Major Requirements

2020 - 2021 Catalog

Politics major leading to BA degree

A major in politics leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree requires completion of at least 36 credits as follows:

  1. POL 100, 105, 111; INTR 202
  2. Either ECON 100 or both ECON 101 and 102;
  3. Five additional courses of 3 credits or more in politics, including completion of one of the following four sequences and including at least one 300-level seminar course, which entails an independent research and writing component. All 300-level courses count towards the seminar requirement
    1. General Study: completion of five courses chosen from at least two of the three subfields below, including at least one 300-level seminar course.
    2. American Government: completion of four courses chosen from LJS 101, 230, 232; POL 203 (JOUR 203), 229, 230, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 250, 251 (SOAN 251), 280, 283, 295, 342, 360, 370, 397, 466 and at least one course chosen from the remaining 200- and 300-level courses in international/global politics or political philosophy
    3. International/Global Politics: completion of four courses chosen from POL 214, 215, 227, 245 (SOAN 245), 246 (SOAN 246), 247,255, 274, 276, 278, 279, 285, 287, 288, 292, 296, 327, 380, 381, 384, 392, 395 and at least one course chosen from the remaining 200- and 300-level courses in American government or political philosophy
    4. Political Philosophy: completion of four courses chosen from LJS 101; POL 265, 266, 267, 271, 281, 297, 360, 370, 385, 396 and at least one course chosen from the remaining 200- and 300-level courses in international/global politics or American government
  4. Six additional credits which must include courses from two of the following disciplines: cognitive and behavioral science, economics, history, philosophy, religion, or sociology and anthropology.

  1. Required courses:
  2.  

    • POL 100 - American National Government
      FDRSS2
      Credits3
      FacultyStaff

      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.


    • POL 105 - Introduction to Global Politics
      FDRSS2
      Credits3
      FacultyStaff

      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.


    • POL 111 - Introduction to Political Philosophy
      FDRSS2
      Credits3
      FacultyStaff

      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.


    • INTR 202 - Applied Statistics
      Credits3

      Not open to students with credit for DCI 202 or ECON 202. An examination of the principal applications of statistics in accounting, business, economics, and politics. Topics include descriptive statistics, probability, estimation, hypothesis testing, and regression analysis.

       


  3. Take either
    • ECON 100 - Introduction to Economics
      FDRSS1
      Credits3
      FacultyStaff

      Open only to students who have not taken ECON 101 and/or ECON 102. No retakes allowed. Economics is the study of how a society (individuals, firms, and governments) allocates scarce resources. The course includes a survey of the fundamental principles used to approach microeconomic questions of consumer behavior, firm behavior, market outcomes, market structure, and microeconomic policy, and macroeconomic questions of performance of the aggregate economy, including unemployment, inflation, growth, and monetary and fiscal policies.


    • or both

    • ECON 101 - Principles of Microeconomics
      FDRSS1
      Credits3
      FacultyStaff

      (No longer offered. See ECON 100) Survey of economic principles and problems with emphasis on analysis of consumer behavior, firm behavior, market outcomes, market structure, and microeconomic policy. The first half of a two-term survey of economics. Should be followed by ECON 102.


    • and

    • ECON 102 - Principles of Macroeconomics
      FDRSS1
      Credits3
      FacultyStaff

      (No longer offered. See ECON 100) Emphasis on performance of the aggregate economy. Analysis of unemployment, inflation, growth, and monetary and fiscal policies.


  4. Five additional courses of 3 credits or more in politics, including completion of one of the following four sequences and including at least one 300-level seminar course, which entails an independent research and writing component.
  5.  All 300-level courses count towards the seminar requirement

    • General Study:

      completion of five courses chosen from at least two of the three subfields below, including at least one 300-level seminar course.

    • American Government:

      Completion of four courses chosen from:

      • LJS 101 - Introduction to Law, Justice, and Society
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        FacultyBelmont, J. Youngman

        Limited to juniors, sophomores, and first-years. An introductory seminar providing a broad, historically grounded foundation in concepts and frameworks of law, along with basic familiarity with a range of forms of law in practice. Beginning with general questions regarding the nature of law, students then move to a survey of American law, focusing on direct student engagement with landmark cases. The seminar concludes with attention to law in international and comparative settings. 


