Rosenkranz Hall, 203.432.5241
M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D.
Director of Graduate Studies
Professors Bruce Ackerman, Akhil Amar (Law), Seyla Benhabib, Paul Bracken (Management), David Cameron, Bryan Garsten, Alan Gerber, Jacob Hacker, Gregory Huber, Isabela Mares, David Mayhew, Gerard Padró i Miquel, John Roemer, Frances Rosenbluth, James Scott, Ian Shapiro, Stephen Skowronek, Steven Smith, Milan Svolik, Peter Swenson, John Wargo (Forestry & Environmental Studies), Steven Wilkinson, Elisabeth Wood
Associate Professors Peter Aronow, Ana De La O Torres, Alexandre Debs, Hélène Landemore, Jason Lyall, Karuna Mantena, Nuno Monteiro, Kelly Rader
Assistant Professors Katharine Baldwin, Deborah Beim, Sarah Bush, Daniela Cammack, Alexander Coppock, John Henderson, Daniel Mattingly, Elizabeth Nugent, Giulia Oskian, Tyler Pratt, Didac Queralt, Thania Sanchez, Fredrik Sävje, Emily Sellars
Fields of Study
Fields include political theory, international relations, comparative politics, American politics, political economy, quantitative empirical methods, qualitative and archival methods, and formal theory.
Special Admissions Requirement
The department requires that scores from the GRE General Test and a writing sample accompany an application. Additional details about the application process are available on the department website. The department only accepts applications for the Ph.D. program.
Special Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree
Overall program requirements Students are required to pass sixteen term courses by the end of their fourth term in the program, to receive a grade of Honors in at least two Political Science courses, and to maintain an overall High Pass or above average (for purposes of calculating this average, Honors=3, High Pass=2, Pass=1, and Fail=0). The High Pass average must also be met for graduate courses listed in the Political Science department. To remain in good standing throughout their time in the Ph.D. program, students are expected to actively participate in classes and workshops, produce high-quality written work, and demonstrate regular progress toward completion of the dissertation. The department regularly offers about sixty term courses for graduate students each year. Courses are conducted as seminars and typically have small enrollments. Four of the courses required for the degree may be in departments other than Political Science (two of these can be advanced language courses with the approval of the director of graduate studies [DGS]).
Each student must demonstrate elementary reading competence in one foreign language. Such competence is usually demonstrated by taking, or having completed, two years of undergraduate course work or by examination. Alternatively, the language requirement can be satisfied by successfully completing two terms of formal theory or two terms of statistical methods at the graduate level (beyond the introductory course in statistical methods offered in the department).
Courses are offered in five substantive fields—political theory, international relations, comparative politics, American politics, and political economy—and three methods fields: quantitative empirical methods, qualitative and archival methods, and formal theory. Courses taken must include one each in at least three of the department’s substantive fields. Courses cannot be counted in more than one field. Each student must demonstrate competence in three fields (two of which must be substantive fields) before the start of the fifth term. Competence can be demonstrated either by passing the comprehensive examination in the field or by course work, provided that each student takes at least two comprehensive exams. The fields of formal theory and quantitative empirical methods offer certification only through examination. For fields to be certified by course work, students are required to satisfactorily complete three courses in the field, where courses in the field are determined by the faculty and the DGS, including one in which a research paper is written and presented. The paper must be submitted to review by the instructor of the course for which the paper was written. The department offers exams twice a year, in late August and in early January. Students are expected to pass their comprehensive examinations by August of their second year. Each examination is based on a reading list compiled by the faculty within the field and updated each year. Each list offers an introduction and framework for study in the field and preparation for the examination. A committee of faculty within the field grades the exams as Distinguished, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory.
Students who successfully complete the Ph.D. in Political Science will often join the faculties of colleges and universities. For that reason, learning what is involved in teaching and gaining teaching experience are also essential components of graduate education. The department normally expects students to devote themselves exclusively to course work and comprehensive examinations in their first two years in the Ph.D. program. Students in Political Science typically teach in their third and fourth years.
During each year in residence, graduate students are expected to participate actively and regularly in one or more of the many research workshops run by the department. Students beyond their fourth term are required to enroll in at least one of the workshops for credit, and all workshops are graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis. All students are expected to present a research paper of their own at one of these workshops before the end of their fourth year. Workshop participation does not count toward the requirement of sixteen term courses.
