PSC = Political Science SOC = Sociology HIS = History
IDS = Interdisciplinary PHIL = Philosophy ECON = Economics
Spring 2013 Course Descriptions
American Politics :: Comparative Politics
International Relations :: Political Theory :: Public Policy
General, Crossfield, & Related Courses
Cultural Studies and the Law, Professor Feldman, PSC 72001 (cross-listed with MALS 70400), 3 credits, Tuesdays 4:15-6:15pm
This course will introduce students to legal scholarship in the humanities, emphasizing cultural studies and critical theory. We will focus predominantly on two broad questions: How does law function as a cultural formation, a system of meaning, and how is law represented and imagined in other social locations, discourses and media? In order to examine law as it is represented, law as a system of representation, and the interaction between the two, we will read from the following texts: Rosen, Law as Culture, Cover, “Nomos and Narrative,” and “Violence and the Word,” Sarat and Simon, Cultural Analysis, Cultural Studies, and the Law, Sarat, Douglas and Umphrey, Law on the Screen, Merry, Colonizing Hawai’I, Coombe, The Cultural Life of Intellectual Properties, Sherwin, When Law Goes Pop and Kahn, The Cultural Study of Law.
Party Polarization in American Politics, Professor Jones, PSC 72001, 3 credits, Tuesdays 6:30-8:30pm
Has the American public become more polarized? What about political elites running in elections and serving in government? Is there any connection between mass and elite polarization? Why does polarization seem to be taking place, and what are its consequences? This class will delve deeply into all of these questions. We will begin by taking a historical perspective and asking whether current levels of polarization within the U.S. government are unusually high, or whether the seemingly low levels from a half century ago were the real aberration. We will explore several different explanations for why the parties in government have become more divided from each other over the past 50 years or so, including both constituency-based explanations as well as institutional ones. After that, we will shift our attention to the mass public. We’ll examine evidence both for and against the notion that the American public is currently polarized, and try to document and explain the specific ways in which the American public has—and has not—become more polarized over time (e.g., culturally, economically, geographically). Finally, we will analyze the consequences of elite and mass polarization—for public policy, for representation, and for public’s attitudes towards politics and government. Many of the readings in the class will be drawn from the American politics reading list – integrating both American institutions and processes.
Reassessing Inequality and Reimagining the 21st Century: East Harlem case study, Professors Luttrell & Cahill , PSC 72001(cross-listed with IDS 81640), 3 credits, Tuesdays 6:30-8:30pm
Engaging broad questions of economic inequality and its impact on the “commons,” or public sphere, this seminar will combine a political economic analysis with an examination of lived experiences, counter-narratives and everyday forms of resistance; and consider the role that new technologies can play in offering alternative ways to document, study, and resist inequalities. The seminar will engage these issues from the ground-up, as they play out in a particular place, East Harlem (El Barrio/Spanish Harlem).
East Harlem (El Barrio/Spanish Harlem) is a neighborhood saturated with complex personal and collective narratives of demographic change, economic hardship, vibrant cultural creativity, social movements, community organizations, and decades of public representations as a site of urban poverty. Keeping in mind how growing inequality in wealth, income, and debt is affecting public services and institutions, the seminar will take a particular look at housing and public education.
The course will take a hybrid form – including face-to-face weekly sessions situated in a digitally mediated environment. The course will also include community engagement events and participatory research in East Harlem. Sessions will be facilitated by CUNY faculty members drawn from a range of social science and humanities disciplines, and will include a prominent list of intellectuals, activists, and experts drawn locally and from around the world, with unique expertise on various aspects of inequality.
Simultaneously, this course will engage critical questions with regards to how new technologies can be used for community-engaged teaching and scholarship. The course will offer a different take on the “MOOC” (massively open, online course), here re-conceived as a “POOC” a participatory, open, online course that hopes to engage community members, and people from around the world, in dialogue with the ideas in the course. The seminar is designed to problematize issues related to representations of inequality; notions of community; and useable and meaningful research while simultaneously providing access to, and motivation for using, new digital tools and methods for addressing inequality.
