Course Catalog for POLITICAL SCIENCE
POLS 102
American National Government
How do the institutions of American national government shape our politics and policies? This introductory course examines the nation’s founding documents (including the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Federalist Papers), the goals they sought to achieve, and the institutional framework they established (including Congress, the Presidency, and the courts). It then evaluates the extent to which these institutions achieve their intended aims of representing interests and producing public goods, taking into account the role of parties, interests groups, and the media. Throughout the course, we will attend to the relevance of race, class, religion, and gender. We will draw on the example of the 2012 presidential election and other current events to illustrate the functioning of American government and politics. (SOC)
This course is not open to seniors.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 103
Introduction to Comparative Politics
This course introduces the study of comparative politics which is a subfield of political science. More specifically, it introduces many of the key concepts and theoretical approaches that have been adopted in comparative politics and surveys the political institutions and politics of select foreign countries. Students of comparative politics primarily focus on the political processes and institutions within countries (whereas students of international relations primarily, but not exclusively, study interactions among countries). Inspired by current world events and puzzles, comparativists investigate such major questions as: Why are some countries or regions more democratic than others? How do different countries organize their politics, i.e., how and why do their political party systems, electoral rules, governmental institutions, etc. differ? (GLB5)
This course is not open to seniors.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 104
Introduction to International Relations
This course offers an introduction to international relations (IR), addressing fundamental questions in the fields of international security, international political economy, and international law & organization. We learn about the leading theoretical perspectives in political science-Realism, Liberalism, and Constructivism-as well as a range of alternatives rooted in domestic politics, political psychology, postmodernism, Marxism, and feminism. The course serves as a foundational introduction to the IR subfield, with equal emphasis on substantive issues and theoretical concerns. (GLB5)
This course is not open to seniors.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 105
Introduction to Political Philosophy
An introduction to the philosophical study of political and moral life through a consideration of various topics of both current and historical interest. Topics include environmentalism, ancients and moderns, male and female, nature and nurture, race and ethnicity, reason and history, and reason and revelation. (SOC)
This course is not open to seniors.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 125
Introduction to Human Rights
This course introduces students to the key concepts and debates in the study of Human Rights. For example, what are human rights standards and how have they evolved historically? Why do human rights violations occur and why is change sometimes possible? Is a human rights framework always desirable? In tackling such questions, the course surveys competing theories, including critical perspectives, applying these to a broad range of issues and concrete cases from around the world. (SOC)
CD:Not open to Seniors
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 128
The Mathematics of Redistricting/Gerrymandering, Elections, and the U.S. Census
This course will use mathematical tools to analyze redistricting and elections in Connecticut and in the United States. Students will learn about the mathematics and laws of redistricting/gerrymandering and their impact on the shapes of maps and elected candidates in national and state elections. To support these goals, students will learn about the mathematics of election forecasting, the U.S. Census, data analysis, and the geometric analysis of maps to understand the variety of components associated with the decennial redrawing of political districts. For the Community Learning component, students will interact with Connecticut legislators in Hartford to gain a first-hand understanding of the political structures and processes behind the maps and shapes of Connecticut's Congressional and Assembly districts. (NUM)
Prerequisite: A satisfactory score on the Mathematics Placement Examination or a C- or better in Quantitative Literacy 101 or QLIT 103
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 200
Environmental Movements
This course critically examines the histories, development, and contemporary work of environmental movements in the United States. Utilizing a combination of primary and secondary texts in connection with multiple movements, ranging from conservation and sustainability movements to environmental justice movements, the course will explore the variety of issues, goals, and methods movements have pursued as well as the connections, interactions, and relations of power between different environmental movements. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 205
Legal Mobilization
This course focuses on the question: Can street level actors create broad social change through law use or the invocation of legal norms and practices? The first half of the course examines how individuals or groups come to understand grievances as legal issues or rights claims and organize to make legal claims on formal actors (e.g., courts, insurance companies, or employers). Case studies may include the Conservative Legal Movement or the women's rights movement. The second half of the course examines the police as legal and political actors who are organized to create social change or "govern through crime (control)." Students who have taken POLS 273 with Professor Mary Dudas may NOT take this course (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 207
COVID-19 and the American State
The COVID-19 pandemic constituted a crisis in American governance. Policymakers addressed multiple challenges: balancing public health and the economy, battling misinformation, and equitably distributing treatments and vaccine. With weak national leadership, a complex web of federal, state, and local governmental bodies took distinct and often contradictory approaches. The crisis exposed and amplified existing strains in American society including inequalities in race, class, and gender, and deep political polarization. This course uses the COVID crisis as a case study to explore core elements of American politics including federalism, executive power, the media, the conflict between expertise and public opinion, and more. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 211
Protest Movements in American Politics
This course will introduce students to different iterations of social justice activism in American politics, examining the connective tissue between movements, and exploring how the quest for racial justice has often demanded and inspired action on other fronts. By studying primary texts, students will develop a granular lens on the role of resistance politics in a liberal democracy, grappling with the internal pluralism of movements, and the fault lines between them. Readings include original texts, from Henry David Thoreau and William Lloyd Garrison to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Angela Davis, political science scholarship on social movements, and visual texts, like documentary films and photography, offering a critical lens from which to gauge the underlying humanism of non-institutionalized political action in a democratic society. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 215
Interest Group Lobbying in American Politics
American politics at all levels and branches of government are full of competing interests based on business, religion, class, gender, race, sexuality, etc., vying to shape policies. Several political science theories exist on how these interests are represented in the American political system. Some argue that competing interests create a plural society where no one group can dominate our politics. Others say that certain groups hold more significant sway in our politics. Recognizing the importance of interest groups in government, this course will examine who interest groups are, where they fit in our politics, how they are organized, and what influence they have on policymaking. This course will focus on how weak, marginalized interests without substantial money or power compete against powerful groups like major corporations and elite interests. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 217
International Relations on Film
This course offers a thematic introduction to international relations by way of a series of feature films. We combine a definitional study of concepts like anarchy, state power, norms, and institutions with a broader analysis of core issues in international politics, including the problems of war and peace, crisis decision-making, revolution, nationalist conflict, sectarianism, human rights, and globalization. To bring these concepts and issues to life and provide empirical focus, we discuss their treatment in classic and contemporary international films by Lean, Kubrick, Pontecorvo, Tamahori, Caro, Kassovitz, Weir, Villeneuve, Spielberg, Greengrass, Meirelles, and Iñárritu. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 218
Slavery and the Archive
As political theorists increasingly make use of archival research, they have had to grapple with significant ethical, political, and methodological concerns. These concerns are all the more pressing when such research includes materials that document the histories and legacies of slavery, racism, and colonization. This course explores the possibilities and limits of archival research, as well as how to engage in this research responsibly. The course also includes a significant Community Learning component. We will be working with the Witness Stones Project to help document the history of slavery in Connecticut. Please note that this may involve occasional commitments outside of our regularly scheduled class time. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 219
The History of Political Thought I
This course provides the historical background to the development of Western political thought from Greek antiquity to the end of the Middle Ages. Readings from primary sources (Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, etc.) will help the students to comprehend the foundations of Western political philosophy and the continuity of tradition. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 220
History of Political Thought II
This course focuses on the development of modern political philosophy. All readings will be from primary sources that include, among others, Machiavelli, Descartes, Bacon, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Marcuse. Enrollment limited. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 221
Machiavelli: Beyond the Myth
Machiavelli is among the most famous-and misunderstood-political theorists. His very name has become synonymous with deceit and self-interest, but is this an accurate representation of his thought? Scholars have long debated whether Machiavelli should be considered a cunning "teacher of evil" or whether he was a committed defender of republican virtues. In this course we will read a broad selection of Machiavelli's works, including The Prince, Discourses on Livy, and Florentine Histories. We will also engage with how Machiavelli has been interpreted and appropriated by various traditions within political theory, such as republicanism, radical democracy, and Marxism. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 222
Social Inequality in the United States
This course considers the implications of social inequalities for American politics. Income and wealth disparities in the United States have grown rapidly since the 1970s, overlapping with social exclusions based on race, gender, and sexual orientation. The course explores the causes, consequences, and solutions to rising economic inequality at the national and local levels, examining particular instances from Connecticut and contextualizing them within a broader global context. We will pay particular attention to the role of public policies in creating or potentially mitigating inequalities among citizens. Throughout the course we will consider the implications of social inequality for American politics and discuss how the persistence of different forms of inequality squares with enduring ideals of equality and equal opportunity in the American political system. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 232
The International Politics of Pandemics
This course will explore the politics of pandemics as they shape and are shaped by global governance and international histories. It will excavate the dynamics of humanitarianism, security, and global health initiatives in response to pandemics. It will also critically engage with the impact of global health governance, policy responses, and the uses of political authority in the face of pandemics. The course will draw on varying approaches in international relations, development policy, and the humanities to examine the debates and inequalities pandemics expose. By grappling with discourses on human security, humanism, and global crises, it will explore the multiple and diverging ways of understanding the politics of pandemics. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 235
Colonization and the Canon
What impact have conquest and colonization had on modern political thought? How did European thinkers describe Indigenous peoples, and how did they deploy the figure of "the native" in their works? In this course, we will take a critical approach to canonical thinkers such Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau by focusing on how they approached issues of colonialism and Indigeneity. Drawing on contemporary scholarship, we will explore how prominent issues in modern political thought (including theories of freedom, the social contract, natural law, progress, and individual rights) look different from vantage points outside of Europe. (SOC)
This course is not open to seniors.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 238
Prisons and Justice in America
This political theory course examines prisons and justice in the US. We will pursue two large questions: How did the prison come to exemplify criminal justice? And how does mass incarceration affect our understanding of the US as a liberal democracy? We will examine the theoretical underpinnings of the prison in rights discourse; the prison’s productive role in shaping conceptions of freedom and citizenship; and its relation to racism, biopower, and neoliberalism. We will also consider alternative visions of criminal justice: abolition democracy and restorative and transformative justice. Readings will include work by John Locke, Alexis de Tocqueville, Michel Foucault, Angela Davis, Michelle Alexander, Philip Pettit, and Andrew Dilts. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 241
Race, Capitalism, and World Politics
The study of International Relations has long been "an American social science"-seeking to describe and understand the world from the vantage of American empire. This course offers an introduction to the field of International Relations through the work of scholars, activists, and political struggles from the Global South. Topics include: coloniality and decoloniality, the global color line, and struggles for indigenous sovereignty and environmental sustainability. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 242
Political Science Research Methods
Why do people participate in politics? Which government policies best serve the public good? What prevents wars between nations? Political scientists employ a toolbox of research methods to investigate these and other fundamental questions. By learning the strengths and weaknesses of various qualitative and quantitative methods, students in this course will identify how best to answer the political questions about which they feel most passionate. They will apply these practical skills in assignments that ask them observe, analyze, and report on political phenomena. Research skills will include field observation, interviewing, comparative case studies, and data analysis using statistical software. No previous statistical or programming experience is necessary. NOTE: This course will not count toward the lower level course requirements in Political Science. NOTE: Students may not earn credit for PBPL 220 and POLS 242. (NUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 243
Racial Politics: Research Methods
Race plays an essential role in American politics in meaningful ways. At the same time, data about individuals, organizations, and government has become increasingly available, and social data analytics are transforming how we think about politics and society. This course is a survey of historical and contemporary issues of racial and ethnic minority politics, combined with the teaching of skills necessary to navigate social data. Students will learn basic research design principles, statistical concepts, and foundational R statistical programming. Students will use research methods skills from this foundation to explore how race and ethnicity affect political attitudes, participation, and representation. They will conclude this course by evaluating whether we are in a post-racial society or whether race continues to be at the center of politics. (NUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 247
Global Inequalities
This course studies inequality in the contemporary world, its different types (wealth, income, gender, racial), its causes and consequences. We will look at inequality both in developing and developed countries as well as inequality in the world system. We will systematically analyze the economic, social and political transformations that have led to an increase in income inequality in the developed world in the last two decades, as well as the processes that have made possible a reduction of inequality in some regions of the developing world. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 252
The Judicial Process: Courts and Public Policy
This course examines the evolution of the judicial process in America and the role of the courts as policy makers. We will study civil and criminal courts at both the state and federal level as well as the functions of judges, lawyers, litigants, and other actors. We will also consider how the courts make policy in areas such as the war on terrorism, the right to privacy, gay and lesbian rights, and the rights of the accused. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 256
Foundations of Comparative Political Analysis
This survey course in comparative political analysis will examine the various ways government and social actors interact as both collaborators and competitors in the exercise of power and authority. The course will focus on four broad themes: (1) societal and institutional foundations of effective governance within democratic states; (2) statebuilding and the causes of global variation in the strength of states, with a focus on the legacy of colonialism; (3) the causes of rebellions and civil wars and the factors that explain patterns of violence within societies in conflict; (4) nationalism and ethnic politics and why some countries are able to achieve social cohesion and unity, while others fragment along ethnic and racial lines This methodologically focused course will provide the theoretical and analytical foundations for upper-level courses in comparative politics. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 257
Politics of Violence
This survey course in comparative political analysis will examine how state and non-state actors use violence to assert (or challenge) authority, impose order or ignite conflict-or both at the same time. The course will focus on how and why violence emerges, examining phenomena such as civil wars, revolutions, contentious politics and criminal governance. This course is methodologically focused and is part of the two-course foundational sequence in comparative politics (POLS 257 and POLS 258). Students may choose to take one or both courses in the comparative politics sequence and in whichever order. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 258
How Democracy Works
How do democratic countries function across the globe and how does the United States compare to its peers? What are the causes and consequences of these differences and what does the future of democracy hold? This course will examine these and other questions on the state of democracy in the world by examining the social and institutional foundations of democratic regimes; legacies of colonialism; ethnic politics and conflict; political contestation and violence; and the causes of democratic deconsolidation and collapse. This course is methodologically focused and part of the two-course foundational sequence in comparative politics (POLS 257 and POLS 258). Students may choose to take one or both courses in the sequence and in whichever order. Note: Students who have taken POLS 256 or POLS 320 may not enroll in this course. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 263
Global Environmental Politics
This course tackles the most important challenge of our time: how societies may continue to develop without destroying the planet. We will focus on the causes and consequences of differences in environmental policy design and implementation at the subnational, national and international level. Looking primarily at developing countries, we will analyze how different economic, societal and state actors strive to influence policy outcomes and how these political struggles result in more or less successful initiatives to mitigate environmental depletion and climate change. Topics include, but are not limited to: water pollution, deforestation, energy policy, air pollution, overfishing, and ozone layer depletion. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 265
Understanding Conflict in Africa
Many Americans claim to know certain truths about Africa when, in reality, such understandings rely heavily upon ahistorical representations of the continent. In recent decades, the portrayal of Africa as conflict-prone and violent has become the predominant way of "knowing" Africa . This course disarms such limited understandings by engaging, historicizing, and contextualizing political violence in Africa. The course starts with recent conflicts, including wars in Somalia, Rwanda, Congo, Sudan, and Libya. We then situate these conflicts within the legacy of colonialism, the Cold War, and the contemporary reorganization of the world economy. The class concludes by debating possible solutions, including foreign intervention (peacekeeping, AFRICOM, the International Criminal Court) as well as responses crafted by African-led organizations and movements (ECOWAS, African Union, and Arab Spring). (GLB5)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 273
Law, Politics, and Society
This course examines the role of law in American society and politics. We will approach law as a living museum displaying the central values, choices, purposes, goals, and ideals of our society. Topics covered include: the nature of law; the structure of American law; the legal profession, juries, and morality; crime and punishment; courts, civil action, and social change; and justice and democracy. Throughout, we will be concerned with law and its relation to cultural change and political conflict. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 300
Public Policy: Principles and Practice
This course will focus on both micro- and macro-level elements of the public policy process, from problem identification through post-implementation evaluation. In addition to core theoretical text-based discussion, students will be exposed to models of research and reporting used in the various fields of public policy. Students will apply their learning through case-study analysis. They will be required to complete an independent research project through which they will examine a particular area of policy (e.g., healthcare, education, housing, etc.) and to analyze a specific program through one or more of the lenses discussed in class. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 301
American Political Parties and Elections
An analysis of American political parties, including a study of voting behavior, party organization and leadership, and recent and proposed reforms and proposals for reorganization of existing party structures. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 304
Education and Immigration in the City
This course is designed to introduce students to urban educational policy, with particular focus on the major issues and challenges facing urban and suburban policymakers. After a brief overview of the shape and history of the American school system, we will move toward considering a variety of different perspectives on why it has proven so difficult to improve America's schools. We will examine standards-based, market-driven, professionally-led and networked models of reform, looking at their theories of change, implementation challenges, and the critiques leveled against these approaches. We will examine a variety of recent reform efforts at both the federal and state levels. Special attention will be paid to the ways in which immigration and educational policy interact. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 305
International Organizations
This course explores the dynamics of international organizations, examining a broad range of institutions in world politics. In particular, we draw on a variety of perspectives—from mainstream International Relations theory to organizational analysis—to understand questions of institutional emergence, design, and effectiveness. Using case studies and simulations, students are encouraged to think concretely about the challenges facing international organizations. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 306
Democratization and Regime Change
In this course we will discuss contemporary democratization and regime change, providing a global coverage of these processes since the late 19th century. We will begin with democratization and the posterior authoritarian/totalitarian downturns in Western Europe until the 1930s. Second, we will discuss the association between capitalism and democracy, as well as postcolonialism, authoritarian breakdowns and social revolutions during the Post WWII era (1945-1970s). Third, we will focus on the third wave of democratization (1980s), covering transitions and democratic consolidation in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. Finally, we will turn to the Arab Spring, discuss the endurance of authoritarianism in China, and the dangers and challenges confronting democracy worldwide. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 307
Constitutional Powers and Civil Rights
An analysis and evaluation of US Supreme Court decision-making with a focus on judicial review; federalism and the regulation of the economy and morality; equal protection and the evolving concept of democracy; and presidential powers. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 308
Racial and Ethnic Politics
This course examines the role of African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans in all areas of the American political system. We study each group and their roles as voters, party activists, candidates and public officials. By exploring the socio-historical context within which each group acts, we will also consider the non-traditional forms of political participation embraced by some of these groups and the reasons that minority groups have resorted to such strategies. The process of political socialization will also be considered, as will the political behavior, attitudes, and public policy opinions of these groups. Finally, we will also explore theories of racial and ethnic political coalitions and conflict. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 309
Congress and Public Policy
A study of the structure and politics of the American Congress. This course examines the relationship between Congress members and their constituents; the organization and operation of Congress; the relationship between legislative behavior and the electoral incentive; and the place of Congress in national policy networks. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 310
Tax Policy and Inequality in Hartford
Social tax expenditures (social benefits delivered through the tax code) have become an increasingly important part of the American social safety net, lifting an estimated 28.2 million Americans out of poverty per year even as the number of traditional "welfare" recipients decreased substantially in the wake of welfare reform. This course reviews scholarship on the politics and policies that led to the growth of these "hidden" social programs in the tax code, and also includes hands-on learning about the intersection between tax policy and social policy. For the community learning component, students will be trained to do income tax preparation, and volunteer for six hours per week to assist Hartford residents at the Trinity VITA Tax Clinic, located near campus at Trinfo Café. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 311
Polarization and the Policy-Making Process
This course will examine the interaction between policy and polarization. We will first survey the contours and history of polarization in America with a focus on the development of the national political parties. We will then examine the interaction of policy making and polarization at the national and state levels: how does polarization affect policy making at the national and state levels; how does policy affect polarization; why have some states become more polarized than others; and how does that polarization affect policy making at the state level? Finally, we will assess the relationship between policy making and polarization at the national and state levels using the case studies of health care and abortion. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 312
Politics in the Middle East and North Africa
This course offers an introduction to the comparative analysis of politics in the Middle East and North Africa. Organized thematically and conceptually, we examine topics ranging from state formation, nationalism, and civil-military relations, to oil and economic development, democratization efforts, political Islam, and regional concerns. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 314
Comparative Urban Development
