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DEPARTMENT OF POLITICS

All Politics Department courses are open to all students who meet the prerequisites. For information on requirements for an Politics major or minor, please see Naeem Inayatullah, Politics Department, 325 Muller Faculty Center.

Course schedule Fall 2015

POLT 10100-03, 04 U.S. POLITICS GE 1: Self & Society, GE h: Historical Perspective, (ICC) - Humanities, Liberal Arts, (ICC) - Social Sciences, Social Sciences, Theme:Power and Justice, Theme:World of Systems

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Carlos Figueroa, Muller 319, Ext. 4-7381

ENROLLMENT: 29 & 30

PREREQUISITES: None

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This introductory course explores the development of the U.S. political system, the values it is based on, how it works, how politics and policy intersect within it, and its impact upon individuals and groups alike. We engage politics through the notion of power while taking a two prong perspective: an American political development (APD) approach that pays close attention to how ideas and institutions evolve historically and within particular contexts (tracing such developments within weekly themes), and a Media approach that takes new communication technologies seriously in how citizens shape and are shaped by the developing US political culture and broader global environment. We begin our journey by exploring the role religion and/or morality has played as a foundational value to political life over time. We then give special attention to the development of the federal national system including the historical power struggles over nation-building and related national identity formation. In sum, through the notion of power we explore the development of U.S. politics by examining the many ways individuals and groups have participated in shaping/reshaping our complex system of government and the policy-making process historically and through the current use of new technologies.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture/Discussion; group work; SKYPE sessions; guest speaker; films/documentaries; in-class group debates
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: 6 short quizzes; mid-term book review; and two group projects/presentations.

POLT 10594-01 (ICSM) U.S. POLITICS THROUGH HOUSE OF CARDS LA HU SS

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Thomas Shevory

ENROLLMENT: 21

PREREQUISITES: None

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

House of Cards, an Emmy Award winning television series, which tracks the political career of the ruthlessly ambitious politician, Frank Underwood, raises many questions about the state of current American politics, along with perennial issues regarding the ethics of political action. The course will draw upon the series as a starting point for considering the institutional contexts of American politics: the legislative, executive, judicial branches, and the policy-making process. We will also discuss the influence of money in politics, the role of the press, the political party system, voting, and the meaning and obligations of citizenship. We will draw upon political biography, comparing characters in House of Cards to actual political leaders, such as Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and former President Richard Nixon. Finally, we will consider the impact of House of Cards on how audiences think about American politics. The series is, for example, widely popular in China.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Three critical papers. A-F.

POLT 12800-01, 02 INTRODUCTION TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS SS LA 1b, g; ICC Social Sciences; Theme: World of Systems; Theme: Power & Justice
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Chip Gagnon, Muller 324, Ext. 4-1103
ENROLLMENT: 25
PREREQUISITES: None
STUDENTS: Open to all.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: We examine and discuss issues of security ranging from security of the state to security of individuals. Issues include the future of war, terrorism, the global economy, nationalism, ethnic and religious conflict, and the role of the media in how we think about the international. We also study how different perspectives lead us to see different worlds, looking specifically at realism, liberalism, global humanism, and theories of identity. This course counts as a Comparative and International Studies course for the purposes of the Politics major, the Concentration in International Studies, and the International Politics minor.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lectures, discussions, films.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Attendance and participation in class discussions; readings for each class; three take-home exam essays. Readings in Course Reader, about $20, purchased in Politics Dept office starting the first day of classes

POLT 14200-01, 02 IDEAS AND IDEOLOGIES SS LA 1a, 1b; (ICC) Perspectives: Humanities, Social Sciences, and Themes: Power and Justice, World of Systems

