Harry Hirsch, Professor, Department Chair
Marc Jeremy Blecher, Professor
Stephen Crowley, Associate Professor
Paul A. Dawson, Professor
Matthew Gritter, Visiting Assistant Professor
Chris Howell, Professor
Ronald Charles Kahn, James Monroe Professor
Sonia Kruks, Robert S. Danforth Professor
Ji-Youn Lee, Visiting Assistant Professor
Kristina Mani, Assistant Professor
Maren Milligan, Visiting Instructor
Michael Parkin, Assistant Professor
Swapna Pathak, Visiting Instructor
David W. Orr, Paul Sears Professor of Environmental Studies
Eve Nan Sandberg, Associate Professor
Benjamin N. Schiff, Professor
Harlan Wilson, Professor
The department encourages students to consult a faculty member when they begin to consider a major in Politics. When declaring a major, students work with a faculty advisor to develop a program that fits the student’s interest and goals.
The Politics Major requires completion of: (a) a minimum of 30 credits in Politics, of which 20 must be above the introductory level; (b) intermediate (200-level) courses in at least three of the Department’s four fields-American politics, comparative politics, international politics and political theory; (c) a Politics research seminar (300-level) course. First Year Seminar courses taught by Politics faculty count towards the Politics major as introductory courses. At least fifteen credits must be taken from the Oberlin Politics Department. Courses graded beilow a C- will not count toward the major.
A minor in Politics consists of 15 hours in Politics, with at least two courses at the intermediate level or above. Courses must be in at least two fields. At least eight credits must be taken from the Oberlin Politics Department. Courses graded “D” will not count toward the minor.
Honors in Politics is a three-semester program in which students do sustained
independent reading and research under faculty supervision. A detailed description of the
program is available in the department office. Each January, the department reviews the
academic records of all junior majors and invites some of them to become candidates for Honors.
In the second semester of the junior year, such students normally undertake a junior project,
which consists of a research paper done in the context of a seminar or other course. (Students
who are away from Oberlin during that semester should consult the chair to work out an
alternative.) Students who successfully complete junior projects are invited to pursue Senior
Honors in one of the four departmental fields.
During their senior year, Honors students write a thesis and take oral and written
examinations, administered by an outside examiner, in their chosen field. Such students enroll for
Honors Research courses (POLT 403, 404) totaling two to five hours each semester. Because the
Honors Program builds on intermediate courses, we urge students interested in pursuing Honors
to enroll in courses in their expected field of interest as early as possible.
Department members who are participating in Winter Term sponsor projects including community service, off-campus internships, and other activities. Not all department members are available to sponsor Winter Term projects ( i.e. sabbatical leaves, etc.). Areas of particular interest are: Mr. Blecher: readings in comparative politics, Chinese and Asian politics, socialism, political economy, Marxism. Mr. Crowley: issues in post-communist politics, international relations of the Soviet Union and the former Soviet Republics, political sociology, theoretical issues in comparative politics. Mr. Dawson: local government and community service. Mr. Hirsch: Civil rights and civil liberties, including criminal law and the First Amendment; LGBT politics; American political thought, both historically and contemporarily.Mr. Howell: trade unions, political economy, left-wing parties, and readings in West European politics. Mr. Kahn: First Amendment, race and gender discrimination, urban politics, Federal courts and environmental issues, law and government. Ms. Kruks: feminist theory, contemporary continental theory, and history of political thought. Ms. Mani: peaceful conflict resolution, Latin American politics, international security affairs. Mr. Parkin: campaigns and elections, mass political behavior (voting, public opinion), media and politics, political psychology, quantitative analysis. Ms. Sandberg: international development, African politics. Mr. Schiff: international organizations, Middle Eastern politics, arms transfers and arms control, other topics in international politics. Mr. Wilson: history of political theory, environmental topics, utopias and dystopias, democratic theory, postmodernism and politics.
In addition, the department annually sponsors a January Winter Term Congressional Internship program. Information may be obtained from the department office.
The Oberlin Initiative in Electoral Politics
The department oversees a program of course
offerings (POLT 207, 421, 422) and paid, eight-week summer internships designed to interest
students in, and prepare them for, service in elective offices. Information is available from the
For more information on the Politics Department, courses and instructors, please visit our home page at www.oberlin.edu/politics
The following cross-referenced courses can be counted towards the Politics major or minor.
African American Studies (AAST)
- POLT 204 - Criminal Law
- POLT 270 - Law and the Supreme Court in American Political Development
- POLT 215 - Ethnicity and Nationalism in Divided Societies
- POLT 217 - Political Violence
- POLT 304 - Topics in Political Psychology
Oberlin Initiative in Electoral Politics