A Kellogg’s View: The Official Launch of my International Relations and Political Economy Blog
As some of you may have noticed, I have been playing around with a new blog over the past few weeks. Thus far the content has been heterogeneous lurching haphazardly between personal updates, responses to anything that happened to capture my attention, and posts that attempt to provide actual analysis and commentary. Although most “experts” recommend that a blog should be created with a purpose in mind, my less focused approach has led me to consider some important questions. For example, who do I want my audience to be? Family and Friends? Or a more general audience interested in a particular topic? What is my objective with this blog? Is it to procrastinate while writing my dissertation? Or is there way blogging can contribute to my dissertation and academic interests
Over the last two weeks, in particular, I have pondered the relationship between my pursuit of a career in academia and interest in blogging. Writing blog posts as a young academic can be dangerous as the ideas one is writing about are not always fully formed resulting in the occasional position and/or statement that causes a significant amount of regret after the fact. As someone who will be entering a highly competitive job market in a couple of years the potential negative consequences of blogging are worrisome. On the other hand, I have also come to the conclusion that blogging also has the potential to make me a stronger academic. Dissertation research tends to be very narrow, thus blogging provides an additional incentive to stay informed about and engaged with other topics in the field. In addition to generating discussion on my own posts, blogging also encourages participation in discussions on other Political Science blogs. This type of exchange provides a crucial foundation for scholarly growth, in addition to providing opportunities to sharpen my analyses and arguments. Finally, blogging rewards sharp and interesting writing, a goal I take seriously both in terms of growing the audience for this blog and in my academic scholarship.
[special thanks to Steve Saideman for his insightful comments on academic blogging at: http://www.whiteoliphaunt.com/duckofminerva/2013/08/learning-the-wrong-lessons-who-should-blog.html ]
Topics of Focus
Since my academic research is focused on International Relations and Political Economy, posts will largely be drawn from these topics. As a born and bred American, however, it will be impossible for me to refrain from offering my own views and analysis of U.S. domestic politics. In particular, I am interested in the way an individual’s values shape political preferences. For good reasons, values are a topic that most academics are uncomfortable discussing, while at the same time political science research, in addition to contributions from other disciplines, suggests that values play a more important role than data in constructing policy choices and political outcomes. Finally, there will still be posts of a more miscellaneous nature on my hobbies, pop culture interests, and the challenges/joys of parenting.
I am currently in the planning stages for two special series of posts. The first will be on the writings of Adam Smith, beginning with The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and concluding with An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). If you would like to read along, I will be posting a formal announcement of the reading and posting schedule soon. The second series I have been considering is an examination of the values and political positions implied by one of the U.S.’s favorite titles: “A Christian Nation.” In this respect, I will be writing from my position as a liberal Christian, but my goal is to engage with these ideas from an inclusive ecumenical perspective as well as the viewpoints from other religious and nonreligious traditions. If you are interested in these types of posts make sure you subscribe to this blog either to your favorite RSS reader or by email. Links are on the right sidebar.
My goal is to publish one substantive analysis on politics every Wednesday morning. Once a week I will also post links to the articles and blogs that caught my attention. Included links will try to present more than one perspective on an issue, and as such, their inclusion does not necessarily mean I endorse the argument. Once I decide on a definite day for these links, I will update the schedule. Depending on my available time on any given week, I will most likely post on the other weekdays as well.
If you have any feedback on this blog or would like to suggest content, please let me know by using the comment form below. I am also open to submissions to feature research and guest posts.
Also, please stay tuned for some exciting (I hope) changes in the days and months ahead.