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Political Science in America

Political Science in America: Oral Histories of a Discipline

Copyright Date: 1991
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Political Science in America
    Book Description:

    Few academic disciplines have recorded their own origins and development in an organized way. The American Political Science Association, in cooperation with Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honor society, and the University of Kentucky, have undertaken an extensive oral history project, the aim of which is to trace and record the growth of the discipline. The program has made it possible to amass hours of interviews with women and men who have influenced the study of political science.

    Political Science in Americacontains interviews with fifteen major figures who speak frankly about the intellectual and institutional roots of political science and trace its evolution. Through their words, we learn what it was like to be a part of the earliest Ph.D. programs and to work with early leaders.

    We discover how these leaders became interested in political science, what roles they played in building departments and research organizations, and what they learned from participation in government and politics. They discuss their own contributions and offer opinions on some of the major conflicts that have divided the discipline. Particularly enlightening are their varied perspectives on the growth of the behavioral movement in political science over the past fifty years. This book is of interest to all political scientists as a historical perspective on their discipline.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6187-7
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[vi])
    (pp. 1-5)

    This book is an effort to enable political scientists to find their intellectual roots through the study of interviews with prominent political scientists. Unlike some of the other social sciences, political science, has done relatively little to convey a sense of disciplinary heritage to those who are just entering the field. The history of psychology is recognized as a respectable subfield of that discipline, and theAmerican Economic Reviewregularly publishes photographs of past presidents of the American Economics Association, but political scientists seem relatively unconscious of their discipline’s past. The most recent history of the discipline isThe Development...

  4. Charles Hyneman
    (pp. 6-21)

    Charles Hyneman was interviewed by three people. Austin Ranney, whose interview took place November 6, 1979, has taught at the universities of Illinois, Wisconsin-Madison, and California-Berkeley and has written extensively about political parties and elections. Evron Kirkpatrick interviewed Hyneman on November 15, 1979; he served from 1954 to 1981 as executive director of the American Political Science Association and also taught for many years at Georgetown University. Elinor Ostrom, who helped to inaugurate the oral history program and has taught since 1965 at Indiana University, interviewed Hyneman about 1976.

    KIRKPATRICK: How did you come to be interested in political science...

  5. E. Pendleton Herring
    (pp. 22-39)

    Pendleton Herring was interviewed in Princeton, New Jersey, in July of 1978 by Fred Greenstein, who taught at Wesleyan and Yale before joining the Princeton University faculty in 1973. His research includes work on the presidency and on political behavior, particularly among young people.

    HERRING: I enrolled as a graduate student in the Department of Political Science at Johns Hopkins in the fall of 1926. I found as my classmates Marshall Dimock and Ted Dunn, and two or three other students. This suggests a contrast in terms of numbers with the situation in many graduate departments today. There was an...

  6. Belle Zeller
    (pp. 40-51)

    Belle Zeller was interviewed in New York City on July 2, 1985, by Benjamin Rivlin, who was a colleague for many years at Brooklyn College and who has taught since 1970 at the City University of New York. He is a comparativist with particular interests in Africa and the Middle East.

    RIVLIN: Can you tell us where and when you were born and a bit about your family background?

    ZELLER: I was born in the city of New York, the lower end of the island of Manhattan, on April 8, 1903. I was a member of a large family. My...

  7. Emmette S. Redford
    (pp. 52-66)

    Emmette Redford was interviewed in Austin, Texas, in July of 1980 by William Livingston, a colleague who has taught at the University of Texas since 1949 and who became vice president and dean of Graduate Studies in 1979. Livingston is a specialist in British Commonwealth studies.

    REDFORD: My father died when I was five years old, and two years later my mother became postmaster of Johnson City, Texas, in 1912. When we went to Johnson City we took the train from San Antonio to San Marcos, spent the night there, took a mail hack to Blanco, spent the night there,...

  8. R. Taylor Cole
    (pp. 67-81)

    Taylor Cole was interviewed in Durham, North Carolina, on May 20, 1980, by James David Barber, a colleague at Duke University, who has written extensively on American politics and is best known for his work on the character of American presidents.

    BARBER: Taylor, how was it that a ranch boy in Texas got interested in intellectual life and scholarship? That seems a little contradictory.

    COLE: Dave, I’m not sure that there is any special explanation. There were several factors that influenced me. I think the most important one was my mother, who had a deep intellectual interest in our hometown,...

  9. Marian D. Irish
    (pp. 82-106)

    Marian Irish was interviewed in Scientist Cliffs, Maryland, in July of 1988 by Walter Beach, a senior staff member at the Brookings Institution, who served as assistant executive director of the American Political Science Association from 1967 to 1980 and who has played a significant role in the development of the Political Science Oral History Program.

    IRISH: I was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1909. And I was educated in the Scranton public schools. My first academic experience—that I recall—was Miss O’Malley’s class in fourth grade. She required us to memorize President Wilson’s Fourteen Points.

    BEACH: That’s a...

