makes significant financial contributions to its resident universities and demands considerable returns in exchange -- both in numbers of qualified graduates and in terms of the economic benefits that the education and research carried out by the universities provide. Also, credentialing -- always a vitally important part of the educational process -- is exclusively defined and controlled by the host nation, and it would behoove the soothsayers to remember that few nations are willing to adopt a laissez-faire attitude toward the teaching, beliefs, and activities on their campuses. Finally, as is so often the case, the advent of the Global U really comes down to a question of money. Plato would not have had his Academy but for the generosity of friends who helped him buy the land it was built on. It was supported, according to a medieval account, by rich men who "from time to time bequeathed in their wills, to the members of the school, the means of living a life of philosophic leisure." That model of the university survives to this day. The only thing that may have changed is the question of degree. Ancient and medieval universities were expensive hobbies of the rich and the royal; today's modern research universities are several orders of magnitude more costly to run and sustain. Virtually every great university today depends on government funding, student tuitions (each of which covers only a portion of the cost of an education), alumni support, and the outstanding generosity of philanthropists to make ends meet. Even so, financing is always a struggle, and the price of a university education in the United States has marched determinedly ahead of the rate of inflation for decades now. To be successful -- and even to stay in business -- a global university would somehow have to garner consistent and dependable financial support from many different nations simultaneously.
The problem isn't that academics "can't write," as is often claimed, but that we are typically engaged in what scholars of the Renaissance know as coterie writing. In 16th-century England, for instance, small groups of aristocrats such as Sir Philip Sydney, his sister Mary Herbert, and their circle would compose poems for their mutual entertainment, circulating them privately from one country estate to another. Scholars today may reach a somewhat larger circle, but most academic writing is part of a continuing conversation among a coterie of fellow specialists with common interests and a shared history of debate. Even for scholars who are elegant prose stylists, it isn't an easy matter to make the transition from writing for Milton's "fit audience, though few" to a larger but less fit readership.Damrosch then discusses his own efforts to write an accessible book that doesn't feel "dumbed down." He runs into an editor at Holt who provides the way:
Not only did the people at Holt want the book I wanted to write ? antiquity and all ? but they also suggested ways I could revise my sample chapters to better effect. The "Aha!" moment came when John Sterling, Holt's publisher, pointed to the opening of my first chapter. I had begun with a flourish, emphasizing the excitement created when a young curator at the British Museum first deciphered the Gilgamesh epic, with its seeming confirmation of the biblical story of the Flood: "When George Smith discovered the Flood story in the Epic of Gilgamesh in the fall of 1872, he made one of the most dramatic discoveries in the history of archaeology." Sterling ran his pen along these lines, but instead of praising this bold beginning, he tapped the page and asked, "Couldn't you make this opening just a bit more dramatic?" He was right. I had told the reader that George Smith had made a dramatic discovery, but I had failed to dramatize the scene at all. Rewriting my opening, I placed Smith at the long trestle tables where he worked amid the watery sunlight coming in through the museum's windows. I went on to detail his awkward social position: Never having gone even to high school, he had been apprenticed as a bank-note engraver. Brilliant and ambitious, he had taught himself Akkadian and begun to haunt the museum's Near Eastern collections during his lunch hours, making his way up from Fleet Street through the press of carriages, pedestrians, and hand-drawn carts full of cabbages and potatoes. With the scene now set, Smith was on his way, and so was my book. I could still make my central cultural and political points, but they had to be carried by a strong narrative line, built around intriguing characters and fleshed out with a judicious use of telling detail. An ominous mongoose, for instance, made an effective lead-in to a chapter on the Assyrian empire, "After Asurbanipal, the Deluge." The mongoose's sudden appearance beneath King Esarhaddon's chariot led to a revealing exchange of anxious correspondence between the king and his chief scribe, who tried to reassure the king that the mongoose was not a warning sign from heaven but merely a bit of imperial roadkill. The lesson I would draw from my Goldilocks experience is that it is neither necessary nor desirable to dumb our projects down when writing for a general audience. At the same time, we need to write quite differently when we want to reach beyond the comforting confines of our disciplinary coteries. It is good to have a clear and vivid style, but equally, we have to retrain ourselves to write for readers who don't already know what we're talking about, and who need to be shown why they should care about the things we know and love so well. The trade market can bear an impressive degree of scholarly substance if we can teach ourselves to reach out to a substantial nonscholarly clientele.
