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Courses

Fall 2020

Course descriptions by subfield can be found below the weekly schedule, or click the following links directly:
American Politics
Comparative Politics
International Relations
Political Theory
Public Policy
General Courses
[Click here for past semesters]
 MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursday
11:45-1:45
2:00-4:00Writing Politics I
Peter Beinart (G/WP)
PSC 79001
Class # 57727
RM

Campaigns & Elections
Keena Lipsitz (AP)
PSC 82001
Class #57728
RM

The United Nations and changing
World Politics

Thomas Weiss (IR)
PSC 76203
Class # 57738
RM

Democratic Socialism
Susan Buck-Morss (PT)
PSC 80603
Class # 57735
RM
Global Political Theory
Uday Mehta (PT)
PSC 80607
Class # 57739
RM

African Politics
Zachariah Mampilly (CP)
PSC 77908
Class # 57740
RM
Crosslist WSCP 81000
Dissertation Proposal Workshop
Robyn Marasco (G)
PSC 89100
Class # 57741
RM

Comparative Revolutions: from the English Revolutions of 1688 to the Arab Spring
Helena Rosenblatt (PT)
PSC 71902
Class # 57731
RM
Crosslist HIST 71000/MALS 78500
4:15-6:15Basic Theories and Concepts in CP
Susan Woodward (CP)
PSC 77901
Class # 57729
RM

Ethnography of Public Policy
John Mollenkopf/Robert Smith (PP)
PSC 72510
Class # 57730
RM
Crosslist SOC 82800

Africana Philosophy
Charles Mills (PT)
PSC 71907
Class # 57749
RM
Crosslist PHIL 70500
Civil Liberties
Thomas Halper (AP)
PSC 72310
Class # 57746
RM

Women, Work & Public Policy
Janet Gornick (PP)
PSC 73901
Class # 57736
RM
Crosslist SOC 84700/WSCP 81000

Critical Social Theory
Carol Gould (PT)
PSC 71904
Class # 57737
RM
Crosslist PHIL # 77700
Political Theory of Police
Leonard Feldman (PT)
PSC 80608
Class # 57743
RM

Research Design in Political Science
Jorge Alves (G)
PSC 79100
Class # 57742
RM
PROGRAM EVENTS
6:30-8:30Urban Public Policy
Alan DiGaetano (PP)
PSC 72500
Class # 57732
RM



Neofascism: from the New Right to the Alt-Right

Richard Wolin (PT)
PSC 71908
Class # 57733
RM
Crosslist HIST 72800



Applied Quantitative Research II
Till Weber(G)
PSC 85509
Class # 57738
RM

M.A.. Core Course
Michael Fortner (G)
PSC 71000
Class # 57748
RM


Basic Theories & Concepts in International Relations

George Andreopoulos (IR)
PSC 76000
Class # 57744
RM

Democratization and Regime Transitions
Desmond Arias (CP)
PSC 87800
Class # 57745
RM

The American Presidency
Ruth O'Brien (AP)
PSC 72001
Class # 57747
RM
Crosslist WSCP 81000

American Politics

PSC 72310 – 3 credits
Topic: Civil Liberties (AP)
Faculty: Halper  
Day/Time: Tuesday 4:15pm-6:15pm
Course Description: This is a course in applied political theory, in which we inquire as to the meaning of freedom and privacy in concrete situations, where they may conflict with other values we cherish. A secondary theme is the role of un-elected courts resolving these conflicts. The outline for the course includes the following:
I. Freedom/Freedom of expression: philosophical perspectives
A) Defamation & lying, B) Hate speech & offensive speech, C) Movies, broadcasting, cable, & the Internet, D) Campaign finance, E) Commercial speech, F) Public nuisances, G) Speech plus/symbolic speech, H) National security
II. Privacy: philosophical perspectives
A) Torts, B) Constitutional rights, C) Abortion, D) Right to die and E) Gay rights.

