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        Department of Politics
        6 East 16th Street, room 711A
        New York, NY 10003
        Phone: 212.229.5747 x3090
        Fax: 212.229.5473

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        Mark Frazier

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        Silvina Palacio

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        Dion Nania

        Politics Student Handbook

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    • Courses in the Department of Politics combine a theoretical framework of political ideas with 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. Spring 2022 courses include:

      • U.S. Power and International Politics from 1989 to 2022, GPOL 5207
        David Plotke, Professor of Politics

        In 1989, with the end of the Cold War, the United States was clearly the dominant power in international politics. After more than three decades, the United States remains the single most powerful country, but its power has declined. This course aims to explain changes in the extent and forms of American power. What changes have occurred? Why? The decline of U.S. power could be due to shifting relations in international politics, to changes in the global political economy, or to political dysfunction within the United States. We focus on crucial episodes in the last three decades — the end of the Cold War, 9-11 and U.S. military actions, the Great Recession, and changing relations with China. We also consider the meanings of power and of "state" within and across countries. We examine relations between American power and international organizations and law.

      • Historical Methods and Sources, GPOL 6134
        Jeremy Varon, Professor of History

        Historical Methods and Sources offers theoretical perspectives on and practical training in historical research, writing, and representation. We begin by exploring debates surrounding what history is: a mode of narrative, a form of textuality, and a set of relationships to the past. The remainder of the course provides hands-on training in what historians do: identify archives; locate, choose, and interpret primary sources; place research into its relevant intellectual and scholarly contexts; assess the existing literature; review books; design research; and intervene in historiographic debates by creating original arguments. Individual projects will be tailored to students' research interests, building toward (or enhancing) work on their MA theses. This course is mandatory for all Historical Studies master's students and all PhD students engaged in joint programs in history, but it is open to all NSSR graduate students who are interested in historical research and methodology.

      • 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 carefully read some of the most significant texts exploring 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 goal of the course is to invite graduate students to think through the ways in which the political thought generated by decolonization compels 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

        The class is run as a critical studio and is taught jointly by Professor Victoria Hattam from the Politics department at NSSR and Professor Jilly Traganou from the School of Art and Design History and Theory at Parsons. The central aim of the course is to introduce students to new methods and conceptions of evidence to use in their research projects. Put simply, we want to explore politics beyond the hegemony of the word. We begin with space and visuality, but over the course of the semester, we introduce questions of materiality, sound, and affect as well. Throughout the class, we consider politics at the level of states, institutions, and practices. The guiding premise of the seminar is that material and performative practices have the capacity to articulate political arguments. In our view, material practices, performances, and artifacts of argumentation involve transformative political processes that differ from the cognitive processes of deliberation necessary for the articulation of verbal political messages. They 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” (Jane Bennett). To ground our explorations, the class focuses on specific sites. Research areas might derive from students’ own thesis work or from the individual or collective interests of students in the class. Hattam and Traganou also draw on their research to provide specific examples of multisensory politics. For Hattam, this will include political economy and border politics and, for Traganou, prefigurative politics and material engagement. The sites of students’ engagement might vary. Students will be encouraged to publish their work in Parsons’ student-run Design Studies journal Plot(s) or other graduate student journals.

      • Colonialism/Modernity, GPOL 6239
        Carlos Forment, Associate Professor of Sociology

        This seminar introduces students to some of the most influential interpretations of colonialism (broadly understood) that have been advanced by thinkers in different intellectual-political traditions across the core and periphery. Studying the writings of Anglo-European authors (uneven and combined development, imperialism, the Southern question, the global color line, the boomerang effect) alongside those of their Latin American, Indian, and Pan-African counterparts (nationalism, dependency, the subaltern, post-colonialism, de-colonial feminism) provides an opportunity to explore their many shared and divergent concerns as well as some of the subterranean continuities and discontinuities that have defined the boundaries of the age-old dispute on colonialism. In examining their writings, we focus on how each thinker analyzed the material and symbolic links between colonialism and modernity (capitalism, liberal democracy, rational and universal principles), and the way their interpretation of them conditioned their depiction of and the differential hierarchies they established among and between countries, peoples, institutions, and practices of the Global North and South. The purpose of this exercise, however, is not to "provincialize," "universalize" or "particularize" any one aspect or either region, as is commonly done by scholars today. Instead, it is to encourage us to reflect critically on the following two questions (and others closely related to them): 1) Does the anti-colonial perspective provide a convincing counter-narrative of the emergence and development of modernity (capitalism, liberal democracy, rational and universal principles), and is it capable of challenging the image it has of itself? and 2) What are the consequences of relying on a "concept-interpretation" that has been developed to analyze a specific issue or problem that surfaced in a given "place-time" to make sense of a socio-political-cultural formation with both similarities and differences?

      • Capitalism: New Approaches in Theory and History, GPOL 6290
        Nancy Fraser, Henry A. and Louise Loeb Professor of Political and Social Science, and Eli Zaretsky, Professor of History

        After a period of relative neglect, scholars and activists are again taking up the study of capitalism. Returning to the concerns of Marx, they are seeking the roots of our present crises and injustices in the social system he theorized and criticized. But today’s studies of capitalism do not simply repeat earlier critiques. At their best, they incorporate the fruits of recent intellectual-political paradigms focused on ecology, gender, racism, imperialism, democracy, law, and the digital. In this seminar, we survey some of the most important efforts to integrate such concerns with the enduring insights of the Marxian tradition. Readings are by Moishe Postone, David Harvey, Jason W. Moore, Silvia Federici, Maria Mies, Vandana Shiva, Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor, Shoshanna Zuboff, Brett Christophers, Katharina Pistor, and others.

