Politics Courses, Spring 2015

Course schedule Spring 2015

POLT 10100-01, 02 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: 30 per section
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 policy debates
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING:  weekly quizzes; mid-term book review; and two group projects/presentations.

POLT 12200 - 01, 02 Politics and Society - 40624 
Liberal Arts, (ICC) - Social Sciences, Social Sciences, Theme:Power and Justice, Theme:Quest Sustainable Future
INSTRUCTOR: Patricia Rodriguez
 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 capable of 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? who has power, and why is state power often wielded in repressive manners in different types of political systems? what role do international actors play in reconstructing governments, and with what consequences internally and globally? are there resistances to this role of international actors, and why; what impact does citizen activism have in global and national political and economic issues, particularly conflict resolution, democratic rule, food production, and climate change issues? In the process of examining these questions, we will also learn about the history and political processes and events in a variety of countries, such as Chile, Venezuela, Sudan, and others. Students will compare the political conflicts in these different countries from a political sociology perspective, and learn about and analyze current world political events that are (and are not so) covered in the mainstream media. no prerequisites

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-
 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 - 40628 - SS LA 1a, 1b;  (ICC) - Humanities, Liberal Arts, (ICC) - Social Sciences, Social Sciences, Theme:Power and Justice, Theme:World of Systems
3 Credits
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.
FORMAT AND STYLE: discussion with some lecture
Required Materials:  course reader (to be purchased at the beginning of the semester)

POLT 14200-03, 04 Ideas and Ideologies SS LA 1a, 1b; (ICC) - Humanities, Liberal Arts, (ICC) - Social Sciences, Social Sciences, Theme:Power and Justice, Theme:World of Systems
INSTRUCTOR: Evgenia Ilieva, Muller 311, ext. 4-7092
ENROLLMENT: 28 per section
COURSE DESCRIPTION:  In this course we examine the historical development and contemporary manifestations of a number of ideological perspectives including, but not limited to, liberalism, conservatism, socialism, feminism, anarchism, fascism, and religious fundamentalism. In addition to exploring the key concepts and normative assumptions of these various “isms”, the primary goal of the course is to encourage us to begin thinking about what ideology each of us currently believes in. We will ask why and how we have come to hold these beliefs, and we will seek to understand the way that our beliefs inform our practical conduct in the world.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Willingness to engage in close reading of some very interesting texts; participation; full presence in every existential sense of the word; short response papers.

POLT 30600-01 US FOREIGN POLICY LA SS Liberal Arts, Social Sciences 
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Don Beachler, Muller 333, ext. 4-1249
PREREQUISITE: Three courses in the social sciences or equivalent.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The course will include an historical overview of U.S. Foreign Policy, but is focused on contemporary issues such as the war with Al Qaeda, the occupation of Iraq, and U.S. Middle East policy. Attention will be paid to the politics of intervention in cases of genocide. We will also consider the normative issues surrounding the cost and consequences of being a super-power/empire.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and Discussion
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Read 4-5 books and assigned articles. There will be a two exams (mid-term and a final exam) and a research paper.

 POLT 33100 - 01 Latin American Politics - 43522 - Liberal Arts, Social Sciences 
3 Credits
INSTRUCTOR: Patricia Rodriguez
PREREQUISITES: 3 courses in social sciences or equivalent
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course introduces students to issues in contemporary Latin American Politics. It examines the historical experiences, internal political and socio-economic structures, and behaviors of national and international actors influencing Latin American countries’ politics and societies. The course will pay particular attention to discerning similar and different patterns, opportunities and constraints (ie, clientelism, coup d'etats, political violence, racism, class conflict, revolutions) on political and economic development in the region, through in-depth focus and comparisons of specific countries (Chile, El Salvador, Brasil) and also regionally. What role has racial politics, ethnicity, culture, class, imperialism, gender, ideology, and other issues played in forming, perpetuating, or changing power dynamics in the region, and specifically within the different countries being studied? How are indigenous and/or other social movements drawing on diverse set of tactics and identity formation to confront the political dominance of elites or state actors in these countries, and to what effect in each case? 
Required Materials: Readings include: ‘Cases of Exclusion and Mobilization of Race and Ethnicities in Latin America’ (Cambridge U. Press, 2013), and ‘La Frontera: Forests and Ecological Conflict in Chile’s Frontier Territory’ (Duke, 2014). 
There will be a Latin American studies conference in april at IC; students will attend at least one panel and write a reflection

