Selected Topics in American Politics (POSC-101)
This course provides a venue in which to explore topics in American Politics at the introductory level. Topics will vary according to the needs and interests of the teaching faculty offering the course. In some cases, this course may be repeated for credit.
Foundations of American Government (POSC-102)
This course will lay the foundation for better understanding of contemporary American government and politics in the college coursework of our students. The purpose is to take a contemporary view of American politics to a more advanced level. In this course students will read and discuss Madison's journal of the Constitutional Convention, some of the state ratification debates, leading papers in the Federalist, and some of the Antifederalist arguments against adoption of the Constitution. In the process they will become familiar with federalism, national supremacy, consent of the governed, bicameralism, separation of powers, the size principle, and the importance that Madison and other founders attached to the diversity of interests and opinions in the extended republic of the United States. The course would also allocate time to the Bill of Rights.
Introduction to American Politics (POSC-110)
Is democracy workable in the United States? Toward this end, in this introduction to American politics, we ask questions about the behavior of the political institutions and actors trying to influence them. Significant attention is paid to the mechanisms constructed by political institutions that create a tether between the interests of the American public and government. Emphasis will be placed on learning analytic skills through papers and exams.
Politics in Democratic States (POSC-120)
This course will introduce students to the politics of democratic states. Among the states considered in this course are: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Much of the course will focus upon politics and policies in individual countries, however, the course will also seek to compare political phenomena across states and look at some conceptual and theoretical issues that these systems have in common.
Selected Topics in Comparative Politics (POSC-121)
This course provides a venue in which to explore topics in Comparative Politics at the introductory level. Topics will vary according to the needs and interests of the teaching faculty offering the course. In some cases, this course may be repeated for credit.
Introduction to the Politics of Developing States (POSC-122)
Using examples from Africa, Asia and Latin America, students will examine both the political and the social institutions and power configurations in developing states, characteristics and political outcomes, particularly with regard to the status of citizens, citizen rights, citizen input, and citizen mobilization. Who has citizen rights? Do rights vary by ethnicity, religion, language, gender, residency? Which states are democratic, authoritarian, or dictatorial? Which states have power structured by impersonal rules or cronyism or patron-client relations? Is citizen input regularized or marginalized? And how do these variables affect the way politics is done, the effectiveness of policy formationo and implementation, and the mobilization of the people?
Introduction to International Politics (POSC-140)
This course provides an introduction to both the language used to describe international politics and the ways relationships between actors on the world stage may be analyzed. Relying on history and contemporary events to illuminate key concepts, we cover the causes of war and peace, the role of economics in international affairs and the place of morality in statecraft. This course is recommended as preparation for advanced study in the areas of international relations and foreign policy.
Selected Topics in International Politics (POSC-141)
This course provides a venue in which to explore topics in International Politics at the introductory level. Topics will vary according to the needs and interests of the teaching faculty offering the course. In some cases, this course may be repeated for credit.
Introduction to Political Theory (POSC-180)
An introduction to the art and science of political philosophy. This class teaches the skills of making normative arguments in the context of understanding politics as purposive behavior. What should be the means and ends of government? What kind of government should we create, and how will power be distributed? How should we prioritize our commitments to ideas like order, justice, liberty, and equality? What role do our material realities, our economies and our culture play in the formation of our identities and our commitments? This course will link normative arguments to contemporary political and policy debates about the state and governing, rights, obligations, diversity and multiculturalism.
Selected Topics in Political Theory (POSC-181)
This course provides a venue in which to explore topics in Political Theory at the introductory level. Topics will vary according to the needs and interests of the teaching faculty offering the course. In some cases, this course may be repeated for credit.
Introductory Topics in Political Science (POSC-199)
A general category used only in the evaluation of transfer credit.
Analyzing Politics (POSC-201)
This course introduces students to the discipline of political science as a bridge to upper level courses. Basic definitions, fundamental concepts, and various approaches used in the empirical study of politics are discussed. The course acquaints students with how political scientists think about studying society and provides a basis for more sophisticated research and understanding of empirical political theory, as well as skills for systematically analyzing political and social issues. Students will explore and use statistics and quantitative methods in the lab to address substantive research questions.
