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PSCI 105 Introduction to U.S. Politics
Dan Alexander
Spring 2025 — TR 9:40 - 10:55
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This course will introduce students to the foundations of the United States government. Students will examine important political institutions and the interactions among them to understand how they shape the behavior of political actors and ordinary U.S. citizens. Specific topics will include: the need for a state, the purposes of elections, federalism, the three branches of U.S. government, and the role of interest groups in U.S. politics. Throughout, the course employs concepts from the rational-choice approach to political science to model key concepts; however, no background in this is necessary. This course is appropriate for majors and non-majors with an interest in understanding how and why the U.S. political system works as it does.


PSCI 107 Introduction to Positive Political Theory
Stuart Jordan
Spring 2025 — TR 12:30 - 13:45
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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 politics (from elections to protest movements to wars) as well as from everyday life (Why is housing so expensive? Why don't cities prepare for natural disasters?), we will study how the rules of the game affect the decisions citizens and politicians make as well as the policy outcomes we observe. NOTE: YOU MUST SIGN UP FOR A RECITATION WHEN REGISTERING FOR THIS COURSE.


PSCI 200 Data Analysis I
Sergio Montero
Spring 2025 — 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. RESTRICTION: Students who have taken ECON 230, PSCI 205, PSY/CSP 211, STAT 212, STAT 213, or STAT 214 may not take the course. Must have laptop on which you can run R and R Studio.


PSCI 205 Data Analysis II
Curtis S. Signorino
Spring 2025 — 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 209 The Politics of Punishment
Sidak Yntiso
Spring 2025 ("W" Optional) — MW 15:25 - 16:40

Voters elect nearly all local prosecutors, sheriffs, and trial judges in the United States. In this seminar, we will explore the influence of political institutions on the decisions of those law enforcement officials. Topics include constitutional design, public opinion, racial disparities, electoral accountability, special interest politics, and the collateral consequences of incarceration. While rooted in recent phenomena, this course will also focus on historical perspectives. Likewise, while substantively focused, the class will also provide insights into social science research.


PSCI 214 Race and the Law
Alexander Moon
Spring 2025 — 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 217 Public Policy and Black Communities: Education, Poverty, Affirmative Action, and Crime
Alexander Moon
Spring 2025 — MWF 9:00 - 9:50
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This course examines some of the major public policy issues affecting the Black community. We begin with a survey of the public policy making process at the local and federal levels. The rest of the course deals with the specific groups, conflicts, institutions, and structural constraints governing the formation of public policy in the areas of education, poverty, affirmative action, and crime. We will ask questions about the origin and nature of the problems in these areas, the explanations of why some policies and not others have been adopted, and the strengths and weaknesses of competing policy solutions.


PSCI 226W Act Locally? Local Government in the U.S.
Mitch Gruber
Spring 2025 ("W" Required) — W 18:15 - 20:55
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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 228 Race, Ethnicity, and American Politics
Mayya Komisarchik
Spring 2025 ("W" Optional) — TR 15:25 - 16:40
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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 230 Public Health Law and Policy
Molly McNulty
Spring 2025 — MW 14:00 - 15:15
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The course introduces the legal and social justice frameworks for urgent public health issues, such as vaccinations, tobacco regulation and gun control. Pre-requisites: PHLT 116 or PHLT 236; juniors & seniors only. Restrictions: Instructor Permission.


PSCI 231 Maternal Child Health Policy and Advocacy
Molly McNulty
Spring 2025 ("W" Optional) — TR 14:00 - 15:15
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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. Pre-requisites: PHLT 116, PHLT 236, or PHLT 230 required; juniors & seniors only. Restrictions: Instructor Permission.


PSCI/INTR 239 International Environmental Law
Milena Novy-Marx
Spring 2025 — TR 11:05 - 12:20
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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 2025 — 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 244K Politics and Markets: Innovation and The Global Business Environment
David Primo
Spring 2025 — MW 11:50 - 13:05
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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.


