Will H. Moore had a kind of personality that is best described by the phrase: "down for whatever". For those that don't know, this is defined brilliantly by the "urban dictionary" below:
down for whatever
Ready and willing to participate in most any activity. If said by your homie it implies that he is ready to have a good time in any situation.
That was how Will and I interacted with one another. Sometimes, Will would set it off and I would be like "Let's do it!". Sometimes, I would set it off and Will would be like "how do we start?" Some of these efforts never got off the ground, but they were still fascinating to imagine. Some were partially successful and incredible to try. Some failed miserably but were fun to attempt. Some were more successful than we could have possibly imagined and these were just heavenly or the urban/funkier version of that (Mo' Betta Hevnly).
In my new series, I am going to explore Will, Willness (or, Mooreing) and my interaction with him. These adventures are useful to put out there because it is soothing to remember them now and because they not only tell us something about the type of human that he is but also the type of humans, situations and social science that he helped create - these were connected in his mind. Most of these are not on either of our vitaes - we just did them in an effort to start something, try something, create some resource for ourselves and others.
At its core, the adventures represent some bizarre mashup that is part buddy film, part travel story, part Mindwalk and part bromance set over 25 years. To help me tell these stories, I will use film, music, literature and perhaps a drawing or painting or two.
Refugees and Movement of the People
Like the Three Musketeers, Will, Steve and myself kind of found each other in stages. First, I met Steve. As I recalled after his passing:
i first met steve in 1992 or 1993. he was on an apsa panel and wanting to make a name for myself, i read everyone's paper and went to the session to get some academic credentials (attacking, pointing out weaknesses and the sort). after the presentation (chomping at the bit), i waited for the discussant to finish, raised my hand and then let loose.
as i spoke, all looked at me as i went on without breathing. all looked accept steve; he took notes. afterwards, i started to leave and steve walked up to me, introduced himself and asked if he could clarify a few points that he was not sure if he had written down correctly (sly devil). i was still heated from the exchange but the manner in which he approached me was disarming. we sat down and went through the various points that i had raised.
after we finished, shook hands and exchanged contact information, i realized that he had delicately revealed his disagreement with almost every single point that i raised. in approaching me in the manner that he did, however, he prompted me to revisit the various points that i had raised and further improved my understanding not only of human rights and how to study it but how to deal with other human beings: honestly, directly, with kindness and with respect.
That was Steve’s way.
I recounted how I met Will earlier but trying to remember how Will and Steve met, I came across something that Will wrote after Steve passed:
I remember when my copy of the 1994 APSR issue containing the Poe & Tate article arrived. I read it with great interest. A year or two later Christian Davenport told me that I needed to have dinner with Steve Poe at an upcoming meeting. Not only was Steve an excellent scholar and an important person to meet professionally, Christian explained, he was a remarkably delightful human being that anyone would want to get to know. I gladly accepted the invitation.
It was a fun dinner. Steve's wit, charm and, above all, kindness and passion, were revealed almost immediately. Christian was right: he and I were in the company of a damn fine human being. Of all the people I have had the pleasure to meet in my life, I count Steve among the members of a very small set of genuinely kind, decent, AND smart folks.
That evening Steve changed my attitude toward Ketchup with a story about its production that he picked up from a summer job working at such a factory. I won't repeat the story here, but Steve had both Christian and I grimacing and laughing out loud with that tale.
Steve's commitment to science was top flight. He cared about knowledge and its production, and in addition to leading by example he sought to evangelize in the tradition of Ben Most, one of his advisor's at Iowa. The evening that I met him Steve spoke about the impact Ben had on his intellectual development and how much he missed Ben. I am sure Steve's students feel much the same way.
I would like to close with a personal remembrance. I was in Denton visiting UNT for one reason or another and Steve had met me at the airport. We were driving back to the hotel and he started telling me about a tennis match he had played with his oldest daughter, then a high school student. The story had to do with the mixture of pride AND frustration he had felt when she beat him for the first time. Though I never experienced it first hand, Steve reported--and others corroborated--that he was a tenacious competitor. Indeed, at the dinner when we met he asked whether Christian or I would like to find a spot where we could play some pickup basketball.
That was how we all met; this is how the Musketeers of Repression were assembled – now, it is not really important who was who. The characters in that story all represent parts of people that we admire, fear, enjoy and despise – often at the same time. That said, I was the “baby of the bunch” (like Master Gee talked about in “Rapper’s Delight”) so draw your own conclusions as well as your sword after you make them.
Regardless, from that point forward, we maintained a triadic interaction of fellowship, scholarship and friendship. In our different ways and for different reasons we all wanted to advance the study of state repression. Steve approached the topic from the prism of human rights, drawing upon his belief as a Quaker regarding peace(fullness). Will approached the topic from the prism of his humanity and keen sense of empathy as well as responsibility. I came at the topic from the perspective of political domination (aka Kropotkin and the anarchist tradition) and contentious politics (largely rooted in sociology) largely rooted in my distrust in political institutions as an African American. We read everything that the other wrote, provided comments and convened for meetings at conferences (often staying an extra day or two beyond presentations in order to hang out). I imagine that we must have looked a little odd hanging out: the choir boy/Quaker (slightly disheveled but joyous), the hippie (also slightly disheveled but not quite as joyous – at least not as obviously) and the man in black who also happened to be black (not even close to disheveled nor even remotely joyous except when convening with the other two musketeers).