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PSC 82001 – 4 credits
Topic: Campaigns & Elections in the U.S. (AP)
Faculty: Lipsitz
Day/Time: Monday 2:00pm–4:00pm
Course Description: This seminar approaches the study of American politics through the lens of our campaigns and elections. Students will be introduced to classics in the field of voting behavior, but will also gain insight into the role that political parties, interest groups, campaign finance, and the news media play in campaigns. We will also explore how political advertising and other forms of campaign appeals work, as well as the burgeoning field on strategies for getting voters to turn out.

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PSC 72001 – 3 credits
Topic: The American Presidency (AP)
Faculty: O’Brien  
Cross list: WSCP 81000
Day/Time: Thursday 6:30pm-8:30pm
Course Description: Divided into four sections, the seminar first reviews a diverse array of methods and approaches to study the American presidency. Second, it underscores the leadership dilemma of how the president is the only national leader in the United States, at home and abroad, and what this means in “political time.” Third, it explores how the president’s relationship with different state, local, and national institutions, as well as their leaders and the public officials operating these institutions, has waxed and waned in modern and contemporary political time.

Fourth, this seminar raises the leadership dilemma in terms of masculinity (e.g. power, intimidation, force, and authority. Does Trump practice “New Nationalism” in his policies that advance xenophobia, racism, white supremacy, sexism, misogyny, nativism and ablism making explicit all the repressive “isms” that were embedded in liberty and empire, or what Alex Rana calls “the two faces”? Would the U.S. be better served to work with two or more presidents who identify as a woman or uses a non-masculine leadership styles balancing legitimacy and authority? (Often the first woman leader is either patriarchal in thinking or masculine in leadership style and/or cannot support women and children overtly.) Remember the supposedly post-racial Obama presidency.

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Comparative Politics


PSC 87800 – 4 credits
Topic: Democratization and Regime Transitions (CP)
Faculty: Arias
Day/Time: Wednesday 6:30pm-8:30pm
Course Description: Democratization and Regime Transition examines the rapidly evolving literature of regime change in the contemporary world. Changes in political systems are a source of remarkable hope and anxiety opening up, in some cases, the possibility of more just, inclusive, and equitable political systems while, in other cases, they foreclose such possibilities exposing the citizens to greater violence and oppression. Whatever the outcome, transitions themselves, whether they occur through revolutions, coups, or pacts, are often uncertain and dangerous times. This course will begin by examining the history of debates about regime transitions including revolutions, modernization, democratic breakdown. After this, the course will examine the literature on transitions from authoritarian rule. The course will then examine contemporary debates about political instability, failed transitions, the forms of gradual authoritarianization afflicting countries in various regions including North America, South America, and Europe.

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PSC 77908 – 3 credits
Topic: African Politics (CP)
Faculty: Mampilly
Day/Time: Wednesday, 2:00pm-4:00pm
Cross list: WSCP 81000
Course Description: Studying the politics of the second largest continent, one divided into 54 sovereign nations and containing over 1.3 billion people, can seem like an impossible task. Yet there are important intellectual commonalities, political trends and historical connections that make the study of “African Politics” not only coherent, but also urgent and essential. In this seminar, we will not attempt to approach the study of the continent chronologically nor will we attempt to sketch a comprehensive picture of political life across Africa. Instead, the seminar is divided thematically focusing on the major debates that have defined African politics since the end of the colonial period and into the current era. A partial list of themes this seminar will cover include: colonialism and its legacies, ethnicity, gender, climate change, political violence, development, political economy, social movements and Africa’s role in the international order. The readings are selected to cover all the major regions of Africa drawing together both classic readings that have endured as well as the latest research from scholars across disciplines and from around the world.

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PSC 77901 – 3 credits
Topic: Basic Theories & Concepts in Comparative Politics I (CP)
Faculty: Woodward
Day/Time: Monday, 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.

