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Course Descriptions

  • POLS 110: Introduction to Global Politics
    This course is an introduction to the main concepts and theories of comparative politics and international relations. Students investigate the democratic and non-democratic political systems and current political issues across the developed and developing worlds; war and peace; prosperity and poverty; and the political ideologies that have shaped politics within and among nations in the modern era.
    Cross-listed as: IREL 140
  • POLS 120: Introduction to American Politics
    Origins of the American political system, basic institutions, political parties and interest groups, and evolution of constitutional interpretation.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 119
  • POLS 130: Great Political Ideas
    What is a person's place within a larger community? How ought we to organize our societies to create peace and/or justice? These are the fundamental questions political theorists ask. This course is an introduction to basic concepts of political thought, as well as a review of some major thinkers in political theory, both ancient and modern. Emphasis is on learning to read theoretical texts and interpreting them. Course readings are likely to include works by Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Tocqueville, Marx, Mill, and others.
  • POLS 200: Methods of Political Research
    This course introduces students to the nuts and bolts of systematic political science research. Students learn how to construct a research question - and develop and test hypotheses. Students apply concepts and strategies learned in class to develop their own research design. The course will also expose students to: basic quantitative and qualitative skills for the purposes of describing and explaining political phenomena, and the analysis of data on issues in American and global politics. Prerequisite: Politics or International Relations major, or consent of instructor.
    Cross-listed as: IREL 249
  • POLS 210: Politics of Europe
    This course is a survey of the domestic political institutions, cultures, and economies of select European countries, as well as the major public policy issues facing the advanced industrial democracies of Western Europe, the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe, and the continent's last autocracies (e.g., Russia). Some consideration is also given to pan-European governance, such as the European Union (EU) and the European Court of Human Rights.
    Cross-listed as: IREL 250
  • POLS 215: Politics of China
    This course examines the domestic politics and foreign policy of China from 1949 to the present. We study China?s shift from Mao-era political campaigns like the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution to an era of economic reform and globalization. We also explore China's most important bilateral relationships, its participation in international organizations, and its increasingly active role in writing the rules of the international system. Prerequisites: None. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: IREL 255
  • POLS 216: Politics of Middle East
    Study will focus on issues of modernization; the nature of Middle East governments; the past and present impact of religion on the region's culture and socio-political system; the Arab-Israeli conflict and its implications for world peace; and the impact of oil on the economy and regime stability in the Persian Gulf region. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ISLM 216, IREL 256
  • POLS 217: African Politics
    A survey of the geography, social and political history, and postindependent politics of Black Africa. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: AFAM 219, IREL 257
  • POLS 218: Politics of Russia
    The course will investigate the domestic political processes, institutions, and economies of the Russian Federation and the other states in the post-Soviet Union. Additionally, the course examines Russia's foreign policy, paying close attention to the Russian Federation's actions toward its close neighbors. Prerequisites: POLS 110 or permission of instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: IREL 251
  • POLS 219: Politics of Latin America
    An introduction to politics and social change in Latin America. Study will focus on several Latin American countries and on special topics such as human rights, religion, the military, land reform, women, and population policy. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: LNAM 219, IREL 259
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  • POLS 220: Political Parties
    American parties, pressure groups, and electoral problems.
  • POLS 221: The Presidency
    The president is the symbolic leader of the federal government but, compared to Congress, the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended the executive to be the weaker branch of the national government. This course examines the growth and accumulation of presidential power and the implications of a strong executive for domestic politics and America's foreign relations. It also considers relations between the institution of the presidency and the courts, the media, and the people.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 221
  • POLS 222: Congress
    A glance at the enumerated powers granted the legislative branch under the U.S. Constitution suggests Congress is the strongest of the three branches of the national government. Yet the power of Congress is divided between two chambers, and the vast majority of legislation proposed in either chamber never becomes law. Congress is supposed to represent the interests of the people of the various states - and yet its public standing is nowadays at an historic low. This course examines the basic operations, structure, power dynamics, and politics of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. It also considers the rivalry and relationship between Congress and the President.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 222
  • POLS 224: Mass Media and American Politics
    An analysis of the influence of the mass media on American political institutions and American attitudes. Topics include First Amendment issues, political campaigns, political movements, public opinion, advertising, and entertainment.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 225
  • POLS 225: Influence and Interest Groups
    Organized interests shape American campaigns and candidates, citizen attitudes, and policy at every level of government; the power of these groups lies in their numbers, their dollars and their organization. This course introduces the intellectual traditions and debates that have characterized the study of interest groups and their influence on public policy, political opinion, and political actors, and will compare theory to practice in the American political experience.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 242
  • POLS 226: Public Policy Studies
    This course focuses on how public officials address policy problems, and why they select the solutions they do. We examine the public policymaking process, paying particular attention to the role played by political actors (elected officials, interest groups, governmental agencies) seeking to influence the tone and direction of policy. Attention will also be paid to how particular policy issues and problems gain (or fail to gain) the public's attention, including the role that political elites and the media play in agenda setting. Finally, the course assesses the effects of public polices on citizens' lives. In doing so, students will assume the role of "policy analyst," learning how to write briefs in which they evaluate various policy reforms. In sum, students will gain the necessary tools to systematically assess when a public policy is achieving its desired goals and whether it is being implemented effectively and efficiently. No prerequisites.
  • POLS 227: Campaigns and Elections
    This course examines the nomination procedures and election of political candidates focusing on Congressional & Presidential campaigns. Specifically, we will study the role of political parties, interest groups, race, gender, public opinion, the media, and electoral reform in political campaigns and elections.
  • POLS 228: Amer Founding&Popular Sovereignty
    As familiar as these opening words of the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution may sound to us, they have inspired a great deal of debate about how best to institutionalize 'the rule of the people.' Through an examination of classic texts and debates from the U.S. founding to the present, we will seek to refine our understanding of the ideal of popular sovereignty by focusing in depth on the American political experience. Topics to be covered include representation, federalism, and constitutional revision.
  • POLS 230: Religion and Politics
    This course examines the complex social, historical, and intellectual forces that impact the relationships between religion and politics. Students begin by exploring the historical genealogy of Western ideas about the proper role of religion in the public square. We draw from various theoretical approaches in order to better understand particular conflict situations such as contemporary U.S. political debates on the role of religion in policy-making; the tension between Islam and democracy in Turkey; the head scarf debate in France; and the actions of Christian and Buddhist monks during the Vietnam War. We will critically reflect on the role of religious ideologies as well as the ways in which religious explanations of politics and violence can obscure more enduring histories of power relations. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: RELG 230, IREL 267
  • POLS 233: Chicago Politics
    This course is an introduction to Chicago politics. We will focus on contemporary relationships among business, labor, environmentalists, and other social groups, including those groups based on ethnicity, race, and sexual identity. We will examine the mobilization of and current relations between major political players and interest groups. Students will also explore important historical elements of Chicago politics such as the Daley family and the rise of the Democratic Machine or the election of Harold Washington and the ensuing 'council wars.'
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  • POLS 234: Urban Politics
    This course examines problems of political and social organization in central cities. Topics include political machines, mayors, public policy issues, race & politics, and racial coalition politics. (Not open to students who have completed POLS 223.)
  • POLS 235: Race & Gender in American Politics
    In this course we will explore the complex relationship between race and gender in the American political process. How do underrepresented racial groups and women attain legislative success? What role does identity politics play in influencing voter decisions? We will examine how race and gender affect political behavior, public policy, American political culture, and the overall political landscape. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: AMER 262
  • POLS 236: Religion and Politics in the USA
    This course focuses on the ways religion has been a source of political division and unity in America. Polls indicate that America is, by far, the most religious of industrial democracies and that our contentious political debates are, in large part, due to the religious dimensions of morally evocative issues like abortion and gay marriage, and the firm positions of such constituencies as the Christian Right and new Religious Left. Historically, public debates concerning abolition, suffrage and temperance drew on scholarly and legal interpretations of the Constitutional promise of both religious freedom and the separation of church and state. We will examine the role of religion in the founding of the American republic, and in contemporary political movements such as Black Lives Matter, the Federation for Immigration Reform, 21st century civil rights organizations with concerns ranging from prison reform to the environment, and the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: RELG 200, AMER 220
  • POLS 237: Environmental Politics and Policy
    This course provides an overview of environmental politics and policy in the United States, with an emphasis on the ways in which policies are developed and implemented at the local, state, and national levels. Special attention is paid to the diversity of actors that shape environmental outcomes, including legislators, administrators, the science community, civil society, and the private sector. This course examines environmental politics and policy in the United States from the roots of environmental policymaking present at the country's founding through the emergence of the "modern" environmental movement in the post-World War II era that led to the raft of environmental legislation we have today. No prerequisites.
    Cross-listed as: ES 236
  • POLS 238: Cybercrime and (White Hat) Hacking
    This course is an introduction to computer security and related issues such as privacy, democracy, and cybercrime. We cover the fundamental concepts of computer and network security using real-world examples. Subjects include the history of information technology from a legal perspective, current U.S. law concerning the internet, computer crime, and privacy and security protections. Attention is given to the major events in the history of computer hacking from the 1960s to today. Students engage in discussions on diverse topics such as the ethics and legality of computer hacking, the costs of data breaches and cybersecurity techniques. These concepts are illustrated with readings such as narratives, current laws, and court cases, technical articles, and sample computer code. No prerequisites.
  • POLS 239: Chicago: Local and Global
    Chicago is a global and a 'local' city. On the one hand, the city is involved in manufacturing, trade, and services on a worldwide basis. On the other hand, Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, often based on strong ethnic and racial identities. The course examines the city's dual quality by studying the interconnections between the world economy and the daily life of Chicagoans. A key connection is immigration, which we shall explore from the standpoint of several important communities, including, most prominently, Hispanics/Latinos, as well as African-Americans, Eastern Europeans, and Asians. The course will take both an historical and contemporary approach, as we analyze how the city developed economically, politically, and culturally since the late 19th century, as well as how the city is adjusting today in an age of globalization. No prerequisites. Cross-listed in American Studies, Latin American Studies, and serves as an elective for Urban Studies. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: LNAM 202, AMER 226
  • POLS 240: American Foreign Policy
    Students in this course explore the major historical developments and ideologies that have shaped American foreign policy since the founding of the Republic. We also study the models of foreign policy decision-making and the foreign policy institutions of the national government on matters related to war and national security, trade and monetary policy, and the global environment. The role of civil society in foreign policy is also considered. Special emphasis is given to the post- 9/11 era.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 241, IREL 240
  • POLS 241: Global Issues
    This course is a survey of the contemporary international politics of the great powers (e.g. United States, the European Union, Russia, Japan) and emerging powers (e.g., China, India, Brazil) in relation to contemporary issues in international economic, security, humanitarian, and environmental affairs. Special consideration is given to the implications of China's rise to global power on the U.S.- and Western- dominated international order.
