2020 Short Courses

Short courses take place on Wednesday, September 9, 2020.  They provide diverse opportunities, either half day or full day, for professional development and offer attendees the chance to connect with scholars from a range of backgrounds. They are sponsored by APSA Organized Sections and other affiliated organizations. 

As APSA transitions to a virtual meeting, there will be no cost to attend these short courses. To attend a short course, all participants still must be registered for the Annual Meeting.

Andrew Stinson
Full Day, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Nikko, Bay View

The full-day course, organized by the African Politics Conference Group (APCG) organized section, will feature two theme panels in which attendees will discuss and offer feedback on research undertaken by early-careers from African institutions. Papers will not be presented in a formal sense; rather, papers must be read in advance and panels will be an opportunity for intense discussion and feedback. Discussion will be moderated by two senior faculty with a goal of identifying key areas for improvement towards publication in peer-reviewed journals. The course is open to enrollment from any APSA member interested in engaging with these discussions and networking with emerging scholars from African institutions.

Enrique Pinzon
Half Day, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Parc 55, Davidson

This workshop provides an introduction to the theory and practice of panel-data analysis. More and more, researchers have panel data, data in which individuals, companies, countries, or other units are observed repeatedly across time. Panel data allow you to study both time-invariant heterogeneity (variation due to unobserved characteristics of the unit of observation) and changes in the units of observation across time (model dynamics). Stata is the premier statistical tool used for analysis of panel data.

The workshop starts with an introduction to fixed-effects and random-effects approaches to modeling unobserved individual-level heterogeneity. We will discuss linear models with exogenous covariates, linear models with endogenous variables, dynamic linear models, and some nonlinear models.

The topics covered will be the following:
– A brief introduction to Stata
– Data tools and descriptive statistics for panel data
– Estimation of linear panel-data models
– Estimation of nonlinear panel-data model estimators
– Estimation of models with endogeneity
– Estimation of dynamic panel-data models

The course is thought using Stata 16. If you do not have access Stata 16 please contact nbishop@stata.com to get a free temporary Stata 16 license.

Gamze Cavdar
Half Day, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Parc 55, Balboa

Despite its global significance, the MENA region remains one of the most poorly-understood regions for Americans. Some topics, such as women, gender, Islam, etc. are particularly challenging to cover in the classroom.

This half-a-day course seeks to help political science faculty and students who are currently teaching or preparing to teach courses on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), in general, and women and gender, in particular. The course will introduce some theoretical and pedagogical approaches and share best strategies to address issues around women and gender. It will also provide a platform to exchange ideas and initiate conversations among all participants and speakers. Speakers will share their teaching tips and strategies in a panel at the end. Upon completing the course, participants will have access to resources, such as reading and documentary/movie lists and receive a certificate.

Speakers and Topics:

  • Valentine Moghadam: “Adressing Issues of Structure and Agency”
  • Marwa Shalaby: “Incorporating Women’s Voices into Teaching Gender Politics in the Middle East”
  • Nermin Allam: “Teaching Gender Politics and the Middle East: A Feminist Engaged Pedagogy”
  • Shirin Saeidi: “Teaching Gender and Politics of the Middle East Comparatively: Experiences From the US South” 
  • Gamze Çavdar: “Undermining Bias and Introducing a Framework in Teaching Gender Politics of MENA”


At the end of the course, the participants:

  • will be informed about theoretical approaches to cover women and gender;
  • will articulate some of the best strategies;
  • will have access to reading and documentary/movie lists;
  • will share ideas with other colleagues; will be informed about pedagogical approaches

Basak Taraktas
Full Day, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Parc 55, Hearst

Simulation research has made some notable contributions in political science; but, it still is an emerging technique in our field. This workshop aims to introduce political scientists to the simulation technique and show how it can benefit to their research. The workshop is composed of three sections: First, participants will be introduced to the theory behind computational modeling, namely, complex adaptive systems. Second, we will examine examples of computational research from subfields, such as International Relations and Comparative Politics, to show participants how computational modeling can improve their research. In the third section, participants will do hands-on exercises and get a sense of how they can incorporate this technique to their research and teaching. Participants do not need any background in coding.