      • Intersecting Mobilities, GPOL 6392
        Miriam Ticktin, Associate Professor of Anthropology, and Rafi Youatt, Associate Professor of Politics

        This course explores the case for a greater theoretical and empirical focus on mobility in social, cultural, and political life — not as a synonym for migration but rather as a conceptual underpinning for academic disciplines and political life that are too frequently committed to stasis, sedentarism, and bounded place. Instead, the course puts mobility itself, understood as both the capacity for and the actuality of movement, front and center, in order to understand how it has generated forms of social and political order, forms of subjectivity, and new assemblages of things, people, ideas, life. It also attends to mobility’s counter-force, immobility, not as a normative state of being but as something that is actively produced. Mobility has often been seen as epiphenomenal, while individuals, objects, states, and places have been taken as "the real" things, which sometimes happen to be mobile. We ask what it would mean to reverse that assumption. Readings draw from anthropology, politics, and other cognate disciplines, including literatures on the autonomy of migration, political geographies of space and place, environmental mobility, and mobility studies. 

      • Citizen and the City, GPOL 6448
        Faculty TBA

        How are cities relevant to our political lives? How might the city in which we live inform our sense of belonging, our ability to claim rights, and our conception of progressive change? This course is designed to provide an interdisciplinary introduction to the connection between citizenship and the city. Even though citizenship today is mostly understood as referring to membership in a nation-state, the city is at the root of citizenship, and not just in an etymological sense. The city has historically been a key locus for the organization of political communities, for the emergence of new actors and claims, as well as for the policing and social stratification of populations. Among other reflections, in this course we will interrogate how racism and residential segregation shape the political (dis)enfranchisement of urban dwellers, analyze the promises and limitations of right-to-the-city agendas, consider the potential of art in reshaping urban politics, and ask how non-citizens might practice urban citizenship. We will examine theoretical works and thick descriptions of cities across the world, and students will be encouraged to explore their particular areas of interest in connection with our city-citizenship discussions.

      • Theorizing the Land, GPOL 6479
        Jessica Pisano, Associate Professor of Politics

        Dominant approaches in the social sciences focus on land as property, with property usually understood as a relationship between people with respect to things. This course widens our theoretical lens to consider epistemologies rooted in a variety of global traditions, from understandings of stewardship to Indigenous ontologies that posit an integrated vision of life within and upon the land. This course brings together work in political theory, broadly construed, and empirical research engaging with the ways historical and contemporary human communities have lived with and thought about land.

      • Global Political Economy, GPOL 6490
        Quentin Bruneau, Assistant Professor of Politics

        This course is a historical introduction to global political economy (GPE). It provides a brief overview of theories of GPE and engages with literature in international relations and economic, social, and legal history. Divided into six sections, the course is primarily concerned with the question of how the modern global economy was made, in terms of its core rules and institutions, as well as its social structure. After a first section introducing GPE, the second part delves into the origins of the global economy, addressing topics such as the development of a conceptual vocabulary about the economy, as well as issues including the "Great Divergence" and the origins of capitalism. The next two sections focus on the development of the global economy in the long 19th century. While the third part of the course deals with the transformation, rise, and decline of some of the core institutions of the modern global economy (international property rights, free trade, and the gold standard), the fourth section delves into the changing social structure of the global economy, notably assessing the nature and relative importance of the rising bourgeoisie. Beginning in the interwar period, the fifth section analyzes the challenges to the liberal global order of the long 19th century and examines the return of global capital in the post-Bretton Woods era. The course concludes by raising a set of normative questions pertaining to global economic justice and international order.

      • Three Faces of Labor: Uncovering the Hidden Ties Between Gender, Race, and Class, GPOL 6505
        Nancy Fraser, Henry A. and Louise Loeb Professor of Political and Social Science

        The idea for this seminar comes from W.E.B. DuBois. Characterizing abolition as a labor movement, he speculated that the course of U.S. history would have been fundamentally altered had the movement that aimed to emancipate enslaved Black laborers united with the country’s other labor movement, which aimed to counter the degraded condition of free white wage workers. For DuBois, the tragic failure of these “two labor movements” to recognize each other squandered the chance to build a labor democracy and helped set the United States squarely on the road to plutocracy. This seminar is designed to adapt and extend DuBois’ idea to present conditions. We ask: Can anti-racist (and anti-imperialist) movements in the post-slavery era be usefully viewed as unrecognized labor struggles in societies that still rely on the expropriation of dependent labor? If so, why stop there? Can we view feminist movements, too, as unacknowledged struggles over work in systems built on a gendered separation of paid “productive labor” from unpaid carework? More generally, can capitalist societies be fruitfully understood as relying on three analytically distinct but mutually imbricated forms of labor: exploited, expropriated, and domesticated? If so, do the historically shifting relations between these three faces of labor constitute the hidden ties between gender, race, and class in capitalist societies? By disclosing those hidden ties, finally, can we grasp the relations between not two but three labor movements and evaluate prospects for uniting them?


      • PhD Seminar, GPOL 7300
        Mark W. Frazier, Professor of Politics and Co-director of the India China Institute

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