Courses

The following information is from the 2016-17 Vassar College Catalogue.

Political Science: I. Introductory

The courses listed below are introductions to the discipline of political science: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Politics, and Political Theory. One introductory course is required of majors. No more than two introductory courses in different subfields may be counted towards the major. Except where otherwise noted, enrollment of juniors and seniors for 100-level courses by permission of the instructor only.

140a or b. American Politics 1

An analysis of the American political system and the structures and processes by which public policies are formulated and implemented. Attention is focused upon decision making in institutions of American national government, such as Congress, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court, and upon political behavior---public opinion, voting, and other forms of political activity. Attention is also given to evaluation of selected public policies and contemporary issues, and questions of political change. Richard Born.

American Politics: a Multiracial and Multicultural Approach to U.S. Politics. This course represents a multiracial and multicultural approach to the study of American Politics. It examines American social history, political ideologies, and governmental institutions. It covers a broad range of topics including the Constitution, federalism, Congress, the judiciary, and the politics of difference in the United States. The thematic core of the class engages the evolution of the ideas of "equality" and "citizenship" in American society. Luke Harris.

American Politics: Conflict and Power. An analysis of US politics as an example of the uses of conflict to uphold and/or to change established relationships of power and public policy. A main focus is on alternative theories and strategies of conflict, especially as reflected in such institutions as the constitution, court, party system, interest groups, the media, and presidency. A major focus is on the conflict implications of business as a system of power, its relation to the warfare state and the US international project. Materials may be drawn from comparisons with other political systems. Sidney Plotkin.

American Politics: Democracy and Capitalism. Examines the ongoing tensions between the demands of democracy and those of capitalism in US politics. Acknowledging the economy as a field of political activity, this course focuses on how political institutions and actors have shaped and responded to those demands over time. Particular attention is given to the issue of state expansion and whether a larger state challenges a capitalist economy or ensures its smooth functioning. The relative influence of various groups on the reconciliation of democratic and capitalist demands is also a main focus of the course. Elisabeth Chaves.

American Politics: Groups, Revolutions, and Political Movements. This course is a study of the origins, development, structure, and functions of the American Political System and government. First, students are (re)introduced to the system's historical roots, and the major political and policy-making institutions of the national government. The second half of the course focuses on mass political behavior and interests, and the following topics are covered: public opinion, mass media, political participation, and campaigns and elections. In the course, emphasis is placed on factors and groups that shape American politics, such as the digital and social media revolutions, social movements, racial/ethnic minorities and the Millennial generation. The course incorporates contemporary political events and situations such as the 2016 presidential election, judicial vacancies, and recent social movements. Taneisha Means.

150a or b. Comparative Politics 1

An examination of political systems across the world chosen to illustrate different types of political regimes, states, and societies. The political system is seen to include formal institutions of government, such as parliaments and bureaucracies; political parties and other forms of group life; those aspects of the history and social and economic structure of a society that are relevant to politics; and political beliefs, values, and ideologies. Special attention is given to the question of political change and development, whether through revolutionary or constitutional process.

Comparative Politics: Analyzing Politics in the World. This course introduces how comparativists analyze politics within states in the world. Topics include state formation, democracy and dictatorship, political economy, social movements, revolution, ethnicity, and political culture. The course draws from both theoretical work and country and regional case studies that may include the US, Chile, China, India, Cuba, Great Britain, Iran, the Middle East, South Africa and East Asia. The course uses cases to analyze and compare basic concepts and patterns of the political process. Students should come away from the course with both an understanding of the diversity of the world's political systems, as well as an appreciation of the questions and concepts that inform the work of political scientists. Katherine Hite, Samson Opondo, Fubing Su.

Two 75-minute periods.

160a or b. International Politics 1

An examination of major issues in international politics, including national and international security and production and distribution of wealth, along with selected global issues such as human rights, ethnic nationalism and ethnic conflict, migration and refugees, environmental degradation and protection, and the impact of developments in communication and information technologies. Attention is also given to the origins, evolution, and the future of the contemporary international system, as well as to competing theoretical perspectives on world politics. Leah Haus, Stephen Rock, Himadeep Muppidi.

170a. or b. Political Theory 1

An introduction to the nature, types, and problems of political theory. The core of the readings consists of selections from what are considered classic works in the field. The course emphasizes the relevance of these ideas to current political developments and scholarship. Andy Davison, Annie Menzel, Peter Stillman.

Political Science: II. Intermediate

Prerequisite: Freshmen may take a 200-level course only with the permission of the instructor, which usually requires satisfactory completion of an introductory course. For sophomores, juniors, and seniors, an introductory course is recommended but not required.