    Cross-listed as: IREL 241
  • POLS 242: Politics of the Developing World
    This course highlights special topics relating to the domestic and international politics of developing countries, such as delayed industrialization, the lingering impact of colonialism, and recent trends in democratization and economic development and under-development. Recent trends related to the emergence of newly industrialized countries (NICs) are also considered. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: IREL 242
  • POLS 243: Fake News, Free Speech
    (Fake News, Free Speech and Foreign Influence in American Democracy.) This course focuses on contemporary issues facing public discourse in the United States and explores the dangers inherent in online content. We discuss such questions as: What are the strengths and weaknesses of using internet technology to organize people? How do social media platforms and their ad-driven algorithms bias our worldview? How are democratic elections and mass protests shaped by your unique news feeds? A constitutional perspective on freedom of speech and the press is presented. Substantive topics include analysis of online social movements, legal analysis of federal regulation of social media, federal election law, foreign interference in national politics, and a technical review of social media platforms. No prerequisites.
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  • POLS 245: Theories of International Relations
    In this course, students survey the major theoretical models and concepts associated with the study of international relations for the purpose of analyzing and thinking critically about contemporary international political issues.
    Cross-listed as: IREL 245
  • POLS 250: American Political Thought
    Students survey American political thought from the Revolutionary Era to the present day (or from the original Boston Tea Party to the contemporary Tea Party movement). Topics to be covered include: revolutionary ideas and their historical antecedents, the framing of the Constitution, 19th century responses to slavery and industrialism, the Progressive Era, and the philosophical underpinnings of contemporary conservatism and liberalism. There are no prerequisites, but either POLS 120 or a previous course in political theory is encouraged.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 260
  • POLS 251: Family Structure & Political Theory
    Sexuality, child rearing, marriage, and family construction are crucial issues to political theorists, especially since the family is the fundamental social unit. Through an examination of traditional political theorists, this course will explore the treatment of these issues, and how they affect other, more established political problems such as citizenship, property, and community. Current legal and practical problems involving families will inform and illuminate our perusal of political theorists' approach to the relationship between the private family and the state. Readings include selections from the Bible, Sophocles and Aristophanes, Plato and Aristotle, the Gospels, St. Augustine, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Tocqueville, Mill, Engels and others. POLS 130 is recommended but not required. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement)
    Cross-listed as: GSWS 251
  • POLS 252: Education and Political Power
    Societies and their philosophers have been devoting attention to what and how and by whom children and young adults should be taught since Plato wrote the Republic over 2,000 years ago. Today's debates over feminism, traditionalism, ethnocentrism, religion, etc., in education merely echo what has come before. Past thinkers asked two essential questions: Which members of society should be educated and what do they need to know? Readings include those by Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Locke, Rousseau, Dubois, Washington, Dewey, and others. Prerequisite: POLS 130 is recommended but not required.
  • POLS 260: Introduction to Legal Studies
    Questions of law and justice reflect our most basic human values, drawing on ancient religious and humanistic traditions but adaptable to a modern, post-enlightenment world. This introductory course provides an interdisciplinary curriculum by which students explore the different ways that society uses legal ideas, policies, institutions and processes to pursue justice, order and the allocation of property rights.
  • POLS 261: American Constitutional Law
    This course examines the major constitutional themes of judicial review, federalism, separation of powers, the commerce power, due process rights, and equal protection under the law. Students read U.S. Supreme Court cases in order to analyze and understand the allocation of government power. Prerequisite: POLS 120 or permission of instructor.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 259
  • POLS 262: American Jurisprudence
    (Jurisprudence: Philosophy of American Law) Students examine the ways Americans have conceptualized and theorized about the law from the time of the Founding to the present day. Topics to be covered include natural law versus legal positivism; the relationships among law, politics, economics, and society; and debates over constitutional and statutory interpretation, the proper role of judges in a democracy, and the relationship between domestic and international law. There are no prerequisites, but either POLS 120 or a previous course in political theory is encouraged.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 265
  • POLS 265: Immigration Law and Policy
    This course provides an in-depth understanding of our current U.S. immigration regime using a multi-disciplinary approach. It explores the range of policy issues affecting today's immigrants and nonimmigrants. The course examines the fundamental principles of immigration law in the context of competing interests among Congress, the President, and the Judiciary that shape this nation's current immigration policy and affect reform efforts. Additionally, the course focuses on the human rights aspect of immigration, including issues related to the treatment of undocumented immigrants, human trafficking, and the system's response to the recent influx of refugees and asylum seekers. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: AMER 277
  • POLS 266: The Judiciary
    This is an examination of the federal court system, focusing on the United States Supreme Court. Students will study the constitutional beginnings of the federal judicial branch and its position vis a vis the two other branches of government. We will examine the history of the United States Supreme Court, the politics of presidential appointment of judges, selected case law over the course of the Court's history and its impact, personalities on the Court and the Court's decision-making process.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 268
  • POLS 267: Intro to Criminal Law & Procedure
    This course surveys the essentials of criminal law and procedure, from arrest and trial to appeal. Using a case law approach, supplemented by articles and essays on specific topics of interest, students follow the prosecution and defense of a case. This course examines police and prosecutor conduct, focusing on search and seizure issues, interrogation techniques, identification methods and the constitutional and evidentiary issues that accompany them, and the changing laws of electronic surveillance. It also analyzes defense methods, the use of opening statements and closing arguments as tools of persuasion and sentencing issues, as well as post-trial matters, appeals, post-conviction or habeas corpus reviews of convictions and sentences, and capital punishment and life without parole. Prerequisite: Politics 120 or consent of instructor.
