Mar 20, 2023  
Course Catalog 2022-2023 
    
Course Catalog 2022-2023

Course Search


This is a comprehensive listing of all active, credit-bearing courses offered by Oberlin College and Conservatory since Fall 2016. Courses listed this online catalog may not be offered every semester; for up to date information on which courses are offered in a given semester, please see PRESTO. 

For the most part, courses offered by departments are offered within the principal division of the department. Many interdisciplinary departments and programs also offer courses within more than one division.

Individual courses may be counted simultaneously toward more than one General Course Requirement providing they carry the appropriate divisional attributes and/or designations.

 

Physics

  
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    PHYS 340 - Physics of Materials

    FC NSMA QFR
    4 credits
    This course will explore the physical properties of several classes of materials including metals, semiconductors, ceramics, polymers, and composites. The properties will be discussed in relationship to theories of atomic, electronic, and/or band structure. Emphasis is placed on those features (optical, magnetic, electrical, and mechanical) important for technological applications.
    Prerequisites & Notes: PHYS 212
  
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    PHYS 410 - Statistical Mechanics

    FC NSMA QFR
    4 credits
    Thermodynamics, classical and quantal statistical mechanics, entropy, temperature, chemical potential, ensembles. Applications include magnetism, phase transitions, heat capacities of gases and solids, thermal radiation, ideal fermion and boson gases.
    Prerequisites & Notes: PHYS 312 or CHEM 339 and MATH 231
  
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    PHYS 411 - Electrodynamics

    HC NSMA QFR
    2 credits
    Maxwell’s equations. Electromagnetic energy and momentum. Waves and radiation. Relativistic electrodynamics.
    Prerequisites & Notes: PHYS 311
  
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    PHYS 412 - Applied Quantum Mechanics

    HC NSMA QFR
    2 credits
    Quantum mechanics applied to atoms and molecules, including time-dependent perturbation theory and the quasiclassical (WKB) approximation.
    Prerequisites & Notes: PHYS 312
  
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    PHYS 418 - Laboratory Physics

    FC NSMA QFR WADV
    4 credits
    Students learn physics laboratory techniques and apply them to perform experiments chosen from the fields of atomic, condensed matter, nuclear, particle, and optical physics. The course consists of two laboratory sessions per week. Students will keep a laboratory notebook detailing their experiments and write up their results in a combination of short reports and longer, journal style papers. Students also give oral presentations on two of their experiments. Course may be taken twice for credit.
    Prerequisites & Notes: PHYS 212
  
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    PHYS 451 - Special Problems in Physics and Astronomy

    HC NSMA
    2 credits
    Special coursework or research projects for students at all levels who are prepared to work independently.
  
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    PHYS 555 - Research

    FC NSMA
    4 credits
    Projects for individual investigation. Consent of instructor required.
    Prerequisites & Notes: Interested students are encouraged to speak with faculty members about possible projects. Students in the Physics Honors program are required to enroll.
  
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    PHYS 910LA - Mechanics and Relativity (Lab)


    2 credits
    This course can only be taken by students who have completed PHYS 910LE. It consists of the laboratory part of PHYS 110: a study of Newtonian mechanics and special relativity, focusing on conceptual understanding, problem solving and laboratory work. Topics include point-particle dynamics, conservation principles, oscillation, systems of particles, rotation; time dilation, length contraction, and the relativity of simultaneity. This is the first course in a three-semester calculus-based introductory sequence.
    Prerequisites & Notes: This is a stand alone Lab course that can only be taken by students who have completed PHYS910LE.
    Students must complete PHYS 910LA to receive a final grade for PHYS 910LE. The transcript grade for PHYS 910LE will appear as an asterisk until completion of PHYS 910LA. Grades for lecture and lab will be combined for a final grade.

    Prerequisite: MATH 133.
    Concurrent or prior enrollment in MATH 134 is highly recommended as it is a prerequisite for PHYS 111.
  
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    PHYS 995F - Private Reading - Full

    FC NSMA
    4 credits
    Private readings are offered as either a half or full academic course and require the faculty member’s approval. Students who wish to pursue a topic not covered in the regular curriculum may register for a private reading. This one-to-one tutorial is normally at the advanced level in a specific field and is arranged with a member of the faculty who has agreed to supervise the student. Unlike other courses, a student cannot register for a private reading via PRESTO. To register for a private reading, obtain a card from the Registrar’s Office, complete the required information, obtain the faculty member’s approval for the reading, and return the card to the Registrar’s Office.
  
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    PHYS 995H - Private Reading - Half

    HC NSMA
    2 credits
    Private readings are offered as either a half or full academic course and require the faculty member’s approval. Students who wish to pursue a topic not covered in the regular curriculum may register for a private reading. This one-to-one tutorial is normally at the advanced level in a specific field and is arranged with a member of the faculty who has agreed to supervise the student. Unlike other courses, a student cannot register for a private reading via PRESTO. To register for a private reading, obtain a card from the Registrar’s Office, complete the required information, obtain the faculty member’s approval for the reading, and return the card to the Registrar’s Office.

Politics

  
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    POLT 100 - Introduction to American Politics

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This course provides a broad introduction to American politics with an emphasis on historical and contemporary issues and debates. We will consider a range of questions dealing with various aspects of American political institutions, elite and mass political behavior and public policy.
  
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    POLT 110 - Revolution, Socialism and Reform in China

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    We begin with a chronological overview, from ancient times to the present. Then we proceed topically, focusing on: politics and the state; political economy (industry and agriculture); gender; population; environment; and cultural politics. Written work consists of two take-home, open-book essays, and weekly blogs.
    This course is appropriate for new students.
  
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    POLT 111 - Theater and Politics

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    From ancient Greek tyrants to contemporary direct action protests, theater has appeared as both a vehicle and a metaphor for expressing our collective life. This course will explore connections between theatrical depictions of politics, or politics on stage, and the performative nature of politics, or politics as stage. What roles must individuals adopt in daily life in order to have their voices heard? What does trhe language of “performance” contribute to our understanding of politics?
  
