School navigation

Political Science

Fall 2018 Course Information

POLS 102 Introduction to Comparative Politics

Leah Gilbert: MWF 10:20-11:20 JRHH 102                                                    Benjamin Gaskins: MWF 11:30-12:30 JRHH 102

Introduction to the central questions in comparative politics. Fundamental differences in the organization of states, democratic political institutions (presidentialism versus parliamentarianism, for example), and domestic social forces (for example, social capital, ethnic versus nonethnic identities). The impact of political organization on economic performance and social peace.

Prerequisites: None.

POLS 103 Introduction to American Politics

Todd R. Lochner: MW 3:00-4:30 JRHH 102

The politics of the founding period; interactions within and among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches; the federal division of institutionalized powers; public opinion, interest groups, and political parties; the policy process in areas such as defense, welfare, civil rights and liberties, and international affairs.

Prerequisites: None. 

POLS 301 Am. Constitutional Law: Equal Protection and Due Process

Todd Lochner: T 3:00-6:00 JRHH 122 

The U.S. Supreme Court and judicial review from 1787 to the present. The court’s landmark constitutional decisions, as well as the theory and techniques of constitutional interpretation. The court’s authority within the wider political and social context of American government, with emphasis on the court’s jurisprudence in the areas of equal protection (including segregation and desegregation, affirmative action, gender discrimination, and sexual orientation discrimination) and due process (including privacy
and abortion rights). Discussions of actual Supreme Court rulings, majority opinions, and dissenting arguments, as well as the political and historical context of those decisions in an effort to understand how and why the Supreme Court has played such an influential role in American politics and political thought.

Prerequisites: POLS 103.                                                                                  Restrictions: Sophomore standing required.

POLS 310 Pillars of Western Political Thought: Plato to Machiavelli

John Holzwarth: TTH 9:40-11:10 JRHH 205

Great works of political philosophy from ancient Greece and Rome, early Christianity, and the Renaissance. Themes include the foundations of morality and justice, the role of hierarchy in politics, and the role of politics in cultivating human excellence. Works may include Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War; Plato’s ApologyCrito,and Republic; Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Politics; Augustine’s City of God; and Machiavelli’s The Prince, among others.

Prerequisites: None.                                                                                Restrictions: Sophomore standing required.

POLS 313 Global Justice

John Holzwarth: TTH 1:50-3:20 JRHH 205

Normative issues in international politics, including such topics as national sovereignty, just war theory, international intervention, human rights, cultural rights, secession and self-determination, the competing ethics of patriotism, nationalism, and cosmopolitanism. Historical approaches through such thinkers as Thucydides, Hobbes, Kant, Mill, followed by contemporary readings, including such authors as Rawls, Walzer, Kymlicka, Rorty, Nussbaum.

Prerequisites: None.                                                                                Restrictions: Junior standing required.

POLS 325 European Politics

Leah Gilbert: TTH 11:30-1:00 JRHH 244

This course addresses the many political challenges that face individual European countries and the European Union in the twenty-first century. To contextualize and understand these challenges, this course will first investigate Europe’s historical political development and then use a combination of in-depth case studies and comparative analyses to examine topics such as political parties, electoral systems, political participation, immigration, and post-communism. Throughout the course we will frequently compare the trajectory of Europe and individual European countries with the United States.

Prerequisites: POLS 102.                                                                                Restrictions: Sophomore standing required.

 POLS 400 Senior Thesis

Benjamin Gaskins

Choosing a definitive topic and narrowing it; developing a research design, doing the research, submitting drafts, revising drafts, polishing final copy. Presenting thesis to political science faculty and seniors for critique, rewrite of thesis. Final form due at end of semester. Normally taken for 2 credits in both fall and spring semesters of senior year for a total of 4 credits. A deferred grade will be issued for the first semester of the yearlong series. When the full sequence is completed, the given grade applies to both semesters.

 Prerequisites: POLS 102, POLS 103, and POLS 201.                                     Restrictions: Sophomore standing required.

POLS 435 Topics in Comparative Politics

Benjamin Gaskins: MW 3:00-4:30 JRHH 203

Advanced seminar focusing on problems and concepts in comparative politics. Specific content varies; examples of topics include state failure and civil war, electoral competition and legislative behavior, migration and integration, institutional design, and ethnicity and nationalism. Assignments are organized around a substantial seminar paper (25 pages or longer).

Prerequisites: POLS 102.                                                                                  Restrictions: Senior standing required.

Political Science

Contact Us