• POSC 120: Democracy and Dictatorship

    An introduction to the array of different democratic and authoritarian political institutions in both developing and developed countries. We will also explore key issues in contemporary politics in countries around the world, such as nationalism and independence movements, revolution, regime change, state-making, and social movements. 6 credits; International Studies, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Social Inquiry, Writing Requirement; offered Fall 2023, Winter 2024, Spring 2024 · Alfred Montero, Huan Gao
  • POSC 122: Politics in America: Liberty and Equality

    An introduction to American government and politics. Focus on the Congress, Presidency, political parties and interest groups, the courts and the Constitution. Particular attention will be given to the public policy debates that divide liberals and conservatives and how these divisions are rooted in American political culture. 6 credits; Intercultural Domestic Studies, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Social Inquiry, Writing Requirement; offered Fall 2023, Winter 2024, Spring 2024 · Ryan Dawkins, Adam Le
  • POSC 150: The Political Thought of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. & the American Civil Rights Movement

    What justifies self-defense and retaliation in defending civil rights and liberty? What moral reasoning and strategies offer alternatives to using physical violence in a social movement to gain civil rights? Our seminar examines the American Civil Rights Movement 1954 and 1968, and compares the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X to learn about nonviolent direct action, self-defense, and the use of “any means necessary” to right the wrongs of racial injustice.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 160: Political Philosophy

    Introduction to ancient and modern political philosophy. We will investigate several fundamentally different approaches to the basic questions of politics–questions concerning the character of political life, the possibilities and limits of politics, justice, and the good society–and the philosophic presuppositions (concerning human nature and human flourishing) that underlie these, and all, political questions. 6 credits; Humanistic Inquiry, Writing Requirement; offered Fall 2023, Winter 2024, Spring 2024 · Paul Petzschmann, Laurence Cooper
  • POSC 170: International Relations and World Politics

    What are the foundational theories and practices of international relations and world politics? This course addresses topics of a geopolitical, commercial and ideological character as they relate to global systems including: great power politics, polycentricity, and international organizations. It also explores the dynamic intersection of world politics with war, terrorism, nuclear weapons, national security, human security, human rights, and the globalization of economic and social development. 6 credits; International Studies, Social Inquiry, Writing Requirement; offered Fall 2023, Winter 2024, Spring 2024 · Summer Forester, Tun Myint
  • POSC 190: In the News: US, China, and World Politics

    How will Russia’s invasion of Ukraine end? Will new conflicts break out across the Taiwan Strait? How will a backsliding Turkey and a highly volatile Syria evolve in response to the devastating Kahramanmaras earthquake? This course provides a forum to discuss and analyze such important current global affairs through reading and debating news headlines. We will follow major news stories chosen by students, analyze reporting from multiple sources and perspectives, and conduct individual research. The goal of this course is to encourage students to think deliberately about current events, and to practice the research and analytical skills needed to gain a deeper understanding of global affairs. Students will also leverage course readings and discussions to produce their own editorial articles or detailed research proposal for future inquiries at the end of the course. not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 201: Statecraft and the Tools of National Power

    This course covers the science and art of statecraft, which is the application of the tools of national power. Students will study how nations use diplomatic, economic, and military power to achieve stated national policy objectives. The course is team-taught by three career national security professionals. Case studies are used to assess the application of diplomatic, economic, and military power in the real world. Course readings, papers, and significant classroom discussion will deliver content to students and set the stage for the International Strategic Crisis Negotiation Exercise, which is a graded part of the course.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 202: Tools of National Power: Statecraft and Diplomatic Power

    In this section of three related five-week courses, we will study the role of diplomacy as a component of U.S. statecraft.  An active and informed diplomacy can help achieve international cooperation in the face of shared global threats, while helping to forestall conflict and forwarding U.S. national interests. Yet in recent decades, diplomacy has often been overshadowed by military intervention and economic sanctions as a tool of power. We will discuss the history of diplomacy, including the specific traditions of U.S. diplomatic practice. Using case studies taken from current issues, we will assess how diplomacy functions in practice and reflect on the future role of diplomats in a world of dramatic change. Course modalities will include focused readings, active class discussion, and short papers.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 204: How American Campaigns and Elections Work (and Don’t Work)

    Campaigns and elections are the cornerstones of our democracy. Formally, they are the way we select our elected officials; informally they tell us a lot about the American ethos, the preferences of particular demographics, and the future direction of our country. The course will draw from scholarship in political psychology, political behavior and participation, and public opinion and will examine American campaigns and elections through three lenses: the institutional structures that guide them; the candidates and voters that participate in them; and the political scientists who study them. 

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 205: Congress and The Presidency

    The Constitution of the United States designed Congress to be the most powerful branch of government because the framers intended our national politics to revolve around the legislative branch. However, since the late nineteenth century, the political center of gravity in Washington has shifted to the executive branch, which has reshaped American democracy around the presidency. Why did this happen? What does it mean for the balance of power between our elected branches of government? This course will explore the patterns of conflict and cooperation between Congress and the Presidency from the framing of the Constitution to the present.

    6 credits; Intercultural Domestic Studies, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Social Inquiry, Writing Requirement; offered Spring 2024 · Ryan Dawkins
  • POSC 205: News Media and Democratic Electoral Processes

    How have news media affected democratic elections in the U.S., UK, and EU? Case studies show traditional and new media—from citizen journalism to bots—shaping views of candidates and issues—and democracy itself. Using recent elections worldwide as a base, we will investigate traditional media as an institution in a challenging environment of new media sources and charges of “fake news.” Coursework includes learning about research design through original data collection, data analysis, and visual representation of data. Political Science 223 is recommended as a way to learn quantitative and qualitative methods of social science research.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 206: Judges and Courts

    In this section of three related five-week courses covering the Tools of National Power, we’ll assess the economic mechanisms governments use to advance their interests and influence others. Nations have always used economic policies in efforts to secure prosperity, address economic, political, and security priorities, and, where necessary, confront other states. We’ll look at the application of economic power and seek to assess the efficacy and effect of economic tools in international relations. Course readings, short papers, and significant classroom discussion will deliver content to students and set the stage for the final course, diplomacy, in the study of the Tools of National Power.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 206: Judges and Courts

    This course focuses on the judicial branch of government. By exploring the judiciary and the courts, we will see how law, politics, economics, and social trends combine to shape the legal system. We will examine how judges are selected; how judges’ backgrounds and views influence their decisions; the moral, emotional, and intellectual aspects of deciding cases; variations between judges in different courts and administrative settings; and how judging fits into the broader structure and operation of the courts. A special feature of this course will be a guest lectures and dialogue with judges and judicial clerks. 

    6 credits; Social Inquiry; offered Spring 2024 · Steven Poskanzer
  • POSC 209: Money and Politics

    Modern elections have become multibillion-dollar ventures. How does money influence electoral and policy outcomes in the United States? Who donates and why do people or groups donate? Where does all the money go? How has campaign finance been regulated and what are proposed reforms? Focusing on recent elections, we will explore these questions by delving into the world of campaign finance.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 210: Misinformation, Political Rumors, and Conspiracy Theories

    Why do people believe in conspiracy theories, hold on to misinformed beliefs even in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, and/or spread political and social rumors that may have little basis in fact? Who is most vulnerable to these various forms of misinformation? What are the normative and political consequences of misperceptions (if any)? This course explores the psychological, political, and philosophical approaches to the study of the causes, consequences, and tenacity of conspiracy beliefs, misinformation, and political rumors, as well as possible approaches that journalists could employ to combat misperceptions.

    6 credits; Intercultural Domestic Studies, Social Inquiry; offered Spring 2024 · Christina Farhart
  • POSC 211: Media, Politics, and Difference: How Film Teaches Us Who We Are(n’t)

    As cultural and historical texts, narrative films offer important insight into the cultures that produce and view them. Entertainment media teach us about how to see the world, including what counts as difference—abilities, genders, sexualities, races, ethnicities, classes, identities—and these categories’ meanings and commitments. The messages are “political” in many ways, signaling who has what kinds of: authority, power, resources, and capacities. In this class, we use communications theory, historical and contemporary discourses on race, feminist theory, and political psychology to examine depictions of identity in U.S. cinema, comparing and contrasting Hollywood and independent filmmakers’ works.

    6 credits; Intercultural Domestic Studies, Literary/Artistic Analysis; offered Fall 2023 · Barbara Allen
  • POSC 212: Environmental Justice

    The environmental justice movement seeks greater participation by marginalized communities in environmental policy, and equity in the distribution of environmental harms and benefits. This course will examine the meaning of “environmental justice,” the history of the movement, the empirical foundation for the movement’s claims, and specific policy questions. Our focus is the United States, but students will have the opportunity to research environmental justice in other countries.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 212: Political Psychology of Elites

    When we study the decisions of political leaders, we often consider them in terms of power relations between states. The class examines psychological explanations of leaders’ decision-making. We focus on political elites’ actions, especially in foreign policy asking, why otherwise intelligent and savvy individuals and groups often make very poor decisions. Students will learn about different theoretical perspectives and how to apply them to different historical examples in the study of elite decision-making from the Cuban Missile Crisis, to the Covid pandemic. Students will evaluate contending theories, joining theory and practice to explain elites’ motives and decisions shaping world politics.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 213: Psychology of Mass Political Behavior

    This course explores the political psychology of individual judgment and choice. We will examine the role of cognition, emotions, values, predispositions, and social identities on judgment and choice. From this approach, we will address the larger debate regarding the quality of democratic citizenship.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 214: Visual Representations of Political Thought and Action

    Visual media offer an alternative method of framing political ideas and events. Images found in such texts as film, posters, and even in statistical tables can enlighten–or mislead. Readings in visual theory, political psychology, and graphic representation will enable you to read images and use these powerful media to convey your ideas and research.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 215: Comparative Political Communication: News Coverage of Elections

    This course will focus on the major theories of political communication in election advertising and political news contexts. Our case studies will focus on recent U.S., French, and UK elections. We compare the legal and cultural contexts of election news coverage and advertising in these countries and analyze media effects on voter perceptions using political psychology studies based on research in the U.S., UK, and EU.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 216: Politics in the Post-Truth Society

    We live in an age marked by attacks on democratic institutions, suspicion of expertise, and a general sense that facts are disposable in the face of inconvenient truths. This course will examine misinformation and anti-intellectualism in the past and today, how and why people adopt misinformation and conspiracy theories, the political effects of the post-truth era, and what mitigates the spread of misinformation. Through readings, discussions, and investigative projects, students will both advance their knowledge on the topic and learn to better evaluate information and evidence. This course focuses on the United States but occasionally includes a comparative and/or non-U.S. perspective.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 217: Monuments, Museums & Meaning: How Politics Shapes Memory in Artifacts

    Why was naming the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian “political?” Why is the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Museum not on the Washington DC Mall? What is memorialized by the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum? Why care about the eight Confederate leaders in the U.S. Capitol (or other public places)? This class examines museums and monuments as important types of political communication that preserve cultural artifacts, create historical records, and tell present and future generations the meaning of communities and individuals. We learn about various practices including funding, naming, acquiring, appropriating, placing, designing, and constructing the artifacts that house community memories.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 218: Schools, Scholarship and Policy in the United States

    What can scholarship tell us about educational strategies to reduce achievement gaps and economic opportunity? Do the policies promoted at the city, state and federal levels reflect that knowledge? How are these policies made? What is the relationship between schools and the economic class, racial composition and housing stock of their neighborhoods?

    Prerequisites: Sophomore Standing not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 220: Politics and Political History in Film

    How do representations of politics in film influence our ideas about governance, citizenship, power, and authority? How do film and TV reflect values and beliefs of democratic society, particularly in the United States? These are two questions that we will consider in the course as we study films representing politics and historical events in fiction and non-fiction genres for entertainment and education. Films to be analyzed include: Battle of Algiers, Fog of War, Cape Fear (1963), Manchurian Candidate (1960), Advise and Consent, All the President’s Men, Primary, War Room, The Mushroom Club, When the Levees Broke.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 221: Latin American Politics

    Comparative study of political institutions and conflicts in selected Latin American countries. Attention is focused on general problems and patterns of development, with some emphasis on U.S.-Latin American relations.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 222: Political Science Lab: Interviewing Techniques

    This class provides a hands-on introduction to how researchers devise, conduct, and analyze interviews in political science. Students will learn about different types of interview methodologies, including elite and non-elite, structured, semi-structured, and intensive approaches. Over the course of the class, students will consider the types of questions most appropriately answered by interviews, the fundamentals of different sampling strategies, how to devise questionnaires, and how to use the information collected for both quantitative and qualitative analysis. We will also cover interview ethics, how to employ culturally sensitive techniques, and how to employ interviews in individual, group, and crowd situations.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 223: PS Lab: Content Analysis

    How do we know if a news organization is ideologically biased? How do we show that gender influences how world leaders approach defense policy? How do we track the growth in misinformation in political advertising worldwide? One foundational methodology for studying questions like these is content analysis. This course will enable you to analyze the texts of speeches, debates, news stories, tweets, press conferences, letters, ad texts–and the visual representations that accompany many of these forms of communication. Students will learn the basics of defining content, operationalizing variables, and conducting the analysis to get valid, reliable data.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 225: Prisons and Punishment

    The United States prides itself on freedom, yet millions of “legal” and “undocumented” citizens live without it. Across federal and state prisons, county jails, private prisons, and undocumented detention centers, the mark of incarceration has a significant impact on American politics. We center this paradox throughout the course as we look at different aspects of incarceration and punishment. We analyze the United States criminal justice system through policy, public opinion, sociology, and political theory. By using an interdisciplinary approach centered in political science, together we will discover whether the relationship between freedom and domination is truly a paradox.

    6 credits; Social Inquiry; offered Fall 2023, Spring 2024 · Adam Le
  • POSC 227: Contemporary Capitalisms

    This course examines the intersections between political and economic power: how markets are embedded in social and political institutions and how they in turn shape political life and institutions. It begins with a survey of classic and contemporary theoretical frameworks, followed by an overview of the history of contemporary market economies and the search for “development,” both in the global north as well as the south. It then analyzes the contemporary varieties of capitalism across the globe, with a focus on their varying responses to challenges like globalization, economic crises, technological transformations, and climate change.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 229: The U.S. Congress: Coordination and Conflict

    How does Congress make public policy? What factors inhibit or enhance legislative productivity? Is the policymaking process too partisan? This course provides a comprehensive introduction to congressional organization and procedures, the policy process, and the core debates and theories surrounding legislative politics in the United States Congress. The path of policy within Congress is an incredibly complex and conflict-ridden coordination problem. As a class, we will explore how the underlying motivations to win office, produce policy, and gain prestige drive congressional member behaviors. We will also carefully consider the institutional details of the House and Senate that constrain these legislative actors and influence legislative outcomes. 

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 230: Methods of Political Research

    An introduction to research method, research design, and the analysis of political data. The course is intended to introduce students to the fundamentals of scientific inquiry as they are employed in the discipline. The course will consider the philosophy of scientific research generally, the philosophy of social science research, theory building and theory testing, the components of applied (quantitative and qualitative) research across the major sub-fields of political science, and basic methodological tools. Intended for majors only.

    Prerequisites: Statistics 120, 230, 250, AP Statistics (score of 4 or 5) or Psychology 200/201 or Sociology/Anthropology 239 6 credits; Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Social Inquiry, Writing Requirement; offered Fall 2023, Winter 2024, Spring 2024 · Greg Marfleet, Ryan Dawkins
  • POSC 231: American Foreign Policy

    An introduction to the actors and processes of American foreign policymaking and to the substance of American foreign policy. The course aims to provide students with an understanding of how knowledge of the past, the global policy environment, the processes of foreign policymaking, and the specifics of a foreign policy issue come together to help determine modern American foreign policy. The course will review the structure of the international system of states, state power and interests, the historical context of American foreign policy, actors in American foreign affairs, models of foreign policy decision making, and the instruments of foreign policy.

    Prerequisites: Political Science 122, AP American Government, or AP U.S. History is highly recommended not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 232: PS Lab: Agent-Based Models

    Linear modeling using statistical techniques and equilibrium-centered, game-theoretic approaches are standard methods in quantitative social science. However, research into complex systems suggests that dynamic, chaotic and non-linear processes are common in networked, multi-actor systems. Equilibrium may also be difficult to achieve in a world of adaptive or evolutionary agents. How do these concepts apply to our political world? In this class we will explore agent-based models related to political, social and policy questions while student build their own models using the open-source NetLogo language.

    Prerequisites: Political Science 230 or concurrent enrollment 3 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Fall 2023 · Greg Marfleet
  • POSC 232: PS Lab: Focus Group Analysis

    This lab offers a hands-on experience in designing and moderating a small group discussion for the purpose of observing not only attitudes, beliefs, and opinions but also dynamic social interactions as a method for getting answers to complex, dynamic social science research questions. Students will design a focus group study, learning about participant selection and recruitment; question writing and protocol design; group conversation moderation; data extraction and analysis, report writing, and overall project and data management.

    3 credits; Intercultural Domestic Studies, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Social Inquiry; offered Fall 2023 · Barbara Allen
  • POSC 232: PS Lab: Interview Techniques

    This class provides a hands-on introduction to how researchers devise, conduct, and analyze interviews in political science. Students will learn about different types of interview methodologies with a particular focus on semi-structured techniques. Over the course of the class, students will consider the types of questions most appropriately answered by interviews, the fundamentals of different sampling strategies, how to devise questionnaires, and how to use the information collected for both quantitative and qualitative analysis. We will also cover interview ethics, how to employ culturally sensitive techniques, and how to employ interviews in individual, group, and crowd situations.

    3 credits; Social Inquiry; offered Spring 2024 · Dev Gupta
  • POSC 232: PS Lab: Political Philosophy and the Art of Reading

    Political philosophy inquires into basic matters that most of us take for granted: what is good and bad? what is just and unjust? and why? These inquiries can threaten, or be perceived as threatening, our most dearly held beliefs and all that rests on these beliefs. Political philosophers have often employed arts of writing aimed at veiling their most radical thoughts from all but their most careful and persistent readers. In this course we will study these arts of writing and the arts of reading that they demand of us. We will learn not only about various methods and techniques but also about a philosophic education.

    3 credits; Humanistic Inquiry; offered Winter 2024 · Laurence Cooper
  • POSC 232: PS Lab: Public Policy Analysis

    How do we read news reports, government documents, and follow policy debates? How do we understand public policy process and outcomes? How do we evaluate governmental and non-governmental policies that affect provision and production of public goods? How do we conduct benefit and cost analysis of a public policy? Students will learn how to conduct archival document research, benefit-cost analysis, and public policy analysis.

    3 credits; Social Inquiry; offered Spring 2024 · Tun Myint
  • POSC 232: PS Lab: Simulation Research

    Simulations, games and role-play exercises are commonly used as experiential learning tools to help students understand complex problems. They can also be used in a research context to explore processes that are difficult to observe in the field or that involve strategic, adversarial and interactive social choices among multiple actors (such as red team exercises). In this lab we will explore the use of simulation as a tool for social inquiry and policy making and use participant observation approaches to gather data from a large simulation exercise.

    Prerequisites: Previous or concurrent registration in Political Science 230 not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 232: Political Science Lab in Focus Group Analysis

    The “Rise of China” over the past thirty-five years presents challenges and opportunities for the United States and other countries around the world. This course examines China’s growing and changing influence in the world. The course starts by exploring historical Chinese foreign policy, from Imperial China through the Cold War. The course then examines a variety of different theories and factors explaining the general nature of China’s foreign policy. The course concludes by detailing China’s current bilateral relationships with specific countries and regions around the world.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 235: The Endless War on Terror

    In the aftermath of 9/11, the U.S. launched the Global War on Terror to purportedly find, stop,and defeat every terrorist group with a global reach. Without question, the Global War on Terror has radically shaped everything from U.S. foreign policies and domestic institutions to civil liberties and pop culture. In this course, we will examine the events of 9/11 and then critically assess the immediate and long-term ramifications of the endless Global War on Terror on different states and communities around the world. While we will certainly spend time interrogating U.S. policies from the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations, we will also examine reactions to those policies across both the global north and the global south.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 237: Greece at a Crossroads: History, Landscape, and Material Culture Program: Borders, Boundaries and Human Mobility

    Borders are at once real and imagined. They divide and they are crossed. The course draws case studies and examples from the United States and Europe to critically reflect on the notion of borders and to discuss both the construction and reimaging of borders in the physical and socioeconomic sense. The course connects the concept of border(s) and human mobility, from immigration to daily movement in urban spaces and examines critically the construction and deconstruction of borders, the notions of inclusion and exclusion: who has the right to it, within which borders, and at what cost?

    Prerequisites: Participation in the Greece at a Crossroads: History, Landscape, and Material Culture OCS program 6 credits; International Studies, Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Spring 2024 · Alex Knodell
  • POSC 238: Sport and Globalization in London and Seville Program: Globalization and Development: Lessons from Int’l Football

    This course uses international football (soccer) as a lens to analyze topics in globalization, such as immigration and labor, inequality, foreign investment, trade in services, and intellectual property. Students will be presented with key debates in these areas and then use cases from international football as illustrations. Focusing on the two wealthiest leagues in Europe, the English Premier League and the Spanish Liga, students will address key issues in the study of globalization and development, and in doing so enhance their understanding of the world, sports, and sport’s place in the world.

    6 credits; International Studies, Social Inquiry; offered Winter 2024 · Bob Carlson
  • POSC 239: The Poor and the Powerless

    This course examines the foundations of development and globalization, their representations as historical processes, their manifestations over time, and their advocates and detractors. This will be done against the backdrop of empirical and substantive representations of actually-existing development outcomes and globalization processes, their organization, and their practices. This course employs a critical approach to development and is taught from a political economy perspective. In particular, it deals with the relationship between theory, ideology and practice by contrasting classical approaches with critical, Marxist, and radical approaches. It examines outcomes of development practice, both positive and negative, through a focus on globalization.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 240: At the Corner of Broadway and Main Street: The Contrasting Politics of Northfield and the Twin Cities

    According to the 2020 U.S. Census, roughly 328.2 million people live in the United States. Of that population, 63% live in one of 19,500 “incorporated places,” defined as a city, town ,village, or borough with legally-prescribed limits, powers, and functions. However, three-quarters of incorporated places have fewer than 5,000 people; 42% have fewer than 500 people. In fact, only 40% of all cities have a population of 50,000 or more in 2019, yet nearly 39% of the U.S. population live in those cities. A majority of human social, political, and economic interactions now happen in urban areas (like the Twin Cities) but a significant portion of American life is experienced in smaller towns (like Northfield). Utilizing established social theories, critical thinking skills, and common research techniques, we will learn how to bolster our understanding of both rural and urban phenomena, policies, and processes, addressing topics like political, racial, and class polarization; intolerance; health care; housing, development, and zoning, and transportation. Through field visits to and speakers from both the Twin Cities and Northfield, we will chart the urban/rural political divide to provide a richer understanding of politics and policy in all corners of the United States.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 241: Ethnic Conflict

    Ethnic conflict is a persistent and troubling challenge for those interested in preserving international peace and stability. By one account, ethnic violence has claimed more than ten million lives since 1945, and in the 1990s, ethnic conflicts comprised nearly half of all ongoing conflicts around the world. In this course, we will attempt to understand the conditions that contribute to ethnic tensions, identify the triggers that lead to escalation, and evaluate alternative ideas for managing and solving such disputes. The course will draw on a number of cases, including Rwanda, Bosnia, and Northern Ireland.

    6 credits; International Studies, Social Inquiry; offered Winter 2024 · Dev Gupta
  • POSC 242: Middle East Politics

    This course introduces the politics and political structures of states in the Middle East. We explore the political origins of Middle Eastern states, and investigate how regional politics are shaped by colonialism, religion, tribes, the family, and more. We examine the persistence of authoritarianism and its links to other issues like nationalism and militarism. The course covers how recent and current events like the revolutionary movements of the ‘Arab Spring’ civil society affect the states and their societies. We conclude with a consideration of the future of Middle Eastern politics, evaluating lingering concerns and emerging prospects for liberalization and reform.

    6 credits; International Studies, Social Inquiry, Writing Requirement; offered Spring 2024 · Summer Forester
  • POSC 244: The Politics of Eurovision

    At first glance, Eurovision, the decades-long, continent-wide singing contest, is nothing more than a mindless pop culture event. Dismissed as a celebration of (at best) mediocre music, Eurovision seems like it would be the last place to learn about serious politics. In this class, however, we will explore Eurovision as a place where art is deeply political and often engages in debates about gender and sexuality, race, the legacies of colonialism, war and revolution, nationalism, and democracy—not just within the context of the competition itself but how these discussions spill over into broader social and political dynamics.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 247: Comparative Nationalism

    Nationalism is an ideology that political actors have frequently harnessed to support a wide variety of policies ranging from intensive economic development to genocide. But what is nationalism? Where does it come from? And what gives it such emotional and political power? This course investigates competing ideas about the sources of nationalism, its evolution, and its political uses in state building, legitimation, development, and war. We will consider both historic examples of nationalism, as well as contemporary cases drawn from Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the United States.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 249: From the International to the Global: Critical Theories of World Politics

    Why is the world divided territorially? Why are some states considered more powerful than others? What can be done about violent conflict? This course will introduce students with critical approaches to world politics that ask these and other big questions. Marxist, feminist, post-structuralist and post-colonial scholars have challenged classical approaches of thinking about the international in terms of states and power. They have also questioned the dominance of western conceptions of politics in the way political scientists view the world. In this course will read and debate their contributions and apply them to real cases. 

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 250: Kings, Tyrants, Philosophers: Plato’s Republic

    In this course we will read Plato’s Republic, perhaps the greatest and surely the most important work of political philosophy ever written. What are the deepest needs and the most powerful longings of human nature? Can they be fulfilled, and, if so, how? What are the deepest needs of society, and can they be fulfilled? What is the relation between individual happiness and societal well-being? Are they compatible or in conflict with one another? And where they are in conflict, what does justice require that we do? The Republic explores these questions in an imaginative and unforgettable way.

    6 credits; Humanistic Inquiry; offered Winter 2024 · Laurence Cooper
  • POSC 251: Modern Political Philosophy: Liberalism and Its Critics

    Liberalism has been the dominant political philosophy of our age, and we who live in a liberal polity have been shaped by it. But liberalism has been, and continues to be, the target of sharp critique. What is liberalism, and what can be said both for and against it? In this course we will examine liberalism’s philosophic roots and engage with some of its most forceful advocates and most profound critics. Readings will be drawn from authors such as Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Marx, Mill, and Tocqueville.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 252: Free Expression: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

    Freedom of expression has never lacked obstacles or opponents, even if its opponents have often claimed to be friends. In recent years, however, both the possibility and the desirability of free expression have been openly contested on moral, political, and philosophic grounds. Is free expression simply good, or does it also impose costs? What is the relation between freedom of expression and freedom of thought or mind? Is freedom of mind even possible? These will be our questions. Readings will be drawn from philosophers ranging from Plato to Nietzsche and from political essayists such as George Orwell and Vaclav Havel.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 253: Welfare Capitalisms in Post-War Europe

    In this course students will explore the different kinds of welfare states that exist in Europe, the political economic and social conditions that made them possible and the debates about their strengths, weaknesses and prospects. We will review the so-called “varieties of capitalism” literature along with key welfare policies such as social insurance, health care, education, unemployment insurance, family and income support, and pensions. Welfare states use combinations of these policies differently to insure citizens against “old” and “new” risks. Finally, the course looks at how welfare regimes have responded of migration, financial, and public health crises.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 254: Freedom, Excellence, Happiness: Aristotle’s Ethics

    What does it mean to be morally excellent? To be politically excellent? To be intellectually and spiritually excellent? Are these things mutually compatible? Do they lie within the reach of everyone? And what is the relation between excellence and pleasure? Between excellence and happiness? Aristotle addresses these questions in intricate and illuminating detail in the Nicomachean Ethics, which we will study in this course. The Ethics is more accessible than some of Aristotle’s other works. But it is also a multifaceted and multi-layered book, and one that reveals more to those who study it with care.

    6 credits; Humanistic Inquiry; offered Spring 2024 · Laurence Cooper
  • POSC 255: Post-Modern Political Thought

    The thought and practice of the modern age have been found irredeemably oppressive, alienating, dehumanizing, and/or exhausted by a number of leading philosophic thinkers in recent years. In this course we will explore the critiques and alternative visions offered by a variety of post-modern thinkers, including Nietzsche (in many ways the first post-modern), Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 256: Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil

    Nietzsche understood himself to be living at a moment of great endings: the exhaustion of modernity, the self-undermining of rationalism, the self-overcoming of morality–in short, stunningly, the “death of God.” He regarded these endings as an unprecedented disaster for humanity but also as an unprecedented opportunity, and he pointed the way to a new ideal and a new culture that would be life-affirming and life-enhancing. This course will center on close study of Beyond Good and Evil, perhaps Nietzsche’s most beautiful book and probably his most political one. Selections from some of his other books will also be assigned. 

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 257: Marx for the 21st Century: Ecology, Technology, Dispossession

    This course introduces students to the work of Karl Marx by exploring parts of Capital volumes one, two and three as well as of the Grundrisse in tandem with 21st century discussions of carboniferous capitalism, digital labor and colonial dispossession. Using concepts of the “metabolic” relationship to nature, “original accumulation” and of Marx’s analysis of machines and technological obsolescence we will together chart a course through 21st century attempts to make Marx’s 19th century critique of industrial capitalism fruitful for an understanding of today’s world.

    6 credits; International Studies, Social Inquiry; offered Spring 2024 · Paul Petzschmann
  • POSC 258: Politics and Ambition

    Is personal ambition a threat to peace and the public good or is it a prod to nobility and heroism? Does it exemplify the opposition between self and society or does it represent their intersection and mutual support—or both? And what is the nature of political ambition, especially the ambition to rule: what does the would-be ruler really want? We will take up these and related questions by studying several classic works of philosophy and literature. Readings will likely include works by Plato, Xenophon, and Shakespeare as well as American founders, statesmen, and moral leaders. 

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 259: Justice Among Nations

    Crosslisted with POSC 349. The purpose of this course is to bring to bear great works of political philosophy on the foundational questions of international politics. Our primary text will be Thucydides’ gripping history of The Peloponnesian War. Thucydides was perhaps the greatest thinker about international relations that the world has seen. He was also a political philosopher–and psychologist–of the first rank. His book teaches much not only about politics but about human nature. not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 260: “A Savage Made to Inhabit Cities”: The Political Philosophy of Rousseau

    Cross-listed with POSC 350. In this course we will study what Rousseau considered his greatest and best book: Emile. Emile is a philosophic novel. It uses a thought experiment–the rearing of a child from infancy to adulthood–to explore human nature and the human condition, including their political dimensions. Among Emile‘s themes are natural goodness and the origins of evil; self-love and sociability; the differences and relations between the sexes; citizenship; and the principles of political right. The book also addresses the question of how one might live naturally and happily amid an unnatural and unhappy civilization.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 261: The Global Crisis of Democracy

    Democracy is in trouble worldwide. The most visible indicators are the rise of explicitly anti-democratic leaders and anti-liberal parties that employ populism and exploit ethnic and ideological polarization to acquire power. Democratic norms and institutions have eroded across the globe. Structures that undergirded the positive-sum linkage between industrialization, the rise of labor unions, and democratic parties in much of the West have been transformed in ways that undermine democracy. This course will analyze these and related trends that demonstrate that liberal democracy is suffering a global crisis. Instruction will cover cases across time and from all regions of the world.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 262: Displaced Lives: Freedom and Meaning

    To feel secure and accepted by society are essential human needs. However, even a cursory look at the 20th century shows how often and unexpectedly the lives of individuals were profoundly disrupted and crushed by the forces of nature and history. Security and social acceptance are fragile gifts of history. If so, what freedom and meaning, if at all, are to be found in living a displaced life, against and through the destructive tidal waves of history? The course tries to answer this question through an engagement with the memoirs and writings of Stefan Zweig, Edward Said, Norman Manea, Mikhail Bulgakov, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and James Baldwin.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 264: Politics of Contemporary China

    This course examines the political, social, and economic transformation of China over the past century. Though contemporary issues are at the heart of the course, students will delve into an entire century of changes and upheaval to understand the roots of current affairs in China. Particular emphasis will be placed on state-building and how this has changed state-society relations at the grassroots. Students will also explore how the Chinese Communist Party has survived and even thrived while many other Communist regimes have fallen and assess the relationship between economic development and democratization.

    6 credits; International Studies, Social Inquiry; offered Fall 2023 · Huan Gao
  • POSC 265: Public Policy and Global Capitalism

    This course provides a comprehensive introduction to comparative and international public policy. It examines major theories and approaches to public policy design and implementation in several major areas: international policy economy (including the study of international trade and monetary policy, financial regulation, and comparative welfare policy), global public health and comparative healthcare policy, institutional development (including democratic governance, accountability systems, and judicial reform), and environmental public policy.

    Prerequisites: Statistics 120 strongly recommended, or instructor permission 6 credits; International Studies, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Social Inquiry; offered Fall 2023 · Alfred Montero
  • POSC 266: Urban Political Economy

    City revenue is increasingly dependent on tourism. Cities manufacture identity and entertainment, whether we think of Las Vegas or Jerusalem, Berlin or Bilbao, the ethnoscapes of Copenhagen or the red light district of Amsterdam. As cities compete in the global economy to become playgrounds for a transnational tourist class, what is the role of urban residents? Who governs? Who benefits? Short essays or exams will be required.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 268: Global Environmental Politics and Policy

    Global environmental politics and policy is the most prominent field that challenges traditional state-centric ways of thinking about international problems and solutions. This course examines local-global dynamics of environmental problems. The course will cover five arenas crucial to understanding the nature and origin of global environmental politics and policymaking mechanisms: (1) international environmental law; (2) world political orders; (3) human-environment interactions through politics and markets; (4) paradigms of sustainable development; and (5) dynamics of human values and rules. 6 credits; International Studies, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Social Inquiry, Writing Requirement; offered Spring 2024 · Tun Myint
  • POSC 269: I Did My Own Research: Information and Political Division in America

    Many Americans sense that polarization makes governance harder; scholars argue that polarization can undermine democracy itself. How do we manage difficult problems in a polarized political era? Can we ever agree if we are so free to pursue information that only supports what we already believe? We examine group identity in American culture and how boundaries affect attitudes and behavior as well as information around policy disputes around incarceration/policing, free speech, LGBTQ rights, health care, elections, immigration, and more. Finally, we consider how to reduce unproductive polarization for a better America even when we don’t agree on what better entails.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 271: Constitutional Law I

    This course will explore the United States Constitution and the legal doctrines that have emerged from it, using them as lenses through which to understand the history—and shape the future—of this country. Using prominent Supreme Court opinions as teaching tools and loci of debate (including cases on the Court’s recent and current docket), this course will explore the different kind of theoretical approaches with which to make Constitutional arguments and interpret the Constitution. It is one of two paired courses (the other being POSC 272) that complement each other. Both courses will address the structure and functioning of the United States government, and will explore in greater depth the historic Constitutional “trends” towards greater equality and more liberty (albeit slowly, haltingly, and with steps both forward and backward). This course will focus in particular on how matters of racial justice have been a Constitutional issue from the very beginning of the nation—and very much remain unfinished legal work. In exploring matters of personal liberty, this course will focus in particular on First Amendment freedom of religion. Finally, in examining governmental structures, this course will emphasize federalism and the distribution of power between the national and state governments, including the rise of a nationwide economic system and the modern administrative state. The course will require close reading of judicial opinions and other texts, and learning how to construct arguments using logic and precedent. A special feature of this course will be detailed examination and intra-class mock debate of the cases the Supreme Court will hear this fall challenging raced-based affirmative action programs at private and public universities.

    6 credits; Social Inquiry; offered Fall 2023 · Steven Poskanzer
  • POSC 272: Constitutional Law II

    This course will explore the United States Constitution and the legal doctrines that have emerged from it, using them as lenses through which to understand the history—and shape the future—of this country. Using prominent Supreme Court opinions as teaching tools and loci of debate (including cases on the Court’s recent and current docket), this course will explore the different kind of theoretical approaches with which to make Constitutional arguments and interpret the Constitution. It is one of two paired courses (the other being POSC 271) that complement each other. Both courses will address the structure and functioning of the United States government, and will explore in greater depth the historic Constitutional “trends” towards greater equality and more liberty (albeit slowly, haltingly, and with steps both forward and backward). This course will focus in particular on how gender equality is very much unfinished Constitutional work on our way towards a “more perfect union.” This topic will include an examination of the Court’s recent controversial decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. In exploring matters of personal liberty, this course will focus in particular on First Amendment freedom of speech and other fundamental rights protected under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. Finally, in examining governmental structures, this course will emphasize the separation of powers across the branches of the federal government. The course will require close reading of judicial opinions and other texts, and learning how to construct arguments using logic and precedent. POSC 271 is not a prerequisite for POSC 272. The two courses can be taken independently, although having taking POSC 271 will provide students with a broader and more nuanced foundation for exploring the themes covered of this course

    6 credits; Social Inquiry; offered Winter 2024 · Steven Poskanzer
  • POSC 273: Race and Politics in the U.S.

    This course addresses race and ethnicity in U.S. politics. Following an introduction to historical, sociological, and psychological approaches to the study of race and ethnicity, we apply these approaches to understanding the ways in which racial attitudes have been structured along a number of political and policy dimensions, e.g., welfare, education, criminal justice. Students will gain an increased understanding of the multiple contexts that shape contemporary racial and ethnic politics and policies in the U.S., and will consider the role of institutional design, policy development, representation, and racial attitudes among the general U.S. public and political environment.

    6 credits; Intercultural Domestic Studies, Social Inquiry; offered Winter 2024 · Christina Farhart
  • POSC 274: Covid-19 and Globalization

    What are the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic on global politics and public policy? How do state responses to COVID-19 as well as historical cases such as the Black Death in Europe, the SARS outbreak in East Asia and Middle East, and the Ebola outbreak in Africa help us understand the scientific, political, and economic challenges of pandemics on countries and communities around the world? We will apply theories and concepts from IR, political economy, and natural sciences to explore these questions and consider what we can learn from those responses to address other global challenges like climate change.

    6 credits; International Studies, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Social Inquiry, Writing Requirement; offered Fall 2023 · Tun Myint
  • POSC 275: Black Political Thought

    Western political thought has developed numerous ways to think about freedom, citizenship, the relationship between state and citizens, and more. This course turns to the tradition of Black political thought to consider how thinkers within this tradition developed new and alternative ways to conceptualize freedom and citizenship from racial domination through slavery, apartheid, and colonialism. We center thinkers of Black political thought in the modern Atlantic world from the Antebellum era through the era of mass incarceration and neoliberalism to provide a historical and theoretical analysis of freedom.

    6 credits; Social Inquiry; offered Winter 2024 · Adam Le
  • POSC 276: Imagination in Politics: Resisting Totalitarianism

    Ideological fanaticism is on the rise today. Individuals prefer the incantation of slogans and clichés to autonomous thinking, moderation, and care for the diversity and complexity of circumstances and of human beings. The results are the inability to converse across differences and the tendency to ostracize and exclude others in the name of tribal and populist nationalism, as well as of racism. Hannah Arendt called totalitarianism this form of ideological hypnosis, which characterizes not only totalitarian political regimes, but can also colonize liberal-democracies. In this class we will read some of the works of Arendt to better understand the power of imagination to enhance critical and independent thinking and resist totalitarianism.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 278: Memory and Politics

    Central to individual and collective identity, memory can be abused through the excess of commemoration. Is memory just a tool in the hands of nationalistic and divisive politics or can it be used for the cosmopolitan purpose of fighting oppression and injustice? To answer this question, we will read in this class literature on the nationalistic and cosmopolitan uses and abuses of memory and apply the theory to two case studies: the memory of the Jewish presence in Romanian society and politics and the role the memory of the Holocaust and Naqba plays in the relationship between Israel and Palestine.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 279: The Promise of Civil Society: A Global Perspective

    Tocqueville once remarked“if men who live in democratic countries did not acquire the practice of associating with each other in ordinary life, civilization itself would be in peril.” Today, our lives are affected by a wide spectrum of these associations of ordinary life from the Catholic Church, to international NGOs like Greenpeace, to mundane neighborhood groups. This course investigates whether these organizations can help solve some of the most pressing global challenges like climate change, inequality, and epidemics. We will engage classic literature about civil society, study contemporary organizations and movements, and think critically about their political, social and economic impact.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 280: COVID-19 and Globalization

    What are the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic on global politics and public policy? How do state responses to COVID-19 as well as historical cases such as the Black Death in Europe, the SARS outbreak in East Asia and Middle East, and the Ebola outbreak in Africa help us understand the scientific, political, and economic challenges of pandemics on countries and communities around the world? We will apply theories and concepts from IR, political economy, and natural sciences to explore these questions and consider what we can learn from those responses to address other global challenges like climate change.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 280: Feminist Security Studies

    Feminist security studies question and challenge traditional approaches to international relations and security, highlighting the myriad ways that state security practices can actually increase insecurity for many people. How and why does this security paradox exist and how do we escape it? In this class, we will explore the theoretical and analytical contributions of feminist security scholars and use these lessons to analyze a variety of policies, issues, and conflicts. The cases that we will cover include the UN resolution on women, peace, and security, Sweden’s feminist foreign policy, violence against women, and conflicts in Syria, Uganda, and Yemen.

    6 credits; International Studies, Social Inquiry, Writing Requirement; offered Winter 2024 · Summer Forester
  • POSC 281: U.S-China Rivalry: The New Cold War?

    This course surveys key security dynamics, actors and issues in the Asia-Pacific. We will begin with a brief overview of historical conflicts and cooperations in the region, focusing on the impact of decolonization, communism, and the Cold War. We will then proceed to discuss contemporary security issues; topics include territorial disputes, Taiwan, nuclear proliferation, the U.S. alliance system, regional organizations like ASEAN, and U.S.-China rivalry. We will also study major international relation paradigms and theories, including heterodox approaches relevant to major actors in the Asia-Pacific, to guide our investigation of these security issues. No prior knowledge required.

    6 credits; International Studies, Social Inquiry, Writing Requirement; offered Fall 2023 · Huan Gao
  • POSC 282: Terrorism and Counterterrorism

    This course focuses on the historic and modern use of violence or the threat of violence by non-state actors to secure political outcomes. We will review the strategy and tactics of various terror groups, use case studies to understand the logic of terrorism, assess why some groups succeed while others fail, and study terrorist organizations’ efforts at recruitment and indoctrination. These topics will be addressed from theoretical and practical perspectives, with input from expert guest speakers. Finally, we will assess counterterrorism measures, including the moral, ethical, legal, and practical approaches to creating security in the modern world.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 283: Separatist Movements

    This course explores the emergence and resolution of separatist movements around the world. While separatist movements are often associated with the violent dissolution of states, not all separatist movements result in violence and not all separatist movements seek independence. We will investigate the conditions under which separatist pressures are most likely to develop and when such pressures result in actual separation. We will contrast the tactics of movements, from peaceful approaches in places like contemporary Quebec or Scotland, to peaceful outcomes like the “velvet divorce” of Czechoslovakia, to violent insurrections in places like the Philippines, Spain, and Northern Ireland.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 284: War and Peace in Northern Ireland

    This class examines the decades-long conflict in Northern Ireland between Catholics and Protestants known as “The Troubles.” We will investigate the causes of violence in this region and explore the different phases of the conflict, including initial mobilization of peaceful protestors, radicalization into violent resistance, and de-escalation. We will also consider the international dimensions of the conflict and how groups forged transnational ties with diaspora groups and separatist movements around the world. Finally, we will explore the consequences of this conflict on present-day Northern Ireland’s politics and identify lessons from the peace process for other societies in conflict.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 285: The U.S. Intelligence Community

    This course covers the U.S. Intelligence Community, how intelligence supports national security policy development, and how intelligence is applied to execute strategy in pursuit of policy objectives (specifically, implementation of national security and foreign policy initiatives). Studying the structure, processes, procedures, oversight, and capabilities of the Intelligence Community will enhance understanding of how intelligence supported or failed policymakers in national security decision-making, including the areas of diplomatic and economic cooperation and engagement, and security challenges ranging from deterrence to conventional war. The course concludes with the study of asymmetric/hybrid warfare in our modern age and how intelligence might be used to better understand the changing dynamics of future global conflict.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 288: Politics and Public Policy in Washington, D.C., Program: Global Politics & Pub Policy in Washington DC

    Students will participate in a seminar centered around meetings with experts in areas of global politics and policy. Over the course of the term they will collaborate in groups to produce a presentation exploring the political dimensions of public policy with a focus on how problem identification, institutional capacity, and stakeholder interests combine to shape policy options.

    Prerequisites: Mathematics 215, Statistics 120 or other statistics courses and participation in Washington DC OCS program 6 credits; International Studies, Social Inquiry; offered Winter 2024 · Greg Marfleet
  • POSC 289: Politics and Public Policy in Washington, D.C., Program: Politics & Public Policy in Washington DC

    Students will participate in a seminar centered around meetings with experts in areas of U.S. politics and policy. Over the course of the term they will collaborate in groups to produce a presentation exploring the political dimensions of public policy with a focus on how problem identification, institutional capacity, and stakeholder interests combine to shape policy options.

    Prerequisites: Mathematics 215, Statistics 120 or other statistics course and participation in Washington DC OCS program 6 credits; Intercultural Domestic Studies, Social Inquiry; offered Winter 2024 · Greg Marfleet
  • POSC 293: Politics and Public Policy in Washington, D.C., Program: Practical Experience in DC

    All students will intern at an office in Washington or participate in some form of sustained civic engagement activity with instructor approval. In the past students have worked for legislators, executive agencies, interest groups and media outlets. Part of this experience involves keeping a weekly journal and writing a reflective summary paper.

    Prerequisites: Participation in Washington DC OCS program 6 credits; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2024 · Greg Marfleet
  • POSC 294: Central and Eastern European Politics Program: Perceptions of Otherness in Modern Eastern and Central Europe

    Is nationalism fundamentally flawed in its inclusionary capacity? Can the same power of imagination to bring strangers together, which made nation-building possible, be deployed for inventing post-national forms of solidarity? The course will explore representations of strangers and foreigners in Central and Eastern Europe, throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century, with a special focus on Roma and Jews. The aim will be to understand how these representations will work to legitimize different forms of exclusionary politics. An important part of the course will explore the role that exiled and displaced people can play in reimagining identities on a cosmopolitan level.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 295: Central and Eastern European Politics Program: Nation-Building in Central and Eastern Europe between Politics and Art

    The state and its cultural politics played a pivotal role in building the Romanian nation. The first part of the course will analyze the difficulties of nation-building in modern Romania, with a special emphasis on the incapacity of Romanian liberalism to prevent the rise of extreme right wing politics. The second part will explore different images of Romanian national identity that art provided both during the communist regime and in the post-1989 decades, also in a comparative perspective with Hungary, Bulgaria, and Serbia. The course will include visits to galleries, architectural sites and neighborhoods in Bucharest and its surroundings.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 296: Central and Eastern European Politics Program: Challenges to the Nation-State in Eastern and Central Europe: Immigrants and Minorities

    How do democracies react when confronted with massive bodies of immigrants? Do the problems that Eastern and Central European countries face in dealing with immigrants reflect deeper challenges to their capacity of thinking of the nation along inclusionary lines? We will explore the legal and political issues that EU countries and their societies, particularly, in Eastern and Central Europe, face when confronted with a migration crisis. Then we will look at Roma’s history of exploitation and injustice in Eastern and Central Europe. The course will include visits with community groups and NGOs, as well as encounters with minority rights activists.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 302: Subordinated Politics and Intergroup Relations

    How do social and political groups interact? How do we understand these interactions in relation to power? This course will introduce the basic approaches and debates in the study of prejudice, racial attitudes, and intergroup relations. We will focus on three main questions. First, how do we understand and study prejudice and racism as they relate to U.S. politics? Second, how do group identities, stereotyping, and other factors help us understand the legitimation of discrimination, group hierarchy, and social domination? Third, what are the political and social challenges associated with reducing prejudice?

    6 credits; Intercultural Domestic Studies, Social Inquiry; offered Spring 2024 · Christina Farhart
  • POSC 304: Media and Electoral Politics: 2020 United States Elections

    Our analysis of media influences on politics will draw from three fields of study: political psychology, political behavior and participation, and public opinion. Students will conduct a study of the effects of campaign ads and news using our multi-year data set of content analyzed election ads and news. We study a variety of quantitative and qualitative research methods to learn how political communication affects U.S. elections. Students enrolled in the POSC 304 version will conduct more extensive analysis of data for their seminar papers. Taking POSC 304 in conjunction with Political Science 223 is highly recommended to learn methods such as focus group, depth interview methods, and experiment design for conducting original research on elections.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 305: News Media and Democratic Electoral Processes*

    How have news media affected democratic elections in the U.S., UK, and EU? Case studies show traditional and new media—from citizen journalism to bots—shaping views of candidates and issues—and democracy itself. Using recent elections worldwide as a base, we will investigate traditional media as an institution in a challenging environment of new media sources and charges of “fake news.” Coursework includes learning about research design through original data collection, data analysis, and visual representation of data. POSC 223 is recommended as a way to learn quantitative and qualitative methods of social science research. Research paper required.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 306: Identity Politics and Group Behavior in America

    In recent years we have heard a lot about “identity politics.” This course aims to answer the question, why do people form group-based identities and how do they impact mass political attitudes and behavior? Using examples from American politics, we will examine the psychological underpinnings of identity and group-based affiliations as well as their political consequences. In doing so, we will explore how bias, prejudice, and social hierarchy are formed, maintained, and changed. Such evaluations will be based on discussions of various dominant and minority group identities including partisanship, race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, religion, and place. Students will learn how and where the United States has progressed in promoting group equality and fairness and where it has not or has even moved backwards. Students end the course with a deeper understanding of the core American paradox of the persistence of group hierarchy in a country dedicated to democracy, equality, and liberty and what people can do to resolve that paradox.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 307: Go Our Own Way: Autonomy in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement

    “Every civil rights bill was passed for white people, not black people. I am a human being. I know … I have right(s). White people didn’t know that. … so [they] had to … to tell that white man, ‘he’s a human being, don’t stop him.’ That bill was for the white man…. I knew [my rights] all the time.” Stokely Carmichael spoke for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee viewpoint in 1966. The Black Panther Party enacted basic civic responsibilities in their programs. Ella Baker spoke of autonomy in community. This seminar brings voices across generations speaking to current affairs.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 308: Global Gender Politics

    How have gendered divisions of power, labor, and resources contributed to the global crises of violence, sustainability, and inequity? Where and why has the pursuit of gender justice elicited intense backlash, especially within the last two decades? In this course, we will explore the global consequences of gender inequality and the ongoing pursuit of gender justice both transnationally and in different regions of the world. We will investigate a variety of cases ranging from land rights movements in East Africa, to the international movement to ban nuclear weapons. Finally, we will pay special attention to how hard-won gains in women’s rights and other related inequalities in world affairs are being jeopardized by new and old authoritarianisms.

    6 credits; International Studies, Social Inquiry; offered Fall 2023 · Summer Forester
  • POSC 313: Legal Issues in Higher Education

    This seminar will explore pressing legal and policy issues facing American colleges and universities. The course will address the ways core academic values (e.g., academic freedom; the creation and maintenance of a community based on shared values) fit or conflict with legal rules and political dynamics that operate beyond the academy. Likely topics include how college admissions are shaped by legal principles, with particular emphasis on debates over affirmative action; on-campus speech; faculty tenure; intellectual property; student rights and student discipline (including discipline for sexual assault); and college and university relations with the outside world.

    6 credits; Social Inquiry; offered Spring 2024 · Steven Poskanzer
  • POSC 314: Constitutional Convention 2020

    Students in this course will create a podcast to consider proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Proposed amendments will be developed by students in other courses at Carleton, St. Olaf, and other participating institutions. Students will review and select proposals to be debated, and each proposal will be voted on at the end of the course. This advanced seminar will include work outside of class, independently and in collaboration with other students.

    Prerequisites: Political Science 271, 272 or 313 or instructor permission not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 315: Polarization and Democratic Decline in the United States

    The United States is more politically polarized today than at any time since the late nineteenth century, leaving lawmakers, journalists, and experts increasingly concerned that the toxicity in our politics is making the country vulnerable to political instability, violence, and democratic decline. Moreover, citizens are increasingly willing to call into question the legitimacy of this country’s core electoral and governing institutions. How did the U.S. get to this point? What can be done about it? This course will examine political polarization as a central feature of American politics and the consequences for American democracy.

    6 credits; Intercultural Domestic Studies, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Social Inquiry; offered Winter 2024 · Ryan Dawkins
  • POSC 323: Revolutionary Latin America

    Cycles of revolutionary upheaval and counterrevolutionary violence punctuated Latin America’s tumultuous twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This course compares “successful” revolutions (Cuba [1959], Nicaragua [1979]) with “unsuccessful” (Bolivia [1952], Chile [1970]) and abortive (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru in the 1970s and 1980s) attempts at revolutionary change. We will examine questions including, why do revolutionary outbreaks occur? Why do revolutionaries take power in some countries and fail in others? How can we explain (counter-)revolutionary mobilization, violence, and terror? Do revolutions produce enduring social change, or reproduce enduring problems? What do Latin America’s revolutionary legacies mean for twenty-first century politics?

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 324: Rebels and Risk Takers: Women and War in the Middle East

    How are women (and gender more broadly) shaping and shaped by war and conflict in the Middle East? Far from the trope of the subjugated, veiled, and abused Middle Eastern woman, women in the Middle East are active social and political agents. In wars and conflicts in the Middle East region, women have, for example, been combatants, soldiers, activists, spies, homemakers, writers, and political leaders. This course surveys conflicts involving Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Iraq–along with Western powers like the U.S., UK, and Australia–through the wartime experiences of women.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 328: Foreign Policy Analysis

    Foreign policy analysis is a distinct sub-field within international relations that focuses on explaining the actions and choices of actors in world politics. After a review of the historical development of the sub-field, we will explore approaches to foreign policy that emphasize the empirical testing of hypotheses that explain how policies and choices are formulated and implemented. The psychological sources of foreign policy decisions (including leaders’ beliefs and personalities and the effect of decision-making groups) are a central theme. Completion of a lower level IR course and the stats/methods sequence is recommended.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 329: Reinventing Humanism: A Dialogue with Tzvetan Todorov

    Humanism is today severely criticized for reducing humanity to Western culture and history and for its aggressive control and destruction of the non-human. Concomitantly, the history of the twentieth century reveals a growing totalitarian and anti-humanistic tendency in (post)modern societies and their politics, to replace individual agency, freedom, and responsibility with systemic solutions. The course explores, through a dialogue with the work of the French thinker, Tzvetan Todorov, how being human could be reinvented today in ways that avoid the moral and political pitfalls of the previous humanistic tradition, without devaluing, in the process, the idea of a shared humanity.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 330: The Complexity of Politics

    Theories of complexity and emergence relate to how large-scale collective properties and characteristics of a system can arise from the behavior and attributes of component parts. This course explores the relevance of these concepts, studied mainly in physics and biology, for the social sciences. Students will explore agent-based modeling to discover emergent properties of social systems through computer simulations they create using NetLogo software. Reading and seminar discussion topics include conflict and cooperation, electoral competition, transmission of culture and social networks. Completion of the stats/methods sequence is highly recommended.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 331: Cooperation and Conflict*

    Why do countries go to war? What conditions promote a lasting peace? These may well be the two most important and enduring questions in international politics. The course combines an exploration of various theoretical approaches to war and peace—including rational, psychological and structural models—with an empirical analysis of the onset, escalation, and resolution of conflict. We investigate changing patterns in the frequency of global violence and identify where it occurs more (and less) often and assess whether there is an overall trend toward a more peaceful world.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 333: Global Social Changes and Sustainability

    This course is about the relationship between social changes and ecological changes to understand and to be able to advance analytical concepts, research methods, and theories of society-nature interactions. How do livelihoods of individuals and groups change over time and how do the changes affect ecological sustainability? What are the roles of human institutions in ecological sustainability? What are the roles of ecosystem dynamics in institutional sustainability? Students will learn fundamental theories and concepts that explain linkages between social change and environmental changes and gain methods and skills to measure social changes qualitatively and quantitatively.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 335: Navigating Environmental Complexity—Challenges to Democratic Governance and Political Communication

    How can we design democratic institutions to deal with environmental and social problems? Are there universal approaches to solving political problems in physically and socially diverse communities? Do people come up with different institutional ways to address shared problems because of environmental or cultural differences? Our seminar considers current thinking about complex social-ecological systems and how we communicate and work collectively to address the problems of local and global commons.  

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 336: Global Populist Politics

    Are populist politicians scoundrels or saviors? Regardless of the answer, populism is undeniably a growing force in politics around the world: in democracies as well as autocracies, rich and poor countries, and involving different ideologies. How can we understand this diversity? In this class, we will explore populism using a variety of comparative frameworks: temporal (situating the current crop of populism in historical context), ideological (comparing populisms of the left versus the right), as well as geographic. We will try to understand the hallmarks of populism, when and why it emerges, and its impact on political institutions and society.

    6 credits; International Studies, Social Inquiry; offered Fall 2023 · Dev Gupta
  • POSC 339: LGBTQ Politics in America

    The advancement of LGBTQ rights in the United States has experienced unprecedented success over the last twenty years, shifting public attitudes and legal protections for LGBTQ Americans. This course provides a discussion of LGBTQ history and in-depth analysis of how LGBTQ policy victories were achieved, including background on the strategies and tactics used to generate results. We will take a critical look at such milestones and examine what they mean for the entire LGBTQ population, including queer people of color, transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals, the disabled, and the economically disadvantaged.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 345: Politics of Dictatorship

    Seventy percent of the world’s population live in closed autocracies or electoral autocracies today. As the Taliban retook Afghanistan and Myanmar’s budding democracy fell to a military coup, there is an urgent need to better understand non-democratic regimes. This course takes a deep dive into dictatorships past and present, exploring key questions of who holds power, how power is monopolized, how controls and resistance interact, and how regimes transition to and from democracy. This course will also investigate the social and economic consequences of dictatorship, focusing primarily on how regime type interacts with economic development, the protection of rights, and inequality.

    6 credits; International Studies, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Social Inquiry, Writing Requirement; offered Winter 2024 · Huan Gao
  • POSC 348: Strangers, Foreigners and Exiles

    The course explores the role that strangers play in human life, the challenges that foreigners create for democratic politics, the promises they bring to it, as well as the role of exiles in improving the cultural capacity of societies to live with difference. We will read texts by Arendt, Kafka, Derrida, Sophocles, Said, Joseph Conrad, Tzvetan Todorov, and Julia Kristeva. Special attention will be given to the plight of Roma in Europe, as a typical case of strangers that are still perceived nowadays as a menace to the modern sedentary civilization.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 350: “A Savage Made to Inhabit Cities”: The Political Philosophy of Rousseau

    Cross-listed with Political Science 260. In this course we will study what Rousseau considered his greatest and best book: Emile. Emile is a philosophic novel. It uses a thought experiment–the rearing of a child from infancy to adulthood–to explore human nature and the human condition, including their political dimensions. Among Emile‘s themes are natural goodness and the origins of evil; self-love and sociability; the differences and relations between the sexes; citizenship; and the principles of political right. The book also addresses the question of how one might live naturally and happily amid an unnatural and unhappy civilization.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 350: Kings, Tyrants, Philosophers: Plato’s Republic

    Cross-listed with Political Science 250. In this course we will read Plato’s Republic, perhaps the greatest and surely the most important work of political philosophy ever written. What are the deepest needs and the most powerful longings of human nature? Can they be fulfilled, and, if so, how? What are the deepest needs of society, and can they be fulfilled? What is the relation between individual happiness and societal well-being? Are they compatible or in conflict with one another? And where they are in conflict, what does justice require that we do? The Republic explores these questions in an imaginative and unforgettable way.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 352: Political Theory of Alexis de Tocqueville

    This course will be devoted to close study of Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, which has plausibly been described as the best book ever written about democracy and the best book every written about America. Tocqueville uncovers the myriad ways in which equality, including especially the passion for equality, determines the character and the possibilities of modern humanity. Tocqueville thereby provides a political education that is also an education toward self-knowledge.

    6 credits; Humanistic Inquiry, Intercultural Domestic Studies, Writing Requirement; offered Fall 2023 · Barbara Allen
  • POSC 354: Freedom, Excellence, Happiness: Aristotle’s Ethics

    Cross-listed with POSC 254. What does it mean to be morally excellent? To be politically excellent? To be intellectually and spiritually excellent? Are these things mutually compatible? Do they lie within the reach of everyone? And what is the relation between excellence and pleasure? Between excellence and happiness? Aristotle addresses these questions in intricate and illuminating detail in the Nicomachean Ethics, which we will study in this course. The Ethics is more accessible than some of Aristotle’s other works. But it is also a multifaceted and multi-layered book, and one that reveals more to those who study it with care. Seminar paper required.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 355: Identity, Culture and Rights

    This course will look at the contemporary debate in multiculturalism in the context of a variety of liberal philosophical traditions, including contractarians, libertarians, and Utilitarians. These views of the relationship of individual to community will be compared to those of the communitarian and egalitarian traditions. Research papers may use a number of feminist theory frameworks and methods.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 358: Comparative Social Movements

    This course will examine the role that social movements play in political life. The first part of the course will critically review the major theories that have been developed to explain how social movements form, operate and seek to influence politics at both the domestic and international levels. In the second part of the course, these theoretical approaches will be used to explore a number of case studies involving social movements that span several different issue areas and political regions. Potential case studies include the transnational environmental movement, religious movements in Latin America and the recent growth of far right activism in northern Europe.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 359: Cosmopolitanism

    Stoic philosophers saw themselves as citizens of the world (cosmopolitans), a position that Kant enthusiastically revived in the eighteenth century. After the end of the Cold War cosmopolitanism was back in fashion. Even the favorite drink of the girls on TV’s Sex and the City was called Cosmopolitan. However, today it seems that nationalism and xenophobia are making a powerful comeback. Is cosmopolitanism dead? This course explores the promises and dangers of globalization, as well as the inexhaustible attraction of nationalism. The attempt is to show that the escape from the unsettling complexity of globalization is not within tribalistic nationalism, but rather in the cosmopolitan transformation of identity, as well as of the sense of being at home and of belonging.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 361: Approaches to Development

    The meaning of “development” has been contested across multiple disciplines. The development and continual existence of past civilizations has been at the core of the discourse among those who study factors leading to the rise and fall of civilizations. Can we reconcile the meaning of development in economic terms with cultural, ecological, political, religious, social and spiritual terms? How can we measure it quantitatively? What and how do the UNDP Human Development Indexes and the World Development Reports measure? What are the exemplary cases that illustrate development? How do individual choices and patterns of livelihood activities link to development trends?

    6 credits; International Studies, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Social Inquiry, Writing Requirement; offered Winter 2024 · Tun Myint
  • POSC 366: Urban Political Economy

    City revenue is increasingly dependent on tourism. Cities manufacture identity and entertainment, whether we think of Las Vegas or Jerusalem, Berlin or Bilbao, the ethnoscapes of Copenhagen or the red light district of Amsterdam. As cities compete in the global economy to become playgrounds for a transnational tourist class, what is the role of urban residents? Who governs? Who benefits? A research paper will be required. Students who have taken POSC 266 remain welcome to take POSC 366.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 367: Social Welfare in a Time of Crisis

    During COVID-19, many countries adopted new cash transfers, wage subsidies, and basic income experiments, among other innovative social policies, prompting major debates on the need to transform existing social protection systems. We will examine the origins and evolution of formal welfare institutions in the global north and south, with an intersectional focus on their consequences for diverse groups. We will also explore how non-state actors contribute to the construction and maintenance of social safety nets around the world. Based on these insights, we will consider how states, markets, families, and communities may shape the future of welfare states.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 372: Mansions and Shantytowns: Politics of the Spaces We Live In

    This course explores theories about spaces/places and investigates the impact of our physical environment on a broad range of social and political issues. We will look at how parks, monuments, residential communities, and other features of our cities and towns are made, who makes them, and in turn, their effects on our daily lives. Students will engage with important contemporary issues such as residential segregation, public space management, protest policing, etc. Most of the course will focus on urban politics, with a brief foray into rural issues. The goal of this course is to encourage students to think about everyday environmental features in a more systematic and theoretic manner and design social scientific inquiries into spatial issues.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 378: Political Economy & Ecology of Southeast Asia: Social Changes in Southeast Asia

    Informed by the assigned readings, students will visit markets, factories, farms, and various cultural and natural sites to see first-hand the changes and challenges occurring in these areas. The course covers: (1) issues of livelihood transition from rural to urban; (2) the interaction between market systems and social relations; and (3) the impact on society of changes in physical infrastructures such as roads and telecommunication. Students will keep a journal and produce three thematic short essays, a 15-20-minute video, or a well-organized blog to document their learning.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 379: Political Economy and Ecology of S.E. Asia: Diversity of Social Ecological Systems in Southeast Asia

    Connecting the first and the second components, this course examines key actors, issues, and interests in the political economy of and ecology of Southeast Asia. Students will connect economy to ecology in Southeast Asia by connecting field experiences and observation to real data, facts, and cases that illustrate the interaction between economy and ecology. This course requires students to identify a topic of interest based on their field experience, research it using techniques taught in the field research and methods course, and write a research report in the form of a term paper. 

    not offered 2023–2024
  • POSC 392: Political Economy & Ecology of Southeast Asia: Field Research Experiences and Methods

    This course provides a comparative field research experiences for students. Students will carry out a project involving a combination of research techniques including questionnaires, interviews, and participant observation. Students will learn to develop quantitative reasoning and qualitative analyses based on field experiences. Students will write a short paper reflecting on their experience doing field research and present their findings to the class. An alternative assignment is to write a descriptive paper for a global audience to be published on Wikipedia.

    not offered 2023–2024