Prior to registration for the second year (1) Students must have taken and passed at least seven courses, including the required Introduction to the Study of Politics (PLSC 510), and maintained an overall High Pass average. At least five of these courses must be graduate courses in Political Science. While only seven courses are required, students are normally expected to complete eight courses in the first year to be on track to complete sixteen courses by the end of the second year. (2) Students are strongly encouraged to complete at least one field certification prior to the beginning of their second year. (3) Students are strongly encouraged to attend one of the subfield weekly workshops. (Note that these workshops do not count toward the required number of completed courses.)
Prior to registration for the third year (1) Students must have taken at least sixteen term courses and have received a grade of at least Pass in each of them, including the two-term required Research and Writing course (PLSC 540, PLSC 541) for second-year students. Research and Writing is devoted to the preparation of a manuscript based on original research on a topic of the student’s choice and will count as two of the sixteen credits needed to advance to candidacy. (2) Students must have received a grade of Honors in at least two Political Science courses and maintained an overall High Pass average. (3) Students must have completed certification in three fields by the end of their second year. (For purposes of fulfilling this requirement, students registered for the August exams are assumed to have passed those exams when determining eligibility for enrollment in the third year.) At the discretion of the DGS, students who fail an exam may be granted a one-term extension (to January of the third year) for obtaining certification. (4) Students are strongly encouraged to attend one of the required subfield weekly workshops. (Note that these workshops do not count toward the required number of completed courses.)
Admission to candidacy Students must be admitted to candidacy prior to registration for the fourth year of study. Students are recommended to the Graduate School for admission to candidacy by the Department of Political Science after having completed departmental requirements listed above and the Graduate School’s prospectus requirement. As part of admission to candidacy, a student must have a prospectus approved by a dissertation director and two other members of the faculty. This must occur no later than May 1 of the student’s third year of study.
Submitting the dissertation A student’s dissertation research is guided by a committee of no fewer than three faculty members, at least two of whom must be members of the Yale Department of Political Science. One of the committee members is designated as chair. When a dissertation is completed, the student will select two members to write written reports on the final dissertation, at least one of whom must be a member of the Yale Department of Political Science. The DGS will also appoint one additional member of the department to write an additional evaluation.
The Graduate School offers a combined degree in Political Science and African American Studies. For details, see African American Studies in this bulletin. Students may also pursue a joint degree with the Law School.
M.Phil. The academic requirements for the M.Phil. degree are the same as for the Ph.D. degree except for the completion of the prospectus and dissertation.
M.A. (en route to the Ph.D.) The M.A. degree is awarded upon completion of a full year of course work in the program (i.e., at least eight term courses) with an average of High Pass or better. The courses must include at least six listed in the Political Science department and one each in at least three of the department’s substantive fields. Language requirements are the same as for the Ph.D. degree.
Empirical Analysis and Research Methodology
PLSC 503b, Quantitative Methods II: Foundations of Statistical Inference Fredrik Sävje
An intensive introduction to statistical theory for quantitative social inquiry. Topics include foundations of probability theory, statistical inference from random samples, estimation theory, linear regression, maximum likelihood estimation, and nonparametric identification.
PLSC 504a, Advanced Quantitative Methods Fredrik Sävje
The aim of this course is to provide students with the understanding and tools to critically consume and conduct statistical research. The theme is the challenge of drawing reliable causal inference. We will learn: how to use graphical methods to transparently analyze and present data; how to discipline our analyses against multiple-comparisons bias; how to use nonparametric methods to avoid implausible assumptions; how strong research design is essential to causal inference; how Bayesian inference provides the mathematical vocabulary for thinking about scientific inference; how causal graphs allow us to express and analyze causal assumptions, choose control variables, and think about selection bias; how placebo tests allow us to test assumptions; how to build and understand Likelihood and Bayesian models including Logistic and Probit models; how to think about and analyze time-series cross-sectional data. We will review instrumental variables methods and regression-discontinuity designs, though it is assumed that you have already covered these in PLSC 503. The course assumes students have command of the material covered in PLSC 500 and PLSC 503, including basic probability theory, matrix algebra, and the linear regression model.
PLSC 505b / SOCY 508b, Qualitative Field Research Elisabeth Wood
In this seminar we discuss and practice qualitative field research methods. The course covers the basic techniques for collecting, interpreting, and analyzing ethnographic data, with an emphasis on the core ethnographic techniques of participant observation and in-depth interviewing. All participants carry out a local research project. Open to undergraduates with permission of the instructor.
