Petition for APSA Organized Section

Dear Colleagues,

We propose to create a new organized section, American Political Thought, within the American Political Science Association.  This proposed section has already thrived for the last several years as a related group.  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.

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. 

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.

*To find your ASPA member number, login to APSA and click MyAPSA at the top of the page. Your member number will appear next to your name on the MyAPSA page.

Please remember that you are eligible to sign if you are a joint member of a different professional association as well as APSA.


The American Political Thought Organized Section Steering Committee: 

Michael Zuckert, University of Notre Dame

Adam Seagrave, Northern Illinois University

Benjamin Kleinerman, Michigan State University

Adam Gannaway, University of Chicago Press

Randal Hendrickson, Jack Miller Center

Michael Andrews, Jack Miller Center