Sören Stapel

When junior IR scholars meet… #ibnwt14

new-yorker-cartoon
Source: Allan Johnson’s The Art of Academic Practice.

While other IR associations have included and highlighted junior scholar work in their annual conferences only recently, such as the ISA’s junior scholar symposium, the German Political Science Association has already set up a junior scholars’ conference quite some time ago. Ever since 1994, junior IR scholars in and from Germany have met for their very own conference every two years. The 11th IB Nachwuchstagung will take place this coming weekend.

Same same but different…

I’m not concerned at all that the junior scholars’ conference will turn out to be similar to every other conference in many regards: people hand in papers late (I am guilty as charged!), attendees need to stand overly long presentations, alleged questions turn out to be comments that turn out to be shorter speeches, and some great and predicatable questions are asked. And in the end, I will be impressed by all the great work others have compiled:

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Source: When in Academia tumblr.

The junior scholars’ conference is also a very great opportunity for younger researchers to get feedback on their work because it is explicitly directed at the needs and concerns of junior scholars. Although PhD projects are not necessarily different in kind from other research projects, they are new and unique to those actually conducting the work – upcoming scholars from the profession. The IB-Nachwuchstagung allows these scholars to present work from different stages of the research process. People present pretty much everything from rough drafts of research designs to theory chapters of their theses to almost publishable papers.

I’m happy to attend and look forward to meet all these people I haven’t met yet.

Also, this year’s participants of the junior scholars’ conference will bring about some more interaction with people who do not attend this little getaway. Some of the attendees have agreed to live tweet from the conference (#ibnwt14). Go follow @gphofmann, @tobias_weise, and the @theIRblog. We also hope to find and engage even more people to follow the lead. Additonally, we plan to have post-conference coverage such as What I learned at the IB-Nachwuchstagung and reflections on the roundtable discussing the question whether to publish in German.

Nevertheless, we shouldn’t forget either that some dedicated people put a lot of work and effort into organizing this event and that some equally dedicated senior scholars go all the way to a very secluded part of the country, discuss papers of and support junior scholars. Since this shouldn’t be taken for granted, we should give them a little shout out at some point!

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