Friday, January 31, 2014

Online Media Caucus: Its Time Has Come

The events of the last week within the International Studies Association indicate that there is much ignorance about social media and its role in 21st century IR scholarship and teaching.  On the bright side, the reactions to the ISA's misguided proposal demonstrated that there is a vibrant community of scholars who rely on "web 2.0" in a variety of ways.  This has led myself and others to conclude that the time has come for an Online Media Caucus to be formed within the ISA.  The head of each Caucus (like each section and region) has a seat and a vote at the meetings of the Governing Council, so the formation of this caucus would institutionalize representation of the online media community.

The initial leadership group will consist of myself as Chair , Amanda Murdie of U of Missouri- Columbia as Vice Chair and Bruce Jentleson of Duke University, Christian Davenport of U. of Michigan, and Laura Seay of Colby College serving as at-large officers.  These folks represent a range of experience in online media as well as a range of experiences in the profession.

It may be too late for this year's ISA meeting to gain approval, but we want to start the process now while our community is energized.  We need at least 50 members of the ISA to "sign" the petition (which is below).  All you have to do is email me at with OMC in the subject and with message text indicating your support of this petition.  Once the Caucus is established, members will have to pay a minor fee to support the activities of the Caucus--mainly the annual reception.  We are open to feedback about what people want an Online Media Caucus to do and how it should be structured.  The effort right now is just getting enough support so that we can be recognized and move forward.

Petition for the Establishment of an International Studies Association Online Media Caucus

The purpose of the “Online Media Caucus” is to promote:

  • The scholarly and pedagogical use of online media;
  • The study of the role of online media in international politics;
  • The interests of ISA members who make use of online media in their professional activities; and
  • The formation of traditional and virtual networks among ISA members active in the study, theory, and practice of online media.
The caucus will be organized in a manner consistent with ISA component units, with positions including a Chair, Vice-Chair (who will serve as program officer), and three at-large Members of the Executive Committee. Terms shall normally last for one year; in the year of the caucus’ establishment, officers shall serve for two-year terms.

The activities of the caucus shall include, but not be limited to:

  • The awarding  of commendations for (i) the practice of, and (ii) scholarship on, online media and international studies -- such as a book award, article award, blogging award(s), and so forth;
  • Holding panels, presentations, and events related to its core purposes; and
  • Maintaining online resources and virtual events consistent with its mission.

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