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    POLT 113 - Comparative Politics of Developing Countries

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    In this course, we will analyze topics that are central to understanding the politics across the developing world, including the importance and origins of institutions, democratic and authoritarian regimes, the role of the state, political representation and accountability, clientelism, and political violence. By focusing on the research being done on the politics of developing countries by political scientists and other social scientists, the course hopes to introduce several methodological approaches to tackle challenging questions.
    This course is appropriate for new students.
  
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    POLT 116 - The Theory and Practice of Contemporary Left Politics

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This course examines the nature, causes and consequences of the transformation of Left politics in capitalist democracies over the last half-century. The course begins with the experience of postwar social democracy and eurocommunism in order to understand their achievements and limitations. It then analyzes the rise of more recent forms of Left politics including new social movements (such as environmental and peace movements), the Third Way, contemporary anarchism (including Occupy and Antifa), radical anticapitalist parties (such as Syriza and Podemos), and identity politics.
    This course is appropriate for new students.
  
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    POLT 119 - Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This course will introduce students to the field of Peace and Conflict Studies, an inter-disciplinary field that examines the causes of human aggression and conflict, with such conflict ranging in scale from the interpersonal to the international. We will survey the approaches of various disciplines to understanding violent conflict, explore potential links between violence and such factors as perceptions of injustice, and critically evaluate nonviolent means for resolving conflict.
    This course is cross-listed with PSYC 118


    This course is appropriate for new students.
    Community Based Learning
  
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    POLT 120 - Introduction to International Politics

    FC SSCI WINT
    4 credits
    This course surveys the major theories and concepts of international politics, and applies them to the discipline’s enduring questions. Topics include: the evolution of state sovereignty; causes of war and peace; inequality and the politics of the global economy; the construction of the post-WWII International Order and its challenges; and the emergence of non-state actors.
    This course is appropriate for new students.
  
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    POLT 121 - Current Challenges to World Order

    HC SSCI
    2 credits
    Students in this course will join the second half of POLT 120 Introduction to International Politics, as we take up a series of current issues that are major challenges to the international state system:  pandemics, climate disruption, complex terrorism, economic inequality and poverty, and human rights justice.  Students will have weekly online lectures, engage through online postings and videoconferenced group discussions, and will write a final paper on a contemporary global issue.
    Prerequisites & Notes: Students currently in POLT 120 should not register for this course.
  
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    POLT 130 - Being Political: Political Theory and Political Action

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    What is politics? What does it mean to “be political”? When and where does politics occur, and what does it look like? We will critically investigate concepts of political action and the sties of politics from ancient Greece to the present. Authors will include: Plato, Locke, Machiavelli, Marx, William Connolly and Iris Young.
  
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    POLT 134 - Political Theory Live: Thinking in Practice

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    Political reflection doesn’t start in books. It starts in the world-on the street, among friends, on talk shows and in newspapers, and in legislatures among other places. In this course we will take theory live. We will find it in the world and reflect upon it, using particular texts as touchstones to think about such themes as virtue, power, justice and freedom. Our aim is to establish the relevance of political thinking not just as an academic pursuit, but as an everyday activity. Likely texts include Plato’s Republic, Hobbes’ Leviathan, Arendt’s The Human Condition, and Foucault’s Discipline and Punish.
    This course is appropriate for new students.
  
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    POLT 136 - Authority and Rule: An Introductory Survey

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    Can good rulers be virtuous? What does it mean for “the people” to rule? Why do people want to submit to laws and leaders, anyways? This course provides a broad introductory survey to these timeless questions of political theory. Engaging readings ranging from Plato to Ibn Tufayl to contemporary theories of policing, the course will introduce students to the Western debate on the nature of political authority.  
    This course is appropriate for new students.
  
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    POLT 205 - Political Research and Analysis

    FC SSCI QFR
    4 credits
    This course focuses on the quantitative approach to studying political phenomena. Students will learn how to design an empirical study, test theoretical predictions, and statistically analyze complex political questions using the computer program R. Students will have the opportunity to conduct an empirical research project on a question of their choosing. This course provides students with methodological skills that will be useful in both academic and professional settings. No prior background in math or statistics is necessary. Note: Not open to students who have taken Politics 204.
  
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    POLT 207 - Social Movements and the Policy Process

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    Group-based political action, in many ways, drives the making of policy in a democratic society. This course connects the activities of contemporary social movements in the United States to policy in a variety of domains, including gun policy, women?s rights, and criminal justice reform, as well as an ostensibly nonpolitical domain: college athletics. Topics will include how movements form and persist, the strategies they use to influence policy, and whether they are successful and why.
  
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    POLT 208 - Environmental Policy

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This course introduces students to the foundations, evolution, actors, content, goals, and future of environmental policies in the U.S. We will contrast federal policies with initiatives in local communities, at the State level, in other countries, and at the international level. By navigating through various levels of governance, this course builds a typology of environmental policies highlighting distinct assumptions, interests, approaches, and agendas of key players in the development and implementation of policy.
    Prerequisites & Notes: Prerequisites: ENVS 101
    Notes: Restricted to ENVS and POLT majors.
    This course is cross-listed with ENVS 208


    Sustainability
  
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    POLT 209 - American Political Institutions

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This class is designed to expand students’ knowledge of US political institutions and their interactions with one another and covers Congress, the presidency, the bureaucracy, courts, and state and local political institutions. The primary aim of this class is to provide a deeper understanding of the field built upon the information presented in the American Politics introductory course.
    Prerequisites & Notes: POLT 100 or similar recommended
  
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    POLT 210 - Latin American Politics

    FC SSCI CD WINT
    4 credits
    An introduction to Latin American political development since early 20th century. Uses comparative analysis to examine the region’s major political models and their protagonists. Focus on the role of the state; major theories and policies of economic development; the regimes and practices of authoritarianism, populism and democracy; the military; contemporary challenges to democracy.
    This course is cross-listed with ARTS 342, HISP 342


  
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    POLT 211 - Revolutions

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    What leads some societies to rise up in revolution, while others suffer in silence? Why do some revolutions succeed, and others fail? Are revolutions effective means of social change, or do they merely reproduce the problems inherited from the past? This course will examine a number of revolutions, both violent and nonviolent. We will ask whether recent global changes render revolutions obsolete, or whether they can persist as a means of social and political transformation.
  