Doing Political Science: American Political Behavior (POSC-213)
This class should be taken immediately after you complete POSC 201, Analyzing Politics in your sophomore year. The 200 level "doing political science classes" are designed to focus on issues of method and writing skills expanding on what you learned about skills and methods in 201 and preparing you for upper division work in political science while also focusing on one of the major subfields of political science. This course focuses on the involvement of the public in American political processes. We will address such questions as: Why do citizens vote? For whom do they vote? How else do citizens involve themselves in the political process and why? What does the public think about political issues? What forces can change the nature, concerns, and behavior of the electorate? What are the prospects for a workable participatory democracy in America? The course is geared toward the conduct of statistically-based research on substantive problems in American political behavior. Prereq: POSC 110 and 201.
Doing Political Science: Foreign Policy Formulation (POSC-214)
This class should be taken immediately after you complete POSC 201, Analyzing Politics in your sophomore year. The 200 level "doing political science classes" are designed to focus on issues of method and writing skills expanding on what you learned about skills and methods in 201 and preparing you for upper division work in political science while also focusing on one of the major subfields of political science. This course provides an assessment of the domestic factors responsible for the formulation of U.S. foreign policy. We will examine four categories of internal sources that impact U.S. response to external phenomena. Topics for analysis include: the constitutional separation of powers, bureaucratic politics, the psychology of decision makers, as well as the role of interest groups, public opinion, and the news media in the formulation of foreign policy. Prereq: POSC 201 or consent of instructor.
Doing Political Science: Ethnic Conflict (POSC-225)
This class should be taken immediately after you complete POSC 201, Analyzing Politics in your sophomore year. The 200 level "doing political science classes" are designed to focus on issues of method and writing skills expanding on what you learned about skills and methods in 201 and preparing you for upper division work in political science while also focusing on one of the major subfields of political science. This course will help students analyze the nature of ethnic conflict, as well as understand why some multiethnic states avoid ethnic wars while other do not. We will primarily focus on ethnicities that inhabit the former Soviet space but will look at other groups as well as for a more nuanced view of "ethnic" conflict. Prereq: POSC 201 or consent of instructor. Prereq: POSC 201 or consent of instructor.
Doing Political Science: Transitions to Democracy (POSC-232)
This class should be taken immediately after you complete POSC 201, Analyzing Politics in your sophomore year. The 200 level "doing political science classes" are designed to focus on issues of method and writing skills expanding on what you learned about skills and methods in 201 and preparing you for upper division work in political science while also focusing on one of the major subfields of political science. The last quarter of the 20th century saw a sharp increase in the number of countries with democratic political systems. This course explores the politics and the circumstances of these transitions to democracy. It addresses questions such as: What accounted for this growth? Why the sudden and dramatic shift to democratic forms of governance? What did these transitions look like? Who were the key protagonists? The course examines several case studies from Latin America, Southern and Eastern Europe, Central America, Asia and Africa. Prereq: POSC 201.
Doing Political Science: American Political Thought (POSC-284)
This class should be taken immediately after you complete POSC 201, Analyzing Politics in your sophomore year. The 200 level "doing political science classes" are designed to focus on issues of method and writing skills expanding on what you learned about skills and methods in 201 and preparing you for upper division work in political science while also focusing on one of the major subfields of political science. An introduction to the issues, debates and problems of American political theory. This course addresses the historical legacy of Puritan, republican, liberal, radical, and conservative traditions through a study of the primary texts of people like Mather, Jefferson, Madison, Tocqueville, Douglass, Stanton, Lincoln, Sumner, DuBois, Debs, Croly, FDR, King, or Reagan. We will also judge the debates about federalism, rights, popular sovereignty, slavery, and race during the colonial era, as well as the long term legacies of both industrial capitalism, and race, gender, and religious differences in the United States. Prereq: POSC 201.
