Courses

Spring 2023

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]
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
11:45-1:45Feminist Political Theory
Marasco (PT)
PSC 80606
Class # 51418
RM 5383
Quantitative Analysis I
Lindsey (G/M)
PSC 89101
Class # 51383
RM 6495
2:00-4:00Writing Politics II
Beinart (G)
PSC 79002
Class # 51434
RM 5212


Political Theory as Method
Buck-Morss (PT/M) - Hybrid
PSC 80608
Class # 51353
RM 6494
International Political Economy
Xia (IR)
PSC 76300
Class # 51351
RM 6494


Participatory Democracy & Social Movements
Su (PP)
PSC 73906
Class # 51416
RM 5382
Cross list w/ EES 79903
The Frankfurt School
Jacobs (PT)
PSC 80300
Class # 51377
RM 7395
Cross list w/ PHIL 76200


Philosophy of Race
Zack (PT)
PSC 80609
Class # 51430
RM TBA
Cross list w/ PHIL 77900; AFCP 73100

Comparative Revolutions: From 1688 to the Arab Spring
Rosenblatt (PT)
PSC 71909
Class # 51431
RM 5383
Cross list w/ HIST 72100
4:15-6:15US Foreign Policy
Liberman (IR)
PSC 86101
Class # 51428
RM 5212

Women, Work, & Public Policy
Gornick (PP)
PSC 73901
Class # 51390
RM TBA
Cross list w/ WSCP 81000






Congress
Jones (AP)
PSC 82003
Class # 51424
RM 3310A

Comparative Political Orders
Woodward (CP)
P SC 87801
Class # 51385
RM 3310B





Politics of Inequality
McCall (PP)
PSC 73907
Class # 56657
RM 6114
Cross list w/ SOC 84600, WSCP 81000




PROGRAM EVENTS
6:30-8:30Dissertation Proposal Workshop
Woodward (G)
PSC 89100
Class # 51379
RM 4419
American Political Thought
Fontana (AP/PT)
PSC 72100
Class # 51417
RM 5382

Latin American Politics
Baver (CP)
PSC 77908
Class # 51354
RM 6417




Global Terrorism
Romaniuk (IR)
PSC 86207
Class # 51352
RM 5417

Race & Public Policy
Flateau (PP)
PSC 73908
Class # 51425
RM 5383
Cross list w/ WSCP 81000


AP – American Politics    <>CP- Comparative Politics     <>IR – International Relations      <>PT – Political Theory                <> PP – Public Policy      <> G – General Course

American Politics

PSC 72100
Benedetto Fontana
American Political Thought
Tuesday – 6:30pm-8:30pm
Description: This course presents some fundamental ideas that underlie the American political order. These ideas spring from numerous sources, the most important of which are republicanism, democracy, and liberalism. In some ways these currents merge and flow together, in other ways they diverge, become antagonistic and act against one another. Some observers point out that this political order is basically liberal, exemplified by the fundamental principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence. Others point to elements antithetical to liberal thought. The Declaration itself may be seen as a locus of political and intellectual contestation open to divergent interpretations.
Republican thought rests upon the ideas of non-domination and autonomy, while democratic thought emphasizes the primacy of self-government by the people, and liberalism underscores the values of individualism and tolerance. At the same time, the American republic was, and continues to be, riven with internal contradictions between aspirational ideals originally proclaimed during its founding and the political and socio-economic realities (or the “facts on the ground” of social and racial oppressions and inequalities). Thus, American political thought may be seen as a bundle of ideas and concepts which are simultaneously the cause and product of an on-going and contentious debate regarding the very nature of the American political enterprise. It encompasses, moreover, a continual struggle between nature and convention, interest/appetite and virtue/ethics, liberty and slavery, democracy and republicanism, liberalism and despotism, pluralism and elitism, individualism and community, religion and secularism, universalism and nationalism, oppression, and liberation.

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PSC 82003
David Jones
Congress
Tuesday – 4:15pm-6:15pm
Description: The United States Congress is one of the most powerful representative assemblies and the most extensively studied political institutions in the world. This course is designed to help students develop a basic understanding of the major works and debates in the scholarly study of Congress, as well as the ability to explain, synthesize, and critique them. The course is accessible to any M.A. or Ph.D. students curious about the topic but is especially useful for students seeking to complete the department’s first exam in American politics or looking for an MA Thesis topic. Required readings for the course include those in the Congress section of the American Politics Reading List, among many others that are foundational in the literature. The course will cover Congress both from the perspective of individual members, including roll-call voting and representation, and the institution as a whole, including committees, parties, leaders, and rules. We will conclude by discussing the ability of Congress to adequately carry out its Constitutional duties in our current era of polarized politics.