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    POLT 212 - Political Economy of Development in Asia

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    A survey of relationship of politics and economy in India, China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, including: legacies of historical structures; effects of imperialism; state formation; rural development; industrial development; finance; international economic relationships. Key issues include: capitalism vs. state socialism; export-led industrialization vs. import substitution; the position and role of labor. Written work consists of two take-home, open-book essays, and weekly blogs.
  
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    POLT 213 - The Politics of Oil

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    Extractive industries-especially the oil industry-play an outsized role in domestic and international politics. This course focuses primarily on the colonial and neocolonial politics of oil: oil wars, the resource curse, and the power of transnational corporations. It links between (literal) resource extraction and (figurative) extraction of value from financialized economies. Each student researches and represents a country in debating the creation of a new international organization to govern oil and climate change.
    This course is appropriate for new students.
  
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    POLT 214 - Social and Political Change in Eastern Europe

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    This course focuses on Eastern Europe as the first relatively backward region in the world capitalist system. We will begin with some major theories of social change and a historical introduction to the region. Next, we will turn to communist revolutions, Stalinism, reform communism, the rise of dissent and the revolutions of 1989. Much of the course will be devoted to the post-communist era, attempts to build democracy and capitalism, and the rise of nationalism.
    This course is cross-listed with SOCI 230


  
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    POLT 215 - The Autocratic Turn

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    As of 2019, more than half of the world’s people live under non-democratic governments (V-Dem Institute, 2020). This course takes a comparative and historical approach to the study of authoritarianism. How does authoritarianism vary across space and time? How do authoritarian practices diffuse across countries? Is there an “autocratic playbook” that leaders follow? Can we observe autocracy at the sub-national or local level? Case studies will be drawn from all world regions.
    This course is appropriate for new students.
  
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    POLT 216 - The Political Economy of Advanced Capitalism

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This course is an introduction to comparative political economy, broadly defined as the mutual interaction between democratic states and capitalist markets. It examines how the triangular relationship between the state, labor and business differs from one advanced capitalist country to another. The course will examine the political economies of Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, the United States and Japan. It will pay particular attention to globalization; deindustrialization; the political economy of race, gender and class; challenges to the welfare state and trade unions; neoliberalism; financialization; and the Great Recession and its aftermath.
  
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    POLT 217 - Queer Comparative Politics

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    This course surveys contemporary LGBTQIA+ experience in different countries using the tools of comparative politics. How are gender and sexuality defined differently in different contexts? How are they (de)politicized? How do queer politics interact with national politics and global human rights discourse? Is there such a thing as a global queer community? Along the way, we will consider how it is possible to decolonize both knowledge about queer experience and comparative methods.
  
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    POLT 218 - Settler Colonialism in Comparative Perspective

    FC SSCI WINT
    4 credits
    In recent decades, “settler colonialism” has become a frequently invoked analytic and political category. It has been used to describe past and present relations between dominant and subordinate populations in locales as diverse as the United States, Australia, Ireland, South Africa, Algeria, Korea, and Israel/Palestine. This course will examine both well-known and more obscure case studies in an attempt to answer the following questions: Which features of the “classic” settler-colonial states are definitive of settler colonialism, and which are contingent or variable? How does settler colonialism differ from “traditional” colonialism and international legal designations like “apartheid” and “occupation”? What have been the different paths to “decolonization” where it has occurred, and what implications might past patterns hold for the future of existing settler-colonial states?
  
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    POLT 219 - Work, Workers and Trade Unions in Advanced Capitalist Societies

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This course examines the nature and organization of work in capitalist societies, and the forms of labor organization created by workers. It is a comparative course, looking at Western Europe, Japan, Australia and the United States. Among the topics covered are: conflict and cooperation in the workplace, the intersection of race, class and gender at work, types of trade unionism, the labor process, new union strategies and the role of the state and employers in the regulation of class relations.
  
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    POLT 220 - International Security

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    In its Latin origins, security connoted safety and ?freedom from care.? Yet today, the study of international security has become conflated with the study of war and militarism. How did we arrive here? Has the pursuit of security made the world more or less safe? Security for whom, and in whose name? This course examines the multiple meanings of security and challenges to its attainment: e.g. nuclear war; climate change; terrorism; land dispossession; global poverty.
  
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    POLT 222 - Comparative Foreign Aid Studies

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    Why do taxpayers in countries that have many needs at home send their money abroad to other countries? Why do different countries give at different levels? What is the impact of aid (bilateral, multilateral, tied, project, military, voluntary) on aid recipients and donors? How does competition among China, Russia, the EU, and U.S. influence foreign assistance practices? Answering these questions requires applying select theories of international relations and political economy; these theories and empirical evidence will inform debates/discussions in the course. Students can select one sector (health, education, military, economic development, democratic governance, children, women, youth, employment, etc.) for cross-country study, or choose to broadly research one aid-recipient country and write 1) a briefing paper (overview) and 2) a prescriptive policy memo. A final essay exam, class participation, and Blackboard postings will be required. Course activities will include skill building in researching sources and indexes, writing briefs, memos, and comparative literature reviews.
    This course is appropriate for new students.
  
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    POLT 224 - The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This course aims to familiarize students with the conclusions of current scholarly research on 1) the principal actors and watershed events in the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict, and 2) the internal conflicts and external relationships affecting Israeli and Palestinian societies that shape and constrain possibilities for a durable peace. Particular stress will be placed on understanding how wars affect states and political organizations and how the ideological and structural features of states and organizations complicate or enable the search for peace. Key features of the conflict will be interpreted as both a clash between competing political projects and a reflection of global political power struggles. Attention will be given toward the end of the course to the clash of contemporary social movements aimed at influencing U.S. policy towards Israel, and to alternative paradigms for a possible resolution to the conflict.
    This course is cross-listed with JWST 224


  
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    POLT 225 - U.S. Foreign Policy and the Anti-Apartheid Movement

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    This course considers theories and practices of: African apartheids, collaboration across countries by anti-apartheid activists; NATO’s role protecting white African regimes (Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Rhodesia and South Africa); the roles of Cuba, China, and the USSR regarding apartheid; the US Congress and Presidents JFK to GHW Bush and Africa; the “front-line states” and the UN; two Oberlin College anti-apartheid African leaders - John Dube and Eduardo Mondlane.
  
