Political Science

Arts Building

The McGill University Department of Political Science carries on a long and pioneering tradition in the study of politics in North America. Founded in 1901, the Department's distinguished faculty is actively involved in a wide variety of ongoing research projects, and is committed to achieving a high level of academic excellence in research, graduate, and undergraduate education.
 

Department News

Catherine Lu’s book, Justice and Reconciliation in World Politics (Cambridge University Press, November 2017), is published.

Justice and Reconciliation in World Politics is a study in normative and critical theory of how to conceptualize practices of justice and reconciliation that aim to respond to colonial injustices in international and transnational contexts. Examining cases of colonial war, genocide, forced sexual labour, forcible incorporation, and dispossession, this book highlights the structural injustices involved in colonialism, based on race, class, and gender, and shows that interactional practices of justice and reconciliation have been inadequate in redressing these structural injustices. The book argues that contemporary moral/political projects of justice and reconciliation in response to the persistent structural injustices of a colonial international order entail strategies of decolonization, decentering, and disalienation that go beyond interactional practices of accountability and reparation, beyond victims and perpetrators, and beyond a statist world order.

William Clare Roberts was awarded the 2017 Deutscher Memorial Prize for his book, Marx's Inferno: The Political Theory of Capital.  "William Clare Robert’s book is unique in its combination of a close re-reading of Marx’s Capital through the lens of contextual political theory. He brings to the study of Capital all the verve, passion and erudition of Marx’s own invocation of classical literature to unmask the hellish realities of contemporary capitalism."

Juliet Johnson was awarded the 2017 Davis Center Book Prize in Political and Social Studies, the 2017 Ed A Hewett Book Prize, the 2017 Marshall Shulman Book Prize, and the 2017 CPSA Prize in International Relations for her book "Priests of Prosperity: How Central Bankers Transformed the Postcommunist World(Cornell University Press, 2016). The Davis Center Book Prize in Political and Social Studies, established in 2008 and sponsored by the Kathryn W. and Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, is awarded annually for an outstanding monograph published on Russia, Eurasia, or Eastern Europe in anthropology, political science, sociology, or geography in the previous calendar year. The Ed A Hewett Book Prize, established in 1994 and sponsored by the University of Michigan Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, is awarded annually for an outstanding monograph on the political economy of Russia, Eurasia and/or Eastern Europe, published in the previous year. The Marshall D. Shulman Book Prize, established in 1987 and sponsored by the Harriman Institute of Columbia University, is awarded annually for an outstanding monograph dealing with the international relations, foreign policy, or foreign-policy decision-making of any of the states of the former Soviet Union or Eastern Europe published the previous year. The Canadian Political Science Association Prize in International Relations is awarded biennially to the best book published, in English or in French, in the field of international relations.

Juan Wang's book is published "The Sinews of State Power", (Oxford University Press, 2017).

The Sinews of State Power seeks to explain why rural China has been so unstable since 2000, despite numerous national reforms. Using original fieldwork, it traces the rise and demise of cohesive local states in rural China since the Maoist era. It shows that, the county, township, and village levels of government, when in alliance, have facilitated economic growth and caused social grievances. However, national reforms redressing local deviation, together with individual responses from each level of administration, have dismantled elite alliances, and consequentially undermined the extractive, coercive, and responsive capacity of the state.

This book forms dialogue with two fields of inquiry in China studies and comparative politics. First, researches on farmer protest often either focus on farmers' grievances, organizations, and strategies, or examine responses from the state as a uniform entity. This book, instead, highlights the anthropology of the state by looking into elite cohesion across administrative levels that determines the exercise of state capacity. Second, studies of regime stability or endurance have stressed holistic factors, such as institutional adaptability, political culture, or epidemic corruption. The Sinews of State Power instead revisits the fundamental components of a capable government - a coherent and robust local leadership that enables the function of a state.

Éric Bélanger has been inducted as a new member of The College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists by the Royal Society of Canada. As a member, Professor  Bélanger will represent the emerging generation of scholarly, scientific and artistic leadership in Canada. 

Éric Bélanger’s core research focuses on the motivations that explain voting behaviour. He provides new insights into variations in economic voting and challenges conventional wisdom on the question of issue ownership. His work on the circumstances under which minor parties achieve electoral success and disrupt the normal patterns of party competition in advanced democracies highlights the role the rise of public cynicism towards politics plays worldwide.

Vincent Pouliot has been honoured with the first Hedley Bull Prize in International Relations, for his book "International Pecking Orders: The Politics and Practice of Multi-lateral Diplomacy", (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Éric Bélanger has been appointed as Director of McGill's Quebec Studies Program, effective 1 April 2017. Created in 1963, the Quebec Studies Program is an undergraduate program in the Faculty of Arts that fosters interdisciplinary studies on Quebec history, culture and society. With support from individual departments, it offers a Minor Concentration in Quebec Studies that consists of a coherent series of courses that provide an interdisciplinary perspective on Quebec society in both Canadian and international contexts. Starting in the Fall 2017 term, Professor Bélanger will teach the Minor's new core course QCST 200: Introduction to the Study of Quebec.

William Clare Roberts's book is published Marx's Inferno: The Political Theory of Capital”, (Princeton University Press, December 2016).

Marx's Inferno reconstructs the major arguments of Karl Marx’s Capital and inaugurates a completely new reading of a seminal classic. Rather than simply a critique of classical political economy, William Roberts argues that Capital was primarily a careful engagement with the motives and aims of the workers’ movement. Understood in this light, Capital emerges as a profound work of political theory. Placing Marx against the background of nineteenth-century socialism, Roberts shows how Capital was ingeniously modeled on Dante’s Inferno, and how Marx, playing the role of Virgil for the proletariat, introduced partisans of workers’ emancipation to the secret depths of the modern "social Hell." In this manner, Marx revised republican ideas of freedom in response to the rise of capitalism. Combining research on Marx’s interlocutors, textual scholarship, and forays into recent debates, Roberts traces the continuities linking Marx’s theory of capitalism to the tradition of republican political thought. He immerses the reader in socialist debates about the nature of commerce, the experience of labor, the power of bosses and managers, and the possibilities of political organization. Roberts rescues those debates from the past, and shows how they speak to ever-renewed concerns about political life in today’s world.