Colin Elman
Half Day, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Hilton, Union Square 15 & 16

Instructor: Ben Read, University of California Santa Cruz

Field research can be both daunting and exhilarating. Scholars learn a great deal about how to conduct fieldwork by doing so, yet there is also much value in reflecting on the practices of other field researchers and talking through each other’s experiences. This course provides high-impact concepts, tips, and guidelines that participants can adapt and apply in their own research. It is based on the premise that designing research, collecting data, and analyzing data are overlapping and inter-dependent processes that begin before a scholar enters the field, continue while she is there, and extend beyond her return. Throughout, we provide strategies to help researchers (1) consider how ethical principles affect the conduct of field research; (2) convert a research design into a “Data Collection Plan”; (3) access elusive data and data sources; (4) evaluate data’s evidentiary value; (5) organize and manage data; and (5) analyze data both in and out of the field. Although fieldwork is usually associated with “studying politics abroad,” we discuss techniques that may be applied inside and outside the U.S. The course includes lecture, Q/A, and small-group components. Participants will also be directed to useful document templates, such as spreadsheets for organizing fieldwork, sample correspondence, etc. The course is valuable for students planning dissertation projects, for scholars who would like to develop or improve their fieldwork skills, and for those who teach classes on research methods.

Colin Elman
Half Day, 1:30 – 5:30 PM
Hilton, Union Square 15 & 16

Instructor: Jennifer Cyr, University of Arizona

This short course explores strategies that political scientists can use to collect and generate data while conducting fieldwork. Many scholars engage in multiple types of data gathering and use mixed analytic methods. With this in mind, this course will introduce techniques that generate qualitative data in two different ways: interviews and focus groups. We will discuss strategies for recruitment, the development of question protocols, and data analysis for both methods and address concerns about power dynamics between researchers and their subjects. We will also consider when to use interviews versus focus groups as a data collection strategy and discuss how to integrate these into mixed methods research designs. Although fieldwork is usually associated with “studying politics abroad,” the techniques considered here may be applied inside and outside the U.S. The course includes lecture, Q&A, and practice exercises. Participants are encouraged to bring specific questions or concerns to the course to consider as a group. The course is valuable for students planning dissertation projects, for scholars who would like to develop or improve their fieldwork skills, and for those who teach classes on research methods.

Graig R. Klein
Full Day, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Parc 55, Powell II

This short course consists of two-parts, both of which take advantage of a new dataset a new dataset of Russian, Chinese, North Korean, and Iranian official communication and assessed sentiment called FOCUS Data [Foreign Official Communication Using Sentiment Data].

In part-one, participants learn how open source government and media reports can be collected using web scraping tools and how troves of textual and qualitative data can be analyzed and converted to quantitative measures using sentiment analysis. By the end of part-one, participants will be familiar with tools and concepts for web scraping, sentiment analysis, how to establish baseline information environments and sentiment, detect spikes in positive and/or negative sentiment, and methods for measuring the (in)effectiveness of a country’s or rival’s activities. The short course is designed for an academic audience, but the key concepts were previously taught at NATO workshops to military audiences and at Office of the Director of National Intelligence sponsored workshops.

Part-two is unique to this short-course. In part-two, participants will have the opportunity to use the FOCUS Data to enhance their own research. Participants can explore, and hopefully identify and analyze, potential relationships between information environments and verbal cues and behaviors and kinetic behaviors or operations, outcomes, or conflict processes of their interests, such as protests or militarized interstate disputes. In addition, regional, country, or rivalry scholars can use the FOCUS Data to enhance their case studies.

