Course descriptions by subfield can be found below the weekly schedule, or click the following links directly:
[Click here for past semesters]
Class # 56880
Politics of Development
Class # 56881
Goverment & Politics in New York City
Class # 56882
Crosslist with SOC 82800
|Basic Theories & Concepts in Comparative Politics|
Class # 56886
Rethinking Democracy, Socialism and Feminism
Class # 56887
Crosslist PHIL 77700 & WSCP 81000
Social Policy & Socio Economic Outcomes in Industrialized Countries
Class # 56888
(Crosslist with SOC 85902, ECON 89400 & WSCP 81000)
| Basic Theories & Concepts in International Relations|
Class # 56891
Benjamin as Method
Class # 56892
Research Design in Political Science
Class # 56883
|6:30-8:30||Comparative Urban Politics & Policy DiGaetano (PP)|
Class # 56884
|Applied Quantitative Research II|
Class # 56889
MA Core Course
Michael Sharpe (G)
Class # 56897
Class # 56893
Ancient & Medieval Political Theory
Class # 56894
Global Inequality: Measurement, analysis and political implications
P SC 73908
Class # 56898
(Crosslist with IDS 81680)
| Asian Security|
Class # 56896
|9:30am-11:30am||Grant Writing Seminar
|2:00-4:00||Writing Politics I|
Class # 56879
|Intoduction to Public Policy|
Class # 56885
|Global Political Theory|
Class # 56890
AP – American Politics <>CP- Comparative Politics <>IR – International Relations <>PT – Political Theory <> PP – Public Policy <> G – General Course
PSC 72100 – 3 credits
Topic: Constitutional Law (AP)
Day/Time: Monday 4:15pm-6:15pm
Course Description: The course will cover the following topics: natural law and positivism; judicial review; implied powers and national supremacy; the Supreme Court and Congress; the Supreme Court and the Presidency; commerce; takings clause; segregation and its removal; affirmative action; state action. Most of the assigned readings will be drawn from judicial opinions, though some will come from academic and other sources. Robust, good natured debate will be strongly encouraged.
PSC 77901 – 3 credits (HYBRID COURSE)
Topic: Basic Theories & Concepts in Comparative Politics I (CP)
Day/Time: Tuesday, 4:15pm-6:15pm
Course Description: Students are strongly encouraged to take this course the first semester in their graduate program, if possible. This seminar is a graduate-level introduction to the literature in comparative politics. It can serve as a survey or review for advanced students as well. Because the key theories and concepts are also key political science concepts and theories, it is not exclusively intended for those majoring or minoring in comparative politics; all are welcome. It is not a course in methods or methodologies of research. The focus is on substantive topics within comparative politics: the role of concepts and theoretical approaches, the state, political regimes (e.g., democracy, authoritarian government) – origins, stability, and transition, political institutions, revolution and civil war, collective action, identity politics, institutions of political participation, the state and economic development, and the global context of domestic politics and policy.
Students in this seminar will vary in their goals depending on the extent of their prior knowledge of the subject matter, their particular substantive interests, and their field specialization within the discipline. Overall, the course should prepare them (1) to think, articulate orally, and write theoretically: to identify a theory in a reading, define its key concepts, articulate its causal mechanisms, and evaluate its empirical demonstration; (2) to know the evolution of questions, concepts, and theories within the discipline of comparative politics so as to understand those theories better and to analyze their limitations and biases; (3) to pass the first exam in comparative politics comfortably; and (4) to feel solidly grounded in the questions and literature of comparative politics so as to identify areas of further interest and specialization and to begin to prepare a dissertation proposal. These goals are basic, foundational; many other benefits for critical thinking and analysis will also result, including bonding and camaraderie among students in the seminar (as previous participants can recount), but the foundation comes first. Requirements include reading the assigned material prior to each class meeting, active participation in class discussion, three brief written essays summarizing and analyzing the readings on one substantive topic in the syllabus, and a final examination.
