About this Project

This conference will build on the work of The State as History and Theory (a Neubauer Collegium-funded project), convening political sociologists, political scientists, and political historians to investigate how democracy is celebrated in American political discourse, even as "the state" is an object of disdain and even fear. 

News

Elisabeth Clemens on the Distinctive Category of Political Sociology

November 21, 2016

Collegium Fellow Elisabeth Clemens, principal investigator on the Problem of the Democratic State in US History project, has just published a new book titled "What Is Political Sociology?" According to this critical review by political science scholar Patricia Hogwood, the book is a "definitive and inspirational standard text for students at all levels" that "presents key concepts, theories and schools of thought to build an excellent grounding in the field." 

New Neubauer Collegium projects to explore complex human questions

February 9, 2016

The Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society has selected 12 new collaborative research projects that unite leading scholars from the University of Chicago and beyond to explore novel approaches to complex human questions.

-- UChicago News by Susie Allen

Boundaries of the State in US History

September 22, 2015

Edited by Neubauer Collegium Fellows James T. Sparrow, William J. Novak, and Stephen W. Sawyer.

Project Updates

BOUNDARIES OF THE STATE IN US HISTORY

EDITED BY JAMES T. SPARROW, WILLIAM J. NOVAK, AND STEPHEN W. SAWYER
384 pages | © 2015

The question of how the American state defines its power has become central to a range of historical topics, from the founding of the Republic and the role of the educational system to the functions of agencies and America’s place in the world. Yet conventional histories of the state have not reckoned adequately with the roots of an ever-expanding governmental power, assuming instead that the American state was historically and exceptionally weak relative to its European peers.

Here, James T. Sparrow, William J. Novak, and Stephen W. Sawyer assemble definitional essays that search for explanations to account for the extraordinary growth of US power without resorting to exceptionalist narratives. Turning away from abstract, metaphysical questions about what the state is, or schematic models of how it must work, these essays focus instead on the more pragmatic, historical question of what it does. By historicizing the construction of the boundaries dividing America and the world, civil society and the state, they are able to explain the dynamism and flexibility of a government whose powers appear so natural as to be given, invisible, inevitable, and exceptional.

Calendar

There are no events associated with this project yet.