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

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.

Juliet Johnson awarded the 2017 CPSA Prize in International Relations
Published in 2016.  "Priests of Prosperity: How Central Bankers Transformed the Postcommunist World" (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press).

In this major contribution to the study of International Political Economy and Central and East European post-communist transitions, Juliet Johnson sheds new light on the powerful influence of a transnational network of central bankers. Her analysis reveals how this network integrated and socialized a new generation of public banking officials in ways that reflected dominant, Western ideas about the independent role of central banks in managing capitalist economies. Johnson’s findings emerge from a rich tapestry of evidence, in particular, extensive interviews across seventeen countries. The book’s fine-grained empirical analysis is located within an innovative theoretical and conceptual framework. Situated in the tumult of major political and economic transitions from command economies, and the more recent global financial crisis, Priests of Prosperity deserves a wide readership across many disciplines. 

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.

Philip Oxhorn has been appointed to the position of Associate Provost (International) effective 1 September 2016. The position of Associate Provost (International) is new to McGill and was created to develop the University’s international strategy with a view to identifying and maintaining partnerships with international institutions and foreign governments; strengthening efforts to expand our reach and sustain collaborations through digital connections; overseeing international revenue-generating opportunities that expand our reach; expanding opportunities for students to situate their knowledge and understand their lives in a global context through ensuring that the curriculum reflects a global perspective and through student mobility and exchanges; and supporting international teaching and strategic research collaborations stemming from the extensive interests of professors and students across all our Faculties. The Associate Provost will work closely with the Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) and the Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation) to ensure comprehensive pursuit of these objectives.

Vincent Pouliot’s book is published: “International Pecking Orders: The Politics and Practice of Multilateral Diplomacy”, (Cambridge University Press, April 2016).

In any multilateral setting, some state representatives weigh much more heavily than others. Practitioners often refer to this form of diplomatic hierarchy as the 'international pecking order'. This book is a study of international hierarchy in practice, as it emerges out of the multilateral diplomatic process. Building on the social theories of Erving Goffman and Pierre Bourdieu, it argues that diplomacy produces inequality. Delving into the politics and inner dynamics of NATO and the UN as case studies, Vincent Pouliot shows that pecking orders are eminently complex social forms: contingent yet durable; constraining but also full of agency; operating at different levels, depending on issues; and defined in significant part locally, in and through the practice of multilateral diplomacy.

Juliet Johnson's book is published "Priests of Prosperity: How Central Bankers Transformed the Postcommunist World", (Cornell University Press, March 2016).

Priests of Prosperity explores the unsung revolutionary campaign to transform postcommunist central banks from command-economy cash cows into Western-style monetary guardians. More than 160 interviews in seventeen countries with central bankers, international assistance providers, policymakers, and private-sector finance professionals over the course of fifteen years. She argues that a powerful transnational central banking community concentrated in Western Europe and North America integrated postcommunist central bankers into its network, shaped their ideas about the role of central banks, and helped them develop modern tools of central banking.

Detailed comparative studies of central bank development in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan take readers from the birth of the campaign in the late 1980s to the challenges faced by central bankers after the global financial crisis. As the comfortable certainties of the past collapse around them, today's central bankers in the postcommunist world and beyond find themselves torn between allegiance to their transnational community and its principles on the one hand and their increasingly complex and politicized national roles on the other.

T.V. Paul has been elected as the 56th President (2016-17) of the International Studies Association (ISA), the leading scholarly association in that field.

Antonia Maioni has been appointed as Dean of the Faculty of Arts.  Her five-year term will begin on July 1, 2016.  The Faculty of Arts is a large and diverse humanities and social sciences faculty. It will be well served by the breadth and depth of Professor Maioni’s experience and skills as an accomplished scholar and leader. Professor Maioni came to McGill in 1994, and is jointly appointed to the Department of Political Science and the Institute for Health and Social Policy. Her research focuses on health-care reform and the Canadian political process.

Brent E. Sasley and Harold M. Waller’s book is published "Politics in Israel: Governing a Complex Society", (Oxford University Press, January 2016).

"Politics in Israel: Governing a Complex Society is the first textbook on Israel to utilize a historical-sociological approach, telling the story of Israeli politics rather than simply presenting a series of dry facts and figures. The book emphasizes six specific dimensions of the conduct of Israeli politics: the weight of historical processes, the struggle between different groups over how to define the country's identity, changing understandings of Zionism, a changing political culture, the influence of the external threat environment, and the inclusive nature of the democratic process. These themes offer students a framework to use for understanding contemporary political events within the country.

Politics in Israel also includes several chapters on topics not previously addressed in competing texts, including historical conditions that led to the emergence of Zionism in Israel, the politics of the Arab minority, and interest groups and political protest."

"Power In Practice: Negotiating the International Intervention in Libya," by Rebecca Adler-Nissen and Vincent Pouliot (European Journal of International Relations, December 2014, vol. 20 no. 4, pp, 889-911), has been awarded the 2015 European International Studies Association prize for the best article in the European Journal of International Relations.

Professor Emeritus Charles Taylor has been co-awarded the 2015 John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity by the Library of Congress, along with Jürgen Habermas.

Megan Bradley, ed. "Forced Migration, Reconciliation and Justice. Montreal", (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2015).

"At the start of 2015, more people were displaced globally by conflict and human rights violations than at any time since the Second World War. Although many of those displaced, from countries such as Syria, Iraq, Colombia, Kenya, and Sudan, have survived grave human rights abuses that demand redress, the links between forced migration, justice, and reconciliation have historically received little attention. This collection addresses the roles of various actors including governments, UN agencies, NGOs, and displaced persons themselves, raising complex questions about accountability for past injustices and how to support reconciliation in communities shaped by exile.

Forced Migration, Reconciliation, and Justice draws on a variety of disciplinary perspectives including political science, law, anthropology, and social work. The chapters range from case studies in states including Bosnia, Cambodia, Lebanon, Turkey, East Timor, Kenya, and Canada, to macro-level analyses of trends, interconnections, and theoretical dilemmas. The authors explore the contribution of trials and truth commissions, as well as the role of religious practices, oral history, theatre, and social interactions in addressing justice and reconciliation issues in affected communities. In doing so, they provide fresh insight into emerging debates at the centre of forced migration and transitional justice."