PSC 87609 – 4 credits
Topic: Politics of Development (CP)
Day/Time: Monday 4:15pm-6:15pm
Course Description: This course studies key works in the comparative analysis of development, with an emphasis on the major political explanations for differences in nation and state building, and in economic growth. The emphasis of the course is on the poorer countries of the world, most former European colonies, which have made such a determined effort at political and economic development since the end of World War II. We will be careful to define what “development” means, and to qualify assessments of success and failure. Readings will cover a wide range of approaches and views. While analyzing the politics of development, we will cover important political science concepts associated with nation-building, such as the management of ethnic conflict, state-construction, including democratic representation, and typologies—and behavior—of political regimes. We will also address the contentious interaction of markets and states, and the insertion of the poorer countries of the world in the international economy.
PSC 76000 – 3 credits
Topic: Basic Theories & Concepts in International Relations (IR)
Day/Time: Wednesday 4:15pm-6:15pm
Course Description: This course is designed as an introduction to contemporary theories, debates, and scholarly traditions in international relations. As the core course offered in this field, it will provide the student with both a general overview and an in-depth examination. The assigned readings have been carefully chosen to represent the most important works in each area. The emphasis of our work will be on theoretical frameworks and concepts; therefore, this course is not an “Introduction to I.R.” We will not cover the four main substantive areas in the discipline in any detail (security, international political economy, international organization and U.S. foreign policy), however we will examine various theoretical approaches toward understanding them (realism liberalism, constructivism, the English School).
PSC 76200 – 3 credits
Topic: International Organizations (IR)
Day/Time: Wednesday, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Course Description: This course will introduce students to the theoretical and empirical study of international organizations. More specifically, it will critically examine the different theoretical perspectives in International Relations and International Law for understanding the emergence, growth, diversity and effects of international organizations in world politics. In this context, the course will look at the internal workings of specific organizations and how they function in the real world. Some of the key focal issues and questions that will be addressed include: How and to what extent do international organizations shape state interests and identities? How do international organizations advance interstate cooperation? How do they promote compliance with international rules? Why do international organizations exhibit dysfunctional behavior? How can international organizations be rendered accountable for their conduct? We will conclude by discussing the strengths and limitations of international organizations as active agents of global change.
PSC 76402 – 3 credits
Topic: Asian Security (IR)
Day/Time: Thursday, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Course Description: This course introduces graduate students to international relations (IR) of the Asia-Pacific. It focuses on regional security dynamics and specific foreign policies of states in East Asia and Southeast Asia. Since the end of the Cold War, Asia-Pacific security dynamics have remarkably changed, exposing trajectories of both conflict and cooperation. At the turn of the twenty-first century, a pattern of increased economic interdependence and prosperity is oddly accompanied by great power rivalry and conflict. While the U.S. hub-and-spoke alliance system in Asia remains the corner stone of the regional security order, China’s assertiveness, or re-centering itself, in the Asia-Pacific region, is challenging America’s primacy in the region. In this course, students will use diverse international relations (IR) perspectives to analyze contemporary security challenges in the Asia-Pacific from Realism, Social Constructivism, to Feminist Theory of international relations. The diverse civilizations and complex historical interactions in the Asia-Pacific region offer rich empirical cases to critically evaluate Western IR theories. Thus, students will be required to critically evaluate the explanatory power and limitations of Western IR theories when they are applied to Asian security puzzles.
PSC 80609 – 4 credits (Crosslist with PHIL 77700 & WSCP 81000) (HYBRID COURSE)
Topic: Rethinking Democracy, Socialism and Feminism (PT)
Day/Time: Tuesday, 4:15pm-6:15pm
Course Description: This course will explore the interconnections that can be discerned within and among democratic, socialist, and feminist theories and will analyze some of the central questions that arise at their intersection. Some of the liveliest questions in contemporary political philosophy concern whether it is possible to forge a unified approach that pulls together core elements of these three diverse traditions of thought which, together with anti-racist and postcolonial perspectives, could serve to guide fundamental social and political transformations. The course will investigate these potentials by first considering some readings from democratic theory that incline in a socialist direction (J. S. Mill, Dewey, Macpherson, Pateman, Gould, Christiano), and then some classical socialist theories that are explicitly or implicitly democratic (e.g., Marx, Owen, Fourier, Saint-Simone, Louise Michel, Lucy Parsons, E. Bernstein, Emma Goldman, Volarine de Cleyre, G.D.H. Cole), followed by feminist approaches to democracy that are compatible with socialism, e.g., Tronto’s “Caring Democracy,” or that extend the account of domination and exploitation to encompass the phenomenon of group oppression (Iris Young, Nancy Fraser, Ann Ferguson). The course will go on to take up some key conceptual issues for a possible democratic socialism, delineated with all three theories in view. These problems will include the role of the market and democratic self-management at work (G. A. Cohen, Gould, Schweickart, Carens, Vrousalis); varieties of inclusive political participation, deliberation, and representation (Mansbridge, J. Cohen, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor); and models of mutual aid and cooperative care (e.g., Kropotkin, Selma James, S. Federici, Incite! Women of Color against Violence, Dean Spade). Attention will be paid to areas of substantive (dis)agreement in regard to new institutional and social forms, and also to the differences in methodologies and emphases that the various theoretical perspectives would bring to the development of a more unified approach to social and political change.
