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        Phone: 212.229.5747 x3090
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        Henry Drobbin

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        Begoña Gerling

        Politics Student Handbook (PDF)

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    • Courses in the Department of Politics combine a deep theoretical framework of political ideas with real-world implications. These interdisciplinary courses help students shape a better and more complete understanding of how politics works and why policies work. In these courses, students discuss the personal, national, and global implications of these questions.

      Please consult the New School Course Catalog for a full list of courses. Fall 2019 courses include:

      First Year Politics Seminar, GPOL5100
      Victoria Hattam, Professor of Politics

      The First Year Politics Seminar introduces incoming students to the Politics Department at the New School and to political science as a discipline. Throughout the term, Politics Department faculty in residence at The New School in the fall term, as well as closely affiliated faculty, present their research to the seminar. Assigned readings are provided before the faculty presentations. Every three to four weeks, we hold a reflective session without an external speaker in which the seminar can discuss questions of content and method of individual sessions as well as considering comparisons across presentations. The aim of the seminar is to provide incoming students with an overview of faculty research areas and to identify emerging areas of research. Students are asked to write two short papers (10 to 12 pages each) during the term. One paper calls for a comparative analysis of two texts; the second paper is framed around a political question.

      Violence/Repression/Revolution, GPOL 5177
      Federico Finchelstein, Professor of History

      This graduate course focuses on recent historical approaches to violence, repression, and revolution in modern and contemporary history, with special reference to recent developments in political history, dictatorship, fascism, and the politics of memory. The course approaches these topics from the perspective of Latin American and European history. The seminar also examines the contextual role of symbolic and explicit violence in critical theory and historiography.

      Gender, Politics, and History, GPOL 5233
      Elaine Abelson, Associate Professor of History

      This seminar explores various aspects of women's history and the history of gender in the United States over the past two centuries. The course stresses the themes of difference among women and between women and men as a means of examining the social construction of gender and the logic of feminist analysis and activity. Students discuss the major themes in gender history, develop critical and analytical skills, and gain an understanding of current and ongoing theoretical debates. The course analyzes such key conceptual and methodological frameworks as gender, class, sexuality, power, and race. Thematically organized, readings include both primary and secondary material. Students complete two papers and participate in student-led discussions. Cross-listed with Lang; open to juniors and seniors only.

      Truth, Deception, and Self-Deception in Politics, Philosophy, and the Media, GPOL 5610
      James E. Miller, Professor of Liberal Studies and Politics

      The concept of truth and the virtues of truth telling have played a surprisingly paradoxical role in a variety of cultural settings. This seminar explores that role in literature, political theory, and the practices of modern fact-finding institutions, including journalism. Readings include Oedipus Rex, The Republic by Plato, The Prince by Machiavelli, Hannah Arendt on lying, Jonathan Schell's Time of Illusions (an account of a journalist trying to get to the bottom of the Watergate scandal in the 1970s), and philosophical works debating the value of truth, including works by Richard Rorty and Bernard Williams. We look closely at the actions of Edward Snowden and the media coverage of his NSA revelations as an example of both truth telling and a type of advocacy journalism scornful of claims to “objectivity.” In addition, the class is joined for several sessions by a visiting investigative journalist, who will talk about their experience in trying to discover the truth about a specific event.

      Object Politics, GPOL 6210
      Victoria Hattam, Professor of Politics; Anthony Dunne, University Professor of Design and Social Inquiry; and Fiona Raby, University Professor of Design and Social Inquiry

      This course is aimed at deepening students’ ability to read and decode the politics of the material world currently taking shape around us, especially those parts being consciously designed. The course consists of several interlinked activities: readings on the material culture theory and practices of making, faculty- and student-led seminars focused on close reading of selected (actual) objects, studio-based creative exercises, and visits to studios, museums, and industry labs, where the class hears experts talk about different approaches to working with a range of objects and materialities in various contexts — digital, biotechnological, cultural, etc. Please email designedrealities@newschool.edu if you would like to register for this course, and include a brief outline of your motivation for taking the class and either a writing sample, a PDF of project work, or a link to a portfolio.

