Course Descriptions

Course Catalog for POLITICAL SCIENCE
POLS 102
American National Government
How do the institutions of American national government shape our politics and policies? This introductory course examines the nation’s founding documents (including the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Federalist Papers), the goals they sought to achieve, and the institutional framework they established (including Congress, the Presidency, and the courts). It then evaluates the extent to which these institutions achieve their intended aims of representing interests and producing public goods, taking into account the role of parties, interests groups, and the media. Throughout the course, we will attend to the relevance of race, class, religion, and gender. We will draw on the example of the 2012 presidential election and other current events to illustrate the functioning of American government and politics.
This course is not open to seniors.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 103
Introduction to Comparative Politics
This lecture course examines major themes and approaches within comparative politics. Its purpose is twofold: First, it provides the necessary theoretical and conceptual foundation for upper-level classes within this subfield. To this end, a broad array of key classics and recent works within comparative politics will be examined. Second, students will learn about the political and economic institutions that undergird foreign countries within a comparative framework. Readings will draw from various regions of the world, including Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. Questions that will be discussed include, but are not limited to, the following: What role, if any, can the government play in promoting economic growth? Why do civil wars occur and what is the role of ethnicity in perpetuating conflict?
This course is not open to seniors.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 104
Introduction to International Relations
This course offers an introduction to international relations (IR), addressing fundamental questions in the fields of international security, international political economy, and international law & organization. We learn about the leading theoretical perspectives in political science-Realism, Liberalism, and Constructivism-as well as a range of alternatives rooted in domestic politics, political psychology, postmodernism, Marxism, and feminism. The course serves as a foundational introduction to the IR subfield, with equal emphasis on substantive issues and theoretical concerns.
This course is not open to seniors.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 105
Introduction to Political Philosophy
An introduction to the philosophical study of political and moral life through a consideration of various topics of both current and historical interest. Topics include environmentalism, ancients and moderns, male and female, nature and nurture, race and ethnicity, reason and history, and reason and revelation.
This course is not open to seniors.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 125
Introduction to Human Rights
This course introduces students to the key concepts and debates in the study of Human Rights. For example, what are human rights standards and how have they evolved historically? Why do human rights violations occur and why is change sometimes possible? Is a human rights framework always desirable? In tackling such questions, the course surveys competing theories, including critical perspectives, applying these to a broad range of issues and concrete cases from around the world.
CD:Not open to Seniors
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 219
The History of Political Thought I
This course provides the historical background to the development of Western political thought from Greek antiquity to the end of the Middle Ages. Readings from primary sources (Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, etc.) will help the students to comprehend the foundations of Western political philosophy and the continuity of tradition.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 220
History of Political Thought II
This course focuses on the development of modern political philosophy. All readings will be from primary sources that include, among others, Machiavelli, Descartes, Bacon, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Marcuse. Enrollment limited.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 222
Social Inequality in the United States
This course considers the implications of social inequalities for American politics. Income and wealth disparities in the United States have grown rapidly since the 1970s, overlapping with social exclusions based on race, gender, and sexual orientation. The course explores the causes, consequences, and solutions to rising economic inequality at the national and local levels, examining particular instances from Connecticut and contextualizing them within a broader global context. We will pay particular attention to the role of public policies in creating or potentially mitigating inequalities among citizens. Throughout the course we will consider the implications of social inequality for American politics and discuss how the persistence of different forms of inequality squares with enduring ideals of equality and equal opportunity in the American political system.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 102 or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 225
American Presidency
An explanation of the institutional and political evolution of the presidency with an emphasis on the nature of presidential power in domestic and foreign affairs. Attention is also given to institutional conflicts with Congress and the courts. The nature of presidential leadership and personality is also explored.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 237
Building the European Union
