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Centers & Forums

Nine major centers and three forums are closely associated with the department and led by department faculty. Each of these has a different substantive focus, is funded in different ways, is uniquely organized, and is connected to varying constituencies in the department, on campus, in the profession, and in the community. Together these centers and forums demonstrate the high degree of collaborative scholarly activity - both through intellectual clusters cutting across fields within the department and through interdisciplinary linkages across the campus - that is a trademark of the political science faculty.

Center for American Politics and Public Policy (CAPPP) 

The Center for American Politics and Public Policy, established at the University of Washington in 1996 and directed by Professor John Wilkerson, is a focal point for the study of politics and public policy processes in the United States. The primary intellectual objectives of CAPPP include: (1) fostering internationally recognized research by faculty and students on American politics and public policy; (2) providing education, training, and hands-on experience at the graduate and undergraduate levels for the next generation of American politics and public policy scholars; and (3) serving as a repository for data and other forms of information that can be used to study the policy choices made in the United States, especially information reflecting the evolution of policy choices. CAPPP fosters an intellectually vibrant setting for such study through research, seminars, visiting speakers, graduate training and fellowships, and undergraduate education programs and fellowships. Faculty affiliated with the center have generated numerous research grants from NSF and other sources as well as published essays in the top political science and policy journals. As such, CAPPP is integral to the Department's future.

Visit the CAPPP website.

Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies (CLS)

The Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies was created in 1992 as a joint program in the Departments of Political Science and History at the University of Washington. The center, and the endowed chair who directs it, are funded by over 1,000 donors whose contributions honor the legacy of the late Harry Bridges, the outstanding founder and leader of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union for over 40 years. The Center for Labor Studies supports research, teaching, and community outreach, all focusing on labor's contribution to society. Within the university, the center promotes the study of labor in all of its facets, locally, nationally, and worldwide. The Center for Labor Studies coordinates the efforts of faculty members throughout the University of Washington to develop and expand labor-related components of the university's curriculum. It provides encouragement and assistance to young scholars studying work and workers. The Center for Labor Studies also provides a meeting place where people from the academic world and the labor movement can exchange ideas and insights. It sponsors activities in the community so that issues of concern to labor can reach the widest possible audience. It offers an undergraduate minor as well as prizes, scholarships, and research grants to students and faculty alike.

Visit the CLS website.

Comparative Law and Society Studies (CLASS) Center

The CLASS Center grew out of a multi-unit social science effort, led by Professor Michael McCann, to develop an interdisciplinary law and society program on the UW campus. Over twenty scholars in the social sciences, including eight political scientists, and the law school are affiliated with the Center. The center's intellectual agenda focuses on the study of socio-legal practices in comparative perspective across national, sub-national, and transnational settings, emphasizing in particular the growing role of law in shaping and responding to processes of globalization,democratization, and neo-liberalism. The CLASS Center houses and administers the new Law, Societies, and Justice undergraduate major, which will serve as an attractive second major (or minor) and curricular resource for many of the Political Science Department's students. An interdisciplinary graduate certificate program in legal studies is available for CLASS Graduate Fellows, which include many political science graduate students. The CLASS Center also organizes workshops, conferences, ongoing seminar groups, distinguished visiting lectureships, and research grant generation from NSF, the Ford Foundation, and other sources. 

Visit the CLASS Center website.

Center for Journalism, Media, and Democracy (CJMD)

The CJMD’s mission is to advance understanding of the role journalism and media play in democratic societies. Through research, teaching, and public engagement, the Center explores connections between public institutions, the press, and digital platforms with the aim of identifying the threats and opportunities to quality information, robust engagement, government accountability, and core democratic values.

Visit the CJMD website.

Center for Human Rights (CHR)

Founded by an act of the Washington State Legislature in 2009, the University of Washington Center for Human Rights is committed to interdisciplinary excellence in the education of undergraduate and graduate students in the field of human rights; promoting human rights as a core area of faculty and graduate research; and engaging productively with local, regional, national, and international organizations and policymakers to advance respect for human rights.  The Center is directed by Professor Angelina Godoy, who holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Political Science.

Visit the CHR website.

