(For 2016–2017 academic year)
Professors Brubaker, Byrnes (Chair), Chernoff, M. Hayes, Kraynak, Shain
Associate Professors Fogarty, N. Moore, Murshid, Nam, Rutherford
Assistant Professors Dauber, Koter, Lupton, Morkevičius
Visiting Instructors Donkova, L’Arrivee, Wolf
Senior Lecturer Yee
Instructor Ibarra Del Cueto
Charles Evans Hughes Professor of Jurisprudence Rostrow
The department’s program is designed to provide students with an understanding and appreciation of politics in the broadest sense and to introduce them to the skills needed for research and analysis. The curriculum includes courses in the principal fields of the discipline, including American and comparative government and politics, international relations, and political theory. Through coursework and independent study projects, students confront some of the enduring questions of politics while studying political institutions, processes, behavior, and theory. Internships in Washington on the D.C. study group combine rigorous analysis of politics and government with direct exposure to Congress, the national executive, political parties, interest groups, think tanks, and media. Similarly, study and internships in Geneva, Switzerland, on the department’s other study group, provide students with the opportunity to travel widely in Europe and to become immersed in the world of international organizations. The honors colloquium, in addition, offers students the opportunity to conduct significant research under the supervision of a faculty member. Students who major in political science are likely to be well prepared for future careers or graduate study in such fields as law, public service, international affairs, business management, teaching, journalism, and many others.
Major Program in Political Science
The requirements for a major in political science are as follows:
- Ten political science courses that must include
a. Four, but no more than five, courses at the 100 or 200 level with at least one in each of the four subfields of American politics (AM), comparative politics (CO), international relations (IR), and political theory (TH). These courses may be taken in any order and no more than three 100-level courses will count toward the major.
b. A minimum of five additional courses at the 300 or 400 level at least one being a 400-level seminar (neither POSC 498 nor 499 fulfills this requirement)
- Students seeking honors or high honors in political science will need to complete eleven courses in political science, including both semesters of the honors colloquium, POSC 498, 499. Major credit and grades used in determining departmental GPA will be awarded for both courses.
- Normally, no more than two independent study courses or political science courses taken on an off-campus study group are accepted for major credit. Requests for all transfer credits must be approved by the faculty member designated to evaluate them. For the two study groups sponsored by the Department of Political Science, in Geneva, Switzerland, and in Washington, D.C., up to three course credits may automatically be applied toward fulfilling departmental major credit.
- No course with a grade below C will count for major credit.
- For students electing a double major in political science and international relations, no more than two courses may be counted for completion of both majors. For students seeking a major in political science and a minor in international relations, no courses may be double-counted.
Minor Program in Political Science
The requirements for a minor in political science are as follows:
- The minor consists of five political science courses. Of these five courses, two must be at the 100 or 200 level and three must be at the 300 or 400 level. The two 100 or 200 level courses cannot be from the same subfield of the curriculum. They must be from two of the following: American politics (AM), comparative politics (CO), international relations (IR), and political theory (TH).
- Normally, no more than one independent study course, transfer credit, or political science course taken while participating in a Colgate off-campus study group (except those study groups sponsored by the Department of Political Science) is accepted for credit toward a minor. Requests for exceptions must be approved in advance by the faculty member designated to authorize transfer credits.
- No course with a grade below C will count as credit for the minor.
- A student may not count toward a political science minor any courses being counted toward a major in international relations.
Recommendations for Majors and Other Students
Those interested in studying political science may begin at any course level but are likely to find it most convenient to start with those at the 100 or 200 levels. In consultation with their faculty advisers, students should plan course sequences that fulfill major requirements while allowing them, if so desired, to develop particular interests in some depth while still gaining a well-rounded grounding in the discipline. All majors are encouraged, as well, to take electives in other closely allied social sciences.
The 100-level courses are designed for students likely to major in other fields of study as well as those considering a major or minor in political science. The 200-level courses are intended to serve as gateway courses to the major as well as to particular subfields. Both the 100- and 200-level courses, then, serve as general introductions providing a broad foundation in the discipline and are particularly suitable for first– and second–year students. The 300- and 400-level courses are, in most instances, somewhat more demanding and less general than lower-level courses and allow students to explore a specific topic in greater depth. These courses are generally directed, but not limited, to the needs of juniors and seniors. Majors and others interested in one particular area of the discipline, for example in international relations, can take up to seven courses, seminars, or independent studies in that area of interest, especially in classes at the 300 and 400 level.
Honors and High Honors in Political Science
Students with outstanding records in political science may pursue honors. To qualify, a student must have, at graduation, an overall GPA of 3.40 and a departmental GPA of 3.50 in the eleven or more courses taken to satisfy the major requirement for honors. A student must enroll in the year-long honors colloquium (POSC 498 and POSC 499). Each student in the fall while enrolled in POSC 498 will complete an in-depth written literature review of his or her subject of interest; then, in the spring while enrolled in POSC 499, students will write a lengthy thesis. Each course is graded separately, but enrollment in POSC 499 is contingent on the successful completion of POSC 498, and the recommendation of the seminar director and the student’s primary adviser. Although these courses are designed for and required of those hoping to stand for honors or high honors at graduation, neither is restricted to them; rising seniors with a strong interest in some area of political science and a proven academic record of accomplishment who would like to explore further a chosen area of research in a collaborative environment should also consider enrolling. It is critically important that juniors interested in doing an honors thesis in their senior year, speak both with their advisers and members of the faculty conducting research in an area of common interest while searching for a primary adviser to guide their independent research during their senior year.
All students who have successfully completed the honors sequence will be eligible for honors or high honors. Whether a student receives honors or high honors ultimately depends upon the outcome of their thesis research. To be awarded honors, a thesis must be judged superior both by the faculty member guiding the student’s research and the seminar director of POSC 499. A thesis judged by these readers to be potentially worthy of high honors will, with the agreement of the student, be submitted to a third reader. An oral defense will then be scheduled at which time the student is examined both on the content of the thesis and his or her knowledge of the general field of inquiry. The three readers then make the final decision as to whether the student will receive high honors at graduation.
For information about academic awards, see “Honors and Awards: Political Science” in Chapter VI. Colgate’s chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha is a national honorary society that recognizes the accomplishments of undergraduate political science students.
Advanced placement credits are not accepted for credit in the political science major or minor programs.
The department will accept for major credit a maximum of two political science courses taken at other institutions. Only one transfer credit will be accepted toward the minor. These courses must have been approved for transfer credit by the Colgate registrar and by the member of the Department of Political Science designated to evaluate them. In all instances, courses accepted for major or minor credit must be comparable in quality, quantity of reading and writing, and scope of coverage to courses offered in the department. Transfer credits will not ordinarily be offered for POSC 100-level courses or POSC 232. Students who anticipate applying for major or minor credit for a course or courses to be taken at another institution should consult with the faculty member evaluating them before enrolling elsewhere.
Students may select a topical major in Asian studies with a focus on India, China, or Japan, including related departmental courses in political science.
Students with a singular focus on the international political realm take, in conjunction with those in political science, courses in the languages, economics, history, and allied fields.
Peace and Conflict Studies
Students interested in this major may enroll in the interdisciplinary Peace and Conflict Studies Program.
For more information on these programs, see “Asian Studies,” “International Relations,” or “Peace and Conflict Studies.”
Washington Study Group
Directors S. Brubaker, M. Hayes, R. Kraynak
The Washington Study Group, conducted in the spring term each year, provides a unique opportunity for a select group of Colgate students to study the working processes of the American national government at close range. See “Off-Campus Study” in Chapter VI. Study group members take four courses during their term in Washington, one of which is an internship. Students receive three course credits toward completing the political science major (POSC 410, 412, and 414) and one university credit toward graduation (POSC 413). Prerequisites: POSC 150, 210, or 211.
Geneva, Switzerland Study Group Directors E. Fogarty, B. Rutherford, B. Shain
The Geneva Study Group, conducted in the fall and/or spring terms of each year, provides a rewarding opportunity for a highly select group of Colgate students to study the workings of international organizations, the politics of the European Union and of Western European nations, and other related matters while living and traveling in the heart of Western Europe. Intensive language and cultural immersion in a French homestay, and internship opportunities working in international and non-governmental organizations are important parts of the program. For further information, please see “Off-Campus Study” in Chapter VI. At least one college-level French course is a prerequisite. Study group directors may specify other prerequisites, but as a general rule it is strongly recommended that students take POSC 152 or 232, POSC 151 or 260, and at least one other political science or history course in the politics, culture, history, international relations, or economies of Europe.
POSC courses count toward the Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents area of inquiry requirement, unless otherwise noted.
100- and 200-level courses in political science designated as writing-intensive sections (WI) cover much the same material as similar 100-level courses, but they will place a greater emphasis on developing the ability of enrolled student to explicate the course content in discursive essays rather than in various quiz/exam formats.
150 America as a Democracy (AM)
T. Byrnes, M. Hayes, N. Moore
While most Americans take it for granted that our political system is a democracy and that it serves as an ideal by which other systems might be measured, the United States is only one of many stable democratic polities in existence today. This course identifies various characteristics of democratic systems that set them apart from others, and compares the operation of our presidential system with the parliamentary model adopted by many industrialized democracies.
151 Politics and Moral Vision (TH)
S. Brubaker, N. Dauber, R. Kraynak, B. Shain
This introduction to political theory addresses the ways in which personal morality and ideas of human flourishing determine one’s perceptions and responses to political institutions that shape the life and culture of one’s nation. Using a wide variety of texts, the moral underpinnings of different political systems are discussed in terms of fundamental normative concepts such as right, duty, virtue, liberty, and equality. Other essential terms, basic to building a foundational political vocabulary, such as liberalism, democracy, conservatism, individualism, communalism, and modernity are also explored. This introduction to normative political theory gives special emphasis to the genesis and development of liberal democracy and the tensions between its component parts, particularly as they relate to visions of a well-lived moral and political life. This course is designed to enrich students’ perceptions of the evening news and the political discourse of our times while introducing them to political science.
152 Global Peace and War (IR)
F. Chernoff, E. Fogarty, D. Lupton, V. Morkevičius, N. Murshid
This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of how international politics — politics between governments — differs from politics within a state. It considers how the international system has evolved and currently operates, and examines some of the enduring questions of international relations: Why there is war? How can war be avoided? Is international equality a prerequisite for order? Can order, justice, and cooperation be achieved in a non-institutionalized and non-hierarchical system?
153 Introduction to Comparative Politics (CO)
D. Epstein, J. F. Ibarra Del Cueto, D. Koter, I. Nam
Nearly 200 independent states coexist in the world today. Although they are all unique, political scientists study them in systematic ways, comparing them to discover fundamental political patterns that can help produce broadly applicable generalizations across different cultures and geographies. Themes such as democratic or authoritarian regime type, models of economic development, state institutions, civil society, and issues of national and ethnic identity all form important realms of inquiry for researchers engaged in the practice of comparative politics. This course introduces students to the principle themes and basic theories of comparative politics using examples from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America, including both authoritarian and unstable democratic countries.
208 Comparative Democracies (CO)
This course offers a comparative examination of the social bases of democracy and of different forms of constitutional government and competitive politics in both advanced industrial and developing countries in regions including Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. The course explores questions about the causes of democratic stability and instability across countries and the effectiveness of their democratic government in delivering goods to their citizens. It examines key conditions that appeared conducive to producing democratic transitions across the three “waves” of democratization. Finally, students will consider the process of democratic consolidations, considering topics such as civil society, civil-military relations, institutional design, and international influences.
210 Congress (AM)
M. Hayes, N. Moore
This course analyzes the legislative process with a special emphasis on the relationship between Congress and the presidency. This course examines the historical development and structural attributes of Congress that determine its role in the executive-legislative relationship. Since the decision-making process varies enormously by issue area, the course focuses on several distinct policy areas. Course materials include classics of congressional scholarship as well as results from some of the latest research in the field.
211 The Presidency and Executive Leadership (AM)
An examination of the complex and controversial role the presidency plays in the American political system. The course begins with the founders and with the creation of the presidency at the Constitutional Convention. This is followed by an examination of the powers vested in the office and the ways in which they check and are checked by Congress. Discussion then turns to what has come to be called the “managerial presidency.” Descriptive and analytical treatment of the ways in which the country elects presidents is a major topic. At many points the American presidency is compared to executive power in other democracies.
212 The Politics of Race and Ethnicity (AM)
This course examines the political dynamics of race in American society, focusing primarily on the experience of blacks as a socio-political group and to a lesser degree on that of other racial and ethnic minorities. The overriding theme is how race has influenced American politics and, conversely, how certain political phenomena have shaped the development of race. The specific topics around which the course is organized include the following: the most enduring and predominant racial issue — racial inequality; competing explanations for the origins and continuance of racial inequality; leadership approaches and ideologies for redressing the race problem; mass political strategies for dealing with the problem; majority attitudes and opinions regarding racial issues (including racial inequality); and the comparative experience of non-black minorities. These topics, individually and collectively, represent the essence of racial politics. This course is crosslisted as ALST 212.
213 Comparative Politics: The Third World (CO)
What is the Third World? Should countries as diverse as India and Cuba be included in its description? Why is democracy so fragile in Latin America? How can women contribute to development? This course tries to answer these questions by examining the historical origins, political evolution, and economic development of Third World countries from Thailand to Tanzania. Using the tools and methods of comparative inquiry, students explore the states, societies, and economies of different regions included under the rubric of the “Third World” such as the Caribbean, South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. The role of women, health, population, migration, and democratization issues in these regions are discussed, as well as the theories and methods used by comparativists in order to explain political systems and economic changes in the “Third World.”
214 Comparative Politics: East and Southeast Asia (CO)
This course introduces students to the politics of East and Southeast Asia. It compares and contrasts the diverse political and economic evolution of countries across the region by examining the historical development of state structures, regime types, and the development of institutions and organizations such as parties and civil society groups. The first part of the course focuses on the experiences of the East Asian “early developers” (Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan). The second part of the course explores the transition to democracy across the region. Finally, it considers the emergence of China as an economic and political power.
215 Comparative Politics: Middle East (CO)
An introduction to Middle Eastern politics, including historical foundations of the modern Middle East, competing strategies of state building, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Gulf War, the rise of political Islam, and American policy toward the region. This course is crosslisted as MIST 215.
216 Comparative Politics: Latin America (CO)
J. F. Ibarra Del Cueto
Today Latin America is one of the most democratic regions of the developing world, although it faces problems of inequality, gridlock, and economic growth. Latin America’s 20th-century experiences of coups, revolutions, and instability also present important lessons for comparative politics. This course introduces students to the countries of Latin America and the important patterns of similarity and difference that can help them understand political development and elucidate comparative trends. Regime type is one prism through which students examine the region’s countries, including democracy, semi-democracy, and various authoritarian regimes, especially bureaucratic authoritarianism. Another important topic is the United States’ relationship with the region’s polities, on issues like the Cold War, drug wars, and economic policies. In addition to big countries like Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela, the course also focuses on countries of particular student interest.
232 Fundamentals of International Relations (IR)
F. Chernoff, E. Fogarty, D. Lupton, V. Morkevičius, N. Murshid, A. Yee
This course is an introduction to the basic approaches to international relations, such as realism, idealism, and the interdependence school. It also considers fundamental problems of national security, the uses of power, the causes of war, the nature of international institutions, the relationships among security, deterrence, conflict escalation, and nuclear proliferation.
260 Foundations of Political Thought (TH)
N. Dauber, R. Kraynak, B. Shain
This introduction to political thought explores the questions: What is a just society? What is the best way of life? The course examines major alternatives from Plato to Nietzsche, as well as recent critics and defenders of American liberal democracy.
304 Islam and Politics
This course studies the impact of the Islamic resurgence on international and intra-national politics. The course begins with an introduction to the Islamic faith. Students explore the origins of the Islamic resurgence, the ideas of influential Islamic political thinkers, and Islamic movements in comparative perspective (Iran, Egypt, Indonesia, the United States, and France). The class concludes by examining two issues of great contemporary importance: the impact of Islam on democracy and the future relationship between the Islamic world and the West. This course is crosslisted as MIST 304.
305 The Political Economy of East and Southeast Asia
This course studies the role of the state in economic and social development and the relationship between economic development and democratization in East and Southeast Asia. It covers a variety of topics: the relationship between the state and the market in economic development, the interaction between growth and the development of political institutions, and the political repercussions of developmental outcomes such as demographic change and rapid urbanization. Students explore the interplay of state capacity, market development, and democratic institution building.
307 China’s Foreign Relations
This course examines China’s complex relations with the world mainly since the 1990s. It begins with a brief consideration of traditional Chinese understandings of international relations, historical legacies, geopolitical predicaments, and China’s foreign policymaking process. The course examines the recent reorientation of Chinese foreign policy as a result of China’s post-Mao economic reforms. It assesses China’s grand strategy of “Peaceful Development,” Chinese integration into “international institutions,” and China’s partial participation in an emergent Asian regionalism. Geographically, the course examines China’s relations with its Pacific neighbors, other developing countries (especially in Africa), and with advanced countries (Europe and the USA). The course also evaluates the prospects for military conflicts over Taiwan, the Senkaku/Diaoyu, and the South China Seas. The problem of nationalism in foreign policy is assessed through an analysis of the “interactive nationalisms” driving the triangular US-China-Japan relationship. The course investigates China’s foreign policies on major international issues in an age of globalization. Specifically, with regard to the global economy, climate change, and international human rights are examined. The course concludes by assessing the prospects for Chinese foreign policy in the 21st century.
313 Political Corruption
Like it or not, corruption is a significant form of political influence, as much a part of politics as voting or writing a member of Congress. Indeed, in some parts of the world, corruption is not the exception, but the norm. This course examines the limits of privately interested political action in a variety of societies and considers possible explanations for corruption, examines case studies drawn from American politics and from other nations, and identifies the consequences of corruption, both for whole societies and for important groups within them. Reforms are a concern as well. Finally, the class considers the ways people in a variety of cultures respond to the wrongdoing they perceive around them. Prerequisite: POSC 150, 151, 152, or 153, or permission of instructor.
317 Identity Politics
This course examines the politics of identity in comparative perspectives. The course introduces students to a variety of theoretical approaches concerning the origin, transformation, and mobilization of national, ethnic, and other forms of collective identity. The course considers empirical applications of these theories: students identify processes through which identity becomes politicized, explore why some identity conflicts manifest as violence, and analyze the various ways — ranging from electoral solutions to genocide — in which states manage difference. Case studies are drawn from Europe, the former Soviet Union, Africa, the Asian sub-continent, and the United States.
320 States, Markets, and Global Change
Do states intervene in the economy too much as conservatives and libertarians claim, or should they intervene more as many liberals and progressives argue? Does business have too much power or have the critics of “big business” and multinationals been too alarmist? Is the role of the government diminishing as the world becomes more global? This course discusses contemporary controversies regarding the relationship between government and the economy. It evaluates and examines the extent and kinds of state intervention into markets and the private sector, the influence and impact of corporations and business leaders on government institutions and policy from the United States to Latin America.
321 Political Parties and Electoral Process
M. Hayes, D. Koter
Political parties are some of the most influential entities in politics, and this course examines them as they pursue pork, policy, and power in the arenas of elections and elected institutions. After providing a strong background in party theory and the American party system, the remainder of the course highlights important commonalities by comparing party activity and party system development in other countries that straddle the developed and developing world.