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  • POLS 268: Law, Medicine and Ethics
    In this course, students explore issues that arise at the intersection of law, medicine, and ethics. They study legal and ethical principles and apply them to controversies in medical treatment, medical research, and recent advances in biotechnology. Topics will include informed consent, eugenics, reproductive technologies, gene therapy, and human enhancement. Political implications are also studied. Not open to First-Year Students.
  • POLS 269: Testimony and Trials
    This course will examine how the U.S. Constitution's procedural safeguards in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th amendments are effectuated in a court of law. The course will explore how constitutional law and rules of evidence and procedure intersect with concepts of justice and fairness. Students will study the law, the sociology and the philosophy of the trial process.
  • POLS 270: Race and Criminal Justice
    This course will examine the systemic racial injustices inherent in American criminal jurisprudence from police interaction to trial and sentencing, incarceration, and supervised release. Students will study how racial injustice continues to pervade the American criminal justice system despite the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. How do so many players, from police officers to judges and juries, fail to protect against racial injustice? Why do courts, when confronted with allegations or proof of racially motivated police misconduct, overwhelmingly cite "harmless error" doctrine? To attempt to answer these complicated questions, students will learn legal criminal procedure, study 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th amendment case law, and have an opportunity to listen to and speak with a variety of professionals in the criminal justice field. Prerequisite: POLS 120 or permission of instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: AFAM 270, AMER 274
  • POLS 275: Security and Liberty
    (International Security and Civil Liberties.) A driver in the contemporary evolution of many areas of law and overarching constitutional culture is the perceived need to protect national security. Most innovations and developments in national security law, however, encroach upon the foundational, individual civil rights enshrined in the very same constitutional system we seek to safeguard. This course will examine the constitutional balance of national security power among the branches of government, the components of the the intelligence/national security state today, and the tensions between its operation and personal rights and liberties. No prior legal knowledge or coursework is required. No prerequisites.
  • POLS 280: Politics of Mexico
    This course introduces students to modern Mexican politics. Topics include Mexico's political institutions, economic development, immigration and border issues, racial and ethnic politics, and the challenge to deepening Mexico's democracy by what some scholars have termed "narco-politics." This course also explores Mexico's relationship with the United States to the north and Latin America to the south. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: LNAM 255
  • POLS 291: Tutorial
    To be arranged individually with an appropriate faculty member.
  • POLS 310: State and Nation-Building
    This seminar focuses on the nature, dynamics, and strategies of state and nation-building processes within the modern international state system. Students will examine the mechanisms utilized to forge and facilitate national consciousness among the fragile, developing post-colonial states of Africa and other Third World countries. Dominant theoretical paradigms and empirical case studies that focus on the salient differences among nation-states, nations in search of states, and states in search of nations will be discussed. Other subjects include the role and relevance of nationalist ideology in our modern world and the causes, mechanisms, and consequences of ethnic conflicts and separatist movements in both developing countries and advanced industrialized states. Prerequisite: POLS 110 or consent of instructor.
