2013 Workshop: Cairo, Egypt
“States in Transition, Constitutional Engineering and Political Science Research”
February 9-14, 2014
This one-week workshop will be held at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. APSA will cover all costs of participation (including travel, lodging, meals, and materials). The workshop will be led by John Huber (Columbia University, USA), Nolan McCarty (Princeton University, USA), Nadine Sika (The American University in Cairo, Egypt), and Bahgat Korany (The American University in Cairo, Egypt) and focus on the theme of “States in Transition, Constitutional Engineering and Political Science Research.”
A one-week follow up workshop will take place in June. Details to follow.
February Workshop: “States in Transition, Constitutional Engineering and Political Science Research”
The program will focus on two substantive questions about democracy. The first concerns democratization: What is a democracy, and what are the factors that can cause countries to transition between authoritarian and democratic forms of government. The second concerns constitutional engineering: What are the trade-offs with different institutional forms when creating or changing a democratic system. For example, what is separation of powers and how does it matter if one chooses a presidential vs. parliamentary form of government? What are different ways of conducting elections and how does this choice influence the way that the democracy will operate and the types of policies it will produce? What are the special challenges associated with democracy in divided societies?
The workshop will also have a methodological component. To engage the contemporary political science literature on democratization and constitutional engineering, one must know some basic concepts in quantitative data analysis. One needs to know how to use data, for example, to test arguments about the effects of proportional electoral laws on ethnic conflict or on redistribution. So while engaging about democracy, participants will also be learning about how to use data in social science research in a way that is intellectually connected with the substantive questions of the workshop. Finally, while engaging democracy and data analysis in social science research, participants will be introduced to experts on democratization efforts taking place in several countries of the Middle East, providing them with an opportunity to learn about the facts on the ground in these countries, and to build networks of scholars who share their research interests.