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.
She was Assistant Professor of East Asian Politics at Providence College for a few years, during which time she taught both Asian politics and comparative politics classes as well as the introductory first-year political theory course, "Introduction to Ideologies."
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 Associate Professor Steve Van Holde's older son, Sam, was born) and then as a senior research fellow in China (while Professor 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, Professor Mood has taught in political science, international studies and in the new Asian studies joint major.
Areas of Expertise
Chinese politics, Chinese rural development, political economy of development, women in politics, globalization.
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 will examine some of the problems inherent in cross-cultural comparison and will explore the ways in which a variety of disciplines grapple with these difficulties by investigating contemporary themes in international affairs. These themes will include some or all of the following: (1) ethnic conflict; (2) comparative perspectives on development; (3) religion and socioeconomic development; (4) contemporary environmental problems; (5) the ethics of armed intervention; (6) the emergence of a world popular culture and its consequences for national cultures; (7) the challenges of democratization and (8) 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. 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 will be 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 will explore 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 will compare alternative strategies of development, especially as exemplified by successful (or thought-to-be successful) developing and developed countries. Third, it will consider 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 will be questioned. This counts toward the comparative politics/international relations requirement for the major. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Offered every two years.
This course will explore 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 will 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. 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 will come to understand the means by which state power is constructed, maintained, and legitimated in political systems as varied as absolutist monarchies and modern nation-states. By examining nationalism in a variety of historical and geographical settings, we will begin to comprehend the intriguing power and persistence of national identities in an increasingly multinational world. Although the course will be explicitly analytic and comparative in character, analysis will be supplemented as appropriate with case studies drawn from countries around the world. This counts toward the comparative politics/international relations requirement for the major. 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 will 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. This latter 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 will 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.
Individual study in political science is available to students who want to pursue a course of reading or complete a focused research project on a topic not regularly offered in the department's curriculum. To enroll, a student must prepare a proposal in consultation with a member of the political science faculty who has suitable expertise and is willing to work with the student over the course of a semester. The proposal should include a statement of the questions the student plans to explore, a preliminary bibliography, a schedule of assignments, a schedule of meetings with the faculty member and a description of the elements that will be factored into the course grade. The student also should briefly describe any prior coursework that particularly qualifies him or her to pursue the project independently. The department chair must approve the proposal. The department expects the student to meet regularly with the instructor for at least the equivalent of one hour per week. Reading assignments will vary depending on the topic but should approximate a regular departmental course in that field. Students should expect to write at least 30 pages over the course of the semester for an individual study bearing 0.50 units of credit. The chair must receive proposals by the third day of classes. Because students must enroll for individual studies by the end of the seventh class day of each semester, they should begin discussion of the proposed individual study preferably the semester before, so that there is time to devise the proposal and seek departmental approval before the established deadline.