Not just What? but Why? and How?

Welcome to the Department of Political Science and International Relations!  Our faculty and students investigate power and politics as part of the human experience in a wide array of settings.  These include the interaction of political institutions with ordinary people; democracy, autocracy, and democratization;  the politics of gender and race; law and human rights; political economy and philosophy; foreign policy, and international security.  All this takes place in the context of geopolitical realities in regions including the United States and North America more broadly, Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.  The scholarly endeavors of POIR faculty and students come together in a vibrant mosaic.

What we share – our coherence as a department, comes from three key questions that form the basis of our work:  What? Why? and How?  To supply just two of many possible examples:  What happened in the United States elections in 2016 and 2020, why did the polls predict the outcomes they did, and how does that affect our  path forward?  Likewise, what happened in Ukraine in 2022, why did Russian leaders believe they had a historical imperative to mold Ukraine in the Russian image, and how do we move forward to create a more peaceful world?  The department’s combined perspective emerges from deep knowledge of the facts, rigorous inquiry into causes, and moral and practical considerations of the way forward.  It is through this systematic approach to politics in the US and across the globe that our faculty and students aim to make the world a better place.

I hope that you will join us in our quest by joining our programs, courses, talks, and seminars.

With many good wishes,

Sally Pratt

Chair, Department of Political Science and International Relations

The White House