This course analyzes how politics affects the lives of citizens in cities and metropolitan areas of the developing world. We will focus on two conceptions of urban politics. The first is the specific benefits and problems of the city (as opposed to rural areas), from land use (and its environmental sustainability challenges) and public utilities to political incorporation and intermediation. The second sense is the local as opposed to national or state-level politics: i.e. decentralization, coordination between different government tiers and the specific dynamics of local governance. We will draw primarily on examples in Africa, Asia (especially India and China) and Latin America, focusing on past, present and future challenges for urban development. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 316
Civil Liberties
An analysis and evaluation of US Supreme Court decisions (and related materials) dealing principally with freedom of expression; the right to privacy; freedom of religion; and, liberty and security. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 317
American Political Thought
This course surveys American political thought from the colonial era to the present with a focus on how Americans have told and contested the story of America. We rely on primary source material ranging from political pamphlets and novels to architecture, art, and music to examine the diffusion of debates about American democracy into popular culture where subordinated groups have debated and contested the meaning of America. We explore the essentially contested nature of American identity to place broader contemporary debates about justice, liberty, equality, rights, democracy, nationalism, liberalism, and republicanism in a historical context. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 318
Statebuilding
Strong governmental institutions are necessary for providing security, protecting human rights, and advancing material wellbeing. This insight provided the moral justification for the various statebuilding missions the United States and its allies undertook across the globe in the last three decades. However, these efforts to build strong and democratic states have largely ended in failure and suffering. Is statebuiding through foreign intervention and occupation even feasible? If so, is it ethically justifiable? This course examines these and other questions surrounding statebuilding in three parts. First, we examine the factors that led to the development and adoption of the modern state in Europe and elsewhere. Second, we turn our attention to the imposition of modern state institutions onto the rest of the world under colonialism, and the outcomes and legacies of colonial statebuilding in Africa and Asia. Finally, we will discuss the strategic and normative rationales undergirding US and UN-led statebuilding campaigns in the contemporary period. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 319
Foucault
This course is an introduction to the work of one of the twentieth-century's most influential thinkers, French historian and philosopher Michel Foucault (1926-84). Foucault's historical analyses of madness, crime, and sexuality, and his conceptualizations of power, knowledge, and subjectivity have profoundly changed how political theorists and others understand the world we live in. We will read selections from his major books, including History of Madness, Discipline and Punish, and History of Sexuality Volume 1, alongside some of his best-known lectures and essays. The course will also explore how Foucault's ideas have been taken up, changed, and challenged by other scholars. Students who have earned credit for PHIL 336 Foucault, may not earn credit for this course. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 320
Autocracy in America
Is American democracy in a state of crisis? Could the United States be on its way to becoming an autocracy? This seminar will address these questions in three parts. First, we will explore what it means for a country to be a democracy and examine the extent to which America is, or ever truly was, democratic. Second, we will explore the major "isms," such as populism, neoliberalism, fascism, and totalitarianism, that are seen as either contributing to the current crisis or in ascendance to undermine democracy in America. Third, we will debate the extent to which American democracy is in danger of collapsing. Could America see the rise of fascist or totalitarian movements? If so, how would they come about? In order to address these final set of questions, students will examine the current state of American democracy comparatively and historically. Note: Students who have taken POLS 258 may not enroll in this course. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 321
Law, Policy, and Society
This course is about the interaction between law and politics. It treats the federal courts as a political institution that enjoys a complex and changing relationship with its coequal branches of government and the states. We will investigate if course are a powerful policy making branch, how they exercise power, and under what conditions they are most and least powerful. Our focus will be on the federal courts, particularly the US Supreme Court. First, we will consider the broad debates around the power of courts. Second, we will turn to a series of case studies to understand the power of courts in particular instances. Possible case studies include: the NAACP's integration campaign, abortion rights and anti-abortion activism, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title IX, and court policy-making in the era where power is exercised through algorithms. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 322
International Political Economy
This course examines the interplay of politics and economics in the current world system since the European expansion in the 16th century. Focus will be on the penetration and colonization of Latin America, Asia, and Africa; economic relations in the industrialized world and between the north and the south; the role of international institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; the role of international trade and transnational corporations; the changing division of labor in the world economy; and current problems of the world economy. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 323
Gender and Global Politics
This course will examine gender roles and relations of power in international and transnational politics. The course focuses on the constructions of gender difference, experiences of women and LGBTQ+ people, as well as efforts to transform uneven or unjust gendered relations of power in global politics. We will further consider how gender, in combination with constructs of race, class, sexuality, nationality, and citizenship, serves as a basis for political organization, the distribution of power and resources, and participation in global politics. Topics covered will include conflict, security, economic globalization, labor, migration, environment, human rights, humanitarian intervention, nation-building, and transnational justice. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 324
Environmental Issues in International Relations
Environmental issues have attracted the increasing attention of scholars of international relations. As globalization continues to accelerate, it is clear that environmental problems do not adhere to national borders and require international efforts to remedy them. This introduces student to the international dimensions of environmental politics through an in-depth analysis of both the theory and practice of international attempts to tackle growing environmental challenges. The course also includes discussion of, among other subjects, the relationship between global environmental issues and international law, international organizations, international political economy, conflict and human rights. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 325
American Presidency
An explanation of the institutional and political evolution of the presidency with an emphasis on the nature of presidential power in domestic and foreign affairs. Attention is also given to institutional conflicts with Congress and the courts. The nature of presidential leadership and personality is also explored. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 326
Gender and Politics from an Intersectional Perspective
This course explores the role of gender in American politics. We will begin with an examination of the role of women and men in fighting for and against women's suffrage and the subsequent movement to achieve gender equality. We will consider the many ways men's inclusion and women's exclusion from our political system continues to shape contemporary politics and the distribution of power in American society. We will then examine a series of important questions such as: Why are women less likely than men to run for political office? Do male and female politicians govern differently? Throughout the course we will consider how race and ethnicity intersect with gender in the US political system. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 327
International Law
What is the impact of international law on international politics? Can the law constrain state behavior? Starting from the landmark Lotusprinciple, which established that sovereign states are allowed to conduct any behavior that is not explicitly prohibited by international law, to the contemporary legal challenges surrounding war crimes and genocide, this course explores how the international legal system works. We will begin with a foundational discussion of treaties and customary international law along with jurisdiction and compliance issues and then cover two arbiters of international law: the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. We will then move to specific legal regimes that govern warmaking, nuclear weapons, the oceans, the environment, trade, and human rights. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 328
American Conservatism: Ideology and Practice
This course examines two interrelated questions: What is conservatism as an ideology and how was the American conservative movement built? To answer these questions, we will examine the American conservative movement as an organized movement and as a set of ideological debates and commitments. We will first survey the origins of conservatism as an ideology before turning to the development of the different ideological strands of American conservativism The course then explores the building of the modern American conservative movement: postwar Goldwater Movement Conservativism, the New Right, and the contemporary conservative movement. The course will focus on the building of the conservative movement through its engagement with the Republican Party as well as the family as the site of cultural and economic intervention. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 330
