Tag: Metablogging (Page 1 of 2)

What We Really Need is a Slice of Humble Pie

This is a guest post by former Duck of Minerva blogger Daniel Nexon. The views that he expresses here should not be construed as representing those of the International Studies Association, International Studies Quarterly, or anyone with an ounce of sanity.

We now have a lot of different meta-narratives about alleged fraud in “When Contact Changes Minds: An Experiment in the Transmission of Support for Gay Equality.”  These reflect not only different dimensions of the story, but the different interests at stake.

One set concerns confirmation bias and the left-leaning orientations of a majority of political scientists. At First Things, for example. Matthew J. Franck contrasts the reception of the LaCour and Green study (positive) with that of Mark Regnerus’ finding of inferior outcomes for children of gay parents (negative). There’s some truth here.  Regnerus’ study was terminally flawed. LaCour and Green’s study derived, most likely, from fraudulent data. Still, one comported with widespread ideological  priors in the field, while the other did not. That surely shaped their differential reception. But so did the startling strength of the latter’s findings, as well as the way they cut against conventional wisdom on the determinants of successful persuasion.

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An Announcement

As many of our readers know, I am the incoming editor-in-chief of International Studies Quarterly, the “flagship journal” of the International Studies Association. My team will begin to take new submissions in October. The full handoff occurs in January of 2014. The scope and nature of the responsibilities involved are inconsistent with an active presence here. Indeed, my time-management and logistical skills are insufficient to support both activities. Thus, I will be phasing out of my various roles at the Duck of Minerva over the next few weeks.

In practice, this means that my last major contribution to the Duck of Minerva will our upcoming symposium on the European Journal of International Relations‘ “End of IR Theory” special issue. I also expect that I will be posting some reflections on nine years of blogging and on the evolution of the Duck of Minerva. I don’t know how much interest there will be on these subjects, but writing about them will provide me with a sense of closure.

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Brian’s Departure and the Duck

I expect that our readers have seen Brian’s public letter of resignation, as well as Charli’s personal take on all this and Steve’s  discussion of the perils and rewards of blogging. This is a choice that Brian made on his own recognizance, one that he announced to the other permanent contributors in an email exchange.

Many of the emails that I’ve received since Thursday have expressed some combination of puzzlement, anger, dismay, and unhappiness at the absence of a collective statement from the Duck of Minerva. The general argument is that a blog of the Duck of Minerva‘s “stature” and “reach” must take a collective stance on Brian’s most recent post and on concerns about a pattern of sexist content in his work. Continue reading


Learning the Wrong Lessons? Who Should Blog?

In the past week, there has been a heap of controversy here over a post that many folks found to be offensive.  In reaction, the blogger is ceasing to blog, Charli  discuss the challenges of blogging, and others still are drawing lessons, such as Christopher Zorn who posted on his FB page “the vast majority of academic political scientists are just not cut out to be bloggers, and probably shouldn’t do so.”

My reaction to this is:

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I Wear My Egg In Solidarity: Thoughts on the Perils of Academic Blogging

egg1Sometime in my first year of blogging, I read on the Internets that President Mugabe’s troops had burned a six-year-old alive in front of
his parents. I was horrified, it was late, I was tired and already pissed off at something completely unrelated, and I foolishly fired off a blog post provocatively entitled “Why Not Assassinate Mugabe?

The point of the post, actually, was that there are a whole bunch of really good reasons why the anti-assassination norm exists and holds in such cases. But naturally no one paid any attention to that, and by the time I woke up I had been called out for inciting violence against a head of state. After watching the comments and blog responses pour in the next morning I checked with my co-bloggers about what to do. Should I remove the post?  Edit the post? Reply to the comments? Ignore them and move on? Resign?

