Course Descriptions and Syllabi

Political Theory

POL-UA 100 - Political Theory (Core Course)
This course is an introduction to the history of modern political theory.  It provides a basic introduction to the political thought of canonical figures such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, and John Rawls.  The pieces studied raise important questions about the nature of individual rights, the roots of government authority, the circumstances of legitimate revolution, the justification of religious tolerance, and the meaning of political ideals such as liberty, equality, and justice.  Studying classic treatments of core political concepts (such as equality, liberty, legitimacy, rights and justice) should allow us to gain greater sophistication and perspective in our own deployment of them.  

Syllabus: [Pevnick S15]

POL-UA 110 - Topics in Premodern Political Philosophy
Prerequisite: POL-UA 100
Intensive introduction to the major themes of Western political thought through a careful analysis of classical and medieval works. Among the authors studied are Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas. Formerly Political Thought from Plato to Machiavelli.

POL-UA 120 - Modern Political Thought: 1500 to the Present
Prerequisite: POL-UA 100
Examines the development of political thought from Machiavelli to Nietzsche through a careful study of primary works. Authors include Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche.

POL-UA 130 -- Ethics, Politics, and Public Policy
This course will provide students the ability systematically to evaluate ethically controversial public policy issues using concepts from normative political theory. We consider four overarching questions: Should public officials be responsible to universal laws of morality? By what criteria do we evaluate the ends of public policy? Are the intentions and internal psychological state of the public official morally relevant? How do we evaluate moral choices when outcomes depend on the decisions of more than one individual? In the first half of the course, we consider the means by which policy is implemented: Under what conditions, if any, might we permit political actors to "do bad in order to do good?" In the second half, we consider the ends of public policy: What is it we want the state to accomplish, and at what cost? Topics for this semester include the decision to drop the atomic bomb in World War II, the treatment of terrorist suspects, lying in office, racial profiling, the analysis of environmental policy, health care allocation, social welfare policy, capital punishment, international intervention in humanitarian crises, and collective responsibility in office.

Syllabus: [Gordon S05]

POL-UA 138- Theories of Justice
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 100
This class explores the justifications for, and implications of, three competing paradigms through which one might understand questions of justice: utilitarianism, libertarianism (or classical liberalism), and liberal egalitarianism.  We will read canonical defenses of these positions (from Mill, Friedman, Nozick and Rawls), and then discuss the application of these theories to a range of controversial policy issues (such as distributive justice, racial inequality, human rights, and campaign finance).  The course aims to help students think more rigorously about questions of justice by approaching them from the perspective of influential theories of justice, as well as by gaining a clearer understanding of competing conceptions of liberty and equality.  

Syllabus: [Pevnick F16]

POL-UA 140 - Socialist Theory 
Concentrates on those socialist schools-Christian socialism, utopian socialism, Marxism, Fabianism, and anarchism-that have proved to be the most successful. Aims to present their major theories and to examine the usefulness of such theories in helping us to understand and, in some cases, alter the world in which we live.

Syllabus: [Ollman F10]

POL-UA 150 - Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict
Prerequisite: POL-UA 100
This course will focus on ways to understand nationalism and ethnic identification and the conflict that they sometimes stimulate. Readings will be from varied perspectives. This course is a discussion seminar.

Syllabus: [Hardin S07]

POL-UA 160 - Democracy and Dictatorship
Prerequisite: POL-UA 100
Democracy and dictatorships have traditionally been analyzed in terms of their apparently different institutional characteristics and legal foundations. Examines these traditional interpretations but leans heavily toward ideological and contextual factors. Challenges traditional distinctions between democracy and dictatorship.

Syllabus: [Erbal Sum07]

POL-UA 170 - American Political Thought
4 points   -- Prerequisite: POL-UA 100
Study of American political ideas and debate from colonial times to the present. Topics include Puritanism, revolution and independence, the Constitution framing, Hamiltonian nationalism, Jeffersonian republicanism, Jacksonian democracy, pro- and antislavery thought, Civil War and Reconstruction, Social Darwinism and laissez-faire, the reformist thought of populism, progressivism and socialism, legal realism, the New Deal and 20th-century liberalism, modern conservatism, civil rights, and war protest. Readings and discussion are based on original and interpretative sources.

POL-UA 195 - Undergraduate Field Seminar: Political Theory
Prerequisite: POL-UA 100
Advanced seminar for juniors and seniors in political theory. The specific topic of the seminar is announced each year.

Syllabus: Contemporary Democratic Theory [Pevnick S13]
              Theories of Justice [Pevnick S13]


American Politics

POL-UA 300 - Power and Politics in America (Core Course)

Offered every semester.  4 points.  A survey of national political institutions and behavior in the United States, which introduces students to a variety of analytic concepts and approaches useful for the study of domestic politics.  Concepts typically covered include public goods and collective action; preference aggregation and the median voter theorem; delegation, presentation, and accountability; agenda control; inter-branch bargaining; and the mechanisms of private influence on public policy.

Syllabus:  [Dawes S16]

POL-UA 306 - Public Policy
Prerequisite: POL-UA 300
Introduction to public policymaking in American federal government. The issues politicians address at election time often have little to do with what they actually do in office. Looks at the operations of the government in the terms Washingtonians use. Examines the roles of Congress and the bureaucracy; the procedures of budgeting and regulatory agencies; and the issues in several concrete areas of policy, mainly in the domestic area. Excellent preparation for students planning to take the Washington Semester Program.

Syllabus: [Mead F07]

POL-UA 310 - The Presidency
Prerequisite: POL-UA 300
Study of the American presidency, its origins and roles, including those of commander in chief; director of foreign policy; leader in legislation, administration, and party affairs; manager of the economy; and dispenser of social justice. The president is also viewed as a decision maker and compared with the heads of other governments. Readings include the works of presidents and their associates, analytical commentaries by observers of the presidency, and biographies.

