PSCI 120(S)America and the World

This course will help students understand the US role in the world. US wealth and military power force its leaders to make choices that no other leaders in the world confront. Students will learn to evaluate the decisions that US leaders have made on a wide range of difficult foreign policy issues, including: rising Chinese power; Russian moves in Ukraine; nuclear proliferation to Iran; terrorist threats; humanitarian disasters in Syria and Libya; and long-term challenges like climate change. We will not only describe American involvement in various international issues but also seek to understand the reasons why the US perhaps should or should not be involved, and we will see why such careful reasoning only sometimes gains traction in actual US foreign policy debates. Finally, we will assess whether US foreign policy decisions are coherent - that is, whether the US can be said to follow a "grand strategy." By the end of the course, students will develop their ability to think about foreign policy issues, improving their ability to participate in public life as engaged citizens. [ more ]

PSCI 125(F)Leadership, Power and Legitimacy: An Introduction to Leadership Studies

Leadership has long been a central concept in the study of politics. Philosophers from Plato to Machiavelli have struggled with the question of what qualities and methods are necessary for effective leadership. Social scientists throughout the twentieth century have struggled to refine and advance hypotheses about leadership in the areas of economics, psychology, and sociology, among others. Nevertheless, despite all of this impressive intellectual effort, the study of leadership remains a contested field of study precisely because universal answers to the major questions in leadership studies have proven to be elusive. This course is designed to introduce students to many of the central issues and debates in the area of leadership studies. [ more ]

PSCI 131(S)Global Queer Politics and Theory

In this course we explore, in a global context, the politics and theories of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, queer, and two-spirit persons. Despite stunning recent developments in the US and Western Europe regarding the rights, visibility and security of gays and lesbians, from a global perspective matters look quite different. New laws criminalizing homosexuality have been enacted in India and Nigeria. Transnational activism against such laws is slandered as neo-colonial even as India's legislation, for example, revives forms of criminalization first imposed by the British Empire. In the US itself, the advance of marriage equality may be an outlier: legislation against employment discrimination has stalled at the federal level and in most states. We analyze these and related issues, including those confronted by queers of color and indigenous two-spirit, third and fourth gender persons, using the tools of political theory. [ more ]

Taught by: TBA

Catalog details

PSCI 132Contemporary Africana Social and Political Philosophy

Not offered this year

This introductory seminar investigates the relationship between three major schools of thought in contemporary Africana social and political philosophy, namely the African, Afro-American, and Afro-Caribbean intellectual traditions. We will discuss a range of thinkers including Aime Cesaire, Angela Y. Davis, Edouard Glissant, Lewis R. Gordon, Kwame Gyekye, Paget Henry, bell hooks, Charles W. Mills, Nkiru Nzegwu, Lucius Outlaw, Oyeronke Oyewumi, Tommie Shelby, and Sylvia Wynter. A primary goal of the course is to provide students with the intellectual resources to decipher problems central to philosophical discourse and to allow students an opportunity to apply what they learn to critical issues in current geopolitics. This seminar is part of the Exploring Diversity Initiative, and as such we shall investigate--via the authors mentioned--comparative philosophical analyses, critical theorization, and the plurality of global thinking in contemporary social and political philosophy. [ more ]

Taught by: TBA

Catalog details

PSCI 135(F)Politics after the Apocalypse

The zombies are coming! Climate change will destroy us! Bird-flu pandemic! To our horror and delight, reminders are everywhere that the end is near. Some of these projected apocalypses are alarmist, some fanciful...and others all too realistic. What shape will politics take after the apocalypse? What aspects of politics will endure the ravages of fire or pestilence? What new political realities might emerge on ground cleared by disaster? And what does it say about politics today that we are so eager to consume stories of states falling and bands of survivors scraping together a nasty, brutish and short existence? In this class, we reconsider what politics is and should be by contemplating accounts of its destruction and rebirth in television, film, literature, activism, social science, and critical theory. We will approach these sources as analogous to political theory's classic thought experiment of the "state of nature" and social contract. And we will consider what it tells us about our time that we are so eager to imagine ourselves at the beginning of the end. Class will be driven primarily by discussion. Students will have significant responsibility for setting the agenda for discussions through informal writing submitted prior to class. Two papers, one close-reading assignment, and one post-apocalyptic short story or video are required. [ more ]

PSCI 140Religion and Capitalism

Not offered this year

Up through the 1960s it was popular to claim that the world was becoming increasingly and inevitably secular, with the development of modern capitalist social relations as a signature cause. Today the 'secularization thesis' is largely defunct. Instead one sees the vibrant return of religion to social, economic, and political prominence in most parts of the world--at the very same time we are experiencing through globalization and the information revolution the most dramatic economic advances in a century. This course investigates the historical and contemporary relationship between culture and economics, religion and capitalism, in their most encompassing forms. In investigating this theme, our cornerstone will be Max Weber's famous argument from The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Along the way we will discuss both the origins of capitalist society as well as its more recent transformations through the rise of the welfare state, consumerism, and globalization. We will also discuss changes in religion under the influence of capitalism including romanticism, Pentecostalism, moralistic therapeutic Deism, and the 'God gap' between largely theist Africa, South and West Asia, and the Americas on the one hand and largely atheist Europe and East Asia on the other. The focus of the course is on Christianity in Western countries both historically and in the present, but we will spend time discussing religion (particularly Pentecostalism) and capitalism in the contemporary Global South as well. [ more ]

PSCI 141Bandits and Warlords

Not offered this year

A leading scholar once quipped that political communities "qualify as our largest examples of organized crime." He wasn't far off: governments are meant to protect their citizenry, but as the #bringbackoursgirls or the KONY 2012 campaigns reveal, sometimes they fail. Bandits emerge, racketeers flourish, and warlords replace governments. By looking at Boko Haram, Seleka rebels, Al-Shabaab, Somali pirates and the Lords Resistance Army, this course explores the conditions that lead to the collapse of government protection and its replacement by bandits and warlords. We will then use this understanding to examine prominent examples of banditry and warlordism in Latin America, the Middle East and Europe. [ more ]

PSCI 178 T(F)Music and Politics

This course examines how musical sound and musical discourse change, enable, and inhibit citizen formation and the functioning of a well-ordered society. We will take a very wide definition of "politics," as music can have political meaning and effects far beyond national anthems and propaganda. For instance, musical sound is often read as a metaphor for political structures: eighteenth-century commenters pointed out that string quartets mirrored reasoned, democratic discourse, and twentieth-century critics made similar arguments about free jazz. Beliefs about music can serve as a barometer for a society's non-musical anxieties: Viennese fin-de-siecle critics worried that the sounds and stories of Strauss's operas were causing moral decline, an argument that should be familiar to anyone who reads criticism of American popular music. Finally, a pervasive strand of Romantic thought holds that (good) music, by its nature, is apolitical-what might it mean to deny social relevance to an entire field of human expression? We will read classic philosophical texts on art and politics by Schiller, Kant, Schopenhauer, Marx, Adorno, and others, and pair them with contextual studies of works of Western classical music from the last two hundred years and popular music of the last hundred years. [ more ]

PSCI 201(F, S)Power, Politics, and Democracy in America

Begun as an experiment over 200 years ago, the United States has grown into a polity that is simultaneously praised and condemned, critiqued and mythologized, modeled by others and remodeled itself. This course introduces students to the dynamics and tensions that have animated the American political order and that have nurtured these conflicting assessments. Topics include the founding of the American system and the primary documents (the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers), the primary institutions of national government then and now (Congress, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court) and the politics of policy-making in the United States. We study structures, processes, key events, and primary actors that have shaped American political development. In investigating these topics, we explore questions such as these: How is power allocated? What produces political change? Is there is a trade-off between democratic accountability and effective governance? How are tensions between liberty and equality resolved? Do the institutions produce good policies, and how do we define what is good? [ more ]

Taught by: Justin Crowe, George Marcus, Matthew Tokeshi

Catalog details

PSCI 202(F, S)World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations

Whereas the field of comparative politics looks at what goes on inside various countries, international relations considers the actions of sovereign states toward one another and the patterns and institutions that they create. International politics differs from domestic politics in the absence of centralized, legitimate institutions. Anarchy characterizes the world of sovereign states--there is no world government, nor agreement that one is desirable or even possible. This lack of a common authority means that any dispute among countries is up to the countries themselves to settle, by negotiating, appealing to shared norms, or using force. For this reason, while international relations involves many of the same topics that consume domestic politics--ethnic antagonisms, spending on aid, war, national identity, inequality, weapons manufacture, finance, loans, pollution, migration--it shares few of the same processes for dealing with them. This course covers the theories and problems central to international relations. It considers the importance that this radical decentralization has for achieving values we hold, and examines processes that might undermine or support the anarchical system in which we live. [ more ]

PSCI 203(F, S)Introduction to Political Theory

Is politics war by other means? Is it merely a practical way to meet our needs? Or is it, rather, the activity through which citizens pursue justice and the good life? And what is justice? How can it be established and secured? Where does it apply? To whom? What are the powers and obligations of citizenship? Who decides? On what basis? Political theory addresses questions such as these as it investigates the fundamental problems of how people can, do, and ought to live together. The questions have sparked controversy since the origins of political thinking; the answers remain controversial now. This course addresses the controversies, drawing examples from struggles over such matters as racism, colonialism, revolution, political founding, economic order, and the politics of sex and gender, while focusing on major works of ancient, modern, and contemporary theory by such authors as Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Rousseau, Mill, Marx, Nietzsche, Beauvoir, Arendt, Fanon, Rawls, Foucault, and Young. Themes may include power, authority, obligation, freedom, justice, equality, democracy, liberalism, capitalism, feminism, and violence, though the emphases will vary from semester to semester. [ more ]

PSCI 204(F, S)Introduction to Comparative Politics: Nationalism, Ideology, and State Power

While the field of international relations focuses on the actions of sovereign states towards one another, the comparative study of politics looks mainly at what goes on inside countries, the domestic dynamics of political power and institutions. It asks, for example, where sovereign states come from, why political life differs so much from one country to another, and how political regimes, structures and institutions change, sometimes suddenly. Thus comparative politics is often about what citizens of countries with stable and relatively effective governments take for granted (and why they may take it for granted). In this course, we will examine several broad historical-political themes: the rise of modern state structures; the emergence of capitalism; the articulation of national identities; the spread of liberalism and democracy; the roots of terrorism; and the effects of war and religion on politics. Worthwhile answers will require us to look at them theoretically, historically, comparatively, and through contemporary developments. [ more ]

PSCI 205Political Leadership

Not offered this year

This course will examine the leadership strategies of American political leaders with an emphasis on the importance of communication strategies for public sector leaders. We will study these issues by examining local, state and federal political leaders and by answering key questions specific to the political realm. We will read and watch significant speeches of American political leaders, be visited by guests with deep knowledge and insight into the world of politics and read a variety of writings by academics and practitioners on the subject. We will explore questions such as "What characteristics mark successful communication and how do leaders craft a unique and effective communications style?" and "What strategic considerations are there for female political leaders and do they have different challenges in communicating?" The first series of classes will focus on communication taking a look at some of America's best political orators, the special requirements of crisis communication and the changes that new media has brought to the practice of politics and government. We will then explore the tenets of political strategy--both in campaigns and governing. This segment of the course will take a look at the tools used in crafting a strategy and how to put together a winning coalition. The final classes in the course will explore the unique challenges and opportunities facing select sub-groups of political leaders: women, celebrity candidates and officeholders and high-achieving young political leaders--operatives and elected officials. [ more ]

PSCI 206 T(F)Dangerous Leadership in American Politics

"Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders. What do Americans want from their political leaders?". A common assumption is that those who do it well--whether in the presidency, the parties, social movements, organizations, or local communities--are just and legitimate agents of democratic change, and those most celebrated are those who have helped the country make progress toward its ideals. Yet to rest on this is too simple as it is, in part, an artifact of historical construction. Assessing leadership in the moment is complicated because leaders press against the bounds of political convention--as do ideologues, malcontents, and lunatics. Indeed, a central concern of the founders was that democracy would invite demagogues who would bring the nation to ruin. Complicating things further, the nature of democratic competition is such that those vying for power have incentive to portray the opposition's leadership as dangerous. How do we distinguish desirable leadership from dangerous leadership? Can they be the same thing? Many who today are recognized as great leaders were, in their historical moment, branded dangerous. Others, whose ambitions and initiatives arguably undermined progress toward American ideals, were not recognized as dangerous at the time. In this tutorial, we will explore the concept of dangerous leadership in American history, from inside as well as outside of government. What constitutes dangerous leadership, and what makes a leader dangerous? Is it the person or the context? Who decides? How do we distinguish truly dangerous leadership from the perception of dangerous leadership? Does dangerous describe the means or the ends of leadership? Does it matter? Is leadership that privileges desirable ends, such as justice or security, at the expense of democratic means acceptable? Is democratic leadership in service of "dangerous" goals acceptable, and what are these goals? [ more ]

PSCI 207(F)Political Elections

The National and state elections taking place this fall, 2016, will be "interesting". Historically, elections with the dominant consideration of who will be the President generate greater attention by and greater involvement of the public. This is especially the case when an incumbent President is not standing for re-election. The 21st century in the United States has had a very turbulent beginning and the American public is very divided over how best to respond to the many challenges that confront the United States. This course explores the factors that shape the outcome of political elections in America. Among the factors we will consider are the state of the economy, international events, the role of political parties at the state and national levels, the current partisan balance, ideology, media, special interests, money, candidates, the "hot" issues of the moment, of which there are many, and long enduring issues that have long generated conflict at the national level. We will consider in detail the 2016 national elections both for Federal office (President, Senate and House) and for state offices (governors and state legislators). And, we will consider the likely consequences that will flow from the results that obtain. [ more ]

