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.
January 22, 1939 Assistant Professor Henry "Indiana" Jones Jr. Department of Anthropology Chapman Hall 227B Marshall College Dr. Jones: As chairman of the Committee on Promotion and Tenure, I regret to inform you that your recent application for tenure has been denied by a vote of 6 to 1. Following past policies and procedures, proceedings from the committee's deliberations that were pertinent to our decision have been summarized below according to the assessment criteria.... To summarize, the committee fails to recognize any indication that Dr. Jones is even remotely proficient when it comes to archaeological scholarship and practice. His aptitude as an instructor is questionable at best, his conduct while abroad is positively deplorable, and his behavior on campus is minimally better. Marshall College has a reputation to uphold. I need not say more. My apologies, Prof. G.L. Stevens ChairmanYou'll have to click on the link to see the case against Dr. Jones in full.
Glassbead will exemplify what academic book publishing should be in another sense: namely, healthy public intellectual culture. We will purvey a wide variety of content?ranging from academic specialist works to journalism to critical editions of public domain fiction to new fiction. But we aim to make our mark with works that solve intellectual circulation problems?within the ivory tower and without. We will make books that are maximally available, searchable, usable?by the public and by academics. We will make books the general reader (not so mythical as sometimes reported) and the academic reader will want to make use of. Our most distinctive offerings?our first releases?will be "book events." Born on blogs as massive, multi-reviewer online seminars, the book events are hybrid creatures, unknown in a paper age. We are proud of the critical work they do, the range of participants they have attracted. And, after the fact, they look quite nice on paper. And we hereby demonstrate what an intellectual gift culture can do for the rest of academic publishing. Not all of these books will be narrowly academic, but the case for their intellectual functionality is clearest in the scholarly cases, and perhaps clearest of all in the humanities. Every book published in the humanities should be widely read, discussed, publicly reviewed?should have it's own lively comment box, not to put too fine a point on it. Because any scholarly book incapable of rousing a measure of sustained, considerate, knowledgeable, intelligent criticism and downright bookchat from a few dozen souls specializing in that area . . . needn't have been published, after all. Turning the point around: in an age in which technology assures any book worth publishing can be accompanied by such an event, any book that lacks one has been sadly failed by the academic culture in which it was so unfortunate as to be born. We hope to do our part and, even more so, set an excellent example of how to keep ideas circulating.There are several interesting implications of this project. Among the more obvious:
1) It's another means through which blog outputs can be translated into scholarly capital, as it were; 2) I predict John Holbo is going to find that people will be much nicer to him than in the past; 3) There will be the interesting question of whether these collections are better to get in .pdf format or in hard copy. From the first effort, I suspect it might be the former:Over at Open U., Jacob Levy is also enthusiastic.Paper has been a bit of a puzzle. We have opted to make it typographically clear where links appear in the electronic version. Readers of the paper version who wish to follow links can download the PDF version of the book from Parlor Press, or check the original posts.
I've had a taste of both academia and investment banking. The dominance hierarchy of banking is so strong that if you could get the bankers out of their pinstripes for an hour, you could have filmed your average pitch meeting for the Discovery Channel. Yet when it comes to hyper-obsession with invisibly fine status distinctions, no banker could hold a candle to the average academic--or journalist, for that matter.Read the whole thing.