Selected Topic in American Political Development : “Neos & Isms” (read intercurring conflicts between, among and across formal & informal political institutions), Professor O'Brien, PSC 82001 (cross-listed with ASCP 82210 and WSCP 81000), 4 credits, Tuesdays 4:15-6:15pm
This 8000-level political-science seminar prepares students for the major or minor in both the required National Institutions track and the Electoral Process track in American politics of the approved American Politics Comprehensive Reading List.* This course, while theoretical and historical, is an American-politics seminar that crosses intradisciplinary divides by relying on PD (political development, or historical institutionalism, as it is known in comparative) as a methodology with two analytical axes of the role of ideas (stemming from a radical feminist interpretation of monism). The seminar, in other words, is informed by American Studies and Women’s Studies literature, given its emphasis on difference as the United States built a relatively strong nation-state and became a global hegemon.** It pays particular attention to nation-building in juxtaposition with the recurring, crosscutting conflicts of class, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.
It includes discussions about formal and informal political institutions and identities applied to Obama and other presidents from the very late 19th through the 20th and 21st centuries, during intercurrence or in, across, and/or over time (clash of political development and political thought) or engaged with the other so-called federal branches. In other words, it concentrates on enduring institutional and ideational juxtapositions and enduring or classic conflicts in the United States in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches as well as in the media (including social media) that effect political identities.
The intercurring conflicts raised in Part II are classic and representational ones in, across, and/or over time (contingency and history) and political time (macro historical events). They are reviewed in broad strokes to cover these enduring juxtapositions in the five federal institutions led by the American president (including the executive branch, or the bureaucracy he governs), as well as the legislative and judicial branches in play, and involving public opinion, given the role of communications in a representational democracy in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The conflicts are classic and/or representative -- involving the administrations of Andrew Johnson, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, JFK, LBJ, and Nixon though Reagan, and giving special attention to the differences between George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
The “Neos & Isms” themselves involve thinkers, theories, and schools of thought, going so far as to explore emerging social theories (including “systematic theory” and radical feminist theory) as well as full-fledged ideologies, or values and belief structures, and political cultures that alter or affect political and economic action and behavior in every form of consciousness. Some of the “Neos & Isms” reviewed in APD are: 1) neoconservatismand neoclassical capitalism, 2) neoliberalism (containing critiques of capitalism, liberalism, republicanism, multiculturalism, and cosmopolitanism), 3) neo-feudalism and neo-tribalism (juxtapositions found in fundamentalism, theories of supremacy, and spatial hegemony, and involving or impacting all vulnerable populations), and finally 4) multilateralism, reflecting earned egalitarianism within conceptions for horizontal domestic and transnational deliberative democracy or work on “commons.”
Relating APD methodology to “Neos & Isms” is three-dimensional from the perspective of 1) the individual(un-sub-non-full- consciousness, identity, worldview, and traditions, including those of and constructed by vulnerable and autonomous populations), 2) the five federal institutions (national, transnational, even local entities), and 3) time or contingency. Unlike the Contemporary American Political Thought seminar, this course relies on secondary rather than primarysources that are housed in political science, American Studies, and gender studies, and found more often in qualitative research or humanistic social-science journals that address contemporary issues in science.
Students in social science and humanities are welcome and will find the reading appealing if they are intradisciplinary (American, political theory, IR, or comparative politics within political science), as will those cross-listed in humanities and other social sciences, since I also use some interdisciplinary readings from literary theory, cultural studies, particularly American Studies and Women’s Studies, and history, and make reference to science and the history of science.
The main requirement is classroom discussion and a 20- to 25-page research paper, with a possible eye to revising for publication (1- to 2-credit tutorials can supplement this, with the permission of the instructor and the EO). Complete assigned readings, distributed via some form of Internet platform, before a set time when each class meets. Summaries and classroom participation account for 40 percent.
