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Spring 2022 Courses

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PSCI/INTR 101 Introduction to Comparative Politics
Bonnie M. Meguid
Spring 2022 — 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.


PSCI 104 Introduction to Political Philosophy
Alexander Moon
Spring 2022 — MWF 11:50 - 12:40
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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.


PSCI 205 Data Analysis II
Curtis S. Signorino
Spring 2022 — TR 11:05 - 12:20
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This course builds on PSCI 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. In addition to the classical linear regression model, we will examine models for binary data, durations, counts, censoring and truncation, self-selection, and discrete 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 and RStudio.

Prerequisite: Students must have taken at least one course in statistics that (1) covers probability, confidence intervals, hypothesis tests, and linear regression; and (2) uses R for data analysis -- e.g., ECON 230, PSCI 200, or STAT 212/213/214. Prior courses in calculus or linear algebra are not required.

Note: Students will need to bring a laptop computer to class with R and RStudio installed. Most tablets will not suffice.


PSCI 214 Race and Law
Alexander Moon
Spring 2022 — MW 15:25 - 16:40
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This course deals with questions raised at the intersection of constitutional law and sociological and political science studies of the politics and practice of race in the United States. While studying major court decisions concerning race and slavery, voting, property rights, segregation/de-segregation, criminal justice, voting, discrimination, and affirmative action, we will examine questions such as: what is the role of the legal system in constituting and perpetuating the racial order of the United States? To what extent do court rulings reflect more than they shape what actually happens outside of the legal system? How, if at all, do they shape public opinion? What are the advantages and disadvantages of courts as a tool for social change? Do answers to these questions vary by area of law and/or historical period? The course is largely discussion-based and will include readings in case law, critical legal studies, critical race theory, and works in political science and sociology.


PSCI 220 Inside the State: Subnational Politics in Comparative Perspectives
Guzel Garifullina
Spring 2022 — TR 12:30 - 13:45
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Most of the politics happen at the subnational level - between governors, mayors, and regions' resistance to centralization, we can observe a variety of political behaviors and institutions without ever leaving a country. In this course, we will zoom in at the subnational level to better understand the daily functioning of different political regimes outside of the developed Western democracies. The course will primarily focus on the examples and experiences from two world regions - post-Soviet space and Latin America, offering significant variation in institutions and outcomes at the subnational level. The topics covered in the course include decentralization and local political regimes, the link between subnational politics and national regime transformations, and policy-making at the subnational level.


PSCI 224 Incarceration Nation
Joshua Dubler
Spring 2022
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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 228 Race, Ethnicity, and American Politics
Mayya Komisarchik
Spring 2022 ("W" Optional) — TR 14:00 - 15:15
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This is an undergraduate course designed to explore the role that race and ethnicity play in American politics. In this class students will focus on the 'big questions' surrounding race: What is race? Can race be measured - and, if so, how? How have questions about race and ethnicity shaped American legal, social, cultural, and political institutions? How have Americans thought about race and immigration throughout the 21st century, and how have these opinions shaped political engagement and behavior? This course will focus on political science theories and research about race and politics, though we will also draw on work from history, sociology, law, and economics.


PSCI 229 Environmental Health Policy
Katrina Smith Korfmacher
Spring 2022 — MW 12:30 - 13:45
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Course Description: Public health professionals, researchers, and community groups recognize that the physical environment impacts health and contributes significantly to health disparities. This course focuses on the skills, tools, and approaches needed to address the root causes of environmental health problems through policy processes. This is an advanced reading and writing-intensive course that expects students have foundational knowledge in public health, policy, and/or environmental science. Students will develop their understanding of the U.S. environmental policy system, environmental health issues, and problem-solving frameworks. Emphasizing local perspectives on environmental justice in the U.S., the course will include in-depth case studies of lead poisoning, transportation systems, and urban land use, with a particular focus on the implications of climate change. Students will conduct a major independent policy research and writing project and a series of real-world policy memos.

Prerequisites: Not open to freshmen; Prerequisites: PHLT 101 or PHLT 116; or permission of instructor (based on academic or applied background in environmental science and/or public policy).


PSCI 232 Disagreement in a Democratic Society
David Primo
Spring 2022 ("W" Optional) — M 14:00 - 16:40
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Is consensus overrated? In this seminar course we will study the role of disagreement in a democratic society. Topics will include the causes and consequences of political polarization, academic freedom and viewpoint diversity on college campuses, and conflict as a tool for innovation.


PSCI 238 Business and Politics
David Primo
Spring 2022 — MW 11:50 - 13:05
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In this course we will use the tools of political science and economics to study how corporations affect and are affected by politics. We will cover a broad range of issues affecting the business world, including regulation, lawmaking, activism, and corporate social responsibility. Course meetings will be interactive and feature in-depth discussions of real-world cases and topics in industries including finance and e-commerce.


