Working Groups

2017 Working Groups

An Annual Meeting Working Group consists of a small group of meeting attendees who are interested in a common topic and who agree to attend panels and plenary sessions aligned on a similar topic. They convene at the meeting for discussion. The idea is to simulate a working group conference experience amidst APSA panels. A list of proposed panels by working group are being added throughout June. To join a working group, prospective participants can email the contacts below.

AI and Politics
Saturday, September 2, 2:00-3:30 p.m.
Mahendra Prasad, UC Berkeley,
With the rise of machine learning and cheap information processing and storage, AI has experienced a boom that has large political implications and raises important questions about the future. How can states engage in an AI race, akin to a space race, which does not sacrifice humanity’s safety for the sake of being first? How will the US economy be affected by the automation of some jobs, and what are the implications on domestic politics? What are the ethics of using autonomous drones in war? How should we measure the political effects of AI? There are more questions than we can state here. But clearly, the expertise and tools of American politics, comparative politics, IR, methodology, and political theory have relevant and important applications on these questions.  AI experts often face these and other political questions when designing AI, but often lack political expertise to address them. Given the nearness of this year’s conference to Silicon Valley, we are setting up a working group that allows local AI researchers to interact with political scientists in a way they might otherwise not.
Find the agenda for AI and Politics here.

Bots, Trolls, and Fake News: Political Astroturfing Across the World
Saturday, September 2, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Franziska Keller, Hong Kong University,
Co-Organizers: Kelsey Norman, Lama Mourad
This round table brings together researchers whose work on online political astroturfing (hidden online campaigns to influence public opinion) has either already been published or presented at other conferences, in order to compare results, compile lessons learned, and discuss the future research agenda. It would therefore complement the APSA panel “AstroTurf Wars: online campaigns to influence public opinion in comparison”, where work in progress is being presented.  The purpose of the working group is to discuss methods to measure the impact of both human-operated and programmed social media accounts that attempt to influence public opinion while pretending to be ordinary users, establish methods to identify such accounts that work across different platforms and in contexts, and discuss possible counter-measures.
Find the agenda for Bots, Trolls, and Fake News: Political Astroturfing Across the World here.

Cities and Migration Politics: Policy-Making, Incorporation and Resistance
Friday, September 1, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Fiona Adamson, SOAS, University of London,
This working group has three broad aims: (1) to create a network of scholars and practitioners with a theoretical and empirical interest in the intersection of urban politics and migrations; (2) to provide a space that would enable the development of collaborative projects (such as workshops, special issues, or edited volumes) addressing topics that touch on this intersection. (3) To bring together scholarly conversations on urban politics, global cities, migration studies and geopolitics in a manner that places US cities in a broader global and comparative context. Among the issues of concern to this working group are: the politics of sanctuary; urban contention and resistance; multi-level governance; global cities; urban governance of migration and refugees. Critically, we believe that the importance of this issue to current policy debates makes it incumbent that we ensure that lines of communication, knowledge sharing and co-production between scholars and practitioners are strengthened. We also believe that the location of this year’s convention, San Francisco, makes this a particularly significant moment for this Working Group to be formed, in light of the importance of this city within the broader sanctuary movement in the United States. This will also enable a greater number of practitioners and activists engaged on this issue to participate.
Find the agenda for Cities and Migration Politics: Policy-Making, Incorporation and Resistance here.

Data Quality in International Survey Research Methods
Friday, September 1, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Michael Robbins, Princeton University,
This working group is designed to bring together political scientists to discuss issues related to data fabrication in international survey research. Some recent estimates find that this problem may be widespread. An article in Science suggests that as many as one in five publicly available surveys from non-OECD countries may contain a significant level of fabricated data. As a result, a Washington Post Monkey Cage article asked if it is even possible to trust international surveys. Given the importance of survey research in political science, it is imperative for the field to take steps to improve data quality, especially in developing contexts.  The goal of this working group will be to have an open discussion of issues related data quality, including cutting edge methods that are used to detect and prevent data fraud from happening in the field. Participants will attend be able to share techniques that they have employed in the field and to learn about innovative new techniques that can be applied to their own research.
Find the agenda for Data Quality in International Survey Research Methods here.