* Classic -- reading from reading list that is at least 10-15 years old. (See http://americanfieldexamprep.ws.gc.cuny.edu/ )
** Current -- what you should know in National Institutions from historical institutionalism, APT, APD, and cultural-studies reading IN political science or as crossover from other interdisciplinary fields, primarily my other fields of American Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. (See http://ruthobrien.ws.gc.cuny.edu/ )
American Social Movements, Professor Piven, PSC 72410 (cross-listed with SOC 86400 & WSCP 81000), 4 credits, Thursdays 4:15-6:15pm
This course has three main parts. We will begin with an examination of the major theories that purport to explain social movements, including the conditions that give rise to the movement, the forms movement action takes, and the consequences. In particular we will be searching in this literature for the understandings of power implicit or explicit in the theory. I will suggest that the literature neglects the question of power from below, and suggest some directions for inquiry into the admittedly infrequent occasions when power is exercised from below.
The second and third parts of the course are historical and empirical. We will look at the history of social protest movements in the United States, from the mobs of the revolutionary war era, and including the abolitionists, the populists, the labor movement, civil rights, and the LBGT movements.
Finally, we will (as best we can given that the literature on recent events is somewhat sparse) look at contemporary movements, including the global justice, environmental, and Occupy movements, as well as anti-austerity protests, and try to glean insights into the conditions that give rise to these movements, and the factors that account for responses to them.
Democratic and Authoritarian Institutions, Professor Baver, PSC 77902, 3 credits, Mondays 2:00-4:00pm
In recent decades, students of social science have returned to the study of institutions. Democratic and authoritarian institutions and regimes are at the heart of political science and, more specifically, of comparative politics. As the Third Wave of democratization began in the 1970s, the assumption was that all political systems would adopt democratic institutions. However, in recent decades, we have seen the persistence of authoritarian institutions and regimes as well as semi-authoritarian or hybrid regimes.
Our general focus will be on institutional origins, function, and effects as well as struggles for political reform, with cases drawn from many world regions. Key questions will be: “how do specific institutions promote or hamper economic growth, stability, and change?” “Which democratic institutional arrangements (e.g., presidentialism, parliamentarism, semipresidentialism, federalism, decentralization) maximize chances for effective democratic governance?” “Do different democratic institutional arrangements result in different public policies?” Additionally, we will examine the burgeoning literature on institutional persistence and change and informal institutions in both democratic and authoritarian systems. While this material would be of special interest to comparativists and others preparing for the First Exam in Comparative Politics, IR students and those in Political Sociology would find this course useful as well.
Civil War: Causes, Dynamics, Settlements, Professor Woodward, PSC 87800, 4 credits, Wednesdays 4:15-6:15pm
Civil war is a subject of scholarly study as old as the field of political science itself. The topic has taken on a new prominence, however, in the post-cold war international environment, and academic research has exploded in the past 20 years. Although the topic is by definition in the field of comparative politics – civil wars are wars that are internal to a particular country and its sovereign borders – this definition does not reflect the reality of contemporary civil wars, including structural causes located in globalization, their regional and transnational dynamics, and the new normative consensus internationally on both the right and the responsibility to intervene to stop the violence.
Thus, the study of civil wars crosses back and forth between the subfields of comparative politics and international relations. In the three aspects of civil war on which the readings and discussion of the seminar will focus – the literatures on their causes, on their political dynamics, and (less) on their termination and possible solutions, whether done autonomously or by international intervention – students in the seminar have ample room to choose which literatures of political science are most of interest to their study and research, even though the seminar itself is classified as a course in comparative politics.
This is a research seminar, which means that the readings and discussion will aim to make the student as knowledgeable about the literature, its debates, unanswered questions, and research frontiers as possible, while each student’s goal is a research project and paper. Projects will be defined early in the semester, and collaborative work will be encouraged. Grading will be based on participation in discussion on the readings as well as the final research paper.
Politics of Identity, Professor George, PSC 77903 (cross-listed with WSCP 81000), 3 credits, Wednesdays 6:30-8:30pm
This course focuses on the politics of ethnicity and nationalism, with a comparative focus. We will investigate theoretical arguments regarding the roots and power of ethnic identity and the ways that such identification enters into the political sphere. We will analyze arguments about whether and how ethnic diversity might affect political competition and conflict. The course will examine general theories and then also hone in on identity politics in particular geographic regions including, but not limited to postcommunist Europe and Eurasia, Latin America, and South Asia. Students will also have an opportunity to read further on geographical areas of their own scholarly interest. In addition to being a course on the subject matter of identity, students will hone their analytical skills through close readings of texts and examination of how authors construct and implement their research agenda.
