Principles of American Government
Provides an introductory overview of American government through study of the principal public documents, speeches, and constitutional law cases that define the American political tradition. By tracing the development of U.S. political institutions from the founding to the present, the course examines the ways in which American political ideals have become embodied in institutions and how practice has fallen short of these ideals. Introduces students to contemporary ideological and policy debates, and prepares them for the role of citizen. American Government. One unit.
Introduction to Political Philosophy
A concise survey of the history of political philosophy. Intended to introduce students to some of the major alternative philosophic answers that have been given to the fundamental questions of political life, such as the nature of the best political order and the relation of the individual to the community. Authors to be studied include Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx and Nietzsche. Political Philosophy. One unit.
Introduction to Comparative Politics
A comparative analysis of political processes and institutions in Western liberal democracies, Communist and post-Communist states, and non-western nations. Focuses on alternative models of economic and political modernization and on the challenges of democratization in the post-Cold War world. Comparative Politics. One unit.
Introduction to International Relations
Introduces students to major theories and concepts in international politics and examines the evolution of the international system during the modern era. Principal topics include: the causes of war and peace, the dynamics of imperialism and post-colonialism, the emergence of global environmental issues, the nature and functioning of international institutions, the legal and ethical obligations of states, and the international sources of wealth and poverty. International Relations. One unit.
Constitutional Law 1, 2
A two-semester course that examines the ways in which the Constitution has been defined over time by the Supreme Court. Topics include formation of the Constitution; separation of powers, judicial review, congressional and presidential authority; citizenship, suffrage and representation; and individual liberties. Emphasis is placed on the nature of legal reasoning and judicial process. American Government. Prerequisite: Political Science 100 or permission of the instructor. One unit each semester.
Race and Ethnic Politics
Addresses the role of race in American political processes and institutions. Drawing heavily on the perspectives of African-Americans, the course surveys the history of race in American politics from the era of emancipation to the present. Topics include black political culture, political behavior, and rhetoric; race and the media; black women in politics; and varieties of black nationalism and conservatism. American Government. Prerequisite: Political Science 100. One unit.
Course begins by examining the role policy was intended to perform in a commercial republic. Lectures and readings will call attention to both the normative and empirical dimensions of policy making. The intention is to understand policy in the broadest possible context - not as a distinct moment in time, but rather as the result of a dynamic process that itself has dynamic consequences. A constant theme will be the debate over whether markets or policy makers are best suited to allocate resources and provide basic services. As we develop the skills needed to evaluate policy we will rely on several case studies drawn from social welfare, regulatory, and civil rights policy. American Government. Prerequisite: Political Science 100. One unit.
Studies the presidency as an office that shapes its occupants just as profoundly as specific presidents have shaped the character of the office. Traces the historical evolution of the presidency from the founding to the present. Among the topics considered are: presidential selection, the president as party leader, war powers and the president as commander in chief, the president as the nation’s chief administrator, and the president as legislative leader. American Government. Prerequisite: Political Science 100. One unit.
Congress and the Legislative Process
Studies the United States Congress as a constitutional institution, beginning with the American founding and the intent of the framers in designing a bicameral legislature with enumerated powers. Reviews Congress’ evolution over time in response to changing political conditions, and examines key aspects of Congress today including electoral dynamics, partisanship, the committee system, leadership, budgeting, and the meaning of representation and deliberation. American Government. Prerequisite: Political Science 100. One unit.
Seeks to understand public decision making at the local level. Begins with an examination of the normative ideas regarding the purpose of city space - ideas that set the ethical standards by which we evaluate decisions. Turns to a critical study of the role of formal and informal institutions in creating a decision making arena. Also explores several theories posited by students of urban politics about recurring problems in U.S. cities and applies those theories to a number of case studies drawn from urban America. American Government. Prerequisite: Political Science 100. One unit.
Political Parties and Interest Groups
Examines the major organizations and processes of American electoral behavior. Considerable attention is paid to political parties and an examination of the role of parties in American political thought and development as well as the contemporary role of parties and interest groups in American politics. Topics include party identification, the relationship between elections and government, the impact of parties and interest groups on public policy, and American parties and interest groups in comparative perspective. American Government. Prerequisite: Political Science 100. One unit.