Doing Political Science (POSC-290)
Doing Political Science: This class should be taken immediately after you complete POSC 201, Analyzing Politics in your sophomore year. The 200 level "doing political science classes" are designed to focus on issues of method and writing skills expanding on what you learned about skills and methods in 201 and preparing you for upper division work in political science while also focusing on one of the major subfields of political science. This iteration is: US Security in a Globalizing World This course addresses US security in a globalizing world. In the first half of the course students survey the evolution of US security policy and are introduced to theoretical models of national security and the effects of globalization. These are then applied in the second half of the course to analyze contemporary issues in US security, including traditional issues of great power conflict, nuclear proliferation, and resource competition as well as nontraditional issues of terrorism, weaponized drones, and climate change. Emphasis is placed on critically evaluating past and present policy and developing practical, empirically-grounded policy proposals.
Intermediate Topics in Political Science (POSC-299)
A general category used only in the evaluation of transfer credit.
The American Presidency (POSC-306)
This course focuses on the history of the presidency with particular attention to the origins, development, and exercise of executive powers. We also examine writings on the character, policies, reputation, and rhetoric of individual presidents; presidential management of the executive branch; and presidential leadership of Congress. Prereq: POSC 110.
The Politics of Congress (POSC-307)
The U.S. Congress is often considered the 'First Branch" of the federal government, and by its construction is easily the most complex. In this course we will consider the politics that underlie the development and operation of the contemporary Congress, detail the legislative process and its organization. We will consider how various institutions such as parties, committees, and procedures help legislators reach their goals and help solve problems such as collective action, voting cycles, and ambition. While we begin by looking at Congress at its inception and the electoral goals of members, the course will quickly move to the development of these institutions and in the early Twentieth Century (pre-1974) and their use today. Over the course of the semester, we will apply our institutional study of Congress to current events and through a multi-week simulation of the legislative process. Since many of the readings make use of existing quantitative data and existing research prior experience with this type of material at the level of POSC 201 or an equivalent is recommended. Prereq: POSC 110.
Campaigns and Elections (POSC-309)
This course examines the structure, strategy, and influence of federal campaigns and elections in the United States. With a focus on both Congressional and Presidential campaign contests the course explores topics such as primary and nominating politics, the role of money in elections, candidate selection, incumbency advantage, the influence of elections on voting behavior, campaign strategy, advertising, and election reform. Throughout the course we will apply the readings to analyze the current election cycle, historical trends, and election forecasting. In addition, students will participate in a simulated campaign exercise. By the end of the semester students will complete a research paper investigating data related to congressional campaigns centered on questions raised by one or more of the topics covered in class. POSC 110 is a prerequisite for the course and POSC 201 is highly recommended. The course counts towards the fulfillment of Lugar Track I program requirements. Prereq: POSC 110.
America in Vietnam (POSC-310)
The seminar will illuminate the key controversies of the Vietnam experience and trace their persistence in American politics, foreign policy and military strategy. The course will trace the development of U.S. military and diplomatic policy regarding Vietnam, assess the various lessons attributed to the Vietnam experience, and consider how application of these lessons has altered American's attitudes toward interventionism.
Political Organizations in the U.S (POSC-311)
"Democracy is unthinkable save in terms of the parties." Yet, some, including the Founding Fathers, have been less sure of Schattschneider's truism, warning of the mischiefs of faction. Political organization, however, by most accounts has been the engine and structure of American democracy throughout its two centuries. Parties, interest groups, and social movements have formed and acted to create and insure that American democracy truly is of, by, and for the people. In the course, we will investigate the formation, maintenance, and death of political organizations, the effectiveness and representative nature of political organizations, the strategies and resources of organizations, as well as recent challenges by such factors as increased individualism, media, technology and money. Organizations considered may include: the Republican, Democratic, and third parties; major interest groups such as the Sierra Club, AARP, NRA, Christian Coalition, Chamber of Commerce, and unions; and social movements such as the women's, civil rights, and Christian conservative movements. Prerequisite: POSC 110.
Religion and Politics in U.S. (POSC-312)
This course offers an intensive analysis of the many connections between the American religious and political systems. Questions considered include whether religion is fulfilling its democratic responsibilities, the constitutional bounds of the relationship between church and state, the religious dimensions of American political behavior, religious influences on political institutions and decision makers, and religious interest group activity. Prereq: POSC 110.
Topics in the Study of American Politics (POSC-319)
This course provides a venue in which to explore topics in American Politics at the advanced level. Topics will vary according to the needs and interests of the teaching faculty offering the course. In some cases, this course may be repeated for credit.
