As I'm sure most of you are aware, Nicholas Kristof believes that American academics (especially political scientists) don't do enough to engage with the public. Political scientists have responded:
- Steve Saideman discusses how Kristof's complaints are oddly out of date, the importance of academic journals, and his role in the ISA blogging dustup;
- Erik Voeten points out that we're doing a lot of relevant research and more outreach than ever before;
- Will Moore reminds us that professors are already getting their ideas out to the public by teaching them to the next generation and sheds some light on the reasoning behind the ISA blogging proposal that contributed to Kristof's complaints;
- Seth Masket discusses the degree to which Kristof misunderstands what political scientists do and the many ways that political science is increasingly entering the public conversation;
- Corey Robin uses a few examples to show how strong academics that are off of the tenure track are a missed opportunity for the Kristofs of the world;
- and Erica Chenoweth shows that academic research can be important to a much broader audience than the U.S. government leaders that appear to be Kristof's focus.
Overall, I think it is good that we regularly have these moments to reflect on how we engage with the public. In recent years, we have made great strides in our ability to get the substance of our research out to a larger audience, and I see no evidence that we are slowing down. Still, it never hurts to take some time to think about how we might do more of this and do it better.
Of course, the conversation is ongoing, and many more are likely to contribute. Feel free to add links in the comments!