PLSC 508b, Causal Inference and Research Design Winston Lin
This seminar exposes students to cutting-edge empirical and statistical research across the social and health sciences, with a focus on topics relevant to causal questions in the domain of political science. The class features five or six presentations by visiting speakers (primarily faculty at other universities) who discuss their work. When visiting speakers are not present (roughly every other week), lectures and discussions focus on selected methodological topics, including experimental design, partial identification, design-based inference, network analysis, semiparametric efficiency theory, and qualitative/mixed-methods research. Statistical training at the level of PLSC 503 is expected, though training in probability theory at the level of S&DS 541 or ECON 550 is suggested.
PLSC 510a, Introduction to the Study of Politics Milan Svolik
The course introduces students to some of the major controversies in political science. We focus on the five substantive themes that make up the Yale Initiative: Order, Conflict, and Violence; Representation and Popular Rule; Crafting and Operating Institutions; Identities, Affiliations, and Allegiances; and Distributive Politics. We divide our time between discussing readings on these subjects and conversations with different members of the faculty who specialize in them. There is also some attention to methodological controversies within the discipline. Requirements: an annotated bibliography of one of the substantive themes and a take-home final exam.
PLSC 518b, Introduction to Game Theory Alexandre Debs
This course offers a rigorous introduction to noncooperative game theory. The goal is to help students understand the key concepts and ideas in game theory and to provide students with a road map for applying game theoretic tools to their own research. Topics include strategic form games, extensive form games, and Bayesian games, among others. Students are assumed to have mathematical knowledge at the level of the Political Science Math Camp.
PLSC 519b, Formal Models of Comparative Politics Milan Svolik
This course surveys key applications of game theory and related methods to the study of politics and political economy. Topics include electoral competition, political accountability, social choice, collective action, democratization, and war. Prerequisite: PLSC 518, or an introductory course in game theory.
PLSC 520b, Game Theory and Political Science Christian Salas
Introduction to game theory—a method by which strategic interactions among individuals and groups in society are mathematically modeled—and its applications to political science. Concepts employed by game theorists, such as Nash equilibrium, subgame perfect equilibrium, and perfect Bayesian equilibrium. Problems of cooperation, time-consistency, signaling, and reputation formation. Political applications include candidate competition, policy making, political bargaining, and international conflict.
PLSC 529a, Mathematics for Political Science Christopher Li
This course builds on the material seen in math camp. It covers foundational concepts and techniques in mathematics that are relevant to quantitative and formal research. Students learn to read and write rigorous mathematical proofs. Topics include real analysis, optimization, and probability theory.
M 10:30am-11:20am, W 3:30pm-4:20pm
PLSC 530a or b, Data Exploration and Analysis Staff
Survey of statistical methods: plots, transformations, regression, analysis of variance, clustering, principal components, contingency tables, and time series analysis. The R computing language and Web data sources are used.
PLSC 540a and PLSC 541b, Research and Writing Deborah Beim and Hélène Landemore
This is a required course for all second-year students. It meets for the first six weeks of the fall term and the first six weeks of the spring term. The fall meetings are devoted to discussion of research design as well as individual student projects. The spring meetings are devoted to discussion of drafts of student papers. The work of the spring-term seminar includes criticism of the organization, arguments, data evaluation, and writing in each student’s paper by the instructors and the other students. Using this criticism, and under the supervision of the instructors, each student conducts additional research, if necessary, rewrites the paper as required, and prepares a final paper representing the best work of which the student is capable. Students must submit a one-page outline of the proposed project for the first fall-term meeting and a complete draft of the paper at the first meeting in the spring.
PLSC 509b, Philosophy of Science for the Study of Politics Hélène Landemore
An examination of the philosophy of science from the perspective of the study of politics. Particular attention to the ways in which assumptions about science influence models of political behavior, the methods adopted to study that behavior, and the relations between science and democracy. Readings include works by both classic and contemporary authors.
PLSC 534a, Theories of Distributive Justice: Formal Models of Political Theory John Roemer
We survey the main theories of distributive justice proposed by political philosophers since John Rawls, including A. Sen, R. Dworkin, G.A. Cohen, and R. Arneson. We use economic models to study these theories, and we critique them from the economic and philosophical viewpoints. We then read Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century. If time permits, we introduce a microeconomic theory modeling how people cooperate in economic settings, to be contrasted with Nash equilibrium, a model of how people compete. Prerequisite: microeconomics, at least at the intermediate level, or permission of the instructor.
