Fall 2017 Seminar Pre-Registration
Declared political science majors who would like to take part in seminar pre-registration will submit their rank-ordered preferences on the Fall 2017 Seminar Pre-Registration form. Students will identify, in order of preference, three seminars in which they would like to be pre-registered. Participants will be able to enter and revise their preferences from 9:00 am on Monday, July 31 through 5:00 pm on Thursday, August 10.
Students will also be asked to provide their cumulative GPA, and brief answers to the following questions:
1. Do you wish you write your senior essay in one the seminars selected? If yes, on what topic?
2. Do you have any previous course work that is related to the topics of the selected seminars?
3. Why do you wish to take these seminars?
When pre-registration closes at 5:00 pm on Thursday, August 10, the undergraduate registrar will forward the pre-registration selections to participating seminar instructors for review.
Notice of pre-registration assignments will be emailed to all participants no later than Friday, August 25.
Please keep in mind that the Political Science Department has developed a pre-registration system that is partial and voluntary - partial in that only a portion of the places in a seminar can be pre-registered and voluntary in that neither students nor faculty are obliged to participate. Participating faculty are asked to consider pre-registering up to 12 students in each undergraduate-only seminar they teach and up to 8 students in each seminar that is cross-listed either as a graduate course or with another department or program. Students who take part in pre-registration but are not selected for one of their ranked choices, will be able to shop remaining seminar spots during the course selection period.
Below is a current list of the fall 2017 seminars that will be open for pre-registration, along with a brief course description for each.
If you have any questions, please email the political science undergraduate registrar at email@example.com
Fall 2017 PLSC Seminars Participating in Pre-Registration as of 7/31/2017
Airpower in Modern War
NOTE: This is a new course. PLSC 134 will be offered during the fall semester and it should appear in OCI shortly. This course is scheduled to meet on Wednesdays from 9:25 – 11:15.
Seminar investigates the origins, evolution, and future applications of airpower in war from the earliest aircraft to modern drones. The course examines theories of airpower as well as debates over its effectiveness and the ethics of its use in diverse historical contexts and national experiences. Attention will be paid to research design as well as current policy debates about airpower in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.
Theoretical and empirical literature used to examine a host of questions about terrorism. The definition(s) of terrorism, the application of the term to individuals and groups, the historical use and potential causes of terrorism, suicide and so-called religious terrorism, dynamics within groups that use terrorism, and counterterrorism strategies and tactics. Theoretical readings supplemented by case studies.
The Euro Crisis
Examination of how Europe continues to struggle with repercussions of the Great Recession and the impact of the Eurozone crisis in countries such as Portugal, Ireland, Spain, and, especially, Greece. Topics include the euro as a viable common currency; why and how the Eurozone crisis erupted and spread; and whether this catastrophe could have been averted.
US Russian Relations since Cold War
Examination of the factors, political, socio-economic, and ideological, that have shaped United States and Russian relations since the end of the Cold War and how each country constructs relations with the other to advance its own national interests. Topics include specific issues in bilateral relations, including arms control, counterterrorism, energy, and regional affairs.
Examination of global policy problems, the acceleration of interdependence, and the role, potential, and limits of the institutions of global governance to articulate collective interests and to work out cooperative problem solving arrangements. Consideration of gaps in global governance and controversies between globalization and state sovereignty, universality, and traditio
Global Climate Governance
An overview of global climate governance, including overarching conceptual frameworks, a variety of empirical subdomains, interlinkages with other policy fields, and modeling central challenges encountered in global climate governance. Students prepare a range of individual and group assignments throughout the term.
Global Firms and National Governments
Interactions between large-scale firms that make international investments and policy makers and government officials in the “host” countries. National and subnational officials who work to attract investments (or not) and who set policies regulating global firms and their investments. Focus on less-developed countries. Theories as to why firms “globalize”; case studies of controversies created by overseas corporate investments; the changing economic landscape associated with investments by countries such as China, Brazil, and India.
Europe, the United States, and the Iraq Crisis
Examination of the contrasting relations between the main European powers and the United States in their approaches to Iraq in order to understand the divisions attending the 2003 war and the subsequent transfer of sovereignty. Topics include the Iran-Iraq War (1980–88), the first Persian Gulf crisis (1990–91), the sanctions regime (1991–2002), problems of peacekeeping and nation building, and the Obama exit strategy.
Political Preferences and American Political Behavior
Introduction to research methods and topics in American political behavior. Focus on decision making from the perspective of ordinary citizens. Topics include utility theory, heuristics and biases, political participation, retrospective voting, the consequences of political ignorance, the effects of campaigns, and the ability of voters to hold politicians accountable for their actions.
Democracy and Sustainability
Democracy, liberty, and the sustainable use of natural resources. Concepts include institutional analysis, democratic consent, property rights, market failure, and common pool resources. Topics of policy substance are related to human use of the environment and to U.S. and global political institutions.
U.S. National Elections
An investigation of electoral realignments, voting for president and Congress, voter turnout, incumbency advantage, nominations, and campaign finance.
Interest Groups, Money, and Influence in American Politics
NOTE: This is a new course. PLSC 231 will be offered during the fall semester and it should appear in OCI shortly. This course is scheduled to meet on Tuesdays from 9:25 – 11:15.
What is the role of money in politics? How is it used to influence public policy? In this course we will read contemporary research by social scientists on topics including campaign finance, lobbying, and interest group formation and maintenance that help to answer these questions.
Political Journalism and Public Policy
The effects of political journalism on American public policy from 1960 to the present. Focus on changes in the media during the past few decades. The Dewey-Lippmann debate on the role journalism should play in politics, marketing in the 1968 presidential campaign, broadcast news and audience fragmentation in the 1970s, media dysfunction and the Clinton and Obama health care initiatives, the Internet, hyperpartisanship, media bias, and recent gun control initiatives.
The Making of Political News
The processes through which political news gets made. How the form and content of political news are shaped in and through the ongoing relationships between political operatives and journalists; ways in which these actors attempt to structure and restructure such relationships to their benefit.
Journalism, Liberalism, Democracy
The news media’s role in configuring the democratic public sphere, from the early synergy of print capitalism and liberalism through the corporate consolidation of mass media and the recent fragmentation and fluidity of “news.” Classical-humanist and civic-republican responses to these trends.
Democracy and Distribution
This course is scheduled to meet on Mondays from 2:00 – 4:00.
An examination of relations between democracy and the distribution of income and wealth. Focus on ways in which different classes and coalitions affect, and are affected by, democratic distributive politics. Open to juniors and seniors.
Liberty in Politics, Markets, and Society
Key questions regarding liberty explored through critical examination of classic texts by Locke, Montesquieu, Smith, Tocqueville, and Mill. The definition, origins, and foundations of liberty; whether liberty in some realms might require the restriction of freedom in others.
A close reading of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, along with major influences, such as Rousseau, Pascal, and Montesquieu, and near contemporaries, including Constant, Guizot, and Marx. one course in political theory, philosophy, or intellectual history.
Justice, Taxes, and Global Financial Integrity
Study of the formulation, interpretation, and enforcement of national and international tax rules from the perspective of national and global economic justice. Previous courses in one or two of the following: law, economics, political science, or political philosophy.
Moral Choices in Politics
A study of how and why people make costly moral choices in politics. Figures studied include Thomas More, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Václav Havel, and Aung San Suu Kyi.
Latin American Political Thought in Comparative Perspective
Diego von Vacano
NOTE: This is a new course. PLSC 307 will be offered during the fall semester and it should appear in OCI shortly. This course is scheduled to meet on Thursdays from 1:30 – 3:20.
The main purpose of this course is to explore various traditions in the history of Latin American political thought. In this course we shall examine key texts in the history of political theory in the Spanish-American continent through the lens of ‘Comparative Political Theory.
Exile, Statelessness, Migration
An interdisciplinary examination of exile, statelessness, and migration. Consideration of the meaning of exile as opposed to migration or banishment; whether a stateless person is also in exile, how the theme of exile is rooted in the Jewish condition of “Galut;” and how these conditions throw light on democratic societies. Authors include Hannah Arendt, Judith Shklar, Judith Butler, and contemporary authors such as Linda Zerilli and Bonnie Honig. Prerequisites: strong background in political philosophy, 19th or 20th century intellectual history, literary studies, or permission of the instructor.
