Department of Political Science
- Bernard Harcourt
- John J. Brehm
- Cathy Cohen
- Michael Dawson
- Robert Gooding-Williams
- J. Mark Hansen
- Bernard Harcourt, Law
- Gary Herrigel
- William Howell, Public Policy
- Charles Lipson
- John McCormick
- John J. Mearsheimer
- J. Eric Oliver
- John F. Padgett
- Robert Pape
- Bernard S. Silberman
- Nathan Tarcov, Social Thought
- Lisa Wedeen
- Dali Yang
- Linda Zerilli
- Patchen Markell
- Sankar Muthu
- Jennifer Pitts
- Gerald N. Rosenberg
- Dan Slater
- Michael Albertus
- Julie Cooper
- Iza Hussin
- Stanislav Markus
- Tianna Paschel
- Alberto Simpser
- Betsy Sinclair
- Paul Staniland
- Leonard Binder
- David Easton
- Morton A. Kaplan
- Norman H. Nie
- Lloyd Rudolph
- Susanne Rudolph
- William Sewell
- Duncan Snidal
- Ronald Suny
- Elisabeth Clemens
- Jean Bethke Elshtain
- Thomas Ginsburg
- Roger Myerson
- Martha Nussbaum
- Moishe Postone
The Department of Political Science offers a course of study leading to the Ph.D. degree. A departmental faculty committee makes admission decisions based on an assessment of all the material required in the University application: biographical data, statement of interests and goals in graduate school, transcripts of grades, letters of recommendation, Graduate Record Examination aptitude scores, and a brief writing sample. Committee members want to know what applicants find intellectually exciting and why applicants want to study at the University of Chicago.
The department is committed to training doctoral students in political science broadly conceived. We believe that the best work in political science often crosses subfields and disciplines. Our aim is to help students develop and pursue their intellectual interests while grounding them in the various approaches and methodologies that characterize the discipline. The program requirements mix research papers, coursework, and exams so that students can achieve these goals as they proceed expeditiously towards the Ph.D. degree.
The Graduate Program
For purposes of course distribution and comprehensive exams, the department offers courses and exams in five fields. At present, they are theory, American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and methodology. To meet the course distribution requirement, students must complete three courses in each of three fields. Overall, twelve courses taken for quality grades are required by the end of the sixth quarter.
In the first year students are required to take PLSC 30500 Introduction to Data Analysis and write a research paper as part of the normal writing requirement of a class. The most important project in the first two years is the master’s paper, a piece of original research that is modeled on a journal article and addresses an important research question or debate.
Students are required to pass comprehensive exams in two fields. The exams are offered twice a year (with the exception of the comparative politics exam, which is scheduled on an individual basis) and they may be taken at any point but the final deadline by which the exams must be taken is the beginning of the seventh quarter (normally autumn quarter of the third year).
Practical pedagogical experience is a program requirement. To satisfy the requirement, students can serve as teaching assistants in undergraduate lecture courses and in the department's methodology sequence. A few advanced graduate students, selected as Grodzins Prize Lecturers, offer their own undergraduate courses. There are also opportunities to serve as teaching interns and instructors in the College's undergraduate core curriculum and as preceptors who assist the undergraduate majors with the writing of B.A. papers.
After completing courses and exams, students turn to the Ph.D. dissertation. The first step is a dissertation proposal that briefly outlines the research question, significance, argument, and method of the dissertation. PLSC 50000 The Dissertation Proposal Seminar, required in the autumn quarter of the third year, is a weekly seminar devoted solely to the presentation and collective discussion of several drafts of each student’s dissertation proposal. The proposal must be approved by a committee of three faculty who agree to supervise the dissertation research and present the proposal for departmental approval.
Although advanced graduate research and writing is often a solitary enterprise, students in the department also typically continue to participate in one or more workshops, which are mainly devoted to students' presentation of research in progress for discussion and constructive criticism. Political science students participate in workshops devoted to American Politics, Comparative Politics, East Asia, Political Economy, Political Psychology, Political Theory, International Relations, and International Security Policy to name just a few. There are many other interdisciplinary workshops throughout the University ranging from Law and Economics, to Gender and Sexuality, to Russian Studies, all of which are open to political science students.
Upon receiving final approval of the dissertation by the members of the dissertation committee, the candidate gives a formal presentation based on the dissertation. Following the presentation, which is open to the public, the candidate is questioned by an examining committee of three faculty members.
For more information about current faculty, students, requirements, and courses, consult the department webpage at http://political-science.uchicago.edu/ .
Information on How to Apply
The application process for admission and financial aid for all Social Sciences graduate programs is administered through the divisional Office of the Dean of Students. The Application for Admission and Financial Aid, with instructions, deadlines, and department specific information is available online at: https://apply-ssd.uchicago.edu/apply/ . Most admissions materials can be uploaded into the admission application.