Later, we began to interact with each other’s students. Indeed, this is how I met one of my current colleagues and friends (Chris Fariss). Steve had brought him to a Midwest Meeting and I remember thinking, "who the hell would bring an undergrad to this thing" but the answer was very clear: Steve would. And, right after Chris started speaking, you knew that he was where he needed to be. He was a natural and Steve knew it.
We Should Do Something Together
At one meeting, the three of us began to talk about what we thought needed doing in the political conflict/violence field. By this time (2002/3), there was a little momentum on doing research on state repression/human rights and thus our default position had shifted a little. After some back and forth, we concluded that there was very little about the aftereffect of political conflict/violence. Largely (as a community) we had been focused on onset, variation and type/tactic but we rarely reflected on what happened afterward.
After talking for a bit, we acknowledged that we had each done some of this already. Steve looked at the aftereffect of human rights violation on aid. Will and I looked at the aftereffect of dissent on repression (with me leading and Will following) as well as the aftereffect of repression on dissent (with Will leading and my following). There were still many aftereffects to be considered. One, in particular, stuck with us: refugees and internally displaced people. While we all had different reasons for thinking about this (e.g., I thought of the great black migration north from the American south following a wave of lynching), Will had been inspired by his mom (Bobbie Lord) who had a phenomenal experience and story in the Qatrom refugees camp in Albania 1999. It was clear that something needed to be done.
We thought about what to do and we got a good start. From our abstract:
- In this study we explain why persons flee their homes to become refugees. Our theory suggests that persons will tend to flee when the integrity of their person is threatened. Further, we argue that they will flee toward countries where they expect conditions to be better. To capture both the push and pull dimensions of our argument, we develop a measure of refugee movement that considers both refugees’ places of origin and their destinations. We conduct statistical analyses using fixed effects least squares, on a pooled cross-sectional time-series data set, consisting of data from 129 countries for the years 1964-1989. Our findings support the conclusion that threats to personal integrity are of primary importance in leading refugees to move. Measures of state threats to personal integrity, dissident threats to personal integrity, and joint state--dissident threats each have statistically significant and substantively important effects on refugee production. Contrary to one of our hypotheses, however, we find that countries making moves toward democracy tend to have greater number of refugees, once other factors are considered. We conclude the analysis by considering the utility of our theory for producing early warnings of refugee movements.
The initial version got rejected at JOP and AJPS – for some reasonable reasons. After some complaining and hating on the process, we got to revising to send it to another journal. Will took the lead on the revision and hit us back when he was ready:
Steve and Chris,
Attached is the revised version of our refugee paper.
I have tried to address the critiques laid out by our reviewers.
Here is a list of things I have tried to do.
1. Develop a foil. We avoided criticizing Schmeidl, and I have
abandoned that strategy, making her work the focus of a
critique of the work in this field in general. I laud her work,
but identify some weaknesses, and how we overcome them (as
well as avoiding weaknesses in other's studies). I also have
chopped all of the 'as Schmeidl argued...' lines. I think those
really undermined our paper.
2. Downplay the Theory claims. I have largely eliminated the
word 'theory' from our study. This was minor editing to scale
down the claims. Several readers were put off by the 'we have a
theory, and nobody else does' tenor of previous drafts (that is,
admittedly, a bit strong, but I think we did have some of that
tenor, and it was my fault). I think we are much less likely to
turn those folks off, but I don't think I have sold out. See what
3. I have developed a new argument about the impact of change
toward democracy, and revised the text so that we present competing
hypotheses (might be +, might be -).
There are other more minor revisions as well.
Please re-read all of the reviews we have received (esp. the
4th one from AJPS, which I thought was the best), and then
my revisions. I think some of the issues raised are issues
that we will not resolve with this paper. Further, I am moving
on with the new data and am losing interest in this one. I also
just got an R&R from APSR on another project, and want to
spend time on both that and the new refugee analyses. So, I
am handing this off and don't want to see it again. In other
words, do what you will with it, just don't send it back to me! :-)
As for outlets, I am partial to either JCR or II. I think we want
to publish this piece ASAP b/c Shellman and I will have a
new paper that will make it moot sometime next spring
(perhaps by Jan). I think Russett is likely to like it, and I
think it could go there.
But, I figure Poe has yet to call a journal, so it's his turn.
But be sure to refer to the above--it's your baby now: you
guys decide what to do with it.
This time we tried International Interaction where we got an R&R and after some minor tweaking, we were good to go. I had the lead on the final revision and wrote the following to the editor:
Prof. James Lee Ray
Department of Political Science
Nashville, TN 37235
Below you will find our long-awaited revised manuscript, “Sometimes You Just Have to Leave: Domestic Threats and Forced Migration, 1964-1989”, written by myself, Will Moore and Steve Poe. Additionally, you will find autobiographical statements for each author.