PSCI 246 Environmental Law and Policy
Stephen Daly
Spring 2025 — MW 18:15 - 19:30
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This course provides a foundational understanding of U.S. environmental law, with a focus on existing federal environmental statutes and regulatory programs. Topics include the common law origins of environmental law, the historical genesis of federal regulation over human impact on the environment, the enduring role of the States in environmental regulation, along with an overview of critical federal environmental laws (such as the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and CERCLA/Superfund). Students will be introduced to how agencies implement and enforce these laws and how judicial decisions shape them. The course also touches on how and whether these decades-old laws are suited to address 21st-century challenges like climate change and environmental injustice.


INTR 246 Religious Nationalism
Aaron Hughes
Spring 2025 — TR 14:00 - 15:15
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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/INTR 252 Ethnic Politics and Ethnic Conflict
Bethany Lacina
Spring 2025 ("W" Optional) — TR 9:40 - 10:55
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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 2025 ("W" Optional) — W 14:00 - 16:40
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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 254 Fascism: Politics, History, and Culture
Kevin A. Clarke
Spring 2025 ("W" Optional) — 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 259 Order, Violence, and the State
Scott Abramson
Spring 2025 ("W" Optional)
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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 2025 ("W" Optional) — MW 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 268 International Organization
Randall Stone
Spring 2025 ("W" Optional) — MW 10:25 - 11:40
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This course focuses on a key mechanism facilitating international cooperation - international institutions. The course examines institutions ranging from informal institutions, or regimes, to formal, intergovernmental organizations. We ask the following questions: how are institutions established? What makes them change over time? What impact (if any) do they have? How do they influence government policies? How do they operate? How do they structure decision-making? How do international institutions affect domestic politics? The course will begin by focusing on different theoretical perspectives on these questions, and continue by examining international institutions in specific issue areas. Instructor permission required for W section.


PSCI/INTR 270 Mechanisms of International Relations
Hein Goemans
Spring 2025 ("W" Optional) — W 14:00 - 15:15
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The last ten years or so have seen a major revolution in the social sciences. Instead of trying to discover and test grand "covering laws" that have universal validity and tremendous scope (think Newton's gravity or Einstein's relativity), the social sciences are in the process of switching to more narrow and middle-range theories and explanations, often referred to as causal mechanisms. Mechanisms play a crucial role in this new conception of theory in the social sciences. In this course we will examine one particular mechanism each week and see how it has been applied in international political economy and/or security studies. Students will be introduced to formal reasoning in an informal manner. We will explore several substantive themes, such as the "democratic peace," ethnic conflict and international trade to illustrate the mechanisms and cumulative potential of this research approach.


PSCI/INTR 276 The Politics of Insurgency
Bethany Lacina
Spring 2025 ("W" Optional) — T 14:00 - 16:40
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This seminar deals with the logic of asymmetric conflicts between states and non-state actors. We will examine the military, political, and social factors that determine when and where asymmetric warfare is likely to occur. Students will complete short weekly assignments designed to prepare for class discussion. Those enrolled in the writing-intensive version of this seminar will complete a final research paper. Students in the non-writing-intensive version of the course will be given a take-home, open-note essay test as a final exam.


PSCI 281 Formal Models in Political Science
Mark Fey
Spring 2025 — MW 10:25 - 11:40
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This course explores the rational choice approach to understanding political phenomena. The main results of social choice theory, game theory, and spatial modeling are presented through application to a broad range of political situations: voting, legislative politics, political campaigns, comparison of electoral systems, the evolution of cooperation, and international relations. While there are no formal mathematical prerequisites for the course, some familiarity with mathematical reasoning and formalism is a must.


PSCI 284 Democratic Theory
James Johnson
Spring 2025 — T 14:00 - 16:40
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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 2025 — 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 296 Freedom and Domination in Black Political Philosophy
Alexander Moon
Spring 2025 — MWF 11:50 - 12:40
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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/INTR 393W Senior Honors Project
Casey Petroff
Spring 2025
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A year-long research project supervised by a faculty member in the department and culminating in a written work.


PSCI 394 Local Law and Politics Internships
Stuart Jordan
Spring 2025 ("W" Optional)
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Students in the Local Law and Politics Internships work 10-15 hours per week in one of a variety of internships in policy, politics and law in the Rochester area. Possible internship placements include the district offices of state and federal legislators, the City of Rochester municipal government, policy research and advocacy organizations, and the Monroe County District Attorney's and Public Defender's offices. Students supplement their hands-on learning with a series of short research-based writing assignments related to their internships. Contact professor Stu Jordan to learn how to apply. Students must have a B average and must be a sophomore, junior or senior to be eligible.