This course will examine the way the United States chooses its presidents. This course is generally taught during presidential campaigns and focuses considerable attention on current events, but it seeks to understand each campaign in its institutional and historical context. We study the historical development of the presidential selection system from the American Founding to the contemporary period, focusing particular attention on the rise of political parties and the development of the primary system. We examine the strengths and weaknesses of the electoral college, the role of presidential debates, the influence that the media and campaign ads have in determining voter preferences, and the plausibility of claims that presidential elections provide mandates for governance. American Government. Prerequisite: Political Science 100. One unit.
Capitalism in Crisis
The use of markets to allocate economic resources is the dominant mode of economic organization in the modern world. Market systems, however, have at times experienced crises that have threatened the foundations of their economic order. These crises, which go beyond the travails associated with recessions in the ebb and flow of the business cycle, raise questions about the political, economic and cultural preconditions of a capitalist economic order. This course examines various theories regarding the causes of two such crises, the Great Depression and the current Great Recession, and appropriate policy responses to them. American Government. One unit.
Classical Political Philosophy
Close study of several works by major classical political thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Thucydides, Aristophanes, and/or Cicero. Focus is on such themes as the nature of justice, the relation among politics, science, and religion, the variety of political regimes, and the possibilities and limits of political reform. Political Philosophy. Prerequisite: Political Science 101 or Classics major. One unit.
Modern Political Philosophy
Close study of works by several major modern political philosophers such as Bacon, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Burke, Hume, and Nietzsche. Central themes include the rise and political consequences of the modern project of “mastering” nature, the political effects of commerce, the replacement of virtue by freedom and/or security as the goal of politics, the relation of political philosophy to history, and the Nietzschean critique of modern egalitarianism. Political Philosophy. Prerequisite: Political Science 101 or permission of the instructor. One unit.
Contemporary Political Theory
Analysis of major works on political philosophy by such Anglo-American writers as John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Alasdair Macintyre, Richard Rorty, Irving Kristol, and Harvey Mansfield. Topics include the relation among liberty, equality, and justice, the grounds of moral judgment, and the meaning of justice in the American constitutional regime. Political Philosophy. Prerequisite: Political Science 101 or permission of the instructor. One unit.
Politics and Literature
In this course we will be exploring political phenomena through classic works of literature from around the world. We will read literature that touches on three main political phenomena: totalitarianism, genocide, and colonialism. We will also consider the nature of politics and of political rule. Among the questions we will consider as we read the works of literature will be the following: Do works of literature give us insights into political themes that simple reportage and theoretical writings do not? Are there specific political conditions that privilege literature over other forms of writing? How does politics influence the production and distribution of literary works? Political Philosophy. One Unit.
American Political Thought 1
Focuses on some of the most important texts setting forth the principles underlying the founding of the American regime, as well as the subsequent development of those principles in the early nineteenth century. Two non-American writers (Locke and Tocqueville) are included because of the influence of their works on American political thought. Other writers and works studied include John Winthrop, Jefferson, The Federalist, and the Antifederalists. Political Philosophy. Prerequisite: Political Science 100 or 101. One unit.
American Political Thought 2
Traces the development of American political thought from the slavery controversy and the Civil War up to the present. Major themes include Lincoln’s refounding of the American regime, the transformation of American liberalism by Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt, and New Left and neoconservative thought. Other readings include works by Calhoun, Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Mark Twain, and Henry James. Political Philosophy. Prerequisite: Political Science 100 or 101. One unit.
Islamic Political Thought
Political movements inspired by Islam continue to shape politics across the world. In this course we will attempt to get behind the headlines and familiarize ourselves with the various currents of political thought in Islam. We will study the historical origins of political thought in Islam, the fundamentalist currents, and the efforts to present a liberal understanding of Islam. We will consider a range of political issues including: Islam and democracy, Islam and women’s rights, Islam and the rights of minorities, and Islam and political violence. We will study a range of authors from the medieval period to present day.
American Political Development
Examines the recurring problems associated with political change, the evolution of national institutions, and the emergence of increased state capacities in the unique context of America’s restlessness with authority and attachment to democratic ideals. Considers how a nation committed to what Samuel Huntington identifies as a creed of “opposition to power and concentrated authority” created solutions to the unique problems of governance in the “modern” age. Course is both historical survey and historical analysis, and covers the emergent national state in the immediate post-Founding era, the Jacksonian hostility to centralization, the effect of the Civil War on national capacities, the reform of the civil service in the nineteenth century, and the construction of the American welfare state under Roosevelt’s New Deal. This is not a history course, but a political science course that takes history seriously, using it as a departure for resolving persistent problems in American politics. American Government. Prerequisite: Political Science 100. One unit.