1) No, I do not miss Chicago weather from late February or early March. 2) My most surreal moment had to be when a non-conference person, upon finding out what I did for a living, went on to say, "Now let me ask you something -- I've read this somewhere.... do you think it's true that some Jews in government have had divided loyalties? Is that why we invaded Iraq?" What made this moment extra-surreal -- it happened in the hotel jacuzzi. 3) Bob Wright will be very happy to learn that book publishers do, in fact, watch bloggingheads.tv. 4) A warning shot across ISA's bow: the number of panels at your conference is well beyond the point of diminishing returns. I know that most panels are accepted because that allows people to receive travel funds to attend the conference in the first place. At this point, however, there are simply too many panels per session -- and too many paper presented per panel. The wheat-to-chaff ratio has gone way down, and there are too many panels where the presenters outnumber the audience. If this trend continues, it will not surprise me if senior people abandon the conference all together (unless it's back in Honolulu) in favor of smaller, more narrowly focused conferences.
So who takes their place? Will Sean Wilentz or Michael Kazin be remembered as Arthur Schlesinger is, because I don't think Doris Kearns Goodwin or Stephen Ambrose possess the grand moral compass necessary to claim the mantle. The Clinton administration had a Kennedy-esque aura of intellectual ferment, but the public intellectuals it furnished are Paul Begala and James Carville. Ira Magaziner, it turned out, lacked star power. I guess the bright spot on the horizon is Barack Obama's campaign, which boasts a glittering orbit of policy advisors and public thinkers whom the Obama camp has taken a Kennedyesque approach to, encouraging them to retain their public profiles. Hence, the world has not lost Samantha Power or Karen Kornbluh, but they are in the inner circle of a presidential candidacy. Maybe that will elevate them. Or maybe we're just done with public intellectuals, and cable news has time for little but public personalities. (underline added)Then there's Marc Schmitt:
Obviously, there's no factory for creating new Schlesingers or Galbraiths (although those two families do pretty well) but anything that can be done to change the system of incentives for young academics or would-be academics so that there are rewards to making relevant contributions to public life, rather than incrementally advancing some narrow question within their field, would be good.I've occasionally been accused of falling into the "public intellectual" category, so a few thoughts on this matter:
1) I recognize that there's a Potter-Stewart-"I know it when I see it"-quality to defining a public intellectual, but applying that label to either Begala or Carville is just wrong. They
arewere sharp political operatives, and God knows they're public about it. That's different from advocating or promoting abstract policy or political ideas to a larger audience. Ezra Klein is a smart blogger. The fact that he's even positing these guys tells me more about the declining state of the public intellectual than his original post. Also, a friendly warning to Klein -- Benjamin Barber might be coming after you with a large baseball bat. 2) Contrary to Schmitt's claim, there actually are factories for public intellectuals. In the past five years a few degree programs have sprouted up to offer training as a public commentator or public intellectual. It's just that no one seems to pay attention to these factories -- except in news articles commenting on their existence. 3) Schmitt and Klein seem particularly worried about the liberal side of the public intellectual ledger. To which I will reply: Cass Sunstein. Jacob Hacker. George Lakoff. Anne-Marie Slaughter. Thomas Franck. Those names took me less than a minute to recall. As I pointed out recently, the Republic will stand with the current crop of public intellectuals. 4) Here's a subversive thought -- given the performance of public intellectuals in the Kennedy/Johnson years -- not to mention the Bush administration -- maybe this category of thinker does better when not affiliated with the U.S. government.
