The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

The news about Dan Drezner

October 9, 2005

Dan let us know today that the Political Science Department of the University of Chicago decided not to extend him tenure. Given how upsetting this is for Dan, I thought his announcement on his blog displayed a great deal of class and wit.

There’s been some discussion of the matter on Crooked Timber, and many condolences (and displays of outrage) in the comments section of Dan’s blog.

A few comments.

1. As hard as this is for Dan, keep in mind that he’ll land on his feet. He has a very impressive list of publications and his credentials are rock solid.

In fact, I imagine a lot of people in Political Science departments around the country are thinking to themselves (or will soon be thinking) “maybe we can lure Drezner here.”

2. The University of Chicago’s Department of Political Science is among the best in the country. Their IR group is among the very, very best. They have the luxury to make their own decisions about what is below and above ‘the bar’ for tenure… and to set that bar pretty damn high if they so choose.

My point here is really directed at all those commentators who claim that Dan’s failure to get tenure just had to be motivated by “political bias” or “blog-inspired jealousy” should cut it out. They don’t know what they’re talking about and it doesn’t help Dan in any way.

3. One of the questions academic bloggers, particularly in IR, are probably asking themselves now is whether Dan’s case proves the deleterious impact of blogging on one’s career trajectory. As a number of people at Crooked Timber note, we don’t have enough data yet. I say this: when the rest of us don’t get tenure, then it is probably time to start worrying.

if you’re one of the two or three people who read the Duck but not Dan Drezner’s blog, head over and wish him the best. Then think about making another disaster-relief donation. Current reports suggest over 20,000 have died in South Asia.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.