Politics

Kavita Khory, Chair

Patricia Ware, Academic Department Coordinator


118 Shattuck Hall
413-538-2132
https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/politics

Overview and Contact Information

The word “politics” in ordinary conversations may refer to struggles for power or justice among antagonistic individuals or groups; the types of regimes by which people are governed; the ties that bind subjects to rulers or citizens to states; the election of representatives, passage of laws, and voicing of public opinion in democratic societies; and international relations among different polities, whether they be empires, multinational federations, or nation-states. The phrase “international politics” encompasses the waging of war and conducting of peace, the pursuit of national interests in competition with other states, norms of interaction among sovereign states, projects of humanitarian intervention, and collective efforts to enhance state security, global order, and human rights.

The study of such a complex subject has traditionally been divided into four overlapping fields:

  • Political theory tackles the contested meanings of freedom, equality, power, justice, community, and individuality, as well as the clashing ideological perspectives by which different people make sense of political life. It also explores the ideas of influential political theorists from Plato to Thomas Hobbes to Hannah Arendt.
  • American politics studies the history and current organization of political institutions at the national, state, and local level in the United States. It also examines popular conflicts in America over private rights and material interests; racial, class, and gender inequality; and public goods, including the good of American citizenship itself.
  • Comparative politics covers the spectrum of political histories, systems of government, public policies, political parties, and social movements across the world. It examines, for example, parliamentary systems, ethnic conflict, authoritarian regimes, immigration policy, and nationalist movements from Asia to Europe to the Americas to Africa and the Middle East.
  • International politics investigates U.S. foreign policy, international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and the World Criminal Court; the politics of population migrations; war, terrorism, and international security; and the political dilemmas sparked by economic globalization and such border-crossing problems as resource depletion and environmental decay.

The Department of Politics at Mount Holyoke College offers students courses within all four fields as well as courses that cross the lines between them.

See Also

Faculty

This area of study is administered by the Department of Politics:

Douglas Amy, Professor of Politics

Kavita Khory, Professor of Politics

Christopher Pyle, Class of 1926 Professor of Politics

Preston Smith II, Professor of Politics, Teaching Spring Only

Calvin Chen, Associate Professor of Politics

Elizabeth Markovits, Associate Professor of Politics; Director of First-Year Seminars

Cora Fernandez Anderson, Assistant Professor of Politics

Andy Reiter, Assistant Professor of Politics and International Relations

Kim Dionne, Five College Assistant Professor of Government

Bernard Forjwuor, Mount Holyoke Fellow; Visiting Lecturer of Politics

Ali Aslam, Visiting Lecturer in Politics

Adam Hilton, Visiting Instructor in Politics

Requirements for the Major

A minimum of 32 credits:

Subfield Requirements
One course must be taken in each of the four subfields, ordinarily to be selected from the list below: 116
American politics:
American Politics
Constitutional Law: The Federal System
Civil Liberties
American Political Thought
Environmental Politics in America
Comparative politics:
Comparative Politics
Chinese Politics
Contemporary Russian Politics
East Asian Politics
Middle East Politics
International politics:
World Politics
International Law and Organization
American Foreign Policy
Political theory:
First-year Seminars taught by Professor Markovits
Introduction to Political Ideas:
Classical Political Thought
Introduction to Feminist Theory
American Political Thought
300-level Course Work Requirements
Three courses (12 credits) at the 300 level: 2,312
Two of which (8 credits) must be taken at Mount Holyoke College
The remaining course (4 credits) may be completed at another institution, subject to departmental approval
4 additional credits in politics at the 200 or 300 level4
Total Credits32
1

With permission from the department chair, certain 300-level courses may substitute for a 200-level field requirement, but no 300-level course may be counted as satisfying both a field requirement and the three 300-level course requirement in politics.

2

No more than 4 credits of POLIT-395 may be counted toward this requirement of three courses at the 300 level.

3

A single course at the 200 level offered at Mount Holyoke can be taken at the 300 level with the instructor’s permission, provided the student has already taken 8 credits in politics, and provided the instructor and student agree upon additional work

Requirements for the Minor

At least 16 credits:

12 credits in politics at the 200 level or above12
At least 4 credits in politics at the 300 level4
Courses must span at least two of the department’s four subfields: 1
American Politics
Comparative Politics
International Politics
Political Theory
Total Credits16
1

 See the requirements of the Politics major for a list of which courses are approved choices within each subfield.

Additional Specifications

  • Students must obtain the approval of the department chair at the time they register for their next-to-last semester.

Teacher Licensure

Students interested in pursuing licensure in the field of politics can combine their course work in politics with a minor in education. In some instances course work in the major coincides with course work required for licensure; in other cases, it does not. For specific course requirements for licensure within the major of politics, please consult your advisor or the chair of the politics department. Further information about the minor in education and the Teacher Licensure program is available in other sections of the catalog, and consult Professor Lawrence in the psychology and education department.

Licensure also requires a formal application as well as passing scores on the Massachusetts Test of Educator Licensure (MTEL) in both the literacy component and the subject matter component. Copies of the test objectives for the MTEL are available in the politics department and in the Department of Psychology and Education.

Additional information about the Licensure Program, including application materials, can be found on the Teacher Licensure Program website.

Related Courses

These courses in other departments are available for credit in politics.

International Relations

All courses taught by Profs. Doerr, Hashmi, or Western, including:

IR-211Middle East Politics 4
IR-222The United States, Israel, and the Arabs 4
IR-224The United States and Iran 4
IR-323Comparative Politics of the Middle East 4
IR-365Ethics and International Relations 4

Russian and Eurasian Studies

All courses taught by Prof. Jones, including:

RES-240Contemporary Russian Politics 4
RES-241Russia and the West 4
RES-242Oil and Water Don't Mix: Geopolitics, Energy, and the Environment 4
RES-312Silk Road, Old and New 4
RES-316FREuropean Studies Seminar: 'Foreigners Within, Foreigners Without: The EU and its New Neighbors' 4
RES-330Nationalism 4
RES-350Revolutions 4

Course Offerings

POLIT-104 American Politics

Fall and Spring. Credits: 4

Offers an overview of the American political system and the theories of those who both celebrate and criticize it. Focuses on the institutions of American politics, including the Constitution, the presidency, Congress, the courts, parties, elections, interest groups, and movements seeking political change. Also includes a theoretical focus: a critical examination of the varieties of liberalism, conservatism, pluralism, and democracy that inform the practice of American politics.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
D. Amy, A. Hilton, C. Pyle

POLIT-106 Comparative Politics

Fall. Credits: 4

This course provides an introduction to comparative political analysis, one of the four subfields of political science. The primary objective is to help students understand how the 'modern' world, one characterized by the rise of industrialized nation-states, took form and what shape it might take in the post-Cold War era. We will examine how the challenges of economic development, social transformation, and nation-building sparked the emergence of alternatives to 'modernity' characterized by diverse configurations of political institutions and social forces. We will also assess how globalization and the re-emergence of local identities may be redefining our understanding of 'modernity.'

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
C. Chen

POLIT-116 World Politics

Fall. Credits: 4

This course is a survey of contending approaches to the study of conflict and cooperation in world politics. Examines key concepts--including balance of power, imperialism, collective security, deterrence, and interdependence--with historical examples ranging from the Peloponnesian War to the post-cold war world. Analyzes the emerging world order.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
J. Heilman, A. Reiter, V. Ferraro

POLIT-118 Introduction to Political Ideas:

POLIT-118PF Introduction to Political Ideas: 'Political Freedom'

Spring. Credits: 4

What is freedom? What makes freedom political? How has political freedom been understood over time? What are the obstacles on the way to freedom? Is freedom something we even desire? This course will introduce students to the concept of political freedom through diverse readings that include Greek tragedy, modern political thought, the Book of Exodus, Dostoyevsky's Grand Inquistor, and social science research.

Crosslisted as: CST-118PF
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
A. Aslam

POLIT-200 Foundations of Africana Studies

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This reading and writing-intensive course draws upon the intellectual traditions of African American, African, and African diasporic studies in order to explore the connections and disjunctures among people of African descent. While the course pays attention to national, regional, and historical contexts, it asks this question: what do African descended people have in common and when and how are their experiences and interests different?

Crosslisted as: AFCNA-200
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
L. Wilson

POLIT-208 Chinese Politics

Fall. Credits: 4

This course examines the politics of contemporary China. Beginning with an assessment of the origins of the Chinese Revolution, the course then examines core institutions and events in the People's Republic, including the Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution, post-Mao reforms, and the Tiananmen Incident. In addition, the course analyzes the changing nature of state-society relations, the emergence of new social and political identities, and China's role in the international arena.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
C. Chen
Advisory: Politics 106 recommended.

POLIT-209 Contemporary Russian Politics

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Russia was transformed by communist revolution into a global superpower that challenged the dominant ideologies of liberalism and nationalism. It became a powerful alternative to capitalism. In 1991, this imperial state collapsed and underwent an economic, political, and cultural revolution. What explains the Soviet Union's success for 70 years and its demise in 1991? What sort of country is Russia as it enters the twenty-first century? Is it a democracy? How has Russia's transformation affected ordinary people and Russia's relationship to the West?

Crosslisted as: RES-240
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
S. Jones

POLIT-211 Classical Political Thought

Fall. Credits: 4

This course traces the development of western political thought from classical Greece through medieval Europe. We will pay particular attention to the ways major writers characterized the relationship between the individual and community; the roles knowledge, reason, emotion, and rhetoric play in political life; the link between gender and citizenship; and the various forms political community can take.

Crosslisted as: CLASS-215
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
E. Markovits
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

POLIT-212 Modern Political Thought

Spring. Credits: 4

Through readings authored by cannonical thinkers such as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Nietzsche, Burke, but also more contemporary thinkers reflecting on the emergence and practices of modern state power and discourses, we will trace the development of key political concepts such as sovereignty, the "science" of politics, natural rights, rationality, and tradition, in order to weigh the promise and peril of each idea.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
A. Aslam
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

POLIT-228 East Asian Politics

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course examines the dramatic rise of East Asia in the post-World War II period in comparative perspective. The focus will be on understanding the process and consequences of rapid development in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China. Assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the 'East Asian model of development' and explores how different developmental experiences and policies affect state-society relations, social and political identities, and prospects for peace and cooperation throughout the region.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
C. Chen
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Advisory: Politics 106 recommended

POLIT-229 Propaganda and War

Spring. Credits: 4

This course explores propaganda techniques and mobilization for war. Drawing on recent comparative and historical examples, we will analyze war mobilization strategies and different forms of propaganda, its control, and dissemination from a variety of cross-cultural perspectives. We will address the following questions: Why is propaganda necessary? What is the media's relationship to state propaganda efforts? How do states control information in an age of 'citizen journalists' armed with cell phones? How do activists and protest movements contest state propaganda? We conclude by examining key trends in the development of mass media forms and technologies and their implications for global politics.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
K. Khory

POLIT-230 Resistance and Revolution

Spring. Credits: 4

This course examines the dynamics and causes of protest, rebellion, and revolution. Topics include the three 'great' revolutions - the French, Russian, and Chinese - as well as such social science theories as moral economy, rational choice, resource mobilization, political culture, and relative deprivation. Attention will be devoted to peasant protest and elite responses to resistance movements. The objectives of the class are to familiarize students with alternative explanations of revolutionary change and to provide students with an opportunity to link general theories to specific case studies.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
C. Chen
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: POLIT-106.

POLIT-233 Introduction to Feminist Theory

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course explores the overlapping dualities of the feminine and the masculine, the private and the public, the home and the world. We examine different forms of power over the body; the ways gender and sexual identities reinforce or challenge the established order; and the cultural determinants of 'women's emancipation.' We emphasize the politics of feminism, dealing with themes that include culture, democracy, and the particularly political role of theory and on theoretical attempts to grasp the complex ties and tensions between sex, gender, and power.

Crosslisted as: GNDST-221CC
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
E. Markovits
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

POLIT-234 Black Metropolis: From MLK to Obama

Spring. Credits: 4

Black Metropolis" refers to the more than half a million black people jammed into a South Side ghetto in Chicago at mid-twentieth century that featured an entrenched black political machine, a prosperous black middle class, and a thriving black cultural scene in the midst of massive poverty and systemic inequality. This course will follow the political, economic, and cultural developments of what scholars considered to be the typical urban community in postwar United States. We will examine such topics as Martin Luther King's failed desegregation campaign; Harold Washington, first black mayor; William Julius Wilson's urban underclass thesis; and the rise of Barack Obama.

Crosslisted as: AFCNA-234
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
P. Smith

POLIT-235 Constitutional Law: The Federal System

Fall. Credits: 4

This course examines the impact of U.S. constitutional law on the legitimacy of different assertions of governmental power. Topics include judicial review; congressional control of court jurisdiction; federal regulation of the economy; and the relative powers and authority of the president, Congress, and the courts in national emergencies, foreign relations, war, and covert action, including torture and assassination. Case method.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
C. Pyle
Prereq: POLIT-104.

POLIT-236 Civil Liberties

Spring. Credits: 4

This course addresses the federal Constitution and civil liberties. Topics include the authority of the courts to read new rights into the Constitution; equal protection of the laws and affirmative action for racial minorities, women, gays, and non-citizens. Also, freedoms of expression, association, and the press. Emphasis on the appropriateness of different methods of interpreting law. Case method.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
C. Pyle
Prereq: POLIT-104.

POLIT-238 Black Political Thought

Spring. Credits: 4

This course will focus on the writings of Black political thinkers in the Americas, Africa and Europe. Through critical examination of the conditions against, and contexts within, which the discourses of these thinkers are situated, this course hopes to arrive at some understanding of the principles, goals and strategies developed to contest and redefine the notions of citizenship (vis-a-vis the imperatives of race/racism and the global colonial formation), humanity, development, democracy, and freedom.

Crosslisted as: AFCNA-238, CST-238
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
B. Forjwuor

POLIT-240 International Political Economy

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course examines the interaction of politics and economics in the global economy. Topics include the development of the capitalist economy and its critics, the politics of trade and investment, and the phenomenon of global poverty.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
The department
Prereq: POLIT-116.

POLIT-242 Oil and Water Don't Mix: Geopolitics, Energy, and the Environment

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Following the collapse of the USSR and the Gulf War, Central Asia and the Caucasus became new centers of geopolitical rivalry. The new states are a source of energy (oil and gas) for Western powers and a vital transit corridor between Eastern Europe and China. While a new 'Great Game' is being fought between Western, Far Eastern, and Middle Eastern powers for control over energy pipelines, the region is threatened by environmental catastrophe and water shortages. Is the new oil industry a source of prosperity or an instrument for exploitation, corruption, and instability? How important are the new states to the West's strategic energy interests?

Crosslisted as: RES-242
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
S. Jones

POLIT-243 Introduction to Latin American Politics

Fall. Credits: 4

Why has Latin America struggled to achieve democratic stability? Why is it the region of the world with the highest economic inequality? How have the periodic political and economic crises allowed for creative experimentation with policy alternatives to create a more equal and sustainable social order? This course examines the political and economic evolution and transformation of Latin America from the time of the European conquest until these very days, with a particular focus on the 20th century. It will also analyze how these general trends took specific shapes in each of the 7 countries studied: Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Chile, Venezuela and Bolivia.

Crosslisted as: LATAM-243
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
C. Fernandez-Anderson
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Advisory: Politics 106 (Comparative Politics) is recommended.

POLIT-246 American Political Thought

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course explores limited government, popular sovereignty, representative institutions, checks and balances, republicanism, liberty, equality, democracy, pluralism, liberalism, and conservatism, and how these concepts have developed during three centuries of American politics and in contrast to European thought. The focus is not on the writings of the 'great thinkers' but on the 'habits of thought' of the American people and on ideas implicit in laws and institutions that affect the allocation of authority and power within the constitutional order.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
C. Pyle
Prereq: POLIT-104, or HIST-270, or HIST-170 and HIST-171.

POLIT-247 International Law and Organization

Spring. Credits: 4

This course presents international norms and institutions for regulating conflict, including promoting economic well-being, protecting human rights, exploring and using outer space, and controlling exploitation and pollution of the oceans. The course considers international agreements, problems of lawmaking, interpretation, and compliance; nationality and the status of foreigners and their investments; the principle of self-determination; and interests of postcolonial states as they impinge on the international legal order.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
A. Reiter
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

POLIT-248 Topics in Politics

POLIT-248EL Topics in Politics: '2016 Election in Real Time'

Fall. Credits: 4

The 2016 presidential election has already become the subject of fascination, speculation, and concern for many American citizens, pundits, and politicians, overturning many assumptions guiding the study of American politics. This course will use the presidential election as a window through which to view the changing American political landscape. We will study the election in real time, tracing the campaigns from the nominating contests to the conventions to the final debates and election night to draw conclusions about the trajectory of American politics and what citizens can expect from the two-party system in the future.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
A. Hilton
Prereq: POLIT-104.

POLIT-248EP Topics in Politics: 'International Environmental Politics'

Fall. Credits: 4

Environmental problems are also political problems. We will learn about why environmental problems exist and persist, what the international community of states, NGOs and firms does to address them and how effectively their efforts improve environmental quality. During the course we will talk about the ethical relationship between humans and the environment. Students will gain different perspectives on how humans should interact with their environment, a rich knowledge of the facts of environmental governance, and concepts that they can use to analyze environmental governance and normatively evaluate how it effects economic activity and political participation for people all around the world.

Crosslisted as: IR-250EP
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
J. Heilman
Prereq: POLIT-116.

POLIT-248PM Topics in Politics: 'Parties and Movements in American Politics'

Spring. Credits: 4

This course explores the relationship between political parties and social movements in the US. Through a historical examination of abolitionist, labor, civil rights, and other movements, we will analyze how formal electoral politics intersects with the more fluid politics of protest and direct action. We will look at how parties have grown out of, allied with, co-opted or eschewed movements for social change. Students will develop a clear analytical sense of the conditions that facilitate successful movement-party dynamics, concluding with critical assessments concerning the impact of the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, and Black Lives Matter.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
A. Hilton
Prereq: POLIT-104.

POLIT-255PA Gender and Power in Global Contexts: 'The Politics of Abortion in the Americas'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

The Americas have been characterized by the strictness of their laws in the criminalization of abortion. In some countries abortion is criminalized even when the woman's life is at risk. What role have women's movements played in advancing abortion rights? What has mattered most for a movement's success, its internal characteristics or external forces? Has the way the movement framed its demands mattered? How has the political influence of the Catholic and Evangelical churches influenced policies in this area? We will answer these questions by exploring examples from across the region through primary and secondary sources.

Crosslisted as: GNDST-250AB
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
C. Fernandez-Anderson

POLIT-255RP Gender and Power in Global Contexts: 'Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Latin America'

Spring. Credits: 4

Since the 1990s Latin America has witnessed increasing societal and political debates over sexual and reproductive rights. Issues such as abortion, gay marriage, transgender rights, sexual education and assisted reproductive technology have risen to the top of some countries' agendas after decades of silence, taboos, and restrictive or non-existent legislation. The course aims to provide a survey of sexual and reproductive rights in the region as a whole while at the same time highlighting the disparities that exist within it. The course analyzes the multiple factors behind the current policies focusing particularly on the role of women and LGBT movements advancing more liberal legislation.

