The Third GSCIS Conference (after Menton 1, and Singapore 2) is being planned for Niteroi, Brazil (just outside of Rio) tentatively in August 2017. We have received an excellent bid from the Institute for Strategic Studies (INEST) at Fluminense Federal University. In 2008 INEST started the first federal, public IR undergrad program in Rio de Janeiro, which is now very highly regarded. The MSc program in Strategic Studies is one of four in the country, and the institute is developing a PhD program as well. Founded by Eurico de Lima Figuereido, the only Brazilian to be a Distinguished Oxford Antonian, the Institute currently cooperates with the University of Uppsala, Sweden; the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, China; the University of Quilmes, Argentina; and Sorbonne Nouvelle, France, among others.
Brazil is undergoing growing (democratic) pains at the moment as its rise in the international system has been stymied to some degree by domestic governance and economic problems. Nevertheless--and perhaps because of this--it is a great learning environment for us global south scholars as we observe the progress and fluctuations of the democratic advance. At this time we are engaged in preliminary discussions about an appropriate theme that would draw on our members' expertise in many areas, not excluding global health. And for those who might be concerned about health matters, we should say that the conference will be held during the Brazilian winter, NOT the hot summer months, for good reason.
INEST promises to devise a great extracurricular program for us as well, allowing us to see aspects of Brazil that may not normally be seen in a short visit.
We are looking forward to this conference. Keep your eyes on this blog for updates!
PHISO: The Philippines International Studies Organization
We have a new affiliate! PHISO is a new organization that is devoted to expanding the study of international relations in the Philippines (https://phiso.org). We are still ironing out some details of our affiliation but we have agreed as an early gesture to sponsor a two-day workshop in Manila next year, that will address issues that the GSCIS has long been working on - that is, matters of pedagogy and theory that explore local initiatives and approaches to IR. For more on this workshop see:
09-10 March 2017
Metro Manila, Philippines
For those of you who are located in Asia, attendance at this workshop may be relatively easy. However, members in Africa and Latin America, do also give some serious thought to attending if you can wing it. We will send out more information later. Keep your eyes on this blogsite!
A reminder has been sent out by ISA but just in case you did not get it (and actually read this blog post first!), please be aware that the deadline for proposals for ISA's 2017 Baltimore convention is coming up: June 1. Please upload your proposals to the isanet site, placing the caucus as your section choice AS WELL as another section.
This year five papers are needed for a panel, along with the usual chair and discussant. Don't forget to write succinct and short abstracts for the panel and papers, and use the drop down menu for placing tags. (Yes, there are not tags for "global south" or many other relevant phrases, but we have to make do. I once tried to add new tags but never had them accepted.)
This year we plan to hold another Dialogue with ISA as well as another gender forum. Details are still being worked out but we will inform you as things progress.
For those concerned about travel costs, grants will be issued later. Please check the guidelines and deadlines on isanet.org. Write to the program chair Imad Mansour if you have any problems uploading your proposal.
The GSCIS-ISA Dialogue held in Atlanta was well attended and quite successful in articulating some of the concerns of global south scholars within the ISA. We thank Kristina Hinds and Aigul Kulnazarova on our side, and Tike Lembe on the ISA side, for organizing this session so well. The complete report can be downloaded (it should be up soon) from the Caucus-ISA site at http://www.isanet.org/ISA/Caucuses/Global-South-Caucus/Reports. Here is the main portion of the report:
This special session provided a forum for those ISA members, who are located in or with origins from the Global South, to discuss their concerns about their roles in the ISA. The discussion also provided a space that allowed participants to give voice to the particular considerations that influence the ability and willingness of Global South scholars to participate in the ISA....
SUMMATION OF THE DIALOGUE
RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS
The Dialogue exposed several concerns about the dissemination of research via the ISA and its publications. To be begin with, one of the convenors, Priya Dixit, spoke of the “politics of research” while Mazhar Al-Zoubi continued this theme by highlighting what he termed “the issues of knowledge production from the other side”. Al-Zoubi also spoke of the ethics of circulation and use of knowledge that have created the Middle East as an object of study rather than a source of knowledge. This view was reinforced by Alan Chong who spoke of the challenges of writing from South East Asian perspectives that may not be accepted because they do not “pass the democracy test”. He also asked why scholars from the South should publish in ISA journals when these are omnibus journals with rates of acceptance so low.
Several other participants from the floor shared these concerns about knowledge production and dissemination. One participant, for instance, stated that there needed to be a “shift from thinking of the South as a global area where we experiment with our theories.” Another expressed the view that theories are transported from the North to the South although they do not reflect the
realities of the South. Still another compared many journals to “beauty contests”. Yet another participant termed having everyone’s work reviewed by western scholars as “unhealthy” and “unbalanced”.
Despite these criticisms though, a minority of participants had slightly different views. One asked that empirical data be collected to support such claims before ISA moves ahead. Another participant opined that in some locations (India was cited as the example) methodological training might not be strong. All the same, this participant noted that often published quantitative articles seemed to present “common sense”. Meanwhile, one participant stated that more and more work from the Global South is being published than ever.
Recommendations: Research and Publications
Some participants recommended working collaboratively as ISA members from the Global South to validate their own research through collective publications, such as edited volumes or special issues in ISA as well as external journals. Aigul Kulnazarova suggested that members should be encouraged to apply for ISA research and workshop grants in efforts to foster this collaboration (in addition to South-North scholarly cooperation), and to move towards publishing collections or journal special issues.
Some participants also suggested that more members from the Global South be involved in ISA journal editorial boards and in leadership positions to address diversity and South inclusion issues and to move beyond accepted paradigms. The suggestion that the ISA database be used to find ISA members from outside of the North, who could be invited to review journal submissions concerning the Global South, was also mooted.
LANGUAGE,TRAVEL AND LOGISTICS
Significant discussion during this forum also revolved around the barriers that language, travel and basic realities in the South may present to fuller participation in ISA by scholars from the South. Erica Resende captured this category of concern by stating that to be an active ISA member you need money, a visa and English language proficiency. In her capacity, as one of the convenors, she presented examples of other associations that have attempted to address language diversity. She listed the International Political Science Association, the International Sociological Association and the Latin American Studies Association as examples of professional bodies, which accept conference proposals and abstracts in languages other than English. Some of these professional association also provide simultaneous translation of special panels and some have journals that provide translating services.
Hassan E. Ahmed, in presenting his concerns as an African scholar, indicated that Africa is likely one of the least represented places at ISA meetings, and tellingly asserted that “ISA forgets certain basic realities”, such as the fact that in many cases people have difficulty receiving travel grants because they do not have access to PayPal accounts. A participant from India shared this sentiment by pointing out that there are very few Indians at the ISA convention, especially considering the size of India’s population. This participant stated “we feel isolated” and went on to note that more proportionate funding and perhaps even full funding might be needed to address this problem. Another participant provided the view that sections and caucuses may need to find alternative funds to support travel so that the conference program does not collapse due to difficulties financing travel. Mazhar Al-Zoubi was careful to make the point during the course of the discussion that scholars from the South are not seeking welfare but to “remove the conditions of exclusion”.
Recommendations: Language, Travel and Logistics
One participant suggested that the ISA utilize crowd funding to raise moneys that could allow for more people from the South to participate in ISA conferences. Another participant recommended that more proportionate funding and, perhaps, full funding need to be considered for travel grants. Multiple participants suggested holding conferences outside of North America and in the Global South, in particular. Participants unanimously applauded the idea of proposing few panels in other languages at the annual convention, including Portuguese, Spanish, and French.
SCHOLARS AT RISK
Manuela Picq, one of the special presenters, provided a noteworthy intervention relating to scholars being detained in their countries for conducting certain types of research. She expressed some discontent about not having received a letter of support for her case from ISA, while receiving such letters from other associations. Paul Diehl responded to this intervention by informing the forum that changes are being made in the ISA to improve and expedite responses to these sorts of situations.
Recommendations: Scholars at Risk
One participant highlighted that doing research in the South can come with risks that should be acknowledged and continued to note that persecution of scholars is an issue that must be considered because it affects academics outside of the South as well.
PANELS AND WORKSHOPS
Some participants voiced their discomfort with the composition of panels at the Annual Convention. One noted that panels are generally comprised of Americans and Europeans talking to themselves. Another stated that he had organised panels comprising African and Asian panellists and these were generally rejected. Meanwhile, Aigul Kulnazarova raised questions about the rate of acceptance of workshop grant proposals from the South.
Recommendations: Panels and Workshops
As relates to the composition of panels, some participants suggested placing scholars from the South as chairs and discussants on panels that are predominantly comprised of North American and European panellists. This suggestion was expanded on by a participant, who noted that this should be done for high level panels due to the importance of seniority in providing Southern scholars with visibility. Well known scholars from the North could also be placed as chairs and discussants on panels composed primarily of scholars from the South. Moreover, a mixture of senior and junior scholars should be encouraged in the composition of panels. These suggestions spoke to the desire for more interaction and networking across ISA members in general. A suggestion was also advanced for quotas to be considered in allocating research and workshop grants.
AWARENESS OF ISA
Also of note were comments that some presenters made about the lack of knowledge of the ISA within the South.
Recommendations: Awareness of ISA
One suggestion regarding the lack of awareness of the ISA was to make ISA known to more universities in the Global South; another was to make connections with professional associations and institutions in the South and work with them to organize regional conferences. More intensive use of technology was also expressed as a recommendation to raise awareness and encourage involvement in the ISA.
