Commune and Working Groups


The Commune is the organization of graduate students in political science at Northwestern. It traces its history to 1968. It provides advice to the department on teaching, recruitment, and other important matters. It also organizes activities for graduate students. Composed of all students currently enrolled in the program, the Commune elects representatives to speak for the graduate community as a whole.

Co-chairs for the 2014-2015 academic year are Kevin Levay and Mara Suttman-Lea.

Political Theory Workshop

The Political Theory Working Group provides a forum for graduate students and faculty members to share ideas in a formal setting outside of the course work portion of the PhD program. Founded and organized by graduate students in the Department of Political Science, the Political Theory Working Group hosts a series of meetings throughout the academic year. Graduate students and faculty members from Northwestern and other institutions are invited to present work in all forms and modes of political theory. Each presentation forms the basis of a response from a chosen discussant and is then the subject of an open discussion.

Co-chairs for the 2014-2015 academic year are Chris Sardo and Desiree Weber.

American Politics Working Group

The American Politics Student Workshop meets monthly, during which time graduate students give formal presentations of their ongoing research in a conference format. Student discussants are assigned to critique each presenter, so as to provide us with an opportunity to practice both the skill of presenting our own work and the art of giving constructive feedback to others. This workshop is attended only by graduate students with an interest in American Politics.

Co-chairs for the 2014-2015 academic year are (missing info).

International Relations Student Working Group

The International Relations Student Working Group (IRSWG) offers graduate students the opportunity to present work-in-progress to their peers outside of the classroom setting and receive constructive feedback. IRSWG meets multiple times a quarter, and welcomes presentations from various stages of the graduate career, from conference papers to dissertation proposals to dissertation chapter drafts. Papers are circulated in advance, briefly presented by the author, then commented on by a discussant before the conversation is opened up to all participants.

Co-chairs for the 2014-2015 academic year are Erin Lockwood and Swati Srivastava.

Comparative-Historical Social Science Security Studies Working Group

Contact for 2014-15 is Marina Henke.

International Law/International Organization Working Group

Contact for 2014-15 is Ian Hurd.

Religion and Global Politics Graduate Student Workshop

Contact for 2014-15 is Mona Oraby.

Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Workshop