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Course Descriptions

Political Science Course Listings - Spring 2013

POLI 101S 01 American National Government
4 credits
Baker, Rob

This introductory course is intended to provide the student with a broad overview of American governmental institutions, processes, and policies. The Constitutional basis of our political system serves as the foundation for lectures and discussions. The course is required for all majors, and is a prerequisite for certain other upper-level courses in political science. A subscription to the New York Times is required.  10/12
NOTE:  This course is required of all political science majors and minors.

POLI 101S 02 American National Government
4 credits
Rhine, Staci

This course introduces students to American government and politics. The course includes sections on the Constitution, rights and liberties, the major institutions, and political behavior.  Students will use current topics in politics to understand the processes of government.  Classes will be a combination of lecture and discussion. The course material will include several textbooks and The New York Times. There will be three exams, quizzes, and a paper. 10/12
NOTE:  This course is required of all political science majors and minors.

POLI 102S 01 Introduction to Comparative Politics           
4 credits
LaPorte, Jody

This course will introduce students to the major questions, findings, and concepts from the field of comparative politics. Comparative politics is the study of political systems and political development in countries outside the United States. In this course, we will examine the variety of state structures, political regimes, and economic institutions present in countries around the world. Evaluation will be based on quizzes, exams, and regular participation in class discussions. 10/12
NOTE:  This course is required of all political science majors and minors.

POLI 102S 02 Introduction to Comparative Politics
4 credits
Allan, James

This course introduces students to the study of political institutions and political behavior from a comparative perspective. During the course of the semester, the course will focus on political processes and issues in a wide variety of countries, including advanced industrial democracies, communist and post-communist systems, as well as countries in the developing world. A second major objective is to learn basic concepts and techniques used in comparative political analysis. Evaluation will be based on two exams, reading quizzes, and participation in three short political analysis/simulation exercises. 10/12
NOTE: This course is required of all political science majors and minors.

POLI 202S Comparative Political Economy & Public Policy
4 credits
Allan, James

This course provides an introduction to understanding the relationship between politics and economics, or to put it another way, between “states and markets.” What is the appropriate role for government in managing the economy? Should politics and economics be completely separate, or are the two inextricably linked? This course examines how great political economists such as Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and others have addressed these questions. It will also consider, from a comparative  perspective, the variety of ways in which governments and markets actually interact within advanced capitalist democracies through an examination of welfare states. 10/12

POLI 209 01 Topics: Middle East Politics
4 credits
LaPorte, Jody

This course will explore the history, politics, and society of the Middle East. Particular focus will be paid to current political developments in the region, including the Arab Spring uprisings and the new governments and political institutions that have developed. The course format will be a combination of lectures and student-led discussion. Students will be expected to keep up with current events on the region.  Evaluation will be based on a combination of written assignments and active participation in class discussions.  10/12

POLI 211R 01 Ancient & Medieval Political Philosophy
4 credits
Wright, Heather
 
This is a challenging and thought-provoking course which explores the history of political philosophy from ancient Greek drama to medieval thought through a combination of primary textual analysis and interpretive commentary. What is political philosophy? Simply put, it is the quest for knowledge about the nature of politics. Ancient and medieval political philosophers sought knowledge about many of our most compelling and vital human questions. What is the nature of human beings? What is nature itself? What is justice? How can we begin to understand power? What is the good life for human beings? What is the best form of political rule? What is the proper relationship of philosophy to politics? On what basis might we construct our ethical life? Are men and women different, and if so, how might this impact the political? Not surprisingly, political philosophers have thought and continue to think very differently about these topics. 10/12

POLI 216R 01 Family Values: The Politics of Virtue, Care, and Equality
4 credits
Wright, Heather

This course examines the theoretical underpinnings of the contemporary debate over family values.  We will “begin at the beginning,” studying the ancient and modern political philosophers and their profoundly influential conceptions of the proper relationship between the family and public life.  Once we grasp the philosophical foundation, we will move into the contemporary “house.”  We will encounter thoughtful and profound analyses of the conflict of rights involved in these debates over the family. What is the proper relationship between biology and society?  Should the family be regulated, or is it beyond the reach of public political scrutiny?  How does emerging reproductive technology enter into the mix?  Whose side should the state take when the conflict over abortion is represented as a contest between the rights of the fetus and the rights of the mother?  Should we allow genetic manipulation of embryos?  How have adoption, surrogate motherhood, and step-parenting redefined the traditional family?  Is that redefinition reflected in contemporary family law?  How will we care for our children and for our parents in an age in which most everyone, male and female, works outside the home?  Do we need a new family politics? Having completed our consideration of the American debate, we will turn to an illuminating comparative case study: Poland.  The addition of perspectives grounded in a radically different political history, and cultural and religious traditions, will throw the American political landscape into sharp relief.  10/12

POLI 221S 01 State and Local Government
4 credits
Baker, Rob

The course focuses on important contemporary problems and trends affecting state and local politics, and the role of states and localities in the federal system. Using a comparative approach, attention is given to general intergovernmental, social, economic, and cultural influences that shape state and local politics in America. Additionally, a mock state legislature is conducted providing the student with a "hands-on" experience in one of the key political processes of state government.  10/12

POLI 224S 01 Presidency           
4 credits
Hasecke, Ed

This course will explore issues in the modern presidency. We will begin with the basic characteristics of the presidency and debate the conflicts inherent in the demands we place on the president. We will then shift to an exploration of presidential success. What makes a president more successful than another?  Students will be asked to perform an original research project that seeks to explain presidential success of a president of their choosing. 10/12

POLI 234S 01 Black Politics
4 credits
Young, John

This course will introduce students to the nature of black politics and black political behavior.  The course will inquire into the political dimensions of black life in America and how Black Americans have interpreted and responded to the democratic experiment.  Considerable attention will be given to how individuals, institutions, and protest movements have shaped black political consciousness and black political participation.  Finally, the course will examine the relative impact of black protest politics versus black electoral politics in addressing black political demands. Evaluation will be based on three exams, several quizzes, class participation, and short, one page writing assignments.  

POLI 260 1Z Methodology
4 credits
Rhine, Staci

This course aims to prepare students to better understand as well as conduct research.  The course will explore hypothesis development and testing, measurement, research design, analysis, and interpretation of results.  Students will pursue their own research question as well as refine the presentation of their results.  There will be exams, several small projects, and a large research paper. 10/12
NOTE:  This course is required by all political science majors.
WRITING INTENSIVE

POLI 323 1W U. S. Congress
4 credits
Hasecke, Ed

Prerequisites: POLI 101 and Jr Class Standing
In this course, students will be exposed to the world of Congress through a semester-long simulation. Class sessions will mix traditional lecture/discussion with simulated legislative experiences. As a class we will discuss Congressional structure and legislative strategy. We will also engage in a class research project that involves data collection and statistical analysis. A subscription to an online Congressional simulation (www.legsim.org) is required.  Evaluation will be based on participation in the simulation, several written assignments and a final paper. 10/12
WRITING INTENSIVE

POLI 352 1W Russian Foreign Policy
4 credits
LaPorte, Jody

Prerequisites: POLI 102S, 204H, or 251S and Jr/Sr Class Standing
This course surveys the international politics of post-Soviet Eurasia. We will examine the development and implementation of Russian foreign policy under Yeltsin, Putin, and Medvedev—including policy towards (1) the West, especially the U.S. and Western Europe; (2) Asia, with particular focus on China; (3) the Middle East during the Arab Spring.  We also will devote significant time to assessing political relations among the former Soviet republics—especially Russian policy towards the “near abroad,” oil and pipeline politics, and the “frozen conflicts” in the Caucasus.  Evaluation will be based on a combination of written assignments and active participation in class discussions.  10/12
WRITING INTENSIVE

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