207 Political Analysis 1

This course emphasizes techniques for testing political science hypotheses via statistical analysis of quantitative data. The great majority of time is spent dealing with two major areas: 1) how empirical data are collected through survey research and other methods, and 2) how these data are then analyzed so as to confirm or disconfirm hypotheses about political thinking and behavior. Students learn how to use the SPSS statistical software package in order to perform their analyses. Richard Born.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

Political Science: II. Intermediate A. American Politics

238 Power and Public Policy 1

An examination of the policy consequences of power in the United States, including the role of the corporation as a policy making institution and the influence of citizens and social movements on public policy. The emphasis is on theories of power, relationships between economic and political power, and the impact of power on ideology and the structuring of policy alternatives, policy making, and policy implementation. Case studies may include policy areas such as health, environment, tobacco, technology, and mass media. Sidney Plotkin.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

240 The American Presidency 1

An analysis of the American presidency, with emphasis on recent presidents. Topics include presidential nominations and elections; the nature and use of presidential power; the institutionalized presidency; policy making in the White House; the relationship between presidents and other key political factors, e.g., the Congress, the bureaucracy, the media, and public opinion; and the role of presidential personality and style. Richard Born.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

241 Congress 1

An analysis of the contemporary and evolving U.S. Congress, its organization, functions, and politics. Topics include congressional elections, redistricting, and representation; political polarization; the internal life and norms of the House and Senate; the structure of power in Congress; the current disarray afflicting the House Republican party; interest groups and lobbying; presidential-congressional relations; the congressional response to selected public problems; and political change and the future of Congress. Richard Born.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

243 Constitutional Law 1

This course examines the art of constitutional analysis through the prism of a multifaceted exploration of the central thematic concerns of the Critical Race Theory Movement, as it has developed in the legal academy. It engages an array of perspectives on constitutional interpretation. In so doing, we examine, among other things, a number of Supreme Court opinions that focus on the intersection of issues of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation. Luke Harris.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

244 Political Parties and Public Opinion 1

An examination of the nature and roles of public opinion and political parties in American politics, with emphasis on democratic means of political participation and influence in contemporary America. Special attention is paid to mass and elite political attitudes and behavior, techniques of public opinion polling, the impact of public opinion on policy making, recent national elections, campaign techniques and strategies, and the changing party system. Richard Born.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

245b. Courts, Judges and American Judicial Politics 1

This course examines the central issues in Judicial Politics and the principal questions asked within the subfield. Among other topics, students will consider the role of the courts in the American political system, the structure of the federal and state judiciaries, the judicial selection process, the nature of decision-making, inter-branch relations and conflict within the judicial hierarchy, public opinion on the institution, and the social impact of courts. In the course, special emphasis is placed on exploring how and why U.S. courts are political institutions and American judges are political actors. 

Two 75-minute periods.

246a. Civil Rights 1

This survey course examines the causal and remedial relationship of law to racial discrimination. Following a brief historical overview of the law's engagement with race, the course considers the development of civil rights claims in a number of areas such as education, housing and employment. Competing visions of racial equality embedded in civil rights legislation, in case law and in legal discourse and theory will be evaluated as well as critiques of traditional models of anti-discrimination law. Throughout the class we will seek to assess how the legal system has accommodated racism and racial subordination as well as the extent to which racial progress is both enabled and delimited within the legal frame. Luke Harris.

Two 75-minute periods.

247a. The Politics of Difference 1

(Same as AFRS 247) This course relates to the meanings of various group experiences in American politics. It explicitly explores, for example, issues of race, class, gender, disability, and sexual orientation. Among other things, this course addresses the contributions of the Critical Legal Studies Movement, the Feminist Jurisprudence Movement, the Critical Race Movement, and Queer Studies to the legal academy. Luke Harris.

Two 75-minute periods.

248a. Community Power and Property Rights: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 1

Examines community conflicts over land use that call into question the meaning and nature of property and property rights. Based primarily on U.S. cases, the course reviews efforts by communities to regulate, redefine, and 'take' property to achieve various public objectives. Objectives examined can be broadly characterized as fitting within three areas: environmental protection, urban development, and social justice. Cases may include community bans on 'fracking,' conflicts over fossil fuel extraction on native lands, the displacement of minority communities by eminent domain for public works projects, as well as cases centering on rent control, urban squatting and other responses to gentrification and affordable housing loss. Through such cases, the course addresses both community and property as sites of conflict over the ends of politics and society, while critically investigating competing conceptions of property and property rights. It also closely analyzes the bounds of community power in responding to and altering those rights. The course proceeds from the assumption that 'community power' can be used towards a multitude of ends, good, bad, and sometimes, ugly. Elisabeth Chaves.

Two 75-minute periods.

249 The Politics of City, Suburb, and Neighborhood 1

(Same as URBS 249) An examination of the development, organization, and practice of the varied forms of politics in metropolitan areas. Main themes include struggles between machine and reform politicians in cities; fiscal politics and urban pre-occupations with economic growth, racial and class politics; changes in federal urban policies; neighborhood politics and alternative forms of community organization; suburban politics and race/class. Sidney Plotkin.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

Political Science: II. Intermediate B. Comparative Politics

251 Reorderings 1

In the mid 19th century, the Ottoman Empire undertook a series of policies, known as the Tanzimat reforms, designed in part to harmonize Ottoman imperial structures with ideas and practices of European political modernity. Tanzimat literally means rearrangement, reorganization, or reordering. This course interprets various and selected facets of the Ottoman and Turkish experiences of political reordering, including ongoing transformations in political structure, ideology, and culture, and axes of prolonged contestation around issues such as nationalism, Europe, the relation between Islam and power, and state-society relations. Andrew Davison.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

252a. The Politics of Modern Social Movements 1

This course examines continuities and transformations in both the study and practice of modern political and social movements. The course explores why movements emerge, how they develop, and what they accomplish. We study several dimensions of collective action, including their organization, leadership, ideology or programmatic content, and objectives. Our case studies are rich and diverse, spanning actors and geographic regions, yet we consciously draw comparisons across the cases concerning movements' origins, the context of power relations and political positioning within society. We also seek to understand the sometimes powerful, sometimes subtle influences of social movements on the nature of socioeconomic, gender, racial, ethnic, national and transnational relations today. Katherine Hite.

