It seems altogether appropriate to me that my last Duck post should be a post about pedagogy. The more years I spend in this business, the more convinced I am that our area of greatest impact, and the place where our academic vocations are most clearly on display, is the classroom. Whether in-person or virtual, hi-tech or low-tech, as a permanent member of a faculty or as a visitor coming in to guest-teach or participate in a single class session, the most unique and valuable thing that we do is to craft spaces for learning, and set up encounters of many sorts: encounters between students and teacher, encounters between students and readings, encounters between students and students, encounters between students and the world in all of its multifluous and grotesque majesty. “Uncomfortable facts” are our stock in trade, and helping students confront the limits of their perspectives and be thus made uncomfortable is our greatest good.
You may disagree. You may not think that classroom teaching is as central to the academic vocation as I do. You may think that my veneration of classroom teaching is unrealistically romantic, crypto-conservative, elitist, and perhaps even downright irresponsible given the challenges facing the world. So be it. While I am more than happy to continue a contentious conversion with any of you about this, we’ll have to do it in another forum than this one, because as we move closer to the date at which the new ISQ editorial team — of which I am a part, albeit a new and innovative part as my role on the team is to build out a revised web presence for the journal rather than being a traditional editor — takes on formal responsibilities for the journal, I hereby announce my resignation as a permanent contributing member of the Duck of Minerva.
As I do so, I will confess that I stand in awe of what this blog has become. In the beginning it was Dan, Rodger, Bill, and me, largely talking among ourselves in public. And look at it now: a large, intellectually diverse team, topics ranging from the extremely policy-relevant to the extremely geekily abstract (and sometimes both at once!), an institution that plays some indefinite but important role in the world of scholarly IR practice. I confess that I am a bad blogger; I write essays rather than posts, I free-ride on others’ work in putting up “morning linkage” posts, and I sometimes ignore other posts out there on the ‘Net when I put up my own thoughts. And I want to thank my colleagues here for being better at this than I am, but allowing me to be part of the community, and having a space to make my contributions. I take all of those lessons with me into the brave new world of a new web presence for ISQ, and I am convinced that my experience here will make me better able to help shape at least a corner of the online scholarly world to come.
Thank you all, and I’ll see you around the ‘Net, around at conferences, and around the world as long as I keep being fortunate enough to get invitations to come visit interesting academic places!
[Now engaging lurker mode. Obligatory obscure prog-rock lyric in parting: “Meanwhile, lurking by a stone in the mud, two eyes looked to see where I was. And then, something spoke, and this is what it said to me…”]