Questions pertaining to admissions and aid should be directed to email@example.com or (773) 702-8415. All correspondence and materials that cannot be uploaded should be mailed to:
The University of Chicago
Division of the Social Sciences
Admissions Office, Foster 105
1130 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
For teaching purposes the subject matter of political science has been divided into the following fields of advanced study: political theory, American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and methodology. These fields are thought of not as separate compartments but as broad and flexible areas of specialization. Ph.D. candidates with interest in the governments of particular geographical areas may specialize in those areas by combining work in political science with relevant courses from other departments.
Field I. Political Theory
The field of political theory deals with the basic problems of politics with respect to both substance and method. It is therefore regarded as the foundation for work in all other areas of political science. It is concerned with three orders of problems: with alternative theories relating to the way people act in political affairs; with alternative standards in terms of which policy may be judged; and with alternative kinds of models and methods for pursuing political research.
Field II. American Politics
The field of American politics deals with the organization, distribution, and orientation of political power in American society. The major items of emphasis are the development of American political thought, the political behavior of individuals, groups, and governmental institutions, elections, and the formation and execution of public policy. Attention is paid both to the present state of the American political system and to its historical roots.
Field III. Comparative Politics
The field of comparative politics examines phenomena such as state formation, democracy, nationalism, economic organization, revolution, and social movements across time and space. One approach to these phenomena is to develop expertise in a particular era or area, and then to interpret the distinctive political processes and outcomes coming from that context. Another approach is to examine a set of cases in the search for valid generalizations about political phenomena that span across regions or historical eras. A third approach is to rely on formal theory to specify universal mechanisms or processes, and then to use data from a variety of sources to give credence to the models. All approaches share an assumption that the systematic study of political experience beyond that of the United States is a key ingredient for a discipline that seeks high levels of generality and abstraction.
Field IV. International Relations
The field of international relations is concerned with theoretical and empirical examination of international politics, especially international security and international political economy. Methodological approaches represented by the faculty include historical, case study, quantitative, and mathematical analysis. Workshops provide a common forum within the department for interchange between different questions about and approaches to international politics. In addition, there are important connections to other areas of political science including comparative and American politics, methodology, and political theory. International relations further engages other social science disciplines including international economics, political geography, public policy, and diplomatic history. Students are encouraged to take courses in these and other disciplines, although the department assumes responsibility only for those approaches to the study of international relations which develop the assumptions and utilize the methods employed in the fields of political science. For this field of political science, students are expected to acquire fundamental knowledge of international politics, with special emphasis on international relations theory and research approaches.
Field V. Methodology
The field of methodology is concerned with the quantitative and model building skills required for the study of political phenomena. It consists of introductory sequences of courses in both statistical and mathematical analysis, in addition to a variety of more advanced offerings focusing on specific topics. Applications of these methods in particular research areas will be encountered in a number of courses listed under the appropriate substantive fields. The department offers a comprehensive exam in Methodology by petition only; however, students can meet the requirements for course distribution automatically.
The department website offers descriptions of graduate courses scheduled for the current academic year: http://political-science.uchicago.edu/courses.shtml.
Political Science Courses
PLSC 30200. Political Economy for Public Policy. 100 Units.
This course is designed to serve three interrelated goals. It is an introduction to core concepts in the study of political economy. These concepts include collective action, coordination, and commitment problems; externalities and other forms of market failure; principal-agent relationships; problems of preference aggregation; and agenda setting and voting. The course also introduces basic concepts in game theory, including Nash equilibrium, subgame Perfection, and repeated games. It is not, however, a suitable substitute for a game theory course for doctoral students in the social sciences. Finally, the course provides an overview of some of the key insights from the field of political economy on how institutions shape and constrain the making of public policy, with special attention to various ways in which governments can and cannot be held accountable to their citizens.
Instructor(s): E. Bueno de Mesquita Terms Offered: Fall
Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 30800,INRE 30800
PLSC 30500. Introduction to Data Analysis. 100 Units.
This course is an introduction to the research methods practiced by quantitative political scientists. The first part lays out the enterprise of empirical research: the structure and content of theories, the formulation of testable hypotheses, the logic of empirical tests, and the consideration of competing hypotheses. The second part considers the implementation of empirical research: the potential barriers to valid inferences, the strengths and limitations of research designs, and empirical representations of theoretical constructs. The final part provides hands-on experience with the two kinds of analyses most frequently performed by quantitative political researchers: contingency tables and regression. (E)
Instructor(s): M. Dawson Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Open to Political Science Ph.D. students only.
PLSC 30700. Introduction to Linear Models. 100 Units.
This course will provide an introduction to the linear model, the dominant form of statistical inference in the social sciences. The goals of the course are to teach students the statistical methods needed to pursue independent large-n research projects and to develop the skills necessary to pursue further methods training in the social sciences. Part I of the course reviews the simple linear model (as seen in Stat 220 or its equivalent) with attention to the theory of statistical inference and the derivation of estimators. Basic calculus and linear algebra will be introduced. Part II extends the linear model to the multivariate case. Emphasis will be placed on model selection and specification. Part III examines the consequences of data that is "poorly behaved" and how to cope with the problem. Depending on time, Part IV will introduce special topics like systems of simultaneous equations, logit and probit models, time-series methods, etc. Little prior knowledge of math or statistics is expected, but students are expected to work hard to develop the tools introduced in class. (E)
Instructor(s): J. Brehm Terms Offered: Spring
PLSC 31410. Advanced Theories of Sex/Gender: Ideology, Culture, and Sexuality. 100 Units.
Beginning with the extension of the democratic revolution in the breakup of the New Left, this seminar will expore the key debates (foundations, psychoanalysis, sexual difference, universalism, multiculturalism) around which gender and sexuality came to be articulated as politically significant categories in the late 1980s and the 1990s. (A)
Instructor(s): L. Zerilli Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Completion of GNSE 10100-10200 and GNSE 28505 or 28605 or permission of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 21410,ARTH 21400,ARTH 31400,ENGL 21401,ENGL 30201,GNSE 31400,MAPH 36500
PLSC 33401. Genocide Euro Jews, 1933-1945. 100 Units.
What were the main features of the Jewish society that the Nazis destroyed and what were the conditions of Jewish life in inter-war Europe? Why and how did the genocide occur? Who were the perpetrators? What were the respective roles of the German policy apparatus, of the Germany army, of the Nazi Party, of the state bureaucracy, of ordinary Germans? What were the responses of occupied populations of neutral countries, of the Allies, and of the Jews themselves?
Instructor(s): B. Wassserstein Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 23401,HIST 33401,JWSC 23401,LLSO 28311,PLSC 23401
PLSC 34700. Political Economy of China. 100 Units.
This is a research-oriented seminar for graduate students interested in exploring current research on China and in conducting their own research. Our emphasis will be on the changing nature of the Chinese Party-state, and the relations between state and economy and between state and society. Special attention will be paid to the course, dynamics, and challenges of making reform. China's development will be also considered in comparative perspective and in view of recent developments in political science. Special topics for research may be designated each year. (C)
Instructor(s): D. Yang Terms Offered: Winter
PLSC 34900. American Political Behavior. 100 Units.
This course begins on the premise that individuals are likely to influence each other's political behavior. Canonical work in American political behavior models individual political decisions as though they are independent – this course will challenge this assumption and provide suggestions for alternative models and measurements. This course examines current political science literature on interpersonal influence and works through the theoretical assumptions or models necessary for different behavioral assumptions. The key questions of the course will be to evaluate to what extent individuals influence each other's political behaviors, and when persuasion or influence is possible. When is communication most effective? What types of relationships permit this type of influence and communication? (B)
Instructor(s): B. Sinclair Terms Offered: Winter
PLSC 35000. Race and Politics in the U.S. 100 Units.
Fundamentally, this course is meant to explore how race, both historically and currently, influences politics in the United States. For example, is there something unique about the politics of African Americans? Does the idea and lived experience of whiteness shape one's political behavior? Throughout the quarter, students interrogate the way scholars, primarily in the field of American politics, have ignored, conceptualized, measured, modeled, and sometimes fully engaged the concept of race. We examine the multiple manifestations of race in the political domain, both as it functions alone and as it intersects with other identities such as gender, class, and sexuality. (B)
Instructor(s): C. Cohen, M. Dawson Terms Offered: Winter
PLSC 35500. Public Opinion. 100 Units.
A close examination of techniques employed, categories utilized and assumptions made by contemporary American students of public opinion. Criticism of these approaches from historical, philosophical and comparative perspectives will be encouraged. The course will make little sense to students without at least a background in Data Analysis (PLSC 30500). (B)
Instructor(s): E. Oliver Terms Offered: Autumn
PLSC 35600. Japanese Politics. 100 Units.
This course is a survey of the major aspects of Japanese politics: party politics, bureaucracy, the diet, and political behavior in post-World War II Japan. (C)
Instructor(s): B. Silberman Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 25900
PLSC 35712. Clientelism. 100 Units.
Democratic politics is most often theorized in programmatic terms, playing out along a left-right spectrum or reflecting the public's endorsement or rejection of a government's policies. But, in much of the world, democratic politics adheres to a very different—clientelistic—logic in which votes are bought and sold and politicians win support through the individualized distribution of resources rather than through public policy. This course examines clientelism, defined broadly to include vote-buying, patronage, and machine politics. We will investigate the variety of practices that fall under the rubric of clientelism, how clientelism is practiced, and what causes clientelism. Readings will draw on the experiences of countries in both the developing and developed worlds. (C)
Instructor(s): A. Ziegfeld Terms Offered: Autumn
PLSC 36201. Race, Ethnicity and Politics in Comparative Perspective. 100 Units.
