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The Department of Political Science aims to provide students with an understanding of the important political questions that surround issues of power. We believe that senior majors should be familiar with a range of theoretical perspectives and epistemological methods; able to analyze data critically and deconstruct texts; able to conduct independent academic research; and able to write clearly about significant political trends and events.

Political Science offers courses in four subfields: American Politics (AMER), Comparative World Politics (COMP), International Relations (IR), and Political Philosophy and Theory (TH). Courses are grouped at each level to reflect 1) depth of topical focus, 2) difficulty of assigned readings, 3) prior knowledge expected of the student, and 4) independent research expectations.  Each subfield has a 100-level introductory course. The 200-level courses are of intermediate difficulty. 300-level courses tend to focus on more specialized topics. The 400-level courses are seminars and are limited to junior and senior political science majors. Political Science offers a disciplinary major and minor. All courses must be completed with a grade of C- or better in order to be credited toward the major.

disciplinary, 10 courses
Two introductory courses from among POL 110, POL 140, POL 160, and POL 180; one course in each of the four subfields (the introductory courses may count); a seminar in the junior year (POL 400) and a seminar in the senior year (POL 401); and a group of four courses, one of which may be outside the department, that define a theme or focus and are approved by the adviser. Except for seminars, no more than four courses in any one subfield count toward the major. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. Credit/no credit courses cannot be counted towards the major.

disciplinary, 5 courses
Five political science courses in at least three separate subfields (American Politics, Comparative World Politics, International Relations, or Political Philosophy and Theory), three of which must be at the 200-level or higher. All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. Credit/no credit courses cannot be counted toward the minor.

Note: Some courses serve more than one subfield (students must choose which subfield they wish to count the course on their major declaration form; a single course may not be double counted). Seminars do not count toward subfields.

American Politics Subfield
POL 110 Introduction to American Politics
POL 200 Topics
POL 204 Modern American Conservatism
POL 207 Governing through Crime
POL 211 Visions of the City
POL 212 Media and Politics
POL 215 Racial and Ethnic Politics
POL 221 Voting and Elections
POL 222 Political Parties
POL 229 State and Local Government
POL 238 Sex and Power
POL 249 Protests, Movements, Unions
POL 289 Theories of American Democracy
POL 300 Advanced Topics
POL 303 Campaigns and Elections
POL 310 Midterm Campaigns and Elections
POL 324 American Congress
POL 325 American Presidency
POL 326 Urban Politics
POL 332 American Constitutional Law
POL 333 Civil Rights
POL 334 Civil Liberties
POL 335 Law and Society
POL 370 African American Political Thought

Comparative Politics Subfield
POL 140 Introduction to Comparative Politics
POL 200 Topics
POL 208 Gender and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa
POL 243 The Mystery of East Central Europe
POL 245 Politics of the New Europe
POL 246 Politics of East Asia
POL 248 Politics of Development
POL 249 Protests, Movements, Unions
POL 254 Globalization
POL 255 Latin American Politics
POL 257 Russia/China Resurgent
POL 258 Comparative Politics of the Middle East
POL 259 African Politics
POL 281 Politics of South Asia
POL 285 International Politics of the Middle East
POL 300 Advanced Topics
POL 301 Politics of India
POL 304 Politics of Afghanistan
POL 312 Political Reform in the Middle East
POL 348 Racism, Class, and Conflicts

International Relations Subfield
POL 180 Introduction to International Relations
POL 200 Topics
POL 248 Politics of Development
POL 254 Globalization
POL 280 Contemporary International Relations
POL 281 Politics of South Asia
POL 283 Political Violence
POL 285 International Politics of the Middle East
POL 290 American Foreign Policy
POL 300 Advanced Topics
POL 301 Politics of India
POL 304 Politics of Afghanistan
POL 312 Political Reform in the Middle East
POL 380 Theories of International Relations
POL 394 Identity and International Relations

Political Theory Subfield
POL 160 Introduction to Political Theory
POL 175 Introduction to Feminist Theory
POL 200 Topics
POL 264 Legal Theory
POL 265 Modern Political Theory
POL 267 Twentieth Century Political Theory
POL 279 Radical Thought from Karl Marx to George Bush
POL 289 Theories of American Democracy
POL 300 Advanced Topics
POL 363 Digital Networks
POL 366 Islamic Political Thought
POL 368 Contemporary Political Theory
POL 370 African American Political Thought

Methods Courses
POL 361 Quantitative Research Methods
POL 371 Qualitative Research Methods

LTAM 225 Inside the New Cuba
MES 200 Ottoman Worlds
PPOL 101 Democracy and Public Policy
PPOL 219 Sexual Minority Movements and Public Policy
PPOL 328 Environmental Policy
PPOL 364 Social Policy and Community Activism

POL 110 Introduction to American Politics This course examines the capability of the American political system to respond to the needs of all its citizens. It looks at historical origins, basic institutions, distribution of power, popular influence, political parties, social movements, the relationship of capitalism to democracy, and inequalities based on class, race, and gender. (Deutchman, Lucas, Mink, Passavant, Rose, offered each semester; subfield: AMER)

POL 140 Introduction Comparative World Politics An ambitious introductory course, aimed at teaching students basic theoretical and empirical concepts necessary for comparison across the world's political systems. Student will be introduced to the fundamental tenets of diverse political and economic systems and ideologies, explore the foundations of political order and disorder (including discussions of nationalism, state-building, globalization, revolution, and more), and consider the myriad ways in which relationships between state, society, and market are ordered. Theoretical discussions will be supplemented with empirical case studies from around the world. Combining theoretical insights with political, social, and economic history and current events will help students as they endeavor to understand just why it is that the world's political systems are organized the way they are. (Ost, Philbrick Yadav, Norman, offered each semester; subfield: COMP)

POL 160 Introduction to Political Theory This course reads classical political theory from the Ancient Greeks through the early modern period in England. The class introduces students to some of the major themes through which politics and political life have been understood. Beginning with Thucydides, it examines the virtues and values of the ancient world with attention to the dilemma between justice and expediency. Continuing with Plato and Aristotle, it considers justice, reason, and the good in the context of life in the polis. The course ends with the challenges Machiavelli's and Hobbes' notions of power present for the presumption of an original human sociality, for the emergence of liberal ideals of individual autonomy and national sovereignty. (Dean, offered annually; subfield: TH)

POL 175 Introduction to Feminist Theory What is feminism? This course looks at feminism in terms of its politics. How does feminism understand and analyze power? What political arrangements do feminists advocate? How do feminists imagine political change? We will focus our inquiry on three sites: university, work, and culture. In what ways have these sites been depicted in terms of violence and vulnerability? What sorts of power do such depictions undermine or support? In asking these and other questions, we will consider the relation between the critical investigations enabled by each site and the political changes such investigations mobilize. Authors include Judith Butler, Shulamith Firestone, Jack Halberstam, Maria Mies, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Kathi Weeks and others. (Dean, offered occasionally; subfield: TH)

POL 180 Introduction to International Relations As a broad introduction to the study of international relations (IR), this course is designed to give students an understanding of the basic concepts of world politics, an appreciation of the evolution of the current state systems, and interrogation of social forces such as race and gender, and a sampling of various approaches and theories of IR. Readings come from primary documents, as well as a standard text. The course is grounded in an awareness of current events. Students examine how the lens used to view the world shapes understanding of the world, its problems, and possible solutions. (Dunn, Yadav, offered every semester; subfield: IR)

POL 204 Modern American Conservatism One of the most significant factors in American politics over the last 40 years has been the rise of the Right in the United States. Although there has long been a tradition of an active Right in the U.S., it was for the most part politically marginalized. Over the last 25 years it has been increasingly successful and influential. This is especially true for the Religious Right or Christian Right. What happens to the post-William Buckley, post-Ronald Reagan Right will be a major focus of this course. (Deutchman, offered annually; subfield: AMER)

POL 207 Governing Through Crime For over thirty years, the United States experienced an exponential rise in both the numbers of people incarcerated and the rate of incarceration.  The United States became comparable, in terms of the percentage of the population imprisoned, with the Soviet gulag or apartheid South Africa.  Until the 1970s, criminal justice policy was seen as the domain of policy experts, while courts increasingly sought to protect the due process rights of those accused of crimes.  At the end of this era the administration of the death penalty was declared unconstitutional and considered to be anachronistic, if not “barbaric.” Then something changed.  The United States became a society that “governed through crime.”  Today, some are becoming more reflective about the costs and consequences of “governing through crime.”  Is something changing again? (Passavant, offered alternate years; subfield: AMER)

POL 208 Gender and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa This course will provide an overview of the politics of gender in the contemporary Middle East and North Africa, including the Arab countries, Iran, Israel, and Turkey. Topics covered will include women's engagement in revolutions, political parties, monarchical government, and resistance movements; state intervention into questions of gender, including family law, inheritance and citizenship rights, dress codes, laws regulating sexuality, and state feminism; and women's and feminist movements, including peace movements, Islamist feminisms, pro-democracy activism, and diasporic feminism. In particular, it will analyze recent and current revolutionary transformations in the Middle East and North Africa, in light of the ways that gender intersects with them. (Philbrick Yadav, offered alternate years; subfield: COMP)

POL 211 Visions of the City This course examines the changing and contested meaning of urban life in the United States.  Cities have been cast as disordered spaces that corrupt our most fundamental attachments. But cities have also been presented as well-ordered cosmopolitan spaces in which the American experience could be almost perfectly expressed. In interrogating the tension between these two depictions of urban life, we will specifically discuss: attempts to inform daily practices through the design of the city; anxieties about immigration and mobility; architecture's relationship to nature and democracy; the origins of housing reform and urban planning movement; and the significance of gender, race, and class in the American experience. (Mink, offered alternate years; subfield: AMER)

POL 212 Media and Politics We live in a world of mediated political realities. Like Plato's prisoners in the cave, we see only shadows, not realities. Yet these shadows have become our reality, through the power of the mass media. This, of course, raises a fundamental question about our ability to be self-governing when our understanding of politics is determined not by the events themselves, but by those who create and report them. (Deutchman, offered annually; subfield: AMER)

POL 213 Politics of China This course addresses issues of central concern to Comparative Political Science, such as modernization and its discontents, nation-building and its others, democracy, class, gender, and contention.  It does so, however, from closely reading and interpreting how they are discursively framed and contested in China.  Students will be required not only to identify the salient topics and debates for each week, but more importantly, to think beyond a concept's familiar usage and track how it changes in different political contexts and narratives. The goal of the course is twofold: to provide a detailed analysis of the core issues of Chinese politics and society and, in doing so, introduce a new vocabulary of the political. (Staff, offered occasionally; COMP)

POL 215 Racial and Ethnic Politics This course examines the historical and contemporary relationship between ethnic minority and majority groups in the American political system. The course looks at the use and effectiveness of political and social power in shaping American race relations and the ability of alternative methods to change those relations. The focus of the course is largely on the relationship between U.S. society and African Americans, but Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans are also covered. (Rose, offered annually; subfield: AMER)

POL 222 Political Parties Despite early skepticism and modern contempt, political parties have become integral components of the American political process. This course examines the historical and contemporary functions of American political parties in the context of the wishes of the American public, the desires of political officials, and the needs of the nation. It outlines the operational, functional, and electoral factors that shape the American party system. The course further examines the role and challenges of third parties in the U.S. (Lucas, offered annually, subfield AMER)

POL 238 Sex and Power The overwhelmingly male bias in the American political system raises fundamental questions about equity, justice, and the representation of all interests. The feminist movement, in an attempt to answer some of these questions, has in effect redefined politics itself, fundamentally altering the terms of the debate. This course uses the framework that "the personal is political" to critique the American political system from a variety of feminist perspectives. Specifically, the course focuses on the issues of the sexual revolution, rape and pornography, and the sexuality debates within the feminist community. (Deutchman, offered annually; subfield: AMER)