Politics of Russia (POSC-322)
This course focuses on contemporary Russian politics. Because Russian politics cannot be understood in the absence of historical context, the course will devote some time to the Tsarist and Soviet periods. At least half of the course deals with the Russian Federation under presidents Yeltsin, Putin, and Medvedev. Constitutional debates, federalism, ethnic issues, political struggles, the Chechen war, changing relations with the U.S. and NATO, and more will be covered, as well as executive, legislative, and judicial institutions.
Issues and Politics in Europe (POSC-323)
This course will focus on contemporary issues and policy debates in European politics. We will look at a broader range of countries than POSC 120 including countries such as Poland, Spain, Denmark, the Czech Republic, and others. Some of the issues discussed could include: health care policies, minority rights and minority communities, energy politics, and more. The exact issues, policies, and countries will vary over time.
Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa (POSC-324)
This course explores contemporary issues in African political systems from a variety of theoretical perspectives. These issues include: political stability, democracy, economic development, and structural adjustment. No prior knowledge of Africa is required, but students should be prepared to read detailed analytic and historical contexts with a view to applying their insights to contemporary problems.
Radical Right Parties and Politics in Europe (POSC-326)
What accounts for the emergence, persistence and demise of "radical" or "far right" political parties in Europe? After a period of post-war stability, European party systems began to break down in the 1960s. This led to several new developments, namely, a decline in democratic participation; a decline in the traditional parties of the center Left and center Right; and the emergence of new parties on both the Left and the Right. This course focuses on the newer parties on the Right that emerged in Western Europe during the 1980's and 1990's. Specifically we focus on what many scholars label the "far" or "radical" right. These parties tend to be organized around a particular set of ideological concepts emphasizing nationalism, exclusion of "foreigners," a strong state, welfare chauvinism and, more recently, Islamophobia. Over the course of the semester students will compare and contrast the emergence of these parties and their politics across Europe and discern the differences between what scholars describe as "populist radical" or "populist far" right parties from other parties on the extreme right, namely neofascist or neo-Nazis parties which are viewed as inherently undemocratic and often elitist.
Politics of the Environment (POSC-328)
This course is about the theoretical, political, and practical problems associated with environmental action. Course materials analyze various theoretical perspectives on the relationship between humans and nature, and they illustrate how different ethics lead to widely different prescriptions for personal and political action. Course materials also offer examples of how environmental problems have in fact been addressed or not by governmental, non-governmental, and international institutions. This is not a course on the physical processes of environmental problems, but rather it emphasizes the political, economic, and theoretical contexts within which efforts are made to act on environmental threats. No prior knowledge of environmental or political science is required. However, students should be prepared to read and interpret detailed social science texts, to formulate and articulate cogent arguments, and to conduct independent research.
Politics in Latin America, Africa, and Asia (POSC-332)
This course explores the politics of developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America in their historical socioeconomic contexts. The goals of the course include familiarizing students with the details of politics in selected countries and understanding important concepts of political science by applying them to the case study countries. Emphasis will be placed on using concepts and theories to analyze and critique arguments. No prior knowledge of the developing world is required. However, students will be expected to identify and analyze issues germane to the developing world, read and critique systematically, form and defend arguments and opinions, conduct independent library research, pose researchable questions, and discuss readings and research findings in class.
Topics in the Study of Comparative Politics (POSC-339)
This course provides a venue in which to explore topics in Comparative Politics at the advanced level. Topics will vary according to the needs and interests of the teaching faculty offering the course. In some cases, this course may be repeated for credit.
The Conduct of American Foreign Policy (POSC-341)
This course explores the evolution of U.S. foreign policy from the beginning of the Cold War to the present day. The course focuses on the responses of successive American administrations to potential or actual threats to the national interests of the U.S. Emphasis will be placed on the containment doctrine, its application in Vietnam, and subsequent efforts to replace containment following the end of the Vietnam war and the end of the Cold War.
The United Nations and World Problems (POSC-344)
The founding of public international organizations represent an attempt to bring order to an unruly international system. International organizations are formal institutions established by states to address global problems. They include not only the United Nations, but also many other public or private, international, national or local, formal or informal institutions. Collectively, these institutions engage in global governance. Our goals in this course are to understand the theoretical and practical approaches to international organizations and global governance, the limitations under which global governance operates, and the future prospects for a system of global governance. This course has a substantial oral component and oral skills work and so satisfies the University's oral general education requirement.
