The Duck of Minerva

Thursday APSA Linkage

28 August 2014

Many of your Ducks are descending upon DC for the annual APSA conference which is appropriately timed at the beginning of the academic year and the school year.  I know I have been looking forward to starting the semester completely shattered from slogging through revisions on papers. It’s all the more pleasing when my two panels are scheduled at the exact same time in buildings that are miles apart! The fate of the petition to move APSA to another more reasonable date will apparently be discussed so we shall see.

While considerable international news is being made (Russia’s new incursions into Ukraine, Obama’s efforts to get a climate agreement without a treaty), in the spirit of APSA, we have a far more important task before us: academic navel-gazing. So, here are some links from around the web about how to annoy political scientists, how not to annoy your professors, the many mistakes people make in titling papers, and the Steven Salaita pre-emptive firing at Illinois.


– Patrick Dunleavy asks “Why Do Academics Choose Useless Titles?.” He identifies the typical mistakes and how to title better:

Most people find articles, chapters and papers now via Google Scholar or other online sources, for instance, by searching for key or ‘trigger’ words. The search algorithms used by Google and other search engines assign extra importance to words appearing in a title, compared with an abstract, or the body text of a paper. So if your article title includes key words that other academics and researchers in your field are likely to search for, then your text is much more likely to show up high on their search returns.

– Dan Drezner identifies 10 ways to mess with political scientists, including mess with them on social media

– Lisa Wade in the Business Insider on 10 things professors hate, including unprofessional correspondence:

Omg you’re here! Ahh i need to get my s–t together now lol. Jk. Give me a ring when u can/want, my cell is [redacted]. I have class until 1230 but then im free! i will let the teacher she u will be there, shes a darling. Perhaps ill come to the end of the talk and meet you there after. Between the faculty lunch and your talk, we can chat! ill take make sure the rooms are all ready for u. See ya!

– Inside Higher Education on the pre-emptive firing of Steven Salaita by the University of Illinois for politically charged tweets about Israel’s actions in Gaza

What we cannot and will not tolerate at the University of Illinois are personal and disrespectful words or actions that demean and abuse either viewpoints themselves or those who express them. We have a particular duty to our students to ensure that they live in a community of scholarship that challenges their assumptions about the world but that also respects their rights as individuals,” said an email from Phyllis M. Wise (below right), chancellor of the Urbana-Champaign campus where the American Indian studies program offered Salaita a tenured position that he and the department believe he accepted.