Doing Political Science in Southeast Asia: Field Research, Ethics, Engagement, and Employability
Southeast Asian Politics Related Group
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
This short course aims to offer graduate students and early-career scholars in particular insight into best practices (and worst aspects) of field research and of developing a career that blends area studies with political science. While our regional focus will be Southeast Asia, the course will be germane to scholars of other regions, as well. The course will consist of three sessions: Field Work Logistics, Field Work Ethics & Challenges, and Building a Career (academic, non-academic, and in-between). For each session, a panel of early-career Southeast Asianists will share their own experience, tips, and insights, followed by Q&A, as well as additional input from scholars from across cohorts.
Panel 1: Field Work Logistics In this initial session, panelists will address the nuts-and-bolts of field research: acquiring research passes or visas, finding housing and host institutions, locating and accessing archives or other data sources, finding assistants/enumerators, determining how long to spend in the field, safeguarding data, securing interviews, scaling linguistic hurdles—in short, all the things they wished they had known (or were grateful to have learned) before leaving for their initial field-research trips.
Panel 2: Field Work Ethics & Challenges The second panel homes in on the difficulties of field research. Among these challenges are those of, for instance, conducting research in authoritarian states; deploying tools like surveys where such techniques are poorly developed or especially hard to implement; navigating conflict or post-conflict landscapes; managing sexism, homophobia, racism, and/or privilege; balancing activism or normative leanings with the demands of “objectivity”; working with “sensitive” issues; and experiencing or witnessing corrupt practices.
Panel 3: Building a Career In the final session, panelists who have recently interviewed for (and successfully secured) tenure-track academic positions will reflect on their own experience and offer suggestions as to how best to “package” area expertise in applying for either Asia-focused on more general Political Science jobs. Panelists who have held or considered non-academic positions will speak to that experience, as well, including what to (de-)emphasize in applying or what lesser-known career possibilities may be out there for an area specialist. Lastly, panelists will address the possibilities and pitfalls of combining academic and non-academic (e.g., consulting or policy) work: how to balance scholarly and more applied research and publication, juggling teaching schedules with field trips, presenting one’s work to be legible and appealing to non-academic audiences, etc. Panelists: Aries Arugay, University of the Philippines–Diliman Shane Barter, Soka University of America Cesi Cruz, University of British Columbia Diana Kim, Harvard University Alysson Oakley, Johns Hopkins SAIS Kai Otswald, University of British Columbia Sarah Shair-Rosenfeld, Arizona State University Organizers/facilitators: Meredith Weiss, University at Albany, SUNY Allen Hicken, University of Michigan Erik Kuhonta, McGill University
**All Short Courses will take place on Wednesday, August 31 at the APSA 2016 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA.