The New Duck of Minerva: Preliminary Details

Jul 8, 2021

If you’ve been to the Duck of Minerva in the last few days, you’ve probably noticed that it looks radically different than it used to. You may also have noticed that not everything works, or looks, the way it should. What’s going on?

In brief, it was time for an overhaul. This is perhaps the 6th or 7th iteration of the website. It’s been over five years since the last time the site had a redesign. The developer who designed and built the prior version is no longer in the business. The site was running with legacy plugins; link rot was – and remains – prevalent.

I decided that if I was going to come back to the blog, then the design had to change. I also foolishly decided that I would do the work myself. Let’s just say that things have changed a lot since the days of hacking blogger stylesheets. Last week it became clear that the site couldn’t stay in limbo much longer, so I opted for a “soft launch” rather than the rollout that I’d planned. Consider this a public alpha.

In future posts I will take a deeper dive into why I came back to the Duck of Minerva and how the (likely evolving) design relates to the overall reboot of the site. For now, I just want to call attention to a few changes.

  • We’re no longer using Disqus. At present, we’re using the native WordPress comment system. If you intend to comment, you may want to register for an account. This will enable you to (mostly) bypass pre-moderation.
  • We’ve finally installed a plugin that allows for guest and multiple-author bylines.
  • The new site is built much more around category channels. If you look at our podcasting gateway, you’ll see an extreme implementation – one in which posts and pages in the category are clearly aesthetically differentiated. Future changes will push more in this direction.
  • Speaking of podcasts, both Whiskey and IR Theory and The Hayseed Scholar are now affiliated with the Duck of Minerva. At minimum, that means new podcasts will have associated posts that provide an opportunity for comments, discussion, and feedback. The next step will be to experiment with a forum that will expand our capacity to make podcasts more of an opportunity for intellectual community.
  • We are still partnering with Bridging the Gap – although I haven’t had a chance to customize their channel yet. We are pursuing other partnerships of various kinds. We will continue to only consider partnerships with non-profit entities and projects.
  • If you just prefer an Olde Tyme blog format, we’ve got that too.

You should definitely poke around (and bring site problems to my attention).

In terms of future content, we’re already putting together two new symposia. I’ll have new guidelines for submission coming out over the next week or so, but we want to make it easier for academics (at all levels) to contribute to the Duck of Minerva – as well as to promote their research. If you’re an IR journal editor – at a peer-reviewed, non-predatory outlet – and would like to set up standing arrangements with us, please reach out to me.

More soon. In the meantime, leave a comment.

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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.