The primary objective of this course is to offer a comparative approach to understanding the relationship between race, inequality, and politics. It focuses primarily on examples from Latin America and the United States, and is organized in three sections. In the first, we explore the relationship between capitalist expansion, the modern-nation, state and the socio-historical construction of "race." In the second section, we explore differences in political elites' approaches to question of race in the period of nation-building. Examining the cases of Cuba, Brazil, Colombia, the U.S. and South Africa, we discuss how different ethno-racial groups were incorporated into, or excluded from, the nation both through legal institutions and nationalist ideologies. In the final section, we analyze the emergence of black and indigenous social movements as a critical response to the failure of the nationalist project. Throughout the course we analyze the different ways race, ethnicity, and identity are understood in these distinct contexts, and also explore how race intersects with other axes of power, such as class and gender. (C)
Instructor(s): T. Paschel Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 36201
PLSC 37000. Law and Politics: U.S. Courts as Political Institutions. 100 Units.
An examination of the ways in which United States courts affect public policy. Questions include: How do the procedures, structures, and organization of the courts affect judicial outcomes? Are there interests that courts are particularly prone to support? What effect does congressional or executive impact, including judicial selection, have on court decisions? What are the difficulties with implementation of judicial decisions? (B)
Instructor(s): G. Rosenberg Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Mandatory preliminary meeting and consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): LAWS 51302
PLSC 37500. Organizational Decision Making. 100 Units.
This course examines the process of decision making in modern, complex organizations (e.g., universities, schools, hospitals, business firms, public bureaucracies). We also consider the impact of information, power, resources, organizational structure, and the environment, as well as alternative models of choice. (B)
Instructor(s): J. Padgett Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 27500
PLSC 37600. War and the Nation State. 100 Units.
The aim of this course is to examine the phenomenon of war in its broader socio-economic context during the years between the emergence of the modern nation-state in the late eighteenth century and the end of World War II. (D)
Instructor(s): J. Mearsheimer Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 27600
PLSC 38100. Russian Politics. 100 Units.
One of the major world powers, Russia commands a nuclear arsenal and vast energy reserves. This course will help us to understand Russia’s political development which is inextricable from the country’s history and economy. After reviewing some milestones in Soviet history, we shall focus on the developments since the fall of the ‘evil empire.’ Political institutions, economy, foreign policy, and social change will all receive some attention. (C)
Instructor(s): S. Markus Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 28100
PLSC 38213. Parties and Elections around the World. 100 Units.
Elections are the defining feature of a democracy, and political parties are an integral part of the electoral process. This course examines political parties and elections, drawing on the experiences of countries around the world. Major topics covered in the course will include the formation and evolution of party systems, the role of parties, partisanship, the origins and consequences of electoral rules, and voting behavior. Readings will focus mainly, though not exclusively, on consolidated democracies. (C)
Instructor(s): A. Ziegfeld Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 28213
PLSC 38500. Recent Literature: The Courts. 100 Units.
This course examines new and recent literature in public law broadly defined. It aims to bring participants in touch with the newest and most exciting work in the public law field and to identify the most promising questions for future research. (B)
Instructor(s): G. Rosenberg Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): PLSC 37000
Equivalent Course(s): LAWS 54402
PLSC 38613. Failed States in International Politics. 100 Units.
This course addresses theories and empirical realities of state weakness and failure in comparative perspective and its implications for international politics in terms of security, human rights, and political transitions. The defining characteristics of statehood and state-society dynamics that contribute to collapse will be the first topic addressed, and will provide the essential theoretical framework from which we can predict and understand the subsequent security and development implications. The second topic will cover the relationship between failed states and repression and violence, specifically those that prompt international intervention. The third topic will address the imminent and perceived transnational threats that stem from state collapse, specifically terrorism. The final topic will cover various engagement and containment options available to the international community to respond to weak and failed states, to both prevent threats and strengthen state-society relations. (D)
Instructor(s): A. Tiemessen Terms Offered: Winter
PLSC 38700. Jewish Political Thought. 100 Units.
The theme for this seminar is Zionism and its Jewish critics. We will devote first half of the quarter to a historical survey of Zionism in its various forms (political, cultural, religious, etc). In the second half of the quarter, we will survey Jewish critiques of and alternatives to Zionism (religious anti-Zionism, post-Zionism, diasporism, etc). We will read these texts with an eye toward theoretical questions regarding the nature of sovereignty and place within traditions of Jewish political thought. (A)
Instructor(s): J. Cooper Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 28700
PLSC 38812. The Politics of International Justice. 100 Units.