  • POLS 311: Political Systems: Islamic World
    About one in four countries have Muslim-majority populations. This course examines the political systems of the Islamic world, which spans the globe from Europe and Africa to Southeast Asia. Students learn about the variety of regime types among these countries, including absolute and constitutional monarchies, one-party republics, theocracies, and Islamic and liberal democracies. Particular attention is given to the role of religion, culture, economic development, and history in the formation and operation of the political orders of these countries. Prerequisite: POLS 110 or consent of instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ISLM 312, IREL 351
  • POLS 313: Political Islam
    This course examines the interaction of Islam and politics. It begins with an examination of the relationship between Islam and politics in the early history of the Islamic state. It then studies the ways in which Islam is incorporated into Muslim countries today and the various models of contemporary Islam-state relations. The course also examines Islamist movements and parties, and their role in the domestic politics of Muslim countries, including the period of the Arab Spring. Prerequisite: Politics 110 or consent of instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ISLM 313
  • POLS 314: Islam, State, and Society
    This course examines Islamic theology's guidance for governance and society. Students will evaluate the sources of the religion as well as early Islamic history to better understand the role of religion in the state, society, and family. Students will critically evaluate conventionally held views regarding Islam and Muslims and the treatment of women and minorities according to Islamic sources. Prerequisite: POLS 110. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ISLM 314, IREL 352
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  • POLS 315: Comparative Foreign Policy
    Though varied, the foreign policies of countries exhibit similar patterns, as well as analogous restraints and opportunities. Through a comparative analysis, this course surveys case studies of the contemporary foreign policies of great powers (Britain, China, France, Germany, Japan, and Russia) and regional powers (Brazil, India, Iran, South Africa, and Turkey). It analyzes how foreign policy interests are formulated, utilizing a variety of theories that highlight the importance of domestic and international influences on a country's foreign policy choices and behavior. Prerequisite: Politics 110 or consent of instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: IREL 353
  • POLS 316: Global Cities
    Economic changes have significant impact on the geography, politics, and labor force of cities. When cities undergo change it affects those who live and work there. This course analyzes the changing economies of cities, including the deindustrialization of the Global North, industrialization of the Global South, and the rise of services and financial sectors. Students should come away with a better understanding of the complexities of a changing economy and its impact on urban workers around the world. Prerequisite: POLS 110 or permission of instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • POLS 317: Global Democratization
    This course is a thematic and historical study of recent transitions from authoritarian rule to democracy. Students discuss theories of democratization and democratic consolidation, examine the key features of different 'waves' of democratization, and consider how new democracies avoid 'backsliding' to authoritarianism. Students also explore the relationship between democratic systems of government and culture. Prerequisite: POLS 110 or consent of instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: IREL 357
  • POLS 318: Topics in Comparative Politics
    This seminar examines selected topics in comparative politics.
  • POLS 322: Campaigns, Elections & Pol Parties
    (Campaigns, Elections, and Political Parties) In this course, students examine the nomination procedures and election of political candidates, with a focus on significant historical campaigns, both congressional and presidential. We also study the role and development of political parties with a particular emphasis on emerging third parties, from a historical and contemporary perspective. The influences of interest groups, race, gender, voting behavior, and the media on our electoral process are also considered. Prerequisite: POLS 120 or the consent of instructor.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 322
  • POLS 323: Federalism
    This course examines the historical, constitutional, philosophical, and political aspects of American federalism. Students consider both how and why the relationship between the various states and the national government has changed since the founding of the Republic, and the obligations of the states to one another, on a range of matters, including marriage, education, morality laws, eminent domain, and public health. Prerequisite: Politics 120 or consent of instructor.
  • POLS 324: Public Opinion
    This course will offer a broad-based introduction to the factors that motivate citizens' social and political attitudes. We will begin by discussing how we conceptualize and measure public opinion, from where do opinions or attitudes originate, what factors influence citizens' preferences, and whether political elites respond to public opinion when making public policy. We will investigate public opinion on a wide range of political issues, from taxes and government spending to attitudes about racial equality. Finally, we will take up important normative questions including the role that public opinion should or should not play in the American political system. Prerequisite: POLS 120 or permission of instructor.
  • POLS 327: Democracy and Our Schools
    This course examines K-12 education policy through the lens of politics. On the one hand, schools influence American democracy by cultivating norms of civic engagement and political participation among youth. Yet, schools are themselves shaped by democratic politics. As agencies of government, nearly everything about the way schools function is determined through the political process. Consequently, this course considers the causes and consequences of living in a nation that relies on elected officials to govern its schools. We first assess the varied goals and purposes of public schooling. We then examine the formal institutions, interest groups, and ideas that influence American education policy. Key questions include: Does politics compromise equality and for whom? Is education policy more responsive to the needs of some students than others? How much voice should the public have in shaping education policy? Should schools be organized primarily by politics or by markets? Prerequisite: POLS 120.
  • POLS 328: Topics in American Politics
    Seminar examining selected topics on political issues, institutions, or problems such as race and criminal justice. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement, depending on topic.)
  • POLS 340: International Terrorism
    The central aim of this course is to critically examine the phenomenon of terrorism. In so doing, we will adopt the following approach: (i) we will briefly analyze the concepts of security and violence; (ii) we will discuss the etymology of the concept "terrorism." (iii) We will explore the idea of terrorism as an instrumentally rational undertaking. Parallel to this we will read a sample of articles from the positive political science literature on terrorism. (iv) We will examine the morality of terrorism as refracted through the lens of the rich theorizing on just war and will carefully investigate the philosophy literature on terrorism. Finally (v) in light of the foregoing theoretical examination, we will examine the U.S.-led "war on terror." Prerequisite: POLS 110.
    Cross-listed as: IREL 340
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  • POLS 342: International Political Economy
    The course introduces students to the academic discipline of International Political Economy (IPE). It surveys the intellectual history of the discipline and specifies the main methodological and theoretical debates in IPE. The course also examines international trade and production, the international monetary and financial systems, and global poverty and development. Prerequisite: Politics 110 or consent of instructor.
