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  • Current Courses

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        General Admission Contact
        The New School for Social Research
        Office of Admission
        79 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor
        New York, NY 10003
        212.229.5600 or 800.523.5411
        SocialResearchAdmit@newschool.edu

        Admissions Liaison
        Lygia Giorgiou

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

        Mailing Address
        79 Fifth Avenue, room 711A
        New York, NY 10003 

        Chair
        Anne McNevin

        Senior Secretary
        Henry Drobbin

        Student Advisor
        Dion Nania

        Politics Student Handbook (PDF)

        Admission Links

    • 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. Fall 2020 courses include:

      • Since 9/11: America's Wars in the New Century, GPOL 5045
        Jeremy Varon, Professor of History

        This course is open to both NSSR students (MA and PhD) and advanced undergraduates. It is designed to be a terrific learning experience for everyone, with different kinds and quantities of work for different kinds of students. All students participate in our class site visit and the written response to it and draft periodic reading responses to exploration of particular concepts. In addition, all students are expected to do private screenings (via Youtube or streaming services) of assigned films. some weeks, the NSSR students will have supplemental readings, chiefly texts with complex theoretical content. The undergraduates will write six- to eight-page midterm and final essays in response to specific questions. The graduate students may write the midterm and final essays (though in the 10-12-page range) or write a 20-25-page research paper on a topic of their choosing, based on close consultation with the instructor.

      • First Year Politics Seminar, GPOL 5100
        Jessica Pisano, Associate 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 faculty who are 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 the content and method of individual sessions and make 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 will be asked to write two short papers (10 to 12 pages each) during the term. One paper asks for a comparative analysis of two texts; the second paper is framed around a political question.

      • Freedom by Design: An Introduction to Modernity, GPOL 5206
        James E. Miller, Professor of Liberal Studies and Politics 

        This seminar is organized as a survey of texts and artifacts epitomizing core beliefs and practices typical of the modern world, even among contemporary critics of liberalism and capitalism. It brings students with a primary interest in writing, publishing, and design together to explore a variety of themes and texts that reflect some of the critical concerns of our age. A recurrent concern is the paradox of trying to discern patterns in social interaction and history and then, in accordance with these forms, to design a freer and more just society. Among the issues discussed are freedom and the ironies of institutional efforts to promote and protect freedom; emancipatory visions and the paradoxes of progress; the end of chattel slavery and European colonialism and the rise of subtle new forms of liberal subjugation; materialist views of human nature and the limits of rational freedom vis-à-vis animal instinct; the idea of the avant-garde and the picture of modern culture as a veiled civil war; and the continuing challenges posed by power politics, total war, and totalitarianism. Among the authors read are Rousseau, Smith, Kant, Goethe, Olaudah Equiano, Madison, Robespierre, Condorcet, Hegel, Marx, Emerson, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Joseph Conrad, Freud, Darwin, Ernst Junger, Georg Lukacs, Marinetti, Tristan Tzara, André Breton, Kafka, Jean Amery, Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, and Michel Foucault. The class also discusses various pieces of music and works of art, including several films. This course is open to BA/MA students; please email the instructor for permission to register.

      • Latin American Debates and Critical Perspectives, GPOL 6012
        Carlos Forment, Associate Professor of Politics

        This course starts with a historical framing of debates in Latin America: the Indianist perspective, dependency, development, and populisms. On the one hand, we focus on debates regarding development and neoextractivism, which also implies reflecting on the Indianist perspective, the reformulation of dependency, and populism, especially over the last 20 years. On the other hand, we propose to account for the relational narratives concerning the socio-ecological crisis and the society-nature, human-nonhuman relationship. Finally we introduce other critical theoretical perspectives and explore the problem of the rightist turn.