Political Thought and Human Experience
NOTE: This is a new course. PLSC 333 will be offered during the fall semester and it should appear in OCI shortly. This course is scheduled to meet on Tuesdays from 3:30 – 5:20.
This seminar will examine the way political thinkers have traditionally analyzed politics. We will consider their focus on formal political and legal arrangements, and in particular the limits of this approach for the understanding of politics, society, and human experience. Particular attention will be paid to the importance of informal norms, with insights from neighboring disciplines like history, economics, philosophy, and anthropology. Readings include, Aristotle, Locke, Rawls, Frans De Waal, Jane Jacobs, James Scott, Elinor Ostrom, Thoreau, Michael Oakeshott, and William Barrett, among others.
Political Polling and Survey Sciences
NOTE: This is a new course. PLSC 340 will be offered during the fall semester and it should appear in OCI shortly. This course is scheduled to meet on Mondays from 3:30 – 5:20.
This course will teach you about academic studies of public opinion, the industry of political polling and forecasting, and the scientific approach to conducting surveys. We will take a two-pronged approach that includes 1) the psychological mechanisms that drive individuals to answer survey questions in specific ways, and 2) the scientific underpinning of conducting and analyzing surveys in such a way that makes polling results accurate.
Introduction to Research Design
Maria Jose Hierro
Introduction to principles of research design in political science. The process of scientific research. Modes of hypothesis testing: Large-n statistical research designs, comparative research designs, case studies, formal models, experiments, and mixed methods.
Scientific study of the processes, causes, and consequences of democratization and how to apply insights gained from such study to evaluate public policy discourse. Topics include the emergence of modern democracy in the nineteenth century; the rise of fascism in inter-war Europe; the breakdown of democracy in Latin America; the collapse of communism and the resurgence of authoritarianism in Eastern Europe; and the Arab Spring and its aftermath.
The European Union
This course examines the institutions, politics, and policy-making role of the European Union. After considering the origins and institutions of the European Community and Union, it considers the relationship between the EU and the European public. It considers whether, as some have argued, there is a “democratic deficit” in the EU and, if so, what, if anything, can be done about it. Related to that question, it considers the extent to which Europeans identify with and support the EU and why so many Europeans have been attracted to euroskeptic, often xenophobic, parties in recent years. One of the most consequential manifestations of that euroskepticism was, of course, the vote in the June 2016 UK referendum to leave the EU. The course will consider why the British voted to leave, the likely outcome of the exit negotiations now underway between the UK and the EU27, and the likely consequences of Brexit for the UK and the EU. The course then turns to a consideration of public policy in the EU, focusing in particular on several ongoing policy-related crises that have occurred in recent years. It will consider the long-running and still-continuing eurozone debt crisis – specifically, the design flaws and implementation failures in Economic and Monetary Union that led to the crisis, the institutional response to the crisis, and the consequences of that response for the EU and the member states. It will also consider the consequences of the enlargement of its membership that occurred after the end of the Cold War, the continuing process of enlargement that may, in time, bring several countries in the Western Balkans and several others as well into the EU, and the challenge of maintaining democratic politics and the rule of law in some of the recent arrivals. And it will consider the relationship between the EU and Russia and the other post-Soviet states. In that regard, it will consider in particular the EU’s relationship with Ukraine, Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the seizure of territory and power by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014, and the still-unsettled conflict in that area. Finally, it will consider the ongoing crisis resulting from the large migration to Europe of refugees from the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya and other war-torn countries of Africa, the Middle East and Asia over the past several years and the efforts undertaken to alleviate the flow of refugees and resettle those who have arrived among the member states. The course will conclude with a consideration of the EU’s effort to articulate a regional and global strategy for itself and the likely role of a post-Brexit EU in the region and world.
Referendums and Democracy
The study of crucial cases of popular referendum, some recent and some older, to understand why they are held, how voters approach them, and whether they are normatively justified in democratic theory. Topics include: Britain remaining in the European Union, Ireland legalizing same-sex marriage, Colombia accepting a peace deal to end a decades-long civil war.
Issues in contemporary Turkish politics, particularly continuity and change in historical institutional legacies, with specific focus on internal contradictions between these legacies (Ottomanism, Kemalism, secular versus religious nationalism, and Islamism). Major issues include Turkey’s “divided society” concerning the ends of state; secularism versus Islamism; top down reformism versus majoritarianism; and minority rights.
Contemporary Spanish Politics
Maria Jose Hierro
Spanish politics in comparative perspective. Overview of Spain’s recent history, introduction to the Spanish political system, and discussion of relevant issues in Spanish politics today. Topics include transitional justice, the economic and institutional crisis, corruption, nationalism, ETA terrorism, and Catalan secessionism.
Populism from Chavez to Trump
Investigation of the nature of the populist phenomenon and its impact on politics, society, and the economy in various regions of the world. Conceptual and methodological analyses are supported by comparative assessments of various empirical instances, from populist politicians such as Hugo Chavez and Donald Trump, to populist social movements such as the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.
Comparative Constitutionalism and Legal Institutions
Introduction to the field of comparative constitutional law. Constitutional texts, materials, and cases drawn primarily from those constitutional democracies that are also members of the Group of Twenty Nations and that respect judicial independence.
Islam and Nationalism in the Arab Spring
NOTE: This is a new course. PLSC 404 will be offered during the fall semester and it should appear in OCI shortly. This course is scheduled to meet on Tuesdays from 1:30 – 3:20.
The course will focus on events and case studies following the Arab Spring of 2011. It will discuss national and religious components that lie behind the uprisings in the Middle East. The Seminar elaborates on the developments, types and patterns in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia in North Africa; Syria and Jordan in the fertile crescent; Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen in the gulf.
Microfoundations of Japanese Politics
NOTE: This is a new course. PLSC 405 will be offered during the fall semester and it should appear in OCI shortly. This course is scheduled to meet on Wednesdays from 3:30 – 5:20.
This course examines Japanese politics from a comparative perspective. By critically surveying literatures from political science, economics, psychology and sociology, we will explore how Japanese politics and society work and examine how Japan resembles and differs from other democracies. We will cover a variety of topics such as elections, gender discrimination, immigration, disaster relief, economic policy, and foreign policies. Special attention will be paid to structural changes Japan has faced such as population aging and the rise of China, and their implications to Japan and its role in the world. As a secondary goal, this course will encourage students to develop the skills for evaluating and constructing causal arguments about politics across time and space, and students will become familiar with how to study empirical implications of causal arguments.
Comparative Welfare Policy in Developing Countries
Examination of public and private welfare systems in the developing world. Analysis of the evolving relationships between kin or community and states and market. Particular attention to the politics of contemporary reforms.
A survey of research on the phenomenon of political violence, including riots, political assassinations, military coups, terrorism, civil wars, and certain types of organized crime. Connections between different forms of political violence; ways in which the rise and decline of each form shape the presence or absence of others.
Conflict and Peace in Northern Ireland
NOTE: This is a new course. PLSC 431 will be offered during the fall semester and it should appear in OCI shortly. This course is scheduled to meet on Wednesdays from 1:30 – 3:20.
The three-decade long civil conflict in Northern Ireland known widely as The Troubles formally ended in 1998, with a peace agreement often lauded as the most successful of its kind in modern history. But both the conflict and the peace have been messier and arguably more divisive than most outside observers have realized. This course relies on both theoretical and empirical literature to examine a host of questions about the insurgency and uneasy peace in Northern Ireland in an advanced, discussion-based undergraduate seminar.
Business and Government after Communism
Reassessment of business’s place in society—and its relations with government—in an era when alternatives to capitalism are moribund. Topics include the role of business in regime change, corruption and attempts to combat it, business and the provision of low income housing and social services, and privatization of such core functions of government as prisons, the military, and local public services. Prerequisites: three courses in political science.
Comparative Legislative Politics
NOTE: This is a new course. PLSC 459 will be offered during the fall semester and it should appear in OCI shortly. This course is scheduled to meet on Wednesdays from 9:25 – 11:15.
This course explores the consequences of institutional design for legislative politics around the world. It relies heavily on research from the US Congress juxtaposed with the parliamentary and presidential systems of Europe, Latin America, and Asia and examines topics like legislative organization and legislator behavior, executive-legislative relations, and legislative elections and electoral accountability.