As a member of the self-deluding Eastern liberal politically correct media elite (so my reader mail tells me), I would like to learn more about the opposition. The problem is, they keep going soft on me. Last fall, TV promised us two conservatives: Kitty Walker on ABC's Brothers & Sisters, and Harriet Hayes on NBC's now-shelved Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Kitty was supposed to be a brash, Ann Coulter-like firebrand in a family of whole-grain blue-staters, and deeply religious Harriet was going to redress the injustices done to people of faith by godless showbiz types. As each series has unfolded, both women have been portrayed as multidimensional, sensitive human beings. Not incidentally, they seem to be turning into liberals.... Brothers & Sisters is, I think, pulling off an excellent liberal spin on conservatism, systematically demolishing Kitty's beliefs by depicting her as a right-winger who has never confronted the human side of her arguments. When she does ? when the endangered soldier or the homosexual whose rights are denied is in her own family ? politics becomes personal, and she becomes more ideologically flexible. Dick Cheney would call that fighting dirty; I would call Brothers & Sisters a really fun way to make Dick Cheney mad.Question -- doesn't everyone become more ideologically flexible when politics becomes personal?
I am considering for my introductory World Politics class in the Fall. I call it "IR Vocabulary," and the basic idea is to split students into pairs and have each pair go off and find consensus definitions of key IR terms, My intuition here is that in order to have a good discussion about world politics, there are some basic terms that we need to know; some of these terms are more or less empirical and refer to objects in the world, while others are more or less conceptual and refer to ways of making sense of those objects. [Yes, yes, this is an unstable distinction; yes, empirical terms are conceptual and vice versa . . . but there is still a difference, if only a difference of degree, between a term like 'the balance of power' and a term like 'the Security Council.'] So here's my question for all of you: if you were going to draw up a list of twenty key terms that people ought to have working definitions of in order to sensibly and meaningfully talk about world politics, what would they be? What is the basic vocabulary that people have to know before they can start in with the arguing and the debating and the pondering?Click on over to give your answers. Of the top of my head, mine are below, split 50-50 between empirical and conceptual:
EMPIRICALUPDATE: I've fixed the Westphalia term, because there actually is no Treaty of Westphalia. I knew this, but was sloppy about it in the post. Apologies.
TreatyPeace of Westphalia July 1914 Munich Bretton Woods Security Council Cold War NATO OPEC European Union globalization (admittedly, could go in either category) CONCEPTUAL power identity balance of power security dilemma prisoner's dilemma hegemony credible commitment reputation interdependence offense/defense balance
Graduate Admissions Committee... is deciding whom to admit.... there is a website on which potential students gossip share information about the departments to which they are applying, and many do so anonymously. However, many such students say enough about themselves that if you are in possession of their file (as graduate admissions committee is) you can identify them with near, and in some cases absolute, certainty. One applicant to said department behaves on the website (under the supposed cloak of anonymity) like? well, very badly, saying malicious things about departments he has visited, raising doubts about whether he is honest and the kind of person it would be reasonable to want other students to deal with, and generally revealing himself to be utterly unpleasant. Question: is it wrong for the GAC to take this information about the applicant into account when making a decision?My take: yes, it's wrong. More precise information (how ironclad is the ID'ing of this applicant? How bad is the behavior?) might make it a tougher call. That said, it sounds like the only difference between this applican't behavior and 99% of all grad students I have known in my day is that this person put these things into print rather than speaking them at a party after several beers. [So you're saying all grad students are utterly unpleasant?--ed. No, I'm saying that all grad students, like all professors, have a side to their personalities that is best shielded from public view. I think it's safe to assume that this applicant never thought that a GAC, armed with information from the file, would put two and two together on a web site. So what would you do?--ed. Assuming the person was admitted and came, if I were the GAC I'd probably have a closed-door meeting with the person to ascertain the truth, and then put a bit of a scare into him or her. That should be sufficient to deter future printed displays of bad behavior.] What do you think?
