I read. Really, I do. In fact, I read alot. But most of the reading I do, I’ve figured out, is for one of two particular purposes. First, I read to review. The International Feminist Journal of Politics gets about 100 manuscripts a year, and I read about 30 books between the Oxford Series on Gender and IR and the New York University Press series on Gender and Political Violence. I do about 50 reviews per year for other journals and book publishers. I read stuff that my Ph.D. students are working on to make sure they are appropriately situated in the literature. Reading for reviews is largely great – you get to see the cool stuff in the field early, and help think about its development. But its not methodical, or long-sighted. The other reading I do is to write. When there’s something I’d like to write about, I read the relevant literature, looking to learn what I can learn about what others have thought about it from similar and/or relevant perspectives. This serves as a foundation for what I’d like to write. I don’t think, in those terms, I’m that dissimilar from the pattern many of us fall into.
But there was a time, not that long ago, that I really read. I read a good book, then the good stuff in its bibliography, and then the good stuff in those bibliographies. I once read everything in the almost 2000 footnotes in my most recent book, much of it several times. I find myself shortcutting that lately to manage all of the other work – yet find every time I sit down to read something for some reason other than those two purposes inspiring, and completely worthwhile. So, I have a plan(/resolution): to read rather than write for a prolonged period of time.
The plan is below the fold.
Happy New Year, if you’re into that whole Gregorian calendar thing. (And this photo is, inshallah, our last Gangnam Style reference.)
Sorry to those of you who thinks this blog inclines too much toward America-centric linkage; there’s a lot of that in today’s edition. Look below for more traditional IR links. On a related note, I’d appreciate hearing from commenters what blogs I should be reading. I skim a lot of them, but many seem to have gone moribund over the past several months (or been absorbed by our Borg-ish ducky blog here). And given Foreign Policy‘s irritating new sign-in procedures, I’m now much less likely to read anything over there. While we’re at it, let me promote Daniel Solomon’s Twitter feed (@danatgu).
There was a fiscal cliff deal:
- Even the Liberal New Republic‘s Tim Noah was critical. (Dear Congressional Democrats: “Do not ‘come together.’ Stay apart. Until it’s 2013.”)
- So was Brad DeLong, a University of California at Berkeley economics professor.
- Paul Krugman suggests it’s not that bad but that liberals are troubled by how Obama handled the negotiations.
Other U.S.-centric links:
- In our continuing desultory Hagel Watch, Pat Buchanan endorses Hagel. That shouldn’t make Duck readers more or less leery of supporting him, but I do want to disagree with a comment made on this site some few days ago that the natural position for an Obama Republican Cabinet nominee was State or Defense. I know the Democrats have a thin bench, but choosing administrative personnel matters a lot, and installing a Republican–even a man now apparently without a party, but not by his choice–at DoD can’t help but seem like an endorsement of a hazy elite norm of bipartisanship over the policies that actual Obama voters chose.
- I should note that, given the Duck’s contributors’ political leanings, it may occasionally seem as if we don’t note the differences among the varieties of the American Right. That’s not quite true. In particular, I’ve been consistently impressed by the American Conservative‘s commitment to dialogue and engagement; the contributors and editors at AmCon embarrass the Weekly Standard and National Review by showing that “conservative” and “troglodytic” are not synonyms. I may be biased by this anti-extravert article, however. (For the younger readers among us, this now decade-old Jonathan Rauch piece in the Atlantic is even better.)
In the wide world: