ISPP President’s Message, Spring 2019

ISPP President’s Message, Spring 2019

By David Redlawsk (ISPP President)

Welcome from ISPP!

Looking forward to Lisbon

As we count down the months to our next Annual Scientific Meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, I am happy to tell you that ISPP is continuing to thrive. Under the guidance of our 2019 Program Chairs, Dr. Angela Bos and Dr. Shelley McKeown Jones, the Call for Proposals resulted in more than 900 submissions, totaling well over 1,000 proposed paper, roundtable, blitz, and poster presentations. And I especially want to note that this happened without extending the proposal deadline past December 1.

While we are thrilled at the number of proposals, it made things very challenging for the Section and Program Chairs, since space at the Intercontinental Hotel in Lisbon is limited. As a result, many very good proposals had to be declined, and most paper panels have been initially constructed with five papers to provide as much accessibility as possible. The resulting program will be perhaps the most diverse we have had, both intellectually and internationally. Of particular note is the planned Conference within a Conference on Gender and Political Psychology. The number of proposals specifically aimed at the CwC greatly exceeded our expectations. It’s an exciting time to be part of ISPP!

We will have three invited plenary speakers this year. Two follow on the tradition of inviting our Laswell and Sanford Award winners to give addresses. Dr. Stephen Reicher, of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland is the Laswell awardee while Dr. Kevin Durrhein, of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa received the Sanford Award. Our third invited plenary address will be given by Dr. Sara Mitchell of the University of Iowa. Dr. Mitchell will speak about her research on “Navigating Gender Bias in Academia.” More information on all three speakers can be found on the ISPP website.

My presidential address will engage our theme “Empowering Citizens in Illiberal Times: The Political Psychology of Oppression and Resistance,” addressing threats to Academic Freedom with a particular focus on our colleagues in Turkey.

One important lesson learned this year is that interest in the ISPP meeting is continuing to grow, especially when we are outside the U.S. and it is easier for people outside of North America to attend. We need to do what we can to accommodate this in the future. A few years ago, the Governing Council determined to limit our meetings in North American to no more than once every three years, and we have been keeping to that schedule. More recently, we also decided that the next North American meeting would not be in the United States, so we’ll be seeing you in Montreal, July 14-17, 2021. Before then, we have Lisbon from July 12-15 this year and Berlin, July 14-17, 2020. The Governing Council has also decided to look to the Global South with early planning to go to South America in 2022. More information on this should be available after the July meeting of the Governing Council.

One point should be clear: we plan our meetings some years in advance. And we don’t always have as much room as we would like when a meeting turns out to be more popular than anticipated. That’s what has happened in Lisbon, where the hotel facilities are too limited for the demand. Be assured the Governing Council and Central Office will be considering this issue carefully in identifying future meeting locations.

Scholars Under Threat

This is the section of this message that I wish I did not have to write. As those of you who have read president’s messages in the past couple of year know, we have been very concerned about threats to Academic Freedom around the world. Because a number of ISPP members have been threatened with criminal charges and jail sentences for asserting their free speech rights, we have been particularly focused on events in Turkey.  Last fall I reported to you about our efforts to support scholars under threat in Turkey, led by ISPP past-president Eva Green. I am happy to say that donations through this past January were able to be matched by ISPP, allowing us to support a number of our colleagues through emergency funding. We continue to accept donations which may be tax deductible.

I led an ISPP delegation including ISPP Communications Director Jolanda van der Noll and Governing Council member Hulda Thorisdotter which visited Turkey in early February with the intent of observing yet another trial of one of our members. At the very last minute, the trial was postponed, as the government considers changing the charges that have been filed. Our colleague is left in limbo, with no legal right to work or to leave the country. Instead of that trial, our team observed two other academic’s on trial and had conversations with a number of scholars who have been dismissed by the government. You can read a very detailed report of our visit. (PDF)

In December, another ISPP supported delegation also visited to observe trials and meet with colleagues. This delegation was led by Stephen Reicher, and included Governing Council member Anna Kende, former ISPP Treasurer (and soon to be President-elect) Felicia Pratto, and Fergus Neville.  Accounts by this team are available in the ISPP Blogand in The Psychologist.

Sadly, things may be getting worse in Turkey. Recent communications from colleagues there suggest that the government has begun actually jailing academics following the trials that are being held. Previously, sentences (defendants appear to always be found guilty) had been suspended, but as this account tells (PDF), it is no longer necessarily the case.

Thank you to all who have been part of these international observation teams both this year and last, and a special thanks to those who have been able to contribute to our fund designed to support our colleagues. We will continue to send observation teams when we can, and will continue to monitor and report on what we learn.

ISPP Officers Election and Constitutional Vote

ISPP Members received an email with links to the ballot for our annual election of Officers and Governing Council Members. The Governing Council guides the ISPP, and consists of 15 at-large members, elected for three-year terms, along with the various officers. We have ten ISPP members who are standing for the Council this year (PDF), five of whom will be elected based on your votes. In addition, former ISPP Treasurer Felicia Pratto has been nominated for President-Elect and current ISPP Interim Vice President Aleksandra Cichocka has been nominated for a full term. They will take office, along with the winners of the GC vote, following our meeting in Lisbon. Every one of these colleagues deserve our thanks for their interest in helping lead ISPP.

In addition to the regular elections, members will have the opportunity to vote on a revision to the ISPP Constitution and Bylaws. Details of the revision are available on the ISPP website. Please read this information before you vote. The vote will be a simple yes or no on the revision. It requires a majority vote to approve with a minimum of one-third of members casting a vote.

I hope everyone has a great spring and early summer, as we get ready for our July conference in Lisbon. I look forward to seeing you there!

David Redlawsk
ISPP President

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