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International Relations


PSC 76000 – 3 credits
Topic: Basic Concepts & Theories in International Relations (IR)
Faculty: Andreopoulos 
Day/Time: Wednesday 6:30pm-8:30pm
Course Description: This course is designed to introduce students to the basic theories and concepts in International Relations. It will survey fundamental theoretical debates on the role of actors, institutions and processes in both mainstream and critical schools of thought and examine their analytical relevance in understanding key developments and ongoing challenges in world politics. It will expose students to the logical structure and implications of various theoretical positions, and to the range of available explanatory frameworks for state and non-state actor conduct.

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PSC 76203 – 3 credits
Topic: The United Nations and changing World Politics (IR)
Faculty: Weiss 
Day/Time: Tuesday, 2:00pm–4:00pm
Course Description: The object of this course is to situate the United Nations (UN) within the context of international relations theory and contemporary world politics. It is an introduction to the subject, which figures prominently in first exams, second exams, and other programs of study at The Graduate Center. It is geared to students who have not taken their first exams and are without significant professional or analytical exposure to the UN system. The seminar will focus on a number of concrete cases referencing the history, administration, and especially the politics and some international legal dimensions of the UN system in its three main areas of activity: international peace and security; human rights and humanitarian action; and sustainable development.

Given its impact in budgetary and political terms, the “high politics” of security receive the most emphasis. Consideration is also given to other actors (non-governmental and regional organizations) that interact with the UN in the processes of “global governance”—another topic that will appear with some regularity. Because of the importance of the United States to multilateralism, American foreign policy toward the world organization figures prominently in discussions, including the roller-coaster rides during the Clinton, Bush, Obama, and now Trump administrations. Finally, we pay attention to the role of ideas within international institutions (that is, constructivism), an important orientation in recent international relations scholarship as well as a particular interest of mine after the United Nations Intellectual History Project. Every student enrolled or auditing is expected to lead two discussions (perhaps three, depending on enrollment) of the required readings (which requires going beyond them to consult the “suggested” readings); these presentations will constitute about one-third of the final grade. About two-thirds will be constituted by two simulated “First” Exams taken under exam-like conditions.

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Political Theory

PSC 80603 – 4 credits
Topic: Democratic Socialism (PT)
Faculty: Buck-Morss
Day/Time: Tuesday 2:00pm–4:00pm
Course Description: This seminar focuses on Democratic Socialism as it is understood today. In this election year, we will consider not only what it means as policy, but also how to get there. What does socialism have to do with freedom? If socialism necessitates equality (of classes, races, genders), how is equality to be democratically achieved? Is revolution meaningful in this context? What is the role of social movements and/or political parties? What is the role of self-interest? Class interest? Disinterest? Is the overthrow of capitalism necessary for democratic socialist goals? How does one educate for socialism? What has art/music/performance to do with democratic socialism, and how do internet practices and (social) media become its ally? How does the aesthetic avant-garde relate to the political vanguard? What is the role of legislation for democratic socialism? Green new deal? Universal health care? Food Security? How does democratic socialism respond to national borders vs. open borders? What is socialist trans-national solidarity? What is democratic socialism’s response to the actuality of global pandemics?

Topics include: State socialism; anarcho-socialism; socialism as social justice; socialism as the antidote to neo-liberalism; socialism as ownership of the means of production; surveillance and socialism; media and mediations; cultural Marxism and its critics.

Readings include: Thucydides on civil war; Georg Lukács on class consciousness; Judith Butler on Assemblage; Jodi Dean on Crowds and Party; Naomi Klein on Corona Capitalism. And much more

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PSC 80608 – 4 credits
Topic: Political Theory of Police (PT)
Faculty: Feldman 
Day/Time: Wednesday, 4:15pm-6:15pm
Course Description: This course will explore both how police is conceptualized in different approaches to political theory, and how different theoretical traditions can contribute to an understanding of institutionalized police forces. Topics will include: the extent to which police constitutes a distinct kind of power and formation of state violence, deeply implicated in social hierarchies; policing’s relation to the institutions, norms and practices of law, of democracy and of war; the “procedural justice” approach to police reform; and the police abolition movement. We will examine some foundational accounts of police power broadly construed, including work by Michel Foucault and the “new police science”, recent studies of the transnational nexus of war/police/counter-insurgency within US empire, normative democratic theory work on deliberative encounters between officers and members of the public, and contemporary political theory work on police and other street-level bureaucrats incorporating ethnographic methods. This is a research seminar, and students will complete a semester-long research project. Grades will be based on that project, participation in seminar discussion, and a paper/presentation on one of the week’s readings.

