Catalogue PDF Version

Catalogue - PDF Version


Jodi Dean, Professor
DeWayne Lucas, Associate Professor, Chair
David Ost, Professor
Paul A. Passavant, Professor
Edward Quish, Assistant Professor

The Department of Politics offers a disciplinary major and minor. The major is divided into three subfields: Foundations, Law and Government, and Power and Movements. Foundations courses provide insights into the fundamental questions and underlying values that have long animated political struggle and inquiry. Law and Government courses examine the structure, processes, and rules of political and legal systems in the United States and around the world. Power and Movement courses explore the various roles of citizens as political actors, as well as their motivating ideologies, in shaping and reshaping the political world.

For students who matriculated prior to Spring 2023, the Department continues to oversee the Political Science major and minor. The Political Science major and minor require courses listed in the International Relations program and will formally discontinue at the end of Spring 2026.

Mission Statement

The Politics Department provides students with the critical skills and analytical tools needed for understanding politics and government in a changing world and for identifying paths for being active and engaged citizens. Students are exposed to the foundations of politics, governments, and the uses of power; the processes, purposes, and policies of governmental actions; and the role of individual and collective action and power in advancing political interests and achieving collective goals. From careers in the law and government to those in political activism and engagement, majors graduate with the ability to critically analyze and understand actions on behalf of the public good; to comprehend and intervene in policy and ideological debates in meaningful and impactful ways; and to operate in political institutions, non-governmental organizations, and society on behalf of collective and individual interests.


Politics Major (B.A.)

Disciplinary, 10 courses
Learning Objectives:

  • Articulate and explain key concepts, processes, and issues of politics, institutions, and civil society.
  • Communicate their thoughts and ideas in a clear, professional, and coherent manner.
  • Investigate and examine contemporary and historical political topics and controversies from multiple perspectives.
  • Understand how citizens, including themselves, engage in political action in both formal (legalistic) and informal (advocacy and activist) public spheres.
  • Develop an understanding and awareness of the racial, gender, and cultural divisions that shape all aspects of politics in the United States and everywhere else.
  • Keep the issues of class and cultural inequalities central to their understanding of politics and their comportment in the world.

One Politics course at the 100- or 200-level in each of the three subfields (at least one must be at the 100-level), one 300-level course, five electives at the 200-level or higher, and a capstone experience. The capstone experience may be a seminar or an Honors project. In consultation with the major advisor, no more than two courses taken outside the department can be credited toward the major and no more than four courses from any one subfield. The three subfields for the major are the Foundations, Law and Government, and Power and Movements subfields. All courses must be completed with a grade of C- or higher. Credit/no-credit courses cannot be counted toward the major.

Politics Minor

Disciplinary, 5 courses
Five Politics courses, three of which must be at the 200-level or higher and one must be in each of the three subfields. The three subfields for the minor are the Foundations, Law and Government, and Power and Movements subfields. All courses must be completed with a grade of C- or higher. Credit/no-credit courses cannot be counted toward the minor.

Political Science Major (B.A.)

(Available to students who matriculated prior to Spring 2023)
Disciplinary, 10 courses
Two introductory courses from among POL 110, POL 160, POL 175, and INRL/POL 180; one course in each of the four subfields (the introductory courses may count); a group of four courses, one of which may be outside the departments, that define a theme or focus and are approved by the advisor; and a capstone sequence composed of a 300-level course and 400-level seminar or two 400-level seminars. Except for courses in the capstone sequence, no more than four courses in any one subfield count toward the major. The four subfields for the major are American Politics (ap), Political Theory (pt), Comparative Politics (cp), and International Relations (ir) subfields. All courses must be completed with a grade of C- or higher. Credit/no credit courses cannot be counted towards the major.

Political Science Minor

(Available to students who matriculated prior to Spring 2023)
Disciplinary, 5 courses
Five political science courses in at least three separate subfields (American Politics (ap), Comparative World Politics (cp), International Relations (ir), or Political Philosophy and Theory (pt)), three of which must be at the 200-level or higher. All courses must be completed with a grade of C- or higher. Credit/no credit courses cannot be counted toward the minor.

Course Concentrations

Note: Some courses in the political science major and minor serve more than one subfield; students must choose the subfield in which 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.