Economic and Cultural Explanations of the Rightwing Populism in Europe
Thursday, August 31, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 2, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Maria Snegovaya, Columbia University, 
Rightwing populist parties are gaining popularity across Europe. In France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Britain right populist parties are competing in the elections, while the governments of ‘Law and Justice’ in Poland and ‘Fidesz’ in Hungary demonstrate the resilience of such parties even when in power. The recent election of Donald Trump in the US reflects the importance of understanding this phenomenon on the global scale.  While politicizing the divide between the “people” on one hand and the “liberal technocratic elites” on the other, the rightwing populist actors reshape the patterns of political competition and increase social polarization in different countries. They often combine their anti-establishment slogans with other ideologies, such as nativism on the right and socialism on the left. The complex nature of populism obscures its preconditions. Two most popular theories explain the support for the populist parties. The economic insecurity perspective addresses the role of globalization in creating new challenges for the workforce and fueling the support of the rightwing populists. An alternative approach focuses on the role of the cultural backlash, hypothesizing that a cultural value change perceived by many social groups as a challenge to their traditional values is the major explanation of populism. Our working group includes such prominent scholars of populism as Bonnie M. Meguid, Joshua Tucker, and Lenka Bustikova, who confirmed their interest in participation. We will focus on the analysis and comparisons of the two competing explanations of the phenomenon of populism in case of Europe.
Find the agenda for Economic and Cultural Explanations of the Rightwing Populism in Europe here.

Scholars with Disabilities in the Profession Working Group
Friday, September 1, 10:00- 11:30 a.m.
Marta Vrbetic, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 
The purpose of this working group is to bring together those interested in greater representation of scholars and faculty with disabilities in the profession. The working group will convene once during the Annual Meeting to take up discussion on issues of common interest, with the goal of providing support for scholars with disabilities in the profession.

Security Studies Collaborative Research Cluster
Saturday, September 2, 2:00- 3:30 p.m.
Justin Haner, Northeastern University, 
Based out of Northeastern University, the Security Studies Collaborative Research Cluster aims to foster discussion among scholars at Boston-area institutions and beyond exploring interdisciplinary research relating to traditional state-centric security studies, as well as related topics in international cooperation and human security. The primary objective of this graduate student-led network is the facilitation of training, mentorship, and research by connecting doctoral students across institutions with one another as well as with more experienced scholars. In doing so, the group will offer support for presentation, peer review, and publication of research as well as methodological and pedagogical training. Through fostering collaboration among students and faculty, this initiative seeks to explore, expand, and innovate on emerging topics in the field of security studies.
Find the agenda for Security Studies Collaborative Research Cluster here.

The Caucus for a New Political Science: Fifty Years of Striving to Make the Study of Politics Relevant to the Struggle for a Better World
Thursday, August 31, 4:00- 5:30 p.m.
Sarah Surak, Salisbury University, 
This working group will gather scholars to reflect on the fifty years of the Caucus for a New Political Science as well as future possibilities and potentials. The Caucus for a New Political Science was founded in 1967 by scholars “striving to make the study of politics relevant to the struggle for a better world.” Participants will attend the pre-conference short course “Activist, Teacher, Scholar: Transformative Practice in the Era of Trump as well as related panels and reflect on the original efforts by the founders of the Caucus as well as how this work remains relevant today.
Find the Agenda for The Caucus for a New Political Science: Fifty Years of Striving to Make the Study of Politics Relevant to the Struggle for a Better World here.

Women in Politics in Latin America
Saturday, September 2, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Mariana Borges Martins da Silva, Northwestern University, 
Women are still far away from the center of political power in Latin America. Even though some countries of the region have elected a female president and many have passed legal instruments, like quotas, to increase women’s representation in politics, women represent less than 30% of the members of parliament in the region. Beyond the gender democratic gap, the agenda of identities and politics has recently become central in the region. The rise of feminist social movements in the region was paralleled with the growth of conservative parties and movements pushing for a legislative agenda that puts the gender and identity policies in place under risk. It is yet unclear to what extent women in power can help secure policies that promote and protect women’s rights. If both aspects are intertwined, however, to understand the gender gap in politics becomes central to understand current politics in Latin America. The main goal of this working group is to put together women and men who are researching the gender gap in politics in Latin America. To better understand the problem, we need to develop a research agenda that praises comparison and rigorous methods and goes beyond political activism. First, however, we need to strengthen the ties between scholars working in different countries and institutions on the topic. With this goal in mind, this working group will serve to start a dialogue among scholars coming from different research traditions using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies.
Find the agenda for Women and Politics in Latin America here.