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Political Science

Chair: Professor Reynolds 
Associate Professors: Haddad; Assistant Professors: Kato; Faculty Associate: Lalande (French); Adjunct Faculty: Farbod

The program in political science is designed to provide opportunities to understand politics as art, science, and philosophy, so that students may prepare for graduate and professional schools such as law school, for professions in government service, and for individual citizenship in a democratic society.

The Major in Political Science

The major in political science consists of 10 course units. Four are required: Political Science 110, 115, 120, and 125. Students also must select one advanced course at the 200 level or above, from three of the following groups: Political Science 220, 225, 237, 240, 330, and 340; Political Science 215, 250 and 355; Political Science 210 and 235; and Political Science 245, 247, 327 and 347. 

Two of the remaining three courses required for the major are to be electives at the 300 level, if not already included above.

Courses in special topics and independent study may be substituted for courses at the advanced level, depending on the area in which the student will work and contingent upon departmental approval. Internship (386-388) will be counted as an elective in the major but is contingent upon department approval. Honors candidates take two courses, Political Science 400-401, which are counted within the 10-course requirement. 

Writing-Intensive Courses

Students will be required to take one of the following to meet the College requirement for writing-intensive courses: Political Science 225, 330, 347 or 355.

The Minor in Political Science

The minor in political science consists of five course units: two selected from among Political Science 110, 115, 120, and 125, and three additional courses selected with the approval of the advisor.

The Interdepartmental Major

Set I of the interdepartmental major consists of six course units: any two of Political Science 110, 115, 120, and 125, and four others, two of which may be independent study.

Departmental Recommendations

Students interested in graduate and professional studies are encouraged to take courses in other areas of the social sciences and in statistics. Prospective graduate students are advised to reach at least reading proficiency in those languages that may be required for their studies.

Courses in Political Science

110. The American Political System. Operation of American political processes and governmental institutions. Political culture of American democracy, political philosophy of the Constitution, relationship between organization of the economy and political power, linkages between mass public and governing elites, and operation of institutions of national government. (M4) 

115. International Politics: How the World Works. Topics include world politics and your life, origins of modern world system, human rights, nationalism, terrorism, violence, modern warfare, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, United Nations, international law, global ecology, and north/south conflict. Attention to leaders of the three global blocs: United States, Germany, and Japan. Fall. (M4) 

120. Introduction to Political Thinking. How can we ask better political questions and provide better political answers? This course introduces students to the habits of mind of famous thinkers across the centuries: Plato, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, de Tocqueville, Students for a Democratic Society, and Hannah Arendt. Topics include personal choice, democratic citizenship, justice, and totalitarianism. (M3) 

125. Introduction to Comparative Politics. A thematic approach to the study of politics in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. It exposes students to the diversity of the modern world, teaches methods for studying other countries comparatively, and emphasizes critical analysis. Topic selection varies by semester. (M5) 

127. East Asia and the Future. This course provides an introduction to national security, regional security, and politics in the East Asian region. The course will focus primarily on the major and middle Northeast Asian powers (China, Japan, Russia, the Koreas, Taiwan, and the United States); however, there also will be substantive reference to South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Europe. It will consider a series of selected issues, including historical background; political economy; national and regional security; human rights; culture; and transnational linkages such as drugs, disease, oil, and war. (M5) 

130. The First Amendment. Issues of freedom of speech and expression. Supreme Court interpretations of the First Amendment, including major cases that have defined parameters of free speech in America. Philosophical debate about value of free expression in a democratic society. Topics include subversive speech and political dissent, protest speech, prior restraint, obscenity, libel, symbolic speech, hate speech, and provocation. May Term. 

210. U.S. Workers in the New Globalized Economy. What does "working for a living" mean today? What are prospects for good jobs in a world dominated by labor-displacing technology? Who should control the shape and purpose of technology? Do some people deserve better working conditions and more fulfilling jobs than others? How have workers organized to protect themselves? Should corporations have "rights"? What conditions prompt or retard class awareness and organization among workers, including bonds across national borders? Do global market forces produce the best outcomes for workers? Course addresses these and related questions. Spring. Two 70-minute periods. (M4)

215. Modern Political Theory. Why should we obey the law? What makes state violence legitimate? Close textual investigations of the works of great modern political theorists such as Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Marx, and Mill, with an emphasis on the social contract and its limits as a form of political foundation. Spring. Two 70-minute periods. 

220. American Constitutional Law. (Also Sociology 220) Role of the Supreme Court and its relationship to the legislative and executive branches of American political system. Attention to judicial decisions of constitutional and historic significance in development of American government. Recommended: Political Science 110 or Sociology 216. Fall, alternate years. Two 70-minute periods. 

221. Civil Liberties and the U.S. Constitution. (Also Sociology 221) Civil liberties of Americans as delineated in the Bill of Rights. Issues of freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, right to counsel, searches and seizures, self-incrimination, cruel and unusual punishment, and fair trial. Judicial policy-making and problem of individual freedoms in conflict with federal and local police powers. Alternate years. 

225. Congress and the Presidency. Organization and operation of legislative and executive branches; interaction between them. Attention to the rise of the administrative state and struggle for control of public policy. Fall, alternate years. Two 70-minute periods. Writing-intensive. 

235. Contemporary European Politics. Efforts to set up, organize, and implement the European Union, from the end of World War II to the present. Review of political, economic, and social factors that have influenced these efforts. Topics include national interests of the larger countries (Germany, France, and Great Britain); role of smaller countries; reunification of Germany; relations with the United States and Japan; recent enlargement of the EU to include central and eastern European countries. Special attention given to the creation, implementation, and meaning of the euro, the EU's common currency. Spring. Two 70-minute periods. (M4) 

237. Public Administration and Public Policy. Principles and practice of public administration in the U.S. Organization and operation of executive branch and its role in formulation and implementation of public policy. Topics include organization theory, bureaucratic discretion, power and accountability, administrative process, budgeting, theories of decision-making, regulatory policy. Spring, alternate years. (M4) 

240. Environmental Policy. Contemporary American politics and policy on environmental issues. Current controversies in legislative and regulatory areas. Examination of environmental issues and the political process. 

245. Topics in the Politics of the Third World. Most recent focus has been on the Middle East: Israeli-Palestinian conflict, oil politics, Islam, U.S. policy in the region, with attention to Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. Spring. Two 70-minute periods. (M5) 
Farbod, Olson

247. Introduction to Chinese Politics. An introduction to contemporary Chinese politics. Using scholarly articles, literature, journalistic accounts, and films, the course presents an overview of China in world history and then moves on to issues, groups, and individuals that animate current Chinese politics, including economic and political reforms, social and cultural problems, quality of life dilemmas, the new generation of leaders, foreign policy, and China's future. (M5) 

250. Contemporary Political Theory. Topics have included democracy, totalitarianism, existential political thought, Marxism, nationalism. Fall. Two 70-minute periods. 

260. Critical Gender Studies. (Also Women's Studies 260) This advanced-level political theory course introduces students to scholarly texts, activist writings, and historical documents pertinent to feminist theory and masculinity studies. Selected readings also address multiculturalism, race, class, sexuality, religion, and ethnicity. Theories studied will vary by semester. This class exposes students to diverse approaches to the politics of sex and gender. Prerequisite: Political Science 120 or permission of the instructor. 

327. Topics in Comparative Politics. This seminar covers the politics of Latin America, Asia, and Africa through reading and research. Provides the means and the methods to understand and analyze other countries. Topics change by semester and will include: women in the developing world, the politics of human rights, contentious politics, comparative revolutions, democratization and authoritarianism, states and social movements, comparative political transitions. (M5) 

330. Topics in American Politics: Politics and Popular Culture. How popular culture shapes outcomes of American political process; how cultural processes structure comprehension and evaluation of politics; relationship between culture and political power; how political beliefs and values are manifest in the popular culture. Discussion of consumerism, violence, race and ethnicity, gender conflicts, and religion, as treated in television, movies, music, and the Internet. Spring, alternate years. Writing-intensive. (M4) 

340. Energy Policy. Explores how contemporary society uses energy and how its use is shaped by politics and public policy, especially how energy consumption and choices of energy technologies shape patterns of human settlement, structure of social life, distribution of income, and allocation of political power. Examines implications of energy choices for the viability of the environment, levels of personal freedom, and possibilities of democratic government. (U1) 

347. Topics in Chinese Politics. Using scholarly articles, literature, journalistic accounts, and films, the course addresses a variety of topics that change by the term, including leadership, regime change, foreign policy, domestic politics, contentious politics, social movements and the state, women in politics, political economy, political and economic development, and the effects of globalization within China. Writing-intensive. (M5) 

355. Utopias, Dystopias, and Manifestos: The Imagination of Political Alternatives. This course introduces students to visionary political writing, including Thomas More's Utopia, Theodore Herzl's The Jewish State, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engel's The Communist Manifesto, and Octavia Butler's The Parable of the Sower. We will think about political theorists as writers and also engage in original writing. The work of this course culminates in the creation of original student political visions. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or higher, and Political Science 120 or permission of instructor. (U2) 

190-199, 290-299, 390-399. Special Topics.

286, 381-384. Independent Study.

288, 386-388. Internship.

400-401. Honors.