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Processes of negotiating agreement in Congress are under great stress, yet we know very little about the mechanisms, challenges, and remedies for this problem. Building on the Anxieties of Democracy program’s current work and the Social Science Research Council’s commitment to forging scholarly interactions across disciplines on critical present-day challenges, the goal of the Negotiating Agreement in Congress Research Grants initiative is to provide resources for scholars with diverse sets of expertise to probe this vital issue.

Specifically, through this research opportunity, the Anxieties of Democracy Program seeks to affect the character and emphases of research and writing about the U.S. Congress within the academy while developing understanding and approaches with the potential to influence legislative behavior.

The impetus for this project stems from the recommendations of the American Political Science Association’s 2013 Task Force on Negotiating Agreement in Politics.

The Negotiating Agreement in Congress Research Grants are generously funded by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


Call for Proposals

The Negotiating Agreement in Congress Research Grants are designed to open a robust research field that explores various dimensions of political negotiation in Congress by charting new avenues of understanding and methodological directions. They seek to inspire a cohort of researchers with diverse backgrounds and sets of expertise to address the challenges of political negotiation through scholarship drawn from and/or relevant to multiple disciplines and approaches.
Successful applicants will submit innovative proposals within fields that include, but are not limited to: political science, political theory, political economy, race and ethnic politics, law, history, gender studies, behavioral economics, social psychology, cognitive psychology, emotion and political judgment, anthropology, sociology, and communications. Examples of relevant research topics include:

  • Institutional and electoral forces contributing to, or presently shaping, the breakdown of or lack of impetus for political negotiation.
  • The experiences of female members of the Congress and members from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds with regard to challenges, opportunities, and tactics for political negotiation.
  • Understanding previous congressional eras through archival investigations that provide comparative historical analysis, or uncover long-term dynamics relevant to present relations.
  • The conditions and biases that prevent multiple parties from perceiving the possibility of agreement, explored through cognitive, anthropological, or sociological approaches.
  • Lessons offered by instances of successful and unsuccessful negotiation processes in international or comparative perspectives.



All applicants are required to meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants must have a PhD in hand by the application’s deadline of September 15, 2017. The PhD may be from in any discipline within the social sciences or humanities.
  • Applicants may be US citizens or noncitizens.
  • Applicants at any stage of their postdoctoral research careers (junior, midcareer, and senior scholars) are welcome to apply.
  • Applicants must hold an affiliation with a college or university based in the United States at the time of the application deadline.
  • Applicants must be available in October 2018 to participate in a workshop in Brooklyn, NY.


Grant Terms

The Negotiating Agreement in Congress Research Grants provide up to $10,000 of funding to be used for up to one year of research and writing.

  • Grants are intended to support the research of the individual applicant.
  • Grantees will be notified of their awards in November 2017. The grant term begins in December 2017 and concludes in December 2018.
  • Grantees are expected to submit an interim and final report, and present their works-in-progress at a Council-sponsored workshop in October 2018.


Application Materials

All application materials must be submitted via the SSRC’s Online Application Portal, including:

  • Abstract (not to exceed 100 words).
  • Project proposal (not to exceed 2,000 words).
  • Bibliography (not to exceed one page, single-spaced).
  • Curriculum vitae (not to exceed three pages).
  • Proposed budget form.
  • Two Letters of Reference.


Application Deadline

Completed applications and letters of reference must be submitted through the SSRC’s Online Application Portal before 11:59pm (EDT) on September 15, 2017. Applicants will be notified of decisions by the end of November 2017. 


Further Information

SSRC staff are available to assist with the application process. Please direct any inquiries to the SSRC’s Anxieties of Democracy program email account. Please specify “NAC Research Grants” in the message subject line.

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