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    Victoria Hattam

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    Aaron Neber

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    Lydia Nobbs

    Politics Student Handbook

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  • Courses in the Department of Politics combine a theoretical framework of political ideas with study of real-world implications. These interdisciplinary courses help students attain a better and more complete understanding of how politics operates 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 2024 courses include:

    Approaches to World Politics: Foundations, GPOL5030
    Anne McNevin
    , Associate Professor of Politics

    This course is organized around a series of questions: What is global politics? What is the state? The international system? Colonialism? Sovereignty? Apartheid? The Anthropocene? The point is not to arrive at definitive answers nor to survey the full range of possible answers. The point is instead to recognize that key concepts deployed in the study of global politics are not straightforward in their meaning. Reading across some enduring and more recent debates in global politics, students will be encouraged to pause before using these and other terms in casual, descriptive, or explanatory ways and to understand the concepts as political in themselves. How, then, to proceed as students of global politics, given that what we want to study is part of what we also want to hold in contention? An additional aim of this course is to expose students to approaches to global inquiry that grapple with this conundrum.

    First Year Politics Seminar, GPOL5100
    Quenetin Bruneau
    , Assistant Professor of Politics

    The First Year Seminar introduces incoming students to the Politics Department by having core and affiliated faculty present their research to the incoming class. Readings will be assigned for each session, including articles by the faculty who will be presenting. Faculty will discuss their work from a variety of perspectives. Some might look across the arc of their careers; others may focus on a specific article; still others might situate their research within a larger debate. Each faculty member has been asked to present in whatever format they prefer. Over the course of the year, both method and content will be addressed. At the beginning, middle, and end of the course, we will hold reflective sessions without an external speaker present. During these sessions, we can draw together themes across the semester and reflect on subfield distinctions, research strategy, and emerging areas of research. Students will be asked to write two short papers. Paper topics will be developed for each student through discussion with the professor on readings and issues that have emerged from the course.

    Politics of Violence: A History, GPOL5166
    Federico Finchelstein
    , Professor of History

    This course focuses on recent historical approaches to the relationship between violence, politics, and context in modern and contemporary history with special reference to transnational history. This graduate seminar also examines the contextual role of violence and violence in critical theory from a historical perspective.

    The 2024 Election in the United States—Democratic Backsliding?, GPOL6020
    David Plotke
    , Professor of Politics

    Two kinds dynamics frame the 2024 presidential election in the United States. "Democratic backsliding" refers to the declining robustness of democratic practices in the United States (and other countries) in the last two decades. This is the subject of many studies in comparative politics. "Democratic weakness" points to the difficulty of the Democratic Party and its allies in winning a national election that should be an easy victory. Democrats have won five of the last eight presidential elections and face a candidate who lost in 2020 and struggles to stay out of jail. The economy is decent and sometimes better. Ongoing foreign policy crises have not meant large-scale direct U.S. military action, unlike Iraq in the early 2000s. Many Democratic positions, such as abortionm poll well. How should we explain Democratic weakness—even if that party manages to win the election? In answering this question, we will be skeptical of accounts that reduce Democratic problems to failures to adopt the analyst’s preferred political stance. This course is open to MA and PhD students in Politics and to graduate students in other programs at NSSR and The New School.

    Feminist Political Thought, GPOL6021
    Rose Owen
    , Postdoctoral Fellow

    Previously maligned as embarrassing and problematic, second-wave thought has recently attracted renewed attention. Feminist political theorists today find that second-wave texts offer resources for rethinking sexual violence, economic domination, the institution of the family, dilemmas of intersectionality, and the very definition of politics itself. In this course, we will revisit second-wave texts, alongside contemporary readings, to consider this project of canonization. The course will raise the following questions: Why, in our moment, have contemporary feminists found it fruitful to return to the 1970s and 1980s? What resources do second-wave texts offer for thinking perennial political problems anew? And how should we periodize the second wave? Assigned authors include Simone de Beauvoir, Andrea Dworkin, Shulamith Firestone, Silvia Federici, Audre Lorde, and Angela Davis, as well as Amia Srinivasan, Sophie Lewis, Kathi Weeks, and Jennifer Nash. This course would serve as an excellent introduction to feminist political theory.

    Political Space, GPOL6130
    Rafi Youatt
    , Associate Professor of Politics

    This seminar investigates the question of spatiality in political life. It starts by developing a conceptual frame, organized around key readings that address ontological and epistemological issues around the study of political space. It considers the ways political thinking has often been defined by a relative inattention to the specific contours of space, geography, and place, in spite of the fact that political power has frequently been involved in the production of forms of space amenable to its exercise. The second part of the course involves reading of a series of recent works that address specific configurations and questions of spatiality and politics, including territoriality and the state; voluminous and vertical sovereignty, war and terrain, urban geographies and (post)-modernity, global infrastructure and the politics of scale, and the ancient political landscape. The course concludes with a final section on macro-spatial conceptions of the world—global, international, planetary—and their implications for studying specific research sites.

    Field Seminar in Comparative Social Research: Politics and the Political, GPOL7001
    Mark W. Frazier
    , Professor and Chair of Politics

    This course seeks to engage both new and enduring questions in comparative social research. It is designed to encourage students to think critically and creatively about the study of politics and the political in comparative perspective and to provide the intellectual foundations for the development of their own research agendas. In the course, we read works of social research that take seriously the spatial and temporal contexts in which relations of power and exchange are embedded. Such contexts may be local or global, and comparisons may be explicit or implicit. A central objective is to generate new questions for comparative inquiry—questions that emerge through our engagement with fieldwork-based research and open novel avenues for theorization. The seminar is open to graduate students from any department at NSSR; some seminar participants may wish to use the course in preparation for the qualifying exam in comparative politics, but it is not designed exclusively for this purpose.

    Political Economy in Turbulent Times, GPOL7005
    Victoria Hattam
    , Professor of Politics

    This course examines works and debates in both classic and contemporary political economy. Students engage with empirically grounded, theoretically sensitive analyses to consider key questions: How have humans thought about the relationship between politics and economy? What normative commitments and ontologies underlie the different frames political communities use to order thought about the organization of human society and activity? What alternatives to contemporary approaches exist, and how have politics and imagination shaped views of economic value and processes of change in the past? Our seminar will address such themes as capitalism and its relationship to racialization; understandings of the commons, enclosure movements, and contemporary processes of commoditization and privatization; precarity and democracy; globalization and its limits; design and production; and many others. Instructors will consider student research interests in finalizing themes. The seminar is open to PhD students from any department at NSSR. Some seminar participants may wish to use the course in preparation for the qualifying exam in political economy, but it is not designed exclusively for this purpose. MA students with a strong interest in political economy may enroll with the permission of both course instructors.

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