As an intergovernmental and supranational union of 27 democratic member countries, the contemporary European Union is arguably the boldest experiment in inter-state economic and political integration since the formation of the contemporary nation-state system during the mid-17th century. Against this backdrop, this course considers the project for greater economic, political, and security integration within its appropriate historical context, its current economic and political setting, and its projected future ambitions. As such, it will very much be concerned with recent events and important events-in-the-making, including the continuing conflict over the Lisbon Treaty and the EU's projected enlargement by several new members.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 241
Empirical Political Methods and Data Analysis
An introduction to the design and execution of empirical political research involving computer analysis. The course covers the normative and empirical arguments at the foundation of the science of politics and the methods evolving from these arguments, and it trains students in the use of computers and statistical software. Course work includes reading, discussion, and completion of a research project in which the theory learned in class is put into practice. No programming experience required.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 242
Political Science Research Methods
Why do people participate in politics? Which government policies best serve the public good? What prevents wars between nations? Political scientists employ a toolbox of research methods to investigate these and other fundamental questions. By learning the strengths and weaknesses of various qualitative and quantitative methods, students in this course will identify how best to answer the political questions about which they feel most passionate. They will apply these practical skills in assignments that ask them observe, analyze, and report on political phenomena. Research skills will include field observation, interviewing, comparative case studies, and data analysis using statistical software. No previous statistical or programming experience is necessary.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 244
Envisioning Yourself as a Leader
Leadership means different things to different people. To some the idea of leadership centers on elective office. For others, the term suggests activism around specific social issues, business advancement, or holding influential positions in the non-profit sector. Various theories about leadership and the skills necessary to be a leader will be analyzed throughout the course. Carefully selected readings will guide our discussions about leadership. We will consider the challenges and opportunities for groups trying to achieve new leadership positions. Issues of race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality will also be considered as they pertain to leadership trends and norms in the US and abroad. Outside speakers, fieldtrips and consultation with career development experts will help each student set goals and create a strategic leadership plan.
0.50 units, Lecture
POLS 250
Political Freedom
In this political theory course, we will examine the experience and dilemmas of political freedom as thematized in political theory and practice. While philosophers have traditionally defined freedom as a problem of will or consciousness, this course will focus on how these philosophical framings of freedom may obscure our understanding of the specificity of the problems and promise of political freedom. Drawing from an eclectic mix of genres – literature, political theory, memoir, and theatre – we will ask what political freedom is, what it means, how it arises, what blocks it, and how we might sustain it. Readings will include texts by Sophocles, Hannah Arendt, Frederick Douglass, Vaclav Havel, Alexis de Tocqueville, and Fyodor Dostoevsky.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 301
American Political Parties
An analysis of American political parties, including a study of voting behavior, party organization and leadership, and recent and proposed reforms and proposals for reorganization of existing party structures.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 102.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 305
International Organizations
This course explores the dynamics of international organizations, examining a broad range of institutions in world politics. In particular, we draw on a variety of perspectives—from mainstream International Relations theory to organizational analysis—to understand questions of institutional emergence, design, and effectiveness. Using case studies and simulations, students are encouraged to think concretely about the challenges facing international organizations.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 104.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 309
Congress and Public Policy
A study of the structure and politics of the American Congress. This course examines the relationship between Congress members and their constituents; the organization and operation of Congress; the relationship between legislative behavior and the electoral incentive; and the place of Congress in national policy networks.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 102.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 312
Politics in the Middle East and North Africa
This course offers an introduction to the comparative analysis of politics in the Middle East and North Africa. Organized thematically and conceptually, we examine topics ranging from state formation, nationalism, and civil-military relations, to oil and economic development, democratization efforts, political Islam, and regional concerns.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 313
National and European Foreign Policies
This course will investigate the relationship between European Union member states and EU foreign policy. It will question how EU member states reconcile their independent foreign policies with their membership in the European Union as well as their relationship with NATO. Students will have the opportunity to assess to what extent EU member states have Europeanized their foreign affairs policies in order to build a more coherent Common Security and Defense Policy (CDSP).