Comparative Public Policy
This course examines domestic public policies in a range of developed democracies, including Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Why do contemporary developed democracies differ in their public policies? And what are the economic, political, and social consequences of the various policies that they have adopted? Specific policy areas to be discussed include, but are not limited to, anti-poverty policy and health care policy. Comparative Politics. Prerequisite: Political Science 102. One unit.
Immigration Politics and Policy
This course examines the political dynamics surrounding immigration in a range of developed democracies, including Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It also considers the policy regimes governing immigration in different developed democracies. Specific topics to be discussed include public attitudes toward immigration, the role of civil society actors in immigration politics, and the intended and unintended consequences of contemporary immigration policies. Comparative Politics. Prerequisite: Political Science 102. One unit.
Latin American Politics
A comparative study of political institutions and processes in selected Latin American countries, and an analysis of theories that attempt to explain Latin American development and underdevelopment. Examination of Latin America’s experience with authoritarianism, democracy, revolution, and civil war, and of contemporary political challenges including drug trafficking, environmental degradation, human rights abuses, regional integration, and economic globalization. Comparative Politics. Prerequisite: Political Science 102. One unit.
Politics of Development
How can the world’s less developed countries achieve sustainable development (in environmental, economic, and political terms)? This course discusses structural and institutional challenges to sustainable development in the global South, investigates different responses to these challenges (and their different degrees of success), and assesses the impact of development — and underdevelopment — on both societies and the environment. Comparative Politics. Prerequisite: Political Science 102. One unit.
Examines the political institutions and dynamics of European democracies, with a particular focus on the United Kingdom, Germany, and Poland, among other countries. Major topics to be considered include the politics of welfare state retrenchment, the rise of the “far right,” and the European integration project and its future. Comparative Politics. Prerequisite: Political Science 102. One unit.
Power and Protest: A View from Below
What is the meaning and impact of politics seen from the perspective of those at the bottom of the pyramid of political power rather than from the usual focus on the actions and perceptions of political elites? In what ways do “the masses” become involved in politics? Under what circumstances are they likely to be successful in bringing about change? This course addresses these questions by exploring political power, political participation and political change from a broad historical and cross-cultural perspective — but always focusing on a view of politics from the bottom up. Comparative Politics. One unit.
Africa; Power and Politics
This course is designed to examine the countries of Africa in comparative perspective. In doing so, the class highlights the most important issues in African politics and governance and the most difficult problems that African states face. The course presents a holistic view of Africa and a mutlifaceted look at countries found on the continent. Instead of merely focusing on the various problems facing the continent, this course looks at examples of both the successes and failures of African states in addressing the challenges they face. Comparative Politics. One unit.
Politics of the Middle East
An examination of politics in selected Middle Eastern countries. Begins with a brief overview of the rise and spread of Islam in the region and the establishment of Muslim empires, then turns to an exploration of the role of European colonialism in post-independence Middle Eastern politics. Analyzes various explanations for the difficulty of establishing durable democracies in the region, explores the political implications of religious identity and secular nationalism, and assesses prospects for peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Comparative Politics. Prerequisite: Political Science 102. One unit.
Explores the history of modern China from the Opium Wars of the 1840s to the present. Two central themes are the tension between reform and revolution as alternative paths for the modernization of China and whether, in order to emerge as a great power, China should embrace or reject Western models and values. This course focuses on the following questions: (1) the rise of the Communist Party and the reasons for its victory over the Nationalists; (2) Mao’s ideological campaigns of the 1950s and 1960s, culminating in the Cultural Revolution; (3) the dynamics and dilemmas of post-Mao economic and political reform; (4) the 1989 Democracy Movement and the prospects for democratization in present-day China. Comparative Politics. One unit.
International Political Economy
This course is designed to be an introduction to international political economy. Provides an overview of theories of international political economy, a historical review of the international political economy in light of these theories, and an application of the theoretical approaches to issues of trade, monetary relations, finance, and development. Readings and discussion focus on issues of conflict and cooperation; the relationship between the international system and domestic politics; economic growth, development, and equity; and the connections between the study of economics and politics. International Relations. Prerequisite: Political Science 102 or 103. One unit.
