Every Barnard Political Science major must take three colloquia. The third colloquium integrates the senior capstone requirement. 
The colloquium format involves weekly discussion of readings, and development of research skills through completion of a 25- to 30-page research paper, constituting the major piece of written work for the course.  See the course catalogue for a detailed description of the colloquium requirement. A colloquium, as with any course used for the major or minor requirement, cannot be taken Pass/D/Fail
Prerequisite: Please make certain that, before enrolling, you will have successfully completed one lecture course in the relevant subfield or have received special permission from the instructor for that requirement to be waived. Colloquia are not suitable for first-year students. Sophomores will be admitted as room permits. When making your third colloquium selection, please keep in mind that it is to your benefit to choose one in the field of your anticipated senior essay topic.

Columbia seminars do not fulfill the colloquium requirement for political science (they do provide elective credit).
Each political science colloquium is limited to sixteen students who are assigned by the department, not by individual instructors. Preference is given in the following order: senior Barnard majors; junior Barnard majors; sophomore Barnard students who have declared the major and will be studying abroad during junior year; senior and junior majors from other undergraduate divisions of the University; non-majors from all undergraduate divisions of the university. 
Please apply here. If you run into any problems filling out the form, please email

Essay Prize: Every semester colloquium instructors each can nominate one essay written by a Barnard Political Science major in her or his colloquium for the Political Science Quarterly Prize.

Application Deadlines

For the fall colloquia, Barnard Political Science majors must submit their applications by 5:00 p.m. on April 1 - April Fools' Day! If April 1 falls on a weekend, the applications will be due the following Monday at 5pm.

For the spring colloquia, Barnard Political Science majors must submit their applications by 5:00 p.m. on October 31 - Halloween! If October 31 falls on a weekend, the applications will be due the following Monday at 5pm. The placement roster will be posted on the bulletin board outside 205 Lefrak after 12 noon on November 6, as well as posted online.

(Sophomores, please note: The Dean of Studies' due date for you to declare your major is March 1.)
Please note that students are assigned to a colloquium by the Department and not by individual instructors. Be sure to attend the first class session in order to secure your place in the course.


Spring 2017 Colloquium Schedule (applications due October 31, 2016) (placements here)

POLS BC3329 Harlem In Theory
Michelle Smith
MONDAY 6:10-8:00 PM

Harlem in Theory is an advanced political theory colloquium.  Its focus is both thematic and methodological.  Joining a two-thousand year tradition of doing philosophy in and for the city, we theorize Harlem as urbs and civitas (place and socio-political association) and bring Harlem to bear on philosophy.  We explore the political theorist's craft by engaging different theoretical approaches and methodologies used by political, social and critical theorists.  Our readings include political philosophy, critical frameworks for interpretation and historical, social scientific and literary works about Harlem - supplemented by film, music and of course periodic trips to various Harlem venues.

POLS BC3801 Politics of Economic Development in the World
A prior introductory course in comparative politics (POS V1501) will be helpful. Prior exposure to macroeconomics is a plus.
Xiaobo Lu
WEDNESDAY 4:10-6:00 PM

This undergraduate colloquium aims to study political and social factors behind economic development and exam empirical cases of the success and failure in economic growth in order to understand the key features as well as causes and consequences of the development processes.
In the last two centuries, some countries successfully achieved economic growth and development, while other failed to do so. Even in the post-WWII period, the world has witnessed the rise and decline of economies around the world. Why do nations succeed or fail in economic development? How do political institutions affect economic outcomes? Is a strong state necessary for economic development? What are the ways in which state and market interact and influence each other? Can democracy be considered a cause of development, an outgrowth of development, or neither and to which extent? How do external factors such as foreign aid encourage or discourage development? We will try to examine these questions by taking a historical-institutional and comparative approach and take a critical look at the role of political and other institutions by applyingtheoretical guidelines and empirical cases. We will explore competing explanations for the successes and failures of economic development in the world.