PLSC 565a, Democracy and Distribution Ian Shapiro
The attention showered in 2015 on Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century brought issues of inequality in the distribution of income and wealth to the forefront of public and scholarly attention. An enormous body of research has been produced over the past two decades to understand the nature of the dramatic rise in inequality, especially in the United States, and its causes. A long list of proposals for legal change has emerged in response to the outpouring of data and analysis. This course explores the facts and the causes of and political barriers to potential responses to these recent developments, principally but not exclusively in the United States. Ultimately, the question requires an examination of the relations between democracy and the distribution of income and wealth. Particular attention is paid to the ways in which different groups, classes, and coalitions affect, and are affected by, democratic distributive politics. Attention is paid to theories of distribution, politics of distribution, distributive instruments, and the implementation of policies affecting distribution. Substantive topics covered include regulation, protectionism, taxes, social insurance, welfare, public opinion, education, and unions. Follows Law School academic calendar.
PLSC 576a, Ancient Greek Political Development Daniela Cammack
This course explores the varieties of political experience in the ancient Greek world in the Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods. Attention is given to different regime types (monarchy, tyranny, aristocracy, oligarchy, democracy), places (Athens, Sparta, Crete, Carthage, Syracuse, Persia), political forms (city-state, alliance, empire), institutions (assembly, council, courts, offices), and persons (political leader, citizen, woman, foreign resident, slave).
PLSC 580a / PHIL 674a, Borders, Culture, and Citizenship Seyla Benhabib
The contemporary refugee crisis in Europe and elsewhere; new patterns of migration, increasing demands for multicultural rights on the part of Muslim minorities in the West, and transnational effects of globalization faced by contemporary societies. This course examines these issues in a multidisciplinary perspective in the light of political theories of citizenship and migration, and laws concerning refugees and migrants in Europe and the United States.
PLSC 583a / GMAN 651a / PHIL 734a, Contemporary Critical Theory Seyla Benhabib
An examination of the themes of statelessness, migration, and exile in the works of Arendt, Benjamin, Adorno, Shklar, and Berlin.
PLSC 592a, Advanced Topics in Ancient Political Thought: Plato, Aristotle, Cicero Daniela Cammack
An opportunity to read, or to reread, the most significant political statements of three foundational figures in Western political thought, paying attention to both historical context and philosophical argument. Particular focus on the relationships between (a) the just (to dikaion) and the advantageous (to sympheron) and (b) the honorable (honesta) and the useful (utilis). Prerequisite: some experience of political theory or intellectual history is expected.
PLSC 597a, Lincoln’s Statecraft and Rhetoric Steven Smith
This class is based on a reading and interpretation of Lincoln’s major speeches and letters. Its purpose is to understand his views on the problem of slavery, equality, and race in American society, but also to consider the relation of words to deeds in the practice of his statecraft. We also situate Lincoln within the history and theory of statesmanship.
PLSC 628a, Theories of Political Action Karuna Mantena
The course examines twentieth-century theories of political action, focusing on Marxist, existentialist, progressive, anarchist, and anticolonial thinkers and activists. We look at how they wrestled with the legitimacy and efficacy of new forms of mass political action, such as the boycott, the general strike, as well as revolutionary violence. We cover debates on the use of violence and nonviolence as a technique of popular protest and collective mobilization. Thinkers to be considered include Lenin, Sorel, Weber, Niebuhr, Gandhi, Camus, Fanon, King, Arendt. Prerequisite: prior course work in political theory.
PLSC 629a / HIST 656a, Histories of Political Thought Isaac Nakhimovsky
The intersection between political theory and intellectual history, examined from a historiographical rather than an exclusively methodological perspective. The course aims to develop a comparative framework for discussing the kinds of preoccupations and commitments that have animated various important contributions to the history of political thought since the nineteenth century.
PLSC 640b, Advanced Topics in Modern Political Philosophy Giulia Oskian
This seminar is designed to survey modern political philosophy at a level appropriate for graduate students (to help them prepare for the field exam) and for advanced undergraduates who have completed substantial course work in intellectual history and/or political theory. This term, the seminar addresses the topic of democracy and inequality from Rousseau to Marx. We pursue the politics of classical political economy by tracing discussions of the identity of the modern representative republic, the nature of capitalism or commercial society, and the relation between the two from Rousseau to Marx. While the main focus is close analysis of the writings of Rousseau, Smith, and Marx, we also mark the trajectory from Smith to Marx via readings from Kant, Hegel, Condorcet, Malthus, Ricardo, and Proudhon.