Crosslisted as: GNDST-250RP, LATAM-287RP
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
C. Fernandez-Anderson
Advisory: Previous coursework in Latin American Studies and/or Gender Studies recommended.

POLIT-264 Russia and the West

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Since its creation at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Soviet Union dominated the minds of Western foreign policymakers. None of the West's policies in the Middle East, the Third World, Europe, or China after World War II can be understood without the study of Soviet foreign policy. We will examine the development of Soviet foreign policy since 1917 and, following the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the role played by Russia and Russia and the former Soviet republics in the far more complex and multipolar "New World Order." What should U.S. policy be toward the emerging new states of the Baltics, Central Asia, and Caucasia?

Crosslisted as: RES-241
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
S. Jones

POLIT-266 Environmental Politics in America

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course offers a critical investigation of the questions of power, politics, and principles surrounding environmental issues in the United States. Topics include a history of U.S. environmental policy and an analysis of the workings of our major environmental policy-making institutions: Congress, the executive branch, the courts, and private corporations. A variety of approaches to environmental activism are also examined, including mainstream environmentalism, grassroots activism, deep ecology, and others.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
D. Amy
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

POLIT-269 Social Movements: Theory and Praxis

Fall. Credits: 4

Why do people mobilize? When do they do so? Why and how do they create movements? Are social movements successful paths towards social change? If so, under which conditions? This course will review the main theories of social movements and use them to analyze cases from around the world. Some of the cases we will take upon are the Arab Spring, the American civil rights movement, women and indigenous movements in Latin America, the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, and the environmental movement in Europe.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
C. Fernandez-Anderson
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Advisory: Politics 106 (Comparative Politics) is recommended.

POLIT-270 American Foreign Policy

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

In this examination of American foreign policy since 1898, topics include the emergence of the United States as a global power, its role in World War I and II, its conduct and interests in the cold war, and its possible objectives in a post-cold war world. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between domestic interests and foreign policy, the role of nuclear weapons in determining policy, and the special difficulties in implementing a democratic foreign policy. See for a more detailed description.

Crosslisted as: IR-270
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
The department
Prereq: POLIT-116.

POLIT-295 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 4

The department
Instructor permission required.

POLIT-302 Urban Policy

Spring. Credits: 4

Gentrification, unemployment, crime, failing schools, disinvestment, mass incarceration--what comes to mind when you think of the inner city? In response to a constrained fiscal environment, cities have increasingly adopted neoliberal policy approaches to address seemingly intractable urban problems. The seminar will study current research to assess the political and economic impact of this neoliberal policy regime on housing, education, and public safety.

Crosslisted as: AFCNA-302
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
P. Smith
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 8 credits in the department.

POLIT-307 Imperial Neoliberalism

Spring. Credits: 4

This course is a critical exercise taught at the intersection of two seemingly incommensurable terms, imperialism and neoliberalism. Charting the genealogies of these terms, we will explore the lines of entanglements that hold these two concepts together as mutually reinforcing projects. In part the course will address how self-governance and self-determination under liberal democratic regimes work to accomplish the neoliberal objectives, hence curtailing the legitimacy of the sovereign will as an essential democratic value. This course will also focus on ways neoliberal mandates legitimize the expansion of imperial extractive capacity beyond what physical territorial aggrandizement limited.

Crosslisted as: AFCNA-341NE, CST-349NE
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
B. Forjwuor
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq; 8 credits in politics.

POLIT-308 Nationalism

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Nationalism is one of the greatest challenges to multiethnic states. They have had to create new strategies to deal with the demands of ethnic minorities. Taking the four states of Spain, Canada, Russia, and the former Yugoslavia as examples, we will focus on nationalist movements within these states and the central governments' responses. What has been the effect of the Communist legacy? Are there alternatives to federalism as a way of managing national claims? What socioeconomic policies have governments used to control ethnic tensions? What role can international organizations play in finding solutions to ethnic conflict?

Crosslisted as: RES-330
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
S. Jones
Prereq: 8 credits from politics, international relations or Russian and Eurasian studies.

POLIT-313 The Politics of Poverty

Spring. Credits: 4

This course is an analysis of economic inequality in America and an exploration of the power relationships, interests, and ideological conflicts surrounding this problem. Topics include the distribution of income and wealth in the United States; the relationship of poverty to race, sex, and class divisions; conservative, liberal, and radical perspectives on poverty and poverty policy.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
D. Amy
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 8 credits in department including POLIT-101 or POLIT-104.

POLIT-314 Political Violence: Causes and Solutions

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course is an examination of political violence. Throughout the semester, the course covers the various manifestations of political violence, focusing on diverse topics such as genocide, ethnic conflict, interstate war, terrorism, and civil war. The course explores the debates in the field of political science regarding the nature and causal factors behind these types of violence. The course also examines how to end violence, how to maintain peace, and how societies should attempt to heal from periods of violence.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
A. Reiter
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 8 credits in Politics.