Students will read the equivalent of a book per week as well as prepare written reading analyses and questions. Students will lead the discussions. There will be two exams in the course.
Latin American Politics, Professor Ungar, PSC 77901, 3 credits, Thursdays 6:30-8:30pm
Basics of International Relations, Professor Waxman, PSC 76000, 3 credits, Tuesdays 6:30-8:30pm
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the theories and concepts that scholars use to understand and explain world politics. The course examines the different theories in the field of International Relations (IR) and some of the major theoretical debates. Throughout the course, the relevance of specific theories and theory in general for how we make sense of world politics will be critically assessed. The focus of this course, however, will be theoretical rather than empirical. Thus, each class will be devoted to an in-depth discussion of a different theoretical perspective in IR, focusing on its key concepts, foundational assumptions, and central arguments.
International Political Economy, Professor Xia, PSC 76300, 3 credits, Thursdays 11:45am-1:45pm
International Political Economy is defined as “a collection of orientations, perspectives, theories, and methods addressed to understanding the relations between diverse political and economic phenomena at the global level”. In this course, to zoom in on the ongoing global financial crises that broke out in 2008, a case study approach will be applied to understand normative theories (e.g., liberalism, mercantilism, Marxism, and constructivism), research approaches (global vs. domestic-level, statist vs. societal explanations), and thematic issues (production, trade, finance and financial crisis, development, and globalization) that involve interactions among states, IOs, markets and social forces in global political economy.
Social Ontology, Professor Gould, PSC 80302 (cross-listed with PHIL), 3 credits, Tuesdays 2-4pm
Does a social group exist over and above the individuals who make it up? Are individuals constituted by their social relations or are they instead free to choose the relations they have with other people? What are collective intentions or collective actions, and how do they differ from the intentions or actions of individuals? What is a social institution? Are gender and sex socially constructed or are they in some sense natural kinds? And do the answers to these questions have important normative import? These and related issues arise at the intersection of social theory and metaphysics and have garnered interest from both analytic and continental philosophers. It can be suggested too that political theories often operate—tacitly or explicitly—with conceptions of the entities that make up social life—of the nature of individuals and their relations, as well as of groups, processes, and society as a whole, where these conceptions may range from radically individualist to full-blown holistic ones of the community or body politic as a totality within which individuals gain their identities.
This seminar will aim to cast new light on our sociality, on what it means to understand people as social beings, who engage in collective action (or common activity) and have shared intentions. We will draw on both continental and analytic approaches, and will consider feminist relational ontologies and accounts of the social construction of gender and race. The continental tradition emerges from Hegel’s provocative master-slave dialectic, followed by Marx’s social ontology, through the British Hegelians, to 20th century figures like Simone de Beauvoir, Sartre (especially in the Critique of Dialectical Reason), Arendt, and Levinas. In recent analytic philosophy, the project of social ontology has been connected to the philosophy of action, the philosophy of language, metaethics, and to the development of a “socialized metaphysics.” Helpful analyses have been advanced of collective or joint or shared intentions (e.g., as “We intentions”), as well as of the difficult issues concerning normativity in its relation to social and institutional facts and practices (a theme that can also be found in continental approaches). In addition to accounts of institutions and the practices that make up the “basic structure” of society, attention has been paid to the politically charged question of the nature of corporations (e.g., should they be viewed as persons?). Central too have been notions of collective or corporate responsibility—whether nations or states or corporate entities can be properly regarded as responsible for choices and what the role is of individuals within those collectivities or corporate entities. Philosophers here include Margaret Gilbert, Michael Bratman, David Copp, John Searle, Philip Pettit, and Larry May. Feminist philosophers have drawn on both traditions to advance critiques of essentialism, and of individualist accounts of identity, favoring instead socially constitutive or constructivist approaches (Haslanger), relational ontologies (e.g., Whitbeck), or care theories (e.g., V. Held). In addition to the implications of social construction for understanding oppression and domination, they have attempted to reconstruct norms like autonomy in relational terms (e.g., Meyers, Stoljar).
