Proximity and Political Science: How Distance was Overcome (Partially) by COVID-19

Proximity and Political Science: How Distance was Overcome (Partially) by COVID-19

By Erik Gartzke, University of California, San Diego, Benjamin E. Goldsmith, Australian National University, Koji Kagotani, Osaka University of Economics, Soo Yeon Kim, National University of Singapore, Jeehye Kim, University of British Columbia and Jiyoung Ko, Korea University

A key enemy of understanding is isolation. Distance makes it more difficult to craft scholarly insights, to obtain feedback, and to share ideas with other scholars. Because of this, tight-knit communities have long demonstrated advantages in research and learning. In the current globalized world, distance remains a problem for scholars of the Asia–Pacific region. In contrast to Europe and the Americas—regions characterized by continents—the Pacific is an ocean with a diverse set of nations, most of which exist separated from one another, on the rim. This physical geography complicates attempts to study and to communicate insights about regional affairs. Arguably, our understanding of the region is hampered by one of its most important attributes: the physical separation of its component nations.

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