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Learn about KISA, the community of scholars

Working in an academic career requires you to do in-depth research, publish your papers on high standard publications, and also present them to other scholars in your field. 

If you are a new graduate student in International Studies, this might cause a lot of questions in your mind, such as how could you begin or where to begin with? Or how can you reach those communities where scholars discuss with one another? 

In this interview, Professor Brendan Howe of Ewha GSIS, introduces the Korean International Studies Association or KISA, the community of scholars, and also gives us some insights about how to create a publishable research paper. He is one of the two founding Co-Presidents of KISA, who currently serves as President, and also the Chief Editor of Asian International Studies Review (AISR). Here below is the original text from the interview with Professor Howe.

What is KISA, and how is it related to Ewha GSIS?

KISA is the Korean International Studies Association, the premier association for international studies in the English medium. It was set up to promote International Studies in the English language as an independent field of social studies in Korea and to construct a flourishing academic and professional community. Ewha GSIS hosted the first annual KISA convention (and has hosted several conferences since), and I am one of the founding Co-Presidents along with Professor Matthias Maass of Yonsei GSIS. The Institute for International and Area Studies, the main research institute of Ewha GSIS, has been instrumental in hosting KISA conferences, and also publishing KISA conference proceedings, articles, and books.

Photo from : twitter @EUinKorea
What are KISA’s main activities?

KISA holds an annual convention to bring together academics, practitioners, and graduate students, to share their latest work on international studies in the English language, broadly defined to include international relations, development cooperation, comparative politics, international business, international trade and investment, international law, and regional studies. 

In addition, KISA serves as a link with international associations and networks in the field of international studies. KISA has a panel at the International Studies Association (ISA) annual convention in North America and has also provided panels to the Development Studies Association (DSA). 

KISA is supported by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and works closely with this German political foundation on a number of projects. 

Finally, KISA has a number of publication initiatives ranging from academic books with Brill and Palgrave Macmillan international publishers, to the Scopus-ranked journal, Asian International Studies Review (AISR), and the graduate student journal, Yonsei Journal of International Studies (YJIS – formerly Papers, Essays, and Reviews).

What are the criteria of papers that will be selected to publish in AISR?

Papers accepted for publication in AISR must be of a high academic standard (we have a lot of submissions, and use double-blind peer review for selection). They must also be related to international studies broadly defined and the Asian region. Formatting guidelines must be followed closely (paying particular attention to citations and page length), and the English language use must already have been proofread. I recommend anybody interested visit the website asianisr.org and register to download all the previously published articles for free. As AISR will be embarking on a new partnership with Brill international publishers from next year, however, it is important to keep up to date with changes in regulations – for instance, there will be a new Brill website for the journal, and in future, it will not be possible to download articles for free. Student publications are also on occasion accepted by AISR if they meet the standards, but usually with the guidance of a professor.

Photo by Abhilash Sahoo on Pexels.com
What is the unique thing that makes AISR outstanding?

AISR is the official journal for both KISA and the Asian Political and International Studies Association (APISA). I recommend that everybody be friends with both of these associations on Facebook! [KISA and APISA]. It has a broad subject matter coverage but a regional focus. It publishes articles of the highest academic standards and has some extremely high profile scholars and practitioners on its editorial board, and among its authors and reviewers.

In which way that you think International Studies matter to our lives or career path? Why do we need to learn about it?

First, the study and practice of international studies involve quite literally questions of life and death, so it is morally imperative that we study the related disciplines. Second, we cannot hope to make a better world if we do not understand the shortcomings and challenges of the current one in which we live. Third, by studying alternative social, political, and economic constructs, we become more rounded, informed, and tolerant individuals – it is important for our personal growth. Fourth, the knowledge and skill-sets you will develop during your studies will stand you in good stead no matter where your professional lives take you. And finally, perhaps most importantly, because it is interesting!

In this incoming issue, what do you expect from the paper submission? Any subject that is preferred, such as COVID-19?

The most recent issue of AISR which came out in June covers a number of topics related to human security and the environment, but people were writing these articles before the COVID crisis took hold. I expect in the submissions for our next issue (December 2020) that there will be a number of articles related to COVID-19, but that does not guarantee they will be accepted. We take the top five submissions according to our reviewers, regardless of the topic of the article. The only exception to this rule is when we have a special issue, where papers have been commissioned on a certain topic. Even then, however, all the submissions have to go through a double-blind peer-review process before they are accepted for the special issue.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com
How can Ewha GSIS students take part in KISA?

Ewha GSIS students are welcome to submit presentation proposals for the KISA conferences and workshops. In fact, we have designated student panels. The call for papers has just been posted to the KISA Facebook page, and this year it will be a joint conference with APISA. Students are also welcome to join the audience (which may be virtual this year due to COVID restrictions). Details about that will also be posted on the KISA Facebook page. Finally, of course, GSIS students can also submit papers either individually or in collaboration with their colleagues and/or professors for publication consideration in AISR or YJIS.

Do you have career advice for the current GSIS students and those who are interested in joining the field of International Studies?

I would just go back to my fifth point above – do what you enjoy and what interests you. This applies to graduate study or career paths after study. Only if you choose to study something that seizes your imagination or tugs at your heartstrings will you be able to commit to the work involved and not only rise to the challenges, but thrive upon them.

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Published by Khing Amatyakul

Thai, Working at SuperPlanet, IR grad from Ewha GSIS | @khingamat

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