Tag Archives: isa

Links: Graduate Conferences; Betrayers’ Banquet; Blogging Awards; Compliance

Two calls for graduate conferences

Today, I’d like to share two calls for applications for graduate conferences:

  • First, our colleagues at the Graduate School of North American Studies hold a conference on “Trust Issues. Community, Contingency, and Security in North America”. It’ll take place here in Berlin on May 9 and 10, 2014. The full call is on their website, and you can apply until February 9.
  • Second, a group of graduate students at Georgetown’s Center for German and European Studies organizes the 2014 Transatlantic Policy Symposium on “Hot Wars and Cold Wars: Europe’s Near Abroad“. The deadline is on the coming Monday! Again, all information can be found on their website.

Then, there is an intriguing case of applied game theory. A company in London organizes an event called The Betrayers’ Banquet. For £ 99, you can spend an evening enjoying a “32 course banquet with an embedded implementation of the iterated prisoner’s dilemma”:

The event works as follows:

A banqueting table is set with 48 chairs, 24 on each side, at which players are seated at random. For a period of two hours, the food is served in small portions every fifteen minutes, and varies in quality; at the top end of the table, it is exquisite – food you could expect at a fancy restaurant. At the bottom end, the food is charitably described as unpalatable. In between, it is a spectrum between these two extremes.

At regular intervals, pairs of opposing diners are invited to play a round of the prisoner’s dilemma with each other; They are each provided with a small wooden coin with symbols on each side representing cooperation and betrayal, which they place on the table concealed under their palms, and then simultaneously reveal:

• If they both cooperate, then they are both moved up five seats towards the good food.
• If they both betray, they are both moved five seats down towards the worse food.
• If one betrays and one cooperates, the betrayer moves up ten seats, and other down ten seats.

If any of our readers were in London and willing to go, I’d love to hear their experiences. In the comments at Marginal Revolution (where I learned about this), the game designer chimes in: “People are cutthroat, especially when they’re drunk and hungry.”

Somehow I had missed that the Duck of Minerva crew has announced the 2014 Blogging Awards and Reception at ISA. Please make sure to nominate excellent bloggers and/or go to the show, which was a lot of fun last year.

Also at the Duck: Burcu Bayram discusses Lisa Martin’s recent article “Against Compliance”. This discussion is relevant for several of my colleagues and I hope we will be able to follow up on this… (yes, this is a hint to a certain co-blogger)

Conference advice from an assistant’s viewpoint

tl;dr: ~1600 words

Over at the Duck, Stephen Saideman presented some great ideas of belated conference proposal advice for the International Studies Association 2014. It’s more of a general piece which is equally helpful for other conferences. His four main points are

(1) do organize panels if you can – they are more coherent. Have a mixed crowd on the panel; do not submit the individual paper(s) as well
(2) have short and clear abstract– keep it simple, do not give too much detail, have a clear and exciting title (see also Leanne Powner’s abstract-writing worksheet)
(3) you do not need to link your submissions to the theme by all means – ISA sections have panel allocations independent of the theme or may issue separate calls
(4) make sure to send your submission(s) to the right section(s)

While these points are worthwhile, I think that Steve is too rigorous on some other points. I started off writing a comment given my experience working for last year’s ISA conference but quickly realized that I would have quite a long list of additional points which go beyond a mere “comment”. So, I will  spell these out in more detail. And, following Megan MacKenzie’s ISA survival guide and Steve’s proposal advice, I would add some points regarding the months in between so that we have covered the whole ISA cycle. Continue reading Conference advice from an assistant’s viewpoint

KFG Newsletter looks back at ISA

We completely forgot to link to this, but better late than never: The KFG Newsletter 1/2013 is available available online, including a look back at ISA 2013 written by two contributors to this blog (pages 11-13).

