Saturday, February 20, 2010

End of Conference Writing Assignment

What did I do at the ISA?  In terms of actual professional and semi-professional stuff?
  • I was a speaker at a panel honoring Pat James for his work on ethnic conflict.  Despite huge temptations to roast him a la Jeff Ross, I killed him with kindness rather than brutal, nasty insults.  Lost opportunity?  Perhaps.  (Should I insert smiley face here?)  Yes, tongue firmly in cheek.  It was great to see a great guy get a heaping plate of compliments and touching tales of mensch-ness.
  • I presented two papers
    • One, with MJ Zahar of U de Montreal, focuses on the balancing act that governments have to engage in between being threatening enough to deter crime/rebellion/etc and assuring the populace that the coercive power of the state will only be aimed at those who earn such wrath (rebels) and will be proportionate.
    • Second one, comparative caveats with Dave Auerwald of the US National War College, quickly explaining our latest piece, which suddenly got more relevant with the collapse of the Dutch government.
  • I did my annual duty as Convenor or Chair of the Minorities at Risk Advisory Board.  My main job is to make sure we get out at a reasonable time, and I think I did that.
  • I met with now-graduated graduate students to make sure that they are spreading my wisdom far and wide.  What else are disciples for?  Well, actually, as I have blogged earlier, my students rarely work on stuff related to mine, and when they do, they tend to argue against me.  Poor training, indeed!
  • I met with co-authors on nearly finished (regarding the first presentation) and nearly started projects (waiting for money for the diaspora project).
  • I was elected to the board of the Foreign Policy Analysis section.  I have participated in similar sections before (Ethnicity, Nationalism, Migration of ISA; Foreign Policy of APSA). 
  • I went to the meeting of the Foreign Policy Analysis journal's editorial board--at a brew pub with a very nice wheat beer.
  • I met with a bunch of other people, and several of these inspired spinoffs off of current projects, so I have some cool ideas to play with.
  • And, of course, I ate well--yummy beignets and some mighty fun beer, but that was not so professional.

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