Human Rights in Global Perspective (POSC-345)
This course analyzes the emergence, expansion and enforcement of international human rights norms. Students taking the course will acquire an enhanced understanding of the United Nations, national governments, nongovernmental organizations, customary international law, treaty law, regional courts, and international tribunals in articulating and enforcing human rights. Students will acquire a broad understanding of human rights as a topic of both intellectual inquiry and political action.
The European Union (POSC-346)
The course explores the peculiarities of the EU and what makes it a unique organization, sharing characteristics of a state and characteristics of a traditional international organization. First, we will place the study of European integration in a historical context. Then we will make sense of the various decision-making processes and institutional actors of the EU. We will also examine theories of European integration to understand competing explanations for the integration process. Fourth, various policy areas will be studied to show how the power of the EU is distributed unevenly across areas. During the final two weeks of the course we will simulate a gathering of the European Council. This course has a substantial oral component and oral skills work and so satisfies the University's oral general education requirement.
The Middle East in World Affairs (POSC-347)
The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the political history, international significance, and the dimensions of political life in the Middle East. Owing to the ever-present potential for conflict, the seeming intractability of disputes, and the oil factor, what happens in the Middle East is of vital importance to international politics. We examine the role that politics in the Middle East has played in world affairs as well as the region's importance in the future.
Foreign and Security Policy in Western Europe (POSC-348)
This course aims to compare key post Cold War foreign policy behaviors during crisis situations concerning the three "big" states in Western Europe: France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (also referred to as the EU3, as they all are members of the European Union (EU). Why is it that we know so little about the foreign policies of three countries which have been the most important allies for the US in the past fifty years? Are these countries "middle powers" or "big powers"? What role do they play in the international hierarchy? What others states in Western Europe also conduct foreign policies, they frequently do so as part of the EU, or at least tailor their policies so that they do not substantially deviate from the EU. They also tend to have more of a regional focus as they lack the means and influence to project their power beyond the confines of Europe. Thus, the "three big" can be put in a special category because of their status, wealth, influence and power. To explore their behaviors we first establish conceptual framework for a comparative study of foreign policy (comparative foreign policy analysis). This framework guides our analysis in subsequent empirical cases examining decision-making processes, the domestic and international environment, and foreign policy outputs. We will assess key variables at the individual, group, state and systemic levels of analysis and develop a framework for comparing the foreign policy incentives of these three powers. Specific areas of inquiry include cognitive and psychological theories of decision-making, group dynamics, organizational interests, public opinion, national role conception, strategic interaction and relative power/capability changes in the international system.
Terrorism and Political Violence (POSC-349)
Political violence, including terrorism, has been around since the beginnings of organized political society, though the word terrorism dates only from the French Revolution (1789-1799). In this course, we will explore what terrorism is, whether it is new (and why some analysts argue it is), who uses terrorist tactics, why they do so, and how terrorism differs from other forms of political violence such as war, insurgency, and so on. We will investigate various definitions of terrorism. Most scholars think that terrorism is not a random act of violence. They see terrorism as planned and, for those who use it, rational. However, there is still a lot of disagreement on what terrorism is, what motivates terrorists, how it can be fought, and on what we mean by rational and planned. We will compare the various definitions and perspectives to determine which might work best for our understanding of the phenomena. In addition, we will focus on some key concepts in the discipline of political science and how they relate to terrorism, for example: power, ethnicity, religion, and the media.
Russian Foreign and Military Policy (POSC-353)
In this course we will seek to understand the motives and objectives of Russian foreign and military policies. We will look at Russian interests throughout the world with particular attention to the 'near abroad' (countries that were part of the Soviet Union), China, and Europe as well as the US-Russian relationship. Issues of arms sales, military power, and the politics of energy (oil and gas) will form a significant portion of the course.
