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Hello, everyone! My name is Oliver (he/him). I'm a 2nd year PhD student in a Political Science program. I am learning to use quantitative methods to study civil war, international intervention, state violence, and human rights issues. I come from an interstate conflict background, and so I'm more familiar with IR than comparative politics, at the moment. I look forward to meeting some cool people :)

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@olliemandias hi fellow political scientist! I'm a theorist :) I hope you have a good time here. It's a pretty great place

@Cyborgneticz No kidding, really? That's awesome! :) I have a lot of respect for theorists; I don't have that kind of creativity, haha. I just play with numbers. What are your interest areas?

@olliemandias nbd just out here creating hypotheses and shit 😎
I focus on how we express our normative reason through language, so I do a lot of work in the realm of studying how political leaders speak and speech in general. I critique it through a care ethics lens, bc without critique what's happening. I also do...a bunch of other things because I'm annoyingly enthusiastically curious.

@Cyborgneticz Oh, that's quite interesting. There's a course I'm dying to take that teaches you how to extract quantitative information from loads of text, for the purpose of analyzing language. Leader statements, and the wording of political messaging, is important! Regrettably, I, too, am endlessly curious. My application for grad school was a mess... "What is your research focus?" I have to pick *one*...? I'm not sure what "care ethics" is though, ngl.

@olliemandias Ok so this is one of my gripes with PhD programs (editing my diss right now). Specialization is framed that you have to kill all your other interests, and that's nonsense. Like I'm in multiple books writing about things that aren't in my wheelhouse. I'm getting solicited to write a book about Cajun traditions. Do your shit. BUT I'm also outside academia as a high school history teacher, so I guess it depends what you want to do. Have fun n protect your curiousity! It'll make 1/

@olliemandias you a better researcher, writer, and thinker.
That class sounds fucking awesome.
Care ethics comes out of feminist philosophy. It argues that care is both a disposition and an action. So we can assess how ethical a person/institution is IF they fit the 5 characteristics of care - responsibility, attentive, compassionate, etc. etc. I use it a lot in my criticism of neoliberalism and in my arguments for a 'what else' My 3rd field was philosophy cause I think ethics gets forgotten.

@Cyborgneticz Thanks for the explanation! I haven't really read any feminist theory since undergrad. Honestly, I think the best thing for "specialization" for me is going to be just to gobble up all the methods training I can. That way I can use it to get my greedy hands all over any subfield that piques my interest. As far as the job market goes... I have to be pretty flexible about that. I'm physically disabled in the good ol' capitalist USA, you know? Idk where I will be in 5 years. *shrug*

@olliemandias Feel that. I'm epileptic, so my job search and demands cut out a lot of the precarity other recent grads take on. I just am not willing to put my health on the line for academia. So I get that absolutely. Have a good time. Enjoy yourself. Learn some things, and worry after quals!
That approach to methods makes so much sense! My cohort best friend took a LOT of methods across the social sciences like focus groups in socio. It's been so key to her diss.

@Cyborgneticz It's great to hear that it worked for your friend :) Speaking of schoolwork, though, I need to get back to it. Have a great night!

@olliemandias my dear friend is in Germany on a Fulbright right now procrastinating grad school and doing quantitative analysis on the (re-re-re-)rise of the far right in Europe (through textual analysis and poll-watching - he has a background in winning political campaigns). I did my undergrad in IR but my focus region was francophone West Africa so I became wildly disillusioned with the field and now am pursuing a different path.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing what you get up to on here :3

@juliana Ooh, that sounds fascinating... I'm very interested in radicalization, which I believe contributes to the growth of the far right movement. My focus region in undergrad was the Middle East, but I've forgotten all my Arabic :x. I sent you a follow request :)

@olliemandias my initial focus area was the Middle East! The Middle East and all of Africa are lumped together at The University of Alabama. Unfortunately, the CLC lied to me about their willingness to teach me Farsi, and because of my adoration for Persian culture I couldn't bring myself to study Arabic... Plus my best friend at the time is Persian and I wanted to study with him. Anyway, French was the only other option for that focus region, donc voila

@juliana Oh man, that sucks that they didn't follow through on the Farsi... I was trying to learn Urdu for a hot second bc I had a lot of Pakistani coworkers, but I didn't get very far. I transferred schools halfway to undergrad, and I was really disappointed to discover that the Arabic classes at the school I transferred to were laughable. Basically just a way for kids who spoke Arabic at home (but couldn't pass the exam) to get language credit. There wasn't really any effort to teach.

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