Critical Political Studies (CPS) fosters creative scholarship that critically engages with power inequalities in the world. We think about the ways in which knowledge production has been and continues to be implicated in these power inequalities. Faculty and students combine social and political theory with cutting-edge empirical research to produce scholarship on topics as diverse as:
- Indigenous resistance to petroleum companies in the Americas
- The organization of mass violence on the kill floor of an industrialized cattle slaughterhouse
- How legacies of empire and colonialism shape democratic thought and politics
- The history of exclusion in western democracies
- The creolization of liberal democracy in Africa and its diaspora
- The varieties of discourses on power, legitimacy, and democracy in the Islamic world
- The globalization of political theory beyond Western traditions
- Changing meanings of the environment
- Feminist protest against the global Right
The division does not take existing concepts and categories as given, instead questioning their origins and empirical validity, the work they do in the world, and our role in advancing them. Our scholarship doesn’t take the parameters of politics for granted either, and locates them historically, comparatively, and ethnographically. CPS aims to “denaturalize” the familiar so that we can more clearly see its particularity and historicity.
Our division focuses on race, patriarchy, colonialism, the state, animality, environment, and the economy, among other concepts. Drawing widely on ideas, theories, concepts, methods, and data from across the social sciences, humanities, and arts, we also engage with knowledge produced beyond the academy, and speak to audiences beyond the university. CPS is open to any methodological perspective but we prioritize contextualized understandings and scholarship that has close-to-the ground familiarity with lived experiences and understandings. We write in ways that are clear and accessible, and consider ourselves situated and engaged intellectuals, shaped, formed and constituted by events, stories, relationships, texts and experiences. And despite our common desire for a critical study of politics, we disagree, sometimes vigorously, on key questions such as—what is the role of the state? can capitalism ever be good?—but we value the insights that such debates generate.