Two 75-minute periods.

253b. Transitions In Europe 1

This course addresses themes such as the collapse of authoritarianism, democratic consolidation, institution of 'rule of law', deepening of markets, and break-up of nation-states. These themes are explored in the European and Eurasian areas, where in recent decades there has been a break up (sometimes violent other times peaceful) of former countries; as well as an unprecedented deepening of the sharing of previously national power in the peculiar entity of the European Union. The course focuses on changes that have taken place in the spaces of the former Soviet Union, particularly Russia, and the European Union, and considers alternative explanations for why the changes have taken place. Subjects include the collapse of communism and authoritarianism in the former Soviet Union; the challenges of democratic consolidation, institution of a capitalist market economy, and corruption in Russia; the removal of national borders and the deepening of the Single European Market in the EU; the state of the nation-state and democracy in the EU; education and collective identity formation; migration and citizenship; and nationalist backlashes. Leah Haus.

Two 75-minute periods.

254a. Chinese Politics and Economy 1

(Same as ASIA 254) This course offers a historical and thematic survey of Chinese politics, with an emphasis on the patterns and dynamics of political development and reforms since the Communist takeover in 1949. In the historical segment, we examine major political events leading up to the reform era, including China's imperial political system, the collapse of dynasties, the civil war, the Communist Party's rise to power, the land reform, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and the initiation of the reform. The thematic part deals with some general issues of governance, economic reform, democratization, globalization and China's relations with Hong Kong, Taiwan and the United States. This course is designed to help students understand China's contemporary issues from a historical perspective. For students who are interested in other regions of the world, China offers a rich comparative case on some important topics such as modernization, democratization, social movement, economic development, reform and rule of law. Fubing Su.

Two 75-minute periods.

255 Subaltern Politics 1

(Same as ASIA 255) What does it mean to understand issues of governance and politics from the perspective of non-elite, or subaltern, groups? How do subalterns respond to, participate in, and/or resist the historically powerful forces of modernity, nationalism, religious mobilization, and politico-economic development in postcolonial spaces? What are the theoretical frameworks most appropriate for analyzing politics from the perspective of the subaltern? This course engages such questions by drawing on the flourishing field of subaltern studies in South Asia. While its primary focus is on materials from South Asia, particularly India, it also seeks to relate the findings from this area to broadly comparable issues in Latin America and Africa. Himadeep Muppidi.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

256 Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism 1

(Same as AFRS 256 and INTL 256) Conflicts over racial, ethnic and / or national identity continue to dominate headlines in diverse corners of the world. Whether referring to ethnic violence in Bosnia or Sri Lanka, racialized political tensions in Sudan and Fiji, the treatment of Roma (Gypsies) and Muslims in Europe, or the charged debates about immigration policy in the United States, cultural identities remain at the center of politics globally. Drawing upon multiple theoretical approaches, this course explores the related concepts of race, ethnicity and nationalism from a comparative perspective using case studies drawn from around the world and across different time periods. Zachariah Mampilly.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

257b. Genre and the Postcolonial City 1

(Same as AFRS 257 and URBS 257) This course explores the physical and imaginative dimensions of selected postcolonial cities. The theoretical texts, genres of expression and cultural contexts that the course engages address the dynamics of urban governance as well as aesthetic strategies and everyday practices that continue to reframe existing senses of reality in the postcolonial city. Through an engagement with literary, cinematic, architectural among other forms of urban mediation and production, the course examines the politics of migrancy, colonialism, gender, class and race as they come to bear on political identities, urban rhythms and the built environment. Case studies include: Johannesburg , Nairobi, Algiers and migrant enclaves in London and Paris. Samson Opondo.

Two 75-minute periods.

258a. Latin American Politics 1

(Same as LALS 258) Drawing from political processes across several Latin American countries, this course will focus on conceptual debates regarding political representation and participation, political institutions, political culture, and political economy in the region. A major theme will be inequality. The course will examine historical-structural patterns, relationships among social, economic, and political conditions at the national, sub-national and regional levels, and important social and political actors and institutions. The course will also examine the evolution of US roles in Latin America. Katherine Hite.

Two 75-minute periods.

259b. Settler Colonialism in a Comparative Perspective 1

(Same as AFRS 259) This course examines the phenomenon of settler colonialism through a comparative study of the interactions between settler and 'native' / indigenous populations in different societies. It explores the patterns of settler migration and settlement and the dynamics of violence and local displacement in the colony through the tropes of racialization of space, colonial law, production/labor, racialized knowledge, aesthetics, health, gender, domesticity and sexuality. Attentive to historical injustices and the transformation of violence in 'postcolonial' and settler societies, the course interrogates the forms of belonging, memory, desire and nostalgia that arise from the unresolved status of settler and indigenous communities and the competing claims to, or unequal access to resources like land. Case studies are drawn primarily from Africa but also include examples from other regions. Samson Opondo.

Two 75-minute periods.

Political Science: II. Intermediate C. International Politics

260 International Relations of the Third World: Bandung to 9/11 1

(Same as AFRS 260 and INTL 260) Whether referred to as the "Third World," or other variants such as the "Global South," the "Developing World," the "G-77," the "Non-Aligned Movement," or the "Post-Colonial World," a certain unity has long been assumed for the multitude of countries ranging from Central and South America, across Africa to much of Asia. Is it valid to speak of a Third World? What were/are the connections between countries of the Third World? What were/are the high and low points of Third World solidarity? And what is the relationship between the First and Third Worlds? Drawing on academic and journalistic writings, personal narratives, music, and film, this course explores the concept of the Third World from economic, political and cultural perspectives. Beginning at the dawn of the 20th century with the rise of anti-colonial movements, we examine the trajectory of the Third World in global political debates through the end of the Cold War and the start of the War on Terror. Zachariah Mampilly.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

261 Theories of War and Peace 1

An inquiry into the causes of war and peace among states. Explanations at various levels---human, societal, governmental, international---are considered. The course aims at an understanding of those factors which lead individual states into conflict with one another as well as those which incline the broader international system toward stability or instability. Stephen Rock.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

262 India, China and the State of Post-coloniality 1

(Same as ASIA 262) As India and China integrate themselves deeply into the global economy, they raise issues of crucial importance to international politics. As nation-states that were shaped by an historical struggle against colonialism, how do they see their re-insertion into an international system still dominated by the West? What understandings of the nation and economy, of power and purpose, of politics and sovereignty, shape their efforts to join the global order? How should we re-think the nature of the state in the context? Are there radical and significant differences between colonial states, capitalist states and postcolonial ones? What are some of the implications for international politics of these differences? Drawing on contemporary debates in the fields of international relations and postcolonial theory, this course explores some of the changes underway in India and China and the implications of these changes for our current understandings of the international system. Himadeep Muppidi.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

263 Critical International Relations 1

(Same as ASIA 263) The study of world politics is marked by a rich debate between rationalist and critical approaches. While rationalist approaches typically encompass realist/neo-realist and liberal/neo-liberal theories, critical approaches include social constructivist, historical materialist, post-structural and post-colonial theories of world politics. This course is a focused examination of some of the more prominent critical theories of international relations. It aims to a) familiarize students with the core concepts and conceptual relations implicit in these theories and b) acquaint them with the ways in which these theories can be applied to generate fresh insights into the traditional concerns (such as war, anarchy, nationalism, sovereignty, global order, economic integration) and security dilemmas of world politics. Himadeep Muppidi.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

264 The Foreign Policy of the United States 1

Key factors which shape the formulation and execution of American foreign policy are identified, primarily through a series of case studies drawn from post--World War II experience in world affairs. Normative issues concerning the decision-making process and foreign policy goals and means are also discussed. Stephen Rock.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

265b. International Political Economy 1

This course addresses the relationship between power and wealth in the international arena. The interaction between politics and economics is explored in historical and contemporary subjects that may include the rise and decline of empires; economic sanctions; international institutions such as the IMF; regional integration in the European Union; globalization and its discontents; mercenaries and military corporations; education and internationalization. Leah Haus.

Two 75-minute periods.

266 Defense Policy and Arms Control 1

An examination of American defense and arms control policy since 1945. Particular attention is given to the theory and practice of conventional and nuclear deterrence, and to the analysis of such contemporary issues as proliferation, the role of women and gays in the military, and the problem of economic conversion. Stephen Rock.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

267a. Cultures of Insecurity 1

This course examines the cultural constructions of threat that animate increasingly violent and pervasive practices of transnational policing. Drawing on literature in the fields of International Relations and Security Studies, we analyze xenophobic narratives that have mobilized large segments of national populations to support these practices. In addition to "official" government narratives about national and civilizational security, we explore representations of danger in film, literature, journalism, and social media. Mark Hoffman.

 

Two 75-minute periods.

268 The Politics of Globalization 1

Globalization is increasingly seen as a new and powerful force in world politics, but there is intense debate over what this new force is and what its effects are. This course introduces students to some of the more prominent ways of theorizing globalization and explaining the politics underlying the economic, social and cultural effects it generates. Himadeep Muppidi.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

269a. The Politics of Humanitarianism 1

This course analyzes the ways in which humanitarian regimes have participated in practices of social control and in the production of violent conflict. In particular, we focus critical attention on the ways in which humanitarian interventions have: 1) restricted the movement of their beneficiaries; 2) suppressed political struggles for political and cultural autonomy; 3) participated in the exclusion of beneficiaries of aid from domains of citizenship and 4) empowered certain actors at the expense of others. Mark Hoffman.

 

Two 75-minute periods.