International Political Economy (POSC-355)
This course introduces the theory and practice of international political economy. It is a blend of the study of both economics and politics in that it explores the interaction of power or authority (the subject matter of politics) and markets (the subject matter of economics). The prior study of economics may be helpful, but it is neither necessary nor sufficient to do well in this course. The course follows a topical and a historical approach. The selection of topics includes trade, monetary systems, international finances, and at least one current global economic issue.
Topics in the Study of International Policies (POSC-359)
This course provides a venue in which to explore topics in International Politics at the advanced level. Topics will vary according to the needs and interests of the teaching faculty offering the course. In some cases, this course may be repeated for credit.
Directed Study (POSC-361)
Directed Studies are undertaken at the initiative of the student and may involve any topic acceptable to the student and an instructor. Written consent.
Directed Study (POSC-362)
Directed studies are undertaken at the initiative of the student and may involve any topic acceptable to the student and an instructor. Written consent.
Independent Study (POSC-363)
Independent Study (POSC-364)
Constitutional Law (POSC-374)
This course examines the basic principles of the U.S. Constitutional framework from an interdisciplinary perspective. What is the purpose and function of law in society? How does the legal process work through precedents, legal reasoning and case law? What are civil rights and civil liberties? Where are the lines or boundaries to be drawn between an individual's freedom and the public good or the rights of the community? Which liberties does the Court consider worth protecting and which liberties are circumscribed by the public interest? What might be the difference between liberty as a legal concept, and freedom? This course examines important political and theoretical questions regarding the rule of law, interpreting the Constitution, and the role of the Supreme Court in the U.S. system of politics and government.
Ancient Political Theory (POSC-381)
Debating classical Greek and Roman thought through the works of thinkers like the Greek tragedians, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine or Aquinas. This course involves intensive textual analysis and a study of the problems of morality, government, membership and expansion in the ancient Greek and Roman world. We will also judge the moral and political legacy of the ancients by addressing contemporary debates about democracy, citizenship, power, empire, and the rule of law.
Modern Political Theory (POSC-382)
Debating the moral and political problems of modernity through the works of thinkers like Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Burke, Paine, or Mill. This course involves intensive textual analysis and a study of the problems of virtue, interest, power, sovereignty, rights, and revolution in the modern era. We will also judge the place of ideas like liberty and equality within the system of law in republican, liberal, conservative and radical political thought.
Contemporary Political Theory (POSC-383)
Debating contemporary political theory through the work of such thinkers as Marx, Nietzsche, Dewey, Arendt, Fanon, Marcuse, Foucault, Rawls, Habermas, Walzer, or Butler. This course involves intensive textual analysis and a study of the problems of power, capitalism, rights, obligations, culture, and identity in the contemporary era. We will also judge the legacies of radical, liberal, and pragmatic thought, and the challenges offered by critical theory, feminism, and post-colonial studies.
Black Political Thought (POSC-384)
This course focuses on transnational black political thought by considering African-descended scholars, activists, and intellectual thinkers throughout the African Diaspora. We will examine themes of freedom, nation, racism, black nationalism, and womanism. Some of the thinkers we focus on are CLR James, Malcolm X, Frantz Fanon, Patirical Hill Collins, and Domingos Alvares. First, we focus on African healers and why they are considered intellectuals. We will pay special attention to an African-centered approach that privileges the ways in which African descendants seek freedom. Second, we examine freedom and what that meant for enslaved Africans in America who eventually gained freedom. Third, we examine how black American intellectuals and activists define racism, resistance, and freedom. We also examine the notion of black power. Fourth, we examine post-colonialism and black political thought in Africa, the Caribbean and Bazil. Fifth, we examine black feminist thought and define womanism. Lastly, we consider Hip Hip music as a movement and explore if it can be considered black political thought.
Topics in the Study of Political Theory (POSC-389)
This course provides a venue in which to explore topics in Political Theory at the advanced level. Topics will vary according to the needs and interests of the teaching faculty offering the course. In some cases, this course may be repeated for credit.
Advanced Topics in Political Science (POSC-399)
A general category used only in the evaluation of transfer credit.
Senior Research (POSC-451)
Senior Research (POSC-452)
Senior Seminar (POSC-491)
Senior Seminar is a required part of the political science major and is offered only in the fall semester. Senior seminars will vary in topic but all emphasize skills in research and writing that will provide a capstone experience in the major.