POLS BC3812 State Failure, Warlords, and Pirates
POLS V1501 or POLS V1601 or the equivalent
Kim Marten
TUESDAY 2:10-4:00 PM

What are sovereign states, why do they fail, does their failure matter, and can the international community help? This course examines these questions using social science theories and historical case studies. It focuses on the political economy and security consequences of two current forms of state failure: warlordism and piracy.

POLS BC3325 Politics of Bad Behavior
POLS UN 1201 or equivalent.Suggested (not required): Course in statistics or empirical research methods
Michael Miller
Th 2:10-4:00 PM

This course explores the politics of what happens when people, institutions, or states deviate from expected behavior. The course will span all subfields of political science, engaging issues such as lies, scandal, money laundering, corruption, campaign finance, election fraud, racism, and incarceration. 

POLS BC3543 Non-State Governance in Contexts of Crime and Civil War
V1501 or equivalent
Eduardo Moncada
WEDNESDAY 4:10-6:00 PM

The conventional wisdom is that crime and civil war are linked to disorder. But these are far from disorderly and ungoverned spaces. Unpacking these settings reveals complex forms of non-state governance constructed by a range of actors, including rebel and guerillas, gangs, vigilantes, and protection rackets – sometimes facilitated by the state.

POLS BC3308 Public Opinion and Representation
POLS 1201 or equivalent American Politics course.
Kate Krimmel
WEDNESDAY 12:10-2:00 PM

In this course, we will analyze the public’s role in American democracy. When and how do policymakers consider public preferences? When and how might we want them to? We will address these questions and others in this broad survey of public opinion and representation. 

POLS BC3504 Social Movements Across Time and Space
UN1501 or equivalent
Lisel Hintz
MONDAY 2:10-4:00 PM

This colloquium studies the origins, trajectories, and effects of social movements, from 18th century Britain to 19th century Iran to late 20th century Argentina, Russia, and South Africa. We also examine recent cases such as the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and various gender and LGBTQ civil society groups to investigate the factors shaping contemporary movements' success and failures. We focus on social movements’ relations to political parties, the state, and transnational elements such as social media to ask whether social movements promote or undermine democratization.

POLS BC3435 Law and Violence
POLS 1013 (Political Theory) or equivalent
Ayten Gundogdu
TUESDAY 2:10-4:00 PM

This colloquium examines how the law can participate in the justification of various forms of violence, exclusion, and inequality. It focuses on the power of law to determine which subjects get recognized as persons entitled to rights. Possible topics include slavery, migration, gender, sexual orientation, disability, homelessness, and nonhuman animals.



Fall 2016 Colloquium Schedule

POLS BC 3501 Urban Violence In Comparative Perspective
Prereq: POLS V 1501 or the equivalent
MONDAY 10:10-12:00
Eduardo Moncada

POLS BC3102 Race and Modern Political Thought
Prereq: POLS 1013 or the equivalent
WEDNESDAY 4:10-6:00
Michelle R. Smith

POLS BC3307 Racial Violence
TUESDAY 11-12:50
Prereq: POLS V 1201 or equivalent American Politics course
Daniel Kato

POLS BC3334 American Elections
Prereq: POLS  V 1201 or equivalent American Politics course. POLS V 3222 or equivalent Research Methods course highly recommended.
Michael Miller

POLS BC3410 Human Rights in a Diverse World
Prereq: POLS 1013 or W3001 or the equivalent
TUESDAY 2:10-4:00
Ayten Gundogdu

POLS BC3500 Political Economy of Corruption and Its Control
Prereq: POLS 1501 or the equivalent
THURSDAY 2:10-4:00
Xiaobo Lu

NEW COURSE: Gender and Public Policy


Colloquium Application Process


Please note that we ask you to submit three colloquium choices. To the degree possible, the Department will try to honor one of your first two choices. If you list fewer than three choices, you will be assigned to a colloquium at random.
The number of semesters you have left at Barnard plays a role in the selection process. Therefore, if you are planning to study abroad or to participate in S.I.P.A.'s Joint Degree Program, be sure to indicate this.
You can now apply for Spring 2017 Colloquia via this form

Updated on November 5, 2015 by Irene Robertson