322 The Politics of Privatization in Comparative Perspective
The adoption of neoliberal economic policies has been one of the most significant reforms undertaken around the world in the last two decades. Privatization, in particular, has been so popular and so widespread that one writer has remarked that even the United States, that quintessential free market economy, was “looking for something to sell.” This course examines political and economic explanations for the global adoption of privatization and economic restructuring in the 1980s and 1990s. It looks at the conditions under which governments enacted policies and compares the outcome of privatization measures in selected countries and sectors in East and Central Europe, Latin America, and Africa. It analyzes the claims of critics of privatization and the responses of privatization’s winners and losers. Students examine recent changes in the approach to the distribution of public goods and explore innovative public-private partnerships such as that between the development agency, CARE, and the coffee company Starbucks, to provide water, sanitation, or micro-credit in developing countries.
323 American Elections and Party Power
This course focuses closely on the US party system and the electoral area in which the parties struggle for power. In order to develop a strong conception of American parties, it combines scrutiny of the day-to-day media representations of political parties with important comparative perspectives that help students understand how American parties and elections fit into broader political science frameworks, as well as their long-term and global implications. Students compare the current US party system in three directions: back through history (especially the 20th century) to understand the roots of today’s parties; out to the rest of the world, comparing party systems in other highly democratic countries; and also down to the state level, where the course examines to what degree New York State parties and elections reflect national trends. Important topics covered include the effects of redistricting and campaign finance. Students also investigate the importance of issue-framing with unites on contrasting party strategies of presenting a “war on women” and President Obama’s “socialism.” Prerequisites: one POSC course.
328 Religion and Politics
Religion and politics influence each other — pervasively and controversially — in almost every political system across the globe. This course examines this fundamentally important relationship in a variety of national settings through a comparative assessment of issues and controversies such as constitutional relations between religious institutions and the state; the appropriate role of religious beliefs in a democracy; the challenges posed to contemporary governments by the expansion of religious pluralism; the role that religious interests and religious leaders can play in elections and policy making; and the many ways that religion and religious mobilization are shaping the very nature of political life in the modern world.
330 Post-Mao China and the World
This course examines the dynamics of post-Mao China’s ongoing transition from socialism towards an uneven integration into the Liberal World Order. It analyzes Chinese economic market reforms and opening to the global economy since 1978. Socioeconomic problems, political dysfunctions, and international limitations arising from this two-pronged development strategy are identified and assessed. The Chinese government’s attempts to redress these problems through stricter regulations, economic rebalancing, and international institutions are investigated and evaluated. The course concludes by examining the practical and discursive ramifications of China’s development model for Chinese society, world politics, and the philosophical search for alternative modernities.
331 Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa
This course provides an understanding of politics in 48 countries that constitute sub-Saharan Africa. Following the independence era of the early 1960s and 1970s, much of the sub-continent exploded into a seemingly endless cycle of violence underscored by military coups d’état and civil wars. Over the last decade, various conflicts subsided enough for some states to institute political and market reforms. Others remained stuck in the throes of economic stagnation, on the verge of disintegration and vulnerable to terrorist groups and drug runners who exploit their vast ungovernable territories. What explains the various transitions that some states have experienced in sub-Saharan Africa? Why did most states disintegrate in violence following the end of colonial rule? Drawing upon pre-colonial accounts and histories of state formation and the theoretical, methodological, and conceptual tools that various Africanists have used to analyze key events, this course offers answers to these and other important questions about political and socio-economic developments on the continent of Africa.
335 U.S. Environmental Politics
Public policies to protect the environment are among the most important and controversial issues in local, state, and national government. This course analyzes the politics of environmental protection in the United States through the use of social science theory and a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods. The course introduces frameworks for understanding environmental policy problems and reviews several important American environmental laws. Readings include social science “classics” on the environment, as well as recent scholarship on environmental politics and emerging environmental issues. Topics covered in the course include the politics of environmental science, environmentalism as a social movement, environmental lawmaking in Congress, bureaucracy and environmental regulation, federalism, environmental law, and environmental justice. Prerequisite: POSC 150 or ECON 151.
340 Politics of the American Metropolis
The United States is an urban society: today nearly 80 percent of Americans live in urbanized, metropolitan areas. These urban areas are governed by a dizzying array of local, state, and federal institutions whose policies affect citizens’ lives enormously and in myriad ways. This course explores the politics of urban America in the context of the contemporary metropolis. The legal and philosophical origins of local American government are discussed, along with the political economy of the city and classic theories of urban politics. The course traces the history of urbanization and the accompanying growth of government institutions, and addresses issues of suburbanization, regional balkanization, and federalism. Other issues addressed in the course include land use, segregation, housing, economic development, and poverty. Prerequisite: POSC 150.
344 Politics of Poverty
This course examines the nature and extent of poverty in the United States, with particular emphasis on public policies designed to alleviate poverty and recent proposals for reform. Political factors affecting the formulation and implementation of poverty policies are examined, drawing on case studies of selected issues such as the war on poverty, Medicare, food stamps, aid to families with dependent children, and negative income tax proposals.
346 Beneath the Black Robes: Courts as Political Institutions
This course focuses on the causal dynamics of judicial behavior. It introduces students to the study of courts as political institutions and, in doing so, provides some understanding of the political nature of the role of courts in American society. The course departs from the view that landmark national decisions such as Roe v. Wade, Baker v. Carr, and Brown v. Bd. of Education, along with their more recent conservative corollaries, are solely the product of adherence to constitutional standards of interpretation. Instead, it posits that these controversial rulings and judicial policy in general can be explained through careful examination of certain political factors. In short, the course is based on the premise that the judiciary is a permeable structure that is responsive to democratic processes and that, in turn, exerts influence upon those processes. Two major theoretical concerns integrate the lectures and materials covered in the course: 1) the dynamic relationship between court decision-making processes and major features of the larger American political arena, and 2) the inherent tensions between judicial independence and democratic politics. Prerequisite: 100-level POSC course or permission of instructor.
348 The Rise and Fall of Communism
This course examines the spread of political and economic ideas and practices in the shocking advent and demise of state socialism and subsequent transitions to market capitalism. It studies the ideological struggles with Nazism, Fascism, and Capitalism, focusing mainly on the countries of East Central Europe and the former Soviet Union but addresses an entire system of states where such transformative processes occurred in the 20th century. It explores the politics, implementation, and impact of radical economic and social ideas. Students devote particular attention to the relationship between personal and cultural influences of ideologies, local polities and economies, and processes of global ideological development.
349 The International Political Economy
E. Fogarty, N. Murshid
This course looks at the historical and theoretical development of the international political economy. Some of the major topics considered include the interaction between politics and economics in trade and protectionism, capital flows, exchange rates, debt, globalization, and problems in development.