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Comparative Politics 

PSC 77908
Sherri Baver
Latin American Politics
Tuesday – 6:30pm-8:30m
Description: This course has two primary objectives. The first is to introduce students to key theories and concepts in the comparative study of Latin American Politics. The second objective is help students who will take the Program’s First Exam in Comparative Politics by offering them key theoretical approaches and concepts as applied to in-depth case studies in the Latin American region. The overarching concerns in the course are theoretical discussions of democratic persistence, democratic decline, and autocratic growth in the region. More specifically, we ask the extent to which path – dependent legacies (i.e., Latin American history) influence present-day politics and socioeconomic conditions. Key issues of interest are assessing, within specific countries, democratic quality and the rule-of-law, political institutions (e.g., legislatures, judiciaries, mechanisms for citizen participation), and key actors in the political system (e.g., party elites, the military, civil society organizations, religious elites, and social movements such as those involving environmental, feminist, student, and indigenous concerns. We also consider the role of possibly less obvious actors in the region’s domestic politics such as external actors and criminal organizations. Throughout the semester, we will apply key theories and concepts to individual country cases.

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PSC 87801
Susan Woodward
Comparative Political Orders
Tuesday – 4:15pm-6:15pm
Description: The empirically dominant form of contemporary political order is based on the historical model of west European state formation and theorists, above all Max Weber, of the modern state. The primary reason for this, however, is international order: sovereignty as defined and consolidated after 1945 and the requirements of participating in the current international system. Once we look to domestic political order, however, we see a historically and currently rich literature on alternatives that tend to be ignored to our detriment in analyzing political order. There are the historical legacies, such as understanding the way empires (e.g., the Ottomans, colonial powers) organized political life that also inform current countries that succeeded them, border regimes, the struggles to create political order during insurgencies and revolutions, or immediately after an independence struggle or a civil war, and the alternative paths of state formation for the purpose of national defense that are different from the west European story.

While the seminar will be organized around a set of theoretical questions and empirical examples to escape that “western state” straitjacket and explore a literature on alternatives, it also aims to provide an opportunity for students to pose their own question and think creatively through their research project and paper. The focus of all the readings and discussion will be comparative, primarily but not entirely, outside Europe.

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International Relations


PSC 76300
Ming Xia
International Political Economy
Tuesday – 2:00pm-4:00pm
Description: International Political Economy (IPE, or global 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, the 2008 global financial crisis and the 2020 pandemic recession provide an entry point to examine the following contents: (1) evolution (a historical review of capitalism and the formation of global political economy), (2) theories and methods (normative theories include liberalism, mercantilism, Marxism, constructivism and critical approaches; research approaches include global vs. domestic-level, statist vs. societal explanations and rational choice approach), (3) structures (thematic issues include production, trade, finance and development), and (4) crises that confront the global political economy. The course concludes with a discussion on the global governance in IPE and global responses to globalization (both “good” and “bad” ones, e.g., illicit markets) and its unintended consequences.

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PSC 82607
Peter Romaniuk
Global Terrorism
Thursday – 6:30pm-8:30pm
Description: In the period since the attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States, terrorism has become a permanent fixture on the international security agenda, as well as being a primary domestic security concern for many states. This course is an advanced-level survey of terrorism and the politics that surround it. The course has two broad learning objectives: to prepare students to become informed and critical consumers of claims to knowledge about terrorism, whether they are manifested in scholarship, policy, popular debates in the media, or elsewhere, and to advance the capacity of students to produce robust social science research and analysis about terrorism and counterterrorism. Within these broad objectives, the course aims to impart and reflect upon knowledge regarding: the definition of terrorism; research methods in terrorism studies; the causes of terrorism; the evolution of terrorist threats, and responses to terrorism.

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PSC 86101
Peter Liberman
US Foreign Policy
Monday – 4:15pm-6:15pm
Description: An examination of the sources of U.S. foreign policies. Since the United States is in many ways similar to other democracies, capitalist states, great powers, etc., lessons from the U.S. experience are relevant to general theories of foreign policy. International relations students and practitioners also need to understand the foreign policies of the world’s predominant power, including how it behaves differently from other states. The course should also interest Americanists, for there is much overlap between the politics of foreign and domestic policymaking. Several sets of readings examine alternative theories and methods applied to a single foreign policy behavior; others focus more narrowly on a single theory or actor. The theoretical approaches include realist, institutionalist, organizational, cultural/ideational, psychological, and political-economy explanations. The course applies these theories to several U.S. security, economic, and humanitarian policies, though the emphasis will be on security policy, which consumes the greatest share of governmental attention and resources. The course readings consist mainly of state-of-the-art research contributions, which provide useful models of research design and execution. These reflect a variety of research methods, including qualitative historical research as well quantitative public opinion and congressional voting research. As a research seminar, class discussion will focus on research design and unanswered questions and puzzles that could help students generate their own research projects, both in the context of the course and beyond. Students will write a substantial research paper over the course of the semester and present their findings during the final class meeting. Students will present their research plans mid-semester, with feedback provided by the class and by the instructor.