POL 243 The Mystery of East Central Europe East Central Europe has always been a place to explore big questions. The region has been at the center of the world’s major political developments – nationalism, imperialism, fascism, communism, democratization, global capitalism – and also its culture: there is no “western culture” without the contributions from the region’s writers, artists, and intellectuals. How can a small region contribute so much to the world? This course not only explores the mesmerizing past and present of a fascinating part of the world, but uses that to understand “us,” too – because so many aspects that emerge there become prevalent in more western societies soon afterwards. The focus of the course will be on Poland and Hungary (with forays into Ukraine, the Baltic republics, Czechia and Slovakia), and the concepts of nation, class, and gender. We look at processes of state and nation building; the impact of religion and minorities (including Jews and anti-Semitism); the impact of class conflicts; and the role of gender-based social movements as well as traditionalist backlashes against them. We inquire into the nature of post-communist democracy, and we look also at a variety of public policies, concerning child and family policy, and Internet policy. We also explore the transformative impact East Central Europe has had on the European Union. (Ost, alternate years; subfield: COMP)

POL 245 Politics of the New Europe This course studies the evolution of postwar Europe - from radicalism to globalism, the welfare state to Blairist Thatcherism, Stalinism to the fall of the Berlin wall, American domination to the rise of the European Union. The focus of the course is the rise and fall of class politics. It explores what capitalism and socialism have meant to Europe, and contrasts European with U.S. politics. Topics include the crisis of prewar Europe, Keynesianism and communism, the meaning of 1968, radicalism, populism, the new right, and the New Europe. (Ost, offered alternate years; subfield: COMP)

POL 246 Politics of East Asia How have East Asian countries become one of the largest economies in the world, developing industries, such as Toyota and Samsung? How did two Koreas become enemy states in spite of more than five thousand years of shared history and culture? Will Japan be remilitarized? What are the relationships among China, Taiwan, Tibet, and Hong Kong? In what way has the U.S. played a role in the development of the region? The course will explore diverse questions by looking at the process of state-building, political economy, security, and cultural dynamics of East Asia, focusing on China, Japan, and North and South Koreas, in connection to the role of the U.S. (Staff, offered occasionally; IR, COMP)

POL 248 Politics of Development This course examines contending historical and contemporary explanations for the phenomenon of entrenched global poverty and critically assesses proposed policy solutions to ending absolute poverty in our time. The courses contrast micro-level approaches, which seek to build an "inclusive capitalism" through the extension of property rights and the enhancement of individual capacity with macro-level approaches that seek to restructure the international regime on debt relief and international development organizations. (Yadav, offered alternate years; subfields: IR, COMP)

POL 249 Protests, Movements, Unions This is a course in "unconventional" politics around the globe. In recent years, movements have become an inexorable part of the current political system. What are movements? How and why do they come about? What are their aims and purposes? How have movements changed over the past century? Why and when do movements become revolutions? Topics include the Russian Revolution, the lure of communism, the civil rights movement in the U.S., the struggle against communism in Eastern Europe, transnational social movements, and the "alternative globalization" movement. The course also includes theoretical social science readings on the causes, nature, and consequences of protests and movements. (Ost, offered alternate years; subfields: AMER, COMP)

POL 254 Globalization This course looks at five themes: global economics, global migration, global civil society, global human rights, and global institutions. Students examine how international mobility of both capital and labor transforms both lives and politics, and in different ways in different places. Questions include: Why do jobs and people go abroad? Who does it help and who does it hurt? What are the politics of the Caribbean nanny in the middle-class New York home? How does globalization weaken the state, and why is that so dangerous for democracy? Can transnational civil activism make things better? Can the UN or World Bank do a better job? Do "global human rights" exist? Should they? (Ost, Yadav, offered alternate years; subfields: COMP, IR)

POL 255 Latin American Politics This course examines how politics in Latin American countries have been shaped by their differing historical role in supplying raw materials for First World consumption, tracing how the production of various crops (coffee, bananas, wheat) or goods (tin, beef) have led countries to develop different social structures and corresponding political systems. It also considers how recent efforts by social groups (women, indigenous people) to gain a greater voice in government have been both inspired and impeded by neoliberal reforms. (Norman, offered occasionally; subfield: COMP)

POL 258 Comparative Politics of the Middle East This course explores the complex and shifting relationships between state and society in the late colonial and post-colonial Middle East. Paying particular attention to questions of state-building and development, it explores the ways in which state legitimacy is variously supported and challenged by alternative sites of authority in society. Course topics will address a variety of secular and religious movements, the role of state and anti-state violence, and the impact of economic and cultural globalization, among others. (Philbrick Yadav, offered annually, subfield: COMP)

POL 259 African Politics The course traces the evolution of the African state from its colonial creation to its modern day "crisis" through an examination of how political, economic and social considerations have shaped and transformed African politics. The first section of the course examines the historical creation of contemporary African polities from the era of European colonization. In the second section, attention is paid to the creative solutions that African societies have employed as a response to both unique and universal problems of governance. (Dunn, offered alternate years; subfield: COMP)

POL 265 Modern Political Theory Reading texts from Locke through Nietzsche, this course considers the relation between freedom and slavery in modern European and American political theory. It interrogates the notion of the autonomous subject and the idea of instrumental reason that animates it. Additionally, it reads the self-criticism that is always part of the Enlightenment tradition for alternative conceptions of equality, interconnection, and human flourishing. (Dean, offered annually; subfield TH)

POL 267 20th Century Political Theory This course focuses on key problems in 20th century political theory. The 20th century was marked by extreme violence - two world wars, the use of atomic weapons, genocide on a mass scale-as well as grand experiments in participatory government, extensions of basic rights, and developments in technology and science. As the century ended, some theorists claimed that ideology had ended as well; they argued that one version of human flourishing, one based in economic markets, had clearly triumphed. Other theorists were deeply critical of the claim for the end of ideology as well as of the association of markets and flourishing, not to mention of the suppositions that technologies were unambiguously beneficial and that rights were the best ways to secure freedom. Readings will vary by term but will be chosen from key texts from European and American political theorists and their critics, for example, Freud, Lenin, Gramsci, Simone de Beauvoir, Habermas, Hardt and Negri. (Dean, Passavant, offered annually; subfield: TH)

