Past Courses

Fall 2017

Sanford Schram – American Politics: Theories and Core Concepts (AP)
PSC 72001 – 3 credits (CRN#36252)
Monday 4:15pm–6:15pm

Course Description:
This seminar surveys the major scholarly debates in the study of American politics today. It draws on prominent theoretical perspectives for understanding empirical issues regarding: (1) the history of American political development; (2) the constitutional and institutional structure of American government in its contemporary form; (3) the structure of power and the behavior of political elites; and (4) ordinary people’s political behavior as manifested in studies of public opinion and political participation broadly construed. As a seminar, course emphasizes dialogue about assigned readings. Students are to be active participants in the conversation. Each student will lead one session. The course is designed to help students prepare for the doctoral exam in American politics and to acquire the background to teach American politics at the undergraduate level. The course will regularly address issues and problems in teaching an undergraduate American politics survey course.


Ruth O’Brien – American Political Thought (AP)
PSC 72100 – 3 credits (CRN#36607) 
Tuesday 11:45am – 1:45am
Cross list with WSCP 81000
Course Description:
American Political Thought is one of the core subfields in the American Politics field. It can also be counted as part of the political theory concentration. This seminar asks the big questions: What is justice? What is equality? What does it mean to be free? It does so in historical perspective, breaking the periods down into perspectives provided by the revolution; founding, civil war; Social Darwinist; bourgeois individualist; progressive; industrial capitalist, New Deal; and identity politics periods. Original texts ranging from: James Madison’s Federalist Papers; John Dewey’s The Public and Its Problems; Malcolm X’s Autobiography to Gloria E. Anzaldua’s This Bridge Called my Back will be read. In addition, to concentrating on the standard interpretations of these texts, some radical interpretations will be emphasized, particularly black feminist thought. In addition, the seminar gives more weight to the latter half of American political thought written about capitalism and identity politics in the late-19th and 20th centuries rather than the founding or the civil war eras in the 18th, early, and mid-19th centuries.


Stanley Renshon – The Modern Presidency: FDR to Trump (AP)
PSC 82001 – 4 credits (CRN#36257)
Thursday 6:30pm–8:30pm

Cross list with IDS 81650
Course Description:
The American presidency holds a central, if paradoxical position in American politics. Since its creation, supporters for a strong presidency have viewed it as the primary source of “energy,” “decision,” and “activity” in American political life. Moreover, over time, the modern presidency has amassed so much power while becoming a singular focus of public expectations that it has more than fulfilled these expectations. That “success,” however, has become a mixed blessing. The more powerful presidents have become, the harder it has been for them to succeed. It has become increasingly clear that how the president exercises executive power is just as important as having it. Moreover, simply accruing power does not necessarily translate into effective political leadership or successful governing.
Using policy, politics, leadership and public expectations as four core frames of analysis, this course examines how and why the modern presidency developed as it did from a revered to a contested institution. We will examine how the men who occupied the office shaped it, tried to make use of it, in some cases misused it, and in others were undone by it. Among the topics to be covered are: the changing nature of presidential leadership; issues of governance in a divided electorate; and how modern presidents have tried to navigate the increasingly fractured relationship between wining office and governing, and the very consequential and controversial presidencies of Barack Obama and Donald Trump and what they suggest about the nature and direction of American politics.

Susan Woodward –Basic Theories & Concepts in Comparative Politics (CP)
PSC 77901 – 3 credits (CRN#36238)
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.


Till Weber – Applied Quantitative Research Correlation, Comparison, Causality (CP/M)
PSC 89101 – 4 credits (CRN#36248 )
Tuesday 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Course Description:
Statistics show that students who take statistics classes are professionally more successful, socially more popular and physically more attractive than their peers. So, which side are you on now? Alternatively, perhaps you are more interested in the analytical value of statistics, which is no less profound. Knowing about the powers of quantitative analysis will make you ask questions about politics you might otherwise never have considered. With a manageable kit of statistical tools you can uncover structure in the political world where before was only fog or chaos. Even better, while learning all these wonderful things you will also fulfill the methods requirement of the doctoral program. 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. You do not need to be a math whiz to master these (this instructor is living proof).

Our approach will be hands-on and pragmatic. The course cuts across the conventional division of basic and advanced statistics to facilitate the immediate implementation of diverse quantitative designs. Everyone is welcome irrespective of prior statistical training. If you are currently conducting quantitative research, feel encouraged to bring your problems to class. If you are considering collecting your own data, use the opportunity to anticipate the challenges waiting down the road. If you believe that quantitative methods inherently reproduce capitalist exploitation, help us liberate oppressed regression coefficients from the clutches of neoliberal positivism. Alternatively, if you are just looking for something new, come along to get inspiration and pick up versatile skills. Over the course of the semester, students will enjoy the quantie boot camp™, 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 builds on and advances the methodological expertise of the student(s) involved. Credit will be awarded for achievement relative to initial proficiency.


Kenneth Erickson – State & Society(CP)
PSC 87801 – 4 credits (CRN# 36255)
Wednesday 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Course Description:

Seminar/colloquium on social movements, civil society, and the state. Readings and discussion cover historical and contemporary cases of social movements, contentious politics, and participation by civil society. In the contemporary era of democratic transition and consolidation, the course examines contentious popular and opposition movements that seek to revise the very nature of citizenship, particularly by expanding citizens’ rights of participation so as to include formerly excluded people and groups, and to win benefits for them. It also examines the role of such movements in transitions to democracy, and the impact of democratization on the movements themselves. My Latin American politics survey courses employ a top-down perspective, emphasizing the role of state institutions and political elites. This seminar examines many world regions and takes a bottom-up perspective, focusing on participation by worker, peasant, popular, feminist, indigenous, religious, and other sectors of civil society and ideological and political oppositions.

Contemporary scholarly interest in social movements and civil society developed in the 1970s and 1980s, when a body of literature on “New Social Movements” emerged in response to changing political realities, as “post-materialist” environmental, peace, and women’s movements developed in Western Europe and North America; as opposition to authoritarian rule crystallized in Latin America; and as unrest challenged the weakening communist party-states in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. This literature, inspired by the work of scholars and activists, began to gain recognition by North American specialists on Latin America only in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In Latin America, scholars and activists raised very optimistic normative expectations that contentious social, economic, and political engagement by hitherto oppressed and excluded lower strata would create new, superior, forms of participatory democracy. The disappointing, or at best mixed, results on these headings prompted a sobering normative reappraisal by scholars, then a reappraisal of that reappraisal, followed by a focus on “contentious politics” by one school and on participatory politics within democratic institutions by others. In sum, in their empirical work on various world regions, researchers advanced a seemingly dominant interpretive paradigm and then, under challenge, refined it more than once. The trajectory of concepts covered will illustrate this process while providing students with an array of useful interpretive tools.

The first portion of the course will be a colloquium devoted to a close reading and discussion of the conceptual and case materials that should catalyze or orient individuals’ research projects. I will open each session by asking students to set the agenda for discussion on the assigned materials, agenda points they will have posted on Blackboard’s discussion board by the previous evening. The final portion of the course will be devoted to presentation of students’ research projects. Several days before the presentation, students will distribute via the discussion board a brief written précis of the project and other relevant documents to enrich discussion.

Mark Ungar – Democratization (CP)
PSC 77903 – 3 credits (CRN#36256 )
Thursday 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Course Description:
For the first time, a majority of the world’s countries have adopted democracy, making democratization a key focus of political science. Drawing on the histories and current developments in each region, this course comparatively assesses the quality of democratic regimes around the globe by examining the range of weaknesses (such as in the rule of law, economic policy, and the balance of power) and challenges (such as corruption, crime, and inequality) that trap most regimes in a grey area between transition and consolidation. The critical analysis of democratization that the class undertakes will also strengthen understanding of comparative and international politics more broadly.

Peter Romaniuk – Global Terrorism (IR)
PSC 86207 – 4 credits (CRN#36242)
Monday 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Course 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. Terrorist violence and state responses to terrorism have had broad and deep impacts on international relations and on human security. Prior to 9/11, and in the years since, the strategies and tactics of terrorism (and counterterrorism) have continued to evolve. Today and into the future, knowledge of global terrorism is critical for students and scholars seeking to understand international security. This course is an advanced-level survey of terrorism and the politics that surround it. The course aims 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; advance student’s capacity to produce robust social science research about terrorism and counterterrorism.


Zachary Shirkey – Basic Concepts & Theories in International Relations (IR)
PSC 76000 – 3 credits (CRN#36239)
Tuesday 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Course Description:
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the different theories and concepts that scholars use to understand and explain world politics. The course examines the major theories in the field of International Relations (IR) and some of the central theoretical debates. Throughout the course, the relevance of specific theories and theory in general for how we make sense of world politics will be critically assessed. The focus of this course will be theoretical rather than empirical. Thus, each class will be devoted to an in-depth discussion of a different theoretical perspective in IR, focusing on its key concepts, foundational assumptions, and central arguments.

Peter Liberman – Security Studies (IR)
PSC 76400 – 3 credits (CRN#36247)
Tuesday 4:15pm – 6:15pm
Course Description:
This course examines contemporary theory-testing research in security studies. Topics examined include the sources of peace and war, coercion, strategy, arms races, alliances, and international institutions designed to control arms and conflict. The focus is on states, but we will also examine insurgencies and terrorism insofar as these have international reach. The works studied represent diverse methodologies and theoretical approaches; each week’s readings address a common question (or a set of related questions) using different theories and methods. This is not a security policy course per se, but most of the work examined focuses on questions whose answers would help policymakers (not necessarily U.S. ones) make important decisions about peace and security.

The course has seven main goals:
· To familiarize students with a wide range of leading theories on international security issues.
· To develop students’ understanding of multiple methodological approaches employed in contemporary international relations research.
· To enhance students’ ability to critically analyze political science research, especially in the field of international security.
· To improve students’ ability to critically analyze security policy issues and debates.
· To enhance students theoretical reasoning and their writing, verbal communication, and critical thinking skills.
· To help students identify promising research projects.
· To prepare students to answer international security questions on the PhD First Exam in International Relations.

Jack Jacobs – Marxism (PT)
PSC 80302 – 4 credits (CRN#36244)
Monday 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Course Description:
This course, which will be conducted as a seminar, will be devoted to discussing and critique the ideas of Karl Marx and some of the major thinkers who have been influenced by Marx. We will begin by exploring Marx’s analysis of alienation, his understanding of history, and his notions of the state and of class. We will turn next to discussing both Marxism in the era of the Second International, with particular attention to the Revisionist Debate between Eduard Bernstein and Rosa Luxemburg, and – on the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution of 1917! The political ideas of Vladimir Lenin. I intend, in a somewhat later section of the course, to devote particularly sustained attention to the development of Western Marxism, including the contributions of figures like Lukacs, Korsch, Horkheimer, Adorno, Benjamin, and Marcuse, many of whom attempted to explain why the revolution predicted by Marx had not (yet) taken place. Finally, we will end this course by examining Marxist thought in the latter portions of the 20th century, and the first years of the 21st. I expect that we will cover a work by Louis Althusser, and hope to discuss relevant portions of the thought of Slavoj Zizek. Throughout the semester, we will engage in a close examination of key texts, and will debate the extent to which the ideas we will discuss (and the controversies which they generated) can be explained by knowledge of the contexts in which they arose. We will also explore the degree to which the ideas of the thinkers whose works we will read help to illuminate contemporary issues.


Susan Buck-Morss – Walter Benjamin (PT)
PSC 80602 – 4 credits (CRN#36250)
Monday 4:15pm – 6:15pm
Course Description:
In-depth readings of a wide range of Walter Benjamin’s writings in historical-political context, from World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution, to World War II and the Vichy Regime. We will focus on philosophical method. What in his way of working escapes certain modern and post-modern dead-ends of theory? Excerpts from all 5 volumes of his Selected Works will be consulted.


Richard Wolin – The Outcome of German Classical Philosophy (PT)
PSC 71902 – 3 credits (CRN#36240)
Monday 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Cross list with HIST 72400
Course Description:
The course will primarily focus on the nexus between philosophy, reason, and, autonomy. We will also examine the substantive arguments that the school’s leading representatives have set forth, with special attention to the “healing” role of both reason and the aesthetic dimension. If thought and being are sundered in real life, art and reason offer the prospect of making the world whole once more. Thus, in German Classical philosophy, aesthetic consciousness often plays what one might describe as a redemptory or reconciliatory function. In his “Discourse on Language” Foucault warns us appositely that, “Truly to escape Hegel involves an exact appreciation of the price we have to pay to detach ourselves from him. It assumes that we are aware of the extent to which Hegel, insidiously perhaps, is close to us; it implies a knowledge that permits us to think against Hegel, of that which remains Hegelian. Thus we have to determine the extent to which our anti-Hegelianism is possibly one of his tricks directed against us, at the end of which he stands, motionless, waiting for us.” Foucault’s insightful caveat will, in many respects, function as our interpretive watchword as we seek to decode and reconstruct German Idealism and its innovative contemporary legacies.


Carol Gould – Socialism & Democracy (PT)
PSC 80302 – 4 credits (CRN#36258)
Tuesday 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Cross list with PHIL 77900
Course Description:
An exploration of core issues at the intersection of socialist theory and democratic theory, and of the prospects for rethinking democratic socialism for the 21st century. The seminar will draw on literature from the history of both Marxist/socialist and liberal democratic thought and will go on to consider leading critiques of both traditions. We will then focus on key conceptual problems in delineating new democratic and cooperative forms of social, economic, and political organization, including worker self-management; structural injustice and ecological justice; the question of markets, coordination, and distribution; the problem of scale (local, national, and global); and the role of feminist notions of reproduction, recognition, and care. Readings will include, among others, works by Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, Emma Goldman, Peter Kropotkin, Karl Kautsky, Hannah Arendt, Franz Fanon, Robert Dahl, C. B. Macpherson, Carole Pateman, Andre Gorz, Erik Olin Wright, Jane Mansbridge, G. A. Cohen, Nancy Fraser, and Elizabeth Anderson.


Leonard Feldman – Modern Political Thought (PT)
PSC 70200 – 3 credits (CRN#36253)
Wednesday 4:15pm-6:15pm
Course Description:
This course will examine key texts of modern Western political thought and the different ways they have been interpreted by contemporary political theorists. We will concentrate on works by Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Mill and Nietzsche. Some questions that will guide us include: If the period we loosely and contentiously describe as modern places stress on the problem of value, how do modern political systems gain and maintain legitimacy? What particular institutions are justified and on what basis? What are the affective dimensions of political order and political disorder? How are visions of political subjectivity linked to political orders and who is excluded from political subjectivity? Does modernity signify an age of progress in terms of knowledge about the world and freedom for human beings or a new kind of violent containment?

In addition, we will engage two to three important contemporary readings of each primary text, coming from Straussian, Cambridge School, feminist, post-colonial and post-structuralist perspectives. The goals here are (a) to gain new insight into the primary texts under consideration, (b) develop a familiarity with the core assumptions, commitments and methods of key interpretive approaches, and (c) evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of those approaches. The primary texts will come from the department’s political theory reading list and the seminar will be useful for students in preparation for their comprehensive exams in political theory. But it is by no means limited to that goal or that group of students.

Katherine Chen – Organization, Markets, and the State (PP)
PSC 72500 – 3 credits (CRN#36687)
Monday 11:45am-1:45pm
Cross list with SOC 84700
Course Description:
Organizations are one of the main “building blocks” of contemporary society.  Despite their central role in shaping our experiences from education to the workplace to governance, these actors and their form of collective action are often overlooked or taken-for-granted among researchers and laypersons.  Learn why organizations form, how they develop, and how they can exacerbate inequality or improve people’s life chances.  The content will cover a variety of organizations, from conventional bureaucracies to alternative, democratic organizations.  Theories studied will include classics, as well as cutting edge synthetic work like Strategic Action Fields (SAFs).

Participation in this course could be helpful for preparing for comprehensives, widening cross-over expertise in a substantive area (i.e. social movements, urban sociology, etc.), designing and carrying out research, and professional development.  One of the aims includes developing a community of supportive scholars for emerging research.


John Krinksy – Social Movements (PP/CP)
PSC 73100 – 3 credits (CRN#36243)
Tuesday 2:00pm-4:00pm
Course Description:
This course will investigate the causes and processes of political protest and efforts to remake the world through non-institutional politics. It will focus on the principal theories of social movements and assess them for their rigor and breadth of applicability over geographically and historically varied cases. It will also treat questions of the relationship of non-institutional and institutional politics, political speech and organization, reformism and radicalism, and what protest tells us–and can tell us–about the constitution of power across geographical scales


Janet Gornick – Women, Work, and Public Policy (PP)
PSC 82503 – 4 credits (CRN#36245) 
Tuesday, 4:15pm-6:15pm 
Cross list with SOC 84700, WSCP 81000
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 race, ethnicity, and nativity, and examine the recent rise of the “precariat” – a segment of the labor force characterized by little or no employment security and few legal protections. We will analyze the ways in which public policies have addressed these issues, and evaluate their impact.

The course also examines the effects on women workers – of all classes, races, and ethnic groups, and on immigrants as well as natives – 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.


John Mollenkopf – Politics and Government of New York (PP)
PSC 82510 – 4 credits (CRN#36254) 
Wednesday 4:15pm – 6:15pm
Cross list with SOC 84700, AFCP 73100
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 to the Queens County Democratic machine) 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. Despite being a majority minority city and electorate, it has elected only one minority mayor, David Dinkins and no Latino has been elected to city-wide office. This course uses the 2017 mayoral 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 what difference having a left liberal or progressive mayor makes and the difficulties facing attempts at reform governance in various policy areas, including housing criminal justice, and homeless services.


Alan DiGaetano – Urban Public Policy (PP)
PSC 72500 – 3 credits (CRN# 36241)
Wednesday 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.

Peter Beinart – Writing Politics (G/WP)
PSC 79001 – 3 credits (CRN#36237)
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, essays and blog posts 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 come as guests.


Ruth O’Brien – Dissertation Proposal Workshop (G/PD)
PSC 89100 – 0 credits (CRN#36251)
Wednesday 2:00pm–4:00pm
Course Description:
This workshop helps students prepare for the second examination. All students who have finished or near finished their course work are strongly encouraged to attend so they can discover how to write a dissertation proposal. This workshop will help them develop a clear and detailed description of their topic, convincing enough to show experienced scholars why her or his topic is worthy of pursuing. It will cover principles and organization, conceptualization and research strategies, and, where appropriate, methodological questions. As a zero-credit course, it has no grading, yet students participate intensely and enthusiastically, providing both strong support and honest criticism of each other’s work while learning to identify and resolve issues and develop the analytical skills that will be needed for research and teaching. To this end, each workshop member will read and discuss the drafts of all other members—a process as important for improving one’s own proposal as it is for those of one’s fellow participants. Workshop members attend all meetings and make a commitment to do some new writing every week. Also, students who have completed their dissertation proposals are welcome to take the seminar again to help them refine dissertation-research grant applications. Important guidelines, procedures, and advice will be given at the first meeting, which students interested in the workshop are strongly encouraged to attend.


Sherrie Baver – M.A. Core Course (G)
PSC 71902 – 3 credits (CRN#36249)
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. 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 conceptions of democracy, democratization, and de-democratization now inform political questions and political science inquiry

Spring 2017

Ruth O’Brien – American Political Development (AP)
PSC 82210 – 4 credits (CRN # 35248)
Monday 11:45am – 1:45pm

Course Description:

American Political Development, more properly titled – Neos, Isms, & Information Imperialism is an American-politics seminar that crosses political science disciplinary divides and political history by relying on “political development” as a comparative-politics and international-relations good-governance methodology with two analytical axes: the role of ideas, and hybrid institutionalism in the increasingly horizontal global social sphere. The seminar is also informed by Women’s Studies literature, given its emphasis on difference as the United States built a relatively strong nation-state and became a global hegemon. It pays particular attention to masculinity and misogynistic nation-building by focusing on what I call neotribalism – or intersections in inequality, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and bodies in re-volt (volt refers to the energy derived from creative difference), who resist despite our President who may continue waging the “war on women.”


Charles Tien – Minority Politics (AP)
PSC 82001 – 4 credits (CRN # 35245)
Monday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Course Description: (TBA)

This course examines critical questions and debates in race and ethnic politics in America. We will highlight political science approaches to the study of the histories of minorities in American politics, but also read in other fields. Primarily, the course will investigate theories of race and racism, and how race and ethnic politics interacts with American political and social institutions.


David Jones – Congress (AP)
PSC 72210 – 3 credits (CRN # 35260)
Thursday 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Course 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 targeted for students seeking to complete the department’s first exam in American politics. Required readings for the course include all those in the Congress section of the American Politics Reading List, among many others. 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 also discuss contemporary political phenomena such as congressional polarization and the consequences of divided party control of the legislative and executive branches of government.

John Bowman – Comparative Political Economy (CP)

PSC 77902 – 3 credits (CRN# 35252)

Tuesday 4:15pm – 6:15pm

Course Description:

This course focuses on the relationship between politics and the structure and performance of advanced capitalist economies. Key questions include the following: What alternatives to neoliberal institutions and policies exist? What is their economic and political basis? In what direction are they headed? Why do some countries perform better than terms of outcomes like equality and unemployment rates? We will begin by exploring some classic themes in political economy–the social embeddedness of the economy and the distribution of power in capitalist economies–as well as examining some key features of the current political economic context, including globalization, post-industrialism, and Financialization.


Robert Jenkins – Comparative Politics and Economic Development in Contemporary India (CP)
PSC 87630 – 4 credits (CRN# 35262)
Tuesday 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Course Description:

This course examines aspects of India’s economic transformation over the past quarter-century, particularly the country’s transition to a more market-led and internationally oriented development paradigm. The material covers both traditional dimensions of development (growth, industrialization, etc.) and issues of human development (education, health, etc.). The course emphasizes the ways in which analysis of the Indian case can inform, and be informed by, conceptual frameworks and theoretical insights from the cross-national literature on development politics. The merits and shortcomings of intro-national comparison as a research strategy are also explored. Both substantive and methodological issues are addressed through a close reading of several recent monographs on aspects of Indian development. Before the course begins, students should read Ramachandra Guha, India after Gandhi (2008), a lively analytical history of independent India that engages with research from a range of academic disciplines.


Mark Ungar – Latin American Politics (CP)
PSC 77902 – 3 credits (CRN# 35256)
Thursday 11:45am – 1:45pm

Course Description:

This course is a critical and policy-centered examination of Latin American politics. Following a historical overview from the pre-colonial through the 20th Century authoritarian eras, we will assess key issues such as democratization, civil society, and electoral politics. Particular attention will be paid to regional challenges such as crime, the environment, justice, corruption, and inequality. Students will have the opportunity to focus both on specific countries as well as broader themes.

 


Janet E. Johnson – Basic Concepts & Methods in Comparative Politics (CP/M)
PSC 77904 – 3 credits (CRN# 35257)
Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Course Description:

One of the defining characteristics of comparative politics is its epistemological and methodological eclecticism. In other words, the subfield stretches from positivist and quantitative cross-national statistical analyses to the interpretivist and qualitative approaches of ethnography within single case studies, with the subfield-defining comparative method in the middle. The first goal of this course is for you to become familiar enough with the most important methods that you can assess work across the subfield. The second is for you to “try on” different methods to answer the research questions that you are starting to explore. We will begin by discussing the process of theory building, theory testing, and research design. Each week, we will read about the various methods and examine examples of how political scientists have used these methods to explore important questions of comparative politics. For these weeks, you will be required to summarize one of the assigned readings and attempt to use the method to address your research. The final assignment, allowing us to assess the degree which you have met these goals, will be a 7-10 page research proposal for a project in comparative politics.

Ming Xia – International Political Economy (IR)

PSC 76300 – 3 credits (CRN# 35251)

Tuesday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Course 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 global financial crisis provides 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). 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).


Kosal Path – Asian Security (IR)
PSC 76210 – 3 credits (CRN# 35253)
Tuesday 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Course Description:

This course is designed for advanced graduate students with prior knowledge of basic concepts and theories of international relations. 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 trajectory 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 is challenging America’s primacy in the region.  In this course, we analyze contemporary security challenges in Asia from diverse IR theoretical perspectives. In doing so, we delve into the historical context of international relations in Asia, a region with diverse civilizations and complex historical interactions, and critically evaluate how such historical experiences can enrich Western IR theories.


Jacqueline Braveboy-Wagner – Comparative Foreign Policy (IR)
PSC 86105 – 4 credits (CRN# 35261)
Wednesday 4:15pm – 6:15pm

Course Description:

Foreign Policy Analysis remains one of the most popular subfields of international relations. Even though rational and positivist approaches have predominated in the field in the US, elsewhere a generous dose of comparative “area studies” ethnography as well as increasingly popular constructivist and critical thinking have invigorated the field.  In this specialized course we first ask how the study of foreign policy is different from international relations as a whole.  We then walk through the approaches used to analyze foreign policy, from realist views of the state as a protector and promoter of “national interests” to the Comparative Foreign Policy movement that came to the fore when so many Africa and Asian nations became independent, to the FPA of today which is rather too U.S.-dominated, and now to a renewed interest in two not incompatible approaches: regionalizing foreign policy and *worlding* foreign policy (that is, focusing on how a really universal approach to foreign policy can be attained; this is part of the overall Global IR movement).


Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome – Critical Perspectives on African Political Economy (IR)
PSC 77903 – 3 credits (CRN# 35249)
Thursday 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Course Description:

The course will conceptually and theoretically examine topics relevant to African political economy, including colonialism, imperialism, nationalism, development (and “modernization”), neoliberalism, and globalization. It will also consider radical theoretical critiques of African political economy. Through a consideration of Africa’s contemporary political and economic history, its precolonial structures, and external influences from colonialism, imperialism and globalization, on African states.  We will consider the relevance and usefulness of accepted terminologies, assumptions and theories for studying African political economy.  We will also consider the social forces that influence contemporary African political and economic relations including ethnicity, race, class, religion, and civil society.

Benjamin Vilhauer – Kant on the Freedom & Morality (PT)
PSC 80303 – 4 credits (CRN# 35579)
Monday 11:45am – 1:45pm
(Cross list with PHIL 76000)

Course Description:

This course will cover selections from Kant’s major moral writings, including parts of the Critique of Pure Reason, the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, the Critique of Practical Reason, and the Metaphysics of Morals, along with the writings of recent commentators. The goal will be to explore Kant’s texts as well as their connections to issues in contemporary ethics and free will theory.


Charles Mills – Contrarianism and its Critics (PT)
PSC 80303 – 4 credits (CRN# 35580)
Monday 2:00pm – 4:00pm
(Cross list with PHIL 77500)

Course Description:

This course will look at classic social contract theory—Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Kant—which was dramatically revived as a result of John Rawls’1971 A Theory of Justice. We will try to get clear on both the important commonalities in their divergent versions of the “contract” as a way of understanding the creation of society, the polity, and people’s resulting obligations, and the crucial differences among their versions. We will then turn to some of the criticisms of the contract idea, whether the classic “communitarian” critique or critiques oriented by class, gender, and racial concerns. The course should be useful in its own right as an exploration of a central strand in modern Western political theory, but for those interested in the subject, it should also be a valuable foundation for a fall 2017 course I hope to co-teach with Sibyl Schwarzenbach on Rawls’ and gender and racial justice.


Corey Robin – Political Theory of Capitalism (PT)
PSC 80303 – 4 credits (CRN# 35246)
Monday 4:15pm – 6:15pm

Course Description:

In ancient Greece, the dominant political form was the city-state. In Rome, it was the republic and the empire. After the fall of Rome, it was the Church. In the early modern era, it became the state. Today, it is capitalism. But where Greece, Rome, the Church, and the state all produced their own distinctive political theories, capitalism has not. Indeed, it’s greatest—and, with the exception of Hayek, perhaps only—political theorist devoted his attentions to capitalism solely in order to bring it to an end. For many, capitalism is not a political form at all; it is strictly a mode of economic organization. What is entailed in that distinction—between the political and the economic—and whether and how it can be sustained will be a central preoccupation of this course. Through an examination of the classics of political economy, as well as some less canonical texts, we will assess whether capitalism has (or can have) a political theory, and if so, what that theory is.  Rather than assume that the political question of capitalism is exhausted by the state’s relationship to the economy, we will examine how capitalism produces a distinctive and independent political form of its own, with its own rules and values. Readings will be drawn from some combination of the following thinkers: Aristotle, Locke, Hume, Smith, Hegel, Malthus, Ricardo, Marx, Jevons, Weber, Keynes, Schumpeter, Arendt, Hayek, Becker, Friedman, Foucault, Brown, Harvey.


Justin Steinberg – Spinoza (PT)
PSC 80303 – 4 credits (CRN# 35581)
Wednesday 2:00pm-4:00pm
(Cross list with PHIL 76200)

Course Description:

Baruch de Spinoza was the most scandalous philosopher of his age. His aggressive naturalism challenged the sensibilities and orthodoxies of a seventeenth-century audience. And his philosophy remains provocative, even if not scandalous, today. In this course we will investigate the full range of Spinoza’s thought: metaphysics, epistemology; theory of mind, account of the affects, ethical theory, and political philosophy. We will explore how core features of Spinoza’s thought—including his monism, dual-aspect theory of mind, account of belief-formation, sentimentalist model of evaluative judgments, and defense of democratic governance—can be brought fruitfully into dialogue with contemporary philosophical work, while seeking to remain alive to the strangeness of Spinoza’s views. We will read the Ethics along with selections from his two political treatises, attending to the extent to which Spinoza is a systematic philosopher whose normative philosophy depends on his account of psychology and whose his account of psychology is firmly anchored in his metaphysics.


John Wallach – Democratic Theory (PT)
PSC 80402 – 4 credits (CRN # 35258)
Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Course Description:

This seminar offers a wide-ranging, in-depth, historical and theoretical analysis of democracy as a form of political life.  It begins with two assumptions.  The first is that democracy, at root, needs to be understood as authoritative political power (kratos) exercised by the people (e.g., demos).  As such, the kind of democracy we imagine when we use the term never has existed.  Athenian democracy was overly exclusive in terms of its conception of the demos;  modern democracy mostly offers chewed-over crumbs for the popular exercise of political power.  In this respect, references to American democracy today are mostly metaphorical or rhetorical legerdemain.  The second assumption is that “democracy,” as a form of power, is not self-legitimating.  For no exercise of power by anyone, individually or collectively, is automatically good.  For democracy to live as a political formation, it needs justification as an agent of liberty and equality in the world — one that wins support across differences and divisions among the people.  From this perspective, we shall look at principal texts from historical and contemporary political theory that argue for practical forms of legitimation for democratic political life.  These include virtue (e.g., Aristotle, Rousseau); representation (e.g., Hobbes, Madison); civil rightness and liberalism (e.g., J. S. Mill); capitalism, organization (Marx, Michels, E. Wood); legitimacy (Rawls, Abensour, Wolin), and human rights (Sen, Asad).  The approach followed is historicist, focusing on how democracy has been and could be legitimately enacted while analytically attending to theoretical coherence.  Connections between the past, present, and future will be presupposed but carefully distinguished as much as possible.  Students will be asked to required to write a mid-term on assigned texts and a free-standing paper (@ 15-20 pages) on a topic in democratic theory discussed in the seminar or related to it and rooted in its concerns (and approved).  The contours of the course stem from a forthcoming book of mine, being published by Cambridge University Press in early 2018.

Hector Cordero-Guzman – Community Based Organization & Public Policy (PP)
PSC 72500 – 3 credits (CRN# 35263)
Tuesday 11:45am – 1:45pm

(Cross list with SOC 84700)

Course Description:

This course reviews the academic literature and current theoretical and empirical debates focusing on Community Based Groups, Organizations and Service providers and their connections to public policy debates and processes. The class explores who these organizations are; how they set and achieve their mission and related goals; what activities they tend to engage in; how they connect to their communities and other stakeholders; how they manage and find material, monetary and other resources to support their work; and how they connect to public policy institutions and policy debates. The course will focus on presenting, discussing, and analyzing materials and cases from a range of social service, labor and workforce based, advocacy, and community action oriented non-profit organizations and will explore how their experience informs contemporary debates and understandings about the role of civil society organizations in the lives and outcomes of communities and community residents.


Michael Jacobson – Public and Social Policy Development, Analysis, and Evaluation (PP)
PSC 72500 – 3 credits (CRN# 35657)
Tuesday 4:15pm – 6:15pm
(Cross list with SOC 84700)

Course Description:

This course is designed to provide students with an overview of public policy development, implementation, and evaluation in real-world settings, using local and national examples from the work of the Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG), a research and policy organization within the City University of New York (CUNY). During the course, students will develop a foundational knowledge of the formal and informal policy making process with particular attention to how reforms can be proposed and implemented in what have become deeply politicized and resource constrained environments. Specific areas of focus will include the translation of research into policy and practice, the importance of relationship building, and the role of fiscal constraints in state and local decision-making. Students will complete a semester-long capstone project that addresses the learning objectives in the context of the work of the Institute. Students will complete readings and assignments related to social and public policy development, analysis, and evaluation to supplement their capstone work.


John Mollenkopf & Leslie McCall – Working Class Politics (PP)
PSC 72500 – 3 credits (CRN# 35254)
Wednesday 4:15pm – 6:15pm
(Cross list with SOC 84700)

Course Description:

This seminar addresses a variety of theoretical perspectives and empirical studies on 1) what we mean by “class” and the “working class,” 2) what forces have been reshaping the working class in the U.S. and beyond, such as technological innovation, globalization, the rising share of income going to the top one percent, changing gender and family roles and work-family relations, and the changing gender, racial, ethnic, and nativity composition of the workforce (including how the “white male working class” may be distinctive), and 3) how class membership and more general socio-economic position relate to the adoption of distinctive political values and identities, forms of political mobilization and participation, and policy preferences.  The course concludes by looking at the role that class played in the 2016 presidential election and the ensuing political dynamics of the city and nation.


Michael Fortner – Race & American Public Policy (PP)
PSC 72001 – 3 credits (CRN# 35255)
Wednesdays, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Course Description:

This course examines the relationship between race and public policy development in the United States.  The course begins by exploring a series of conceptual, theoretical, and historical questions: How do we conceptualize and measure white supremacy?  How does white supremacy interact with other structural forms of inequality, specifically gender and class?  How has race shaped American political development?  Then we will then turn to case-by-case examinations of the impact of race, class, and gender on several contemporary federal public policy areas like social welfare, immigration, and crime.  This course draws primarily from political science, but also incorporates historical, sociological, and legal scholarship to critically assess race and public policy.


Branko Milanovic – Within National inequalities: from Pareto to Piketty (PP)
PSC 72500 – 3 credits (CRN# 35574)
Wednesdays, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
(Cross list with ECON 81500)

Course Description:

The objective of the course is be to review, analyze, and allow students to develop a much better understanding of the theories and empirics of personal income distribution within a single policy-making unit (that is, normally within a nation-state). The first such theory was developed by Vilfredo Pareto more than 100 years ago. Pareto believes that income distribution does not change regardless of a social system and level of development. Simon Kuznets, in the 1950s, posited, on the contrary, a theory where income inequality evolves as societies get richer.  These theories will be considered on the real-world examples of movements of inequality in Brazil, China, “transition countries” and the United States and other advanced economies. We shall focus especially on the recent evolution of income and wealth inequality in the United States and Piketty’s analytical contributions. The class 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.


Alexander Reichl – Housing Politics & Policy (PP)
PSC 73202 – 3 credits (CRN# 35259)
Thursdays, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Course Description:

Housing is one of life’s basic necessities, but it’s also more than that: it is a major sector of the US economy, a primary source of personal wealth, and a resource that determines access to other resources like quality schools, good jobs, and safe streets. Although the vast majority of housing is rented and sold for profit, the housing market is heavily influenced by government policies. In this course we will examine the main factors that affect the production and consumption of housing in the US with a focus on what government does, why it does those things, and who wins and losses as a result. Topics include public housing, gentrification, sub-urbanization, segregation, and more.

Peter Beinart (G)
PSC 79002 – 3 credits (CRN#35244)
Monday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Course 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, hopefully several, of the columns they write. We will start by coming up with a list of the publications that each student wants to target. We will then focus our reading on those publications, since in submitting to a particular publication, it’s critical to understand its particular style and perspective. We will focus in more detail on how to make contact with particular editors at those publications and part of the assignments themselves will be figuring out (with my help) how to make the connections necessary to get your pieces seriously considered.

I’ll tailor my guest speaker invitations to the particular publications students decide 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 some of my own writing in concept or draft form and submit it to 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. Students who did not take Writing Politics I are welcome. I will likely set up a special session near the beginning to go over some of the basics about story organization and sentence structure that we covered in that class. And as the semester progresses, I will vary readings and assignments to make sure that students who need additional grounding in non-academic political writing get it. In the past, students who have not taken Writing Politics I have nonetheless thrived in Writing Politics II.
Peter Liberman – Dissertation Proposal Workshop (G/PD)
PSC 89100 – 0 credits (CRN # 35250)
Tuesday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Course Description:

This workshop aims to assist students in writing their dissertation proposal in political science and taking the second examination.  It introduces students to the principles and organization of a defensible proposal, provides advice on conceptualization and research strategies, and, where relevant to the workshop participants, discusses methodological questions. It is a genuine workshop, where students provide each other a mutually supportive setting to share the stages of their written drafts, get feedback, identify and resolve issues being faced by many, and learn the skills of analytical criticism necessary to one’s own future research and teaching.

Each member works at a personal, self-identified pace, but also accepts the obligation of reciprocity to attend all meetings of the workshop and read the drafts of all other workshop members.  Key to progress is the obligation to write every single week, even if it only means a paragraph (although, of course, one hopes more).  The first meeting of the workshop will lay out the principles and advice; anyone missing it will be at a distinct, even possibly irreparable, disadvantage for the rest of the workshop. The workshop does not give course credit, therefore has no grading, and can be taken more than once.

Ruth O’Brien – American Political Development (AP)
PSC 82210 – 4 credits (CRN # 35248)
Monday 11:45am – 1:45pm

Course Description:

American Political Development, more properly titled – Neos, Isms, & Information Imperialism is an American-politics seminar that crosses political science disciplinary divides and political history by relying on “political development” as a comparative-politics and international-relations good-governance methodology with two analytical axes: the role of ideas, and hybrid institutionalism in the increasingly horizontal global social sphere. The seminar is also informed by Women’s Studies literature, given its emphasis on difference as the United States built a relatively strong nation-state and became a global hegemon. It pays particular attention to masculinity and misogynistic nation-building by focusing on what I call neotribalism – or intersections in inequality, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and bodies in re-volt (volt refers to the energy derived from creative difference), who resist despite our President who may continue waging the “war on women.”


Charles Tien – Minority Politics (AP)
PSC 82001 – 4 credits (CRN # 35245)
Monday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Course Description: (TBA)

This course examines critical questions and debates in race and ethnic politics in America. We will highlight political science approaches to the study of the histories of minorities in American politics, but also read in other fields. Primarily, the course will investigate theories of race and racism, and how race and ethnic politics interacts with American political and social institutions.


David Jones – Congress (AP)
PSC 72210 – 3 credits (CRN # 35260)
Thursday 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Course 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 targeted for students seeking to complete the department’s first exam in American politics. Required readings for the course include all those in the Congress section of the American Politics Reading List, among many others. 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 also discuss contemporary political phenomena such as congressional polarization and the consequences of divided party control of the legislative and executive branches of government.

John Bowman – Comparative Political Economy (CP)

PSC 77902 – 3 credits (CRN# 35252)

Tuesday 4:15pm – 6:15pm

Course Description:

This course focuses on the relationship between politics and the structure and performance of advanced capitalist economies. Key questions include the following: What alternatives to neoliberal institutions and policies exist? What is their economic and political basis? In what direction are they headed? Why do some countries perform better than terms of outcomes like equality and unemployment rates? We will begin by exploring some classic themes in political economy–the social embeddedness of the economy and the distribution of power in capitalist economies–as well as examining some key features of the current political economic context, including globalization, post-industrialism, and Financialization.


Robert Jenkins – Comparative Politics and Economic Development in Contemporary India (CP)
PSC 87630 – 4 credits (CRN# 35262)
Tuesday 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Course Description:

This course examines aspects of India’s economic transformation over the past quarter-century, particularly the country’s transition to a more market-led and internationally oriented development paradigm. The material covers both traditional dimensions of development (growth, industrialization, etc.) and issues of human development (education, health, etc.). The course emphasizes the ways in which analysis of the Indian case can inform, and be informed by, conceptual frameworks and theoretical insights from the cross-national literature on development politics. The merits and shortcomings of intro-national comparison as a research strategy are also explored. Both substantive and methodological issues are addressed through a close reading of several recent monographs on aspects of Indian development. Before the course begins, students should read Ramachandra Guha, India after Gandhi (2008), a lively analytical history of independent India that engages with research from a range of academic disciplines.


Mark Ungar – Latin American Politics (CP)
PSC 77902 – 3 credits (CRN# 35256)
Thursday 11:45am – 1:45pm

Course Description:

This course is a critical and policy-centered examination of Latin American politics. Following a historical overview from the pre-colonial through the 20th Century authoritarian eras, we will assess key issues such as democratization, civil society, and electoral politics. Particular attention will be paid to regional challenges such as crime, the environment, justice, corruption, and inequality. Students will have the opportunity to focus both on specific countries as well as broader themes.

 


Janet E. Johnson – Basic Concepts & Methods in Comparative Politics (CP/M)
PSC 77904 – 3 credits (CRN# 35257)
Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Course Description:

One of the defining characteristics of comparative politics is its epistemological and methodological eclecticism. In other words, the subfield stretches from positivist and quantitative cross-national statistical analyses to the interpretivist and qualitative approaches of ethnography within single case studies, with the subfield-defining comparative method in the middle. The first goal of this course is for you to become familiar enough with the most important methods that you can assess work across the subfield. The second is for you to “try on” different methods to answer the research questions that you are starting to explore. We will begin by discussing the process of theory building, theory testing, and research design. Each week, we will read about the various methods and examine examples of how political scientists have used these methods to explore important questions of comparative politics. For these weeks, you will be required to summarize one of the assigned readings and attempt to use the method to address your research. The final assignment, allowing us to assess the degree which you have met these goals, will be a 7-10 page research proposal for a project in comparative politics.

Ming Xia – International Political Economy (IR)

PSC 76300 – 3 credits (CRN# 35251)

Tuesday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Course 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 global financial crisis provides 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). 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).


Kosal Path – Asian Security (IR)
PSC 76210 – 3 credits (CRN# 35253)
Tuesday 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Course Description:

This course is designed for advanced graduate students with prior knowledge of basic concepts and theories of international relations. 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 trajectory 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 is challenging America’s primacy in the region.  In this course, we analyze contemporary security challenges in Asia from diverse IR theoretical perspectives. In doing so, we delve into the historical context of international relations in Asia, a region with diverse civilizations and complex historical interactions, and critically evaluate how such historical experiences can enrich Western IR theories.


Jacqueline Braveboy-Wagner – Comparative Foreign Policy (IR)
PSC 86105 – 4 credits (CRN# 35261)
Wednesday 4:15pm – 6:15pm

Course Description:

Foreign Policy Analysis remains one of the most popular subfields of international relations. Even though rational and positivist approaches have predominated in the field in the US, elsewhere a generous dose of comparative “area studies” ethnography as well as increasingly popular constructivist and critical thinking have invigorated the field.  In this specialized course we first ask how the study of foreign policy is different from international relations as a whole.  We then walk through the approaches used to analyze foreign policy, from realist views of the state as a protector and promoter of “national interests” to the Comparative Foreign Policy movement that came to the fore when so many Africa and Asian nations became independent, to the FPA of today which is rather too U.S.-dominated, and now to a renewed interest in two not incompatible approaches: regionalizing foreign policy and *worlding* foreign policy (that is, focusing on how a really universal approach to foreign policy can be attained; this is part of the overall Global IR movement).


Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome – Critical Perspectives on African Political Economy (IR)
PSC 77903 – 3 credits (CRN# 35249)
Thursday 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Course Description:

The course will conceptually and theoretically examine topics relevant to African political economy, including colonialism, imperialism, nationalism, development (and “modernization”), neoliberalism, and globalization. It will also consider radical theoretical critiques of African political economy. Through a consideration of Africa’s contemporary political and economic history, its precolonial structures, and external influences from colonialism, imperialism and globalization, on African states.  We will consider the relevance and usefulness of accepted terminologies, assumptions and theories for studying African political economy.  We will also consider the social forces that influence contemporary African political and economic relations including ethnicity, race, class, religion, and civil society.

Benjamin Vilhauer – Kant on the Freedom & Morality (PT)
PSC 80303 – 4 credits (CRN# 35579)
Monday 11:45am – 1:45pm
(Cross list with PHIL 76000)

Course Description:

This course will cover selections from Kant’s major moral writings, including parts of the Critique of Pure Reason, the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, the Critique of Practical Reason, and the Metaphysics of Morals, along with the writings of recent commentators. The goal will be to explore Kant’s texts as well as their connections to issues in contemporary ethics and free will theory.


Charles Mills – Contrarianism and its Critics (PT)
PSC 80303 – 4 credits (CRN# 35580)
Monday 2:00pm – 4:00pm
(Cross list with PHIL 77500)

Course Description:

This course will look at classic social contract theory—Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Kant—which was dramatically revived as a result of John Rawls’1971 A Theory of Justice. We will try to get clear on both the important commonalities in their divergent versions of the “contract” as a way of understanding the creation of society, the polity, and people’s resulting obligations, and the crucial differences among their versions. We will then turn to some of the criticisms of the contract idea, whether the classic “communitarian” critique or critiques oriented by class, gender, and racial concerns. The course should be useful in its own right as an exploration of a central strand in modern Western political theory, but for those interested in the subject, it should also be a valuable foundation for a fall 2017 course I hope to co-teach with Sibyl Schwarzenbach on Rawls’ and gender and racial justice.


Corey Robin – Political Theory of Capitalism (PT)
PSC 80303 – 4 credits (CRN# 35246)
Monday 4:15pm – 6:15pm

Course Description:

In ancient Greece, the dominant political form was the city-state. In Rome, it was the republic and the empire. After the fall of Rome, it was the Church. In the early modern era, it became the state. Today, it is capitalism. But where Greece, Rome, the Church, and the state all produced their own distinctive political theories, capitalism has not. Indeed, it’s greatest—and, with the exception of Hayek, perhaps only—political theorist devoted his attentions to capitalism solely in order to bring it to an end. For many, capitalism is not a political form at all; it is strictly a mode of economic organization. What is entailed in that distinction—between the political and the economic—and whether and how it can be sustained will be a central preoccupation of this course. Through an examination of the classics of political economy, as well as some less canonical texts, we will assess whether capitalism has (or can have) a political theory, and if so, what that theory is.  Rather than assume that the political question of capitalism is exhausted by the state’s relationship to the economy, we will examine how capitalism produces a distinctive and independent political form of its own, with its own rules and values. Readings will be drawn from some combination of the following thinkers: Aristotle, Locke, Hume, Smith, Hegel, Malthus, Ricardo, Marx, Jevons, Weber, Keynes, Schumpeter, Arendt, Hayek, Becker, Friedman, Foucault, Brown, Harvey.


Justin Steinberg – Spinoza (PT)
PSC 80303 – 4 credits (CRN# 35581)
Wednesday 2:00pm-4:00pm
(Cross list with PHIL 76200)

Course Description:

Baruch de Spinoza was the most scandalous philosopher of his age. His aggressive naturalism challenged the sensibilities and orthodoxies of a seventeenth-century audience. And his philosophy remains provocative, even if not scandalous, today. In this course we will investigate the full range of Spinoza’s thought: metaphysics, epistemology; theory of mind, account of the affects, ethical theory, and political philosophy. We will explore how core features of Spinoza’s thought—including his monism, dual-aspect theory of mind, account of belief-formation, sentimentalist model of evaluative judgments, and defense of democratic governance—can be brought fruitfully into dialogue with contemporary philosophical work, while seeking to remain alive to the strangeness of Spinoza’s views. We will read the Ethics along with selections from his two political treatises, attending to the extent to which Spinoza is a systematic philosopher whose normative philosophy depends on his account of psychology and whose his account of psychology is firmly anchored in his metaphysics.


John Wallach – Democratic Theory (PT)
PSC 80402 – 4 credits (CRN # 35258)
Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Course Description:

This seminar offers a wide-ranging, in-depth, historical and theoretical analysis of democracy as a form of political life.  It begins with two assumptions.  The first is that democracy, at root, needs to be understood as authoritative political power (kratos) exercised by the people (e.g., demos).  As such, the kind of democracy we imagine when we use the term never has existed.  Athenian democracy was overly exclusive in terms of its conception of the demos;  modern democracy mostly offers chewed-over crumbs for the popular exercise of political power.  In this respect, references to American democracy today are mostly metaphorical or rhetorical legerdemain.  The second assumption is that “democracy,” as a form of power, is not self-legitimating.  For no exercise of power by anyone, individually or collectively, is automatically good.  For democracy to live as a political formation, it needs justification as an agent of liberty and equality in the world — one that wins support across differences and divisions among the people.  From this perspective, we shall look at principal texts from historical and contemporary political theory that argue for practical forms of legitimation for democratic political life.  These include virtue (e.g., Aristotle, Rousseau); representation (e.g., Hobbes, Madison); civil rightness and liberalism (e.g., J. S. Mill); capitalism, organization (Marx, Michels, E. Wood); legitimacy (Rawls, Abensour, Wolin), and human rights (Sen, Asad).  The approach followed is historicist, focusing on how democracy has been and could be legitimately enacted while analytically attending to theoretical coherence.  Connections between the past, present, and future will be presupposed but carefully distinguished as much as possible.  Students will be asked to required to write a mid-term on assigned texts and a free-standing paper (@ 15-20 pages) on a topic in democratic theory discussed in the seminar or related to it and rooted in its concerns (and approved).  The contours of the course stem from a forthcoming book of mine, being published by Cambridge University Press in early 2018.

Hector Cordero-Guzman – Community Based Organization & Public Policy (PP)
PSC 72500 – 3 credits (CRN# 35263)
Tuesday 11:45am – 1:45pm

(Cross list with SOC 84700)

Course Description:

This course reviews the academic literature and current theoretical and empirical debates focusing on Community Based Groups, Organizations and Service providers and their connections to public policy debates and processes. The class explores who these organizations are; how they set and achieve their mission and related goals; what activities they tend to engage in; how they connect to their communities and other stakeholders; how they manage and find material, monetary and other resources to support their work; and how they connect to public policy institutions and policy debates. The course will focus on presenting, discussing, and analyzing materials and cases from a range of social service, labor and workforce based, advocacy, and community action oriented non-profit organizations and will explore how their experience informs contemporary debates and understandings about the role of civil society organizations in the lives and outcomes of communities and community residents.


Michael Jacobson – Public and Social Policy Development, Analysis, and Evaluation (PP)
PSC 72500 – 3 credits (CRN# 35657)
Tuesday 4:15pm – 6:15pm
(Cross list with SOC 84700)

Course Description:

This course is designed to provide students with an overview of public policy development, implementation, and evaluation in real-world settings, using local and national examples from the work of the Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG), a research and policy organization within the City University of New York (CUNY). During the course, students will develop a foundational knowledge of the formal and informal policy making process with particular attention to how reforms can be proposed and implemented in what have become deeply politicized and resource constrained environments. Specific areas of focus will include the translation of research into policy and practice, the importance of relationship building, and the role of fiscal constraints in state and local decision-making. Students will complete a semester-long capstone project that addresses the learning objectives in the context of the work of the Institute. Students will complete readings and assignments related to social and public policy development, analysis, and evaluation to supplement their capstone work.


John Mollenkopf & Leslie McCall – Working Class Politics (PP)
PSC 72500 – 3 credits (CRN# 35254)
Wednesday 4:15pm – 6:15pm
(Cross list with SOC 84700)

Course Description:

This seminar addresses a variety of theoretical perspectives and empirical studies on 1) what we mean by “class” and the “working class,” 2) what forces have been reshaping the working class in the U.S. and beyond, such as technological innovation, globalization, the rising share of income going to the top one percent, changing gender and family roles and work-family relations, and the changing gender, racial, ethnic, and nativity composition of the workforce (including how the “white male working class” may be distinctive), and 3) how class membership and more general socio-economic position relate to the adoption of distinctive political values and identities, forms of political mobilization and participation, and policy preferences.  The course concludes by looking at the role that class played in the 2016 presidential election and the ensuing political dynamics of the city and nation.


Michael Fortner – Race & American Public Policy (PP)
PSC 72001 – 3 credits (CRN# 35255)
Wednesdays, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Course Description:

This course examines the relationship between race and public policy development in the United States.  The course begins by exploring a series of conceptual, theoretical, and historical questions: How do we conceptualize and measure white supremacy?  How does white supremacy interact with other structural forms of inequality, specifically gender and class?  How has race shaped American political development?  Then we will then turn to case-by-case examinations of the impact of race, class, and gender on several contemporary federal public policy areas like social welfare, immigration, and crime.  This course draws primarily from political science, but also incorporates historical, sociological, and legal scholarship to critically assess race and public policy.


Branko Milanovic – Within National inequalities: from Pareto to Piketty (PP)
PSC 72500 – 3 credits (CRN# 35574)
Wednesdays, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
(Cross list with ECON 81500)

Course Description:

The objective of the course is be to review, analyze, and allow students to develop a much better understanding of the theories and empirics of personal income distribution within a single policy-making unit (that is, normally within a nation-state). The first such theory was developed by Vilfredo Pareto more than 100 years ago. Pareto believes that income distribution does not change regardless of a social system and level of development. Simon Kuznets, in the 1950s, posited, on the contrary, a theory where income inequality evolves as societies get richer.  These theories will be considered on the real-world examples of movements of inequality in Brazil, China, “transition countries” and the United States and other advanced economies. We shall focus especially on the recent evolution of income and wealth inequality in the United States and Piketty’s analytical contributions. The class 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.


Alexander Reichl – Housing Politics & Policy (PP)
PSC 73202 – 3 credits (CRN# 35259)
Thursdays, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Course Description:

Housing is one of life’s basic necessities, but it’s also more than that: it is a major sector of the US economy, a primary source of personal wealth, and a resource that determines access to other resources like quality schools, good jobs, and safe streets. Although the vast majority of housing is rented and sold for profit, the housing market is heavily influenced by government policies. In this course we will examine the main factors that affect the production and consumption of housing in the US with a focus on what government does, why it does those things, and who wins and losses as a result. Topics include public housing, gentrification, sub-urbanization, segregation, and more.

Peter Beinart (G)
PSC 79002 – 3 credits (CRN#35244)
Monday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Course 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, hopefully several, of the columns they write. We will start by coming up with a list of the publications that each student wants to target. We will then focus our reading on those publications, since in submitting to a particular publication, it’s critical to understand its particular style and perspective. We will focus in more detail on how to make contact with particular editors at those publications and part of the assignments themselves will be figuring out (with my help) how to make the connections necessary to get your pieces seriously considered.

I’ll tailor my guest speaker invitations to the particular publications students decide 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 some of my own writing in concept or draft form and submit it to 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. Students who did not take Writing Politics I are welcome. I will likely set up a special session near the beginning to go over some of the basics about story organization and sentence structure that we covered in that class. And as the semester progresses, I will vary readings and assignments to make sure that students who need additional grounding in non-academic political writing get it. In the past, students who have not taken Writing Politics I have nonetheless thrived in Writing Politics II.
Peter Liberman – Dissertation Proposal Workshop (G/PD)
PSC 89100 – 0 credits (CRN # 35250)
Tuesday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Course Description:

This workshop aims to assist students in writing their dissertation proposal in political science and taking the second examination.  It introduces students to the principles and organization of a defensible proposal, provides advice on conceptualization and research strategies, and, where relevant to the workshop participants, discusses methodological questions. It is a genuine workshop, where students provide each other a mutually supportive setting to share the stages of their written drafts, get feedback, identify and resolve issues being faced by many, and learn the skills of analytical criticism necessary to one’s own future research and teaching.

Each member works at a personal, self-identified pace, but also accepts the obligation of reciprocity to attend all meetings of the workshop and read the drafts of all other workshop members.  Key to progress is the obligation to write every single week, even if it only means a paragraph (although, of course, one hopes more).  The first meeting of the workshop will lay out the principles and advice; anyone missing it will be at a distinct, even possibly irreparable, disadvantage for the rest of the workshop. The workshop does not give course credit, therefore has no grading, and can be taken more than once.

Fall 2016

O’Brien – Intro to American Politics (AP)
PSC 72000 – 3 credits (CRN # 32186)
Monday 11:45am – 1:45pm

This seminar reviews and surveys the secondary scholarly literature about the American political system.  First, it presents a number of competing conceptual frameworks, such as new institutionalism, rational choice, cultural analysis, and feminism, to gain an understanding of the debates with the subfield of American politics.  Second, the historical foundations of American politics and the roots of American culture will be reviewed.  Third, the seminar examines the development of American political parties and interest group as vehicles for political reform and social change.  Also, how public opinion affects the political process will be discussed.  Fourth, it studies the historical development of federal institutions — Congress, the presidency, the judiciary, and the bureaucracy — and how they govern.  Finally, the seminar explores how different vehicles for political reform have contributed to the development of specific public policy areas, like labor policy, which, in turn, have helped construct the American state.

Lipsitz – Campaign and Elections (AP/WP)
PSC 72000 – 3 credits (CRN# 32192)
Tuesday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

What explains the rise of Trump and Sanders in 2016? Does money really matter in campaigns? Does anyone pay attention to political advertising? Have parties become totally irrelevant in elections? Are polls ever right? And doesn’t it all just boil down to, “it’s the economy, stupid”? These are the questions we will address with the 2016 election cycle serving as a backdrop. This course will be of interest not only to students who want to understand central debates in the political behavior and public opinion literatures regarding elections, but to students participating in the Writing Politics specialization. Special attention will be given to critiquing how the media cover campaigns and what journalists can do differently. Students will also be introduced to data sources and organizations providing data analysis to journalists writing about elections. Representatives from some of these organizations and journalists covering the election will be guest speakers.

Halper – Civil Liberties (AP) PSC 72300 – 3 credits (CRN# 32196)
Tuesday 6:30pm – 8:30pm

The course is largely an examination of two civil liberties issues, free expression and privacy, in the context of judicial decisions, and may be viewed as an exercise in applied political theory. Repeatedly, we will be asked to consider choosing among competing goods and to weigh the role of courts in a democracy.

Schwedler – Middle East and North Africa (CP)
PSC 87620 – 4 credits (CRN# 32191)
Tuesday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the key debates in the comparative study of Middle East politics.  No prior knowledge of the region is required, but would be helpful.  The readings are organized thematically rather than geographically, covering major issues in comparative politics and many of the key readings in Middle East politics.


Weber – Applied Quantitative Research: Correlation, Comparison, Causality (CP/M)PSC 89101 – 4 credits (CRN# 32194)
Tuesday 4:15pm – 6:15pm
Studying statistics makes your life more exciting and fulfilling.
Well, what can I say—you have just read past a course title containing the word “quantitative,” so you deserve immediate gratification. But I stand by my claim. Knowing about the powers of quantitative analysis will make you ask questions about politics you might otherwise never have considered. And with a manageable kit of quantitative research tools you can uncover structure in the political world where before there was only fog or chaos.  Even better, while learning all these wonderful things you will also fulfill the methods requirement of the doctoral program.

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. You don’t need to be a math whiz to master these (this instructor is living proof).

Over the course of the semester, students will conduct their own quantitative research, present their work in class and produce a final paper. The instructor supports each project and makes sure that it builds on and advances the existing methodological proficiency of the student(s) involved.

Our approach will be hands-on and pragmatic. The course cuts across the conventional division of basic and advanced statistics to facilitate the immediate implementation of diverse quantitative designs. Everyone is welcome irrespective of prior statistical training. If you are currently conducting quantitative research, feel encouraged to bring your problems to class. If you are considering collecting your own data, use the opportunity to anticipate the challenges waiting down the road. If you believe that quantitative methods inherently reproduce capitalist exploitation, help us liberate oppressed regression coefficients from the clutches of neoliberal positivism. Or if you are just looking for something new, come along to get inspiration and pick up versatile skills.


George – Basic Theories and Concepts in Comparative Politics (CP)
PSC 77901 – 3 credits (CRN# 32201)
Thursday 6:30pm – 8:30pm

This seminar offers a comprehensive introduction to the heterogeneous subfield of comparative politics. Its goals is to provide students with a substantive understanding of the myriad theoretical approaches engaged by scholars, their strengths and weaknesses, and their various use in particular questions of interest to comparative politics. While the primary emphasis of the class will be in parsing the breadth of theoretical approaches, the nature of the subject matter demands substantive application as well as some inquiry into methodological implications. Thus, the students taking this course will become familiar with key research questions that preoccupy the subfield, as well as the concepts, theories, and approaches that underpin possible answers.

Golob – Research Seminar on Globalization: Between the Sovereign & the Trans-Sovereign (IR/CP)
PSC 80602 – 4 credits (CRN# 32865)
Tuesday 11:45am – 1:45pm

As the so-called “Age of Globalization” moves through its third decade, this seminar will critically assess the research agenda that examines the causes and effects of contemporary global integration – political, economic, social, cultural, legal, ideational – across national boundaries. We will consider both the internal impact of external flows, and the bottom-up demands for new forms of governance to meet the challenge of “trans-sovereign problems.”  At the center of this examination will be the concept of state sovereignty, which has hardly ‘withered away’ or been rendered obsolete, and yet its legal solidity belies a somewhat more fluid status in practice within a globalizing context.  Potential topics include: globalized trade, finance, production and labor; the “development” agenda; climate change and the environment; social movements, social media and challenges to political order; refugee flows and irregular migration; extremist groups and their transnational recruitment; and the transnational diffusion of human rights norms and “transitional justice culture.” Seminar members will be encouraged to develop independent research projects that engage with, and potentially challenge, approaches within IR and comparative politics, and at their intersection.  As such, this course is designed for more advanced students beyond the first year in the program.


Shirkey – Basic Concepts and Theories of International Relations (IR)
PSC 76000 – 3 credits (CRN# 32197)
Wednesday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

The course introduces students to the different theories and concepts that scholars use to understand and explain world politics. It examines the major theories in the field of International Relations (IR) and some of the central theoretical debates. Throughout the course, the relevance of specific theories and of theory in general for how we make sense of world politics will be critically assessed. The focus of this course will be theoretical rather than empirical. Thus, each class will be devoted to an in-depth discussion of a different theoretical perspective in IR, focusing on its key concepts, foundational assumptions, and central arguments.


Andreopoulos – International Justice: Political & Legal Dimensions (IR)PSC 86800 – 4 credits (CRN# 32199)
Wednesday 6:30pm – 8:30pm

This course will critically examine one of the most interesting developments in world politics since the end of the cold war: the proliferation of judicial and non-judicial mechanisms created to address impunity, promote accountability and advance the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict societies. The dynamic interplay between international (ad hoc international tribunals, hybrid courts, ICC) and domestic (courts operating under the principle of universal jurisdiction, truth and reconciliation commissions, traditional courts) justice options has shaped actors’ agendas and expectations in the domestic as well as in the international arena. By using the major theoretical approaches in international law and relations, this course will explore issues relating to the creation and design of these mechanisms and to state cooperation, analyze their evolving jurisprudence and assess their role in norm promotion and in shaping outcomes in international affairs.

Mehta – Modern Classics in Political Philosophy (PT)
PSC 80304 – 4 credits (CRN# 32188)
Monday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

This course will be an introduction to the study of modern political philosophy organized around classic texts by Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and Hegel.  The questions that will structure this course will include: What interests, values and anxieties motivate the formation of political society? How might political society be distinguished from other social forms? How do the motivations underlying political society conform to the normative and institutional prescriptions proposed by different philosophers?  What are the limits of legitimate political authority, and what are the philosophical justifications for them?  What are the justifications underlying the various proposed institutional arrangements? Finally, does the organizing of political life as advanced by these philosophers do violence to other conceptions of human potentiality?


O’Brien – American Political Thought (AP/PT)
PSC 72100 – 3 credits (CRN# 32203)
Monday 4:15pm – 6:15pm

This seminar examines American political thought in historical perspective. It breaks this perspective down into the revolutionary; founding, civil war; populist; Social Darwinist; bourgeois individualist; progressive; industrial capitalist, New Deal; and identity politics periods. Original texts ranging from: James Madison’s Federalist Papers; John Dewey’s The Public and Its Problems; Malcolm X’s Autobiography to Gloria E. Anzaldua’s This Bridge Called my Back will be read. In addition, to concentrating on the standard interpretations of these texts, some radical interpretations will be emphasized, particularly black feminist thought. Also, the seminar gives more weight to the latter half of American political thought written about capitalism and identity politics in the late-19th and 20th centuries rather than the founding or the civil war eras in the 18th and early and mid-19th centuries.


Wolin – The Political Thought of Hannah Arendt (Cross list with HIST 72400) (PT)
CRN # 32171 PSC 72100 – 3 credits Monday 6:30pm-8:30pm

Since her untimely death in 1975, Hannah Arendt’s stature as a political thinker has increased exponentially. In 1950 she authored the first important study of totalitarianism – a work that, today, among scholars remains an indispensable point of reference. In the late 1950s and early 1960s she published, in rapid succession, a series of path breaking works that consolidated her reputation as one of the twentieth-century’s most significant and innovative political philosophers: the Human Condition (1958), On Revolution (1962), and Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963). During the 1920s she studied philosophy with the two titans of German existentialism, Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers, and she played an indispensable role in introducing their ideas to the English-speaking world. During her Paris exile, she befriended the literary critic Walter Benjamin and helped to introduce his work to an American public. Arendt also excelled as a letter writer and as a public intellectual, contributing regularly to Partisan Review and the New York Review of Books. She has been the subject of numerous biographical and academic studies. Plays and films have been devoted to her fascinating intellectual itinerary. In Germany there are not one, but two think tanks devoted to her work (Hamburg and Dresden). And during the 1990s, also in the country of her birth, she received the ultimate accolade: a high-speed train was named in her honor.

  • As a thinker Arendt never shied away from taking risks – “thinking without bannisters,” she called it. Aspects of her work have proved controversial: above all, her employment of the epithet, “the banality of evil,” to describe Adolf Eichmann’s role in the Final Solution.
  • In our course, we will focus primarily on Arendt’s contributions as a political thinker, in major works such as Origins of Totalitarianism, The Human Condition, and On Revolution. But we will also consider her status and role as a flashpoint for some of the major intellectual controversies and debates of her time – and ours.


Currah – Bio Politics (PT)
PSC 80302 – 4 credits (CRN # 32193)
Tuesday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

If sovereign power is the power to “take life or let live,” biopower is “the power to foster life or disallow it to the point of death.” In this course we will spend the first few weeks closely examining Foucault’s writings and lectures on the concept of bio politics, which operates through both the bio political regulation of populations and the disciplinary institutions and discourses brought to bear on individuals. After becoming familiar with the historical and theoretical scaffolding Foucault provides, we will consider reappraisals and re-deployments of biopolitics in light of new techniques for disassembling the individual and convening populations. Centering feminist, anti-racist, queer, post-colonial perspectives, readings may cover: population racism; the commodification of reproduction on a global scale; new forms of neoliberal governance; precarity and slow death, bio-citizenship; bio-medicalization; gender, nationalism, and the policing of bodies and borders; the securitization of risk; the carceral state; and necropolitics and the refigured relation between death and politics. Students will be encouraged to apply the theoretical and empirical work on biopower to their own research interests.


Gould – Borders, Boundaries and the Ethics of Immigration (PT)
PSC 87800 – (Cross list with PHIL 77600) – 4 credits, CRN 32400
Tuesday 2:00pm-4:00pm

This seminar will address the hard theoretical questions that arise from the pervasive distinction between citizens and aliens, especially with regard to the exclusion of immigrants from liberal democratic states and the subsequent treatment of the undocumented within them. We will begin by investigating the notions of external borders and internal boundaries between groups from the standpoint of social ontology. We will then take up the much-debated normative questions concerning the rights of states to exclude and the rights of people to migrate, whether as political, religious, or climate refugees, or due to poverty, unemployment, or other immiserating conditions. Here, core concepts of political theory and the alternative justifications for them require investigation: self-determination (as collective or national), legitimacy, citizenship, rights to freedom of movement, and economic and social human rights. The implications of justice—both domestic and cosmopolitan—will be considered, along with remedial responsibilities of powerful states arising from historical injustice and from the structural inequalities within the contemporary political economy. Throughout, our discussion will bring feminist theory to bear in regard to the differential impacts of migration and immigration restriction on women and children.


Wilson – Political Philosophy: Smith, Rousseau and Kant (PT)
PSC 80203 – 4 credits (Cross list with PHIL 76200) – CRN 32402
Tuesday 6:30pm – 8:30pm

This course will focus on the moral and political philosophy of these three 18th century philosophers and their contemporaries. Topics to be addressed include the roles of convention and sentiment in moral philosophy and the Kantian reaction against this development, philosophical attitudes to war and conquest, ‘stadial’ theories of history, theories of progress, and the role of women. Readings will include portions of Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments and Wealth of Nations; Rousseau’s Discourse on the Origins of Inequality; and portions of Kant’s Anthropology and his political essays, along with selections from Buffon, Diderot, Condorcet, and Fourier.


Marasco – Contemporary Political Theory (PT)
PSC 71901 – 3 credits (CRN# 32564)
Thursday 11:45am – 1:45pm

This course provides a rigorous introduction to major works of political theory in the twentieth century.  Our seminar will proceed as close readings of whole books and essays, on the assumption that political theory is best digested in non-excerpted form and that a different group of interpretive muscles are flexed when we linger on a work in its (exhaustive and exhausting) entirety. Readings will include works by Carl Schmitt, Leo Strauss, Hannah Arendt, CLR James, Theodor Adorno, Louis Althusser, Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, John Rawls, Catherine MacKinnon, and Jacques Ranciere.  This seminar is designed primarily for Political Science graduate students preparing a concentration in political theory, but it is also open to students in Philosophy, Anthropology, Sociology, Women’s Studies, and related fields.  This seminar will be especially useful for students preparing for their comprehensive exams in political theory.
By the end of the semester, you should expect to:

  1. Distinguish among various approaches to contemporary political theory and the traditions upon which they build.
  2. Develop reading & writing skills and, especially, the capacity to build compelling, arguments on major thinkers and topics in contemporary political theory.
  3. Acquire the foundations for preparation of the contemporary political theory portion of your comprehensive exam in political theory.

 

Dahbour/Menser – Ecology and Political Theory (PT)
PSC 80303 (Cross list with PHIL 77900) – 4 credits (CRN # 32398)
Monday 6:30pm – 8:30pm
In the Age of the Anthropocene, philosophy no longer needs to argue for the moral value of the preservation and non-exploitation of nature. It must now attempt to formulate political ideas that can point toward an equitable, sustainable, and resilient maintenance of the conditions for human life. That is the premise of this course. In it, we hope to explore the emerging literature of environmental political theory, but from a wider perspective that is not premised on the human-environment dichotomy, but assumes that all forms of human society depend upon, and therefore require the justification of, particular systems of political ecology. We will explore this idea in its various facets—historical, institutional, local, and global. First, recent literature re-reading the history of political philosophy (Plato to Adorno) from an ecological perspective will be considered. Second, ecological theories of democracy and the state—rethinking local political institutions for a sustainable future—will be discussed. Third, concepts of global environmentalism and ecological sovereignty—and which is more appropriate for addressing such concerns as food and water shortages, climate and ecosystem change, and environmental security and ecological refugees—will be examined. Finally, normative concepts employed in environmental policy debates, such as ecological modernization, sustainable development, and ecosystem resilience, will be explored. Readings will be selected from such authors as André Gorz, William Ophuls, John Bellamy Foster, Maria Mies, Madhav Gadgil, Melissa Lane, John O’Neill, Piers Stephens, Robyn Eckersley, John Gray, Andrew Dobson, Kyle Pows Whyte, Andrew Light, Dale Jamieson, Michel Serres, and Daniel Deudney, among others.

DiGaetano – Urban Politics (PP/AP)
PSC 72500 – 3 credits (CRN# 32189)
Monday 6:30pm – 8:30pm

This course is designed to introduce students to the study of urban politics and prepare them for the first exam.  The method employed is to undertake a close examination of classic and contemporary readings and journal articles on urban politics in classroom discussions and then write short analytical essays on selected topics.  The content of the course is organized around fundamental questions in political science as they are applied to the study of urban politics.  The first part of the course examines the question of political development, with a review of some of the work that situates urban political analysis in historical perspective.  Next the focus turns to the question of urban governance, considering political cultural and regime theory approaches to the politics of agenda building and the formation of urban governing coalitions.  The third section investigates the role of leadership in urban politics with a particular focus on big city mayors.  The fourth part considers the ways in which race and ethnicity have shaped the contours of urban political alliances and conflict.  The fifth portion looks at questions of political participation, including the effects of local elections and community-based political mobilization on urban political decision making.  The final segment of the course analyzes urban politics in the Global Era by evaluating the impact of globalization and neoliberalism on the way cities are governed.


Gornick – Social Welfare Policy (PP/AP)
PSC 72500 – (Cross list with SOC 85902) 3 credits (CRN# 32198)
Wednesday 4:15pm – 6:15pm

This course will examine social welfare policy in the United States, in both historical and cross-national perspective. We will begin with an overview of the development of social welfare policy in the U.S. We will focus on crucial historical periods – including the Civil War years, the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the Great Society, and the “welfare reform” of the 1990s and early 2000s. Second, we will assess “the big picture” of the American welfare state, through the lens of its underlying institutional framework. Third, we will analyze contemporary challenges in the U.S. that call for active policy responses, such as inequality, health insurance, low-wage work, and care. Finally, we will survey selected social policy lessons from other high-income countries, especially in Europe, where social provisions are typically more extensive than they are in the U.S.


Krinsky – Public Policy Analysis (PP/M)
PSC 73100 – 3 credits (CRN# 32200)
Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

This course covers the key theoretical approaches to the study of public policy, with a focus on US policy-making. It introduces key perspectives on the policy process, policy networks, and policy-making institutions, as well as the political implications of these perspectives. The course’s readings focus on social and urban policy making, but students are encouraged to write about policy areas beyond these, as well. Readings will include foundational texts, responses to them, and actual policy writing and analysis.

Milanovic – Global inequality: Measurement, analysis and political implications (PP)
PSC 71903 – 3 credits (Crosslist with IDS 81300)
CRN# 32867
Wednesdays, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

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, and 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.

Beinart – Writing Politics (G)
PSC 79002 – 3 credits (CRN# 32187)
Monday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

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, essays and blog posts 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 come as guests.

Brown – M.A. Core Course (G)
PSC 71000 – 3 credits (CRN # 32195)
Tuesday 6:30pm – 8:30pm

This course will introduce students to and provide an overview of major perspectives, problems, and approaches in political science. The seminar proceeds through the various subfields of the political science discipline, engaging key texts and debates in these modes of analysis. An important theme throughout the course is how money, influence, and power inform political questions and political science inquiry.

Spring 2016

Jones – Polarization in American Politics
PSC 72001 – 3 credits
Tues 6:30 – 8:30

Has the American public become more polarized? What about political elites running in elections and serving in government? Is there any connection between mass and elite polarization? Why does polarization seem to be taking place, and what are its consequences? This class will delve deeply into all of these questions. We will begin by taking a historical perspective and asking whether current levels of polarization within the U.S. government are unusually high, or whether the seemingly low levels from a half century ago were the real aberration. We will explore several different possible causes for why the parties in government have become more divided from each other over the past 50 years or so, including institutional, electoral, and activist-based explanations. After that, we will shift our attention to the mass public. We will examine evidence both for and against the notion that the American public is currently polarized, and try to document the specific ways in which the American public has-and has not-become more polarized over time (e.g., culturally, economically, geographically). To the extent that the public has polarized, we will explore possible causes including the influence of polarized elites and of polarized news media. Finally, we will analyze the consequences of elite and mass polarization-for public policy, for representation, and for public’s attitudes towards politics and government. Many of the readings in the class will be drawn from the American politics reading list – integrating both American institutions and processes.

 

Law – US Immigration Law and Policy
PSC 82001 – 4 credits
Tues 4:15 – 6:15

This course is designed to provide a multidisciplinary overview of the key current theoretical and policy debates in the study of the politics of U.S. immigration and citizenship. A second goal is to understand the historical context of some of the current legal and policies responses to migration at the national and subnational levels. Finally, emphasis will be placed on exploring not just the theoretical and policy debates of the field, but also on the evaluation of the empirical data and research design of these studies on which the debates/theories are based.

Bowman – Basic Methods in Comparative Politics
PSC 77904 – 3 credits
Tues 4:15 – 6:15

This course focuses on political science as a research activity–one whose goal is to produce compelling descriptions and explanations of political reality. In the first half of the course we will undertake a critical examination of social science methodology–concept formation, measurement, causal analysis, and research strategies–with a focus on the subfield of comparative politics. Methodology in this sense refers not to quantitative techniques, but to commonly shared standards that are independent of any particular research method: what are the building blocks of a research project that generates a good explanatory argument?  The goal of this section of the course is two-fold: first, students should acquire the tools to evaluate the substantive literature in the light of methodology-based standards.  Second, students should acquire a deeper understand of how to approach their own substantive research interests.  In the second part of the course, we put these tools to work by undertaking a “methodology–centric” reading of two substantive comparative politics literatures: the politics of welfare states, and the politics of mass electoral participation. Although the course leans toward the subfield of comparative politics, it contains much material that will be useful to students from other subfields who plan to read and to carry out empirical research.  No prior background in research methods or comparative politics is expected.

 

George – States and Legitimacy: Autocracy, Democracy, and Hybrid Regimes
PSC 72001 – 3 credits
Thurs 6:30 – 8:30

This course examines power structures in states, examining, in turn, the structures that underpin the foundations of autocratic and democratic regimes. The course will focus on institutional, economic, social, and behavior underpinning of autocratic and democratic authority. How do authoritarian regimes maintain power and legitimacy? What are the economic and political requisites for democracy? Are autocracy and democracy mutually exclusive conceptions, or do some regimes harbor elements of both?  Why are some regimes stable, while others collapse?  This course will explore structural, institutional, and behavioral explanations for state authority, as well as examine the interactions between masses and elites.

 

Woodward – Civil War: Causes, Dynamics, Settlements
PSC 87800 – 4 credits
Wed 4:15 – 6:15

Civil war is a subject of scholarly study as old as the field of political science itself.  The topic has taken on a new prominence, however, in the post-cold war international environment, and academic research has exploded in the past 25 years. Although the topic is by definition in the field of comparative politics – civil wars are wars that are internal to a particular country and its sovereign borders – this definition does not reflect the reality of contemporary civil wars, including structural causes located in globalization, their regional and transnational dynamics, and the new normative consensus internationally on both the right and the responsibility to intervene to stop the violence.

Thus, the study of civil wars crosses back and forth between the subfields of comparative politics and international relations.  In the three aspects of civil war on which the readings and discussion of the seminar will focus – the literatures on their causes, on their political dynamics, and (less) on their termination and possible solutions, whether done autonomously or by international intervention – students in the seminar have ample room to choose which literatures of political science are most of interest to their study and research, even though the seminar itself is classified as a course in comparative politics.

This is a research seminar, which means that the readings and discussion will aim to make the student as knowledgeable about the literature, its debates, unanswered questions, and research frontiers as possible, while each student’s goal is a research project and paper.  Projects will be defined early in the semester, and collaborative work will be encouraged.  Grading will be based on participation in discussion on the readings as well as the final research paper.

Golob – The Rules: International Law and Relations Approaches to Global Issues
PSC 86400 – 4 credits
Wed 4:15 – 6:15

This research seminar will analyze the key issues of interstate conflict and cooperation at the intersection of two related and yet often infra-related fields of study:  International Relations (IR) and International Law (IL).  As the title of the course suggests, we will be examining the nature of rules – laws and treaties, formalized institutions and informal norms –  on the international level that purport to ‘govern’ relations between states, to ‘police’ the behavior of governments, and to regulate problems that states cannot easily solve on their own. As seminar members develop their own research projects, together we will identify and discuss the distinct and/or converging responses of these two fields to the following questions: Why, and under what conditions, do states follow rules? Who gets to make the rules, how are they to be enforced, and on what actors? What are “norms” and under what conditions do states seek to formalize them? How are norms diffused across borders, and which domestic and international actors are involved? Under what conditions do we see compliance with such international norms – and does that compliance advance state (or sub-state actors’) interests, ideas/ideologies, identities, or all of the above? This collective investigation will lead us to a closer examination of IL, IR, and IL/IR approaches to explaining various dimensions of international collective action, including (but not limited to): humanitarian intervention and the use of force; counterterrorism and drone warfare; responses to refugee flows and illegal migration; international criminal justice; international piracy; climate change and the environment; and rules governing (or not) private actors such as MNCs in the global economy.

 

Weiss – The Politics of Wartime Humanitarian Action
PSC 86401 – 4 credits
Tues 11:45 – 1:45

Over the last 150 years, and more particularly over the last quarter-century since the end of the Cold War, we have witnessed an impressive expansion of organized humanitarianism, or the institutionalization of the desire to reduce the suffering of others. Efforts in war zones, the focus here, are considerably more fraught than those where natural disasters strike. There is now a network of states, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) along with private military companies and transnational corporations that populate the international humanitarian marketplace. Their existence has helped to create and been nourished in turn by a complex array of norms and legal principles. This network and the normative fabric have resulted in something that resembles a “system” of global humanitarian governance—that is, humanitarian action is organized to help protect and assist distant strangers, and more recently to address the causes of suffering as well. The intertwining of compassion and governance, however, signals that humanitarianism is more complicated than merely helping those in need. After all, “isms” invariably are less pure in practice than in theory. Responding with the heart requires responding with the head as well.

Beginning with a look at the political, philosophical, and ethical underpinnings of humanitarian thought, the seminar concentrates on the emergence of the international humanitarian system, including specifically of international humanitarian law and even more especially of aid agencies. With these foundations in mind, the class examines the behavior of agencies and the outcomes of their actions in specific crises as well as the value of legal mechanisms in constraining the use of force and in holding violators of law accountable. We begin with the nineteenth century and continue to the present but emphasize the post-Cold War period. In particular, case-by-case analyses of crises since 1989 help inform the overall study of trends in the humanitarian sector and illustrate contemporary challenges.  We also take up institutional innovations such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) and normative ones such as the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P). Finally, the seminar evaluates the current system of protection and delivery as well as its future in light of “new wars” and “new humanitarianisms.”

 

Xia – International Political Economy
PSC 76300 – 3 credits
Tues 6:30 – 8:30

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 provides 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). 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).

 

Andreopoulos – The Laws of War (IR)
PSC 72001 – 3 credits
Thurs 4:15 – 6:15

This course will survey both formal constraints on the conduct of war and unwritten conventions as to what was ‘done’ or not ‘done’ in the course of military operations. It will examine the evolution of key normative constraints and practices, and assess the relations of such practices to the common culture of the time. In particular, it will address perceptions of the just war tradition, the intersections between human rights and humanitarian law, as well as such issues as methods of warfare, belligerent rights, treatment of specifically protected persons and objects, observation of truces and immunities, the principle of distinction, military necessity, the acceptability or otherwise of particular weapons and weapons-systems, codes of honor and war crimes.  The course will also analyze and assess current humanitarian law challenges in light of key post-cold war developments, including the movement to ban the use of landmines, the creation and evolving jurisprudence of international justice institutions, recent efforts to address sexual violence in conflict situations and the policies and practices adopted in the global campaign against terror.

Fontana – Machiavelli
PSC 72001 – 3 credits
Thurs 6:30 – 8:30

This course will focus on Machiavelli and his interpreters. It will engage his thought through a close reading of his major political works, The Prince, the Discourses and The Art of War, as well as some of his minor works, The Life of Castruccio Castracani, A Provision for Infantry, Discourse on Remodeling the Government of Florence, the Tercets on Ambition and On Fortune. There is no need to underline the importance of such a course for a student of politics and of political theory. That he has had a broad and profound influence on political thought cannot be denied. He has been called teacher of evil, founder of modernity, partisan of republicanism, defender of tyranny, discoverer of a new science of politics, amoral realist and impassioned idealist. The very ambiguity (and popularity) of the term “Machiavellian” testifies to the range and depth of this influence. In addition, the course will examine different interpretations, or different ways of reading, Machiavelli—such as reason of state, republican, democratic, Straussian, rhetorical and revolutionary. In effect, the course will offer a reading of several of Machiavelli’s writings, and it will at the same time delve into the various approaches to, and interpretations of, his politics and thought.

 

Buck-Morss – Post-Democracy
PSC 82001 – 4 credits
Wed 2:00 – 4:00

In a US election year, this seminar asks the question: Are We “Post-Democracy”? Is national democracy a viable political form 200 years after its one-time revolutionary role? Can party politics deliver representation of, by, and for “the people”? Is it possible to believe in democracy when, after electing a 2-term Black President, a social movement is required to insist that Black Lives Matter? Is “bringing democracy to Europe” a viable project, when victories in democratic elections have not changed the course of economic austerity, and the identity of Europe is challenged by half a million refugees? Does global capitalism vitiate popular rule? Does neo-liberalism undermine it?  Given vast migrations of human beings, and given our interconnectedness ecologically, economically, and technologically, how should “the people” be defined? Is state sovereignty democracy’s friend or foe? Has the democratic goal of national liberation failed the post-colonial world? What are the potentials of social media, anarchist practices, and trans-local solidarities for redefining democracy? We will consider new political movements (Arab Spring, Syriza/Indignados, OWS, Black Lives Matter) and read recent works in political theory (W. Brown, D. McKesson, K. Ross, J. Rancière, R. Rorty, N. Loraux, J .Derrida, G. Wilder) that are relevant to this set of questions.

 

Wolin – After Theory
PSC 71900 – 3 credits
Mon 4:15 – 6:15

“Theory” has become historical.

During the 1980s Theory’s cryptic messages and provisos coursed through departments of comparative literature and humanities promising, if always obliquely, a qualitative transformation of our conventional and retrograde intellectual and practical habitudes. Theory traded on the fading aura of 1960s radicalism, implying that, whereas the soixante-huitards (’68ers) had foundered, it would write the next chapter in the Book of Revolution. Its heightened awareness of past failures, nourished by a skepticism vis-à-vis metanarratives, seemingly enhanced its prospects of success.

But, when all is said and done, how might one, going forward, define “success”? When the entirety of a tradition is presumptively jettisoned or consigned to desuetude, it is difficult to know exactly where to begin – or to re-begin. Derrida implied that once the demons of logocentrism had been vanquished, life and thought would be permanently and positively transformed. However, both he and his acolytes refrained from pointing out that the thinker who had coined the term “logocentrism” was the well nigh unreadable, proto-fascist German Lebensphilosoph Ludwig Klages (cf. Geist als Widersacher der Seele; 3 vols. 1929-32).

In The History of Sexuality, Foucault, mistrusting the allure of collective action, or, in Hannah Arendt’s words, “people acting in concert,” recommended that we pursue “a different economy of bodies and pleasures,” going so far as to invoke – in what can only be described as a prototypical instance of “Orientalism” – the Kama Sutra (sic) by way of illustration. However, in retrospect, this prescription seemed merely to dovetail with the “culture of narcissism” (cf. Christopher Lasch) that succeeded the demise of the contestatory spirit of the 1960s – as such, grist for the mill of an apolitical “lifestyle” or “identity” politics. In other words: an “apolitical politics.”

Circa 1971, Foucault had internalized the deleterious linkage between “knowledge” and “domination” – or, “power-knowledge” – to the point where he was prepared to abandon both “writing” and “discourse” tout court, having concluded that both were merely expressions of hegemony. If we accept the Nietzschean claim that “truth” is little more than an efflux or manifestation of “power” (as Foucault suggests: “truth isn’t a reward for free spirits . . . it is produced by multiple forms of constraint. It induces regular effects of power. Each society has its regime of truth”), and if all norms are “normalizing,” what, then, is the basis of contestation and critique? Has the concept of emancipation remained meaningful, or must it, too, be cynically consigned to the rubbish heap of lost illusions?

The story of French Theory coincides with the reception of Nietzsche and Heidegger’s thought in France during the 1950s and 1960s. Here, Deleuze’s 1962 book on Nietzsche as well as Foucault’s essay, “Nietzsche, Genealogy, and History” (1971) signify important way stations. Deconstruction, for its part, takes its inspiration from Heidegger’s appeal in Being and Time for a “destruction of the history of Western ontology.” At the outset, we will focus on pivotal German and French texts in order to secure a solid philosophical grounding in Theory’s conceptual intricacies. Thereby, in a post-enlightenment spirit, the obscure shall be rendered clear – or, at least, clearer.

Marx once said: “We recognize only one science, the science of history.” What, then, might it mean to historicize poststructuralism?

 

Shippen – The Politics of Death and Dying
PSC 82001 – TBD credits
Tues 4:15 – 6:15

This course examines what death and dying mean in a selection of political theory and literary texts, and considers how death itself contests and disrupts more traditional understandings of political theoretical concepts. Using political theory as our guide, we will explore how the respective and related theories derived from political, critical, feminist, post-colonial, and afro-pessimism theorize the significance of death and dying for informing the human condition and the meaning of the political theoretical concepts of reciprocity, interdependence, autonomy, freedom, equality, and justice. Our thinking will be intersectional and dialectical in order to consider how gender, sexuality, race, class, and ability inform the politics of death and dying. Judith Butler has persuasively argued that “Part of the very problem of contemporary political life is that not everyone counts as a subject” (2009, 31). Therefore, we will also analyze the political-economic and cultural conditions which most contribute to civil, social, and premature death. In this sense, the politics of death primarily refers to the various ways that conditions of inequality and alterity distort and ultimately shorten lives.  The class is guided by a Hegelian framework, specifically the master/slave dialectic and the question of reciprocity by way of incorporating the theoretical insights of Orlando Patterson’s original concept of “social death,” Jared Sexton’s “social death,” Judith Butler’s concept of “precarious life,” and Achille Mbembe’s “necropolitics” and considering how interdependence and relationality function when distorted by extreme conditions of inequality.

Digaetano – Urban Politics
PSC 72500 – 3 credits
Mon 6:30 – 8:30

This course is designed to introduce students the study of urban politics.  The course is organized around fundamental questions in political science as they are applied to the study of urban politics.  The first part of the course critically examines the leading theoretical perspectives on urban politics:  regime theory, political culture, and political economy.  Next, the focus turns to the question of political development, with a review of some of the work that situates urban political analysis in historical perspective.   The third portion of the course takes up the question of governance, considering political cultural and regime theory approaches to the politics of building and maintaining urban governing coalitions.  The fourth section examines the role of leadership in urban politics and the fifth investigates the ways in which race and ethnicity have shaped the contours of urban political alliances and conflict.  The sixth portion looks at the manner in which political institutions such as political parties and nonpartisan forms of elections have affected the processes and outcomes of urban political decision making.  The final part of the course takes stock of the state of urban political analysis, evaluating its strengths and weaknesses.

 

Fortner – Race, Class and the Politics of Crime
PSC 72001 – 3 credits
Wed 6:30 – 8:30

Course Description Pending

 

Su – Participatory Democracy and Social Movements
PSC 71900 – 3 credits
Thurs 11:45 – 1:45

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.

Milanovic – Theories of Income Distribution: From Pareto to Piketty
PSC 72500 – 3 Credits
Wed 6:30 – 8:30

The objective of the course is be to review, analyze, and allow students to develop a much better understanding of the theories and empirics of personal income distribution within a single policy-making unit (that is, normally within a nation-state). The first such theory was developed by Vilfredo Pareto more than 100 years ago. Pareto believes that income distribution does not change regardless of a social system and level of development. Simon Kuznets, in the 1950s, posited, on the contrary, a theory where income inequality evolves as societies get richer. Jan Tinbergen, in the 1970s, argued that the level of inequality is determined by the two opposing forces of education (increasing the supply of highly skilled workers) and technological change (increasing the demand for them). Most recently, Thomas Piketty argues that low growth combined with high returns to capital predisposes advanced economies to high levels of inequality. These theories will be considered on the real-world examples of movements of inequality in Brazil, China, “transition countries” and the United States and other advanced economies.  We shall focus especially on the recent evolution of income and wealth inequality in the United States and Piketty’s analytical contributions. The class 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.

Beinart – Writing Politics I
PSC 79002 – 3 credits
Mon 2:00 – 4:00

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, essays and blog posts 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 come as guests.

Woodward – Dissertation Proposal Workshop
PS 89100 – 0 credits
Mon 6:30 – 8:30

This workshop aims to assist students in writing their dissertation proposal in political science and taking the second examination.  It introduces students to the principles and organization of a defensible proposal, provides advice on conceptualization and research strategies, and, where relevant to the workshop participants, discusses methodological questions. It is a genuine workshop, where students provide each other a mutually supportive setting to share the stages of their written drafts, get feedback, identify and resolve issues being faced by many, and learn the skills of analytical criticism necessary to one’s own future research and teaching.  Each member works at a personal, self-identified pace, but also accepts the obligation of reciprocity to attend all meetings of the workshop and read the drafts of all other workshop members.  Key to progress is the obligation to write every single week, even if it only means a paragraph (although, of course, one hopes more).  The first meeting of the workshop will lay out the principles and advice; anyone missing it will be at a distinct, even possibly irreparable, disadvantage for the rest of the workshop.

The workshop does not give course credit, therefore has no grading, and can be taken more than once.

 

Cole – Teaching Political Science
PSC 77904 – 3 credits
Thurs 2:00 – 4:00

This course serves as a training workshop for students interested in teaching political science.  We will consider such issues as syllabus development, effective learning goals and assessment strategies, lecture preparation, grading practices, and creating an appropriate classroom environment.  We will also discuss aspects of the profession such as going on the job market, the transition from graduate education to a faculty position, writing a curriculum vitae, and mentoring students.  In addition to our pedagogical inquiries, students will be introduced to their colleagues who are already teaching on the campuses, as well as to the Chairs of the departments where they will be assigned. This class is a required course for all first year doctoral students in our program whose fellowship entails teaching on the campuses in fall 2016. However, all political science students, both doctoral or MA, who are interested are welcome to enroll.

 

Tien – Quantitative Analysis
PSC 89101 – 4 credits
Mon 4:15 – 6:15

The aim of this course is to introduce graduate students to statistical analysis in political science. I want students to think of themselves as future contributors of empirical work, as well as critical consumers. In that spirit, there will be an emphasis on “learning-by-doing.” Each student should locate a data set of interest to them by the third week of the semester that will be used to carry out statistical exercises.

To help students see the linkages between the material we cover and the work in the discipline, I am also listing some articles from our journals in addition to the assigned books. It is my hope that students will be more tolerant of the technical material if they can see the payoff in terms of a better understanding of political science rather than statistics. For some of the topics, I have also suggested additional readings that may increase your understanding of the technical material. With technical material, I have found that it helps to read two or three different presentations of the same topic to understand it more clearly. These readings should be done actively with paper and pencil in hand. By the end of this course students will have a working understanding of regression analysis.

O’Brien – Blogging & the Role of Public Intellectuals Writing Politics Specialization
PSC 79003 – 3 credits
Tues 6:30 – 8:30 (Online Course)

This is an online course, part of the Writing Politics Specialization sequence. It explores the unique role that academics can play as public intellectuals in the global social sphere of blogging, as well as other types of social media. There is a substantial practicum element to this purely online seminar, though we will also examine past cases of public intellectuals’ media impact. Questions we will consider are: Who is a public intellectual? Does a vacuum exist in the blogosphere, and if so, has it created a place for journalists or academics? Do academics have a blogging advantage, being independent of commercial concerns, or is the present-day academy a disadvantage? Can social and/or public intellectuals be transgressive bloggers? Can ideas have impact? Do gadflies, muckrakers, and journalists (i.e. non-academic public intellectuals) enjoy more freedom of speech?

The course will also analyze several overlapping themes within American political thought, including the rise of the Right, the role of religion, the decline of the ivory-tower conception of a university, and how blogging can help turn these conservative trends around. Students will practice blogging that attempts to have idea impact, or to constitute what the wider social world of entrepreneurs calls “thought leadership.” The course also offers recommended texts in American political thought by Alexis de Tocqueville, John Dewey, W. E. B. DuBois, and Allan Bloom, in addition to contemporary bloggers who went viral.

Fall 2015

Constitutional Law, Professor Halper, PSC 72300, 3 credits, Tuesdays 6:30pm – 8:30 pm.
Constitutional Law begins by exploring several topics that will recur throughout the course: the tension between natural law and positive law; controversies about how to construe laws; the meaning and power of constitutions; and the proper role of courts in a democracy.  If we cannot effectively hold them accountable, why do we want them to be powerful?  If they lack the power of the purse and the sword, how can they be powerful? The course then turns to the chief substantive issues, separation of powers and federalism.  Under the separation of powers, it deals with Dahl’s analysis of the Supreme Court as a national decision maker, and examines cases involving Congress and the President, including INS v. Chadha, Ex parte Milligan, Hammer v. Dagenhart, Schecter Poultry v. U.S., Carter v. Carter Coal, Korematsu v. U.S., Youngstown Sheet & Tube v. Sawyer, U.S. v. Nixon, Clinton v. Jones, and Gore v. Bush.  Among the issues raised are the uses to which the commerce clause can be put, the power of the national government during emergencies, addressing alleged presidential abuse, and deciding a problematical presidential election. Under federalism, the course will examine such cases as McCulloch v. Maryland, Plessy v. Ferguson, Lochner v. New York, Brown v. Board of Education, Moose Lodge v. Irvis,  Milliken v. Bradley, Regents, University of California, Davis v. Baake, and Lopez v. U.S.  Among the issues raised are liberty of contract, the takings clause, segregation and its removal, affirmative action, and state action. The course, in short, inquires as to how courts, constrained and empowered by unique rules and traditions, confront many of the great issues of the day. Although most of the assignments will be judicial opinions, readings from judges, lawyers, historians, and social scientists will supplement them. The course stresses thoughtful class discussion.

 

 

American Political Thought, Professor Fontana, PSC 72100, 3 credits, Thursdays 2pm – 4pm.

 

 

American Politics, Professor Lipsitz, PSC 82001, 4 credits, Mondays 2pm – 4pm.
This seminar provides an introduction to classic and contemporary studies in American politics. It is designed for graduate students, especially those who plan to take the American politics field exam. The semester will be organized around two central themes: institutions (e.g. Congress, the Presidency, and the media) and behavior (e.g. political participation and public opinion), beginning with the former. By the end of the course, students will have a basic familiarity with many of the fundamental works in the subfield, understand the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to studying the American political system, and be familiar with many of debates that have animated and continue to animate research in the discipline.

 

 

American Foreign Policy: National Security Strategy, PSC 82001, 4 credits, Wednesdays 4:15pm – 6:15pm.

Modern American Foreign Policy can be usefully divided into three periods: The Cold War; the 9/11 Decade, and the Post 9/11 Transition. Each period had it’s own “Doctrine:” Truman’s, Bush’s, and Obama’s.

This seminar examines the major challenges that American foreign policy faced during each period, and the adequacy of the presidential doctrines and strategies that were developed to meet them.

State and Society, Professor Erickson, PSC 87801, 4 credits, Wednesdays 6:30 – 8:30pm.

Seminar/colloquium on social movements, civil society, and the state. Readings and discussion cover historical and contemporary cases of social movements, contentious politics, and participation by civil society. In the contemporary era of democratic transition and consolidation, the course examines contentious popular and opposition movements that seek to revise the very nature of citizenship, particularly by expanding citizens’ rights of participation so as to include formerly excluded people and groups, and to win benefits for them. It also examines the role of such movements in transitions to democracy, and the impact of democratization on the movements themselves. My Latin American politics survey courses employ a top-down perspective, emphasizing the role of state institutions and political elites. This seminar examines many world regions and takes a bottom-up perspective, focusing on participation by worker, peasant, popular, feminist, indigenous, religious, and other sectors of civil society and ideological and political oppositions.

Contemporary scholarly interest in social movements and civil society developed in the 1970s and 1980s, when a body of literature on “New Social Movements” emerged in response to changing political realities, as “post-materialist” environmental, peace, and women’s movements developed in Western Europe and North America; as opposition to authoritarian rule crystallized in Latin America; and as unrest challenged the weakening communist party-states in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. This literature, inspired by the work of scholars and activists, began to gain recognition by North American specialists on Latin America only in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In Latin America, scholars and activists raised very optimistic normative expectations that contentious social, economic, and political engagement by hitherto oppressed and excluded lower strata would create new, superior, forms of participatory democracy. The disappointing, or at best mixed, results on these headings prompted a sobering normative reappraisal by scholars, then a reappraisal of that reappraisal, followed by a focus on “contentious politics” by one school and on participatory politics within democratic institutions by others. In sum, in their empirical work on various world regions, researchers advanced a seemingly dominant interpretive paradigm and then, under challenge, refined it more than once. The trajectory of concepts covered will illustrate this process while providing students with an array of useful interpretive tools.

The first portion of the course will be a colloquium devoted to a close reading and discussion of the conceptual and case materials that should catalyze or orient individuals’ research projects. I will open each session by asking students to set the agenda for discussion on the assigned materials, agenda points they will have posted on Blackboard’s discussion board by the previous evening. The final portion of the course will be devoted to presentation of students’ research projects. Several days before the presentation, students will distribute via the discussion board a brief written précis of the project and other relevant documents to enrich discussion.

 

 

Democratization, Professor Unger, PSC 77903, 3 credits Tuesdays 6:30pm – 8:30pm.

For the first time in history, a vast majority of countries have adopted democracy, making democratization a key focus of comparative politics.  Drawing on histories and current developments in each world region, this course comparatively assesses the strength and quality of democratic regimes around the globe by examining civil society, the balance of powers, policymaking, the rule of law, and the many entrenched problems – such as corruption, organized crime, and inequality – that trap most regimes in a grey area between transition and consolidation.  The critical analysis of democratization that the class develops will also strengthen understand comparative and international politics more broadly.

 

 

Basic Theories and Concepts of Comparative Politics Part I, Professor Woodward, PSC 77901, 3 credits, Mondays 4:15pm – 6:15 pm.

Students are strongly encouraged to take this course the first semester in their graduate program, if at all 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, but the foundation comes first.

Requirements include reading the assigned material prior to each class meeting, participation in class discussion, three brief written essays summarizing and analyzing the readings on one substantive topic in the syllabus, and a final examination.

Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Professor Andreopoulos, PSC 86401 (Cross Listed with WSCP 81000), 4 credits, Wednesdays 6:30pm – 8:30pm.

This course will focus on key concepts in human rights and humanitarianism, and examine their analytical value in the context of varying approaches towards the promotion and protection of internationally recognized human rights and humanitarian norms. In particular, the course will examine these concepts in light of (a) the recent debates in international relations theory on the role of ideas and norms, and the intersections between international relations and international law research agendas; and (b) the growing convergence between international human rights law and international humanitarian law. It will assess the impact of normative considerations, as well as the role of the relevant state and non-state actors on a whole set of critical issue areas including discrimination, accountability, human protection, political membership, human development, and legal empowerment. The course will conclude with a critical discussion of recent UN initiatives in these issue areas.

 

 

Seminar in International Security, Professor Liberman, PSC 86402, 4 credits, Tuesdays 4:15pm – 6:15pm.

This seminar has two goals: to develop students’ understanding of alternative theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding international security, and to develop students’ ability to conduct research in the field. Although the course readings feature works using a wide variety of methods, we will devote a week at the beginning of the semester to the fundamentals of research design and to qualitative case-study methods, to prepare students to engage in their own qualitative research.

“International security” is defined broadly in the course as the politics surrounding the threat, control, and employment of military force. Although time is too short to survey all topics, the course will begin by examining fundamental questions such as why states go to war, how they perceive threats and formulate military postures, and how these are affected by domestic politics and political culture. The course readings emphasize recent contributions and policy-relevant theory, rather than “the classics” or the intellectual history of the field. A variety of time periods and regions are examined in the empirical studies, although students are encouraged to focus their research papers more specifically if they wish. The students will help select the topics addressed in the course, and 4-5 weeks of the semester will be customized to address their interests.

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.

 

 

Basic Theories and Concepts in International Relations, Professor Shirkey, PSC 76000, 3 credits, Thursdays 2pm – 4pm.

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the different theories and concepts that scholars use to understand and explain world politics. The course examines the major theories in the field of International Relations (IR) and some of the central theoretical debates. Throughout the course, the relevance of specific theories and theory in general for how we make sense of world politics will be critically assessed. The focus of this course, however, will be theoretical rather than empirical. Thus, each class will be devoted to an in-depth discussion of a different theoretical perspective in IR, focusing on its key concepts, foundational assumptions, and central arguments.

 

 

UN & Changing World Politics, Professor Weiss, PSC 76203, 3 credits, Tuesdays 2pm – 4pm.

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 using references to 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 ride during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama 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 over a decade of research by 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 “First” Exams taken under exam-like conditions on 27 October and 15 December.

Critical Reason: The Basics, Professor Buck-Morss, PSC 71901, 3 credits, Tuesdays 2pm – 4pm.

This course deals with basic concepts and problems of Western Critical Theory. The readings focus on three key authors: Kant, Hegel and Adorno. Philosophy is considered from the perspective of the political. Concepts include: critical reason, transcendental claims, phenomenology, dialectics, non-identity, materialist metaphysics, history, causality, and freedom.  Students who are non-specialists are encouraged to read extremely difficult texts (Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, Hegel’s Phenomenology, Adorno’s Lectures on History and Freedom) with the goal of developing critical capacities for concrete, historical analyses of political, social and economic life. The challenge is to make the concepts of the readings meaningful for contemporary projects of critique. Seminar requirements: sustained, active seminar participation, one short midterm paper, and one final paper (or exam option).

 

Policing the Social: Aristotle, Arendt, Foucault, Ranciere, Professor Feldman, PSC 80302, 4 credits, Thursdays 11:45am – 1:45 pm.

This course examines the writings of three political theorists—Arendt, Foucault, and Ranciere—who sought to make sense of distinctively modern forms of governance, ordering and exclusion in part through critical engagement with, and selective appropriation of, Aristotle’s Politics. We will look at some of the key contributions of each including Focuault’s account of biopower, governmentality and police in History of Sexuality vol 1, and selections from his 1978 and 1979 lectures Security, Territory, Population and The Birth of Biopolitcs, Ranciere’s distinction between (democratic) politics and police and the notion of the police order, and Arendt’s theory of the rise of the social and critique of natural rights in the nation-state system. The course will also examine three texts of 21st century political theory that each draw upon one of these thinkers to provide insight into contemporary political problems: Wendy Brown on neoliberalism (Foucault); Ayten Gundogdu on migrants and statelessness (Arendt) and Davide Panagia on the sensory basis of democracy (Ranciere).

 

Ancient Political Thought, Professor Mehta, PSC 80301, 4 credits, Wednesdays 2pm – 4pm.

This course will offer an introduction to the political thought of Plato, Aristotle and Cicero. It is organized around five important and classic texts of the Western philosophic tradition.

The questions around which the course will be structured will include: Why is the study of politics and ethics some thing about which we need to, and can, have abstract theories? What is the status of an “ideal” polity with respect to actual polities? How does the question of justice relate to issues of interests, human identity and knowledge? What is the meaning of constitutionalism? What do Plato, Aristotle and Cicero take to be the original motivation underlying the formation of political society? How do these motivations conform to the normative prescriptions that they propose? How do notions such as friendship, duty and virtue relate to the understanding of citizenship? What are the justifications underlying the various proposed institutional arrangements? Finally, does the organizing of political life related to other conceptions of human needs and potentiality?

 

Social Contract Theory, Professor Morgenstern, PSC 71902, 3 credits, Wednesdays 4:15pm – 6:15 pm.

This course examines the social contract tradition and its effect on modern political discourse. While the social contract tradition is popularly identified with early modern political thought, approximations and appreciations of this idea are found in Plato, as well as in the more well known texts associated with this tradition: Hobbes (Leviathan), Locke (Second Discourse ;and other essays), Rousseau (Social Contract & Discourses), Rawls (A Theory of Justice, The Law of Peoples). We will also look at early modern appraisals (Hume) and emendations (Freud) of social contract discourse, as well as more contemporary rereadings and critiques of the social contract tradition (Pateman, Mills, Sen). Course requirements include class attendance and participation, an oral presentation, and a research paper.

 

Dictatorship: The Career of a Concept from Robespierre to Lenin and Beyond, Professor Wolin, PSC 71903, 72500 (Cross Listed with HIST 72100), 3 credits, Mondays 4:15pm – 6:15 pm.

The Austerity Crisis & Failures in National Urban Policy, Professor Goering, PSC 82503, 4 credits, Thursdays 2pm – 4pm.

National urban polices in the U.S. have confronted multiple political, sociological, and fiscal challenges over the past century. Conditions of permanent austerity and uncertainly characterize the complex realities of routine policy-making in and for cities.  While Thomas Piketty concludes “the rich world is rich, but the governments of the rich world are poor,” policy choices are seldom so simply framed.  Unyielding in many ways and pliable in others, cities are complex instruments for examining inequalities and change, including policy-driven effects.  In this course will examine federal attempts to make progressive political choices in the face of partisan political polarization, exploring the limits, frailties, and political successes of U.S. urban policies. This should enable a clearer assessment of cities as potential sites of and instruments for policy change.

 

 

Introduction to Policy Process, Professor Gornick, PSC 73101, (Cross Listed with SOC 85700), 3 credits, Tuesdays 4:15pm – 6:15 pm.

This course will provide an introduction to theories of the policy-making process, with a focus on the United States.

The first section of the course will offer an overview of major theories, concepts, and models of public policy-making.

The second section of the course will address problem definition and agenda-setting, and will situate policy-making in the political landscape.

The third section will focus on the impact of social movements on the policy process.

The final section of the course will assess the implementation process, with a focus on “street-level bureaucracy”.

Readings will include works by leaders in the field, including David Rochefort and Roger Cobb, Paul Sabatier, Deborah Stone, Anne Schneider and Helen Ingram, Frank Baumgartner and Bryan Jones, John Kingdon, Jeffrey Pressman and Aaron Wildavsky, and Michael Lipsky.

The requirements include a set of written summaries of class readings; supervision of one class session, and two exams.

 

 

Global Inequality: Measurement, Analysis, and Political Implications. Professor Milanovic, PSC 72500, (Cross Listed with SOC 84606), 3 credits, Wednesdays 6:30pm – 8:30pm.

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.

 

 

Theories of Neighborhood and Community Change, Professors Mollenkopf & Kornblum, PSC 72500 (Cross Listed with SOC 82800), 4 credits, Wednesdays 4:15pm – 6:15 pm.

Neighborhoods are the basic units of community formation in urban settings. People are sustained the attachments they form with their neighbors and neighborhoods – and they in turn play important roles in identity-formation, family-formation, child-rearing, primary education, friendship networks, sociability, shopping, dining, recreation and entertainment, worship, access to work, civic engagement, political representation, and so on. The clustering of similar people in neighborhoods is thought to generate both positive and negative feedbacks. In the ideal case, these building blocks of urban community are resilient in the face of change, or at least achieve new equilibria when circumstance require them. (In the worst case, people abandon their neighborhoods.) At the same time, neighborhoods constantly evolve, as people come and go, while those who stay age through the life cycle. Larger trends in politics and government, the housing and job markets, and society and culture operate on them, if unevenly. We have surprisingly little systematic theory about how patterns of neighborhood change result from the interplay of individual and family choices about where to live nested in the larger framework of housing markets, political institutions and regulations, and social change. This course begins by reviewing some classic theoretical orientations, such as the Chicago School, urban political economy, and the gentrification debates. It will then interrogate a series of case studies in New York City. While the specific cases will depend on the research interests of seminar participants, whom we expect to join in elaborating the case studies, they may include East Williamsburg/Bushwick/Ridgewood, the neighborhoods around Jamaica Bay, and the New York City working waterfront. We will use these case studies to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the theoretical perspectives and consider how to improve them.

Core Seminar in Political Science, Professor Cole, PSC 71000, 3 credits, Thursdays 11:45am-1:45pm.

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 Department. 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. 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 gender, race, sex, and sexuality inform political questions and political science inquiry.

Topics in Women’s & Gender Studies: Trans Theories, Practices, Politics, Professor Currah, PSC 71904 (Cross Listed with WSCP U81601), 3 credits, Tuesdays 2:00 – 4:00 pm.

In this course, “trans” will be looked at as an identity, a set of practices, a site of activism, and a point of entry for the study of gender. We will become familiar with different approaches to the topic of transgender—some that understand the category as a basic for gender self determination and some that see trans* as a way to move away from norms organized around the gender binary. Many of the texts will be situated on a continuum between gender fundamentalist projects and gender subversive projects. We will begin with an overview of some canonical texts on sex, gender, and the relation between them and then move on to the public history of transsexuality, the emergence of movements for transgender equality, medical accounts of gender non-conformity, struggles for de-pathologization, debates about quests for recognition and redistribution, the racialization of transsexuality and transgender subjectivities, trans-feminism, minoritizing and universalizing approaches to (trans)gender, and intersections with other interdisciplinary areas (e.g. animal studies, disability studies, post-colonial studies). The last section of the course will focus on particular topics reflecting the interests of those in the class, possibly including: sex classification, incarceration, discrimination, pedagogy, art and activism, quantitative and qualitative research questions (e.g., methodology, ethics) on transgender and gender non-conforming communities.

Spring 2015

Civil Liberties, Professor Halper, PSC 72310, (cross listed with WSCP 81000), 3 credits, Tuesdays 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Civil Liberties focuses on freedom of expression and privacy, each viewed from normative and constitutional perspectives. Among the specific topics considered are defamation, hate speech and offensive speech, broadcast regulation, obscenity and indecency, public nuisances, commercial speech, speech plus, national security, privacy as withholding information, privacy as seclusion, and privacy as bodily integrity. Robust class discussion is encouraged. A final examination and critiques of three articles/chapters are required.

 

 

Polarization in American Politics, Professor Jones, PSC 82001, 4 credits, Wednesdays 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Has the American public become more polarized? What about political elites running in elections and serving in government? Is there any connection between mass and elite polarization? Why does polarization seem to be taking place, and what are its consequences? This class will delve deeply into all of these questions. We will begin by taking a historical perspective and asking whether current levels of polarization within the U.S. government are unusually high, or whether the seemingly low levels from a half century ago were the real aberration. We will explore several different possible causes for why the parties in government have become more divided from each other over the past 50 years or so, including institutional, electoral, and activist-based explanations. After that, we will shift our attention to the mass public. We will examine evidence both for and against the notion that the American public is currently polarized, and try to document the specific ways in which the American public has—and has not—become more polarized over time (e.g., culturally, economically, geographically). To the extent that the public has polarized, we will explore possible causes including the influence of polarized elites and of polarized news media. Finally, we will analyze the consequences of elite and mass polarization—for public policy, for representation, and for public’s attitudes towards politics and government. Many of the readings in the class will be drawn from the American politics reading list – integrating both American institutions and processes.

The Politics of Identity, Professor George, PSC 77903, 3 credits, Tuesdays 11:45 – 1:45 pm

This course focuses on the politics of ethnicity and nationalism, with a comparative focus. We will investigate theoretical arguments regarding the roots and power of ethnic identity and the ways that such identification enters into the political sphere. We will analyze arguments about whether and how ethnic diversity might affect political competition and conflict. The course will examine general theories and then also examine identity politics in further depth in particular geographic regions including, but not limited to Africa, postcommunist Europe and Eurasia, Latin America, and South Asia. Students will also have an opportunity to read further on geographical areas of their own scholarly interest. In addition to being a course on the subject matter of identity, students will hone their analytical skills through close readings of texts and examination of how authors construct and implement their research agenda.

Students will read the equivalent of a book per week as well as prepare written reading analyses and questions. Students will lead the discussions. In addition to the reading analyses and participation, students will write a short paper and submit a final exam.

 

 

Basic Theories and Concepts of Comparative Politics Part II, Professor Schwedler, PSC 77904, 3 credits, Thursdays 11:45 – 1:45 pm

There is little consensus within comparative politics, let alone the discipline of political science, about how to study politics. Comparativists use a range of approaches and hold a variety of methodological commitments. This course is designed to introduce students to the philosophical and epistemological disputes that have given rise to this lack of consensus. The aim of the course is to enable students to make more deeply informed judgments about the types of political science work that they encounter and undertake. Students will be encouraged to appreciate alternative methodological approaches to comparative analysis, weigh their relative utility in answering questions of importance to them, and determine whether and how these different approaches might fruitfully be combined.

 

 

Comparative Political Institutions, Professor Woodward, PSC 77902, 3/4 credits Tuesdays 4:15 – 6:15 pm

Many consider political institutions and institutional analysis to be the essence of comparative politics; after all, for example, states and regimes are particular complexes of institutions, and much of the variation in political outcomes across countries is best explained by variation in their institutions.  This course has two objectives: (1) an introduction to the concept of institutions, to institutional analysis, and to key debates and studies in the literature on political institutions, all aimed at preparing students for the first exam in comparative politics, and (2) an exploration of some key questions of the day that an institutional focus addresses – the causes of and solutions to civil war, stability or instability in ethnically heterogeneous countries, the bases of stability of authoritarian vs. democratic regimes (including variation within these types, such as military regimes, one-party systems, parliamentary vs. presidential democracies), ongoing academic and policy debates on the role of institutions in economic growth and development, the nature of political order under empire, colony, or regional integration, the consequences of the neoliberal attack on the state, the choice of institutions, including during periods of political transition, and how institutions evolve.  Students may take this seminar at the 700-level, for 3 credits with an examination as the final evaluation, or at the 800-level, for 4 credits and with a research paper as the culminating product.  I will contact students who register for this course and wish to take it at the 800-level to make sure that readings are tailored to their research interests, while students wishing to take this at the 700-level should be reassured that the course will provide the introduction and appropriate reading level that they seek.

Comparative Foreign Policy, Professor Braveboy-Wagner, PSC 86105, 4 credits, Wednesdays 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Foreign Policy Analysis is one of the most popular subfields of international relations. Even though you can rational and positivist approaches have predominated in the field in the US, elsewhere a generous dose of comparative “area studies” ethnography as well as increasingly popular constructivist and critical thinking have invigorated the field. In this course we first ask how is the study of foreign policy different from international relations as a whole (some constructivists think it should not be)? We then walk through the movement from Comparative Foreign Policy to FPA. From there we move into substantive areas: what are the influences on foreign policy at the individual, state and system levels? What goes on in that “black box” of decision making? What happens before and after a decision is made? What is the role of the bureaucracy? What is the role of non-state actors? What is the relationship between “diplomacy” and foreign policy? Finally, let’s compare U.S. foreign policy with that of other selected countries and regions? What differences are there in both substance and influences? Why? These are some of the questions discussed in this course.

Grading: 40% of the grade will be based on class participation and preparation of the reading assignments; 40% on a research paper with an outline and bibliographic essay presented midway through (20%). Many students use this research paper as the basis for future thesis/dissertation work. Critique of how we IR folk study foreign policy is encouraged!

 

 

International Law and International Relations Approaches to Global Issues, Professor Golob, PSC 76400, 3 credits, Tuesdays 2:00 – 4:00 pm

This seminar looks at the key issues of interstate conflict and cooperation which lie at the intersection of two fields that often appear at odds, but which have seen increasing synergies and interdisciplinary potential: International Law/IL (with its focus on rules, roles and procedures) and International Relations/IR (with its focus on power, interests, institutions, and identity). One key objective of the course is to introduce seminar members to the emerging interdisciplinary subfield known as “IL/IR,” located at the fruitful but often fraught intersection between the two fields, and to thus open possibilities for students to locate their own research interests within (or in close proximity to) this scholarly crossroads.

Following an introductory theoretical unit, we will look at key paired concepts forming this intellectual intersection:  norms and institutions, and enforcement and compliance.  We will address the following questions: Why, and under what conditions, do states follow rules? Who gets to make those rules, how are they deemed legitimate, how are they enforced, and on what actors? What are international norms, as opposed to (or in relation to) international laws, and under what conditions do states seek to formalize them?  How are norms diffused, socialized and enforced across borders, and under what conditions do we see compliance with international norms? Why have treaty-based international institutions – and in particular, international courts and tribunals – been constructed, by which actors, in what form, for what purpose and in whose interest? How effective have these institutions been in influencing state – and non-state actor – behavior?  Are ‘law’ and ‘power’ really two sides of the same coin of authoritative discourse and action?

This conceptual investigation will lead to a comparative examination of IL, IR and IL/IR approaches to four key global issues:

  • The Use of Force:  The UN, R2P, and Humanitarian Intervention
  • War With No Walls:  Confronting Global Terrorism
  • Globalizing Justice:  Human Rights & Int’l. Criminal TribunalsGoverning
  • Globalization: Non-State Actors Skirting, Shaping and Enforcing IL

 

 

Global Terrorism, Professor Romaniuk, PSC 86207, (Cross listed with WSCP 81000) 4 credits, Mondays 11:45 – 1:45 pm

What is “terrorism”? What causes terrorism and how does radicalization occur? How do terrorists organize and finance their activities? How are the strategies and tactics of counterterrorism determined and are they effective? How do terrorism and counterterrorism affect relations among states? Addressing these and related questions, this course is an advanced-level survey of terrorism and the politics that surround it. The course aims to prepare students to become informed and critical consumers of claims to knowledge about terrorism whether they are presented in scholarship, government policy, in the media, or elsewhere. It also aims to advance the capacity of students to produce robust social science research about terrorism and counterterrorism. While political scientists have a longstanding interest in research topics related to terrorism, the course draws upon materials from the emerging (and contested) inter-disciplinary field of “terrorism studies.” In this way, students will compare terrorist threats and counterterrorist responses across regions and over time.

Transcendence and Public Life, Professor Buck-Morss, PSC 80301, 4 credits, Tuesdays 2:00 – 4:00 pm

This seminar will question the modernist premise of immanence as the organizing frame of political life. In our global era, ethical and moral practice may demand more. Political theology meets its challenge in theological politics. Beginning with Theodor W. Adorno’s lectures on modern moral philosophy (post-Kant), we will consider the continuities of Christian belief in Western history (Kantorowicz), and Karl Marx’s secularization of the theological goal. Walter Benjamin’s early writings will provide a bridge to Philo of Alexandria’s 1st-century allegoresis of Jewish Scripture as Platonic philosophy. We will discover Islam’s enhancement of Aristotlelianism and the Jesuit’s anti-colonial debt to Andalusian Judaism. As contemporary examples of theological politics and/as moral practice, we will consider Mahatma Gandhi, Cornel West, Enrique Dussel, and Waed Hallaq. As hermeneutical strategies against theological politics (Carl Schmitt, Salim Sayyid), we will read the Musllima author Jerusha Tanner Lamptey, the late writing of Walter Benjamin, and Talal Asad on the Islamic state.

 

 

Social Ontology and Democracy, Professor Gould, PSC 71903, (Cross Listed with PHIL 78500), 3 credits, Tuesdays 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Despite a large literature on social ontology and an even wider one on democratic theory, there has been little attention to the ways that social ontology can illuminate the hard questions concerning the justification of democracy and its manifold deficiencies in practice. Going beyond existing individualist interpretations of democracy in terms of interests or rights, as well as older communitarian approaches, this seminar will work towards constructing a relational, interactive, and cooperative account of democracy, drawing on analytic, continental, and feminist perspectives.  We will bring to bear social ontological work on joint commitment (Gilbert), shared intention (Bratman), the “we-mode” (Tuomela), and collective intentionality (Searle); theories of recognition (Honneth), plurality (Arendt, Levinas), and the critique of “atomic” individualism (Taylor); feminist conceptions of relational autonomy (Nedelsky, Stoljar) and intersectional identities (e.g., Meyers); the social connections model of shared responsibility (Young); group agency and deliberative rationality (Pettit); and the conceptions of individuals-in-relations and positive freedom (Gould).

The specific issues we will address include the following:

  • Can joint action and group agency be explained in individualist terms? What are the implications for understanding democratic institutions and communities, as well as corporate and other nongovernmental actors?
  • The social justifications for democracy and for political obligation (Gould, Gilbert).
  • The significance of recent network notions for understanding democratic solidarity and transnational social movements.
  • The analysis of domination, oppression, and other forms of one-sided recognition within democracies (Young).
  • Diverse understandings of democracy, e.g., African consultative models (Wiredu).
  • Group rights—a human right to democracy; cultural rights within democracies and the interpretation of groups in collective or aggregative terms; processes of constitution of social groups and the self-determination of nations.
  • The problem of collective responsibility: Can individuals, even dissenting ones, be held accountable for the wrongdoing of their governments? Can nation-states as a whole be responsible for such wrongdoing?
  • The role of historical context in the genesis of democratic norms, and whether norms are essentially constitutive of group action.
  • The “democratic personality”—The implications of a relational approach for understanding dispositions to empathy and receptivity as they bear on notions of active citizenry and democratic participation.

Seminar members will be encouraged to relate the course materials to their ongoing research projects through oral presentations and analytical term papers, and will be expected to be active participants in the class discussions.

For more information, please contact carolcgould@gmail.com.
Psychoanalysis and Political Thought, Professor Jacobs, PSC 80405, 4 credits, Wednesdays,
2:00  –  4:00 PM

This seminar will be devoted to exploring and debating the hotly contested relationship(s) between psychoanalytic ideas (and of approaches derived from or engaged in dialogue with psychoanalysis) on the one hand and political theory on the other.  We will focus particular attention this semester on a range of attempts, made over an extended period of time, to link Marxist approaches with psychoanalytic insights, and will attempt to assess the degree to which each of these attempts does – or does not – remain compelling.  Accent will be placed on close reading of classic texts chosen from among the works of such writers as Freud, Jung, Reich, Fromm, Marcuse, Adler, Fanon, Lacan and Althusser.  Students will be encouraged to actively participate, to lead specific class sessions, and to explore their own interests by writing research papers on relevant topics.
Contemporary Political Theory, Professor Marasco, PSC 71901, 3 credits, Wednesdays 4:15 – 6:15 pm

This seminar is designed primarily for Political Science graduate students preparing a concentration in political theory, but it is also open to students in Philosophy, Anthropology, Sociology, Women’s Studies, and related fields.  This course provides a rigorous introduction to major works of political theory since the 1971 publication of John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice.  We will launch our study with a close reading of this pivotal work in its entirety and pose questions about why the publication of this book has been claimed as a moment of “revival” for political philosophy.  Was philosophical thinking about politics dead or dormant before Rawls?  How, precisely, does Rawls bring political philosophy back to life?  What are the basic features and elements of Rawlsian justice?  What does the book tell us about its historical context and condition of possibility?

Our seminar will proceed as close readings of whole books, under the assumption that political theory is best digested in non-excerpted form and that a different group of interpretive muscles are flexed when we linger on a work in its (exhaustive) entirety.  After Rawls, we will turn to The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Anti-Oedipus, The History of Sexuality, Black Marxism, and Gender Trouble.  This course will be especially useful for students preparing for their comprehensive exams in political theory.

 

 

Adventures in Marxism: from the Communist Manifesto to Alain Badiou, Professor Wolin, PSC 71903, 3 credits, Mondays 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Je ne suis pas Marxiste!” Karl Marx, cited by Engels, 1882

In his “Theses on Feuerbach” (1846) Marx, seeking to free himself from Hegel’s tutelage, famously declared that, “Heretofore, philosophers have only interpreted the world; however, the point is to change it!” At the time, little did Marx realize the immense historical influence his ideas and doctrines would have. For decades to come, Marx’s theories would inspire intellectuals and political activists in Europe, Latin America, and Asia – although, often in ways that would have undoubtedly astonished Marx himself. After all, the first “successful” communist revolution occurred not in a highly industrialized society, as Marx had prophesied, but instead in Tsarist Russia: a nation that had only recently freed its serfs and that was still largely agrarian. Although as late as 1956, Jean-Paul Sartre could still refer to Marxism optimistically as, “The unsurpassable philosophy of our time,” following World War II, with the rising tide of decolonization, the torch of World Revolution had clearly passed (in the words of Franz Fanon) to the “wretched of the earth” – to the denizens of the so-called “Third World.” To add to this litany of well-known paradoxes: in contemporary China, one of the few remaining communist nations, Marxism has paradoxically become the reigning ideology of a society that is unabashedly oriented toward exponential economic growth and conspicuous consumption. (Or, as Deng Xiaoping proclaimed during the early 1980s: “To get rich is glorious!”) Looking back from 1989 – the watershed year in which the Marxist regimes of Eastern Europe unraveled with breathtaking rapidity – intellectuals and pundits openly wondered whether the time had finally come to write Marxism’s epitaph. However, in light of the rise of neo-liberalism and the prodigious rise of social inequality, forecasts concerning Marxism’s demise would seem premature.

Our primary focus will be the legacy of Marxist thought. As such, we will begin by examining the way in which Marx’s youthful confrontation with Hegel prepared the ground for the development of his notion of “historical materialism.” But very quickly, under the tutelage of the later Engels and the Second International, this conception congealed into a dogmatic body of received truths, precipitating what some have called the “crisis of Marxism.” At the time, one of the main responses to Marxism-in-crisis was “Leninism”: the idea that, since the European proletariat seemed increasingly lethargic, a vanguard party was required in order to focus its attention on the long-term goal of world revolution.

Under the guise of a “return to Hegel,” and as an antidote to Soviet Marxism, the interwar period witnessed an efflorescence of philosophical Marxism. Among the highlights of this movement were Lukács’ History and Class Consciousness as well as the work of Walter Benjamin and the Frankfurt School – a renewal Marxist thought that has been largely responsible for the postwar renaissance of “critical Marxism.” More recently, in books such as Revolution at the Gates, Slavoj Zizek has encouraged a “return to Lenin.” Similarly, the French Maoist, Alain Badiou, in part inspired by Sartre, has sought to resurrect Marx’s theory of the “subject.” Insisting that, as a critique of capitalism, Marxism has lost none of its historical relevance, Badiou claims that, by learning from its past defeats, Marxism can be resurrected.

Comparative Urban Politics & Policy, Professor DiGaetano, PSC 84501, 4 credits, Mondays 6:30 – 8:30 pm

This course is designed to furnish students with sufficient knowledge of comparative methods and analysis to conduct a cross-national study of urban politics.  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.

 

 

Theories of Income Distribution: from Pareto to Piketty, Professor Milanovic, PSC 72500 (Cross Listed with IDS 81620), 3 credits, Wednesdays 6:30 – 8:30 pm

The objective of the course is be to review, analyze, and allow students to develop a much better understanding of the theories and empirics of personal income distribution within a single policy-making unit (that is, normally within a nation-state). The first such theory was developed by Vilfredo Pareto more than 100 years ago. Pareto believes that income distribution does not change regardless of a social system and level of development. Simon Kuznets, in the 1950s, posited, on the contrary, a theory where income inequality evolves as societies get richer. Jan Tinbergen, in the 1970s, argued that the level of inequality is determined by the two opposing forces of education (increasing the supply of highly skilled workers) and technological change (increasing the demand for them). Most recently, Thomas Piketty argues that low growth combined with high returns to capital predisposes advanced economies to high levels of inequality. These theories will be considered on the real-world examples of movements of inequality in Brazil, China, “transition countries” and the United States and other advanced economies.  We shall focus especially on the recent evolution of income and wealth inequality in the United States and Piketty’s analytical contributions. The class 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.

 

Ethnography of Public Policy, Professor Mollenkopf & Duneier, PSC 72500 (Cross Listed with SOC 82800), 4 credits, Thursdays 4:15 – 6:15 pm

Most approaches to the study of public policy either use statistical analysis to address questions of efficiency and effectiveness or institutional analysis to understand how actors form coalitions (or block coalitions) to advance their policy agenda within a particular political opportunity structure. This course investigates a third approach: using the tools of ethnography and qualitative analysis (participant observation, in-depth interviewing) to investigate how the participants inside a given Apolicy domain@ interact to formulate, adopt, and most importantly carry out programs. This approach puts the focus on “front line workers” who actually do the work of delivering public policies by interacting with clients on an every-day basis.  We are particularly interested not only in the details of how such interactions Asocially construct@ clients, but how clients react to these processes as well as how higher levels of management and policy decision-makers try to reshape them from time to time.  In other words, we will examine the role of “street level bureaucrats” in their operating context, including not only managers and clients, but the larger fields of elected officials, legislators, the press, policy scholars, advocacy organizations, consultants, or the concerned public. The course introduces these issues with a close reading of Michael Lipskys classicStreet Level Bureaucracy then moves to several ethnographic policy case studies, including public housing restructuring, homeless services, policing, and school reform.

Writing Politics Workshop, Professor Beinart, PSC 79002, 3 credits, Mondays 2:00 – 4:00 pm

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, essays and blog posts 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 come as guests.

 

 

Political Science: Teaching Strategies, Professor Cole, PDEV 79401, 0 credits, Thursdays 2:00 – 4:00 pm

This course serves as a training workshop for students interested in teaching political science. We will consider such issues as syllabus development, effective learning goals and assessment strategies, lecture preparation, grading practices, and creating an appropriate classroom environment. We will also discuss aspects of the profession such as going on the job market, the transition from graduate education to a faculty position, writing a curriculum vitae, and mentoring students. In addition to our pedagogical inquiries, students will be introduced to their colleagues who are already teaching on the campuses, as well as to the Chairs of the departments where they will be assigned.

 

 

Media, Politics & the Public Sphere in Latin America, Professor Roldan, PSC 77905, 3 credits, Wednesdays 4:15 – 6:15 pm

The transistor is a much more revolutionary factor than Karl Marx” – Eduardo Frei, Chile

This course examines the role of the media, particularly mass media technologies like radio, newspapers, television, documentary film, and the internet in shaping politics and the public sphere in Latin America.  The course takes a comparative, transnational, historical and theoretical perspective, exploring both the possibilities and limits in mass media technologies for the emergence of “counter-publics” and the expression of alternative or divergent points of view. The emphasis will be on 20th century Latin America – but our inquiry will be framed by a consideration of a centuries old oral poetry/troubadour tradition, broadsheets, caricature, theater and the penny press as both propagandistic and subversive technologies in shaping politics and public opinion. Particular attention will be paid to the emergence of photography, radio and documentary filmmaking as social and political commentary and to the rise of telenovelas, cronicas, indigenous and community radio, and digital blogs in recent decades.

 

 

Research Design, Professor Rollins, PSC 79100, 3 credits, Mondays 4:15 – 6:15 pm

This course is designed to provide students with a better understanding of research design and data analysis.  The first part of the semester will focus students’ attention on the various methods researchers have used to address questions of interest to social scientists.  The second section of the course will emphasize reading and discussing quantitative research in order to develop critical skills.  The goal is to help students learn to read, evaluate, and analyze such materials for themselves but is not intended to provide students with a mathematical background on statistical methods.  Students will, however, be expected to learn STATA and to perform analysis on data sets of their choosing.  Projects for the semester will be assigned so that they advance each student’s research agenda.

 

 

Dissertation Proposal Workshop, Professor Woodward, PSC 89100, 0 credits, Mondays 6:30-8:30 pm

This course serves as a training workshop for students interested in teaching political science. We will consider such issues as syllabus development, effective learning goals and assessment strategies, lecture preparation, grading practices, and creating an appropriate classroom environment. We will also discuss aspects of the profession such as going on the job market, the transition from graduate education to a faculty position, writing a curriculum vitae, and mentoring students. In addition to our pedagogical inquiries, students will be introduced to their colleagues who are already teaching on the campuses, as well as to the Chairs of the departments where they will be assigned.

Fall 2014

American Political Thought, Professor Fontana, PSC 72100, 3 credits, Mondays 6:30 – 8:30 pm

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. Thus American political thought is 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 equality, despotism and slavery, liberalism and republicanism, democracy and elitism, individualism and community, universalism and nationalism. Download syllabus

 

 

American Politics, Professor Lipsitz, PSC 72000, 3 credits, Wednesdays 2:00 – 4:00 pm

This seminar provides an introduction to classic and contemporary studies in American politics. It is designed for graduate students, especially those who plan to take the American politics field exam. The semester will be organized around two central themes: institutions (e.g. Congress, the Presidency, and the media) and behavior (e.g. political participation and public opinion), beginning with the former. By the end of the course, students will have a basic familiarity with many of the fundamental works in the subfield, understand the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to studying the American political system, and be familiar with many of debates that have animated and continue to animate research in the discipline. Download syllabus

 

 

The Modern Presidency: FDR to Obama, Professor Renshon, PSC 82001, 4 credits, Wednesdays 6:30 – 8:30 pm

The American presidency holds a central, if paradoxical position in American politics. Since its creation, supporters for a strong presidency have viewed it as the source of “energy,” “decision,” and “activity” in American political life. And, over time, the modern presidency has amassed much power while becoming a singular focus of public expectations.
Yet, it has become increasingly clear that how the president exercises that power is just as important as having it. Moreover, simply accruing power doesn’t necessarily translate into effective political leadership.
Using policy, politics, leadership and public expectations as four core frames of analysis, this course examines how and why the modern presidency developed as it did from a revered to a contested institution. We will examine how the men who occupied the office shaped it, tried to make use of it, in some cases misused it, and in others were undone by it.

Among the topics to be covered are: the continuing debate about the resurgence of “big government;” the nature of America’s role in the international system after 9/11;” the changing nature of presidential leadership; issues of governance in a divided electorate; and how modern presidents have tried to navigate the increasingly fractured relationship between wining office, governing the country and finding common policy ground.

 

 

New Media & Politics, Professor Arbour, PSC 72001, 3 credits, Thursdays 4:15 – 6:15 pm.

The media world has changed greatly over the last generation–the internet, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Cable news (Fox News, MSNBC, Al-Jazeera, etc. These changes in media content and delivery have thus changed how individuals interact with the news and how politicians and other political actors interact with the public. New Media & Politics examines these changes in the media world and pays particular attention to how these changes change and/or alter classic theories of media effects. The course focuses primarily on American politics, but will also touch on new media in comparative perspective. Download syllabus

The Dark Side of Democracy, Professor Markovitz, PSC 87800, 4 credits, Mondays 4:15 – 6:15 pm

Winston Churchill famously declared: “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.” The Federalist authors proclaimed that they did not want to create “an elected despotism”. De Tocqueville was terrified by the inevitability of the spread of equality. Clinton Rositer maintained that the American Presidency was “a matrix for dictatorship”. Democracies are not supposed to go to war with each other. However, at least some democracies in modern times have been associated with extremist policies in war and peace. Among the questions this seminar will consider are:  Is there an association between democracy and ethnic cleansing? Do democratic institutions facilitate genocide? Are there complex processes that push democratic constituencies in murderous directions? Is “empowerment” of the “people” always progressive? How do ordinary people behave during the breakdown of democracy? Does greater equality make societies stronger? Why and when do democratic institutions and procedures produce growing inequality? How is democracy gendered? Is democracy no better than competitive authoritarianism? Does democracy inevitably supersede or does it accommodate oligarchy? What are the forces of globalization that impact processes of democratization? What are the limits and dangers of the internet in confronting authoritarian regimes? Download syllabus

 

 

Latin American Politics, Professor Ungar, PSC 77902, 3 credits, Tuesdays 6:30 – 8:30 pm.

 

 

Basic Theories & Concepts of Comparative Politics Part I, Professor Woodward, PSC 77901, 3 credits Tuesdays 4:15 – 6:15 pm

Students are strongly encouraged to take this course the first semester in their graduate program, if at all 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 will be on concept formation, theoretical approaches, theory formulation, and competing theories, not on theory testing or verification.

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, but the foundation comes first.

Requirements including reading the assigned material prior to each class meeting, participation in class discussion, three brief written essays summarizing and analyzing the readings on one substantive topic, and a final examination.

International Organizations, Professor Andreopoulos, PSC 76200, 3 credits, Wednesdays 6:30 – 8:30 pm.

This course will introduce students to the theoretical and empirical study of international organizations. More specifically, the course will critically examine the different theoretical perspectives in International Relations and International Law for understanding the emergence, growth, diversity and effects of international organizations on world politics. In this context, the course will look at the internal workings of specific organizations and how they work 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.

 

 

Security Studies, Professor Liberman, PSC 76400, 3 credits, Thursdays 4:15 – 6:15 pm

This course provides a survey of the field of international security studies, focusing on the control and use of force among states and transnational actors. It addresses questions such as: What are the leading causes war and peace, and have these changed over time? What is the utility of military force for deterrence, coercion, reputations for credibility, halting civil wars, and nation-building? What determines alliance formation and other security strategies, and what are their consequences for their security and for international stability. When and why do states opt for self-defeating strategies, and what political, psychological, and cultural factors lead states to choose badly? How do nuclear weapons affect international conflict?

Requirements for the course include active in-class participation, oral presentations, papers synthesizing course readings and developing a research design, and a timed exam modeled after the international security section of the IR First Exam. The course is designed to provide useful preparation for research in the field, for conducting security policy analysis, and for the IR First Exam. Download syllabus

 

 

Basic Concepts and Theories of International Relations, Professor Shirkey, PSC 76000, 3 credits, Mondays 6:30 – 8:30 pm

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the different theories and concepts that scholars use to understand and explain world politics. The course examines the major theories in the field of International Relations (IR) and some of the central theoretical debates. Throughout the course, the relevance of specific theories and theory in general for how we make sense of world politics will be critically assessed. The focus of this course, however, will be theoretical rather than empirical. Thus, each class will be devoted to an in-depth discussion of a different theoretical perspective in IR, focusing on its key concepts, foundational assumptions, and central arguments. Download syllabus

 

 

Humanitarian Politics, Professor Weiss, PSC 86401, 4 credits, Tuesdays 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Over the last two centuries, and more particularly over the quarter century, we have witnessed an impressive expansion of organized humanitarianism, or the institutionalization of the desire to reduce the suffering of others. Efforts in war zones, the focus here, are considerably more fraught than those where natural disasters have struck. There is now a network of states, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) along with private military companies and transnational corporations that populate the international humanitarian marketplace. Their existence has helped to create and been nourished in turn by a complex array of norms and legal principles. This network and the normative fabric have resulted in something that resembles a “system” of global humanitarian governance—that is, humanitarian action is organized to help protect and assist distant strangers, and more recently to address the causes of suffering as well. The intertwining of compassion and governance, however, signals that humanitarianism is more complicated than merely helping those in need. After all, “isms” invariably are less pure in practice than in theory. Responding with the heart requires responding with the head as well.

This course examines the history as well as the domestic and international politics that undergird the ideas, social movements, and organizations designed to regulate the conduct of war, to improve the welfare of those victimized by armed conflicts, and to prosecute war criminals. Beginning with a look at the political, philosophical, and ethical underpinnings to humanitarian thought, the seminar concentrates on the emergence of the international humanitarian system, and more specifically still international humanitarian law and aid agencies. With these foundations in mind, the class then examines the behavior of agencies and the outcomes of their actions in specific crises as well as the value of legal mechanisms in constraining the use of force and in holding violators of law accountable. We begin with the nineteenth century and continue to the present but emphasize the post-Cold War period. In particular, case-by-case analyses of crises since 1989 help inform the overall study of trends in the humanitarian sector and illustrate contemporary challenges.  We also take up innovations such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P). Finally, the seminar evaluates the current system of protection and delivery as well as its future in light of “new wars” and “new humanitarianisms.” Download syllabus

Critical Reason: The Basics, Professor Buck-Morss, PSC 80301, 4 credits, Tuesdays 2:00 – 4:00 pm

This course deals with basic concepts and problems of Western Critical Theory. The readings focus on three key authors: Kant, Hegel and Adorno. Philosophy is considered from the perspective of the political. Concepts include: critical reason, transcendental claims, phenomenology, dialectics, non-identity, materialist metaphysics, history, causality, and freedom.  Students who are non-specialists are encouraged to read extremely difficult texts (Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, Hegel’s Phenomenology, Adorno’s Lectures on History and Freedom) with the goal of developing critical capacities for concrete, historical analyses of political, social and economic life. The challenge is to make the concepts of the readings meaningful for contemporary projects of critique. Seminar requirements: sustained, active seminar participation, one short midterm paper, and one final paper (or exam option). Download syllabus

 

 

Biopolitics, Professor Currah, PSC 80302 (Cross Listed with WSCP 81000 ), 4 credits, Mondays 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Governments kill, but they foster life as well. States attend to the health of their populations by counting and measuring inhabitants (vital statistics), by regulating the health of the population, by tracking them through the issuance of identity documents,  by marking life passages with birth certificates, marriage certificates, and death certificates. After setting out the theoretical scaffolding of biopolitics, we will examine technologies of power and the development of mechanisms for governing the life, health, and death of populations by exploring their operation in particular institutions and discourses such as public health, immigration, surveillance apparatuses, and human security studies. We will read theories of biopower and apply those theories to issues such as reproduction and reproductive technologies, biocitizenship and genetic testing, legal and social constructions of citizenship, terror, security, surveillance, homelessness, and incarceration. This course will center feminist, anti-racist, queer and post-colonial perspectives on biopolitics. Download syllabus

 

 

Cosmopolitanism and Sovereignty, Professor Dahbour, PSC 80304 (Cross Listed with PHIL 77800), 3 credits, Tuesdays 6:30 – 8:30 pm

In the last generation, the conceptualization of global justice has been the paramount concern of many, if not most, political philosophers. This course explores the problem of global justice in terms of what has become the most contentious issue between its adherents and critics. This issue is about what relation obtains between the cosmopolitan ideals underlying the goal of global justice and the norm of sovereignty that legitimates and/or constrains global political actors (e.g., states, corporations, international institutions).

We will ask the following questions about this relation. Is global justice—understood as the establishment of an equitable global distribution of income and resources, based on interpersonal comparisons—realizable and/or desirable? Does its realization entail the “end of sovereignty” or the creation of a new type of sovereignty regime? And, is the possible achievement of global (distributive) justice a sufficient justification for the violation of the self-determination rights of peoples that sovereignty claims are designed to protect? Finally, if the project of global justice fails, what are some alternative characterizations of global ethics, and how might they affect the relation between cosmopolitan values and sovereignty regimes?

The course will be divided into 4 sections. First, we engage in a preliminary clarification of the concepts of cosmopolitanism and sovereignty. The varieties of cosmopolitanism will be examined, as well as their relation both to other forms of internationalism, and to recent theorizations of globalization. Definitions of sovereignty, including its relation to the value of political self-determination, will be compared. Criticisms of both—e.g., the alleged complicity of cosmopolitanism with illegitimate military interventions, and the use of the sovereignty doctrine to legitimate authoritarian regimes—will be discussed. Possible readings: J. H. Hinsley, Robert Jackson, Christopher Morris, John Gray, Daniel Philpott.

Second, the debate about global justice will be examined, both through some classic, and some recent, statements. We will explore how the cosmopolitanism-sovereignty problem manifests itself in answering the following questions. How are global interpersonal comparisons to be made? Who can make legitimate claims on which resources? What institutional mechanisms are necessary to equalize incomes globally, and how can their authority be legitimated? Readings: Charles Beitz, Eric Mack, David Miller, Thomas Nagel, Richard Miller, Gillian Brock.

Third, alternative conceptions of global ethics that downplay or reject the idea of global distributive justice will be examined. In particular, notions of universal human rights, international legal reform, and the ethics of sustainable development will be discussed. We will consider such questions as the following. Can a robust notion of human rights be justified that will provide a universal standard of political legitimacy? Are there legal reforms that could help to ameliorate the inequalities of power and wealth between states? And is there a model of development that can deal with both local and global barriers to sustainability? Readings: Hannah Arendt, John Rawls, Amartya Sen, Allen Buchanan, Douglas Husak, Vandana Shiva, Thomas Pogge.

Finally, if there is time, we will consider whether a reconstruction of the sovereignty doctrine itself can provide a means for aiding economic development and strengthening political self-determination in struggles against hegemonic states, banks, and other powerful global institutions. We will consider some models, ranging from the European Union to anti-E.U. activism, food sovereignty struggles, and indigenous rights movements. Readings: Susan George, John Agnew, Jean Cohen, John McCormick, Seyla Benhabib.

The course is designed both to introduce students with limited background in political philosophy to some of the most exciting recent debates in global ethics, and to enable advanced students with knowledge of the field to identify promising directions for future research.

 

Modern Political Thought, Professor Mehta, PSC 80304, 4 credits, Wednesdays 2:00 – 4:00 pm

This course will be an introduction to the study of modern political philosophy organized around classic texts by Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and Hegel.  The questions that will structure this course will include:

What do the various philosophers take to be the underlying motivations and contexts for the formation of political society?

How do these motivations and contexts conform with the normative and institutional prescriptions that are proposed?

What are the limits of legitimate political authority, and what are the philosophical justifications for them?

What are the justifications underlying the various proposed institutional arrangements?

Finally, does the organizing of political life as advanced by these philosophers do violence to other conceptions of human potentiality? Download syllabus

 

 

The Political Theory of Capitalism, Professor Robin, PSC 80303, 4 credits, Wednesdays 4:15 – 6:15 pm

In this course we’ll examine the classics of political economy in order to assess whether capitalism has (or can have) a political theory, and if so, what that political theory is. We will be especially interested in how political economy as an idiom translates or sublimates some perennial themes of political theory: authority, obedience, consent, fortuna. Specific topics to be considered will include: the nature of value; labor as a mode of obedience and action; rent and profit as distinctive political modes of accumulation; slavery and imperialism; risk. We’ll also be interested in whether and how capitalism reproduces aristocracy and dynastic accumulations of wealth and power. We will open with programmatic readings from Arendt and Albert Hirschman and close with a reading of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Along the way we’ll read Smith, Malthus, Ricardo, Mill, Marx, Schumpeter, Luxemburg, Keynes, and Hayek. With perhaps some supplemental readings about slavery in the Old South. Download syllabus

 

 

Politics of Enlightenment, Professor Rosenblatt, PSC 71901 (Cross Listed with HIST 71000), 3 credits, Thursdays 4:15 – 6:15 pm

Since the mid 20th century, the Enlightenment has been under attack for a variety of purported sins, including Eurocentrism, imperialism, racism, sexism, and proto-totalitarianism. In fact, Enlightenment-bashing has become such a popular sport that many intellectuals are now feeling the need to “rescue,” “reclaim” and “redeem” it for the progressive goals they say were at its core.  In this course, we will read texts by some of the most important political writers of the Enlightenment (Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Ferguson, Jefferson and Wollstonecraft) with a focus on the following themes: the social contract and the role of government, property and commerce, race and slavery, women and religion. We will also read recent critiques and defenses of the Enlightenment, with a view to deciding for ourselves whether it is worth “reclaiming”.

 

 

The Outcome of Classical German Philosophy: From Hegel to Adorno, Professor Wolin, PSC 71902 (Cross Listed with HIST 72400), 3 credits, Mondays 4:15 – 6:15 pm

In 1886, Friedrich Engels wrote a perfectly mediocre book, Ludwig Feuerbach and the Outcome of Classical German Philosophy, which nevertheless managed to raise a fascinating and important question that is still being vigorously debated today: how should we go about evaluating the legacy of German Idealism following the mid-nineteenth century breakdown of the Hegelian system? For Engels, the answer was relatively simple: the rightful heir of classical German philosophy was Marx’s doctrine of historical materialism. But, in truth, Engels’ response was merely one of many possible approaches. Nor would it be much of an exaggeration to claim that, in the twentieth-century, there is hardly a thinker worth reading who has not sought to define him orherself via a confrontation with the heritage of Kant and Hegel.

Our approach to this extremely rich material will combine a reading of the canonical texts of German Idealism (e.g., Kant and Hegel) with a sustained and complementary focus on major twentieth-century thinkers who have sought to establish their originality via a critical reading of Hegel and his heirs: Alexandre Kojève, Georges Bataille, Jean Hyppolite, Jacques Derrida, MichelFoucault, Theodor Adorno, and Jürgen Habermas. But we will also seek acknowledge the importance of the contemporary North American Hegel renaissance, as exemplified by the work of philosophers such as Robert Pippin, Michael Forster, Terry Pinkard, and Allen Wood.

In his “Discourse on Language” Foucault warns us appositely that, “Truly to escape Hegel involves an exact appreciation of the price we have to pay to detach ourselves from him. It assumes that we are aware of the extent to which Hegel, insidiously perhaps, is close to us; it implies a knowledge that permits us to think against Hegel, of that which remains Hegelian. Thus we have to determine the extent to which our anti-Hegelianism is possibly one of his tricks directed against us, at the end of which he stands, motionless, waiting for us.” Foucault’s insightful caveat will, in many respects, function as our interpretive watchword as we seek to decode and reconstruct the legacy of German Idealism and its most significant contemporary heirs.

European Union & Public Policy, Professor Altenstetter, PSC 83505 (Cross Listed with IDS 81620), 4 credits, Tuesdays 4:15 – 6:15 pm

The area of EU studies is characterized by diverse scholarship with complex disciplinary and subfield boundaries. A primary objective of this course is to learn from contemporary scholarship on EU policymaking and institution-building in order to advance our understanding of both the politics of policymaking within a two-tiered governance system and the rapidly emerging new forms of transnational governance.

European transnational governance is driven by extraordinarily complex yet interconnected and mutually reinforcing dynamics that result in major transformations of government and public administration within the 28 member states. To understand the roots of these dynamics, the course will begin with the historical foundations of European integration, followed by an in-depth study of several new policy-making models alien to the conventional model of a nation-state. In addition, we will discuss the different paths and timing of EU membership and explore the extent to which this affects domestic transformation processes. Finally, we will address the growing Europeanization of public affairs both at the EU and national levels, combined with the limited ability of EU institutions to enforce compliance with EU policy objectives and/or monitor policy implementation at the member state level.

The European Union faces tremendous challenges in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis: the rise of anti-European Union populist sentiments, the growing strength of Euro-skeptics and increasing anti-immigrant movements, as well as the transformation of the labor market and rising economic inequalities in the 28 member states. Whatever the results of the forthcoming European elections in May 2014, the top leadership of the EU institutions will change, including who fills the roles of president of the Commission, the term-limited president of the Council and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs.  Will the new leadership further promote technical rule-making via so-called implementing and delegated acts, changing the nature of policy-making of their predecessors and abnegating more responsibilities to the member states? These and other issues are of concern to this seminar.

The course will be conducted as a research seminar. It is interdisciplinary in scope (political science, law, and public administration), comprehensive in subject matter, and pursues a comparative/international tenor. Students will be challenged to conduct original research on salient issues of public policy and reevaluate time-tested social science theories and methods in the context of the rapidly changing policy and institutional developments in the European Union. Members of the seminar are encouraged to select a topic for their research focus in this class that may eventually become an M.A. thesis or part of a Ph.D. thesis, and present their on-going research to the class. Students are expected to discuss substantive and methodological problems they encounter in both the context of EU scholarship, as well as in the context of rigorous research in general.

 

 

Social Welfare Policy, Professor Gornick, PSC 72500 (Cross Listed with SOC 85902  & WSCP 81000), 3 credits, Wednesdays 4:15 – 6:15 pm

This course will examine social welfare policy in the United States, in both historical and cross-national perspective.

The course will begin with an overview of the development of social welfare policy in the U.S. We will focus on three important historical periods: the Progressive Era, the New Deal, and the War on Poverty. We will end the first section with a review of developments in the tumultuous 1990s.

Second, we will assess “the big picture” of the American welfare state, through the lens of its underlying institutional framework.

Third, we will survey selected areas of social policy provision, such as anti-poverty policy; health policy; employment-related social policy; social policy for the elderly; and/or work-family reconciliation policies. In each of these policy areas, we will assess current provisions and evaluate contemporary debates, integrating political, sociological, and economic perspectives.

In the final section of the course, we will assess selected social policy lessons from Europe, where provisions are typically much more extensive than they are in the U.S.  We will close by analyzing the question of “American exceptionalism” in social policy, and will assess a range of institutional, ideological, and demographic explanations. Download Social Welfare syllabus

 

 

Intro to Public Policy, Professor Krinsky, PSC 73100, 3 credits, Thursdays 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Download syllabus

 

Income Inequality: from National to Global, Professor Milanovic, PSC 72500 (Cross Listed with IDS 81650 & SOC 82800), 3 credits, Wednesdays 6:30 – 8:30 pm

The objective of this course will be to analyze inequality from an inter-disciplinary perspective. The course will first review varied approaches that aim to explain the movement of within-national inequalities: from Pareto’s “iron law” (which was anything but “iron”), Kuznets’ inverted U-curve,  and Tinbergen’s “race” between education and technology, to Piketty’s “political theory of income concentration”.  The second part of the course will assess the evolution of income differences across countries in the world, and in particular between developed and developing countries. In the third part, these two types of inequalities (i.e., within-national and cross-national) will be considered jointly as global inequality. 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. The class will end with an overview of positions of various political philosophers  (e.g., Rawls, Pogge, Nagel) about  global inequality. 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. Download syllabus.

 

 

Urban Policy, Professors Mollenkopf & Fortner, PSC 72500 (Cross Listed with SOC  82800), 3 credits, Mondays 4:15 – 6:15 pm

Urban life has changed dramatically over the last 50 years as big central cities have evolved from industrial production, blue collar workers, and machine politics, through deindustrialization, suburbanization, and racial succession, to a new period in which information-era service activities, high technology, immigration, and globalization are once more reshaping the metropolitan terrain.  Using New York City as a case in point, this course begins with an overview of the pressing problems now facing cities and the possible responses that national, state, and local governments are considering, or should be considering, in response.  It will then turn to an in-depth analysis of four basic issue areas in New York City: i) crime, policing, public safety, and the neighborhood impacts of high levels of incarceration; ii) rent burdens, housing production, and expanding the supply of social housing; and iii) the neighborhood impacts of the environmental crisis and responses that build social as well as physical resilience. Students will expect to undertake an in-depth investigation of one of these topics. Download syllabus

 

 

Urban Policy, Professor Palk, PSC 72500 (Cross Listed with SOC 84505), 3 credits, Wednesdays 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Quantitative Methods for Policy Research, Professor Lewis, PSC 71700, 3 credits, Mondays 2:00 – 4:00 pm

 

Core Seminar in Political Science, Professor Cole, PSC 71000, 3 credits, Thursdays 2:00 – 4:00 pm

This course provides students with a broad introduction to the discipline of political science.  Organized around general themes (e.g., power, hegemony, globalization, migration, development, identity, rights), each section of the course will expose students to the theories, literature, and methodologies found in the traditional sub-fields of the discipline, i.e., American Politics, Political Theory, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Public Policy.  The class is required for all new MA students and recommended for first year doctoral students.

css.php
Need help with the Commons? Visit our
help page
Send us a message
Skip to toolbar