Department of Political Science

The MIT Department of Political Science offers a full undergraduate curriculum in political science; provides graduate education and research training at the highest level of excellence; maintains an environment in which faculty and advanced students can carry out original research on political behavior, processes, institutions, and policies; and contributes to the capacity of governmental and private organizations at the local, national, or international level to deal effectively and humanely with important political issues. Throughout, the department aims to create a community of men and women-senior and junior scholars, students and staff—that is rich and diverse in terms of gender, race, and national origin.

The key to success in all these goals lies in recruiting and nurturing an outstanding faculty, devoted both to research and teaching. In this connection, I am pleased to report that we have, in the past four years, successfully recruited seven outstanding new faculty (five assistant professors, two associate professors), two of whom will be joining us this fall.

Educational Initiatives

The department is helping MIT take the lead nationally in enhancing the education of technologically sophisticated undergraduates by exposing them to the practical world of politics and policymaking, while maintaining a high degree of academic rigor. Since 1994–95, we have provided a summer internship in Washington, DC for MIT students from across all disciplines. The internship's purpose is to provide a closer and more realistic look at policymaking than is possible in classroom settings. Students are required to enroll in a subject that introduces them to the contexts of policymaking. To date, more than eighty students have been placed in such organizations as: The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, The U.S. Department of Energy, the Institute of Medicine's Board on Global Health, the U.S. General Accounting Office's Office of Transportation Issues, the Office of Management and Budget, the World Bank, The Economic Policy Institute, the American Association for World Health and the U.S. House of Representatives Science Committee. The program, which allows MIT's technically-oriented students to experience how institutions vital to their later success operate, also gives the federal government and other policymakers early access to the best young scientists and engineers in America. With the help of a generous pledge from Dana Mead, we plan to expand the number of interns next summer to 13, with three each year designated as Dana Mead Interns.

For three years now, the Political Science and Economics Departments have also collaborated on a joint Political Science/Economics Washington Summer Internship Program. Two Political Science students and three Economics students were selected to join the Science and Technology interns in Washington, D.C. this summer. Political Science major Victoria Anderson (Political Science and Nuclear Engineering) is spending the summer at the U.S. Department of Energy; Jessica Hall is at the Plexus Consulting Group; and Allison Horst is at the MIT Washington D.C. Office.

Professor Suzanne Berger also created the MIT France Program, which is coordinated under the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI), along with the MIT-Japan, MIT-China, MIT-Germany, MIT-India, and MIT-Italy Programs. The MISTI-France Program began in September, 2000. Through these programs, the department has placed nearly 1000 students in internships over the past 20 years and we have every reason to expect that MISTI-France will be just as successful.

Professor Nazli Choucri has developed the Global System for Sustainable Development (GSSD)—an Internet-based set of experiments in international, distributed, multi-lingual and multi-cultural knowledge development, sharing and networking. Associate Professor Dan Kryder has incorporated the Kennedy, LBJ, and Nixon White House audiotapes into his courses as a teaching tool. Professor James Snyder, jointly with Harvard University, co-organized the bi-weekly seminar on positive political economy. Professor Charles Stewart is continuing to participate in the Residence Based Advising pilot project at McCormick Hall, for the freshman class entering Fall 2001.

Jointly with DUSP and Economics, the department recently established a minor in Public Policy. The program is now entering its third year, and is attracting a fair number of students to its courses. Currently, eight members of the class of 2002 have declared a Public Policy minor.

As part of an ongoing review of course offerings, several new subjects have been developed this past year on both the graduate and undergraduate level. Professor Stephen Ansolabehere and Assistant Professor Chappell Lawson designed a new course "Media Politics" which will be offered in 2001-2002. Lecturer Margaret Burnham will offer her new course "Political Trials" in spring 2002 and will teach "The Supreme Court" in the fall as a Communication Intensive course for the first time. Assistant Professor Brandice Canes-Wrone directed a reading seminar on the U.S. Courts for an advanced undergraduate. Assistant Professor Kanchan Chandra taught a new, year-long graduate workshop on ethnic politics. Assistant Professor Chappell Lawson developed and taught "Introduction to Comparative Politics," with Assistant Professor Jonathan Rodden, "Democratization in Asia, Africa, and Latin America." Associate Professor Kenneth Oye offered his new course "Science, Technology and Public Policy" in fall 2000 term. Professor Barry Posen expects to teach a new graduate course in the spring, on an experimental basis, called "Regional War, Civil Conflict and Great Power Intervention, 1990 to Present." Professor Harvey Sapolsky has taught a Summer Professional Institute course that is extremely successful in terms of enrollment and is planning a joint course with Steve Rosen at Harvard. Professor James Snyder is currently helping develop a new major field in Political Economy for Ph.D. students in economics. Associate Professor David Woodruff has substantially revised the syllabus for a fall course on institutional economics and is improving the HASS-D course on Soviet History by including more the primary source materials in the readers.