Syllabus: [Kim S07]

POL-UA 311 - The Biology of Politics

Why do we participate in politics? Who tends to participate? Why do individuals have
the political attitudes they do? These questions are central to the study of politics.
Political scientists have traditionally focused on factors such as demography,
socioeconomic status, mobilization, electoral institutions, and social norms to answer
these questions. However, scholars have recently begun to explore the possibility that
biological differences may, at least in part, help to explain individual differences in
political attitudes and behavior. This course explores the relationship between biology
and political behavior with an emphasis on how the two may be linked.

Syllabus: [Dawes S13]

POL-UA 315 - Controversies in Public Policy: Logic and Evidence
This course is about using logic to think about issues of public policy and evidence
to do the same thing. One way to think about this course is it is sabermetrics
(logic and evidence applied to baseball, and in Moneyball) applied to vastly more
important topics than baseball: making schools better, designing health policy and
dealing with climate change (with tons of other policy applications possible, but we
will focus on these three).

Syllabus: [Beck S13]

POL-UA 320 - Congress and Legislative Assemblies
Prerequisite: POL-UA 300
Origin, structure, functions, and dynamics of legislatures in the United States. Although some attention is given to state legislatures and municipal lawmaking bodies, the major emphasis is on the Congress. Readings include a textbook, official sources such as the Congressional Record and Congressional District Data Book, and the new behavioral studies and commentaries.

POL-UA 330 - The American Constitution
This course examines the major contours of the American Constitution excluding the Bill of Rights.  We will discuss constitutional law in the broader framework of social and political philosophy and explore evolution of judicial doctrine through our constitutional history.  The two major themes that run through most of the cases are federalism and separation of powers. 

Syllabus: [Rajsingh S11]

POL-UA 332 - Civil Liberties
Interpretation of the Bill of Rights, the Civil War Amendments, and other rights in the U.S. Constitution through the reading of Supreme Court opinions. Topics include freedom of speech and press; free exercise of religion and separation of church and state; the right of privacy; rights of the criminally accused; equal protection of the law against race, gender, and other discrimination; and the rights of franchise and citizenship. Cases are read and discussed closely for their legal and philosophical content.

Syllabus: [Harrington S13]

POL-UA 333 - The United States Supreme Court
Prerequisite: POL-UA 300
This course provides an introduction to current research on Supreme Court decision making. Specifically, the primary focus of the course is on why the Justices decide cases in the way that they do. However, we will also look at the Justices� decisions on writs of certiorari, and at the process by which the Justices are nominated and confirmed to the Court.

Syllabus: [Harvey S07]

POL-UA 334 - American Law and Legal System
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 300
Introduction to law and the legal system through the reading of actual cases. Topics include the adjudication of conflict, the structure and functions of trial and appellate courts, civil and criminal procedure, judicial remedies, judicial decision making, and the limits of judicial relief. Uses tort, contract, property, divorce, and other law for illustration.

POL-UA 335 - Law and Society
Identical to V62.0001 and V18.0722
This course studies the relationship between law and society by studying the nature of “rights” and “rights claims.”  The topics will address many issues and debates, but we will focus particularly on several main questions.  What are the different theoretical bases for rights claims?  How does the law impact what rights individuals and groups in civil society fight for, and the way they frame their claims?  What happens when different rights claims conflict with one another?  What is the difference between a right and a policy preference, and how do those different classifications affect discourse and public policy?

Syllabus: [Harrington S17]

POL-UA 336 - Gender in Law

Identical to V18.0723
Examines the relationship between gender politics, legal theory, and social policy. Studies the role that the legal arena and certain historical conditions have played in creating, revising, and protecting particular gender identities and not others and examines the political effects of those legal constructions. Analyzes the major debates in feminist legal theory, including theories of equality, the problem of essentialism, and the relevance of standpoint epistemology. In addition to examining how the law understands sex discrimination in the workplace and the feminization of the legal profession, also addresses to what extent understandings of the gender affect how law regulates the physical body by looking at the regulation of reproduction and of consensual sexual activity. In light of all of the above, considers to what extent law is or is not an effective political resource in reforming notions of gender in law and society.

Syllabus: [Harrington S10]

POL-UA 337 - The Rule of Law
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 300
The rule of law requires that people in positions of authority should exercise their power within a constraining framework of public laws rather than on the basis of their own preferences or their own ideology. This seminar explores the theory surrounding the rule of law ideal. It focuses on the political conditions that promote the rule of law as well as on the challenges to the rule of law in time of emergencies. Topics include the connection between law and morality, the political foundation of the rule of law, the interaction among political institutions in promoting or subverting the rule of law, the rule of law in times of crisis, the eects of emergency powers on the rule of law, and the rule of law and terrorism prevention.

Syllabus: [Dragu S13]

POL-UA 340 - Political Parties
Prerequisite: POL-UA 300
Background, structure, operation, and definition of the party systems. Development of the two-party system in the United States from its origins to the present. Formal organization of parties on the national and state levels and control of the parties within the state. Party politics in the South, political machines, ethnic politics, nominations for public office, and pressure groups on the party system. The national election from first stirrings of potential candidates through the general election.

POL-UA 342 - American Public Opinion
Prerequisite: POL-UA 300
What do Americans think about politics?  Why do they hold these beliefs?  And does it matter?  This course grapples with these three questions, which lie at the core of our understanding of the health of American democratic society.  In doing so, the class will give students the tools they need to critically assess the construction, conduct, and reporting of public opinion surveys.  

Syllabus:  [Egan S13] [Chudy S17]

POL-UA 344 The Election Process
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 300
Provides an understanding of election processes in the United States through different theoretical approaches to the study of campaigns and elections and the testing of empirical hypotheses. Analyzes campaign strategies of political candidates, the use of polls and media in campaigns, and the effects of issues and personalities on election outcomes. Evaluates the role of presidential primaries and elections in the functioning of a democracy.

Syllabus:  [Nagler S10]

POL-UA 350 - Bureaucracy and Public Policy
Prerequisite: POL-UA 300
Bureaucracies are inescapably embedded in the American political environment, and political conflicts within administrative agencies are ubiquitous. In this course, we will examine the major questions political scientists ask about public bureaucracies: How have they evolved to their current form? Why do bureaucrats engage in behavior that many of us consider pathological or arbitrary? How can unelected government officials be made more accountable to their elected counterparts and to citizens? In addressing these questions and others, we will draw on cases of government in action in a number of different public policy areas. 

