Contacts | Program of Study | Program Requirements | Summary of Requirements for Students Meeting the Writing Requirement with a Long Paper | Summary of Requirements for Students Meeting the Writing Requirement with a BA Thesis | Political Science Courses for 2018-19
Department Website: http://political-science.uchicago.edu
Program of Study
Political science is the study of governments, public policies, political processes, political behavior, and ideas about government and politics. Political scientists use both humanistic and scientific perspectives and a variety of methodological approaches to examine the political dynamics of all countries and regions of the world, both ancient and modern. Political science contributes to a liberal education by introducing students to concepts, methods, and knowledge that help them understand and judge politics within and among nations. A BA degree in political science can lead to a career in business, government, journalism, education, or nonprofit organizations; or it can lead to a PhD program in the social sciences or to professional school in law, business, public policy, or international relations. Our graduates have gone into all those areas in recent years.
Starting in the 2016–17 academic year, the Department of Political Science has abolished the list of "pre-approved" petition courses. No course outside of Political Science taken in Summer 2016 or later will be automatically counted for the major; all must be petitioned to the department. Inclusion on the now-defunct pre-approved list does not guarantee future approval.
The Political Science major requires twelve political science courses and a substantial paper. All students must take three out of the four courses that introduce the fields of political science. All students must also take the required research methods course. Students may meet the writing requirement by completing a BA Thesis or by writing a Long Paper. The BA Thesis and Long Paper options are explained below.
Introductory Course Requirement
To gain a broad understanding of political science, the department's faculty thinks students should take a wide range of courses. To ensure that breadth, students are required to take at least three of the following four courses:
PLSC 28701 Introduction to Political Theory
PLSC 28801 Introduction to American Politics
PLSC 28901 Introduction to Comparative Politics
PLSC 29000 Introduction to International Relations
Each course will be offered every year, introducing students to the four principal areas of study in political science. The introductory courses must be taken for quality grades.
Research Methods Requirement
To prepare students to evaluate the materials in their classes and to write research papers, students are also required to take the department's research methods course, which will be offered every quarter:
PLSC 22913 The Practice of Social Science Research
The department also strongly recommends, but does not require, a course in statistics.
Political Science Course Requirement
In addition to the above requirements, students are required to take six to eight Political Science courses of their choosing in order to develop their interests in and knowledge of the field. Those following the Long Paper path, described below, must complete eight courses while those on the BA Thesis path must complete at least six. It may be appropriate for advanced students to pursue an independent study credit (see below). Courses outside Political Science may be considered for the major only by petition. (Please submit the General Petition form (college.uchicago.edu/advising/forms-and-petitions) along with a copy of the course syllabus to Pick 406.)
Writing Requirement: Two Options
Students who are majoring in political science must write at least one substantial paper. There are two ways to meet this requirement, by writing a BA Thesis or by submitting a Long Paper.
Option 1: Long Paper
The Long Paper is typically a course paper. It may be written for either a professor in Political Science or a professor in another department whose course is accepted for Political Science credit. Students who write a Long Paper are not required to write a BA Thesis. Students submitting a Long Paper must bring an approval form to the departmental office signed by an instructor who verifies that the paper meets two requirements: (a) the paper is twenty pages or longer, double-spaced (that is, approximately 5,000 words or longer); and (b) the paper received a grade of B or better (that is, a grade of B- or below does not meet the requirement).
The Long Paper might be:
- A class paper for any course used to meet the major's requirements.
- An extended version of a shorter paper written for a course. If a course requires a shorter paper, students may ask the instructor for permission to write a twenty-page paper instead.
- Written for a course that did not require any papers. Students may ask the instructor for permission to write a twenty-page paper, either in place of another assignment, as an extra assignment, or as an ungraded assignment.
- Written for a Political Science instructor after a course is completed. The student could either produce an entirely new paper or, with the instructor's permission, take a shorter assignment and turn it into a longer paper.
If the paper is not a graded assignment for class, it still meets the department's requirement if the instructor attests that it merits a grade of B or better. Unless the paper is written for a graded class assignment, students must ask the instructor's permission to submit any such paper.
Students are responsible for obtaining an approval form (political-science.uchicago.edu/sites/political-science.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/Long Paper Form.pdf) to verify the successful completion of the Long Paper from the department office and giving it to the relevant instructor. Please ask the instructor to sign the approval form and return it to the departmental office. The deadline for submitting the approval form and the paper is 4 p.m. on Friday of the second week of the quarter in which the student expects to graduate. Students should complete their paper before their final quarter; the approval form should be submitted to the departmental office as soon as the writing requirement is completed.
Option 2: BA Thesis
Writing a BA Thesis will meet the writing requirement in Political Science and may also qualify a student for consideration for honors; see sections below for more information. In either case, the paper is typically from thirty-five to fifty pages in length (the length of most scholarly articles in professional journals). It must receive a grade of B or higher. Students choose a suitable faculty member to supervise the research and writing. The deadline for submitting two copies of a BA Thesis to the departmental office is 4 p.m. on Friday of the fourth week of the quarter in which the student expects to graduate.
BA Colloquium. Students who choose to write a BA Thesis are required to enroll in PLSC 29800 BA Colloquium in the Spring Quarter of the third year and continue to attend the BA Colloquium in the Autumn Quarter of their fourth year. The colloquium is designed to help students carry out their BA Thesis research and to offer feedback on their progress. Although the course meets over two quarters, it counts as a single course and has a single grade. The final grade for the colloquium is based on the student's contribution to the colloquium during both quarters. Students who write a BA Thesis must also enroll in PLSC 29900 BA Thesis Supervision for one quarter, normally Winter Quarter of fourth year (although enrollment may be in any quarter).
A few students each year study abroad in the Spring Quarter of third year or in the Autumn Quarter of the fourth year and also intend to complete the Political Science major by writing a BA Thesis. Students who study abroad in the Spring Quarter are not required to enroll in the BA Colloquium in the Spring Quarter, but are expected to enroll and participate in the BA Colloquium in the Autumn Quarter. Students who study abroad in the Autumn Quarter must enroll in the BA Colloquium in the previous Spring Quarter, but are not required to participate in the Autumn Quarter.
All students who intend to write a BA thesis must submit a proposal for the thesis by the end of Spring Quarter, regardless of residency. Students who are away from campus in the Spring Quarter should line up an adviser and discuss ideas about a thesis topic while they are abroad or even during the Winter Quarter before departure. The department has arranged the BA Thesis process so that students arrive back on campus for fourth year ready to execute the research for the thesis in the Autumn Quarter, rather than compressing research and writing both into the Winter Quarter. Students who will be abroad in Spring Quarter and unable to participate in the Spring BA Colloquium should contact the department's Undergraduate Studies office during the Winter Quarter to receive instructions about the preparations they should expect to make while they are away.
BA Thesis Supervision. During their fourth year, students who choose to write a BA Thesis must register with their BA Thesis faculty adviser for one quarter of PLSC 29900 BA Thesis Supervision. Students may also elect to take a second quarter of PLSC 29900 BA Thesis Supervision, which will count toward the twelve required courses. To enroll, students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form, which is available from the College advisers. The final grade for the course will be based on the grade given the BA Thesis by the faculty adviser. Although most BA Theses are supervised by Political Science professors, the adviser need not be a member of the Department of Political Science.
Summary of Requirements for Students Meeting the Writing Requirement with a Long Paper
|Three of the following Political Science courses:||300|
|Introduction to Political Theory|
|Introduction to American Politics|
|Introduction to Comparative Politics|
|Introduction to International Relations|
|PLSC 22913||The Practice of Social Science Research||100|
|Eight additional Political Science courses *||800|
|Fulfillment of the writing requirement||000|
At least five must be courses in Political Science.
Summary of Requirements for Students Meeting the Writing Requirement with a BA Thesis
|Three of the following Political Science courses:||300|
|Introduction to Political Theory|
|Introduction to American Politics|
|Introduction to Comparative Politics|
|Introduction to International Relations|
|PLSC 22913||The Practice of Social Science Research||100|
|Six additional Political Science courses *||600|
|PLSC 29800||BA Colloquium||100|
|PLSC 29900||BA Thesis Supervision||100|
At least three must be courses in Political Science.
Courses that meet requirements for the major are normally taken for quality grades. The three required introductory courses must be taken for quality grades. However, students may take up to two courses in the major on a P/F basis.
Students with extensive course work in Political Science who wish to pursue more specialized topics that are not covered by regular courses have the option of registering for PLSC 29700 Independent Study, to be taken individually and supervised by a member of the Political Science faculty. Students must obtain the prior consent of the program director and the instructor, as well as submit the College Reading and Research Course Form that is available from their College adviser. The substance of the independent study may not be related to the BA Thesis or BA research, which is covered by PLSC 29900 BA Thesis Supervision. Only one PLSC 29700 Independent Study course may count toward requirements for the major.
Honors in the Major
Students who do exceptionally well in their course work and who write an outstanding BA Thesis are recommended for honors in the major. A student is eligible for honors if the GPA in the major is 3.6 or higher and the overall GPA is 3.0 or higher at the beginning of the quarter in which the student intends to graduate. Students who wish to be considered for honors are required to register for PLSC 29800 BA Colloquium and PLSC 29900 BA Thesis Supervision and to submit a BA Thesis. To graduate with department honors, then, a student must have both honors-level grades and a BA Thesis that receives honors.
Students who plan to double major may complete the Political Science requirements by either the BA Thesis option or the Long Paper option. Students who write the BA Thesis must attend the Political Science BA Colloquium even if the other major also requires attendance at its colloquium. A request to use a single BA Thesis for two majors requires the approval of both program directors on a form available from the student's College adviser or here (college.uchicago.edu/advising/forms-and-petitions).
Courses Taken at Other Universities by Students Who Transfer to the University of Chicago
Student who transfer into the University of Chicago and wish to transfer courses into the major should see the Director of Undergraduate Studies soon after matriculation. The introductory course requirement and the research methods requirement cannot be satisfied by courses taken elsewhere, but courses may be counted toward the major by petition (college.uchicago.edu/advising/forms-and-petitions).
Becoming a Political Science Major
Most students declare a major at the end of the second year or beginning of the third. The department encourages students to try out the major even before declaring. To receive announcements about the program in the major and other information about the Department of Political Science, students should sign up for the undergraduate email list either in the departmental office or at https://lists.uchicago.edu/web/info/ugpolsall.
Political Science Courses for 2018-19
PLSC 20235. Computing for Social Sciences. 100 Units.
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 20235, SOCI 30235, PBPL 20235
PLSC 20280. The Politics of Popular Sovereignty: Participation and Protest. 100 Units.
If government is of, by and for the people, what kinds of politics are possible? Certainly, politics will operate through established institutions such as elections and legislatures. But popular politics may also take other forms: petitions, social movements, protest in the streets, and cultural critique. These efforts often fail, sometimes dramatically, but they have also contributed to major social change including the abolition of slavery, the expansion of rights, and demands for new understandings of justice. This course will explore the history of popular politics within democratizing societies, the development of new forms of collective mobilization and technologies of political influence, and the changing relation of popular politics to formal political institutions.
Instructor(s): E. Clemens Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 20280
PLSC 21390. Philosophy of Poverty. 100 Units.
Global poverty is a human tragedy on a massive scale, and it poses one of the most daunting challenges to achieving a just global order. In recent decades, a significant number of philosophers have addressed this issue in new and profoundly important ways, overcoming the disciplinary limitations of narrowly economic or public policy oriented approaches. Recent theories of justice have provided both crucial conceptual clarifications of the very notion of 'poverty'-including new measures that are more informed by the voices of the global poor and better able to cover the full impact of poverty on human capabilities and welfare-and vital new theoretical frameworks for considering freedom from poverty as a basic human right and/or a demand of justice, both nationally and internationally. Moreover, these philosophers have pointed to concrete, practical steps, at both the level of institutional design and the level of individual ethical/political action, for effectively combating poverty and moving the world closer to justice. The readings covered in this course, from such philosophers as Peter Singer, Thomas Pogge, David Graeber, and Martha Nussbaum, will reveal, not only the injustice of global poverty, but also what is to be done about it.