PLSC 656a, Global Governance Yuriy Sergeyev
Examination of global policy problems, the acceleration of interdependence, and the role, potential, and limits of the institutions of global governance to articulate collective interests and to work out cooperative problem-solving arrangements. Consideration of gaps in global governance and controversies between globalization and state sovereignty, universality, and tradition.
PLSC 662a, Strategy, Technology, and War Paul Bracken
Long term technology strategies of major powers (US, China, Russia, EU, India) for their impact on national security and world order. New technologies include cyberwar, nuclear modernization, mobile missiles, space war, AI, big data, Internet of Things. Institutional changes include Cybercommand, CIA Directorate of Digital Innovation, etc. Key issues include defense private equity, Silicon Valley and the Pentagon, digital transformation of the Navy, arms control and grand strategy. Relevant for students with an interest in technology management.
PLSC 695a / GLBL 905a, International Security Nuno Monteiro
This course covers the main theories and problems in international security. After analyzing the main theoretical traditions devoted to understanding international security and world order, we discuss a variety of topics such as: the causes of war; the role of nuclear weapons and the problems with their proliferation; coercion, signaling, and crisis bargaining; military effectiveness; and U.S. grand strategy. Students acquire broad familiarity with the canonical literature in these fields, understand how to apply scholarship to analyze contemporary international security problems, and learn to identify opportunities for new research. The course is designed for master’s and Ph.D. students who plan to pursue either policy or scholarly work in international security. Seminar sessions may feature outside guest scholars. Besides the weekly seminar sessions, students are strongly encouraged to attend weekly reading group sessions in which we dissect recent scholarship on the same topics for which we have read the canonical works.
PLSC 698a, International Political Economy Didac Queralt
This course examines how domestic and international politics influence the economic relations between states. It addresses the major theoretical debates in the field and introduces the chief methodological approaches used in contemporary analyses. We focus attention on four types of cross-border flows and the policies and international institutions that regulate them: the flow of goods (trade policy), the flow of capital (financial and exchange rate policy), the flow and location of production (foreign investment policy), and the flow of people (immigration policy).
PLSC 709b, Comparative Constitutional Law Bruce Ackerman
An effort to define the key concepts adequate for an evaluation of the worldwide development of modern constitutionalism since the Second World War. Enrollment limited. Follows Law School academic calendar.
PLSC 714b, Corruption, Economic Development, and Democracy Susan Rose-Ackerman
A seminar on the link between political and bureaucratic institutions, on the one hand, and economic development, on the other. A particular focus is the impact of corruption on development and the establishment of democratic government. Enrollment limited to fifteen.
PLSC 723b, Politics in Latin America Ana De La O
Overview and analysis of politics in Latin America. The emergence of democracy and the forces that led to the unprecedented increase in inequality in the twentieth century. Topics include institutional design, historical legacies, corruption, clientelism, and violence.
PLSC 734a or b / SOCY 560a or b, Comparative Research Workshop Julia Adams and Staff
This weekly workshop is dedicated to group discussion of work-in-progress by visiting scholars, Yale graduate students, and in-house faculty from Sociology and affiliated disciplines. Papers are distributed a week ahead of time and also posted on the website of the Center for Comparative Research (http://ccr.yale.edu). Students who take the course for a letter grade are expected to present a paper-in-progress the term that they are enrolled for credit.
PLSC 744a, Political Psychology and Comparative Politics Elizabeth Nugent
This seminar explores the intersection of political psychology and comparative politics. Most seminars on political psychology focus on political behavior in the American context, while many seminars in comparative politics do not explicitly address political psychology. This class bridges that divide by exploring the role of psychology in a comparative politics framework. The aim is to develop an understanding of the antecedents of political opinions and related behaviors. We consider when and why individuals engage in politics, how they form and update political opinions, and how these opinions do (or do not) relate to political behavior. We explore the role of human cognition, individual personality, and individual and group identities in explaining the political opinions and behaviors of both the public and elites (and we question whether this distinction is necessary). Because this course focuses on comparative politics, we pay particular attention to how context—or diverse institutions, cultural values, and social environments—shapes individuals’ opinions and performs politics, and question whether universal political attitudes and behaviors exist and how they should be studied and compared. Final grade is based on in-class participation, a peer review exercise, and a research paper.