1) What do you think are the do's and don'ts of poli sci blogging? 2) Does your blog help your scholarly pursuits? If so, how? 3) Are your colleagues aware of your blog? If so, what is their reaction? Has it changed over time? 4) As a political scientist, which blogs, if any, are must-reads for you (something like IR Rumor Mill or Fantasy IR doesn't count).[You don't have answers to these questions?--ed. Oh, I have answers, but I'd like to get some different views on this.] Post a comment, e-mail me directly, or post on your own blog and link back. Remember, this is for APSA....
It may not have been on purpose, but the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy ? the oldest graduate school of international relations in the US ? has suddenly found itself in the executive education business. Last year, Microsoft and Raytheon, as well as a non-profit group, approached the school, at Tufts University in Massachusetts, to develop customised programmes for their mid- to upper-level professionals. The programmes, which involved courses on international political and economic affairs, were a big hit. This year, Fletcher has three repeat customers on its hands and is ?quietly and cautiously? working to attract others, according to school officials. Executive education programmes ? which have in the past been the domain of business schools ? are typically marketed to companies as a way to hone their workers? skills with courses in finance, marketing, and sales. But, according to Stephen Bosworth, the dean of Fletcher, companies nowadays are in search of more than management refresher courses. Rather, they are looking for ways to boost their executives? knowledge of international politics, culture and business. Fletcher?s programmes are ideal for those companies seeking to ?upgrade the globalisation skills? of key employees, says Mr Bosworth. ?The rationale for all of this is the perceived need for a greater understanding of the political, economic, and cultural context within which these companies are operating,? he says. The programmes, which are conducted by Fletcher and Tufts faculty, are individually tailored, depending on their varying needs and specifications of the companies. For instance, Microsoft asked for a distillation of the school?s overall international curriculum, while Raytheon, the military contractor, requested a programme on political, economic and cultural issues for operating in the Middle East. Deborah Nutter, senior associate dean and professor at Fletcher, says the school?s strength in diplomatic training is what gives it the edge in the executive education realm. ?From the beginning, we have educated global leaders in all sectors,? she says.Note to self: put "educated global leader" somewhere on cv. [Since you have made exactly zero contribution to these programs, is that justified?--ed. Hey, all's fair in love and resumes.] UPDATE: More good financial news for Tufts.
Harvard University has narrowed its hunt for a president to a handful of candidates, including three Harvard administrators and a Nobel Laureate who heads a scientific research institute, according to people familiar with the search. The Harvard insiders on the short list are the provost, Steven E. Hyman, a neuroscientist; the dean of the law school, Elena Kagan; and the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Drew Gilpin Faust. Another top contender is Thomas R. Cech, a 1989 Nobel Prize recipient in chemistry who is president of the multi billion dollar Howard Hughes Medical Institute, one of the top philanthropies and research organizations in the world. Harvard also has asked the president of Tufts University, Lawrence S. Bacow, to be interviewed, but he refused. Bacow has said several times that he expects to remain at Tufts. (emphasis added)[So, what, you bucking for an endowed chair or something?--ed. No, a better parking spot. That's like gold in academia. Gold!!!] UPDATE: The Harvard Crimson's Javier Hernandez and Daniel Schuker report that, "the [search] committee may not yet have ruled out Tufts University President Lawrence S. Bacow." Damn you, Harvard!!!
New York, of course, has had its share of mystery aromas, big and small. In 2005, an odd maple syrup smell overcame parts of Manhattan and New Jersey. Last August, an unidentified odor sent people to the hospital in Staten Island and Queens.I kind of like the idea of maple syrup wafting through my town.