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 316
Constitutional Law II: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
An analysis and evaluation of decisions of courts (and related materials) dealing principally with freedom of expression and equal protection of the laws.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Public Policy 201, Public Policy 202, or Political Science102, and permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 317
American Political Thought
A study of the development of American political thought: the colonial period; the Revolution; Jeffersonian democracy; the defense of slave society; social Darwinism; the Populist and Progressive reform movements; and current theories of conservatism, liberalism, and the Left.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 322
International Political Economy
This course examines the interplay of politics and economics in the current world system since the European expansion in the 16th century. Focus will be on the penetration and colonization of Latin America, Asia, and Africa; economic relations in the industrialized world and between the north and the south; the role of international institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; the role of international trade and transnational corporations; the changing division of labor in the world economy; and current problems of the world economy.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 104.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 326
Gender, Politics, and Policy
This course explores the role of gender in American politics. We will begin with an examination of the role of women and men in fighting for and against women's suffrage and the subsequent movement to achieve gender equality. We will consider the many ways men's inclusion and women's exclusion from our political system continues to shape contemporary politics and the distribution of power in American society. We will then examine a series of important questions such as: Why are women less likely than men to run for political office? Is America ready for a woman president? Once in office, do male and female politicians govern differently? The last third of the course examines a series of policy areas with respect to gender.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 102 or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 326
Gender, Politics, and Policy
This course explores the role of gender in American politics. We will begin with an examination of the role of women and men in fighting for and against women's suffrage and the subsequent movement to achieve gender equality. We will consider the many ways men's inclusion and women's exclusion from our political system continues to shape contemporary politics and the distribution of power in American society. We will then examine a series of important questions such as: Why are women less likely than men to run for political office? Is America ready for a woman president? Once in office, do male and female politicians govern differently? The last third of the course examines a series of policy areas with respect to gender.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 329
Political Philosophy and Ethics
This course will engage the literature of ethical theory and ethical debate. The course attempts to enlighten the place ethical reasoning plays in political science, political life and the tradition of political philosophy. Readings in the course will differ from year to year but may include such authors as Aristotle, Cicero, Aquinas, Kant, Mill, Rawls, Nietzsche. In different years the course may focus on various themes which could include topics such as feminism, gentlemanliness, Eudaimonism, utilitarianism and deontology, ethics and theology, legal and business ethics, or the place of ethics in the discipline of Political Science.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 105, 219, or 220.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 331
Comparative Politics of East Asia
This course is comprised of two distinct components. In part I, students will be introduced to key political and economic events in post-World War II East Asia. Specifically, the focus will be on the following countries and territories: Japan, South and North Korea, Taiwan, and China. In part II, students will study thematic and theoretical issues concerning East Asia that have received scholarly attention in recent years. Topics that will be discussed include the following: rapid economic growth and its consequences; economic integration under globalization; political liberalization and democratization; identity politics and nationalism; and human security. With its focus on major conceptual and theoretical debates within the comparative politics subfield, this course will provide useful background for those contemplating a senior thesis on an East Asian country.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 332
Understanding Civil Conflict and Its Causes and Consequences
This course surveys the many causes and consequences of civil conflict and civil war. Major themes of the course include ethnic fractionalization, natural resources, climate change, colonial legacies, institutional design, globalization, intervention, international efforts in state building, gendered violence, and human rights. The course also examines the different theoretical and methodological approaches to studying civil conflict.
