Dear SISP Members,
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to this second issue of IPS in 2015. As you know, I was elected President of the Società Italiana di Scienza Politica on September 11, 2015, by the members’ assembly at the 29th annual SISP conference at the Università della Calabria in Arcavacata di Rende. In this position, it is a great honor for me to succeed scholars who have made fundamental contributions, not just to Italian Political Science but to Political Science worldwide. I am humbled to be part of such a distinguished company, an honor I am not sure I fully deserve. All I can do is to promise that I will do my best to help our association flourish and promote Political Science in Italy and abroad.
However, even before looking at the tasks ahead, I would like to pause for a moment and remember the last elected SISP President, Pietro Grilli di Cortona whose premature departure shook and saddened us all. His figure was movingly remembered at our 2015 conference and his scholarly legacy was honored on December 14 with the dedication of the Political Studies library at the Università Roma Tre. His passion for knowledge and, particularly, for books, was also acknowledged by the SISP Board, which decided to name after him the prize that our association awards to the best Political Science book written by a young scholar. This prize is now deservedly called “Premio Grilli di Cortona.” My thoughts go also to those who helped me in this difficult transition, namely the pro tempore Acting President, Pierangelo Isernia, and the outgoing secretariat, Luca Germano, Nino Castaldo, and Nicoletta Di Sotto. To them, my warmest thanks for being such a dedicated and competent group of scholars and my best wishes to the younger among them for a rewarding career.
The challenges that lie ahead of our associations are known to most; in meeting them, I plan to continue in the footsteps of Pietro Grilli who valiantly fought to defend our discipline in the ever more competitive academic environment in which we operate. First, I would like to continue protecting our discipline—and our younger colleagues, whom we train in political science precisely to keep the discipline growing—from unwarranted incursions from related disciplines. No one wants to deny the vital links and even overlaps at the margin between Political Science and other social sciences—from Law to Sociology, History to Economics, and Anthropology to Literature. However, it is an entirely different story to allow that our discipline be taught and our academic positions be taken by scholars with no training in Political Science whatsoever. Second, I would like to continue Pietro’s gentle effort at internationalizing our discipline, helping particularly our younger members to understand that “internationalization” does not only mean necessarily writing in English but also engaging the scholarly debate that unfolds abroad, in Europe and beyond and that it means adopting argumentative standards which can be internationally validated and published in international journals. As SISP, we would, betray our mission if we were to discourage the projection of our younger cohorts onto the international scene—and for this to happen, their effort must be clearly rewarded. Third, I would like to make our annual conference ever more attractive for those members who have lost interest in it, thinking perhaps that the themes therein discussed are unduly narrow. It would be my personal dream to convince some of our colleagues who have not renewed their membership for many years to give their support – financial and otherwise – to the SISP and make sure that it increasingly becomes the house of all scholars who deeply care about Italian Political Science.
With gratitude to the Editors of IPS, who asked me to write these welcoming words, my best wishes to everyone for a fruitful 2016.
Simona Piattoni, President of the Italian Association of Political Science (SISP), University of Trento