Syllabus: [Gordon S07]

POL-UA 354 - The Politics of Administrative Law
Examines legal, political, and economic issues in government regulation. Covers such classic debates and issues as the historical origins of regulation, the legal philosophy of administrative regulation, the relationship between courts and agencies, the political and social conflicts surrounding regulatory politics, and the role of law in state formation. Formerly Law and Administrative Regulation.

Syllabus: [Harrington S17]

POL-UA 360 - Urban Government and Politics
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 300
Identical to V99.0371
Study of politics and politicians in the contemporary American city. Evolution of local party organizations, the rise and fate of party "bosses," and the predicament of the ordinary citizen in the urban community. Patterns of city politics against the background of American social and cultural history, including the impulse toward reform and the effects of reform efforts on the distribution of power in the community. Conceptions of effective leadership in urban politics and the role of the police, the press, and "good government" groups in local political life.

POL-UA 380 Minority Representation in American Politics
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 300
This course is an exploration of whether and how racial and ethnic minorities are able to organize effectively and press their demands through the American political system. Specifically, we will focus on the political behavior of minority citizens, the relative strength and effect of these groups at the polls and in political office, the theory and practice of group formation as it applies to minority groups, the responsiveness of elected officials, and the legal and constitutional obstacles and instruments that provide context and shape these phenomena.  We examine how public policies can affect both descriptive and substantive representation.

Syllabus: [Morton S08]

POL-UA 382 - The Politics of Poverty and Welfare
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 300
Poverty and welfare problems in the United States and the controversies aroused by them. Concentrates on the causes of poverty and dependency among the controversial working-age poor, the history of programs and policies meant to help them, and the enormous impact these issues have had on national politics.

Syllabus: [Mead S10]

POL-UA 385 - Political Economy: The United States in Comparative Perspective
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 300 or POL-UA 500
This course will introduce students to the study of comparative politics, which is defined as the study of domestic politics anywhere in the world. As a way of cutting into this vast topic, we specifically focus on the process of democratic transition by analyzing the democratic revolution that has swept the globe during the last thirty years. In turn we will explore the causes of democratization, threats to democratization, and factors that may aid in a successful consolidation of democracy. As part of this process, students will be exposed to a wide range of topics in comparative politics, including the politics of economic reform, party systems and voting, theories of ethnic politics, and social capital.

Syllabus: [Tucker S09]

POL-UA 395 - Undergraduate Field Seminar: American Politics
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 300
Advanced seminar for juniors and seniors in American politics. The specific topic of the seminar is announced each semester.

Syllabus: Congressional Elections [Nagler F13]

               Politics of American Inequality [Beck S16]             

POL-UA 395.001: The Empirical Study of LGBT Politics
Perhaps no issue in American politics has shifted as rapidly and profoundly in recent times as that of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. In this seminar, we will explore how researchers are explaining the causes and consequences of these changes with empirical analyses of quantitative data. Topics to be covered include: the meaning and measurement of LGBT identity; population estimates of those who identify as LGBT; the extent to which LGBTs’ political attitudes and behavior are distinctive from those of the general population; the measurement of Americans’ attitudes on LGBT issues and how these attitudes have changed over the past few decades; an assessment of changes in law and policies at the national, state and local levels; and the implications of these changes for the lived experience of LGBTs and their families, including health, well-being, stigma and discrimination. Our focus will be largely on the United States, although we will occasionally look at LGBT issues in other countries to broaden our understanding.

Detailed description: [Egan S17]

POL-UA 396 Honors Seminar: Politics and Finance
Prerequisites: POL-UA 300, three other politics courses, Junior or Senior standing, 3.5 GPA and one course in Economics. 
This seminar examines how legislation and regulation influences the structure of financial markets and how players in these markets intervene in the political process to create or modify legislative and regulatory outcomes. Particular emphasis will be placed on the United States. International comparisons will also be present. The class will assume that students have had exposure to microeconomics and finance but not to political theory. A brief introduction to political theory will be provided. The approach will be similar to that used in microeconomics, except that transactions will be made through voting institutions rather than through economic exchange.

Syllabus: [Rosenthal F16]

POL-UA 396 Honors Seminar: Politics and Courts

Prerequisites: POL-UA 300 and three other politics courses, 3.5 GPA
This seminar will examine the question of judicial independence. Our two primary questions are: Are federal courts in the United States independent of the elected branches? Should they be? We will read secondary and primary sources, the latter including both judicial opinions and quantitative data, and talk about how one might answer these questions. We will also look at state courts, and at how courts function in other countries. Students will write brief weekly responses to the readings, as well as develop a research paper on the question of judicial independence.

Syllabus: [Harvey S11]


POL-UA 396 Honors Seminar: Political Economy of Inequality

Over the past four decades, the United States has experienced dramatic increases in economic inequality, political polarization, and the percentage of the population that is foreign born. It has experienced a dramatic decrease in market regulation, especially financial markets. The seminar will investigate how these major changes in American society tie together. We will seek to understand why the increase in inequality has not been counterbalanced by a political process that would lead to more taxation and more redistribution. In particular, we will ask why, after the financial crisis of 2007-08 was ruinous for millions of Americans, Congress moved sharply to the right with the rise of the Tea Party and the Republican success in the midterm elections of 2010.

Syllabus: [Rosenthal F13]

POL-UA 341: Private Influence in Public Policy

In this course, we will examine the role of private influence in public policy from a variety of
theoretical and empirical perspectives. Course topics will include in-depth analysis of
mechanisms of influence (e.g., selection of sympathetic incumbents, the provision of incentives
for public officials, and the provision of information), objects of influence (voter choices,
legislative behavior, bureaucratic decisions), collective action, and organizational maintenance.
Special attention will be paid to the overcoming the challenges associated with
demonstrating influence empirically.

