Political SciencePolitical Science Departmental Scholarship Guidelines
Our fundamental principle in drafting these guidelines is that we expect to see department members engaged in productive work throughout their careers. In order to encourage this, we hold to a broad view of the venues in which and the rates at which such work appears. More specifically, we do expect that in the periods before all reviews after the first (and especially before the review for appointment without limit), members will have at least published something of some substance. We do not insist on books rather than articles or vice-versa; both can be signs of effective productivity. We recognize that there are canons of professional respectability in regard to venues, such as journals and publishers, and they have some weight with us, but many of us are personally well enough acquainted with the vagaries of professional fashion that we do not cling to them in a narrow or dogmatic way. For example, while the American Political Science Review counts far more in the profession than the journal Interpretation, some of us do not in the least despise contributions to the latter, or necessarily fall over in awe before contributions to the former.
Many of us probably have a slightly more positive view of conference papers than the sharp distinction implied by the guidelines, but this is a matter of nuance. We both share, and recognize we are bound by, the criteria's requirement of something published, and not just presented for a successful review in the area of scholarship. With other departments we share the view that one of the attractions of doing scholarly work at Kenyon is that individuals are encouraged to follow their own patterns and methods and are allowed to take chances on interesting but long-term projects. That is one of the reasons we hold a broad view of what is satisfactory research. We have not defined for ourselves exactly what we mean by "something of substance," but, like Justice Stewart, faced with the indefinable concept of pornography, we are pretty sure that we can recognize it individually and collectively. For example, we consider that political journalism of a high order can be substantive (e.g. in journals like The New Republic or The Public Interest). We also hold that publications about pedagogy in Political Science or even in liberal education as a whole can meet the criterion (e.g. contributions to P.S., the pedagogic companion journal to the APSR). Scholarly translation, if accompanied by a commentary, also might well meet the standard (e.g. the late Robert Horwitz's magnum opus, in his own view, was his translation of and commentary on a Latin work of John Locke). Thus, we are very open to a sympathetic reading of a colleague's self-understanding of his or her work. Still, there are limits we would not go beyond (e.g. letters to the editor don't count for us as scholarly publications, to take an admittedly absurd example). We have also not defined the quantity of work that amounts to "something of substance." For example, one very serious article might be worth a good deal, while a lot of essentially repetitive publications might not amount in value to their apparent weight. Thus we despair of giving that kind of guidance in general. Instead we rely on normal departmental life and the mentoring process for junior faculty to do the job these guidelines cannot, in specific cases.
In sum, these guidelines are meant more to express the spirit of the department's approach to scholarship; we do not think they can reasonably do much more.