PLSC 745b / GLBL 696b, Political Violence Jason Lyall
This course surveys the causes, effects, and consequences of political violence across several empirical domains, including civil war, insurgency, conventional war, terrorism, coups, and organized crime. Particular attention is paid to recent theoretical and empirical advances in our understanding of political violence as well as to gaps in existing literature. Equal weight is given to theoretical development and research design. The course is interdisciplinary by design, drawing on work in political science, economics, psychology, history, and anthropology.
PLSC 746a, The Economics and Politics of Migration Emily Sellars
This course provides an introduction to contemporary social science research on immigration and emigration. Key questions we examine include: (1) Why do people migrate (or not)? Who migrates and why? Where do people migrate? (2) What are the consequences of migration for migrants and for the broader economy/society? for politics? (3) What is the relationship between migration and conflict? (4) How do different types of migration (for example, female vs. male migration, high-skill vs. low-skill migration, refugee flows vs. “economic” migrants, internal vs. international migrants, etc.) differ and how do those differences matter for public policy? (5) What are some of the methodological challenges associated with measuring and studying migration? (6) What are some of the political challenges associated with creating migration policies? Throughout, we review important methods and theories for the social-scientific study of migration. We also read new work on the research frontier of this topic, drawing on examples from both developed and developing countries across the world. Students have the opportunity to develop their own research projects on the politics and economics of migration.
PLSC 747b / GLBL 533b, The Political Economy of Reform in China Staff
This class seeks to explain how politics and the evolution of political institutions help explain the patterns and outcomes of major economic reforms in a single-party authoritarian state. While the focus is on China, important themes in political economy are drawn and discussed.
PLSC 756a, The European Union David Cameron
Origins and development of the European Community and Union over the past fifty years; ways in which the often conflicting ambitions of its member states have shaped the EU; relations between member states and the EU’s supranational institutions and politics; and economic, political, and geopolitical challenges.
PLSC 763b, State Formation Didac Queralt
Study of the domestic and international determinants of functional states from antiquity to the present. Analysis of state formation in Europe from premodern times and outside Europe from colonial times. Topics include centralization of power, capacity to tax, and contract enforcement.
PLSC 777a, Comparative Politics I: Research Design Katharine Baldwin
This course, the first in the yearlong introduction to the study of comparative politics for Ph.D. students in political science, examines the purpose and methodology of comparative inquiry. Designed to introduce students to the study of comparative politics and to assist students in developing research topics and strategies, the course explores key themes—the origins of political regimes, the building of nations and states, ethnicity and nationalism, collective action, the politics of welfare states, and the logic of institutional change—through the critical reading and discussion of classic and contemporary works.
PLSC 778b, Comparative Politics II Isabela Mares
The second part of a two-part sequence designed to introduce graduate students to the fundamentals of comparative politics, including the major debates, topics, and methods.
PLSC 779a / ANTH 541a / HIST 965, Agrarian Societies: Culture, Society, History, and Development James Scott, Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan, and Elisabeth Wood
An interdisciplinary examination of agrarian societies, contemporary and historical, Western and non-Western. Major analytical perspectives from anthropology, economics, history, political science, and environmental studies are used to develop a meaning-centered and historically grounded account of the transformations of rural society. Team-taught.
PLSC 798a / AFST 567a, Bureaucracy in Africa: Revolution, Genocide, and Apartheid Jonathan Steinberg
A study of three major episodes in modern African history characterized by ambitious projects of bureaucratically driven change—apartheid and its aftermath, Rwanda’s genocide and post-genocide reconstruction, and Ethiopia’s revolution and its long aftermath. Examination of Weber’s theory bureaucracy, Scott’s thesis on high modernism, Bierschenk’s attempts to place African states in global bureaucratic history. Overarching theme is the place of bureaucratic ambitions and capacities in shaping African trajectories.
PLSC 799b, Microhistorical Analysis in Social Science Research Isabela Mares
In recent years, historical research has experienced a remarkable resurgence across all social sciences. This course introduces students to a vibrant new wave of historical scholarship and prepares them to conduct original research on these topics. To understand the methodological choices made in recent historical scholarship, each week of the course pairs “classic” and contemporary research on some of the most important topics across social science disciplines, including democratization and the extension of suffrage, democratic erosion and breakdown, the development of fiscal capacity, the development of national identities, political culture, gender norms, and so on. The course prioritizes a hands-on approach based on an active examination of the most salient design choices made by these studies and on the replication of the results.