All seats are reserved for juniors and sophomores.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 339
Contemporary and Post-Modern Thought
This course will deal with philosophical developments of moral and political significance in the 20th century. Using the writings of selected authors, such as Heidegger, Sartre, Gadamer, Marcuse, Strauss, Foucault, and Habermas, it will focus on various modern movements of thought: existentialism, critical theory, neo-Marxism, hermeneutics, feminism, deconstructionism, and postmodernism. Readings will be from primary sources.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 105, 219 or 220.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 343
Theory and Politics of African Decolonization
The process of African decolonization was among the most important political events of the 20th century-in just three decades more than fifty new countries won independence from European imperial powers. This class reads the diverse group of African intellectuals writing during this period, whose work shaped how people thought about the anti-colonial project and world politics more generally. The course starts with an overview of colonialism's historical and intellectual legacy before examining how these theorists tackled three central political questions, namely: how to forge an independent African nation-state, how to create a post-colonial African identity, and how to establish an independent economy. Readings will include Aime Cesaire, Franz Fanon, Steve Biko, Amilcar Cabral, Walter Rodney, Albert Memmi, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Julius Nyerere, Thomas Sankara, among others.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 103 or 104.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 344
Politics of Africa
Political Scientists often study Africa as a distinct place, defined by a unique set of crises, which set the continent apart from the rest of the world. This class, in contrast, starts from the assertion that Africa is not a discrete location to be studied in isolation but instead a site of active and dynamic human practices that intersect and define the political and economic lives of all people across the world. "Africa" is, in the words of James Ferguson, a "category through which a 'world' is structured." We first examine the colonial and Cold War histories shaping the modern world, and how they played out in Africa specifically. We then study contemporary issues that tie Africa to the rest of the world, including: civil conflict and the "responsibility to protect"; debt, structural adjustment, aid, and development; Chinese/Africa economic cooperation; "the land question"; and the Arab Spring.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 345
Debt and American Citizenship
This course considers the connections between debt and American citizenship, historically and in the present. We begin by examining the important role of debt in the form of indentured servitude as a key means for populating the American colonies. We then explore the gradual transformation of debt from a highly stigmatized condition to a routine part of life for most Americans through home mortgages, student loans and credit card debt. We consider how debt has been associated with decreased status-from debtors' prisons to low credit scores-yet also linked to creating opportunity, as with political movements demanding credit access for disadvantaged populations. Throughout the course we will be attentive to the role of politics and public policy in creating, mediating, and shaping debt relationships.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 346
World Economy of Higher Education
Colleges and universities are commonly understood as "ivory towers" removed from the economic pressures of "the real world." However, higher education has always been an important dimension of the world economy. Universities and colleges train employees, develop human capital, design marketable goods, and sometimes sell education for profit. This class examines theorists of higher education, the rise of the American-style university, the Cold War politics of higher education, the World Bank's reconceptualization of higher education as key to economic development, the reframing of education as an exportable service, and branch campuses in the Middle East. In short, this course helps students better understand various pressures and dynamics of the contemporary world economy through an examination of the particular institution of which we are a part.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 347
Immigration in Contemporary Europe
Why do people migrate? How do host states and societies react to an increasingly multicultural and diverse foreign population? What impacts the political, economic and socio-cultural incorporation of Europe’s immigrants? How has migration changed the meaning of membership in the Western European nation-state? This course explores the central debates in immigration studies through a survey of contemporary Europe, with cases comprising immigrant populations in both traditional immigrant receivers (e.g., Algerians in France or Turks in Germany) and “new” immigration countries (e.g. Ecuadorians in Spain or Poles and Nigerians in Ireland). Particular interest is placed on how the relationship between the immigrant and the receiving state transforms both.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 350
State-Building and Collapse in the Developing World
What are states and nations and where do they come from? What key mechanisms, institutions, and actors participate in the state-building process? What are some of the major challenges to state-building and stability? Is the state declining in capacity and importance today? This seminar examines the central debates and dilemmas surrounding the modern state through a fusion of theory and real-life examples from around the world. Case studies are drawn from Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. The course places particular emphasis on the limitations and even failure of the state in a rapidly changing and unstable world.
