Michelle S. Mood (surnamed Strauss from 1976-1985) is the daughter of itinerant academics, having lived mostly in the east and midwest United States on such campuses as Vassar College, Kalamazoo College and smaller universities before going to college to study comparative politics and political theory at Oberlin College. Her interest in China sparked by an honors project there, she went on to teach English at the remote China Institute of Mining and Technology before returning to study comparative politics, political theory and East Asian studies at Cornell University, receiving her Ph.D. in 1996.
Since 1998 she has made her home with her family in Gambier, interrupted by years abroad, first as a post-doctoral fellow in Sweden (where her and partner Emeritus Professor Steve Van Holde's older son, Sam, was born) and then as a senior research fellow in China (while Van Holde was Fei Yi-ming Professor of Comparative Politics) at the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing program in 2003-2004 and 2006-2007. Starting in 2000, Mood teaches in political science, international studies, and Asian and Middle East studies.
Areas of Expertise
Chinese politics, development Nation-States, Asian Politics
1996 — Doctor of Philosophy from Cornell University
1991 — Master of Arts from Cornell University
1984 — Bachelor of Arts from Oberlin College
Courses Recently Taught
This seminar examines some of the problems inherent in cross-cultural comparison and explores the ways in which a variety of disciplines grapple with these difficulties by investigating contemporary themes in international affairs. These themes include some or all of the following: ethnic conflict; comparative perspectives on development; religion and socioeconomic development; contemporary environmental problems; the ethics of armed intervention; the emergence of a world popular culture and its consequences for national cultures; the challenges of democratization; and perceptions of the United States, Americans and U.S. foreign policy abroad. Open only to international studies majors with senior standing. This interdisciplinary course does not count toward the completion of any diversification requirement. No prerequisite. Offered every year.
This course explores the relationship between the individual and society as exemplified in the writings of political philosophers, statesmen, novelists and contemporary political writers. Questions about law, political obligation, freedom, equality and justice, and human nature are examined and illustrated. The course looks at different kinds of societies such as the ancient city, modern democracy and totalitarianism, and confronts contemporary issues such as race, culture and gender. The readings present diverse viewpoints and the sessions are conducted by discussion. The course is designed primarily for first-year students. Students enrolled in this course are automatically added to PSCI 102Y for the spring semester. Offered every fall.
This course explores the relationship between the individual and society as exemplified in the writings of political philosophers, statesmen, novelists and contemporary political writers. Questions about law, political obligation, freedom, equality and justice, and human nature are examined and illustrated. The course looks at different kinds of societies such as the ancient city, modern democracy and totalitarianism, and confronts contemporary issues such as race, culture and gender. The readings present diverse viewpoints, and the sessions are conducted by discussion. The course is designed primarily for first-year students. Offered every spring.
Alternative strategies of economic development pose the most difficult political choices for those countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America not yet blessed by economic prosperity. This course seeks to accomplish three related goals. First, it explores the contending theories of development that have shaped the debate about development in the past half-century: modernization theory, dependency theory, theories that emphasize state-led development and theories that seek to define sustainable development. Second, it compares alternative strategies of development, especially as exemplified by successful (or thought-to-be successful) developing and developed countries. Third, it considers a set of contemporary issues that complicate the efforts of countries to develop: globalization, environmental catastrophe, population growth and human-rights considerations. The definition of development and the desirability of economic growth are questioned. This counts toward the comparative politics/international relations requirement for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every two years.
This course explores the roots and realities of the explosive changes rocking Asia today, with an eye to the politics that shape and are shaped by them. Headlines today point to human-rights violations, democratic elections, and riots against corruption and pollution amidst phenomenal economic development. We look at the historical growth and modern development of the Chinese, Japanese and Indian nation-states and compare their changes and challenges so as to draw larger lessons about the processes of social and political change in a particularly vital and important region of the world. This counts toward the comparative politics/international relations requirement for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing.
This course provides an introduction to comparative political development. It focuses on two key issues in the development of the contemporary world: the rise of the modern state and the emergence of modern nationalism. By analyzing the processes of state and nation-building in selected countries, we come to understand the means by which state power is constructed, maintained, and legitimized in political systems as varied as absolutist monarchies and modern nation-states. By examining nationalism in a variety of historical and geographical settings, we begin to comprehend the intriguing power and persistence of national identities in an increasingly multinational world. Although the course is explicitly analytic and comparative in character, analysis is supplemented as appropriate with case studies drawn from countries around the world. This counts toward the comparative politics/international relations requirement for the major. No prerequisite. Sophomore standing. Offered every two years.
This course explores the People's Republic of China from a political science perspective, focusing on enduring historical and political issues as well as current challenges. Topics covered include challenges of China's 20th-century nation-building and economic development (revolution and independence, Mao's China vs. reform China), contemporary regional and global foreign relations, and the challenges of 21st-century development. The last includes a broad range of institutional and policy change (such as marketization, globalization, civil freedoms, elections and citizenship) as well as outcomes from these changes (protests, censorship, inequality, pollution, urban sprawl, consumerism and rural-urban divide). Topics remain flexible to respond to the rise of current issues, such as minorities, cyber-security, maritime borders, intellectuals, dissidents, etc. The course is organized as a seminar, with a high level of student engagement, including weekly student-run discussion. A substantial research project is required as well as an oral presentation. This counts toward the comparative politics/international relations or the seminar requirements for the major. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Offered every three years.