Syllabus: [Gordon S13]
POL-UA 994.01: Introduction to Constitutional Law

This course will serve as an introduction to Constitutional Law. While taught by a law professor and in the law school, it assumes no prior knowledge of the subject. It is geared toward undergraduates, including but not limited to those considering careers in the law. Constitutional Law traditionally divides into "structural" topics pertaining to the powers granted to various parts of the government, and "rights" topics pertaining to the claims we as individuals can make against governmental action. Although we will cover both, the emphasis of the course will be on contemporary rights-based controversies, including abortion; affirmative action; bearing arms; free exercise of religion; immigration; and same-sex marriage. Recitations will be led by third-year law students.

POL-UA 994.02: Judicial Decisionmaking
Judicial Decisionmaking is a course about what influences how judges decide cases, and— accordingly—the direction of the law itself. Does it favor consumers or business, plaintiffs or defendants, governments or its citizens? And how can you, as a citizen or lawyer, use this knowledge to help clients or assist in moving the law in a direction that you prefer? We will explore these questions through the lens of both ordinary cases and also some of the more salient disputes of our time, from Obamacare to abortion to the death penalty to sexual and gender equality.

We will begin by exploring two common misconceptions: that law itself decides all cases, or that case outcomes are determined by the ideology or personal preferences of judges.  From there we will move to explore a range of factors, including (a) the kinds of cases that litigants bring, what causes some cases but not others to settle, the impact of unequal resources among litigants, and the influence of repeat players;
(b) how judges grapple as they decide cases with constraints on what they know or can learn (is it okay for judges to just look things up on the internet?) and with large caseloads; (c) whether lower courts follow precedents or struggle to impose their own will on higher courts; (d) how judges on multi-judge  (or “collegial”) courts bargain to outcomes; (e) the extent to which judges pull their punches out of concern for retribution from the other branches; (f) whether it matters if a case is before a judge who is elected or appointed; and (g) the influence of public opinion on case outcomes.

Detailed description: [Harvey & Friedman S17]


Comparative Politics

POL-UA 500 - Comparative Politics (Core Course)
This course will introduce students to the study of comparative politics, which is defined as the study of domestic politics anywhere in the world. As a way of cutting into this vast topic, we specifically focus on the process of transition to and form democratic rule by analyzing the democratic revolution that has swept the globe during the last forty years, as well as the push back against democratization in recent year. In turn we will explore the causes of democratization, threats to democratization, and factors that may aid in a successful consolidation of democracy. As part of this process, students will be exposed to a wide range of topics in comparative politics, including the politics of economic reform, party systems and voting, theories of ethnic politics, and social media and political protest.

Syllabus: [Laver S16]

POL-UA 505 Elections and Voting
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 300 or POL-UA 500
Perhaps no other political activity is as important for public policy in democratic (and even quasi-democratic) countries as voting and elections, which determine who the ultimate policy makers will be.  Thus if we ever hope to understand why governments produce the policies they do, we have to
begin by asking why people vote the way they do.  Why do certain parties and candidates lose elections, while others win?  How important is the economy in influencing election results?  And why do some people choose not to vote at all?  As democracy in its various forms spreads across the globe, more and more people are voting.  In response, this course studies elections and voting as a truly international phenomenon.  Topics closely related to voting and elections - such as political parties, electoral rules and systems, and partisan identification - are explored as well. Students will also use to learn political science methods based on logic and evidence to explore competing explanations for these and other questions.  

Syllabus: [Tucker S07]

POL-UA 510 - Western European Politics
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 500
Identical to V42.0510
Study of the politics of Britain, Ireland, France, and the German Federal Republic. Compares the historical origins of these systems and analyzes their institutions as manifestations of their social and political culture and traditions. Treats each country's current politics and political trends. Attempts to introduce the basic concepts of comparative political analysis in developing cross-cultural theory.

Syllabus:  [Schain F10]

POL-UA 511 Immigration and Politics in Western Europe
Prerequisite: POL-UA 500
In this course we will explore immigration and patterns of immigrant incorporation in Western Europe in comparative perspective (mostly with the United States). Since the early 1960s immigration has transformed European countries into multi-racial and multi-ethnic societies. We will first explore how public policy contributed to this transformation, how it was structured by different concepts, traditions and laws on citizenship, and how it was related to transformation of the party system and the emergence of the extreme right and “identity politics” in Western Europe.

Syllabus: [Schain S07]

POL-UA 522 - East European Government and Politics
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 500
Introduction to the politics of Eastern and Central European countries. Considers political, social, and economic developments in these countries during the post-Versailles period. Subjects include the Communist takeover at the end of World War II, uprising during the de-Stalinization era, and the collapse of Communism at the end of the 1980s. Also deals with contemporary issues, including the process of democratization.

Syllabus: [Rama S03]  

POL-UA 530 - Politics of Latin America
This course studies the origins, persistence and transformation of political institutions
in Latin America and the way in which such political institutions interact with economic
development. Why is Latin America one of the most unequal regions of the world? Why is it
much poorer than the United States and Canada? Why did so many countries fell to dictatorship
in the 20th Century? Why are Latin American states weak and unable to guarantee basic public
services and law and order? How does democracy perform in Latin America? Why have some Latin
American countries performed better than others? What are the challenges for Latin America
into the future? The course begins with a broad overview of various political and economic
outcomes in Latin America such as development, inequality, state capacity, law and order
and democracy amongst others. Next, we discuss broad theories about Latin American politics
in comparative perspective. The course will focus on institutional theories, but we will
also discuss alternative theories. We will then use these theories to understand major
junctures in Latin American political history such as independence, the rise of
authoritarianism and dictatorship, revolution, democratization, and populism, amongst others.
In doing so, we will study differences as well as commonalities across different Latin
American countries.

Syllabus:  [Chacon S11]

POL-UA 532 - The Politics of the Caribbean Nations
Identical to V11.0532
Analysis of the political culture and institutions of Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. Concentration on the study of specific countries is possible and requires a research paper in addition to other requirements. Attention to the communities of Caribbean nationals in the United States to the extent that the study of these communities is relevant to internal political processes.