350 Africa in World Politics
This course examines relations between African states and between African and foreign states. Major topics include the effects of the international system on economic and political development, African states’ use of foreign policy to achieve development goals, the role of the major outside powers, intra-African conflicts, African organization, the role of African thought in foreign policies, and the international relations of southern Africa.
353 National Security
This course discusses and analyzes the idea of national security in theory and practice, as well as the impact of nuclear weapons on contemporary statecraft topics including deterrence theory, arms control and disarmament, nuclear proliferation, and recent strategic developments. An optional three-week extended study in New York City, POSC 383, deepens students’ understanding of several issues that are treated in class during the term. Prerequisite: POSC 152 or 232, or permission of instructor.
354 Capitalism, the State, and Development in Latin America
J. F. Ibarra Del Cueto
The developmental trajectories of Latin American countries contain a double conundrum: first, in spite of being a region endowed with a considerable amount of natural resources and having enjoyed privileged access to Western European and North American markets, the overall economic performance of the region during the 20th century lagged considerably behind that of the rest of the Western world. Second, even when these countries all share a past of colonial rule and a “peripheral” location in the international system, the economic differences within the countries of the region are staggering. Seeking to shed light on this puzzle, this course surveys existing theories on the relationship between political institutions and economic outcomes and explores the historical co-evolution of states, regimes, and markets in the region.
357 International Institutions
T. Byrnes, E. Fogarty, B. Shain
This analysis of the role of international institutions in international politics emphasizes both the United Nations and the major international economic institutions (WTO, the IMF, and the World Bank).
358 Transnational Politics
T. Byrnes, E. Fogarty
This course examines the segment of world politics that includes interactions and transactions between actors who are not representatives of governments or intergovernmental institutions. Non-state actors as diverse as global social movements, multinational corporations, religious communities, and even terrorist networks are now recognized as playing crucial roles on the world’s political stage. This course focuses on a variety of these transnational actors, as we seek to stretch the limits of state-based approaches, and emphasize the rich variety of relationships and interactions that characterizes contemporary world politics. This course is crosslisted as PCON 358.
359 Power in Russia from Gorbachev to Putin
This course examines the domestic and international politics of the world’s largest country. It tracks the weakness and disorder of the chaotic 1990s under Boris Yeltsin, and the birth of a new system on the ashes of Communism. Students examine the rise of Russian power and prestige under Vladimir Putin and his centralizing innovations to strengthen political and economic institutions. The course also considers dissent and protest movements, the national conflicts with internal minorities, as in Chechnya, and projection of power over the post-Soviet “Near Abroad” and the construction of a corporatist-style system that presents new challenges to the global dominance of ideas about democracy and capitalism. This course is crosslisted as REST 359.
360 Domestic Sources of American Foreign Policy
T. Byrnes, M. Hayes
To the extent that the U.S. sets its own course in international affairs, domestic sources of American foreign policy become a crucial consideration. This course examines the role of domestic politics in formulating U.S. foreign policy. Special emphasis is placed on the function of representative institutions, bureaucracies, and public opinion in determining and implementing American foreign policy. Students are presented with a comprehensive framework of analysis that permits them to describe and perhaps predict actions taken by the U.S. government.
361 Humanitarian Interventions
Peace operations have been widely deployed to contain and promote resolution of conflicts. This course focuses primarily on humanitarian intervention and probes the different contexts in which peacekeepers have been introduced: interstate conflicts, civil conflicts, and humanitarian emergencies. Students consider how humanitarian interventions differ in practical terms from other types of peace operations, considering questions of strategy, mandates, and political will. Students also analyze the ethical implications of humanitarian intervention, particularly questions of responsibility, legitimacy, sovereignty, and unintended consequences. Theoretical readings are combined with comparative case studies are drawn from Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, and elsewhere.
363 International Relations of the Middle East
This course focuses on the process of foreign policy formation in Middle Eastern countries from the point of view of these nations themselves. Topics studied include the Arab-Israeli conflict, the political economy of the region, state formation and development, democratization, political Islam, and U.S. policy toward the Middle East. Some prior study of the Middle East is strongly recommended. Prerequisite: POSC/MIST 215 or HIST 259 or ANTH/MIST 252 or GEOG/MIST 305, or permission of instructor. This course is crosslisted as MIST 363.
364 Politics of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan
Modern South Asia is the product of the partition of British India into India and Pakistan in 1947. The secession of Bangladesh changed the map of South Asia again in 1971. The history of South Asia is, thus, one of division and rivalry. This course focuses on the broad developments since colonial times: nationalism, the rise and fall of democratic processes, ethnic strife, communal divisions, secession incentives, power imbalances, and emergence of a nuclear South Asia, and the recent links between Islamic fundamentalist groups and terrorists in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
365 Just War in Comparative Perspective
This course aims to introduce students to a wide variety of ways of thinking about justice and warfare, across time, space, and religion. Using political science — rather than theology or philosophy — as the lens for inquiry emphasizes the role played by political power in the creation and transmission of these systems of value. Beginning with an exploration of the roots of Western Just War thinking in the ancient world (Greece, Rome, and Israel), the course explores traditional just war thinking in Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. Students delve into source texts, examining the evolution of just war thought in a historical and comparative context, and the course illustrates the ways in which concepts of justice may be contingent on both a society’s religious/ethnical beliefs and its military capabilities. Finally, the course turns to contemporary scholarship to ask, is just war theory still relevant today? Modern just war responses to weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and counter-insurgency warfare provide students the opportunity to apply these ancient theories to the modern world.
366 Contemporary American Foreign Policy
F. Chernoff, E. Fogarty, D. Lupton, A. Yee
This course focuses on the theoretical traditions underlying American foreign policy, key concepts in the conduct of foreign policy, and the application of these theories and concepts to historical and contemporary events. Throughout the course, students will examine how policymakers determine the national interest, the tools used to conduct foreign policy, and how policymakers have responded to foreign policy problems in the 21st century. In doing so, the course focuses on both theory and application to understand how decisions are made and executed, as well as which policy problems are most critical today.
367 The European Union
This course examines the development and consequences of European unification after World War II. Major topics include the nature and history of integration, concepts of sovereignty and the nation-state, the role of international organizations in world politics, the institutional structure of the EU, major initiatives such as the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Market, the meaning and repercussions of the Maastrict Treaty, and the development of a single currency. The course includes the opportunity to participate in a model European union with American and European students.
368 American Foreign Relations with China
This course examines the major sources and basic logic of American foreign policy towards China since 1989. It begins by exploring the rich historical background of multiple dimensions of US-China relations and the foreign policy effects of the interactions between the cultural traditions of “American Exceptionalism” and “Chinese Exceptionalism.” The course investigates the major determinants of this contemporary bilateral relationship. In particular, domestic sources of U.S. China policy, such as public opinion, Congress, and presidential elections. These domestic considerations are linked to international factors using the concepts of “two-level games” and “two-level negotiations.” The course pays detailed attention to the dominant “realist” approach to understanding international relations and major alternative “liberal” approaches to the study of international relations, inclusive of US-China relations. The course will focus on the effects of international institutions, economic interdependence, and “liberal world orders.” It investigates in-depth the recent emergence of a new realist consensus among American foreign policy elites, as well as various policy alternatives. The prospects for the future of US-China relations in the 21st century will briefly be examined.
370 International Relations in the Post-Cold War Environment
F. Chernoff, E. Fogarty
The end of the Cold War and the introduction of a large number of non-traditional issues (environmental, economic, and normative) to the international agenda have raised very serious questions about the discipline of international relations itself. How new or old will the new international relations be? What conceptual framework should be used to explore these issues? What issues should be the focus? The course begins with a reassessment of the grand tradition in international relations and of how the order, upon which it was based, fell. The emerging world order and the agenda of new issues with which it confronts us, the likely new patterns of cooperation and conflict those issues will foster, and the possibilities for a new consensus are considered. Prerequisite: POSC 232.
371 West European Politics
This course looks at the history and political development of Britain, France, Germany, and Italy. The course studies these countries within the context of not only their distinct histories but also provides a comparison of how these histories impacted the development of diverging domestic interests, the creation of societal cleavages, and consequently the construction of political institutions to mediate and regulate internal conflict. Major policies within the countries are considered, including their involvement with NATO and the European Union.
373 The Public Policy Process
This course examines how the executive and legislative branches of government interact to formulate public policies. The influence of political parties, interest groups, business organizations, and public opinion on these institutions is explored in depth. The course also highlights the impact of federalism within the American political system, pointing both to intergovernmental implementation of national policies and to policy innovation at the state level.
374 International Law
This course introduces students to public international law through an examination of the key concepts and principles that underlie the foundations of international law, as well as through the legal norms that regulate relations between states. Although states are considered the central actors in international law, the involvement of nonstate actors, intergovernmental organizations, and other participants is also examined. Substantive areas of international law, humanitarian law, and international law and the environment are also analyzed. The course concludes with a discussion of the future role of international law in world politics.
377 Political Psychology
How do the forces that shape personality and motivation affect the political behavior of individuals? What role do factors such as schooling, religion, social class, mass media, race, and gender have upon individual beliefs and attitudes? How does the use of stereotypes and political symbols shape the popular understanding of politics and affect the relationship between the rulers and the ruled? By employing an individualistic perspective, this course investigates the formation of public opinion and the structure of political beliefs, values, and attitudes.
379 The Development of the Modern State
Though the state is now the standard form of political organization, this was not always the case. For centuries, political organization was dominated by city-states, feudal relations, and tribal or clan organizations. This course examines the emergence of the modern state as the predominant form of political organization. It explores various arguments for state sovereignty and examines several challenges to it as well. Finally, it considers the state of the state in today’s globalized world.
380 Reason, Faith, and Politics
This course examines the claims of reason and revelation as sources of ultimate truth and as guides for the political world. Readings are from the great theologians of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions.
382 American Political Thought
N. Dauber, R. Kraynak, B. Shain
This study of the principles of American government as articulated by leading statesmen and political thinkers gives particular attention to the founding period and the Constitution and to their relationship to later periods of reform.
383 National Security Extended Study
This 0.50-credit extended study course is intended for students who have completed POSC 353. The extended study in New York City explores four topics covered in POSC 353: conflict in the Middle East, conflict in the Balkans, NATO and European security, and the UN peacekeeping system. The class meets with academics and representatives of roughly a dozen countries who deal with these issues. The study includes panels of military scholars from the US Army War College and the United States Military Academy at West Point. Prerequisite: POSC 353 and permission of instructor.
385 Modernity and its Conservative Critics
R. Kraynak, B. Shain
What is wrong with the modern world, especially with the political culture of liberal and progressive intellectual elites? Such questions are explored by studying the radical critique of modernity offered by philosophical, classical, and Christian conservatives.
386 Enlightenment Political and Social Thought
Important Enlightenment-era political treatises are explored in this course. The bourgeois sensibilities of Montesquieu, Hume, Smith, and Voltaire are compared — culminating in the tenets of classical liberalism — to the more radical and perfectionist aspirations of Rousseau, Diderot, and Condorcet. For both schools of thought, the focus is on those aspects and ideas that cast light on matters of continuing concern and that help explain the 19th-century emergence of liberalism, romanticism, and radicalism.
387 Reason and Relativism in Social and Political Thought
How can one understand human beings when they seem to have such a complicated variety of interests and motives? Not only does behavior vary dramatically across cultures and over time, but so do conceptions of truth, God, religion, morality, justice, and the good. Differences abound. The intent of this course is to look at the controversies that divide social and political theorists in their effort to understand human beings and the human condition. In the process students discover that beneath conflicting theories are recurring themes concerning subjectivity and objectivity, the nature of human beings, theories of self and other, as well as a debate over rationality, irrationality, truth, and knowledge. By better understanding these controversies students gain new insights into human nature, human knowledge, and the human condition.
388 Constitutional Law: Civil Rights and Liberties
In this course, students examine the nature of civil rights and liberties under the Constitution; such include freedom of speech and the press, religious freedom, equal protection (with major attention to race and gender), due process, property, and privacy/autonomy (abortion, right to die, sexual orientation). Students also explore the role of the Supreme Court in the definition and protection of these rights and engage the several controversies surrounding the larger enterprise of constitutional interpretation, such as originalism v. nonoriginalism, natural law v. positivism, judicial activism v. judicial restraint, and so forth.
389 Constitutional Law: Structures and Powers
The focus of this course is what Aristotle identified as the central question of political science, the character of regime — the organization of offices and the distribution of power that is designed to achieve an understanding of justice and the human good. More specifically, students focus on the structural characteristics of the American regime, or Constitution — separation of powers, federalism, emergency powers, property rights; but students are equally concerned with the politics of interpretation itself — the complex process by which people determine what is the Constitution, how it is to be understood, and who has authority to interpret it. The responsibility for constitutional interpretation is broadly distributed, but it is also obvious that the pre-eminent voice for interpreting the Constitution has become the Supreme Court. Accordingly, students spend the greater portion of the course with the analysis of cases, that is, the Court’s opinion of what the Constitution means.
390 Silent Warfare: Intelligence Analysis and Statecraft
This course introduces students to the complex and crucial process of obtaining, analyzing, and producing intelligence in the making of American foreign policy. Subjects covered include problems with the structure of the intelligence community, covert action, psychological and bureaucratic constraints on analysts and policymakers, and how the intelligence community has responded to key threats. This course also explores ethical issues raised with intelligence gathering such as the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, the role of whistleblowers, and accountability of the intelligence community. By addressing these issues, this course tackles critical problems associated with the collection, analysis, and use of intelligence to meet the American national interest.
409 Study Group Sponsored Internship: Geneva, Switzerland
Students taking part in the department’s Geneva, Switzerland, study group are placed in semester-long part-time internships in international organizations, non-governmental organizations, or private concerns with interests related to international governance, international relations or business, or international humanitarianism. Work in these organizations complements coursework completed in POSC 357Y and group travel undertaken during the semester. Discussion of the internship experience and short writing assignments are part of the course requirements. This course is graded as satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) and provides one university credit toward graduation.
410 Our Constitutional Order: Continuity and Change
S. Brubaker, M. Hayes, R. Kraynak
This Washington, D.C., study group course is an inquiry into the enduring principles and changing features of our constitutional order. Topics include the design of the founders (their underlying propositions about human nature and the common good, expectations for institutional performance, and hopes for the way of life fostered by this constitutional order), significant changes within this order (as marked by shifts in the underlying premises of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution and parallel realignments of the political party system), and contemporary features of institutions and political mores. The class meets as a daily seminar for the first two weeks of the program, then in weekly seminars for the following six weeks.
412 Readings and Research on American Government
This Washington, D.C., study group course combines common readings pertaining to the internship (focusing on organization theory) and individualized readings on an independent research project. For the latter, students are encouraged to select topics that further enhance and complement the experiential learning of their internships.
413 Study Group Sponsored Internship: Washington
Students taking part in the department’s Washington, D.C., study group are placed in a twelve-week internship in an American federal governmental or a political office matching the student’s interest. Most placements are in the executive branch of the federal government; but under special circumstances students are placed in Washington-area interest groups, think tanks, media organizations, or on Capitol Hill. The readings and research course (POSC 412) is designed to enhance and complement this internship experience. This course is graded as satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) and provides one university credit toward graduation.
414 Seminar: Contemporary Policy Process
S. Brubaker, M. Hayes, R. Kraynak
This Washington, D.C., study group course is an inquiry into the contemporary process by which policy is developed and enacted, with special attention to a case study of a subject currently under consideration in Washington. Previous topics have included reforms of welfare, Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, and campaign finance. Questions include a) the role of interest groups, parties, political action committees, and the press; b) the impact of constitutional and contemporary structures and processes of decision making; and c) the desirability of reform of the constitutional system itself. This class meets as a daily seminar for the first two weeks after the term break, then in semi-weekly seminars for the next five weeks.
415 Seminar: Social Justice Politics and Policy
This course focuses on the issues and problems confronting certain socially and politically marginalized groups in contemporary American society. Such groups include racial and ethnic minorities, the poor, women, and gays and lesbians. Of particular concern is how well these groups have fared in the American political arena, the sources of and constraints upon their political clout, and the political system’s response to their concerns and demands. The course examines both the political process as it pertains to marginalized groups and also the major public policy developments affecting these groups. More specifically, it utilizes traditional political science tools and methodologies in an attempt to disentangle the dynamic interplay between American political process, public policy, and the politics of social justice.
416 Seminar: Democratic Transitions and Consolidation
What are the chances that the new democracies established around the world in the past century will survive? Most have had relatively free and honest elections; some have even had peaceful transfers of power later on; most are somewhere in the process of changing to market economies. But in many places, the quality of life has deteriorated in important respects, and democratization is stale-mated by economic crises, ethnic and religious conflicts, low levels of political participation, crime, and other problems. This seminar explores democratic transitions - the removal of repressive regimes and the establishment of new democratic institutions - and democratic consolidation - the process of “deepening” democracy and making it sustainable. Major topics include the role of civil society, relationships between wealth and power, ethnic conflicts and national identity, political participation and accountability, building democratic cultures, and models of democracy appropriate for different societies.
418 Seminar: Urbanism and Civil Society: Decline and . . . ?
In this seminar, students consider both the life cycles of American industrial cities and the rise and fall of “urbanism” — informal, interpersonal processes of leadership, problem solving, and street-level self-government that took root as such cities developed and then eroded as they declined. Urbanism is one important variety of “social capital” and “civil society,” and helps students understand such concepts in detail. With strong urbanism in place, an unambitious local government can succeed; without it, even the best ideas backed by generous funding are likely to fail. The class focuses on the city of New Haven, Connecticut, and close reading of several classic texts. Students use the “Sim City 4” urban simulator to explore the processes outlined in the readings, and build and analyze simulated cities of their own. More recent readings on urban trends and styles of development round out the class’s consideration of the ways in which cities once governed themselves and of the problems they face in the future. Prerequisite: POSC 150 or permission of instructor.
420 Seminar: Street-Level Bureaucracy
We live in an age of bureaucratic organization. Bureaucracies defend us, educate us, collect our taxes, provide us with basic services, protect our health and safety, and occasionally kill us. Effective bureaucratic agencies are necessary for the creation and sustenance of modern, democratic government. At the same time, bureaucratic power can be a threat to democracy. Legislatures may pass laws, executives may issue orders, and courts may judge, but real governance happens when a soldier fires a gun, a teacher grades a paper, an inspector certifies an aircraft, and a police officer writes a speeding ticket. The difference between effective and dysfunctional bureaucracy at the street level — where governments and people interact — can make the difference between flourishing and failing democracy. This seminar offers an introduction to organizational theory and the politics of bureaucracy, with discussions and analysis centered on the HBO series “The Wire.” Students learn classic theories and emerging research on human organization and bureaucratic politics by applying them to the characters and stories of the acclaimed television series. Prerequisites: POSC 150 or ECON 151 or PSYC 150 or SOCI 201.
430 Seminar: Problems and Issues in Post-Mao China
This seminar examines a selected set of problems and issues in the post-Mao reform of China’s political system, including the role of ideology, mechanisms of control, the personnel and economic planning systems, the decision-making process, the character and role of the Communist Party, economic development strategies, and the succession of leadership.
433 Seminar: Topics in Globalization
E. Fogarty, N. Murshid
The seminar analyzes the political implications of economic trends and developments that affect the operation of the international system and its constituent parts: North-North, North-South, and South-South relations.