Elena Kagan, dean of Harvard Law School, lowered her spectacles and, as if addressing a group of students, presented her audience with a case study. This one involved the University of Minnesota, where students had protested the hiring of a part-time Constitutional law instructor on the grounds that he was co-author of the controversial Department of Justice torture memo. As dean, Kagan asked the audience, would you have hired the professor, Robert Delahunty? The answers were mixed. Then Kagan changed the scenario. What if the professor was tenured at the time when the same facts came out? Would he be protected under the banner of academic freedom? Yes, the audience of lawyers, law school professors and administrators almost unanimously agreed.Read the whole thing to see Kagan's explanation of this seeming paradox. Then again, Stanley Fish does not hold that capacious a view on academic freedom more generally:
[I]s academic freedom worth protecting? Only when one applies a limited definition, Fish argued. Worthy of protection: a professor?s ability to introduce material and equip students with analytical skills. ?That?s it,? he said. ?There?s nothing else. The moment a professor tries to do something else [such as inject a political opinion], he is performing an action for which there should be no academic freedom.? Fish added that a professor who comes clean about her political view at the start of class still shouldn?t be protected. ?Ask this question,? he said. ?Is it an account or an advocacy of an agenda?I have to assume that Fish was limiting his remarks about protecting academic freedom within the context of a classroom setting. Because if he's saying that research topics and research output should not be protected, then dear God, keep that man away from my campus. One also wonders what Fish's views would be about blogging.... UPDATE: Only tangentially connected, but it seems appropriate here to say goodbye to Michael Berube's blog -- he hung up his blogging spurs today. He makes a valid point in his last post:
[L]et me try to answer the most serious question I?ve gotten about this decision: why not just cut down? Post something under 2000 words for a change? Post once a week or once a month, instead of maniacally posting every weekday?.... I?ve tried that, actually, but it doesn?t work. Blog maintenance on this scale is a daily, sometimes hourly thing, regardless of whether there?s a new post up. And even if I didn?t try to maintain the blog on this scale (a good idea in itself), there?s still the problem of the invisible blogging. I don?t write these posts out in advance, you know. I sit down for an hour or two (more for the really long posts), write them in one take in WordPerfect, look ?em over, transfer ?em to the blog, preview, edit, submit, and then proofread one last time once they?re up. (Because sometimes you can?t catch a typo until it?s really up there on the blog, and even then, I?ve missed a bunch so far.) Which means, among other things, that I do a great deal of the planning-before-the-writing while I?m not blogging. And that?s what?s been so mentally exhausting. It?s like ABC from Glengarry Glen Ross: Always Be Composing. And while it?s been great mental exercise, and it?s compelled me to think out (and commit myself in public to) any number of things that otherwise would have simply laid around the mental toolshed for years, it?s not the kind of thing I can keep up forever, and it wouldn?t be seriously affected if I went to a lighter posting schedule. I?d still spend way too much time thinking about the Next Post and the Post After That.
I am struck -- you may think it is absurd for me to be suddenly struck by this -- but I am struck by how deeply and seriously libertarians and conservatives believe in their ideas. I'm used to the way lefties and liberals take themselves seriously and how deeply they believe. Me, I find true believers strange and -- if they have power -- frightening. And my first reaction is to doubt that they really do truly believe. One of the reasons 9/11 had such a big impact on me is that it was such a profound demonstration of the fact that these people are serious. They really believe. I need to be more vigilant.Jonah Goldberg, who attended the same conference, dissents from Althouse's point of view:
