Political Science Now

Let’s Be Heard: Emphasizing the Scholar in Public Scholarship

Emphasizing the Scholar in Public Scholarship

Khalilah L. Brown-Dean, Quinnipiac University

From Khalilah L. Brown-Dean’s article: Scholars have long debated the state of the discipline, with growing agreement that political science should be more publically engaged. Determining how that engagement should occur has been a decidedly more difficult task. APSA and its members must retreat from the Sisyphean task of repeatedly trying to defend our relevance. A more fruitful approach centers on a two-pronged strategy: (1) internal development that trains members to effectively navigate the public sphere, and (2) external dissemination of members’ scholarly expertise that is buttressed by institutional support. Developing this approach is contingent on our ability to determine why public engagement should be a desirable pursuit. Other than our interest in promoting a rigorous understanding of the political process, what is the public value of political science? APSA members can and should address multiple audiences including the media, policy makers, voters, students, other academic disciplines, grassroots activists, and—to some extent—other political scientists who resist the notion of public engagement. As the landscape of higher education is rapidly changing, so must the commitment of political science to engaging multiple publics…

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