Listen Now

10 things we learned from the 2016 ISA conference in Atlanta

Missed the International Studies Association annual conference last week? Or, were you too busy with panels to take it all in? We’ve got you covered. 

By: /
21 March, 2016
Atlanta, Georgia. REUTERS/Chris Aluka Berry

With thousands of academics and hundreds of panels, the annual International Studies Association conference is a goldmine for ideas, connections and collaboration in the field of global affairs. 

And while there was a wealth of insights shared at this year’s edition, held last week in Atlanta, Georgia — from the continued relevance of nuclear weapons to the economic shocks caused by the withdrawal of UN missions — it would be near impossible to summarize all topics here. (Though a general search online will reveal the breadth of subject areas.)

Instead, we’ve brought together some of the more pointed — and some comical — comments on the conference and field itself. 

1. Even for tech and media experts, PowerPoint remains clunky.

2. Is this why conferences can’t seem to go paperless?

3. If you thought political scientists were all Trump-ed out, think again.

4. Academics are just closeted performers (some not closeted at all).

5. Too many still suffer from impostor syndrome.

6. Conference settings are a (sometimes missed) opportunity to link research to the real world.

7. They can reveal world leaders’ policy motives, but scholars can’t seem to ID their own Dread Pirate Roberts — @Worse_Reviewer.

8. Too. Many. All. Male. Panels.

9. ISA South really means USA South. How do we either bring an ISA to the Global South or more Global South researchers to it?

10. Change is not impossible.

Before you click away, we’d like to ask you for a favour … 


Open Canada is published by the Canadian International Council, but that’s only the beginning of what the CIC does. Through its research and live events hosted by its 18 branches across the country, the CIC is dedicated to engaging Canadians from all walks of life in an ongoing conversation about Canada’s place in the world.

By becoming a member, you’ll be joining a community of Canadians who seek to shape Canada’s role in the world, and you’ll help Open Canada continue to publish thoughtful and provocative reporting and analysis.

Join us