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    POLT 228 - US Foreign Policy

    FC SSCI WINT
    4 credits
    Students will analyze foreign policy theories concerning the President, Congress, the bureaucracy, and those hoping to influence the policy making process. Students will study some pivotal moments in U.S. foreign policy, and some recent Presidential foreign policy doctrines. We will analyze some current foreign ‘hot spots’ confronting the United States in 2022. Course activities will include skill building in writing briefs, memos, comparative literature reviews, and utilizing government documents.
  
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    POLT 229 - Politics & Power of International Law

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    What role does international law play in the conduct of global politics? The last century has seen states embrace legalization in a bid to find legal solutions for global problems. At the same time, international law has never developed - and likely never will develop - the kind of enforcement mechanism that anchors domestic legal regimes. This course explores this paradox while working to bridge an understanding between what international law is, as a body of highly technical rules that aim to govern the globe, and the impact that this comparatively recent embrace of international law has had on global politics.
  
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    POLT 231 - Justice, Virtue, and the Good Life

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    What does it mean to live a good life? How do different understandings of justice and injustice, virtue and vice, help us to answer that question? How do they draw boundaries between those who get to enjoy a good life and those who do not? We will explore these questions in conversation with ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary thinkers. Authors include Plato, St. Augustine, Locke, Weber and Lorde.
  
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    POLT 233 - Political Ideas and Ideologies

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    The course investigates major issues and debates associated with such modern political ideologies as colonialism, imperialism, nationalism, and totalitarianism. The key questions that will be raised are 1) whether the colonized ought to adopt violence as a method of resistance to colonial wrongs and 2) whether nationalism is a necessary path toward emancipation from imperialist domination. After addressing these theoretical issues, we will turn to a specific topic in political ideology that contemporary politics is facing: radical Islamism.
    This course is appropriate for new students.
  
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    POLT 234 - Critical Theory and Its Legacies

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This course explores the origins and trajectories of critical social theory: a form of social-scientific inquiry that, following Marx, seeks to be simultaneously descriptive and normative, understanding the world in which we live in order to change it.  Beginning with Marx and the theorists of the Frankfurt School, the course tracks the various iterations and permutations of critical theory down to the present day.
  
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    POLT 235 - Political Theory of Human Rights

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    What is a right, and what is a human right? How do we justify human rights, and are these justifications philosophically sound? How extensive should rights be? This course examines the origins, content, and scope of human rights while considering their political value and challenges to their application. We are concerned primarily with analyzing the normative character of human rights, though the latter part of the semester discusses some of the issues they raise in particular contexts. 
    This course is appropriate for new students.
  
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    POLT 236 - Rebellion and Revolution

    HC SSCI
    2 credits
    On January 6, 2021, the US Capitol was breached for the first time since the War of 1812, when it was burned by the British in retaliation for an attack on the Canadian capital of York (now Toronto) by American troops. January 6 was different in a crucial way: The Capitol was ransacked not by foreign troops but by American citizens. Whether we call it an attempted coup, a thwarted rebellion or-as the article of indictment against President Trump called it, an “insurrection”-it was an attack on the constitutionally legitimate government to be led by President Biden. What are the natures, causes and purposes of rebellion and revolution? In this short course we will explore that question by reading closely the work of John Locke, Karl Marx, Hannah Arendt, Frantz Fanon and Albert Camus. We will also examine several declarations of rebellion/revolution in light of what we learn from those authors.
  
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    POLT 237 - Politics after Religion? A Search for Political Authority

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This course surveys some of the most influential political thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It traces the growing skepticism of theorists on both the Left and Right towards the “Enlightenment project,” the idea that technological advance, open markets, rational administration, and more inclusive education would ultimately dissipate the primary sources of political conflict, making way for a harmonious-and secular-society that had less and less need for the “social glue” of religion.
    This course is appropriate for new students.
  
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    POLT 239 - Marxian Theory

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    A survey of Marxian theory from Marx and Engels to the present. Following in-depth study of Marx and Engels, we proceed to leading Marxist thinkers and political activists of the early 20th century: Bernstein, Luxemburg, Kautsky, Lenin and Gramsci. Finally we take up critical theory, Marxian feminism, Marxian environmentalism, crisis, and the future. The course includes Monday and Wednesday lectures and discussion groups on Tuesday (tba). Written work; two take-home, open-book essays, and weekly blogs.
  
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    POLT 240 - Militarization of Global Politics, Economy & Society

    HC SSCI CD
    2 credits
    Organized by the International Studies Program, this interdisciplinary, mini-course will invite a large number of expert speakers to cover pressing issues of the militarization of global politics, economy, and society in recent history and current international affairs. Course sessions will take the form of lectures or panels with external speakers coming from various disciplines and areas of expertise. Topics covered will include; militarization of U.S. politics, economy & society; constitutional & international legal dimensions global militarism; arms trade and the U.S. Middle East/South Asia; armed conflicts in East Asia; military institutions and the state in Latin America.
    This course is cross-listed with HIST 240


  
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    POLT 241 - Anti-Semitism and White Supremacy

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    From “White Lives Matter” to “Jews will not replace us,” America has recently witnessed a resurgence of white supremacist and anti-Semitic political activity under the rubric of “white nationalism.” This course offers a U.S.-focused, comparative exploration of anti-Jewish and white supremacist ideology and politics. It examines their shared roots in European Christian societies; the different ways they were transposed to North America through conquest, colonization, and slavery; and their subsequent evolutions, intersections, and organized manifestations.
    This course is cross-listed with JWST 241