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: TBA

PREREQUISITES: None

ENROLLMENT: 28 per section

COURSE DESCRIPTION: What is your idea of the ‘good life’ or a ‘perfect world’? How do you think we might achieve it, and why? Where do your ideas about the world and your own life come from? How do your individual beliefs relate to broader systems of thought we call ideologies? This course encourages self-reflection on these questions as we explore the ideological roots of political, social and economic life. Through readings, film, art, music and your own observations, the course focuses on key political ideas and the ideological debates over their meaning and practice. We will examine a range of views on concepts such as liberty, equality, democracy, rationality, security, order, authority, community and nation. We will consider how these and other political ideas developed historically, why certain ideas endure, and why they remain important to understanding politics today. In doing so we will also pay close attention to how political ideas reflect, reinforce, and challenge relations of power, especially in terms of class, race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality. The course encourages critical reflection on where our views about the world come from, and on aspects of political life that we take for granted. Encounters with political theories different from our own subjective views help bring to light our unconscious assumptions and also what is distinctive about our political views. Ideological perspectives the course explores include liberalism and conservatism (and their “neo” variants), socialism, anarchism, and fascism.

COURSE FORMAT AND STYLE: lecture and discussion

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: active participation and demonstration of class preparation, one quiz, weekly written reflections, midterm and final essays

POLT 14300-01 UNDERSTANDING CAPITALISM LA SS

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Naeem Inayatullah

ENROLLMENT: 28

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Exploration of the role of class conflict in the making of contemporary political and social life. Application of theoretical and historical materials to assess capitalism's complex relationship to such ideals as progress, freedom, equality, individuality, and justice. Understanding the personal, regional, national, and global scope of capitalism.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: willingness to accept alternative teaching methods.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Plenty of reading, writing, and discussion

POLT 14400-01, 02 Global Political Thought

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Evgenia Ilieva

ENROLLMENT: 28

PREREQUISITES: None

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course explores the global dimension of political theory by introducing students to selected texts and dilemmas that typically preoccupy the discipline of political theory. We critically engage a range of themes and concepts integral to the development of Western political thought: identity and difference, freedom, democracy, community, authority, domination, liberation, violence, power and knowledge, etc. We also devote attention to a group of thinkers who do not fit neatly into the Western canon and whose writings offer important but neglected worldviews. With the latter group of thinkers we consider the global and colonial contexts of modern political theory, as well as questions of race and reparations for historical injustice. Our goal is: (1) to read these works as global texts rather than as essences of specific cultures and civilizations; (2) to analyze how certain key works in political theory have traveled and been appropriated across various national and geographical boundaries; (3) to use these texts as tools to help us ask a wide range of questions about ourselves and the world we share with others. More broadly, our aim is to appreciate the role of non-western thought within the western tradition and recognize the presence of the western ideas within non-western thought.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Participation, short papers.

POLT 14500-01, 02 Politics of Identity: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Asma Barlas

ENROLLMENT: 22

PREREQUISITES: {Race and Colonialism: two courses in the social sciences preferred}; Identity: None

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course explores the relationship between racial identities and the political-economy of people’s lives by exploring a set of open-ended questions, such as, is race “real;” what are the social and psychological implications of thinking in terms of binaries like self/ other, black/white, similarity/ difference; do racial differences matter to the kinds of life chances people get; is color-blindness a form of anti-racism; and, are such questions relevant to your own sense of self?

A note on pedagogy

The default setting for course format in HOMER is “lecture;” however, this is not a lecture-based class since I believe a teaching-through-lecturing approach usually generates a learning-through imitating response. Rather, my pedagogy is informed by Paulo Freire’s critique of “banking” styles of education that treat students as if they are empty “vaults” into which ostensibly omniscient teachers feel the need to make “deposits.” Such a method, he argues, fails to produce a critical social consciousness which requires each person to be able to “name the world” for themselves as the first step in ultimately working to change it.

In line with this thinking, I limit my role to encouraging a collective dialogue which hinges largely on your ability to do your readings and your willingness to share your reflections on them in class even if it means risking disagreements in the process. In fact, I value the role of conflict in learning since it can push one beyond the familiar and thus also beyond the boundaries of the self.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Two concept papers; three journals.