POL 279 Radical Thought from Karl Marx to George Bush This course examines left and right radical thought of the past 150 years. Students read the left radicals Marx and Lenin and anti-Soviet leftists such as the Frankfurt School and Sartre, as well as the anomalous approach of the anarchists and Freud, who influenced both left and right thinkers. Students then examine right-wing radicalism, reading the work of influential fascists, followed by postwar American radical thought. On the left, that means Herbert Marcuse's New Left classic One Dimensional Man, Fanon and "Third Worldism," and the re-embrace of liberalism with the discovery of "civil society." On the right, that means the rise of the neoconservatives, from Allen Bloom to William Kristol, both important influences on George Bush and his entourage. Finally, students look at left responses to neo-conservatism, from Russell Jacoby to Zizek. (Ost, offered occasionally; subfield: TH)

POL 283 Political Violence Conflict has been a central issue in the relations among states since the advent of the modern nation-state system. Well before Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism had become a central feature of how conflict has been expressed in the modern international system. This course examines the causes of terrorism, the ways in which individuals and social groups have chosen to wage terrorism, the goals they have established, and the ways in which political and military leaders have chose to engage in counter-terrorist strategies. Using specific case studies, the course compares the motivations and implications of ethno-nationalist terrorism, political terrorism, and religious terrorism, and the future of terrorism in a post-Sept. 11 world. (Dunn, Norman; offered alternate years; subfield IR)

POL 285 International Politics of the Middle East This course examines international politics in the Middle East in the late colonial and post-colonial periods, focusing on the relationships between states, societies, and markets. Placing particular emphasis on the many ways in which the high politics of states shape the lived experiences of different communities in the region, it works within existing theoretical frameworks in International Relations that envision politics as influenced by shifting constellations of interests, ideas, and institutions. (Philbrick Yadav, offered annually; subfield: COMP, IR)

POL 290 American Foreign Policy This course is an introduction to the study of American foreign policy. The first section provides an historical overview of American foreign policy since World War II, highlighting the important events, themes, and trends that have shaped - and continue to shape - the making and practice of American foreign policy. The second section explores the process of foreign policy making within the American political context. This section examines the "nuts-and-bolts" of how decisions are made and implemented. The third and final section presents key foreign policy issues facing the United States today. (Dunn; offered annually; subfield: IR)

POL 303 Campaigns and Elections Even early in 2016, the presidential election looks fascinating. Will it be Clinton versus Trump? Will the Republicans get themselves together and nominate a candidate other than Trump? Will Clinton become the first woman president? And what happens to the Senate and House? The Democrats only need four Senate seats to take it back. Of course, besides tracking what happens, we want to understand why. What do the results mean for where we are politically and where we are going? Prerequisite: POL 110. (Deutchman, offered every presidential year; subfield: AMER)

POL 324 American Congress This course examines Congress as a major institution within the American political system. It studies the constitutional, theoretical, and practical behavior of members of the legislative branch in relation to American public policy, other political institutions, and the American public at large. Particular attention is devoted to factors that influence congressional behavior and to examining the (in)ability of the legislative branch to effectively represent the nation. Prerequisite: a 100- or 200-level POL course or by permission of instructor.  (Lucas, offered annually; subfield: AMER)

POL 326 Urban Politics This course interrogates how American political and economic commitments have informed the urban experience. Specifically, the course examines the organization of urban governments, the relationship between local, state, and federal governments, and the concentration of power in urban settings, including the politics of segregation, suburbanization, and urban renewal. More specifically, this course considers these topics in terms of the challenges posed by American democratic commitments and gives special attention to "public" space (both material and figurative) as a necessary requirement for democratic practice. This is one of the core courses in the urban studies program. Prerequisite: a 100- or 200-level POL course or by permission of instructor. (Rose, offered annually; subfield: AMER)

POL 332 Constitutional Law This course is concerned with the nature and development of the United States constitutional structure. Emphasis is placed on the question of sovereignty, judicial review, the powers of national and state governments, limits on those powers, the right of privacy in relation to reproductive and sexual autonomy, congressional-executive relations, the courts and presidential power, and the law and politics of impeachment. Prerequisite: a 100- or 200-level POL course or by permission of instructor. (Passavant, offered annually; subfield: AMER)

POL 333 Civil Rights This course addresses the constitutional and statutory protection of civil rights in the United States. It studies the gradual recognition and enforcement of civil rights, recent retreats, and contemporary difficulties in the implementation of egalitarian principles that inform citizenship in a democracy. Substantive areas of focus include desegregation, voting rights, gender discrimination, discrimination based on sexual orientation, affirmative action, and the problems involved with proving discrimination that violates the Constitution. Prerequisite: a 100- or 200-level POL course or by permission of instructor. (Passavant, offered annually; subfield: AMER)

POL 334 Civil Liberties This course addresses how governments are obliged to act and the constitutional limits placed on the way governments may act. It analyzes key constitutional liberties like the right to counsel, the right against self-incrimination, freedom of religion, the “wall of separation” between church and state, and the freedoms of speech, press, and assembly. It also addresses the USA PATRIOT ACT’s implications for civil liberties. Prerequisite: a 100- or 200-level POL course or by permission of instructor. (Passavant, offered annually; subfield: AMER)

POL 348 Racism, Class, and Conflicts Why is racism so prevalent? What makes nationalism, anti-Semitism, or anti-Islamism such compelling "narratives" that so many people and countries adopt them? What purposes do racisms and hatreds serve? And why do class conflicts serve the cause of democracy better than identity conflicts do? This course explores the role that organized conflicts and hatreds play around the world, the ways they are used to gain power, consolidate nations, legitimate domination, secure dignity (at others' expense), or deflect attention. Polities cannot do without conflicts, but how these conflicts are organized has profound implications for how inclusive, or not, the political system will be. We explore histories of racist thought, and politicized animosities such as racisms in the US, anti-Semitism in Europe, ethnic conflicts in Africa, apartheid, anti-Chinese campaigns, anti-Islamism, as well as conflicts based on class. We will see hatreds less as psychological phenomena than political ones, which can be combatted on that level as well. Prerequisite: a 100- or 200-level POL course or by permission of instructor. (Ost, offered alternate years; subfield: COMP)