Syllabus: [C. Mitchell F06]

POL-UA 540 - Politics of the Middle East
Identical to V77.0750
The goal of this course is to offer students an overview of politics in the modern Middle East. The course is designed around specific historical trends and contemporary issues facing the people and governments of the region. As such we will be concerned with comparing and tracing particular forms of rule, economic policies, and modes of political expression, exclusion, cooperation and conflict. In particular we will examine: state and regime formation, development programs, and attempts by citizens to challenge the authoritarian status quo and economic recessions and inequalities. In addition, the course will introduce students to social and political concepts and theories through case studies and comparisons from the region.

Syllabus:  [Keshavarizian F09]

POL-UA 545 - Politics and Society in Iran
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 500
Examines the relationship between the state and society in modern Iran by focusing on the social bases of politics. Recurrence of certain historical and cultural themes and their political implications from the Constitutional Revolution (1906-1909) to the current period. Topics include the rise and demise of the Pahlavi dynasty; the interaction of the Pahlavis with nationalist and religious forces; the Mosaddeq era; the politics of oil nationalization; the Shah's White Revolution and politics, culture, and economics in the 1960s and 1970s; the process leading to the revolution of 1978-1979 and the establishment of the Islamic Republic; the hostage crisis; export of the revolution and the Iran-Iraq war; and Iran's current regional and international role in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Syllabus: [Kazemi F07]

POL-UA 560 - Politics of East Asia
Introduction to the workings of the political systems of China and Japan. Examines the impact of tradition, demands of modernization, ideology, role of the elite, and social dynamics as well as political institutions and processes. Compares the Chinese and the Japanese "models" of development with a view to evaluating their relevance to other areas.

Syllabus:  [Hsiung F15]

POL-UA 562 Comparative Politics of South Asia
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 500
This course is an introduction to the comparative politics of South Asia. We will analyze the politics of South Asian countries, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, individually and in a comparative framework. The readings are chosen from across disciplines, including political science, anthropology, economics and history. The course will also use novels and films on South Asia to illustrate themes highlighted in the readings.

Syllabus: [Chandra F06]

POL-UA 570 - Political and Economic Development in Comparative Perspective
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 500
Introduction to the political processes of change and development. Survey of classical and contemporary theories of political and economic development ranging from neoclassical to structural to recent endogenous growth theories. Focuses on institutions and governance as conditions for growth and development. Examines the relationship between political and economic change in selected countries as well as global patterns.

Syllabus: [Sergi S10]

POL-UA 575 -- The Political Economy of Institutions
This course examines the relationship between economic incentives and the creation and maintenance of political and economic institutions. Topics include, but are not limited to, the creation and assignment of property rights, the rule of law, and the creation of markets. The course focuses on theories that advance an economic rationale for institutions and relies on the methodologies of game theory and rational choice, of which no prior knowledge will be assumed.

Syllabus: [Eggertsson S10]

POL-UA 580 - Collective Action: Social Movements and Revolutions
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 500
Analyzes patterns of collective action by socially subordinate groups. Survey of theoretical approaches to social movements and revolutions. Focuses on the evolution of forms of collective action and the conditions for the emergence of revolutionary social movements from social protest. Examines closely several case studies such as the civil rights movement in the United States, revolutionary social movements in Central America and southern Africa, and the French and Chinese revolutions.

Syllabus: [Zubida F05]

POL-UA 584 - Contemporary African Politics
This course offers an introduction to contemporary African politics. Our goal is to introduce students to the most pressing problems African countries have faced since independence. Questions motivating the course include: (1) Why state institutions weaker in African than in other developing regions? (2) What explains Africa's slow economic growth? (3) What can be done to improve political accountability on the continent? (4) Why have some African countries been plagued by high levels of political violence while others have not? (5) Can or should the West attempt to "save" Africa?

The course is structured in three parts. In the first, we will review Africa's recent political history, concentrating on the impacts of colonialism, and the types of states created in the wake of African independence movements. Then we turn to the challenges post-colonial governments face as they attempt to manage the interests of ethnically diverse societies, and reform their economies and political institutions. We end the course with an in-depth look at patterns of violent conflict across Africa, and the daunting tasks that many African countries face as they attempt to recover from conflict.

Syllabus: [Scacco S17]

POL-UA 595 - Undergraduate Field Seminar: Comparative Politics
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 500
Advanced seminar for juniors and seniors in comparative politics. The specific topic of this seminar is announced each year.

Syllabus: Comparative Political Economy of Affirmative Action [Samii F12]   

              Old and New Left in Latin America [Castaneda F13]                  


POL-UA 595.01 - The Politics of Inequality
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 500

Students in this seminar will investigate how inequality shapes politics and how politics shapes inequality, both in the advanced industrial countries and the developing world.  In the first half of the course students will review recent work on long run trends in inequality in the industrialized world, investigate the political factors that may have influenced these trends, and finally examine how changes in inequality have shaped the pattern of politics, with particular emphasis on the current US context. The second half of the course will focus more specifically on inequality in the developing world and its relationship to democracy, political violence, and economic development.

Syllabus: [Stasavage S16]

POL-UA 595.02 - Political Violence
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 500

In this course, we will engage with leading contemporary research on political violence,including civil war, ethnic conflict, communal riots and anti‐regime protest. The course readings draw primarily from political science, but we will also be reading works of anthropology, economics, history and psychology. The main goal of the course is to think critically about a set of substantive questions about violent conflict. Why do we observe violence at all? What explains the onset of and conduct within civil wars? Why do individuals decide to fight (if fighting is a choice at all)? Do different forms of conflict have different causes? Can we use the same theories and techniques to study violent and non‐violent collective action?

Syllabus: [Scacco S17]

POL-UA 596 - Honors Seminar: Comparative Politics
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 500, three other politics courses, Junior or Senior standing, 3.5 GPA.
Advanced seminar for juniors and seniors in comparative politics. The specific topic of this seminar is announced each year.

