Skip to main content

Course List

Spring 2021 Courses

           Course Filter:  

           Course Highlight:  

PSCI/INTR 106 Introduction to International Relations
Hein Goemans
Spring 2021 — MWF 14:00 - 14:50
Display Tracks: New or Old

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.


PSCI 121 Democracy in America
James Johnson
Spring 2021 — MW 11:50 - 13:05
Display Tracks: New or Old

Democracy literally means "rule by the people." This seminar in political theory will explore various questions that this basic definition raises in the context of 20th-century American politics. What can we expect of "the people"? How, indeed, do we even envision "the people"? What is the role of communication, especially modern media, in creating and sustaining "the people"? How might we think about the ways in which power and communication intersect in modern democracies? In many respects this course is experimental. It aims to draw connections between texts and theorists that have not been made before. So we will be exploring new terrain. Students will learn what it means to think like a political theorist. Enrollment is restricted to first-year students - no exceptions. Grades will be based on class participation - given that this is a small seminar, be prepared to talk! - and several short papers (meaning about five pages each) on assigned topics that emerge from the readings and class discussion. Course open to first-year and sophomores only.


PSCI 200 Data Analysis I
Kevin A. Clarke
Spring 2021 — MWF
Display Tracks: New or Old

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.


PSCI 205 Data Analysis II
Curtis S. Signorino
Spring 2021 — TR 11:05 - 12:20
Display Tracks: New or Old

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.


PSCI 217 American Health Policy and Politics
Mical Raz
Spring 2021
Display Tracks: New or Old

PSCI 220 Agriculture Law, Property Rights and Sustainability
Terry Noto
Spring 2021 — TR 15:25 - 16:40
Display Tracks: New or Old

INTR 221 European Nationalism
Piotr Klodkowski
Spring 2021
Display Tracks: New or Old

Main aim of the course is to give a basic of the relationship between "identity" and "nationalism" in its historical development since late 18th century. Focusing especially on the modern Central Europe (territories of former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Austro-Hungarian Empire) class will deal with fundamental concepts of a nation and nationalism. Using different approaches and theories (modernism, ethno-symbolism, ethnic and civic nationalism), it aims at applying them to both historical and contemporary reality. Beginning with pre-modern forms of national identity ("noble nation"), the course will focus on the processes of formation modern nations in Central Europe and their consequences for the history of the region in 20th century. The class could have a mixed-form of a seminar and lecture, with students' presentations on selected topic and readings, and discussions on theoretical and historical issues.


PSCI 224 Incarceration Nation
Joshua Dubler
Spring 2021 — TR 16:50 - 18:05
Display Tracks: New or Old

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.


PSCI 226 Act Locally? Local Government in the U.S.
Stuart Jordan
Spring 2021 ("W" Optional)
Display Tracks: New or Old

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.


PSCI 230 Public Health Law and Policy
Molly McNulty
Spring 2021
Display Tracks: New or Old

The course introduces the legal and social justice frameworks for urgent public health issues, such as vaccinations, tobacco regulation and gun control.


PSCI 231 Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health: Policy & Advocacy
Molly McNulty
Spring 2021 — MW 10:25 - 11:40
Display Tracks: New or Old

Students will learn how government funds, organizes and delivers health care, broadly defined, to mothers, children, and adolescents; as well as legal and policy writing skills relevant to advocacy, such as issue fact sheets, legislative testimony, and letters to the editor.


PSCI 235 The Political Economy of U.S. Food Policy
Dan Alexander
Spring 2021 ("W" Optional) — TR 9:40 - 10:55
Display Tracks: New or Old

The course examines how reforms to food policy in the United States make their way through the democratic process and how these reforms constitute efforts to democratize our food system, exploring how these efforts confront the same challenges that a democracy faces more broadly. How does our political system approach the task of reconciling the diverse preferences of the American public and the corporations that feed it, agricultural and health agencies, and the food activists and advocacy groups? How do we think about the concepts of representativeness, access, information, centralization, externalities, and regulation in the context of our food system?


PSCI/INTR 239 International Environmental Law & Policy
Terry Noto
Spring 2021 — TR 11:05 - 12:20
Display Tracks: New or Old

An examination of international environmental law and policy with a special focus on efforts to address climate change, including efforts to forge an international climate change agreement at the 2015 United Nations Paris Climate Change Conference. 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. Finally, we will examine the results of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference - are we any closer to a "grand climate solution"? This course will be taught through lectures, discussion, several concise papers, and a group project.


PSCI 240 Criminal Procedure and Constitutional Principles
Edward L. Fiandach
Spring 2021 — MW 16:50 - 18:05
Display Tracks: New or Old

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.