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Political Theory

 

 

PSC 80300
Jack Jacobs
The Frankfurt School
(Cross-list w/ PHIL 76200)
Wednesday – 2:00pm-4:00pm
Description: Thinkers linked to the Frankfurt School, a grouping of writers initially associated with the Institute for Social Research, have had a wide impact over a period of generations. In this seminar, we will likely focus primarily on the first generation of Critical Theorists – including, above all, Horkheimer, Adorno, Lowenthal, Pollock, Benjamin, and Marcuse. I hope to reserve some time, however, to also examine second and third generation writers associated with the Frankfurt School, such as Habermas and Offe. We will grapple with many questions: Did the Frankfurt School succeed in its efforts to combine philosophical and empirical approaches? Why, from the perspective of the Critical Theorists, had the proletarian revolution predicted by earlier Marxists not taken place? How did the Frankfurt School explain the rise of fascism and authoritarian leaders? What insights do the Frankfurt School’s approach generate as to the origins and lasting import of racism, antisemitism, and ethnic prejudice? Do its explanations of these phenomena have contemporary resonance? Are the Frankfurt School’s analyses of the culture industry, of popular music, of television, or of mass circulation magazines, relevant to our, in some ways notably different, world? We will, in other words, attempt to explore the writings of Critical Theorists in the contexts in which they were created, and debate the extent, if any, to which their ideas ring true today.

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PSC 80606
Robyn Marasco
Feminist Political Theory
Monday – 11:45am-1:45pm
Description: This course provides an intensive introduction to feminist political theory, both to the various “schools” that emerge over the past half century and the key concepts and debates that shape the development of feminist thought. We will explore liberal, Marxist, radical, intersectional, poststructuralist, queer theoretical, and decolonial theories, as they relate to feminist queries and concerns. We will also consider how these paradigms have emerged and changed over time, how they get taken up in new contexts and deployed in new ways.

We will pose and discuss a number of questions: What is theory? What is politics? What is feminism? What is patriarchy? What is its relationship to capitalism? What or who is a woman? What is the relationship between gender and sex? Between gender and sexuality? How does gender oppression relate to other forms of oppression, for instance race or class? Should housework be waged? Should sex be for sale? Is pornography harmful? What is “rape culture”? How should feminists respond to sexual and domestic violence? How should feminists think about the state and its powers?

Given the range and breadth of what travels under the banner of feminist theory today, we could not possibly do justice to this topic in a single semester. Throughout the course, we will focus on questions of politics and political theory, in particular. And we will engage the history of feminist theory for its distinctive contributions to political thinking.

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PSC 80608
Susan Buck-Morss
Political Theory as Method (Hybrid Course)
Monday – 2:00pm-4:00pm
Description: In 20th century continental theory, political thought is a consequence of more general understandings of society, history, epistemology, and ontology that are forms of “critique” (in the Kantian sense). If Kant was the starting point, the limitations of Kantian reason provided the impulse for the highly influential thinkers we will consider; Heidegger, Adorno, Benjamin and W.E.B. du Bois, all of whom drew from this intellectual conjuncture very different political conclusions. Today, as these thinkers are themselves critically received, at a moment when the whole tradition of “western” theory demands fundamental re-orientation, their very different methods of approach to such ideas as “freedom” “justice” and “truth” provide both a model and a warning as to how we might proceed today.

Note: Course will be scheduled for classroom participation for students. For 4-6 weeks post-operation; I will need to be zoomed in to the meeting.

