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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 any Politics major or minor, please see Peyi Airewele-Soyinka, Politics Department, 314 Muller Faculty Center.

For the schedule of classes click here.

POLT10100.03, 04 U.S. POLITICS GE:1 Self & Society, GE h: Historical Perspective, (ICC) - Humanities, Liberal Arts, (ICC) - Social Sciences, Social Sciences, Themes: Power and Justice, World of Systems, Identities, and Inquiry, Imagination and Innovation.

3 Credits

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

ENROLLMENT: 30 & 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 approach: an American political development (APD) perspective that pays close attention to how institutions and policies emerge historically & evolve over time and within particular contexts, and a Media perspective that takes new communication technologies seriously in how U.S. citizens engage with, and are informed by the evolving political & economic systems and broader global environment. We explore the role religion and/or morality has played since the founding period and into 21st Century political life. And also give special attention to the development of the federal national system, including the historical power struggles over nation-building and related national political identity formation. Thus, through the lens of power we explore the historical development of U.S. politics, and how individuals & groups have participated in shaping/reshaping our complex/dynamic representative democratic and Neo-liberal capitalist system through new communication technologies.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture/discussion; group work; SKYPE sessions; guest speakers; films/documentaries

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: 4-5 short quizzes; midterm exam; and 5-6 in-class exercises; final exam

POLT 12200- 01&02 POLITICS AND SOCIETY LA SO SS TPJ TQSF

3 credits; MWF 9am and 10am

Instructor: Patricia Rodriguez

Enrollment: 25

Prerequisites: none

Course description: This politics introductory course explores the impact of social forces and societal dynamics on the politics of diverse countries, as well as the influence of politics and the state on society. We will examine how and to what extent political institutions, individual and collective political action, and historical circumstances are shaping political and social developments in different countries and regions of the world. The key questions to be examined in the course are: are there different versions of democracy, why? why/when do democracies emerge but also breakdown? What role do international actors play in reconstructing governments, and with what consequences internally and globally? What impact does citizen activism have in global and national political and economic issues, particularly conflict resolution, democratic rule, and climate change issues?

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: lecture and discussion

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: participation, papers

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

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.

POLT 14200-01,02 IDEAS AND IDEOLOGIES

(ICC) Humanities, Social Sciences, Power and Justice, World of Systems

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: Kelly Dietz, Muller 323, Ext. 4-3581

ENROLLMENT: 12 (Section 1) 23 (Section 2)

PREREQUISITES: none

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 requires self-reflection on these questions as we explore ideological perspectives on 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 examine concepts such as freedom, equality, democracy, human nature, security, order, authority, community and nation. We 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 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 your views about the world come from, and which ideas you take for granted. Encounters with views and theories different from our own 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/STYLE: mostly discussion, occasional short lecture

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: active participation, weekly writing about course materials, midterm and final essays

POLT 14400-01, 02 Global Political Thought LA HU SS 1 h

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Evgenia Ilieva, 311 Muller, ext. 4-7092

ENROLLMENT: 25

PREREQUISITES: none

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Critical engagement with 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. Our goal is to analyze how certain key texts in political theory have traveled, been translated, or appropriated across various national and geographical boundaries; to use these texts 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/ CSCR 14500-01: POLITICS OF IDENTITY; (ICC)- HU; LA; (ICC)- Social Sciences; Themes: Identities & Power and Justice

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Asma Barlas

ENROLLMENT: 22

PREREQUISITES: None

COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this course, we will explore the relationship between racial identities as defined in the U.S. and the political-economy of people’s lives while also critically examining the concept of race itself. To this end, the syllabus is structured around a set of open-ended questions such as: is race “real;” how does it impact people’s life chances; what are the social and psychological implications of thinking in terms of binaries like self/other, black/ white, similarity/ difference; do sex/ gender influence racial attitudes; can one be a color-blind anti-racist; and do, or should, such questions matter to you?

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Attendance policy, concept papers, journals.

