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Courses

POLS 100: Visions of Justice
1 course credit

Examines different philosophical, literary, and technological visions of a just society from Plato’s
Republic to the present. Includes discussion of freedom, equality, revolution, and “the good life.”

POLS 103: American Politics
1 course credit

A study of the constitutional foundations, political processes, and institutions of American
government on the national, state, and local level. Also focuses on current and perennial issues
in domestic and foreign policy.

POLS 120: Film and Politics
1 course credit

Film and visual images can help us understand contemporary politics. The film industry is often
influenced by larger political forces and it has been used by governments to propagate particular
ideologies. Films, documentaries and television programs often shape the public’s perception of
politics. The course will examine both the politics of movie making and politics in the movies. Each
time the course is taught it will focus on themes such as the American presidency, elections and
campaigns, law and order, war and terrorism, race, class and gender, civil rights and social justice.

POLS 200: Introduction to Comparative Politics
1 course credit

Examines diverse forms of national politics, including industrialized democracies, communist
regimes, and developing nations. Also examines the basic conceptual and methodological tools
of comparative political inquiry.

POLS 202: Modern Japan
1 course credit

A study of the social, economic, and political development of modern Japan, emphasizing
Japanese responses to problems posed by contacts with the West.

POLS 227: Political Geography
1 course credit

This course provides an introduction to the idea that there is a definite geographical perspective
which should be accounted for within the study of political behavior. Political Geography may
be broadly defined as the study of spatial organization and of the variation within political
phenomena (institutions, processes and behaviors) which is spatially dependent. We will focus
upon diverse questions such as the impact of territory and natural resources on the conduct of
International Relations (Geopolitics); the institutions and processes available to accommodate
intra-national regional diversity (federalism, etc.); the political representation of territory
via electoral systems and the redistricting process; and the impact of residential segregation
processes on the structuring of voting choices, to give but a few examples.

POLS 244: Religion and Politics (Cross-listed as RELG 244)
1 course credit

The “secularization” thesis prevailed among the social scientists
during the 1950s and 1960s. This thesis assumed that under the influence of industrialization,
urbanization, and modernization, religion will become less important in the public and the
private spheres. The emergence of highly politicized religious movements have posed a severe
challenge to the secularization thesis. In this course, we will explore the relationship between
religion and politics by examining contemporary movements such as the Christian Right in the
U.S. Hindu fundamentalism in India and political Islam in the Middle East and South Asia.

POLS 245: The Politics of Developing Nations
1 course credit

A study of selected developing nations and the problems posed by rapid political and economic
development. Topics include: leadership strategies, the impact of modernization on traditional
cultures, and the role of political ideology.

POLS 250: Special Topics
.5 – 1 course credit

POLS 270G: Introduction to International Relations
1 course credit

A study of global and regional relationships, including state and non-state actors. Explores the
influence of nationalism, economic rivalry, power politics, and international organizations on
global behavior. Also explores the nature and causes of war.

POLS 295: The Politics of Criminal Justice
1 course credit

This course explores the central concepts, institutions, policies, and controversies of criminal
justice in the United States. Included are components on police work, courts, corrections,
and the formulation of criminal justice policy. Students will be encouraged to develop a “nuts
and bolts” familiarity with day-to-day practices of criminal justice in the U.S., a philosophical
understanding of criminal justice as an ideal, and the critical skills needed to make a meaningful
comparison between the ideal and current practices.

POLS 310: Issues Seminar
1 course credit

Provides an up-to-date look at emerging local, state, national, and international issues as well as
emerging scholarly perspectives in political science. Joins attentiveness to the latest “news” with
current analytical tools of the profession. Includes organization of at least one debate open to
the campus. This course could be repeated for credit.

POLS 311: Parties and Elections
1 course credit

A study of American parties and elections as well as the problems faced by candidates for public
office. Students are expected to participate in current political campaigns. Offered in election
years.

POLS 320: The United States Congress
1 course credit

This course will broadly examine the legislative branch of the United States government.
Topics will include: congressional elections, the legislative process, committees, inter-branch
negotiations, and spatial theories of voting. The roles of Congress in our political system are
twofold: to represent the interests and concerns of the citizenry; and to make law and policy
for the nation—to “govern.” In addition to describing how Congress goes about these roles,
we want to analyze them. How does representation affect governance? How has Congress
developed over time? What is its relationship to other branches of government, especially to
the presidency? How does the organization of Congress shape the behavior of its members? The
answers to these questions, and more, will be discovered in this course.

POLS 321: The American Presidency
1 course credit

This course takes a detailed look at various aspects of the American presidency. It examines,
among other things, the history of the presidency, the extent of presidential powers relative
to presidential responsibilities, the relation of the president to congress, the performance of
presidents relative to public expectations, and the future of the presidency. It also focuses on the
living history of the presidency through close attention to current events.

POLS 333: U.S. Foreign Policy
1 course credit

Introduces students to the history of American foreign policy as well as key issues, concepts,
and debates in the field. Includes examination of the policy-making process and key figures who
have made their mark on U.S. foreign policy. Pays special attention to the transition from the
Cold War era to that of the “new world order.”

POLS 351: Constitutional Law: Institutional Powers and Restraints
1 course credit

This class will develop an understanding of the case law related to the powers of the judiciary,
legislature, and president. There is also an extensive look at the relationship between these
branches and between the national government and the states.

POLS 352: Civil Liberties
1 course credit

Introduction to the philosophical bases and historical development of constitutional civil
liberties. Substantial emphasis is placed on the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Bill of
Rights. Investigation of cases dealing with the First Amendment and the right to privacy is
especially prevalent.

POLS 366: International Organizations
1 course credit

This course examines the role of international organizations in world politics. It begins with
a historical perspective, looking at the evolution of international organizations from the end
of the nineteenth century to the present. It then looks at various theoretical approaches to
international organizations. The course closes with case studies of the United Nations and the
International Monetary Fund.

POLS 375: Environmental Politics
1 course credit

An analysis of environmental politics and policy on the national and international levels.
Features an emphasis on case studies.

POLS 395: Constitutional Issues
1 course credit

A study of current constitutional issues in light of constitutional history, philosophical
principles, and our ever-changing sociopolitical context.

POLS 397: States and Markets
1 course credit

Through an integration of perspectives and most recent research from the four main areas of
political science—comparative politics, international relations, American politics and political
philosophy—this course will examine the shifting relationship between political authority and
the economy. Open to juniors and seniors.

POLS 409. The Supreme Court
1 course credit

This course is intended to provide insight into the workings of the United States Supreme
Court. We will cover subjects that include, but are not limited to: how justices are chosen to sit
upon the court; the reasons why the Supreme Court makes the decisions it does; and the impact
of the Supreme Court on the political and legal landscape in the United States.

POLS 411: Political Philosophy from Plato to the Present
1 course credit

(Cross-listed as PHIL 411) A historical survey and philosophical analysis of political philosophy
from ancient Greece to the present. Includes works by Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes,
Locke, Rousseau, Marx, and Mill.

POLS 414: American Political Thought
1 course credit

Examines ideas, themes, and debates at the center of American political discourse as it
has evolved since colonial times. Students will be asked to apply the course material to
contemporary politics and society.

POLS 415: Senior Seminar
1 course credit

Concentrated study of an issue in political science. Students work on research projects that
deal in depth with substantive and methodological problems associated with the subject area.

Prerequisite: Senior standing.

POLS 420: Independent Study or Internship
.5 – 1 course credit

Includes selected readings, research, written reports, conferences, and/or work with government
officials as arranged with the instructor.

Prerequisite: Junior standing.

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