Past Conferences

The Department of Political Science at Yale University continues to host a wide variety of conferences, symposiums, seminars and workshops.  This is a listing of some our past events over the years.  These links are to websites or PDF flyers related to the specific event.  Where possible, papers, video and/or audio files are linked as well.

Means and Ends:  Rethinking Political Realism (PDF Flyer)
Held April 22, 2011
Dominant models of contemporary political philosophy are animated largely by the question of “ends.” They attempt to define and justify institutional arrangements, rules, and practices according to how best they coincide with or embody an underlying set of norms. Often, the project of normative legitimation/justification is understood to require in the first instance an abstracting away from questions of praxis, power, and history – i.e. from questions of “means,” of practical constraints and possibilities – in the project of reaching an agreement on the principles of justice. As a result, normative theory tends to construe the problem of means narrowly, as a question of how to “apply” principles and norms to a specific set of institutional or policy options. Questions of feasibility, adverse effects, or unintended consequences intrude into normative theory only in extreme cases when recognizably “unjust” means are employed and the coercive imposition of principles of justice are contemplated, e.g. in relation to war and revolution.

Popular Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect (PDF Flyer)
Held April 20, 2012
The purpose of this inter-disciplinary workshop was the study the rise to prominence of “responsibility to protect” as a new norm in international law and politics.

Walls and Fences:  The Politics and Ethics of Border Barriers (PDF Flyer)
Held April 13-14, 2012
This conference was designed to bring together legal scholars, geographers, political scientists, political theorists, historians and philosophers to tackle related questions about territorial rights, boundaries and jurisdiction.  At it’s center was the development of a new trend in border politics - the building of separation barriers.  Most pertinent to the discussion were the barriers between Israel and the Occupied Territories and the United States and Mexico.

Rethinking Lincoln Speakers Series (PDF flyer)
Held over multiple dates, 2011-2012
This Speaker Series centered on Abraham Lincoln and his place in the history of the United States.

Epistemic Democracy in Practice
Held October 20-23, 2011
Epistemic Democracy is a recent paradigm in democratic theory.  Put generally, in the epistemic interpretation, democratic decision-making processes are valued at least in part for their knowledge-producing potential and defended in relation to this.  Epistemic democracy further combines deliberative and aggregative approaches to democracy but shifts their focus towards an outcome-oriented consideration for how well democratic procedures such as deliberation and voting help democratic decision approximate a procedure-independent standard of correctness (Cohen 1986).
This workshop was designed to bring together the normative and theoretical literature in epistemic democracy and the empirical research on the quality of good governance and good collective decision making in political sciences.