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. Students will receive an email notifying them of their placement. 

(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 2018 Colloquium Schedule (applications due October 31, 2017)

POLS BC3329 Harlem in Theory (Michelle Smith) W 9-10:50AM
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 BC3543 Non-State Governance in Contexts of Crime and Civil War (Eduardo Moncada) W 4:10-6PM
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 BC3801 Politics of Economic Development in the World (Xiaobo Lu) W 4:10-6PM
The semester-long course 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 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? 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 applying theoretical guidelines and empirical cases. We will explore competing explanations for the successes and failures of economic development in the world. 

POLS BC3505 Making Democracy Work (Sheri Berman) M 2:10-4PM
Examination of democratic consolidation and promotion. What makes democracy work and what, if anything, can outside actors do to help this process along? Topics include the theoretical literature on democratic consolidation, historical cases of intervention, debates about America’s role in promoting democracy, and examination of some of the research on democracy promotion. 

POLS BC3055 Political Violence and Terrorism (Kim Marten) T 2:10-4PM
What causes political violence and terrorism? How should we define "terrorism"--is it true, as the old saw goes, that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter? What is the role of religious belief, as opposed to more immediate political goals, in fomenting terrorist action? Are al Qaeda and those linked to it different from terrorists we’ve seen in various places around the world in the past, or does all terrorism and political violence stem from the same variety of goals and purposes? Can governments take effective action to prevent or counter terrorism, or are we all doomed to live in insecurity? What is the proper balance between protection against terrorism and protection of civil liberties? This course examines these questions through weekly assigned readings, analysis and discussion.

POLS BC3611 Unconventional Approaches to International Relations (Katelyn Jones) W 9-10:50 AM
This class will examine modern issues in international relations (e.g., drones, global financial crises, cyber warfare, international terrorism) by drawing from unconventional theories of international relations (including feminist, critical, postcolonial, and geopolitical approaches). To begin, we will briefly review “old,” or conventional, approaches to international relations that you likely learned about in your Intro to IR class—realism, liberalism, constructivism, etc. We will also consider how these approaches do and/or do not help us make sense of the contemporary, global political landscape. From there, we will move on to explore contemporary challenges and problems in IR. As we analyze these new issues, we will review unconventional approaches to international relations and use new, or unconventional, IR lenses to shed light on these problems.

POLS BC3445 Gender and Public Policy (Katherine Krimmel) T 12-1:50PM
In this course, we will examine how notions of sex and gender have shaped public policies, and how public policies have affected the social, economic, and political citizenship of men and women in the United States over time.

POLS BC3555 Political Behavior (Audrey Neville) M 2:10-4PM
Scholars of political behavior seek to explain why people – citizens and elites alike – navigate their political worlds in the ways that they do. This course serves as an introduction to this scholarship, both in terms of thinking about how this scholarship is conducted, as well as the sorts of questions that this scholarship seeks to answer. We begin with an introduction to reading academic articles, to provide you with the foundation of understanding the readings later on in the course. Next, we discuss common research design in this scholarship. Third, we examine topics in political behavior, applying our knowledge of academic articles and research design to this discussion. We conclude with a final paper project.

POLS BC3621 Race and Ethnic Politics (Audrey Neville) W 2:10-4PM
This seminar is about race and ethnic politics in the United States, with a focus on Blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans, and Anglos. This course serves as an introduction to this scholarship, both in terms of thinking about how this scholarship is conducted, as well as the sorts of questions this scholarship seeks to answer. Throughout, we grapple with (a) the definitions and concepts used in race and ethnic politics, (b) the strengths and weaknesses of various research designs, and (c) various topics in race and ethnic politics. We conclude with a final paper project. 

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 2018 Colloquia via this form

Updated on November 5, 2015 by Irene Robertson