PLSC 705a, Introduction to Political Economy John Roemer
An introduction to techniques of microeconomic modeling, as applied to problems in political economy and political science. This course is independent of PLSC 518. The level is that of a sophisticated course in intermediate microeconomics. Topics include preferences, utility functions, Pareto efficiency, competitive economic equilibrium, the first theorem of welfare economics, Hotelling-Downs political equilibrium, Nash equilibrium, Wittman-Nash political equilibrium, Nash bargaining, Arrow’s theorem and social welfare functions, and topics in distributive justice. Prerequisite: differential calculus and/or the Political Science Math Camp. Microeconomics at the intermediate level is helpful but not mandatory.
PLSC 712b, Comparative Political Economy Frances Rosenbluth
Introduction to issues in political economy across time and place. The field’s diverse theoretical underpinnings and its place in the context of political science and of the social sciences more generally; theoretical perspectives such as materialism, institutionalism, and cognition/culture/beliefs; interactions between government and the economy in democratic and nondemocratic regimes and in developed and developing countries.
PLSC 714b, Corruption, Economic Development, and Democracy Susan Rose-Ackerman
A seminar on the link between political and bureaucratic institutions, on the one hand, and economic development, on the other. A particular focus is the impact of corruption on development and the establishment of democratic government. Enrollment limited to fifteen.
PLSC 717a, Business and Government after Communism Ian Shapiro
Reassessment of business’s place in society—and its relations with government—in an era when alternatives to capitalism are moribund. Topics include the role of business in regime change, corruption and attempts to combat it, business and the provision of low-income housing and social services, and privatization of such core functions of government as prisons, the military, and local public services.
PLSC 800a, Introduction to American Politics Greg Huber
An introduction to the analysis of U.S. politics. Approaches given consideration include institutional design and innovation, social capital and civil society, the state, attitudes, ideology, econometrics of elections, rational actors, formal theories of institutions, and transatlantic comparisons. Assigned authors include R. Putnam, T. Skocpol, J. Gerring, J. Zaller, D.R. Kiewiet, L. Bartels, D. Mayhew, K. Poole & H. Rosenthal, G. Cox & M. McCubbins, K. Krehbiel, E. Schickler, and A. Alesina. Students are expected to read and discuss each week’s assignment and, for each of five weeks, to write a three- to five-page analytic paper that deals with a subject addressed or suggested by the reading.
PLSC 802b, Collective Action and Choice Deborah Beim
A graduate-level course, open to undergraduates, about the basic issues of collective action and choice (preference aggregation), with a particular focus on issues of American politics. Topics include externalities and public goods provision, social choice theory, models of electoral competition (including “median voter” models, and extensions to those models that incorporate strategic challenger entry, campaign spending, heterogeneity in voter attentiveness, valence dimensions, and primaries, etc.), the effects of different institutional settings (e.g., competitive versus retention elections) on choices, the incumbency advantage, lobbying, and decision-making in small groups (e.g., issues of deliberation). Course work includes reading and writing assignments.
PLSC 803b, American Politics III: Institutions Kelly Rader
A graduate-level course, open to undergraduates, designed to introduce students to research on American political institutions. We examine different explanations for and models of the sources of institutions, discuss their internal organization and governance, and consider the effects of institutions on outcomes of interest. Topics include alternatives to institutions, agenda-setting models, influences on bureaucratic decisions, the size of government and state building, congressional organization, the presidency, policy feedback and path dependence, and interest groups. Course work includes reading and writing assignments.
PLSC 812a / AMST 752a, Progressivism: Theory and Practice Stephen Skowronek
The progressive reform tradition in American politics. The tradition’s conceptual underpinnings, social supports, practical manifestations in policy and in new governmental arrangements, and conservative critics. Emphasis on the origins of progressivism in the early decades of the twentieth century, with attention to latter-day manifestations and to changes in the progressive impulse over time.
PLSC 837a, Gender Politics Andrea Aldrich
Exploration of theoretical and empirical work in political science to study the relationship between gender and politics in the United States and around the world. Topics include women’s representation in legislative and executive branch politics in democratic regimes; the impact of gender stereotypes on elections and public opinion; conditions that impact the supply and demand of candidates across genders; and the underrepresentation of women in political institutions.