Center for Environmental Politics (CEP)

Center for Environmental Politics seeks to play a leadership role in producing and disseminating empirical social science research on new modes of environmental politics and governance at local, regional, national, and global levels. Within the University of Washington, it facilitates the social science faculty to build connections, establish networks, and initiate truly multidisciplinary conversations about the political and institutional dimensions of environmental challenges. Externally, it seeks to be in the forefront of creating and nurturing a community of social science scholars committed to theoretically informed and empirically rigorous research on environmental politics and governance.The Center hosts eminent faculty located across departments/schools such as political science, geography, philosophy, and international studies. These scholars have written on subjects such as environmental regulations (governmental and non-governmental), policy implementation, environmental markets, political communication, food security, and environmental advocacy.

Visit the CEP website.

European Union Center (EUC)

The European Union Center of Seattle, established in 1998 with a grant from the European Union and matching funds from the University of Washington, is one of ten official EUCs in the United States designed to promote the study of EU and trans-Atlantic relations. The EUC provides research grants for faculty and graduate students, funds scholarly conferences, hosts an annual Marshall-Monnet Visiting Scholar (a distinguished European professor who teaches a quarter-long seminar) and a European Union Fellow (an official on leave from the EU commission or parliament who teaches one or two seminars), administers the Certificate in Trans-Atlantic Studies program, and organizes outreach events ranging from a summer program for secondary school teachers to a fall workshop for Washington state legislators. The EUC has vastly enhanced the resources available for international relations, comparative politics, and comparative public policy specialists with an interest in European affairs. 

Visit the EUC website.

Center for Social Science Computation and Research (CSSCR)

The Center for Social Science Computation and Research (CSSCR) is a resource center for the social science departments at the University of Washington. The Center provides numerous computers, computer consulting, a data archive, and support of classwork and research on campus. Its member departments are: Anthropology, Communications, Economics, Education, Geography, Jackson School of International Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Social Work and Sociology. CSSCR provides free computer consulting to clients and offers instructional sessions on computer-related topics, such as introductions to statistics packages, the Internet and operating systems. It also offers resources for quick introductions to computer packages and processes; consulting services to help with thesis, dissertation or book formatting problems; two computer labs in Savery Hall; and a large Archive of Electronic Data with access to 500+ data sets locally and thousands more through ICPSR.

Visit the CSSCR website.  

Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences (CSSS)

The Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences started in 1999, with funding from the University Initiatives Fund. It was the first center in the nation devoted to this interface, with the triple mission of galvanizing collaborative research between social scientists and statisticians, developing a menu of new graduate courses for social science students, and putting together an innovative case-based undergraduate statistics sequence for the social sciences.

Research collaboration is fostered in a variety of ways, through seminars, seed grants, the consulting program, the working papers series, and the collaborative work of our core faculty. Their dynamic seminar series meets on Wednesdays at 12:30pm in Savery 409 and is run by CSSS Seminar Director Jeff Arnold. This features a great deal of interaction and discussion, and is highly interdisciplinary in terms of both speakers and audience. CSSS also offers a rich menu of graduate and undergraduate courses in quantitative methods for social science students.

Visit the CSSS website.

The Washington Institute for the Study of Inequality & Race (WISIR)

The University of Washington's Institute for the Study of Inequality & Race (WISIR) was established in 2006. Professor Jack Turner serves as the director. WISIR is an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to bringing the tools of contemporary social science inquiry to the careful examination of issues of social, economic, and political exclusion and disadvantage of marginalized minority populations in the United States, and their potential solutions. The principle goals of WISIR are to establish the University of Washington as a recognized center of excellence for minority-related research and graduate training in the social sciences, by:

  • Creating an institute that facilitates minority focused research through grant-seeking, intellectual exchange, and on-campus activities;
  • Raising the profile on-campus of questions and issues related to minority life in the United States;
  • Creating connections to the wider community;
  • Providing an enlarging research community to faculty and graduate students working on questions of disadvantage; and
  • Assisting the College and Departments in attracting and retaining faculty and graduate students from diverse backgrounds or whose work addresses questions in inequality or difference.

Visit the WISIR website.