Courses by Subfield

Foundations courses
POL 160 Introduction to Political Theory (pt)
POL 264 Legal Theory (pt)
POL 265 Modern Political Theory (pt)
POL 267 20th Century Political Theory (pt)
POL 289 American Political Thought (ap, pt)
POL 368 Contemporary Political Theory (pt)

Law and Government courses
POL 110 Introduction to American Politics (ap)
INRL 140 Introduction to Comparative World Politics (cp)
POL 207 Governing through Crime (ap)
POL 220 The American Congress and Presidency (ap)
POL 221 Voting and Elections (ap)
POL 222 Political Parties (ap) 
POL 332 Constitutional Law (ap)
POL 333 Civil Rights (ap)
POL 334 Civil Liberties (ap)
POL 335 Law and Society (ap)

Power and Movement courses
POL 175 Introduction to Feminist Theory (pt)
POL 201 The Politics of Climate Change (ap, ir)
POL 204 Modern American Conservatism (ap)
POL 209 Social Movements in American Politics (ap)
POL 303 Campaigns and Elections (ap)
POL 326 Urban Politics (ap)
POL 329 American Democracy Today (ap, pt)  
POL 370 Black Radical Political Thought (th)

International Relations Subfield (see INRL for course descriptions. Courses count toward the IR subfield in the Political Science major and minor, but do not count in the Politics major and minor.)
INRL 180 Introduction to International Relations (ir)
INRL 205 Capitalism: Theoretical Foundations (ir)
INRL 249 Protests, Movements, Unions (ap, cp)
INRL 254 Globalization (ir)
INRL 258 State, Society and Market in the Middle East and North Africa (cp)
INRL 259 African Politics (cp)
INRL 260 Human Rights and International (ir)
INRL 275 International Environmental Insecurity and Global Climate Change (ir)
INRL 290 American Foreign Policy (ir)
INRL 283 Political Violence and Non-Violence (cp)
INRL 285 Borders, Belonging, and Rights in the Middle East and North Africa (cp)
INRL 301 International Relations of India (ir)
INRL 350 International Relations of China (ir)
INRL 371 Qualitative and Interpretative Research Methods (ir)
INRL 380 Theories of International Relations (ir)
INRL 387 Neo-Liberalism (ir)
INRL 401 Capstone Experience (counts towards the Political Science seminar requirement)

Course Descriptions

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, exploring the historical origins, basic institutions, distribution of power, popular influence, political parties, social movements, and inequalities based on class, race, and gender. (Lucas, Passavant, Quish, offered each semester, subfields: LG, ap)

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, Quish offered annually, subfields: FT, pt)

POL 175 Introduction to Feminist Theory  This course introduces students to key ideas in American feminist thought. Juxtaposing the concerns motivating first, second, and third wave feminists, the course highlights changes in the politics of bodies, gender, and identities. How is it, for example, that some second wave feminists sought to politicize housework while contemporary feminists are more likely to concern themselves with complex articulations of sexuality, pleasure, and autonomy? The course situates these changes within their social, economic, and historical contexts. Course materials include films, popular culture, memoirs, and novels as well as important texts in feminist theory. (Dean, offered annually, subfields: PM, pt)

POL 201 The Politics of Climate Change  Climate change is widely considered the most important global challenge of the 21st century. In this course, we will examine how American politics creates both opportunities and obstacles that shape our attempts to confront the climate crisis. After a survey of the risks of climate change, we will examine competing proposals for decarbonizing our economy, from pricing carbon and climate risk to ecological localism, national green industrial policy, and degrowth. We then examine the political challenges facing a transition to ecological sustainability, exploring the political economy of energy industries, the possibilities and limitations of recent climate legislation, how foreign policy shapes climate politics, the impact of partisan polarization on environmental policy, and the aspirations of the climate movement, drawing on the recent experiences of youth, indigenous, and labor activism. (Quish, offered occasionally, subfields: PM, ap, ir)

