Building Relationships with Austria’s Political Science Ecology During Political Science Day 2020

On November 27, Central European University (CEU) participated for the first time in the annual Austrian Political Science Association (AuPSA) conference, Political Science Day. This seventh edition of the conference, which was organized by the Departments of Political Science,  the Department of Government at the University of Vienna and the Department of Political Science at CEU with the AuPSA, was held online as a result of the pandemic.

“This is the first year we've participated as a co-organizer, which I think is an important step toward establishing strong ties between the University of Vienna and CEU, as well as creating opportunities for CEU students and faculty to participate in a platform, which brings together scholars not only from Austria but also from various Western and Eastern European countries. comments CEU Assistant Professor Mariyana Angelova, who served on both the organization and program committees with colleagues from the University of Vienna, University of Salzburg, University of Innsbruck and the AuPSA.

During this initial engagement in Political Science Day, and as a university new to Austria, CEU was robustly represented with multiple participants from the department, seeding important exchanges for relationship building and scholarship within the country’s political science research ecology. With support from Associate Professor Zoltan Miklosi and in addition to Angelova, CEU Assistant Professor Inna Melnykovska, Associate Professor Matthijs Bogaards and doctoral students Krisztina Szabo, Zdravko Veljanov and Mehmet Yavuz participated, as well as alumna Nikita Khokhlov and winter CEU visiting faculty Monika Mühlböck.

“This year the conference included discussions ranging from the radical right and populism to panels on COVID-19 - a completely new topic with very recent research such as how voters engage in this impacted environment, how politicians respond through policy, the disadvantages and challenges in terms of human rights violations, as well as civil rights discussions of free speech related to fake news being spread about COVID-19,” notes Angelova. The scope of topics is practically oriented and goes beyond theory to include current events, politicians and additional organizations.

Political Science Day is a strong platform for researchers across various levels of experience, particularly including emerging researchers. At approximately 150 people, the convening is transparent through the sharing of papers, and also provides opportunities to present and get feedback, and to develop practical experience through serving as a chair or discussant. Additionally, the AuPSA provides financial support for young scholars towards participation in conferences and summer schools, as well as other professional development opportunities.

In terms of CEU’s relationship with Vienna’s political science researchers, Angelova thinks the university is off to a strong start, remarking, “I think that given the circumstances of having just one month of the semester before lockdown and the university having moved very recently, CEU has made very good progress in its visibility with colleagues at the University of Vienna. The programming committee consisting of faculty members from several universities in Austria reviewed the paper proposals submitted by CEU members and developed a very positive impression from these strong applications. I think the AuPSA conference was a good event to be involved in and provided a valuable opportunity to interact with Austrian and international scholars.”

Political Science Day is open to proposals not only from the field of political science but also adjacent areas such as economics and international relations. The call for papers for the 2021 Political Science Day will open during the summer of 2021, and the program of the 2020 online conference is available here.