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PSC 80607 – 4 credits
Topic: Global Political Thought (PT)
Faculty: Mehta
Day/Time: Wednesday 2:00pm–4:00pm
Course Description: This seminar will consider the debates, thought and ideas of thinkers from various parts of the world – mainly in the 20th century, but not exclusively. The thinkers will include Gandhi, Nehru, J.S. Mill, Leopold Senghor Aime Cesaire, Martin Luther King Jr. It will also consider the context which may have informed them – such as colonialism, the late 19th century Victorian consensus, struggle for civil rights and issues of identity, but in the main it will be organized around texts.

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Public Policy

PSC 72500 – 3 credits
Topic: Urban Public Policy (PP)
Faculty: DiGaetano 
Day/Time: Monday 6:30pm-8:30pm 
Course Description: This course is designed to introduce students to the scholarship on urban policy making in the United States. The course first examines some basic concepts and theoretical perspectives used in the analysis of urban policy making. The theoretical perspectives considered are Paul Kantor’s “Two Faces of American Urban Policy” framework, Clarence Stone’s urban regime theory, civic and ideological political culture approaches, and those that rely on the concept of neoliberalism to explain contemporary urban policy making. The remainder of the course examines specific urban policy areas through the lenses of each of these theoretical perspectives. The urban policy areas examined include economic development, education, fiscal, and community development.

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PSC 73101 – 3 credits
Topic: Women, Work & Public Policy (PP)
Faculty:  Gornick
Crosslist: SOC 84600, WSCP 81000, ECON 81500
Day/Time: Tuesday 4:15pm–6:15pm
Course Description: This course will provide an overview of key issues affecting women in the contemporary workplace in the United States and other high-income countries. We will begin with an overview of women’s position in the labor market. Here we will take a multidimensional approach to capturing gender inequality at work, covering gender gaps in employment rates, in working time, in occupation, and in earnings. We will assess growing class inequalities among women, which have led to polarization in the labor market, especially between women with more and less education. We will consider divisions by, e.g., race, ethnicity, nativity, and sexuality. We will analyze the ways in which public policies have addressed these concerns, and evaluate their impacts.

The course also examines the effects on women workers of persistent inequalities in divisions of labor within households. Despite the enormous increase in women’s employment rates during the past half century, women continue to carry out the bulk of unpaid work in their homes. Altering these inequalities has proven even more challenging than transforming the structures that shape paid work. We will consider recent research on the effects of “work-family reconciliation policies”– that is, public policies aimed at supporting women (and men) as they balance the responsibilities of paid work and family care. The key question now under consideration is whether some of these policies – e.g., paid family leave, rights to part-time work, and flexible scheduling – create new forms of gender inequality. Students will complete weekly reaction papers and a semester-long research project.

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PSC 72510 – 3 credits
Topic: Ethnography of Public Policy (PP)
Faculty: Mollenkopf & Smith
Crosslist: SOC 82800
Day/Time: Monday 4:15pm–6:15pm
Course Description: Most approaches to the study of public policy use statistical analysis to address questions of efficiency and effectiveness and/or institutional analysis to understand how actors form coalitions to advance their policy agendas (or block someone else’s). This course takes a different approach: using the tools of ethnography and qualitative analysis (participant observation, in-depth interviewing) to investigate how the participants in a given policy domain formulate, adopt, and most importantly carry out public policies. This approach begins with a focus on the “front line workers” who actually do the work of delivering public policies through their every-day interactions with clients. We will learn how to apply tools of ethnography to study and understand how front line workers “socially construct” clients in the process of co-producing public services and how the clients react to being processed.

