Spring 2022 Courses

POLS 102: Introduction to Comparative Politics

Ian McDonald MWF 10:20 am - 11:20 am

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
Restrictions: None

POLS 103: Introduction to American Politics

Ben Gaskins MWF 9:10 am - 10:10 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; the policy process in areas such as defense, welfare, civil rights and liberties, and international affairs.

Prerequisites: None
Restrictions: None

POLS 252: Public Opinion/Survey Research

Ben Gaskins MWF 11:30 am - 12:30 am

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
Restrictions: Sophomore standing required

POLS 305: American Constitutional Law: Civil Liberty

Todd Lochner MW 3:00 pm - 4:30 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: POLS 103
Restrictions: Sophomore standing required

POLS 311: Pillars of Western Political Thought: Revolution and the Social Contract

John Holzwarth TTh 11:30 am - 1:00 pm 

What makes state authority legitimate? What, if anything, can warrant revolution as a means of political, social, or economic change? This course examines the origins of liberalism in early modern ideas of legitimacy, rights, and obligations, with primary emphasis on foundational thinkers from the crucial period between 1648 and 1848. Readings may include Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, Immanuel Kant, Karl Marx, and Martin Luther King Jr., among others.

Prerequisites: None
Restrictions: Sophomore standing required

POLS 346: State and Local Politics 

Ellen Seljan TTh 1:50 pm - 3:20 pm 

Examination of the operation of state and local governments. Using a comparative methodology, students will gain an understanding of how differences in political institutions among state and local governments substantially affect policy outcomes. The course will also examine how state and local politics and policymaking both complement and interact with the federal layer of government.

Prerequisites: POLS 103 and POLS 201
Restrictions: Sophomore standing required

POLS 402: Problems in Political Theory

John Holzwarth Th 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm 

Advanced analysis of a specific problem, theme, or concept intriguing to political theorists. Specific content varies. Themes have included revolution, utopia, the American founding, Nietzsche, identity and self-creation, and the philosophy of history.

Prerequisites: None
Restrictions: Junior standing required. Open to sophomores only with
consent of instructor.