East Asia in World Politics
This course examines China’s emergence as a major power, and surveys the relationships of East Asian states with each other and with external powers including the United States. In addition to China, substantial attention is given to Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Topics covered include military competition and regional security, trade relations, globalization, human rights, and potential conflict flashpoints such as North Korea and Taiwan. International Relations. One unit.
Although the international system is characterized by anarchy — by the absence of central government — it is not without order. Relations among states and other actors are increasingly characterized by transnational rules, regulations, and authority relationships. How is global order produced, sustained, and regulated? Whose order is it? This course examines the structures through which international actors attempt to organize their relations with each other. Topics include the history and function of international organizations (including the United Nations), rules governing the use of force, economic integration, and global civil society. International Relations. Prerequisite: Political Science 103. One unit.
American Foreign Policy
Explores major themes in U.S. foreign policy, focusing on the longstanding and ongoing debate between international engagement and isolationism. Topics discussed include the historical evolution of U.S. foreign policy, the roles played by specific institutional and societal actors in the formulation of policy, and contemporary issues facing the United States including international trade and finance, proliferation and regional security, the resort to force, human rights, and humanitarian intervention. International Relations. Prerequisite: Political Science 103. One unit.
Since World War II, questions of human rights have come to occupy a central place in international politics. This course examines the historical evolution and political effects of international human rights norms. Topics include the philosophical and legal basis of human rights, the origins of modern human rights covenants in the aftermath of Nazi atrocities, the effects of the Cold War on human rights politics, the tensions between national sovereignty and international human rights standards, the debate between universalist and particularist conceptions of human rights, patterns of compliance with human rights agreements, and the development of human rights enforcement mechanisms. International Relations. Prerequisite: Political Science 103. One unit.
Global Environmental Politics
This course analyzes the roles of national governments, international institutions, and non-state actors in managing global and cross-border environmental problems. Principal topics include the process of international environmental negotiation, the nature of existing international environmental agreements, and the theoretical and practical problems involved in environmental protection and regulation at the international level. International Relations. Prerequisite: Political Science 103 or Environmental Studies Major. One unit.
Comparative Environmental Policy
The U.S. and countries throughout the world have experimented widely in their quest to address common environmental problems. This course undertakes a comparative study of the development of domestic and international environmental policies in three advanced industrial states (the U.S., U.K., and Germany), as well as providing an overview of developing country environmental policies. Focus of the course is on three questions: How do national differences in institutions, political culture, regulatory style, and economic structure shape domestic and international environmental policies? What impact do these differences have on the ability of states to achieve cooperative solutions to common environmental problems? What influence do international environmental interactions have on domestic environmental policy? Comparative Politics. Prerequisite: Political Science 102 or permission of the Instructor. One unit.
The aim of this course is to develop a nuanced understanding of the history and practice of humanitarianism, defined as the desire to relieve the suffering of distant strangers. Once the domain of volunteers, humanitarianism is today an expansive, professional field of endeavor; its study offers insights into the motivations as well as consequences of organized forms of compassionate action. Students in this course investigate current themes and debates in the field of humanitarianism, including questions of politicization and military intervention, professionalization, human rights and advocacy, and accountability; explore different hypotheses regarding the causes and consequences of humanitarian crises; and critically analyze the effects — intended and unintended — of humanitarian action. International Relations. One unit.
National Security Policy
Focuses on contemporary national security problems faced by the United States as it seeks to manage the post-Cold War international order. Topics include relations with other major powers and with the Islamic world, U.S. military interventions abroad, terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and nuclear strategy. Attention is also given to the domestic dimensions of U.S. security policy, including the politics of weapons procurement and the longstanding ideological debate regarding American national interest. International Relations. Prerequisite: Political Science 103. One unit.
Topics in Political Science
Explores various subjects in the political science discipline, emphasizing reading, discussion, and writing on a topic selected by the Instructor. Course format and subjects vary from year to year. One unit.
Law, Politics and Society
Examines the relationship of the American legal system to certain critical social and political processes. After a survey of existing law on civil liberties and rights, the role of groups in bringing test cases and the dynamics of civil liberties litigation are discussed, using case studies involving political surveillance, racial equality, church-state issues, consumer rights, women’s rights and other issues. Implementation of court decisions is also assessed. American Government. Prerequisite: Political Science 100 or 201. One unit.