It was quite a boner. University of Chicago political scientist John Mearsheimer was in town yesterday to elaborate on his view that American Jewish groups are responsible for the war in Iraq, the destruction of Lebanon's infrastructure and many other bad things. As evidence, he cited the influence pro-Israel groups have on "John Boner, the House majority leader." Actually, Professor, it's "BAY-ner." But Mearsheimer quickly dispensed with Boehner (R-Ohio) and moved on to Jewish groups' nefarious sway over Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who Mearsheimer called " Von Hollen." Such gaffes would be trivial -- if Mearsheimer weren't claiming to be an authority on Washington and how power is wielded here. But Mearsheimer, with co-author Stephen Walt of Harvard's Kennedy School, set off a furious debate this spring when they argued that "the Israel lobby" is exerting undue influence in Washington; opponents called them anti-Semitic. Yesterday, at the invitation of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), they held a forum at the National Press Club to expand on their allegations about the Israel lobby. Blurring the line between academics and activism, they accepted a button proclaiming "Fight the Israel Lobby" and won cheers from the Muslim group for their denunciation of Israel and its friends in the United States. Whatever motivated the performance, the result wasn't exactly scholarly.A few thoughts:
1) Millbank's opening is nothing more than a cheap shot -- for the record, I thought "Beohner" was pronounced "boner" as well. It's that kind of snottiness that undermines the more trenchant factual critiques Millbank makes later in the piece. 2) Millbank is a smart political reporter, and the fact that he and his editors opened the story in this way is indicative of the way the public debate over "The Israel Lobby" has transpired. Even though I think Mearsheimer and Walt had the kernel of a good idea in their original LRB essay, the essay was so riddled with slipshod rhetoric and historical inaccuracy that the idea was drowned out by claims of anti-Semitism and counterclaims of philo-Semitism. 3) Mearsheimer and Walt's tendency to present this argument only to friendly fora -- and to use increasingly sloppy rhetoric to characterize their argument -- suggests that they have no intention of modifying their tone or their thesis. I'm not surprised, given the crap they've had to deal with on this topic -- but I am disappointed (indeed, one wonders if Mearsheimer and Walt's CAIR presentation is an example of Cass Sunstein's "echo chamber" effect). 4) I think we're at the point where it is time to recognize that it will be impossible to have anything close to a high-minded debate on this topic when the starting point is "The Israel Lobby" essay. Don't get me wrong -- besides the fact that Mearsheimer and Walt badly defined their independent variable, miscoded one alternative explanation, omitted several other causal variables, poorly operationalized their dependent variable, and failed to fact-check some of their assertions, it's a bang-up essay. With this foundation, however, any debate is guaranteed to topple into the mire of anti-Semitic accusations, Godwin's Law, and typing in ALL CAPS.The hardworking staff here at danieldrezner.com will look forward, in a few months, to someone restarting this debate from a more reliable factual and conceptual base.
You have to understand, when I was in school we all thought the U.S. government was corrupt and inefficient. We were all influenced by the Teapot Dome scandal.....
While policymakers agree that promoting trade expansion serves U.S. national interests, they disagree on how to accomplish this goal. U.S.Trade Strategy: Free Versus Fair, by Tufts University?s Daniel W. Drezner, is a primer on trade policy. Written as a policy memo to an American president, this Council Critical Policy Choice (CPC), published by CFR press, does not argue for a particular policy but outlines two distinct options. The ?free trade? approach seeks to ensure the full realization of the economic and political benefits of free trade. It recommends a renewed commitment to the success of the Doharound of trade negotiations through top-level U.S.involvement in the negotiations and a willingness to resist domestic political pressures regarding issues such as outsourcing, textiles, and agriculture. The ?fair trade? approach seeks to balance the economic benefits of free trade with other values?community stability and income security, for instance?even at the cost of foregoing some of the benefits of trade. This approach recommends a tougher stance, in trade negotiations and in Congress, to ensure receptivity to American exports and to stem the tide of outsourcing and other potential threats to U.S.interests. ?Trade has become one of the most significant and controversial subjects in the international arena,? said Council President Richard N. Haass. ?It is also one of the most complex. This book provides students, professors, and others a basic text that will help them better understand the many dimensions of trade policy and help them sort out where they stand on this critical issue.? In addition to presenting these two alternatives, the book includes background papers on four recurring challenges to U.S. trade policy: balancing America?s trade and current account deficits, managing the intersection of trade policy and issues such as intellectual property and labor standards, supporting workers adversely affected by trade, and harmonizing the multiple tracks of trade diplomacy. The resulting product is a compact, accessible volume on the substance and politics of trade policy.If you want to save yourself some dough and download the whole thing as a .pdf file, then click here. Curious Fletcher students who have stumbled onto the blog can also get a sneak preview of my (still subject to last-minute changes) syllabus for DHP P217 -- Global Political Economy -- by clicking here.
After a long and fruitful career, 79-year-old master?s degree graduate Herbert Baum has returned to the University of Chicago to earn his Ph.D. The oldest person ever to be awarded a doctorate by the University, Baum will receive the degree in economics Friday, Aug. 25. When he left the University in 1951 to become a government agricultural economist in Washington, D.C., Baum had a master?s degree and was just short of writing his dissertation to earn a doctorate. His dissertation contributes to agricultural economics by examining how to measure the impact of fees charged producers for commodity promotion and research. The thesis, based on a case study of the strawberry industry in California in which he was a leader, developed a model for researchers to understand the long-term value of the fees assessed growers. The model shows how the policies of the state strawberry commission, which supported research into improved varieties, improved production per acre and grower profitability. James Heckman, the Henry Scultz Distinguished Service Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2000, was a member of a committee that also included two other Nobel Prizes. Heckman said of Baum?s work, ?Herb Baum?s Ph. D. thesis is a well executed study of an industry partially monopolized by government authority. His application of basic price theory to understand the consequences of this policy is in the best tradition of empirical price theory at Chicago. He combines theory with evidence in a convincing way in a serious piece of research on a major agricultural industry.?Quite the dissertation committee:
[Milton] Friedman, the Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Economics, was one of the faculty members who approved granting Baum a Ph.D. Joining Friedman on the committee were Nobel Prize-winning economists Gary Becker, University Professor in Economics, and committee chair James Heckman. Roger Myerson, the William C. Norby Professor in Economics, also served on the committee. Baum based his dissertation on his life?s work and titled it: ?Quest for the Perfect Strawberry; A Case Study of the California Strawberry Commission and the Strawberry Industry: A Descriptive Model for Marketing Order Evaluation?.To be fair soon-to-be-Dr. Baum, he's not a true nth year, since he left the university an accomplished something. Academic readers are invited to share any horror stories they know about nth years.