This course is only open to sophomores and juniors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 353
Authoritarianism in Eurasia
More than half of the countries in the world are authoritarian or mixed regimes. Yet the study of authoritarianism—specifically, how authoritarian regimes function, and sources of their resilience and collapse—has long been neglected in political science. Authoritarian regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria, all widely regarded as models of resilience right up until their demise, turned out to be strikingly and unexpectedly fragile. Conversely, analysts have predicted the collapse of North Korea for decades, only to witness its survival through war, famine, economic collapse, and potentially destabilizing leadership transitions. In this course, we will examine the nascent scholarship on authoritarianism, especially as it pertains to Eurasia—namely, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and East and Southeast Asia.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 355
Urban Politics
This course will use the issues, institutions, and personalities of the metropolitan area of Hartford to study political power, who has it, and who wants it. Particular attention will be given to the forms of local government, types of communities, and the policies of urban institutions. Guest speakers will be used to assist each student in preparing a monograph on a local political system.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 102 or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 356
Philosophy and Religion
The course will study the interpenetration of Early Christianity and the Philosophical Tradition in the period especially from Tertullian, through Ambrose and Jerome to Augustine. Readings from the Gospels and the Letters of Paul will be supplemented by historical works by Downing, Johnson, Copleston, Jonas and others, finishing with significant selections from Cicero and Augustine. Walking tours will include trips to St. Peters and the Vatican, plus the Vatican library, the Arch of Constantine, San Clemente, San Pietro in Vincoli, Domine Quo Vadas, Castel Sant' Angelo, various catacombs and other possibilities to be announced.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 357
Hannah Arendt
This seminar focuses on the work of the 20th century Jewish German émigré thinker, Hannah Arendt. Arendt’s work begins from the premise that the rise of totalitarianism reveals the breakdown of traditional western categories of moral and political thought – categories that were unable to generate challenges or resistance to the rise of Nazism. Arendt’s work fills the gap left by the “explosion” of our old categories of thought by pressing us to understand our contemporary predicament and to ask how we might guide ourselves anew. Among the questions raised is: what kinds of “guideposts,” historical examples, and practices of political action might serve as new forms of guidance for citizens interested in generating and sustaining freedom, equality, diversity, human rights, and the rule of law?
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 359
Feminist Political Theory
This course examines debates in feminist political theory. Topics will include liberal and socialist feminist theory, as well as radical, postcolonial, and postmodern feminist theory. We will also consider feminist perspectives on issues of race and sex, pornography, law and rights, and “hot button” issues like veiling. We will pay particular attention to the question of what feminism means and should mean in increasingly multicultural, global societies. Readings will include work by Mary Wollstonecraft, Carol Gilligan, Catherine MacKinnon, Chandra Mohanty, Wendy Brown, Audre Lorde, Patricia Williams, & Judith Butler.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 369
International Human Rights Law
This course offers a comprehensive survey of the evolution of international human rights law, focusing on the major actors and processes at work. Which rights do individual human beings have vis-a-vis the modern state? What is the relationship between domestic and international legal processes? Are regional human rights mechanisms like the European system more influential than international ones? More generally, how effective is contemporary international human rights in securing accountability and justice? We use specific cases and contemporary debates to study a range of treaties and emerging institutions, including ad hoc war crimes tribunals and the International Criminal Court.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 370
External Relations of the European Union
This course will investigate the various forms of external relations of the European Union. Among others, it will survey the relationships established by the EU such as the European Economic Area, Stabilization and Association Agreements, EU-Swiss bilateral and association agreements with European and non-European non-member states such as Moldova, Ukraine, Egypt, etc. In addition, the course will survey the treaty negotiation process involving the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and the US and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada. These case studies will help to best understand the evolving role of the European Union as a regional and global actor.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 372
The American Welfare State
The American government provides a social safety net to its citizens through a number of direct social programs, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, public assistance, and a variety of other social provisions. However, the role that federal and state governments should play in providing a robust social safety net remains a highly contested issue in American politics. This course contextualizes the contemporary debate by examining the historical development of the peculiar American welfare state from the earliest social programs in the nineteenth century to the New Deal and Great Society programs to the scaling back of direct social programs during the 1980s and 1990s.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 373
Law, Politics, and Society
This course examines the role of law in American society and politics. We will approach law as a living museum displaying the central values, choices, purposes, goals, and ideals of our society. Topics covered include: the nature of law; the structure of American law; the legal profession, juries, and morality; crime and punishment; courts, civil action, and social change; and justice and democracy. Throughout, we will be concerned with law and its relation to cultural change and political conflict.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 379
American Foreign Policy
This course offers an examination of postwar American foreign policy. After reviewing the major theoretical and interpretive perspectives, we examine the policymaking process, focused on the principal players in the executive and legislative branches, as well as interest groups and the media. We then turn to contemporary issues: the "war on terror," the Iraq war, humanitarian intervention, U.S. relations with other major powers, and America's future prospects as the dominant global power.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 380
War and Peace in the Middle East
This course addresses the causes and consequences of nationalist, regional, and international conflict in the Middle East. We use theoretical perspectives from political science to shed light on the dynamics of conflict, the successes and failures of attempts to resolve it, and the roles played by the United States and other major international actors. The course is organized on a modified chronological basis, starting with the early phases of the Arab-Israeli conflict and ending with current developments in Iraq.