The seminar will draw on a subset of the above philosophers, integrating continental and analytic approaches in an effort to address specific issues of social ontology and more broadly to conceptualize our social being. It will conclude with a focus on the normative and political import of these ontological analyses. For example, what are the implications of privileging individual agency or social collectivities for understanding the basis and possibilities of social transformation? What import does a particular social ontology have for helping to explain action and for holding the agents in question responsible for their choices? Can more fully social ways of understanding individuals and their activities help us to theorize new directions for social and political life?
Seminar members will be encouraged to relate the course materials to their ongoing research projects through oral presentations and analytical term papers, and will be expected to be active participants in the seminar discussions.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Violence, Professors Asad & Mehta, PSC 80300 (cross-listed with WSCP 81000), 4 credits, Wednesdays 11:45am-1:45pm
Transcendence, Professor Buck-Morss, PSC 80303, 4 credits, Wednesdays 2-4pm
The seminar will consider the political-historical implications of the metaphysical principle of TRANSCENDENCE. Material will juxtapose philosophical texts and visual images in a series of 5 constellations, possibly arranged as follows:
1. Kant (Universal History, Perpetual Peace), Sayyid Qutb (Universal Peace and Islam), Hegel (Introduction to Philosophy of History), F.F. Coppola (Apocalypse Now Redux)
2. Deleuze (Immanence), Nietzsche (Daybreak), Sokurov (Faust)
3. John of Patmos (Revelation), Wm. Blake (Revelation), Bergman (Seventh Seal)
4. Schmitt (Political Theology), Badiou (Idea of Communism), Agamben (The Time that Remains), Lars von Trier (Melancholia)
5. Benjamin (On the Concept of History), Buck-Morss (Visible Empire, Gift of the Past), Sokurov (Moloch, Taurus, Solnze)
The Irrational in Politics, Professor Berman, PSC 86402, 4 credits, Wednesdays 4:15-6:15pm
This course explores the thought of Dostoevsky, Nietzsche & Freud. It focuses on their critique of rationalist triumphalism. This is a sensibility that is central to modern culture and politics; it exists in liberal-utilitarian, technocratic and Marxist forms. D, N & F all believed that rationalism barely scratched the surface of existence, and that man's real nature was both more profound and more problematic. We will try to understand both their indictments of rationalist "lies" & their own very different visions of existential "truth". We will also discuss various attempts, starting with Georges Sorel, to incorporate a feeling for irrational forces into modern political life. Key readings: Dostoevsky's NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND and CRIME AND PUNISHMENT; Nietzsche's BIRTH OF TRAGEDY and GENEALOGY OF MORALS; Freud's CASE OF DORA, INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS, THOUGHTS ON WAR & DEATH, and CIVILIZATION & ITS DISCONTENTS. For Dostoevsky, we will use Norton Critical Editions; for Nietzsche, BASIC WRITINBGS OF NIETZSCHE, ed.& tr. Walter Kaufmann; for Freud, FREUD READER, ed. Peter Gay, & Joyce Crick's recent trans of INTERP OF DREAMS, Oxford pb. These texts are available at Labyrinth Books on 112th Street between Broadway & Amsterdam Avenue and at Barnes & Noble on 18th Street and 5th Avenue, Writing: one short essay, where everyone will write on a common subject, & one long essay, where everyone will write on a subject of one's own, to be worked out with me. NOTE: These books are all exciting, but pretty dense. It will help if you can read (or reread) at least some of them during the break. I would especially like you to read CRIME AND PUNISHMENT before the term begins.
