May 26, 2009

Are we not nerdy enough?

Dave Kasten, a longtime reader of this blog, is asking over at Attackerman whether or not we have lost our academic focus.

But I'm not sure that the same hunger exists for reading cutting-edge political science works and bringing them to the fight. Exum's list includes few works that couldn't have been added in 2006, to be frank, with additions such as Weinstein's Inside Rebellion that were published years ago. (Kilcullen is a notable exception, but I'd argue his book is one such practical work) Where're the links to exciting working papers from colloquia like Yale's Order, Conflict, and Violence program? What's the new samizdat that gets passed around like The Logic of Violence in Civil Warwas? If the MacChrystal era is supposed to be the era of innovative thinking in Afghanistan, why aren't we looking more outside of the box?

It's a fair question, honestly. Most of the counterinsurgency literature I have read, I read between 2006 and 2008. Since 2007, meanwhile, there has been an explosion of journal articles and papers presented at APSA and ISA on counterinsurgency -- the majority of which I have missed. And honestly, since this blog has been a more-or-less one-man operation recently, I don't have much spare capacity to sift through the latest hotness.

Which is why I need a co-blogger in a bad way, preferably someone with either serious academic rigor or lots of time on their hands to stay current on the literature. Suggestions?