Course information found here includes all permanent offerings and is updated regularly whenever Academic Senate approves changes. For historical information, see the Course Catalogs. For actual course availability in any given term, use Course Search in the Portal.
Introduction to U.S. government and politics at the national and state levels. Provides background on guiding principles, constitutional guarantees, the federal system, major institutions, and mechanisms that link citizens to officials. Covers both federal and state levels and their interaction in topics such as elections and political executives, which include the president and governors. Illustrative use of public policy materials, especially health policy, as well as current events and issues. Serves as a basic course for any student wishing to gain a foundation in U.S. politics and as the prerequisite for many courses in the American politics subfield. (3B) Offered each semester.
Introduction to the internal politics and policies of various countries throughout the world. Themes of the course include: methods and approaches of comparative analysis; democratic vs. authoritarian systems; political culture and state traditions; political attitudes and ideologies; executive, legislative, and judicial systems; electoral and party systems; interest groups and other civil society actors; political economy; and selected domestic and foreign policy issues. Students may elect to use this course as part of their preparation for study abroad. (3B) Offered each semester.
Introduction to the workings of the international political and economic systems from both a practical and theoretical perspective. Offers a brief history of the key events which have shaped international politics, introduces the major theoretical approaches of the discipline, and explores mechanisms for conflict and cooperation. (3B) Offered each semester.
Introduction to political philosophy through consideration of the enduring question: What is justice? Investigates responses offered by ancient thinkers and those of the early modern period in order to examine the historical development of political theory in the Western tradition. Additional topics of inquiry include: the possibilities and limits of power, freedom, property, and the good society; the relationship between religion and politics; as well as the philosophic presuppositions about human nature and social responsibility that underlie the ancient and modern perspectives. Emphasis on close readings of philosophical texts, critical analysis, and class discussion. (5T) Usually offered every year. Open to first-year and second-year students only.
This course offers an overview of research methods used in health and political science research. Course objectives will include an introduction to basic statistical concepts and research design; the course will also emphasize the use of STATA statistical software for production of various statistical output (ANOVA, odds ratios, bivariate and multivariate regression analyses). (3B) (Also listed as Health and Society 201.) Prerequisite: none, but Political Science 110 or higher recommended.
In this seminar, we explore comparative and international perspectives on education and youth studies by focusing on readings that primarily address comparative methodology, including the questions, what is comparative education, and why and how we compare. A prominent theme in our reading is globalization and localization, what it means and how it influences our intellectual and social landscapes, our teaching and research approaches, how we borrow and lend educational ideas, and the way we are connected to each other. We explore how particular kinds of comparative literature might shape public policy as well as our teaching and learning. Through a close examination of comparative methodologies and reading of case studies from different cultures and societies, students learn to position domestic issues on youth and education such as language, inclusion, choice, race/ ethnicity, class, gender and beyond, in the global context. We also aim to draw implications for the improvement of policies related to teacher education and curriculum and pedagogy from international comparisons. Our class is largely discussion based with class participants responsible for guiding our analyses of case studies and comparative methodology in part by sharing weekly reading response and through group presentation projects. The class also incorporates other multi-media sources such as podcasts and videos to help enrich our understandings of the issues we study. (3B) (Also listed as Education and Youth Studies 201 and Critical Identity Studies 267.) Offered each fall.
This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of political psychology with a focus on exploring the various foundations of social identity and the implications of these identities for political outcomes in the United States. Throughout the semester, students compare the influence of different identities and examine the psychological and political implications of social identities. The class focuses on three key identities: partisan identity, gender, and race. (Also listed as Psychology 207.)
According to estimates by the United Nations, by 2030 the share of the world’s population living in urban areas will reach 60%, with the fastest growing cities located in low-income countries. This course examines the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainability in cities. Policies and programs that try to address the challenges of sustainability within the United States and around the world are studied and compared. Some of the major themes explored in the context of the sustainability of cities are indicators of sustainability, demographic trends, environmental justice, green building, urban sprawl, global climate change, and sustainable energy and transportation policies. (Also listed as Environmental Studies 210.) Offered in alternate years. Prerequisite: any 100-level political science or environmental studies course.
