2007 Annual Meeting 2007 Annual Meeting "Political Science and Beyond"

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Grounded in APSA President Robert Axelrod’s task force on interdisciplinarity, the 103rd Annual Meeting in Chicago moved past disciplinary boundaries to explore “Political Science and Beyond.” Program Co-Chairs Elisabeth Gerber of the University of Michigan and David Lake of the University of California, San Diego organized all panels and plenary sessions by working closely with the Program Committee, a 52-member team drawn from the Organized Sections.


2007 Annual Meeting Call for Papers for "Political Science and Beyond"

Politics are ubiquitous in social life, shaping all manner of interaction in so many spheres of human activity. From the playground to the retirement community, from the marketplace to the halls of government, from families to the global economy, we are constantly engaged in political struggles large and small. Political science, in turn, has long been fundamentally interdisciplinary, exchanging ideas, theories, data, and methods with fields from anthropology to zoology -- and everything in between. As political science has become a more self-conscious discipline, it has simultaneously grown more aware of its intellectual debts and on-going contributions to cognate fields of study. The 103rd Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association will celebrate the interdisciplinary nature of political science and highlight new opportunities for intellectual exchange across disciplinary boundaries.

Few substantive topics studied by political scientists are the exclusive preserve of a single discipline. Race, gender, and class have long stood at the intersection of sociology and political science. Attitudes, cognition, and decision-making are studied by psychologists and political scientists alike. Justice, equality, and deliberation are central to both philosophy and political theory. Property rights, regulation, and economic policy are equally the domain of economists and political scientists.

Similarly, the methods used by political scientists are widely shared. From discourse analysis to participant-observation, from case studies to statistical analyses, no research tool is unique to political science. In recent years, political scientists have both borrowed and pioneered network analyses to reveal patterns of bill sponsorship in Congress, social ties between states, and interactions between interest groups; randomized laboratory experiments to see how people process political information; agent-based models to study everything from cooperation to voting, the economy, and the evolution of the international system; brain imaging to identify the physical loci of political cognition; and "twin" studies to probe the genetic contribution to political attitudes. These methodological advances have allowed political scientists to extend our understanding beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries and to fruitfully engage questions that straddle fields.

The 2007 APSA Annual Meeting aimed to embrace the extraordinary potential of linking political scientists with researchers, teachers, and scholars from other disciplines. We encouraged participants to think across disciplinary boundaries in organizing panels and in contributing to the program. We particularly encouraged the participation of scholars from cognate fields. In doing so we hoped to expose political scientists to the newest research currents in other arenas, demonstrate in return the intellectual vitality of political science, and, most of all, enrich the discussion across disciplines and our understanding of politics.

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