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Perestroika in Political Science: Past, Present, and Future

Editor's Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 October 2010

Patrick J. McGovern
Buffalo State College–SUNY


Anniversaries, for good or ill, are often hard to ignore. The finiteness and roundness of a century proves almost too irresistible for us to not stop and try to derive some sense of accomplishment and meaning from our individual and collective efforts. The recent 100th anniversary of the American Political Science Review in 2006, for example, proved too much to ignore and, as a result, provided us with just such a reckoning (see, e.g., Sigelman 2006). As alluring as the end of a century is for such reminiscing, this impulse is even more forceful at the end of a millennium. Such a closing represents a chance for letting go of the past, gaining some sense of forgiveness, and with the hope of constructing a new future, taking a chance to begin again. This notion of renewal and change was very much on the mind of the individual behind the original “Perestroika” e-mail, circulated in the fall of 2000. In the e-mail, Mr. Perestroika called into question the relevance of the APSA and the American Political Science Review (APSR), questioned the narrowness of our methods, and bemoaned the whiteness and maleness of most of the leadership positions within the discipline. The new millennium seemingly called for a new approach to the study and practice of political science that would move us away from the “coterie” of “East Coast Brahmins” who dominated the APSA and APSR. The tenth anniversary of Mr. Perestroika's e-mail offers us a chance to reflect on and revisit the millennial promise of the Perestroika movement, examine its impact upon the discipline, and assess the nature of its future.

Copyright © American Political Science Association 2010

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