Zachary Steinert
Full Day, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Hilton, Union Square 21

Description. This full-day course will introduce attendees to the process of generating comparative and international relations event data from text and images shared on social media, focusing on Twitter. After an initial introduction to the types of event questions social media data can help answer, students will learn how to acquire tweets from accounts such as world leaders or international organizations, about specific topics, in specific languages, or that are a random sample of all tweets. Attendees will learn how to extract events from corpora of text (manually or with machine learning), download images and pass them to the Google Vision API, and trade-offs of different aggregation methods. Other topics covered will be understanding the impact of bots, strengths and weaknesses of other sources of data (Sina Weibo, Instagram, reddit, etc.), and hardware requirements if the attendees choose to pursue such work later. Familiarity with R is required.

Structure. The course will be divided into five sections. The first and last are one hour lectures. The middle three last two hours and follow the same structure. The first 90 minutes will consist of 30 minute chunks of code demonstration and practice. The final 30 minutes will allow the students to write their own code implementing what they have learned. In each section, students can use data they have downloaded or take advantage of tweets I will provide.

The first section will consist of a broad lecture motivating the use of event data and the generation of it from social media. It will explain what event data are, current approaches to its generation, advantages and disadvantages to using social media for event data, advantages and disadvantages to using Twitter for event data, and examples of text and image-based event data from Twitter.

The second section will teach attendees how to obtain data from Twitter. Before the class, students will have followed instructions I provide about generating a developer account. This early work is necessary because Twitter takes 24-72 hours to grant an account developer privileges, and these privileges are necessary to download data from it. This section will teach attendees how to follow specific accounts; obtain tweets in a specific language; obtain geocoded tweets; or acquire tweets of specific keywords. Attendees will learn storage best practices.

The third section will introduce three approaches to generating event data from text: using keywords to identify events, training a classifier to identify events, or coding events by hand.

The fourth section will introduce image analysis. Students will learn how to download an image and use Google Vision, Amazon Rekognition, and Microsoft Computer Vision API to understand what objects and actions the image contains. Transfer learning — tailoring pre-existing convolutional neural networks to one’s images — will be explained but not implemented because it requires hardware more powerful than laptops.

The final section is a lecture. I will discuss how to address tweets from bots (automatic accounts); appropriate geographic and temporal aggregations; and factors, such as population and per capita income, which affect the appropriateness of this approach. This lecture will also discuss other sources of data, such as Instagram, reddit, and Sina Weibo, which attendees should consider for their own projects. It will conclude explaining the hardware requirements necessary for generate event data from social media. These requirements are lower than people commonly believe, so these concluding slides should excite attendees and encourage them to carry the class’ techniques into their work.

Audience. The major limiting factor of this course is that students will need to be comfortable with R. I will provide code for using R to download tweets and analyze them, but there is not enough time to teach students R. Substantively, the most compatible audience is members of the Conflict Processes section. International relations researchers can also benefit from these skills to study norm diffusion, audience costs, international organization networks, and diplomacy. Data journalists and anyone interested in working with social media data will also benefit from this course.

Rebecca A. Glazier
Half Day, 1:30 – 5:30 PM
Parc 55, Davidson

At a time when many colleges and universities are facing enrollment challenges, online courses are an enrollment bright spot. More students—even students who live on campus—are opting to take online classes. Today, more than 30% of all college students in the United States are enrolled in at least one online class. Online classes can also help institutions of higher education reach new student populations—enabling lower income students and non-traditional students to access degrees that previously may not have been available to them.

But online courses come with a significant downside. Repeated studies across different types of universities, different kinds of programs, and different student populations all indicate a persistent and significant gap in retention. Students are more likely to fail and withdraw from online classes, compared to classes they take in person—about 10 to 35% more likely.

This is a dire situation for both universities and students. Students who are unable to graduate will find themselves saddled with unmanageable amounts of student loan debt and no greater earning potential with which to repay it. Universities will find themselves spending valuable limited resources to recruit students only to lose them to high online attrition rates. How can we reverse this negative trend and revive the promise of online higher education?

They key lies in identifying and adjusting for the fundamental difference between online and face-to-face classes: the distance between the instructor and the students. Research shows that if instructors can bridge that distance by building relationships—or rapport—with their students, the retention gap between online and face-to-face classes disappears.

