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Fall 2020 Courses

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PSC/IR 101 Introduction to Comparative Politics
Fall 2020 — MWF 10:25 - 11:15
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This course is an introduction to the study of political science and comparative politics. It focuses on how citizens may be able to control public policies in different modern democracies. The course begins by applying some of these ideas briefly to the American political system. It then turns explicitly to the politics of contemporary Britain, Russia and Germany, examining the political culture, the basic institutional arrangements, the party system, the voters' choices, and the policymaking system in each country. These systems will be compared to each other, to the United States and, occasionally, to other democracies. This course is recommended for those thinking about a major, minor, or cluster in political science, or international relations, and others who are simply interested in learning more about the politics of democracies.


PSC 105 Introduction to American Politics
Fall 2020 — TR 9:40 - 10:55
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This course will introduce students to the foundations of American government. Students will examine important political institutions and the linkage mechanisms that connect institutions, political actors, and ordinary American citizens. This course is appropriate for majors and non-majors with an interest in understanding how and why the American political system works as it does. Students will be graded on two midterms, a final exam, and short writing assignments.


PSC 200 Data Analysis I
Fall 2020 — MW 14:00 - 15:15
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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 lab sessions will guide students through the particulars of statistical software. Core topics include descriptive statistics, probability, hypothesis testing, and linear regression. 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
Fall 2020 — MWF 10:25 - 11:15
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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. This version of the course focuses on the tension between majority rule and minority rights in the American political tradition. Issues include tyranny of the majority, slavery, individual rights, civic engagement, parties and interest groups, international diplomacy, 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.


INTR 204 Dictatorship and Democracy
Fall 2020 — F 14:00 - 16:40
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Francis Fukuyama over twenty years ago predicted that democracy was the final regime type, and that all countries would in time embrace it. In this course we examine where he was right, and where he was wrong. We first define democratic and authoritarian regime types, and the presence of both types and hybrid types across the world. We examine both democratic breakdown and democratic transitions, using cases from Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America since the Second World War. In studying democratic transitions, we also develop theories on why particular countries remain non-democratic. In the final section of the course, we examine the persistence of non-democratic regimes and the prospects for future democratic transitions, particularly in China and in the recent "Arab Spring." In each section, we will consider actor-based, structural, and institutional explanations for regime change.


PSC 211 Conspiracy Theories in American Politics
Fall 2020 14:00 - 15:15
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Conspiracy theories are becoming an organizing principle in American politics. This course will explore the history and trends of conspiracy theories, the psychological and strategic underpinnings of persuasion in these theories and misinformation, and the political implications of current conspiracy theories. In order to understand the use (or misuse) of evidence and logic in conspiracy theories, several weeks will be dedicated to extended examples. These conspiracy theories are polarized and polarizing, a unit of the course will discuss political science research on polarization and place conspiracy theories within this trend. Assignments for the course include writing an individual short paper and group presentation on a conspiracy theory that applies the concepts in class. Readings include classics (e.g., Hofstadter's The Paranoid Style in American Politics) and contemporary academic articles and books (e.g., Knight's Conspiracy Nation: The Politics of Paranoia in Postwar America).


PSC 212 Supreme Court in U.S. History
Fall 2020 — MW 14:00 - 15:15
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This seminar will study leading constitutional law cases decided by the United States Supreme Court and their impact on the evolution of the Court, the balance of powers among our three governmental branches, relations between the federal government and the states, and individual express and implied rights. The seminar is intended to introduce students to legal reasoning and will make use of casebook and teaching methods typical of law schools.


PSC 216 Legislative Politics
Fall 2020
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This seminar will examine Congress in its dual roles as both a national lawmaking institution and as the nexus of public representation in the policymaking process. We will survey some of the major theories and concepts used to understand and explain the operation of Congress and the behavior of its members. Students will gain a basic understanding of Congress through an examination of the role Congress plays in policymaking and representation, the formal rules that govern its operation, and the interaction that takes place between Congress and other political actors. This course is writing intensive and is most appropriate for juniors and seniors. Students will be graded on class participation, short writing assignments, and a research paper.


PSC/IR 217 How Countries Become Rich
Fall 2020
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INTR 221 European Nationalism
Fall 2020 — TR 11:05 - 12:20
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The course will use a variety of theoretical approaches to explore the relationship between "identity" and "nationalism" in Central Europe. It will focus on the formation of modern nations in Central Europe (Poland, Czech Lands, Ukraine, Slovakia etc.), and its consequences for the history of the region in the 20th century. The class will have a mixed lecture and discussion format, including student presentations on selected topics.


PSC 223 Constitutional Structure and Rights
Fall 2020 — MW 11:50 - 13:05
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In this course, through the lens of the Constitution and Supreme Court cases, we examine the essential structure of the American legal system (both separation of powers at the federal level and the authority of, and relationship among, states and the federal government), as well as the essential nature of civil rights of citizens vis-a-vis the political order. Topics covered include the nature of the Supreme Court's authority; separation of powers; federal limits on state powers; and individual rights, including economic rights, certain of the rights embraced by the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments, and equal protection 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 225 Cultural Politics of Prison Towns
Fall 2020 — M 14:00 - 16:40
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Rochester sits in one of the world's most explicitly carceral landscapes, with more than a dozen state prisons within a 90 min drive. This co-taught course is a collaborative ethnographic research project designed to examine how the presence of prisons in towns around Rochester reflects and shapes the political, economic, and cultural lives of those who live in the region. Students will be introduced to methods and practices of ethnography and conduct firsthand research on the cultural politics of prison towns. Through assigned reading, students will learn about the history, sociology, and cultural logics of Rochester and the wider region, and of mass incarceration. What does a prison mean for a person living near one? How does the presence of prisons shape people's notions of justice, citizenship, and punishment? How do these nearby but largely invisible institutions shape the ways that we live in Rochester? Recommended prior courses: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology or Incarceration Nation.


PSC 233 Community Development and Political Leadership
Fall 2020 — TR 11:05 - 12:20
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We focus broadly in this seminar on economic and neighborhood development policy at national, state and local levels, and more narrowly on community development dynamics in selected American cities. The course features class discussions based on common readings; talks by community leaders; and a local community development field trip. A special aspect of the seminar is field research by student teams in Rochester\'s neighborhood sectors. Two papers that integrate data from primary (field research, public documents) and secondary sources are required. Oral presentations by students on their field research are also required.


PSC 233W Innovation in Public Service
Stuart Jordan
Fall 2020 — TR 11:05 - 12:20
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Is politics anything more than a series of televised shouting matches? Yes, but much of what matters isn't televised. While politicians in Washington and state capitals make speeches for the cameras, hundreds of thousands of public servants work everyday outside of the limelight to determine the quality of government's essential services -- including policing, emergency services, education, and public health. This course exposes students to the problems faced and solutions invented by leaders of the Rochester area's public service agencies. By interacting directly with these leaders and the "street-level bureaucrats" who implement government policy, students will learn how to grapple with the practical problems of governance.


PSC 234 Financial Regulation
Fall 2020 ("W" Optional) — T 17:00 - 19:30
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Financial Regulation will address the 2007-2009 near complete meltdown of the United States system of finance during which unemployment soared, debt markets ceased to operate and stock markets crashed. How was this possible in the most sophisticated system of financial regulation ever developed which had not seen a comparable breakdown since 1929-1933? The seminar will seek to address this question by studying the history and structure of banking, securities, insurance and housing regulation and then asking whether the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 was a sufficient response. If not, what is a wiser approach? Opportunities to write seminar papers are open for all students.


PSC 236 Health Care and the Law
Molly McNulty
Fall 2020 — MW 18:15 - 19:30
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An introduction to the legal foundations of the biomedical healthcare system; topics include national health reform, bioethics, the right to health care, genetic discrimination, and access to reproductive care. Primary law (judicial opinions, legislation) comprises the bulk of the reading assignments; students will learn how to brief cases and interpret statutes.