PSCI 208 TWealth in America

Not offered this year

The pursuit of wealth is an important feature of American political identity, captured by the ideas of the American dream and the Protestant work ethic. The accumulation of wealth has been lauded as both a worthy individual activity and a vital component of the nation's public interest. Yet inequality in wealth may conflict with the political equality necessary for democratic governance and public trust, leading to concerns that we are sacrificing community, fairness, and opportunity for the benefit of a small portion of the population. This tutorial focuses on questions about the public value of wealth and its accumulation, which have become more pressing now that the richest one percent of Americans own about 40 percent of privately held wealth. Some readings will be historical, particularly those focusing on American political thought and the politics of the Gilded Age, such as Andrew Carnegie's "Gospel of Wealth". Most of the readings, such as Pierson and Hacker's Winner-Take-All Politics, will focus on contemporary political debates about the accumulation, concentration, and redistribution of wealth. [ more ]

PSCI 209Poverty in America

Not offered this year

Although some protest that the U.S. is heading toward European-style socialism, social welfare programs in the U.S. differ in important ways from those in other wealthy and democratic nations. This course focuses on the adoption and development of policies to address poverty and inequality in the U.S. The issues we will explore include: What is poverty, and how do Americans perceive its dangers to individuals as well as the political community? What economic, historical, and sociological theories have been advanced to explain poverty? Why has the U.S. adopted some approaches to reduce poverty but not others? What enduring political conflicts have shaped the U.S. welfare state? [ more ]

PSCI 210Culture and Incarceration

Not offered this year

This seminar examines incarceration, immigration detention centers, and the death penalty from historical and contemporary perspectives. Students will study and examine interdisciplinary texts as well primary sources (legislature and criminal codes and writings by the incarcerated). The emphasis will be on the study of social attitudes concerning ethnic groups, gender/sexuality and class as they pertain to a "penal culture" in the United States. [ more ]

PSCI 211(F)Do the People Govern? U.S. Public Opinion and Mass Political Behavior

America's founding documents explicitly state that the will of the people is the authority upon which our government rests. But do the people actually govern, and should they? Pessimists point out that most Americans know very little about politics and lack coherent political views, are easily manipulated by media and campaigns, and are frequently ignored by public officials anyway. Optimists counter that, even if individuals are often ignorant and/or confused about politics, in the aggregate, the public sends a coherent signal to public officials, who usually carry out the public's general wishes. In addition to engaging this debate about what the public thinks about politics, we will also explore how people behave in the political realm. What are the forces that shape whether citizens pay attention to politics, vote, work on campaigns, protest, or engage in other types of political action? How do resource gaps tied to inequalities in society (such as race, class, and gender) influence political behavior? And how do institutions such as the media and campaigns encourage or discourage it? [ more ]

Taught by: Matthew Tokeshi

Catalog details

PSCI 212Hip-Hop and Political Theory

Not offered this year

This course is an introduction into the theoretical underpinnings of the genesis and evolution of hip-hop, a late modern phenomenon whose forms are routinely referred to as a movement, a culture, a music, and a politics. Since its emergence in the South Bronx during the late 1970s, what constitutes the organizing definitions and philosophical bulwarks of hip-hop are often underexplored. The course illuminates such submerged, neglected, and contested bodies of knowledge by focusing on eight concepts: justice, rights, recognition, freedom, equality, democracy, love, and judgment. Through these principles, students are able to address how we frame questions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, authenticity, the public sphere, incarceration, and globalization. Our meetings consider the popular and the underground, the originally forged and the remixed, the utility of nomenclature bifurcating conscious and radical hip-hop on the one hand and alternative modes following the logic of neoconservatism and neoliberalism on the other, examining throughout the interplay among language, aesthetics, and form. We investigate as well whether hip-hop in the United States and around the world is intrinsically a political, anti-political, or neutral force in the realm of politics. Written texts, lyrical thought, breaking, film, music videos, and guest lectures by rappers, R&B singers, DJs, academics, and graffiti artists are interwoven in assignments and in-class discussions. Through these mediums and select experiential education opportunities outside the classroom, students have an opportunity to render evaluations on the political theory of hip-hop between past and future. [ more ]

PSCI 214(F)Racial and Ethnic Politics in America

Arguably, the dominant discourse in the election and presidency of Barack Obama and the battle to succeed him is about race. Race is connected to salient issues like immigration and police conduct; to politicians across the political spectrum, including Obama, Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders; and (some argue) to virtually everything in American politics, including fundamental concepts that have no manifest racial content, like partisanship and the size and scope of government. We will evaluate the role of race as it relates to public opinion, political behavior, campaigns, political institutions, and public policy debates, with special attention devoted to the nature of racial attitudes. Most of the course will focus on the historical and contemporary relations between whites and African Americans, but we will also explore topics involving other pan-ethnic communities, particularly Latinos and Asian Americans. [ more ]

Taught by: Matthew Tokeshi

Catalog details

PSCI 216American Constitutionalism I: Structures of Power

Not offered this year

How has the American Constitution been debated and understood over time? What is the relationship between constitutional and political change? This course examines the historical development of American constitutional law and politics from the Founding to the present. Our focus is on structures of power -- the limits on congressional lawmaking, growth of presidential authority, establishment of judicial review, conflicts among the three branches of the federal government, and boundaries between the federal and state and local governments. The specific disputes under these rubrics range from secession to impeachment, gun control to child labor, waging war to spurring commerce; the historical periods to be covered include the Marshall and Taney Court years, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the Warren Court, and the conservative ascendancy of the late twentieth century. Readings are drawn from Supreme Court opinions, presidential addresses, congressional debates and statutes, political party platforms, key tracts of American political thought, and secondary scholarship on constitutional development. Throughout the semester, our goal will be less to remember elaborate doctrinal rules and multi-part constitutional "tests" than to understand the changing nature of, and changing relationship between, constitutional power and constitutional meaning in American history. [ more ]

PSCI 217(S)American Constitutionalism II: Rights and Liberties

How has the American Constitution been debated and understood over time? What is the relationship between constitutional and political change? This course examines the historical development of American constitutional law and politics from the Founding to the present. Our focus is on rights and liberties -- freedom of speech and religion, property, criminal process, autonomy and privacy, and equality. The specific disputes under these rubrics range from abortion to affirmative action, hate speech to capital punishment, school prayer to same-sex marriage; the historical periods to be covered include the early republic, the ante-bellum era, the Civil War and Reconstruction, World Wars I and II, the Warren Court, and contemporary America. Readings are drawn from Supreme Court opinions, presidential addresses, congressional debates and statutes, political party platforms, key tracts of American political thought, and secondary scholarship on constitutional development. Throughout the semester, our goal will be less to remember elaborate doctrinal rules and multi-part constitutional "tests" than to understand the changing nature of, and changing relationship between, constitutional rights and constitutional meaning in American history. [ more ]

PSCI 218(F)The American Presidency

To study the presidency is to study human nature and personality, constitution and institution, strategy and contingency. This course will examine the problems and paradoxes that attend the exercise of the most powerful political office in the world's oldest democracy: Can an executive office be constructed with sufficient energy to govern and also be democratically accountable? How much do we attribute the shaping of politics to the agency of the individual in the office and to what extent are politics the result of structural, cultural, and institutional factors? Are the politics of the presidency different in foreign and domestic policy? How are national security concerns balanced with domestic priorities such as the protection of civil liberties? How is the office and purpose of the presidency affected by an economic order predicated on private capital? Exploration of these questions will lead us to examine topics such as presidential selection, the bases of presidential power, character and leadership issues, congressional-executive relations, the media, and emergency powers. Attention will focus largely on the modern presidency, though older historical examples will also be used to help us gain perspective on these problems. [ more ]

PSCI 219 T(F)Women in National Politics

This tutorial focuses on the writings and memoirs of women who have shaped national political and electoral/campaign culture in the 20th and early 21st centuries. Women studied include: Fannie Lou Hamer, Barbara Jordan, Shirley Chisholm, Lani Guinier, Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton, Condoleeza Rice, Sarah Palin, Nancy Pelosi. [ more ]

PSCI 220Afghanistan Post-Mortem

Not offered this year

The United States attacked and defeated the Afghan Taliban regime over in the course of a few short weeks in 2001. Over the next decade, the finality of that victory was brought into question as the Taliban regrouped and eventually reasserted itself as a formidable guerilla army that the U.S. military could not defeat. This course examines the history of American involvement in Afghanistan, beginning in the Cold War when the U.S. used Afghanistan as a test case for new models of political modernization and economic development, through the Soviet occupation and U.S. support for Islamist political parties in the 1980s, and continuing with the most recent abortive U.S. efforts at nation-building and social and political reform. [ more ]

PSCI 222(F)Refugees in the International System

A half century ago, the United Nations subtitled its report on refugees "a problem of our time." This course considers the politics of this designation: why refugees are "a problem" at all, whom they might be a problem for, and what might be meant by "our" time. Our readings start with individuals' experiences, turn to theories about processes that generate refugees, continue to international and national laws and policies on displacement and asylum-seeking, and conclude with case studies. Our central question is: what do the legal categorization and experiences of refugees tell us about power in the international system? This class is writing-intensive. Each student will write, and rewrite, an essay at each stage of the course. [ more ]

PSCI 223(F)International Law

International law embodies the rules that govern the society of states. It spells out who can be a state and how to become one, what states can do, what they cannot do, and who can punish transgressions. It also determines the status of other actors, such as international organizations, heads of state, refugees, transnational religious institutions, and multinational corporations. International law is similar to domestic law, with one very crucial difference: it is not enforced by a centralized, sovereign state. In other respects, it is the same: it protects the status quo, including the distribution of power among its members, it spells out legitimate and illegitimate ways of resolving conflicts of interest; it is biased toward the powerful; it tells its members how to act to coordinate their interests and minimize direct conflict; some of it is purely aspirational, some of it necessary for survival. And like domestic law, it is enforced only some of the time, and then against the weak more than the strong. Yet, law is still where we look for justice. [ more ]

PSCI 224(F)Neo-liberalism: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?

We live in the era of neo-liberalism. But what does this mean? This course will focus on neo-liberalism in comparative perspective, looking mainly at the US and Europe. It will consider how neo-liberalism is defined, the role of states in making and maintaining neo-liberalism, the centrality of markets to neo-liberal conceptions, and the kinds of politics that produced and are produced by neo-liberalism. Economically, the course will look at the institutional configuration of neo-liberalism, changes in economies, growing inequality, the financial crises, and prevalence of debt. Politically, the course will address changes in the role of government, what governments do and do not do, the growing influence of financial interests, the role of identities in mobilizing support for and legitimating governments, and the impact of these developments on the status of citizenship and democracy. [ more ]

PSCI 225(S)International Security

This course examines when, why, and how military threats and military force are used to obtain international political objectives. It discusses the many methods used by states and non-state actors to bend opponents to their will, including military coercion, economic coercion, terrorism, guerrilla warfare, nuclear threats, and conventional war. It also explores how the organizational attributes of these actors--e.g., leadership structures, military cultures, and bureaucratic politics--may affect their decisions to use force and the effectiveness with which they do so. The course focuses on the period from the end of World War II until the present. [ more ]

PSCI 227(S)War and the Nation-State

As Charles Tilly famously argued, "War made the state, and the state made war". This course explores the phenomenon of war in its broader socio-economic context during the years between the emergence of the modern nation-state in the late 18th century and the end of World War II. It examines the ways in which warfare influenced state development, and in turn, how state development changed the nature and conduct of war itself. The co-evolution of nation-states and modern warfare is studied in the context of four broad social transformations: the rise of nationalism, democratization, industrialization, and military bureaucratization. We will also discuss the causes, conduct, and consequences of the major wars of this period, including the Napoleonic Wars, the Wars of German Unification, and the cataclysmic showdowns of the twentieth century: World War I and World War II. [ more ]

PSCI 228International Organization

Not offered this year

Tens of thousands of international organizations populate our world. IGOs, whose members are governments of sovereigns, range from the Nordic Association for Reindeer Research to the UN and NATO; NGOs, whose members are private groups and individuals, include the International Seaweed Association as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross. We will examine where they come from, what they do, and to whom they matter, and will examine their agency, efficiency, and accountability. We cover the history, structures and functions of international organizations using case studies. [ more ]

PSCI 229Global Political Economy

Not offered this year

Thirty years ago the production, distribution, consumption and accumulation of goods, services and capital were predominantly national, organized by nation-states and within national territories. Today they all are increasingly global in scope, and nation-states find themselves more and more the subjects than the masters of mobile transnational corporations, international trade tribunals, global currency markets and natural resources cartels. All of these developments have direct and far-reaching effects on the power of states, the wealth of societies, and the life chances of billions of people around the world. This course offers a broad introduction to contemporary global capitalism, emphasizing the inherent and inseparable intertwining of politics and economics, power and wealth, the state and the market. It begins with an overview of the recent history of globalization. The core of the course is made up of a broad analysis of global trade, global finance, and development, with special attention to subjects such as free trade, foreign aid, industrial policy, currency wars, and financial crisis. We conclude the course with a close look at current global financial instabilities and the implications for the future of global capitalism. [ more ]

PSCI 231Ancient Political Thought

Not offered this year

The core activity of this seminar is the careful reading and sustained discussion of selected works by Plato and Aristotle, but we will also engage such other thinkers as Epictetus and Augustine, and, from a political and theoretical point of view, selections from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. Among the questions that we will address: What is justice? How can it be known and pursued? How is political power generated and exercised? What are the social and ethical prerequisites--and consequences--of democracy? Must the freedom or fulfillment of some people require the subordination of others? Does freedom require leading (or avoiding) a political life? What distinguishes that kind of life from others? What does it mean to be "philosophical" or to think "theoretically" about politics? Although we will attempt to engage the readings on their own terms, we will also ask how the vast differences between the ancient world and our own undercut or enhance the texts' ability to illuminate the dilemmas of political life for us. [ more ]

PSCI 232(S)Modern Political Thought

This course is a chronological survey of major works of political theory from the 16th to the 20th century. In discussions and writing, we will explore the diverse visions of modernity and of politics offered by such thinkers as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, Mill, and Freud. They help us ask: What is freedom? Who is equal? Who should rule? With what limits and justifications? What form of government best serves the people? Who are the people, anyway? And on what grounds can we justify confidence in our provisional answers to such questions? Class will be primarily driven by discussion, often preceded by brief lectures. Attention to the writing process and developing an authorial voice will be a recurrent focus of our work inside and outside the classroom. [ more ]

PSCI 233Rastafari: Dread, Politics, Agency

Not offered this year

The emergence of Rastafari in the twentieth century marked a distinct phase in the theory and practice of political agency. From its heretical roots in Jamaica, Garveyism, Ethiopianism, and Pan-Africanism, Rastafari has evolved from a Caribbean theological movement to an international political actor. This course investigates the political theory of Rastafari in order to develop intellectual resources for theorizing the concept of agency in contemporary Africana thought and political theory. We will analyze texts and audio-visual works on the political economy of late colonial Jamaica, core Rastafari thinking, political theology, the role of reggae music, the notion of agency, and the influence of Rastafari on global politics. [ more ]

Taught by: TBA

Catalog details

PSCI 234(F)Political Romanticism

What is Romanticism, and how does it relate to the world-changing political upheavals that emerge along with it? Romantic literature emerged around the time of the French and Haitian Revolutions, and many Romantic authors were deeply sympathetic to the democratic principles of freedom and equality that inspired such political uprisings. Yet many also questioned revolutionaries' attempts to realize such ideas by forcibly seizing control of governments. These authors became interested in art and literature as alternative means of bringing about social and political change. In so doing, they invented ideas about the political power of art that are still very much with us today. This seminar examines these ideas through readings of works of Romantic literature and the philosophy that brought them into the world, while also considering how arguments subsequently developed for and against political Romanticism inform today's heated debates about the relationship between art and politics. Authors may include Burke, Kant, Rousseau, Wordsworth, Schiller, C. Smith, P.B. Shelley, Hegel, Heine, Marx, and Carl Schmitt. [ more ]

PSCI 235(S)Survival and Resistance: Environmental Political Theory

Contemporary struggles to reverse environmental destruction and establish sustainable communities have prompted some political theorists to rethink longstanding assumptions about politics and its relationship to nature. Does the environment have "rights"? What, if anything, is the difference between an ecosystem and a political community? Is democracy dangerous to the planet's health? Are environmental protections compatible with political freedom? How is the domination or conquest of nature connected with domination and conquest within human societies? What does justice demand in an age of climate change? In this class, we will consider the promise and limits of political theory to illuminate present day environmental crises and foster movements to overcome them. We will engage classic texts that helped to establish political theory's traditional view of nature as a resource, as well as contemporary texts that offer alternative, ecological understandings of nature and its entwinements with politics. Class will be driven primarily by discussion. Students will have significant responsibility for setting the agenda for discussions through informal writing submitted prior to class. As a writing intensive course, attention to the writing process and developing an authorial voice will be a recurrent focus of our work inside and outside the classroom. [ more ]

PSCI 236Sex, Gender, and Political Theory

Not offered this year

This course offers a feminist reading of key concepts in the study of politics: freedom, justice, equality, obligation, representation, alienation, and objectification. Each of these terms will be considered in relation to problems of political exclusion and social stratification that persist in democracies, with particular attention to inequalities based on sex, gender, race, and class. Is welfare a problem for freedom theory? In what way might a pregnancy be experienced as a form of alienation, and how does this pose a challenge for theories of justice? Is it possible to treat another person as an equal and at the same time an object of one's sexual desire? We will identify the analytical tools and strategies that feminist theorists have employed in order to bring these and other concerns into political science scholarship, reconstructing traditional ideas of politics and public life in the process. Theorists whose work we will read include Susan Moller Okin, Nancy Hirschmann, Martha Nussbaum, Iris Marion Young, Drucilla Cornell, Gayatri Spivak, Dorothy Roberts, Judith Butler, Linda Zerilli and Catherine Mackinnon. [ more ]

PSCI 237(S)Masculinity and Politics

What is masculinity? How does it relate to men and the male body? Why are debates about masculinity in our culture so fiercely partisan and hyper-political? Motivated by such questions, this course investigates how the concept of masculinity has been, and continues to be, shaped by struggles over political power. We have three primary aims. First, to learn how influential political thinkers--especially Plato, Machiavelli, and Foucault--thought about masculinity and politics in relation to ancient Greece, Rome, and the modern world. Second, to analyze through the lens of masculinity several case studies of statesmen, citizens, and political issues in times of crisis and change--ranging from the Spartan lawgiver Lycurgus, to American soldiers in Vietnam, to contemporary debates over pornography and censorship. Third, to develop proficiency working with key theories and analytical tools used in the political study of men and masculinity today. [ more ]

PSCI 238(F)Economic Liberalism and Its Critics

Economic liberalism holds that society is better off if people enjoy economic freedom. Its critics point to what they believe this position ignores or what it wrongly assumes, and hence, how it would make bad policy. This course explores the relationship between politics and economics by surveying influential works of political economy. Its first part examines major thinkers in relation to the historical development of capitalism in Western Europe and the United States: the classical liberalism of Adam Smith, Karl Marx's revolutionary socialism, and the reformist ideas of John Stuart Mill and John Maynard Keynes. The second part considers mid-20th-century writers who revise and critique economic liberalism from a variety of perspectives, including Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ronald Coase, Arthur Okun, and Albert O. Hirschman. The third part surveys significant recent contributions relevant to the themes of the course, with applications to current public policy issues, including topics such as: power relations and autonomy in the workplace; asymmetric information and social insurance; economic inequality and distributive justice; equality of opportunity; the economics of health care; positional goods and the moral foundations of capitalism; intergenerational equity and climate change; economic nationalism and new trade theory; behavioral economics; finance and financial crises; and rent-seeking. The combination of the historical focus of the early part of the course with discussion of modern policy issues and debates in the latter part of the course permits you to appreciate the ongoing dialogue between classical and contemporary views of political economy. [ more ]

PSCI 239Science, Gender and Power

Not offered this year

This course considers debates in feminism about the relationship between science, gender and power in politics. On the one hand, shifting ideas about gender have influenced the development of the sciences through history: for example, some feminists argue that science has historically been premised upon a view of women as objects, not subjects, of knowledge. On the other hand, shifting ideas about science have strongly influenced the development of feminist theory and practice: for example, debates about reproductive rights are often couched in terms of a conflict between reliable scientific knowledge of embryos, STDs, etc. and an unscientific, patriarchal worldview. Do science and technology serve to transform or reinforce power imbalances based on gender, race, and sexuality? Should feminist theory embrace objectivity and model itself upon scientific procedures of knowledge production? Or should feminists reject objectivity as a myth told by the powerful about their own knowledge-claims and develop an alternative approach to knowledge? What is "objectivity" anyway, and how has this norm changed through history? What kinds of alternatives to objectivity exist, and should they, too, count as "science"? Rather than treating science as a monolith, we will endeavor to understand the implications of various sciences--as practiced and envisioned in various, historically specific situations--for gender and politics. Readings may include texts by Rene Descartes, Andreas Vesalius, Londa Schiebinger, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Helen Longino, Nancy Harstock, Sandra Harding, bell hooks, Donna Haraway, Mary Hawkesworth, and Octavia Butler. [ more ]

PSCI 240Theories of Comparative Politics

Not offered this year

This course deals with the concepts that organize much of the contemporary study of comparative politics. The course discusses the purposes of states, the origins of capitalism, the relationship of states to capitalism, the connection between identities, cultures, and states, and the definition and nature of power. The readings include Alexis de Tocqueville, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Karl Polanyi, Barrington Moore, Michel Foucault, and Edward Said. [ more ]

PSCI 241(S)Meritocracy

Although an infinitesimal number of Americans have degrees from Harvard or Yale Universities, 33% of the top decision makers in the second Obama administration did. So do seven of the country's eight sitting Supreme Court Justices (as of early 2016). Is this a positive sign that the United States is governed by its most talented and capable members who have risen through hard work and equal opportunity? Or a negative one pointing to the power of a corrupt and self-selecting elite? This course explores the theme of meritocracy -- rule by the intellectually talented -- in comparative perspective. We will look at both old and new arguments regarding the proper role and definition of merit in political society as well as take the measure of meritocracy in present-day Singapore, France, and the United States. The course concludes with a focus on the current debate over American meritocracy and inequality. [ more ]

PSCI 242America and the Vietnam War

Not offered this year

Every American president from Franklin Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy sought to avoid a commitment of ground forces to Vietnam. Lyndon Johnson also feared the consequences of a massive American commitment, but he eventually sent over half a million men to Vietnam. Richard Nixon hoped to conclude a peace with honor when he assumed the presidency, but the war lasted for another four years with many additional casualties. This course examines the complex political processes that led successive American presidents to get involved in a conflict that all of them desperately wanted to avoid. We will examine both the international and domestic context of the war, as well as pay close attention to both South and North Vietnamese perspectives on the war. In addition, we will examine the long-standing arguments among both historians and political scientists over how to explain and interpret the longest and most controversial war in American history. [ more ]

PSCI 243(S)Politics of Africa

This course provides an introduction to the politics of contemporary Africa, emphasizing the diversity of African politics. It seeks to challenge the widespread image of African politics as universally and inexplicably lawless, violent, and anarchic. We begin by examining the colonization of Africa, nationalist movements, and patterns of rule in the first 30 years of independence. From there, we analyze the causes, achievements and limitations of the recent wave of political liberalization across Africa. We then consider patterns of economic development in Africa. Finally, we examine China's growing expansion into Africa and ask whether this is a new colonialism. [ more ]

PSCI 245(S)Politics of the Middle East

This introductory course deals with both the domestic and regional politics of the Middle East. Focusing on Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, it considers the forces that situate, define, and motivate politics inside these countries and between them. It will examine the history of the region and how states came to be created and boundaries drawn between them, the formation of states and their bases of support and sources of resistance, religious and ethnic conflicts, and the political economy of the countries and the region. It also will engage the on-going civil wars in several countries, state breakdown and the rise of ISIS, geopolitics and the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. [ more ]

PSCI 247(F)Political Power in Contemporary China

The People's Republic of China presents us with two grand political narratives: socialism and democracy. In the Maoist era, a distinctive understanding of socialism, which claimed to be a more genuine democracy, brought hope and, ultimately, tragedy to hundreds of millions of people. In the post-Mao era, Chinese politics has been driven by the need to redefine socialism in the wake of the world-historic calamities of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution and, more recently, the end of the Cold War. The state cannot simply give up the socialist myth because without it the rationale for Communist Party hegemony evaporates. But China's rulers cannot avoid political reform, both ideological and institutional, because to do so heightens the legitimacy crisis born of Maoist failures. Within this context has emerged the contemporary Chinese democracy movement which, in all of its complexity, looks to both socialist discourse and Western practice to create a new politics that checks tyrannical abuses of state power and engenders a civil society. What is Chinese democracy now? What are its prospects and what is its relationship to the ideas of socialism? [ more ]

PSCI 248 TThe USA in Comparative Perspective

Not offered this year

Politics in the USA is often considered unique and incomparable, and US political science separates the study of American politics from comparative politics. This course overcomes this divide, considering politics and society in the United States comparatively, from a variety of viewpoints and by authors foreign and American, historical and contemporary. Important topics include: the colonial experience and independence; race relations and the African diaspora; nationalism and national identity; war and state-building; American exceptionalism, religion, and foreign policy; the role of political and economic institutions; and the origins and shape of the welfare state. (As the list suggests, the most common comparisons are with Latin America and Western Europe, but several of our authors look beyond these regions.) Along the way, we also read short descriptive accounts by foreign observers, from Tocqueville to Jose Marti, Max Weber, and Sayyid Qutb. [ more ]

PSCI 249From Beetroot to Zero Grazing: Comparative Response to AIDS in Africa

Not offered this year

As AIDS in African countries grew from a few cases in the mid-1980s to more generalized levels by the mid-1990s, government policy varied widely. Consider that while Kenyan medical officials denied the existence of AIDS (insisting that the four deaths reported in the press were due to skin cancer), in Senegal, President Diouf openly acknowledged AIDS and launched a national prevention and control program. South African President Mbeki and his health minister questioned whether HIV causes AIDS and suggested a garlic, beetroot, and lemon concoction as treatment, while in Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni developed a successful home-grown `Zero Grazing' campaign. Why did some African governments respond early and aggressively to AIDS, while others did essentially the opposite? What has worked and what hasn't in the fight against AIDS in African countries? Has political liberalization improved the responsiveness of African governments to AIDS? In this course we aim to better understand how politics and social factors shaped African countries' responses to AIDS. [ more ]

