Theme Panel: A Profession in Flux: Political Science Responds to a Changing World

A Profession in Flux: Political Science Responds to a Changing World


(Chair) Tony Affigne, Providence College; (Presenter) Paula D. McClain, Duke University; (Presenter) Dianne M. Pinderhughes, University of Notre Dame; (Presenter) Janelle Wong, University of Maryland; (Presenter) Gabriel Sanchez, University of New Mexico; (Presenter) Lisa Garcia Bedolla, University of California, Berkeley; (Presenter) Michael Brintnall, Montgomery College; (Presenter) Andy L. Aoki, Augsburg University

Session Description:
In 2011, the APSA presidential task force on “Political Science in the 21st Century” (Dianne Pinderhughes, Convener) asked whether our discipline could effectively address the “changing demographics, increasing multicultural diversity, and ever-growing disparities in the concentration of wealth present in many nation states,” and whether the research, teaching, and professional development norms of the profession were adequate to this task.

Ten years later, APSA’s 2021 task force on “Systematic Inequalities in the Discipline” (Paula McClain, Convener) took a closer look at those norms and practices, asking whether the profession itself might be afflicted by systemic inequality shaping “the career trajectories and experiences…of scholars pushed to the margins of the discipline”—especially racial and ethnic minority scholars, women of all races and ethnicities, and LGBTQ+ scholars. In other words, is the profession systematically under-valuing many of the very scholars who are best positioned to extend the discipline’s relevance, in the face of the world’s ongoing social, cultural, and political transformations?

Informed by the work of these task forces, this roundtable entitled “A Profession in Flux: Political Science Responds to a Changing World” features experienced scholars, including members from both task forces, to explore the institutional sociology—past, present, and future—of the political science profession. The roundtable will address how the discipline has been transformed (or not), in response to the rapidly evolving academic and professional environments, demographics, and methodological profiles of our scholarly community, and what more must be done.