Course Descriptions

  • POLS 110: Introduction to Politics
    Basic concepts in political science; selected political systems outside of the United States; some reading in political theory; and topics in international relations. Note: Politics 110 is not a prerequisite for Politics 120. (Meets GEC First-Year Writing Requirement.)
  • POLS 120: Introduction to American Politics
    Origins of the American political system, basic institutions, political parties and interest groups, and evolution of constitutional interpretation.
  • POLS 205: Introduction to Forensics

  • POLS 210: Pol. of West. Europe & Euro. Union
    Analysis of the political institutions and public policies of selected Western European nations as well as of the European Union.
  • POLS 211: Islam in Africa
    (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • POLS 212: Politics of the Third World
    This course will highlight special topics relating to Third World nations, e.g., delayed industrialization; the lingering impact of colonialism; power and authority in nonindustrial countries; and recent democratization trends. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • POLS 214: Politics of South Africa
    This course examines the historical, socio-cultural, economic, and political evolution of the Republic of South Africa. Students will learn about the nature, dynamics, and transformation of South Africa from the precolonial period and the era of apartheid to the emergence of black majority rule in the modern multiracial, democratic South Africa. The course analyzes the nature of the economy, race and ethnic relations, liberation theology, the armed struggle, and the democratization process. In addition, the course reviews the role and interrelationships of South Africa to its neighboring African states and the foreign policy of South Africa toward the United States and other major powers in the international system. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • POLS 215: Asian Politics
    This course will discuss contemporary political systems in India, China, and Japan with due consideration of major historical influences such as imperialism and war. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • POLS 216: Politics of Middle East
    Study will focus on issues of modernization; the nature of Middle East governments; the past and present impact of religion on the region's culture and socio-political system; the Arab-Israeli conflict and its implications for world peace; and the impact of oil on the economy and regime stability in the Persian Gulf region. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • POLS 217: African Politics
    A survey of the geography, social and political history, and postindependent politics of Black Africa. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
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  • POLS 219: Politics of Latin America
    An introduction to politics and social change in Latin America. Study will focus on several Latin American countries and on special topics such as human rights, religion, the military, land reform, women, and population policy. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • POLS 220: Political Parties
    American parties, pressure groups, and electoral problems.
  • POLS 221: The Presidency
    An analysis of the executive in national government. There will be special emphasis on recent elections.
  • POLS 222: Congress
    The U.S. Congress is studied with respect to representational styles, institutional roles and organization, and electoral trends.
  • POLS 223: Urban and Suburban Politics
    Problems of political and social organization in central cities and suburbs. Topics include local political parties, machines, mayors and city managers, and differences between big-city and suburban politics.
  • POLS 224: Mass Media and American Politics
    An analysis of the influence of the mass media on American political institutions and American attitudes. Topics include First Amendment issues, political campaigns, political movements, public opinion, advertising, and entertainment.
  • POLS 227: Campaigns and Elections
    This course examines the nomination procedures and election of political candidates focusing on Congressional & Presidential campaigns. Specifically, we will study the role of political parties, interest groups, race, gender, public opinion, the media, and electoral reform in political campaigns and elections.
  • POLS 228: Amer Founding&Popular Sovereignty
    As familiar as these opening words of the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution may sound to us, they have inspired a great deal of debate about how best to institutionalize 'the rule of the people.' Through an examination of classic texts and debates from the U.S. founding to the present, we will seek to refine our understanding of the ideal of popular sovereignty by focusing in depth on the American political experience. Topics to be covered include representation, federalism, and constitutional revision.
  • POLS 230: Religion and Politics
    This course will examine the complex social, historical, and intellectual forces that impact the relationships between religion and politics. Students will begin by exploring the historical genealogy of Western ideas about the proper role of religion in the public square. We will draw from various theoretical approaches in order to better understand particular case studies, including: Christian and Buddhist monks during the Vietnam War; Islam and democracy in Turkey; the head scarf debate in France; Islamic art in post-authoritarian Indonesia; religion and violence in Sri Lanka; liberation theology in Central and South America; and, colonialism and Catholicism in the Philippines. We will critically reflect on the role of religious ideology as well as the ways in which religious explanations of politics and violence can obscure more enduring histories of power relations. No prerequisites. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • POLS 240: American Foreign Policy
    This course explores the important historical events and ideologies that have shaped American foreign policy since the founding of the Republic. We study the models of foreign policy making in the area of national security, the world economy, international law and human rights, and the global environment. Special emphasis is placed on the strategic choices facing President Obama.
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  • POLS 241: Great Power Politics 21st Century
    A survey of the international politics of the United States, the European Union, Russia, China, Japan, and emerging powers, including India, Brazil, and Indonesia, in relation to contemporary problems in international economic, security, humanitarian, and environmental affairs. Particular attention is given to how the United States has sought to leverage its dominant position in the international system since the end of the Cold War to advance its interests and how these countries and international actors have responded to American power. The implications of China's rise to global power status on American primacy and world order are also considered.
  • POLS 242: Islamic Fundamentalism
    This course examines the theoretical roots of Islamic fundamentalism, demonstrating differences between this and classic Islam. The fundamentalists' definition of Islamic government and their reformulation of the concepts of community, the Jihad, gender, Islamic economics, and relations with the West will be surveyed. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • POLS 243: Islam and Europe
    The course examines social, political and cultural relations between Europe and its minorities on the one hand and Europe and the larger Muslim world on the other. Its content is both historical and contemporary. The course begins with an introduction in Islamic faith, its expansion and the history of Islam-Europe relations. In the second part, students are invited to explore contemporary questions such as: Muslim minorities in Europe; relations between Europe and the larger Muslim world; Muslim majority countries and their relations with Europe; and Muslim political violence in Europe. (Prerequisite: POLS 110 or permission of the instructor. Meets the GEC diversity requirements.)
  • POLS 245: Essentials of World Politics
    The course surveys contending theoretical approaches to the study of world politics. It considers the role of the international system, nation-states, and individuals and other non-state actors and their impact on political outcomes in recent years. The course also explores contemporary issues in world politics related to war and peace, economic prosperity and deprivation, international governance, the global environment, and human rights.
  • POLS 260: Introduction to Legal Studies
    Questions of law and justice reflect our most basic human values, drawing on ancient religious and humanistic traditions but adaptable to a modern, post-enlightenment world. This introductory course provides an interdisciplinary curriculum by which students explore the different ways that society uses legal ideas, policies, institutions and processes to pursue justice, order and the allocation of property rights.
  • POLS 262: Race & Politics in Age of Obama
    Racial attitudes and beliefs have gone through dramatic changes in the last 100 years. African Americans once considered an 'inferior' race to that of Anglos now have political power at all levels of government, including the Oval Office. Our examination of race and politics begins with the passage of the Civil Rights Bill in 1965. We will seek to understand how a gradual series of changes in the political power and ambitions of African Americans post- 1965 took an exponential leap forward with the election of a bi-racial, BlackBerry toting, former law professor to the nation's highest office. We will explore what the election of President Obama has meant for Black politics (e.g., many African American leaders have criticized the President for not supporting policies that would benefit their community). We will also examine how the President is portrayed by his most angry critics and what this means for the success (or failure) of his presidency. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • POLS 264: Race & Gender in Amer Politics
    In this course we will explore the complex relationship between race and gender in the American political process. How do underrepresented racial groups and women attain legislative success? What role does identity politics play in influencing voter decisions? We will examine how race and gender affect political behavior, public policy, American political culture, and the overall political landscape. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity requirement.)
  • POLS 266: The Judiciary
    This is an examination of the federal court system, focusing on the United States Supreme Court. Students will study the constitutional beginnings of the federal judicial branch and its position vis a vis the two other branches of government. We will examine the history of the United States Supreme Court, the politics of presidential appointment of judges, selected case law over the course of the Court's history and its impact, personalities on the Court and the Court's decision-making process.
  • POLS 291: Tutorial
    To be arranged individually with an appropriate faculty member.
  • POLS 309: Equity & Social Justice in Educ
    POLS 309: Equity and Social Justice in Education