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Public Policy

PSC 73901
Janet Gornick
Women, Work and Public Policy
(Cross-list w/ SOC, WSCP, ECON)
Monday – 4:15pm-6:15pm
Description: This course provides an overview of key issues affecting women in the workplace in the United States and in other high-income countries. We will begin with an overview of basic economic principles of labor markets, specifically as they concern gender inequality. We will examine both theory and empirical research, taking a multidimensional approach to understanding gender inequality at work – covering gender gaps in employment rates, in working time, in occupation, and in earnings. We then turn to a series of book-length studies of women’s experiences in paid work, both historically and in the contemporary United States. Throughout this section, we will take an intersectional approach – considering how women’s employment experiences have been shaped by race, class, nativity, sexuality, and place. In the final section of the course, we will turn our attention to policies and institutions that shape women’s experiences in paid work, and gender inequality in the labor market more generally. We will assess the institutional landscape in the United States and compare that to policy configurations operating in other affluent countries. Students will complete weekly reaction papers, and a semester-long research project which will culminate in a paper.

*All Master’s students must obtain permission from Professor Gornick before registering. *

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PSC 73908
John Flateau
Race & Public Policy
Thursday – 6:30pm-8:30pm
Description: This seminar will begin by examining how the role of race in legislative representation in the American system has evolved from the British colonial period and the origins of African slavery to the present, asking how racial inequality in legislative practice has influenced public policy making. It will explore seminal historical periods such as Bacon’s Rebellion, American Revolution, Civil War and Reconstruction, the Civil Rights era, and the current federal and New York State controversies around voting rights, examining key legislation and jurisprudence. This will provide the historical and political framework for exploring the current racial dimensions of state and national legislating and policymaking. The course will then turn to the case of legislative redistricting in New York State in the wake of the 2020 Census, exploring the actors, decision makers, technical tools (such as census demographics and mapping), and constitutionally embedded rules of the game that shaped the outcome. We will ask how this case illustrates different understandings of Blackness from intersectional, intergenerational, and international perspectives. The seminar will conclude by exploring additional case studies that may involve criminal justice reform, educational equity, or other topic of concern to seminar participants

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General and Cross-field

PSC 79002 (G)
Peter Beinart
Writing Politics II
Day/Time: Monday 2:00pm–4:00pm
Description: Writing Politics II is the successor to Writing Politics I, although students may take it without taking the predecessor. The biggest difference is that we’ll focus more on writing for publication. The goal will be for each student to publish at least one of the columns they write. We will start by coming up with a list of the publications that each student wants to target. If a piece is ready for publication on the first draft, I won’t ask for a rewrite. If the first draft suggests no hope of publication, I may suggest we choose a different topic rather than requesting a second draft. If there’s a danger of the window of opportunity on a certain subject closing, I may change the due dates for certain assignments. The goal is to give us maximum flexibility to increase the chances of publication. Because this course is more of a workshop than Writing Politics I, I may also bring in my own writing in concept or draft form and submit it for the same critical review that I give the students’ work. If there is student interest, I will also assign a longer essay (2000-4000 words) in addition to columns.

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PSC 89100 (G)
Susan Woodward
Dissertation Proposal Workshop (Only for PSC PH.D. Students)
Monday – 6:30pm-8:30pm
Description: The program requires students to pass a second exam on the dissertation proposal, but outside of a handout on the format, there is little support or advice for the process of writing this proposal. This workshop aims to support students in writing their proposal, including information about the steps of acquiring an advisor (“sponsor”) and committee and taking the second exam. The workshop introduces students to the principles and organization of a defensible proposal and how to follow the department’s format, which is not obvious at start. It is a genuine workshop, in the sense that 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. We work through student drafts weekly and collaboratively.

Attendance at each weekly meeting and submission of some draft, even if only a paragraph the day before so that all can read them, is, therefore, necessary.  Students may take the workshop many times; it gives no course credit or grade. However, most students who take the workshop produce a completed dissertation proposal within the one semester and succeed in passing the second exam either at the end of the spring semester or at the end of the summer before the deadline for moving to Level III in the fall.

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PSC 89101 (G)
David Lindsey
Quantitative Analysis 1
Thursday – 11:45am-1:45pm
Description: This course provides an introduction to applied statistical methods in political science. We will start from the basics with a focus on methods suitable for causal inference and those commonly encountered in the political science literature. We will begin start with a basic overview of probability, uncertainty, and measurement. From there, we will proceed to simple descriptive and comparative statistics and the calculation of confidence intervals as well as visual methods for presenting data. After that, we will move to correlation and linear regression.

Regression and related methods are the main workhorses of applied research, so we will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of regression analysis at length. We will also cover diagnostic tests and the computation of standard errors. Finally, we will discuss regression methods for analyzing nominal and ordinal data. Along the way, we will learn the basics of statistical computing in R and Stata. This will include some of the nitty-gritty topics of data management (e.g., merging datasets, working with messy data, etc.) that are important in applied practice. Students will have the opportunity to do their own data analysis and to replicate the findings of published work in the field.

