Conferences · Hilarious But True · Nature of Academia

Throwing Shade: Your Guide to Conference Commentary

We’re just a few days away from SPSA, and many of you are probably preparing to attend a bunch of great panels.  Panels can be great places to get feedback on your work, inform your research agenda, and to throw out some Sick Burns.*

But maybe you’re new to the discipline, maybe you’re tired of saying the same old thing (“This isn’t generalizable”), or maybe you would just like to criticize a paper without paying attention to it. Whatever your situation, the Poli Sci Bitches are here to help with some Ready-Made Shade, free for use at SPSA or any other political science conference.

Get some cool water ready for THESE burns:

“That isn’t how I would define neoliberal institutionalism.”

You can fill in the blank with any definition in the presenter’s theoretical framework. Nitpicking the framework is a great way to throw them off their game.

“Frankly, it’s clear you should’ve used a negative binomial to model this.”

It doesn’t even matter if it’s true; if you say it with enough authority, you’ll sound like you know what you’re talking about.

“You know, the (insert unrelated subfield) literature has a lot to say about this. Have you read ANY of it?”

Again, doesn’t matter if it’s true, but it works wonders, because the presenter definitely hasn’t read any of it.

“Do you think if you’d compiled the strategic outcome equilibrium, you might’ve seen an increase in your convergence toward the deviation of the retrograde?”

This strategy is just nonsense fancy-sounding words.  Sometimes I feel like the discussants of my papers are making extensive use of this type of shade.

“So, where are you in graduate school?”

The sickest burn of all.  Save this one for when you’re feeling really feisty.

*The Poli Sci Bitches do NOT support using Sick Burns on undergrad/graduate students or anxious untenured professors (like us).  I mean, we don’t really support Sick Burns at all, but these are good, right?

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