Political Science: II. Intermediate D. Political Theory

270b. Diasporas 1

(Same as INTL 270 and JWST 270) Topic for 2016/17b: Borderline Jews. Latin American postcolonial theorist Walter Mignolo tells of delivering a lecture in Tunis on colonialism, only to encounter a fundamental misunderstanding. He thought he was talking about the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in the Americas, but when his Tunisian colleagues heard the word "colonial," they thought instead of nineteenth- and twentieth-century impositions and resistances in North Africa. Mignolo's remarks both did and didn't fit. But the step from misrecognition to lively discussion is the work of hermeneutics, which is the basis of this course, too. We take our point of departure from Mignolo's conception of "border gnosis" or "border thinking," but we overhear his word "border" with a Jewish difference. Jews have sometimes created geo-political borders in Mignolo's sense, but more often have found themselves on both sides of any border (e.g., Europe and its boundaries) as internal Others within larger host communities, and also along fractures within Jewish communities themselves. This study in political theory proceeds toward an understanding of what we will call "borderline Jews" by attending carefully to stories told from, in relation to, and across those many and varied borders. Texts (all either written in English or in English translation) include theoretical and autobiographical writings, poetry, traditional tales and modern fiction. Andrew Bush and Andrew Davison.

Two 75-minute periods.

272 African American Political Thought 1

The focus of this course is African American political thinkers' articulations of struggles for citizenship, humanity, and freedom under the United States' systems of racial domination from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. We pay close attention to the variety of meanings that these thinkers give to these concepts, given the normative understandings of race, gender, sexuality, ability, and nation that define their respective historical contexts. We also attend to the body as a site of both oppression and resistance. Moving more or less chronologically from the mid-19th century to the present, the course pairs historical texts with contemporary scholarship on the themes of enslavement and kinship; violence and resistance; feminism; genre and medium; black existentialism; and queer politics. The course includes texts by Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Octavia Butler, Saidiya Hartman, and Marlon Riggs, among others. Annie Menzel.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

273a. Interpreting Politics 1

A detailed study of the philosophical underpinnings of various modes of interpreting politics: empiricism/positivism; interpretive/hermeneutic inquiry, critical theory, rational choice theory, realism, and discourse analysis. Aim is to understand the central concepts and goals of each approach, the kinds of explanations they seek to offer, and the views they posit regarding the relationship between politics and theory, on the one hand, and politics and the political analyst, on the other. Andrew Davison.

Two 75-minute periods.

274 Political Ideology 1

(Same as ASIA 274) This course examines the insights and limits of an ideological orientation to political life. Various understandings of ideology are discussed, selected contemporary ideologies are studied (e.g., liberalism, conservatism, Marxism, fascism, Nazism, corporatism, Islamism), and the limits of ideology are explored in relation to other forms of political expression and understanding. Selected ideologies and contexts for consideration are drawn from sites of contemporary global political significance. Andrew Davison.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

275b. Reconsidering Western Political Thought 1

An engagement with the debated meanings and worldly political manifestations of selected, classical texts of "Western" political theory. Texts and interpretive literature vary from semester to semester and, in order to consider the "Western" quality of political theory, are read in conversation with texts understood to be discursively outside, or on the borders of, "the West." Andrew Davison.

Two 75-minute periods.

276 Biopolitics 1

According to Michel Foucault, "biopolitics" designates modern states' exercise of  "positive power" to ensure the vitality of the population: for example, optimal birth and death rates, sanitary environments, public health, social insurance, and disease control. At the same time, he argues, biopolitics has ushered in unprecedented forms of violence, exclusion, and even death for groups and individuals who are cast-generally in racialized terms-as threats to the population. Biopolitics is now theorized toward a broad range of phenomena linking politics and life: from the global market in organs to new genomic sciences, technologies, and subjectivities to immigration, refugee, and humanitarian aid policies; from reproductive coercion and commodification to the policing of racialized and gender-transgressive bodies--as well as the radical potential of forms of life excluded from biopolitical norms. Texts for this course include Foucault's writings and lectures, plus key antecedents (Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin, Georges Canguilhem) and conceptual engagements (e.g., Ann Laura Stoler, Giorgio Agamben, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Roberto Esposito, Ladelle McWhorter, Achille Mbembe, Nikolas Rose). Additional texts may include feminist, anti-racist, queer of color, post-colonial, disability studies, and post-Marxist analyses by Jasbir Puar, Mel Y. Chen, Margaret Lock, Elizabeth Povinelli, Susan Stryker, Alexander Weheliye, Melinda Cooper, Sara Ahmed, Fred Moten, and Dorothy Roberts, among others. Annie Menzel.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

277 The Politics of Capitalism 1

An examination of theories of the relationship between capitalism, politics and the state. Central concerns include tendencies toward fiscal crisis, war, and waste; the impact of capital on political power and the sabotage of democracy; ideology, class consciousness and the potential for resistance from below. Authors to be considered include, among others, Thorstein Veblen, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Franz Neurmann, C. Wright Mills, and Sheldon Wolin. Sidney Plotkin.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

Political Science: II. Intermediate: E. Other

290a or b. Field Work 0.5 to 1

Individual or group field projects or internships with prior approval of the adviser. Students are expected to do substantial directed reading in theoretical material specifically related to the field placement prior to or in conjunction with the field experience; to develop in consultation with a faculty supervisor a set of questions based on the theoretical reading to guide the field observations; to submit a written report relating the theoretical reading to the field observations or, in lieu of a report and at the option of the department, to take a final oral examination administered by two faculty members. No more than 1 unit of field work (290) may be counted toward fulfilling the requirements of the minimum major. The department.

Special permission.