    This course intends to examine notions of 'equity' and 'social justice' in the context of three aspects of education: the historical founding of U.S. schools on oppressive ideals; the ways in which race, gender, and sexual orientation affect and disrupt one's experiences of schooling; and the evolution of the efforts to work against these phenomena within the field of education. The course will explore equity and social justice from a variety of perspectives and through different texts, including analytical journal articles and personal narratives. Readings and discussions will be based heavily on the local world of public education as a microcosm of these issues as they have played out nationally and internationally.
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  • POLS 310: State and Nation-Building
    This seminar focuses on the nature, dynamics, and strategies of state and nation-building processes within the modern international state system. Students will examine the mechanisms utilized to forge and facilitate national consciousness among the fragile, developing post-colonial states of Africa and other Third World countries. Dominant theoretical paradigms and empirical case studies that focus on the salient differences among nation-states, nations in search of states, and states in search of nations will be discussed. Other subjects include the role and relevance of nationalist ideology in our modern world and the causes, mechanisms, and consequences of ethnic conflicts and separatist movements in both developing countries and advanced industrialized states.
  • POLS 312: Campaigns and Elections
    This course examines the nomination procedures and election of political candidates, with a focus on significant historical campaigns, congressional and presidential campaigns, and the influence of political institutions. Specifically, we will study the role of political parties, interest groups, race, gender, political behavior, public opinion, the media, and electoral reform.
  • POLS 316: Globalization & the Islamic World
    This course explores the effects of globalization in the Islamic world. Traditionally, scholars have studied the politics of the Muslim world in terms of nation-states and national politics. This course examines how globalization has changed this paradigm by focusing on the transnational, global dimensions of politics as they affect the Muslim world. The first part of the course provides a theoretical framework for understanding the concept of globalization while also providing a basic introduction to the Islamic world. The second part analyzes issues pertaining to the globalization's impact in the Islamic world, including transnational Islamic movements (both violent and peaceful), global Muslim business activities, challenges facing Muslims living as minorities, dilemmas concerning Islamic legal and moral doctrines, changing gender roles in the global era, and the question of human rights. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • POLS 318: Topics in Comparative Politics
    Topics such as 'Women in the Third World,' 'The Politics of Jerusalem,' and 'Crime and Punishment.' (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • POLS 320: Comparative and International Educ
    POLS 320: Comparative and International Education: Education as the Practice of Freedom

