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Course List

Fall 2017 Courses

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PSC/IR 101 Introduction to Comparative Politics
Bonnie M. Meguid
Fall 2017 — MWF 10:25 - 11:15
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Why do democracies emerge, and what explains their vibrancy (or lack thereof)? What causes ethnic conflict? Why do revolutions occur? Why does it matter what rules democracies use for elections? This course will introduce students to comparative politics and the study of these important domestic political institutions, processes, and outcomes across and within countries. Cases will be drawn from different countries and historical periods to give students a grounding in the method of comparative analysis. This course is recommended for those thinking about a major, minor, or cluster in international relations or political science and others who are simply interested in learning more about the politics of developed and developing countries.


PSC 104 Introduction to Political Philosophy
James Johnson
Fall 2017 — TR 14:00 - 15:15
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This course is most aptly called Thinking About Politics. It aims to examine a range of contemporary issues and to explore the political and philosophical conflicts and controversies that those issues raise. So, for example, we might examine the concepts of patriotism and explore the tensions that arise between it and such other concepts as democracy or freedom or dissent or security. Readings will be drawn both from contemporary sources and classic political thought.


PSC 105 Introduction to American Politics
Mary A. Kroeger
Fall 2017 — MWF 9:00 - 9:50
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This course will introduce students to the systematic study of American political institutions, processes, and behavior. We will focus on key questions about the political system and how political scientists address these questions. The strategic actions and interactions of various political actors will be examined from a variety of theoretical and empirical approaches. Political polarization, economic inequality, presidential power, the role of the administrative state will be discussed throughout the course.


PSC/IR 106 Introduction to International Relations
Hein Goemans
Fall 2017 — MWF 9:00 - 9:50
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This course provides students with the background and conceptual tools they need to understand contemporary international relations. The course will introduce students to the wide range of issues that make up the study of international relations, including the workings of the state system, the causes of international conflict and violence, and international economic relations. Students will be introduced to the literature in a broad way, to make them familiar with the main theoretical traditions in the field. Students will be asked, as much as possible, to read original texts, rather than a textbook. Time permitting, we will also examine topics of particular current interest, such as the evolving nature of power in the post-Cold War environment as well as special global challenges like nation-building and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.


PSC/IR 167M Democracy Past and Present
Nicholas Gresens
Fall 2017 — MW 15:25 - 16:40
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Athenian democracy is often pointed to as one of the precursors of our own political system, but where did it come from, how did it function, and what did Athenians, and other Greeks, think of their system of government? This course will examine: 1) the development of radical democracy as practiced in ancient Athens both in its theoretical and practical aspects; 2) the impact this form of government had on both Greek culture and history and on later cultures; and 3) the proponents and opponents of this system of government, both ancient and modern. In addition to reading, discussing, and analyzing ancient sources, the course will include a series of debates on the merits of various forms of government, including our own, in which students will have to argue either for or against that form of government, and students will then vote, Athenian style, for the winner.


PSC 200 Data Analysis I
Sergio Montero
Fall 2017 — MW 11:50 - 13:05
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Data analysis has become a key part of many fields including politics, business, law, and public policy. This course covers the fundamentals of data analysis, giving students the necessary statistical skills to understand and critically analyze contemporary political, legal, and policy puzzles. Lectures will focus on the theory and practice of quantitative analysis, and weekly lab sessions will guide students through the particulars of statistical software. No prior knowledge of statistics or data analysis is required. Without special permission of the instructor, students may not enroll in this course if they have earned credit and a letter grade for ECO 230, PSC 205, PSY/CSP 211, STT 211, STT 212, STT 213, STT 214, or any other course in statistics, or if they have received a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement exam in Statistics.


PSC 202W Argument in Political Science
Gerald Gamm
Fall 2017 ("W" Required) — MWF 10:25 - 11:15
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Restriction: Not open to freshmen. Students generally take PSC 202 in their sophomore year, but the course is also open to juniors and seniors. The course introduces students to the questions, concepts, and analytical approaches of political scientists and emphasizes careful reading and analytical writing. This version of the course focuses on the tension between majority rule and minority rights in the American political tradition. Topics include tyranny of the majority, slavery, civic engagement, political parties, women's rights, racism, economic and political inequality, legislative organization, and representation. Readings are drawn from classic texts in American thought--the Declaration of Independence, "The Federalist," Tocqueville's "Democracy in America," the Gettysburg Address--as well as from books and articles written by contemporary political scientists. Note: In this academic year, PSC 202 will only be offered in the fall semester. It will NOT be offered in the spring.


PSC 221 Philosophical Foundations of the American Revolution
Richard Dees
Fall 2017 ("W" Optional) — MW 10:25 - 11:40
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The eighteenth century was a time of remarkable intellectual activity in the West, and the Americans played a central role in it, both reflecting the thought in Europe and influencing the course of thoughts and events there. In this course, we will study the American Revolution by examining the political theory which sparked the revolution itself and which lay behind the writing of the Constitution. We will begin by looking at the important predecessors to the revolution, particularly the works of John Locke, the Baron de Montesquieu, and David Hume. We will then consider important works from the period surrounding the revolution, including works by Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson. Finally, we will look at the debates surrounding the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, including the Federalist Papers and important anti-Federalist works and at the debates that arose in the operations of government in the early Republic.


PSC 223 Constitutional Structure and Rights
Thomas H. Jackson
Fall 2017 — MW 11:50 - 13:05
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Through the lens of the Constitution and Supreme Court cases, this course examines the essential structure of the American legal and political system (both separation of powers at the federal level and the authority of, and relationship among, the federal government and states), as well as the essential nature of rights of citizens vis-a-vis the political order. Topics covered include the nature of the Supreme Court's authority; separation of powers and the allocation of authority between the legislative and executive branches; Congress' "delegated" powers and their limits; federal limits on state powers; and individual rights, including habeas corpus, economic rights, and equal protection and due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. The ability to read and discuss (as well as place in perspective and disagree with) Supreme Court opinions is an essential part of the course.


PSC 229 Environmental Health Policy
Katrina Korfmacher
Fall 2017 — TR 12:30 - 13:45
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Does your zip code determine your health? If so, what is the role of the environment? Can changes in policies, systems, and environments address the root causes of health disparities? Public health professionals, researchers, government agencies, and community groups recognize that the physical environment has significant impacts on health equity but often lack the policy skills, concepts, and experiences needed to effect change