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Course Catalog

UGRD > POLSCI

Political Science

  • POLSCI 101  Introduction to Politics

    Description:
    This course introduces and explores the conceptual vocabulary of politics. Though concerned with problems of political theory, it is designed not for theorists but for anyone who thinks, talks, or worries about the public world. A series of brief case studies is used to show how real-world outcomes are affected by our political ideas and assumptions.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 102  Government and Politics of the United States

    Description:
    An introduction to the structures, processes, and results of the American governmental system. The course focuses on the national government and national political behavior, although state, regional, and local structures and issues are also introduced. Topics include institutions of government, political principles and ideologies, public opinion, political socialization, political parties, mass media, elections, interest groups, civil rights and civil liberties, public policies and policy making.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 103  Introduction to Political Theory

    Description:
    This course consists of close readings of three texts considered foundational to the history of Western political thought: Plato's Republic, Machiavelli's The Prince, and Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto. It will examine the characteristic questions and problems raised by these texts concerning the nature of politics and justice, and examine what roles moral and epistemological knowledge might play with regard to both. Also considered will be questions of genre, history, and rhetoric, with special attention given to questions regarding authorial intent, readership, and audience.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 113G  Issues of Political Identity at the Turn of the Century

    Description:
    This course addresses the question of how and to what ends people choose a political identity, what it means to them, and what kinds of political commitments follow from it. Drawing on readings from across the disciplines, from fiction and the press, it examines political identity and some of the conflicts it can produce.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 201  Comparative Politics of Industrialized Societies (C)

    Description:
    Introductory survey of political systems in the industrialized world, including the United States, Europe, and Japan.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 202  Comparative Politicsof Third World Countries

    Description:
    Introductory survey of political systems in non-industrialized nations, drawing on examples from Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Course content focuses on the nature of the development process and the evolution of political institutions and practices.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 203  Public Policy (A)

    Description:
    The process of policy making and the manner and effects of policy implementation in states and localities.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 220  International Relations (B)

    Description:
    This course focuses on basic patterns and concepts which explain interactions among nations. Special attention is given to the role of ideologies, international organizations, conflict resolution, the impact of multinational corporations, underdevelopment, the international dimension of human rights, ethnic, "racial," religious, and gender differences, and the dynamics of globalization.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 224  The Political Novel (D)

    Description:
    This course studies some of the best novels concerning political conditions, ideas, and passions in our time. Franz Kafka, Andr Malraux, Arthur Koestler, George Orwell, and Ignazio Silone are among the novelists whose works are read. Such writers depict the plight of human beings; their works are broad in scope and philosophical in mood. Consequently they offer a superb opportunity for reflection and discussion concerning human nature, the human situation today, and the political possibilities and responsibilities that these put before us.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 245G  Reading the Newspaper

    Description:
    The newspaper is the most familiar and widely used of all complex printed texts. It plays a critical role in a democratic society by supplying information citizens need in order to understand and make competent judgments about the world. By examining how a world-class newspaper goes about its business, the course seeks to help participants become more skillful, rigorous, efficient, and critically self-aware readers.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 250L  Environmental Policymaking

    Description:
    This course provides an overview of environmental policymaking in the US and to a lesser degree internationally. It examines how environmental knowledge is turned into laws, regulations, management practices, and social behavior. Through case studies and role-playing, students experience the dynamic interplay of science, interest group politics, economic and institutional constraints, and value-based social movement organizing. ENVSTY 250L and POLSCI 250L are the same course.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 251  Ancient and Medieval Political Thought (D)

    Description:
    The origins and the early development of the main political ideas of the West. (Course offered in the fall only.)   More Info

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  • POLSCI 252  Modern Political Thought (D)

    Description:
    The history of Western political ideas from the time of Machiavelli to that of Marx and Nietzsche.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 265L  World War II Internment of Japanese Americans (A)

    Description:
    The US Government in 1942 commenced the internment of 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry. This course considers political, economic, legal, sociological and historical matters in the examination of this chapter in American life. The course encompasses experiences beyond the internment, including early Japanese immigration, the battle for redress and reparations, and the current status of Japanese and Asian Americans. ASAMST 265L and POLSCI 265L are the same course.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 280  Special Topics

    Description:
    This course offers study of selected topics within this subject. Course content and credits vary according to topic and are announced prior to the registration period.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 307  Political Change and Group Identity (C)

    Description:
    The course is concerned with the impact of group identity-racial, religious, ethnic, gender, sexual, class, national-on political systems.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 311  Political Parties (A)