  
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    POLT 244 - Politics of Transitional Justice

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    How do states and societies deal with the legacies of large-scale human rights violations? Transitional justice refers to the judicial and non-judicial measures used to redress these violations, including international criminal tribunals, truth commissions, reparations, and the construction of collective memory. Through cases drawn primarily from Latin America, we explore the theoretical and practical dilemmas transitional justice presents for societies; we also explore how international norms and domestic practices have interacted to shape contemporary debates over principles such as universal jurisdiction and the responsibility to protect. Prerequisite: One course in Politics (highly recommended: POLT 120)
  
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    POLT 245 - Human Security

    HC SSCI CD
    2 credits
    How does the international political system affect human well-being? Can institutions and norms of human rights, international justice, and conflict prevention protect people from the effects of economic inequity, environmental degradation, and war? The course addresses these questions, and examines whether the concept of human security offers a viable alternative to national security.
    This course is cross-listed with HIST 245


  
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    POLT 250 - Neoliberalism: Origins, Problems, Possibilities

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    Neoliberalism is frequently invoked in contemporary political discourse, but what exactly is it and what can or should be done about it?  This course aims to answer these questions by interrogating historical and contemporary writings on the topic of neoliberalism. The first half of the course surveys the writings of thinkers associated with the Mont Pelerin Society (e.g. Hayek, Röpke, Friedman, Popper, Polanyi) and the second half brings these writings into conversation with diverse contemporary perspectives on neoliberalism as a political project.
  
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    POLT 251 - Political Responsibility

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    Actions always have consequences. In politics, who is responsible for those consequences, to whom, and why? How can we hold others responsible and assume our own responsibility? We will examine moral and legal responsibility, the responsibility of political leaders, social responsibility, and existential responsibility in political theory, philosophy, and literature. Authors will include Aristotle, Weber, Arendt, and Sartre.
  
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    POLT 252 - Capitalism, Socialism, Anarchism: Perspectives on States, Markets, and Justice

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    Is the state or the market the greater threat to individual and communal freedom?  Can we live without either (or both)?  Is capitalism identical with the market and trade or is it better understood as state-licensed exploitation?  Does the state make us free from the ravages of market discipline or do voluntary exchange and cooperation liberate us from the despotism of state violence?  Can libertarians be socialists?  Are anarchists leftist radicals or arch-conservatives? This course undertakes a broad survey of historical and contemporary debates over such questions, exploring rival conceptions of states, markets, property, and justice.
  
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    POLT 253 - African American Political Thought

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    This course is an introduction to African American political thought. We will focus on how black political thinkers and activists have sought to shape the American polity and respond to central political questions and shared experiences in the American context. This course will familiarize students with debates and conflicts in Black Political Thought, the historical context of African American social movements and the relationship between Black Political Thought and major trends in Western thought.
    This course is cross-listed with AAST 253


    This course is appropriate for new students.
  
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    POLT 254 - American Political Theory from the Foundings to the Progressive Era

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    American political thought often starts with America’s two foundings ”Puritan and Federalist ’ and proceeds to think about American politics from the perspective of (former) Europeans. We will follow this line of thinking from the foundings to the Progressive Era. However, we will also disrupt this official narrative by turning to Indigenous peoples? contributions, provocations, and struggles. In doing so, we?ll ask, echoing Aziz Rana?s book, whether there are ‘two faces of American freedom.’
  
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    POLT 257 - Mutual Aid

    HC SSCI CD
    2 credits
    The Covid-19 pandemic has rekindled interest in mutual aid and sparked debate about its political implications. Could these cooperatives herald a new stage in social evolution? Are they anti-capitalist or accommodationist? Is mutual aid about helping people abandoned by the state or creating anarchist utopias? This course will delve into such questions, drawing on case studies from around the world. Key authors include Peter Kropotkin, W.E.B. Du Bois, Sho Konishi, and Alondra Nelson.
    This course is appropriate for new students.
  
  •  

    POLT 258 - The Social Contract & Its Critics

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This course explores an important tradition of thought about the origins, purposes, structures and institutions of political life: The Social Contract tradition. Originating the 17th century, thinkers in this tradition viewed society as a contract to which human beings consented in order to secure their life, liberty, and property, and to enjoy the benefits of each. We will read Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau as key representatives of this tradition. We will then turn to its historical and contemporary critics, such as Edmund Burke, Karl Marx, Charles Mills, and Carole Pateman.
  
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    POLT 260 - Post Soviet Politics

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    This courses explores some of the major political themes of the last one hundred years - the Russian revolution, Stalinism, the nature of the Soviet political system, Gorbachev’s perestroika, the Soviet collapse, and Russia’s struggle with capitalism and democracy. Much of the course will be devoted to the dramatic events of the postcommunist era, and the politics in Putin’s Russia and in the other post-Soviet states.
  
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    POLT 261 - Ethnic Conflicts in Comparative Perspective

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    This course provides a framework for analyzing the causes of ethnic conflicts and is structured around two questions: i) How do people come to hold specific identities and how do they become politically significant? ii) How do these identities affect the processes of violence? Cases which will be considered span across geographic area (Southeast and South Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and South America), time period, and forms of violence (genocide, civil war, and riots).
  
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    POLT 262 - Identity & Conflict in South Asia: India, Pakistan and Afghanistan

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    In this course, we will cover the politics of India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. After considering the state level security dimensions, we will consider identity issues going back to the Partition of India to present day religious and sectarian tensions. Other themes include caste and indigenous politics, gender identity, authoritarianism and corruption, and Hindutva and Islamist Terror. Lectures along with Bollywood and regional film screenings will be complemented with discussions with South Asia experts via Zoom.
  
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    POLT 268 - South Asia’s “Non-Nuclear Five”

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    In this course, we shall focus on the politics of the five “non-nuclear” countries of South Asia- Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. After learning about topics such as the Buddhist saffronization of Sri Lanka and the Rohingya refugee crisis, we will analyze how these five countries balance their relations with China and India. Lectures along with Bollywood and regional film screenings will be complemented with discussions with South Asia experts via Zoom.
  