PSCI 252(F)Pillars of Apartheid--Race and Ethnicity in South Africa

A fundamental liberal tenet is that a person is, first and foremost, an individual and everything else about a person follows from that. In contrast, for South Africa's apartheid ideology, a person was primarily a member of a group (racial or ethnic) and this fact alone, defined a person's status in society. As a result, South Africa under apartheid was characterized by a four-fold classification of citizens based on race and ethnicity. In the first place, there was a broad division between blacks and whites. In addition, blacks were further sub-divided into a hierarchical structure of coloureds (mixed race), Asians (largely of Indian origins) and Africans (indigenous blacks). This hierarchy defined one's political and economic status. Blacks were further subdivided into 9 "tribal" groups. There was political and economic advantage in a descending order, to each group of whites, coloureds, Indians and Africans. This course explores this fundamental principle and its theoretical and practical implications for the South African society. It begins with an analysis of conceptions of race and ethnicity according to various actors in the country. The main thrust of the course is two-fold, namely, the practical application of this principle in the country's political, social and economic policies as well as the response of the oppressed through their liberation movements. [ more ]

PSCI 254Democracy in Comparative and Theoretical Perspective

Not offered this year

This course deals with what democracy means and how it is achieved. It begins by weighing competing definitions of democracy focusing on two kinds of questions. Is "democracy" a procedure or a substance and what is the relationship between democratic government and market economies? After addressing general theoretical issues, the course will consider what is meant by democracy in the United States, Latin America, South Africa, and the Arab world. [ more ]

PSCI 261(F)The United States and the World, 1914 to the Present

This course explores America's engagement with the world from 1914 to the present. The First World War ushered in a new era for U.S. foreign relations. The self-identified isolationist power became a principal player on the world stage and by the end of the Second World War emerged as one of the two global superpowers, poised to compete with the Soviet Union in a protracted Cold War. After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, some spoke of the United States as a "hyperpower," but how it should exercise its unrivalled power was far from clear. Through a mixture of lecture and discussion, this course introduces students to the key events of America's most powerful century and to the new wave of scholarly literature being written about the United States and the World. Readings will reflect current trends in the sub-field, which focuses not only on high-level diplomacy, but also on a range of other factors that influence foreign relations, including ideology, race, gender, culture, domestic politics, and the roles of individual personalities. [ more ]

PSCI 262(F)America and the Cold War

This course examines the rise and fall of the Cold War, focusing on four central issues. First, why did America and the Soviet Union become bitter rivals shortly after the defeat of Nazi Germany? Second, was one side primarily responsible for the length and intensity of the Cold War in Europe? Third, how did the Cold War in Europe lead to events in other areas of the world, such as Cuba and Vietnam? Finally, could the Cold War have been ended long before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989? Political scientists and historians continue to argue vigorously about the answers to all these questions. We examine both traditional and revisionist explanations of the Cold War, as well as the new findings that have emerged from the partial opening of Soviet and Eastern European archives. The final section of the course examines how scholarly interpretations of the Cold War continue to influence how policymakers approach contemporary issues in American foreign policy. [ more ]

PSCI 264Politics of Global Tourism

Not offered this year

A decade ago, tourism passed oil to become the world's most valuable export. This arguably frivolous activity accounts for more than 10% of global GNP, and employs an enormous number of people. Tourism accounts for most of the revenue that the poorest countries receive; meanwhile, presidents and prime ministers of nuclear-capable countries beg on TV for visitors. Where are the politics in this vast, complicated industry and why is no one paying attention? This class explores various types of tourism, asking what happens in a tourist encounter, who benefits, who loses, and what changes. We will examine cases--Antigua vs. Auschwitz, Angkor Wat vs. Alaska--to help us understand the process from the points of view of the tourists, the toured-upon, and the governments and international organizations that oversee this industry. Our readings range from academic anthropology, economics, political science, and sociology (MacCannell, Veblen) to magazine accounts (Kincaid, Krakauer). [ more ]

PSCI 265The International Politics of East Asia

Not offered this year

This course examines the political, economic, and cultural determinants of conflict and cooperation in East Asia. Throughout the semester, we will examine three distinct but inter-related aspects of international relations in East Asia: Security, economy, and culture by using some core concepts and theoretical arguments widely accepted in the study of international relations. We will engage some of the central questions and issues in the current debate on East Asia. Do East Asian countries seek security and prosperity in a way fundamentally different from the Western system? Is there a single best way to maintain regional order and cooperation across regions? Will a strong China inevitably claim its traditional place under the sun? Will Japan continue to live as a nation with enormous economic power but limited military means? What is the choice for South Korea between security alliance with the United States and national reconciliation with the North? What should be done to dissuade the authoritarian regime in North Korea from acquiring nuclear capabilities and lead it to different paths toward national survival? By the end of the semester, you will gain both a general perspective and substantive knowledge on East Asian international politics. [ more ]

PSCI 266The United States and Latin America

Not offered this year

This course examines the most important political and diplomatic divide in the Western Hemisphere. The first half is a historical survey of US-Latin American foreign relations from the early Spanish American independence movements through the end of the Cold War, with some emphasis on the latter. We consider how this history confirms or undermines influential views about US foreign relations and about international relations generally. We also compare historical US foreign policy toward the hemisphere to current policy globally. The second half covers the most important current issues in hemispheric relations: the rise of lefist governments in Latin America, economic integration, the war on drugs, immigration, and border security. At the end we reconsider current US policies, in view of the economic and political evolution of Latin America, in historical perspective. [ more ]

PSCI 268Israeli Politics

Not offered this year

This is an introductory course on Israeli politics. Approaching questions historically, it discusses the evolution of Zionism before and after the founding of Israel, the immigration and assimilation of Jews from Arab states, and the changes in Israeli politics and society introduced by the acquisition of the West Bank and the ensuing occupation and settlements. The course also will address Israel's foreign policies, including its relationship with the USA, and the conflict with Palestinians. [ more ]

PSCI 271Religion and the State

Not offered this year

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution begins: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." What does "religion" mean in this formulation? Should "religion" be singled-out for exclusion from government? Are "religious" reasons ever legitimate reasons for laws, policies or popular political action? Should "religious" organizations be exempt from otherwise generally applicable laws? Is "religion" good or necessary for democratic societies? In this course we will respond to these and related questions through an investigation of "religion" as a concept in political theory. Particular attention will be given to the modern liberal tradition and its critics. Coverage will range from modern classics to innovative contemporary arguments. Classics may include John Locke's A Letter Concerning Toleration, selections from Jean-Jacques Rousseau's The Social Contract, James Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, Immanuel Kant's Religion Within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, John Stewart Mill's Three Essays On Religion, and John Dewey's A Common Faith. More recent arguments may come from John Rawls, Alasdair MacIntyre, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Martha Nussbaum, Jeffrey Stout, Winnifred Sullivan, Brian Leiter and Andrew Koppelman. [ more ]

PSCI 273Politics without Humans?

Not offered this year

Are human beings the only beings who belong in politics? And is political involvement a unique or defining aspect of what it means to be human? Such questions are increasingly complex as the boundaries of "the human" become blurred by the rise of artificial intelligence, robotics, and brain implants: shifting attitudes towards both animal and human bodies; and the automation of economic and military decisions (buy! sell! attack! retreat!) that used to be the prerogative of human actors. How do visions of politics without humans and humans without politics impact our thinking about longstanding questions of freedom, power, and right? Can and should the link between humans and politics survive in an age in which "posthuman" or "transhuman" entities become central characters in the drama of politics? This class will consider these questions through readings, films and artifacts that bring political theory into conversation with science fiction, popular literature on the so-called "singularity" (the merger of humans with computers), science and technology studies, evolutionary anthropology, "new materialist" philosophy, and feminist theory. [ more ]

PSCI 283Dirty Politics: Regulating Hazardous Chemicals and Wastes

Not offered this year

Since consumers were first introduced to the promise of "better living through chemistry," society has had to wrestle with the impacts, often far removed in place and time, resulting from a rapid proliferation of hazardous chemicals and wastes. Policy responses, be they at the local, national or global scale, are often limited to reactionary efforts to counter releases into the environment, are constrained by the prevalent use of the technologies in question, and further bring to the fore key challenges of environmental justice and risk management. How then are we to regulate DDT without adversely affecting our fight against mosquito-borne malaria? How might we preserve the ozone layer while still maintaining the benefits of food preservation through refrigeration? How can we reap the benefits of the electronic age without condoning the steady flow of electronic waste affecting workers' health and environments in developing countries? Emphasis will be placed on understanding the politics that bring about, and allow us to address, these problems. We will be examining in particular novel policy responses, including Europe's precautionary safe use law, citizen science initiatives and consumer-driven certification schemes. [ more ]

PSCI 285(F)The Revolutionary Generation: Galaxy of Leaders

The American Revolution produced a galaxy of brilliant politicians, statesmen, and military leaders of extraordinary courage, intellect, creativity, and character: Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, Adams. In this seminar, we will study their astounding accomplishments--a successful war of independence, a Constitution and Bill of Rights, enduring democratic political institutions, and a nascent party system. But mostly we will focus on their ideas, for they were thinking revolutionaries. We will examine in depth and in detail their superb writings, their letters and speeches as well as Madison's and Hamilton's Federalist essays. We will also read recent interpretations of the founding generation by Gordon Wood, Joseph Ellis, Bernard Bailyn, and others. [ more ]

PSCI 291 TAmerican Political Events

Not offered this year

Scandals. Wars and assassinations. Contested elections, Supreme Court decisions, and constitutional amendments. As large as they loom in our daily experience and our historical memory, these sorts of events--concrete, discrete things that happen in and around the political world--are often underestimated as catalysts of political change. Indeed, in the study of American political development, we often look to complex processes and underlying causes as explanations for how and why ideas, institutions, and policies both emerge and evolve. Yet for all our focus on long-term and subtle causal mechanisms, events often serve as political turning points in ways that vary over time, last for extended periods of time, and are not always entirely predictable at the time. Beginning from the presumption that change often has proximate as well as latent causes, this tutorial focuses on events as critical junctures in American politics. Our concern with these events is not with why they happened as or when they did but, rather, with how they altered the American political order once they did--with how they caused shifts in political alignments, created demands for political action, or resulted in a reordering of political values. Over the course of the semester, we will look at ten different types of events, ranging from those that seem bigger than government and politics (economic collapse) to those that are products of government and politics (landmark policy initiatives), in each instance juxtaposing two different occurrences of a particular category of event. In so doing, we will seek to use controversial and consequential moments in American politics as a window into deeper questions about political change and the narratives we tell about it. [ more ]

PSCI 292(S)Threats to the Republic: Politics in Post-Obama America

When Barack Obama's successor assumes office in January 2017, he or she will be asked to govern an America that is out of sorts. Economic inequality on a level not seen in over a century. Terrorist attacks at home and abroad. Escalating racial violence in cities. Protests against cultural insensitivity on campuses. Social unrest over the definition of American morality and over who counts as an American. Ideological polarization that regularly brings the government to a standstill and periodically threatens financial ruin. Looming environmental catastrophes capable of provoking humanitarian crises. To what extent do these calamities pose new, existential threats to the republic? And is there anything that can be done to stop or slow them? This course interrogates the many perils that pundits and activists tell us we should worry about in 21st century America. In examining these issues, we will seek not only to understand the contours of the potentially dramatic political changes that some say await us but also to put these issues into historical context so that we may draw lessons from the crises of the past. Ultimately, our goal is to determine how worried we should be---and what, precisely, we should be worried about---as a new era of American leadership begins. [ more ]

PSCI 293(S)Leadership and Political Change

This course will examine the foundations of effective political leadership --- both transformational and evolutionary. It will balance theory and practice, case studies and student exploration to better understand how political change and policy reform is enacted in a representative democracy. The course begins with a framework to evaluate leadership, transitions to examining the importance of vision in effecting political change, moves to an in-depth look at effective communicative strategies and mobilization techniques required to realize that change, and concludes with an assessment of the prospects for leadership in the current political landscape. We will cover presidential, congressional, and military leadership and include prominent guest speakers from the world of American politics. [ more ]

Taught by: Chris Gibson

Catalog details

PSCI 294Contemporary Russian Culture and Politics

Not offered this year

This course explores contemporary Russian society and politics through an analysis of literary works and films of post-Soviet Russia. We will study the social and political settings of particular plots and opportunities not only in fiction but in the real lives of Russians. In addition to novels and short stories by some of the best contemporary Russian authors, we will read scholarly materials explaining the social and political trends characteristic of Russia's post-socialist transformation under Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin's leadership. All course readings will be in English. Knowledge of Russian is not required. [ more ]

PSCI 301(F)Environmental Politics and Policy

This course will provide an overview of environmental policy-making, with an emphasis on the ways in which policies are developed and implemented at the local, state and national level. Special attention will be paid to the variety of actors that shape environmental outcomes, including legislators, administrators, the science community, civil society and the private sector. Following an examination of different models of environmental policy-making, this course will focus on several case studies, including on the management of public lands, air and water pollution, climate change and endangered species protection. [ more ]