This course will address the major theoretical debates and empirical trends in accountability for atrocities and human rights violations and the political dynamics of international justice. By bridging the fields of international relations, law, and comparative politics, students in this course will gain an understanding of the globalization of the rule of law and post-conflict societal transitions from violence to peace. Course topics will focus primarily on international tribunals and the International Criminal Court, with some comparative focus on local and non-judicial mechanisms of justice, and framed by debates of retributive vs. restorative justice and peace vs. justice. The case studies selected will be global in scope but with a sustained focus on Africa. This is a lecture course that is open to upper level undergraduate and graduate students. (D)
Instructor(s): A. Tiemessen Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 28812
PLSC 39800. Introduction to International Relations. 100 Units.
This course introduces main themes in international relations that include the problems of war and peace, conflict and cooperation. We begin by considering some basic theoretical tools used to study international politics. We then focus on several prominent security issues in modern international relations, such as the cold war and post–cold war world, nuclear weapons, nationalism, and terrorism. We also deal with economic aspects of international relations, such as globalization, world trade, environmental pollution, and European unification. (D)
Instructor(s): C. Lipson Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 29000
PLSC 39900. Strategy. 100 Units.
This course covers American national security policy in the post–cold war world, especially the principal issues of military strategy that are likely to face the United States in the next decade. This course is structured in five parts: (1) examining the key changes in strategic environment since 1990, (2) looking at the effects of multipolarity on American grand strategy and basic national goals, (3) focusing on nuclear strategy, (4) examining conventional strategy, and (5) discussing the future of war and peace in the Pacific Rim. (D)
Instructor(s): R. Pape Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 28900
PLSC 40400. Business and State. 100 Units.
This is a graduate level seminar on institutional intersections of business and state and the political role of business. How do firms articulate their agenda in the political arena? How many varieties of capitalism are there? We will also discuss corporate governance, property rights, corruption, and other topics. Examples will be drawn from diverse regional settings. (C)
Instructor(s): S. Markus Terms Offered: Winter
PLSC 40501. Economic Development: Strategies and Institutions. 100 Units.
This is a graduate-level seminar that explores topics in political economy of development. The readings include a mixture of theoretical work on the importance of institutions and the dynamics of institutional change, as well as empirical research on economic reforms and development in Russia, China, and other developing countries. (C)
Instructor(s): S. Markus Terms Offered: Spring
PLSC 40600. Seminar on IR Theory. 100 Units.
The end of the Cold War ushered in a new set of debates about how to study international politics. This course is an introduction to some of those important theoretical approaches and is organized around debate among realism, liberalism, and constructivism and their variants. Seminar discussion will identify and criticize the central arguments advanced by different scholars in order to assess the relative merits of different theoretical perspectives. (D)
Instructor(s): R. Pape Terms Offered: Spring
PLSC 41101. The Politics of Wealth Redistribution. 100 Units.
How do political institutions affect the structure and scope of wealth redistribution initiatives? This graduate seminar will introduce students to the scholarly literature on redistribution, focusing primarily on recent work. We will study the causes and consequences of redistribution, focusing both on the institutions that shape incentives for governments to implement redistribution, as well as the mechanisms, actors, and international conditions that can erode government incentives or capabilities to redistribute. The emphasis of the course will be twofold: rigorously examining the inferences we can draw from existing work, and designing research that can contribute to a better understanding of the fundamental questions regarding redistributive policies. (C)
Instructor(s): M. Albertus Terms Offered: Autumn
PLSC 41500. Nationalism in the Age of Globalization. 100 Units.
Nationalism has been the most powerful political ideology in the world for the past two centuries. This course examines its future in the age of globalization, focusing in particular on the widespread belief that it is an outmoded ideology. Specific topics covered in the course include: the causes of nationalism, its effects on international stability, nationalism and empires, globalization and the future of the state, globalization and national identities, the clash of civilizations, American nationalism, and the clash between Zionism and Palestinian nationalism. (D)
Instructor(s): J. Mearsheimer Terms Offered: Spring
PLSC 41800. Causal Inference. 100 Units.
This is the second course in quantitative methods in the University of Chicago's political science Ph.D. program. The course serves as both an introduction for the mechanisms by which political scientists draw causal inferences using quantitative data as well as an introduction for the basic statistical tools necessary for quantitative research in the social sciences. (E)
Instructor(s): B. Sinclair Terms Offered: Winter
PLSC 42420. Approaches to the History of Political Thought. 100 Units.
This course will examine some of the most influential recent statements of method in the history of political thought, alongside work by the same authors that may (or may not) put those methods or approaches into practice. We will read works by Quentin Skinner, Reinhart Koselleck, J.GA. Pocock, Leo Strauss, Sheldon Wolin, Michael Oakeshott, Michel Foucault, and David Scott among others, with some emphasis on writings about Hobbes and questions of sovereignty and the state. (E)
Instructor(s): J. Pitts Terms Offered: Spring
PLSC 42515. The Political Nature of the American Judicial System. 100 Units.