Syllabus: Ethnic Identity Politics and Democracy [Chandra F07]

POL-UA 597 - Networks and Politics
Are segregated neighborhoods always the result of discrimination? If a revolution is brewing, how many people must the revolutionaries personally recruit in order to incite widespread revolution? How debilitating will a snowed-in JFK Airport be to national air travel? Why are all actors separated from Kevin Bacon by 6 degrees or fewer? Why did Blu-Ray dominate HD DVD? The budding new field of Network Analysis offers the tools to answer questions like these. Network analysis is a recent import into the social sciences, and has been developed in a diverse set of fields, from physics to computer science to sociology. Recognizing that objects of study (people, genes, web pages, virus hosts, etc.) are often influenced by ‘neighboring’ objects of study, these fields have created a paradigm and a set of tools that political scientists can use to study segregation, the spread of ideas, learning, institutional design, the adoption of new technologies, epidemics, migration, trade, revolutions, and various other phenomena that involve a group of people interacting. The blend of networks and political science covered in this course will reveal a wealth of untapped research opportunities and chances to make real contributions to the field of political science. This course assumes no background in social network analysis; we will begin with the basics.   By the end of the course, you will have the skills necessary to explain or make predictionsabout real world political phenomena using network techniques. You will also develop the invaluable skill of extracting meaning from academic articles that assume a level oftechnical proficiency above your own—a skill that will serve you well in academia, the world of consulting, and beyond.

Syllabus: [Larson F13]


International Politics

POL-UA 700 - International Politics (Core Course)
This course is designed to introduce the central concepts and methods for studying international relations and foreign policy. It emphasizes a political economy perspective that draws attention to how incentives,political institutions and domestic politics shape interactions in the international arena whether those interactions concern national security or economic exchange. The course introduces a set of analytic tools that will help provide a means to evaluate points of view regarding foreign affairs based on *logic and evidence* rather than personal opinion or partisan preferences.

Syllabus: [Satyanath F07][BDM S10] [BDM S13]

POL-UA 710 - U.S. Foreign Policy
Prerequisite: POL-UA 700
Analysis of the sources of U.S. foreign policy and the major international problems facing the United States today. Considers the role of national interest, ideology, and institutions in the making and executing of U.S. foreign policy.

Syllabus: [Peker S06] [Togman Sum13] [Lutmar Sum13]

POL-UA 711 - The Politics of Human Rights
Prerequisite: POL-UA 700

This course is designed to provide a broad introduction to the study of human rights from the perspective of political science. It examines the political history of the international human rights regime; recent political theory and psychological perspectives on human rights, the causes of contemporary human rights problems; the economic, social, and political factors associated with human rights progress; and the strategic approaches that are currently being employed to improve human rights in different settings.

Syllabus: [Downs F10] [Downs S11] [Downs S13]

POL-UA 712 - National Security
Prerequisite: POL-UA 700 
Starting with the traditional arena of national security and U.S. military policy, students analyze how national security decisions are made in this country, as well as the past and current military strategies used to carry out those decisions. From there students examine the particular national security concerns and policies of Russia, China, Germany, and Japan. This class also looks at new thinking on national security, asking to what extent international trade and competition, immigration, illegal drugs, and the environment should be considered national security issues.

Syllabus: [Peker S06] [Lutmar Sum13]

POL-UA 715 - American Primacy
Prerequisite: POL-UA 700
This course addresses the question: How did the United States become the world’s dominant nation? That is, what explains American primacy, by which I mean the ascendancy of the United States in: military power, economic wealth, and “soft power”—the unforced deference that other countries pay us? On all these levels, America leads the world today.

Syllabus: [Mead S08] [Mead S10] [Mead S11] [Mead S12]

POL-UA 720 - Diplomacy and Negotiation
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 700
Analyzes the theory and practice of diplomacy, with special emphasis on bargaining strategies that nations use to try to settle their differences and avoid wars, including the use of mediators, arbitrators, and institutions like the United Nations. Applies game theory to analyze the use of exaggeration, threats, and deception in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. Supplements case studies of international negotiation, especially in crises, with studies of domestic bargaining used in the formulation of foreign policy.

POL-UA 725 - The Political Economy of Development

Prerequisite:  POL-UA 700
This course will examine the inter-relationship between politics and economic development.  It will address both how socio-political factors influence economic outcomes, and how   economic factors, in turn, shape political outcomes. We will begin by exploring the legacy of    historical institutions such as slavery and colonialism on development and growth. We will then study how political factors such as ethnic fractionalization, gender, corruption, and democracy influence economic outcomes. We will also focus extensively on the economics of conflict in developing nations, and examine the role of international aid as a part of current efforts at promoting development.

Syllabus: [Dube F10] [Chacon S11] [Satyanath S12]

POL-UA 730 - International Organization
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 700
This course covers the formal theory of international cooperation including the reason why countries choose to cooperate, bargaining over and enforcement of international agreements, and multilateralism. The remainder of the course discusses empirical examples including peacekeeping, collective security, economic and environmental cooperation, human rights treaties and arms control.

Syllabus: [Lutmar F07]  [Gilligan S06]

POL-UA 736 - Business and American Foreign Policy
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 700
Examines competing theories as to the relationship between business and government in the conduct of foreign policy. Assesses the applicability of these theories to case studies in East-West trade, the defense procurement process, intervention in the Third World, human rights, the effect of trade and investment on the American economy, security of supply of natural resources, and economic development in the Third World.

POL-UA 740 - International Law
The norms that govern states in their legal relations and the current development of law among nations, based on cases and other legal materials relating to the nature and function of the law; recognition of states and governments; continuity of states and state succession; jurisdiction over persons, land, sea, air, and outer space; international responsibility and the law of claims; diplomatic privileges and immunities; treaties; regulation of the use of force; and the challenges posed by new states to the established legal order. Emphasis on the case-law method, as used in law school instruction.