It was a learning moment for me as a blogger, but it was also a small constitutive moment in the (at that time) gradually expanding Duck community’s process of figuring out our collective rules of thumb for dealing with mistakes, hot-button moments, or outright gaffes.  Continue reading


Dear Readers

I have decided, following the controversy surrounding my post on networking, to remove myself as one of the permanent contributors to the Duck of Minerva. Through poorly chosen and ill-considered language and images, I made light of women’s challenges both in their academic and in their daily lives, for which I am deeply sorry. I don’t want to get in the way of other people doing good work on important topics on the site. In the future, I will diligently and sincerely work towards educating myself on the unique experiences of women in academia and pass those lessons on to others. I will attempt to regain your trust.

The Duck of the Minerva has rightly become regarded as the best blog for international relations academics and others looking for guidance on contemporary policy issues. Readers would be well served by continuing to read it. To have tarnished the Duck was a great mistake. I was proud to be a part of it, and I wish you all well.

Brian Rathbun


SAGE and the Duck of Minerva

This is just a short note to explain the appearance of the phrase “temporarily un-gated PDF” in Peter Henne’s guest post about contagion and the Syrian civil war.

We’ve been linking to academic articles for quite some time, but usually to the abstracts or random versions available on the web. But after The Monkey Cage announced a partnership with academic publishers to temporarily un-gate political-science articles, it occurred to me that nothing prevented us from asking publishers to do the same for the Duck of Minerva.

I’m pleased to announce the SAGE is the first to do so. Thanks to David Mainwaring for making this possible. Continue reading


Podcast No. 20: Interview with Phil Schrodt

Phil SchrodtThe twentieth Duck of Minerva podcast features Phil Schrodt of Pennsylvania State University. The interview includes Professor Schrodt’s views on a number of interesting topics, including the history of quantitative and computational conflict studies, his “seven deadly sins” project, advice for graduate students in political science, and an explanation of his decision to take up blogging.

This is the third podcast to only feature an mp3 version. I don’t get the sense that anyone is missing the m4a (“enhanced”) enhanced podcasts, but please correct me if I am mistaken on that point.

I should reiterate important change to procedures. From now on, the Minervacast feed will always host mp3 versions of the podcasts. The whiteoliphaunt feed will host m4a versions when they are available–otherwise this feed will also host mp3 versions.

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Podcast No. 19: Interview with Daniel Drezner

DreznerFP2The nineteenth Duck of Minerva podcast features Daniel Drezner of Tufts University. Professor Drezner ruminates on, among other things his intellectual and educational background, his experiences as an academic blogger.

As was the case with last week’s episode, this podcast is a bit more “bare bones” than usual. I didn’t put in introductory remarks; I have not produced an m4a version at this time. The file located here is the mp3 version. Explanation: I am still a bit pressed for time right now. Also, I am very, very tired.

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 [note: see earlier remarks about the m4a version of this podcast]. Unless I hear otherwise, we will continue this approach into the foreseeable future.

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Another Virtue of Blogsphere Engagement?

PM’s latest post, “Nobody cares about foreign policy” (note to self: we need a style manual to resolve whether, for example, post titles should be capitalized), was prompted by a proseminar we both attended on Monday.

At this proseminar, the always-interesting and invariably thoughtful Elizabeth Saunders presented part of her book project: a paper entitled “The Electoral Disconnection in US Foreign Policy.”

Among other things, Saunders argues that theories of “democratic international relations” — particularly those surrounding audience costs — need to incorporate a central insight from the last fifty years of American politics research: that most voters are “low information”* when it comes to many things political–and especially international affairs.** It follows, therefore, that elites who provide “cues” to the voting public in general, partisans, ethnic groups, etc. often operate as key intermediaries in the relationship between foreign policy and electoral pressures.

You should definitely read the paper, but that isn’t the point of this post.

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Note on Podcast No. 16

I recorded an interview with Rob Farley yesterday on academic blogging and the academic blogsphere. I had planned to put it up this evening but, like, I suspect, a lot of Americans, I’ve been a bit distracted for the last few hours.

The upshot is that I haven’t completed post-production and the podcast will likely not be available until tomorrow.

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Duck-Proofing Help

No, we’re not having avian problems. Rather, we know that our archives are littered with artifacts of conversion: visible code, weird blockquoting, and so on. So, the plea: if you come across anything like this, please email me with the post link so that I can edit it.