    This course examines both the study and practice of comparative and international education. The course is organized with a multidisciplinary perspective with analysis of history, theory, methods, and issues in comparative and international education. A major goal of the course is to interrogate the linkages between education and society. Recurrent themes will be examined to demonstrate how every educational system not only arises from but also shapes its particular socio-cultural context. Students will have the opportunity to deepen and expand their knowledge of educational issues within a global context. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • POLS 321: US Energy & Environmental Policy
    Examination of policy processes surrounding energy and environmental regulation. Topics include production and use of energy resources (oil, gas, coal, nuclear, and renewable energy); foreign policy implications of energy supplies; environmental problems related to energy use and economic development (e.g., ozone layer depletion, carbon dioxide buildup); and American attitudes toward nature and the environment.
  • POLS 328: Topics in American Politics
    Seminar examining selected topics on political issues, institutions, or problems such as race and criminal justice. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement, depending on topic.)
  • POLS 339: Comparative Nationalism
    An examination of the ethnoterritorial, linguistic, and religious bases for nationhood and statehood in multicultural states, with an emphasis on contemporary crises in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • POLS 340: World Politics
    Continuity and change in international relations; consideration of the causes of war and the conditions of peace. Examination of balance- of-power systems and collective security. Consideration of theories of international political economy. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • POLS 345: Int'l Rel of Middle East
    This course introduces students to the main arguments and concepts in international relations regarding the proliferation and control of weapons of mass destruction. It studies the theory of arms proliferation and control, focusing on why states want these weapons, why they have sought to regulate them, and how proliferation affects international security. It also surveys recent case studies of arms proliferation and control, including the U.S.-Russian nuclear deterrence regime and new challenges to it, nuclear proliferation in South Asia, Northeast Asia, and the Middle East, and recent developments in the area of biological and chemical weapons. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
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  • POLS 348: International Organization & Law
    This course covers the history of international law since the Peace of Westphalia emphasizing core legal concepts such as sovereignty and nonintervention and a study of the role of the United Nations in world politics with brief surveys of the European Union, OAS, and OAU. The course will combine lectures and class discussion as well as preparations for those students who will be participating in the College's Model United Nations Program.
  • POLS 353: Topics in Political Theory

  • POLS 354: Pol Theory: Critics of Democracy
    Modern political thought is based on ideas of equality, individuality and individual liberty, private property, and an overall idea of progress. These ideas developed especially in the thinking of Locke, Smith, and Mill. But as modernism grew, so did its critics. This course will establish some basic theories of modernism through readings in the liberal tradition and then study its opposition through the writings of Burke, Rousseau, Tocqueville, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Marcuse, and Arendt as well as contemporary anti- and postmodernists.
  • POLS 355: Family Structure & Political Theory
    An examination of traditional political theory looking to questions of sexuality, child-rearing, marriage, and family construction and how these crucial issues affect political organization. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • POLS 356: Educating Kings and Citizens
    Societies and their philosophers have been devoting attention to what and how and by whom children and young adults should be taught since Plato wrote the Republic over 2,000 years ago. Today's debates over feminism, traditionalism, ethnocentrism, religion, etc., in education merely echo what has come before. Past thinkers asked two essential questions: Which members of society should be educated and what do they need to know? Readings include those by Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Locke, Rousseau, Dubois, Washington, Dewey, and others.
  • POLS 357: Justice and the Law
    Political societies must make all manner of judgments about what is just. We must distribute goods, determine crimes, give punishments, and create legislative districts, all with an eye to some idea of justice. Is justice fairness? Proportional? Equitable? Different political and legal theorists have approached these questions differently. Using both traditional political theory texts and contemporary legal theory, we will explore questions of justice and the law and whether justice can be found within the law or is external to it. Readings include those by Plato, Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke, Thoreau, Mill, King, Rawls, Gunier, and contemporary legal theorists.
  • POLS 360: American Constitutional Law
    A study through Supreme Court cases of major themes in American constitutional law from 1789 to the present.
  • POLS 365: Civil Liberties
    Problems in civil liberties and civil rights, relating law to political culture. U.S. Supreme Court cases, materials from other countries, and selected theoretical works. Focus is on the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment.
  • POLS 390: Internship
    To be arranged individually with an appropriate faculty member.
  • POLS 391: Tutorial
    To be arranged individually with an appropriate faculty member.
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  • POLS 395: Internship
    Relates theory to practice by placing students in governmental agencies, community interest groups, and other political environments. (Two course credits.)
  • POLS 480: Senior Seminar

  • POLS 490: Internship
    To be arranged individually with a faculty supervisor.
  • POLS 491: Tutorial
    To be arranged individually with a faculty supervisor.