POLT 19501-01, 02 FOOD AND WATER: CHALLENGES TO SUSTAINABILITY

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: Juan Arroyo, Muller 316, Ext. 4-3969

ENROLLMENT: 25 per section

PREREQUISITES: None

OBJECTIVES: At some level, we may think we know what it means to eat and drink sustainably. This course will challenge conceptions by examining different, and often conflicting definitions of sustainability. Then, even if we do agree to eat and drink differently, we face challenges in changing individual behavior and social patterns in more sustainable directions. This course will look at the many actors and obstacles involved in defining and shaping our choices regarding food and water. Political systems privilege certain ideas and also specific interests. Economic structures and patterns limit our choices. Anthropological, cultural, and sociological backgrounds structure our options. Students will consider the “simple”acts of eating and drinking from all of these perspectives. Students will be challenged to understand the potential for changing patterns of consumption and production, examining their own choices, their communities, and the socio-political system in which we are embedded.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture; expert presentations

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Readings, active participation in class discussions, 2-3 short papers (3-5 pages), 1 medium paper (5-7 pages), 1 final paper (7-10 pages)

POLT 20003-01 (HNRS) THE POLITICS OF THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO LA

3 Credits

INSTRUCTOR: Thomas Shevory

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITES: Honors Program

COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this course, we will read and discuss Stieg Larsson’s global bestselling Millennium Trilogy¸ which consists of three books: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, and The Girl Who Played with Fire. The novels should be seen as entry-points, or provocations, to engage a number of political issues. Stieg Larsson, author of the novels, was quite famously a crusading left-wing Swedish journalist, who had passionate political commitments involving women’s equality, immigrant rights, anti-fascism, and freedom of expression. These are a few of the issues that we will explore in the process of reading the novels.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Three critical papers. Sakai entries. A-F

POLT 23000-01 THE HOLOCAUST SS LA
3 CREDITS
INSTRUCTOR: Don Beachler

ENROLLMENT: 28
PREREQUISITES: One social science or humanities course
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is an introductory survey of major issues related to the Holocaust. We will examine the role of Anti-Semitism in Western Culture and the rise of the racial anti-Semitism that animated Nazi hatred of the Jews. Among the topics to be covered are: The rise of Hitler to power; the initial policies of persecution and dispossession of the Jews and Jewish responses to these policies; the evolution of Nazi policy from expulsion of the Jews to extermination; the role of Jewish community leadership in attempting to cope with a murderous onslaught by establishing Jews in vital industries; the cooperation of many German bureaucrats in the final solution; the relationship of the Holocaust to the Nazi’s overall racial views and their war of racial supremacy in eastern Europe; the ongoing controversy over whether more Jews could have been rescued by the nations opposing Hitler and his regime.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: 3 exams. Letter grade.

POLT 31900-01 ST: U.S. POLITICS: THE POLITICS OF U.S. CITIZENSHIP LA SS
3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Carlos Figueroa, Muller 319, Ext. 4-7381

ENROLLMENT: 15

PREREQUISITES: three courses in social sciences

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The aim of this seminar is to examine closely the following question: "What does it mean to be an American?" from a number of perspectives. We do this in order to critically and historically assess the various conceptions and understandings of U.S. citizenship within different contexts. We explore the way in which U.S. citizenship has been constructed and re-constructed through and by competing political visions and institutions, ideas, moral-religious beliefs, social values, racial, ethnic, and gender discourses, among others, over time. For example, we pay close attention to the articulation of citizenship at the various intersections of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and religion as categories of difference that often inform, if not structure, who can become a citizen and when certain political, social and civic rights ought to be recognized and protected. We also explore how key national institutions -- Congress, presidency, Supreme Court, and the Census Bureau -- shape debates over civic status, national identity, and political community. Finally, we consider the impact of transnationalism, multiculturalism and globalization on the meanings of U.S. citizenship, while illuminating the historical and civic dimensions of political membership more broadly. Readings will cover materials from political history, social and public policy, political/social theory, gender studies, to public law, sociology, and economics.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Introductory lectures, close reading of texts, individual/group led discussions; documentaries/films

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Readings, lead 3 in-class discussions, take-home midterm, 2 short textual analytical summaries, a book review, final paper/oral presentation

POLT 32300-01 Race and Colonialism

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Asma Barlas

ENROLLMENT: 22

PREREQUISITES: {Race and Colonialism: two courses in the social sciences preferred}; Identity: None