POL 363 Digital Networks That globally networked communications media are radically changing the world is widely accepted. What these changes mean, however, is widely debated. This course focuses on these debates, asking whether networked media enhance democratic practices or facilitate new forms of political control and economic exclusion. It takes up issues of privacy, surveillance, virtual communities, speed, and the differing logics of networks. Prerequisite: a 100- or 200-level POL course or by permission of instructor. (Dean, offered alternate years; subfield: TH)

POL 366 Islamic Political Thought The objective of this course is to introduce students to some of the major continuities and shifts in themes addressed by political theorists working within the Islamic tradition. The course will cover material from the medieval, early modern, and contemporary periods, principally through a reading of primary sources available in translation. Texts will include work by thinkers in the Arab Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, and Europe and North America, and we will examine debates in Islamic political thought under conditions of political autonomy, colonialism, and post-colonial global integration and disintegration. Substantive themes will include the development of a just political order, the struggle to reconcile reason and revelation (particularly in the perceived struggle between tradition and modernity), and topical debates over issues like human rights, equality, heresy and apostasy, war, and democracy. While this course is open to any junior or senior major in political science, a prior course in the Islamic religious tradition, Muslim history or politics, or political theory is strongly recommended before taking this course. Supplementary readings will be made available for students without prior preparatory coursework. Prerequisite: a 100- or 200-level POL course or by permission of instructor. (Philbrick Yadav, offered alternate years; subfield: TH)

POL 368 Contemporary Political Theory This course reads key texts in European and American contemporary political theory. Themes include power, subjectivity, capitalism, organization, revolution, and resistance. Authors include Alain Badiou, Michel Foucault, Jacques Ranciere, and Slavoj Zizek.  Prerequisite: one previous political theory course or permission of instructor. (Dean, offered occasionally; subfield: TH)

POL 370 African American Political Thought This course examines the political, economic, and social statuses of African Americans in American society, as depicted in the speeches and writings of distinguished African-American thinkers, scholars and artists, from slavery to the present. It explores some fundamental tensions in African American thought that are manifest in diverse and seemingly contradictory solutions, such as accommodation vs. protest, emigration vs. assimilation, and separatism vs. integration. Prerequisite: a 100- or 200-level POL course or by permission of instructor. (Rose, offered occasionally; subfields: TH, AMER)

POL 371 Qualitative Research Methods What is politics?  Is there a science of politics? Ought we to strive towards a science of politics? This course looks at how social scientists have come to understand the world of politics. How and why is it that the questions we ask shape the answers we find? We look at empirical theories, linguistic theories, philosophy of science, phenomenology, critical theory, and other approaches to the study of politics. The goal is to enable students to become more sophisticated and critical in their understanding of politics. Prerequisite: a 100- or 200-level POL course or by permission of instructor. (Philbrick-Yadav, offered alternate years; subfield: Methods)

POL 380 Theories of International Relations Why do states act the way they do? How do we explain conflict and cooperation between states? What about non-state actors, from terrorist networks and drug cartels to international organizations? How have social forces such as gender and race impacted the development of world politics? The objective of this course is to expose students to a wide range of theories and approaches to the study of international relations. Students will examine how the lens we use to view the world shapes our understanding of the world, its problems and possible solutions.  Prerequisite: POL 180. (Dunn, offered annually; subfield: IR)

POL 400 Junior and POL 401 Senior Research Topics Seminars
Majors in political science must enroll in a seminar in their junior year (POL 400) and another seminar in their senior year (POL 401). The seminars address a range of topics, often in accordance with the current scholarly interests of the political science faculty. Therefore, the topics do vary as they address timely issues of research in the field. What unites the seminars is their pedagogy. There is a focus on student participation, and the workload is substantial. Typically, students will read a book a week (or the equivalent in articles).

The main assignment in the Junior Seminar is a literature review on a topic of the student’s choosing. The purpose of the Junior Seminar is to give students an opportunity to acquire the skills for conducting independent research. It is intended to provide the foundation of a capstone experience in the study of Political Science for our majors. For some, Junior Seminar research becomes a first step towards an Honors project. Junior Seminars are generally limited to political science majors, unless there is available space and the professor approves the course for a non-major. Prerequisite: a 300-level POL course.  Open to Junior POL majors only. (Staff, offered every semester)

The main assignment in the Senior Seminar is a seminar length research paper on a topic of the student’s choosing. The purpose of the Senior Seminar is to give students an opportunity to do some of their best work at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. It is intended to provide a capstone experience in the study of Political Science for our majors. Additionally, the seminars give students a taste of what graduate school might be like as they are concluding their undergraduate careers and prepare students for the next academic level. Senior Seminars are generally limited to political science majors, unless there is available space and the professor approves the course for a non-major. Prerequisite: POL 400.  (Staff, offered every semester)

Seminar Topics Include:

• Political Theory and Climate Change
This seminar will consider how we think about climate change. What views of nature, society, change, and action structure our approach to (and avoidance of) people’s relation to the earth’s changing climate? We will discuss the limits that the supposition that there is no alternative to capitalism places on our ability to imagine collective responses to the warming climate. We will evaluate the narratives and assumptions regarding what can and cannot be accomplished through organized action. We will consider the debate over concepts such as the “anthropocene” and the “capitalocene.” We will wrestle with the appeal of apocalyptic gestures of withdrawal that wallow in catastrophism and despair. Authors include Naomi Oreskes, Timothy Morton, Christian Parenti , Adrian Parr, Jane Bennett, Naomi Klein, Bruno Latour, Jason Moore, and others. (Dean)