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    POLT 269 - Latin American Politics Past and Present through Film

    HC SSCI CD
    2 credits
    Introduction, screening, and discussion of films from contemporary Latin American cinema that explore political and social conditions of both the dictatorship past and the democratic present. Focus on films from Argentina and Chile, both feature and documentary films. The course encourages interdisciplinary connections in the study of Latin America, bringing cultural and artistic ‘texts’ of film into dialogue with social science themes. Assignments include writing weekly blogs and a final essay. Note the recommended course prerequisites.
    Prerequisites & Notes: Previous coursework on politics, history or culture of Latin America is recommended, but not required.
  
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    POLT 272 - American Voting and Elections

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This class examines elections and voting from the perspectives of politicians and the public in the United States. The goal of this course is to present an overview of the different explanations of how Americans make voting decisions and the behavior of politicians in their desire to gain and maintain office.
    This course is appropriate for new students.
  
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    POLT 273 - Is the U.S. a Democracy?

    FC SSCI WINT
    4 credits
    What does it mean for a country to be a democracy? Is democracy compatible with entrenched racial and economic inequality, widespread voter suppression, and arcane counter-majoritarian institutions? How would we know if democracy ceased to exist? These are some of the questions we will explore in the context of the United States, a country where two of the last three presidents were elected despite losing the popular vote. To arrive at answers, we will consult theoretical writings on democracy; historical, social scientific, and journalistic accounts of American politics; and comparative studies of de-democratization and “electoral authoritarianism.”
  
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    POLT 274 - Law and Public Policy

    FC SSCI WADV
    4 credits
    This course introduces students to four key dimensions of lawmaking: constitutional law, administrative law, statutory law, and direct ballot. While courts play a central role in all theses dimensions of lawmaking, the course will also emphasize the role of Congress, administrative agencies, and interest groups in policy formation in such areas as civil rights, health care, the environment, and voting rights. Students will become familiar with analyzing legal materials and understanding how different dimensions of law interact and contribute to policy outcomes we observe.
    Prerequisites & Notes: Intro to American Politics or an intermediate course in American politics.
  
  •  

    POLT 276 - American Political Economy

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This course examines the relationship between politics and the economy in the United States and seeks to explicitly understand the links between economic outcomes and political processes. We will cover such topics as money in politics, special interest influence, and regulatory capture and address these through the lens of contemporary issues in political economy.
    Prerequisites & Notes: An introductory Politics or Economics course is recommended.
  
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    POLT 279 - American Presidency & Presidential Power

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This course examines the U.S. Presidency in contemporary American politics, with a particular focus onpresidential power in the late 20th and early 21st Century. We look at how presidential powers have evolved since the founding by investigating the constitutional tools of the office, individual leadership styles, and its influence over public opinion and other branches of government. We evaluate the role that the modern electoral system, presidential personalities, transitioning and organizing the White House, the relationship with the press and public, the relationship between the three branches, and polarization have on presidential influence. Finally we will consider, the position and power of the presidency under the leadership of President Donald Trump.
  
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    POLT 280 - U.S. Congressional Politics and Legislative Strategies

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This course is intended to provide a broad understanding of the inner workings of the U.S. Congress and its larger position within the American political system. We begin by looking at the founding and origins of the modern Congress. We then examine the impact of political parties, congressional organization and rules, and electoral incentives on legislative actions and the policymaking process. Next, we consider the relationship between Congress and other institutional actors (Executive and Judicial Branches, Interest Groups). We conclude by evaluating the current functioning of Congress and the state of congressional representation.
  
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    POLT 281 - Interest Groups and American Democracy

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This course examines the U.S. interest group system, focusing in particular on its relationship to the struggle for democracy in America. We begin by exploring different ideas about how interest groups contribute to and/or suppress democratic movements. We then examine several important post-1960s developments in the interest group system, including but not limited to the expansion of corporate lobbying, the weakening of labor unions, the expansion of social justice organizations, and the growth of the nonprofit sector. We critically analyze the problems each development might pose to today’s democratic movements and consider how organizers and activists have attempted to address these problems.
  
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    POLT 282 - Politics of Inequality in the United States

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This course examines the political and historical sources of inequality in the contemporary United States. We start by unpacking contemporary inequality?s relationship to the restoration of business power in U.S. politics and the consequent decline of New Deal liberalism. We then examine howve accounts that show how liberalisim itself enabled this restoration and shaped contemporary inequality, either by fostering different patterns of social privilege and marginality or by addressing these patterns in somewhat contradictory and unsustainable ways. We close by considering how the public should collectively respond to inequality in the contemporary U.S., given what we know about its political and historical roots.
  
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    POLT 283 - Judicial Politics

    FC SSCI QFR WINT
    4 credits
    This course is designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of law and courts. We will focus on the courts as both legal and political institutions, with an emphasis on the political nature of judicial decision-making. While the principal focus of this course is on the U.S. Supreme Court, we will also survey the federal appellate courts, federal district courts, as well as other courts of last resort.
    Prerequisites & Notes: One course in American politics
  
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    POLT 284 - The American Right

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This course examines the political configuration of the modern American right. First, the general contours and importance of the right-wing politics in the contemporary United States. Second, we examine the modern American right’s historical and political origins, focusing especially on its southern, corporate, and suburban origins. Third, we examine its sources of power and influence, including those related to the party system, social movements, and everyday political behavior. Finally, we end by considering the political challenges facing the modern American right and its supporters.
  
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    POLT 287 - Constitutional Law: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This course is designed to provide a broad introduction to American constitutional law pertaining to civil rights and civil liberties, with particular attention paid to challenges of 20th and 21st century jurisprudence. Class debates and fact pattern response papers will help students to sharpen their understanding of the complex jurisprudential debates and develop persuasive arguments about the law on such issues as freedom of speech, search and seizure, abortion rights, desegregation, and voting rights.
    Prerequisites & Notes: One course in American politics.
  