POLIT-316 European Studies Seminar

POLIT-316FO European Studies Seminar: 'Foreigners Within, Foreigners Without: The EU and its New Neighbors'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

The enlargement of the European Union (EU) to Central and Eastern European countries has generated new neighbors to the east and south - the Western Newly Independent States (WNIS) of Russia, Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine, and Southern Mediterranean countries (SMCs) Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. Europe's new neighbors make up 410 million inhabitants, but their GDP capita is barely one tenth of the European Union's. This has brought problems for the EU, including migration pressures, human trafficking, and refugees. How is the EU dealing with these issues and how will relations with the new neighbors affect the domestic and foreign policies of the EU?

Crosslisted as: RES-316FR
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
S. Jones
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 4 credits at the 200 level in a Division III subject.
Advisory: Students not meeting the prerequisite but with a 200-level Division I course may contact the instructor for permission.

POLIT-321 Politics of Decolonization

Fall. Credits: 4

This seminar is a critical exploration of the various processes, accounts and theories of colonialism and decolonization in Africa and the Americas. The aim is to chart alternative paths to rethinking the meaning and impact of these terms. Focusing on the various colonial/imperial tools employed to subjugate, exploit and dominate colonized subjects, we will examine how liberal discourses/structures that are assumed to embody the terms of freedom and sovereignty have now become extensions of the colonial they were initially employed to overcome. The main objective of this course is to explore various approaches to redefining decolonization, noting the changing meaning of colonialism.

Crosslisted as: AFCNA-321
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
B. Forjwuor

POLIT-327 Transitional Justice

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

As societies emerge from authoritarian rule or civil war, they face the daunting task of engaging past human rights violations. States have a myriad of options at their disposal, ranging from granting blanket amnesties to hosting complex trials and truth commissions. In making these decisions, new leaders face pressures from former authoritarian actors, victims' groups, and international organizations. This course analyzes the problems facing societies with past human rights violations, the numerous options they have at their disposal to engage these abuses, and the political, legal, economic, and moral ramifications of each choice. Most importantly, it asks--does transitional justice work?

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
A. Reiter
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 8 credits in Politics.

POLIT-329 Politics and Greek Tragedy

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Students in this course will explore ancient Greek tragedy as a way of thinking through such central problems of political life as freedom, identity, responsibility, and justice. The course will place the ancient texts in their particular historical context, while also attending to the material as a springboard for confronting contemporary political questions. The course will also address the broader implications of turning to ancient material and to literature as sources for political theorizing.

Crosslisted as: CLASS-329
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
E. Markovits
Prereq: 8 credits in Politics or Classics.

POLIT-331 Ethical Life

Fall. Credits: 4

What is ethical life and what is its relationship to democratic politics? Ethical life, or sittlichkeit, refers not to ethics but to the patterns of norms, habit, and thinking that elaborate, compliment, or resist laws and political institutions. In this course, we will explore how the sphere of ethical life that is outside of political rule and legislation influences the shape of our politics. Our first readings, which will include Hegel, Nietzsche, William Connolly, and Judith Butler, will help us learn how theorists have understood the relationship between ethical and political life.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
A. Aslam

POLIT-350 Revolutions

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

By the 1980s, after the failure of Marxist revolutions, scholars and politicians declared that "history" and with it, the age of revolution was over. From now on, they said, all states will move toward the model of market capitalism. But the last decade of the 20th century and the first fifteen years of the 21st century have shown that history, and with it, revolution, is far from over. We will look at the American and Russian revolutions, at Nazism, the Iranian revolution of 1979, Eastern Europe in 1989, the 'colored revolutions,' and the Arab Spring. Revolutions are still with us, and we will study why.

Crosslisted as: RES-350
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
S. Jones

POLIT-353 The Politics of Work

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This seminar explores the contentious relationship between work and politics. The focus will be on workplace dynamics and how technological change, gender, methods of labor organization, and management philosophy affect the way in which authority is structured and perpetuated. The experiences of such regions as the United States, Japan, and China will also be used to shed light on the future of labor and work in an age of increasing globalization.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
C. Chen
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.

POLIT-356 Black Migrations

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This seminar is a comparative examination of the migration of African-descended people within and to the United States. In succession, it looks at the original African diaspora through the Atlantic slave trade; the Great Migration of African Americans from the South; the immigration to the U.S. of African-descended people from the West Indies; and last, the movement of Africans from the continent to the United States since 1965 when immigration laws became more inclusive. We will evaluate the process of African Americanization for each new migratory group in all of its cultural and political ramifications. Course material includes articles, books, films, novels, and guest speakers.

Crosslisted as: AFCNA-356
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Community-Based Learning
P. Smith
Prereq: AFCNA-200.

POLIT-357 War and Peace in South Asia

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Multiple forms of conflict and violence fueled by economic inequality, political instability, and rising radicalism mark South Asia--a region of contested histories, ideologies, and territories. We will explore the histories and causes of enduring conflicts, such as Kashmir and the wars in Afghanistan, separatist movements in Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka, and potential conflicts over scarce water and energy resources. We will conclude with analysis of the role of external powers, such as China, Iran, and the U.S. in South Asia and assess the prospects for peace in the region.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
K. Khory
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 8 credits from Politics.