PSC 80601 – 4 credits
Topic: Global Political Theory (PT)
Day/Time: Wednesday, 2:00pm-4:00pm
Course Description: At the broadest level, this seminar will seek to redress the familiar lacuna that characterizes most versions of European history and especially intellectual history. Typically, those account start with the Greeks and conclude with other Western thinkers. They do not even aspire to be global in their orientation. In contrast, this seminar the consider the debates, thoughts and ideas of thinkers from various parts of the world, during different periods motivated by different concerns. These regions will include China, North Africa, Asia, the Middle east, for the part mainly in the 19th and 20th centuries. It will have two broad purposes. The first, we will be to consider the ideas that stemmed from an engagement with Western phenomena such as colonialism, critiques, diagnosis and struggles, most broadly the various challenges, some critical others sympathetic, to the western cannon and the categories it privileges. And second, the debates among non-western thinkers on the matters that were important to them. These debates may be among thinkers who belong to different regions, such as Frantz Fanon and Gandhi, Tagore on violence; the role and importance of religion to life and politics, (Gandhi, Nehru and Tagore, Julius Nyerere), the matter of development, the significance of a good life, the role and importance of nationalism and security and the basis of technology to living a morally meaning life. Obviously, there will be considerable overlap between the two purposes, and that will be reflected in the readings.
PSC 80603 – 4 credits
Topic: Benjamin as Method (PT)
Day/Time: Wednesday 4:15pm–6:15pm
Course Description: This is a seminar on method. Benjamin’s texts are approached as methodological experiments in philosophy/theorizing. We are less interested in a historical/literary reading of Benjamin as a thinker, than as an innovator in methods that do justice to historical particulars – not only those that concerned him in the 1920s and 30s, but those of our own time (or another time/place altogether). We will consider his distinction between forces and relations of production as they affect revolutions in technologies of communication. We will consider the conflicts that he faced, leading to his attempts to negotiate the tensions of writing for 1. an academic audience, 2. a popular audience, 3. a political audience. We will be sensitive to how his experimental approaches may help us in our own work. The idea is not to imitate Benjamin, but to learn from his work in ways that liberate our own thinking/writing. Visuals will be taken seriously
PSC 70100 – 3 credits
Topic: Ancient & Medieval Political Thought (PT)
Day/Time: Wednesday, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Course Description: This course will focus on basic selected texts in the history of Western political theory. These are particular works of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine, Aquinas, and Machiavelli. The purpose of the selection is to present some of the fundamental problems and questions posed by ancient and medieval political thought. Among the most important concepts in political theory are liberty, equality, law, justice, power, property, and revolution. The course will explore the antinomy between nature and convention, community, the meaning of history, citizenship (including criteria determining inclusion/exclusion), ethnos and nation, the concept of the people, as well as consciousness (or knowledge and its relation to politics and society). In addition, the course will consider the relation between the nature of rule and the forms of rule (types of government or regimes): monarchy, aristocracy, democracy, tyranny, despotism, oligarchy, dictatorship, constitutionalism, republicanism, and the master/slave (domination/subordination) relation. Finally, it will inquire into the relationship between ethics and politics, the antinomy between faith (religion) and reason (philosophy), as well as the relation between opinion and knowledge.