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    POLT 288 - Constitutional Law: Separation of Powers

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This course is designed to provide a broad introduction to American constitutional law pertaining to separation of powers. Significant attention will be paid to historic legislative-executive-judicial branch interactions over the Commerce Clause and its application to labor, civil rights, and health care. Attention will also be devoted to presidential powers both domestically and in time of war. Class debates and fact pattern responses will help students to sharpen their understanding of the way in which judicial interpretation affects the balance of powers among the branches of government.
    Prerequisites & Notes: One course in American politics.
  
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    POLT 289 - Judicial Simulation

    FC SSCI WINT
    4 credits
    This is a simulation-based course where participants will simulate the roles of lawyers and Supreme Court justices. The central aspect of this course is exploring judicial selection, judicial procedure, and the dynamics of decision-making behavior. How do Supreme Court nominees get on the Court? How do Supreme Court justices accept a case? How do the justices make decisions? The topics covered in this course include oral arguments, opinion writing, and the constraining role of precedent.
    Prerequisites & Notes: One course in American politics
  
  •  

    POLT 290 - Global Critical Theory

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    This course explores the origins and trajectories of critical theory: a form of social-scientific inquiry that is unabashedly both descriptive and normative. At its core, critical theory has always been a mediation on the power of media and the broken promises of Western modernity. This course will focus on how theorists from Europe, East Asia, and the Americas have sought to re-interpret the modern world, in order to change it.    
    Prerequisites & Notes: Some prior exposure to the work of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud recommended.
    This course is appropriate for new students.
  
  •  

    POLT 291 - The Abolitionist Movement

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    This course explores the 19th century social movements collectively known as the Abolitionist movement. We will analyze the differing methods and goals of the movement’s various streams through its leading Black figures and thinkers. We will also look at the major theories that sociologists and political scientists have created to explain the mobilization and outcomes of social movements.
    This course is cross-listed with AAST 291


    This course is appropriate for new students.
  
  •  

    POLT 304 - Topics in Political Psychology

    FC SSCI WADV
    4 credits
    Political psychology is an interdisciplinary field that uses theories from social, personal, and cognitive psychology to examine politics. Students will explore how human thoughts and emotions influence elite and mass political behavior in the contemporary United States. Topics include: information processing, persuasion, identity and inter-group conflict, civil liberties and tolerance, and political communication.
  
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    POLT 310 - Zionisms

    FC SSCI CD WINT
    4 credits
    “Zionism” is a fiercely debated concept. For some, it evokes national liberation and rebirth, while for others it signifies oppression and inequality. Yet others, both Jewish and Christian, view the triumph of Zionism as the prelude to a messianic age. This course explores and compares a range of “Zionisms” and Zionism-adjacent political formations, from the many Jewish articulations of a Zionist vision to past and present Christian Zionisms, anti-Zionisms, post-Zionisms, and Black Zionisms.
    This course is cross-listed with JWST 310


  
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    POLT 311 - Global Capitalism: Corporate Citizens & Shareholder States

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    In today’s economy, workers are “human capital,” corporations are “global citizens,” and states are “majority shareholders.” How does identity shape contemporary capitalism? This seminar will examine the stories we tell about how capitalism developed. It will then engage with debates about state intervention in the economy, and business intervention in politics, that have gained new salience since the the 2008 financial crisis. Is neoliberalism behind us? If so, what’s next?
  
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    POLT 313 - Seminar: Transition to Capitalist Society in China

    FC SSCI CD WADV
    4 credits
    This seminar analyzes the achievements and problems of China’s ongoing structural ‘reform’, to state capitalistic authoritarianism, sampling from the best new books on the subject. Students will write research papers on a topic of their choice, and; they and the instructor will present and critique drafts. Designed for juniors and seniors.
    Prerequisites & Notes: One course in comparative politics or consent of the instructor.
  
  •  

    POLT 314 - Citizenship and Statelessness in Comparative Perspective

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    Are citizenship rules determined based on material considerations? Or are such policies based on racial and civilizational notions shaped by encounters with pre-colonial and colonial forces? In this seminar, we will consider these questions about belonging and territorial definitions, which are often politically contested. We will consider some theoretical explanations of citizenship, and then look at case studies from Western and non-Western nations. Class discussion will be complemented with expert interviews via Zoom.
    Prerequisites & Notes: An introductory Political Science course, any course or previous project related to the themes being covered in this course, or permission of the instructor.
  
  •  

    POLT 315 - Seminar: Future of Organized Labor

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This seminar examines the challenges facing labor movements in advanced capitalist societies today, and the ways in which workers and labor unions are responding to those challenges. The focus will be on organized labor in the United States, Western Europe, and Australia. Among the issues explored will be: economic restructuring; globalization; changes in the composition of the working class, including immigration and the feminization of work; the role of the state; and new organizing strategies.
  
  •  

    POLT 316 - Post-Communist Transformations

    FC SSCI CD
    4 credits
    The attempt to transform the communist societies of Russia and eastern Europe into capitalist democracies has been revolutionary and traumatic. Among the questions we will investigate: why have some countries adopted western norms of democracy and liberal capitalism, while others have moved toward nationalism, authoritarianism and conflict? Who were the winners and losers during this transformation? In what ways do the institutional and cultural legacies of the communist era continue to impact post-Communist societies?
    Prerequisites & Notes: Consent of instructor required.
  
  •  

    POLT 317 - Seminar: The Transformation of the Welfare State

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This seminar examines the emergence of new, qualitatively different kinds of welfare states across the advanced capitalist world in the past three decades. The seminar is comparative, examining the causes and consequences of the crisis and transformation of the welfare state in Western Europe and North America. Topics will include: welfare, workfare and healthcare reform;, taxation; race, gender and the welfare state, and the impact of globalization and deindustrialization on welfare states. The primary assignment for the course is a substantial research paper. Several weeks of the course will be devoted to workshopping research proposals and drafts of papers.
  