All seats are reserved for juniors and sophomores.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 385
Crossing Borders: Logics and Politics of Transnational Migration
This course investigates the primary economic, humanitarian, and political forces that are driving and sustaining the complex phenomenon of contemporary transnational migration. Within this context, several key questions are addressed: Have the forces of globalization and the entanglements of international commitments and treaty obligations significantly compromised the policy-making prerogatives of the traditional nation state? What are the benefits and costs of migration for the immigration receiving countries? Is a liberal immigration regime desirable and, if so, can it be politically sustained?
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 390
Theories of International Political Economy
This course asks a number of core questions concerning international political economy: What explains inequality between nations? How do countries develop? What can states, international institutions, and other political actors do to advance economic prosperity? How one answers these questions, however, depends upon where one stands regarding various fundamental principles of political economy. We start the class with the work of Adam Smith and Karl Marx. We then examine how this debate plays out in the work of early twentieth century thinkers debating the cause of the Great Depression and the two world wars (including Polanyi, Schumpeter, Keynes, Hayek, and Friedman). We conclude by examining various contemporary economic issues.
This course is only open to sophomores and juniors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 392
Trinity College Legislative Internship Program
The Trinity College Legislative Internship is a special program designed for those students who want to observe politics and government firsthand. Student interns work full time for individual legislators and are eligible for up to four course credits, three for a letter grade and one pass/fail. One of the graded credits is a political science credit. In addition to working approximately 35 to 40 hours per week for a legislator, each intern participates in a seminar in which interns present papers and discuss issues related to the legislative process. Although there are no prerequisite courses for enrollment in this program, preference will be given to juniors and seniors. Students majoring in areas other than political science are encouraged to apply. Candidates for this program, which is limited to 14 students, should contact the Political Science Department in April or September. The program will accommodate some students who wish to work part time (20 hours per week) for two graded course credits.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 394
Legislative Internship
No Course Description Available.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 396
Legislative Internship
No Course Description Available.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 398
Legislative Internship
No Course Description Available.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 399
Independent Study
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for enrollment.
1.00 units min / 2.00 units max, Independent Study
POLS 399
Open Semester
No Course Description Available.
4.00 units, Independent Study
POLS 402
Senior Seminar: American Government-Democratic Representation
This seminar consists of an investigation of the nature and processes of representation of individuals and groups at the level of American national government, especially within the U.S. Congress. Topics dealt with include the concept of representation, the goals of representatives and represented, means by which government is influenced from the outside, and the implications for representation of recent campaign finance and congressional reforms. Enrollment limited.
This course is open only to senior Political Science majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 405
Senior Seminar: Women and Globalization
This senior seminar takes a gendered look at globalization and its impact on the lives of women around the world. What is the impact of gender, race, class, ethnicity, and nation on the global division of labor? Why are women a significant factor in human trafficking and global migration? What is the changing role of men, both in the formal economy and within individual household units? What role do national and international policymakers play in this gendered global economy? What is the impact of the present global economic crisis on women? The seminar will address these and other questions in order to assess the nature and impact of globalization from a gendered perspective.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 406
Senior Seminar: Why Political Philosophy?
This seminar will be devoted to a close reading of a major political philosopher in the Western tradition.
This course is open only to senior Political Science majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 408
Senior Seminar: Racial and Ethnic Politics
This course examines the role of African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans in all areas of the American political system. We study each group and their roles as voters, party activists, candidates and public officials. By exploring the socio-historical context within which each group acts, we will also consider the non-traditional forms of political participation embraced by some of these groups and the reasons that minority groups have resorted to such strategies. The process of political socialization will also be considered, as will the political behavior, attitudes, and public policy opinions of these groups. Finally, we will also explore theories of racial and ethnic political coalitions and conflict.