PSC 241 Urban Change and City Politics
Fall 2020 — T 12:30 - 15:15
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Through intensive reading and discussion, we examine the politics and history of American cities. The course emphasizes the ways in which ethnicity, race, and class shape battles over housing, neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, and governmental institutions. We examine the relationship between urban neighborhoods and suburbs, the sources of inner-city poverty and residential segregation, city services, economic constraints, and the nature of political alliances. In exploring these topics, we analyze how institutions--governments, party organizations, reform movements, churches and synagogues, city charters--shape the decisions that urban residents can make


PSC 246 Environmental Law and Policy
Terry Noto
Fall 2020 — TR 15:25 - 16:40
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An examination of federal environmental law and policy from a practical and historical perspective. This course will provide a basic foundational understanding of U.S. environmental law and help students develop the tools necessary to critique and improve environmental policy making. Topics include an overview of key federal environmental laws, some of the major loopholes, how environmental laws are shaped through agency regulation, judicial interpretation, political pressure, and their efficacy at safeguarding the environment and the public. The course will be taught through a combination of lectures, a group project focused on a specific case study, and student-led discussions about key aspects of environmental laws. Students will finish by considering emerging environmental issues and ways to address them.


PSC 248 Discrimination
Fall 2020 ("W" Optional) — TR 12:30 - 13:45
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An examination of discrimination from a social scientific perspective. Topics covered include defining discrimination, types of discrimination under the law, testing for discrimination, discrimination experiments, and a survey of what social scientists have discovered about discrimination in the areas of policing, bail, retail sales, automobile sales, and home mortgages. Although there is considerable time devoted to lecture, students are encouraged to participate.


INTR 249 Israel/Palestine
Aaron Hughes
Fall 2020 — TR 12:30 - 13:45
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This course will provide a non-partisan introduction to the conflict between these two national movements. Discussion will focus on an examination of historical documents, in addition to understanding of how it plays out in literature and film.


PSC 249 Environmental Policy in Action
Fall 2020 — T 16:50 - 19:30
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An examination of the role of environmental organizations in the development and implementation of environmental policy through experiential and academic learning. This is a small class that meets once a week. Through assigned readings, discussion and lectures, we will examine how environmental groups are formed, organized, funded and staffed to fulfill various objectives, and how the role/mission they play in developing and implementing environmental policy has evolved. Students will deepen their understanding of these issues through first-hand experience working on "real world" research for a local environmental organization. Each student will be responsible for a final paper examining these issues through the lens of a particular conservation or environmental group, completion of the project for the environmental group partner, and class discussion/participation. This course is instructor permission only and is limited to upper level students. PSC 246 or PSC 239 is a prerequisite.


PSC/IR 251 Authoritarianism
Fall 2020 ("W" Optional) — TR 11:05 - 12:20
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Despite three waves of democratization, many countries around the world are still governed by leaders who hold power by means other than free and fair elections. In this course we will examine topics including how authoritarian regimes survive, the conditions under which they democratize, and their human welfare consequences. We will cover historical authoritarian cases such as twentieth-century communist and fascist regimes, and current authoritarian regimes in China, the Middle East, and Africa. The course will cover political science theories of authoritarian regimes and individual country case studies. Class will be conducted in a weekly discussion format.


PSC/IR 257 The Origins of the Modern World
Fall 2020 ("W" Optional) — W 14:00 - 16:40
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This course is designed to give students a background in the causes and consequences of the changes in political, economic and social changes that have so profoundly altered the world over the past five centuries, and a basic knowledge of both classic and contemporary scholarly accounts of these changes. After describing political and economic conditions in the pre-modern world, it describes how a distinctively ''modern'' political economy emerged in Western Europe, how this political economy became pervasive over the rest of the world, and the long term and continuing consequences of these changes. The reading mixes classic historical and social scientific accounts. While there are no prerequisites, students should note that the course will involve an unusually high, and enforced, level of required reading.


PSC/IR 260 Democratic Erosion
Fall 2020 ("W" Optional) — TR 11:05 - 12:20
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PSC/IR 262 Elections in Developing Countries
Fall 2020 ("W" Optional) — TR 9:40 - 10:55
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How do elections work in developing countries? Do contexts that are specific to countries in the developing world have implications for the nature and operation of electoral politics therein? In this course we will explore a number of issues that have particular relevance for elections in developing countries, including clientelism and vote-buying, electoral manipulation and fraud, ethnic voting, and electoral violence. In addition, we will consider how limited levels of information and political credibility affect both the operation of electoral accountability and the nature of electoral competition. In doing so, we will draw on examples from Africa, Latin America, and South East Asia.


PSC/IR 268 International Organization
Fall 2020 ("W" Optional) — MW 10:25 - 11:40
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The anarchic society of international relations includes elements of order, including norms, international law and international organizations (IOs). Governance does not necessarily imply government. Indeed, most issues of wide concern in international affairs are governed by international treaties and presided over by international organizations. Some of these, such as the IMF, World Bank, WTO, UN, and EU, command substantial resources and reach deep into the domestic politics in their member states. The course will survey the history of international organization, analyze the most important IOs, and investigate the influence of law under anarchy. How effective are these elements of cooperation, and what problems are most difficult to solve at the international level? What leads to change in international governance? Students taking the course for writing credit register for 268W and write a substantial research paper in addition to the other course requirements.


PSC 284 Democratic Theory
Fall 2020 — MW 9:00 - 10:15
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This advanced undergraduate course in political theory focuses on various topics in democratic theory such as the relation between democracy and other basic political principles (liberty, equality, justice), whether democratic institutions should best be aggregative or deliberative, and the role of referenda, lotteries and new telecommunications technology in democratic decision-making. Readings are drawn from both advocates and critics of democratic politics and will encompass historical and contemporary theorists. The class format will combine lecture and discussion.


PSC 287 Theories of Political Economy
Fall 2020 — MW 11:50 - 13:05
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In recent decades a number of important intellectual intersections have emerged between political science and economics. The course will explore these intersections as they appear in the work of several scholars who have won the Nobel Prize in economics. Our aim is to explore the analytical, explanatory and normative implications of this work in hopes of discerning lessons for thinking about enduring political issues and institutions. Some prior course work in economics or political science will be helpful but is not required.


PSC 288 Game Theory
Paulo Barelli
Fall 2020 — TR 9:40 - 10:55
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Game theory is a systematic study of strategic situations. It is a theory that helps us analyze economic and political strategic issues, such as behavior of individuals in a group, competition among firms in a market, platform choices of political candidates, and so on. We will develop the basic concepts and results of game theory, including simultaneous and sequential move games, repeated games and games with incomplete information. The objective of the course is to enable the student to analyze strategic situations on his/her own. The emphasis of the course is on theoretical aspects of strategic behavior, so familiarity with mathematical formalism is desirable.


PSC 291 First Amendment and Religion
Fall 2020 ("W" Optional) — T 14:00 - 16:40
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The Constitution helps define, as it perhaps reflects, American society. In this scheme, religion has a special role. It, arguably uniquely, is given both Constitutional protection (free exercise) as well as Constitutional limitation (no establishment). Religion's placement in the Bill of Rights (as a part of the First Amendment) suggests its importance (both in protection and in limitation) to the founders, and religion's role in society today remains important and controversial. This course examines the historical forces that led to the adoption of the religion clauses of the First Amendment, the subsequent development of those clauses (importantly through the close reading of key Supreme Court opinions), and religion's role in modern American society.


PSC 295 The Good Society
Joel Seligman
Fall 2020 — M 15:25 - 18:05
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Philosophy, Law, and Public Policy.