US-China Relations
With China's ascent as a major political and economic power, the relationship between the U.S. and China became one of the most vital and yet extremely complex bilateral relationships in the world. The Trump administration tends to see China as a major challenger for American power and interests, while some of the biggest global challenges require good US-China cooperation. The course will take both a historical and a contemporary perspective on US-China relations. Key topics include: US-China economic relations, nuclear proliferation, the Taiwan question, counter-terrorism, regional security, cyberspace security, climate change, the Belt and Road Initiative, and human rights. The course invites students to think about the US-China relations from multiple perspectives and to form educated and informed views about this relationship. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 331
Power & Politics in East Asia
The uniqueness of East Asia in the study of political development cannot be overstated. Whereas attempts to impose a modern governance system onto society have often failed, the few successful cases are largely found in East Asia. While united in the strength of their states, the region exhibits tremendous diversity in political regimes, from post-totalitarian North Korea to South Korea's vibrant democracy. East Asia thus offers unparalleled opportunities to examine fundamental questions on establishing, maintaining, and challenging power and authority. Through scholarly works on Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China, and with a thematic focus on statebuilding, democratization, authoritarian governance, and contentious politics, the seminar offers a theoretically-oriented introduction to the study of this dynamic region. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 332
Understanding Civil Conflict and Its Causes and Consequences
This course surveys the many causes and consequences of civil conflict and civil war. Major themes of the course include ethnic fractionalization, natural resources, climate change, colonial legacies, institutional design, globalization, intervention, international efforts in state building, gendered violence, and human rights. The course also examines the different theoretical and methodological approaches to studying civil conflict. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 334
Origins of Western Political Philosophy
This course examines the works of Plato with the aim of understanding the contribution he made to the transformation of thought that helped to lay the foundations of Western philosophic tradition. Readings will be from primary sources. (SOC)
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 105, 219, or 220.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 335
Becoming American: Immigration and Integration Policy
Critics of immigration argue that a growing foreign-born population endangers economic health, threatens democratic traditions, and undermines cultural unity. Proponents respond that immigration is central to America’s national identity and crucial for prosperity. This course examines popular and scholarly debates over immigration and immigrant adaptation and analyzes the efficacy of U.S. policies aimed at managing this process. Topics include U.S. border security, the increased state and local regulation of immigration, and the DREAM Act, a proposal that would offer certain undocumented youth a path toward legal status. Course assignments will emphasize persuasive writing and communication for a policymaking audience, including memos and briefings. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 337
Building the European Union
As an intergovernmental and supranational union of 27 democratic member countries, the contemporary European Union is arguably the boldest experiment in inter-state economic and political integration since the formation of the contemporary nation-state system during the mid-17th century. Against this backdrop, this course considers the project for greater economic, political, and security integration within its appropriate historical context, its current economic and political setting, and its projected future ambitions. As such, it will very much be concerned with recent events and important events-in-the-making, including the continuing conflict over the Lisbon Treaty and the EU's projected enlargement by several new members. Not open to students who completed POLS 237. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 338
Liberalism and Its Critics
This course will begin by examining the roots of modern liberal democracy in the works of such authors as Hobbes, Locke, Smith, Montesquieu, and Mill, and in the Federalist Papers. It will then shift attention to the attacks on liberal democracy by thinkers such as Marx, Nietzsche, and Heidegger. The final section of the course will deal with the contemporary debate on the subject and draw on the works of writers such as Rawls, Nozick, Hayek, Schumpeter, Walzer, Gailbraith, and Friedman. (SOC)
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 105, 219, or 220.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 339
Contemporary and Post-Modern Thought
This course will deal with philosophical developments of moral and political significance in the 20th century. Using the writings of selected authors, such as Heidegger, Sartre, Gadamer, Marcuse, Strauss, Foucault, and Habermas, it will focus on various modern movements of thought: existentialism, critical theory, neo-Marxism, hermeneutics, feminism, deconstructionism, and postmodernism. Readings will be from primary sources. (SOC)
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 105, 219 or 220.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 340
Republicanism Ancient and Modern
The Republican Tradition is traced by most scholars back to Greece and the different regimes in Sparta and Athens. All of the pre-Modern Republics had in common that they were small, warlike, and homogeneous. But after the fall of Rome, the Republican Tradition went into eclipse for almost 1,500 years. The conscious search for a distinctively Modern Republican alternative, which was to be large, prosperous, less warlike and less homogeneous began with Machiavelli and traces itself through a variety of thinkers down to Montesquieu, Locke and the American Founding. There is another distinctively Modern permutation of the Republican Tradition that we will consider as exemplified by Rousseau and the French Revolution. The course will explore the nature of pre-Modern Republicanism but will focus on the distinctive nature of the rise and perfection of the Modern Liberal variant of Republicanism. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 341
Policing and Human Rights
Policing and human rights are deeply intertwined. On the one hand, policing necessary involves limitations on fundamental individual rights. On the other hand, policing can also preserve rights such as life, liberty and property. This tension is evident not just in authoritarian regimes, but also in modern democracies, where police frequently commit human rights abuses such as torture, intimidation, and summary executions. Ultimately, the form policing takes, and its implications for human rights, are political decisions. This course adopts a comparative perspective to explain what police do, how they do it and why. We will discuss police organization and culture, linkages between police, politicians, and organized crime, and the movement to reform, defund or abolish the police. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 343
Theory and Politics of African Decolonization
The process of African decolonization was among the most important political events of the 20th century-in just three decades more than fifty new countries won independence from European imperial powers. This class reads the diverse group of African intellectuals writing during this period, whose work shaped how people thought about the anti-colonial project and world politics more generally. The course starts with an overview of colonialism's historical and intellectual legacy before examining how these theorists tackled three central political questions, namely: how to forge an independent African nation-state, how to create a post-colonial African identity, and how to establish an independent economy. Readings will include Aime Cesaire, Franz Fanon, Steve Biko, Amilcar Cabral, Walter Rodney, Albert Memmi, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Julius Nyerere, Thomas Sankara, among others. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 344
Politics of Africa
Political Scientists often study Africa as a distinct place, defined by a unique set of crises, which set the continent apart from the rest of the world. This class, in contrast, starts from the assertion that Africa is not a discrete location to be studied in isolation but instead a site of active and dynamic human practices that intersect and define the political and economic lives of all people across the world. "Africa" is, in the words of James Ferguson, a "category through which a 'world' is structured." We first examine the colonial and Cold War histories shaping the modern world, and how they played out in Africa specifically. We then study contemporary issues that tie Africa to the rest of the world, including: civil conflict and the "responsibility to protect"; debt, structural adjustment, aid, and development; Chinese/Africa economic cooperation; "the land question"; and the Arab Spring. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 345
Debt and American Citizenship
This course considers the connections between debt and American citizenship, historically and in the present. We begin by examining the important role of debt in the form of indentured servitude as a key means for populating the American colonies. We then explore the gradual transformation of debt from a highly stigmatized condition to a routine part of life for most Americans through home mortgages, student loans and credit card debt. We consider how debt has been associated with decreased status-from debtors' prisons to low credit scores-yet also linked to creating opportunity, as with political movements demanding credit access for disadvantaged populations. Throughout the course we will be attentive to the role of politics and public policy in creating, mediating, and shaping debt relationships. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 346