  •  

    POLT 323 - Responding to Atrocity

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    The last century has witnessed incredible progress in the codification of international criminal law, and in the creation of global institutions for adjudicating and prosecuting war crimes. This same period, however, has also tested the limits of these laws and institutions, and of the political will that lies at their foundation. The course charts this jagged progress: from the law’s triumph, to its limits, in preventing and responding to atrocity. Students will learn about how laws and legal institutions developed, how these efforts reflected and pushed against global power politics, where the law reigned in atrocities, and where it failed.
    Prerequisites & Notes: POLT 120
  
  •  

    POLT 326 - Topics in Democracy and Development Seminar

    FC SSCI CD WADV
    4 credits
    We will explore various topics taken from the democracy and development literatures and the best practices of practitioners in these fields in order to analyze the challenges and possibilities for promoting democracy and development. Students write a scholarly research paper on a topic of their choosing relevant to the course as well as complete other related assignments.
  
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    POLT 327 - Identity in Global Politics

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This seminar is structured around the premise that identity is a valuable and indispensable frame for understanding significant moments of conflict and cooperation, order and disorder, that animate global politics. From Brexit, to on-going tensions between the U.S and Iran, and the uncertainty surrounding China’s rise to great power status, identity as a driver of state behavior can be seen everywhere. The seminar will balance a deep theoretical and methodological account of identity-from social interactions, to the state, and international politics-with rich empirical case studies that help illustrate the politics of identity, and identity conflict, in global politics.
  
  •  

    POLT 328 - Seminar: Pirates, Priests and Protestors: Non-state Actors in International Politics

    FC SSCI WADV
    4 credits
    Non-state actors have long influenced international politics through the use of violence, the creation of norms, and the production of wealth. How do contemporary non-state actors challenge states, or reinforce state capacity? How do they influence power relations, norm building and policy making? The course examines the evolution of a range of non-state actors, including transnational advocacy networks, NGOs, transnational corporations, private security providers, and militant armed groups. This seminar is intended for students who are juniors or seniors and priority is given to Politics majors.
    Prerequisites & Notes: At least one international relations course.
  
  •  

    POLT 329 - Seminar: Globalization

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This seminar will explore what is arguably the dominant trend of the post-Cold War world: the increasingly global nature of capitalism, together with the compression of the world through new technologies, and the consequences and reactions these trends have spurred. We will examine competing theoretical perspectives on globalization, and explore the impact on the global South, labor, the environment, state sovereignty and world culture, and the rise of various movements in response.
  
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    POLT 330 - Seminar: Responding to Disaster: Politics, Philosophy, Literature

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    Political disasters turn our worlds upside down. These events disrupt ordinary life and cause immense suffering. How can the tools of politics, philosophy and literature help us respond to disasters? We will seek to answer this question primarily by examining political, literary and philosophical responses to three disasters: The rape of Nanking, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina. Authors include Martha Nussbaum, Richard Rorty, Jgen Habermas, Jacques Derrida, Michael Eric Dyson, Iris Chang, and Tom Piazza.
    Prerequisites & Notes: One course in political theory
  
  •  

    POLT 333 - Education for Politics: Discipline, Resistance, Virtue

    FC SSCI WINT
    4 credits
    What is education, and what is its role in politics? How does it shape us as human beings and as citizens? Does it cultiveate a docile citizenry in the face institutional power; or an active one that resists power? We will explore these and other questions through critical engagement with authors such as Hannah Arendt, bell hooks, Paula Freire, John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Jacques Ranciere, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Leo Straus.
    Prerequisites & Notes: 1 course in political theory or equivalent
  
  •  

    POLT 337 - Political Violence

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This seminar addresses the issue of violence in politics through critical engagements with the writings of political theorists. Topics may include the nature of political evil, the relationship between state power and morality, the right to revolution, the distinction between violence and nonviolence, and the measures of dealing with mass atrocities. In addition to active seminar participation, students are required to write a term paper on a topic of their choice.
  
  •  

    POLT 338 - The Politics of Mind Control

    FC SSCI WADV
    4 credits
    Free your mind and the rest will follow. So goes the slogan. But how? Where did our psychic shackles come from? What does it mean to be brainwashed, red pilled, or a victim of false consciousness? This seminar will investigate key moments in the history of ideology, from Epictetus down to contemporary debates about QAnon and #FreeBritney, focusing especially on works in the Marxist, Feminist, and Decolonial traditions.    
    Prerequisites & Notes: POLT 239 or another course including Marxist theory recommended.
  
  •  

    POLT 339 - The Politics of Markets

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This advanced seminar interrogates the ways in which we conceptualize the relationship between politics and markets. It examines the political and social theories undergirding various theorizations of markets as well as the consequences these have for evaluations of the role that market mechanisms might play in emancipatory political projects.
  
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    POLT 370 - Race in Congress

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    The purpose of this course is twofold: (1) to evaluate the current state of representation of racial minorities in the U.S. Congress and (2) to investigate the legislative strategies that have the potential of enhancing their representation. We begin by considering different forms of political representation and how well racial minority groups, particularly their most marginalized members, are represented through each of these forms. We then identify the different legislative actions members can utilize to advance their policy priorities, the distinct constraints legislators face when advancing minority issues, and ways to overcome these constraints.
  
  •  

    POLT 371 - Power & American Democracy

    FC SSCI
    4 credits
    This course examines the different ways in which political power hinders and advances the struggle for democracy in America. We begin by exploring how persistent patterns of opperssion and inquality impede the realization of democratic ideals in contemporary U.S. society. We then unpack how, in practice, different forms of political power work to reinforce or challenge these patterns. First, we discuss what many scholars call the three ?faces? of power, namely, coercion, agenda-setting, and manipulation. Second, we explore forms of what some scholars call power ‘without a face,’ including discipline, biopower, and disruption.
  
  •  

    POLT 372 - Health Law and Politics

    FC SSCI WADV
    4 credits
    There is no set of legal issues more bound up with underlying social, cultural, and political currents than health law. A principal aim of this course is to give students an appreciation of how these dynamics have influenced law in the health care context, examining such topics as the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid, abortion, and tobacco regulation, with readings drawn from court cases and secondary analyses. The course will culminate in the crafting of a health care policy brief.
 

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