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course examines the racialization of knowledge and identities that occurred during colonialism and the relationships between the colonizer and the colonized to which this racialization gave rise. Such a focus can help us to understand the intimate forms colonial oppression acquired—in internalized self-images and a psychology of self-harm—and why residues of both persist today. In fact, a tangential aim of this exercise in remembering is to question a conceit of history, that one can be “done with the past” by uncovering the ways in which colonialist thought “lives and breathes… right here and now” (Fasolt, The Limits of History, 2003: 13; 16). In a way, then, this course is also an engagement with contemporary racisms. One caveat: focusing on the imaginal and ideational aspects of colonialism can make it seem that it had no political or economic (“material”) ramifications. In reality, of course, capitalist and colonialist expansion went hand-in-hand which is why one ought to study their histories together. Though we will not be doing so, some texts give us a good sense of the political-economy of colonial rule and its legacies. Others oblige us to question the very notion that ideologies are not in themselves “material” and to ask if political and economic exploitation could have proceeded had not people’s minds been colonized as well. We will end with a discussion of pedagogies of liberation that lend themselves to “unthinking” some colonialist categories and practices.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Two concept papers; three journals.

POLT 33000-01 EUROPEAN POLITICSLA SS
3 CREDITS
INSTRUCTOR: Juan Arroyo, Muller 316, Ext. 4-3969
ENROLLMENT: 26
PREREQUISITES: Three courses in social sciences or the equivalent.
OBJECTIVES: We start with the question of European identity: do we only mean the EU or something more general? Who is included or excluded, and how is this decided? This will lead to a discussion of “European” values. What are the values that lead to more generous health care systems, cheap university tuition, etc.?
The course will introduce further tools for understanding European politics by looking at some of the key European ideological/political groups that are less familiar in the U.S. (Social Democracy, Christian Democracy, the Greens, the post-Communists left and the far right). Similarly, the course will look at the ideas and practices behind welfare state policies: education, welfare, immigration, employment policy, and the environment.
Finally, students will examine the political systems of selected European countries, with their distinct sets of actors and policy priorities. The emphasis will be on institutional and policy variations in how each country responds to the same needs or issues, such as economics, civil rights, regional identity, and nationalism. Students will also consider Europe’s interaction with the rest of the world, both at the level of the European Union and of the individual countries.  This course counts as an international "place" course for the Concentration and International Studies and the Minor in International Politics
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion; guest visits
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Readings, active participation in class, 2 medium papers (6-8 pages), 1 final paper (10-15 pages).

POLT 35003-01 Selected Topics in Political Theory: Global Musical Meaning

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Naeem Inayatullah

ENROLLMENT: 20-24

PREREQUISITES: Willingness to entertain unorthodox pedagogy

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

We will explore music from various parts of the world such as West Africa, South Asia, and Brazil. We will develop a critical understanding of musical meanings through directed listening, critical writing, public debate, discussion catalyzed by reading, and in-class performance.

Music has stealth. It slips in under our critical radar and past our biases. It can make our bodies surrender, lift our spirits, and allow us to commune with beings beyond ourselves. Yet, this transcendent quality of music does not merely linger above the earth like a cloud. Rather, music’s capacity to enrapture us derives from specific cultural soils: musicians make music in a specific time and in a historically shaped space. Musicians solve immediate problems, articulate particular feelings, create sonic utopias that expose fears and formulate dreams.

We are usually encouraged to play music and to develop our particular musical “tastes.” However, we usually do not have the skills or opportunities to assess music’s meaning. This is surprising since musical meaning is all around us. For example: our musical “tastes” suggest our politics; music is a backdrop for war, peace, and justice, it helps sustain or resist the social order; its meanings can enrich or waste away our spiritual wellness; it integrates, extends, or helps replace our sense of race, class, gender, or national identity; and it can be a subtle foundation for the core assumptions of our daily life.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Grades will be based on 6 written critiques and a final paper comprehensive paper.

