At the end of August and early September, I journeyed across the Atlantic to attend the American Political Science Association (APSA) annual meeting in Washington, DC. This is a very large conference, with thousands of attendees representing the full range of political science spread out in sessions across three hotels. With panels on topics such as political philosophy, legislative politics, international security, quantitative methodology, research ethics, and many more, there is truly something for everyone. One of the key challenges of the conference was deciding which sessions to attend!
In one sense, attending APSA felt a bit like going “home” for me, as this is a conference I attended prior to becoming an editor. However, the experience of attending in my new role opened my eyes to just what a tiny portion of the “house” I had seen before. Rather than sticking to a narrow area, this time I attended panels on a wide range of subjects across the subfields. The scope of Nature Human Behaviour is broad, so I tried to see a little bit of everything! I really enjoyed the chance to see such a diverse set of research.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Populism and Privilege,” which provided ample opportunities for panels to highlight the connections between political science research and real world problems and impacts. Another important theme that threaded through the conference was the diversity of the field and the need to consider multiple views and approaches when setting agendas and policies. Both of these themes were further highlighted during the Presidential Address by outgoing APSA President Rogers Smith on “What Good Can Political Science Do? From Pluralism to Partnerships.”
After three and a half days packed full of great panels, I left the conference exhausted, but filled with new awareness of all the great work going on in the field. Spending the better part of a week speaking with and hearing from such a range of scholars is definitely a privilege of this job.