Some Recommended Reading

To this point I have been fulfilling my guestblogging duties here at OTB by mostly cross-posting stuff from my blog, PoliBlog. So to remedy that to some degree, I thought that I would try to do a little true value-added blogging and recommend some blogs that are perhaps not well known to OTB readers.

The following are blogs written by political scientists that are well written, thought provoking and/or educational and are worth a look even if they might not necessarily fall into the ideological or partisan worldview of all of OTB’s readership.

Going alphabetically:

Arms and Influence. A&I is written by a Ph.D. in political science who focuses primarily on the political use of violence. While he is not an active academic these days, he has an excellent insight that is worth reading. He blogs under the pseudonym “Kingdaddy” although his real name can be found on the site if you look hard enough. Indeed, I have known Herr Dr. Kingdaddy since his days as a graduate student at the University of California, Irvine where I was a polisci undergraduate and he was both a TA in at least one of my classes, and taught another (“War: Theory and Practice”). He also was an usher in my wedding.

I would also recommend his podcasts, which are available on the right-hand column of his site. Some good stuff if you are interested in the politics of violence/international relations in general.

Fruits and Votes: Fruits and Votes is the blog of Matthew Shugart, Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. Like the author of A&I noted above, Matthew was a grad student at UCI when I was an undergrad and taught two courses that I took (“Regime Change” and one the name of which I forget). He was also, oddly enough, an usher at my wedding (I swear, however, that UCI and wedding links have nothing to do with my recommendations of these blogs).

The name of the blog is a play on the title of a book that Shugart co-authored with Rein Taagepera (also a professor of mine at UCI in two classes) called Seats and Votes and the fact that Matthew has a passion for growing fruit, and indeed owns an orchard.

Matthew is one of the leading experts in the field of comparative politics on the subject of electoral systems and he blogs primarily on that topic. His work has been a substantial influence on my own and I would note that it was he who originally stoked my interest in Colombia, which has become the major focus of my own work.

If you are interested in elections, electoral rules, political institutions or comparative politics (or fruit growing, for that matter) you should add F&V to your list of reads.


Political Arithmetik
is the blog of Charles Franklin, Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin. Charles was neither in my wedding nor, to my knowledge, ever at UCI. However, he does do a great job of blogging on polling. Lots of nice graphs and numbers for the empirically minded.

Also worth checking out: Abu Aardvark (IR and the Middle East), the Duck of Minerva (group blog focusing on IR), La Profesora Abstraída (Mexican Politics) and Two Weeks Notice (Latin American Politics).

If you are dying for more bloggin’ polisci types, you can check out the Blogging Political Scientist Census I did over a year ago (and that really needs to be updated).

In terms of pure entertainment, if you like daily comics and have an odd (some might say “refined” or, perhaps, “twisted” depending on one’s POV) sense of humor, check out
The Comics Curmudgeon. Along the same lines, but for comic books, I highly recommend:
Dave’s Long Box.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter