Recent News

Abstract Marx’s humanism haunts the 1844 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts, which reserves species-being for humans alone, with the capacity for free conscious life activity. This is problematic and seemingly does not represent what we know about the lives of other species. This essay departs from the humanist tradition and argues that Marx’s relational ontology and concept of species-being can be extended to the nonhuman world, bringing Marx up to speed with evolutionary biology and animal studies. Nonhumans possess the capacity to change our material world and live subjective lives, and... Read more
Aseem Pakash and Nives Dolšak have been in the news lately – a lot. Aseem is a Professor of Political Science and the founding director of the Center for Environmental Politics. Nives Dolšak is Professor and Associate Director of the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs at the UW. Since 2016, they have become increasingly prominent national voices on environmental issues. They have written scores of articles for prominent and influential blogs... Read more
"Tipping Points" Poster, by Tony Gill
Why would anybody leave a tip at a restaurant to which they will never return?  How could this seemingly mundane question be related to teaching students about our political economy? Prof. Tony Gill (aka Dr. T) has made it a point to leverage everyday experiences to teach students about some of the most important concepts in political economy, a method that earned him the UW Distinguished Teaching Award back in 1999. Political economy assumes that political behavior and institutions can be explained by individual rational choices. Sometimes, however, people behave in ways that seem puzzling... Read more
The UW's Daily newspaper highlighted a recent Political Science talk given by Prof. Douglas L. Kriner from Cornell University. Professor Kriner focused on the validity and the effectiveness of the checks and balances system in American politics in regulating the power of the executive branch in the era of the United States president Donald Trump. He raised questions on the president’s unilateral act and the validity of the balance of powers to rise, such as the president declaring national... Read more
mask kid
With the defeat of Initiative 1631 carbon fee, High Country News takes a look at why it went down. Highlighted midway in the article is Political Science Professor Aseem Prakash and fellow UW Professor Nives Dolšak. The Professors mostly agree but did have a divergence of view as the whether I-1631 would pass. Prof. Prakash lays a lot of blame on environmentalists themselves because they concentrate too much on their own base to turn out and not others. And, it was not just the money that oil and gas industry had put in to defeat I-1631, it was also questions about the initiative's... Read more
On KUOW Radio’s The Record, Aseem Prakash and colleague Nives Dolšak are interviewed on the environmental issues in election choices. They make the point that in order to get climate and environmental policies in place, first elections of politicians sympathetic to the cause must be elected. And this in not strictly a partisan issue. Prakash and Dolšak remind listeners that many environmental laws made in the 1970s were implemented under the Nixon administration. An important aspect that should be emphasized is to frame the message in the idea that environment policies are good for... Read more
John Wilkerson, Department Chair
When I tell someone that I teach Political Science at the University of Washington, the response is usually along the lines of “You must have a lot to talk about!” or “These must be very interesting times for a Political Scientist!” Both are observations are true of course. There is always something to talk about and I have learned a lot from the ‘politics of unusual’ that we are currently experiencing. As an American politics scholar, much of what I have observed has only reinforced the importance of what we currently teach our students. Other things have challenged my worldview. Count me... Read more
Caitlin Ainsley, Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor Caitlin Ainsley recently joined our department after receiving her Ph.D (and M.A. and B.A.) from Emory University. She grew up in Santa Barbara, California, spending much of her time surfing and playing volleyball before moving to Atlanta, Georgia, for college and graduate school.  Forced to find new hobbies with the closest beach now hundreds of miles away, she developed a fascination with states’ management of currency and after a one-year stint at the London School of Economics, returned to Emory for graduate school.  Caitlin is a Comparative Political Economy scholar... Read more
France faced a widespread "yellow vest' protest against President Macron's new climate proposal for “green” levies on transportation fuel. The reason behind it was that ordinary French citizens were being targeted instead of big companies that pollute more but pay no tax. This doesn't mean that citizens don't care about climate change at all, they see it as an elite priority compared to other issues such as dissatisfaction with the government. To solve this, the climate movement needs to connect with ordinary people. One way to do it is to frame this issue in a way that relates to ordinary... Read more
In a Review Symposium,"A Discussion of Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt’s How Democracies Die," UW Political Science Professor, Christopher Sebastian Parker, contributes to the discussion of the above titled best-selling book on how democracies can slide into authoritarianism. The core argument of the book suggests that the turn toward authoritarianism does not always occur by coups or revolution, but by the erosion of democratic norms. The authors of the book make a few suggestions of how to remedy the situation, including the Scandanavian model of social welfare. Prof. Parker, however,... Read more