Syllabus: [Hsiung S16]

POL-UA 741 - War, Peace, and World Order
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 700
This course explores the conditions that lead to the initiation, escalation, spread, termination, and consequences of international conflict as well as the circumstances that promote, preserve, or restore peace.  The main objective is to identify strategies that promote cooperative solutions to international disputes and to evaluate those strategies in terms of their historical effectiveness. The course emphasizes the application of models of strategic rational action as tools for assessing relations between nations, coupled with statistical and historical analysis of classes of events. 

Syllabus: [Smith F16]

POL-UA 742 - Terrorism
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 700
Comparative study of terrorism as a domestic political phenomenon. Examines foundational issues, economic, psychological, strategic, and social theories of terrorism as well as theories of the cessation of terrorist violence, government negotiation with terrorists, the relationship between terrorists and nonviolent political actors, and the internal political economy of terrorist organizations. Considers terror in the Middle East (especially emphasizing Hamas), nationalist terror (ETA and the IRA), and Maoist revolutionary terror (with emphasis on the Shining Path).

Syllabus: [Zubida F05]

POL-UA 760 - International Politics of the Middle East
Identical to V77.0752
This course is intended as an introduction to politics in the Middle East and therefore provides a general overview of some of the chief issues of contemporary Middle Eastern politics. Consequently, it will
examine the interplay of numerous factors that help us to better understand and to critically analyze the Middle East. These include the impact of colonialism, nationalism and nation-state formation, regional crises, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the politics of oil, Islamism, democratization, political economy, globalization, and human rights, etc. Special attention will be given to the historical and contemporary interaction between the Middle East and the United States, the “West,” and the “East.” Lastly, the Iraq War has ushered in a defining moment for the world. Not only does it affect the politics of the region and developments here in the United States, it has also reshaped the international political system. As such, a portion of the class will be devoted to studying this crisis.

: [Marji Sum08]  [Erbal Sum07] [Marji S08] [Erbal Fall10]

POL-UA 770 - International Relations of Asia
Identical to V33.0770
The relations of and between the principal Asian national actors (e.g., China, Japan, India) and the relationship of the Asian "subsystem" to the international system. Covers the traditional Asian concepts of transnational order, the impact of external interventions, the modern ideological conflict and technological revolution, the emergent multilateral balance beyond Vietnam, the changing patterns of relations in the Asian subsystem traced to the international evolution from bipolarity to multicentrism, and the U.S. role in Asia.

Syllabus: [Hsiung S16]

POL-UA 775 - International Political Economy
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 700
This course serves as an introduction to the workings of the contemporary international political-economic system and introduces students to some of the main analytical frameworks which political economists use to understand this system. Finally, the course familiarizes students with analytical tools that serve to gain a better understanding of the current problems and opportunities facing actors in today's international political economy.

Syllabus: [McGillivray F02]

POL-UA 780 - Inter-American Relations
Prerequisite: POL-UA 700
Examines inter-American relations in the 20th century. The role the United States has played in influencing economic and social policy in Latin America and the Caribbean is examined through the Good Neighbor Policy, the cold war, Alliance for Progress, National Security Doctrine, and the democratization wave. The Mexican Revolution; Import Substitution Industrialization policies; the Guatemalan, Bolivian, Cuban, and Nicaraguan revolutions and their effects on U.S.-Latin American relations are discussed along with U.S. social, political, and military intervention in the region and its effect on strengthening and/or hindering democracy. Heavy on readings, the course provides a historical, sociological, and economic background of Latin American political development in the 20th century. Formerly Latin America and the World.

POL-UA 795 - Undergraduate Field Seminar: International Politics
Prerequisite:POL-UA 700 
Advanced seminar for juniors and seniors in international relations. The specific topic of the seminar is announced each year.

Syllabus: Political Economy of Development [Satyanath F07]
              Domestic Determinants of IR [Smith S07]
              The Politics of International Law [Downs S13]

              Solving Foreign Crises [Bueno de Mesquita S11]*

Fall 2009 Seminar: Solving Foreign Crises- Bueno de Mesquita
Prerequisite: POL-UA 700 + 3 other politics courses

*Note: Syllabus is MA version, undergraduate syllabus will reflect a less rigorous approach to the subject.


POL-UA 994.02 - Human Rights
This course studies the politics and history of the conception, protection, and violation of
human rights in global perspective. It is divided into five sections. The first section
introduces tools, concepts, and facts used in the study of human rights. The next four
sections examine a set of questions about four phenomena central to modern human
rights: democracy and democratization, international law and institutions, the activities of
powerful democracies, and global civil society. At the end of the course, students will
understand how political actors and institutions interacting within states and globally
affect the conception and protection of human rights, how those institutions and actors
rose to their positions, and what the future holds for human rights. This is a demanding
course for students who have had some exposure to economics and political science and
who can keep up with a reading load of two to four articles per day.

Syllabus: [Hashimoto S12] [Hashimoto S13]

POL-UA 796 Honors Seminar: American Empire
Prerequisite:  POL-UA 700, three other politics courses, Junior or Senior standing, 3.5 GPA.
The purpose of this course is to provide a broad survey of the debate about American power and influence in international affairs, and to provide sufficient background for students to do a major research paper on the topic. Some view the American role today as creating an empire, while others view U.S. influence as just a reflection of the wealth and military might that Americans command. There are many other thoughtful perspectives as well.

Syllabus: [Denoon S17]


Analytical Politics

POL-UA 800 - Quantitative Methods in Political Science
Introduces students to the use of statistical methods used in political science research such as hypothesis testing and linear regression.

Syllabus:  [Acikgoz S13]

POL-UA 810 - Political Engineering: The Design of Institutions
Institutions are the rules by which societies govern themselves.  In this course, the tools of economic theory, game theory, and social-choice theory will be applied to the rational-choice analysis of political, economic, and social institutions, whose consequences for society will be derived from assumptions about what individuals seek to maximize.

The product of such analysis, which is reflected in the title of this course, is normative: To design institutions that meet certain “engineering” specifications and, therefore, may be superior to institutions that, because they arose more haphazardly, may not satisfy these specifications.  Like engineering in the natural sciences, which translates theory (e.g., from physics) into practical design (e.g., a bridge), engineering in the social sciences translates rational-choice analysis into the design of better political-economic-social institutions.