From this focus, we will widen our focus to using these tools to examine how managers, policy decision-makers, and the broader environment try to shape or reshape the public service production process. Actors within this larger environment include agency managers and leaders, mayors and their administration, legislative elected officials, and the broader civic realm of press, policy scholars, advocacy organizations, lawyers, consultants, and the concerned public. We will begin with a close reading of Michael Lipsky’s classic Street Level Bureaucracy, then move through a series of policy case studies. Seminar participants will learn how to design and carry out a policy ethnography by constructing and developing case comparisons, tracing actors and processes, and articulating the empirical, analytical, and policy stories behind their research. If the seminar takes place on line, it will focus on readings and exercises. If personal meetings and field work are possible, they will also be included.

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General and Cross-field

PSC 79100 – 3 credits
Topic: Research Design in Political Science (G)
Faculty: Alves 
Day/Time: Wednesday 4:15pm–6:15pm
Course Description: This course provides a graduate-level introduction to the fundamental questions and tools that underlie the empirical study of the political world. We start by examining fundamental elements of research: standards for selecting research topics, developing research questions, using different theories to simplify the world, then defining and operationalizing concepts and variables. We then survey different methodological strategies for organizing your research project so that you can select what type of data you need and how best to draw inferences from it.

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PSC 79001 – 3 credits
Topic: Writing Politics I (G)
Faculty: Beinart
Day/Time: Monday 2:00pm–4:00pm
Course Description: Graduate students spend their days reading scholarly work about politics. Writing Politics 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 ideas of their own, see those ideas dissected by their classmates and the instructor, and then write the best ones up. Prominent editors and writers will join as guests.

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PSC 71000 – 3 credits
Topic: M.A. Core Course (G)
Faculty: Fortner 
Day/Time: Tuesday 6:30pm–8:30pm
Course Description: This course has two primary 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. The seminar proceeds through the various subfields of the political science discipline engaging key texts and debates in these modes of analysis through course sessions led by faculty members in the program. These sessions will explore how various subfields approach the study of power, difference, and democracy.

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PSC 89100 – 0 credits
Topic: Dissertation Proposal Workshop (G)
Faculty: Marasco 
Day/Time: Thursday 2:00pm-4:00pm
Course Description: This workshop aims to assist students in writing their dissertation proposal in political science and passing the second examination. It introduces students to the principles and organization of a defensible proposal, provides advice on framing and research strategies, and raises methodological questions and considerations. It is a genuine workshop, where students provide each other a mutually supportive setting to share written drafts, get feedback, identify and resolve common issues, and learn the skills of analytical criticism necessary to one’s own future research and teaching.

Each participant works at a personal, self-identified pace, but also accepts the obligation of reciprocity to attend all meetings of the workshop and read drafts from all other workshop members. Most importantly, workshop participants assume the obligation to write every single week, even if it is only a paragraph (although, of course, one hopes for more).

The first meeting of the workshop will introduce the elements of a successful dissertation proposal and offer some preliminary advice about how to proceed; anyone missing the first session will be at a distinct, even possibly irreparable, disadvantage for the rest of the semester. The workshop does not give course credit, therefore has no grading. Students are permitted to take the course more than once.

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PSC 85509 – 4 credits
Topic: Applied Quantitative Research II (G)
Faculty: Weber
Day/Time: Tuesday 6:30pm–8:30pm
Course Description: [Note: This is the third course in the new three-semester methods sequence of the political science program. It is more advanced than the basic course that was previously offered under a similar title.]
Since you are reading this, it seems that the prospect of another quantitative course does not appall you. Congratulations! You are well on the way to selling out the noble reasons why you joined the GC in return for a successful mainstream career devoid of ambition or purpose. Soon you will be hired by a kick-ass research university, hang out on Colbert and Ellen, spend your sabbaticals in California, and finally write that book about Biden.
But wait, do you really have to choose between content and method? This instructor believes that you can do research that is both politically meaningful and methodologically sophisticated, and since he never got to do it himself (neither meaningful nor sophisticated, for that matter), his motivation to help you excel is all the greater.