Possible Books:

• Callahan, Mathew, The Trouble with Music, (AK Press, 2005);

• Chernhoff, John Miller, African Rhythm and African Sensibility, (Chicago, 1981);

• Brennan, Timmothy, Secular Devotion: Afro-Latin Jazz and Imperial Jazz (New York: Verso, 2008);

• Veal, Michael, Fela: The Lives and Times of an African Musical Icon (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2000);

• Vianna, Harmano, The Mystery of Samba: Popular Music and National Identity in Brazil (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999);

• CastrSalsbury, (Chicago: A Capella, 2000 [1990]).

Salsbury, (Chicago: A Capella, 2000 [1990]).

POLT 37000-01 ST: PUBLIC POLICY: LABOR POLICY LA SS

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Don Beachler

ENROLLMENT: 28

PREREQUISITES: Three courses in social sciences or the equivalent.

STUDENTS: Open to all interested student who meet the prerequisites.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The course will focus on the politics of wealth and poverty. After an extensive consideration of various policy approaches to the global economy, the course will focus on domestic problems. Among the topics to be covered are economic inequality, the attack on America’s modest welfare state, the working poor, and welfare reform.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Standard grading.

POLT 40102-01 SEMINAR: Violent Ethnic Conflict CP/IR SS LA
3 CREDITS
INSTRUCTOR: Chip Gagnon, Muller 324, Ext. 4-1103
ENROLLMENT: 10
PREREQUISITE: Junior or Senior standing; and 3 courses in social sciences or equivalent, one of which must be Politics.

STUDENTS: Open to interested students who meet prerequisites
COURSE DESCRIPTION: To what extent is violence motivated by cultural or national identity? Starting with this question we explore the sources of violent conflicts described as ethnic. We’ll look at the political, military, and cultural origins of the nation-state and the role of culturally-defined violence in constituting state, national, and group boundaries. Cases will include Yugoslavia/Bosnia, Rwanda, the United States and others. This course counts as an international course for the Concentration and International Studies and the Minor in International Politics
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Attendance and active participation in Seminar; reaction papers for each reading; final research paper.

POLT 40104-01 FOREIGN MILITARY PRESENCE

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: TBA

PREREQUISITES: Junior or senior standing and three courses in the social sciences (or permission of the instructor)

ENROLLMENT: 10

COURSE DESRCRIPTION: This course explores the extension of military power beyond national borders as a lens on the formation of the international system and on contemporary global relations. While deploying troops for war is perhaps the most obvious example of foreign military presence, especially to those living in countries that tend to wage war elsewhere, the course considers a range of other forms, including military basing, humanitarian intervention and military aid. A key question is how foreign military presence has become such a routine and arguably widely accepted aspect of contemporary international relations, given that 1) it appears to challenge fundamental principles of modern state sovereignty, and 2) until quite recently extending military power beyond national borders was a hallmark of colonialism. A related concern of the course is how power relations shape ideas about and experiences of foreign military presence, including our own understandings and experiences. In addition to academic and political debates, we will look at how popular films, other media and forms of resistance reveal competing narratives about foreign military presence, with an eye toward understanding why certain narratives prevail and others are marginalized. In this context we will consider the limitations of a state-centric view of foreign military presence.  This course counts as an international course for the Concentration and International Studies and the Minor in International Politics

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Active participation and demonstration of preparation for class, weekly reflections, midterm and final essays.

POLT 40201-01 Political Theory of Empire

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Evgenia Ilieva

ENROLLMENT: 15

PREREQUISITES: None

COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this course we explore some of the most influential theoretical justifications, critiques, and debates concerning Western imperial expansion from the era of early political modernity to the present. We examine a range of questions occasioned by the phenomenon of empire including, but not limited to, the following: What is an empire? What ideas have been offered as justification for the project of empire? Can imperialism be a good thing and if so, for whom? Can democratic and liberal regimes be imperialistic? If so, is the United States an empire? What does it mean to be a citizen of an empire? We will seek answers to these questions by paying particular attention to the ways in which a number of influential political thinkers responded to and sought to understand the diversity of cultures, practices and ways of life encountered during the long period of Western expansion.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Participation, 4 papers.