This short course will introduce participants to the research on online rapport, teach them specific rapport-building strategies they can use in their online classes right away, and engage them in hands-on discussions and activities about ways to improve online retention. The four-hour course will focus on data-based strategies for connecting with students online, ways to write engaging course materials, and how to use email merge features to send personalized email messages to students.

About the Instructor: Rebecca Glazier is an associate professor in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She has been teaching online for 10 years and has published research on online education in the Journal of Political Science Education and Teaching in Higher Education. This workshop is based on a longer workshop for faculty Rebecca teaches with Heidi Skurat Harris at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Please fill out this brief form before attending the short course on Wednesday, September 9: https://forms.gle/P2t5r6KxL8rF2kncA. Your responses will help Rebecca illustrate some key methods for improving retention and better facilitate the course. Thank you! 

Colin Elman
Half Day, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Hilton, Union Square 19 & 20 

Instructor: Sebastian Karcher, Syracuse University

Research data management entails developing a data management plan and handling research materials systematically throughout the research lifecycle. Effectively managing data makes research more robust, allows data to be useful over a longer period of time, and facilitates sharing data with the broader research community. This short course equips participants with a range of strategies for effectively managing qualitative data. Hands-on exercises allow participants to practice basic data management tasks in the context of their own projects. The short course particularly emphasizes writing data management plans (DMPs), as required by the National Science Foundation (NSF), for research involving qualitative and multi-method data. We also consider the benefits and challenges of sharing data and demonstrate appropriate techniques for mitigating them, again with the help of exercises and tools that participants will be able to use with their own research. Finally, the short course introduces and briefly discusses new techniques for making qualitative research more transparent, including developing interview methods appendices and tables, documenting analysis performed in qualitative data analysis (CAQDAS) software, and employing Annotation for Transparent Inquiry (ATI).

Stefano Camatarri
Half day, 1:30 – 5:30 PM
Parc 55, Divisadero

In electoral research, voting decisions are often modeled as binary, i.e. contrasting the party (or candidate) voted for with all possible alternatives, as if the choice for the first one can be studied independently from the preference for all others.
In truth, if this argument fits quite well contexts where only two actors compete for public office, this is definitely not the case where voters can develop preferences for multiple parties or candidates.
In light of that, this short-course aims at showing a selection of technical tools tailored to the analysis of vote choice and party competition in multiparty/multicandidate contexts. In particular, attention will be given to the so-called PTV questions, i.e. variables measuring voters’ propensity to vote for each relevant competitor, and to how their elaboration through specific STATA packages and routines enables to get proper and cutting-edge information about both the determinants of voting decisions and competition among political actors in such setting.
The workshop combines presentations and hands-on practical work based on data from the European Election Study. The first part of the workshop (i.e. presentation and explanation of STATA packages and routines) lasts approximately 1,5 hours. Practical demonstrations and hands-on exercises last approximately 2,5 hours.

Colin Elman
Half Day, 1:30 – 5:30 PM
Hilton, Union Square 23 & 24

Instructor: Andrew Bennett, Georgetown University

This course will cover the underlying logic and best practices of process tracing, which is a within-case method of developing and testing causal explanations of individual cases.

We will briefly summarize the philosophy of science behind explanation via reference to hypothesized causal mechanisms and then outline the logic of process tracing in terms of Van Evera’s “hoop tests,” “smoking gun tests,” “doubly decisive tests,” and “straw in the wind tests.” We will then explicate an explicitly Bayesian approach to process tracing, which entails asking whether the evidence we find would be more or less plausible if a given hypothesis is true as compared to a rival.

Throughout the session we will emphasize best practices and applications to exemplars of process tracing research. Students will practice applying Bayesian reasoning in small group exercises. As time allows, and depending on the number of students, the instructors will also ask students to discuss how they plan to use process tracing in their current research project. This will allow the instructors and fellow students to offer constructive advice on how best to carry out process tracing in each student’s project.