    Description:
    The American political process, with emphasis on political parties, pressure groups, and public opinion.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 312  Political Economy I

    Description:
    This course is designed to introduce the undergraduate student to competing paradigms in economic thought and public policy. The course begins with a brief overview of the historical, philosophical, and psychological roots of political economy. It continues with an inquiry into conservative, liberal, and radical political economic perspectives. It concludes by applying these three perspectives to policy questions concerning economic development and income distribution.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 318  The Legislative Process (A)

    Description:
    The function of national and state legislatures, and the role played by political parties and interest groups in legislatures.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 320  Women, Politics, and Policy

    Description:
    This course exposes students to the field of women and politics in U.S. American politics. It investigates what a gender perspective adds to evaluations and understandings of politics and policy as well as ways in which gender influences policy outcomes, political perspectives, and political experiences. Collective action for, and on the behalf of, groups of women is a major focus as is the perspective of women of various races, social classes, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. The course covers: baseline trends and debates related to women and politics; gender movements and womens organizing from a historical perspective; political participation and public opinion; and, public policy.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 321  Diversity and American Public Policy

    Description:
    This course offers a survey of key public policy issues related to diversity and American public policy. It investigates theoretical perspectives on the role of group bases analysis for understanding public policy as well as specific public policy domains. Policy issues most relevant to race and ethnicity, social class, and gender and sexual orientation are systematically explored as well as a policy issue that works at the intersection of these group cleavages. The course provides the foundation from which to analytically engage the major policy issues of the day as they relate to diversity in the United States.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 322  Politics of Poverty and U.S. Social Welfare Policy

    Description:
    This course offers a survey of social welfare policy and the politics of poverty in the United States. It investigates the scope and frequency of poverty in the U.S., who is most likely to be poor, what has typified American responses to poverty, and the various explanations for why these conditions exist. Addressing these issues means that the potential role of group cleavages like race ethnicity, gender, and social class for determining public opinion and policy toward the poor is a central theme. The difficulties and relative efficacy of various forms of political action by the poor, on behalf of the poor, and against the poor are also considered. The course relies on empirical evidence, from authors across the ideological spectrum, to evaluate claims about the poor, poverty politics, policymakers, power, and social welfare policy.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 324  The American Presidency (A)

    Description:
    The powers, the limitations, and the organization of the Presidency in the American system of government.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 325  Public Administration (A)

    Description:
    A study of the bureaucratic process, emphasizing organizational behavior, changes in administrative institutions and theories, and the political role of bureaucracy.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 329  American Constitutional Law and Theory (A)

    Description:
    The development of the United States Constitution, chiefly through decisions of the Supreme Court. Emphasis on the origin and nature of judicial power, the way it inhibits and facilitates operation of the political process, and the search for standards by which to judge the judges.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 330  Presidential Elections (A)

    Description:
    The course examines systematically the process by which the President of the United States is chosen. Presidential recruitment, campaign financing, delegate selection, electoral procedures, media use and involvement, conventions, strategies and tactics, and other aspects of the presidential election process are covered. Most of these discussions take place within the context of recent elections.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 332  Civil Liberties in the United States (A)

    Description:
    An analysis of the constitutional rules governing civil liberties in the American system, primarily through decisions of the Supreme Court. Emphasis on five areas: freedom of the press and speech, freedom of religion, criminal procedure, reproductive rights, and school desegregation.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 335  Law and Public Policy (A)

    Description:
    The main objective of this course is to expose students to (1) different theoretical perspectives on law and public policy (concentrating on law and the courts), (2) some important substantive areas of law and public policy, and (3) broader questions regarding the study and practice of public policy in the United States. Although the focus is on "judicial" policymaking, the broader phenomenon of institutional development and interaction with societal forces is of special concern in this course. Class discussion and assignments are geared toward developing students' analytical skills so that they are able to examine policy issues from multiple theoretical angles and, thereby, to gain a critical perspective.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 338  Massachusetts Politics (A)

    Description:
    A study of state and local government and politics in Massachusetts, emphasizing its unique features as well as its similarities to other state systems.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 340  Boston: Cooperation and Conflict in the Urban Environment (A)

    Description:
    The course helps students become familiar with the historical backgrounds of Boston's social systems, which leads to investigation and discussion of the city's contemporary political and social problems. The materials for this course consist of scholarly writings, journalists' reports, government documents, judicial opinions, biographies, films, and slide lectures, all focused on Boston and the metropolitan region.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 344  Problems of Urban Politics (A)

    Description:
    Some of the issues raised by urbanization-are cities necessary? and is the relatively democratic structure of the American cities responsible for some of their problems? and has there been a revolution of rising expectations in urban life?-considered in historical and comparative perspectives.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 350  Political Research Methods

    Description:
    This course provides exposure to the major approaches to studying politics and is designed so that participants develop the skills necessary to both conduct their own research and critically evaluate the research of others. To facilitate these goals, the course is divided into four sections: (1) the politics and ethics of research; (20 conceptual issues in research ; (3) quantitative data collection and analysis; and (4) qualitative data collection and analysis.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 353  European Political Development (C)

    Description:
    An examination of the effects of revolution, industrialism and social and cultural change on the political institutions of England, France and Germany in the nineteenth century. The modernization of government and administration, electoral reform, and class and party politics, are among the topics considered from the perspective of their contribution to the establishment of democracy.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 355L  The European Union (B)

    Description:
    This course focuses on the political, economic, and social trends affecting national and intra-regional developments within various countries, as well as on the institutions and processes of the European Union as an emerging supranational entity. Also covered: The European Union's external relations, with particular attention to US-European issues. IR 355L and POLSCI 355L are the same course.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 360  The Government and Politics of Britain (C)

    Description:
    Political institutions in Great Britain. Comparisons with those in other Western democracies.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 361  The Politics of Eastern Europe (C)

    Description:
    This course focuses upon such issues in Eastern Europe as political leadership, political legitimacy and stability, the leading role of the Communist Party, the relationship between political culture and change, and Eastern Europe-Soviet relations. It explores the revolutions of 1989 and the post-communist political order.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 365  The Politics of Communication (C)

    Description:
    What is the difference between the evening news on television and the entertainment programming that follows it? How, if at all, have propaganda techniques changed from "Triumph of the Will" (a film made for Hitler more than 50 years ago) to contemporary political campaign spots? Why does the word "America" appear in so many commercial messages? Why does a dark blue suit carry authority, and why don''t men wear high-heeled shoes? Questions such as these (and others that are even weirder) go to the heart of the politics of communication-the study of the many ways in which the daily sending and receiving of messages serves not only to tie us together but also to establish and maintain social relations of domination. This course examines these matters from a variety of different theoretical perspectives and with the aid of all the communicative resources that can be mustered, including speech, print, films, slides, and video.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 367  Politics by Internet

    Description:
    An exploration of the political uses, abuses, and implications of the Internet and of the national information infrastructure of which it forms a part. Lecture and laboratory topics include national, state and local infrastructure; policy and policy reform; constitutional and legal protections and issues. The course also includes instruction in requisite skills for Internet use.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 368  Immigration Politics in Comparative Perspective

    Description:
    This class explores how and why migration occurs and what political consequences it has for the host countries and for the countries that immigrants leave behind. It explores how states attempt to manage immigration flows, which range from human rights abuses to direct encouragement. The class will also analyze theories explaining anti-immigrant attitudes, the reasons behind open or restrictive migration policies throughout the developed world and why these can lead to human rights abuses. In addition, the class considers the impact that host countries have on migrants' political attitudes and on issues on assimilation both social and economic. The emphasis will be on migration flows moving to Europe and the United States, but will also include, to a lesser extent, Australia, Japan and Latin America.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 369  Politics of the Middle East

    Description:
    This course traces the creation and transformation of Middle Eastern states, focusing on the development of their political systems and on their transition towards democracy. It explores the diversity of Middle Eastern states and analyzes the factors that contribute to the predominance of authoritarian regimes among them. In this respect, it examines the role of ideologies, -in which Islam and nationalism play key roles-, the nature of the party and family politics, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the ways in which economic developments impact political structures. It also focuses on the domestic, regional and international forces pushing for democracy in the region, central among which is the role of civil society and the changing pattern of foreign intervention in the region. The course pays attention to central themes such as modernization, development, democratization, state/society., state/military relations, all of which are key to any course in comparative politics and political development, two core categories in any political science program   More Info

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  • POLSCI 371  Latin American Poltc

    Description:
    An analysis of social structure and political behavior of various groups in Latin America, of a variety of political participation at grass roots and national levels, and of the influence of technologically advanced countries on the politics of Latin America.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 372  Central American Politics (C)

    Description:
    The study of the political and economic antecedents of the political situation in Central America, with emphasis on Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. The foreign policy of the United States and of other Latin American states toward the region is discussed, but emphasis is given to domestic politics.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 375  Third World Development (C)