298a or b. Independent Work 0.5 to 1

Independent work is normally based on a student's desire to study with an instructor a specialized aspect of a course taken with that instructor. One unit normally entails substantial directed reading and/or the writing of a long paper and biweekly conferences with the instructor. In no case shall independent work satisfy the subfield distribution requirement. The department.

Special permission.

Political Science: III. Advanced A. Optional Senior Thesis

Seminars in the 340s, 350s, 360s, and 370s are generally limited to twelve students and require permission of the instructor. Students taking seminars are expected to have taken relevant course-work at a lower level. The content of seminars can vary from year to year depending upon interests of students and instructors. Seminars might focus on topics too specialized to receive exhaustive treatment in lower-level courses; they might explore particular approaches to the discipline or particular methods of research; they might be concerned with especially difficult problems in political life, or be oriented toward a research project of the instructor. The thesis (POLI 300, POLI 301, POLI 302) and senior independent work (POLI 399) require permission of the instructor.

300a. Senior Thesis 1

A 1-unit thesis, written in the fall semester.

Special permission.

301a. Senior Thesis 0.5 to 1

A 1-unit thesis written in two semesters.

Special permission.

Yearlong course 301-POLI 302.

302b. Senior Thesis 0.5 to 1

A 1-unit thesis written in two semesters.

Special permission.

Yearlong course POLI 301-302.

Political Science: III. Advanced B. American Politics Seminars

341a. Seminar in Congressional Politics: U.S. House and Senate Election 1

This seminar is focused on U.S. congressional elections, with some attention also devoted to interrelationships between voting for Congress and voting for the president. The ideas covered in the course are applied to the specific context of the 2010 midterms and the forthcoming 2012 elections. Among the topics studied are the following: 1) the ongoing massive redistricting of congressional districts; 2) the electoral effects of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision of 2010; 3) the emergence of 501(c)(4) "non-profit" groups and Super-PACs as major players in campaign financing; 4) the development of ever more sophisticated campaign technology, like "microtargeting" of voters; 5) the transformation of southern House and Senate seats from Democratic to Republican control; and 6) the increasing partisan polarization of American elections. Richard Born.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

343b. Seminar in Constitutional Theory 1

This seminar focuses on some core problems pertaining to constitutional interpretation, examining questions of constitutional theory and interpretation as they relate to issues of equality and full citizenship. The course discusses the nature and function of the Constitution, explores theories about how the Constitution should be interpreted, and examines the methods that interpreters use to decipher the meanings of constitutional provisions. These concerns are addressed by focusing on various dimensions of constitutional theories and decisions pertaining to questions related to anti-discrimination law. Some of the issues covered include standards of judicial review, Supreme Court interpretations of equal protection, the constitutional protection of groups as well as individuals, and the appropriateness of constitutional protections rooted in color-blind and gender-blind principles. Luke Harris.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

346a. Race and Gender in Judicial Politics 1

This seminar explores the centrality of race/ethnicity and gender in the American judicial process and system. The course is designed to promote and facilitate healthy discussions and debates about the level, nature, and importance of judicial diversity in the American justice system. After examining the diversity levels on the state and federal bench and how those levels have changed over the last century, students consider factors that improve and/or limit judicial diversity such as the selection process and evaluations of judicial performance. Afterwards, students explore the value of judicial diversity. Special attention is given to judicial decision-making behavior, and the extent to which the courts protect minority rights and provide redress for historical injustices. The course concludes with students considering the issues presently facing our legal system such as mass incarceration, the proliferation of for-profit prisons, racial and gender bias in the criminal justice system, and demands for criminal justice reform. 

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

348a. Seminar in Democracy and Power in America 1

An examination of tensions and adjustments between democratic ideals and the structures and practices of political and economic power in the United States. Sidney Plotkin.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor, normally an intermediate-level course in American Politics.

One 2-hour period.

386b. Carbon Politics: American Energy Policies since the 1970's 1

Energy became a salient national public policy concern in the 1970s with the onset of the oil-based 'energy crisis.' In the decades since, political questions about U.S. reliance on fossil fuels continue to intensify. Environmental 'shocks,' from one-off events such as the Deep Water Horizon oil spill to the slowly unfolding disaster of climate change, present political leaders with opportunities to change course and lessen the dependence on hydrocarbons. However, resistance to such a change in course has been strong and continues to grow. This seminar considers the politics of the carbon problem in terms of such resistance from the 1970s to the present day, and specifically how the widespread use of fossil fuels, and the infrastructure and industrial interests accompanying such use, have helped to define the possibilities and limits of market-centered liberal-democracy in the U.S. One continuing question is to what extent is the U.S. energy future subject to popular decision, and what avenues for democratic control over energy decision making exist. Elisabeth Chaves.

One 2-hour period.

Political Science: III. Advanced C. Comparative Politics Seminars

351a. Africana Studies Seminar 1

(Same as AFRS 351) This seminar explores both historical and contemporary debates within the field of Africana Studies. Students examine a variety of subjects and themes encompassing different disciplinary and interdisciplinary works drawn from the humanities and social sciences. The critical perspectives that the seminar engages draw attention to the political, representational and explanatory value of a variety of genres of expression and knowledge practices. By delving into philosophical, historical, aesthetic and political analyses of Africa and African Diaspora societies, subjects and practices, students acquire a deep understanding of Africana research methods culminating in a substantive research project. The particular subject and themes explored vary with the faculty teaching the course. Samson Opondo.