Taught by: TBA

Catalog details

PSCI 305 TChallenges Of Knowing

Not offered this year

Although we may be mistaken about something we have ourselves experienced, we often take direct experience to be valid on its face. How do we know about events that occurred outside our ken? The distinction between knowledge as truth, based on direct knowledge, and mere opinion unhinged from direct observation, has a long lineage. The concern for how we know something to be true has given birth to the field of epistemology, the study of truth and how best to obtain and represent it. The tutorial will consider the matter of truth and its telling using a variety of case studies from the Holocaust. How can we, who have had no direct experience, nor memories, of the events of the Holocaust, come to know it? There is a wide variety of ways of seeking and representing truth: memoir, testimony, documents of the time, oral history, each derived directly from participants. There are also accounts given by non-participants: documentary producers, journalists, historians, sociologists, and others using the tools of their disciplines. Each of these have different ways of generating an understanding and each brings some attendant standards to distinguish true from falsity (e.g., memoirs can be self-serving or self-effacing, even complete mis-representations; historians and journalists need to be able to tell whether a document is real or is a forgery). [ more ]

PSCI 308From Welfare to Nanny to Surveillance? The Politics of the American State

Not offered this year

Ronald Reagan's pronouncement in 1981 that "government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem" has defined American politics for nearly three decades. Skepticism of government has deep roots and strong resonance throughout American political history, yet in many ways the American state has grown steadily larger and stronger. This course explores this conundrum by examining the American state, and its growth, in various arenas. We will assess traditional theories about the weak American state in light of arguments about the state as: regulator of family and "private" life, adjudicator of relations between racial and ethnic groups, manager of economic inequalities, insurer of security, and arbiter of the acceptable uses of violence and surveillance. [ more ]

PSCI 309Problems and Progress in American Democracy

Not offered this year

"I confess," French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in the introduction to his Democracy in America, "that in America I saw more than America. I sought the image of democracy itself, with its inclinations, its character, its prejudices, and its passions, in order to learn what we have to fear or hope from its progress." What would Tocqueville see if he returned to America today, almost 200 years later? What types of institutions, dynamics, and processes animate American political life in the twenty-first century? With Tocqueville as a guide to thinking about political ethnography, this course investigates four central elements of political life--religion, education, difference, and crime and punishment--that simultaneously pose problems for and represent sites of progress in American democracy. For each subject, we will ask several key questions. How has that particular aspect of political life changed in the recent past? How might it change in the near future? Does it conform to how American politics is designed to work? To how we want American politics to work? Using a diverse set of readings drawn from empirical political science, contemporary democratic theory, American political thought, historical documents, political punditry (from the left and the right), and current events, our focus, like Tocqueville before us, is on teasing out both the lived experience--the character and challenges--of American democracy and examining any disconnect between that experience and the ideals that undergird it. Among the many specific questions we will consider are whether particular religious traditions might be incompatible with democratic values, the extent to which recent changes in higher education have affected the health of democratic politics, the effects of ideological polarization on democratic discourse, and the place of the jury system in securing democratic justice. Throughout the semester, we will not only approach these questions from the joint perspectives of theory and practice but also seek to enrich our understanding by exploring American democracy as it happens all around us with several exercises in the community at large. [ more ]

PSCI 310(S)Political Psychology

What kinds of politics are humans capable of engaging to govern themselves? For millennium political philosophers have asserted different foundational claims about "human nature" that in turn led them to their vision of politics. For example, the enlightenment thinkers held that science and technology would strengthen rationality and thereby making democracy more viable. On the other hand, those who defend authoritarian regimes often do so by proclaiming that the general public is incapable of rationality and of self-rule and should therefor accept rule by their betters (previously nobility, now experts). Many of the disputes turn on how rational people are and on their capacity to pursue justice for all people. We explore what political psychology tells us about political citizens and political leaders. We find intriguing new answers from neuroscience. The course pays special attention to the powerful and surprising, roles that emotions play in all aspects of politics. Central to politics in all its variety is the issue of political judgment. If we are to trust ourselves to rule ourselves, how well will we be able to secure justice and liberty for one and all among us? Political psychology is one of the very oldest disciplines (it can be dated at least back to the early classic Greeks, among them Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle). But in its current form is very influenced by neuroscience. Nonetheless, the issue of citizen competence, then as now, was at the center of their attention. So, it shall be in this course. [ more ]

PSCI 311Congress

Not offered this year

In an organization comprised of equals, how and why do some senators and representatives acquire more power and authority than others? How does Congress, often considered to be the most powerful assembly in the world, organize itself so that it can act as an institution and not just a platform for 535 individuals? Why does Congress not act, especially when the U.S. confronts so many pressing problems, and how do legislators justify inaction? In what ways does this institution promote-or hinder-the legitimacy, responsiveness, and responsibility expected of a democratic governing institution? [ more ]

PSCI 312 TAmerican Political Thought

Not offered this year

From democracy to liberty, equality to community, foundational ideas -- about what makes for good government, about what constitutes the good society, about what is necessary to lead a good life -- define the American political tradition and consume the American political imagination. Designed not only to uncover these (sometimes melodious, sometimes cacophonous) values but also to place current ideological debates about them in a broader developmental context, this tutorial will offer a topical tour of American political thinking from the birth of nationalism in the colonial period to the remaking of conservatism and liberalism in the early twenty-first century. Utilizing primary source material ranging from presidential speeches to party platforms, newspaper editorials to novels, we will seek to interrogate -- reconciling where possible, distinguishing where necessary, interpreting in all instances -- the disparate visions and assessments of the American political experience offered by politicians, artists, intellectuals, activists, and ordinary citizens over the course of more than two centuries. Our focus, then, is nothing less than the story of America -- as told by those who lived it. [ more ]

PSCI 313(F)Race, Culture, Incarceration

This course explores racially-fashioned policing and incarceration from the Reconstruction era convict prison lease system to contemporary mass incarceration and "stop and frisk" policies of urban areas in the United States. Also explored will be political imprisonment in the Untied States. [ more ]

PSCI 314Leadership in American Political Development

Not offered this year

From the Founding to the present, the American political order has undergone incredible, cataclysmic and thoroughgoing transformations, yet it has also proven to be remarkably enduring. How can this be? Where do we find continuities and where upheavals? What accounts for the continuities, and what for the changes? What sorts of transformations have been possible, and who or what has made them possible? Finally, what are the costs of change (and of continuity)--and who pays them? The goal of this course is to assess American political change, or lack of, and to gain a sense of the role that individual leaders have played in driving change. We will examine when and how individual agency and leadership has mattered vis-a-vis broader historical and contextual factors, including economic developments, demographic change, and constitutional and institutional parameters. After examining general models of change and of leadership, we will consider specific case studies, such as civil rights for African-Americans, gender equality, labor demands, and social conservatism. We will consider some of the complicated legacies of change. Finally, we will look at arguments that America has been "exceptional"--or, unlike other countries--as well as critiques of these arguments, to help us gain an understanding of future prospects for political transformation. [ more ]

PSCI 315Parties in American Politics

Not offered this year

Political parties have played a central role in extending democracy and organizing power in the United States, yet their worth is a continuing subject of debate. In one ideal formulation, parties not only link citizens to their government, they also provide the coherency and unity needed to govern in a political system in which power is widely dispersed. But there is also an American tradition of antipathy toward parties. They have been criticized by some for inflaming divisions among the people and for grid-locking the government. For others, political parties fail to offer citizens meaningful choices; the Republican and Democratic parties are likened to a choice between "tweedledee and tweedledum." This course will investigate this debate over parties by examining their nature and role in American political life, both past and present. How have the parties changed over time? Throughout the course, we will explore such questions as: What constitutes a party? How have the parties changed over time? For whom do they function? Why a two-party system, and what role do third parties play? Is partisanship good or bad for democracy? For governance? We will seek answers to these questions both in seminar discussion and through substantial independent research projects. [ more ]

PSCI 316(S)Policy Making Process

Politics as usual. It's a phenomenon we all love to hate. But what does it mean? When government policy is decided by politics, does that mean the policy is necessarily bad? Can we get rid of politics in policy making or improve on it somehow? What would "politics as unusual" look like anyway? This class examines the policy making process with particular emphasis on the United States: How do issues get defined as problems worthy of government attention? What kinds of alternatives are considered as solutions to these problems? Why do we end up with some policies but not others? Do certain kinds of processes yield better policies than others? How should we decide what constitutes a good policy? [ more ]

PSCI 317(F)Environmental Law

We rely on environmental laws to make human communities healthier and protect the natural world, while allowing for sustainable economic growth. Yet, despite 40 years of increasingly varied and complex legislation, balancing human needs and environmental quality has never been harder than it is today. Environmental Studies 307 analyzes the transformation of environmental law from fringe enterprise to fundamental feature of modern political, economic and social life. ENVI 307 also addresses the role of community activism in environmental law, from local battles over proposed industrial facilities to national campaigns for improved corporate citizenship. By the completion of the semester, students will understand both the successes and failures of modern environmental law and how these laws are being reinvented, through innovations like pollution credit trading and "green product" certification, to confront globalization, climate change and other emerging threats. [ more ]

PSCI 318(S)Race, Public Opinion, and Campaigns

What is the role of race in American public opinion and voting? This question is at the center of American politics today, particularly during the presidency of Barack Obama and the 2016 presidential election. Some commentators argue that racial attitudes were at the center of opposition to Obama's candidacy and legislative agenda and are foremost on voters' minds in 2016. Others suggest that most Americans have moved "beyond race" and that racism explains little of modern-day partisan and electoral politics. We will explore what the empirical literature on race in political science says about this debate and others. Among other issues, we will consider the points of conflict and consensus among different racial groups, how Americans of different racial backgrounds think about other groups, and the implications of demographic change (including the growth of the Latino and Asian-American populations and the shrinking white share of the electorate) for future elections. [ more ]

Taught by: Matthew Tokeshi

Catalog details

PSCI 319(F, S)Marine Policy

This seminar utilizes the interdisciplinary background of the other Williams-Mystic courses to examine national and international contemporary issues in our relationship with our ocean and marine environment. This seminar takes a topical approach to the study of ocean and coastal law and policy, examining climate change, fisheries, coastal zone management, admiralty law, marine biodiversity, ocean and coastal pollution, and ocean governance. [ more ]

PSCI 323(F)The Geopolitics of Energy

This course examines how energy shapes world politics, covering historical events like the 1973 oil embargo as well as contemporary issues, such as the potential for great power rivalry in the Middle East, the political significance of the U.S. energy boom, and how Russia's dominance of European natural gas might translate into political influence. These and other topics are examined using theories of resource conflict, economic interdependence, political coercion, and petro-aggression. [ more ]

PSCI 324International Legitimation

Not offered this year

In theory, self-determination means that it is those who are ruled who decide who rules them and how. In practice, not only do pervasive international, foreign and universal standards influence what type of government people believe to be acceptable and desirable, but international actors also rule directly on the legitimacy of a regime's policy or on the regime itself. Individual countries have always sought to change others, and following wars, countries have often collectively enforced peace terms. It is multilateral institutions ruling in peacetime that is relatively new. This research seminar investigates organized international, multilateral attempts to mold a delinquent country's domestic politics by enforcing extranational standards. We investigate three types of cases: UN Security Council threats and condemnations, international criminal prosecutions, and international election monitoring. All students read common secondary materials and engage in research design workshops; each will write (and rewrite) an independent research paper grounded in primary sources. [ more ]

PSCI 325(S)International and Transitional Justice

Before the 1990s, the world saw only occasional, discrete war crimes trials after major-power cataclysms. In the last two decades, trials expanded dramatically in number, scope, and philosophy. Separate Ad Hoc Tribunals for crimes in Yugoslavia and those in Rwanda, in Sierra Leone and in Cambodia are giving way to a permanent International Criminal Court, which has begun to hand down indictments and refine its jurisdiction. The UN Security Council, alongside national governments, decides on legitimacy and punishment. At the same time, worries about residual impunity or the effect that punishment might have on societies' futures has led to the development of national and social courts, as well as national military tribunals, to complement those at the international level. Meanwhile, national activists look to international apologies and reparations for models of what to demand. Examples of internationalized transitional justice abound. This research seminar examines the intent, process, meaning and consequence of these new practices, particularly in terms of national constitutions, international law, and principles of justice. [ more ]

PSCI 327(F, S)Leadership and Strategy

This class is about the role of leaders and statecraft in international relations. In particular, this course examines the relationship between political and military objectives. The aim is to identify and analyze the principal structural and situational constraints--both foreign and domestic--that limit leaders' freedom of action, and which they must manage effectively to achieve their diplomatic and military goals. The course integrates theoretical perspectives related to a range of international security issues--including the causes of war, alliance politics, nuclear strategy, deterrence, coercion, reassurance, misperception, and credibility concerns--with illustrative case studies of decision-makers in action. The basic structure of the class is interdisciplinary; the goal of this approach is to utilize key conceptual arguments to gain greater leverage for the examination of major historical decisions in national security policy. Students will be asked to analyze and evaluate the strategic choices we examine, as well as the process by which they were reached. The primary objective of the course is for students to improve dramatically their understanding of the role of leaders and strategic choice in international relations. [ more ]

PSCI 328Global Environmental Politics

Not offered this year

In the last two weeks of our Fall 2015 semester, world leaders will gather in Paris with the aim of finalizing an arduously negotiated global agreement on climate change. This new treaty will determine whether we, as a global community, can still be on track to avoid catastrophic climate change. In the first ten weeks of this writing-intensive course, we will turn to a broad array of case studies to examine how, by whom, and to what effect global environmental governance is shaped and implemented. Case studies will build on original documents, scholarship from a variety of disciplines, and class visits by practitioners and negotiators and will include chemicals management, atmospheric pollution, species protection, transboundary movement of genetically modified organisms, forest management, and environmental rights. By building on the last four decades of international efforts to regulate the environmental commons, we will develop research projects to complete as we engage in a "virtual field-trip" to the Paris Climate Summit in the last two weeks of the semester. [ more ]