Syllabus:  [Brams S11]

POL-UA 812- Introduction to Political Psychology
This course offers a broad overview of political psychology, a field that uses experimental methods and theoretical ideas from psychology as tools to help understand political processes.  The course introduces important concepts from psychology, offering new ways of thinking about subjects as varied as personality, the dynamics of social groups, and the ways in which emotion affects decision making,
and then applies these concepts to various topics within political science, including the media and political advertising, race relations, the legitimacy of government institutions, and the formation of opinions and ideologies.  In addition, by describing political psychology experimentation in detail, the course teaches about how the scientific method can be applied to the study of politics.

Syllabus: [Dickson F08]

POL-UA 840 -- Introduction to Game Theory
This course introduces the basic concepts of elementary game theory in a way that allows you to use them in solving simple problems. And second, it gives a flavor of how game theory can be used in the study of political science by presenting a wide array of example applications. In addition, throughout the course we will discuss evidence from experiments and from other sources that bears on when we should expect game theory to be most useful in applied studies, and when we might reasonably have doubts about the types of predictions that it makes about human behavior.
Syllabus: [Hafer F14]

POL-UA 842 -- Doing Political Economy

Political economy has made great strides in recent year in explaining political and economic behavior by characterizing the incentives of actors and the context in which these actors make decisions and influence outcomes. The purpose of this class is to introduce students to these theoretical approaches and show how they can be used to address  contemporary policy questions. First students are introduced to the tools of modern political economy. In a relatively non-mathematical manner students will also learn the conceptual basis of statistical testing. These tools are then applied to policy problems in three substantive areas: international relations, American politics and comparative politics. Through these methods and their application students will learn how to evaluate public policy using theory and evidence.

Syllabus: [Smith F10]

POL-UA 844 - Games, Strategy, and Politics
Theories of political strategy, with emphasis on the theory of games. Uses of strategy in defense and deterrence policies of nations, guerrilla warfare of revolutionaries and terrorists, bargaining and negotiation processes, coalitions and the enforcement of collective action, and voting in committees and elections. Secrecy and deception as political strategies and uses of power, with some applications outside political science.

Syllabus: [Brams F16]

POL-UA 845 - Social Choice and Politics
Introduces students to social choice theory applied to political science. It focuses on (1) individual choice, (2) group choice, (3) collective action, and (4) institutions. It looks at models of individuals' voting behavior, the incentive structures of interest groups, and the role of institutions. The emphasis is analytical, though students are not expected to have a background in formal mathematics.

Syllabus: [Eguia F11]

POL-UA 846 - Experimental Methods in Political Science

Prerequisite:  POL-UA 800
This course is designed to provide an introduction to experimental methods in political science for undergraduate students. The emphasis of the course will be on several different styles of laboratory experiments, but field experiments (and briefly, survey experiments) will also be discussed.

Syllabus: [Morton]

POL-UA 850 - Introduction to Research Methods for Politics
New research is the most exciting and important aspect of political science: we are able to pose novel questions, construct fresh theories, and provide new evidence about the way the world works. But before we start doing research, we have to learn how it is done.  With this in mind, this class introduces students to quantitative techniques used for research in the study of politics. It helps students to think sensibly and systematically about research design, learn how data and theory fit together, and how to measure the quantities we care about. But part of the task is practical too: students learn a `toolbox' of methods--including statistical software--that enable them to execute their plans.

Syllabus: [Spirling F16]

POL-UA 895 - Undergraduate Field Seminar: Analytical Politics
Advanced seminar for juniors and seniors in analytical politics. The specific topic of the seminar is announced each year.

Syllabus- Quantitative Analysis of Public Policy [Beck F10]


Honors, Internship, and Independent Study

POL-UA 950 Senior Honors I

Prerequisite:  Application and admission to the honors program. Given every Fall semester.

The purposes of this seminar is to provide students with the skills needed to design a feasible
research project in political science and to support students in the development of a detailed research proposal for the senior thesis.

POL-UA 951 - Senior Honors II
Prerequisite:  completion of Senior Honors I, POL-UA 950. Given every Spring semester.

The purpose of this seminar is to support honors politics students in the writing of a senior thesis.

POL-UA 970,971 - Internships in Politics and Government I, II
2 or4 points
Not counted toward the major, normally limited to two internships. Prerequisites: open to junior and senior politics majors or minors; 3.0 GPA overall, and permission of the director of internship. Please submit an application.
Integration of part-time working experience in governmental agencies or other political offices and organizations with study of related problems in politics and political science. Relates certain scholarly literature in the discipline to observational opportunities afforded by the internship experience. The internships average 8-12 hours per week.

POL-UA 990 - Readings and Research
2 or 4 points
Prerequisite: written approval of student's departmental adviser, instructor, and director of undergraduate studies. Please submit an application.
Students with exceptional intellectual ability (3.0 average in at least three previous politics courses) are permitted to carry on supervised individual readings and research.

POL-UA 994 - Topics
Advanced undergraduate course, often to be given in seminar style, to accommodate professors and faculty in the department who wish to give a one-time or experimental course. Encourages department or visiting faculty to give courses on subject areas or issues not in the permanent course offerings.

Syllabus:  Human Rights [Hasimoto F12]


POL-UA 994.002 - Undergraduate Field Seminar: Analytical Politics
This course will familiarize students with key academic and policy debates about coercive and non-coercive international intervention in armed conflicts and conflict-prone environments. The course covers both classic works and recent research, with an emphasis on the latter.

There are four parts to this course. First, we will discuss why states and/or rebel groups fight in the first place, with a focus on bargaining problems that can arise between disputants. Second, we will briefly discuss methodological challenges in learning about conflict and intervention. Third, we will analyze a set of different types of interventions, the conditions in which they are likely, their intended and unintended effects,and the benchmarks we should use to evaluate them. Fourth, we will discuss four ongoing conflicts in detail,namely the conflicts in the Ukraine, Syria and Iraq, Nigeria, and Sudan and South Sudan.

Syllabus-  [Beber S15]