We even managed so sneak a little self-promotion in there:

Blogging – or tweeting for that matter – is still not very common in German and European academic circles, but has made its way in the US-American branch of the profession. At ISA, established and newly active bloggers got together to celebrate the best of their kind and discuss matters of visibility and improvement. Judging from the great experiences at ISA, we are confident that blogging can be a great tool to present research and to engage with a broader audience.

Speaking of conferences: I’m currently enjoying the warmth of Washington D.C. and learning a lot about Latin America. Will report once back in cold and rainy Berlin.

Links: Pop Culture; Data; Fossil Fuel

Happy Ascension Day! (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Happy Ascension Day! (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

To the surprise of some members of the team, it’s a holiday in Germany. A great chance to catch up on some links…

  • At ISA, I really enjoyed a panel on using popular media to teach International Relations. Rhonda Callaway and Julie Harrelson-Stephens talked about employing the Hunger Games to illustrate IR theory, and Marco Fey and colleagues (from Frankfurt’s Peace Research Institute) applied Tannenwald’s “nuclear taboo” to Battlestar Galactica.
  • Not everyone was convinced — shouldn’t we spend more time teaching actual history instead? Yet, pop culture and social science seem to mix well: Jane Austen was a game theorist, many IR scholars love their sci-fi, and the zombie question is well-established by now… (BSG link via the Duck)
  • Oh, and of course this is not limited to political science. Economists, too, like to think about important topics like how to feed all those orcs in Lord of the Rings, or transactions involving ‘military assets’ in Game of Thrones (spoiler alert!) …
  • Well, at least every minute spent analyzing fictional events helps to avoid silly mistake with your large-n analyses… in any case, Alex Tabarrok has some tips for researchers and readers of quantitative work.
  • Speaking of data analysis: I’m really intrigued by recent developments regarding data-driven journalism as well as new data sources for social scientists. Jonathan Mayer (of “Do Not Track” fame) just published part 2 of a set of data on U.S. legal rulings in a machine-readable format, and the “Global Dataset on Events, Location, and Tone” (GDELT) looks fascinating – although Jay Ulfelder says it’s not easily accessible just yet.
  • Finally, in case you’ve missed it, please read Charles Mann’s article in the Atlantic on the future of fossil fuels. (Plus: replies by Dan Drezner and Erik Voeten.)

“The ISA Underestimated Us!”

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Last week at ISA I attended a panel on “The End of the Western and the Rise of Chinese IR Theory”. After my experiences with panels on Latin American IR (blog post will follow) and a general low attendance of any panel, I expected maybe half a dozen interested listeners. However, what I got when I entered was an over-crowded room with too few chairs and people standing in the hallway to get some glimpse of what was going on instead! Given the ratio of room size and people actually showing up, it was the best attended panel I have seen this whole week. As the chair Zhang Yongjin put it: “ISA underestimated us!”

For anybody familiar with the discourse on a rising Chinese IR theory, or even Chinese School of IR, not much new was gained from this panel. But the panelists definitely achieved to engage their audience into the topic. Continue reading “The ISA Underestimated Us!”

Meet us at ISA 2013

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Some of us will be leaving for San Francisco next week to attend the ISA Annual Convention. For me, it will not only be the first big conference, but also my first time to California. A few people have given me tips already –best burrito in town etc., thanks D.!-, but I was still glad to see Megan MacKenzie’s ISA Survival Guide for Grad Students over at the Duck of Minerva.

A good part of her advice is, very pragmatically, concentrated on finding as much free booze and food as possible. We’re happy to help fellow grad students (and everyone else) in that regard: A great opportunity to meet some of the people blogging here is going to the reception held by the Collaborative Research Center (SFB 700) and Research College (KFG) “The Transformtive Power of Europe”.

There will be lots of nice people from Berlin … as well as food and drinks:

Joint Reception & Poster Presentation by SFB 700 & KFG
Wednesday, April 3, 7:00 to 8.30 p.m.
Continental 6 Ballroom
Hilton San Francisco Union Square

See you around, or somewhere else at ISA 2013! (Next to offering free booze, SFB/KFG also host a number of interesting panels, by the way…)