I have the very happy news that I have been appointed profesor afiliado with the Division of International Studies at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas in Mexico City. I can’t speak highly enough of the team there, and my year at CIDE was highly productive. The DEI is full of incredible scholars who are also wonderful people. This is a great way to maintain my ties with wonderful colleagues, facilitate research projects, and to have an institutional home in Mexico. I am honored to continue being a part of the CIDE family, even from a bit farther away (though honestly, a pesero from Condesa to Santa Fe sometimes felt like a trans-Atlantic flight). Thanks to the DEI and CIDE for the vote of confidence.
I spent last week at the 2016 International Studies Association conference in Atlanta. I am finding every ISA a little more beneficial, as I move away from being a grad student who feels like a bit of a supplicant to being an established “early career” scholar. That is, it is much nicer to be able to refer to past publications and ongoing projects than to always be talking about one’s dissertation and hoping to meet people on hiring committees.
ISA was particularly useful this year, my first traveling from the UK to participate. On the one hand, it gave me the chance to catch up with many Washington contacts, which was professionally beneficial and personally gratifying. It’s wonderful that American University has such a presence. ISA feels a bit like homecoming, and that’s special when you are an ocean away. On the other, I had a great excuse to introduce myself to people from all over the UK, with whom I might be able to collaborate, but whom I might not usually meet here. The Bridging the Gap project has provided another, related, home at ISA. I am bumping into BtG folks wherever I go, and the community active and welcoming.
ISA is truly international, and I had many useful conversations with colleagues from CIDE and ColMex in Mexico City, from Los Andes in Bogota, from PUC in Rio, to name just a few. The Latin American participation appears to be growing (though I would love to see some numbers), despite some pretty obvious currency and fiscal pressures for many institutions there. I think there is growing interest in IR in Latin America and an increasing quality and professionalization at many Latin American universities (something in great evidence at CIDE, of course). The grad students I met from Latin America were also top notch. Perhaps the largest crowd for any panel I attended was for an 8:15 am panel on Latin American foreign policy. The papers were great and the discussion even better.
I presented a paper on asymmetry and small states in International Relations, with the great privilege of having many of the key authors I was citing (and at times arguing with) on the panel and in the audience. Again, it was a productive engagement that I think will lead, most directly, to a follow-up panel and, a bit later, to additional collaboration.
In grad school, I was a bit of a conference-skeptic, but at this point, I am already looking forward to ISA 2017. I assume the call for papers will go out in about a week…
Many thanks to the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust, which have recently decided to support my future research with a “small research grant.” It might not be big money in terms of the UK academic grant world, but it is big to me. The grant will support two trips to Brazil (one to Rio and one to Brasilia) for archival research over the next 18 months. In the nearer-term, the research will contribute to an article project that I am working on with the exceptionally talented historian Max Paul Friedman, as well as to an early theoretical piece on the interplay between middle power foreign policy strategies and the development of regional organization. In the longer term, this research forms part of a book project that explores the historical trajectories of Brazil’s and Mexico’s approaches to regionalism in the Americas starting from the late days of the Second World War until the present. I started work on the Mexican side while at CIDE, and I worked in the State Department archives during my last couple months in Washington.
For anyone who might be interested, my project description is available below the jump.