PUBPOL 264S.34 – Historical Perspectives on Public Policy
This course will explore the ways that history and historical thinking can be of assistance to public policy makers. All issues have a history, and that history will shape policy whether we understand it or not. This course will add focused historical understanding to the conceptual tools already deployed in public policy and raise important methodological questions about how and why history matters to the work we do. In what ways can history provide evidence for social science generalizations and policy considerations? To what extent can historical analysis of single case studies provide useful ‘lessons learned’ for policy makers? In what ways can historical interpretation improve predictions about the behaviors of social groups and nations and thereby serve to inform the choices that policy makers possess? How do narrative techniques and story-telling strategies shape the crafting and implementation of public policy in the past and present? To what extent are counterfactuals, when used with discipline and imagination, effective tools for conducting social science research and making public policy?
[Areas of Knowledge: CZ, SS]