POL 204 Modern American Conservatism  The modern American conservative movement began in the middle of the 20th century, at the height of American global power. Through a close reading of conservative intellectuals, politicians, and activists, this course explores the development of American conservatism through the eyes of its partisans from the 1950’s to the present day. Throughout the course, we will explore synergies and tensions between different strands of conservative thought, drawing on the writings of business conservatives, legal conservatives, libertarians, social traditionalists, and populists. Since the birth of modern conservatism, how have conservative intellectuals defined the meaning and the values of the American project? How have conservatives understood their liberal opponents, and how successfully have they challenged American liberalism in law, politics, economic policy, and culture? How should we evaluate conservative solutions to the problems posed by American political and economic development since the mid-20th century? We will conclude the course with reflections on the present and future of American conservatism, using the lessons of the past to shape our understanding of current events. (Quish, offered occasionally, subfield: PM, ap)

POL 207 Governing through Crime  The United States experienced an exponential rise in both the numbers of people incarcerated and the rate of incarceration from the end of the seventies through the beginning of the twenty-first century . Some analysts began to see comparisons between the U.S. and the Soviet gulag or apartheid South Africa in terms of the percent of the population imprisoned. 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. Today, it is said, we are a society that governs through crime. (Passavant, offered alternate years, subfields: LG, ap)

POL 209 Social Movements in American Politics  This course examines how social movements have transformed major institutions of American government, the capitalist economy, and American culture from the onset of industrialization to the present day. We begin with the Populist movement of farmers and workers at the end of the 19th century, and then examine the trajectory of the labor movement in the first half of the 20th century, the civil rights movement, and the student, black power, and feminist movements of the radical 60’s and 70’s. Throughout the course, we will explore how American social movements have mobilized ordinary people to confront the defining political, economic, and cultural challenges of their time. We conclude the class with an examination of contemporary movements from Occupy Wall Street to the Tea Party and Black Lives Matter, reflecting on the legacies of social movement history and the possibilities and dilemmas of collective agency today. (Quish, offered alternative years, subfields: PM, ap).

POL 220 The American Congress and Presidency  This course examines the role of the two major elected branches in American politics - the Congress and the Presidency - as institutions for political decision making. It explores the actions of the two branches in their constitutional, historical, theoretical, and practical roles and establishes the ways that power is used (and not used) to advance national interests. Particular attention is devoted to motivations, resources, and strategic decisions of the two in shaping US priorities and addressing the challenges faced within an increasingly polarized nation. (Lucas, offered annually, subfields: LG, ap).

POL 221 Voting and Elections At the heart of American democratic theory is the expectation that everyone can and should have the ability to influence the actions of government through the ballot box. However, the system and its citizens often falls short of those expectations for a democratic government. This course examines trends in this relationship between voting patterns and electoral outcomes in the United States. It explores various theories to explain the voting habits of the American electorate as well as strategies and tactics used by candidates to garner those votes. The course also examines institutional rules and laws that have expanded and suppressed the right to vote. Further, the course assesses various state and local electoral structures across the US. (Lucas, offered alternate years, subfields: LG, ap)

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

POL 243 Mysteries of Eastern 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 postcommunist 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 264 Legal Theory  This course addresses the relationship between liberalism and democracy, liberal legal theory and conservative legal theories, Marxist legal theories, and arguments for police abolition arising from those concerned about race, gender, class, and sexual inequalities. The course engages in a critical inquiry into the value of law as a mechanism for seeking justice. Among the questions asked: is it possible or desirable for law to serve as a neutral ground for resolving conflict? Can or should law be autonomous in relation to politics or political morality? What is the value of rights? Is liberal law inclusive and tolerant of diversity? Is democracy? Is conservative legality tolerant of diversity? Should we aspire to tolerance and diversity? What is democracy and do liberalism, conservatism, Marxism, and policing assist or hinder it? Should we seek to escape the limits of law and the state in order to do justice? (Passavant, offered alternate years, subfields: FT, pt)

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, subfields: FT, pt)

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, subfields: FT, pt)

POL 289 American Political Thought  This survey of American political thought examines how the values and ideals that shape American life have been defined, re-negotiated, and transformed from the first North American settler colonies to the present day. The class explores foundational debates in American political life, from the meaning of core concepts like freedom, slavery, and equality to the institutional basis of collective self-rule, the relationship between political economy and culture, and the United States' place in modern global history. Readings are drawn from a wide array of primary sources, spanning Puritan sermons, abolitionist pamphlets, declassified State Department documents, Presidential speeches, and theoretical treatises from the political left, right, and center, offering students a broad picture of the ideological contestation underpinning American political development. (Quish, offered annually, subfields: FT, ap, pt)