Occasionally the marginal idea escapes the academy and has an impact, but by and large students just want to graduate, academics just want to be insulated from the real world, and the real world wants to be isolated from loonies who go on about how great Che Guevara was. In this light, the Academy is a very efficient mechanism, creating surplus for all.Click here to read this in context.
At one time or another the bug to write an editorial strikes many in our profession. Our motivation is driven by disgust in what we see in the media, where many of the pundits are, for lack of a more nuanced description, idiots.Fortunately, Borer then focuses most of his ire at academic folkways:
The first hurdle to overcome is schizophrenia when it comes to following rules. While academics suffer no hesitation when placing limits on students' term papers, professors generally do not like to follow similar restrictions. Because our first foray into editorial writing is usually for a local newspaper, bad habits form quickly. A decade ago, my colleagues at Virginia Tech informed me that the Roanoke Times would publish essays of almost any length that a Tech professor submitted. If I had something to say, and needed 1,500 words to say it, I simply sent my over-stuffed story, and presto! I was playing the smug role of public intellectual. Move over Tom Friedman, this was easy! As the years went on, my ambitions grew. Yet truth be told, each sample of brilliant analysis and clever prose that eventually appeared in the local mullet wrapper had first been rejected by one of the major national newspapers (the New York Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and the Wall Street Journal). U.S.A. Today does not accept unsolicited op-ed submissions; however, in 2002 they asked me to write a piece explaining why Afghanistan was going to be another Vietnam. When I expressed my judgment that the U.S. incursion into Afghanistan had fewer potential similarities than differences with Vietnam, the editors lost interest in my "expertise." A day or two later, the story they wanted told duly appeared courtesy of another professor. The U.S.A. Today experience was instructive?editors "editorialize" by thematically selecting the content their publishers wish to convey.... If changing one's spots is difficult for a leopard, teaching an old academician new tricks may be even more tricky. Successful op-ed writing requires academics to move tepidly into the realm of rhetoric and imagery. Why? As noted above, space is limited to approximately 700 words, therefore the use of rhetorical and metaphorical words that mentally catalyze the reader to generate even more words in his/her mind's eye is indispensable. For the most part, we academics are trained to play a very different game?we really do not want our readers to think freely for themselves. Certainly we do not want to use words that might foment an emotional response in our peers. Therefore, we avoid words that are open to interpretation, and we go to lengths ad nauseum to define terms. We require the members of our tribe to assemble narratives consisting of analytically rigorous but alliteratively sterile words. We know that use of that ever-loaded term "democracy" in a journal article entails a commitment of four or more pages of literature review in order to dodge the finely honed machetes of peer reviewers. In an op-ed you can explain democracy in a sentence, and readers will get the gist of your definition. Indeed, getting to the gist of things is all you need in editorials.That last line applies to blogs as well.
Hoping to appeal to tech-savvy students with a shrinking attention span, more Boston-area colleges are pushing professors to go digital and record their lectures as downloadable files that student can listen to wherever, whenever.... Supporters of the idea say that podcasts help students study better, allowing baffled freshmen to fast-forward to the part of an introductory lecture they didn't understand and hit repeat. The University of Massachusetts at Lowell, for example, will try with 10 high-tech classrooms this fall. But others question whether podcasting lectures will actually contribute to learning. Students, some professors say, might be tempted to skip class and the discussion that can flow after a lecture. "If the purpose of what you are doing is to give them some information quickly, then podcasts are great," said Donna Qualters, director of The Center for Effective University Teaching at Northeastern University, an education resource program. ``My fear is that podcasts are going to replace the lecture. And then, of course, kids are not going to go to class, and they will miss the benefits of that."My take: some students would use podcasts as a substitute for attending lectures, others will use it as intended. The ones who use it as a substitute probably know it's not as good as attending the lecture itself, but are willing to pay the price in terms of lower grades. I'm curious what other professors and students think.
Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.