Instructor(s): B. Schultz Terms Offered: Autumn,Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PBPL 21390, HMRT 21390, PHIL 21390
PLSC 21410. Advanced Theories of Gender and Sexuality. 100 Units.
Zerilli: This course examines contemporary theories of sexuality, culture, and society. We then situate these theories in global and historical perspectives. Topics and issues are explored through theoretical, ethnographic, and popular film and video texts. Simon: Our itinerary in this coursewill be interdisciplinary, ranging from political theory to science studies. Topics for discussion will likely include: the gendering of reason and passion in the history of philosophy; the power, persistence, and flexibility of norms; the relationship between eros and other forms of desire; the division of labor and other economic tributaries to gendered experience; openings for and challenges to the political aspirations of sexual (and other) minorities; and the pressures exerted by technology on erotic life. Students will engage key concepts in the field, and will be encouraged to experiment with new ones.
Instructor(s): L. Zerilli Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Completion of GNSE 10100-10200 and GNSE 28505 or 28605 or permission of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 30201, ENGL 21401, PLSC 31410, MAPH 36500, GNSE 21400, GNSE 31400
PLSC 21505. Sex, Gender and War. 100 Units.
This course explores the sexed, gendered, and oftentimes racialized dimensions of war. With the rise of civil wars and the decrease of interstate or world wars, the nature of warfare has changed: wars are no longer being fought in battlefields, but neighborhoods; and combatants and civilians are no longer distinguishable. Additionally, over the last century, women's formal participation in armed groups and militaries has increased, challenging the traditional segregation of men and women into different roles during war. As such, this undergraduate seminar explores various dimensions of contemporary war, in order to understand how war is not only made possible, but is perpetuated and reinforced by sexed, gendered, and racialized inequalities. It draws from literature in armed conflict studies and gender studies, as well as from contemporary representations of gender and war in films and novels. The goals of the course are two-fold: to engage with the five themes of the course in order to understand, analyze, and interrogate the sexed, gendered, and racialized dimensions of war, and to develop critical writing skills for the social sciences.
Instructor(s): A. Blair Terms Offered: Spring
PLSC 21820. Global Justice and the Ethics of Immigration. 100 Units.
This course examines different theories of global justice and justice in migration that have been developed by political theorists since the 1980s. It explores urgent ethical questions in international affairs, with a particular focus on global poverty, global inequality and the ethics of immigration. Addressed questions will include the following: what does justice require at the global level? Does the very idea of global justice make sense? Are economic inequalities between countries morally objectionable and, if so, why? What do affluent countries (and their citizens) owe to less affluent countries (and their citizens)? Should states have a right to control their territorial borders? To what extent do they have a right to exclude immigrants? What are the obligations of states towards newly arrived immigrants? We will address these normative questions by reading and critically assessing important texts written by leading scholars within the field of political theory and applied ethics, including John Rawls, Charles Beitz, Peter Singer, Thomas Pogge, Joseph Carens and many others.
Instructor(s): C. Cordelli Terms Offered: Autumn
PLSC 22150. Contemporary African American Politics. 100 Units.
This course explores the issues, actions, and arguments that comprise black politics today.Our specific task is to explore the question of how do African Americans currently engage in politics and political struggles in the United States. This analysis is rooted in a discussion of contemporary issues, including the election of the first African American president, Barack Obama, the emergence of the Movement for Black Lives, the exponential incarceration of black people, and the intersection of identities and the role black feminism in shaping the radical freedom tradition in black politics. Throughout the course we attempt to situate the politics of African Americans into the larger design we call American politics. Is there such a thing as black politics? If there is, what does it tell us more generally about American politics?
Instructor(s): C. Cohen Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 25902, CRES 22150
PLSC 22202. Philosophies of Environmentalism and Sustainability. 100 Units.