      • LJS 230 - Separation of Powers in the U.S. Constitution
        FDRSS2
        Credits4
        FacultyMurchison

        This course probes the origins, development, advantages, and disadvantages of the tripartite structure of the federal government, beginning with an examination of the background and text of Articles I, II, and III of the U.S. Constitution. We analyze structural explanations provided in the Federalist Papers, along with Classical and Enlightenment sources addressing the nature of political power, the problem of faction, the role of checks and balances, and the purpose of separated functions. In-depth analyses of leading U.S. Supreme Court decisions trace evolving conceptions of legislative. executive. and judicial powers along with attention to the relevance of war and economic crisis to the authority and function of each branch. In discussions of landmark decisions, students compare the legal thought of a number of Justices--John Marshall, William Howard Taft, Robert Jackson, William Brennan, Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthony Kennedy, and Antonin Scalia. We trace the creation of the so-called "fourth branch" of government--the administrative state-- and examine whether this "branch" can be reconciled with ideas of representative democracy and constitutional text. Students prepare and deliver two oral arguments based on assigned cases and write an appellate brief on a separation-of-powers topic.


      • LJS 232 - Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division
        FDRSS2
        Credits4
        FacultySimpson and DeLaney

        Designed for students with an interest in law school and/or an interest in the history of civil rights. An exploration of civil rights in the United States from the post-reconstruction period, civil rights from an activists' perspective, the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, and civil litigation. The course includes a close examination of the work of the Civil Rights Division's Special Litigation Section which was instrumental in police misconduct matters involving, for example, the Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, police departments. We also examine the potential impact of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions' final memo regarding consent decrees and how it will affect investigations of police departments.


      • POL 203 - State and Local Government
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        FacultyFinch

        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.


      • POL 229 - Political Parties, Interest Groups, and the Media
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePOL 100
        FacultyConnelly

        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.


      • POL 230 - Separation of Powers in the U.S. Constitution
        FDRSS2
        Credits4
        FacultyMurchison

        This course probes the origins, development, advantages, and disadvantages of the tripartite structure of the federal government, beginning with an examination of the background and text of Articles I, II, and III of the U.S. Constitution. We analyze structural explanations provided in the Federalist Papers, along with Classical and Enlightenment sources addressing the nature of political power, the problem of faction, the role of checks and balances, and the purpose of separated functions. In-depth analyses of leading U.S. Supreme Court decisions trace evolving conceptions of legislative. executive. and judicial powers along with attention to the relevance of war and economic crisis to the authority and function of each branch. In discussions of landmark decisions, students compare the legal thought of a number of Justices--John Marshall, William Howard Taft, Robert Jackson, William Brennan, Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthony Kennedy, and Antonin Scalia. We trace the creation of the so-called "fourth branch" of government--the administrative state-- and examine whether this "branch" can be reconciled with ideas of representative democracy and constitutional text. Students prepare and deliver two oral arguments based on assigned cases and write an appellate brief on a separation-of-powers topic.


      • POL 232 - Public Policy
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePOL 100
        FacultyHarris

        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.


      • POL 233 - Environmental Policy and Law
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisiteECON 100, ECON 101, or POL 100
        FacultyHarris

        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.


      • POL 234 - Congress and the Legislative Process
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePOL 100
        FacultyConnelly

        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.


      • POL 235 - The Presidency
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePOL 100
        FacultyConnelly, Strong

        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.


      • POL 236 - The American Supreme Court and Constitutional Law
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePOL 100
        FacultyStaff

        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. In Fall, 2020, special attention will be given to the impact of COVID-19 on the constitution.


      • POL 250 - Race and Equality
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePOL 100 or POL 111 or AFCA 130
        FacultyMorel

        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.