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PSC 71909 (PT)
Helena Rosenblatt
Comparative Revolutions: From 1688 to the Arab Spring
(Cross-List w/ HIST 72100)
Thursday – 2:00pm-4:00pm
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 Revolutions of 1848, the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the Arab Spring. 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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PSC 73906 (PP)
Celina Su
Participatory Democracy & Social Movements
(Cross-list w/ UED, WSCP, PSYC)
Tuesday – 2:00pm-4:00pm
Description: This seminar takes a look at what ordinary citizens do to shape public programs and engage in politics— in ways other than voting. We explore the notion that popular participation can make democratic governance more legitimate, fair, and effective. Is participatory democracy— alternatively called bottom-up participation, maximal democracy, or direct democracy— really better? Specifically, we will examine forms and functions of civil society from a comparative perspective by looking at specific examples of (1) participatory institutions (neighborhood councils, urban budgeting, school governance, etc.), (2) participation in non-governmental organizations and development projects, and (3) social movements around the world (landless people’s movements, transnational networks, mothers of political dissidents who have “disappeared,” AIDS protest groups, etc.). Sometimes, these three categories blur into one another. We will try to focus on case studies in “Global South” middle-income countries like Brazil, Argentina, India, and South Africa, though we also include domestic cases as a point of reference. How much should ordinary citizens participate in policymaking, and how? Under what circumstances? We will pay special attention to equity in participation, uses and construction of identity, and policy impacts in each case.

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PSC 80609 (PT)
Naomi Zack
Philosophy of Race
(Cross-list w/ PHIL 77900)
Thursday – 2:00pm-4:00pm
Description: Contemporary Philosophy of Race is a general and abstract investigation into biological and social constructs of the existence of human races and the theoretical and practical problems and tensions concerning racial identities and interactions in society. It is not the first meta-discourse about race––17th, 18th, 19th, and early 20th century racist science and ethnology sought to consider all human races on an abstract level. But, unlike those white-supremacist projects, Philosophy of Race is explicitly progressive and racially egalitarian in seeking justice. Philosophy of Race developed out of academic African American philosophy, during the 1970s. African American philosophy, although relatively new to academic philosophy, was well-rooted in earlier modern thought and literature. Pioneers in this philosophical subfield, such as Leonard Harris and Lucius Outlaw, reclaimed neglected philosophical work by African Americans, particularly Alain Locke and W.E.B. Dubois, and strove to gain intellectual recognition from other academic philosophers, although the story of that progress in academic philosophy did not emerge until decades later. Philosophy of Race encompasses all purported human races, in distinctively philosophical ways. It is thus more expansive and inclusive than African American philosophy, as well as global in scope. This course approaches Philosophy of Race through both philosophy of science and studies of racism in society. Weekly topics include; Ideas of Race in the Canonical History of Philosophy; Egalitarian Spiritual and Legal Traditions; Race According to Biological Science; Ideas of Race in Twentieth Century American and Continental Philosophy; Race as social construction; Ethnicity and other race-like ideas; Racism and Neo-racisms; Metaphysical Othering and Metaphysical Racism; Race in Contemporary Life; Political Philosophy, Law, and Public Policy; Feminism and Gender; Political Racism and Populist Movements.

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PSC 73907
Leslie McCall
Politics of Inequality (PP)
(Cross list with SOC 84600, WSCP 81000)
Wednesday 4:15pm–6:15pm
Description: This course will cover substantive developments, measurement issues, and analytic approaches across the social sciences. Specifically, the objectives are to become familiar with (1) the different levels of analysis involved in the study of the politics of inequality, opportunity, and redistribution, namely, the role of political institutions (i.e., parties, electoral systems, policy regimes, etc.) on the one hand, and behavioral dynamics (e.g., individual beliefs, policy preferences, voting choices, protests and social movements) on the other hand, in shaping political and socio-economic outcomes, and (2) the strengths and weaknesses of various methodological approaches to analyzing institutional and behavioral processes, such as political economy, public opinion and survey research, experimental research, ethnography, and discourse/textual analysis. To accomplish these objectives, readings will be interdisciplinary and include theoretical texts and empirically based, substantive and methodological studies employing quantitative (including experimental) and qualitative data and methods throughout the rest of the semester. Students will therefore learn both theoretical and methodological skills, and their interdependence, in the study of the politics of inequality, opportunity, and redistribution. We will also integrate the research on class inequality with ongoing research on other dimensions of inequality, especially racial/ethnic inequality.

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