POL 303 Campaigns and Elections  This course will use the upcoming elections to evaluate the current trends, priorities, and issues at stake in the US electoral process. This course will examine the tactics, strategies and resources used in modern campaigns to influence the decision making priorities of voters. Students will examine contemporary and historical patterns in modern elections by following a congressional races and how they are impacted by presidential races and draw and assess conclusions about the presidential and congressional elections. Prerequisite: a 100- or 200-level POL course or by permission of instructor. (Lucas, offered in presidential election years, subfields: PM, ap)

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. (Staff, offered occasionally; subfield: ap)

POL 329 American Democracy Today  Political action requires a theoretical grasp of how power can be exercised effectively in one's own time. Through an examination of contemporary democratic theory alongside related works in political economy and social criticism, this course examines the opportunities and dilemmas for democratic political action in the contemporary United States. Starting with a brief political and economic history of the preceding decades, we examine the composition of the contemporary American state, competing tendencies in American political culture, and possibilities for structural social change. Major themes include the nature of contemporary economic crises, the changing shape of labor relations, the growth of the carceral state, the nature of contemporary partisanship and electoral coalitions, conflicts in public culture, and the contours of contemporary movements. Prerequisite: a 100- or 200-level POL course or by permission of instructor. (Quish, offered alternate years, subfields: PM, ap, pt)

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, liberty in relation to property rights and reproductive autonomy, congressional-executive relations, and the relation between courts and presidential power. Prerequisite: a 100- or 200-level POL course or by permission of instructor. (Passavant, offered annually, subfields: LG, ap)

POL 333 Civil Rights  This course addresses the constitutional and statutory protection of civil rights in the United States.  t 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, subfields: LG, ap)

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, freedom of religion, the "wall of separation" between church and state, and the freedoms of speech, press, and assembly. We also consider this question: What is the status of our right to protest today? Prerequisite: a 100- or 200-level POL course or by permission of instructor. (Passavant, offered annually, subfields: LG, ap)

POL 335 Law and Society  Law and Society is a field that seeks to understand law as a socio-political phenomenon. Among the questions Law and Society asks include the question of law’s impact on the ground, in the actual functioning of society. For example, the Law and Society movement has been interested in why there seemed to be a gap in the 1950s and 1960s between Supreme Court decisions ruling that racial segregation violated the Constitution (“law on the books”) and the impact of those decisions in light of the almost total lack of integration in the Deep South for years thereafter (“law in action”). Topics may include access to justice, how law influences and is influenced by a cultural order, law and inequality, and law and the government of gender, sexuality, or racialized subjects. Prerequisite: a 100- or 200-level POL course or by permission of instructor. (Passavant, offered alternate years, subfields: LG, ap)

POL 361 Quantitative Research Methods  This course focuses on the application of empirical, quantitative methodology to political analysis. The goal is to acquaint students with the analytical and statistical tools used to understand the political process, to evaluate various theories of politics, and to assess the cause-effect relationships within the political system. This course is designed to introduce undergraduate students to the basic principles of research design and analysis, and to provide them with the tools to do their own empirical research. Prerequisite: a 100- or 200-level POL course or by permission of instructor. (Lucas, offered occasionally)

POL 368 Contemporary Political Thoery  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, subfields: FT, pt)

POL 370 Black Radical Political Thought  This course examines the Black freedom struggle as it unfolded in the wake of the Haitian Revolution. Anchored in the writing of Black political and social theorists, it highlights the ongoing process of liberation from slavery, through Reconstruction, Jim Crow, anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism, and the policing of Black women's bodies. It asks what freedom looks like and what conditions make it possible. Representative texts include C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins, W.E.B. DuBois, Black Reconstruction in America, the collective document presented to the UN, We Charge Genocide, selected essays from Claudia Jones, Ella Baker, Marvel Cooke, and Louise Thompson Patterson, and Saidiya Hartman, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments. Prerequisite: a 100- or 200-level POL course or by permission of instructor. (Dean, offered annually, subfields: PM, th)

