The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Snowquestratian Linkage

March 6, 2013


  • Yesterday I decided to create an account at In doing so, I joined a handful of political scientists who post there in an effort to increase transparency. Of course, I’m now being flooded with questions about improving applications and the like. Which I don’t really mind. But I am surprised at (1) how many people want to get a PhD in political science and (2) how many of them think that there’s some kind of “secret sauce” to admissions.
  • On the subject of graduate school… we’re about a decade into a major expansion of parental leave for permanent faculty, but that hasn’t really been extended to graduate students. Laura McKenna recounts her own experience. My wife had to take what became a multi-year absence from SAIS because Georgetown denied me parental leave after Lyra was born. They didn’t consider graduate students to be the equivalent of full-time employees, even though their own guidelines for MSFS students suggested a time commitment that exceeded that of many jobs.
  • Whither the French university system?
  • As you probably know by know, Hugo Chavez died yesterday. Apparently, US oil companies see this development as potentially profitable for them. There’s already a collection of colorful Chavez quotations. Chavez was a divisive figure–a fact that will be reflected in media coverage of his passing. While I have little sympathy for the oligarchs he defeated, his authoritarian tendencies, his embrace of some of the world’s worst autocrats, and his mismanagement of the Venezuelan economy will permanently mar his legacy.
  • Scott Lemieux has a terrific write up of Ira Katznelson’s new book, Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time. Both PTJ and I had the privilege of working with Ira while we were at Columbia. His is a towering but accessible intellect; I’m looking forward to reading his book.
  • “Room for Debate” at the New York Times asks whether or not we should forgive atrocities in the name of peace.
  • Chinese urbanization.
  • Mobilizing Ideassymposium on legacy of Roe v. Wade.
  • Nate Jensen vs. Big Data.
  • Evengy Morozov eviscerates Gavin Newsom.
  • Tom Murphy defends the UN’s refusal to provide compensation for Haitian cholera victims.
  • Adam Elkus ruminates on the relationship between videogames and violence.

And also:

  • Scott Weiner misses the point in his tongue-in-cheek analysis of Katniss Everdeen as a revolutionary leader. As Liz Stanley, who is now part of the “Politics of the Hunger Games” project, crystalized for me, Katniss begins The Hunger Games suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. She spends the rest of the trilogy careening from traumatic experience to traumatic experience… and becoming less moored in reality. In this respect, Katniss  is very much a product of Panem: a polity that traumatizes itself over and over again. Trauma — not Marxism, liberalism, or post-orientalism — supplies the dialectics of The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay
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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.