Saturday, February 9, 2019

Academic Surprises

Today seems to be a day where I blog about academia and what I have learned over time.  John Holbein inspired this post via:

What has surprised me, looking back? 
  • How strong confirmation bias is a guide.  Since I started, I kept hearing that women and minorities were favored, getting all of the jobs.  As a white male, I found this both threatening and puzzling. Threatening for the obvious reason that I might remain unemployed or employed where I don't want to live/work.  Puzzling because of the stats--that women are 30% or so of IR and that minorities have not made major gains over the years--this view of hiring simply ain't true and yet it persists.
  • How the profession would change to become so dependent on adjuncts/sessions/temp faculty and the decline of tenure track positions.
  • How little reading of books I do.
  • How much reading of graduate student drafts I do.
  • How generous folks are with their time--interview subjects in and out of government, friends and acquaintances looking at drafts, etc.
  • How the division between profs and staff can be in status and such can be so wide, and how few folks reach across it.
  • How much grant-writing there is and how important it is to universities, even for us social scientists.
 Personal surprises: 
  • Where my curiosity has taken me--from thinking about arms races when I applied to grad school to maybe something about civil-military dynamics to the international relations of ethnic conflict to the domestic sources of ethnic conflict to alliances to comparative civil-military relations.
  • That I didn't manage to dodge principal-agent theory forever.
  • How much travel I do these days.
What about you?

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