Seminar Descriptions

POL 400 Seminar Majors in political science must enroll in at least one seminar as a component of their capstone sequence. The seminars address a range of topics, often in accordance with the current scholarly interests of the Politics 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 leadership in class discussions, and the workload is substantial. Typically, students will read a book a week (or the equivalent in articles). The culminating assignment in the seminar is a substantial research paper on a topic of the student's choosing within the parameters of the seminar topic. The purpose of the seminar is to give students a "capstone experience" in the major and to hone the critical skills and tools that they have learned from their time as majors. Additionally, the seminars give students a taste of what graduate school might be like as they are concluding their undergraduate careers - to give students a taste of, and preparation for, the next academic level. Seminars are typically limited to Political Science majors, unless there is available space and the professor approves the course for a non-major. Prerequisite: two 200-level or a 300-level course in POL. (Staff, offered every semester)

Sample Seminar Topics Include:

  • 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)
  • Black Feminist Political Thought. In 1982 Gloria T. Hull and Barbara Smith developed an anthology whose title made a profound statement about a common trend across the disciplines of history, literature, political science, and race/ethnic studies — All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave. With that text, they launched a new field of study, Black Women’s Studies. To this day, Black female scholars have fought for academic recognition both in disciplinary and interdisciplinary spaces. This course aims to revisit Black feminist political thought as it relates, struggles with & against, the field of political science. It will be organized thematically by the three Reconstructions: first — lead up to the Civil War & its aftermath; second — the rise of Jim and Jane Crow & the struggle for Civil Rights; and, third — the backlash against welfare & #BlackLivesMatter. (Dean)
  • This course asks the question: what do conservatives want to conserve? Through close reading of classic and contemporary conservative thinkers (and their critics) this course looks at the ways tradition, order, the family, masculinity, the nation, and freedom function as core political values. Students will undertake significant original research that will result in a 20-25 page research paper. (Dean)
  • The Green New Deal: How do large-scale transformations in political economy and public policy happen in the United States? Today, many advocates of comprehensive climate policy look back to the American New Deal as a model of economic, social, and political transition, proposing a “Green New Deal” to confront our ecological crisis. In this seminar, we will examine contemporary debates about the Green New Deal in light of the history of the New Deal. How did the New Deal re-shape the relationship between the state and economy in a moment of crisis? How did politicians and parties organize innovative policy responses to new challenges? How did social movements shape the New Deal, and how was it a product of both their successes and their failures? How did the New Deal itself relate to the development of fossil capitalism in the US and abroad? Our investigations will center around specific issue areas that defined both the New Deal and that shape proposals for a Green New Deal: the nature of economic planning and industrial policy; the role of organized labor; and the relationship between ecological politics and social inequalities. We will conclude by examining critiques of the Green New Deal from the market-oriented right and radical left, interrogating whether market mechanisms are adequate to the challenge of a green energy transition, or alternatively, whether the ecological crisis demands a radical break with capitalism. (Quish)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • The Right Against Democracy. This seminar examines right-wing attempts to topple or undermine democratic political systems, from classic fascism up to today’s right-wing populism. While for most of the last century liberal democratic politicians have fretted publicly about threats from the Left, parties and forces aligned with the political Right have turned out to be the chief political challenge to democracy, and are increasingly prominent today. Not all right-wing movements, of course, oppose democracy, but those many which do have not been studied very closely and still remain poorly understood. This seminar explores the origins of right-wing attacks on democracy, and then looks closely at the methods they have pursued, first by the movements in the interwar period generally described as “fascist,” and lately by the similar yet also very different movements known as “right-wing populism.” Questions we explore include: what are the Right’s chief objections to democracy? How, in detail, have right-wing movements acted to undermine it? What are key different understandings of democracy? How to understand the Right’s claim that their illiberal preference of governance is “really” more democratic than what they dismiss as “so-called democracy”? What historic role does nationalism play in these matters? Course readings focus on anti-democratic right-wing thought, fascist governance, and contemporary right-wing “illiberal democracies,” with particular discussions of Fascist Italy and current governments and movements in Poland, Hungary, India, Turkey, and the United States. Books include Corey Robin, “The Reactionary Mind,” John Foot, “The Rise and Fall of Italian Fascism,” Jan-Werner Muller, “What Is Populism?”, and articles on right-wing populism in different countries. (Ost)

POL 450 Independent Study

POL 456 1/2 Credit Independent Study

POL 495/496 Honors