I will say here I find this ? to put it in as civil terms as I can ? odd. I would note that Ann really believes some things too. Moreover, so do those people in Madison, Wisconsin ? which is, I might add without fear of contradiction, far from an oasis of empiricism, realism and philosophical skepticism. But more importantly, the notion that stong conviction ? AKA belief ? is scary in and of itself can be the source of as much pain and illiberalism as certitude itself. Indeed, it is itself a kind of certitude I find particularly unredeeming.They have a fascinating exchange with each other on this topic over at bloggingheads.tv -- in which, bizarrely, Goldberg (the non-academic) seems to better comprehend how conferences about ideas work than Althouse (the academic). This has been followed by post-bloggingheads posts by both Goldberg and Althouse. Over at Hit & Run, Ron Bailey provides a great amount of detail about Althouse's behavior at the conference itself (hat tip: Virginia Postrel). It sounds very.... diva-like. Bailey's conclusion: "I sure hope that Ann Althouse's behavior at the Liberty Fund colloquium is not example how 'intellectual discourse' is conducted in her law school classes in Madison, Wisconsin." Althouse has a lengthy fisking of Bailey's post here. [UPDATE: Goldberg posts his reaction here. Back at Hit & Run, Radley Balko weighs in as well. And for the liberal take on the whole shebang, check out the bloggingheads diavlog between Marc Schmitt and Jonathan Chait.] Also weighing in are Stephen Bainbridge (who shares Althouse's leeriness of libertarian ideologues) and Elephants & Donkeys (who does not share Althouse's concerns) Go read everything. Having attended a few Liberty Fund conferences myself, I'd offer the following thoughts:
1) Liberty Fund conferences attract idea geeks -- people who will stay up until 2:00 AM debating the merits and demerits of different ideas. That's kind of the point of these things. 2) I've never encountered any racist attitudes, ideas, or even the benign neglect of these attitudes at these conferences. 3) At these conferences I have, on occasion, encountered a personality type that I suspect gave Althouse the willies -- people so besotted with the positive appeal of an abstract idea that they will argue in its defense against any and all comers. Indeed, they consider this a pleasurable activity. The worst of these lot will pooh-pooh valid counterarguments or appeals to pragmatism as besides the Big Point they are trying to make. Let's call these people True Believers. 4) Give that these are Liberty Fund conferences, I would wager that libertarians comprise a high percentage of True Believers at these functions compared to other ideologies. 5) Despite point (4), True Believers make up a very small minority of overall Liberty Fund attendees. Indeed, with the acknowledgment that modern liberals are probably the least represented group at these functions, the intellectual and professional diversity of these conferences is pretty broad. 6) I'm enough of an idea geek that I'm usually glad that one or two True Believers are in attendance, because it forces me to keep my arguments sharp in a Millian sense of debate. 7) The overwhelmingly predominant personality type in attendance at these functions are Contrarians. Which, of course, makes consensus pretty much a logical impossibility.UPDATE: Althouse responds here:
Idea geeks. Okay. Well, my experience in legal academia is that people who try to get into the idea geek zone need to get their pretensions punctured right away. The sharp lawprof types I admire always see a veneer on top of something more important, and our instinct is to peel it off. What is your love of this idea really about? That's our method. We are here to harsh your geek zone mellow.I confess I'm not entirely sure what "geek zone mellow" means. I think Ann is warning the blogosphere that people in love with ideas qua ideas need someone to take a pragmatist hammer and whack them upside the head every once in a while. All well and good. But my experience in political science -- particularly international relations -- is that a distressingly high percentage of legal academics write from such an atheoretical, normative perspective that they don't realize that underlying their legal and policy pragmatics are implicit theories that need to be exposed, prodded, probed, and (often) pierced. I might add that it is my fervent hope that legal academics keep on doing this, because it means that they will continue to provide empirical grist for my theoretical mill. That said, the book on my nightstand right now is Adrian Vermeule and Eric Posner's Terror in the Balance: Security, Liberty, and the Courts -- and they have their own issues with civil libertarians. So I'll humbly exit this debate and go do some more
Suddenly, a large wooden cube materializes in the middle of the auditorium, blocking Judge Posner from the audience-- an apparent griefer attack on the event, or the Judge himself. [Posner]: That's an example of the kind of threat that worries me-- a huge box marching through an amphitheatre. The audience laughs while chaos ensues, during which Hamlet Au briefly crashes out of the world, and the Judge notices an audience member: JRP: Is that a raccoon? Kear Nevzerov: I'm a "furry". Not sure how I got this way. [Posner]: I think it's Al Qaeda. KN: I'm really an IP lawyer from DC. Honest. [Posner]: I like your tail.Hat tip: Will Baude.
