Letter from the Chair
This has been an exciting winter for Political Science. We've hired another two faculty members: Katherine Levine, who joins us from the PhD program at Harvard, and Rosella Cappella, who joins us from the PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania. Katie is in the American politics field, focusing on race, urban, and social movement politics; Rosella is in the International Relations field, focusing her research on how states finance wars. Both appointments increase considerably the range of courses we can offer to our students.
It's also been a year of research successes in the department. Most people think that publishing journal articles has become ever more important for professors and here BU Political Science has excelled, with faculty placing their work in the top journals such as the American Political Science Review (Reeves, Kriner), American Journal of Political Science (Boas, Reeves), and Journal of Politics (Gerring, Thacker). Every department in the United States would be thrilled to see its faculty achieving such success in placing their work in journals that accept only around ten percent or less of articles submitted. In addition, Dino Christenson received a substantial research grant from the National Science Foundation, truly a rare accomplishment as NSF's budget is cut back. Professor Neta Crawford received national attention with interviews on national TV and other media as co-Principal Investigator of the Costs of War project, an attempt to give a full accounting of the costs—human, as well as financial—of the Afghan and Iraq wars. You can read an introduction to Professor Crawford and her work in this newsletter.
Teaching is the first claim on our faculty's time and energy. BU has a very modest endowment and no state support. We live by attracting undergraduates and giving them an education that they value. We are engaged in constant discussions on how to improve the education we give undergraduates, and I have been delighted to see our Honors Program enroll its first students. Professor Christenson, who teaches all the Honors students, reports that they are equivalent to the best undergraduates in any school in the United States.
One of the top priorities for the department in recent years has been to strengthen its American politics group. We now have a superb group of young Americanists who excel at teaching as well as research. As a change from the shouting matches that count as discussion on many television shows today, why not look at their quieter—and may I say, more thoughtful—reflections on the 2012 election campaign?
I noted in our previous newsletter than fall is a time of new beginnings in academic life. Oddly, spring is a time for farewells. We say not goodbye but au revoir to our graduating majors. Congratulations and stay in touch! We say the same to distinguished faculty who will be recalled fondly by so many alumni as they enter retirement—Professors Palmer, Silverstein, and Jackson. I wonder how many of our alumni Professor Silverstein alone taught and who still remember his lectures?
As these departures remind us, an academic department is always a work-in-progress. As Chair, my task is to constantly recruit and nurture faculty talent and provide the best education possible for our students. Academic departments that aren't always building are, whether they know it or not, in fact declining. This process of constantly renewing and rebuilding depends critically on the support our alumni provide. We are so grateful for any contribution to BU designated to support the department and its student programs.
The Crisis of the Euro: A problem for European economy and democracy
By Vivien A. Schmidt
Every few weeks, it would seem, the markets panic over whether a Eurozone member is able to pay its debts or whether other Eurozone members are willing to bail out the country.
Good News from Africa
By Timothy Longman
The nongovernmental organization Invisible Children recently gained extraordinary attention with Kony 2012, a viral video watched by over 70 million people in less than a week.
Meet Professor Crawford
We continue the series in which we ask a Political Science professor to tell us how they became interested in their subject and what motivates them in their research. Neta Crawford specializes in International Relations and her work on the Costs of War project has attracted huge interest from U.S. and international media.
Reflections on the 2012 Presidential Election
We asked four of our Americanists to describe what they will be watching for in the upcoming Presidential election. Here are their thoughts: