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 traces the evolution of the modern state system from 1648 to the present. It examines issues and concepts such as the balance of power, collective security, the nature of warfare, the role of international organizations and international law, globalization, human rights, overpopulation, global environmental devastation, etc.
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.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 212
American, State, and Local Government
In this course, students will be exposed to the several layers of government specific to the United States, from small villages and municipalities, to counties, legislative districts, and states. Case studies in local government management will be read, as will studies of local government as a microcosm of social and political organization in America; Federalism as a desirable concept will be discussed, as will issues of routine public budgeting at all levels of government, concentrating on contemporary examples of partisan negotiations of statewide budgets in modern America.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 213
Transitional Justice in Theory and Practice:
What can be done to restore political, legal, and social order in the aftermath of war? What are the benefits of trials, reparations, and truth commissions? This course takes a philosophical approach to answer questions of justice, reparations, amnesty, and forgiveness through the writings of Hannah Arendt, Jon Elster, Martha Nussbaum, and others. The course will also focus on the historical cases of World War II, the Vietnam War, apartheid in South Africa, and the Rwandan genocide.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 215
Politics and Film
This course will utilize the medium of film to explore topics central to political science, such as the nature of power, freedom, authority, and human nature. The films chosen for this course will span the period from the 1930s to the present, and represent numerous cinematic styles. The course aims not only to investigate core themes of politics and political thought but also to develop critical thinking skills in both written and oral form.
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 221
Health Care, Politics, and Policy in America
This course will examine health care in the American political and policy-making system. Students will learn about the roles and functions of key actors, institutions, concepts, and principles as part of a broad overview of health care in American politics, enabling us to consider the quintessential political question of “who gets what, when, and how" as it applies to this increasingly important part of public policy discourse. From this foundation, we will develop a theoretical and practical framework to ground our analysis of current health policy issues and reform movements. Topics will include ethics, finance, insurance, prescription drug regulation, Medicare/Medicaid, health epidemics, private markets, public interest, and the role of government.
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 231
The Politics of Human Rights in Contemporary Latin America
This course explores how and why human rights conditions have changed across Latin America. In particular, the course examines how international and domestic factors interact to explain political change. For example, what are the respective roles of international actors and social movements? How have human rights conditions fared in post-conflict situations? What is the relationship between human rights and democratization? How have governments throughout the region coped with past human rights violators? What explains the strengths and weaknesses of the inter-American human rights regime? Through systematic comparison of cases, including with other regions of the world, the course offers a critical survey of the human rights landscape in Latin America.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 233
Asian Politics
Many of the key political struggles and economic developments that have shaped the modern era originated in Asia. This course provides an introduction to the key themes, institutions, and issues in recent Asian politics, including the challenges of ethnic separatism and nation-building, the rise of peasant revolutions and state socialism, models of state-led economic development, post-colonialism, social movements, and the continuing problem of political corruption. The readings are designed to provide students with an understanding of the historical development of these issues, as well as of crucial events in Asia today. Texts and discussions will center on comparative governance in India, Pakistan, China, Japan, North and South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines.
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 252
The People and the Polls
This course will examine the unrolling of the 2010 Decennial Census. This most massive of surveys intended to gauge the numerical presence of American citizens almost always inspires controversy, especially in regard to how questions are asked and whether the Census provides an accurate account of the American population or rather an over-count of some groups and an undercount of others. Students will have ample opportunity to examine public opinion data and Census data throughout the semester. They will be asked to pay close attention to the media treatments of the Census as the Bureau gears up to distribute its questionnaires in March 2010 and to question head of households about their reaction to the Census forms once they receive them.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 260
Comparative Local Government Systems
This course aims to consider the context, theories and problems of comparing local government systems. It also examines key developments and debates in local government in a comparative context, paying particular attention to the historical development and reform in industrialized and developing countries.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 261
World Poverty: An Introduction
This class provides an introduction to world poverty by addressing three broad areas of inquiry: 1) What do we know about the causes of world poverty? How do we measure them? Who are the world's poor: where do they live, and what do they do? 2) What can—and do—governments do to address poverty? In this section we explore several core public policy issues, including problems of rural vs. urban poverty, gender, microfinance, and the delivery of basic social services. 3) What role do international actors have in mitigating poverty? What is the impact of aid and trade? How does the international community manage complex crises such as famines and civil wars? What, if anything, do the rich countries owe the poor of other countries?
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 303
Politics of Ethnicity and Immigration in Contemporary Western Europe
This seminar broadly surveys the politics of ethnicity 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 given 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 and societies of Western Europe.
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 306
Governance in a Globalized World
This class will focus on the challenges of political authority in a world characterized by increasingly high levels of economic integration. The central focus will be on how economic integration has created new opportunities and challenges for the nation state, both nationally and internationally. It will address issues such as how states deal with the increasing importance of transnational issues (pollution, human trafficking, criminal networks, etc.), the choice of formal vs. informal cooperation, and delegation of authority at the international, regional, and subnational level. Thus, the class will investigate formal international organizations, such as the IMF and United Nations, as well as less formal instances of international regulation and cooperation. It will also address issues of regional organizations like the EU and sub-national topics such as federalism, decentralization, and the challenges of dealing with failed states. Topics covered would include the organizational structure and governance of institutions as well as issues that arise from delegating authority, including democratic accountability and principal-agent problems.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 104 or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 307
Constitutional Law I: The Federal System and Separation of Powers
An analysis and evaluation of leading decisions of the United States Supreme Court dealing with the allocation of power among federal government branches and institutions, and between federal and state governments. The emphasis will be on the federal system and separation of powers issues, as enunciated by the court, but attention will also be given to unadjudicated constitutional issues between the legislative and executive branches, and to the theoretical foundations of the United States’ constitutional system.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 102.
1.00 units, Seminar
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 310
Politics of Developing Countries
An examination of the success and failure of the various theories of economic and political developments which have been pursued in the post-colonial era; specific case studies will deal with examples from Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 103 or 104.
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, Lecture
POLS 318
Environmental Politics
A study of US environmental politics and policy in a domestic and global context. We will trace the historical roots of environmental policy and the regulatory state in America and how they affect the debate over contemporary environmental issues. We will study how conflicting values and competing interests in the political, social, and economic realms have struggled to define environmental problems and shape the agenda for environmental policy in America. We will examine the different political institutions and actors who influence, create, implement, and are affected by policies at the local, state, national, and international levels. We will read numerous historical and contemporary case studies (i.e. global warming, air & water pollution, land use, energy, waste management, and population growth), which will enable us to learn how different ideological and conceptual lenses have shaped both our conceptions of these problems and the subsequent solutions that have been offered. Ultimately, this course will equip students to understand, engage in, and analyze the political processes and debates over the formulation and implementation of environmental policies and regulations in the United States, and how to locate "the environment" in the larger discourse of American politics.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 102.
1.00 units, Lecture
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 325
Communications and Politics
This course will have three goals: first, to give the students skills in effective oral communications (parliamentary procedure, formal speaking, debating, and group discussions); second, to provide them with a body of theory and literature focusing on communications, media, and politics; and third, to give them opportunities to apply the concepts and theory of communications to some empirical problems, issues, or activity related to politics (the ethics of campaign advertising, censorship of news during war time, etc.).
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 102.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 326
Women and Politics
This course explores the role of women in American politics across the 20th century. We will examine the collective efforts made by American women to gain political rights, secure public policies favorable to women, and achieve an equal role for women in the political realm and society more broadly. We will try to understand how and why women’s political views, voting behavior, and the rates of participation have changed over the 20th century and why they remain distinctive from men’s. We will also explore the deep ideological divisions among American women, exploring the strikingly different ways that feminists and conservative women define what is in the best interest of women. Finally we end the course by studying women as politicians. We will assess the obstacles women face in getting elected or appointed to political positions, whether or not they act differently from their male counterparts, and the significance of their input.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 102 or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 328
American Sectionalism: Northern and Southern Regional Identities in Politics
This course seeks to compare and contrast the political dynamics of the several regions of the United States, with a primary focus on the partisan evolution of the Northeastern states and the Deep South, and the cleavages that result from the respective regional attitudes on race, gender, class, and religion. Students will read from a wide selection of works in political science that deal principally with the political behavior of voters in the two regions, and will be asked to think critically about questions of whether cultural differences from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement persist in modern American political conflict.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 102.
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 330
Government and Politics of Contemporary China
This course will survey the domestic politics of the People’s Republic of China from 1949 to the present. The first half of the course will concentrate on the revolutionary socialist transformations of the Maoist years (1949-1976), while the second half of the course will explore the post-Mao reform period to the present day. Special attention will be paid to the manner in which irresolvable tensions within Chinese society and political economy (town vs. countryside, planned vs. market, center vs. periphery) have affected the course of political change.
Prerequisite: C- or better Political Science 103 or permission of instructor.
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.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 334
Origins of Western Political Philosophy
This course examines the works of Plato with the aim of understanding the contribution he made to the transformation of thought that helped to lay the foundations of Western philosophic tradition. Readings will be from primary sources.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 105, 219, or 220.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 335
Global Mobility and the Boundaries of Democracy
This course asks whether and how we should rethink the boundaries of democratic community, citizenship, and action in light of global flows of people, goods, and ideas. What obligations do citizens have to foreigners? Can border controls be democratically justified? Can we imagine democratic citizenship, action, or institutions beyond the nation-state? We will explore contemporary debates in political theory about the ethics of immigration policy, multiculturalism, transnationalism, cosmopolitanism, and global democracy.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 336
Illicit Markets and the Global Economy
Globalization has resulted in the shrinking of markets for goods and services and flows of capital allowing for specialization, increased efficiency, and wealth of options for consumers around the world. At the same time, the forces that have allowed for the expansion of economic integration - falling transportation costs, revolutions in information technology, and reduced political barriers to flows of goods and services - have allowed a similar explosion of opportunities for economic activities that operate in the shadow of state approval. This class focuses on this dark, seedy underbelly of the global economy that is often difficult to disentangle from the legitimate aspects of international commerce and analyzes the impact of these illicit activities on individuals, firms, and the nation-state. Fundamentally, this class asks the question of how markets change when certain economic activities are deemed illegal and what those differences mean for buyers, sellers, and regulators of such markets. Specific topics covered will include the drug trade, transnational criminal networks, money laundering, human trafficking, natural resources (e.g. conflict diamonds), terrorism, counterfeit goods, and policy strategies for dealing with these issues at the national and international level.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 104 or Economics 101, or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 337
Democratic Theory
In this course, we will explore the tensions, problems, and promise of the “rule of the people” through reading and examining important texts in contemporary democratic theory. Via analysis of contemporary debates, we will ask: Should we think of democracy as a form of rule or as a political activity? What role does and should democratic politics have in contemporary political associations? What do or should we imagine democratic politics to look like? Are liberal rights and institutions a threat or an aid to democracy? What kind of ethos or sensibility best suits democratic politics in our contemporary age? Should we respond to threats to democracy by attempting to regulate or solicit the people? Or both? Readings will include work by Giorgio Agamben, John Rawls, Carl Schmitt, Michael Walzer, Seyla Benhabib, and Bonnie Honig.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 338
Liberalism and Its Critics
This course will begin by examining the roots of modern liberal democracy in the works of such authors as Hobbes, Locke, Smith, Montesquieu, and Mill, and in the Federalist Papers. It will then shift attention to the attacks on liberal democracy by thinkers such as Marx, Nietzsche, and Heidegger. The final section of the course will deal with the contemporary debate on the subject and draw on the works of writers such as Rawls, Nozick, Hayek, Schumpeter, Walzer, Gailbraith, and Friedman.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 105, 219, or 220.
1.00 units, Lecture
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 340
International Conflict and Cooperation
This course examines instances of political and legal cooperation in response to large scale conflict in the international system. From classical to modern times, political and legal thinkers have used various forms of government as a means to create non-violent, enduring, and, ultimately, ever advancing civilizations. This course will examine the theories, patterns, and frameworks that have provided for the origins as well as the potential failure of governmental forms that have been intended as tools for stabilizing societies. Past solutions offered for territories such as Kashmir, the Palestinian Territories, Northern Ireland, and Bosnia will be explored. The course will also examine attempts at regional economic integration for Europe after the World War II as well as various regimes of collective security such as the United Nations.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 341
What is the Good Life?
This course focuses on normative political philosophy by asking questions about the components of an ethical life in the areas of work, friendship, justice, art, and political participation. The aim of the course is to encourage reflection on individual ethical values through the theoretical frameworks offered by Plato, Aristotle, Hegel, Derrida, MacIntyre, and others.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 105 or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 342
The American Revolution and the Framing of the Constitution or The Political Science of the Founders
This course will explore the issues and principles that led Americans to declare their independence from England and, later, guided them in the writing of the Constitution. Topics covered will include: the causes of the War of Independence, the Articles of the Confederation, large vs. small republic, state government, slavery, the Anti-Federalists, and the Bill of Rights. Apart from some basic texts, students will read speeches, articles, pamphlets, letters, and convention notes of contemporary statesmen.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 344
Politics and Governance in Africa
This course is a survey of political, institutional, ideological, economic, social, and cultural factors affecting the politics and governance of African states. The course focuses on the key issues and events that are crucial to understanding the development of modern contemporary African politics and governance. Through the study of systems of politics and governance in Africa, students will develop critical analytic skills that will enable a clearer and more comprehensive understanding of political issues and problems confronting the continent.
Prerequisite: C- or better Political Science 103 or permission of instructor.
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 348
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 349
Nation-Building
Is it possible to create stable states in the international system by force? This course examines typologies, theories, and case studies of forcible attempts to create secure and economically productive states. The class will critically assess state-building processes such as internal security, political legitimacy, interim governance, multiethnic institutions, and economic development. It will examine territories that were administered by the British Empire, those that have been administered by the United States (such as the Philippines, Japan, Germany, Vietnam, and Iraq), and those that have been administered by the United Nations (such as Kosovo and East Timor).
1.00 units, Lecture
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 354
International Relations Theory
This course is structured around key theoretical debates in international relations and social science. Through intensive reading, analytically informed writing, and class discussions, we assess how well the leading theoretical paradigms—realism, liberal institutionalism, constructivism, and critical approaches—can explain international outcomes.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 104.
1.00 units, Seminar
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 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 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 374
The Political Subject: Agency and Ideology
The constitution of political subjectivity is a perennial issue in political theory. This course will examine the nature and scope of political agency and the role played by ideology in its construction. Authors guiding this exploration will include Arendt, Gramsci, Schmitt, Weber, Lenin, Lukacs, Althusser and Zizek.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 378
International Security
This course examines the problem of international security, addressing both traditional and emerging concerns. After debating the appropriate normative and analytical unit of analysis—individuals, states, or the global community—we review the dominant perspectives in security studies and apply them to issues like interstate war, weapons proliferation, terrorism, ethnic conflict, environmental degradation, and global health threats.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 104.
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 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.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 381
Liberalism, Marxism, and the European Political Tradition
The history of modern European politics has been dominated by the sharply divided political and economic visions of Liberalism and Marxism. This course will compare the central tenets of both ideologies and their evolution into the present era. What has been the impact of the collapse of Communism on the future of socialism in Europe? Do Marxism and socialism have a future in Europe? Has liberalism finally won?
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 382
Integration and Division in Modern Europe
Since World War II, many European states have experienced unprecedented levels of regional integration. On the other hand, they have also had to confront ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, violence in Northern Ireland, rebellion in Spain, civil war in Moldova, and demands for greater autonomy from a wide range of minorities in Belgium, Finland, France, Denmark, Ukraine, Armenia, and Georgia. This course critically assesses the forces of integration and division in Europe and explores their impact on the stability of European politics at the regional, state, and sub-state levels.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 383
Non-Western Political Thought
This course will provide an overview of non-Western political thought, including Islamic, African, and Hindu traditions. Similar to Occidental forms of political theory, these forms of political thought have advanced in response to socio-political crisis. However, the approaches afforded by non-Western traditions to questions of justice, authority, human nature, and the constitution of the best political order provide compelling alternatives to Western constructs, as well as rich insight into perennial issues of political thought. The course will also address the overarching question of universality—namely, whether principles asserted by political theorists are universally valid, or an expression of the values and presuppositions of a particular political association.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 384
The Political Economy of Financial Regulation
In today's increasingly integrated global market, prudential regulation of financial markets is an important issue. This class will explore the political dynamics involved with regulating international financial markets. We begin with fundamental questions of how and why countries choose to integrate themselves into international capital markets, both historically and contemporaneously. Second, we will look at attempts by governments to create institutions at the local, national, and international level to ensure stability of markets. Third, we will seek to understand variation in regulations on banking, investment, and taxation. Finally, the class will address public policy challenges related to dealing with increasingly complex international financial markets.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 104 and Economics 101.
1.00 units, Lecture
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 386
Political Trials
Political trials are often seen as dangerous challenges to the rule of law: politics trumps law, theater trumps reason, and collective concerns supersede judgment of the individual on trial. However, bringing politics, theater, and collective concerns into the courtroom can also sometimes support the rule of law, as we have seen in contemporary efforts at transnational justice in countries like South Africa and Rwanda. In this class, we will look at several political trials (from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries) in which politics in the courtroom appear ambivalent—as not only dangerous to law and the justice it is supposed to promote, but also as potentially promising. Through examining these trials, we will ask what the relationship between politics and law should be: is "politicizing" law always dangerous, or might it sometimes be important to sustaining law? Do drama and theatricality impede justice, or might they sometimes aid it?
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 387
Publics, Mobs, and Masses: Theorizing Democracy in Times of Globalization
While democratic peoples are supposed to be rational – supportive of the equality and freedom of everyone – political theorists worry that peoples may become irrational (turning into mobs, masses, or “crowds”) and thus use their power arbitrarily, often to fuel the ambition of demagogues and dictators. In this class, we will examine this classic problem in democratic theory and analyze the response to it offered by Juergen Habermas and others – namely, the idea of a rational, discussion-based “public.” The course will also examine problems with the idea of “the public” (in the writings of Foucault, Dewey, and Lippmann), as well as how the problem of the people and its irrational “others” persists in contemporary democratic politics.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 388
Theories of Social Justice
Exploration of conceptual tools for detecting social injustice, developing standards for weighing the severity of injustice’s various forms, and formulating plausible ideals of a less unjust world. The aim of the course is to provide each student with the conceptual wherewithal to refine their own sense of the most fundamental political problem. To this end, we proceed by substantial reading of some classic -- historical and contemporary—arguments about justice in light of some of the urgent social problems that characterize today’s world and in light of the perennial question of adequate justification. Authors read include Plato, Marx, Rawls, MacIntyre, Sen, Van Parijs, and Young, while our primary problems involve the social division of labor as well as the distribution of income and wealth within and between national states.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 389
Concepts of the People
The notion of the people as fickle mob or many-headed monster has plagued the idea of democracy since ancient times. In modernity, changing social conditions and political practices prompted new fears and fascinations around the people, crowds, and masses. This course explores competing ideas and representations of "the people" in modern political thought. Who makes up the people, and what binds them together? Can the people be distinguished from the mob or the masses? If democracy means the rule of the people, then how can or should the people act? To what extent do old anti-democratic fears about popular rule persist today? Do contemporary social and political movements challenge conventional ideas of the people?
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 390
Theories of International Political Economy
This course asks a number of questions of 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? Finding answers to these questions depends upon where one stands regarding various fundamental principles of international political economy. We start by reading Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, David Ricardo’s On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, and Karl Marx’s Capital, Vol. 1. We then turn to theories of political economy developed in the early twentieth century to explain the causes of the Great Depression and the two world wars. We also examine various economic transformations that took place during the second half of the 20th century.
This course is only open to sophomores and juniors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 391
Comparative Federalism
Since federalism’s advent in the late 18th century, federations and federacies have been some of the most widely used systems of government around the globe. This course addresses key issues, structures, and concepts of comparative federalism. It also looks at federalism’s role in state integration and disintegration, political identity, ethnic conflict, and economic stability. Case studies include the United States, Canada, India, Spain, Switzerland, and Germany. The course also examines the experience of federal units that are not part of federations such as the historic British Dominions, the Åland Islands, Kurdistan, Puerto Rico, Hong Kong, New Caledonia, and Greenland.
1.00 units, Lecture
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 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 404
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 405
Senior Seminar: Global Solutions to Sustainaility
The industrial age brought about profound economic, social, and political changes. A growing number of experts now argue that this industrial age has also produced an unprecedented set of problems and challenges, ranging from resource depletion and species extinction to climate change. Global calls are mounting for dramatic change based on sustainable development, social justice, and a new economic and political paradigm. How adequate is the Westphalian state system to deal with these issues and challenges? Will effective solutions come from individual governments, international treaties and inter-governmental organizations, civil society groups, or the corporate sector? Are new ways of thinking necessary to reach sustainable global solutions?
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 407
Sr Sem: 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?
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 409
Sr. Seminar: Comparative Electoral Systems and Political Parties
This seminar will examine electoral systems and party systems in democratic states. Students will learn the key dimensions with which we classify the major and minor differences between electoral systems. We will also examine the interaction between electoral rules and party systems. It is recommended that students have experience with common concepts from algebra and statistics, although this is not required.
This course is open only to senior Political Science majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 411
Senior Seminar: Transnational Networks
This seminar will explore the role of “networks” as innovative modes of organization in world politics. Why do these networks arise, and what distinguishes them from other forms of global organization (hierarchies and markets)? How do transnational networks interact with sovereign states, and under what conditions do actors within the network succeed in furthering their political aims? Drawing on emerging theoretical debates, we will address these questions by examining in-depth case studies of both transnational advocacy networks (e.g., human rights, the environment) and criminal networks (e.g., terrorist groups, drug cartels)
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: American Social Policy
This seminar explores the political development, philosophical arguments, and contemporary political debates regarding social welfare policies and programs in the United States. We will pay particular attention to the policymaking process and ideological principles behind such social policies as welfare, health care, Social Security, employment, education, public housing, and other social services. Through a close study of these policies we will be able to better understand their political significance, to assess their purposes as an end of government, to consider their costs and benefits, to identify various trends that can affect the future of American social policy, and to analyze how these policies impact American politics more broadly.
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 417
Senior Seminar: Theories of Empire
“Empire” has reemerged in recent years as a potent political concept, both in popular political life and debates in contemporary political theory. In this class, we will ask: what kind of domination or form of rule is empire and why is it a continuing trope in ancient and modern politics? To answer these questions, we will examine the changing concept of empire in ancient Roman, modern, and contemporary political thought. What have theorists been trying to capture when they call something “empire” and how has it changed and shifted in each epoch? We will also consider the entanglement of Enlightenment concepts of freedom, equality, and democracy with imperial practices: How have imperial concepts and practices shaped our democratic aspirations to freedom and equality? Did imperialism corrupt Enlightenment aspirations, or were these aspirations haunted by imperialism from within? Finally, we will ask what it means to be imperial. What kinds of practices and relationships among citizens sustain empire? What kinds of practices and relationships might engender resistance to empire?
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 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