An overview of health policy and politics in the United States. Course examines the U.S. health care system, its politics, organization, and the financing of health services. It explores how federalism shapes the system and compares it with other industrialized countries. It also examines the social or non-medical determinants of health, and the limits of what health care alone can accomplish. Health disparities among ethnic and social groups feature centrally throughout. (3B) (Also listed as Health and Society 212.) Prerequisite: Political Science 110 or higher or sophomore standing.
This course addresses the issues of race and ethnicity in American politics through two lenses: the crafting and implementation of domestic policies (such as welfare, education, and the criminal justice system) and the framing of political decisions. After an introduction to historical, sociological, and psychological approaches to the study of race and ethnicity, we apply these approaches to studies of American public policy. The course then transitions, examining the explicit and implicit racialization of political decisions. Throughout the course, students consider the role of institutional design, policy development, representation, and racial attitudes among the general public in shaping the American political environment. (3B) (Also listed as Critical Identity Studies 214.) Offered alternate fall terms. Prerequisites: Political Science 110, 130, 160, or consent of the instructor.
Investigates the nature and functioning of political parties and groups and their roles in representative government. Special attention given to campaigns, with fieldwork required. Offered even years, fall semester. Prerequisite: Political Science 110 or 160 or consent of instructor.
Explores the symbiotic relationship between the media and politics, along with the forces that drive news journalism and political coverage. Focus is on U.S. politics in a comparative perspective. Offered every third semester. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of instructor.
How do the three branches of government exercise their power over policy in America? Using a variety of role-playing simulations, student get a hands-on view of how the U.S. Congress, Presidency, and Federal Courts function. Working through these simulations, students learn about the shifting balance of power between the three branches and gain an understanding of political actors as they make the decisions that affect hundreds of millions of people. In addition to the simulations, students learn about theories of elite behavior, helping to understand the motivations behind the actions. Throughout the semester, students confront questions about internal and external threats to the health of our democratic institutions. (3B) Offered alternate spring terms. Prerequisites: Political Science 110 or consent of instructor.
Selected topics or problems in public law, legal theory, or the history of law. Particular focus of the course will be announced before registration. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of instructor.
An introduction to the study of law and the judicial process, with special emphasis on legal questions pertaining to the judicial, legislative, and executive powers in the federal government, as well as intergovernmental relations; federalism; economic and substantive due process; equal protection as it pertains to race and gender; freedom of speech; and freedom of religion. Emphasis on critical analysis of Supreme Court cases, class discussion, and crafting original legal arguments for a moot court exercise. Offered each year. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of instructor.
This course provides an overview of comparative health systems. Health care systems in both rich and poor countries throughout the world are examined, including their facilities, workforces, and technology and equipment. Students in this course evaluate the performance of these systems in terms of cost, quality, access, and other issues. (Also listed as Health and Society 230.) Prerequisite: Sophomore standing and one health and society or political science core course, or instructor approval.
Examination and comparison of the politics of the three major East Asian democracies: Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, plus the semi-democratic system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Two main comparative themes will include: first, how democratic structures and values in each of the countries fit within the model of majoritarian and consensus democracies; and second, whether or not democracy in each of the three countries reflects so-called “Asian values.” (3B) Offered odd years, spring semester. Prerequisite: Political Science 130 or 235, or any course in Japanese and Korean history, or consent of instructor.
A review of the history of the European Union (EU). Addresses the politics of identity, such as the meaning of being European and the challenge of nationalism, treaty law, and integration theories. Includes a simulation of an EU summit. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: Political Science 160 or consent of instructor.
This course analyzes the key actors and institutions that shape economic globalization, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, multinational enterprises, governments such as the United States, China, the European Union, Japan, and the BRICS, and civil society, especially nongovernmental organizations. Examines the impact of globalization on trade, investment, finance, technology, development, and sustainability. This course fulfills one of the requirements for the international political economy major. (Also listed as Environmental Studies 246.) Offered even years, spring semester. Prerequisite: Political Science 160 or consent of instructor.
Guides students through the struggle for democratization and economic development from the post-independence era to the present day. Examines the major factors that shape African politics—the state; social groups; politics of identity (gender/ethnicity/class); international donors; and financial institutions. Offered even years, spring semester. Prerequisite: Political Science 130 or 160 or consent of instructor.
