Faculty and student researchers in the Department of Political Science use field observations and empirical data to test—and sometimes challenge—conventional wisdom.
At times, our work affirms existing models and deepens our understanding of how institutions and policies influence events and cultures. In other cases, we develop new models that better explain and predict the forces that shape our societies.
The intellectual life of our Department is organized around five subfields that broadly reflect the conceptual and theoretical range of questions addressed in political science. Many of our faculty work in multiple fields and/or have joint appointments with interdisciplinary centers, institutes, and programs across the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the University.
The field of American politics at UConn includes the study of Congress, the bureaucracy, interest groups, the Presidency, voting, public opinion, participation, and race and ethnicity. It also includes rational choice, historical and behavioral perspectives, among others; and it encompasses the quantitative analysis of aggregate data, qualitative studies, survey research, and randomized experiments, among other methods.
The field of comparative politics includes area studies; comparative political economy; the study of violence and ethnic conflict; human rights; and comparative institutional analysis. Our faculty includes experts in Western and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
The field of international relations comprises the study of all manner of global and regional political problems, including armed conflict and diplomacy in its various manifestations; the politics of international trade and the environment; the threat of terrorism; and the design and functioning of international institutions and international law. Methods of analysis are often diverse, tailored to the problem and the empirical opportunities which present themselves.
The field of political theory approaches the study of justice, legitimacy, and power by conjoining normative theory (reflection on political values), positive theory (the study of how values can be achieved by institutions), and the intellectual history of political thought. Our faculty and students focus their research on the following topics: democracy, equality, rule of law, global justice, realism and idealism, education, deliberation, institutional innovation, and the organization of knowledge.
The field of public law at UConn features the study of legal institutions and law from the perspective of political science. It is primarily concerned with the analysis of legal institutions, the behavior of legal decision-makers and citizens, and the study of legal and constitutional doctrine and culture. Faculty research often considers how the actions of legal decision-makers (judges, police, regulatory officials, bureaucrats, etc.) are shaped both by legal doctrine and by political, institutional, and social constraints.
Projects, Centers, and Institutes
The Department of Political Science also hosts or is affiliated with a number of projects, centers, and institutes across our College, at UConn, and beyond that facilitate public research in political science. They include:
- Africana Studies Institute
- Asian and Asian American Studies Institute
- Center for Environmental Science and Engineering (CESE)
- CIRI Human Rights Data Project
- El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies
- GlobalEd Project
- Humanities Institute
- Human Rights Institute
- Journal of Human Rights
- Urban and Community Studies
- Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program
The department sponsors numerous talks around the university that relate to issues in political science. The following series are most relevant to political scientists. For upcoming events, please visit the POLS Event page.
The POLS Colloquium is a series of talks sponsored by the Department of Political Science. Several times per year, distinguished scholars from across the nation are invited to present their cutting-edge research in political science. UConn faculty are also invited to participate; in recent years, department faculty have introduced research from recently published books at the colloquium.
For questions or to RSVP, please contact Matt Singer.
Political Economy Workshop
The Political Economy Workshop offers a series of talks co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the Department of Economics. Faculty present research focusing on various subjects addressing how economics and politics affect each other; for example, they may look at the impact of economic power on international relations or how different economies develop within similar political systems.
For more information, please contact Professor Lyle Scruggs.
Political Theory Workshop
The Political Theory Workshop is a University of Connecticut Humanities Institute working group that provides a venue for political thinkers to present and receive feedback on works-in-progress or recently published works. Its membership is located across a variety of academic disciplines and theoretical orientations, including political science.
For more information, please contact Professor Fred Lee.