Ugur Ozdemir
Half Day, 1:30 – 5:30 PM
Hilton, Union Square 19 & 20 

SEM is a form of causal modeling which combines latent structure analysis (factor analysis) and path analysis. This short course will introduce structural equation modeling (SEM) through a hands-on approach using the R package, lavaan.

Although it has been widely used in fields such as psychology and marketing, SEM’s use in political science is still quite limited. I will argue that behavioral research in politics can benefit from SEM and illustrate this by using research questions from the political choice literature and, survey data.

Some familiarity with R and regression analysis will be helpful but is not required.

Colin Elman
Half Day, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Hilton, Union Square 23 & 24

Instructor: Derek Beach, University of Aarhus

The study of causal mechanisms is ubiquitous in the social sciences. Mechanism-focused research using in-depth case studies enables us to gain a better understanding of how things work and under what conditions using real-world cases instead of gaining knowledge about mean causal effects across cases based on experimentally manipulating treatments in controlled populations. However, the potential gains of mechanism-focused research have not been fully reaped in the social sciences because of the tendency to reduce mechanisms to counterfactuals which are then investigated using cross-case comparisons.

Inspired by recent developments in mechanism-focused research in medicine and policy evaluation (Clarke et al, 2014; Cartwright and Hardie, 2012), the first session of the course will discuss the standards developed in the natural sciences for what constitutes a ‘good’ mechanistic explanation (e.g. Craver and Darden, 2013), and how these can be translated into social science theorization. The second session will then present the developing standards in the natural sciences for what constitutes ‘good’ mechanistic evidence, and again how these can be translated into the social sciences. The final session discusses practical applications, including how mechanism-focused research can be used as an adjunct method to improve social science experiments in designing the experiment and interpreting the data.


Beach, Derek, and Rasmus Brun Pedersen. 2019. Process-Tracing Methods: Foundations and Guidelines. 2nd Edition. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Cartwright, Nancy and Jeremy Hardie. 2012. Evidence-Based Policy: A Practical Guide to Doing It Better. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Clarke, B., D. Gillies, Phyllis Illari, Federica Russo, Jon Williamson. 2014. Mechanisms and the Evidence Hierarchy. Topoi, 33(2): 339-360.

Craver, Carl F. and Lindley Darden. 2013. In Search of Mechanisms: Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lilly J. Goren
Half Day, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Hilton, Union Square 25

This half-day seminar is designed to prepare APSA conference goers with the strategies, tactics, and tools to successfully teach presidency courses and talk with the media during the Trump presidency.

The first part of the short course will focus on teaching the presidency and how instructors have incorporated the presidency of Donald Trump into their syllabi and course discussions. Key questions addressed will be: How does Donald Trump’s presidency differ from past presidents in terms of constitutional claims of power, rhetoric, skill, and character? Panelists will also share strategies on how to manage political debate in ideological diverse classrooms.

The second part of the workshop will provide political scientists with advice on how to prepare for media requests with a special focus on the 2020 presidential campaign. Panelists will discuss how to tailor comments for maximum effect, how to anticipate media questions, and how political scientists can help the media incorporate more research-based evidence into their reporting.

There will be two breakout sessions following each panel to allow for small group discussions about teaching the presidency and dealing with the media.

Intro to Short Course:
Alison Howard (Dominican University of CA) alison.howard@dominican.edu

Part I: Teaching the Trump Presidency
9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

9:00 – 9:45 a.m.: Teaching the Trump Presidency Panel

Moderator: Terri Bimes (UC Berkeley) bimes@berkeley.edu


• Mary Stuckey (The Pennsylvania State University) mes519@psu.edu
• Bert Rockman (Purdue University) barockma@purdue.edu
• Meena Bose (Hofstra University) meena.bose@hofstra.edu

9:45 – 10:30 a.m.: Breakout Session on Teaching the Trump Presidency

Alison Howard (Dominican University of CA) alison.howard@dominican.edu
Kevin Baron (Austin Peay State University) baronkm@apsu.edu
Jennifer Hopper (Southern Connecticut State University) hopperj2@southernct.edu