      • POL 283 - Minority Voting Rights and Fair Redistricting
        FDRSS2
        Credits4
        PrerequisiteNo prerequisite. Meets the American politics field requirement in the politics major
        FacultyStaff

        This course introduces students to the redistricting process and election law by engaging them in a lab setting in which they use geographic information systems (GIS) software to develop alternative election district plans for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In addition to learning basic GIS skills, students also study voting rights case law, electoral systems and electoral reform.


      • POL 295 - Special Topics in American Politics
        FDRSS2
        Credits3 in fall and winter, 4 in spring
        PrerequisiteMay vary with topic

        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 2020, POL 295A-01: Topic: Elections (3). Open to students of all classes and majors. No prerequisite. A special offering for students to follow the major events in the 2020 presidential election and attempt to put those events in context by studying the structure of American presidential elections, recent campaigns, candidate biographies, long-term issues in national politics, and the current state of partisan division in American political life.  Students write short papers on matters related to the election and a substantial paper analyzing its results. (SS2) Strong.

        Fall 2020, POL 295B-01: Topic: The Material Culture of Protest (3). No prerequisite. What is the meaning of that rainbow sticker on your friend's computer? Does the slogan on your t-shirt make history? Why did millions of women don hand-knitted pink pussy hats for the 2017 Women's March? Objects from 18th-century anti-slavery medallions to 21st-century bumper stickers have long been important tools for social, economic, and political change. Students investigate the relationship between this kind of material culture and political protest, curating an exhibit about the objects of protest they have studied. Students travel on a required class field trip (fully funded) to Washington D.C. to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History. (SS2) LeBlanc and Fuchs.


      • POL 342 - Seminar: Law and the Judicial Process
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePOL 100 or POL 111, or instructor consent
        FacultyHarris

        A survey of legal theories and the problems of reconciling such theories with the realities of administering a legal system. The course draws upon readings from literature, philosophy, legal scholarship, and political science. Topics include the nature of law and justice, constitutionalism, the role and power of courts and judges, and the function of a legal system.


      • POL 360 - Seminar: Lincoln's Statesmanship
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePOL 100
        FacultyMorel

        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.


      • POL 370 - Seminar in American Political Thought
        FDRSS2
        Credits3 credits in fall or winter; 4 credits in spring
        PrerequisitePOL 100 or POL 111

        An examination of classic themes and current issues in American political thought. Depending on the instructor, emphases may include the Federalists, Anti-Federalists, Alexis de Tocqueville, Abraham Lincoln, and voices from the Progressive and civil rights eras. Course readings stress primary sources including speeches, essays, and books by politicians and theorists. The course explores the effort to reconcile liberty and equality, individualism and community, liberalism and republicanism, politics and religion, among other themes. The course highlights the contemporary relevance of the enduring tensions between political principles and practice.


      • POL 397 - Seminar in American Government
        FDRSS2
        Credits3 in fall and winter, 4 in spring
        PrerequisitePOL 100 or instructor consent

        Examination of selected topics in American political institutions, ideas, and processes. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.


      • POL 466 - Washington Term Program
        Credits6
        PrerequisiteGrade-point average of 3.000 overall and in politics courses; POL 100, 105, or 111. Competitive selection process each October
        FacultyAlexander

        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.


      • and at least one course chosen from the remaining 200- and 300-level courses in international/global politics or political philosophy

    • International/Global Politics:

      Completion of four courses chosen from:

      • POL 214 - The Conduct of American Foreign Policy
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePOL 100 or 105
        FacultyStrong

        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.


      • POL 215 - International Development
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        FacultyStaff

        A study of international development and human capability, with a focus on Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The course analyzes theories to explain development successes and failures, with a focus on the structures, institutions, and actors that shape human societies and social change. Key questions include measuring economic growth and poverty, discussing the roles of states and markets in development, and examining the role of industrialized countries in reducing global poverty. The course explores links between politics and other social sciences and humanities.


      • POL 227 - East Asian Politics
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        FacultyLeBlanc

        An investigation of East Asian political systems and the global, historical, and cultural contexts in which their political institutions have developed. Students consider the connections between political structure and the rapid social and economic changes in East Asia since World War II, as well as the effectiveness of varied political processes in addressing contemporary problems. Emphasis is given to China, Korea, and Japan.


