Short Course: Activism, Advocacy, and/vs. Scholarship: The Methods Studio—Workshop and “Crit”

Activism, Advocacy, and/vs. Scholarship: The Methods Studio—Workshop and “Crit”

Dvora Yanow
Half Day

The Methods Studio has 2 parts, a workshop and a “crit.” This year’s workshop topic is “Activism, Advocacy, &/vs Scholarship.” Following that, the crit entails discussion of interpretive methods in works in progress, selected via application [see below].

Part I. Workshop: Activism, Advocacy, &/vs. Scholarship
Activism and advocacy have started to generate more interest now than they have since the 1960s-70s. In certain quarters, the same concerns are raised now as were then—that these activities are not “science.” It seems a good time to revisit these matters in political science.

In his American Sociology Association presidential address, Michael Burawoy (2005) argued for public sociology among other academic activities. Similarly, Didier Fassin’s recent book (2017) explores public ethnography. The table below adapted Burawoy’s argument for political science. The Methods Studio workshop is intended to carry the exploration further.

Illustrative of the tension between advocacy and “science,” Lahra Smith, reviewing Fred Schaffer’s 2016 book on concepts, wrote: His book, applied to my empirical work, helps “…navigate a space between two extremes…—the one being an advocacy…that is too embedded in one or another particular local community for my comfort as a scholar, …the other [being a scientific version] too removed and mirroring the foreign policy community language of ‘diplomacy’ for my comfort….” The challenge of that assessment lies at the heart of our concerns, exploring activism within the academy as well as outside it,

Part II. Crit: Exploring research projects
Part II of the Methods Studio adapts the “crit” from architectural teaching and practice. Three researchers, selected through application, will present their work focusing on questions about their research methods. Other researchers from a range of subfields and interpretive methods backgrounds will lead off in response, with the intention of drawing also on the comments/questions of others attending, such that all learn from the discussion. Previous crits have involved Ph.D. students to Full Professors.

Please limit yourself to 2 pages, double spaced. Send to the Methods Studio organizers [,] no later than May 15; we aim to reply by May 29. Open to all subfields, all interpretive methods, all levels/ranks.

Institutional affiliation:
Email address:

Ph.D. student? at what stage (starting research, finished research, writing up)?
Postdoc? Year Ph.D. granted:
Faculty? rank:
Independent researcher? Highest degree , year received

1. Focus of the research you wish to discuss at the Crit (1 sentence):
2. Summary of research focus/question (1 paragraph):
3. Types of data used in the project:
4. Methods [to be] used (for generating data, for analyzing data):
5. Methods questions [up to 3] concerning this project which you would bring to the Crit:


**All Short Courses will take place on Wednesday, August 29 at the APSA 2018 Annual Meeting in Boston, MA.**