US Senate restricts funding of political science: the barbarians at the gates

On Wednesday, the US Senate voted to prohibit — yes, prohibit — funding for political science projects through the National Science Foundation except those that the NSF Director “certifies as promoting national security or the economic interests of the United States.” My mind is so boggled by that I have to keep re-reading it to check that it’s true. If you doubt me, check out … Continue reading US Senate restricts funding of political science: the barbarians at the gates

Why I am angry about academic references

There is perhaps nothing more important to would-be PhD students than the Kafka-esque processes of applying for money. While universities and funding agencies are good at publishing guidelines, they are often terrible at making those guidelines intelligible to outsiders, especially when it comes to explaining what it is that selection panels are looking for.  The criteria are often deliberately obscure, some instructions seemingly contradictory, the … Continue reading Why I am angry about academic references

What I did in the holidays

I’m often asked what I do in university holidays. OK, so I am less subjected to questions and more assumptions, often wildly wrong and mildly insulting. So, in the interests of transparency, trying to avoid all temptations to waspishness, and with a due sense of the value of the publicly-funded elements of my work, here is just some of what I did in the holidays    Got a major book … Continue reading What I did in the holidays

Making academic knowledge useful to policy : why “supply” solutions are not the whole story

I have just read a blogpost by the inimitable Dragon’s Best Friend (aka @Puffles2010) in which s/he kindly talked about how much knowledge about policy there is bubbling away in academia but how little of it makes it out of the bubble and into Whitehall. But DBF — s/he is an ex-civil servant and will appreciate the joys of the three-letter acronym (TLA) — put too … Continue reading Making academic knowledge useful to policy : why “supply” solutions are not the whole story

Keeping up with Jones et al.

It’s not that long since I became a dedicated citizen of cyberspace. A bit like an apathetic voter, I’d dabbled for years because I thought I should, but I was always wary, partly due to privacy concerns, partly because I’m shockingly busy with work and family, and partly because I had no time for the drivel that seemed to occupy 99.99% of the interweb. That’s … Continue reading Keeping up with Jones et al.

Occupying universities

I’ve just been chatting to a group of student protestors from the Occupy Warwick camp and came away feeling buoyed up by the calm, intelligent commitment of many of our students. We talked about public space, the deligitimisation of public citizenship, activist tactics and much else. While I got to sit in the “status” seat — they were just pallets, but position is everything! — and I … Continue reading Occupying universities