Capitalism and Higher Education
Since their inception, universities have always been closely aligned with the interests and pressures of the market. Colleges train employees, develop human capital, design products, gentrify neighborhoods, and often treat education itself as a commodity. Corporate interests, billionaire philanthropists, and state governments have pressured universities to operate as businesses, with students as consumers. This course examines how higher education has evolved alongside changes in capitalist production, looking at: changing theories about the purpose of higher education, the historic rise of the corporate and neoliberal university as well as the various progressive social movements and right-wing backlashes that shape higher education today. We examine these changes through a sustained engagement with the Trinity College archives. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 347
The Politics of Race in Latin America
This course focuses on the major concepts which have shaped dominant understandings of race in Latin America throughout the 20th century: mestizaje, the interpretation of Latin American racial identity as one of mixture; indigenismo, the emphasis on indigeneity as constitutive of racial identity in Latin America; and racial democracy, the argument that higher rates of miscegenation in Latin America (particularly Brazil) reflected a history of harmonious race relations. In addition to these three concepts, we will survey current issues related to race in the region such as the production of new sets of rights for Indigenous peoples and movements for the recognition of Afro-Latin American peoples. (GLB5)
This course is only open to sophomores and juniors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 349
Black & Indigenous Political Thought
How have various traditions of Black and Indigenous Political Thought theorized race and its effects on the world? How can centering Blackness push us to rethink how colonization operates, and how can centering Indigeneity do the same for thinking about slavery? In this course, we will explore both Black and Indigenous Political Thought. We will particularly focus on areas in which they converge, as well as where they stand in productive tension with each other. Readings will include works by Patrick Wolfe, Tiffany Lethabo King, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, and Denise Ferreira da Silva. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 351
The Politics of Love
The Politics of Love This political theory course examines 20th and 21st century historical, literary, and theoretical depictions of love in politics. Love is often depicted as a force that can productively transcend political division. Yet many political thinkers warn that appeals to love in politics - for example, on behalf of gay marriage or racial justice - serve merely to distract us from political problems, oppression, and inequality. Should we see love as a potent political resource, or a dangerous political fantasy? Does love express our common humanity, or does it reinforce heteronormativity and racial inequality? Course readings will include theoretical and literary texts by Hannah Arendt, James Baldwin, Elizabeth Bishop, Jürgen Habermas, Michael Warner, Lauren Berlant, and Audre Lorde. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 352
Comparative Political Economy
This course provides a survey of the field of comparative political economy broadly defined as the comparative study of the interrelationships between politics and economics. We will review the main classic and contemporary debates in the discipline. Topics include: the relationship between political institutions and economic development, inequality and political stability, interest groups, welfare states, varieties of capitalism, the politics of taxation and international trade, and market reforms. We will look at both developed and developing countries, with an emphasis on understanding why they choose (or end up with) the policies and institutions that they have, even when in some cases these policies and institutions might hamper development. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 353
Authoritarianism: Politics of Domination and Resistance
This course explores the institutional foundations of authoritarian regimes, the strategies they employ to dominate society, and the dynamics of resistance against authoritarianism with a focus on Eurasia, broadly defined. To this end, the course will examine historic cases of powerful and all-encompassing authoritarian regimes in Germany and Russia, as well as recent manifestations of authoritarianism in the Middle East, Russia, and China. Readings will draw from an array of academic disciplines, including political science, history, philosophy, and sociology. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 355
Urban Politics
This course will use the issues, institutions, and personalities of the metropolitan area of Hartford to study political power, who has it, and who wants it. Particular attention will be given to the forms of local government, types of communities, and the policies of urban institutions. Guest speakers will be used to assist each student in preparing a monograph on a local political system. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 357
Hannah Arendt: Political Theory in Dark Times
This course investigates one of the twentieth century's most influential thinkers: Hannah Arendt. Her reflections on statelessness, totalitarianism, propaganda, revolution, cultural production, technology, and responsibility bear witness to critical upheavals that continue to haunt current-day politics. This course interrogates these topics through a detailed exploration of Arendt's central works, focusing on The Origins of Totalitarianism, The Human Condition, and Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil alongside Arendt's key influences and shorter commentaries. We will also consider how Arendt has been taken up by contemporary scholars especially in light of the recent rise of "post-truth" politics. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 359
Feminist Political Theory
This course examines debates in feminist political theory. Topics will include liberal and socialist feminist theory, as well as radical, postcolonial, and postmodern feminist theory. We will also consider feminist perspectives on issues of race and sex, pornography, law and rights, and “hot button” issues like veiling. We will pay particular attention to the question of what feminism means and should mean in increasingly multicultural, global societies. Readings will include work by Mary Wollstonecraft, Carol Gilligan, Catherine MacKinnon, Chandra Mohanty, Wendy Brown, Audre Lorde, Patricia Williams, & Judith Butler. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 361
Race and War
Hierarchies of world politics are sustained by racism - a process described by W.E.B. Du Bois as the "global color line." These hierarchies are also made and unmade by war. This course explores how racism shapes imperial warfare and how warfare, in turn, shapes racism. Beginning with early histories of settler colonialism in New England, this course will take us through the relationship between slavery and warfare, explore the incorporation of colonial soldiers into imperial armies, and examine the relationship between imperial war and domestic white supremacy in Vietnam and the global "War on Terror." (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 362
The Military-Industrial Complex
How is war made? How did it become possible that the United States will spend $842 billion on war making in 2023? How did Connecticut come to play such a prominent role in the military industrial complex? This course explores these questions by examining the political, social, and economic relations that sustain war on a global scale. We unravel the entanglements between the U.S. military, industry, labor, the university, racism, and empire from the Cold War to the present. Focusing on the role of Connecticut in the "gunbelt" we map how local weapons research and manufacturing shapes global violence. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 365
Decolonial Feminist Theory
This course surveys decolonial feminist thought prevalent in feminist and decolonial discourses in the United States. Readings will consider relevant histories and legacies of settler colonialism and decolonization, enslavement and abolition, labor, migration, reproduction, and nation-state building in the construction of different lineages in decolonial feminist thought. The course will also explore how decolonial feminist theory has contributed to numerous academic fields of study such as history, law, literature, and politics, among others. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 366
State and Local Policy
State and local governments play a vital role in governing, policy innovation, and the delivery of services in the United States. Their importance has arguably increased in recent decades with the trend toward devolution of government to the state and local levels, the use of referenda, and the central role of states in battles over social issues. In this course we will review available social science research to consider the central issues and challenges of governance at the state and local levels. We will examine differences between states’ political cultures and their implications for public policy, compare federal versus state and local provision of social services, and consider the significance of the use of redistricting, recalls, referenda and initiatives in political struggles across the country. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 369
International Human Rights Law
This course offers a comprehensive survey of the evolution of international human rights law, focusing on the major actors and processes at work. Which rights do individual human beings have vis-a-vis the modern state? What is the relationship between domestic and international legal processes? Are regional human rights mechanisms like the European system more influential than international ones? More generally, how effective is contemporary international human rights in securing accountability and justice? We use specific cases and contemporary debates to study a range of treaties and emerging institutions, including ad hoc war crimes tribunals and the International Criminal Court. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 370
