It is in this tradition that the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy has launched a series of activities for the Institute’s PhD community.
While much interdisciplinary training for early career scholars entails teaching them how assimilate different disciplines into their projects, the Hirschman Centre’s program focuses on showing students how to build an interdisciplinary community. Inspired by the belief that interdisciplinary work for tomorrow’s scholars will involve collaboratively generating ideas and commenting on work across disciplines, the Centre’s PhD program consists of a bi-annual colloquium series, a regular reading group, and a project incubator. 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. For example, at last year’s colloquia, a PhD candidate in political science exploring how local communities use courts to seek environmental protections was paired with a PhD candidate from International Law. 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 chapter is then discussed by colloquium participants, who come from each of the Institute’s faculties.
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