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Political Science

Fall 2015 Course Information

POLS 102 Introduction to Comparative Politics
Leah E. Gilbert: MWF 10:20-11:20 Miller 102
Leah E. Gilbert: MWF 12:40-1:40 Howard 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
Benjamin Gaskins: MWF 9:10-10:10 Howard 259
Benjamin Gaskins: MWF 10:20-11:20 Howard 259

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 201 Research Methods in Political Science
Ellen Seljan: MWF 12:40-1:40 Howard 124

Introduction to the methodological principles and issues in political science research, using readings within and beyond political science. Identifying variables and mechanisms, developing and testing theories, collecting and measuring data, and assessing a study’s ability to achieve causal inference. Introduction to different approaches to research, including experiments, case studies, and regression analysis. Strongly recommended for sophomores or juniors who have declared a POLS major, as this course is a
prerequisite for thesis and some senior capstone courses.

Prerequisites: POLS 102 or POLS 103

POLS 252 Public Opinion and Survey Research
Benjamin Gaskins: MWF 1:50-2:50 Howard 122

The role of public opinion in the American political process; the problem of identifying the public and the extent to which this public exercises political authority; techniques of researching public opinion. Political socialization, formation of attitudes, group differences, mass opinion, elite opinion, direct
action. Research design, data collection, scaling, analysis, and interpretation of data in the context of research on polling.

Prerequisites: None

POLS 253 Public Policy
Ellen Seljan: TTH 1:50-3:20 Howard 122

Introduction to major issues in contemporary U.S. public policy, including the environment, social policy, criminal policy, education, health care,
and the economy. Examination of the policy-making process, including the role of key policy makers, audiences, and institutions; methods of evaluating public policy, focusing on the difficulties of attributing causal efficacy. Students-led debates and exercises.

Prerequisites: None

POLS 301 American Constitutional Law: Equal Protection & Due Process
Todd R. Lochner: TTH 11:30-1:00pm Howard 124

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

POLS 310 Pillars of Western Political Thought: Plato to Machiavelli
John Holzwarth: TTH 11:30-1:00 Miller 104  

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 Apology, Crito, 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 318 Civil Society
Leah E. Gilbert: MWF 3:00-4:30 Howard 122

Analysis and evaluation of how civil society and social capital have promoted and shaped a variety of outcomes such as democratization and
government performance. Students will critically analyze works from diverse regions of the world such as North America, Western Europe, Eastern
Europe, and Asia. In-class activities and a semester-long project will step students through the research process on a core concept within the
subfield of comparative politics.                                                 

Prerequisites: None                                                                                  Restrictions: Sophomore standing required



Political Science

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