    Description:
    Investigation of theories of interdependence, dependency, and neocolonialism. Special attention to North/South relations, various approaches to development and forms of assistance provided by the industrial countries, resource problems, and other political and developmental issues facing North and South.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 376L  Religion and International Relations

    Description:
    The course seeks to acquaint students with the roles of religion in the interactions of states. These roles include the states' sense of self and "other," the construction and subversion of international norms, the shaping of human consciousness for domination (oppression) and liberation, and in the fashioning of visions and processes by which human communities have sought to journey from local to more universal associations. IR 376L and POLSCI 376L and RELSTY 376L are the same course.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 377  Special Topics in Politics

    Description:
    Intensive study of topics in politics. Course content varies each semester.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 387  The Government and Politics of China (C)

    Description:
    A study of the influences shaping contemporary Chinese politics, both domestic and international, including revolutionary origins, the struggle for development, ideology, political structures, and ongoing social change.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 399  Conservative Political Thought

    Description:
    This course examines conservative political thought, with emphasis on its origins, development, variety, premises, aims, arguments, and public policy implications. Readings include major figures in the history of conservative political thought as well as recent and contemporary conservative writers. Students are required to make extensive use of resources available on the World Wide Web. While the focus of the course is largely on American conservatism, some attention is given to other varieties of conservatism as well. Issues include: How and why did conservatism emerge? What are conservatives for and what are they against? Does conservatism have an essential core of ideas, or does the content of conservatism vary according to historical conditions? Does conservatism require a belief in religion? How do contemporary conservatives understand important political controversies? What do conservatives propose as solutions to important problems in modern society? What might the future of conservatism be?   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 402  World Politics and World Order (B)

    Description:
    The study of recent developments in international law and organization, regionalism, the politics of economic interdependence, and arms control, with emphasis on the United Nations systems and the European communities. Examination of strategies for dealing with international conflict.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 404  The Politics of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

    Description:
    This course examines the Arab-Israeli conflict from a national and international perspective. It considers the competing historical and moral claims to the land, the creation of political facts, the rise of national consciousness and institutions, the influence of regional politics and the role of international forces in shaping the nature of the conflict and the means to resolve it.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 410  Pol Intrnatnl Econ

    Description:
    This course studies the relationship between the structure of the international political system and the structure of the international economic system, examines the reciprocal links between domestic political and economic policies of governments and their international behavior, and analyzes the socio-political choices which support the development and operation of such transnational institutions as the World Bank, the IMF, multinational corporations, cartels, and trading systems.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 411  International Organizations I (B)

    Description:
    The development of international organizations as a response to the needs of the international community, and as a functional approach to world peace. Emphasis on the United Nations and its specialized agencies.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 420  Imperialism (B)

    Description:
    This course is designed to examine the various purposes (economic, political, social, cultural) served by policies of imperialism, in both its overt and ambiguous forms, as an aspect of international relations in the nineteenth and twentieth and twenty-first centuries--eras marked economically by an international process of industrialization and globalization. Course material consists of analyses and explanations of the imperialist phenomenon advanced by both theoreticians (liberal, Marxist, realist) and practitioners.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 421  War (B)

    Description:
    An advanced course in international relations exploring the problem of war from many points of view, theoretical and practical. These include the history, nature, and causes of war, strategy in the course of war, legal and ethical questions, as well as proposals to avoid war (arms control, disarmament, social revolutions, etc.).   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 422  Nationalism (C)

    Description:
    The politics of nationalism viewed through a theoretical examination of its origins and development; focus on nationalism and patriotism, political violence, national character, nation, communications and state.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 424  American Foreign Policy (B)

    Description:
    Examines United States foreign policy in the post-World War II period. Focuses on both historical and institutional matters. Current issues are also given ample consideration.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 430  Russian Foreign Policy

    Description:
    Topics include continuity and change in Russian and Soviet foreign policy, the role of ideology, and national interest, the origin of the Cold War, and Sino-Soviet dispute and Soviet-East European relations.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 451  Queer Political Theory

    Description:
    Queer Theory is a field of study that critically examines sex, gender, sexuality, and sexual desire from a dissident and "gay affirmative" (Sedgwick) perspective. Its primary aims are the de-naturalization of (hetero)sexuality and (hetero)normative gender categories, identities, and expression. This course in Queer Theory is specifically focused on politics, and as such will consider two basic questions: (1) how, in what way, or to what degree is sexuality political? (2) What consequences do the answers to this question have for something called "queer politics"? We will explore possible answers to these questions by reading classic texts from the history of feminist and gay liberation, core texts from the initial emergence of Queer Theory in the 1990s, and important contemporary texts on queer and LGBT politics in the U.S.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 452  Feminist Political Theory

