Spring 2023 Courses

POLS-102: Intro to Comparative Politics

Leah Gilbert MWF 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

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 non-ethnic identities). The impact of political organization on economic performance and social peace.

Prerequisites: None
Restrictions: None

POLS-103: Intro to American Politics

Ben Gaskins MWF 10:20 am - 11:20 am

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; he policy process in areas such as defense, welfare, civil rights and liberties, and international affairs.

Prerequisites: None
Restrictions: None

POLS-305: American Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties

Todd R. Lochner M 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Focus on the First Amendment, particularly free speech (including areas of national security, incitement to lawless action, individual and group defamation, indecency, and obscenity), as well as criminal defendants’ rights (including Fourth Amendment search and seizure law, Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, and Eighth Amendment prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment in the context of the death penalty). 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: None
Restrictions: None

POLS-310: Pillars of Western Political Thought: Plato to Machiavelli

John S. Holzwarth TTH 1:50 pm - 3:20 pm 

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-314: Russian Politics in Comparative Perspective

Leah E. Gilbert TTH 11:30 am - 1:00 pm 

Comparative perspective of Russian politics. Examination of Russia’s political development in the early 20th century through developments in the postcommunist period. Investigation of the ways Russia is both similar to and different from countries in the “West,” former communist countries, and countries at Russia’s same level of economic development, culminating in an analysis of how Russia is ruled today. Students will read predominantly scholarly articles, but will also be exposed to various materials from novels, news media, or films.

Prerequisites: POLS-102
Restrictions: Sophomore standing required

POLS-325: European Politics

Leah Gilbert MW 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Political challenges that face individual European countries and the European Union in the 21st century. Investigation of Europe’s historical political development, followed by a combination of in-depth case studies and comparative analyses to examine topics such as political parties, electoral systems, political participation, immigration, and postcommunism. Frequent comparisons of the trajectory of Europe and
individual European countries with the United States.

Prerequisites: POLS-102
Restrictions: Sophomore standing required

POLS-350: Congressional Politics

Ellen C. Seljan TTh 9:40 am - 11:10 am 

Constitutional foundations and the unfolding of various concepts of legislative power throughout
the 19th and 20th centuries, and into the 21st century. The dynamics of Congress, its staffing,
and how it and individual members manage different visions of legislative power. Other branches of
government examined to illuminate the functioning and malfunctioning of the legislative branch.

Prerequisites: POLS-310 Recommended
Restrictions: Sophomore standing required

POLS-359: Religion and Politics

Ben Gaskins MWF 12:40 pm - 1:40 pm

Measuring religiosity and how or if religious participation affects political participation. The role of the church as a political institution. Religious leaders as political leaders. Emphasis on religion in American politics.

Prerequisites: POLS-103
Restrictions: Sophomore standing required

POLS-400: Senior Thesis

Todd R. Lochner 01/17/2023-05/04/2023

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, & POLS-201
Restrictions: Sophomore standing required

POLS-400: Senior Thesis

Ellen C. Seljan 01/17/2023-05/04/2023

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, & POLS-201
Restrictions: Sophomore standing required

POLS-425: Legal Regulation of American Democracy

Todd R. Lochner MWF 3:25 pm - 4:50 pm

The legal regulation of the American political system. The equal protection concept of voting
rights, particularly the “one person, one vote” rule and the Voting Rights Act, and federal campaign-finance regulation. Additional topics include the constitutional rights of political parties and the law relating to ballot
propositions. Discussion of descriptive and normative issues. This course is taught at the law school.

Requisites: POLS-301

Restrictions: Junior standing required

Comments: This course is held on the Law School Campus in the Legal
Research Center, Room 5. This course has pre-semester meeting dates that students are
expected to attend.