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.
This course introduces students to positive political theory, a rigorous set of tools that helps clarify key questions in political science. Through examples drawn from all aspects of the political process (from elections to lawmaking to regulation) as well as from everyday life (where should we go for dinner?) and Hollywood (Russell Crowe and Reese Witherspoon as political scientists?), we will study how the rules of the game affect the decisions politicians make as well as the policy outcomes we observe.
What would "a government of the people, by the people, for the people" really look like? Is the right to vote sufficient to make a society democratic? Is majority rule any better than tyranny? Can people be trusted to rule themselves? In this course, we examine the first democracy--that of ancient Athens. We will trace the historical development of democracy and explore the social factors and big ideas that shaped it into the form of government that almost every society in the world now looks to as a model. You will learn about the various institutions that allowed Athenian society to function and discover what the Athenians thought about their great experiment, even if they thought it was a very bad idea. We will also observe and discuss some of our own government institutions so that we can better understand our system of government, both in what it shares with ancient Athens and how it differs.
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.
This course builds on PSC 200, Data Analysis I, taking the linear regression model as its starting point. We will explore various statistical techniques for analyzing a world of data that is relevant to political science in particular, and to the social sciences more broadly. We will examine models for binary data, durations, counts, censoring and truncation, self-selection, and strategic choice, among others. These models will be applied to topics such as international conflict, civil war onset, parliamentary cabinet survival, international sanctions, campaign contributions, and voting. Students will be taught how to (1) frame research hypotheses, (2) analyze data using the appropriate statistical model, and (3) interpret and present their results. Statistical analysis will be conducted using R. Prerequisites: Students should have taken a course (such as PSC 200, ECO 230, STT 211, STT 212, STT 213, or STT 214) that introduces them to hypothesis tests, confidence intervals, and linear regression. Students who have not used R in a previous course should familiarize themselves with it prior to the first class. Specifically, students should be able to load a data set, print summary statistics, create a scatterplot, and conduct linear regression.
Populism is central to current debates about politics, from radical right parties in Europe to left-wing presidents in Latin America to the Tea Party, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump in the United States. But populism is also one of the most contested concepts in the social sciences. The first part of the course will discuss how scholars from different parts of the world studied populism since this phenomenon entered the political and social science agenda in the late 1960s. What distinguishes its various manifestations in Europe, Latin America, the United States, and elsewhere across time (old vs. new populisms), region (western vs. eastern; but also Nordic, Baltic, and Southern European), regime type in which they develop (democracy vs. non-democracy), and ideological hue (right vs. left populisms)? A second part of this course will look at actual populist strategies, how populist leaders gain their appeal, what social conditions increase the likelihood of a populist victory, how populists gain and maintain power. Cases such as Hungary, Greece and Venezuela are studied in order to understand the way in which populism comes to power and governs.
How does a country with five percent of the world's population, a country that nominally values freedom above all else, come to have nearly a quarter of the world's incarcerated people? In this survey course we investigate the history of imprisonment in the United States—as theorized and as practiced—from the founding of the republic to the present day. Special attention is paid to the politics, economics, race politics, and religious logics of contemporary mass incarceration, and to the efforts afoot to end mass incarceration.
Reformers and activists sometimes say that we should "think globally, act locally," meaning that we should try to address widespread needs by taking action in our neighborhoods, towns and cities. What happens when you apply this maxim to government and public policy in the United States? This course will introduce you to local government policymaking in the United States, with a focus on urban areas. You'll gain a familiarity with the powers local governments have over key policies and services—such as policing and criminal justice, housing and land-use regulation, transportation, public education and public health—and learn to think systematically about what local governments can do to address public needs. What you learn will be applicable throughout the U.S., but we'll focus on examples of policymaking currently underway in the City of Rochester and the surrounding region—offering you a chance to learn more about the University's local community.
The course introduces the legal and social justice frameworks for urgent public health issues, such as vaccinations, tobacco regulation and gun control.
An examination of major policy issues at the federal level. The normative justifications for governmental actions are discussed as well as the limitations imposed by bureaucracy and the decision-making process. Governmental programs that affect the poor are examined in detail, with special attention paid to an assessment of their impact and alternatives now under consideration.
An examination of international environmental law and policy with a special focus on efforts to address climate change, including the Paris Agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. This course serves as a companion to PSC 246, but PSC 246 is not a prerequisite. The goal of this course is to provide a foundational understanding of this rapidly developing, controversial field. Topics include consideration of the scientific, political, and economic drivers of international environmental law; the variety of tools (e.g., treaties, agreements, "soft law," voluntary incentive programs and market based approaches); and examples of how some international environmental issues have been addressed to date, including efforts to date on climate change. This course will be taught through lectures, discussion, several concise papers, and a group project.
Through analysis of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, we examine criminal procedure as elaborated by federal and state court decisions. Topics include arrest procedures, search and seizure, right to counsel, and police interrogation and confessions. We will discuss the theoretical principles of criminal procedure and the application of those principles to the actual operation of the criminal court system.
The fall of the communist regime in 1989 allowed Poland to reorient its foreign policy. For the first 25 years after the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the withdrawal of Soviet/Russian combat troops from Poland, policy priorities, including membership in NATO and the EU, were rarely questioned by any Polish government. Since the 2015 elections, however, when the conservative and populist Law and Justice Party (PiS) gained the majority in parliament, the foreign policy of Poland has been undergoing substantial changes. The political and military alliance with the United States is still an undisputed priority, but the role of Poland in the EU has been slowly marginalized, and the PiS government has focused instead on building regional alliances in Central Europe at the cost of strategic bonds with Ukraine. In this course, we will examine the relationship of Poland to the rest of Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, the transformation of Poland's ties to the United States, Russia, and European countries following the fall of communism, and the role of domestic politics and decision makers in shaping contemporary Polish foreign policy.
Innovation is a driving force behind the massive increases in wealth that occurred in the 20th century, and the globalization of business is causing changes in the world's economy that we are only beginning to understand. In this course, we will spend several weeks studying how entrepreneurship and innovation are affected by government institutions. We will then spend several weeks studying business strategy in the global business environment, focusing on the role of regulations imposed by foreign governments and international organizations. Class meetings will be a mix of lecture and discussion, use real-world cases, and feature guest speakers. By the end of the course, you will have a stronger understanding of how businesses shape and are shaped by government policies. There are no prerequisites for this course, though some exposure to political science or economics is useful.
In recent years, there has been much discussion of the possibility of a green economy. This course examines the potential for "green markets," focusing on three drivers-social, political, and economic-that can both constrain firms and potentially condition whether issues of environment and sustainability can be exploited as a means for competitive advantage. Among issues covered will be demand and willingness to pay for green goods, the roles of NGOs and investors, regulation and its alternatives, firm reputation and product differentiation, supply chain management, and green production processes. Special attention will be given to the need of firms to deal with climate change now and in the future.
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.
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.
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.
The bargaining model of war is the main theoretical tool in the study of international conflict these days. But the model brackets, i.e., ignores, the question of what gets put on the bargaining table in the first place, and what leaders and states choose not to contest. In this course, we examine the issues states fight over from both a historical as well as contemporary perspective. The course will involve some basic new analytical tools such as GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and some very basic data analysis.
In the past decade or so themes of poverty, inequality and power have taken center stage at the intersection of political science, philosophy & economics. This course will examine those themes. Our point of departure is local. The premise of the course is that Rochester and much of Western NY state are a developing country. We will focus on both the dire circumstances that make this characterization plausible and on potential innovative political and policy responses to those circumstances. We will address the nature of property, poverty, markets, development, firms and financial institutions. And overriding concern will be with the role of democratic commitments in political economic institutions. Readings will be drawn from John Dewey, Ronald Coase, Charles Lindblom, Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, Amartya Sen, Elinor Ostrom, and Roberto Unger among others. Some prior course work in economics or political science will be helpful but is not required.
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.
The debate on the role of the state versus that of the free market in the socioeconomic process is as old as the history of political economy. We discuss what economists, political scientists, & economic historians characterize as the Washington consensus versus the Beijing consensus or the Asian model. This is followed by a discussion of the contributions of some notable thinkers — Adam Smith, Alexander Hamilton, Friedrich List, John Maynard Keynes, & Friedrich von Hayek. The greater part of the course deals with selected historical cases across the globe. The discussions are informed by a political economy conceptual framework, which helps to explain the politics and economics of state policy and the long-run historical processes that created the political & economic conditions. Students' performance is based on three short essays (four typed pages each) presented to the class for discussion and thereafter revised for grading. No mid-term & final examinations.
The 2010 Brazilian national census shows 97.2 million Afro-Brazilians and 90.6 million Whites. These two ethnic nationalities have developed unequally since the establishment of colonial Brazil by Portugal in the sixteenth century. The 2010 census shows the average income of Afro-Brazilians was less than half that of White Brazilians. In 2009, the wealth gap between White and Black American families was $236,500. The most populous African nation, Nigeria, shows similar inequality among its major ethnic nationalities. This magnitude of inequality among ethnic nationalities has given rise to serious problems in inter-group relations in the three countries. This course aims to trace, comparatively, the historical origins of the phenomenon, examine the political and economic consequences, and discuss the politics and economics of state policy designed to address it. NOTE: Students taking this Course for ECO credit must have previously taken ECO 108.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In this course, we will examine the linear regression model and its variants. The course has two goals: (1) to provide students with the statistical theory of the linear model, and (2) to provide students with skills for analyzing data. The linear model is a natural starting point for understanding regression models in general, inferences based on them, and problems with our inferences due to data issues or to model misspecification. The model's relative tractability has made it an attractive tool for political scientists, resulting in volumes of research using the methods studied here. Familiarity with the linear model is now essentially required if one wants to be a consumer or producer of modern political science research.
This course is part of a rigorous introduction to the main concepts and results in positive political theory. It is the second half of a two-course sequence consisting of PSC 407 and PSC 408. This course will focus on the basics of game theory, which analyzes individual behavior in strategic situations. It will also cover the mathematical tools required to express the theory. Examples and applications will be drawn from several different areas in political science, including the American Congress, voting, international relations, political economy, and law.
The goal of this course is to give students a comprehensive toolbox for reading and producing cutting-edge applied empirical research, with focus on the theory and practice behind causal inference in social sciences. We will cover treatment effects, experiments, panel data, differences-in-differences, instrumental variables, nonparametric regression, regression discontinuity, matching, synthetic control, and more. Students will read applied papers from both political science and economics, and write review reports examining research designs, identification strategies, and causal claims. They will also produce research proposals that will be presented in class. Applications will be taught with R.
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.
How and why do political parties emerge? What are the causes and consequences of adopting different electoral rules? Under what conditions do voters behave strategically? This course examines the growing literature on parties, electoral systems, and voting in comparative politics. We consider multiple methodological approaches to these questions and explore the dynamics of voting, elections, and party competition in a range of empirical contexts.
An advanced course intended to prepare Ph.D. students for comprehensive exams in international relations. The course conducts a broad survey of influential works in the field and of current research into the causes of international conflict and cooperation. Extraordinarily well-prepared undergraduates may be admitted.
This course covers selected topics in political economy. The course content is selected by the instructor and varies from year to year. Possible topics include social choice theory, voting models, political agency, legislative bargaining, macro political economy, network theory, political economy of conflict, and development. Students may take this course more than once from different instructors.
Designed as a forum for upper-level doctoral students who have completed formal coursework to present ongoing research. Students regularly present research either stemming from their dissertations or from ancillary projects.
This is a course in political theory. We will address a set of topics situated at the intersection of democracy and political economy. The central focus will be on the entanglement of justification and analysis in political science. Readings will be drawn from both classical texts and contemporary sources. This course is required of all PhD students in political science. Others wishing to enroll should speak to the instructor before doing so.