Course Offerings

Spring 2020

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Black Mirror

POL 271 - Gray, Stuart J., Jr. (Stu)

Through a critical engagement with the television series "Black Mirror", this course is intended to help students understand and think critically about how various technologies are actively shaping what it means - and what it might mean in the future - to be human, live a good life, and act as a socio-political agent. We examine some of the central questions and themes presented in each episode through supplementary readings drawn from various fields, including political philosophy, literature, science fiction, and journalism. Topics include technology's impact on romantic and family relationships, social surveillance and punishment, and political leadership, among others.

Intelligence in Practice

POL 276 - Cantey, Joseph M., Jr. (Seth)

Not open to those who have already taken POL 278 and precludes future enrollment in POL 278. An examination of the responsibilities of, and challenges faced by, the U.S. intelligence community (IC). Drawing on current literature and case studies, topics include the history and evolution of the IC, the intelligence cycle, ethical and moral issues, oversight and accountability, covert action, and intelligence reform. Through an intelligence lens, we explore the rise of al Qaeda, 9/11 and its aftermath, successes and failures associated with the Iraq War, Russian efforts to sway the 2016 US presidential election, and more.

Seminar in Politics, Literature and the Arts

POL 290 - Connelly, William F., Jr. (Bill)

In this course, we study how literature, film, and other media are used to examine political themes and how they are used to achieve political ends. We address how politics shapes the arts and how the arts shape politics. The topic is announced at registration. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different. Only one such seminar may be counted towards the politics major.

Spring 2019, POL 290-01: Politics and Culture: Seminar in Politics, Literature, and the Arts (3). Prerequisite: POL 100. In this American politics course, we study how literature, film, and other media are used to examine political themes and how they are used to achieve political ends. We explore the interplay between politics and culture from William Shakespeare's King Lear to Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer to Lin Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, with a particular focus on the role of political humor in reflecting and molding political mores and opinions. Movies include Casablanca and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. We address how politics shapes the arts and how the arts shape politics. Political science texts supplement the artistic sources assigned. (SS2) Connelly.

Seminar in Politics, Literature and the Arts

POL 290 - Ponce de Leon Seijas, Zoila

In this course, we study how literature, film, and other media are used to examine political themes and how they are used to achieve political ends. We address how politics shapes the arts and how the arts shape politics. The topic is announced at registration. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different. Only one such seminar may be counted towards the politics major.

Spring 2020, POL 290-02: Seminar in Politics, Literature and the Arts: Dystopian Fiction, Horror, and Politics (3). An examination of the political commentary included in dystopian fiction and horror novels and films. Through the analysis of seminal novels such as 1984 and Brave New World, and more recent films such as US, students assess different political concepts, including power, government, freedom, and equality. Literature and film can offer the most mesmerizing yet frightening depictions of our present and future world. At the same time, they can provide us with the opportunity to critically compare our contemporary experiences to those portrayed in them. Our main goal is to critically assess the role of the government and powerful actors in our society. We complement our analysis with a variety of academic readings and opinion pieces. (SS2) Ponce de Leon.

Spring-Term Topics in Public Policy

POL 294 - Harris, Rebecca C.

This course is designed to give students additional expertise and awareness of discrete policy challenges in the United States. Students learn to explain current policy systems, including political institutions and political behavior by political actors. Students also formulate policy evaluations acknowledging the strengths and the weaknesses in the policy system.

Spring 2020, POL 294-01: Spring-Term Topics in Public Policy: Food Policy (3) . Prerequisite: POL 100 or instructor consent. Students with interest in or majoring in politics, economics, business, environmental studies, public health, or poverty are encouraged to take the course.  An introduction to the institutions and politics of U.S. food, nutrition, and farm policy. Major considerations include farm and food-policy history, USDA policy tools, and political issues.  Specific topics focus on the farm bill (economics and conservation), poverty and nutrition programs, and food-industry regulation. Students engage in a community-based research project working with Rockbridge County Extension Office on current nutrition programming. (SS2) Harris.

 

Special Topics in Global Politics

POL 296 - Blick, Andrew

A seminar in political science for students at the introductory or intermediate level. Topic, hour, and instructor are announced prior to registration. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Spring 2020, POL 296-02: Topic in Global Politics: Comparative Constitution-Making (3). This course introduces students to how a constitution is formed. Constitution-building processes have played a critical part in the history of many countries, including the USA, Spain, and Germany. Often they marked an important break with the past, leaving behind authoritarian rule or colonial government. Constitution-building may take place in the wake of traumatic events such as military defeat or revolutionary upheaval. It can have powerful consequences-both good and ill-for the future of the country in which it takes place. Through historical analysis, case studies, and international comparison, students will investigate different processes of creating a constitution. (SS2) Blick.

Special Topics in Global Politics

POL 296 - Strong, Robert A. (Bob) / Settle, Frank A., Jr.

A seminar in political science for students at the introductory or intermediate level. Topic, hour, and instructor are announced prior to registration. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Spring 2020, POL 296-03: Topic in Global Politics: Avoiding Armagedon:The Politics and Science of Nonproliferation  (3) . Prerequisite: POL 105 or instructor consent. This course, team-taught by a political scientist and a chemist, introduces students to complex technical and political issues connected to the proliferation of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and the possibilities that such weapons could be used by rogue nations or terrorist groups. Students are expected to design a realistic terrorist attack involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD), engage in the debate over whether nuclear proliferation might make the world safer, and propose a specific policy proposal for enhancing global security in the age of WMD proliferation. (SS2) Strong, Settle.

Directed Individual Study

POL 401 - Gray, Stuart J., Jr. (Stu)

This course permits a student to follow a program of directed reading, library research, or data collection and analysis in some area not covered in other courses. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Washington Term Program

POL 466 - Alexander, Brian N.

The Washington Term Program aims to enlarge students' understanding of national politics and governance. Combining academic study with practical experience in the setting of a government office, think tank, or other organization in Washington, it affords deeper insight into the processes and problems of government at the national level. A member of the politics faculty is the resident director, supervising students enrolled in this program while they are in Washington, D.C.

Winter 2020

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

American National Government

POL 100 - Lee, Inyeop

A study of the constitutional origins and historical development of the national government with special attention to Congress, the presidency, the judiciary, and the role of political parties, interest groups, and the media in the policy process.

American National Government

POL 100 - Harris, Rebecca C.

A study of the constitutional origins and historical development of the national government with special attention to Congress, the presidency, the judiciary, and the role of political parties, interest groups, and the media in the policy process.

Introduction to Global Politics

POL 105 - Strong, Robert A. (Bob)

A survey of the comparative study of national and international politics and the interaction between the two. Topics may include power relations among and within states, changes in the conduct of international affairs and conflict resolution, contrasting ideas about democracy, economic development, justice, globalization, terrorism, causes and alternatives to war, social movements and the role of the nation-state.

Introduction to Global Politics

POL 105 - Ponce de Leon Seijas, Zoila

A survey of the comparative study of national and international politics and the interaction between the two. Topics may include power relations among and within states, changes in the conduct of international affairs and conflict resolution, contrasting ideas about democracy, economic development, justice, globalization, terrorism, causes and alternatives to war, social movements and the role of the nation-state.

Introduction to Political Philosophy

POL 111 - Gray, Stuart J., Jr. (Stu)

An introduction to some of the perennial themes of politics, such as the relationship between human nature and political institutions, individual freedom and community, private conscience and civic virtue, the claims of reason and faith, the nature of law, obligation, and rights, among others. Our inquiry is guided by selections from influential works in the history of political thought, ancient, modern and contemporary, as well as plays, dialogues, comedies, tragedies, novels, and films. Consult with instructor for specific reading assignments and course requirements.

Introduction to Political Philosophy

POL 111 - LeBlanc, Robin M.

An introduction to some of the perennial themes of politics, such as the relationship between human nature and political institutions, individual freedom and community, private conscience and civic virtue, the claims of reason and faith, the nature of law, obligation, and rights, among others. Our inquiry is guided by selections from influential works in the history of political thought, ancient, modern and contemporary, as well as plays, dialogues, comedies, tragedies, novels, and films. Consult with instructor for specific reading assignments and course requirements.

Political Parties, Interest Groups, and the Media

POL 229 - Connelly, William F., Jr. (Bill)

A study of the three central extra-constitutional mediating institutions in the American political system: political parties, interest groups, and the media. The course explores theoretical and practical, historical and contemporary developments in party politics, interest group politics, and media politics. Special attention to the debate between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists.

Environmental Policy and Law

POL 233 - Harris, Rebecca C.

A study of major environmental laws and the history of their enactment and implementation. Discusses different theoretical approaches from law, ethics, politics, and economics. Reviews significant case law and the legal context. Emphasis is on domestic policy with some attention to international law and treaties.

Congress and the Legislative Process

POL 234 - Alexander, Brian N.

A review of the constitutional origins and historical development of Congress as a representative and deliberative institution. Course focus includes the relation between the President and Congress, bicameralism, congressional elections, congressional reform, legislative rules and procedures, and the policy process. The course follows the current Congress using C-SPAN and Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report.

The Presidency

POL 235 - Strong, Robert A. (Bob)

A review of the origins and development of the office of the presidency from Washington to the present, with an emphasis on post-war administrations. Topics include constitutional issues arising from presidential powers, policy making within the executive branch, and modern presidential leadership styles.

Race and Equality

POL 250 - Morel, Lucas E.

Not to be repeated by students who completed POL 180: FS: Black American Politics in Winter 2018. A study of important black figures in American political thought. The course focuses on the intellectual history of black Americans but also considers contemporary social science and public policies dealing with race in America.

Gender and Politics

POL 255 - LeBlanc, Robin M.

This course investigates the gendered terms under which women and men participate in political life. Attention is given to the causes of men's and women's different patterns of participation in politics, to processes that are likely to decrease the inequalities between men's and women's political power, and the processes by which society's gender expectations shape electoral and institutional politics. The different effects of gender on the practice of politics in different nations are compared, with a special emphasis placed on advanced industrial democracies.

Modern Political Philosophy

POL 266 - Gray, Stuart J., Jr. (Stu)

An examination of some of the central questions and concerns of modern political philosophy. The course is not restricted to a historical period but extends to modern themes within contemporary culture. A mixture of plays, novels, epics, dialogues, treatises, and films are used. Authors, texts, and themes vary from year to year. 

Terrorism

POL 274 - Cantey, Joseph M., Jr. (Seth)

The principal goal of this course is to help students understand the complexities of contemporary terrorism. We discuss definitional issues, the historical roots of modern terrorism, and various micro- and macro-explanations for this form of violence. We also investigate the life cycles of terrorist groups: How do they emerge? What kinds of organizational challenges do they face? How do they end? Other topics include leaderless movements (e.g., "lone wolves") and state sponsorship. Throughout the course, students observe that terrorism is not a phenomenon unique to one class of people. The course ends with three weeks focused on a certain kind of terrorism which some have called violent Islamic extremism.

Seminar: Lincoln's Statesmanship

POL 360 - Morel, Lucas E.

This seminar examines the political thought and practice of Abraham Lincoln. Emphasis is on his speeches and writings, supplemented by scholarly commentary on his life and career.

Seminar in Global Politics

POL 380A - Ponce de Leon Seijas, Zoila

Examination of selected topics dealing with international and comparative politics. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2020, POL 380A-01: Seminar in Global Politics: Immigration Attitudes (3). Prerequisite: POL 105 or instructor consent. An examination of immigration attitudes in Europe, the United States, and Latin America. When and why do individuals choose to migrate to a different country? How do natives of the receiving country react to immigration and form preferences on the issue depending on their socio-economic and political context? The study of immigration has received a lot of attention in recent times as a consequence of the increased political salience of the topic. We examine the different factors that determine immigration attitudes in European countries and the United States, as well as the transportability of these explanatory factors to other regions of the world, such as Latin America. Immigration has become a pressing issue in this region, as the flow of people to countries outside the region has reduced since the 2000s while immigration across Latin American countries has increased. (SS2) Ponce de Leon.