    Cross-listed as: IREL 342
  • POLS 345: Intl Relations of the Middle East
    (International Relations of the Middle East) This course explores the international relations of the Middle East within the larger context of theories of international relations. It provides a conceptual, theoretical and empirical background for the complex interplay of regional and global politics, especially the dynamic interactions of Middle East countries with the United States, Europe, Russia and China. Also considered is the impact of globalization on socio-political structures in the region, and the increasing political role of non-state actors such as religious movements and global satellite channels. Prerequisite: POLS 110 or consent of instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement)
  • POLS 346: International Humanitarian Law
    This course explores the development and operation of international humanitarian law, the body of international law that seeks to limit the effects of armed conflict by regulating the means and methods of warfare and by protecting persons not participating in the hostilities. We will discuss key doctrinal features of international humanitarian law--including, e.g., proportionality, military necessity, and the distinction between civilian objects and military objectives--as well as key sources of international humanitarian law, including, e.g., the Conventions of The Hague and Geneva (and their progeny). We will examine the difference between international and non-international armed conflicts, and we will also consider the relationship between international humanitarian law and other areas of international law, such as international human rights law and international criminal law. Prerequisite: POLS 110 or consent of instructor
    Cross-listed as: IREL 346
  • POLS 347: International Institutions
    In this course students survey the theories of international institutions, focusing on how they emerge and function, as well as their effect on international relations processes and outcomes. Also central to the course are in-depth case studies of international organizations in the fields of diplomacy, security, economics, environment, law, and humanitarian affairs. Special emphasis is placed on the United Nations system and the European Union. Prerequisite: Politics 110 or consent of instructor.
    Cross-listed as: IREL 347
  • POLS 348: International Law
    Students in this course investigate the evolution of modern international law. We consider the roles of states, the United Nations, and non-state actors in international law, mechanisms for the creation and enforcement of international legal norms, the changing nature of state sovereignty from the Peace of Westphalia to the present, and breaches of international law and potential consequences. Attention is also given to pressing matters of international concern, including war and terrorism, environmental issues, and human rights and humanitarian law. Prerequisite: POLS 110 or consent of instructor.
    Cross-listed as: IREL 348
  • POLS 349: Gender in Developing Countries
    This class introduces students to the unique challenges that women face in developing countries. Organized around major policy debates, we explore themes including women in the labor force, women in politics, gender and development, inequality, and violence. We also learn about top-down change, instituted by organizations like the IMF and World Bank, and bottom-up solutions created by NGOs and social entrepreneurs. Through class readings, group discussions, small group work, presentations, and a research paper, students are able to identify forms of existing gender inequalities, and critically examine policy solutions.Prerequisite: POLS 110 or consent of instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: GSWS 349
  • POLS 350: Liberty
    The concept of individual liberty is a relatively modern one; its development began with the English Enlightenment. In this course, we will examine liberty as it relates to markets, individual rights, conflicts between equality and freedom, and conflicts between governmental authority and individual freedom. Must markets be completely free in order to claim economic freedom? Does freedom require a government to protect an individual's autonomy? Can there be a balance between individual liberty and communal good? Course readings are likely to include Hobbes, Locke, Smith, Publius, Tocqueville, Marx, Mill, Hayek, Friedman, and Rawls, among others. Pre-requisite: POLS 130 or consent of instructor.
  • POLS 351: Justice and the Law
    Political societies must make all manner of judgments about what is just. We must distribute goods, determine crimes, give punishments, and create legislative districts, all with an eye to some idea of justice. Is justice fairness? Proportional? Equitable? Different political and legal theorists have approached these questions differently. Using both traditional political theory texts and contemporary legal theory, we will explore questions of justice and the law and whether justice can be found within the law or is external to it. Readings include those by Plato, Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke, Thoreau, Mill, King, Rawls, Gunier, and contemporary legal theorists. Prerequisite: POLS 130 or consent of instructor.
  • POLS 352: Liberalism and Its Critics
    Modern political thought is based on ideas of equality, individuality and individual liberty, private property, and an overall idea of progress. These ideas developed especially in the thinking of Locke, Smith, and Mill. But as modernism grew, so did its critics. The course covers some basic theories of modernism through readings in the liberal tradition. It also considers opposition to liberalism as found in the writings of Burke, Rousseau, Tocqueville, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Marcuse, Arendt, and contemporary anti- and postmodernists. Prerequisite: POLS 130 or consent of instructor.
  • POLS 353: Topics in Political Theory
    (POLS 353 Topics in Political Theory: The Social Contract) Throughout the history of political thought, the metaphor of the social contract, or the idea that the consent of individuals is necessary for the formation of legitimate government, has been widely used to justify and/or criticize certain institutional arrangements. This course will be an examination of this metaphor. We will try to come to terms with both its philosophical appeal as well as its historical relevancy. In addition to reading classic texts of those like Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Rawls, we will also compare the models of these authors with actual processes of constitutional formation including the American Founding.