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Announcing the 2013 Blogging Reception and Awards at ISA

The staff of the Duck of Minerva is very pleased to announce: (1) the first-ever blogging reception at the International Studies Association (ISA) annual convention; and (2) the Online Achievement in International Studies (OAIS) Awards.

Thanks to the generous support of SAGE and the efforts of SAGE editor David Mainwaring, we will be hosting a reception at the 2013 International Studies Association Annual Convention in San Francisco. Details to follow in updates, but the reception is scheduled for the night of Thursday, April 4th.  A number of prominent bloggers will give brief Ignite-style presentations—verbal versions of blog posts, if you will. The current schedule includes Dan Drezner, Erica Chenoweth, Robert Farley, and Steve Walt.

At the 2013 reception we will announce the winners of the first-ever Online Achievements in International Studies Awards.  For 2013 there will be five awards:

  • Special Achievement in International-Studies Blogging;
  • Best Blog (Group) in International Studies;
  • Best Blog (Individual) in International Studies;
  • Best Blog Post in International Studies; and
  • Most Promising New Blog (Group or Individual) in International Studies.

We intend for each of these awards – with the exception of the “Special Achievement” category – to become an annual institution. The “Special Achievement” award will be awarded at the discretion of the Duck of Minerva staff. More about the awards below the fold. This same information is collected here (the link is also on the menu bar). UPDATE: Nominations should be logged on this post.

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Along with the  face-lift come some new faces to the Duck. Well, new names anyway. We recruited this year based on the desire to increase diversity on the blog, particularly in methodology and area expertise; and also to cover some staple topics while one or more permanent contributors (myself included) cut back for a time to finish book projects and deal with other commitments. Please welcome the following guest bloggers to our site for the following academic year.
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Announcement: The Duck of Minerva is Moving (UPDATED)

Update: the Duck has moslty migrated (and that sentence makes sense in a non-technical context! Score!). Comment migration is in process, so probably not a good time for a magnum opus response. The existing RSS feed should work, so no need to change that.

Vikash designed our new banner.

The template is likely to shift some over the next week or so. Let us know about missing functionality, aestehic issues, and other stuff. Obviously, FB, Twitter, etc. integration is missing but will be around soon.

Update 2: Apparently the template is being played with. So disregard relevant earlier comments.


We are in the process of a long-delayed WordPress migration.

It turns out Laura Sjoberg is pretty handy with the coding, and so she’s doing a ton of work to make sure this goes as smoothly as possible.

There will be no substantive content updates this weekend, and we do not expect any until the migration is complete.

Thanks to all our sharp-witted, incisive, and supportive readers. We will do our best to make the readership experience as seamless as possible, but we do expect some hiccups.

We will keep you all posted. 


Technical Difficulties with Podcasts? (UPDATED)

I’ve been getting sporadic reports of problems opening the podcasts, e.g., of people clicking on them from the “podcasts” tab with no result, being unable to force a download to show up as an audio file, and so forth. If you’ve been having this kind of difficulty would you let me know in comments?

Please specify what kind of browser(s), and operating system(s) are involved, and which (if any) workarounds have revolved the problem.

UPDATE: I’ve added an mp3 of Episode 10 to the files linked to under the “podcasts” tab. I’d appreciate it if someone who has had difficulties tries it to see if it works. 


A New Media Caucus at the ISA?

Should there be a blogging (or, perhaps, “New Media”) caucus at the International Studies Association (ISA)?

Despite being in the ISA-NE hierarchy and having served in various positions for the International Political Sociology (IPS) section, I’ve never paid that much attention to the internal structure of the ISA.

But now I’m involved in the creation of the Historical International Relations (HIST) section and a bid for International Studies Quarterly, so I’ve been on a steep learning curve.

It seems to me that there are good reasons to form a blogging caucus, but it also doesn’t fit well with the existing ones — Global South, LGBTQA, and the Women’s Caucus. They serve to ensure representation for those who struggle with discrimination and acceptance in the field. A New Media caucus would simply provide an institutional mechanism for coordination among those engaging in an increasingly important, but still fraught, dimension of international studies.


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