Shakespeare and Political Philosophy
It was once believed that poets, or playwrights, could be thinkers and teachers. But "Art for art's sake" is now the fashionable mantra since the Romanticist movement. That means the artist is merely articulating some idiosyncratic and sub-rational drives. Art is no more than a personal memoire. We will attempt to gain access to the Shakespeare who is a teacher and thinker through the reading of selected plays. Shakespeare the teacher offers a window upon the human soul and the nature of the human things. In the process, he offers articulations of the questions central to Classical Political Philosophy: what is human nature, what is the best life, what is the best regime, who should rule. He shows the interaction of different human types. (SOC)
Prerequisite: C- or better in Political Science 219 or 220 or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 372
The American Welfare State
The American government provides a social safety net to its citizens through a number of direct social programs, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, public assistance, and a variety of other social provisions. However, the role that federal and state governments should play in providing a robust social safety net remains a highly contested issue in American politics. This course contextualizes the contemporary debate by examining the historical development of the peculiar American welfare state from the earliest social programs in the nineteenth century to the New Deal and Great Society programs to the scaling back of direct social programs during the 1980s and 1990s. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 376
Latin American Politics
The course examines the processes of political, economic and social change that took place in Latin America in the XX and XIX Century. Topics include: the rise of populism and import-substituting industrialization, revolutions and revolutionary movements, the causes and consequences of military rule, the politics of economic reform, democratic transitions, the commodity boom, and the left turn. For each topic we will review classic political science theories and critically evaluate their applicability to Latin American countries. We will also discuss the lessons that can be drawn from Latin American cases for the study of these topics in the rest of the world. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 378
Election Law and Policy
Election Law and Policy covers the contemporary laws and public policy that govern American elections from a political science perspective. Students will learn about the history of voting rights in the United States as well as explore the laws and institutions that most impact turnout and elections today. The course includes an original research component for studying electoral institutions. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 379
American Foreign Policy
This course offers an examination of postwar American foreign policy. After reviewing the major theoretical and interpretive perspectives, we examine the policymaking process, focused on the main actors in the executive and legislative branches, as well as interest groups, public opinion, and the media. We then turn to contemporary issues: 9/11 and the “war on terror,” Iraq and Afghanistan, nuclear proliferation, U.S. relations with Russia, China, and Europe, and the future American role in the world. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 380
War and Peace in the Middle East
This course addresses the causes and consequences of nationalist, regional, and international conflict in the Middle East. We use theoretical perspectives from political science to shed light on the dynamics of conflict, the successes and failures of attempts to resolve it, and the roles played by the United States and other major international actors. The course is organized on a modified chronological basis, starting with the early phases of the Arab-Israeli conflict and ending with current developments in Iraq. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 381
Global Nuclear Politics
Nuclear politics dominates headlines in contemporary international relations. From the growing threat of nuclear weapons proliferation to controversies over the safety of nuclear power plants, the conflict over nuclear energy and weaponry continues to be a major site of conflict in global politics. What are the political consequences of the development of nuclear technology? How is nuclear technology governed? This course will explore early history in the Manhattan Project, nuclear use in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, along with contemporary case studies like North Korea and Iran. We will also explore nuclear accidents at the Chernobyl and Fukushima power plants. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 382
American Political Geography
Students in American Political Geography will learn about how where we live and who we live with shapes attitudes about politics, policy and nation; how America's geography and historic expansion continue to impact politics; how the partisan urban-rural divide has developed over time; how to think about red states and blue states; and how decisions about where to divide spaces from segregation to gerrymandering matter for how we live as a political society. This course will include an introduction to Geographic Information Systems and how to conduct data analysis using geography. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 383
Assembly, Empire, and Utopia: Ancient Athenian Political Thought
This course examines the perspectives, problems, and disagreements that occupied Athenian democracy as it changed from the 6th to 4th centuries BCE. Doing so, this course proposes that current-day students of politics benefit from critically reassessing questions examined by ancient Athenian thinkers. These include the following: how do we distinguish public and private life? What makes a community powerful? What is the place of discord in political life? What is the nature of justice, and what is its relationship to democracy? Interrogating these questions, we focus on close readings of Sophocles, Thucydides, Plato, and Aristotle in conversation with contemporary commentaries. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 384
Democracy on Stage: Theater, Citizenship, and Political Theory
This course investigates the relationship between stagecraft, representation, and collective agency in democratic life. Insofar as democracy aspires to maintain vibrant public conversations, this course considers how citizens are shaped by communal performances of myths, stories, and other manifestations of theater. How does theater cultivate democratic practices-and how might it perpetuate marginalization? Is there something theatrical at the core of democratic belonging? Investigating these questions, we turn to ancient Greek dramas, then place them into conversation with modern political theoretic debates about art and politics, and then consider recent transformations in stagecraft, focusing especially on social media and populism. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 385
Crossing Borders: Logics and Politics of Transnational Migration
This course investigates the primary economic, humanitarian, and political forces that are driving and sustaining the complex phenomenon of contemporary transnational migration. Within this context, several key questions are addressed: Have the forces of globalization and the entanglements of international commitments and treaty obligations significantly compromised the policy-making prerogatives of the traditional nation state? What are the benefits and costs of migration for the immigration receiving countries? Is a liberal immigration regime desirable and, if so, can it be politically sustained? (GLB5)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 390
Theories of International Political Economy
This course asks a number of core questions concerning international political economy: What explains inequality between nations? How do countries develop? What can states, international institutions, and other political actors do to advance economic prosperity? How one answers these questions, however, depends upon where one stands regarding various fundamental principles of political economy. We start the class with the work of Adam Smith and Karl Marx. We then examine how this debate plays out in the work of early twentieth century thinkers debating the cause of the Great Depression and the two world wars (including Polanyi, Schumpeter, Keynes, Hayek, and Friedman). We conclude by examining various contemporary economic issues. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 392
Trinity College Legislative Internship Program
The Trinity College Legislative Internship is a special program designed for those students who want to observe politics and government firsthand. Student interns work full time for individual legislators and are eligible for up to four course credits, three for a letter grade and one pass/fail. One of the graded credits is a political science credit. In addition to working approximately 35 to 40 hours per week for a legislator, each intern participates in a seminar in which interns present papers and discuss issues related to the legislative process. Although there are no prerequisite courses for enrollment in this program, preference will be given to juniors and seniors. Students majoring in areas other than political science are encouraged to apply. Candidates for this program, which is limited to 14 students, should contact the Political Science Department in April or September. The program will accommodate some students who wish to work part time (20 hours per week) for two graded course credits. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 394
Legislative Internship
No Course Description Available.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 396
Legislative Internship
No Course Description Available.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 398
Legislative Internship
No Course Description Available.