To read early issues of the Review is to be reminded that aspiring toward policy relevance is quite different from achieving it, and that any policy influence the profession does achieve will not necessarily be in directions that future historians will find praiseworthy. Just as the Review and the political science profession in general failed to anticipate the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1980s, the Review before 1914 conveyed little sense that a cataclysmicworld warwas imminent.The journal did publish an article on the Balkans (Harris 1913), but it did not focus on the larger power transitions taking place in Europe until publication of a rather realist analysis of ?The Causes of the Great War? after World War I had begun (Turner 1915). In this same time period, the Review was filled with articles putting a favorable emphasis on international law as a means toward peace. After World War I, the Review played a role in the ?idealism-realism? debate of the 1920s (Carr 1940), largely favoring the idealist side with more than a dozen articles through the decade on the League of Nations or international law. Former President William Howard Taft, for example, launched a staunch defense of the League of Nations in the Review (Taft 1919). Only one article in the journal in the 1920s included the term ?balance of power? in its title, and this article strongly criticized balance of power politics and argued that the building of international institutions was the best answer to the problem of war (Hoard 1925). In the 1930s, a handful of articles began to focus on the issues that would precipitate World War II, including the Manchurian crisis, nationalism, and the geographic bases of states? foreign policies, but no articles were fully dedicated to assessing the international implications of the rise of Hitler or Germany. Articles sympathetic to the League of Nations process, on the other hand, continued right up until the spring of 1939 (Myers 1939), although an article critical of international law appeared in 1938 (Wild 1938).It is an interesting piece of trivia to know that not one, but two presidents have published in the APSR. UPDATE: Commenters point out a possible selection bias question -- it might be that political scientists did generate useful predictions, but these predictions were simply not published in the APSR. This is a valid point, but I think it applies better to the post-1945 environment than the pre-1945 one. Most of the major IR journals -- International Organization, World Politics, International Security, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution -- did not exist before 1945. All of the policy journals, except for Foreign Affairs, were not in existence. Therefore, prior to '45, the APSR would have been the predicted outlet for scholarly work on world politics. On the other hand, Foreign Affairs might have siphoned off a few articles. I know of at least one person who received tenure at a major research institution, when their only publication was a Foreign Affairs article.
1) It would appear that the U.S. has finally reversed the decline in international students wishing to study in the U.S. Karen Arenson summarizes the latest information in the New York Times:The number of new foreign students coming to the United States grew this school year, after several years of weakness that followed the terrorist attacks of 2001, according to a survey to be released today by the Institute of International Education. According to the survey, conducted by the institute and other education groups, the number of new international students at American colleges and universities increased 8 percent this fall over last, to 142,923. Another sign of a turnaround was a sharp upturn in student visas, said Allan E. Goodman, president of the institute. Dr. Goodman said the State Department issued a record 591,050 student and exchange visas in the 12 months ending in September, a 14 percent increase over the previous year and 6 percent more than in the year leading up to the 2001 attacks. More than half of the approximately 900 campuses that participated in the survey said they had seen increases in the number of foreign students this fall. Dr. Goodman attributed the increase to the easing of visa restrictions imposed after the terrorist attacks and to greater efforts by colleges to attract foreign students. ?We?ve been worried for three years that there would be a slow and steady decline in the number of international students studying here,? Dr. Goodman said. ?But it looks like the decline is ending.?Parenthetical thought -- how does Lou Dobbs feel about this info? On the one hand, the increase in student visas means greater flows of foreigners into the United States -- which Dobbs the nativist would surely condemn. On the other hand, the increase in foreign students actually improves our balance of trade ($13.5 billion according to this estimate), since they count as an export of services -- which Dobbs the mercantilist would surely like. 2) The Boston Globe's Jehangir S. Pocha looks at Western educational institutions