434 Seminar: Global Desi: Beyond IT Guys, Doctors, and Beauty Queens
This seminar examines themes in migration, citizenship, and belonging, in the context of South Asian migration world-wide, with special emphasis on the United States. The liberalization of American immigration law in the 1960s provides the basis for the discussion of push-pull factors of migration of South Asians from various states in the subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal). Today South Asians are deemed to be a model minority, a label that at the same time extols and dehumanizes South Asians depending on their class position and their country of origin. To counter the stereotypical narratives of doctors and engineers on the one hand and cab drivers and convenience-store clerks on the other, students are encouraged to engage with various texts to recognize ethnic, linguistic, and religious diversity of South Asian migrants, and to consider the challenges of acculturation and assimilation as immigrants become citizens.
436 Seminar: Continuity and Change in International Politics
This course is an analysis of contemporary conceptual approaches to international politics and of the trends and developments that are altering some traditional assumptions about the nature of the international arena. It is recommended for all international relations honors students and for students going to graduate school.
437 Seminar: Democratization and Prospects for Peace and Prosperity
This seminar examines the politics of democratic transition and the political and economic performance of existing democracies with a focus on the developing world. The class pays particular attention to the distinctive challenges of democratizing amidst globalization and resurgent nationalism, and analyzes the effects of democratization on international and internal conflict, economic development, equity, and political stability. Students evaluate the current debate over how the U.S. can aid democratization. Countries studied include Russia, Mexico, Turkey, and South Korea.
441 Seminar: Theories of State
Due to the lingering legacy of colonialism, the economic effects of globalization, and the growth of transnational movements, the dominance of the state as the only form of political organization is in question today. The course will examine the revival of the theory of the state that has followed these developments and has yielded a rich and sophisticated literature. Topics may include: sovereignty, legitimation, and power.
451 Seminar: Africa in World Politics
More than 50 years after formal independence, what is the contemporary condition of African countries? What has been the impact of economic and political reforms and the changing world order? What is the influence of foreign powers on African politics and development? This seminar discusses how Africa has featured in world politics since the advent of colonialism to the present. The seminar examines the slave trade, European exploration of Africa, and the establishment of the colonial trade. The majority of the course, however, focuses on the post-colonial period. Student examine the phenomenon of neo-colonialism, the involvement of Western and Asian powers in Africa, and the international aid regime. The course also focuses on some of the most important conflicts that took place on the continent, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, and Mali.
454 Seminar: The Cold War and After
D. Lupton, N. Murshid
This seminar considers the interrelationships between two great land-based nations, the U.S. and Russia, which expanded territorially, developed economically, and emerged to strategic dominance at much the same time. It examines the competition between those two states, looks at the prospects for their cooperation, and how the end of the Cold War has created new opportunities and problems for each of them.
455 Seminar: American Foreign Policy
F. Chernoff, E. Fogarty, D. Lupton
The course focuses on theorists, thinkers, and critics of American foreign policy. Emphasis is on the values, strategies, and doctrines that have been the basis for our foreign relations, and on the perennial themes of isolationism, interventionism, realism, and idealism. Prerequisite: POSC 366.
456 Seminar: War — Theories and Practices
F. Chernoff, D. Lupton, V. Morkevičius
Theories of warfare and explanations of the outbreak of war are the focus of this course. Explanations of warfare as a general characteristic of the international system and case studies are examined, as is the evidence on the economic, political, and social consequences of war. The course deals both with general patterns and with particular 20th-century wars. Prerequisite: POSC 232.
464 Seminar: Freedom and Authority in Modern Political Philosophy
What is freedom and how much freedom is good for society? What kind of justification do political theorists offer in defense of freedom? The course will examine the great debates about the nature of freedom and the conditions of a free society. Students will also discuss the relation between freedom or liberty and other competing values, such as equality, security, and virtue to understand the balance of ideals in practical political life. Readings will be selected from liberal thinkers such as Mill, Kant, Adam Smith, and Isaiah Berlin as well as from critics of classical liberalism such as Marx and Nietzsche.
466 Seminar: Understanding the Declaration and Constitution as the Founders Understood Them
In this seminar, the development of constitutional and political thought in the Founding era is explored through two principal foci: the constitutional crisis in the British Empire that led to the issuance of the Declaration of Independence, and the debates in the Philadelphia Convention that framed The Constitution of 1789. The seminar’s reading, therefore, emphasizes the Journals of the Continental Congress and the Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Seminar participants come to understand, through an intimate familiarity with what was actually written or said in the two most important bodies that shaped American constitutionalism and political institutions, how the Founders themselves actually understood what they hoped to achieve.
467 Seminar: Modern Theories of Justice
This course develops an appreciation of conflicting and alternative approaches to these questions: What is “just”? What do differences in theories reveal about contemporary understanding of justice and the possibility of rational resolution of controversies concerning the nature of rights, economic distribution, civil rights, and political obligations?
469 Seminar: Constitutional Theory
Using the Constitution of the United States as its central case, the seminar examines the theory and practice of constitutions and constitutionalism. Students consider such questions as: What is a constitution? Why have one? What does it mean to “have” a constitution (what are the possible relations between the text and practice)? What are the distinct forms of constitutional government and what are their advantages and disadvantages? To what extent should we consider a constitution a cause or effect of political culture? How should one interpret a constitution; to what extent are the terms of American debate—such as originalism v. nonoriginalism—found in other countries? As the form of government to which most countries aspire today (or the form they claim to be), liberal democracy seems to have pride of place, but why? Is it the right answer to the ancient question of the “best regime”? Or perhaps the best practicable regime? Do the forces of history favor its existence, or does this depend more fundamentally on acts of statesmanship?
475 Seminar: Philosophies of Law: Theory and Practice
R. Kraynak, B. Shain
This course introduces students to philosophies of law as found in theories of natural law, international law, and positive law. It examines the question of whether there are universal norms of morality and justice that transcend the diversity of cultures and the claims of multiculturalism. It also examines the ‘higher law’ background of constitutions, legal systems, social movements, and international organizations. Readings will be selected from writings of classical Greek and Roman philosophers, medieval scholastics, modern creators of international law, the American founders, and contemporary philosophers of human rights and cultural relativism.
Other Course Offerings
291, 391, 491 Independent Study
These courses offer opportunities for independent study projects in political science. Permission of the supervising faculty member and the department chair’s approval of a detailed project proposal and bibliography are required.
498, 499 Honors Colloquium
This course sequence is designed to provide the training and supervision for a select group of students to conduct intensive research on a particular problem or issue in political science that, in most cases, culminates in their writing theses to be considered for honors or high honors at graduation. The honors colloquium is more fully described under “Honors and High Honors in Political Science” earlier in the Political Science section.