ISA 2015 Pitch Postmortem

Two paper proposals I pitched missed out on the first round of the International Studies Association’s next annual convention in New Orleans, February 2015. I’m on the waiting list.

 

I’m taking this as useful feedback. Here’s some things I’ll keep in mind for ISA 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia:

 

  • Spend more time in advance to craft and distill the papers to fit the ISA annual convention’s yearly theme.
  • Pitch individual panels on different streams / topics rather than two papers on variations of the one topic.
  • If possible make contacts in advance to be on panel and roundtable discussions.
  • Use the annual convention as a development tool for progressing the write-up of scholarly journal publications.
  • Keep online visibility tools – academic CV, Google Scholar, Academic.edu profile – up-to-date.

 

I’ll be working on all of these in the coming months to prepare for future academic conferences.

21st September 2012: Paper Abstracts for International Studies Association’s Annual Convention 2013

Coauthor Ben Eltham (a PhD candidate at University of Western Sydney and rising star in Australian national affairs journalism for Crikey and New Matilda) and I have two papers accepted for the International Studies Association‘s annual convention in San Francisco in 2013:

 

Australia’s Strategic Culture and Constraints in Defense and National Security Policymaking

 

Scholars have advanced different conceptualizations of Australia’s strategic culture. Collectively, this work contends Australia is a ‘middle power’ nation with a realist defense policy, elite discourse, entrenched military services, and a regional focus. This paper contends that Australia’s strategic culture has unresolved tensions due to the lack of an overarching national security framework, and policymaking constraints at two interlocking levels: cultural worldviews and institutional design that affects strategy formulation and resource allocation. The cultural constraints include confusion over national security policy, the prevalence of neorealist strategic studies, the Defence Department’s dominant role in formulating strategic doctrines, and problematic experiences with Asian ‘regional engagement’ and the Pacific Islands. The institutional constraints include resourcing, inter-departmental coordination, a narrow approach to government white papers, and barriers to long-term strategic planning. In this paper, we examine possibilities for continuity and change, including the Gillard Government’s forthcoming ‘Asian Century’ whitepaper and 2013 defense whitepaper.

 

(Thanks to Wooster College’s Jeff Lantis for coordinating the Strategic Culture panel that this paper is on.)

 

Complexity, Model Risk, and International Security

 

International security thinking has evolved beyond initial research in the early-to-mid using the chaos and complexity sciences. Firms including Kissinger & Associates, Pimco, The Prediction Company (now part of UBS), Roubini Global Economics and Stratfor have created new models to understand catastrophic/tail risks, and to profit from geopolitical flashpoints such as the current speculative bubble in rare earths, China’s growth in the Asia-Pacific region, and the greater involvement of multi-national corporations in the international political economy. This paper builds on the work of scholars in international security and the sociology of economics and finance, journalists, and hedge fund and risk management practitioners, to address how these new models have diffused into hybrid academic-commercial environments, how they construct new social realities, and ‘model risk’. We focus on structural micro-foundations: to what degrees and under what conditions do the assumptions underlying these new risk models correspond to real-world phenomena like geopolitical flashpoints? Are these phenomena measurable? Are the relationships between them robust? We examine as a case study the Anonymous hack of Stratfor in December 2011, Stratfor’s planned hedge fund StratCap, and Stratfor’s reaction including its hiring in March 2012 of Atlantic Monthly journalist Robert D. Kaplan.

24th November 2010: Counterterrorism Studies Syllabi

Hedley Bull and Richard K. Betts each observed that one signal of a subfield’s growth is the number of new courses developed around a topic or theme.

Part of my ‘sampling frame’ includes the syllabi of counterterrorism studies courses after September 11. I started with the American Political Science Association, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and the International Studies Association.

I then found some counterterrorism-related resources at TeachingTerror.net (syllabi) and the University of Maryland’s START Consortium (syllabi).

First impressions: (i) despite Academic Board delays counterrerrorism became a ‘hot topic’ after September 11; and (ii) discussion of ‘strategic culture’ can occur in courses on comparative politics, international relations theory, American foreign policy, and issues-based courses.