Here's my contribution to the twitter conversation:
I added Cesi Cruz and Wendy Wong later, as I had inadvertently left them off as they have not been tweeting much lately. These women fit into three groups: former students (I supervised Aisha and Jessica TD, I was on Cesi's MA committee), former UCSD students (Wendy and Jessica Weiss Chen) and Tanisha. Tanisha does stuff that touches my work so we have bumped into each other a few times, and are now friends. Nearly all of these folks are junior, which makes sense since there are so few women of color who are senior and fewer senior people are on twitter. That these are the only names that came to mind show that my networks are mighty white (I could rattle off a number of white women who I know, who I follow on twitter, and who I hang out with).For sharp insights on IR and Comparative Politics, I follow @ProfAishaAhmad@triskodarden@jessicacweiss@tanishafazal#followWOCWednesday— Steve Saideman (@smsaideman) July 12, 2017
Most of the women mentioned by other people are folks I don't know--either because they are in fields of political science distant from my research (American Politics, Political Theory) or focus on specific parts of the world that have largely been outside of my zone (Africa, Asia, Latin America). Or if I were better read (I am way behind on reading the various journals, sabbatical didn't solve that), perhaps more of these names would be familiar.
Anyhow, this may speak to an on-going problem: that either by interest or by the implicit/explicit biases of the profession, many non-white scholars end up researching and teaching areas of the world that are related to their ethnic/racial background rather than focusing on broader issues in IR. Wendy and Tanisha are exceptions as their research agendas do not focus on places that they might be associated with. I do know from conversations with some of these folks along with conversations with Christian Davenport, one of the few African-Americans doing general Comparative Politics, that these expectations still exist.
I don't know whether or how such stuff should change (I don't want to force people to become generalists or research themes I care about), but I could not help but notice the patterns today. Maybe that is my own confirmation bias and my ignorance of the work of many of the women mentioned today. Maybe not. I write here and then share my thoughts so that folks can correct me if my perceptions are wrong. Am I wrong?
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