PSCI/INTR 239 International Environmental Law & Policy
Terry Noto
Spring 2022 — TR 15:25 - 16:40
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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 2022 — MW 16:50 - 18:05
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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/INTR 254 Fascism: Politics, History, and Culture
Kevin A. Clarke
Spring 2022 — TR 12:30 - 13:45
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Fascism is a common term of political opprobrium, but few know what it actually means. This course examines the ideologies and practices of fascist movements to understand both the past and the present. Students learn about the economic, political, and cultural circumstances from which fascism emerged, and we consider the fascist obsession with national, sexual, and racial identity. Class time is divided between lecture and discussion; students are encouraged to participate.


PSCI/INTR 255 Poverty and Development
Anderson Frey
Spring 2022 ("W" Optional) — TR 11:05 - 12:20
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Why are some countries poor, while others enjoy a high standard of living? Why some enjoy stability and freedoms, while others suffer with corruption, repression and violence? Why countries stagnate or decline in their economic development. This course is designed to provide a broad theoretical framework for thinking about these problems, focusing on the political and institutional causes of differences in economic development across countries.


PSCI/INTR 259 Order, Violence, and the State
Scott Abramson
Spring 2022 ("W" Optional) — TR 15:25 - 16:40
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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.


PSCI/INTR 261 Latin American Politics
Gretchen Helmke
Spring 2022 ("W" Optional) — TR 12:30 - 13:45
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Since the end of the Cold War, Latin America has undergone periods of both economic downturn and sustained growth. The region has seen more stable democratic regimes, however, than at any time in its history. The course begins with a brief overview of twentieth-century Latin American history. We will investigate the sources of democratic stability, whether a supposed "Pink Tide" has occurred, and remaining problems for democratic governance. We will also examine the relationship between contemporary politics and economic development and crisis, and investigate whether national economies have moved beyond chronic boom-and-bust economic cycles. Class will be a structured mix of lectures and in-class participatory exercises.


PSCI/INTR 263 Democracy and Authoritarianism in the United States.
Jack Paine
Spring 2022 ("W" Optional) — MW 12:30 - 13:45
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By conventional definitions, the United States is the world's first modern democracy because of its early adoption of competitive elections, strong legislative constraints on the executive, and relatively large franchise. Yet in other ways the United States has been notably undemocratic, in particular when compared to contemporary democracies: the contested right to vote, countermajoritarian institutions, and partisan manipulation of vague rules. This course examines democratic and authoritarian elements of U.S. political institutions both over time and across institutions. The first part examines the foundations of U.S. democracy: self-enforcing elections, party competition, and franchise expansion. Second, we analyze biased constitutional provisions (countermajoritarian and electoral authoritarian institutions). Third, we examine incentives to change the rules to gain a partisan advantage. Finally, we discuss the Trump presidency.


PSCI/INTR 267 Identity, Ethnicity and Nationalism
Bonnie M. Meguid
Spring 2022 — MW 14:00 - 15:15
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This course explores the concepts of identity, ethnicity and nationalism from a comparative perspective. Drawing upon theories from political science, anthropology, sociology and economics, we will examine how identity is defined and how societies use these constructions in, among other things, nation-building, war, and party competition. Theoretical readings will be supplemented with empirical studies from developed and developing countries across different time periods.


PSCI/INTR 269 Migration, Economic Change, and Conflict
Bethany Lacina
Spring 2022 ("W" Optional) — W 14:00 - 16:40

A high level of migration within and between countries is the most controversial feature of our globalized and technologically integrated world. This class will review the economic and non-economic causes of trends in migration and discuss the political conflict that migration can spark. The course will deal with both international and internal migration. The primary focus will be on comparing nativist politics in the US and Europe to political conflict over migration in poorer countries. There will be two in-class midterms and a comprehensive final exam.


PSCI/INTR 277 Caste, Class, and Race
Alexander Lee
Spring 2022 — F 9:30 - 12:00
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Human societies organize social inequality in a variety of different ways. This course focuses on three important structures of discrimination and inequality, caste, class and race. It examines the changing and interrelated meanings of these concepts, their origins, their influence on society and politics and attempts to reduce their influence through social and political change. It draws on a global set of cases, with a special focus on the United States and India. This is an interdisciplinary course, which mixes approaches from anthropology and political economy. No prior knowledge of the subject is required.


