THE POSITION OF THE IASA EXECUTIVE COUNCIL ON THE INCLUSION OF EMERGING SCHOLARS IN THE LEADERSHIP OF THE ORGANIZATION
Over the 22 years since June 1, 2000, when IASA came into existence, the world has changed drastically, and so have the goals and the means of the discipline.
In the face of a corporatization of the Academia, combined with blatant anti-intellectualism in the political rhetoric by national governments aimed to justify the radical financial cuts that the humanities world-wide have witnessed in the recent decade, the future of American Studies depends heavily upon those who fall victim to the engineered decline of academic humanities: our Emerging Scholars. The increasingly bleak prospects of tenured positions, the shift towards a more easily controlled adjunct workforce, the meager salaries for junior faculty, are among many factors demotivating brilliant individuals from joining, and more importantly, staying within Academia.
Aware of this, IASA has expanded its goals. Today, not only are we responsible for the building of a reliable, politically non-partisan knowledge base and for the distribution of critical insights in the Open Access formula to whoever in the world needs them, but also for the future of our Emerging Scholars when Universities do not always guarantee the space for them to grow.
Fully recognizing the value of experience and documented achievements of the Senior Colleagues, IASA, as a truly 21st century, socially responsible Organization, is critical of the “traditional” strategies of leadership selection based solely on international recognition and age-related seniority of degree. Appreciating the intellectual merit, leadership skills, commitment, and responsibility of our younger scholars, IASA encourages the involvement of our Emerging Scholars in the running of our Organization, side by side with their Senior colleagues.
Committed to the support of the intergenerational connections within the International American Studies Association, we recognize that scholars in their thirties and forties are not only fully shaped, excellent researchers, equipped to identify the needs of the discipline and its goals today, but also that—granted proper tools (such as an established, SCOPUS-listed journal and a functional network of international scholars) they can become visible as academics and teachers before their frustration with the policies and practices of the academia in their own countries drives them towards seeking jobs outside of it, to the detriment of learning world wide.
We wish to reiterate that in IASA, senior, managerial, and leadership positions are at not restricted to established professorship only. Our Organization recognizes that many of our Emerging Scholars, often denied permanent positions at their own universities, have made ground-breaking contributions to the present-day state of knowledge, despite which many of them remain invisible. To help remedy the situation, IASA aims to be the space in which Emerging Scholars can thrive. Gradually, but without delay, younger colleagues with exemplary leadership skills and excellent professional record will assume leadership positions in our Organization: first, shadowing our current leaders, and then taking over their responsibilities. The thus rejuvenated International American Studies Association will certainly be in good hands for decades to come.
With such a goal in view, the IASA proposes to call into existence a cohort of the “IASA Early Career Fellows” for two year appointments, assuming that this title will enhance our younger Colleagues employment prospects, or—if they are already employed—help increase their visibility. This cohort could be offered opportunities for mentoring in areas they desire, and for active engagement with the organization. In addition, they could be the source of planning for events that would serve their particular interests, and potentially, put together webinars as well as other events that would enhance their own and their cohort’s visibility. IASA Early Career fellows could thus highlight their work while building ongoing engagement with the Organization. Monthly online meetings, in shifting time zone calculations, could facilitate getting to know one another within the cohort, as well as energize building cross-national and cross regional connections that are one of the great joys of the in-person Congresses. Many other projects, including podcasts, publications, promotion of special issue ideas developed by the cohort, would then have a chance to develop.
If a new group of 40 is inaugurated every two years, in just three cycles there would be 120 early career scholars connected to IASA and to each other, especially if there is a cross-cohort “alums” connection that could be maintained, along with the intergenerational connections that will help support the building of careers in the earlier stages.
With such an aim in mind, the International American Studies Association invites all of the IASA Early Career Scholars to subscribe to the new section of the Organization’s website, the “IASA Emerging Scholars” section, in which all of the information concerning the IASA Emerging Scholars’ Forum and the IASA Early Career Fellowship Programme will be provided and systematically updated.
For more information on our IASA Emerging Scholars Fellowship Programme, please download and read the document below.
To apply for our IASA Emerging Scholars Fellowship Programme, please download, complete and return the form below.
- IASA Emerging Scholars Fellowship mechanism description
- IASA Emerging Scholars Fellowship application form