Several of these new undergraduate courses emerged from faculty discussion (prompted in part by conversations with Visiting Committee) about the need for a more structured undergraduate curriculum with better-defined portals into the program and clearer tracks through it. As part of that discussion, we also reorganized the numbering of courses and their representation in the catalogue.

At the end of the spring semester, the department also initiated a thorough review of the Graduate Program. Department faculty share the sense that the program needs more of a common intellectual core and more structured expectations. The current expectation is that the proposal will emerge by the end of the fall term.

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Student Recruitment, Placement, and Enrollment

After two very good years, the department had a poor year at graduate recruitment: we succeeded with only two of our top 15. The results were very disappointing, but there may be a silver lining here: essentially, we did very well in the previous two years because we were attracting a relatively narrow range of applicants—the best people in IR/security, but not many others. This year, we had a much more diverse group of students, including-for the first time in memory—a large group of strong applicants in American politics, as well as a much stronger group in comparative politics. We do have a senior offer out in American politics (to Alan Gerber) and the hope is that this appointment will consolidate the group and start to bring in students and not just applicants. In the case of comparative, we made a decision several tears ago to build from below in this field, and we now have a large group of excellent junior faculty. The fact that the group is so heavily junior limits graduate students recruitment. But as reputations grow and positions consolidate, I am confident that these results will change.

Our graduating doctoral students continued to find positions at leading research universities and institutions such as American University, Harvard University, National University of Singapore, University of Southern California, University of Salamanca, Rockefeller Foundation, Stanford University, and the University of British Columbia.

Undergraduate enrollments has trended upward during the past several academic years: 932 in 2000-2001, compared to 808 in 1999–2000 and 777 in 1998–1999; while the number of undergraduate majors has remained fairly constant: thirty in 2000–2001, 27 in 1999–2000 and 38 in 1998–1999. There were 24 minors (Classes of 2001, 2002, and 2003 which has remained flat during the past few years, and 38 concentrators from the Class of 2001. The larger enrollments come from increases among first and second year students, so we are expecting to see an upward trned in minors and concentrators as well. Graduate student enrollment for 2000-01 was 103.

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Professor Chandra joined the department this year, and taught in the field of ethnicity and ethnic conflict.

Professor Woodruff was promoted to untenured Associate Professor, effective July 1, 2000.

Roger Petersen, formerly an assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis, will join the faculty as an untenured associate professor in the Academic Year, 2002. His work focuses on civil and ethnic conflict.

Ed Steinfeld, who had been an assistant professor in the Sloan School of Management, has joined the Political Science Department as an assistant professor. His area of study is Chinese politics.

Assistant Professors Zhiyuan Cui and Susan Giaimo were not promoted to untenured associate professor, and are moving to new jobs elsewhere. Professor Dan Kryder was not promoted to associate professor with tenure, and next year will be his final year at MIT.

Increasing the presence of minorities and women in the department remains a major concern. All three search committees this past year made special efforts to identify outstanding women and minority candidates. The department received and reviewed a total of 132 applications for three open positions. Of those, 36 were women and 22 were probably minorities. Out of four finalists invited to present seminars, one was a woman.

In the coming academic year, the department has decided not to conduct faculty searches. The reasons for this are threefold. The department has a large number of faculty who are on leave during the year thus making a full faculty review of candidates difficult; the department has a very large number of promotion decisions to consider; and, finally, the department has decided to conduct a comprehensive internal review and evaluation of the graduate program and perhaps make some changes in the program if it determines that changes are needed.