POLT 23000-01 The Holocaust

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Donald Beachler

ENROLLMENT: 25

PREREQUISITES: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This class is an introductory survey of major themes requisite to an understanding of the Holocaust. Among the topics covered are the origins and evolution of Anti-Semitism in Western civilization; the rise of Nazism; the repressive measures taken against Jews in the 1930s and Jewish responses to them; the policies of other nations to the refugee crisis of the 1930s; the debate over whether significant numbers of Jews could have been rescued; the ghettoization of the East European Jews and the discussions about Jewish responses to German dictates; the planning and implementation of the Final Solution; and the manner in which the Holocaust was consistent with the racist world view of the Nazis. We will conclude with a detailed study of labor and survival in Poland.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture/discussion

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: 3 exams

POLT 32000-01 Selected Topics in US Politics: Elections in the U.S.

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Donald Beachler

ENROLLMENT: 25

PREREQUISITES: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will examine political parties and the conduct of elections in the United States. The first portion of the course will consider various methods of conducting politics and elections. The primary purpose of this part of the class will be to question whether or not the procedures and practices of American politics facilitate the achievement of our political aspirations. The second section of the course is an intensive study of American party politics over the last fifty years. We will consider the development of American elections and political parties in the context of changes in race relations, the Vietnam War, feminism, gay rights, economic transformations, religion in politics, and the changing position of the United States in the world.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture/discussion

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: 3 papers

POLT 32300-01/ CSCR 30700-01: RACE & COLONIALISM, LA, SS

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Asma Barlas

ENROLLMENT: 22

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Europe’s colonization of Latin America, Africa, and Asia began in the 15th century and ended in the 20th and it left behind a political and economic legacy of genocide, slavery and skewed patterns of capitalist “development.” Less visibly, it also passed on Eurocentric conceptions of racial, sexual and cultural differences reflected in such binaries as self/other, black/ white, West/ non-West, and civilized/ barbaric. The course analyzes both aspects of colonialism though we will focus more on understanding the intimate nature of colonialist violence and the psychic wounds it inflicted on both the colonized and the colonizer. Since colonialist notions of alterity (otherness/ difference) continue to shape contemporary constructions of racial identities, we will also study colonialism's traces in the present.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Attendance policy, concept papers, presentation.

POLT 33200-01 AFRICA THROUGH FILM: IMAGES AND REALITY LA SS g h

Credits: 3

INSTRUCTOR: Peyi Soyinka-Airewele, Muller 314

ENROLLMENT: 25

PREREQUISITES: Sophomore standing and above.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Challenges popular Western representations of the African continent through a study of representation and reality and interrogates the foundation of these constructs. Emphasizes the need for media literacy and exposure to counter-narratives in the study of African countries and explores African politics, historiographies, and contemporary issues through extensive readings and a comparative analysis of diverse films from Hollywood, radical African filmmakers, and popular African cinema. Materials include films like "Coming to America," "Flame," and "Lumumba." Students apply sociopolitical analysis to the subject matter, uncovering for instance, apartheid ideology behind the portrayal of Africans in the film "The Gods Must Be Crazy." Counts as a Comparative & International Studies course for politics majors and international politics minors, and as a “place” course for the concentration in international studies and for international politics minors. Prerequisites: Three courses in social sciences or permission of instructor. 3 credits. (F,Y)

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture, film screenings & discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Regular attendance and active participation, presentations/essays/exams/ projects. Participants will engage in rigorous schedule of film screenings and analysis with extensive reading.

POLT 34013-01 GLOBAL INDIGENOUS STRUGGLES LA SS

3 credits; MW 400-515pm

INSTRUCTOR: Patricia Rodriguez

ENROLLMENT: 18

PREREQUISITES: sophomore standing

COURSE Description: This course gives an overview of the historical foundation and current resistance struggles around indigenous sovereignty, land and territory, natural resources, self-determination, and human rights. We will examine the history and political theory of Indigenous Peoples in an international context through the interdisciplinary lenses of Indigenous decolonization, settler colonial theory, critical Indigenous studies, transnationalism. Using a selection of case studies from the Americas, Australia, and other regions, the course centers on political resistance, cultural and language revival, race and identity, transnational organization, urbanization and health, and Indigenous media and knowledge production. Readings include, among others, “A Line in the Tar Sands: Struggles for Environmental Justice” (2014, PM Press).