10:30 – 11:00 a.m.: General Group discussion; feedback/lessons learned from breakout sessions

11:00 – 11:15 a.m.: Break (cookies, coffee & chatter)

Part 2: Talking about the Trump Presidency (in public, on social media, and with the mainstream and foreign media)
11:15 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Talking about the Trump Presidency Panel

Moderator: Lara Brown (George Washington University) larambrown@email.gwu.edu

George Edwards (Texas A&M University) gedwards@tamu.edu
Shirley Anne Warshaw (Gettysburg College) swarshaw@gettysburg.edu
Caroline Heldman (Occidental College) heldman@oxy.edu

12:00 – 12:45 p.m.: Breakout Session on Talking about the Trump Presidency

Julia Azari (Marquette University) julia.azari@marquette.edu
Graham Dodds (Concordia University) G.Dodds@concordia.ca
Donna Hoffman (University of Northern Iowa) donna.hoffman@uni.edu

12:45 – 1:00 p.m.: Wrap-Up (general group discussion; feedback/lessons learned from breakout sessions)

Co-sponsored by the Presidents and Executive Politics Section and the Political Science Education Section

Jeffrey W. Paller
Full Day, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Hilton, Union Square 13

Scholars and policymakers advocate for sustainable urban development to accommodate the growing number of people across the world that now live in cities. This definition typically refers to a form of development that meets the needs of the present without compromising future generations. Dominant scholarly approaches emphasize technical fixes like infrastructure improvements, resilient architecture, renewable energy, and technological advancements. Largely missing in this analysis is the politics of sustainable urban development, or the political conditions under which sustainable development outcomes are met in cities across the globe. How do political institutions shape the prospects of a sustainable future? What role does political participation play in the construction of sustainable cities? How do urban populations enable or constrain development interventions? What information and data are necessary to construct sustainable cities?

This short course draws from the unique set of theoretical and methodological approaches of political science to contribute to debates on sustainable urban development. Theoretically, we emphasize the importance of political behavior, social connectivity, governance processes, and citizenship for prospects of sustainable development. Methodologically, we draw from a range of social science research strategies, including surveys, field experiments, interviews, and participant observation. Importantly, we advocate new ways of estimating and analyzing mobile populations, as well as visualizing and representing urban neighborhoods in rapidly growing cities. Thematically, we advance important political perspectives on emerging policy debates around sustainable urban transport, climate change adaptation, sustainable resource governance, inclusive public service provision, and affordable housing. These insights will inform policies with the goal of constructing sustainable cities in the era of climate change.

The full-day short course includes papers that fit under the following research streams related to the politics of sustainable urban development:

• Analyzing and visualizing mobile populations and urban political constituencies

• Probing political behavior and social connectivity

• Clarifying citizenship claims and access to public services

• Challenging technical approaches to resilience

The short course will include a combination of lightning talks, research presentations, and paper workshops. The course will end with a conversation about a possible special issue or edited volume. The Comparative Urban Politics related group will host the short course.

Danielle Emerling
Half Day, 1:30 – 5:30 PM
Parc 55, Powell I

Description: Congressional archives contain a wealth of qualitative and quantitative data shedding light on voting behavior, congressional leadership, constituent sentiment, and more. These data have the potential to add detail to research, redress shortcomings in existing data, and generate new avenues of research. Despite their offerings, these resources continue to be an underused resource in legislative research, in part because political scientists receive little to no archival training. This course will provide an introduction to congressional collections and archival research, focusing on research design and archival research strategy. Funding sources, publishing opportunities, using digital archival records (e.g., email), and instruction with archival sources will also be discussed. The session will prepare participants for a research trip to the archives and provide participants with an understanding of:

1. how archives can enhance political science research.
2. the scope and structure of committee records.
3. the scope and structure of the personal papers of individual members of Congress.
4. how to work with archivists to enhance research productivity.
5. how to locate collections and use collection finding aids.
6. how to organize archival research during and after a trip.
7. how to locate potential funding resources to support research.
8. the potential benefits of research in born-digital archives.
9. the strengths and limitations of archival research.
10. how to use archival collections to enhance undergraduate and graduate instruction.