This course aims to introduce students to the political nature of the American legal system. In examining foundational parts of the political science literature on courts conceived of as political institutions, the seminar will focus on the relationship between the courts and other political institutions. The sorts of questions to be asked include: Are there interests that courts are particularly prone to support? What effect does congressional or executive action have on court decisions? What impact do court decisions have? While the answers will not always be clear, students should complete the course with an awareness of and sensitivity to the political nature of the American legal system. (B)
Instructor(s): G. Rosenberg Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 22515,LLSO 24011
PLSC 43100. Maximum Likelihood. 100 Units.
The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the estimation and interpretation of maximum likelihood, a statistical method which permits a close linkage of deductive theory and empirical estimation. Among the problems considered in this course include: models of dichotomous choice, such as turnout and vote choice; models of limited categorical data, such as those for multi-party elections and survey responses; models for counts of uncorrelated events, such as executive orders and bookburnings; models for duration, such as the length of parliamentary coalitions or the tenure of bureaucracies; models for compositional data, such as allocation of time by bureaucrats to task and district vote shares; and models for latent variables, such as for predispositions. The emphasis in this course will be on the extraction of information about political and social phenomena, not upon properties of estimators. (E)
Instructor(s): J. Brehm Terms Offered: Autumn
PLSC 43600. The Political Thought of W. E. B. Du Bois. 100 Units.
The seminar will concentrate on three of Du Bois's books: The Souls of Black Folk (1903), Darkwater (1920), and Dusk of Dawn (1940). Through close readings of these carefully wrought works, we will concentrate on the relationship between Du Bois's political thought and his conceptualization of race at different stages of his intellectual and activist career. We will also pay attention to Du Bois’s retrospective self-criticisms, and to his reliance on fictional and other genres of writing to articulate his thinking. (A)
Instructor(s): R. Gooding-Williams Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 23600
PLSC 43601. Domination and Justice. 100 Units.
An examination of domination-centered theories of justice, including work by Iris Marion Young, Phillip Pettit, Rainer Forst, and Frank Lovett. (A)
Instructor(s): R. Gooding-Williams Terms Offered: Spring
PLSC 43820. Plato's REPUBLIC. 100 Units.
This course is devoted to reading and discussion of Plato’s Republic and some secondary work with attention to justice in the city and the soul, war and warriors, education, theology, poetry, gender, eros, and actually existing cities.
Instructor(s): Nathan Tarcov Terms Offered: Winter 2013
Prerequisite(s): Undergrad course by consent
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 29503,SCTH 31770
PLSC 44612. Political Economy of Corruption and Development. 100 Units.
This course is a graduate-level seminar covering recent theoretical and empirical research, organized around the following questions. First, what are the consequences of corruption for socio-economic development? Does corruption help or hinder it? Second, what are the causes of corruption? Is corruption affected by political and economic institutions, regime type, bureaucracy, resource endowments, or culture? Third, why has corruption varied over time within a country or state? On the empirical side, the course will emphasize issues of measurement and inference: how can one draw reliable conclusions about these questions, and what are the pitfalls along the way? The empirical readings encompass qualitative, quantitative, observational, and experimental approaches. (C)
Instructor(s): A. Simpser Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 44612
PLSC 44810. Hannah Arendt: From Kantian Aesethetics to the Practice of Political Judgment. 100 Units.
The third volume of Hannah Arendt's The Life of the Mind was never written. As her editor, Mary McCarthy, observed: "After her death, a sheet of paper was found in her typewriter, blank except for the heading 'Judging' and two epigraphs. Some time between the Saturday of finishing 'Willing' [the second volume of the aforementioned work] and the Thursday of her death, she must have sat down to confront the final section." Fond of quoting McCarthy, commentators have turned the missing volume on Judging into an enigma of spectral proportions. It is said that Arendt's reflections on the faculty of judging suggest a turn away from the vita activa and toward the life of the mind; in short, judging brought Arendt back home to Western philosophy, especially the philosophy of Kant. Arendt's attempt to develop an account of political judgment based on Kant's theory of aesthetic judgment, say critics like Ronald Beiner and Jürgen Habermas, was deeply mistaken, for his transcendental philosophical approach to judgment leads away from the empirical realm and from anything that could possibly be considered political. Even more problematic, so the accusation goes, Arendt's attempt to model political judgment on a non-cognitive aesthetic judgment, (i.e., on a judgment that cannot be demonstrated by proofs and that is only "an example of a rule that we cannot state," as Kant puts it), bypasses the central problem of political judgment, namely the rational adjudication of competing validity claims. In this course we will consider the possibility that Arendt does in fact address the problem of validity (which, with Kant she calls "subjective validity"), with one important caveat: she does not think that validity in itself is the all-important problem or task for political judgment-the affirmation of political community as the realm of human plurality and freedom is. To develop this reading of Arendt, we will examine those aspects of Kant's Critique of Judgment that she neglected, such as the non-cognitive function of productive imagination and the limits of reproductive imagination in the aesthetic of the sublime. In this way we shall also consider the rather different critical view, advanced by postmodern thinkers like Lyotard, that Arendt does not repudiate but rather shares Habermas' attempt to ground political community on a practice of judgment at whose center stands not the demand to create political community anew, but the idea that radical differences of opinion are in principle resolvable by means of proofs. (A)
Instructor(s): L. Zerilli Terms Offered: Autumn
PLSC 44902. Undemocratic Elections. 100 Units.