TOPIC: Pirates & Mercenaries: Sovereignty in the International System
3 credits
 PREREQUISITES: 3 courses in social sciences or equivalent
 STUDENTS: Open to all students
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Are today's pirates in any way related to the pirates of the past? Is the increasing use of mercenaries a good thing for world peace? We'll explore these and other questions, focusing in particular on how pirates and mercenaries fit into the international system and its rules. We'll also explore their histories and their relationship to the concept of sovereignty. These groups also help us understand how today's rules evolved over the past several hundred years. They are still active today, and we'll take a look at contemporary pirates and mercenaries to get an understanding of how the international system and  its rules continue to evolve. Parrots and eye patches optional.
 COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: lecture and discussion.
 COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Attendance and participation in class discussions; variety of readings, written reactions to readings.

POLT 34004-01 Selected Topics in Comparative & Int'l Studies: POLITICS OF GLOBAL CAPITALISM LA SS
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Don Beachlerbeachler@ithaca.edu, 274-1249, 333 Muller Faculty Center
PREREQUISITES: Three courses in Social Sciences or Equivalent
STUDENTS: Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will deal with a variety of issues confronting the global political economy. These issues will be addressed from a variety of theoretical perspectives. Among the topics covered are the politics of food and famine,  trade, currency values (especially with respect to the U.S Dollar, the Euro the Chinese RMB), foreign aid, debt, development, trans-national corporations, the global financial crisis, and international organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The political and ethical consequences of policy decisions are a core concern of the course.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture/Discussion
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Read 3-4 books and other assigned readings available on Blackboard. There will be three take-home essay exams (the final will be the third exam)

POLT 34200-01 Liberalism and Marxism -- Social Science, Liberal Arts
INSTRUCTOR: Evgenia Ilieva, 311 Muller, ext. 4-7092
COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this course we explore the ideas of human progress and development from the perspective of liberalism and Marxism. On the face of it, liberalism and Marxism offer two contrasting visions of political and social life. Despite their many differences, both ideologies share certain key assumptions about the human desire for development. Both are not only products of modernity, but also champions of it. In its optimistic moments, perhaps best expressed by the liberal tradition, modernity defines itself in opposition to an older epoch which was understood as being more superstitious, more hierarchical, less free, less rational, less civilized, less comfortable, less democratic, less tolerant, less respectful of the individual, less scientific, and less technologically developed. To be modern, by contrast, is to find ourselves, as Marshall Berman once said, “in an environment that promises us adventure, power, joy, growth, transformation of ourselves and the world.” But to be modern is also to be part of a universe in which, as Marx wrote, “all that is solid melts into air.” Unlike its liberal counterpart, Marx (and the Marxist tradition of thought) recognized the relentless destructiveness of modernity, and spoke powerfully about the violence and suffering it inflicts. He nevertheless insisted that the devastation and ruin of modernity are a necessary moment in a historical process that will lead us beyond capitalism and towards human emancipation. In this course, we will seek to understand how liberalism and Marxism have grappled with the tragedy of modern progress. We will select from the writings of Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Walter Benjamin, Adorno, Berman, and Marcuse.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING:  Willingness to engage in close reading of some very interesting texts; participation; full presence in every existential sense of the word; 3 papers.

POLT 35000 – 01 ST in Political Theory:  Writing and Criticism LA SS
INSTRUCTOR: Naeem Inayatullah, Muller 325, Ext. 4-3028
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Grasping the technical, political, theoretical, and psychodynamic motivations for writing. Understanding the meaning, purpose, and practice of criticism. Students will evaluate their written work via collaborative and individual assessments of others’ work. Together, we will seek to write and criticize well as a means to living meaningfully.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: willingness to accept alternative teaching methods.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Plenty of reading, writing, and discussion

POLT 36600  Environmental Politics  


This course is an introduction to a variety of issues related to environmental politics. My hope is that it will both support and undermine your conceptions of what environmental politics is or can be. Environmental issues are conceived of primarily as a means to investigate larger political questions, rather than to support a predetermined doctrine of sustainability.  In other words, the course is designed to open up conversations, rather than to assume their outcomes. Politics is, after all, always contested terrain.

Specific topics to be covered include:  intersections of gender and environment, intersections of class and race with environment, climate change, environmental justice movements, resource abundance/scarcity, radical environmental action, law and environmental protection, and public health.

The course is discussion/lecture based and includes participation in the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival.