Uncovers the relationships between politics and poverty on the one hand, and politics and development on the other. Investigates differing conceptions of development and the many different theoretical approaches to development. Drawing on case studies from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America topics covered may include: law and legal system reform; politics of HIV/AIDS; state capacity and efficiency; civil society and social movements; and resource mismanagement and conflict. (3B) (Also listed as Environmental Studies 248.) Offered odd years, fall semester. Prerequisite: Political Science 130 or 160, or consent of instructor.
Introduction to the roles and interaction of women within African society and in relation to the African state. Examines the formal and informal ways in which African women have entered and shaped the political sphere; as political activists, organizers, voters, politicians, lawyers, and policymakers. This course situates the study of African women in politics within the scholarship of developing world gender politics more broadly. (3B) (Also listed as Environmental Studies 250.) Offered odd years, spring semester. Prerequisite: Political Science 130 or 160, or sophomore standing.
Introduction to the interaction between law, courts, and politics around the world—particularly in the new democracies of Africa and Latin America—but also with cases from the United States, Europe, and Asia. This course, starting from the assumption that courts are political actors, examines the (in)formal functions of courts by investigating how they have crafted national policies, empowered individual rights regimes, and shaped the democratic development of states. (3B) Offered even years, fall semester. Prerequisite: Political Science 110, 130 or 160.
This course has a strong practical focus to help students develop skills for careers in sustainability. Students will work in groups on a semester-long sustainability project on campus and a simulation of a climate change summit. They learn about different ecologies, as well as the actors, institutions, and key issues in environmental policy-making, from the local level to the global, with special focus on climate change, class, environmental racism, environmental justice, activism, and empowerment. This course fulfills one of the requirements for the environmental studies major and minor. (3B) (Also listed as Environmental Studies 256.) Offered every spring semester. Prerequisite: any 100-level political science or environmental studies course or consent of instructor.
This course introduces the students to climate change governance by focusing on the workings of the “International Regime for Climate Change.” It is organized around three sections. The first section explains “international regimes” (IR) and uses the IR for climate change as a case study, focusing on its key principles, rules, actors, and decision-making procedures. The second section takes a comparative approach to afford the students the opportunity to see how national societies are affected by climate change and addressing it. The third section is a simulation of the annual Conference of the Parties sponsored by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). (Also listed as ENVS 257.) Prerequisite: Political Science 110, 130, 160, or 180.
Less than 25 years after Fukayama declared that we had reached the “end of history,” liberal democracy appears to be under threat. Globally, public support for democracy is dropping, the rule of law is being challenged, and corruption stubbornly persists. This course begins by familiarizing students with democracy as a concept and on processes of democratization. Then, students look at the proliferation and stagnation of hybrid regimes –regimes exhibiting characteristics of both democracy and autocracy– and the corrosive forces currently undermining democracy in the global north. Does the rise of right-wing populist nationalism signal an end to liberal democracy? By the end of the course students are familiar with the fundamental theories, conceptual tools, and comparative methods needed to understand the challenges of building and sustaining democracy around the world.
The study of international human rights. Topics include the role of the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations; the position of women and gender-based cultural practices; refugees and asylum practices; labor practices; the death penalty and juvenile justice; health and human rights; indigenous peoples; civil and political liberties; and economic rights. Offered every third semester. Prerequisite: Political Science 130 or 160, or consent of instructor. Preference given to third- and fourth-year students.
This seminar examines the causes and consequences of extraordinary political evil at the level of the individual, focusing on genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture, and disappearing. The case studies are Argentina, Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone / Liberia. Students consider a number of questions, including: Why do people commit evil acts, such as genocide or torture? What are the effects of committing such crimes on the people who perpetrate them and on the society they serve? How do individuals endure suffering caused by political evil? What responsibilities do bystanders have? What methods might be available to help individuals and societies recover from mass atrocities? Prerequisite: Political Science 130 or 160, or permission of instructor.
This course introduces students to the strategies, techniques, and tactics human rights organizations (HROs) and individual activists use to defend and promote human rights and enact positive change. Students explore these topiocs through theoretical readings, detailed case studies, practical workshop exercises, and alumni career talks. Using the lens of Beloit’s integrated learning outcomes (ILOs) - productive collaboration, effective communication, creative problem-solving, and intellectual and professional agility - students also work on identifying and strengthening professional skills that are critical to careers in the human rights field. (3B)
An exploration of the central concepts and theoretical debates surrounding nationalism and ethnic politics. Study of the meaning of the “nation,” the construction of national identity, the sources of ethnic conflict, secession, intervention, the management of protracted social conflict, and conflict resolution. (3B) Prerequisite: Political Science 130 or 160, or consent of instructor.