POLIT-358 Justice: Theory and Practice

Spring. Credits: 4

This 
course explores various theories of justice, examining the most dominant approaches 
to the subject within modern and contemporary political theory, as well as the relation of justice 
to democracy and questions of identity, recognition, and inclusion. The course will also focus 
on the implications of those theories for political, social, and economic institutions by
 offering students a problem-based learning environment in which they will work together to 
bring theoretical insights to bear on actual political problems.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
E. Markovits
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 8 credits in the department.

POLIT-359 Democratization and Civil Society in East Asia

Spring. Credits: 4

This course examines the dramatic emergence of democratic institutions and civil society in East Asia. The primary aim of the class is to help students understand and analyze the process of democratic unfolding in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. We will also evaluate China's recent, albeit limited experiments with democratic practices. We will begin by contrasting Western perspectives of democracy with both traditional and more contemporary Asian understandings of democracy. We will then focus on the actual processes of democratic consolidation in each of the cases, especially the developments that precipitated political crisis and ultimately, political change.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
C. Chen
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.

POLIT-361 Politics and Rhetoric

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

People have long accused politicians of using rhetoric to pander to audiences and get what they want regardless of the truth. But democratic politics depends on communication to persuade and motivate others. In this course, we will analyze classical writings on rhetoric, contemporary democratic political theory, and hear from professionals in order to probe the relationship between rhetoric and politics. Students will also engage in an extended campaign simulation, in which they devise, implement, and react to campaign rhetorical strategies. Prior work in political theory is required and prior work in American Politics is strongly recommended.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
E. Markovits
Prereq: 8 credits from Politics including at least one theory course.

POLIT-364 Human Rights Abuses and Accountability Mechanisms in the Southern Cone of Latin America

Spring. Credits: 4

During the 1960s and 1970s military coups brought authoritarian regimes to power in the Southern Cone (Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay). Human rights movements emerged demanding information about victims of torture, executions and disappearances which became the way military regimes attempted to eliminate dissent. What accounts for the different role these movements in the transition and consolidation of democracy and the rule of law? Did they take part to the same extent in the design and implementation of accountability mechanisms to prosecute those responsible for the abuses? We will answer these questions through the analysis of academic readings, movies, and primary sources.

Crosslisted as: LATAM-387HR
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
C. Fernandez Anderson
Advisory: Previous coursework in Latin American studies and/or comparative politics recommended.

POLIT-366 International Migration

Fall. Credits: 4

This course examines migration and transnational processes from a comparative perspective. It focuses on the relationship between globalization and international migration, with special attention to transnational networks and diaspora politics. We will explore major theories, forms, and patterns of migration in global politics; the involvement of diaspora organizations in the politics of host and home states; and the implications of migration and refugee flows for state sovereignty, national identity, and citizenship. We will conclude by analyzing the key debates and framing of immigration policies and models of citizenship in Europe and the United States.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
K. Khory
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 8 Credits from Politics

POLIT-367 Decision Making

Spring. Credits: 4

On decision making, and the pathologies of decision making, in American politics. When, and to what extent, can we say that a particular policy decision is the result of rational choice, institutional processes, pluralistic pressures, or other forces? When are individual or collective decisions likely to be marred by 'groupthink,' selective attention, or self-deception? To what extent, if at all, may collective decisions be considered rational or moral? When are challenges to authority, or to dominant opinion, likely to make a difference?

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
C. Pyle
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: POLIT-104, 8 credits in department.

POLIT-369 Black Radicalism

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

The struggles and ideas of transatlantic black radicals have changed the ways we think and study -- through the formation of Africana/African-American/Black-Studies -- and the ways in which we express thoughts and ideas -- through culture and politics. In this seminar, we will study the interdisciplinary history of black radicalism in the 20th century in the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa. This interdisciplinary history is animated by a central debate over the role of black internationalism, if any, in domestic black radical thought and action in the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa.

Crosslisted as: AFCNA-369
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
P. Smith
Prereq: AFCNA-200 or POLIT-200.
Notes: There will be a number of shared classes/discussions with the Africana Studies Senior Seminar at Williams College, both in person and through video-conference, who will be sharing the same syllabus. We will make a class visit to Williams, and we will host a visit from the Williams seminar. The shared meetings will be organized around speakers, presentations, and local activists.

POLIT-373 The Politics of Transformation in China and India

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This seminar provides a structured comparison of two 'emerging giants,' China and India. Interdisciplinary in scope, the class draws upon various approaches and frameworks to analyze the economic, social, and political development of the two countries. Topics include the impact of market-based reforms and migration, demands for representation and increased political participation, nationalism, environmental degradation, and human capital. We will conclude with a focus on China-India relations and their aspirations for great power status in Asia and beyond. Students will develop and refine 'real world' skill sets through the writing of policy memos, simulations, and formal presentations.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
C. Chen, K. Khory
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 8 credits in department.