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  • POLS 355: Dictators, Despots, and Tyrants
    This course is an examination of the ideological underpinnings of modern dictatorships, their politics, and how they organize the institutions of the state. It begins with an examination of twentieth century dictatorships, including Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Imperial Japan, the Soviet Union, and Communist China. It then considers contemporary dictatorships in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Students are introduced to source materials including pamphlets authored by dictators and a variety of films from different genres. The course underscores the political commonalities and differences among dictatorial regimes over time and across regions. It also explores how modern-day dictatorships and their leaders have shown remarkable resilience against the forces of globalization and political liberalization. Prerequisite: POLS 110 or consent of instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: IREL 355
  • POLS 357: The Social Contract
    This course will examine the metaphor of the social contract, or the idea that the consent of individuals is necessary for the formation of legitimate government, which has been widely used to justify and/or criticize certain institutional arrangements. We will try to come to terms with both its philosophical appeal as well as its historical relevancy. In addition to reading classic texts of those like Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Rawls, we will also compare the models of these authors with actual processes of constitutional formation including the American Founding. Prerequisite: POLS 130 or permission of instructor.
  • POLS 358: Democratic Theory
    Almost everyone seems to be in favor of democracy, but there is considerable disagreement about what democracy means and why it might be worthy of our support. In this course, we seek to understand the concept of democracy from a variety of different historical, philosophical, and empirical perspectives. Examples of questions to be covered include: What is the relationship between democracy and the protection of individual rights? How responsive should democratically elected representatives be to their constituents? Are ordinary citizens knowledgeable enough to participate effectively in democratic politics? Prerequisite: Politics 120 or consent of instructor.
  • POLS 361: The First Amendment
    In this course students explore the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of freedoms of speech (including obscenity and libel), assembly and association, the press, and the exercise and establishment of religion. We will also examine First Amendment issues raised by regulation of the Internet and other new media. Prerequisite: POLS 120 or consent of instructor. Not open to First-Year Students.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 360
  • POLS 363: The Fourteenth Amendment
    (The Fourteenth Amendment: Civil Rights and Equality) Students in this course examine the rulings of the United States Supreme Court in order to learn how the Fourteenth Amendment guides the government's treatment of people based on race, creed, national origin, gender, economic status and sexual orientation. State action, strict scrutiny analysis, affirmative action and voting rights are also covered. Prerequisite: POLS 120 or consent of instructor. Not open to First-Year Students. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: AMER 364
  • POLS 365: Civil Liberties
    This course focuses on our individual liberties as addressed in the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment. Using United States Supreme Court cases, we examine the protection of our individual liberties - the meaning of equal protection and the antidiscrimination principle, expressive freedom and the First Amendment, religious liberty and church-state relations, rights of personal autonomy and privacy, criminal justice, voting rights, property rights and economic freedom. Prerequisite: POLS 120 or permission of instructor. Second year standing is also required.
    Cross-listed as: AMER 366
  • POLS 390: Internship
    To be arranged individually with an appropriate faculty member.
  • POLS 391: Tutorial
    To be arranged individually with an appropriate faculty member.
  • POLS 395: Internship
    Relates theory to practice by placing students in governmental agencies, community interest groups, and other political environments. (Two course credits.)
  • POLS 397: Political Ecology
    Political ecology examines the politics of the environment, exploring ways politics affects the environment and, conversely, the environment politics. This course expands our understanding of politics to examine the roles of human and non-human political actors in environmental change, environmental knowledge acquisition and dissemination, and environmental inequalities. With global inequality as a central concern, we consider topics such as global "villagization" in Tanzania, development projects in India, agrarian reforms in the global south, and effects of land loss on Cajuns, Native Americans, and African-Americans in Southern Louisiana. We also look carefully at the concept of agency and explore how much it is possible to expand our notions of agency to non-human environmental entities, such as animals, plants ecosystems, and genes. Possible topics include cows, cotton, the Mississippi River, and carbon. Prerequisite: Any 200-level course in ES, ENGL, PHIL, or POLS. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
    Cross-listed as: ES 362
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  • POLS 480: Presidential Power
    (Senior Seminar in American Politics and Law: Presidential Power) Students in this senior seminar explore the growth in executive power relative to the legislative and judicial branches of the federal government. Our examination begins with President Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War. It continues with his successor, Richard Nixon, who, according to some people, epitomizes the concentration of executive power. Though Nixon's resignation signals the end of an 'imperial presidency,' under President Reagan the executive branch's consolidation of power is renewed. The experiences of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s are a backdrop for the study of the expansion of executive power under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Prerequisite: POLS 120 or permission of instructor. Open to Politics majors and minors in the third or fourth year.
  • POLS 481: Revolutions and Global Development
    (Senior Seminar in Global Politics: Revolutions and Global Development) Social movements and political transformations constitute the critical dynamics of the contemporary international system. This senior seminar exposes students to key concepts, theories and empirical case studies in struggles for democracy and resistance against dictatorships in the modern world. We will critically analyze some of the goals of popular uprisings, peasant insurgencies, and popular mass mobilizations, and their effects on the geo-strategic configurations of power among major nation states. Utilizing regional case studies from England, France, Russia, China, Iran, Algeria, South Africa, etc., students will debate the scholarship on social change, economic development, and the imperatives of political democratization in the quest for power and prestige. We will also consider conflict and cooperation in the globally interdependent world system. This course is the capstone experience for fourth year politics and international relations majors.
