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Political Science

Course Information

Fall 2020 Courses

POLS 102: Introduction to Comparative Politics

Leah Gilbert MWF 10:25am-11:25am

Ben Gaskins MWF 11:45am-12:45am

Introduction to the central questions in comparative politics. Fundamental differences in the organization of states, democratic political institutions (presidentialism versus parliamentarism, 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. Propositional and predicate calculus, deductive techniques, and translation into symbolic notation.

Prerequisites: None.

POLS 103: Introduction to American Politics

Todd Lochner MWF 9:10am-10:10am

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 9:15-10:15am

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: None.

Restrictions: Sophomore standing required

POLS 301 American Constitutional Law: Equal Protections and Due Process

Todd Lochner: MWF 3:30-5:00pm

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: None.

Restrictions: Sophomore standing required

POLS 307: Government and the Economy

Ellen Seljan: TTH 9:50-11:20am

A framework for analysis of the policy-making process. History, dynamics, and trends of major U.S. economic policies. The scope of American domestic policy; subsidies and aids to business, labor, agriculture, consumers; antitrust policy and the Federal Trade Commission; public-utility regulation; natural-resources policies; full employment; antipoverty and defense spending.

Prerequisites: None.

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

John Holzwarth: TTH 2:15-3:45pm

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.

Restrictions: Sophomore Standing Required

POLS 325: European Politics

Leah Gilbert: TTH 11:40am-1:10pm

This course addresses the many political challenges that face individual European countries and the European Union in the 21st 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 351: Presidential Politics

Ben Gaskins: TTH 11:40am-1:10pm

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 recommended

POLS 435: Topics in Comparative Politics

Leah Gilbert: MW 3:00-5:00pm

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

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