• The Idea of Communism
In recent years, the idea of communism has returned as a central concern of critical theory. A number of contemporary theorists are endeavoring to reinvigorate the category, connecting it with a critique of capitalism as well as with changes in technology and property. This course will focus on the contemporary debate, while anchoring the debate in some of the classic work of the communist tradition. It will consider the relationship between the philosophical idea of communism and the political history of communism. It will ask which categories from previous centuries (class struggle, bourgeoisie, dictatorship of the proletariat) remain useful and which require revision, abandonment, and supplement. (Dean)

Ideological Media
This seminar is focused on politics and the media, particularly questions of so-called media bias. Many analysts argue that the traditional functions of the media in a democratic society include informing us to give us the kind of information which will allow us to make well-reasoned and logical political and social decisions. Without the media as an objective conveyer of information, we are trapped by politicians who will often slant a story to support their political position (don’t we all do this?). In a democratic society we depend upon the “objective” or “mainstream” media to supply us with facts. Many people on both the political left and the political right argue that the media are not objective and do not inform us well. Over the past 10 years, the political right in particular has been arguing that the so-called mainstream media are really left of center. From another perspective, some analysts (not all on the left) have pointed out that the owners of the media (both of them!) are quite conservative, as is the case with most extremely high-end profiteers (exceptions noted). Thus, the notion of a “left-wing” mainstream media simply makes no sense. Why would the very rich subsidize a media which was aiming to destroy the parent company? Finally, of course, other people raise very important questions about the extent to which an objective media can even exist (just the facts, ma’am, just the facts). First of all, the media consist of humans studying humans. Given that we as human beings are a product of our race, class, gender, sexuality, upbringing, genes, etc., etc., how can we put all of that aside when we analyze a political phenomenon? Some would say we cannot, and thus the media can never really be objective, because all the people doing the analysis bring to their job their race, their gender, their background, etc. and that influences what they see. It has to. (Deutchman)

Iconic Books of Modern American Conservatism
This seminar focuses on the great or iconic books which have helped to define the modern American conservative movement (post World War II). As modern conservatism has hit electoral brick walls in the post-Bush II era, many self-described conservatives are asking: what do conservatives really believe? What does it mean to be a conservative? Are there core beliefs which every conservative shares or should share? Ronald Reagan was largely associated with what has been called Big Tent conservatism, where the conservative movement was seen as large enough to comfortably accommodate conservatives of different stripes. Has this type of conservatism disappeared? What will take its place? In order to understand the possible future(s) of conservatism, we begin by understanding its past. We look at a number of great books by great writers (Friedman, Hayek, Goldwater, etc.), which have traditionally helped to define conservatism. We do so in order to understand what it has meant to be a conservative as the movement developed, and to thus gain some insight into what it might mean in the future. (Deutchman)

Evangelical Christians and the Republican Party
This seminar will examine the long and complicated relationship between Christian evangelicals and the modern Republican Party. It will focus on many of the issues which have galvanized evangelicals, like abortion, gay rights, science versus creationism, etc. Regarding these issues (and others) evangelicals position themselves on the right side of the political divide. Hence, this helps explain both their affinity with the Republican Party and their success in helping to move the party further and further to the right. However, the traditional relationship between evangelicals and the right wing of the Republican Party is now being challenged by a small, but important, emerging evangelical movement more concerned with issues of social equality than the hot button issues of abortion, etc. The seminar will focus on that emerging movement as well. (Deutchman)

Popular Music, Globalization and Political Critique
What are the complex processes of cultural transmission and transculturation at play within the spread of popular music, particularly within the global-local intersection? How are popular musical forms related to the processes of globalization? Is there a possibility of political critique, or even resistance, to be found in popular musical forms and their related subcultures? What are limitations of popular music as a form of political critique and resistance? This seminar seeks to investigate these and other questions concerning Western popular musical forms and their concomitant subcultures. (Dunn)

Sex and Race in International Relations
Across the globe, men tend to define and direct the various elements of international relations. Men predominate in international security apparatuses and in the conduct of war, the global economy continues to be based on a relatively rigid gender division of labor, and despite recently becoming accepted as citizens, women continue to be underrepresented in the corridors of political power. For many, gender is a constitutive force enabling security practices, global capitalism, and power politics. In other words, gender makes possible current international political and economic practices. Despite the importance of gender, the field of international relations has only recently begun to take it seriously. This seminar introduces students to contemporary feminist interventions into the field of international relations. Students will engage with some of the major theoretical strands of feminist thinking and survey contemporary literature in the sub-fields of political economy, global governance, and security studies. It seeks to enable students to look at international relations through a feminist lens, and to help them explore what it means to do feminist work within international relations. (Dunn)

Partisanship in the 21st Century
Since the early 1980s, there has been a remarkable upsurge in the level of partisan polarization in American discourse. Party voting in both chambers of Congress, in national and state elections, and in policy and ideological preferences has increasingly split the country along Democratic and Republican lines. Despite calls for more compromise and less division, the American public nevertheless continues to return these polarized forces to Washington every year. The goal of this course is to examine the factors that have fostered contemporary polarization in the electorate and among elected officials. This seminar looks at the role of a variety of socioeconomic groups within each political party, and examines how those groups relate to and influence the country’s partisan divides. (Lucas)

America Voted? Patterns and Assessments of Voting
Since the founding of the United States, the nation has at least rhetorically placed considerable emphasis on the value and importance of citizen participation in the electoral process. Admittedly, in its initial decades, the United States restricted voting to property-owners. Nonetheless, over the last century the country systematically has removed many of the barriers to voting. Despite these efforts, voter turnout rates for the U.S. remain staggeringly—and disappointingly—below our democratic counterparts. Likewise, while arguments have suggested that more educated, better off, and more politically aware citizens are more likely to participate, the nation has witnessed an increase in educational and economic well-being associated with decreased political participation—and a related decline in voter turnout. The goal of this seminar is to examine the significance and importance of voting to the American identity and the reasons that help to explain why Americans vote—and don’t vote. The course examines systematic, institutional, ideological/opinion, and sociological factors that influence the decision to vote or not in the United States. (Lucas)

Remembering the Body Politic 
From the beginning of the polity established during the Revolution, Americans faced the difficulty of forming a community founded upon shared political commitments rather than a shared culture and history.  In inventing new ‘traditions,’ political leaders established celebrations and festivals, rituals and ceremonies, consumable goods and carefully planned material spaces as a means of producing appropriate citizens, reinforcing political legitimacy, and representing a national identity.  However, these creations, these histories, these identities were sites of struggle allowing Americans to express their understanding of (and their concerns about) the political community.  In this seminar we will interrogate American political, economic, and social commitments by examining the contested meanings of the Founding, the Civil War, and the New Deal through the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s and 70s.