Seminar in Political Philosophy

POL 396A - Connelly, William F., Jr. (Bill)

An examination of selected questions and problems in political philosophy and/or political theory. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2020, POL 396A-01: Seminar in Political Philosophy: Tocqueville (3). Prerequisite: POL 111 or instructor consent. Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, perhaps the most penetrating, insightful and comprehensive book ever written on American politics, provides a useful guide for examining the nature of the American regime: in particular, the nature of a liberal regime, with its emphasis on rights and its tendency to ignore responsibilities or duties. We explore many contemporary political and policy debates in light of Tocqueville's thought. Does religion have a role in politics? What is the responsibility of the press in a free society? Are political parties part of the problem or part of the solution? Do political and civil associations matter? What role is there in America for philosophy, art, literature, and science? What is the proper relationship between a university and a liberal polity? And what is the appropriate posture for intellectuals and artists toward a liberal regime? What is the connection between laws, manners, and morals? What role do gender and race play in American politics today? What is the proper balance between economics, commerce, and politics in a liberal society? Are liberal democratic regimes effective in the conduct of war and foreign policy? And finally and most importantly, as Americans who are we? (SS2) Connelly.

Fall 2019: POL 396A-01: Seminar in Political Philosophy: Gandhi and His Critics (3) . Prerequisite: POL 111. Who was Mahatma Gandhi, and how should we think of him as a political activist and thinker? Interestingly, Gandhi continues to be one of the most admired and influential, yet polarizing, figures in modern political theory. His ideas and activism have motivated an intense, sympathetic following as well as ardent critics on topics such as colonialism, political leadership, caste politics, and gender relations. In this course, we carefully examine Gandhi's influences, political activity and writings, and some of the most significant criticisms of his ideas in pre- and post-independence India. We also explore how Gandhian ideas have been used in creative ways to address pressing contemporary issues. Examining Gandhi through the medium of literature, scholarship, and film, we unpack the tremendous complexity of Gandhian political thought, its impact, and how we should view Gandhi in the 21st century. (SS2) Gray.

 

Directed Individual Study

POL 401 - Morel, Lucas E.

This course permits a student to follow a program of directed reading, library research, or data collection and analysis in some area not covered in other courses. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Directed Individual Study

POL 403 - Cantey, Joseph M., Jr. (Seth)

This course permits a student to follow a program of directed reading, library research, or data collection and analysis in some area not covered in other courses. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Honors Thesis

POL 493 - Alexander, Brian N.

Honors Thesis.

Honors Thesis

POL 493 - Gray, Stuart J., Jr. (Stu)

Honors Thesis.

Honors Thesis

POL 493 - LeBlanc, Robin M.

Honors Thesis.

Honors Thesis

POL 493 - Harris, Rebecca C.

Honors Thesis.

Fall 2019

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

American National Government

POL 100 - Harris, Rebecca C.

A study of the constitutional origins and historical development of the national government with special attention to Congress, the presidency, the judiciary, and the role of political parties, interest groups, and the media in the policy process.

American National Government

POL 100 - Morel, Lucas E.

A study of the constitutional origins and historical development of the national government with special attention to Congress, the presidency, the judiciary, and the role of political parties, interest groups, and the media in the policy process.

Introduction to Global Politics

POL 105 - LeBlanc, Robin M.

A survey of the comparative study of national and international politics and the interaction between the two. Topics may include power relations among and within states, changes in the conduct of international affairs and conflict resolution, contrasting ideas about democracy, economic development, justice, globalization, terrorism, causes and alternatives to war, social movements and the role of the nation-state.