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/Lecture

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Projects/essays, research paper, participation

POLT 37000-01 Selected Topics in Public Policy: Politics of Wealth & Poverty

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Donald Beachler

ENROLLMENT: 25

PREREQUISITES: Sophomore standing or permission of instructor

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This class examines issues related to the distribution of wealth and income. We focus on the United States, but we will also delve into these issues from a comparative and global perspective. We will begin with a brief survey of the relationship between business and the state in a democratic market political economy. We will discuss inequality of wealth and income and consider various perspectives on its causes and possible measures to ameliorate growing inequality. The financial crisis and the housing bubble that plunged the U.S. into a prolonged recession are investigated at some length. The first section of the course will be followed by a consideration of the role of labor unions and the current state of workers in the American political economy. The consequences of the decline and possible resurgence of labor unions will be explored. The politics of health care and issues of cost and access are examined from a comparative perspective. We will also consider policies and politics of retirement security. A portion of the course will consist of an intensive study of the problem of poverty in the United States.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture/discussion

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: one exam and two papers

POLT 40102-01 SEMINAR: Nationalism & 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.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: To what extent is violence motivated by cultural or national identity? This seminar will either be focused on violent ethnic / nationalist conflict, or on right wing populist nationalism. If the former, 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, Australia, Europe, the United States and others.

If the latter, we'll look at the roots of territorial nationalism, debates on the meaning of borders and belonging in national terms, and the cultural, political, and economic roots of the wave of populist nationalism that has swept the developed world.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion

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

POLT 40111-01 SEM: Theories of Exploitation LA SS

3 Credits

ICC Designation: [?}

INSTRUCTOR: Naeem Inayatullah, Muller 325, Ext. 4-3028

ENROLLEMENT: 15

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Understanding the meaning of “exploitation” in social relations. Locating and specifying the relationship between race, class, gender, and capitalism. Exploring the relationship between exploitation and Marx’s Labor Theory of Value. Moving beyond ideas about “intersectionality.”

CLASS FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, Collective collaboration in exploring ideas, alternative and radical pedagogy.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Three essays.

POLT 40200-01 SEM: African American Politics and Political Thought AP/PT Social Sciences/Liberal Arts

3 Credits

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

ENROLLMENT: 10

PREREQUISITES: Three courses in social sciences/humanities; junior/senior standing; Course can also satisfy a 300 level requirement

COURSE DESCRIPTION: To what extent can the past help us make sense of the present and future in black American politics and broader U.S. politics? What can we learn from the historical & institutional legacies of black American political regimes? To what extent can lessons from past black political strategies and successful institutional arrangements help us understand and approach more effectively 21st century struggles for political freedom/equality, & social, racial, and economic justice? This seminar engages these questions by exploring the intellectual roots (ideas) and substance of politics (policy positions) among black Americans and the relation of black politics to the broader American political order. The course has two objectives. First, we will explore the strategic political discourses of black Americans in the late 19th century and through the early 21st century by examining central debates among black American intellectuals, activists and politicians with a focus on: 1) identifying issues considered and positions taken by such actors; 2) locating those debates in relation to American intellectual history and the changing political situation of the U.S. black population; 3) analyzing unifying principles that inform black American political thought & intellectual discourse; 4) examining the connections of social theory and political behavior among black Americans and, perhaps most important, 5) trying to establish links between debates in the past and the present political and ideological configuration in ways that can inform strategic thinking for the future. Second, and closely related to the first objective, we will 1) explore the key issues and social relations since 1865 as a way of helping us understand current intellectual dynamics in black American politics, and 2) develop criteria for evaluating political scientists’ and others’ (social media activists', pundits', etc.) claims regarding the status and characteristics of black American political activity. A core presumption underlying the seminar’s organization is that black American politics originated as an autonomous enterprise only after the Civil War and the extension of citizenship rights to the freed-people. It was only then that the general black American population could participate in public civic action in the U.S. Therefore, the course concentrates on the period from Emancipation to the early 21st Century. We will read books, articles, & essays (primary and secondary sources) from social & political historians, political scientists, African American novelists, literary critics, black poets, black activists, among others.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion; author/activist SKYPE sessions; guest speakers; films/documentaries

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: close readings; active participation/student-centered discussions; mid-term book review essay; 4 in-class paragraph analysis exercises; final seminar paper, and (if possible) present final paper research as part of a student conference on Black American Politics/Political Thought in November/December.