Politics and Technology
This course examines the effect of technology on the practice of politics. While there are a number of ways of conceptualizing the politics of technology, the focus here will be on how the adaptation of technology to political life alters the practice of politics itself. Contemplating such change is particularly important in the early 21st century because we live in an age in which pundits are constantly telling us that technology will change the way we practice politics. To the extent that they are correct, it is important to anticipate exactly how such changes will affect politics; but it is also important to separate the overwrought claims that technology will change everything from the more realistic recognition that politics-as-usual is the norm. This
seminar points to the question: how have the Internet and related technologies changed politics? But it does so by asking how technology has tended to change politics over time by looking at the effect of technology on politics in history, from the printing press to the railroad to television, before turning to the ways in which politics in the twenty-first century operates in the shadow of technology. Along the way we will think about how technology shapes advocacy, campaigning, government operations, policy-making, public discourse, public information, and civic engagement. American Government. One unit.
Seminar: Political Philosophy and Education
Many classical liberals as well as contemporary democratic theorists emphasize the importance of a well-educated populace in order to secure the conditions for liberty and the capacity for self-governance. One must therefore consider how one might transform children, who are dependent upon and subject to the authority of adults, into independent, rational adults capable of living among equals, without establishing in them habits either of subservience or dominance. If indeed well-educated citizens are required in order to achieve democracy rather than “mob rule,” then what exactly is the role of the state in shaping the characters and preferences of its citizens? In considering what a “well-educated populace” might mean, we must address the tension that exists between the goal of a radically independent intellect and the goal of good citizenship. In a liberal republic, it should be possible in principle for these two goals to converge. Are there limitations to putting this principle into practice? Readings from Locke, Rousseau, Dewey, Freire, Oakeshott and others. Political Philosophy. Prerequisite: Political Science 101 or permission. One unit.
Feminist Political Theory
Examines some of the core concepts, questions and tensions that cut across various strands of contemporary feminism. Topics include: What is feminist political theory trying to explain, and how might we go about it? Why is it that feminist inquiries into political matters so often lead to questions about the foundations of knowledge? What are the political implications of feminist struggles to combine unity and difference? How have questions of race and class transformed feminist theory? This course also applies various feminist perspectives to specific policy debates. Political Philosophy. Prerequisite: Political Science 101 or permission. One unit.
Seminar on Political Violence
Explores contemporary political violence through a series of in-depth case studies. The course has a dual focus: (1) terrorism and (2) mass political violence and transitional justice. The first part of the course examines the evolution of terrorism from the Russian anarchists of the late 19th century through the Algerian National Liberation Movement of the 1950's and 1960's up to Al Qaida and ISIS. The second part of the course focuses on two case studies — the South African anti-apartheid struggle and the Rwandan genocide — and their differing approaches to justice and reconciliation in the aftermath of mass violence. Comparative Politics. Permission of the instructor. One unit.
Citizenship in Contemporary Latin America
An interdisciplinary course that fulfills major and concentration requirements for Political Science, Latin American Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies. Aims to maximize students’ understanding and actual experience of citizenship struggles in Latin America. Discusses key concepts and approaches to the study of social movements in the region, as well as empirical citizenship struggles implemented by different populations (indigenous peoples, forest people, landless groups, labor, and women, in different Latin American countries). Active participation by students, through class discussions and presentations, is a major requirement of the course. Comparative Politics. One unit.
Seminar: Ethics and International Relations
Can considerations of justice and morality be incorporated successfully into national foreign policies, given the will to do so? Or must a successful foreign policy always be amoral? This course examines problems of ethical choice as they relate to international politics. Topics include the relationship between ethical norms and international law, the laws of war, the tension between human rights and state sovereignty, the ethical implications of global inequity, and the difficulties involved in applying standards of moral judgment to the international sphere. International Relations. Prerequisite: Political Science 103 or CIS 130 – Introduction to Peace and Conflict. One unit.
Individual research on selected topics or projects. Permission of the instructor and the department chair is required. One unit each semester.
Political Science Honors Thesis
An individual, student-designed, professor-directed, major research project. Usually available only to out-standing fourth-year majors. A lengthy final paper and public presentation are expected. By permission. One unit each semester.