Introduction to Global Politics

POL 105 - Cantey, Joseph M., Jr. (Seth)

A survey of the comparative study of national and international politics and the interaction between the two. Topics may include power relations among and within states, changes in the conduct of international affairs and conflict resolution, contrasting ideas about democracy, economic development, justice, globalization, terrorism, causes and alternatives to war, social movements and the role of the nation-state.

Introduction to Global Politics

POL 105 - Lee, Inyeop

A survey of the comparative study of national and international politics and the interaction between the two. Topics may include power relations among and within states, changes in the conduct of international affairs and conflict resolution, contrasting ideas about democracy, economic development, justice, globalization, terrorism, causes and alternatives to war, social movements and the role of the nation-state.

Introduction to Political Philosophy

POL 111 - Gray, Stuart J., Jr. (Stu)

An introduction to some of the perennial themes of politics, such as the relationship between human nature and political institutions, individual freedom and community, private conscience and civic virtue, the claims of reason and faith, the nature of law, obligation, and rights, among others. Our inquiry is guided by selections from influential works in the history of political thought, ancient, modern and contemporary, as well as plays, dialogues, comedies, tragedies, novels, and films. Consult with instructor for specific reading assignments and course requirements.

FS: First-Year Seminar

POL 180 - Rush, Mark E.

First-year seminar.

Fall 2019, POL 180-01: FY Seminar: The Future of Law: The Impact of Science and Technology (3). First-year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-Year class standing only. An introduction to traditional legal conceptions of rights and justice, examining how advances in science and technology force us to reconsider their scope or rearticulate their meaning. Topics include individual and group rights, privacy, property, speech and autonomy, conscientious objection, and how advances in science and technology enhance and constrain the exercise of these rights. The seminar requirements include attendance at public lectures by several speakers in the Mudd Center's 2019-20 Series on The Ethics of Technology. [Under consideration to count towards the Law, Justice, and Society minor, though not yet approved]. (SS2) Rush.

Issues in World Affairs

POL 191 - Strong, Robert A. (Bob) / Knapp, Elizabeth P.

Experiential Learning. Graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. Open to students of any class year or major. Requires completion of a winter-term trip to New York City. This course exposes students to ideas, issues, and individuals that play a role in contemporary debates about world affairs and American foreign policy. The program, sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), provides an opportunity for students to participate in national conversations with leading experts on international relations and contemporary foreign-policy problems. On six occasions in the fall term, students meet for an hour to hear a conference call presentation by a CFR expert and then, along with students on campuses across the county, pose questions to the speaker about the topic at hand. Each conference call includes a set of background readings and is transcribed for posting on the CFR website. In order to receive credit, students must travel with all class participants in the winter term to New York City to meet individuals, including W&L graduates, who are actively practicing careers in international relations. May not be taken more than once.

State and Local Government

POL 203 - Finch, Kevin D.

An introduction to the structures and functions of United States subnational governments, with particular emphasis on the policy-making process and on the relationships between policy makers and the public. Computer-assisted analysis of survey-research data is included.

The Conduct of American Foreign Policy

POL 214 - Strong, Robert A. (Bob)

Constitutional basis, role of the President and the Congress, the State Department and the Foreign Service, role of public opinion, political parties, and pressure groups. Relation to other political areas and to the United Nations and other international agencies.

Public Policy

POL 232 - Harris, Rebecca C.

Introduction to public policy formation and implementation, decision making in government, the concepts and techniques of policy analysis, and ethical analysis of policy. Policy issues such as education, the environment, and public health are used as illustrations.

The American Supreme Court and Constitutional Law

POL 236 - Rush, Mark E.

A survey of the development of American constitutional law and a study of the role of the Supreme Court as both a political institution and principal expositor of the Constitution.

Post-Communism and New Democracies

POL 246 - Jasiewicz, Krzysztof

A comparative analysis of transition from Communism in the countries of the former Soviet bloc. Cases of successful and unsuccessful transitions to civil society, pluralist democracy, and market economy are examined. The comparative framework includes analysis of transition from non-Communist authoritarianism and democratic consolidation in selected countries of Latin America, the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, and South Africa.