PSCI 330Existentialism and Politics

Not offered this year

If the classical imperative was to "know thyself," then the modern one is simply to "be yourself." The call to authenticity can be heard not only in popular culture, but also in many of the new social movements such as feminism, ethnic consciousness movements, and anti-colonial movements. Is there an essential way of being that underpins distinct ethnic, national, or gender identities? And what exactly constitutes this "self" that one is asked, quite simply, to be? Course readings critically examine the idea of authenticity, casting it in light of philosophical debates on existence, the nature of being, the idea of the self, and the role of individual experience in generating identities and subjectivities. We will begin with Kierkegaard's account of the singularity of one's own existence and the dimensions of individuality that cannot be captured by traditional ethics and philosophical categories. We will then move on to discuss other conceptions of being-with-oneself and with others, reading such thinkers as Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Frantz Fanon, Albert Memmi and Simone de Beauvoir. These thinkers prompt us to think not only about our existence, but also about the political, social, and economic relations that condition our being and becoming. [ more ]

PSCI 331Knowledge and Politics

Not offered this year

Is there a form of knowledge proper to politics? What are the risks and promise of turning to the sciences to supply or guarantee that knowledge (as we do, in different ways, when we call the study of politics "Political Science" or when we call for "science-based policies")? In this class, we will engage several recent works at the intersection of political theory and science studies that reopen the question of science's proper relationship to politics. These works challenge critical theory's traditional assumption that scientific knowledge is, at best, impotent and, at worst, imperious in the context of politics. Yet in defining a more productive role for the sciences in politics, they do not take for granted that science is what its traditional advocates often took it to be: objective, dispassionate... in short, a-political. Works we will consider may include William Connolly's Neuropolitics, Isabelle Stengers The Invention of Modern Science, Karen Barad's Meeting the Universe Halfway, Bruno Latour's Politics of Nature, Mark Brown's Science in Democracy, and Joseph Rouse's Knowledge and Power. [ more ]

PSCI 332(F)Sex and Politics

"War is politics by other means," German military theorist Carl von Clausewitz famously declared. Is politics sex by other means? Classical Greeks seemed to think so. Lysistrata, the comedian Aristophanes' famous play (recently reimagined by Spike Lee), depicts war-weary women strategizing to deny all sex to all men until the men elect to stop fighting. Sex and politics are also closely linked in the tragedian Sophocles' Oedipus Rex and in Plato's Symposium. After these classical texts, we move to Sigmund Freud, probably the most important theorist of sex in modernity, and political reactions on both the radical Left and the radical Right. On the Left, we look at Marxist thinkers popular with sexual liberationists in the 1960s and the groundbreaking theories---indeed, bold calls for new forms of sexuality and desire---by Michel Foucault and his contemporaries. On the Right, we look at highly controversial thinkers of sex and politics in fascism, Nazism and the New Right today. [ more ]

PSCI 333The Sublime in Politics and Political Thought

Not offered this year

This course examines discourses on terror, wonder and awe from the Enlightenment to the present, using the idea of the sublime to rethink important events like the French Revolution and the recent War on Terror. The sublime has meant different things to a great number of thinkers in the Western philosophical tradition, going back to a treatise attributed to Longinus, a 1st century Greek rhetoretician. Longinus was concerned with the power of great poets to "elevate" their audiences, transporting them beyond the limits of their comprehension through mixtures of terror, wonder and awe. How did this old text focusing on experiences beyond the rational come to hold such fascination for philosophers and political thinkers during the Age of Enlightenment? What is the relationship between current events in politics and public culture and the recent revival of scholarly interest in the sublime? Beyond revolution and war, course readings will explore the limits of human comprehension and apprehension in environmental politics, debates over fetal rights, and the fear of confronting people different from ourselves. Though we will regularly take up examples drawn from the worlds of art, literature, politics, and the mass media, our central focus will be on the careful reading of philosophical and critical texts, including Kant's Critique of Judgment and writings from among the following authors: Edmund Burke, Friedrich Schiller, G.F.W. Hegel, Slavoj Zizek, Hannah Arendt, Bonnie Mann, Christine Battersby, and Jean-Francois Lyotard. [ more ]

PSCI 334Theorizing Global Justice

Not offered this year

While economic exchanges, cultural convergence, and technological innovations have brought people in different parts of the world closer together than ever before, globalization has also amplified differences in material wealth and social inequalities. Ill health, inadequate sanitation, and lack of access to safe drinking water are increasingly common. Yet, more than ever before, the means exist in affluent regions of the world to alleviate the worst forms of suffering and enhance the well-being of the poorest people. How are we to understand this contradiction as a matter of justice? What is the relationship between justice and equality, and what do we owe one another in a deeply divided world? Course readings will engage your thinking on the central debates in moral philosophy, normative approaches to international political economy, and grassroots efforts to secure justice for women and other severely disadvantaged groups. Key theorists include Amartya Sen, Martha Nussbaum, John Rawls, Thomas Pogge, Nancy Fraser, Paul Farmer, Vandana Shiva, Majid Rahnema, and Enrique Dussel. [ more ]

PSCI 335(F)The Birth of Biopower

Michel Foucault famously invented the concept of biopower. Looking at modernity, he saw two forms of biopower. First, the "anatomo-politics" whereby we discipline our bodies to work in institutions like factories, schools and armies in order to maximize profits and productive and destructive capacities. Second, the "biopolitics" of population whereby governments manage the births, deaths and health of populations in order to maximize power. Biopower is an increasingly important concept as we witness the rise of biometric security mechanisms, cyborg war-fighting technologies, the Human Genome Project and genetically modified organisms. But when exactly did biopower begin? In this course we revisit the birth of biopower in the classical Greek world, the theories of Plato and biopower in Sparta (especially Spartan eugenics and war-fighting), as we explore work by Foucault and other theorists of biopower today. [ more ]

PSCI 336 TFreud and Psychoanalysis

Not offered this year

By any measure, Sigmund Freud was one of the most influential intellectuals of the 20th century. Although he was not explicitly preoccupied with articulating political principles and only rarely addressed questions of governance or policy, his assumptions, theories, and therapeutic techniques have fundamental implications for the basic questions of political theory--questions about, for instance, the sources of conflict and group cohesion, what ways of living are desirable and attainable, and the place of reason, desire, emotion, affect, and motive in the interpretation and explanation of human interaction. This tutorial offers an in-depth exploration of Freud's key writings and concepts, from his early work on sexuality and dreams through his final writings. While we will read some of the texts that most directly address conventional political topics, Freud generally has more to say to students of politics when he is formulating his fundamental views of the psyche (of the nature and role of the unconscious, of drives, etc.), and the syllabus will reflect that view. Over the course of the semester, we will consider some scholarly commentaries on specific texts as well as critical assessments of the psychoanalytic project; as time allows, we may also engage such key later psychoanalytical thinkers as Klein, Winnicott, Lacan, and Kristeva. The preponderance of the tutorial, however, will be given over to the students' own careful reading, interpretation, and evaluation of Freud's most important writings. [ more ]

PSCI 337Visual Politics

Not offered this year

Even casual observers know that appearances matter politically and that the saturation of politics by visual technologies, media, and images has reached unprecedented levels. Yet the visual dimensions of political life are, at best, peripheral topics in contemporary political science and political theory. This seminar explores how our understanding of politics and political theory might change if visuality were made central to our inquiries. Treating the visual as a site of power and struggle, order and change, we will examine not only how political institutions and conflicts shape what images people see and how they make sense of them but also how the political field itself is visually constructed. Through these explorations, which will consider a wide variety of visual examples, we will also take up fundamental theoretical questions about the place of the senses in political life. Readings may include relevant excerpts from ancient and modern theorists, but our primary focus will be contemporary and will bring political theory into conversation with such fields as art history and criticism, film studies, psychoanalysis, affect theory, and cognitive science. Possible authors include Arendt, Azoulay, Bal, Barthes, Benjamin, Bruno, Buck-Morss, Butler, Clark, Connolly, Crimp, Deleuze, Elkins, Fanon, Foucault, Hobbes, Lacan, Merleau-Ponty, Mitchell, Mulvey, Noe, Plato, Ranciere, Rogin, Scott, Sliwinski, Sontag. [ more ]

PSCI 338 TGarveyism

Not offered this year

This course explores the life, work, political thought, and activism associated with the Jamaican Pan-Africanist Marcus Mosiah Garvey and the transnational movement--Garveyism--that Garvey ushered into the modern world. We will investigate the founding of Garveyism on the island of Jamaica, the evolution of Garveyism during the early twentieth century across the Americas and in Africa, Garveyism in Europe in the mid-twentieth century, and the contemporary branches of the Garvey movement in our own late modern times. The implications of Garvey's conflict with W. E. B. Du Bois and the subsequent cleavages in political thought and allegiances among their respective adherents will be addressed, along with various other core issues including: the relationship between race, nation, and empire; transnationalism; the meaning of power; notions of leadership; the limitations of understanding Garveyism by the phrase "Back-to-Africa"; the moral philosophy of respect, reparation, and redemption; prophetic political theory; Pan-Africanism; the impact of Garveyism on political theological movements such as the Nation of Islam and Rastafari; women in the Garvey movement; and Garveyite strategies for forging models of political solidarity in dark times. [ more ]

PSCI 339Politics and Aesthetics

Not offered this year

In recent years, political theorists have grown increasingly preoccupied with questions of what since the Romantic era has been called "aesthetics." In a moment of global economic crisis, amidst continuing problems of war, violence, poverty, and injustice, this concern may seem puzzling, even fundamentally misplaced. Yet just as Plato, for instance, famously connected questions of the good and the true to those of the beautiful (so that it is anachronistic to impute to him a separation between political and aesthetic domains), some notable recent theorists claim that investigating aesthetic matters can enable us to gain a better understanding of political perceptions, ideals, aspirations, struggles, and possibilities. Among the main questions we will ask in this seminar is whether or not that claim is persuasive. Along the way, we will we will pay sustained attention to such matters as the role of emotion, affect, and the senses in political life, the nature of aesthetic judgment, its relationship to both political judgment and structures of power, and the similarities and differences between making art and acting politically. We will also, of course, examine what it means to call something "aesthetic," and we will think about the limits of the aesthetic as a category of analysis. Though we will regularly take up examples drawn from the worlds of art, politics, and the mass media, our central focus will be on the careful reading of philosophical and critical texts, including Kant's Critique of Judgment and writings from among the following authors: Adorno, Arendt, Bal, Benjamin, Bourdieu, Burke, Cavell, Danto, Deleuze, Dickie, Felski, Freud, Hegel, Heidegger, Hume, Mill, Nietzsche, Ramachandran, Ranciere, Schiller. [ more ]

PSCI 340Why States Fail: Political Violence at the End of the 20th Century

Not offered this year

This course considers the origins of political violence and state failure at the end of the 20th century. It seeks to address why there was a resurgence of political violence at the dawn of the 21st century. Toward that end, we begin by considering competing explanations of political violence (ethnicity, democratization, natural-resource endowments, and predatory elites). We then move on to the empirical section of the course in which we cover case studies of state failure in parts of Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East. [ more ]

PSCI 341Modern Midas? Resource Abundance and Development

Not offered this year

Many academics, international nongovernmental organizations, international financial institutions, and the media assert that natural resource endowments--oil, gas, and diamonds--are like the touch of Midas. Yet consider that while mineral abundance promises to give countries a platform for prosperity, equity, and political stability, it often produces poor economic performance, poor populations, weak authoritarian states, and widespread conflict. Is there a resource curse, or is it possible for mineral rich countries to escape the modern counterparts of Midas? In this research seminar we revisit the debate on the relationship between mineral wealth and development, focusing on the factors and conditions that lead some resource rich countries to fail and others to succeed. [ more ]

PSCI 342(F)Intolerance and Justice

The array of stories from the University of Missouri, Princeton, Yale, Amherst, and Williams reflect profound confusion about the place of tolerance in, but not restricted to, higher education. We will examine two variants, social tolerance and political tolerance. And, though two share the same noun, tolerance, they are fact quite distinct as to what each means, what each requires, and their relationship, one to the other. There is a considerable research literature on both and that empirical literature that can inform what we make up recent events and what should guide our actions and the actions of those directing higher educational institutions. This course will examine the factors that lead to greater intolerance of each type as well as those that mitigate against. Happily the empirical record covers not only the United State but also other established democracies and from very new democracies as well. And, all this research points to the same insight. Political tolerance is not only conceptually different from social tolerance they are empirically unrelated (that is, making people more socially tolerant is of little effect in enhancing political tolerance). Thus, the challenge is how to deal with social tolerance, which requires a focus on civility, and deal with political tolerance, which requires a focus on citizenship. As the norms of each, civility and citizenship are not comfortably aligned when and where one should take precedence over the other is one of the central questions of this course. [ more ]

PSCI 343(S)Climate Change Law

Climate change is an inescapable component not just of environmental law and policy but of all law and all policy (as well as everything else). This course looks at mechanisms for mitigating as well as adapting to climate change from both the international and domestic legal perspectives. We will study the role of treaties, national legislation and regulation, sub-national responses, and the ongoing role of litigation. And we will examine the role of the lawyer and the legal community in addressing climate change. [ more ]

