Wednesday, May 16, 2007

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Who I want to blog

Henry Farrell and I were talking the other day about the good thing that economist bloggers have going. The exchanges between Dani Rodrik, Tyler Cowen, Mark Thoma, Greg Mankiw, and Brad DeLong on trade issues have been engaging and informative. These kind of interactions have been all to rare among international relations scholars.

In part, this might be because a critical mass of blogging IR scholars has yet to exist. Which got me to thinking -- who among our colleagues would I like to see in the blogosphere?

The list is not as obvious as one might think. Obviously, you would want people who have active and interesting research programs. However, you would also want people who would "get" the blogosphere, would actually enjoy the prospect of blogging, would care about policy-relevant topics, and would write in a manner accessible enough to attract the interested layman. Also, to be on the safe side, they have to be tenured.

With those criteria in mind, here is my top 10 list of international relations scholars I want to see in blogspace:

1) James Fearon. Really, this guy just sickens me. It's not enough that he gets cited by anyone and everyone, or that he's one of the few formal modelers who can explain their work to the innumerate. Now he's actually starting to write for a wider audience. He should just start a blog and shame all of us at this as well.

2) Elizabeth DeSombre. Because I have the pulse of the internets at my finger, I'm dimly aware that environmental issues might be kinda important over the next few decades. Beth always has an interesting take, she's published two books on environmental regulation, and I know for a fact that she read blogs. Go on, Beth, take the next step.

3) Michael Tierney. Mike is an occasional commenter to this blog, but he has a set of interesting research interests, ranging from World Bank governance to what other IR scholars think. In other words, he knows enough about enough topics to be well-suited to the blogosphere. Besides, he's living my dream -- he's gone back to teach at his alma mater.

4) David Victor. Hmmm.... let's check out his research interests -- energy policy, climate change, role of technology, innovation and competition in development. Too bad no one cares about those things.

5) Erik Gartzke. Erik has a citation count that would shock and awe entire departments. He's one of the best large-N security scholars in the field, and he's already had a blog run-in with R.J. Rummel. He doesn't bruise easily -- perfect for blogging.

6) Iain Johnston. China is an important country. You would think IR people would therefore know a lot about it, but you would be wrong (to be fair, this is being corrected very quickly. I have had conversations with at least a dozen colleagues planning research trips to China). Iain, on the other hand, knows a great deal about the place. He should share a little.

7) Sumit Ganguly. India is important too. Furthermore, Sumit holds the Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations, which just sounds great.

8) Amy Zegart. Not enough has been written about the organizational politics that plague foreign policy agencies. Amy, however, has written two excellent books on the topic. People should listen to her more often.

9) Hein Goemans. Hein is one of those people who has research programs exploding from his brain. I think a blog would do Hein good, allowing him to figure out which research ideas are really good and which ones just need a few blog posts. Plus, he was darn cute as a child.

10) Randy Schweller. Last fall, on 30 Rock, Alec Baldwin had a great line to describe one character: "In five years we'll either all be working for him or be dead by his hand." This is how I kind of feel about Randy's place in international relations. If Randy ever translates his seminar persona to the blogosphere, the rest of us will be as interesting as wallpaper paste.

[Besides your fruitless exhortations, how can you entice these people into the blogosphere?--ed. I hereby plead the creators of the Fantasy IR game to offer five points to senior IR scholars who start blogs.]

Readers are encouraged to offer their own suggestions.

posted by Dan on 05.16.07 at 10:47 AM


Barry Posen and Tom Christensen.

posted by: anon on 05.16.07 at 10:47 AM [permalink]

Jeffrey Harrod, although not so much IR as IPE

posted by: cmg on 05.16.07 at 10:47 AM [permalink]

You might have to wait on Christensen. Somehow I doubt that the administration would really appreciate a blogging DAS (at least if the blog is going to be interesting).

posted by: anon on 05.16.07 at 10:47 AM [permalink]

Joschka Fischer. Not an academic, but as a visiting fellow at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs, he is close enough.

posted by: Neil on 05.16.07 at 10:47 AM [permalink]

Ken Waltz! But I know he is too smart to get into it coz may be, God forbid, he could be falsified :)

posted by: kw on 05.16.07 at 10:47 AM [permalink]

1) William Wohlforth
2) Joseph Grieco
3) Alex Wendt
4) Stephen Van Evera

(among those not named before).

ps: yes, I know, Wendt is put on the list just for having one that is able to express in a fantastic, astonishing way, very wrong ideas. :D

posted by: Andrea Gilli on 05.16.07 at 10:47 AM [permalink]

Invite them to your site as guest bloggers.

posted by: Lord on 05.16.07 at 10:47 AM [permalink]

Greg Gauss. He's blogged over at Marc Lynch's site, v. good on middle east issues...

posted by: Joel W on 05.16.07 at 10:47 AM [permalink]

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