PSC/IR 299 Law, Policy, and Social Good: Communicating Your Professional Identity
Kellie Hernandez
Fall 2020
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Two-credit course. Cannot be used to satisfy any requirements for the major or minor in Political Science or International Relations. This interactive course teaches "real life" communication skills and strategies that help students present their best professional selves and develop a fulfilling career. Students will explore and articulate their internship, career and graduate school goals for distinct audiences and purposes as they develop a professional communication portfolio of materials such as resumes, cover letters, statements of purpose, electronic communications, elevator pitches, and online profiles. Students will revise and refine their written and spoken work based on feedback from peers, instructors, and alumni. By the semester's end, students will have gained extensive experience with the communication skills expected in today's competitive environment. This course is suitable for second-semester sophomores through first-semester seniors; all others require permission of the instructor.


PSC 304 Urban Crime and Justice
Craig Doran
Fall 2020 — R 18:15 - 19:30
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This course offers a unique opportunity for students to engage critically with justice in courthouses in local communities. Students will participate in hands-on experiential work in a selected area of focus at the Monroe County Courthouse in Rochester. Areas of focus to choose from include adult criminal justice, juvenile justice, treatment courts, domestic violence court, court-community partnerships, or equity disparities in the court. Weekly class meetings include university faculty and Judge Craig Doran, Chief Supervising Judge of all courts in the region, who share their perspectives, research, and experience on the matters addressed by students at the courthouse. This provides students with immediate immersion in both the theoretical and practical applications of justice in society. This course requires students spend 6 hours per week at the Monroe County Courts at the Hall of Justice in Rochester.


PSC 304 Urban Crime and Justice
Fall 2020 — F 18:15 - 19:30
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This course offers a unique opportunity for students to engage critically with justice in courthouses in local communities. Students will participate in hands-on experiential work in a selected area of focus at the Monroe County Courthouse in Rochester. Areas of focus to choose from include adult criminal justice, juvenile justice, treatment courts, domestic violence court, court-community partnerships, or equity disparities in the court. Weekly class meetings include university faculty and Judge Craig Doran, Chief Supervising Judge of all courts in the region, who share their perspectives, research, and experience on the matters addressed by students at the courthouse. This provides students with immediate immersion in both the theoretical and practical applications of justice in society. This course requires students spend 6 hours per week at the Monroe County Courts at the Hall of Justice in Rochester.


PSC/IR 389W Senior Honors Seminar
Fall 2020 — F 14:00 - 16:40
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This course will teach students how to write an original social scientific research paper. Students enrolled in the class are expected to complete a thesis in the spring. In this course, they will choose a research topic and question, find an advisor in the political science department, read the relevant literature, generate hypotheses, choose appropriate cases for quantitative or qualitative analysis, begin collecting data, think about strategies for addressing confounding concerns, and at the end of the semester produce a paper of roughly 12-15 pages that constitutes a draft of the final thesis. Along the way, students will read high-quality published articles, learn how to interpret regression tables and how to produce their own, understand pros and cons of various research design techniques, replicate a published research article, and learn how to organize and to write a research paper. This course is primarily geared toward teaching students how to write statistical empirical research papers, although it will also provide guidance for writing theses using game theory or qualitative methods.


PSC 394 Local Law and Politics Internships
Lynda W. Powell
Fall 2020
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Most internship placements are in the District Attorney's or Public Defender's offices or in the local offices of U.S. members of Congress or Senators. Other internships are available depending on student interest. Interns work 10-12 hours per week through the entire semester. Grades are primarily based on a research paper. Applicants should have an appropriate course background for the internship and at least a B average. Students must be accepted in the course before approaching an agency for an internship. Applications are available from Professor L. Powell and an interest meeting is held just before preregistration each semester.


PSC/IR 394A European Political Internship
Lynda W. Powell
Fall 2020
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Internships are available for students in Edinburgh, London, Brussels, Bonn, Berlin and Madrid. Internships are in English in Edinburgh, London, and Brussels: students need proficiency in the language for the latter four placements. For applications and information, students should contact the Study Abroad Office in Dewey Hall 2147.


