PS: Political Science & Politics-how to address discrimination in political science


The release originally appears on the Cambridge website

The latest issue of PS: Political Science & Politics turns the spotlight on diversity in political science with a collection of articles that addresses diversity within political science and across academia.

Guest editors from the University of Virginia-Carol Mershon (professor of politics) and Denise Walsh (associate professor in the department of politics, women, gender & sexuality)-introduce a collection of articles by addressing what they refer to as a long-standing and urgent question: how do we diversify leadership and end discrimination in the profession and across academia more broadly?

They argue that women and racial minorities are underrepresented among political science faculties in the United States and internationally. For example, they point to evidence showing that fewer than 29% of political science faculty staff across the United States are female, while female faculty of color are more severely underrepresented still-with African American women making up only 1.7% of political science faculty staff across the country in 2010-a mere 161 women. There are even fewer women from the Latina and Pacific Islander communities among political science faculties.

Co-editors Mershon and Walsh argue that this underrepresentation of women and racial minorities perpetuates discrimination and bias across the sector in multiple ways, with women and women of color often encountering a hostile working environment and obstacles to career advancement.

A series of articles offer innovative new strategies for transforming academe by applying political science insights about how to diversify institutions to the discipline itself. The contributions provide novel answers to these questions: What new strategies might political science research offer for advancing diversity and equity? Which organizations and actors can take the lead in promoting change? What steps should they take to maximize the probability of change?

The July issue also contains several other articles. InA Forgotten Minority?,Okiyoshi Takeda (associate professor, Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo) provides the first analysis of Asian Pacific Americans in introductory American government textbooks. The author examined 28 textbooks and found that Asian Pacific Americans-who make up more than 5% of the US population-are discussed an average of 1.13 pages per textbook (which translates to 0.19%). In the paper, Takeda offers five constructive recommendations to rectify this underrepresentation, including an option to invite Asian Pacific American political scientists to serve as textbook reviewers and co-authors.

Other articles in this issue focus on diverse issues in the world of political science, including:

  • A paper by Alfred G. Cuzán (distinguished professor, University of West Florida) draws on more than 500 elections from around the world to present five empirical laws of politics-revealing that, in democracies, the ruling party or coalition actually represents a minority of the electorate (generally about one third of voters).
  • A paper by James E. Monogan (associate professor, University of Georgia) on the 2011 debt ceiling controversy and the 2012 US House elections.
  • A second paper by Monogan offers advice regarding the current debate on the practice of preregistration in political science-that is, publicly releasing a research design before observing outcome data.
  • As well as articles offering practical tips for political science academics such as the benefits for students of capturing lectures on film, and how to engage students by using music and lyrics-including 21 recommended songs for teaching introductory courses in political theory!

Published for the American Political Science Association, PS: Political Science & Politics tackles some of the most topical issues today. Led ably by the interim editorial team of Phillip Ardoin (Chair and Professor, Appalachian State University) and Paul Gronke (Professor, Appalachian State University and Reed College).

Read all about it in latest issue of PS: Political Science & Politics here.