      • Life Chances of Polities, GPOL 6250
        Quentin Bruneau, Assistant Professor of Politics

        In his writings, Max Weber explored the determinants of individuals’ "life chances” in different societies. This course examines the determinants of polities’ life chances within international society, covering the period from the Renaissance to the end of the 20th century. To do this, it engages with scholarship in historical sociology, international relations, international law, and international history. The course first deals with the early modern period, as it constitutes the basis for so much theorizing in the social sciences and is generally taken to be the axiomatic example of a world in which military force reigned supreme. The second part of the course looks at the period from the French Revolution to the late 20th century, placing emphasis on the underpinnings of the extinction of non-European states. Readings include work by Charles Alexandrowicz, Anthony Anghie, Lauren Benton, Tanisha Fazal, Mamadou Hébié, Edward Keene, Martti Koskenniemi, Jason Sharman, and Charles Tilly.

      • Populism and Nationalism, GPOL 6251
        David Plotke, Professor of Politics 

        The 2020 presidential election in the United States features an incumbent president who emphasizes populist and nationalist themes. Populist themes also played an important role in the campaigns of several Democratic candidates for the presidential nomination. Populism and nationalism now appear prominently in elections and governance in many OECD countries (and elsewhere). We analyze populism and nationalism as major elements of contemporary political life and thought. The American presidential election provides a crucial context for this assessment, but we also consider other cases in a comparative approach. When and why do populist political forces and themes emerge? When are they most successful in gaining political power? How do such forces govern when in power? What is the relationship between populism and nationalism? We consider relations between populist and nationalist projects of both the right and left and the influence of both on democratic practices.

      • Time and World Politics, GPOL 6384
        Anne McNevin, Associate Professor of Politics 

        What is the relationship between the conceptualization of time, the experience of time, and the course of world politics? How and why is time a site of political struggle and epistemological contestation? This course investigates the temporal assumptions behind prevailing approaches to world politics, the deployment of time for purposes of political legitimation, and the political imaginaries enlivened by alternative temporal frames. The readings are interdisciplinary, engaging with clock time, quantum time, geological time, industrial time, developmental time, and indigenous conceptions of time. The readings also explore different ways of experiencing time as pace, rhythm, waiting, pause, process, and event. We examine the significance of time for big questions in world politics, such as the Anthropocene, border control, decolonization, and work. Students are encouraged to inquire into their particular areas of interest in relation to time and temporality.

      • Field Seminar in Comparative Politics: Politics and the Political, GPOL 7001
        Mark Frazier, Professor of Politics

        This course explores 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. We read works of social research that examine 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 new 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.

      • Field Seminar in Political Theory: Radical Theories of Democracy, GPOL 7003
        Andreas Kalyvas, Associate Professor of Politics

        This field seminar introduces students to the history and key themes of political theory. Every year there is a different theme. This year’s seminar is a comprehensive critical introduction to the study of contemporary radical theories of democracy, with the overall aim of systematically rethinking the modern democratic experience, its legacy, and its promises. The seminar focuses on various attempts to radicalize democracy (agonistic democracy, fugitive democracy, dissensus democracy, savage democracy, plebeian democracy, council democracy, etc.), with an emphasis on what constitutes the singularity of democracy and what it is about democracy that accounts for its radicalism. In the context of the modern advent of democracy, the course engages with the relationship between democracy and the state-form; popular sovereignty and private property; participation, representation, and delegation; pluralism and antagonism; equality and capitalism; wealth and poverty; and autonomy and heteronomy. It also interrogates the complex nexus of power, law, race, and gender. The objective is threefold: 1) to determine which radical elements in democratic theory remain current, no matter what form and shape they take in concrete instances; 2) to gain an understanding of the diverse attempts to radicalize democracy not as speculative exercises but as historical and political explorations in conversation with and in response to current social conflicts; and 3) to examine whether the politics and theory of radical democracy can provide a viable emancipatory alternative to the oligarchic rule of capital, the ongoing crisis of the liberal paradigm of politics, and the global rise of authoritarianism, xenophobia, racism, and far-right violence. We read authors like Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Antonio Gramsci, Cornelius Castoriadis, Claude Lefort, Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, Jacques Rancière, Sheldon Wolin, Wendy Brown, Miguel Abensour, and Partha Chartterjee, who are central to a radical rethinking of democracy.

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

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