Reading list includes: Carolyn Merchant, REINVENTING EDEN; Jiang Rong, WOLF TOTEM; Paul Sabin, THE BET; Naomi Oreskes, THE COLLAPSE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION; and David Quammen, EBOLA.

POLT 40103-01 SEMINAR Comparative & Int'l Studies: THE HOLOCAUST SS LA
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Don Beachler, Muller 333, Ext. 4-1249
PREREQUISITES: Permission of the instructor and three courses in social sciences or the equivalent
STUDENTS: Juniors and seniors
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The seminar will explore portions of the voluminous literature on the Holocaust to extract implications for politics. Among the topics to be considered are the conditions that permit people to participate in genocide and the human capacity for self-deception that enables people to rationalize their actions. This section of the seminar will consider the controversy raised by Daniel Goldhagen’s book Hitler’s Willing Executioners. We will also explore the academic politics of Holocaust studies by reading works that both proclaim the uniqueness of the Holocaust and by considering authors who argue that too much attention has been paid the Holocaust to the neglect of other historical instances of genocide. The ethical lessons that can be gleaned from global indifference to the destruction of the European Jews will form another segment of the seminar. The global response to atrocities in Rwanda and Bosnia will be included for comparative purposes.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: The seminar will employ a discussion format
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Five to six short papers; read 8- 10 books; regular class attendance and participation

POLT 40104 - 01 Seminar in Comparative & Int'l Studies:
Topic: Struggles of People & Place: The Politics of Identity & Territory - 43527 - Liberal Arts, Social Sciences 
3 Credits
PREREQUISITES: Junior or senior standing and three courses in the social sciences (or permission of the instructor) 
DESCRIPTION: Political maps of the world today are remarkable for their neatness. Bold lines mark the division of continents into countries, with no countries overlapping. Bold labels identify the spaces within the lines, giving a name to both the place and the people. Another way to make this point is to note that everyone is organized and divided spatially; we all have a place on today’s political map, but only one place—every person lives within one line, under one name. This arrangement of people and place is taken for granted by most of us today, but to what extent is this a natural state of affairs? What forces—political, economic, social, cultural—gave rise to such a straightforward representation of the world’s people and territory? How did it come to be taken for granted? What (and who) might this neatness obscure, or erase? Is the ‘state system’ as we know it here to stay? Taking the contemporary political map as our analytical point of departure, this course explores the struggles over identity and territory that created (and still sustain) this particular way of organizing people and place, and the struggles that emerged as a result. Struggles and disputes over territory and identity will be examined in multiple forms, from the use of military force to contested representations in popular culture. We will pay particular attention to competing narratives about people and place, and how power relations shape whose stories count in which contexts. Throughout the course we will reflect critically on how our own identities and claims to place relate to the topics under discussion.
FORMAT: Discussion
REQUIREMENTS: active participation and demonstration of class preparation, weekly written reflections, analytical essay on course topic of student’s choice, final take-home exam

POLT 40200.01: Seminar: "Racial and Social Justice Politics:  Quakers in America."  SS LA H  
3 Credits
INSTRUCTOR: Carlos Figueroa, Muller 319, Ext. 4-7381

PREREQUISITES: Junior/senior standing; three courses in the humanities and/or social sciences.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course explores the broad historical, cultural and theological processes and contexts that gave rise to pragmatic Quakers’ interventions into U.S.racial and social justice politics: 1) shaping various discourses and policies concerning indigenous citizenship and territorial rights (e.g., Native Americans), 2) addressing the so-called "Negro Question" post-Reconstruction era, 3) structuring debates over U.S. insular affairs (e.g. Puerto Rico and the Philippines), and 4) challenging U.S. involvement in 20th Century regional/international conflicts/wars, among others. We examine how and the extent to which U.S. progressive (pragmatic) Quakers through discursive practices, within institutional arrangements, and social/political activism shaped policies over the extension/expansion of U.S. citizenship, disputes surrounding territorial sovereignty, and debates over the rights of self-determination and governance during several key moments in American political development. Readings will include primary and secondary texts from social and political historians, political scientists, Quaker historians, American pragmatists, novelists, poets, and historical political figures.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion-based; group work; weekly political/textual exegesis; SKYPE sessions; guest speaker; Meeting House trips; films/documentaries
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: lead 4 discussions; mid-term paper; short bi-weekly self-reflective journal writing; one book review; and final paper & public presentation