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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Political Theory Colloquium: "The Commonwealth of Social Science"

The Minnesota Political Theory Colloquium will feature Political Science graduate student Joshua Anderson's presentation "The Commonwealth of Social Science Association and the Politics of Organization" on Friday, January 25th from 2:00-3:30pm in the Lippincott Room (Social Science Tower 1314). For a paper abstract and more info, please click here.

The abstract and paper are below. Coffee will be served. All are welcome.
Recent debates both in political theory and popular discourse attest to an unease over the merits of organization for democratic politics. For many, democratic politics must be spontaneous. In contrast, 19th writers were enamored of organization and its political potential. In this paper I draw on the history of the American Social Science Association (ASSA), which was the first attempt to organize social science at the national level, to demonstrate an unrecognized side to the social scientific project: the organization of political community. The organizational experiments attempted by the ASSA, such as the creation of a national journal, the failure to establish branch chapters in major American cities, and an aborted merger with Johns Hopkins University reveal a prevailing concern among the members of the ASSA with the politics - and not just policies - the organization would enact. Against those who read the history of the ASSA against the logic of rationalization (Haskell 2000) or governmentality (Hannah 2000), I show how the project of organizing the social sciences was closely connected to the creation of an American polity.
For the complete paper, please click here: CommonwealthofSocialScienceMPTC.docx