Certainly many and perhaps most elections, both historically and today, fall short of democratic standards. Much scholarship on elections has focused on the advanced industrial democracies. In this course we will study elections that, by comparison, are quite "imperfect." What are the different ways in which elections are undermined as instruments of accountability? What are the causes of election fraud and manipulation? What are the broader socio-economic consequences of a corrupt electoral system? How do electoral systems characterized by corrupt elections eventually come to hold free and fair elections? Under what conditions are domestic and international pressures to hold free and fair elections effective? We will bring to bear theoretical work, historical case studies and statistical analyses for a range of countries and time periods, from Roman times to the United States in the 19th century to current elections in developing countries. (C)
Instructor(s): A. Simpser Terms Offered: Spring
PLSC 45601. Theories of Capitalism since Veblen. 100 Units.
This course serves as an introduction to the literature on political economy in the twentieth century. Emphasis will be placed on the way in which various authors normatively understand the relationship between politics and economic process. Works by Veblen, Keynes, Hayek, Schumpeter, Mandel, Piore & Sabel, Stiglitz, Lucas, Romer, Krugman and others will be considered. (C)
Instructor(s): G. Herrigel Terms Offered: Spring
PLSC 46001. Sources of Order in International Politics. 100 Units.
This course in international relations theory builds on students' prior graduate training to explore four distinct but overlapping sources of international order: coercion, norms, institutions, and contractual bargains. Students will discuss and critique existing literature in all four areas and write a major paper. The course presumes students have had some prior coursework at the graduate level in international relations theory, security studies, or international political economy. (D)
Instructor(s): C. Lipson Terms Offered: Autumn
PLSC 46201. New Media and Politics. 100 Units.
Throughout history "new media," for better or worse, have on occasion transformed politics. The use of radio to share Roosevelt's fireside chats and of television to broadcast the Civil Rights Movement are recognized as landmark moments when "new media," intersecting with political life, changed the course of political engagement. Today's "new media" (the Internet, digital media production, and computer games) may also radically change how we think about and engage in politics. This course will explore the historical and potential impact of new media on politics. (B)
Instructor(s): C. Cohen Terms Offered: Spring
PLSC 46401. Co-evolution of States and Markets. 100 Units.
This course will focus on the emergence of alternative forms of organization control (e.g., centralized bureaucracy, multiple hierarchies, elite networks, and clientage) in different social structural contexts (e.g., the interaction of kinship, class, nation states, markets and heterodox mobilization). Themes will be illustrated in numerous cross-cultural contexts. (C)
Instructor(s): J. Padgett Terms Offered: Autumn
PLSC 46700. Politics and Religion in Comparison. 100 Units.
With a view to bringing the methodological and theoretical concerns of comparative politics to bear upon analysis of politics and religion, this course will pair readings of foundational thinkers on religion and politics with contemporary scholarship in the field. (C)
Instructor(s): I. Hussin Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Attendance required at first meeting.
PLSC 47000. Politics without Sovereignty? 100 Units.
In recent years, historical circumstances – European integration, unprecedented levels of global migration, the rise of non-state actors, transnational capital flows – have led political theorists to diagnose the waning of state sovereignty. In this moment, political theorists have also attacked "the sovereign subject" as an impossible and destructive philosophical ideal. In this seminar, we will explore the concept of sovereignty – what it has historically meant, why its viability is currently in doubt, and whether it is possible (or advisable) to envision politics without sovereignty. In the course's first section, we will examine classic early modern formulations of sovereignty. In the following weeks, we will explore contemporary critiques of sovereign subjectivity; contemporary analyses of the ostensible crisis of state sovereignty; and contemporary projects to conceive politics without sovereignty. (A)
Instructor(s): J. Cooper Terms Offered: Autumn
PLSC 47600. Castoriadis, Dewey, Creativity, and the Social-Historical. 100 Units.
This course will explore the role of creativity in social theory and social action by creating a conversation between Cornelius Castoriadis, John Dewey and other pragmatism informed contemporary theorists, in particular Roberto Unger. (C)
Instructor(s): G. Herrigel Terms Offered: Winter
PLSC 50705. Law and Political Thought: Punishment. 100 Units.