      • POL 245 - European Politics and Society

        (SOAN 245)

        FDRSS4
        Credits3
        FacultyJasiewicz

        A comparative analysis of European political systems and social institutions. The course covers the established democracies of western and northern Europe, the new democracies of southern and east-central Europe, and the post-Communist regimes in eastern and southeastern Europe. Mechanisms of European integration are also discussed with attention focused on institutions such as European Union, NATO, OSCE, and Council of Europe.


      • POL 246 - Post-Communism and New Democracies

        (SOAN 246)

        FDRSS4 as sociology only
        Credits3
        FacultyJasiewicz

        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.


      • POL 247 - Latin American Politics
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        FacultyStaff

        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.


      • POL 255 - Gender and Politics
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePOL 100, 105 or 111 or instructor consent
        FacultyLeBlanc

        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.


      • POL 268 - Migration, Identity, and Conflict

        (SOAN 268)

        FDRSS4
        Credits3
        PrerequisiteSOAN 102, POV 101, or POL 105
        FacultyEastwood

        This course focuses on the complex relationship between migration, political institutions, group identities, and inter-group conflict. The course is a hybrid of a seminar and research lab in which students (a) read some of the key social-scientific literature on these subjects, and (b) conduct team-based research making use of existing survey data about the integration of migrant populations into various polities.


      • POL 274 - Terrorism
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        FacultyCantey

        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.


      • POL 276 - Intelligence in Practice
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        FacultyCantey

        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.


      • POL 278 - Intelligence and National Security
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePOL 100 or 105. Not open to those with credit for POL 276
        FacultyCantey

        This course examines 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 (direction, collection, processing, analysis, dissemination), 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.


      • POL 285 - Contemporary Britain
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisiteAcceptance into the London Summer Internship Program. Corequisite: INTR 453
        FacultyBlick

        A summer course taught in Britain, this is an introduction to some key features of contemporary life in the United Kingdom (UK). It focuses on political institutions and processes and extends to take in wider British society. Consideration is given both to the history of recent decades in the UK and to currently prevailing circumstances. Class meetings are combined with a series of visits to relevant sites of interest intended to enhance and expand upon the learning experience.


      • POL 287 - The Maghreb: History, Culture, and Politics
        FDRSS2
        Credits4
        FacultyCantey

        This course examines the history, culture, and politics of the Maghreb, and especially the Kingdom of Morocco. After a few days in Lexington, most of the course is based in the old cities of Rabat and Fez, the latter a UNESCO world-heritage site and home to the oldest continually operating university in the world. We take field trips to the blue city of Chefchouen, the Roman ruins of Volubilis, and Africa's largest mosque in Casablanca. Throughout the course, students explore the region's political history, including the influence of imperialism and Islam on politics, gender relations in North Africa, Morocco's relationship with the United States, and more.


      • POL 288 - Supervised Study Abroad
        FDRSS2
        Credits4
        PrerequisiteInstructor consent and other prerequisites as specified in advance

        This spring-term course covers a topic of current interest for which foreign travel provides a unique opportunity for significantly greater understanding. Topics and locations change from year to year and is announced each year, well in advance of registration. This course may be repeated if the topics are different. Offered when interest and expressed and department resources permit.


      • POL 292 - Topics in Politics and Film
        FDRSS2
        Credits4
        PrerequisiteVary by offering. Open to non-majors and majors of all class years

        This course examines how film and television present political issues and themes. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

         


      • POL 296 - Special Topics in Global Politics
        FDRSS2
        Credits3 in fall and winter, 4 in spring
        Prerequisitevary by topic. Meets the global politics field requirement in the politics major

        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.


      • POL 380 - Seminar in Global Politics
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisiteNormally POL 105 or instructor consent, though prerequisite may vary with topic. Open to majors and non-majors of all classes. Meets the global politics field requirement in the politics major

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

         


      • POL 381 - Seminar in International Political Economy
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisiteECON 100, ECON 102, or POL 105, or instructor consent. Meets the global politics field requirement in the politics major
        FacultyStaff

        This course provides an intermediate-level introduction to the major actors, questions, and theories in the field of international political economy (IPE). Course participants discuss political and economic interactions in the areas of international trade, fiscal and monetary policy, and exchange rates; discuss globalization in historical and contemporary perspectives; and examine the international politics of the major intergovernmental organizations, multinational corporations, states, and other institutional actors in the global economy.


