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        The New School for Social Research
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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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        Chair
        Anne McNevin

        Senior Secretary
        Henry Drobbin

        Student Advisor
        Begoña Gerling

        Politics Student Handbook (PDF)

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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 2020 courses include:

      • Transnational Border Lab, GPOL 5084
        Alexandra Delano, Associate Professor of Global Studies, and Anne McNevin, Associate Professor of Politics

        This intensively taught course examines the border as a site of political struggle and a laboratory for political innovation. The focus for spring 2020 is the deportability-mobility continuum that operates across the U.S.-Mexico border, examined in comparison with similar dynamics elsewhere in the world. At a theoretical level, we engage with the deportability-mobility continuum as a form of global apartheid and investigate the institutions, political economies, and symbolic narratives that sustain it. On a concrete level, we explore the experiences of those who are directly affected by deportation and engaged in resisting it, from Dreamer and sanctuary activists to transnational networks of deportees. We also consider the university as an institutional battleground for this form of border politics and reflect on ourselves as scholar-activists within this context. The course is a collaboration between students at The New School and students attached to Otros Dreams en Acción in Mexico City. The major piece for assessment is the collaborative design of a scholar-activist intervention. This course is open to graduates and a small number of senior undergraduate students.

      • Historical Methods and Sources, GPOL 6134
        Claire Potter, 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 in its intellectual and scholarly contexts; assess the existing literature; review books; design research; and intervene in historiographic debates by crafting 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 for all PhD students doing joint programs in history, but it is open to all NSSR graduate students who are interested in historical research and methodology.

      • Qualitative Methods in the Social Sciences, GPOL 6195

        Qualitative Methods in the Social Sciences is a seminar aimed at introducing students to their field of research from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. The increasing complexity of social and political reality and the inevitable interdependence of internal and external political decisions require a combination of various theories and intellectual frameworks of interpretation, methods, and approaches, as well as conceptual tools of analysis. The seminar explores approaches in qualitative method comparison (e.g., discourse analysis, ethnographic observations, and interviews) and cases chosen in accordance with students’ research and interests (migrations and citizenship, social movements, religion and secularism, comparative study of ONGs, historical sociology of totalitarianism and populism). The objective is to develop inductive and interpretative analysis leading to the definition of concepts in interaction with social reality.

      • Political Economy, GPOL 6369
        Victoria Hattam, Professor of Politics

        Postwar assumptions about how global political economies are organized no longer seem to hold. Trump and Brexit are premised on a nationalist backlash against global economic forms. Has globalization peaked? Are global supply chains changing? How should trade agreements be revised? This seminar considers contemporary debates over how best to organize the economy in light of classic economic theories, theories of globalization in the 1980s and 1990s, and competing arguments about the best way forward. Contemporary debates are illuminated through examination of the ways in which they rework long-standing arguments about the generation of economic wealth. For Adam Smith, value was generated through the division of labor and the specialization it allowed. Separation of design and production was considered a plus, as it allowed for standardization and production at scale. Specialization is increasingly seen as a negative — a siloing — that needs to be redressed. Many contemporary scholars and practitioners promote the very trend — "sauntering" — disparaged by Smith. How are notions of design and production being reconfigured? And what of class? Are new solidarities being created as inequality intensifies? Throughout the course, we track arguments about the generation of value and also attend to questions of visualization. How are economic processes visualized, and with what political effects? How might alternative representations be generated? Readings are drawn from across the social sciences, the humanities, and design studies. Where possible, multimodel sources will be included to broaden understanding of what we include in discussions of political economy and processes of economic and political change.

      • Memory, History, Trauma, GPOL 6451
        Ross Poole, Part-Time Assistant Professor

        In this course, we are concerned with the continued presence of the past in individual, social, and political life. In the first part (roughly a third) of the course, we survey work on memory over the past 30 or so years (the "memory boom") and then examine relevant work by some of its most important theorists, including Walter Benjamin, Freud, and Jan and Aleida Assmann. In the second part (roughly two thirds) of the course, we look at questions that have been the focus of memory studies — and memory politics — over the past few years, including: To what extent is the notion of trauma appropriate to historical events? What is the political role of memory? What is the relationship between memory and history? What is at stake in the "history wars" being waged in the United States, Germany, Israel, and Australia? What forms of commemoration are appropriate for past horrors (e.g., slavery, the Holocaust, the AIDS crisis, the Vietnam War, and 9/11)? Who has the responsibility to remember these events?

      • The Theory and Politics of Councils: Past and Present, GPOL 6573
        Carlos Forment, Associate Professor of Sociology, and Andreas Kalyvas, Associate Professor of Politics

        In this seminar, we examine political theory, institutional characteristics, and sociohistorical experiences related to councils (associations, communes, assemblies, federations, etc.) in order to understand the changing forms and alternative practices that democratic self-rule and self-representation have taken across both the Global North and the Global South. In addition to studying theoretical texts pertaining to councils (including Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Marx, Luxemburg, Lenin, Gramsci, Anton Pannekoek, Hannah Arendt, Cornelius Castoriadis, Hardt and Negri, and Judith Butler), we analyze a variety of sociohistorical phenomena that are emblematic of each, including the Paris Commune; soviets in Russia, Germany, and Hungary; Yugoslavia; Maoist communes; and more recent manifestations.

