Cory Leonard

Academia, Meet the Public

In career, politics on February 17, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Ripping on eggheads is an easy sport.  Kristoff marshals Ann-Marie Slaughter, Will McCants, Jill Lepore and Ian Bremmer to explain why we suffer when “academic standards” for faculty discourage linkages to the public–where complex ideas can be explained.

Wisdom is hidden deeply in silos and bunkers on campus, but as Bremmer notes, “Political science Ph.D’s often aren’t prepared to do real-world analysis.”  This has had an effect on our understanding of the world–with national security consequences over the past two decades in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and Asia, to name a few.

Universities have retreated from area studies, so we have specialists in international theory who know little that is practical about the world. After the Arab Spring, a study by the Stimson Center looked back at whether various sectors had foreseen the possibility of upheavals. It found that scholars were among the most oblivious — partly because they relied upon quantitative models or theoretical constructs that had been useless in predicting unrest.

via Professors, We Need You! –



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