Latin American Politics

POL 247 - Ponce de Leon Seijas, Zoila

This course focuses on Latin American politics during the 20th and 21st centuries. Major topics include: democracy and authoritarianism; representation and power; populism, socialism, and neoliberalism; and economic development and inequality. The course places particular emphasis on Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, and Cuba. In addition, the course examines political relations between the United States and Latin America.

Special Topics in American Politics

POL 295A - Strong, Robert A. (Bob)

A seminar in political science for students at the introductory or intermediate level. Topic, hour, and instructor are announced prior to registration. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Fall 2019, POL 295A-01: Special Topics in American Politics: Presidential Impeachment (3). No prerequisite. A consideration of the debates during the Constitutional Convention and the constitution's ratification process regarding the removal from office of presidents. Students study in detail the impeachments of Andrew Johnson and William Jefferson Clinton, and the impeachment process that led to Richard Nixon's resignation. When should a president be removed? For what offenses? What constitutes a high crime or misdemeanor?  Is it necessary to establish that a president has committed a crime before removal can be considered? Do the Constitution and the precedents in American history set the bar for presidential removal too high or too low? These and similar questions are discussed in connection with long-standing constitutional arguments and the political lessons from prior impeachments. (SS2) Strong.

 

Special Topics in Global Politics

POL 296A - Lee, Inyeop

A seminar in political science for students at the introductory or intermediate level. Topic, hour, and instructor are announced prior to registration. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Fall 2019, POL 296A-01: Topic in Global Politics: International Political Economy (3). Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. An introduction to the study of international political economy, including a critical examination of globalization as a dominant trend in the 21st century. First, we explore major theoretical approaches to analyzing international political economy, such as realism, liberalism, and critical theory. To apply the theory, we use The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy as a case study that represents specialization and division of labor in production, distribution, and consumption of goods on a global scale. Then, we discuss key issues of globalization and international political economy, such as international economic organizations, trade relations, regionalism, multinational corporations, international development, global financial instabilities and economic crisis, U.S. economic hegemony, and the U.S.-China trade war. (SS2) Lee

 

 

 

Seminar in Global Politics

POL 380B - LeBlanc, Robin M.

Examination of selected topics dealing with international and comparative politics. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Fall 2019, POL 380B-01: Seminar in Global Politics: The Architecture of Urban Community (3). Prerequisite: A 100-level course in politics or instructor consent. An investigation of the literal and social architecture of democratic community in cities in Italy, South Africa, Japan, and the United States. The seminar examines how the physical spaces of urban life support or constrain the civic relationships of residents of varying backgrounds and unequal socioeconomic positions. We also consider the ways in which political and economic power structures shape citizens' opportunities for creative community building and self-determination, and we address issues of poverty, exclusion, and environmental constraints. (SS2) LeBlanc.

 

Seminar in Middle Eastern Politics

POL 384 - Cantey, Joseph M., Jr. (Seth)

This course examines contemporary politics in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Topics include the role of colonial legacies in state formation, the region's democratic deficit, nationalism, sectarianism, and the influence of religion in politics. We explore inter- and intrastate conflict, including the use of terrorism, economic development and underdevelopment, and the recent Arab uprisings (commonly referred to as the Arab Spring). Throughout, we consider why the Middle East attracts as much attention from policymakers and scholars as it does, how analysts have studied the region across time and space, and why understanding different cultural perspectives is critical to understanding the region.

Seminar in Political Philosophy

POL 396A - Gray, Stuart J., Jr. (Stu)

An examination of selected questions and problems in political philosophy and/or political theory. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Honors Thesis

POL 493 - Gray, Stuart J., Jr. (Stu)

Honors Thesis.

Honors Thesis

POL 493 - Cantey, Joseph M., Jr. (Seth)

Honors Thesis.

Honors Thesis

POL 493 - LeBlanc, Robin M.

Honors Thesis.

Honors Thesis

POL 493 - Alexander, Brian N.

Honors Thesis.