How Political Science Can Be More Diverse

Virtual Issue: Diversity, Inclusiveness, and Inequality

The APSA Presidential Task Force Report ‘Political Science in the 21st Century report’, now just over five years old, offered a number of recommendations to the discipline including several related to political science research on diversity and racial, ethnic, and gendered marginalization. After reading APSA journals articles published in the years prior to and following the taskforce report, Dianne Pinderhughes and Maryann Kwakwa, both of the University of Notre Dame, argue that, while there have been important steps toward increasing multicultural diversity in political science research and teaching, the barriers that contributed to its marginalization in the past continue to exist. The following article is included in the virtual review issue.

How Political Science Can Be More Diverse

by Carol Mershon and Denise WalshUniversity of Virginia, guest editor

This symposium in PS: Political Science and Politics addresses a timely question of discipline-wide importance: how to diversify leadership and end discrimination in the profession. In the recent Perspectives special theme issue on gender, Isaac (2014, 1) argues that “the gendering of political science” is a “topic of pressing concern.” In a widely cited article, Maliniak, Powers, and Walter (2013) document gender citation bias in international relations journals. And in a recent special report to PS, Monroe et al. (2014, 424) find that “both statistical and qualitative interview data confirm the ongoing existence of gender inequality within American academia.”

The question of bias in political science is both urgent and longstanding. Women and racial minorities are underrepresented among political science faculty in the United States and internationally. 1 A database compiled by the American Political Science Association (APSA) discloses that, in 1980, female faculty comprised an estimated 10.3% of political science faculty nationwide. By 2010, that share had increased to 28.6% (APSA Task Force 2011, 41–43). Female faculty of color, who face multiple dimensions of disadvantage, are still severely underrepresented. In 2010, 86.6% of female political science faculty were Caucasian, 6.1% were African American, 4.4% Asian Pacific Islander, and 3.0% Latina. Hence in 2010 African American females constituted 1.7% of political science faculty nationwide, a mere 161 women.

PS: Political Science & Politics, Volume 48Issue 3