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APSA 2022 conference

Graduate Conference and Academic Travel Grant Report – Ashley Wright (2020, DPhil Politics)

22 September 2022

Thanks to the generosity of Univ’s Old Members’ Trust, I was able to attend the annual American Political Science Association (APSA) conference virtually. This afforded me the opportunity to attend various sessions across the different disciplines in which I work for my DPhil research on American foreign aid allocation.

I finished the American Political Science Association conference (14-18 Sep) with many cross-disciplinary insights to enliven my own research. From delving into the inner workings of Congressional committees to reframing global foreign policy, I benefited greatly from the wide variety of sessions. In addition to sparking connections in my own research, I was also able to join several sessions on teaching political methodology and US government. These sessions introduced me to many resources and techniques that I have no doubt I will utilize in my own teaching.

I particularly enjoyed a panel on foreign policy, foreign aid, and engagement between global actors. This included thought-provoking framing for understanding interactions between the U.S. and China, as well as another research project examining China’s approach to foreign aid and multilateral development banks. Another fascinating presentation explored the phenomenon of election monitoring and why some countries invite purposefully invite both reputable organizations and “zombie” monitors (those that are less capable of detecting election fraud or which are intentionally dishonest brokers in the process). This set of papers engages many of the issues I work with or around in studying the political economy of foreign aid (and its frequent use as a tool or extension of foreign policy).

One of the plenary sessions also addressed new directions in the university for profession moving forward—with an emphasis on considering what political science has to teach and offer students at the undergraduate level that is distinct from business or economics. It’s helpful each year to hear current topics with which the wider discipline is engaging and gain an understanding of how different academics are responding and adapting.

The annual APSA conference has been a wonderful academic opportunity and I’m deeply grateful to Univ and OMT for the ability to attend for another year. I look forward to applying many of these insights and tools to my own research and teaching in the coming term and in the years to come.

Find out more about the range of travel grants and scholarships available to assist Univ students on our Travel Grants page or read further travel reports.

Published: 15 December 2022

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