PLSC 842a, The Constitution: History, Philosophy, and Law Bruce Ackerman
An inquiry into the foundations of the American Constitution, at its founding and at critical moments in its historical transformation—most notably in response to the Civil War, the Great Depression, and the Civil Rights Movement. Philosophically speaking, do we still live under the Constitution founded by the Federalists, or are we inhabitants of the Second or Third or Nth Republic? Institutionally, in what ways are the patterns of modern American government similar to, and different from, those in post-Revolutionary (1787–1860) and post-Civil War (1868–1932) America? Legally, what is or was the role of constitutional law in the organization of each of these historical regimes? Through asking and answering these questions, the course tries to gain a critical perspective on the effort by the present Supreme Court to create a new constitutional regime for the twenty-first century. Self-scheduled examination (web) or paper option.
PLSC 853a, U.S. National Elections David Mayhew
An investigation of electoral realignments, voting for president and Congress, voter turnout, incumbency advantage, nominations, and campaign finance. Paper.
PLSC 856b, Constitutional Crisis, Constitutional Reform Bruce Ackerman
Students are invited to write substantial papers responding to America’s current constitutional crisis with proposals for reform of the present system of checks and balances. Prerequisites: PLSC 842 or equivalent and permission of the instructor. Students who have not taken PLSC 842 are expected to submit a brief statement explaining why other course work completed at Yale, or in their prior studies, provides them with adequate preparation.
PLSC 930a and PLSC 931b, American Politics Workshop Deborah Beim
The course meets throughout the year in conjunction with the ISPS American Politics Workshop. It serves as a forum for graduate students in American politics to discuss current research in the field as presented by outside speakers and current graduate students. Open only to graduate students in the Political Science department. Can be taken as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory only.
PLSC 932a and PLSC 933b, Comparative Politics Workshop Katharine Baldwin
A forum for the presentation of ongoing research by Yale graduate students, Yale faculty, and invited external speakers in a rigorous and critical environment. The workshop’s methodological and substantive range is broad, covering the entire range of comparative politics. There are no formal presentations. Papers are read in advance by participants; a graduate student critically discusses the week’s paper, the presenter responds, and discussion ensues. Detailed information can be found at https://campuspress.yale.edu/cpworkshop. Open only to graduate students in the Political Science department. Can be taken as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory only.
PLSC 934a and PLSC 935b, Political Theory Workshop Hélène Landemore and Steven Smith
An interdisciplinary forum that focuses on theoretical and philosophical approaches to the study of politics. The workshop seeks to engage with (and expose students to) a broad range of current scholarship in political theory and political philosophy, including work in the history of political thought; theoretical investigations of contemporary political phenomena; philosophical analyses of key political concepts; conceptual issues in ethics, law, and public policy; and contributions to normative political theory. The workshop features ongoing research by Yale faculty members, visiting scholars, invited guests, and advanced graduate students. Papers are distributed and read in advance, and discussions are opened by a graduate student commentator. Detailed information can be found at http://politicaltheory.yale.edu. Open only to graduate students in the Political Science department. Can be taken as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory only.
PLSC 938a and PLSC 939b, Leitner Political Economy Seminar Series Gerard Padro and Tyler Pratt
This seminar series engages research on the interaction between economics and politics as well as research that employs the methods of political economists to study a wide range of social phenomena. The workshop serves as a forum for graduate students and faculty to present their own work and to discuss current research in the field as presented by outside speakers, faculty, and students. Detailed information can be found at http://leitner.yale.edu/seminars. Open only to graduate students in the Political Science department. Can be taken as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory only.
PLSC 940a and PLSC 941b, International Relations Workshop Alexandre Debs and Didac Queralt
This workshop engages work in the fields of international security, international political economy, and international institutions. The forum attracts outside speakers, Yale faculty, and graduate students. It provides a venue to develop ideas, polish work in progress, or showcase completed projects. Typically, the speaker would prepare a 35- to 40-minute presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session. More information can be found at http://irworkshop.yale.edu. Open only to graduate students in the Political Science department. Can be taken as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory only.
PLSC 941b, International Relations Workshop Alexandre Debs and Didac Queralt
This workshop engages work in the fields of international security, international political economy, and international institutions. The forum attracts outside speakers, Yale faculty, and graduate students. It provides a venue to develop ideas, polish work in progress, or showcase completed projects. Typically, the speaker would prepare a 35- to 40-minute presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session. More information can be found at http://irworkshop.yale.edu. Can be taken as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory only.