Beating Timpani of the American Political Thought Movement

This is from an email. The last two paragraphs deserve memorization.

Dear Friends of American Political Thought,

I write to alert you to a proposal to create a new organized section, American Political Thought, within the American Political Science Association, and to solicit your support in this endeavor. If you have already received an email message relating to this proposal, I apologize for this duplicate communication. This proposed section has already thrived for the last several years as a related group within APSA.  We both attract a significant number of paper proposals for APSA’s annual conference and we consistently fill the seats at our panels.  We would like to expand to an organized section because we add a significant and distinct element to the existing APSA organized sections.

The formation of an organized section within APSA requires a certain number of signatures. You need not be a political scientist to sign the petition, provided you hold a joint membership with APSA which is available in conjunction with membership in a number of related professional academic associations.

If you wish to support our petition, please include your name, APSA member number, and address and send to Dr. Randal Hendrickson ( and copy Mr. Joseph Gattermeyer ( APSA will only count signatures that include each of these pieces of information.

Further information regarding the proposed organized section may be found below.


Michael Zuckert


American Political Thought offers a uniquely integrative approach to the study of politics that differs significantly from both American Politics and Political Theory.  With American politics becoming increasingly empirical and political theory increasingly abstract, a large gap has opened for the theoretical study of American politics.  Because American politics is so influenced by ideas, it calls out for a section devoted to the study of those ideas.  Our organized section would increase the intellectual community within the association because it will provide a home for those scholars who are still connected to American politics but want to study it from a theoretical perspective.  Such scholars are not likely to find panels in either American politics or political theory.  Additionally, insofar as American Political Thought is often oriented around political history, we would also supplement the intellectual possibilities in that field.

Insofar as American Political Development investigates the connection between ideas and institutions, American Political Thought would provide richer conceptions of these ideas that move institutional development.  We will not further fragment the discipline for the same reasons that justify our existence as an organized section.  We would be an integrative section that is arising precisely because of the fragmentation that has taken place in other fields. Instead of fragmenting the discipline, scholars in American Political Thought would put those who study American politics, political development, and political theory into conversation with one another.   You will find the mission statement and the by-laws for our proposed section here and here.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s