Political Science Y673: Introduction to Institutional Analysis and Development
Friday, 10 AM – 12 PM; 513 N. Park Avenue
Professor Mike McGinnis (email@example.com)
This seminar introduces graduate students and visiting scholars to the basic principles and selected applications of the “Bloomington School” of institutional analysis as developed by Vincent and Elinor (Lin) Ostrom and their many colleagues associated with the Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, an interdisciplinary research and teaching center that has been at Indiana University since 1973. We will begin by examining the research for which Lin was awarded the 2009 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, on “economic governance, especially the commons.” We will then examine a few other central works in the Bloomington School tradition, including Vincent’s distinctive interpretation of the US Constitution and a study of police services in Indianapolis from the early days of the Workshop. For the remainder of the course, we will examine current research projects on collective action, resource management, climate change, health care reform, and democratic governance. We will pay particular attention to analytical challenges that remain to be resolved within this influential tradition. Among these challenges are a fuller representation of ecological dynamics, learning and evaluative processes, contributions of legal and other formal institutions, and the pervasive influence of culture and power.
All seminar participants will submit a research paper for a “mini-conference” to be held during finals week; but each paper will be presented by someone other than the author. This unusual practice is a locally grown institution of the Ostrom Workshop, and we have found that this procedure ensures that the author receives quality comments and suggestions from several faculty members, fellow seminar participants, and other participants. Papers will also receive a grade from the course instructor, and the remainder of their course grade will be determined by class participation and by the quality of short memos on the assigned readings.
Y673 is listed as a Political Science seminar, but enrollment is open to students from all departments and schools. (Please contact the instructor or Amanda Campbell, firstname.lastname@example.org, for permission to enroll for credit.)
ARCHIVE: PAST Y673 SYLLABI
Training scholars lies at the core of the Ostrom Workshop’s educational mission. The culmination of each Y673 seminar is a mini-conference. Students and visiting scholars write papers to be presented before their colleagues, by another colleague. This unusual practice is a locally grown institution of the Ostrom Workshop, and we have found that this procedure ensures that the author receives quality comments and suggestions from several faculty members, fellow seminar participants, and other participants.
Paper presenters are assigned by the instructor based on paper topic and faculty willing and available to devote the time needed to carefully read a paper and participate in a mini-conference session. Papers are organized into panels including three or four papers. In each panel, each paper presenter has ten minutes to provide a sympathetic overview of the paper, and then five minutes to make constructive changes for improvement in the author’s argument, analysis, or style. The paper author then has five minutes to respond to specific questions or to highlight themes that did not come through as clearly to the presenter. Another ten minutes is allotted for general questions from other session participants after each paper presentation, as well as 10–15 additional minutes at the conclusion of each panel. Panel chairs are assigned the task of keeping that session flowing smoothly and on time.
Most paper authors find that listening to someone else carefully summarizing their own line of argument to be a unique and rewarding experience, one that frequently helps the author make improvements in the next revision of that paper. And it gets them into the habit of careful reading and close listening to comments, essential skills for their future professional development.
The mini-conference is an intense but interesting event. Experience shows that this process can work well only if presenters are given sufficient lead time to read their assigned paper and prepare their presentation, so deadlines for completion of papers will be strictly enforced. It is strongly preferred that all session participants stay for the full session and potentially other sessions that may be of interest.
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Selected papers from previous mini-conferences are available here.