PSC 82503 – 4 credits (Crosslist: SOC 82800)
Topic: Government and Politics in New York City (PP) (HYBRID COURSE)
Day/Time: Monday 4:15pm-6:15pm
Course Description: In the past, political scientists described New York City both as an exemplary case of machine politics (from Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall in the 19th century to the Queens County Democratic machine today) and of urban reform (from Mayor LaGuardia through Mayor De Blasio). This strongly liberal city, with a large municipal welfare state and a unionized public labor force, nonetheless elected Republican mayors between 1993 and 2013 and racial polarization is still clearly evident in its voting patterns, with 22.5% of the voters favoring Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Despite being a majority minority city and electorate, it has elected only one minority mayor, David Dinkins, and no Latino candidate has won city-wide office. Yet the composition of the population and the electorate has undergone tremendous demographic change. This seminar uses the 2021 mayoral, comptroller, and city council elections to explore the construction of electoral majorities and the exercise of political power in this large, complex, multicultural setting, with a particular focus on the future of the progressive agenda in the post-de Blasio era, the contours of minority empowerment in an era of immigrations, and the emergence of a new generation of leaders of political thinking and political practice.
PSC 73101 – 3 credits (Crosslist: ECON 89400, SOC 85902, WSCP 81000)
Topic: Social Policy & Socio Economic Outcomes in Industrialized Countries (PP)
Day/Time: Tuesday 4:15pm–6:15pm
Course Description: This course provides an introduction to cross-national comparative research, with a focus on socio-economic outcomes and on the policies and institutions that shape those outcomes. The course is organized around two databases available through LIS, a data archive located in Luxembourg, with a satellite office here at the Graduate Center. LIS contains two main micro-databases. The Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database includes 300+ micro-datasets from over 50 high- and middle-income countries. These datasets contain comprehensive measures of income, employment, and household characteristics. A smaller, companion dataset – the Luxembourg Wealth Study (LWS) Database – provides microdata on assets and debt. Since the mid-1980s, the LIS data have been used by more than 8000 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 macro-datasets to study, for example, the effects of national social or labor market policies on socio-economic outcomes, or to link socio-economic variation to national-level outcomes such as child well-being, health status, political attitudes and voting behavior. (The LIS and 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 has two main components:
1) Students will read and assess a selection of published studies based on the data.
2) Students will carry out an original piece of empirical research using the LIS or LWS microdata. That work will culminate in a term paper.
While there are no formal prerequisites, students must have a working knowledge of basic statistics, and beginner-to-intermediate capacity in one of these programming languages: SAS, SPSS, Stata, or R. Neither statistics nor programming will be part of the course’s curriculum. Extensive documentation about the data, self-teaching materials, and instructional videos are available on the LIS website.
PSC 82503 – 4 credits
Topic: Comparative Urban Politics & Policy (PP)
Day/Time: Monday 4:15pm–6:15pm
Course Description: This course is designed to furnish students with sufficient knowledge of comparative methods and analysis to conduct a cross-national study of urban politics and policy making. As such, the central purpose of the course is to write a research paper on urban politics using the comparative tools gained from the readings and class discussion. The first part of the course explains how comparative methods have been applied to urban political analysis, such as case studies and cross-national quantitative approaches. The next portion of the course critically examines how different theoretical perspectives (political economy, political culture, and governance) have been employed to explain cross-national differences and similarities in the processes, institutions, and outcomes of urban politics. The remainder of the course will focus on the use of comparative methods and analyses to in explaining cross-national variations in political institutions, behavior, and policy.
PSC 73100 – 3 credits
Topic: Introduction to Public Policy (PP)
Day/Time: Tuesday 2:00pm-4:00pm
Course Description: Introduction to Public Policy introduces students to a broad understanding of public policy, mainly in the United States; the way it’s studied in political science and the social sciences more generally; and to critical perspectives on public policy and its subfields. We will especially consider the ways in which policy problems, issues and objectives get defined, the role of movements in this definition, how target populations of policies get defined and contribute—or not—to the policies themselves, and what policy tells us about the relationship of the organizations we know collectively as “the state” to capital and to civil society. We will also discuss various approaches to the policy process and policy analytics.