  10. C. Herman Pritchett
    (pp. 107-120)

    Herman Pritchett was interviewed in Santa Barbara, California, in March of 1980 by Gordon Baker, a colleague who has taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara, since 1952. Baker is an expert on legislative reapportionment.

    BAKER: You entered Chicago in 1926.

    PRITCHETT: The following year, I developed tuberculosis and had to drop out of the graduate program. For almost four years, I was not in the university. I was recuperating, and I didn’t resume my graduate study until the spring of 1932. I resumed work with Charles Merriam, Leonard White, Quincy Wright, and, rather importantly, Harold Gosnell, as well...

  11. Gabriel Almond
    (pp. 121-134)

    Gabriel Almond was interviewed in Stanford, California, in September of 1978 by Richard Brody, a colleague who has taught at Stanford University since 1962. He has written extensively on public opinion and voting behavior and has been active in the planning of national election surveys.

    ALMOND: I was at the University of Chicago from 1928 until 1938, when I got my Ph.D., with one year out for field research. My original aspiration was to be a journalist, a writer. Right in the middle of my undergraduate career, the Depression hit. It began to get more and more difficult to get...

  12. David Truman
    (pp. 135-151)

    David Truman was interviewed in New York City in March of 1979 by Donald Stokes, who has taught and held administrative positions at Princeton University since 1974, after many years at the University of Michigan. He was a pioneer in the development of the American election surveys and co-author of a number of major books and articles on voting behavior.

    STOKES: Dave, I suppose the first line of questioning that would be of interest is how you came to have an interest in political science.

    TRUMAN: I had an early interest—a kind of boyhood interest—in politics, which an...

  13. Robert Martin
    (pp. 152-165)

    Robert Martin was interviewed by Russell Adams in Washington, D.C., about 1985. Adams is a colleague who has taught at Howard University since 1971. His academic interests include public policy, ideologies, political parties, and political socialization.

    Note: Discrepancies between this interview and the recorded oral history occur because of changes in the transcription provided Dr. Martin.

    MARTIN: I was born in Abbeville, Alabama, on November 29, 1913. However, my mother, when she came north, did not wish to be ridiculed by northern Negroes, who often teased black migrants from the South by calling them “’bama.” So she selected Hartford, Connecticut,...

  14. Robert A. Dahl
    (pp. 166-178)

    Robert Dahl was interviewed in North Haven, Connecticut, in May and December of 1980 and in April of 1981 by Nelson Polsby, who has taught since 1967 at the University of California, Berkeley, after starting his academic career at Wesleyan University. Polsby’s research and writing cover a number of fields, but he is particularly known for his work on American political parties and elections and the U.S. Congress. He served as managing editor of theAmerican Political Science Review.

    DAHL: My interest in politics probably comes from my father. He grew up on a farm in North Dakota and recalls...

  15. Heinz Eulau
    (pp. 179-194)

    Heinz Eulau was interviewed in Los Angeles, California, on January 28, 1988 by Dwaine Marvick, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research interests extend to a variety of aspects of political institutions and political behavior, with a particular interest in political party activists.

    EULAU: We lived in Offenbach, a suburb of Frankfort in Germany. It was an industrial town, then sixty thousand. I grew up in an atmosphere of political terrorism, but I never experienced it personally because, you know, I came out of an upper middle class family. My father was a lawyer and, until...

  16. David Easton
    (pp. 195-214)

    David Easton was interviewed in April and November of 1988 by John Gunnell, who has taught at the State University of New York at Albany since 1972. His research and writing have been in the field of political theory.

    EASTON: I came from a poor family and was the first to go off to college, to the University of Toronto. The years that I spent as an undergraduate were 1935 to 1939, which means that I started at the pit of the Depression. That has a certain significance for the kind of intellectual atmosphere I found at college. That was...

  17. Austin Ranney
    (pp. 215-230)

    Austin Ranney was interviewed October 24, 1978, by Nelson Polsby, a colleague at the University of California, Berkeley. He shares Ranney’s interests in the issue of American political party reform and in elections.

    POLSBY: Where did the notion of becoming a political scientist and going to graduate school come from?

    RANNEY: I’ve compared notes with some other people and it’s surprising how many of us backed into political science.

    POLSBY: Of course, political science didn’t really exist as much of a discipline in those days, did it? There were courses in schools, but it certainly didn’t have any visibility beyond...

  18. Warren E. Miller
    (pp. 231-247)

    Warren Miller was interviewed in Scottsdale, Arizona, on February 11, 1988 by Heinz Eulau, who recently retired after three decades of teaching at Stanford University. Eulau’s research interests are wide ranging and include comparative legislative studies, political elites, and theory and methodology. He worked closely with Miller in the development of the ICPSR and the National Election Studies.

    MILLER: I grew up in South Dakota in a small town. Forerunners of the future were there in my interest in current events. I did a lot of work in debate, extemporaneous speaking, oratory; forensics was the big extracurricular activity other than...

    (pp. 248-248)
  20. INDEX
    (pp. 249-250)