Minority Groups Lose When They Collaborate with Power

Cailin O’Connor—a philosopher, scientist, and mathematician—may not enjoy tense situations, but they fascinate her. Last year, in a Huffington Post article titled “Game Theory and The Walking Dead,” she wrote that the zombie show’s “plot lines are rich with strategic tension.” She goes on to analyze three of what she calls “the most strategically compelling scenes,” and seems to relish in the fact that the characters—since they so often die—aren’t great game theorists. (Game theory, as she sometimes has to remind her students at the University of California, Irvine, isn’t really about games, but about predicting rational behavior.)

Recently, she’s brought this sort of scrutiny on the behavior of her fellow academics. In a recent paper, she analyzes how they strategically cooperate and bargain at a time when, in most scientific fields, published work is most often co-authored, and how power discrepancies can affect these collaborations—between grad students and professors, say, or between men and women, or between whites and people of color (or, indeed, combinations of these).

In the paper, co-authored with Justin Bruner, a philosopher

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Nautilus

Nautilus8 min readSelf-Improvement
Why Are So Many Monsters Hybrids?: The captivating horror of category violation.
I was 13 years old when the movie Alien was released. It scared me into a month-long spell of anxiety. The hair on the back of my neck was perpetually up and I had the jittery demeanor of a combat veteran. While the full-grown xenomorph alien was chi
Nautilus11 min readScience
Out for Young Blood: Science has given new life to an old thirst.
The vampire live on, and cannot die by mere passing of the time,” Dracula’s Abraham Van Helsing tells his colleagues. “He can flourish when that he can fatten on the blood of the living. Even more, we have seen amongst us that he can even grow younge
Nautilus4 min read
Where “The Walking Dead” Goes Wrong With Zombies
Rick Grimes is cornered. A walker shuffles toward him, thoughtless yet eager for flesh. Sweat drips through Grimes’ thick beard, grown in the hundreds of fearful days and nights since the dead started to roam the earth. He quickly reaches for his kni