      Emotional Life of Politics, GPOL 6610
      Ross Poole 

      According to Montesquieu, each of the three major forms of government has a sustaining principle, a "human passion that sets it in motion." For tyranny, the principle is fear; for monarchy, honor; for a republic, virtue. Montesquieu's analysis provides a springboard for discussing the emotions that play a role in contemporary political life. Of those identified by Montesquieu, fear is most obviously present (even, or especially, in so-called republics), while honor and virtue are notably absent or marginal. However, a number of other emotions are also in play, both in mainstream and oppositional politics. These include nationalism, xenophobia, and racism; anger and resentment; guilt and shame; and melancholia and nostalgia. The concern of the course is primarily political, but it is also conceptual. It is aimed not merely at engaging critically with the role of emotion in political life but also at understanding what emotions — especially "public" emotions — are. Authors discussed include Montesquieu, Aristotle, Hobbes, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Freud, Walter Benjamin, and more recent thinkers such as Judith Butler, Svetlana Boym, and Enzo Traverso.

      Political Theory of Decolonization, GPOL 6215
      Sandipto Dasgupta, Assistant Professor of Politics

      European colonialism, the struggle against it by the colonized, and its continuing legacies have been one of the most significant political phenomena of the 20th century, but the ideals and debates generated by this history remain at the margins of political theory. In this course, we engage in close reading of some of the most significant texts dealing with colonialism, decolonization, and postcolonial futures and reconstruct and engage with the arguments that they advance. Decolonization here is broadly conceived, to include not just the prototypical examples of Asian and African colonization but settler or domestic colonialism directed against indigenous populations. We read texts by political actors and scholars engaged with decolonization (group A), as well as more recent scholarly works (group B). The course invites graduate students to think through the ways in which the political thought generated by decolonization can lead us to revisit familiar concepts of political theory and to suggest new lines of scholarly inquiry.

      Visual, Spatial, and Material Politics, GPOL 6218
      Victoria Hattam, Professor of Politics, and Georgia Traganou, Professor of Architecture and Urbanism

      Our central aim is to explore politics beyond the hegemony of the word and, in doing so, to introduce students to new methods and conceptions of evidence to use in their research. We begin with space and visuality, but over the course of the semester, we introduce questions of materiality, sound, and affect, aiming to explore the ways in which material and performative practices can be used to articulate political arguments. Throughout the class, we consider whether embodied processes are different from the cognitive processes of deliberation necessary for the articulation of verbal political messages. Do they, as Jane Bennett suggests, initiate “moments of sensuous enchantment” that provide “the motivational energy needed to move selves from the endorsement of ethical principles to the actual practice of ethical behaviors”? To ground our explorations, the class focuses on specific political sites broadly conceived, from those of state authority and political dissent to sites of prefigurative politics, where we look for the relations between political economies, material culture, art, and artifacts. Research topics, which might derive from students’ own thesis projects or from the collective interests of students in the class, will be developed into arguments.  

      Modern International Society, GPOL 6429
      Quentin Bruneau, Assistant Professor of Politics

      It is customary to describe the political organization of the world as an international system (or society) of states and to identify its origins with the Peace of Westphalia (1648). Against this familiar story scholars usually juxtapose another familiar story, about the decline of the nation-state, the erosion of sovereignty, and the demise of territoriality in the era of post-cold war globalization. This course assesses the historical accuracy of the Westphalian story and its problems. In so doing, it raises major questions regarding our understanding of the contemporary period: Put simply, we cannot be living in a post-Westphalian world if the world was never organized along Westphalian lines. The course consists of three parts. In the first, we attempt to track the origins of international society across time and space: When and where did modern international society emerge? In this section, we deal with topics such as the origins (European or otherwise) of sovereignty and modern territoriality and their possible links to capitalism. In the next section, we explore the changing normative principles of international society. We deal, for instance, with the popular early modern idea of divisible sovereignty, the rise of a practice of intervention, the shifting place of non-European polities in the law of nations, and the idea that Great Powers have special prerogatives. In the third and final section, we examine the transformation of three key institutions of international society: diplomacy, international law, and war. The course ends by asking how best to interpret 20th-century transformations in light of the revised historical account of how modern international society was made.

      The Politics of Citizenship in Contemporary Asia, GPOL 6442
      Mark W. Frazier, Professor of Politics

      This course examines conflict over the forms and meanings of citizenship in contemporary Asia, a region of rapid urbanization and mass migration and of socioeconomic transformation. Some forms of citizenship have been disrupted, and new channels for citizenship claims have opened. The course covers theories of the production of different forms of citizenship and asks how observations drawn from contemporary East and South Asia reveal shortcomings in these theories. We also ask how different forms and scales of citizenship (social citizenship, urban citizenship, national citizenship, and others) intersect with other identities, including class, gender, caste, religion, and ethnicity.

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