The Purpose and Mandate of RC 33

The Research Committee for the Study of Political Science as a Discipline, commonly known as RC 33, is one of the fifty permanent research committees that comprises the bulk of the active membership of the International Political Science Association (IPSA).

RC 33 promotes theoretical and research studies on the historiography and development of political science, either on its own or in conjunction with other IPSA research committees. The committee's approach is a comparative and eclectic one; it is intended to include the theoretical concerns of philosophers of social science, sociological and anthropological views of disciplinary origins and evolution, historical, and institutional studies.

Latest News & Call to Members

International Political Science Association
Research Committee 33 – Minutes of a Business Meeting
Santiago, Chile, 15 July 2009

Present :

  • John Trent (Chair), U. Ottawa
  • Michael Brintnall, APSA
  • Thibaud Boncourt, U. Bordeaux
  • Bob Reinalda, U. Radboud
  • Alejandro Delmar, IAPSS
  • Arturo Aquilino Fernandez, U. Argentina
  • Ante Barisic, U. Zagreb

Approval of agenda

The meeting started with all the participants introducing themselves. The agenda was then approved.


The RC has 75 members, not many of them are active.

Treasurer’s report

The RC got a grant from IPSA last year to set up an internet newsletter. Apart from this, no money has been spent nor gained. The RC has about 1000 dollars in a Canadian bank account.

Finances and membership fees

It was agreed at the last business meeting in Fukuoka (2006) to introduce a 25 US dollars membership fee. This would show which members are serious and active and which are not, and it would provide the RC with another source of income.
It was agreed that the introduction of a membership fee was a good decision, and that the treasurer would explore the possibility of setting up a PayPal account for this purpose, in the absence of a coordinated effort of all IPSA RCs.

Annual report

The Chair has provided a complete annual report to the IPSA Executive and it is on the website.
RC 33 had been continued by IPSA from 2002 to 2008. It probably will be reevaluated this year or next.
The website is now up and running.
The RC has organised three panels at Santiago on the following topics:

  • Political science in Latin America and the Arab world.
  • Non-killing political science.
  • Education policies and the development of political science.

The Book Series

The RC’s biggest project, its book series, is now nearing completion: seven books have been published so far, and an additional three on the following topics are on their way:

  • Nationalism and ethnicity.(RC 14)
  • Women and politics. (RC 7/19)
  • Biopolitics. (RC 12)

John Trent had provided a synthesis of the state of political science to be found in the first six volumes of the Book Series as the keynote speaker at the IPSA Montreal Conference on new trends in the discipline in May 2008. A summary was published in Participation in December.
The final volume will be edited by Michael Stein and John Trent. It will have three papers on the state of political science in various regions of the world (Berndtson – Europe, Inoguchi – Asia, Stein – International); and two reports summarising and critically analysing what we have discovered in the course of the book series (Trent).

Inter-congress round tables

The book series being close to completion, the RC has to launch new activities for the 2009-2012 period. Different possibilities of topics, places and funding for Round Tables (RT) were explored. Priority themes were identified, and some members of the Executive Committee took it upon themselves to write a paragraph on them:

  • "The impact of higher education policies on the development of political science": Erkki Berndtson and Bob Reinalda are to work on organising a RT on this topic. The wording should also be revised as American political scientists would not understand it as such.
  • "Is international relations a separate discipline?": Thibaud Boncourt and Alejandro Delmar to write a paragraph on this topic.
  • "Can political science be less Western, White and Male?": Michael Brintnall to write a paragraph on this topic.
  • "Relevance: How can political science be more relevant to the public, politics and the media, etc.?" John Trent to write a paragraph on this topic and consult APSA task force on similar subject..
  • "Scientific method and political science: boon or bust?: How to improve our basic approaches to the study of politics": John Trent to write a paragraph on this topic, again consulting an APSA study on inter-disciplinarity..

As a general rule, it was agreed that the RC should avoid embarking on too ambitious projects and should focus on a rather narrow conception of its role. Trying to answer the question “how do we change the capacity of the discipline to do whatever it is going to do?" seemed a good guideline to follow.

As for possible places for holding RTs, if invited, John Trent and Thibaud Boncourt are to go to Croatia in October to explore the possibility of holding an RT there, possibly on Eastern Mediterranean and/or Arab politics. Trent will also consult Peter Cleaves  Emirates Foundation, Hamdy Hassan and Lisa Anderson (American University in Cairo) about a possible round table on Arab political science. Takashi Inoguchi has offered to consider hosting a RT. Trent to consult. Brintnall will consider organizing an APSA Conference Workshop for the RC. 

Nomination and election of the RC 33 Executive for 2009-2012

Following an open nominations process for the six months prior to the Congress, the following Executive Committee was elected for 2009-2012:

  • John Trent (Canada), Chair
  • Erkki Berndtson (Finland), Vice-Chair
  • Takashi Inoguchi (Japan), Vice-Chair
  • Michael Brintnall (US), Treasurer
  • Thibaud Boncourt (France), Secretary
  • Alejandro Delmar (Peru)
  • Hamdy Hassan (Egypt)
  • Arturo Aquilino Fernandez (Argentina)
  • R.B. Jain (India)
  • Cecila Lesgart (Argentina)
  • Benoît Monange (France)

IPSA RC 33 News Update & Call for Nominations (15 April 2009)

Dear Member of RC 33,

This is an invitation to you to nominate yourself or some other member for a position on the Executive Committee of RC 33 for the period 2009-2012 and/or propose a subject or offer to host an inter-congress round table for RC 33 (for details, see below). But first, here is a report on RC 33 activities for 2006-2009.