      • Reading Walter Benjamin, GPOL 6576
        Nancy Fraser, Henry A. and Louise Loeb Professor of Political and Social Science, and Eli Zaretsky, Professor of History

        By any reckoning, Walter Benjamin remains a brilliant star in the firmament of 20th-century critical theory and “western Marxism.” But what can he teach us now, in the 21st century? In this seminar, we undertake a systematic reading of some of Benjamin’s major works in order to probe the thought of this brilliant, idiosyncratic thinker.

      • Modern Political Thought Life of Politics, GPOL 6577
        Sandipto Dasgupta, Assistant Professor of Politics

        This course surveys foundational texts of and major figures in modern political thought. We consider both the texts and some of the most significant commentaries on them.

      • Critical Theories of Race: Slavery, Empire, Capital, GPOL 6801
        Nancy Fraser, Henry A. and Louise Loeb Professor of Political and Social Science, and Asad Haider, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

        In this course, we engage in a critical reconstruction of the concept of race. Foregrounding approaches that have challenged the reality of race as a biological or cultural-essentialist foundationalist category, we explore materialist theories that examine the place of race and racism in social systems of expropriation and exploitation — especially capitalism, slavery, colonialism, and neo-imperialism. Readings include texts by Oliver Cromwell Cox, C.L.R. James, W.E.B. Du Bois, Saidiya V. Hartman, Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabral, José Carlos Mariátegui, Stuart Hall, Walter Rodney, Angela Davis, Barbara Fields, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.

      • American Politics Field Seminar: Polarization, Inequality, and Populism in the United States, GPOL 7000
        David Plotke, Professor of Politics

        In the United States, political life seems turbulent and chaotic. Earlier versions of this course emphasized continuity in the themes and institutions of American politics. In 2020, this point of departure seems inadequate. Rather than facing a fixed political landscape, we confront a tumultuous and uncertain political scene, with a president whose election seemed unimaginable as late as 2014-2015. Analysts have long held that American parties and politics are compelled to be moderate in ideology and centrist in practical choices. Such views seem questionable today, given the emergence of bitter divisions and dynamic and contentious political and social movements. In this seminar, we analyze contemporary American politics, focusing on polarization, inequality, and populism in light of the approaching 2020 presidential election. We first consider polarization, as a description of how things work and as a form of durable national alignment. We examine the way the two main forces — the left and the right — oppose each other on all fronts, arguing passionately about issues like immigration, economic growth and inequality, healthcare, the political meanings of ethnicity and race, and the appropriate international role of the United States. Then we focus on inequality and aim to understand the political meaning of its dramatic growth in recent decades. We investigate several forms of inequality, including racial, ethnic, and emerging regional inequality. We next examine populism, a vital and contentious force in American politics today, whose forms range across the political spectrum, often with strong links to American nationalism. This course helps PhD students in Politics prepare for the American Politics field exam. It is open to MA and PhD students in Politics and in other New School programs.

      • Field Seminar in Global Politics and International Relations, GPOL 7002
        Rafi Youatt, Associate Professor of Politics

        The Field Seminar in Global Politics and International Relations is designed to expose students to a variety of ways in which the global domain of politics has been envisaged, where “the global” is understood as a historical and contested term. We are concerned with the analytical and political dimensions of attempts to signal a domain of politics distinct from “the domestic” through different frames: the international, the transnational, the global, the planetary, the assemblage, and so on. We are also concerned with questions of scale, order, power, and ethics implied by different framesworks. How and why have particular frameworks become dominant at particular times? What contexts do they emerge from? What are their ontological, epistemological and methodological implications? What debates have ensued around the assumptions and limitations of particular frameworks? The seminar contextualizes the “international” framework that has historically shaped the discipline of international relations within a wider field of intellectual, geopolitical, ecological, and social dynamics that forms the background to the constitution of the global, as one framework for politics among others. The seminar is designed to enable students to approach specific research topics with critical awareness of the spatial and temporal frameworks through which they are conceived, and to consider how contending frameworks may reveal or obscure different elements of the empirical contexts, analytical avenues, and political possibilities in play. We read a selection of historical, contemporary, and interdisciplinary texts in which contending frameworks manifest themselves (implicitly or explicitly) and reflect upon their implications for enduring political questions of power, sovereignty, governance, economy, subjectivity, and colonialism. The seminar aims to equip students with the conceptual and theoretical grounding from which to design research that critically engages questions of the global and the political.

      • Political Research Seminar, GPOL 7004
        Rafi Youatt, Associate Professor of Politics

        This seminar provides an opportunity for students to present empirically based work-in-progress. It is open to PhD students, particularly those working on dissertation chapters, and to second-year MA students who are preparing their final paper for the MA requirement. Students may also present papers outside of MA or PhD requirements that they want to revise for publication. Each student circulates work to the seminar twice in the term in order to get feedback from peers and the faculty member. Students also draft abstracts of their papers and have an opportunity to present short elevator pitches for their longer research projects. The Political Research Seminar is offered as a year-long course meeting every other week.

      • PhD Seminar, GPOL 7300
        Anne McNevin, Associate Professor of Politics

        This course centers on the work of PhD students, primarily research papers and dissertation proposals. It is intended to prepare students for writing their dissertations. Thus, the specific direction of the course is shaped by the work and interests of participants, along with relevant work that the instructor introduces. Normally the PhD seminar is offered as a yearlong course for three credits, meeting every other week.

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