- Political theory
- political science
- graduate education
In 2019, the French Association of Political Science (Association Française de Science Politique) has published a warning message on the "decline of political theory and the history of ideas". Would you say that this is a relevant observation for academia in your country?
What ought political theorists in France and their allies in other countries make of the AFSP's issuing a warning regarding the "decline of political theory and the history of ideas"? Writing as a political theorist in the US, I'm impressed that the Association sees something worth acknowledging and feels compelled to send up a flare. But what prompted this warning? How would a professional association—or a scholar, graduate student, or undergraduate scholar of political theory—perceive the decline of a field?
From where I stand, as a political theorist in a leading public research university in the United States, political theory is declining by some measures and flourishing by others. Consider the emergence and maturing of Comparative Political Theory, no longer synonymous with merely reading "non-Western" political texts but with contesting this very distinction between what does and does not count as Western. Consult the remarkable work that recasts pillars of liberalism—property, founding, equality, liberty—as techniques of colonialism. Count the articles featuring feminist, critical race, and environmental scholarship (you will need more than one hand). Consider also how far beyond close reading and intellectual history today's practice of political theory ranges to engage in archival research, short, timely responses to cultural crises, qualitative interviews, and more…
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