Activity Report for RC 33, 2006-2009

In the period 2006 - 2009, RC 33 undertook the following activities:

  1. At the 2006 Fukuoka Congress, we held two sessions, one on "Is their a genuinely international discipline of political science?" and the second entitled "Women and politics: The state of the discipline and other reflections".

  2. At our Business Meeting in Fukuoka we elected the following Executive Committee for RC 33 2006-2009:
    John Trent (Canada), Chair;
    Erkki Berndtson (Finland),Takashi Inoguchi (Japan), Vice-Chairmen;
    Secretary (position open);
    Michael Brintnall (U.S.) Treasurer;
    Members: Maria de los Angeles Fernandez Ramil (Chile),
    Hamdy Hassan (Egypt),
    Arturo Aquilino Fernandez (Argentina),
    Klaus von Beyme (Germany),
    R.B. Jain (India).

  3. We also took the decision to set an RC 33 triennial membership fee of $25 US, starting in 2009.

  4. In our Book Series, the World of Political Science, general editors, John Trent and Michael Stein, we have published the following books during the past three years :
    Dirk Berg-Schlosser (ed.) Democratization: the State of the Art, 2nd rev. ed., 2007
    Linda Shepherd (ed.) Political Psychology, 2006
    Rainer Eisfeld (ed.) Pluralism: Developments in the Theory and Practice of Democracy, 2006
    David Coen & Wyn Grant (eds.) Business and Government: Methods and Practice, 2006
    Harald Baldersheim & Hellmut Wollmann (eds.), The Comparative Study of Local Government and Politics,2006
    R.B. Jain (ed.) Governing Development Across Cultures: Challenges and Dimensions of An Emerging Sub-Discipline in Political Science, 2007

    All published by Barbara Budrich Publishers, Opladen, Germany,

  5. The sixth book in the Series, Subrata K. Mitra, Malte Pehl and Clemens Spiess (eds.), Political Sociology, will be published in time for the 2009 Congress.

  6. Three more books are in the working stage on: nationalism and ethnicity, women and politics and biopolitics. The final book editied by Trent and Stein is in the planning stage. It will contain the articles on WannaJizz regional and universal political science presented by Inoguchi, Berndtson and Stein in Fukuoka and the articles by Trent synthesizing the development of the discipline as presented at the Montreal 2008 Conference on "New Theoretical and Regional Perspectives". If you have new articles on aspects of the global development of political science for possible inclusion, let us know.

  7. At IPSA's first inter-congress conference in Montreal in May 2008 on the development of the discipline, attended by leaders of national associations and research committes, RC 33 had the largest number of members in attendence including Erkki Berndtson, Takashi Inoguchi, Michael Brintnell, Arturo Fernandez and also Rainer Eisfeld, Wyn Grant, Adrian Guelke, Hans-Dieter Klingemann, Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, Albert Somit, Michael Stein and Laurence Whitehead.

  8. John Trent presented a lecture at the Montreal Conference entitled: "Issues and Trends in Political Science: Perspectives from the World of Political Science Book Series", This in turn became the subject of a shorter article in the Dec. 2008 issue of Perspectives with the heading, Issues in Political Science circa Century 21: Empirical Evidence from the World of Political Science Book Series".

  9. Our website was completely revised and up dated in 2007.

  10. Call for Proposals and Nominations

  11. RC 33 really does need to get back to holding inter-Congress round tables. We have been very busy with our World of Political Science Book Series and this has been taking much of our energy. But round tables are also important for promoting the work of RC 33. So, if you have some ideas for topics we should be pursueing and/or would like to host a round table during the next three years, please send a proposal to John Trent.

  12. Nominations: Of those presently on the RC 33 Executive, the following so far have written to say they are willing to let their names stand for another mandate of three years: John Trent, Erkki Berndtson, Michael Brintnall, Arturo Fernandez and Hamdy Hassan. The following positions are therefore open: Secretary and several committee members. If you would like to nominate yourself or anyone else for ANY of the positions on the Executive, please write John Trent along with a short 200 word Bio. If there are sufficient numbers we can have an e-mail election open to all members before or after the Congress.

I look forward to hearing from you.

John Trent,

World Congress 2009

The 21st World Congress of the IPSA will be held in Santiago, Chile from 12 to 16 July 2009. Our RC can organize from two to four panels. The first step is to decide on the title of the panels. While this is mainly a task for the Executive we would be delighted to hear from anyone with ideas for panels. Please send to

Inter-Congress Round Tables

Maria de los Angles Fernandez Ramil of Chile is working hard to create a Round Table on the Development of Political Science in Latin America for 2009.

If there are other persons who would like to organize a round table before of after the 2009 world congress, please write with your ideas to John Trent. Normally, organizing a round table means finding local support for the locale and housing and meals for the participants. The participants are normally expected to find their own travel funding.

Recent Publications

Please notify Trent of your recent publications so they can be listed on our website which also acts as the RC 33 newsletter.

Position of Secretary of RC 33

We are still looking for someone who would like to be Secretary of RC 33, which also entails being editor of the website (actual postings are done by a webmaster). It is a good way to become active in your research committee.

World of Political Science

The RC 33 book series on the development of the discipline (formerly Project 2000) has made considerable progress. There are now six completed books and four more to come. Please consult the publications page of this website for more detail.

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