Topics include: the politics of West Asia, focusing on Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Turkey; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and the political processes of Mideast states, emphasizing identity, religion, social groups, economic development, and prospects for democracy. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. (3B) Offered fall semester. Prerequisite: Political Science 130 or 160, or consent of instructor.
A comparative study of the political systems of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Reviews topics such as the consolidation of democracy, weakness of the party system, presidentialism, populism, patrimonialism, good governance, sustainable development, civil-military relations, the politics of identity (gender, race, ethnicity), religion, and the diversity of political histories, cultures, and traditions. This course fulfills a requirement for the Latin American and Caribbean studies minor. Offered odd years, spring semester. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.
A comparative study of the foreign policies of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, with a strong focus on inter-American relations, including a simulation of a summit of the Organization of American States. Reviews the main theories that explore the role of Latin America and the Caribbean in international relations, such as modernization, dependency, and corporatism, among others, and regional integration. This course fulfills a requirement for the Latin American and Caribbean studies minor. Offered even years, spring semester. Prerequisite: Political Science 160 or 272, or consent of instructor.
An examination of classical political philosophy through the study of Plato’s and Aristotle’s most influential political texts. Considers questions pertaining to justice, virtue, freedom, equality, gender, the purpose and scope of political authority, citizenship, education, poetry, as well as the relationship between the philosophical individual and the political community. Emphasis on critical analysis of ancient philosophical texts and class discussion. (5T) (Also listed as Philosophy 280.) Offered odd years, fall semester. Prerequisite: Political Science 180 or sophomore standing.
An examination of the revolutionary challenge to classical and medieval political philosophy posed by such writers as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Burke, Marx, and Nietzsche. Broad themes include: the question of human nature, the possibilities and limitations of social contract theory, the concept of property and its implications, the nature of rights and duties, as well as the meaning of human freedom and equality. (Also listed as Philosophy 285.) Offered each spring. Prerequisite: Political Science 180 or sophomore standing.
Study of the development of North American political ideas through critical analysis of the writings of intellectuals and political leaders from the American founding to the present. Possible authors include Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Tocqueville, Lincoln, Douglass, Anthony, Stanton, Addams, Dewey, Croly, Roosevelt, Kirk, Chomsky, and others. Emphasis on textual analysis and class discussion. Offered even years, fall semester. Prerequisite: Political Science 180 or sophomore standing.
Selected topics or problems in government and politics or in relating political studies to other disciplines. The focus selected for a particular offering of the course will be announced before registration. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. Prerequisite: Political Science 110, 130, or 160, depending on topic, or consent of instructor.
Capstone course that requires a major original research paper. A seminar on a specified theme in political science. Students read and discuss relevant literature, undertake an independent research project on a topic of their choice, and present their results to the seminar. (CP) Prerequisite: junior or senior standing, any 100-level political science course, and any 200-level political science course.
Capstone course that examines a particular theme applied to various regions and countries of the world across time and space. Students will develop their own major research paper on a country or theme and will present that paper in class. Potential topics might include: electoral and party systems; comparative East Asian foreign policy; comparative African politics; law and development; comparative judicial politics; and the interrelationship of American and Chinese politics. (CP) Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing and 2 courses in comparative politics.
Capstone seminar for students interested in political theory or public law. Emphasis on preparing students’ written work for conference presentation and publication. Includes seminar presentations and peer review. Particular focus of the course will be announced before registration. (CP) Usually offered each year. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing and at least one 200-level law or political theory course.
Capstone course that examines a particular theme, applied to various thinkers and countries of the world across time and space. Students will develop their own major research paper on a particular thinker or country and will present that paper in class. Potential themes include: comparative dissent; anarchism as theory and movement; comparative utopian thought; Chinese political thought; and political ideology in fiction. (CP) Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing and 2 courses in political theory and/or comparative politics.
Individual research or reading projects for superior students under departmental guidance. Prerequisite: available, with consent of the department, to political science majors with a B average in political science.
Work with faculty in classroom instruction. Graded credit/no credit.
Course and curriculum development projects with faculty.