Faculty Research

Faculty research activities include:

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Faculty Publications

Political Science faculty continue to be prolific publishers of books and articles. Here we provide only an abbreviated listing. Professor Ansolabehere contributed "Equal Votes, Equal Money" forthcoming in American Political Science Review and he wrote a report for the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project Voting: What is and What Could Be (July, 2001). Professor Berger's article "Il Caso Italiano and Globalization" (with Professor Richard Locke) appeared in DAEDALUS; Professor Emeritus Bloomfield contributed "The Genetically Engineered Secretary of State" in Foreign Service Journal, and his manuscript Snapshots from the Fringe: Accidental Encounters with History is scheduled for publication later this year. Lecturer Burnham contributed the chapter "Twice Victimized" in J. Cohen and E. Rogers, eds., Urgent Times: Policing and Rights in Inner-City Communities, Beacon Press 1999, and the chapter "Legal Services in Massachusetts" in R. Kass, ed., Legal Chowder (forthcoming).

Professor Canes-Wrone's article, "The President's Legislative Influence from Public Appeals" appeared in American Journal of Political Science; also "A Theory of Presidents' Public Agenda Setting" was in Journal of Theoretical Politics. Professor Chandra wrote "Ethnic Bargains, Group Instability and Social Choice Theory" for a forthcoming edition of Politics and Society; in addition she wrote "Elite Incorporation in Multi-Ethnic Societies" for Asian Survey, September/October 2000. Professor Christensen published: "China: The Right and Wrong Questions" in The National Interest, Winter 2000-2001), with Richard K. Betts and "Posing Problems Without catching Up: China's Rise and Challenges for American Security," SAIS Policy Forum Series Report, number 14, December 2000.

Professor Choucri had a number of articles published within the last year, including: "Environmentalism" in The Oxford Companion to World Politics 2nd ed, Oxford University Press, 2001 and "Mega-Cities & Global Accords" in The Future of the City, F. Moavenzadeh, et. al. eds. Kluwar Publishing (forthcoming). Professor Cohen continues to serve as Editor-in-Chief of Boston Review. Three books that he co-edited with Joel Rogers for the Beacon Press New Democracy Forum series appeared this year. Professor Kryder wrote "Reconsidering An American Dilemma: War, Statebuilding and the Politics of Black Militancy in the Twentieth Century" in Total War and the Law: New Perspectives on World War II, Daniel Ernst, ed., Michigan State University Press, 2001.

Professor Lawson wrote the article "Mexico's Unfinished Political Transition: Democratization and Authoritarian Enclaves" in Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos (Summer 2000) and his book, Building the Fourth Estate: Democratization and the Rise of a Free Press in Mexico, is due to be published by University of California Press later this year. Professor Locke has co-authored the following books and articles: Working in America, with Paul Osterman and Thomas Kochan, MIT Press (forthcoming); Globalization and Il Caso Italiano, with Professor Berger, DAEDALUS (forthcoming); and "Mirror Images?: Political Strategies for Economic Development in East Germany and Southern Italy" in Stato e Mercato (forthcoming). Professor Meyer's article, "Community Politics and Endangered Species Protection," was published in Protecting Endangered Species in the United State, eds. Jason F. Shogren and John Tschirhart, (Cambridge University Press, 2001). Professor Melissa Nobles had a book chapter, "Racial Categorizations and Censuses" published in David I. Kertzer and Dominique Arel (eds.) Census and Identity: The Politics of Race, Ethnicity, and Language in National Census, (Cambridge University Press, Fall 2001).

Professor Oye's co-authored the following articles "International Competition: Conflict and Cooperation in Government Export Financing," with Peter Evans, in The Ex-IM Bank in the 21st Century: A New Approach, edited by Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Rita M. Rodriguez, Institute for International Economics, Special Report, (January, 2001); "Regulatory Diversity: Can the World Trading System Cope?", edited with Thomas Bernauer and David Victor, in Swiss Political Science Review, Special Issue, Debate: Consumer Protection in a Global Market, Autumn, 2000. Professor Posen wrote the chapter "U.S. Security Policy in a Nuclear-Armed World, or What if Iraq had Nuclear Weapons?" that appeared in The Coming Crisis: Nuclear Proliferation, U.S. Interests, and World Order, Victor Utgoff, ed. (MIT Press) and his article "Military Operations in Urban Environments: Tactical Realities and Strategic Ambiguities" was included in Soldiers in Cities: Military Operations on Urban Terrain, Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2001.