As instructed (within your cover letter of March 24, 2001), we have been especially attentive to reviewer 1, who provided rather detailed (but not necessarily critical) commentary. Since the two other reviewers were in favor of publishing the manuscript, we have ignored their comments (at least for the current paper; the comments from these individuals will help immensely with the other work on this topic that we are engaged in). While the manuscript is much clearer after this revision, we do not find that much of the content has been changed. We arrived at this conclusion after first reading the review, rewriting the manuscript, re-reading the review and then realizing that we had gone too far overboard in the earlier version. The more reasonable revision is what we submit to you here.
Within our responses as well as our revised text, you will see that we have been extremely careful in addressing the issues raised by the one reviewer. In many respects, however, we feel that this individual is very much a fan of Susanne Schmeidl’s work and that anything that does not follow her particular research is not going to be well received. In an earlier version of the manuscript, we were fairly complementary of Prof. Schmeidl’s work; so much so in fact that we were asked to strongly justify the validity of our research by revealing how it moved beyond this work. It is somewhat ironic that we would later be criticized for not being complementary of this research (luck of the draw, I suppose).
In our defense, the current research effort clearly moves beyond Schmeidl’s work. Indeed, it improves on several areas. We do not discuss all of these within the current manuscript but we do feel that it is necessary to address them within our response to you in order to provide some context for our investigation, the reviewer’s comments and our resubmission.
First, similar to the rest of the literature, Schmeidl limits her study to international refugees and does not include the internally displaced within her analyses. Schmeidl has studied internally displaced persons in other work – less rigorously than her refugee study, and she excludes them from her 1997 article because she is not interested in them. While such attention is understandable given the sheer magnitude of refugees globally and the significance of this group as one in need of study, this still ignores an important group of individuals that has not yet received systematic attention. We attempt to improve upon this and explore the reasons why individuals would leave their homes (generalizing across cases that exist both within as well as between nations; “forced migration” in the broadest sense).
Second, we contend that two of the measures for domestic conflict used by Schmeidl, can be improved upon (a point also made by Schmeidl in her 1995 work). For example, the Freedom House measure for political liberties that was used for state repression has frequently been criticized because it is unclear how coding is conducted. The appropriateness of the measure is also questioned to the extent that we would not expect individuals to leave their homes when political bans or curfews were being imposed (indicators of repression discussed within the measures that she uses). Rather, we would expect individuals to leave their homes when their lives were physically being threatened with violence. Additionally, the Minorities at Risk data suffers from a selection bias as it only considers groups that are persecuted for and/or that are mobilizing around their ethnicity. This ignores other types of dissent that do not explicitly concern ethnicity (e.g., labor, ideology and so forth) – even that undertaken by ethnic groups, and, as a result, it would tend to ignore a large amount of contentious behavior that might be relevant to the decision to flee.
We improve upon this work by utilizing a measure that concerns protest activity undertaken by all individuals within society as well as a measure that concerns repressive activity concerning personal integrity violations – an indicator that captures behavior which is much more relevant to the decision to flee.
Third, and last, as the data on refugees that is used by Schmeidl has a distribution from zero to some positive integer (displaying a Poisson, negative binomial or similar distribution), it is necessary to utilize some form of estimation other than OLS regression. To do otherwise produces biased parameter estimates. Schmeidl did not utilize this estimation technique and thus the study itself is flawed. This work should be treated as such and should no be used as an appropriate standard by which others should be held. We are not sure about whether or not the reviewer is aware of such issues, given the fact that they thought we were using a “Poisson regression” (which we were not doing) as opposed to discussing Poisson distributions (which we were doing). This distinction has now been clarified, but it is important to note that such deficiencies with Schmeidl and the existing literature exist as one attempts to evaluate what we have accomplished within the work submitted to your journal. Our study does not suffer from the limitations of this other work. We offer a more micro-based theoretical orientation that is more directly connected with the phenomenon of interest and, utilizing an appropriate and sound research design, our findings are robust.
With the changes that have been made to the manuscript, we hope that it will now be deemed acceptable for International Interactions. If you require any additional information, please feel free to contact me at my address, email or phone number.
After the piece was accepted, we moved on to think about a book on the topic (something that we had come up with a few months into the article project). I had some data on Kosovo flight and was looking for an excuse to try and pull together the information on black flight from the South. Will wanted to further push us on thinking about individual-level decision making. Steve was interested in pushing the human rights literature to consider diverse cases seriously and to advance the interest in the topic.
Increasingly, however, life intervened. Steve had taken over the International Studies Quarterly and got busy. Will drilled down on the refugee project with Steve Shellman (summarized in this great political violence at a glance piece) in order to explore some spinoffs from our collective project. A little later life intervened in an even bigger way: Steve Poe passed and that just kind of took the sail out of the project. It wasn’t the same with Will and I alone and as Will reminded me Schoolhouse Rock didn’t sing about two being a magic number. Ever the comedian is the Will. As I reminded Will though: As Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock would say: "It takes two to make a thing go right. It takes two to make it out of sight. Hit it!"