PSC 394C Washington Semester Internship
Lynda W. Powell
Fall 2020
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PSC 399 Washington Semester
Lynda W. Powell
Fall 2020
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These internships provide an opportunity to learn experientially one or more of the following: how government functions; how public policies are created, adopted and implemented; and how political campaigns work. Students intern in Congress, the executive branch, party campaign committees, and lobbying and advocacy groups. For applications and information, students should contact Professor L. Powell. An interest meeting is held each semester.


PSC 404 Probability and Inference
Kevin A. Clarke
Fall 2020 — TR 15:25 - 16:40
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This course in mathematical statistics provides graduate students in political science with a solid foundation in probability and statistical inference. The focus of the course is on the empirical modeling of non-experimental data. While substantive political science will never be far from our minds, our primary goal is to acquire the tools necessary for success in the rest of the econometric sequence. As such, this course serves as a prerequisite for the advanced political science graduate courses in statistical methods (PSC 405, 505, and 506).


PSC 407 Mathematical Modeling
John Duggan
Fall 2020 — MW 10:00 - 12:00
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This course is the first half of a two-course sequence consisting of PSC 407 and PSC 408. The goal of the sequence is to give a rigorous introduction to the main concepts and results in positive political theory. At the same time, we will teach you the mathematical tools necessary to understand these results, to use them and (if it suits you) to surpass them in your own research in political science. The course will emphasize rigorous logical and deductive reasoning - this skill will prove valuable, even to the student primarily interested in empirical analysis rather than modeling. The sequence is designed to be both a rigorous foundation for students planning on taking further courses in the positive political theory field and a self-contained overview of the field for students who do not intend to do additional coursework in the field.


PSC 505 Maximum Likelihood Estimation
Curtis S. Signorino
Fall 2020 — MW 10:30 - 12:00
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The classical linear regression model is inappropriate for many of the most interesting problems in political science. This course builds upon the analytical foundations of PSC 404 and 405, taking the latter's emphasis on the classical linear model as its point of departure. Here students will learn methods to analyze models and data for event counts, durations, censoring, truncation, selection, multinomial ordered/unordered categories, strategic choices, spatial voting models, and time series. A major goal of the course will be to teach students how to develop new models and techniques for analyzing issues they encounter in their own research.


PSC 507 Experiments in Political Science Research
Mayya Komisarchik
Fall 2020 — TR 9:00 - 10:15
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Researchers in comparative politics, American politics, international relations, political methodology, and political theory increasingly rely on data collected from various types of experiments to answer important questions in their fields. This graduate-level class is designed to introduce students to experimental techniques and the applications of experiments in political science. Students who take this course should have completed causal inference (PSC 504). While this is primarily a seminar course, students will cover statistical material and get a hands-on introduction to programming tools for experimental research in R. This course is not specific to a particular subfield; students will get exposure to a wide range of experimental methods (lab experiments, field experiments, surveys, etc.) used across different research areas.


PSC 535 Bureaucratic Politics
Lawrence Rothenberg
Fall 2020 — W 14:00 - 16:40
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This course will survey recent research on the politics of bureaucracy. We will begin with a study of why and when elected politicians create bureaucracies and delegate authority to them. We will then study a series of topics regarding the operation and design of existing bureaucracies. Depending on the interest of students, topics may include: oversight and control of bureaucracies by elected politicians; bureaucratic capacity and performance; the political economy of regulatory bureaucracies; "red tape" and corruption; judicial control of bureaucracy; institutions and practices for the staffing of bureaucracies (e.g. patronage systems); advisory bureaucracies and bureaucratic expertise in policymaking; and military and intelligence bureaucracies. The course will draw heavily, but not exclusively, on formal theories and statistical evidence. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor, or at least one course in Techniques of Analysis at the 200 level or above and one course in Positive Theory at the 200 level or above.


PSC 566 International Relations Field Seminar I
Bethany Lacina
Fall 2020 — M 12:30 - 15:15
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This is the first of two courses in the International Relations field seminar sequence. It is required of all students who will take the field exam in international relations. The course is not open to undergraduates.