This course is open only to senior Political Science majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 412
The Politics of Judicial Policy Making
This course explores a constant tension in the work of courts. While courts are not “supposed” to make policy, they often do. In examining this tension, the course will focus on the origins of judicial intervention, the nature of specific court decisions on policy questions, and the effectiveness of those decisions in producing social change.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 414
Senior Seminar: Global Environmental Politics
Environmental issues have attracted the increasing attention of scholars of international relations. As globalization continues to accelerate, it is clear that environmental problems do not adhere to national borders and require international efforts to remedy them. This introduces student to the international dimensions of environmental politics through an in-depth analysis of both the theory and practice of international attempts to tackle growing environmental challenges. The course also includes discussion of, among other subjects, the relationship between global environmental issues and international law, international organizations, international political economy, war, and human rights.
This course is open only to senior Political Science majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 415
Senior Seminar: War, Peace, and Strategy
This seminar explores the problem of war in international relations, including its nature, forms, strategy, causes, prevention, and ethics. Is international politics bound to remain inherently conflictual in a world of sovereign states, or is war becoming obsolete in an era of institutional innovation and normative change? To address this and related questions, we read and engage a wide range of classic and contemporary texts from political science and beyond. Special attention is devoted to the strategic logic that connects the use of military force with political objectives, hopes, and fears.
This course is open only to senior Political Science majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 418
Sr. Sem: State Formation and State-Building
This seminar is organized around two themes. First, it will examine the origins of the modern state in China and Western Europe, as well as the cause of diversity in state institutions across the globe. In particular, the consequences of Western imperialism on the development of African and Asian states will be explored. Second, we will discuss historic and contemporary attempts at transferring Western institutions to the global periphery—a phenomenon commonly known as state-building. Students will debate the strategic, developmental, and humanitarian merits and shortcomings of this policy. Questions that will be discussed include the following: What explains variation in the structure of political authority across different states? What is the legacy of colonialism? Can stable democracies be built through foreign occupation?
This course is open only to senior Political Science majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 426
Senior Seminar: Who Are We? Citizenship, Identity, and Immigration in Comparative Perspective
Citizenship historically has been defined as a set of rights and obligations that are exclusive to formal members, or "citizens," of territorially bounded nation states. Transnational migration challenges this assumption by creating citizens outside of and foreign residents or "denizens" inside of traditional nation state territories. Some scholars have suggested that globalization generally -- and migration specifically -- undermines the salience of citizenship and fosters conflict and confusion about who "we" are. This senior seminar will explore the major political and social challenges posed by transnational migration for notions of who "belongs" and who doesn't within the major immigration-receiving countries, including the United States.
This course is open only to senior Political Science majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 427
Senior Seminar: Politics of Ethnicity, Religion, and Immigration in Western Europe
This seminar surveys the politics of ethnicity, religion, and immigration in contemporary Western Europe. It thus includes both traditional ethnic or ethnoterritorial conflict (e.g., Spanish Basque separatism) and more recent manifestations of ethnic/religious tensions arising from the migration after 1950 of millions of Third World immigrants and asylum seekers to the major immigration-receiving countries (e.g., Turks in Germany, Algerians in France). Equal attention will be paid in the course to the effects of politics on the political and social incorporation of ethnic minorities as well as how their presence and demands are transforming the domestic politics of Western Europe.
This course is open only to senior Political Science majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 466
Teaching Assistantship
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for enrollment.
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
POLS 490
Research Assistantship
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for enrollment.
1.00 units, Independent Study
POLS 496
Senior Thesis Colloquium
This is a required colloquium for senior political science majors writing theses. The class will proceed in part through course readings about research methods and aims, and in part through offering students the opportunity to present and discuss their thesis projects. All students will be required to write a (non-introductory draft) chapter by semester's end.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 497
Senior Thesis
For honors candidates (see description of Honors in Political Science following the “Areas of Concentration” section). Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for enrollment in honors.
1.00 units, Independent Study