In addition to the presenters listed, the following instructors have been invited to participate:
Larry Evans, William and Mary
Dave Parker, Montana State
Doug Harris, Loyola University of Maryland
Scott Mieneke, Bucknell University

Sponsorship for this short course is being sought from:
The Legislative Studies Section
The Dirksen Congressional Center
The Association of Centers for the Study of Congress
The Society of American Archivists Congressional Papers Section

Special instructions:
Register ahead of time to receive materials needed for the short course. Participants will need a laptop.

Who should attend:
Scholars interested in innovative data sources; those interested in improving their research by exploiting archival sources; those interested in expanding their knowledge of Congress and legislative process to improve their teaching. Highly recommended for graduate students!

Rina Williams
Half Day, 1:30 – 5:30 PM
Parc 55, Balboa

The Methods Studio Short Course has two parts: a workshop and a “crit,” described below. The focus of this year’s workshop (Part I) is “Interpretivism and Epistemic Politics.” Following that, the “crit” (Part II) will entail focused discussion of interpretive methods in works in progress that will be selected in advance via application.

Part I [1.30-3.45] Workshop: “Interpretivism and Epistemic Politics”

In order to introduce a way of studying epistemic politics, Dr. Marcos Scauso (Assistant Professor of Political Science, Quinnipiac University) will begin by discussing a methodological difference within interpretivism. At the center of this debate, some post-structuralist scholars point out that approaches should further renounce foundational assumptions, even beyond ideas of “intersubjectivity” and/or “social reality,” to study how discourses include diverse epistemic assumptions of their own. From this methodological move, interpretation aims to include more dynamic understandings of meaning, but it can also create at least two problematic tendencies. On one side, interpretation can unfold onto a generalization of deconstruction due to the emphasis of the domination that emerges from foundationalisms and universalizations. In turn, this can be problematic if we seek to respect some forms of action, praxis, construction, and transformation. On the other hand, the construction of an approach to analyze epistemic politics can lead towards the introduction of the researcher into an equalitarian dialogue with the discourses, intellectuals, and political projects that are interpreted. If the study of epistemic politics generalizes this relationship of equality, however, how is it possible to make assertions about interpretations?

Dr. Scauso found much of his work trapped in this dilemma while deploying a particular understanding of genealogy and archival research to analyze colonial, anti-colonial, and decolonial discourses in the Andes. Hence, the workshop will discuss this difference among some interpretivists, analyzing the implications that the dilemma entailed in the study of Andean discourses and proposing a way of using this experience fruitfully in the interpretivist study of epistemic politics.

References and planned course readings

(Registered participants will receive PDF copies in advance of the short course.)

Marcos S. Scauso. “Interpretivism: Definitions, Trends, and Emerging Paths.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia, International Studies. 2020.

Wynter, Sylvia. 1995. “The Pope Must Have Been Drunk, The King of Castile a Madman: Culture as Actuality, and the Caribbean Rethinking Modernity.” In Reordering of Culture: Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada in the Hood, by Alvina Ruprecht, 17–42. Ottawa: Carleton University Press.

3.45-4.00 Break

Part II [4.00-5.30] “Crit”: Exploring research projects

Up to three selected researchers will present their projects, focusing on questions about the research methods they are using and/or the ways they have written their methods sections. Each researcher will be assigned a respondent who will read the work in advance, and will lead off discussion during the crit to draw in comments and questions of others in attendance such that the discussion serves to educate all. The crit enables more prolonged engagement with each research project and emphasizes supportive critique with an eye toward publication and reviewers’ reactions.

To present your research for the crit, please fill out the application and submit it to the Interpretive Methods Short Course organizer [Rina.Williams@uc.edu] by June 1. Selected applicants will be notified by mid-June. Open to all subfields, all interpretive methods, all levels/ranks.