PSCI 344 TThe Political Theory of Liberal Economics

Not offered this year

This course deals with the economic and political writings of four important economists--Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes, Freidrich Hayek, and Milton Friedman. Although all are remembered primarily as economists, they also engaged in writing political theory. This course will examine the political assumptions and implications of their economic thought and where they agree and disagree, particularly the role they assign to the state in constructing and sustaining markets. How do they conceive of the origin of markets? What role does the state play in making, supervising, and maintaining markets? Do the economists conceive of the state in similar terms and, especially, do the more libertarian economists really proceed as if markets are self-generated and spontaneous? What is it that economic theorists have the state doing? What is their implicit theory of the state? [ more ]

PSCI 345(F)Cosmology and Rulership in Ancient Chinese Political Thought

This class will involve students in close reading of, and exegetical writing about, core texts of ancient Chinese political thought. The purpose is to gain an understanding of a number of different perspectives on politics and leadership, especially Confucianism, Legalism and Taoism. While the primary focus will be on the meaning of the texts in the context of their own times, contemporary applications of core concepts will also be considered. The class will begin with background readings, since no prior work in Chinese philosophy or history is assumed. Then the class will read significant portions of the following canonical works: The Analects, Mencius, the Daodejing, Zhuangzi, and Han Feizi. [ more ]

PSCI 346(S)Radical Theories of Political Struggle: Anti-Black Racism and the Obama Administration

This seminar reviews contemporary theories of "anti-black racism"; their articulation or assimilation within current political movements and mobilizations; and the influence and impact such theories--expressed in and/or as activism--have on the racial justice programs and civil rights policies of the Obama Administration. Legal theory, "Afro-pessimism," black feminist/queer theory are forms of radical thought shaping political discourse and influencing new advocacy formations (e.g. the Black Women?s Blue Print and #BlackLivesMatter); these new democracy advocates have in turn shaped the public rhetoric and policy initiatives of a black presidency as it grapples with multiculturalism and racial animus. Focusing on social and legal theory and the Obama Administration, this seminar uses the works of Hortense Spillers, Evelyn Hammonds, Toni Morrison as well as: Frank Wilderson's Red, White and Black: Cinema and the Structure of US Antagonisms; Jared Sexton's Amalgamation Schemes; Lewis Gordon's Bad Faith and Anti-Black Racism; Saidiya Hartman's Scenes of Subjection; Orlando Patterson's Slavery and Social Death; Derrick Bell's Faces at the Bottom of the Well; Dennis Childs's Slaves of the State; Assata Shakur's Assata: An Autobiography; Cheryl Harris's Whiteness as Property. [ more ]

PSCI 349 TCuba and the United States

Not offered this year

With the passing of the Castro brothers' regime on the horizon, we examine the long and deeply felt history of dependence and conflict between Cuba and its colossal neighbor to the north. It begins with the political economy of the colony, then covers the Cuba- US relationship from Jose Marti and 1898 through the Cold War to the present, emphasizing the revolutionary period. Tutorial topics include the significance of Marti, sovereignty and the Platt Amendment, as well as various aspects of the communist regime: mobilizational politics; cultural expression; race and national identity; policies on gender and sexual orientation; social programs; political institutions; and the evolution of the Cuban exile community in the US. Materials include journalism, official publications, biographies, travel accounts, polemics, policy statements of the US government, and a wide range of academic works. [ more ]

PSCI 351The New Left and Neoliberalism in Latin America

Not offered this year

Recent years have seen a resurgence of the political left in Latin America. This course seeks to understand the origins of this new left, the ideas and character of its protagonists, the neoliberal policies and philosophy it opposes, and the arena of democratic politics it now inhabits. We first read polemics from both sides, before stepping back to consider Latin American political economy, including the twentieth-century left, from a more historical and analytical perspective. With this preparation, we then look more closely at major contemporary figures and movements in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, and other countries. After considering explanations of the rise of the left and assessments of its performance in power, we end our common readings by asking what it might mean today to be on the left in Latin America--or anywhere--both in policy and political terms. [ more ]

PSCI 352 TComparative Political Economy

Not offered this year

This tutorial provides an introduction to comparative political economy by focusing on an enduring puzzle: the spread of capitalism led to both transitions to democracy and dictatorship/authoritarianism. How is it that the expansion of markets led to the birth of democracy in some countries, but dictatorships in others? What, if any, is the relationship between economic development and the organization of power (regime type)? Does economic development lead to the spread of democracy? Or is economic crisis the key to understanding the conditions under which dictatorships fall? To answer these questions we read works by Moore, Lipset, Schumpeter, Przeworski, Rueschemeyer et al., Haggard & Kaufman, among others. [ more ]

PSCI 354 T(S)Nationalism in East Asia

This tutorial examines the theoretical literature on nationalism, and then uses insights from those readings to study of the emergence and development of modern nationalist movements and national identities in China, Japan, Korea -- both South and North -- and Taiwan. It is an Exploring Diversity Initiative course and, as such, engages in explicit and critical cross-cultural comparisons, asking how theories of nationalism developed largely from European history might need to be revised when applied to East Asia, and how experiences of nationalism and expressions of national identity vary within East Asia. [ more ]

PSCI 355 T(S)American Realism: Kennan, Kissinger and the American Style of Foreign Policy

George Kennan is widely considered to be the author of the containment strategy that ultimately won the Cold War. Henry Kissinger served as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State. In addition to their distinguished careers in government, both men have published well regarded and popular scholarship on various aspects of American foreign policy, international relations, and nuclear weapons. This tutorial will first examine the nature of their relationship to both Realist and Wilsonian perspectives on American foreign relations. We will then examine their experiences as strategists and policymakers during the most crucial moments of the Cold War. One of the key questions we will seek to answer is why Kennan and Kissinger disagreed on so many important issues, ranging from the Vietnam War to the role of nuclear weapons, despite their shared intellectual commitment to Realism. Finally, we will also examine some of the more recent biographies of both men, including John Lewis Gaddis's Pulitzer prize-winning George F. Kennan: An American Life and Niall Ferguson's Kissinger: 1923-1968: The Idealist. [ more ]

PSCI 362 TThe Wilsonian Tradition in American Foreign Policy

Not offered this year

During and after the First World War, President Woodrow Wilson developed an approach to international relations that challenged the dominant assumptions of Realism. Instead of a world order marked by alliances, arms races, and wars, Wilson offered a vision of a peaceful world and the rule of international law. While America ultimately rejected the League of Nations, the Wilsonian tradition has continued to exert a powerful influence on scholars and policymakers. This tutorial will intensively examine Wilson's efforts to recast the nature of the international system, the American rejection of his vision after the First World War, and the reshaping of Wilsonianism after the Second World War. We will spend equal time in the tutorial on both the theoretical and historical dimensions of Wilsonianism. [ more ]

PSCI 365U.S. Grand Strategy

Not offered this year

This course examines how U.S. leaders have conceived of their nation's place in the world and sought to use power to achieve national objectives. We will consider military affairs, economics, and diplomacy, but the class is mostly concerned with ideas. How have leaders from James Madison to George W. Bush thought about U.S. vulnerabilities, resources, and goals, and how have those ideas influenced foreign policy decisions? How did key leaders balance competing objectives and navigate difficult international circumstances? Which leaders were successful in managing U.S. statecraft, and which were not? Which leaders developed coherent grand strategies? What lessons might we derive for our own times from studying this history? The course will sweep across American history but will not attempt to be exhaustive in any way. Rather, it will focus on certain moments that highlight changing grand strategic thought. We will carefully consider, for example, the drafting of the U.S. Constitution, continental expansion in the Manifest Destiny period, the Civil War, overseas expansion in the late nineteenth century, the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, the Second World War, the Cold War, and the "War on Terror." Possible texts include Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, The Federalist Papers; Alfred Thayer Mahan, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History; George Kennan, American Diplomacy; Richard Immerman, Empire for Liberty; Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy; James McPherson, Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief; and a collection of primary sources. [ more ]

PSCI 367(S)The Politics of American National Security

Liberal democracies face the challenge of establishing effective civil-military relations in order to protect and promote their cherished way of life while preserving civilian control of the armed forces. A lot is at stake in getting it right -- everything from national survival to the preservation of liberty. In the process, countries must decide on policies for the armed forces: should they be forced to adopt the values of the society they protect, and should the military be used to drive social change in the country? This course provides an extensive examination of American civil-military relations from the Founding era to the current day. The constitutional, legal, and theoretical frameworks for civil-military relations are explored to set the conditions for students to assess contemporary US grand strategy and the merits and consequences (including moral-ethical) of using military force to achieve political ends. The course concludes with a section on the future of American civil-military relations. [ more ]

Taught by: Chris Gibson

Catalog details

PSCI 368(S)End of Apartheid

In February 1990, the last apartheid President, F W de Klerk, in a major policy speech in Parliament, announced changes to the apartheid system. Until then, South Africa was locally and globally known for its racist, repressive and authoritarian political system. Four years later, the former white minority system was replaced by a democratic system in which, for the first time, the black majority could participate in a free and fair elections and enjoy rights taken for granted in many democracies. The end of apartheid and the emergency of universal franchise has been described by some commentators as a "South African miracle". This course initially explores the negotiation process as well as the legacy of apartheid and the liberation struggle for the post-apartheid society. The course's focus, however, remains the immediate challenges facing Mandela's democratic South Africa, namely, Political Legitimacy, Stability, Economic Growth and Social Justice Constitute the underlying themes. This advanced course is open to those who have some basic knowledge of South Africa or have taken the course entitled: GBST 252 Pillars of Apartheid-Race and Ethnicity in South Africa. [ more ]

PSCI 370The Political Thought of Frantz Fanon

Not offered this year

Martinican psychiatrist, philosopher, and revolutionary Frantz Fanon was among the leading critical theorists and Africana thinkers of the twentieth century. Fanon ushered in the decolonial turn in critical theory, a move calling on those both within and outside of Europe to challenge the coloniality of the age and to forge a new vision of politics in the postcolonial period. This course is an advanced seminar devoted to a comprehensive examination of Fanon's political thought. We will begin with an analysis of primary texts by Fanon and end by considering how Fanon has been interpreted by his contemporaries as well as activists and critical theorists writing today. [ more ]

PSCI 371Women Activists and Social Movements

Not offered this year

This seminar examines the role of women in "liberation movements," it focuses on their contributions to civil and human rights, democratic culture, and theories of political and social change. Students will examine multi-disciplinary texts, such as academic historical narratives, memoirs, political analyses, in critical and comparative readings of mid-late 20th century struggles. Women studied include: Mamie Till Mobley, Anne Moody, Ella Baker, Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis, Bettina Aptheker, Assata Shakur, Yuri Kochiyama, Denise Oliver, Domitilia Chungara. [ more ]

Taught by: TBA

Catalog details

PSCI 374Shadows of Plato's Cave: Image, Screen, and Spectacle

Not offered this year

In Book VII of the Republic, Socrates famously asks his interlocutors to picture people living in a cave, bound in chains and able to see only shadows on the wall. Thus begins the presentation of perhaps the most influential metaphor in the history of philosophy. One might even claim that when Plato deployed the metaphor in an extended allegory, he constituted the fields of both philosophy and political theory. In repeatedly examining the allegory over the centuries, later thinkers have elaborated their approaches not only to Plato but also to the nature of politics and the tasks of thinking. This class begins with the Republic's cave and other key Platonic discussions of appearances, visual representation, and (literal and metaphoric) seeing, asking how Plato's approaches to image, politics, and theory/philosophy shape each other. Building on those inquiries, we next take up important twentieth and twenty-first century returns to the cave, engaging such figures as Heidegger, Strauss, Arendt, Derrida, Irigaray, Ranciere, and Badiou. Finally, we examine recent theories of screen and spectacle--read both for their resonances with and departures from debates over the Platonic legacy--and case studies in the politics of both military and racial spectacles in the U.S. The question of what is an image and what images do will run from the beginning of course to the end. Beyond the authors mentioned, readings may include such authors as Allen, Bruno, Clark, Debord, Friedberg, Goldsby, Joselit, Mitchell, Nightingale, Rodowick, Rogin, Silverman, and Virilio. Insofar as it fits student interest, we will also explore the cave's considerable presence in visual culture, ranging from Renaissance painting through such recent and contemporary artists as Kelley, Demand, Hirschhorn, Kapoor, Sugimoto, and Walker, to films such as The Matrix. [ more ]

PSCI 375Modern Jewish Political Theory

Not offered this year

By the late 19th century, Jews across Europe were faced with an urgent political problem. Amidst bourgeoning national self-consciousness throughout the continent, despite the liberatory promises of the Enlightenment, Jews remained a vulnerable, segregated, and stigmatized minority population. Jews had to decide where to pin their hopes. Should they ally themselves with the liberals or the communists? Should they embrace nationalism or cosmopolitanism? Should they, perhaps, abandon Europe altogether and re-constitute themselves elsewhere? If so, should they focus their efforts on relocation to the historical land of Israel? Or could they go anywhere? Wherever they might go, should they aspire to build a modern Jewish nation-state, a semi-autonomous Jewish community, or some other arrangement? Should this coincide with the cultivation of a distinctively Jewish modern language? If so, should it be Hebrew or Yiddish? In this course we will assess various answers to these questions proffered by Jewish political thinkers in the modern period. We will pay particular attention to the construction of "Jews" and "Judaism" in these arguments. And we will ask persistently: what constitutes a "Jewish justification" for a political claim in modern Jewish political theory? Coverage will include: Jewish liberalism, political Zionism, Yiddishist autonomism, messianic quietism, and other views. We will read mostly primary sources, including texts by: Hermann Cohen, Theodore Herzl, Chaim Zhitlowsky, Franz Rosenzweig, Leo Strauss, Hannah Arendt, and many others. [ more ]