PSCI 244K Politics and Markets: Innovation and The Global Business Environment
David Primo
Spring 2021 — TR 11:05 - 12:20
Display Tracks: New or Old

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.


INTR 246 Religious Nationalism
Aaron Hughes
Spring 2021
Display Tracks: New or Old

Recent years have seen a renewed sense of nationalism, only this time tinged with an underlying and powerful religious dimension. This class seeks to illumine this religious nationalism from a comparative perspective. Using an analytical frame, we will examine the historical rise of religious nationalism, its key elements and defining features, before examining a set of particular case studies (e.g., India, Pakistan, Israel, the United States).


PSCI 247 Green Markets: Environmental Opportunities and Pitfalls
Lawrence Rothenberg
Spring 2021 ("W" Optional) — TR 9:40 - 10:55
Display Tracks: New or Old

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.


PSCI/INTR 252 Ethnic Politics
Bethany Lacina
Spring 2021 ("W" Optional)
Display Tracks: New or Old

This course takes up three questions: What is ethnicity and when is it politically important? How does ethnic politics matter for economic outcomes? What is the relationship between ethnic politics and political violence? Class materials will include theoretical accounts of ethnic politics and research from a variety of countries, including Nigeria, India, Thailand, Syria, France, and the United States. One of the themes of the course will be comparing research on ethnic politics conducted in the United States to research from other contexts. Students will be evaluated based on weekly individual and/or group projects, preparation to discuss weekly readings; participation in class; and a take-home final essay.


PSCI/INTR 253 Comparative Political Parties
Bonnie M. Meguid
Spring 2021 ("W" Optional) — TR 12:35 - 15:15
Display Tracks: New or Old

This seminar examines the nature of political parties and political competition across democracies in the developed and developing worlds. Issues analyzed include the formation of different types of parties, their role in agenda-setting, policy-making and representation, and their transformation in the post-World War II era.


PSCI/INTR 259 Order, Violence, and the State
Scott Abramson
Spring 2021 ("W" Optional) — TR 11:05 - 12:20
Display Tracks: New or Old

Why are some societies plagued by endemic violence and others peaceful? How do peaceful, ordered societies emerge and persist? This course answers these questions by examining the origins of political order over a long-span of human history. Using the tools of modern social science as well as historical and anthropological source material we will explore how states emerged from anarchy, how they have come to control the use of force, and the implications of political order for material well-being and prosperity. Each student is expected to develop and briefly present a research paper which investigates a relevant issue of interest. Students who take PSC 212 (Supreme Court in U.S. History) or PSC/IR 259 (Order, Violence, and the State) in or before the Fall 2019 semester may use this course to satisfy Team Learning, but the course may not be used to satisfy this requirement if it is taken after the Fall 2019 semester.


PSCI/INTR 263 Democratization
Jack Paine
Spring 2021 ("W" Required)
Display Tracks: New or Old

One of the most important political events over the past century is the rise of democracy across the world. Why do some countries become and remain democratic, whereas others never transition or fail to consolidate democracy? This course examines leading explanations for variation in democratic regimes across countries, with a primary focus on understanding transitions to democracy: economic development, natural resource wealth, international and domestic conflict, authoritarian regime type, history of elections and strength of parties, etc. We will examine a mix of historical and contemporary cases of democratization. One objective will be to understand democratization in the United States in comparative perspective, although we will study many cases from other regions as well.


PSCI/INTR 278 Foundations of Modern International Politics
Hein Goemans
Spring 2021 ("W" Optional) — W 15:25 - 18:05
Display Tracks: New or Old

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.


PSCI 288 Game Theory
Tasos Kalandrakis
Spring 2021 — MW 15:25 - 16:40
Display Tracks: New or Old

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.


PSCI/INTR 289 The Role of the State in Global Historical Perspective
Joseph E. Inkori
Spring 2021 — TR 14:00 - 16:40
Display Tracks: New or Old

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 wheconomics 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.


PSCI 290 Unequal Development and State Policy: Brazil, the U.S., and Nigeria
Joseph E. Inkori
Spring 2021 — MW 10:25 - 11:40
Display Tracks: New or Old

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*


PSCI 294 Political Economy of African-American Communities
James Johnson
Spring 2021 — MW 9:00 - 10:15
Display Tracks: New or Old

The purpose of this course is to explore what has been called "democratic community economics" (Jessica Gordon-Nembhard) and its relevance for addressing deep, persistent political-economic problems in African American Communities. The focus will be on a set of alternative institutional arrangements including producer and consumer cooperatives, community development credit unions and community land trusts and specifically their roots in African American politics, their various current manifestations, and their potential contemporary policy relevance for promoting sustainable, local, community development.


PSCI 394 Local Law and Politics Internships
Lynda W. Powell
Spring 2021
Display Tracks: New or Old

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.


PSCI/INTR 394A European Political Internship
Lynda W. Powell
Spring 2021
Display Tracks: New or Old

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.


PSCI 394C Washington Semester Internship
Lynda W. Powell
Spring 2021
Display Tracks: New or Old

PSCI 399 Washington Semester
Lynda W. Powell
Spring 2021
Display Tracks: New or Old

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.


PSCI 405 Causal Inference
Mayya Komisarchik
Spring 2021 — TR 9:40 - 10:55
Display Tracks: New or Old

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.


PSCI 408 Positive Political Theory
Mark Fey
Spring 2021 — MW 10:00 - 11:30
Display Tracks: New or Old

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.


PSCI 501 Writing and Research in Political Science
Alexander Lee
Spring 2021 — F
Display Tracks: New or Old

This course introduces the process of conducting research in political science and presenting this research orally and in writing


PSCI 508 Theoretical Implications of Empirical Models
Scott Tyson
Spring 2021 — W 14:00 - 16:40
Display Tracks: New or Old

Implicit in all research designs are (traditionally under-appreciated) strategic interactions relevant to the interpretation and validity of empirical work. Recently, social scientists across several sub-disciplines, and especially political scientists, have begun to analyze these theoretical implications of empirical models (TIEM). This course surveys the work being done in this nascent field of scholarship and, necessarily, the dominant empirical methodologies employed in political science and economics. For context and guidance, we will also draw upon work from adjacent lines of research, such as the decision-theoretic underpinnings of empirical models, the rationalization of behavioral regularities, and the evolutionary grounding of preferences, as well as upon philosophical perspectives on the interplay between theory and empirics.


PSCI 540 Models in American Politics
Dan Alexander
Spring 2021 — MW 10:25 - 11:40
Display Tracks: New or Old

In recent years there has been an upsurge in American politics research that combines formal modeling and data analysis. In this seminar we will critically examine the strengths and weaknesses of the approach and explore some of the major contributions to this literature. Topics will include committee composition, party power, interbranch bargaining, lobbying, and the role of rules.


PSCI 552 Democracy and Dictatorship
Gretchen Helmke, Jack Paine
Spring 2021
Display Tracks: New or Old

Why are some political regimes more stable than others? Why do democracies endure or unravel? Why do dictatorships last or crumble? To answer these questions, this course offers a survey of the empirical and theoretical literatures on democracy and dictatorship in comparative politics. The first part of the course will be devoted primarily to examining competing theories about the conditions and causes of the transition to and consolidation of democracy. The second part of the course examines theories about democratic erosion and the emergence and instantiation of autocracy. Class will be conducted in a weekly discussion format.


PSCI 557 Topics in Comparative Politics: Parties and Party Competition
Bonnie M. Meguid
Spring 2021
Display Tracks: New or Old

This course will involve a deep look at the comparative political parties and party competition literature. The focus will be on recent work on party types (e.g., mainstream, niche, radical right, populist); party strategies (programmatic, valence, issue emphasis, issue ownership, clientelism); polarization; emergence of "new" constituencies and issues (e.g., ethnic, gender, environmental/nationalist/single issue, LGBT), among other topics. The course will cover theoretical and empirical literature with country cases from around the world. The course will highlight the range of methodological approaches employed in the field, and students will have an opportunity to engage in their own research on these topics; the course culminates in a research paper. This topics course will count as an optional 5th course in the comparative sequence, and will be open to any PhD student and advanced undergraduate, by instructor permission.


PSCI 566 International Relations Field Seminar I
Bethany Lacina
Spring 2021
Display Tracks: New or Old

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.


PSCI 572 International Relations Field Seminar II
Randall Stone
Spring 2021 — F 9:30 - 12:00
Display Tracks: New or Old

This is an advanced course intended to prepare Ph.D. students for comprehensive exams in international relations. The course conducts a broad survey of major works in the field and current research into the causes of international conflict and cooperation.


PSCI 576 Graduate Research Seminar
Bethany Lacina, Sergio Montero
Spring 2021
Display Tracks: New or Old

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.


PSCI 587 Structural Modeling and Estimation
Sergio Montero
Spring 2021
Display Tracks: New or Old

Structural models enable social scientists to conduct rich analyses of how institutions and public policy shape individual or collective decision-making. The structural approach to empirical research is particularly useful in settings where more traditional methods cannot be applied, such as when agents behave strategically or when we wish to predict the consequences of never-before-observed policy interventions. This course covers the fundamentals of structural modeling and estimation. Depending on student interest, applications from economics, marketing, and political science will be considered.