Political Science | Sustainable Governance in the Ostrom Tradition
Y394 | 30318 | McGinnis

Ever wonder how Elinor Ostrom, an IU political scientist, could have
won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics? Hereís your chance to find out,
in a course taught by a Co-Director of the Ostrom Workshop in
Political Theory and Policy Analysis here in Bloomington.

Students taking this course will learn at least 4 things. First,
everyone who knows her calls her Lin. Second, Lin won this prize for
her demonstration of the remarkable ability of local communities
throughout the world to manage resources critical to their own
survival, and to do so in a long-term and sustainable manner. (Yes,
this course is related to the Collegeís Sustainability Themester.)
Third, Linís explanation of the conditions that support such success
is rooted in broader principles of democratic governance, best
exemplified in the work of her long-time collaborator and spouse
Vincent Ostrom. Fourth, these same basic principles are potentially
relevant to a broad array of research topics and policy issues.

Students will be asked to write a brief paper applying these general
principles to some particular policy topic that they consider to be
especially important. Before doing so, they will examine two books:
Governing the Commons, Linís most influential and accessible book, and
Vincentís The Political Theory of a Compound Republic, a careful
examination of the logic behind the writing of the U.S. Constitution,
as well as electronic versions of articles and working papers on
various topics researched by Lin and her Workshop colleagues. We will
pay particular attention to working through her Nobel Prize speech in
some detail, since it provides a summary overview of nearly four
decades of research. (For a taste of what lies ahead, check out the
links at http://www.indiana.edu/~workshop/news/nobel.php.)

The instructor will work to convince Lin to join our class for a few
sessions, but the demands on her time are overwhelming. Even so, this
class is a unique opportunity to learn about exciting research that
has only recently become widely recognized as truly path-breaking.