Counterrevolution from Burke to the Free Market, Professor Robin, PSC 80301, 3 credits, Thursdays 2-4pm
We live in a counterrevolutionary age. With the exception of the demand for LGBT rights – the one social movement of the last forty years that still retains some stamina – every struggle for greater freedom and equality has been brought to a standstill or has been put in reverse. Even Occupy Wall Street, which initially seemed so full of promise, has receded. The scourges of the late nineteenth century – capitalism, empire, and war – remain the idols of the twenty-first. The left lacks traction, the right is in command. Despite the success of the right, its political thought remains unexplored. This course seeks to remedy that through a close reading of the works of Edmund Burke, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Friedrich Hayek. We examine their writings as counterrevolutionary texts, designed to resist and ultimately defeat modernity’s various movements of emancipation. A major theme of the course will be how the right has come to embrace capitalism, despite some initial opposition to it, and how and why neoliberalism has come to be the most successful counterrevolutionary movement of the past century.
Government & Politics in New York City, Professor Mollenkopf, PSC 82510, 4 credits, Mondays 4:15-6:15pm
Political scientists have described New York City both as an exemplary case of machine politics (from Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall to Vito Lopez – just forced to step down as chairman of the Kings County Democratic Organization) and of urban reform (from Mayor LaGuardia arguably through Mayor Bloomberg). It is a strongly liberal city, with a large municipal welfare state and a unionized public labor force, yet mayors supported by the Republican Party have governed it for the last fifteen years. Despite having experienced tremendous racial and ethnic change, only one minority person, David Dinkins, has served even one term as mayor and no Latino has been elected to city-wide office. This course will use the 2013 city elections as a lens for understanding the construction of electoral majorities and exercising political power in this large, complex, multicultural setting. Students will read and discuss classic readings, conduct primary research, and consider New York in comparative perspective.
Social Policy & Socio-Economic Outcomes in Industrialized Countries: Lessons from the Luxembourg Income Study, Professor Gornick, PSC 83502 (cross-listed with SOC 85902), 4 credits, Wednesdays 4:15-6:15pm
This course will provide an introduction to cross-national comparative research based on microdata (data at the household and person level) available from LIS. LIS is a data archive and research center located in Luxembourg, and with a satellite office at CUNY. LIS houses two databases: the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database and the Luxembourg Wealth Study (LWS) Database. The LIS Database contains over 200 microdatasets from more than 40 high- and middle-income countries; these datasets include comprehensive measures of income, employment, and household characteristics. The LWS Database – a smaller, companion database – provides microdata on wealth and debt. For the list of countries, see:
Since the mid-1980s, the LIS data have been used by more than 4000 researchers – mostly sociologists, economists, and political scientists – to analyze cross-country and over-time variation in diverse outcomes such as poverty, income inequality, employment status, wage patterns, gender inequality, and family structure. Many researchers have combined LIS' microdata with various macrodatasets to study, for example, the effects of national policies on socioeconomic outcomes, or to link micro-level variation to national-level outcomes such as immigration, child wellbeing, health status, political attitudes, and voting behavior. A newer body of research has used the LWS data to study a multitude of questions related to wealth and debt holdings.
The course has two goals: (1) to review and synthesize 30 years of research results based on the LIS data (and, more recently, the LWS data); and (2) to enable students with programming skills (in SAS, SPSS, or Stata) to carry out and complete an original piece of empirical research. The LIS/LWS data are accessed through an internet-based "remote execution system". All students are permitted to use the LIS microdata at no cost and without limit. The course will require a semester-long research project. Students with programming skills (which will not be taught in the course) will be encouraged to complete an empirical analysis, reported in a term paper ultimately intended for publication. Students without programming skills will have the option to write a synthetic research paper. A minimum requirement is the capacity to read articles that present quantitative research results.
General and Crossfield
Political Science: Teaching Strategies, Professor Rollins, PDEV 79401, 3 credits, Mondays 4:15-6:15pm
This course serves as a training workshop for students interested in teaching political science. We will consider such issues as syllabus development, effective learning goals and assessment strategies, lecture preparation, grading practices, and creating an appropriate classroom environment. We will also discuss aspects of the profession such as going on the job market, the transition from graduate education to a faculty position, writing a curriculum vitae, and mentoring students. In addition to our pedagogical inquiries, students will be introduced to their colleagues who are already teaching on the campuses, as well as to the Chairs of the departments where they will be assigned.