American Regime
The American Regime is an advanced seminar organized around a number of questions that inform the American experience.  Specifically in this seminar, we will consider the American political tradition as a response to the profound political, social, economic, and religious changes that took place beginning with the European Enlightenment.  More specifically, we will interrogate liberal anxieties about freedom, equality, and reason by examining everyday practices embodied in those roles that are thought to exist (at least partially) beyond the reach of legitimate political authority (husband and wife, parent and child, master and servant, master and slave).  These relationships were (and continue to be) important in the American liberal tradition both because they limit government power and because they provide the foundation upon which political society is built. (Mink)

• Modern American Progressivism
In this seminar, we will interrogate progressive political thought in the United States from some of its shared origins with the pragmatic tradition in philosophy to the ways in which it influences political debates today. Although progressives at the end the nineteenth century often articulated concerns about political corruption and social decline that were similar to conservatives, progressives argued that political reform was necessary because government action was essential in meeting the social, economic, and political challenges of an increasing complex world. This faith in collective action through political institutions marked a significant break with the previous American tradition that emphasized individualism and limited government. Specifically in this course, we will examine how progressivism presented itself as a comprehensive reform effort addressing issues of race, gender, class, labor, education and religion. And we examine the ways in which progressive thought developed and continues to inform contemporary understandings of liberalism. (Mink)

•Narcos: The War on Drugs in Latin America
For the last thirty years, the drug trade has been at the center of U.S. security policy in Latin America.  Beginning with Richard Nixon, successive US administrations have waged a “war on drugs” in the Latin American countries by means of a punitive, militarized approach to combat illicit drug production and smuggling. This course explores the impact of the War on Drugs on Latin American societies. How has U.S. pressures to crackdown on illicit economic activity shaped drug policy in Latin America? What has the war on drugs achieved in the region, and at what cost? We will examine these questions with a focus on the drug trade in Latin America from the 19th century until today. We will trace the trajectory of illicit crop (marijuana, coca, opium poppy) cultivation, production, and transportation through the countries most affected—Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico. Along the way, we will study the varied policy responses of Latin American countries, and the role of the United States and the international community in policy choice and implementation - with particular emphasis on the impact of drug policy on politics, economic development, and democracy. (Norman) 

• Varieties of Capitalism
There has been a lot of discussion lately about whether a “different kind of system” is possible. This seminar will explore differences in the political economy of capitalist systems already out there in the world today. Ideally suited for students who have done work in comparative politics/political economy, this seminar will explore the historical and institutional evolution of different capitalist systems, as well as compare and assess the ways they operate today. This is not an economics course, so the focus will be on the rules by which different capitalist systems are governed, with a particular focus on business-labor interaction, industrial relations, and comparative welfare states. While there will be a regional focus on European capitalisms, as well as on differences between America and Europe, the course will also explore varieties outside the capitalist “core.” What exactly do Asian capitalisms do differently? What are some new models in India and Latin America? Does social democracy have a chance in the Third World? Finally, while many observers have come to doubt the importance of labor movements in shaping the political system, we read one recent account that looks at the changing role of labor in global society over the last century. Readings include Hall & Soskice, Varieties of Capitalism; Thelen, The Political Economy of Skills in Germany, Britain, the United States and Japan; Hacker, The Great Risk Shift; Sandbrook et. al., Social Democracy in the Global Periphery; Pierson & Castles, The Welfare State Reader; Silver, Workers Movements and Globalization Since 1870. (Ost)

Protest: Politics and Policing
This seminar explores political expression through protest, civil disobedience, riots, and other forms of collective action.  It examines changes in law, policing, political economy, and political culture that contain, suppress, or displace forms of popular political expression from public spaces.  Have the rights of free speech and assembly become detached from practices of democracy? Is a post-democratic political order taking shape? (Passavant)

Crisis and Contemporary Politics: Theory and Action
The late 1960s and 1970s registered a number of crises in the United States (as well as other western parliamentary democracies).  These crises might include a crisis of legitimacy, a crisis of democracy, a “crime” crisis, the urban fiscal crisis, and a crisis of the family, among others.  How were these crises related to questions of race, protests, and the urban riots of the 1960s?  How were they related to the crisis around sex and gender?  How were they related to the crisis in the transformation of capitalism and rise of neoliberalism?  How were the elections of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan reactions to these crises?  The responses to those crises of the 1960s and 1970s have shaped contemporary politics and policy in the United States.  Nevertheless, in contemporary politics, a sense of crisis proliferates and seems overwhelming.  Among contemporary crises, one might consider a state of indefinite financial crisis, a climate crisis, a mental health crisis, and a sense that the political system itself is in a state of crisis such that it cannot respond to the crises that seem to overwhelm us.  In other words, the very capacity of collective self-government seems to be in crisis today. (Passavant)