There were a few key themes that permeated the discussion. These were that:
1. ISA is too Western-centric and, more specifically, American-oriented;
2. Knowledge, theory and approaches deriving from the South, and which may be outside of accepted paradigms, are viewed as irrelevant by ISA publications;
3. Conferences were difficult and expensive to attend due to visa requirements for entry into the USA and due to costs associated with travel and accommodation in North America; and
4. The English language focus of ISA conferences and journals should be amended.
These matters require some attention. Some possible options for addressing these were aptly and creatively presented at the first Global South Dialogue and should be taken into serious consideration in efforts to create an ISA that is more attuned to the needs of all members.
Final Recommendations from the Ad Hoc Group:
The members of the Ad Hoc Group recommend that the Headquarters and the GSc continue to support the Global South Dialogue, not only to advance a professional interest of southern scholars in ISA activities, but also to extend it to fostering a deeper cooperation between scholars of the south and north, whose works are particularly concerned with Global South issues. The members recommend the organization of a second GS dialogue at the next annual meeting in Baltimore, USA.
(Submitted by the principals)
The Global South Caucus held its second Meeting on Gender Issues,March 18, 2016, Hilton Atlanta. (The first was held in Singapore in January 2015). Here are the rapporteur's notes:
The eight participants at the meeting discussed instances of sexual harassment and discriminatory treatment on the basis of sex and reproduction that have been faced by some women members of the GSC. Since some of the issues raised in this meeting were of a sensitive and personal nature and in the interest of respecting the privacy of some of the women who participated in the meeting, names have been omitted from this report. Consequently, these notes summarize the meeting without attributing any issued raised, comments or suggestions proposed to any specific participants.
Some of the participants at this meeting presented cases of having been unfairly dismissed from employment at universities located in the Global South. Two of the principal examples presented were that:
1. An individual was fired after being falsely accused of making unprofessional advances/being romantically involved a married male superior and;
2. An individual was ill-treated during the course of her employment at a university on the grounds of being pregnant and subsequently fired.
In both of these cases, the participants noted that they were not provided with the opportunity to defend themselves nor were there avenues for addressing these issues in their places of employment. They also indicated that their options for seeking legal recourse were limited because of the damage that taking legal action would likely do to their careers. In each of these cases as well as in others discussed, participants spoke of the ways that culture was invoked to justify the ways that women were treated including how women are spoken to and spoken about by co-workers and superiors.
The discussion that ensued highlighted concerns about the lack of sexual harassment guidelines at some institutions in the Global South which present issues beyond the remit of the ISA. However, during the course of the discussion some participants also made the meeting aware of the policies to address sexual harassment and discrimination present at their universities that are also located in the Global South. These participants also spoke about the processes and activism that allowed for the creation of such policies and procedure for addressing discriminatory treatment and misconduct. Care was taken to note that institutions in the Global South did have procedures for addressing misconduct and also to highlight that discriminatory treatment was also experienced in the North. Therefore, although this meeting sought to discuss difficulties experienced by women GSC members, these issues were neither unique nor restricted to women working within academia in the Global South.
The participants of this meeting discussed strategies available within the ISA to support members in addressing these sorts of reports of misconduct, discrimination and ill-treatment. Some participants highlighted that the ISA has policies and avenues for addressing these types of matters. Some examples of these are:
· The Professional Rights and Responsibilities Committee;
· The Committee on the Status of Women;
· The ISA’s Code of Conduct Policies; and
· The Women’s Caucus.
The meeting was also advised that Mark Boyer, Executive Director of the ISA, can provide guidance and assistance to members experiencing such treatment, especially if the treatment has occurred within the ISA or by members of the ISA. One participant noted that some complaints of misconduct were received during the 2016 ISA convention and that these were being addressed by Mark Boyer.
The participants also suggested strategies that could be employed within the ISA to help address the discrimination or misconduct in professional settings that some women members of the GSC, as well as the ISA more broadly, face. Some of the suggestions and points raised were that:
· Forums such as this meeting could provide safe spaces to seek assistance, guidance and support;
· Sharing experiences and examples of processes used to deal with discrimination on the basis of sex employed in varied universities from around the world. This could allow for the creation of a document repository that could be used by ISA members seeking ways to address such matters in their universities and/or other employment/professional settings;
· A round table could be organised during the ISA’s annual convention to allow for further discussion and to provide information about ISA’s policies and procedures that can be used to address such issues. It was suggested that this could be co-sponsored by the Women’s Caucus; the GSC, the Feminist Theory and Gender Studies Section; and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, & Allies Caucus);
· Holding discussions/meetings within the ISA to inform women of strategies that they can utilise in defending themselves when faced with discriminatory treatment in professional settings.
Participants agreed to continue working together on these matters and others affecting women GSC members in particular, but also women within the ISA in general. Some participants recommended greater involvement of women members of the GSCIS in the Women’s Caucus so that these issues could also be addressed by the Women’s Caucus.
Notes prepared by: Kristina Hinds Harrison (March 30, 2016)
See also Notes and photos from
"Revving Up, Winding Down: Strategies for Late Career Moves." (a panel for all women moving up the ladder) at next post: http://gscis.blogspot.com/2016/05/revving-up-winding-down-strategies-for.html