GOVT 700: Scope and Methods of Political Science (Instructor: James Raymond Vreeland)  


Scope and Methods of Political Science (Course number GOVT 700, Fall 2014)
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Class day & time: Tuesday, 12:30pm-1:30pm
Classroom location: Car Barn Room 303

The class introduces students to the discipline of Political Science and to specific political scientists at Georgetown University. To that end, I have asked faculty members to discuss or debate various methodological and disciplinary issues relevant to the practice of political science. A non-comprehensive list of topics that we will discuss includes: career trajectories, research papers, making sense of the sub-fields of Political Science (Comparative, IR, American, and Theory), making sense of multiple methods, political science and policy, how to get a job in political science and what it's like to be a new professor, fieldwork abroad, and how to get published.

Course objectives

  • Get to know our Georgetown faculty members
  • Learn about practical side of this discipline we call Political Science
  • Become comfortable with debates in Political Science

    Course requirements

    (1) Attend all class meetings:
    Each class meeting will have faculty members from Georgetown. The first goal is to get a chance to know the faculty members. Not all faculty members teach courses open to first year Ph.D. students, and we think it is important that our Ph.D. students have some idea of the many political science resources at Georgetown. The second goal is to discuss some aspect of the profession, ranging from policy to politics to methods to writing. Please see below for the course schedule.

    Be sure to click the links to the professors for each week and read about them BEFORE the class session. In most cases, the links will bring you to their Curriculum Vitae. Reading the CVs will give you a chance to learn more about the research agendas and educational backgrounds of some of the professors that you will be working with throughout your time at Georgetown. While reading them, think about what you would like your CV to look like someday...

    (2) Attend an additional 3 academic talks (and turn in written discussions of each):
    Participating in academic talks constitutes a vital component of your Ph.D. education. You should view your Ph.D. studies as an apprenticeship. You will learn your craft by seeing how it is done by more advanced professionals. By attending talks, you will internalize good research practices and learn professional norms. And remember, in a few years, you will be presenting your own research at a research seminar at another major research university. You need to begin learning how it is done now so that you can do a good job when your turn comes.

    What academic talks can I attend? You have many available options. Our department subfields each have a speaker series, as do many of Georgetown's centers and institutes. Note that the *academic* talks that you attend must be social science talks. In other words, you cannot complete this requirement by attending policy briefings. If you have any doubts, please ask me in class whether a particular talk is appropriate. I provide links to various seminar series below.

    After attending each talk, please provide a brief written discussion. The discussion should include (1) the name of the presenter, (2) the forum in which you attended the talk, (3) a short summary of the content of the talk and the discussion that followed, and (4) a few comments and questions of your own. You must email the assignment to me AS AN ATTACHMENT within three days following the talk.

    *** *** ***PLEASE NAME THE ATTACHED FILE FOR EACH ASSIGNMENT AS FOLLOWS:

    GOVT700_lastname#.doc

    where "lastname" should be your last name, and # should be the number of the assignment (either 1, 2, or 3). If you don't name the file exactly as instructed, you may not receive credit from me (because the file will go astray).



    Schedule

      In the event of a campus closure causing the cancelation of class, the instructor will communicate with students through email.
      September 30: Michele Swers
      • What is the field of American Government?
      October 28: Daniel Byman
      • Writing for non-academic publications
      November 4: Desha Girod
      • Putting pieces together – from dissertation to book
      Examinations: December 10-18 (There is no final exam for this course.)


    Seminar series that host *academic* talks

  • American Government Speaker Series
  • Current Research on Issues and Topics In Comparative Scholarship (CRITICS)
  • Georgetown University International Theory and Research Seminar (GUITARS)
  • Political Theory Speaker Series
  • Georgetown Public Policy Institute Faculty Seminars
  • Department of Economics Conferences, Seminars, and Workshops
  • Department of Sociology Colloquia


    Centers, Institutes, and Forums which host academic talks on campus

  • Berkeley Center
  • Democracy and Governance Studies
  • Program for Jewish Civilization
  • The Tocqueville Forum
  • The Mortara Center for International Studies
  • Center for Latin American Studies - Georgetown University

    ALSO: ALWAYS BE ON THE LOOK OUT FOR ***JOB TALKS*** BOTH IN POLITICAL SCIENCE AND IN THE SCHOOL OF FOREIGN SERVICE (WHICH OFTEN INTERVIEWS POLITICAL SCIENTISTS).

    WHY IS THIS IN CAPITAL LETTERS AND BRIGHT YELLOW FONT? STUDENTS HAVE, IN THE PAST, OVERLOOKED FAR TOO MANY JOB TALKS. YOU WILL HAVE TO GIVE ONE OF THESE TALKS SOMEDAY, AND THE BEST WAY TO FIND OUT ABOUT THEM IS TO ATTEND THEM! I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH!

    Nota bene:
    Please be sure to familiarize yourself with Georgetown’s honor system.




    WE ARE GLOBAL GEORGETOWN!