    Description:
    Understood as a political theory, feminism consists of two basic principles: freedom and equality. It is feminist because it is believed that these political principles must be realized within the context of gender the human categories men and women. In this course, we will critically interrogate the principles of freedom and equality, and what they mean within the terms of gender. The notions of women and men will also come in for critical scrutiny. Finally, we will consider the practical applications of these ideas in areas like politics, race, class, marriage, motherhood, family, work, rape, sexual harassment, sex work, the body, desire and sexuality.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 453  Democratic Theory (D)

    Description:
    This course explores ancient and modern theories of democracy in historical context. Topics include theories about leaders and their ends; the bases of representative democracy; the linkages between democracy and revolution; the relationship of democracy and economics; the issues related to democracy and difference; and the challenges for democracy in the twenty-first century.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 454  Recnt&Cntmp Pol Tght

    Description:
    A study of twentieth century political and social thought with incidental attention to certain influential thinkers of the nineteenth century.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 455  Problems of Political Theory (D)

    Description:
    A non-chronological study of the perennial questions dealt with by political philosophers. This course is concerned primarily with developing the students' capacity to think politically rather than with the history of ideas.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 456  Political Thought of Lincoln

    Description:
    This course will explore the intellectual journey of Abraham Lincoln and place him in the ranks of serious philosophers on the nature of man, God, and government. We will examine Lincoln's assertion that his entire political philosophy could be traced to the Declaration of Independence and its doctrine of natural law, consider his desire to preserve the Union in light of his conception of the immorality of slavery, and explore his constitutional understanding. Our reading will include a close examination of Lincoln's speeches and writings, as well as secondary sources.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 459  Karl Marx's Marxism (D)

    Description:
    An investigation of the origins of modern critical social theory through extensive readings from Marx's entire body of writings.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 468  American Political Thought (D)

    Description:
    An analytical and historical study of the development of American political thought and institutions.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 470  Christianity and Politics (D)

    Description:
    Reflections on political problems as seen from various Christian standpoints. Current problems and contemporary Christian thinkers are emphasized. Particular attention is paid to the diversity of insights that Christianity makes available and to the occasions for critical reflection that are thus provided.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 478  Independent Study

    Description:
    A course of reading and investigation designed to supplement regular departmental offerings. Topics are worked out by instructor and student. Regular papers are required.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 479  Independent Study

    Description:
    A course of reading and investigation designed to supplement regular departmental offerings. Topics are worked out by instructor and student. Regular papers are required.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 480  Special Topics

    Description:
    This course offers study of selected topics within this subject. Course content and credits vary according to topic and are announced prior to the registration period.   More Info

    Offered in:
    • TBA
  • POLSCI 488  Field Work in Politics

    Description:
    Carefully supervised field work, available only to a limited number of qualified students in any one semester. Written prospectus of the project, periodic conferences with a faculty advisor, and appropriate written work required.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 489  Field Work in Politics

    Description:
    Carefully supervised field work, available only to a limited number of qualified students in any one semester. Written prospectus of the project, periodic conferences with a faculty advisor, and appropriate written work required.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 490  Special Issues

    Description:
    Guided readings in special areas of politics. May be used for honors thesis. By invitation of department.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 491  Special Issues

    Description:
    Guided readings in special areas of politics. May be used for honors thesis. By invitation of department.   More Info

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    • TBA
  • POLSCI 492  Directed Readings in Politics

    Description:
    Reading of four to six books on a special topic and preparation of a 10-15 page critical analysis. Lists of topics and pertinent readings are prepared by individual faculty members. Upon completion of a project, students submit the required paper for departmental evaluation (on a pass-fail basis only). Limited to one project per academic year.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 495  Field Practicum in Politics

    Description:
    Full-time work in a government or political agency to help students integrate course work with practical training.   More Info

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  • POLSCI 499L  Seminar in International Relations (B)

    Description:
    A research seminar designed for two categories of students: a) political science majors with an interest and strong background in international relations; and b) students completing the International Relations Program (for whom the seminar will provide the context and guidance to carry out a "Senior Project" aimed at integrating their study of international relations). In either case, students spend most of their time researching, writing, and presenting a substantial paper. IR 499L and POLSCI 499L are the same course.   More Info

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