Here’s a few good reasons why you may want to consider my offer:
• You have taken some version of Quant I (either in-house or elsewhere), and you feel that you need more experience, practice, or guidance to use statistics effectively in your work.
• You are a self-taught maverick, having muddled your way through online forums and help files, and you long for a more systematic perspective on quantitative research.
• You have embraced advanced stats in some other program, written your own maximum likelihood estimator, and learned to see the matrix, but you just can’t get those damn papers published.
• You heard that there is free dinner in this course.
• You like unicorns.

The course follows the credo that comparison is at the heart of all analysis. While this might be particularly appealing to “comparativists,” we consider comparative politics as a universal method of inference, not as a subfield of the discipline. The class is equally valuable for all substantive specializations concerned with empirical regularities and causal explanations. Distilling causality from regularity is the job of comparison. This is of course a widely shared aim, and the quantie world has some particularly neat tricks in store.
Our approach will be hands-on and pragmatic. In the first part, we refresh your knowledge of basic statistics and get (re)acquainted with the software Stata. In the second part, we proceed with a systematic and applied review of more advanced methods of inference (such as time series, panel, multilevel, event history, quasi-experiments, etc.). In the third part, we focus on topics proposed from the floor, practicing data management and analysis in the context of ongoing projects. Students will 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. Credit is awarded for achievement relative to initial proficiency.
If you wonder whether the course would be of use to you, please feel free to contact me (tweber@gc.cuny.edu). Students from other programs are welcome, but they need to request permission to register.

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PSC 71907 – 3 credits
Topic: Africana Philosophy (PT)
Faculty: Mills 
Day/Time: Monday, 4:15pm-6:15pm
Crosslist: PHIL 70500
Course Description: “Africana Philosophy” is the term that has been coined to designate philosophy in Africa and the African Diaspora (primarily the Caribbean and the two Americas, North and South, but in principle extending to Europe and Asia also), both in the pre-modern and modern periods. In modernity, this philosophy will be fundamentally shaped by the experience of transnational racial subordination: racial chattel slavery in the Atlantic world, colonialism, and then continuing diasporic racial oppression in nominally post-slavery and post-colonial societies. Thus, it is arguably in modernity that a subset of Africana Philosophy becomes “Black” Philosophy. As such, black philosophers have played a crucial role in pioneering what is now known as Critical Philosophy of Race: the philosophical examination of race from a “critical,” anti-racist perspective. This course will focus on modern Africana Philosophy, as it has developed over the past few hundred years, looking at classic figures from the past (Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Ida B. Wells, and others) as well as contemporary thinkers of the present, as they have grappled with both traditional and non-traditional philosophical questions arising from the challenge of understanding modern society’s actual social ontology, dealing with existential trauma, developing an emancipatory political theory, and formulating appropriate epistemologies, ethics, and aesthetics for a racialized world.

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PSC 71908  – 3 credits
Topic: Neofascism: from the New Right to the Alt-Right (PT)
Faculty: Wolin
Day/Time: Monday 6:30pm–8:30pm
Crosslist: HIST 72800
Course Description:

How did the far-right reestablish political legitimacy after its crushing defeat in 1945? How did it recertify the discredited ideas of race, hierarchy, anti-parliamentarism, autocracy, and patriarchy after seemingly hitting rock bottom? To what extent – and by what methods – have its efforts to counteract the intellectual hegemony of left-wing thought by popularizing a “Gramscism of the right” been successful? To what extent have New Right ideas influenced the political self-understanding of the leading authoritarian populist parties, whose proliferation has been one of the hallmarks of twenty-first century global politics? Finally, to what extent have the depredations of “neo-liberalism” prepared the terrain for the New Right’s success?