This seminar deals with a major challenge faced by liberal democracies and republics: what to do in the case of an emergency? Should constitutions explicitly provide for states of emergency where the latter will be used to suspend the laws and rights that govern under normal conditions? This course will examine how constitutional theory and public law scholarship have treated the question of “states of exception” or “emergencies.” The course will also examine how the United States constitutional system and its political tradition have treated states of emergency. The course will examine not only political or military emergencies, but other emergencies—such as economic emergencies—as well. Finally, the course will examine U.S. law and politics post-September 11, both in light of twentieth century institutional development and in light of the public law concept of “emergency.” Throughout, we will want to bear in mind certain questions, such as: Is a state of emergency a necessary provision for the security of the republic or liberal democracy? Is it possible to resort to states of emergency to meet temporary exigencies without producing a gradual slide towards tyrannical government? Do contemporary conditions require that emergency provisions become permanent? Is the concept of “emergency” descriptively useful for contemporary politics, or does “emergency” denote an alternative state or legal formation struggling to emerge against a previously established state or legal formation? Illustrative readings include John Locke, Second Treatise; Clinton Rossiter, Constitutional Dictatorship; Carl Schmitt, Concept of the Political; William Scheuerman, Liberal Democracy and the Social Acceleration of Time; Amy Zegart, Flawed by Design: The Evolution of the CIA, JCS, and NSC; Henry Giroux, Stormy Weather: Hurricane Katrina and the Politics of Disposability. (Passavant)

The Coming Insurrection? Italian Political Thought Today
In the face of Italian political repression in the late 1970s, a movement for “autonomy” was born: autonomy from law, the state, and from the capitalist appropriation of labor’s value. Opposed to centralized command and division, the movement for autonomy tried to imagine inclusive cooperation and how to update Marxism to account for postmodern conditions. Today, there is a proliferation of political theory being produced by Italian intellectuals that has been recently translated into English. These works indicate how influential the autonomy movement has been on a generation of thinkers, Marxist and non-Marxist, in Italy. With the 1998 translation of Giorgio Agamben’s Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, and the 2000 publication of the academic blockbuster by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire, Italian political thought is having a major impact on both academic theory in the United States (and elsewhere), and political activism as well. This seminar will introduce students to the major concepts and theorists writing in what is quickly becoming a significant genre of contemporary theory. Illustrative readings may include Sylvère Lotringer and Christian Marazzi, eds. Autonomia: Post-Political Writings; Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life; Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire; Paolo Virno, A Grammar of the Multitude; Roberto Esposito, Bios: Biopolitics and Philosophy; The Invisible Committee, The Coming Insurrection. (Passavant)

Yemen: Politics of the Periphery
At once on the periphery of the Arab Middle East and at the crossroads of Africa and the Indian subcontinent, Yemen serves as a crucible for evaluating some of the most basic concepts in comparative politics. This course will explore the shifting terrain of politics in Southern Arabia from the 19th to 21st centuries as a means of exploring issues of sovereignty, legitimacy, and variations in the relationship between state, society, and market. Throughout the course, we will identify the conditions that have produced both demand for and challenges to Yemeni unity, expressed by a series of dual regimes in North and South Yemen (from Imamate and British protectorate, to “tribal state” and Marxist republic), their eventual unification under a democratic constitution. The course will conclude with an examination of post-unification challenges, ranging from the insurgency in the North and secessionist movement in the South, to impending water and refugee crises, and descent into war and fragmentation. (Philbrick Yadav)

Black Radical Political Thought of the 1960s
In this course, students will read primary and secondary texts written by and about key black radical thinkers and activists of the 1960s era--broadly construed. However, in order to fully understand what was “radical” about such thinkers as Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton, and Stokely Carmichael, among others, it will be necessary to begin the course with a few texts that will situate the political context of these thinkers and to explore the thought of those viewed as “conservative.” Finally we will conclude the course by considering the contemporary radical legacy that these thinkers have bequeathed to a movement such as Black Lives Matter, as well as the conservative backlash that they helped to spur.  (Rose)

Race and Social Justice
This course will examine contemporary theoretical conceptions of the intersections of race and the struggle for social justice in America. The course will cover material from both ideal and non-ideal political theorists, as well as other non-theory oriented political and social scientists. Beginning with examinations of the concept of race, this course will progress to an inquiry about the ways in which race remains a political reality that is vital to the continual quest of achieving a more equitable and just American society. In addition to those thinkers who directly link race and social justice, students will read authors who offer more general accounts of social justice, and will be asked to evaluate whether these accounts are adequate or deficient in addressing the racialized injustices in America. Finally, this course will explore the racial inequities that persist in the areas of education, housing, wealth accumulation and medical care— among others. (Rose)

• Sovereignty
The concept of sovereignty is at the heart of power; it is the basis for the legitimation of organizational domination and violence. The concept also provides a reasonably compelling (if incomplete) explanation for the shape of the international (dis)order. Nevertheless, despite its centrality to the study of politics, sovereignty remains a highly contested concept. On the one hand there is a belief in a particular (sectarian/secular and territorially delimited) variant of this concept that emerged and spread from early modern Europe to the rest of the world (primarily through imperialism and colonialism) as a universal ideal and aspiration of units within the modern state system. This camp has devoted its energies to debating the limits/flexibility of the concept (particularly in the face of seeming challenges from increased global flows) and outlining the logic that animates the concept by tracing its historical roots in medieval and ancient European political thought. On the other hand, sovereignty is viewed as epochal and negotiated within particular cultures.  In this camp, the form and purpose of sovereignty is subject to dramatic ruptures, as well as convergences over time and space. The epochal camp regards sovereignty in any given society as a sedimented archaeological site to be carefully excavated and catalogued. Forms of state power (e.g. carceral, disciplinary, biopolitical, etc.) are to be distinguished and categorized in a typology through their differing effects on the sovereign subject. Moreover, the negotiations and deviations of the concept beyond the European sub-continent is not to be regarded as a failure to achieve an ideal but accommodations to an array of rival forces and distinct historical path dependencies. We will need to weave between the camps to best understand the complexity of the contemporary concept. The course will study and excavate the concept at two sites: India and Thailand.  Although both countries share parts of a common Indic civilizational legacy, their unique historical trajectories since the European encounter facilitate comparisons that may elucidate important conceptual differences and evolutionary pathways. (Yadav)

POL 450 Independent Study

POL 456 1/2 Credit Independent Study

POL 495 Honors


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