Eileen Hunt Botting
Full Day, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Hilton, Union Square 14

The feminist political theorist and historian of political thought Megan Gallagher, in a recent review in the journal ‘Political Theory’ (Summer 2019), called for the return of WOLLAPALOOZA! at APSA, after we took a one year hiatus. After two popular and productive iterations of this event—which generated the first philosophical compendium on Wollstonecraft, ‘The Wollstonecraftian Mind’ (Routledge, 2019)—we’re back and ready to destabilize the canon of political thought even further! 25 speakers from Europe, South America, and the United States will gather in San Francisco to engage the enduring relevance of Wollstonecraft for political science and political philosophy, especially for questions and concepts of democracy, race, gender, and feminism. Everyone attending APSA 2020 is welcome to register for this special one-day pre-conference short course sponsored by the Women, Gender, and Politics section. It will be capped at 50 participants. 

Session 1 of WOLLAPALOOZA! III explores the paradoxes of the American dream and American democracy with respect to Wollstonecraft, her family, and her followers’ legacies in the Americas—including new evidence of her ideas spreading to the abolition movement in Jamaica just prior to the Haitian Revolution; her philosophical impact upon her sister-in-law, Nancy Kingsbury Wollstonecraft, during her life in Cuba, New Orleans, and New England; and her reception by Brissot, the Rolands, and Wright in their plans to establish utopian communes in the United States. Session 2 assesses the need to decolonize both canonical political thought on women and feminist criticism of it, beginning with pioneering figures such as Montesquieu and Wollstonecraft, and extending to nineteenth-century African-American women’s rights advocates such as Truth and Wells. Session 3 charts the relevance of late eighteenth-century political thought for honing new philosophical definitions of republicanism, liberalism, feminism, and democracy, and better understandings of their intellectual and political relationships with one another. Session 4 confronts the endless wars within feminism over the compatibility of motherhood and citizenship, which Wollstonecraft herself addressed in her landmark ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman’ (1792), but also were engaged before her by Astell and Keralio, and after her by Wright, Fuller, Taylor and Mill, and Woodhull.

The guiding questions of WOLLAPALOOZA! III will be: What is Wollstonecraft’s legacy for thinking about race as well as feminism, in the Americas and other regions of the world, as well as in Europe and her homeland of Britain? Was her political theory republican, liberal, or democratic? And does her categorization as one or the other matter for contemporary debates about democracy, liberalism, republicanism, and feminism? And, last but not least, we will treat perhaps the most vexed question surrounding Wollstoneraft and her work: Just what sort of a (proto-) feminist was she? And what sort of a feminist is one who studies her work and its philosophical and political legacies?

Going forward, we hope that WOLLAPALOOZA! will be an annual event. Our mission is to raise the profile of feminist political philosophy in the profession of political science, showcase new approaches to the history of feminist political thought, and provide a welcoming, international networking space for feminist scholars at all stages of the academic career.

Andrew Stinson
Full Day, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Nikko, Carmel II

The full-day course, organized by the APSA organized section on Democracy & Autocracy, will feature two theme panels in which attendees will discuss and offer feedback on research undertaken by 6 early-career scholars from lower and middle income countries across the world. Papers will not be presented in a formal sense; rather, papers must be read in advance and panels will be an opportunity for intense discussion and feedback. Discussion will be moderated by two senior faculty with a goal of identifying key areas for improvement towards publication in peer-reviewed journals. The course is open to enrollment from any APSA member interested in engaging with these discussions and networking with emerging scholars.

Half Day, 1:30 – 5:30 PM
Hilton, Franciscan D

There is no fee to attend this course. 

This interactive workshop featuring multiple experts on the psychology and practices of implicit bias will provide strategies that political science faculty and administrators can use to mitigate implicit bias during the faculty recruitment, interview, and hiring process. Presenters will discuss best practices in mitigating implicit bias in hiring, how to create an inclusive campus climate, and specific institutional steps university and college leaders may take to make the hiring process more equitable and inclusive.