1.00 units, Lecture
POLS 399
Independent Study
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for enrollment. (SOC)
1.00 units min / 2.00 units max, Independent Study
POLS 406
Senior Seminar: Why Political Philosophy?
This seminar will be devoted to a close reading of a major political philosopher in the Western tradition. (WEB)
This course is open only to senior Political Science majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 407
Decolonizing World Politics
How is the world organized as a political unit? This class examines that questions by examining the long history of colonialism, the enduring relations of coloniality, and the lasting politics of anti-colonial struggle. In order to study how race, class, and gender continue to structure and organize political relations at a planetary scale, this class focuses on thinkers, activists, and political struggles from the Global South. Organized around ongoing challenges to coloniality, possible topics include: indigenous notions of pluriverality, post-capitalist economies, challenges to the global color line, epistemic justice, decolonial democracy, and struggles for environmental sustainability. (WEB)
This course is open only to senior Political Science majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 408
Senior Seminar: Racial and Ethnic Politics
This course examines the role of African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans in all areas of the American political system. We study each group and their roles as voters, party activists, candidates and public officials. By exploring the socio-historical context within which each group acts, we will also consider the non-traditional forms of political participation embraced by some of these groups and the reasons that minority groups have resorted to such strategies. The process of political socialization will also be considered, as will the political behavior, attitudes, and public policy opinions of these groups. Finally, we will also explore theories of racial and ethnic political coalitions and conflict. (WEB)
This course is open only to senior Political Science majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 409
Sr Sem: Change Everything: Theories of Revolution
Historically, the political Left has been associated with a desire for change, including revolutionary projects to overhaul the existing order. Yet for many, the global hegemony of capitalism and the ascendency of authoritarianism have called into question earlier visions of revolution. Is it still possible to imagine revolution today? What would radical change look like? This political theory course takes up these questions by examining key revolutionary texts and events from the past 250 years, ranging from the American and Haitian Revolutions to Marxist, feminist, and anti-colonial approaches. Readings will include works by CLR James, Hannah Arendt, Karl Marx, Michel Foucault, and Angela Davis. (WEB)
This course is open only to senior Political Science majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 412
Senior Seminar: Advanced Topics in Law & Society
This course explores law in political and social contexts. Too often "law" is understood as an independent entity, but in fact it is deeply embedded within politics and society. This course considers that reality by exploring a range of conflicts over the course of American history that expose how law is politically, socially and historically constructed, and display how law shapes politics and culture. (WEB)
This course is open only to senior Political Science majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 415
Senior Seminar: War, Peace, and Strategy
This seminar explores the problem of war in international relations, including its nature, forms, strategy, causes, prevention, and ethics. Is international politics bound to remain inherently conflictual in a world of sovereign states, or is war becoming obsolete in an era of institutional innovation and normative change? To address this and related questions, we read and engage a wide range of classic and contemporary texts from political science and beyond. Special attention is devoted to the strategic logic that connects the use of military force with political objectives, hopes, and fears. (WEB)
This course is open only to senior Political Science majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 419
Sr Sem: Money & Politics
This course studies the interrelationships between politics and economics from a comparative perspective. Topics include: the relationship between political institutions and economic development, inequality and political stability, business power, the politics of economic reforms, and corruption. We will look at both developed and developing countries, with an emphasis on understanding why they choose (or end up with) the policies and institutions that they have, even when in some cases these policies and institutions might hamper economic development and political stability. (WEB)
This course is open only to senior Political Science majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 425
Research Assistantship
No Course Description Available.
1.00 units, Independent Study
POLS 426
Senior Seminar: Who Are We? Citizenship, Identity, and Immigration in Comparative Perspective
Citizenship historically has been defined as a set of rights and obligations that are exclusive to formal members, or "citizens," of territorially bounded nation states. Transnational migration challenges this assumption by creating citizens outside of and foreign residents or "denizens" inside of traditional nation state territories. Some scholars have suggested that globalization generally -- and migration specifically -- undermines the salience of citizenship and fosters conflict and confusion about who "we" are. This senior seminar will explore the major political and social challenges posed by transnational migration for notions of who "belongs" and who doesn't within the major immigration-receiving countries, including the United States. (WEB)
This course is open only to senior Political Science majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 466
Teaching Assistantship
Submission of the special registration form, available online, and the approval of the instructor are required for enrollment. Guidelines are available in the College Bulletin. (0.5 - 1 course credit)
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
POLS 490
Research Assistantship
This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to undertake substantial research work with a faculty member. Students need to complete a special registration form, available online, and have it signed by the supervising instructor. (SOC)
1.00 units, Independent Study
POLS 496
Senior Thesis Colloquium
This is a required colloquium for senior political science majors writing theses. The class will proceed in part through course readings about research methods and aims, and in part through offering students the opportunity to present and discuss their thesis projects. All students will be required to write a (non-introductory draft) chapter by semester's end. (WEB)
This course is open only to senior Political Science majors.
1.00 units, Seminar
POLS 497
Senior Thesis
For honors candidates (see description of Honors in Political Science following the “Areas of Concentration” section). Submission of the special registration form, available online, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for enrollment in honors. (WEB)
1.00 units, Independent Study