aggressively courting export marketsestablishing new satellite institutions in rising economies:So far, more than 100 Western schools and universities have set up in China, and the number is expected to grow. A team from Harvard University headed by William C. Kirby, director of the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, was in China over the summer to evaluate how the university could establish a presence in China. "It's an idea whose time has come," said Matthew Benjamin Farthing, headmaster of the newly opened Harrow International School in Beijing. "As the world is globalizing, it's only natural for education to globalize. Parents everywhere want the best education and while they once had to send their children to places like Harrow in the UK or US, schools like Harrow are now coming here." While some of the educational institutions, including Harvard, are looking only to set up local centers where students from their home country can come to study China's dynamic economy and evolving society, others are seeking to enroll local students in degree or diploma programs. "In our first year, we enrolled mostly expatriate children, both from Britain and countries familiar with the value of a Harrow education, but in two years I expect things will be different," Farthing said from his staid office as scores of students in Harrow's trademark ties milled around outside. The prestige of such traditions and the reputation of schools such as Harrow are luring Chinese students and parents to international institutions.... The price tag for acquiring a education like this from one of the elite Western institutions in China is between $8,000 and $25,000 per year. Expatriates who send their children to these schools are mostly immune to sticker shock since it's mostly their employers that pick up the tab. But even China's new upper middle-class isn't likely to be deterred by the bill. Education is highly valued in China and despite the fact that the average American university or private school education costs more than a middle-class Chinese family can save in a generation, there are currently 63,000 Chinese students enrolled in universities in the United States, more than from any foreign country except India, which has 80,000 students in American schools, according to the New York-based Institute of International Education. That number could be much higher but for the common practice of ensuring geographic balance in admissions, which ensures that Chinese students don't crowd out students from Europe, Latin America, and Africa. With Chinese students facing steep challenges to study abroad, more and more of the foreign institutions creating campuses in China are hoping to woo locals by marketing their degrees as a Western-quality education in a Chinese setting -- at reduced prices. For example, a year at Harrow Beijing costs about $15,000, about half what it would cost in Britain.3) Finally, while it's great to see U.S. universities retain their global comparative advantadge, I fear that the Canadians will soon be able to siphon away some of the greatest minds of our generation -- at least, if this Reuters report is correct (hat tip: reader S.S.):The use of medical marijuana has given two Toronto professors the right to something that many students could only dream of -- access to specially ventilated rooms where they can indulge in peace. The two, at the esteemed University of Toronto and at York University to the north of the city, suffer from chronic medical conditions that some doctors say can be eased by smoking marijuana. They are among nearly 1,500 Canadians who have won the right to use the drug for health reasons. Using human rights legislation, the two petitioned their employers for the right to light up in the workplace. They faced a legal struggle, but the universities eventually agreed. "Without the medication, I am disabled and I'm not able to carry out meaningful and valuable, productive work," said York University criminology professor Brian MacLean, who suffers from a severe form of degenerative arthritis.First the "sexy sex sex" class, and now pot-smoking? The University of Toronto is going to clean America's educational clock.
Forget college guides, U.S. News & World Report rankings, average SAT scores. The best gauge of an institution?s ex cellence may actually be ? its ultimate Frisbee team. At least that?s the theory of Dr. Michael J. Norden, a Univer sity of Washington professor of psychiatry. Ultimate started in the 60?s as the hippie?s anti-sport ? a coach-free, referee-less, noncontact game comb - i n ing the free-form elements of Frisbee with the strategy, athleticism and goal-making of football or soccer. Players call their own infractions, and ?The Spirit of the Game,? the ruling document, says that while competition is encouraged, it must not be ?at the expense of the bond of mutual respect between players, adherence to the agreed-upon rules of the game, or the basic joy of play.? More than 500 colleges and universities now have teams competing interscholastically. Dr. Norden analyzed the Ultimate Players Association ?power ratings? of private national universities over a decade (the ratings assess strength based on past performance), and he discovered a startling pattern. ?All the schools with above-average ultimate teams also have aboveaverage graduation rates,? says Dr. Norden, whose son is, not coincidentally, a serious high school player looking for a university with a good team. ?They average a 90 percent graduation rate, while the average graduation rate for private national universities is just 73 percent. Statistically, that just doesn?t happen by chance.? Furthermore, the private universities in the top half of ultimate standings had 208 Rhodes and Marshall scholars; the bottom half, just 15. The top seven ? Stanford, Brown, Harvard, Tufts, Dartmouth, Yale and Princeton ? had almost as many scholars as all the rest combined. (A followup study of public and liberal arts colleges found a similar correlation.) Dr. Norden cites another distinction: ?Six of those top seven universities, all but Harvard, made Princeton Review?s list of the happiest students.?My first thought is that this is correlation and not causation, but you'll have to read the article to see why Norden thinks there is a causal relationship.
Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.