Prerequisite: AFRS 100 or permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

352 Redemption and Diplomatic Imagination in Postcolonial Africa 1

(Same as AFRS 352) This seminar explores the shifts and transformations in the discourse and practice of redemptive diplomacy in Africa. It introduces students to the cultural, philosophical and political dimensions of estrangement and the mediation practices that accompany the quest for recognition, meaning and material well-being in selected colonial and postcolonial societies. Through a critical treatment of the redemptive vision and diplomatic imaginaries summoned by missionaries, anti-colonial resistance movements and colonial era Pan-Africanists, the seminar interrogates the 'idea of Africa' produced by these discourses of redemption and their implications for diplomatic thought in Africa. The insights derived from the interrogation of foundational discourses on African redemption are used to map the transformation of identities, institutional forms, and the minute texture of everyday life in postcolonial Africa. The seminar also engages modern humanitarianism, diasporic religious movements, Non-Governmental Organizations and neoliberal or millennial capitalist networks that seek to save Africans from foreign forces of oppression or 'themselves.' Samson Opondo.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

One 2-hour period.

355 Seminar on Violence 1

This seminar explores the many manifestations of political violence. Drawing from cases around the world, we examine: 1) a range of theoretical explanations of violence; 2) how governments and societies address systematic violations of human rights of their pasts; 3) organized insurgency and counterinsurgency response; and 4) extremely high levels of violence as an every day social phenomenon. The seminar attempts to address the influences, linkages, and implications of past and present violence for these societies; present and future politics and culture. Case studies come from Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the United States. Katherine Hite.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

One 2-hour period.

358a. State, Market and Development 1

The turmoil in the global economy has ignited a fierce debate about the proper role of government across the world. Does this mark the end of the free market ideology? Are governments going to take over more responsibilities in managing the economy and society? To engage these important questions, this course embarks on an intellectual journey to explore similar debates in the past and examine a variety of choices countries have made in different time periods and in different regions of the world. After a general discussion of some major analytical traditions in political economy, the course revisits scholarly exchanges over mercantilist policies in the 19th century, Marxist and Polanyian critiques of capitalism, structuralist theories in the mid-20th century, East Asian development in the 1980s, the socialist transition in the 1990s, and globalization in the 21st century. The course concludes with some new insights from the reinvigorated research in institutionalism and the welfare state. Particular attention is paid to the variegated conceptualization of development and intellectual bases for the role of state and market. Fubing Su.

One 2-hour period.

381b. The Politics of Memory 1

This seminar is a multidisciplinary exploration of the politics of memory, broadly understood as the relationships of atrocious political pasts to the present. The seminar draws from comparative politics, international relations, political theory, media studies, art history, psychoanalysis, journalism, and fiction to examine and analyze the significance of the many manifestations of memory for politics. Works and sites examined include testimonies, declassified government documents, memorials, museums, artwork, performance, and trials, from around the globe. The seminar may include site visits. Katherine Hite.

Prerequisites: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

Political Science: III. Advanced D. International Politics Seminars

360 The Ethics of War and Peace 1

This course considers the moral rights and obligations of states, political and military leaders, soldiers, and ordinary citizens with respect to war and peace. Taking just war theory as our point of departure, we concentrate on three major questions: (1) When, if ever, is the use of military force permissible? (2) How may military force be used? (3) Who is responsible for ensuring that force is used only at a permissible time and in a permissible manner? Students are encouraged to develop positions on these matters and to apply them to recent and contemporary cases involving the use or potential use of force. Stephen Rock.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

One 2-hour period.

362a. Seminar in International Politics: Migration and Citizenship 1

This seminar addresses the causes and consequences of movement from countries such as Jamaica, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Algeria, Morocco, Syria, Afghanistan, Turkey, China and Mexico to post-industrial countries in Europe, and the United States.

The seminar first considers different reasons for why people move across state borders, such as the role of economic forces, the legacies of colonialism, and escape from violence.

The seminar then engages in a comparative analysis of the politics of 'difference' in post-industrial countries such as Britain, France, Germany, and the U.S.; and asks why these politics have played out quite differently in each country. Comparisons may also include minorities and the politics of 'difference' in countries of the former Soviet Union. So as to compare the politics of 'difference,' readings consider government policies to, societal views on, and experiences of migrants, minorities, and refugees. Readings  address specific subjects including education policy in regard to the (grand) children of migrants; policies towards religious minorities; diverse views on the implications of multiculturalism and assimilation for gender inequity; perceptions on the economic consequences of immigration for other workers; and the sources and impact of anti-immigrant and anti-refugee political movements historically and contemporarily. Leah Haus.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

363 Decolonizing International Relations 1

(Same as ASIA 363) Colonial frameworks are deeply constitutive of mainstream international relations. Issues of global security, economy, and politics continue to be analyzed through perspectives that either silence or are impervious to the voices and agencies of global majorities. This seminar challenges students to enter into, reconstruct, and critically evaluate the differently imagined worlds of ordinary, subaltern peoples and political groups. We draw upon postcolonial theories to explore alternatives to the historically dominant explanations of international relations. Himadeep Muppidi.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

One 2-hour period.

