Chris Howell, Department Chair 14-15, Professor,
Marc Jeremy Blecher, Professor
Stephen Crowley, Professor
Paul A. Dawson, Professor
Harry Hirsch, Professor
Ronald Charles Kahn, James Monroe Professor
Sonia Kruks, Robert S. Danforth Professor
Kristina Mani, Associate Professor
Michael Parkin, Associate Professor
David W. Orr, Paul Sears Professor of Environmental Studies
Eve Sandberg, Associate Professor
Benjamin N. Schiff, Professor
Jade Schiff, Assistant 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 10 Courses (40 credits) in Politics, of which 7 Courses 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 5 Full Courses must be taken from the Oberlin Politics Department. Courses in which a student has earned a letter grade lower than a C- or P cannot be used to fulfill the requirements of the major.
A minor in Politics consists of 5 Courses in Politics, with at least two courses at the intermediate level or above. Courses must be in at least two fields. At least 3 Courses must be taken from the Oberlin Politics Department. Courses in which a student has earned a letter grade lower than a C- or P cannot be used to fulfill the requirements of the minor.
A student with a score of 5 on the American Politics, Comparative Politics, or General Politics AP exam will earn one full course (within the maximum limit of five full courses of work accepted before matriculation) toward the Politics major and toward graduation requirements.
The honors program consists of a thesis based on original research conducted over the course of the senior year and written and oral exams conducted by a scholar from institutions beyond Oberlin on a student’s honors-related coursework in the Politics Department.
Eligible juniors selected in mid-year by the Politics Department are invited to apply for admission to honors. Admission is conditional upon submission by the end of the spring semester of an appropriate writing sample and a detailed statement of interest. During the senior year, honors candidates will work closely with a thesis advisor and also participate in an honors seminar in both the fall and spring semesters.
A full description of the honors program is available in the Politics Department office.
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 every year. 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, U.S. foreign policy. Mr. (Ben) Schiff: international organizations, Middle Eastern politics, arms transfers and arms control, other topics in international politics. Ms. (Jade) Schiff: contemporary political theory; politics and literature; phenomenology and politics.
In addition, the department annually sponsors a January Winter Term Congressional Internship program. Information may be obtained from the department office.
Note that the application deadline for these internships is normally early in the Fall semester.
The Oberlin Initiative in Electoral Politics
The department oversees a program of course offerings (POLT 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 department office, and the applicaton deadline is normally in late October.
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)
First Year Seminar Courses