PSCI 410(S)Senior Seminar in American Politics: Interpretations of American Politics

Current assessments of the state of American politics vary widely. Though recent polls show that as many as 60 percent of Americans think that the country is headed down the wrong-track, it is not clear what that means. Critics on the left worry that the United States is on an imperial quest, extorting resources from the global many for the advantage of an elite few. Critics on the right worry that the U.S. has abandoned the traditions that made it strong and has entered a period of moral decay. What are we to make of these different assessments? What do left and right see when they survey the nation, and why is what they see so different? Any diagnosis of contemporary maladies is premised on a vision of what a healthy functioning republic looks like. Our task in the seminar is to uncover and interrogate those visions. We will do this by exploring different interpretations of American politics, each with its own story of narrative tensions and possible resolutions. We will then use our investigation of how different authors, and different traditions, understand the nation to help us assess contemporary politics and come to our own conclusions about what animates it. [ more ]

PSCI 410Senior Seminar in American Politics: The Politics of Belonging

Not offered this year

In his acceptance speech on November 7, 2012, President Obama stated that he believes "we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you're willing to work hard, it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you're willing to try." Although many people have described America as inclusive, political debates about belonging have often been contentious, hard-fought, and discouraging for those sharing President Obama's views. This seminar will focus on the politics of belonging in America. What does it mean to be an American? If the U.S. is a nation of immigrants, why is immigration reform so difficult to achieve? Are legal citizenship and formal political rights sufficient for belonging? Or does full inclusion rest on the ability to exercise civil and social rights as well? Does income inequality threaten the political equality necessary for a strong democracy? As we examine the debates over inclusion, we will consider different views about the relationship among political, civil, and social rights as well as different interpretations of American identity, politics, and democracy. [ more ]

PSCI 410Senior Seminar in American Politics

Not offered this year

The United States of 2015 is considerably different from the United States of 1787. Over the past two hundred and near forty years the population has grown by many multiples, the character of the society has changed from part slave, agricultural and mercantilist to increasingly democratic, liberal, technologically dynamic and urban. Further, the United States of 1787 had recently won its freedom from the major imperial power of the period, England (thereby changing its status from colony to sovereign nation). Now, the United States is the major imperial power of the world (even if bedeviled by anti-American movements of various kinds). Beyond these differences are innumerable others - demographic, institutional, and political. The focus of the American Politics senior seminar for this year is whether the Constitutional Framework and the rationales that justified those arrangements remain well suited to our current circumstances. And, if not, what could or should be done to redress that ill fit. There are two considerations that will broadly shape our deliberations and discussions this semester. The first consideration will be an analytic one: what were the claims of justice and freedom that were the basis of the constitution and the American political institutions thereby created? These claims offer us some normative standards we can use as the basis to judge the success of American democracy, then and now. Which in turn raises the second question: are these foundational views, as best we can understand them, adequate to our times? And, if not, what should be added, retracted, or changed? [ more ]

PSCI 410Senior Seminar in American Politics: Civic Education in America

Not offered this year

Despite the fact that, according to a recent poll by the National Constitution Center, 8 in 10 Americans believe that democratic government requires an informed and active citizenry, fewer than 4 in 10 can name the three branches of the federal government. Whether or not we regard this particular encyclopedic fact as especially important, few disagree with the idea that, when it comes to politics and citizenship, Americans are an ill-informed people. But what exactly would we want Americans to know more about? And how exactly might we get them to learn it? Taking these questions as its starting points, this senior seminar will tackle the state of civic education in America -- its promise and its pitfalls, its past iterations and its practice in contemporary times. In the first half of the semester, we will look closely at a series of debates about the goals, substance, and effect of civic education, including whether (and why) we should want it, what exactly it can and should look like (perhaps looking to civic education in other nations for meaningful points of comparison), and what sorts of effects it may have on citizens individually and the polity at large. In the second half of the semester, we will seek to put what we have learned into action, with students selecting a particular subject (an institution, a value, a process) and developing a civic education curriculum around it for introduction at several distinct grade levels in local schools. Embodying the idea that you never know something as thoroughly and meaningfully as you might until you have taught it, this seminar will seek simultaneously to deepen our own civic knowledge and practices and to cultivate more meaningful knowledge and practices in others. [ more ]

PSCI 411(F)Advanced Study in American Politics

A year of independent study under the direction of the Political Science faculty, to be awarded to the most distinguished candidate based upon competitive admissions. The candidate, designated the Sentinels of the Republic Scholar, receives a research stipend to cover costs associated with the proposed project. The Sentinels Scholar may submit her/his essay for consideration for honors in Political Science. Admission is awarded on the basis of demonstrated capacity for distinguished work and on the proposal's promise for creative contributions to the understanding of topics on the federal system of government. Anyone with a prospective proposal should contact the department chair for guidance. [ more ]

PSCI 412(S)Advanced Study in American Politics

A year of independent study under the direction of the Political Science faculty, to be awarded to the most distinguished candidate based upon competitive admissions. The candidate, designated the Sentinels of the Republic Scholar, receives a research stipend to cover costs associated with the proposed project. The Sentinels Scholar may submit her/his essay for consideration for honors in Political Science. Admission is awarded on the basis of demonstrated capacity for distinguished work and on the proposal's promise for creative contributions to the understanding of topics on the federal system of government. Anyone with a prospective proposal should contact the department chair for guidance. [ more ]

PSCI 420Senior Seminar: The Vietnam War and the Vietnam Era, 1961-75

Not offered this year

This upper-level course has three major objectives. First, it will familiarize students with the basic political, military and diplomatic facts of the Vietnam War. Second, it will acquaint them more generally with broader aspects of the years 1954-75, especially the great political and cultural changes that took place within the United States beginning around 1965. Lastly, each student will have the opportunity to research and write about some aspect of one of these two topics in some detail. In so doing, students will learn some new research techniques that use up-to-date software, and may take advantage of the enormous opportunities now available for on-line research. [ more ]

PSCI 420The Great Transformation: America and Europe in the 20th Century

Not offered this year

At the beginning of the 20th century, Europe was at the center of world politics and the main player in the balance of power while America was a peripheral player in the international system. American involvement in European affairs was strictly limited. By the end of the 20th century, the states of Western Europe would become greatly integrated and the threat of war was virtually abolished. No longer an isolationist power, America would become intimately involved in every facet of European and world politics. This course examines this great and fundamental transformation of the international system. We will examine American involvement in both of the world wars, the defense of Europe during the Cold War, decolonization, and the uneven but steady development of European unity and integration in the second half of the 20th century. [ more ]

PSCI 420(F, S)Senior Seminar in International Relations: The Liberal Project in International Relations

The most powerful actors in the international system are liberal ones, and a liberal project around democratic states, international law and organizations, and free trade dominates the global agenda. This course is an investigation into this liberal international relations project, engaging both theory and practice. We will discuss signature liberal theorists both classic and current as well as some of their most notable critics. We will also attend to empirical evaluations of signature liberal efforts around democratization and peace promotion, international law, and economic growth and development. The course ends with a discussion of the successes and failures of the European Union as the principal embodiment of the liberal project in international relations. [ more ]

PSCI 420Senior Seminar in International Politics: Great Power Politics

Not offered this year

Are the United States and China destined to become enemies? Has the Cold War returned in Europe? What is the future of world politics? This course examines relations between the great powers with a particular focus on contemporary issues. We will leverage theories about the causes of war and the roots of international order to explore the origins of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the implications of China's potential rise, and the future of American power, among other topics. [ more ]

PSCI 430Senior Seminar: Critical Theory

Not offered this year

This course explores two major themes emerging from the work of theorists associated with the Frankfurt School: the critique of progress, Enlightenment and modernity, and the recuperation of certain Enlightenment ideals and hopes for progress in new, aesthetic forms. The first part of the course looks at Karl Marx's critique of alienation and reification, asking how Marx's ideas are picked up and modified in the writings of Georg Lukacs, Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno. We will also pay attention to the influence of Freud on Herbert Marcuse's critique of civilization. The second part of the course turns to the writings of Walter Benjamin and Ernst Bloch, whose efforts to reconstruct emancipatory ideals in Marxist thought after the collapse of communist and socialist teleologies have been described as "maverick" and "utopian." Among our questions: What is the price of progress? What are the prospects for freedom in modern societies, where individuality, down to the very structure of our instincts and drives, is shaped by mass culture and social institutions? Can agency and subjectivity be recovered within a "totally administered society?" What may we hope? [ more ]

PSCI 430(S)What Should Political Theory Be Now?

How can theorists best engage politics today? What political problems most demand or resist theorization---and is "theory" even the right genre for critical intellectual work on politics now? This course takes up such questions by considering how key recent or contemporary theorists have sketched the defining features of their political worlds. With each reading, our dual aim will be to confront pressing issues or controversies and to ask whether the works in question offer ways of thinking and writing that we should pursue ourselves. Topics may include neoliberalism and democracy; sovereignty and biopower; pluralism, individuality, and justice; technology and the specter of ecological catastrophe; the problem of evil in politics; white supremacy; and contemporary struggles over gender and sexuality. Readings will be drawn from such authors as Adorno, Allen, Arendt, Berlant, Brown, Butler, Connolly, Dean, Foucault, Galli, Honig, Latour, Moten, Ranciere, Rawls, Sen, and Sexton. [ more ]

PSCI 430Senior Seminar: Dignity

Not offered this year

Over the last few decades, the concept of dignity has become one of the most contentious and emotive terms in democratic politics. Policy battles over embryonic stem cell research, abortion, physician-assisted suicide, life-sustaining treatments such as mechanical ventilation, and the constitutionality of the death penalty have all been fought out on the grounds of human dignity. But what exactly does dignity mean? Is it an existential demand for respect? A moral, intangible quality of a person? A set of legally guaranteed rights of citizens? This course examines some of the strongest attacks on and defenses of human dignity, both in theory and in practice. The emphasis will be on the role of dignity in shaping modern ideas of democracy, citizenship, and human rights. Readings construct a genealogy of dignity that includes Aquinas, Pico della Mirandola and Kant. Contemporary theories of dignity will be explored through the work of Drucilla Cornell, Jurgen Habermas, Martha Nussbaum, Jeremy Waldron, and the dignity jurisprudence of Canada, Germany, Namibia, South Africa, and the United States. [ more ]

PSCI 440(F)Senior Seminar in Comparative Politics: Political Development

The role of the United States in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and its adventures and misadventures in reconstituting order in those countries, have directed attention back to the dynamics, approaches, and debates in political development. This senior seminar in comparative politics critically examines the theories and problems of political development by focusing on three major topics in the sub-discipline: state formation, nationalism, and democratization. Drawing on both historical and contemporary cases, we consider the conditions that lead to strong and weak states, inclusive and exclusive nationalist mobilization, and democratic and autocratic government. [ more ]

Taught by: TBA

Catalog details

PSCI 440(F)Senior Seminar in Comparative Politics: The Syrian Maelstrom

This course deals with the civil war in Syria. It begins by investigating the nature of the Syrian society and the evolution of the Assad regime. It then discusses the challenges to the regime, both Islamist and democratic in the Arab Spring. With that as background, the course will examine the domestic, regional, religious, ethno-sectariain, and global dimensions of the civil war. It will consider the place of Syria in the Iranian-Saudi competition, the role played by neighboring states and actors, the position of the American and Russian governments, and the rise of ISIS. [ more ]

PSCI 493(F)Senior Thesis: Political Science

The senior major, having applied for and been accepted into the honors program during the second semester of the junior year, will devote the senior year to researching and writing a substantial and original work of scholarship, under the supervision of a faculty mentor to be assigned by the department. The final work will be submitted for evaluation by a committee made up of the faculty supervisor and two additional readers to be chosen by the department, in consultation with the supervisor. Thesis writers will not only work with their advisors but will participate in a weekly honors seminar supervised by a faculty member in political science. The seminar (which is one component of the 493-W31-494 designation and not a separate course) will provide a focused forum for the exchange of ideas among the honors students, who will regularly circulate sections of their theses-in-progress for peer review and critique. The faculty seminar leader's primary role is one of coordination and guidance. [ more ]

PSCI 494(S)Senior Thesis: Political Science

The senior major, having applied for and been accepted into the honors program during the second semester of the junior year, will devote the senior year to researching and writing a substantial and original work of scholarship, under the supervision of a faculty mentor to be assigned by the department. The final work will be submitted for evaluation by a committee made up of the faculty supervisor and two additional readers to be chosen by the department, in consultation with the supervisor. Thesis writers will not only work with their advisors but will participate in a weekly honors seminar supervised by a faculty member in political science. The seminar (which is one component of the 493-W31-494 designation and not a separate course) will provide a focused forum for the exchange of ideas among the honors students, who will regularly circulate sections of their theses-in-progress for peer review and critique. The faculty seminar leader's primary role is one of coordination and guidance. [ more ]

PSCI 495(F)Individual Project: Political Science

With the permission of the department, open to those senior Political Science majors who are not candidates for honors, yet who wish to complete their degree requirements by doing research--rather than taking the Senior Seminar-in their subfield of specialization. The course extends over one semester and the winter study period. The research results must be presented to the faculty supervisor for evaluation in the form of an extended essay. [ more ]

PSCI 496(S)Individual Project: Political Science

With the permission of the department, open to those senior Political Science majors who are not candidates for honors, yet who wish to complete their degree requirements by doing research--rather than taking the Senior Seminar--in their subfield of specialization. The course extends over one semester and the winter study period. The research results must be presented to the faculty supervisor for evaluation in the form of an extended essay. [ more ]