POLIT-380 Nationalism in Global Politics

Spring. Credits: 4

This seminar explores nationalist ideologies and movements in global politics. We will examine the different--and contested--conceptions of nationalism, the relationship of nationalism to state-building and modern warfare, and the sources of ethnic conflict and political violence. The course will conclude by analyzing the role of nationalism in shaping the foreign policy of "rising" powers like China and India. Case studies from Europe, Asia and the Middle East will be selected for their contemporary relevance.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
K. Khory
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 8 credits in politics.

POLIT-384 Ending War and Securing the Peace: Conflict Mediation and Resolution in the 21st Century

Fall. Credits: 4

How do we end political violence and achieve peace? This course focuses on the context for negotiation and bargaining strategies, including what types of actors are involved in negotiations, the contours of the mediation environment, the timing of intervention and talks, the use of leverage to get warring parties to the table, and the transformation of processes across multiple stages from initial mediation to implementation to enforcement. The course also examines several peacemaking strategies in depth, including resource sharing, territorial autonomy and partitions, elections and powersharing agreements, refugee crisis management,and demobilization and reintegration programs.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
A. Reiter
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 8 credits in Politics.

POLIT-385 International Security

Fall. Credits: 4

This course focuses on the recasting of global security concerns after the end of the cold war. It pays special attention to the problems of economic and ecological security; the relationship between security and democracy; humanitarian intervention; nuclear proliferation; and terrorism. The course concludes with analysis of specific initiatives for achieving both common and comprehensive security.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
K. Khory
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 8 credits from Politics including POLIT-116.

POLIT-387 Advanced Topics in Political Theory

POLIT-387AF Advanced Topics in Politics: 'Same-Sex Politics in Africa'

Fall. Credits: 4

This seminar will explore same-sex politics in Africa. Drawing on seven recently published books, we will discuss morality, politics, social justice, transnational social movements, and political homophobia. We will also explore policy documents, public opinion data, and media coverage (both international and local). Students will write original case studies about the situation for same-sex practicing people in an African country of their choice.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
K. Dionne

POLIT-387SC Advanced Topics in Politics: 'Why Is There No Socialism in the United States'

Spring. Credits: 4

In the aftermath of the Great Recession, Occupy Wall Street, and Senator Bernie Sanders's primary campaign, socialism has entered the mainstream of American politics, giving rise to questions concerning why the US can't be more like, say, Denmark. But while the question of why there is no socialism in the US may be on the minds of many, the puzzle is not new. This course will examine the long history of socialist politics in the United States while analyzing why it never established roots in the American system. Drawing comparisons with other advanced democracies, this course will explore what socialism has meant in the American context and what factors have shaped its minority status.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
A. Hilton
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.

POLIT-391 Pivotal Political Ideas

POLIT-391CP Pivotal Political Ideas: 'Capitalism II'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

The gains of global capitalism since the 2009 Great Recession and the laws and institutions organized to sustain the market have been breathtaking. What explains how and why citizens around the world have been unwilling or unable to imagine an alternative to free market competition? If citizens are genuinely committed to capitalism, why? During the first part of the course, we will consider these questions and the heightened fear that the triumph of the economy means the end of politics, at least in its democratic form. The second half of the course will conclude by examining the possibilities for post-capitalist politics, economic democracy, and alter-capitalism. Readings will include works by Hayek, Arendt, Lauren Berlant, Gar Alperovitz, and JK Gibson-Graham.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
A. Aslam

POLIT-391CT Pivotal Political Ideas: 'Capitalism'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

After reviewing the classic defense of capitalism as an engine of freedom, progress, and productivity, we will examine major shifts in the critique of capitalism from the early 19th to the early 21st century. This critical conceptual history will range over successive claims that capitalism foments labor exploitation and class inequality, imperialism, instrumentalism, the commodification of culture, the privatization of the commons, and the re-making of subjectivities to suit market imperatives. The course will conclude with Pope Francis's charge that the global capitalist system endangers 'whatever is fragile, like the environment' and devours everything 'in the way of increased profits.' Is Francis right, and if so, what are possible cures for these ills?

Crosslisted as: CST-391CT
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
A. Aslam
Prereq: One course in political theory or critical social thought.

POLIT-391DT Pivotal Political Ideas: 'Democratic Theory'

Spring. Credits: 4

Today democracy is seen as the only legitimate regime type, but there is very little consensus about what democracy refers to. This course will explore competing understandings of democracy and its relationship to state institutions and laws. Students will be introduced to contemporary debates over the normative basis of democracy and difficulties of democratic practice and citizenship. Among the questions we will explore are: what is the relationship between liberalism and democracy? Do rights represent the beginning or the end of democratic citizenship? Can democracy exist within a government or does it take form in opposition to it?

Crosslisted as: CST-391DT
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
A. Aslam
Restrictions: This course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prereq: 8 credits in politics.

POLIT-395 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 8

The department
Instructor permission required.