Writing Politics Seminar, Professor Beinart, PSC 79001, 3 credits, Mondays 6:30-8:30pm
Doctoral students spend their days reading scholarly work about politics. This class aims to teach them how to write about it so non-scholars will care. To that end, students will read a lot of political writing, most of it fabulous, some of it awful, and try to figure out what distinguishes the two. They will also come up with many, many ideas for political columns, essays and blog posts of their own, see those ideas dissected by their classmates and the instructor, and then write the best ones up. After that, the process will begin again: dissection, followed by rewriting, followed by more dissection. In between, we will discuss the less edifying aspects of publishing in newspapers, magazines and on the web, such as why editors don’t always answer their email. Two prominent editors will join us to help explain.
Dissertation Proposal Workshop, Professor Woodward, PSC 89100, 0 credits, Mondays 6:30-8:30pm
This workshop aims to assist students in writing their dissertation proposal in political science and taking the second examination. It introduces students to the principles and organization of a defensible proposal, provides advice on conceptualization and research strategies, and, where relevant to the workshop participants, discusses methodological questions. It is a genuine workshop, where students provide each other a mutually supportive setting to share the stages of their written drafts, get feedback, identify and resolve issues being faced by many, and learn the skills of analytical criticism necessary to one’s own future research and teaching. Each member works at a personal, self-identified pace, but also accepts the obligation of reciprocity to attend all meetings of the workshop and read the drafts of all other workshop members. Key to progress is the obligation to write every single week, even if it only means a paragraph (although, of course, one hopes more). The first meeting of the workshop will lay out the principles and advice; anyone missing it will be at a distinct, even possibly irreparable, disadvantage for the rest of the workshop. The workshop does not give course credit, therefore has no grading, and can be taken more than once.
Core Seminar in Political Science (Power & Hegemony), Professor O'Brien, PSC 71000, 3 credits, Tuesdays 2-4pm
All incoming students pursuing a Ph.D. or an M.A.* in political science are strongly encouraged to take this seminar for the purpose of knitting us all into a lifelong community or collectivity of intellectuals who are passionate about politics. Every student in political science studies some aspect of power. They examine power in abstraction (political theory), or power from the perspective of our nation-state (American politics), among foreign nation-states (comparative politics), or between nation-states (international relations). As a global hegemon, the United States also exerts formal and informal influence, manifested formally as American foreign policy or informally as American cultural or economic hegemony (American Studies, Women’s & Gender Studies). This seminar explores theoretical questions associated with culture and resistance, particularly involving political identity, and inciting American or global social movements that protect vulnerable populations. Finally, it refers to the American exportation of the rule of law in terms of the Americanization of Europe (neo-classical capitalism, neo-liberalism, new empires, fundamentalism) or the European Union (EU), as well as the exportation of the Anglo-Saxon and Enlightenment culture(s) of civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights, manifested in the Yoo brief, the Gitmo Supreme Court cases, and the Veil controversy, and the use of Shari’a tribunals at home and abroad. (1-credit tutorials also available with my permission & EO permission.)
*Required for MA students, and this seminar is strongly encouraged for all Ph.D. students.
Qualitative Methods, Professor Altenstetter, PSC 85501, 4 credits, Tuesdays 4:15-6:15pm
The focus of the seminar is on how to move from theory to data and methods and back to theory. What is distinctive about qualitative research? What distinguishes a qualitative research strategy from a quantitative research strategy? What are the implications of choosing a qualitative research strategy for methods, techniques, data and interpretation? While we will review the state-of-the-art literature on qualitative research, the primary focus of the course is doing qualitative research. Appreciating the strengths and weaknesses of qualitative research methods is gained through applying them to your research questions and seldom through reading about them.
The course will begin with a discussion of how to write a literature review and then move on to a discussion of why it is important to be clear about the ontology and epistemiology involved in your qualitative research. Subsequently, the course covers concepts such as concept formation and misformation, scientific standards of qualitative and quantitative research, case study research and research design, process tracing, structured and focused comparisons of cases, historical-comparative analysis, path dependency, interview and field research. Please note: this course does not duplicate the dissertation workshop and the course on research design.