PSCI/INTR 394C Washington Semester Internship
Stuart Jordan
Spring 2025
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Please contact Professor Stu Jordan for more information.


PSCI 399 Washington Semester
Stuart Jordan
Spring 2025
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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 more information.


PSCI 405 Causal Inference
Anderson Frey
Spring 2025 — TR 9:40 - 10:55
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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.

Prerequisites: Undergraduates must obtain the instructor's (or a Political Science advisor's) permission to take this course. Students must have taken a sequence in calculus and have attended the Political Science two-week Math Bootcamp. The Math Bootcamp may be waived in rare cases where a student has already taken courses in multivariable calculus, linear algebra, and probability.


PSCI 408 Positive Political Theory II
Tasos Kalandrakis
Spring 2025 — 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.

Prerequisites: Undergraduates must obtain the instructor's (or a Political Science advisor's) permission to take this course. Students must have taken a sequence in calculus and have attended the Political Science two-week Math Bootcamp. The Math Bootcamp may be waived in rare cases where a student has already taken courses in multivariable calculus, linear algebra, and probability.


PSCI 512 Survey Methods
James Druckman
Spring 2025 — TR 11:05 - 12:20
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PSCI 535 Bureaucratic Politics
Lawrence Rothenberg
Spring 2025 — M 12:30 - 15:15
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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.


PSCI 556 Political Institutions and Behavior
Bonnie M. Meguid
Spring 2025 — T 12:30 - 15:15
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This course introduces the most distinctive configurations of democratic political institutions and the behaviors of citizens and elites that they induce. The political institutions include election rules, parliamentary and presidential executives, strong and weak legislatures, political parties and party systems. The behaviors studied include ideological and clientelistic party strategies and citizen voting, government formation and policymaking, and efforts to influence and to avoid constraints. We will consider multiple research approaches, the dynamics of stability and change, comparisons to electoral authoritarianism, and the effects of context.


PSCI 559 Historical Political Economy
Alexander Lee
Spring 2025 — F 9:30 - 12:10
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This course will introduce students to the vast and growing literature that uses modern methodological techniques to examine historical events and the historical origins of the modern world. Topics include colonialism, social inequality, the effects of conflict and critical junctures.


PSCI 573 Territory and Group Conflict
Hein Goemans
Spring 2025 — R 14:00 - 16:40
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This graduate seminar examines a long neglected topic: the role of territory in group politics. The goal is to build a basic understanding of why, when, how and which territory becomes contested. We will read from a broad range of disciplines. Each student is expected to write two short papers for two different sessions, which are not to exceed 1500 words. Each paper should provide an independent commentary of you own on some aspect of that week's readings. These papers form the background against which we will discuss the readings in class. In addition, each student is required to write a 20-25 page research paper, which focuses in depth on one of the discussed emerging research agendas. As in other graduate seminars, the course will be conducted almost exclusively through discussion. Hence it is crucial that students do the reading in advance, to set aside time to reflect on the readings, and to prepare comments and questions.


PSCI 576 Graduate Research Seminar
Casey Petroff
Spring 2025 — T 15:30 - 17:00
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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.


PSCI 580 Models of Non-Democratic Politics
Scott Tyson
Spring 2025 — W 14:00 - 16:40
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This course will study game theoretic models that address core themes in comparative politics, focusing on non-democratic settings. Substantive questions include: How do authoritarian rulers maintain power? Why do countries democratize? How do states monopolize violence and prevent civil wars? The goal of the course is to understand the mechanics of important models from the literature as well as the broader research agendas to which these models contribute. This goal will enable students to identify cutting edge research questions in these literatures. The only requirement is completion of the first-year formal theory sequence or an acceptable alternative. Grading will be based primarily on problem sets and a final paper.


PSCI 587 Structural Modeling and Estimation
Sergio Montero
Spring 2025 — TR 9:40 - 10:55
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By blending formal theory and statistical inference, 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, running the gamut from individual choice to strategic interaction, both static and dynamic. Depending on student interest, applications from political science, economics, finance, and marketing may be considered, but emphasis will be placed on the methodology with the aim of helping students expand their research toolkit.