365b. Civil Wars and Rebel Movements 1

(Same as INTL 365) Since World War II, civil wars have vastly outnumbered interstate wars, and have killed, conservatively, five times as many people as interstate wars. This seminar explores contemporary civil wars from a variety of different angles and approaches drawn primarily from political science, but also other disciplines. In addition, we consider personal accounts, journalistic coverage, and fictional accounts that seek to illustrate the reality of contemporary warfare. The course is divided into several thematic sections, each of which emphasizes the transnational nature of contemporary civil wars. Primarily, we explore literature on the organization and behavior of rebel organizations by guerrilla theorists and academics. The course also covers a selection of differing perspectives on the causes and consequences of civil conflicts. Finally, we consider an array of related subjects including female participation in political violence and the response to civil war by the international community. Zachariah Mampilly.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

366 Worlding International Relations 1

This seminar is a writing intensive course where we explore how prominent thinkers/scholars of international relations have engaged the task of writing alternative worlds into the field of politics. Though located in the periphery, how have various thinkers imagined, articulated and taken up the challenge of crossing multiple colonial borders? While we read various authors, our focus is primarily on the act and practice of writing itself. We closely consider how those we read write, and we write and study each other's works in order to collectively think through, critique and help ourselves imagine and write into existence variously silenced aspects of international relations. Himadeep Muppidi.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

One 2-hour period.

383a. Global Political Thought 1

Conventional international relations theory derives its core concepts primarily from Western political thought. Political relations in most of the world, however, are based on ways of imagining and acting that are constituted through different and multiple languages of political, economic and social thought. Classics such as The Shahnameh, The Ramayana, The Mahabharata, The Adventures of Amir Hamza, The Arthasastra, The Rayavacakamu offer textured understandings of worlds shaped by imaginations of order, justice, governance, power, authority and sovereignty. This seminar introduces students to some of these ways of thinking world politics through a careful reading of classic texts such as Popol Vuh, Sundiata, Muqaddimah, Ain-e-Akbari, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Tale of Genji, and Journey to the West. The idea is to read these classics as global texts rather than as the essences of specific cultures or civilizations. The focus is therefore on analyzing how certain classic texts have traveled, been translated, understood, or appropriated across various historical groupings. Himadeep Muppidi.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

Political Science: III. Advanced E. Political Theory Seminars

371b. Human, posthuman, non-human 1

How do we define "the human"? In terms of action, individual capabilities, legal subjectivity, anatomy and physiology, relationships, communities, language, or bodily life? What are the politics of these definitions? Who and what have been and are included and excluded from these definitions, and to what effect? And how do these historical and contemporary inclusions and exclusions-always bound up with questions of race and gender-orient our politics in the Anthropocene (the geological "era of the human"), as the globe faces radical environmental change (with radically disparate impacts)? In this course, we take a variety of approaches to these questions, which may include dominant Western theorizations of the human; enslavement, conquest, and modern humanity; gender, sex, and the human; non-human animals; and humans and non-human objects. Annie Menzel.

376 The Politics of Human Reproduction 1

What is the relationship between human reproduction and our political worlds? This course examines 19th- through 21st-century explorations of the nexus between parent-child relationships and political subjectivities, as well as the very meaning of human reproduction itself, from socialist, existentialist, feminist, critical race, anti-colonial, post-humanist, and queer theoretical perspectives, including texts by among others, Harriet Jacobs, Friedrich Engels, Saidiya Hartman, Alexandra Kollontai, Axel Honneth, Simone De Beauvoir, Frantz Fanon, Lee Edelman, Lauren Berlant, Mary Shanley, Iris Young, Audre Lorde, Donna Haraway, and Dorothy Roberts. We use this theoretical grounding to analyze a variety of contemporary political problems of human reproduction, including new legal restrictions on abortion, teratogenic environmental contamination, the intergenerational harms of racism, transnational and transracial adoption, transgender parenting, incarcerated parenthood, and new reproductive technologies. Annie Menzel.

Prerequisite: permission of the tructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

One 2-hour period.

380 Hermeneutics and the Comparative Study of Politics 1

Considered by some to be a "new philosophy of science," hermeneutics has become in recent years an increasingly established approach to social and political inquiry. This seminar seeks to explicate and critically examine hermeneutical principles in the context of the comparative study of politics. What are hermeneutical approaches to understanding institutional power relations, political practices, and the character and composition of cultures and societies? And what contributions, if any, might hermeneutics make to political explanation? This seminar focuses on these questions. Illustrative studies are drawn from the instructor's familiarity with politics in the area widely characterized as "The Middle East." Significant, original, and semester-long research projects are developed out of the empirical curiosities of the participants. Andrew Davison.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2016/17.

One 2-hour period.

384a. Seminar in Political Theory 1

An examination of selected theorists and problems in contemporary political theory. Mr. Davison.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

Political Science: III. Advanced F. Other

399a or b. Senior Independent Work 0.5 to 1

Independent work is normally based on a student's desire to study with an instructor a specialized aspect of a course taken with that instructor. Normally 1 unit entails substantial directed reading, the writing of a long paper, and biweekly conferences with the instructor. This course cannot be used to satisfy the requirement of 2 units of 300-level work in the major. In no case shall independent work satisfy the subfield distribution requirement. The department.

Special permission.