Sunday, August 18, 2013

Conference Networking in Political Science

There has been a lot of talk in the blogosphere about networking in political science, prompted by the fact that a) the American Political Science Association meeting is coming up; and b) there was a controversial post about networking at the Duck of Minerva blog (see here for links).

More and more, I am discovering that I dislike suggested rules for academia. There are countless posts with such recommendations, but I find that very often I think they're not very good and at least in my case would be counterproductive. So it's better to recognize that it may well be a good idea to ignore them entirely.

In this particular case, if I viewed conferences primarily in networking terms, then I would dread them. I do not want to hang out in the hotel bar and find people to buy drinks for, buttonhole people, or otherwise grab onto other professors who might someday remember my name in some manner that benefits me. I don't care if they're old, young, famous, obscure, or anything else. At conferences I've had drinks, coffee, lunch, dinner, whatever with plenty of people, but always in ways that seemed natural to me.

For graduate students and new assistant professors (to whom, I assume, all these advice posts are aimed) these bits of advice may well not be useful at all. Do what you feel comfortable with and feels right for you and your own circumstances.


RAJ 5:25 PM  

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