Day: January 4, 2013

What next for Venezuela?

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My colleague, Javier Corrales, has an excellent summary of the internal political dynamics in Venezuela on the news yesterday of President Hugo Chavez’s deteriorating health condition. Corrales reports that the “Venezuelan government is busy preparing for the re-inauguration of the country’s beloved president, Hugo Chávez, and also for his funeral.”

The timing of all of this makes for significant confusion:

Venezuela’s constitution offers some guidance on what to do. If the president dies, the vice president (in this case, Nicolás Maduro, an avowed communist) will take office. He will call a new election within 30 days. If Chávez survives but cannot attend the inauguration, most jurists agree that the president of the National Assembly (Diosdado Cabello, who will presumably be reelected to that post in a vote on January 5) will take power. If the government then rules that the president-elect is only “temporarily absent,” Cabello will govern for 90 days, which will be renewable for 90 more. If it instead declares the president-elect to be “permanently absent,” Cabello would be constitutionally obligated to call an early election…

…The political confusion, meanwhile, is no small matter. The government’s unwillingness to accept that Chávez most likely cannot be inaugurated has produced unnecessary uncertainty. The indecision is probably the result of a power struggle within Chávez’s party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. The PSUV knows well that the timing of the announcement of the president’s absence (whether it occurs before or on the inauguration date) and the type of absence (permanent or temporary) determines who gets to control the succession, Maduro or Cabello. And each man leads a different faction.

Chávez stated his preference for Maduro to succeed him in December, during a weekend visit to Caracas between cancer treatments. But the rest of the party does not seem to be fully on board. Maduro’s opponents believe that he is too close to Cuba and too distant from Venezuela. As foreign minister since 2006, Maduro has spent much of his time away from home in recent years. Cabello, too, has detractors. Thanks to his history as a member of the armed forces, a state governor, and a minister of public works, he is seen as being allied with the least glorious element of Venezuela’s revolution: corrupt businessmen and military officials who have profited from their dealings with the state.

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Podcast No. 17: Interview with Iver Neumann

Iver NeumannThe seventeenth Duck of Minerva podcast features Iver Neumann of the London School of Economics. Professor Neumann discusses his intellectual and educational background and a small part of his copious academic output. Topics incude post-structuralism, policy engagement, the practice turn, popular culture and politics, and the Mongols.

I should reiterate important change to procedures. From now on, the Minervacast feed will host mp3 versions of the podcasts. The whiteoliphaunt feed will host m4a versions of the podcast. Unless I hear otherwise, we will continue this approach into the foreseeable future. I’ve heard of output problems on the mp3 versions, but I can’t reproduce

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Award Ballot

As promised, this is my post announcing that we’ve sent an email out with the ballot for the 2013 OAIS awards.We believe that we sent one to everyone that requested one before the deadline, as well as to a list of people that we generated internally.

If you did not receive one and requested one, my apologies. Please email us about getting one (but check your spam filter first). As the voting period lasts until January 31, we can also accomodate late requests for ballots. But the window is closing, so do let us know if you want one.

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Thoughts on Peer-Review Standards from a Junior Reviewer

peerreviewThis is a guest post by Peter S. Henne. Peter is a doctoral candidate at Georgetown University. He formerly worked as a national security consultant. His research focuses on terrorism and religious conflict; he has also written on the role of faith in US foreign policy. During 2012-2013 he will be a fellow at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia.

So I’ve reviewed several manuscripts for journals in the past year, probably the result of always saying yes. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to do it, and actually enjoy it—at least for now.  But I’ve had some concerns about the standards by which I make a decision. Namely, what constitutes a publishable paper, what necessitates revise and resubmit, and when is a rejection fair? I’d like to think it’s more than whether or not I like the paper/it supports my research/it cites my research.

But as a dutiful ABD, I’ve naturally thought through this. And as an aspiring publicly-engaged academic, I’ve presented below some of the questions with which I struggle, and tentative answers, for the consideration of readers who’ve been reviewing manuscripts much longer than I have. Finally, as someone who likes getting a lot of comments on blog posts, I’ve framed them as questions…

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Friday Morning Linkage: Austerity Edition

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Is the tide turning on the idea of austerity?

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The Least Stressful Job of 2013: University Professor

Daffy_duckThat’s what Forbes claims in an article that’s generating much mirth in academic social-media circles.

University professors have a lot less stress than most of us. Unless they teach summer school, they are off between May and September and they enjoy long breaks during the school year, including a month over Christmas and New Year’s and another chunk of time in the spring. Even when school is in session they don’t spend too many hours in the classroom. For tenure-track professors, there is some pressure to publish books and articles, but deadlines are few. Working conditions tend to be cozy and civilized and there are minimal travel demands, except perhaps a non-mandatory conference or two. As for compensation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for professors is $62,000, not a huge amount of money but enough to live on, especially in a university town.

Another boon for professors: Universities are expected to add 305,700 adjunct and tenure-track professors by 2020, according to the BLS. All of those attributes land university professor in the number one slot on Careercast.com’s list of the least stressful jobs of 2013.

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