The M.A. Proseminar, offered each fall and open only to students in the Political Science M.A. program, introduces students to the different subfields of the discipline by presenting various perspectives on one key topic in political science. Throughout the course, both theoretical and empirical debates surrounding the study of democracy are explored.
Although the specific topic may change from year to year, the goal and structure of the course will remain the same: to contribute to the students' understanding of an important topic in political science and discuss it through the lens of the different subfields: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. By doing so, students will also learn the technical language, important concepts, and different methodological approaches of each subfield.
The 2018-19 Proseminar centered on the theme of democracy. Students thought critically about recently published works from theoretical, international, and methodological perspectives, using both international and American contexts to better understand democracy's development and current challenges.
Typically, authors whose works were the subject of each week's discussion attended the class. Students who presented on a specific work were invited to attend lunch with the author, providing further opportunity to engage with thinkers in the field.
Authors and works studied in Fall 2018:
Allison Carnegie, Power Plays: How International Institutions Reshape Coercive Diplomacy. Cambridge University Press, 2015.
Daniel Corstange, The Price of a Vote in the Middle East: Clientelism and Communal Politics in Lebanon and Yemen. Cambridge University Press, 2016.
Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Politics at Work: How Companies Turn Their Workers into Lobbyists. Oxford University Press, 2018.
Gwyneth H. McClendon, Envy in Politics. Princeton University Press, 2018.
Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, How Democracies Die. Crown, 2018.
Tonya L. Putnam, Courts without Borders: Law, Politics, and U.S. Extraterritoriality. Cambridge University Press,2016.
Nadia Urbinati, Democracy Disfigured. Harvard University Press, 2014.