General and Cross-field
PSC 79001 – 3 credits
Topic: Writing Politics I (G)
Day/Time: Monday 2:00pm–4:00pm
Course Description: Graduate 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 and book reviews 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 non-academic publishing, such as why editors don’t always answer their email. Editors may join us to explain.
PSC 85509 – 4 credits
Topic: Applied Quantitative Research II (G) (HYBRID COURSE)
Day/Time: Tuesday 6:30pm–8:30pm
Course Description: Stuck in New York because your fieldwork destination is in lockdown? Worried that the backlog of Ivy PhDs will snatch all tenure-track jobs for the next decade? Secretly grateful for the pandemic because being in a room with other people felt awkward anyway? – If you answered yes to one or more of these, it is high time to study quantitative methods! This is the third course in the new three-semester methods sequence of the political science program. You typically qualify for this level if you have taken an introductory statistics course (either in-house or elsewhere), and you want to acquire the expertise to apply quantitative methods effectively in your work. Our approach will be hands-on and pragmatic. We begin by refreshing your knowledge of basic statistics and getting (re)acquainted with the software Stata. Previous knowledge of Stata is helpful (contact me if unsure how to catch up). The course proceeds with a systematic review of advanced methods for particular data structures: cross-sectional, time series, panel, multilevel, and spatial. Understanding the challenges and opportunities of these structures is essential to develop an instinct for promising research design. To hone our practical command, the lectures will be accompanied by regular replication exercises. Finally, we turn to topics proposed from the floor, practicing data management and analysis in the context of ongoing projects. For example, these modules may focus on particular maximum-likelihood estimators (such as selection models, multinomial choice, or event history) or on strategies for causal inference (such as matching algorithms, regression discontinuity, or instrumental variables). Over the course of the semester, students will work with replication data, conduct their own quantitative research, present their work in class, and produce a final paper. The instructor actively supports each project and makes sure that it advances the methodological expertise of its author(s). Credit is awarded for achievement relative to initial proficiency.
PSC 71000 – 3 credits
Topic: MA Core Course (G)
Day/Time: Tuesday 6:30pm-8:30pm
Course Description: This course has two primary Learning Objectives: (1) to introduce students to and provide an overview of major perspectives, problems, and approaches in political science; (2) to foster intellectual community within our program and department. The seminar proceeds through the various subfields of the political science discipline, engaging key texts and debates in these subfields through course sessions led by faculty members in the program. It also engages the conduct of current scholarship in the discipline through course sessions where advanced graduate students discuss their own research. An important theme throughout the course is how democratic institutions, democratization, and sustainability inform political questions and political science inquiry.
PSC 71300 – 3 credits (HYBRID COURSE)
Topic: Research Design in Political Science (G)
Day/Time: Wednesday 4:15pm-6:15pm
Course Description: This seminar is a graduate-level introduction to how political scientists conduct empirical research. It will teach students how to develop research questions and methods for gathering data to answer those questions. Students will need to take other courses in the department to learn how to analyze the data they collect. Taking this course, however, will ensure that students design research that will produce high quality data for analysis. Even the best data analysis skills cannot compensate for poorly designed studies. As they say, “garbage in, garbage out.”
PSC 77001 – 3 credits (Crosslist with IDS 81650)
Topic: Global inequality: Measurement, analysis, and political implications (PP)
Day/Time: Wednesday 6:30pm–8:30pm
Course Description: The focus of the class is on global inequality which is defined as inequality between citizens of the world (as if they were members of a same nation). We will review the evolution of global inequality from the Industrial Revolution until today, and see how the changing composition and magnitude of global inequality affects politics, economics, and migration. Two types of inequalities, within-national (inequality among individuals within a single nation) and cross-national (inequality in mean incomes across nations) combine to determine global inequality. We shall thus also review the changes in within- and between-national inequalities. The class ends with an overview of positions of various political philosophers (e.g., Rawls, Pogge, Sen, Nagel) regarding global inequality and migration. The course will be fairly empirical but does not require any prior specific knowledge of the issues nor techniques. It is recommended for students of economics, political science, and sociology. This class is a follow-up of the one on “The theories of income distribution: from Pareto to Piketty” but can be taken independently.