Diversity and Inclusion in ISPP

Diversity and inclusion are not new values in ISPP. Its founder, Dr. Jeanne Knutson of the United States, insisted that the organization be international, and the leadership has always included both women and men and people from a variety of countries, disciplines, and methods. Since our founding in 1978, our annual conference has taken place in a variety of cities so that we are close to members in diverse regions at different times. (Happily, our two virtual conferences have enabled people from many more places to participate due to lower registration fees and the absence of travel expenses!)

Nonetheless, in recent years, ISPP has stepped up its efforts to further diversity and inclusion with the following practices.

In 2018, ISPP adopted a definition of Diversity that refers to people’s “race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class (including first-generation higher-education status), religious identification, country of origin, and country of current residence.”

Our Journals. Although Editors of the journals maintain editorial control, the Editorial Boards are required to include national and interdisciplinary diversity, and they do. As of 2020, authors of accepted papers are encouraged to provide translations of their abstracts into languages that can make their work accessible to more research participants and

Vice President for Membership, Internationalization and Diversity. For over 15 years, the portfolio for one of the 3 Vice Presidents has been to internationalize membership. Since 2016, that Vice President has worked on implementing ISPP’s Strategic Plan for Diversity and Internationalization, which identified key issues and outlined short-term as well as long-term goals that would help us increase diversity and internalization in leadership, membership, conferences speakers and attendees, publications, and awards recipients. The 2020 Constitution describes the portfolio for this Vice President as “Membership, Internationalization and Diversity.”

Diversity Advocate. On every relevant ISPP committee (e.g., awards committees, Governing Council committees), one member is designated as the Diversity Advocate.

In-House Research on ISPP’s Diversity. In 2018, President Kate Reynolds, with her student Chuah Jim Leon Yeow, conducted a study to assess the national and gender diversity of ISPP, mainly based on publicly available documents such as conference programs. Their report found that gender diversity in leadership (Presidents and Vice Presidents), award-winners, and presenters had achieved parity following earlier decades in which men were more represented. However, a majority of leaders and award-winners were from US institutions. Although international diversity has increased, a plethora of members work in the US, Canada, Western Europe, or Israel.

The new (2020-21) Research on Diversity Committee is conducting a survey to assess a number of types of diversity among ISPP members and to find out how welcome conference attendees have felt at conferences. It will make an initial report to the Governing Council (GC) in July 2021 and an executive summary will be posted on the
website in the following months.

Constitution. The Constitution passed in 2020 by the membership mandates several procedures regarding diversity. For example, one of the purposes of the society is “To promote the goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion, both within the Society and its governance and operations, and outside the Society in the world at large.” The Constitution spells out specific responsibilities that the Councilor, President, Editors, and Nominations Committee have regarding maintaining diversity and openness, including interprofessional, interdisciplinary, and ideological diversity.

Scholars Under Threat. Conferences often feature panels on which members from regions experiencing various political difficulties teach other members about the situations in those regions. Since 2016, ISPP has taken several actions to support members in politically difficult circumstances, and continues to do so, through the Scholars Under Threat programs.

Conferences. Given the work of our members, ISPP’s conferences feature information about important political events and movements from around the world from a variety of perspectives, theories, research methods. Conferences have provided many of us with possibilities for collaboration, learning, and research that we could not get on our own. We ask conference submitters to indicate whether presenters, collaborators or participants have underrepresented backgrounds.

To increase diversity of keynote speakers, we have compiled a list of potential future keynote speakers, suggested by members, to reflect the diversity of scholars whose work may be of interest. This list is continuously updated and forwarded to future Presidents and Program Chairs annually for their consideration. The President dedicates at least one keynote slot to increasing diversity.

Here is a sampling of ways recent conferences have promoted diversity and inclusion for a variety of groups:

  • The 2016 conference in Warsaw included a panel on the account of the Polish Round Table Talks by Janusz Grzelak and Janusz Reykowski.
  • The 2018 conference was held on the US-Mexican border in San Antonio, TX and President Eva Green’s theme was “Beyond Borders and Boundaries.” The GC was very disappointed that the State of Texas was passing laws in 2018 unfriendly to gay/lesbian and trans- persons, and that the venue could not be changed without potentially bankrupting the society. However, the program committee was able to show our solidarity will all members by featuring a pioneer of sexuality studies, Dr. Don Haider-Markel, whose keynote address informed us about “Political psychology and LGBT politics and policy.”
  • The 2019 Lisbon conference included a “Conference within a Conference on Gender in Political Psychology, and keynote speaker, Dr. Sara Mitchell’s talk was entitled, “Navigating Gender biases in Academia.” President David Redlawsk’s conference theme was Empowering Citizens in Illiberal Times: The Political Psychology of Oppression and Resistance and his keynote included presentations by scholars under threat.
  • For the 2020 virtual conference, President Nick Valentino used his Presidential speaking spot to host a symposium on Race and Emotion in the Current Moment: Can Anger Bind a Diverse Social Movement? featuring members Antoine Banks, Davin Phoenix, LaFleur Stephens, and Ismail White.
  • The 2021 conference features keynote talks not only relevant to the theme, Recognition and (Re) Claiming Spaces: Marginalization, Colonization, and Privilege, but to the diversity of our global membership: Dr. Paula McClain will speak on “Diversifying the pipeline in political science: How increasing representation makes for better science,” Dr. Waikaremoana Waitoki, on “Indigenising psychology: Claiming a kaupapa Māori space,” and Dr. Jeffrey Ansloos on “Beyond recognition, towards abolition: Indigenous theories of change and justice in psychology.”

Vice President for Conferences, Christopher Federico, has worked for several years how to make our conferences family-friendly (i.e., easier for parents and caregivers). At our last in person conference, children were given “Future ISPP Member” registration badges and small bags of age-appropriate toys. Our in person-conferences include a room for nursing parents. The 2020-21 Family-Friendly conferences committee developed questions for our membership survey to allow us to learn about other ways to make attending the conference easier for parents of small children and other caregivers.

ISPP Ambassadors. The ISPP Ambassadors are members who do outreach to people in particular groups and regions in order to find out what members and potential members need, to increase networking, and to facilitate involvement in ISPP. At present, ISPP Ambassadors include Ying-Yi Hong, Tina Montiel, Idham Eka Putra (East Asia), Iris Žeželj (Eastern Europe and Balkans), Hermann Swart and Desmond Painter (Africa), Monica Gerber and Ana Figueiredo (Latin America), Indigenous Peoples (Carla Houkamou), Diala Hawi, Mai Albzour, and Rim Saab (Arab world), and Antoine
Banks and Chyrl Laird (racial/ethnic minorities). The Ambassadors and GC members will be hosting special social hours (e.g., for Parents, for people from various regions, for LGBTQ+ members) during the 2021 virtual conference. If you would like to become an Ambassador, have suggestions for Ambassadors, or would like to be put in touch with one of them, please email President Felicia Pratto (felicia.pratto@uconn.edu).

If you would like to contribute to ISPP’s missions for diversity and inclusion, feel free to contact President Felicia Pratto and/or Vice President Aleksandra Cichocka.

15 June 2021 – Click here to download the above as a PDF