PSCI 282 Political Economy of Public Policy
Sergio Montero
Spring 2022 — MW 14:00 - 15:15
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What should governments do? What can governments do? What do policymakers want to do? This course examines these questions from the perspective of modern political economy. The perspective is twofold: it comprises both a set of tools (mathematical modeling and rigorous empirical analysis) and a fundamental premise that public policy is the outcome of rational, strategic choices by self-interested policymakers who face institutional constraints that shape their incentives and limit their scope of action. The course begins by discussing normative considerations about what might constitute "good" public policy. It then explores areas where public policy has the potential to improve social welfare in a modern economy. Finally, it analyzes how the political process influences policymakers' actual choices. Special attention is given to key differences between developed and developing countries. Students are expected to have taken PSCI 107, PSCI/ECON 288, or a similar introductory course on formal models of decision-making.


PSCI 284 Democratic Theory
James Johnson
Spring 2022 — 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.


PSCI 288 Game Theory
Tasos Kalandrakis
Spring 2022 — MW 15:25 - 16:40
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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.


PSCI 294 Political Economy of African-American Communities
James Johnson
Spring 2022 — MW 11:50 - 13:05
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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 296 African-American Political Thought
Alexander Moon
Spring 2022 — MWF 9:00 - 9:50
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This course is a survey of some of the canonical and some of the most exciting contemporary works in the field of African-American political thought. We begin with foundational texts from Walker, Delany, Douglass, Wells, Du Bois, Garvey, Baldwin, King, and Malcolm X. In the first half of the course we will focus on questions such as: What is the nature of the wrong(s) African Americans have suffered in the United States? What sustains systems of domination and exclusion? What responses, in addition to condemnation, do these systems of domination merit? What does the long history of white domination in the United States say about ideals of liberalism and democracy? And what is the way forward? In the second part of the course, we will read contemporary works dealing with reparations, collective responsibility, obligations to solidarity/allyship, and epistemologies of ignorance.


PSCI 304 Urban Crime and Justice
Craig Doran
Spring 2022 — R 18:15 - 20:55
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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.


PSCI 394 Local Law and Politics Internships
Stuart Jordan
Spring 2022 ("W" Optional)
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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. Please contact Professor Stu Jordan for information on scholarships.


PSCI 394B European Political Internship Belgium
Spring 2022
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[G] Special application required. Please contact Professor Stu Jordan for information on scholarships.


PSCI/INTR 394C Washington Semester Internship
Stuart Jordan
Spring 2022
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Please contact Professor Stu Jordan for information on scholarships.


PSCI 399 Washington Semester
Stuart Jordan
Spring 2022
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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. Please contact Professor Stu Jordan for information on scholarships.


PSCI 405 Causal Inference
Anderson Frey
Spring 2022 — TR 9:40 - 10:55
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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.


PSCI 408 Positive Political Theory
Tasos Kalandrakis
Spring 2022 — MW 10:00 - 11:30
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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 482 Political Economy of Public Policy
Sergio Montero
Spring 2022 — MW 14:00 - 15:15
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What should governments do? What can governments do? What do policymakers want to do? This course examines these questions from the perspective of modern political economy. The perspective is twofold: it comprises both a set of tools (mathematical modeling and rigorous empirical analysis) and a fundamental premise that public policy is the outcome of rational, strategic choices by self-interested policymakers who face institutional constraints that shape their incentives and limit their scope of action. The course begins by discussing normative considerations about what might constitute "good" public policy. It then explores areas where public policy has the potential to improve social welfare in a modern economy. Finally, it analyzes how the political process influences policymakers' actual choices. Special attention is given to key differences between developed and developing countries. Students are expected to have taken PSCI 107, PSCI/ECON 288, or a similar introductory course on formal models of decision-making.


PSCI 513 Interest Groups
Lawrence Rothenberg
Spring 2022 — W 14:00 - 16:40
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This course principally introduces students to the political science and political economy literatures on interest groups, with a special focus on how these groups operate in the context of American politics (however, contrast with other advanced and the European Union are included). This will include developing an understanding of the makeup of the group system, the contribution decision, the internal politics of organizations, and the role that groups play with respect to formal political institutions.


PSCI 551 State Building and Conflict
Scott Abramson
Spring 2022 — T 14:00 - 16:40
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Civil order under girds all other political processes. When order exists, institutions that regulate violence within a specific population or jurisdiction. This course covers where order comes from, how it is sustained or challenged, and the emergence of states as the most common order-providing institutions. We also discuss how the boundaries between civil orders are created and eroded. We examine the roles of geography, political economy, ethnic identity, and nationalism in the boundaries between political communities.


PSCI 575 Topics in Political Economy
Parth Parihar
Spring 2022 — TR 11:05 - 12:20
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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.


PSCI 576 Graduate Research Seminar
Bethany Lacina, Sergio Montero
Spring 2022 — M 15:25 - 16:40
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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.