Professor Pye wrote the chapter "Asian Values: From Dynamos to Dominos?" in Lawrence Harrison and Samuel P. Huntington, eds., Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress (Basic Books, 2000). Professor Rodden is the lead editor of Fiscal Decentralization and the Challenge of Hard Budget Constraints, along with Gunnar Eskelind and Jennie Litvak, currently under review at MIT Press, Economics. Professor Sapolsky wrote the articles "U.S. has a Window to Skip Weapon Generation" with Eugene Gholz in Defense News, Vol. 19 (May 2001) and "Buying Weapons Without an Enemy" in the journal Breakthroughs (Spring 2001). Professor Schaffer's "Might Cleaning Up Elections Keep People Away from the Polls? Historical and Comparative Perspectives" will appear in International Political Science Review later this year. Professor Eugene Skolnikoff's article "The Role of Science in Policy: The Climate Change Debate in the U.S." was reprinted in the Spring 2000 issue of Journal of Liberal Arts, a Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies of the American College of Thessaloniki, Greece, and in Review Futuribles, Paris, France, forthcoming this summer.

Professor Snyder's article "An Informal Rational for Political Parties" (with Mike Ting) is forthcoming in the American Political Science Review, and his article "The Effects of Party and Preferences on Congressional Roll Call Voting" (with Professors Ansolabehere and Stewart) is forthcoming in Legislative Studies Quarterly. Professor Stewart's book, Analyzing Congress, was published by W.W. Norton in 2001. Professor Van Evera published "Primordialism Lives!" in APSA-CP: Newsletter of the Organized Section in Comparative Politics of the American Political Science Association, vol.12, (Winter 2001). Professor Woodruff's article "Rules for Followers: Games, Institutional Theory, and the New Politics of Economic Backwardness in Russia," was published in Politics and Society, (2000); and he had several book reviews published, including one of "Power and Prosperity: Outgrowing Communist and Capitalist Dictatorships" by Mancur Olsen in East European Constitutional Review (2001).

The department's faculty continue to give many invited lectures, appear at conferences, serve on boards of professional organizations and editorial boards, in addition to serving as advisors for government, private, and international organizations and agencies. A brief summary is included here. Professor Berger served on the French Ministry of Education's Committee to select tenured professors. Assistant Professor Canes-Wrone attended the Political Economy Research Group's and the Liberty Fund's conferences. Associate Professor Christensen lectured at U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Professor Cohen lectured in Rio de Janeiro at the Conference on Inequality and gave a memorial lecture for Don Kalish at U.C.L.A. Assistant Professor Lawson taught and guest lectured at Harvard and participated in the Salem Speakers Series. Associate Professor Locke lectured at the University of Rio de Janeiro and at Simon Bolivar University. Professor Meyer serves on the editorial board of International Security and was a guest lecturer at Tufts Veterinary School.

Professor Nobles received the 2000 Outstanding Book Award for Shades of Citizenship from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and consulted for the World Bank. Associate Professor Oye serves on the Advisory Council of the U.S. Export Import Bank and is a Trustee of the World Peace Foundation. Professor Posen serves as on the editorial board of Orbis, Security Studies and International Security. Assistant Professor Rodden presented papers at a World Bank conference and at the U.C. San Diego and organized a conference at Harvard's Center for European Studies. Professor Samuels lectured at Harvard, University of Washington and Ohio State University. Professor Sapolsky lectured at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Studies and the Royal Institute for International Affairs. Professor Schaffer is the recipient of a grant from the Fulbright Scholars Program and has spent the Spring semester doing field research in the Philippines. Professor Snyder gave seminars at Stanford, Berkley, Yale and Penn. Associate Professor Van Evera serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Cold War History, Orbis, and Security Studies. Associate Professor Woodruff gave talks at the Centre for Russian and Eastern European Studies (University of Toronto) and at Brown's Watson Institute.

Faculty Leaves

A significant number of faculty are on leave during this coming academic year. Professor Suzanne Berger is on leave for the year, doing research on globalization at L'Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. Assistant Professor Canes-Wrone is on Junior Faculty Research leave in the fall and on leave without pay in the spring, doing research at Caltech. Assistant Professor Chandra is on leave for the year, on a Harvard Academy (Kukin) fellowship. Associate Professor Locke will also be on leave for the year in order to write a book. Assistant Professors Rodden and Associate Professor Woodruff will both be on Junior Faculty Research Leave, in the fall and spring, respectively. Professor Stewart will be on sabbatical in the fall.

We have two visitors, both MIT Ph.D.s, who will help with teaching needs. Serenella Sferza will teach courses on comparative politics, and Annabelle Lever will pick up political theory courses that Stuart White had been teaching.

Joshua Cohen

More information about the Department of Political Science can be found online at

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