Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy
15 October 2020

PhD activities that foster interdisciplinary communities

The Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy presented its PhD activities during a ‘meet and greet’ with doctoral students and affiliated faculty.

The Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy organized a ‘meet and greet’ with doctoral students and affiliated faculty on 7 October. The event introduced the Hirschman Centre’s activities geared towards the PhD community, which will take place throughout the academic year.

The Hirschman Centre invites all doctoral students across the Institute to learn about and express interest for these activities, which include a bi-annual colloquium series, a regular reading group, and a project incubator. A hybrid format inclusive of those unable to attend in person will be adopted. Therefore, students do not need to be physically present at the Institute to attend.

Inspired by Albert O. Hirschman, who is recognized as one of the great interdisciplinary social scientists of the postwar era, the Hirschman Centre’s PhD activities focus on showing students how to build an interdisciplinary community. Each event is designed to facilitate cross-disciplinary conversation on issues that are substantially related to democratic theory and practices.

The bi-annual colloquium series provides a regular opportunity for post-MPT doctoral candidates to share their work with faculty and colleagues. At each colloquium, several PhD candidates share an in-progress chapter of their dissertation. Each author is assigned a discussant from a different discipline with substantive, disciplinary, or methodological familiarity of their topic. Each chapter is also discussed by a visiting professor or a faculty affiliated with the Centre. Formers guests included Professors Till van Rahden from University of Montreal, Michael Woolcock from the Harvard Kennedy School and Grégoire Mallard from the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy.

The PhD student reading group meets two or more times per term. Student participants, supported by the Albert Hirschman Centre team, select methodological texts that exemplify and tackle the challenges of thinking in an interdisciplinary fashion about politics.

The project incubator is a new initiative that provides a structured opportunity to explore how to develop interdisciplinary research agendas as an early career researcher. In the incubator, participants present short abstracts of potential new projects. Fellow early career researchers, as well as faculty affiliated to the Centre, discuss the relationship between the question, the methods, the scholar's broader research agenda, and the scholar's scholarly or intellectual "brand".


To join the group and to register for the mailing list on those activities please contact