The Duck of Minerva

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A Semi-Canadian Perspective on the Academic-Policy Divide Debate

November 28, 2012

The semi-annual policy/academic divide debate is back thanks to discussions about PhDs for the policy world (Drezner v. Foust) and Galluci’s piece on the debate, with Drezner’s response.  I would guess that this event is tied to a lunar calendar as it seems to occur often but not always just after Thanksgiving.

Anyhow, I posted my views on this at Canadian International Council–the folks seeking to be the Great White North version of Foreign  My argument parallels Dan’s response: that academics are increasingly engaging the policy world especially through web 2.o (so the tweets about which academic books have mattered ironically miss the point), that the usual criticism that IR focuses on grand debates misses the reality that much work today is focused on problems and “middle range theory,” and that grants often require greater engagement with the policy world and the public.  I raise a big question that I will try to answer next week (it is a weekly column, more or less)–whether the problem is on our side of the divide?  Perhaps no one wants to listen to us IR scholars?

And if this is all too serious for you, I posted on my own blog why I think a Red Dawn with Canadian invaders would be more credible than North Koreans and what strategic and tactics the invaders might use.

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Steve Saideman is Professor and the Paterson Chair in International Affairs at Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. He has written The Ties That Divide: Ethnic Politics, Foreign Policy and International Conflict; For Kin or Country: Xenophobia, Nationalism and War (with R. William Ayres); and NATO in Afghanistan: Fighting Together, Fighting Alone (with David Auerswald), and elsewhere on nationalism, ethnic conflict, civil war, and civil-military relations.