  • POLS 482: Affirmative Action
    (Senior Seminar in American Politics and Law: Affirmative Action) Affirmative action in employment and education is one of the most controversial issues of our time. As such, it transects many subfields of political science: political theory, American political institutions, elections, law and constitutionalism, public opinion, comparative politics. Affirmative action policies bring to light American attitudes toward race, gender, sexual identity, and ethnicity. The course begins with a study of the foundational legal, ethical and political issues of affirmative action. Students then pursue their own, specialized projects on the topic. Prerequisite: Politics senior or consent of instructor. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity requirement.)

  • POLS 483: Democratic Peace & War
    Senior Seminar in Global Politics: Democratic Peace and War. Do liberal democracies conduct their external relations differently than dictatorships? If so, how, why, and to what result? These questions taken together constitute a central focus of international relations scholarship. This course finds its intellectual foundations in Immanuel Kant's thesis that liberal democracies at once enjoy a 'separate peace' amongst themselves and act belligerently toward dictatorships. Students in this senior seminar survey a rich literature on the 'democratic peace' thesis through the lenses of realist, liberal, and constructivist international relations theory, through reference to in-depth case studies and large-scale data analysis. In their seminar papers, students apply these theories and methods to their research on current foreign policies issues among democracies and between democracies and dictatorships.
    Prerequisite: Open to international relations and politics juniors and seniors only.

  • POLS 484: Searches, Seizures, and Security
    (Senior Seminar in American Politics and Law: Searches, Seizures, and Security). The right against government intrusion into our lives is one of our most cherished freedoms found in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution. The framers believed that agents of government should not enter private homes or search personal property without justification. Yet now, government entities and corporations have access to our personal information raising questions of how current law, politics, and security issues at home and abroad reshape constitutional boundaries of our right to privacy. This course begins with a study of the Fourth Amendment and constitutional rights and limitations of search and seizure and continues with a review of current law affecting our national security. This course is a capstone course for politics majors and students will pursue their own specialized research projects on the topic. Prerequisite: Politics senior or consent of the instructor.
  • POLS 485: Constitutional Change
    (Senior Seminar in American Politics & Law: Constitutional Change). While the United States may have the oldest written Constitution in the world, it has been subject to nearly constant change since the moment it was ratified. In addition to formal amendments including the Bill of Rights, our constitutional institutions and culture have been significantly modified and affected by Supreme Court opinions, presidential decisions, legislative constructions, and even citizen-based protest movements. In this seminar, we explore the question of how constitutional change has actually happened in our nation's past, and assess whether some of these procedures and mechanisms of change are better or worse than others. We will then conclude by evaluating a variety of contemporary proposals for constitutional reform. Students will thereby be invited to think both descriptively and morally about the history and future of American constitutionalism. As a capstone course for politics majors, students will pursue their own specialized research projects on the topic. Prerequisite: Politics senior or consent of instructor.
  • POLS 486: Global Justice
    Virtually all of the major pressing and controversial debates in international politics revolve on some level around questions of justice: When is humanitarian intervention justified? Are certain tactics of war morally unjustifiable? Are human rights universal ideals that should apply everywhere, or should they be limited by certain cultural and/or religious traditions? How should distributive justice work at the global level? Does justice require that rich countries allow for more immigration? Do we need a world state? In this senior seminar, students will probe these and other questions. We will examine these issues from a variety of perspectives, including ones that are skeptical about the very idea of 'global justice.' As a capstone course for politics and international relations majors, students will pursue their own specialized research projects on the topic. Prerequisite: Junior or senior politics and/or international relations majors, or consent of instructor.
  • POLS 487: The American Dream
    This senior seminar invites participants to critically examine the role of the "American Dream" in U.S. social and political life. The dream's narrative that anyone can achieve success through hard work has both inspired and limited our effort as a people to form a more perfect union. We will begin by considering the ways in which the dream narrative has become synonymous with American political culture itself, particularly as it relates to the attitudes Americans hold about equality of opportunity and social mobility. Finally, we will consider how adherence to the dream narrative affects decision-making in our democracy along a wide range of economic and social policy issues including: housing, health care, education, crime, and poverty reduction. Students will then pursue their own specialized project on the intersection of the American dream with a specific public policy topic of their choosing. Prerequisites: Junior or Senior standing, declared Politics major or permission of instructor.
  • POLS 488: Security & Insecurity
    (Senior Seminar in Global Politics/International Relations: Security and Insecurity). Security studies in a mainstay of international relations scholarship and, like the international relations discipline itself, security studies has evolved and changed over the years. Drawing from theories of international relations, this senior seminar is an inquiry into the meanings of security (and insecurity). It underscores the wide variations in the application of the term to the objects of research, including the state (national security), the system of states (international security), the world beyond national borders (global security), and people and communities (human security). It applies these formations of security to a variety of issue areas in international relations today, both traditional (military affairs and economic affairs) and non-traditional (humanitarian and environmental affairs), thereby exposing students to an array of understandings and approaches to security studies in contemporary theory and practice. Students use their acquired knowledge to research and analyze a contemporary security issue or set of related issues. Prerequisite: Open to international relations and politics juniors and seniors only.

    Cross-listed as: IREL 481
  • POLS 490: Internship
    To be arranged individually with a faculty supervisor.
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  • POLS 491: Tutorial
    To be arranged individually with a faculty supervisor.