      • POL 384 - Seminar in Middle Eastern Politics
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePOL 105 or instructor consent
        FacultyCantey

        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.


      • POL 392 - Seminar in Asian Politics
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisiteVary with topic

        A topical seminar focusing on Chinese politics, other Asian countries, or selected subjects in Asian politics. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.


      • and at least one course chosen from the remaining 200- and 300-level courses in American government or political philosophy

    • Political Philosophy:

      Completion of four courses chosen from:

      • LJS 101 - Introduction to Law, Justice, and Society
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        FacultyBelmont, J. Youngman

        Limited to juniors, sophomores, and first-years. An introductory seminar providing a broad, historically grounded foundation in concepts and frameworks of law, along with basic familiarity with a range of forms of law in practice. Beginning with general questions regarding the nature of law, students then move to a survey of American law, focusing on direct student engagement with landmark cases. The seminar concludes with attention to law in international and comparative settings. 


      • POL 265 - Classical Political Philosophy
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePOL 111
        FacultyHale

        An examination of some of the central questions and concerns of classical political philosophy. The course is not restricted to a historical period but extends to classical 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. Consult with the instructor for specific course details.


      • POL 266 - Modern Political Philosophy
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePOL 111
        FacultyStaff

        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. 


      • POL 267 - Contemporary Political Philosophy
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePOL 111
        FacultyGray

        The principal aim of this course is to help students understand and think critically about contemporary political life and the crises facing democracy. We examine central questions and concerns in contemporary political philosophy surrounding the topics of democracy, (neo)liberalism, identity, race, and gender. Attention is given to the sources and implications of crises threatening democratic governance, to processes of neo-liberalization, and to how we might better (re)cognize identity, hierarchy, and solidarity in contemporary conditions of pluralism. Consult with the instructor for specific course details.


      • POL 271 - Black Mirror
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        FacultyGray

        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.


      • POL 297 - Special Topics in Political Philosophy
        FDRSS2
        Credits3 in fall and winter, 4 in spring
        PrerequisiteFirst-year or sophomore standing or instructor consent

        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.


      • POL 360 - Seminar: Lincoln's Statesmanship
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePOL 100
        FacultyMorel

        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.


      • POL 370 - Seminar in American Political Thought
        FDRSS2
        Credits3 credits in fall or winter; 4 credits in spring
        PrerequisitePOL 100 or POL 111

        An examination of classic themes and current issues in American political thought. Depending on the instructor, emphases may include the Federalists, Anti-Federalists, Alexis de Tocqueville, Abraham Lincoln, and voices from the Progressive and civil rights eras. Course readings stress primary sources including speeches, essays, and books by politicians and theorists. The course explores the effort to reconcile liberty and equality, individualism and community, liberalism and republicanism, politics and religion, among other themes. The course highlights the contemporary relevance of the enduring tensions between political principles and practice.


      • POL 385 - Seminar: Freedom
        FDRSS2
        Credits3
        PrerequisitePOL 111
        FacultyGray

        An examination of differing conceptions of political and individual freedom in the modern world. We explore the political thought of thinkers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Nietzsche, Michel Foucault, and Emma Goldman. Students analyze the meaning of freedom through novels and/or short stories, including the work of authors such as Jonathan Franzen and Franz Kafka. Key questions include the meaning and ends of freedom, its conditions, and connections between personal and political articulations of freedom.


      • POL 396 - Seminar in Political Philosophy
        FDRSS2
        Credits3 in fall and winter, 4 in spring
        PrerequisitePOL 111 or instructor consent

        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.


      • and at least one course chosen from the remaining 200- and 300-level courses in international/global politics or American government

  6. Six additional credits which must include courses from two of the following disciplines:
  7. cognitive and behavioral science
    economics
    history
    philosophy
    religion
    or sociology and anthropology