Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

Graduate Student Workshop Series

EACH YEAR, THE GRADUATE FELLOWS OF THE ANDREA MITCHELL CENTER invite graduate students from universities throughout the region to present their work-in-progress to a critical but supportive audience.  The topics are not linked to an annual theme, but each session includes two papers that are thematically linked.  Sessions in the past have been devoted to issues of democracy, constitutionalism, and citizenship, including surveillance, technocracy, migration, race, social rights, empire building, party politics, education, the carceral state, and many more.  Faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and members of the public are encouraged to read the papers and attend the workshops to participate in lively academic discussions.  Graduate workshops convene once a month, usually on a Wednesday at lunchtime.  Food is provided.

GRAD WORKSHOP - Strategies of Progressivism

Friday, October 13, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
College Hall, Room 209 (Accessibility)

John Remensperger (University of Pennsylvania, Communication)
“From Democratic Practice to Protest: The California Bernie Sanders Delegation”

Tom Waters (City University of New York, Political Science)
“Grassroots Expertise at a New York City Community Board”

MUCH OF THE POPULAR PRESS COVERAGE OF THE BERNIE SANDERS delegates at the Democratic National Convention depicted them as out-of-touch ideological zealots, clinging to the hope that Sanders could somehow be nominated at the convention despite his clear disadvantage in the delegate math. REMENSPERGER, using the concept of “activist citizens,” argues that Sanders delegates attended the conventions to carry out “acts of citizenship” – protest, resistance, and organizing – by making broad claims to political justice. To facilitate these acts, activists amongst the Sanders delegates used new media technologies combined with traditional organizing tactics to leverage a tight-knit network of delegates that formed on social media in the months preceding the convention. 

IN NEW YORK CITY AND ACROSS THE UNITED STATES, neighborhood councils established by local governments are incorporating citizen participation into decision making while engaging issues that require them to use expert knowledge. These participatory projects can be seen as a way to check the pervasive and potentially undemocratic role of expertise in society. WATER’s ethnographic study investigates the fine-grained human interactions as members of a New York City community board in a low-income neighborhood engage land use and housing issues. He finds that they can partially overcome the challenge of expertise by developing their own technical capacity, and that this enhances board members’ influence. But he also finds that members encounter difficulties that cannot be remedied by more technical capacity.


GRAD WORKSHOP - Dramatic Politics

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
College Hall, Room 209 (Accessibility)

Brian Palmiter (Harvard University, Government) 
“Making Impeachment Political in the Right Way”

Rob Goodman (Columbia University, Political Science)
“Say Everything: Frank Speech and the Characters of Style in Demosthenes”

GRAD WORKSHOP - Politics and Identity

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

College Hall, Room 209 (Accessibility)

Sarah Khan (Columbia University, Political Science) 
“Making Democracy Work for Women: Evidence from Pakistan”

Joseph Wuest (University of Pennsylvania, Political Science) 
“‘Why is My Child Gay?’: PFLAG and the Origins of the ‘Born This Way’ Gay Political Identity”