This course will focus on punishment paradigms-past, present, and future. The United States experienced an exponential increase in its prison population beginning in 1973 and witnessed the collapse of earlier punishment paradigms, such as rehabilitation. At the same time, the early 1970s were marked by severe criticism of the excesses of the criminal justice system and many predictions of the future demise of the prison. This raises a host of questions: What happened in the 1970s that contributed to our present condition of mass incarceration? What is the punishment paradigm that governs the criminal justice system today? And can we envisage a radically different paradigm for the future? This course will explore these questions through readings of the classics of political, social, and legal theory on punishment since the 1970s. Students will be assessed via a substantial research paper and class participation. (A)
Instructor(s): B. Harcourt Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LAWS 70705
PLSC 50901. Qualitative Methods. 100 Units.
This course examines small-N research designs and methods for engaging in qualitative research. We will discuss concept formation, case selection, comparative case studies, process-tracing, combinations with other methods, and the virtues and limitations of different approaches to theory development and causal inference. We will then consider some of the tools that are often associated with qualitative research, including ethnography, interviews, archival work, and historiography. Because other courses in the department and university cover some of these methods in greater depth, this class will particularly emphasize their relationship to research design. (E)
Instructor(s): P. Staniland Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Prior methods coursework (PLSC 30500 or an equivalent) is strongly recommended.
PLSC 51700. Violence and State Formation. 100 Units.
This class examines state control over coercion and the relationship between states and non-state violent actors. The goal is a better understanding of how states manage, manipulate, and monopolize violence, whether through the military, sponsorship of militants at home and abroad, or collusive bargains with local strongmen. An overarching emphasis will be on the intersection of international security pressures with domestic threats and political interests. The unintended consequences and long-term effects of different structures of violence management are also considered. We will draw on a number of disciplines and sources of evidence. The course requires a major research paper. (C)
Instructor(s): P. Staniland Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor.
PLSC 51900. Feminist Philosophy. 100 Units.
The course is an introduction to the major varieties of philosophical feminism: Liberal Feminism (Mill, Wollstonecraft, Okin, Nussbaum), Radical Feminism (MacKinnon, Andrea Dworkin), Difference Feminism (Gilligan, Held, Noddings), and Postmodern "Queer" Feminism (Rubin, Butler). After studying each of these approaches, we will focus on political and ethical problems of contemporary international feminism, asking how well each of the approaches addresses these problems. (I)
Instructor(s): M. Nussbaum Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Undergraduates by permission only.
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 29600,HMRT 31900,LAWS 47701,RETH 41000,PHIL 31900
PLSC 53000. Seminar on Great Power Politics. 100 Units.
The specific aim of this course is to introduce students to some of the key policy issues involving the great powers that dominate the post-Cold War world. Three topics will receive special emphasis: European security, Asian security, and the role of the United States in the larger world after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is expected that all students in the class will be well-versed in international relations theory, and will bring their theoretical insights to bear on the relevant policy issues. The broad goal is to encourage students to appreciate that international relations theory and important policy issues are inextricably linked to each other. (D)
Instructor(s): J. Mearsheimer Terms Offered: Winter
PLSC 53530. The Literature of Empire, 1750-1900. 100 Units.
This course considers the place of literature, broadly construed, in the imperial imagination of the British and French empires. Our range of interests will be broad enough to include, for example: historical narratives of imperial expansion and national consolidation; representations of race and slavery; the relationship of literary representations to political debates over conquest, slavery, imperial trading companies, and global commerce; and attempts in poetry and prose to represent personal experiences, or the "inner life," of empires. We will be reading works by British, Irish, French, and Indian writers such as Laurence Sterne, Samuel Foote, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Denis Diderot, Maria Edgeworth, Lady Morgan, Sir Walter Scott, George Sand, T.B. Macaulay, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, Rabindranath Tagore, and Joseph Conrad. We will also be looking at recent scholarly debates from various disciplinary angles in literary studies, political theory, history, and postcolonial studies. (A)
Instructor(s): J.Pitts, J. Chandler Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CDIN 53530,ENGL 53530
PLSC 57200. Network Analysis. 100 Units.
This seminar explores the sociological utility of the network as a unit of analysis. How do the patterns of social ties in which individuals are embedded differentially affect their ability to cope with crises, their decisions to move or change jobs, their eagerness to adopt new attitudes and behaviors? The seminar group will consider (a) how the network differs from other units of analysis, (b) structural properties of networks, consequences of flows (or content) in network ties, and (c) dynamics of those ties. (E)
Instructor(s): J. Padgett Terms Offered: Winter
PLSC 65200. Comparative Bureaucracy. 100 Units.
An examination and analysis of the theoretical and empirical literature on national-level public and private bureaucratic organizations in Japan, Great Britain and the U.S. (C)
Instructor(s): B. Silberman Terms Offered: Autumn