Here, it is worth noting that the slogan, the “Great Replacement,” which was invoked by the mass murderers in Utoya, Norway, Christ Church, NZ, El Paso, and Pittsburgh, was originally a New Right slogan. One explanation for the New Right’s success pertains to its successful rehabilitation of German conservative revolutionary thought from the 1920s: the political doctrines of Carl Schmitt, Martin Heidegger, Oswald Spengler, etc., while cleansing their work of its ties to Nazism. Finally, at what point in time did the New Right worldview cross the Atlantic to provide ideological support for the Alt-Right? In what ways do the New Right and the Alt-Right differ from the traditional Right? Did the Alt-Right contribute to Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election? Is the Alt-Right still a force in contemporary American politics, or was it merely a passing political fad?

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PSC 71904 (Crosslist PHIL 77700) – 3 credits 
Topic: Critical Social Theory (PT)

Faculty: Gould 
Day/Time: Tuesday 4:15pm–6:15pm
Crosslist: PHIL 77700
Course Description: This seminar will explore the notion of critique and attempt to achieve some clarity on the parameters of critical social theory: first, by considering the origins of this project in Marx’s dialectical method, its development in Lukacs and Gramsci (in regard to ideology and power), and in the critical theory of Horkheimer, Marcuse, and the early Habermas, and more recently in Jaeggi. We will go on to consider the distinctive approach to revolution and critique found in Arendt, and the original features introduced by feminist thought, especially by standpoint theory (Hartsock et al), along with the provocations of Foucault and the recent call to “decolonize” theory by Allen. Contemporary efforts in analytic political philosophy to appeal to nonideal theory instead of, or in addition to, ideal theory also bear scrutiny. As we proceed, we can consider some possibilities for integrating these diverse approaches in new ways. The course will then turn to a focus on how norms and forms of knowledge emerge and change with transformations in social practices (Wartofsky), as an enterprise of political and historical epistemology (beyond existing social epistemologies). Through all these various analyses, we will explicitly confront the questions of how normativity can persist without wholly devolving to social context, and also how we can develop critical perspectives while avoiding imperialist critiques from above.

Finally, the course will take up three current practical challenges as test cases for effective social theoretical response. The first concerns the need for a critical democratic theory that takes the political economy of capitalism seriously, investigating how economic and political power can distort or diminish democracy (Gould), and relatedly how to make room for oppositional consciousness (Mansbridge), counterpower, and resistance. The second challenge arises in regard to the cross-cultural understanding and critique of practices confronting women (from femicide to sex trafficking to the #MeToo movement), where deference to those affected is obviously important but insufficient for social and political transformation. A final issue is how to differentiate negative uses of solidarity, as in contemporary white supremacist and nationalist movements, from the constructive solidarities that may characterize liberatory social movements, as in the cases of mutual aid efforts in the United States and refugee support networks in southern Europe and elsewhere. Throughout the seminar, students will be encouraged to relate the course materials to their ongoing research through an oral presentation and an analytical term paper and will be expected to be active participants in class discussions.

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PSC 71902 – 3 credits
Topic: Comparative Revolutions: from the English Revolutions of 1688 to the Arab Spring (PT)
Faculty: Rosenblatt 
Day/Time: Wednesday 6:30pm–8:30pm
Crosslist: HIST 71000 & IDS MALS 78500
Course Description: What makes a revolution a revolution? Scholarship has recently moved away from social-scientific, Marxist-inspired explanations to approaches that explore how revolutionaries themselves understood what they were doing, how they interpreted their contexts, and how their ideas shaped their actions. With such questions in mind, we will look at and compare a number of revolutions, including the so-called “Glorious Revolution” of 1688, the American, French and Haitian Revolutions, the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the recent Arab Spring. In the eyes of their participants, what characteristics did these revolutions share? What might they have learned and borrowed from each other? Is there something we can call a revolutionary “script”?

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