Many of the toughest ethical and political challenges confronting the world today are related to environmental issues: for example, climate change, loss of biodiversity, the unsustainable use of natural resources, pollution, and other threats to the well-being of both present and future generations. Using both classic and contemporary works, this course will highlight some of the fundamental and unavoidable philosophical questions presented by such environmental issues. Can a plausible philosophical account of justice for future generations be developed? What counts as the ethical treatment of non-human animals? What do the terms "nature" and "wilderness" mean, and can natural environments as such have moral and/or legal standing? What fundamental ethical and political perspectives inform such positions as ecofeminism, the "Land Ethic," political ecology, ecojustice, and deep ecology? And does the environmental crisis confronting the world today demand new forms of ethical and political philosophizing and practice? Are we in the Anthropocene? Is "adaptation" the best strategy at this historical juncture? Field trips, guest speakers, and special projects will help us philosophize about the fate of the earth by connecting the local and the global. (A)
Instructor(s): B. Schultz Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 22201, GNSE 22204, PHIL 22209, ENST 22209
PLSC 22300. American Law and the Rhetoric of Race. 100 Units.
This course presents an episodic study of the ways in which American law has treated legal issues involving race. Two episodes are studied in detail: the criminal law of slavery during the antebellum period and the constitutional attack on state-imposed segregation in the twentieth century. The case method is used, although close attention is paid to litigation strategy as well as to judicial opinions. Undergraduate students registering in the LLSO, PLSC, HIST, AMER cross-listed offerings must go through the undergraduate pre-registration process. Law students do NOT need consent.
Note(s): Not Offered in 2018-2019
Equivalent Course(s): AMER 49801, HIST 27116, LLSO 24300
PLSC 22400. Public Opinion. 100 Units.
What is the relationship between the mass citizenry and government in the U.S.? Does the public meet the conditions for a functioning democratic polity? This course considers the origins of mass opinion about politics and public policy, including the role of core values and beliefs, information, expectations about political actors, the mass media, economic self-interest, and racial attitudes. This course also examines problems of political representation, from the level of political elites communicating with constituents, and from the possibility of aggregate representation.
Instructor(s): J. Brehm Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 22400, LLSO 26802
PLSC 22600. Introduction to Political Philosophy. 100 Units.
In this course we will investigate what it is for a society to be just. In what sense are the members of a just society equal? What freedoms does a just society protect? Must a just society be a democracy? What economic arrangements are compatible with justice? In the second portion of the course we will consider one pressing injustice in our society in light of our previous philosophical conclusions. Possible candidates include, but are not limited to, racial inequality, economic inequality, and gender hierarchy. Here our goal will be to combine our philosophical theories with empirical evidence in order to identify, diagnose, and effectively respond to actual injustice. (A)
Instructor(s): B. Laurence Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 22612, PHIL 21600, GNSE 21601
PLSC 22700. Happiness. 100 Units.
From Plato to the present, notions of happiness have been at the core of heated debate in ethics and politics. Is happiness the ultimate good for human beings, the essence of the good life, or is morality somehow prior to it? Can it be achieved by all, or only by a fortunate few? These are some of the questions that this course engages, with the help of both classic and contemporary texts from philosophy, literature, and the social sciences. This course includes various video presentations and other materials stressing visual culture. (A)
Instructor(s): B. Schultz Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 21400, GNSE 25200, HUMA 24900
PLSC 22819. Philosophy of Education. 100 Units.
What are the aims of education? Are they what they should be, for purposes of cultivating flourishing citizens of a liberal democracy? What are the biggest challenges-philosophical, political, cultural, and ethical-confronting educators today, in the U.S. and across the globe? How can philosophy help address these? In dealing with such questions, this course will provide an introductory overview of both the philosophy of education and various educational programs in philosophy, critically surveying a few of the leading ways in which philosophers past and present have framed the aims of education and the educational significance of philosophy. From Plato to the present, philosophers have contributed to articulating the aims of education and developing curricula to be used in various educational contexts, for diverse groups and educational levels. This course will draw on both classic and contemporary works, but considerable attention will be devoted to the work and legacy of philosopher/educator John Dewey, a founding figure at the University of Chicago and a crucial resource for educators concerned with cultivating critical thinking, creativity, character, and ethical reflection. The course will also feature field trips, distinguished guest speakers, and opportunities for experiential learning. (A) (B)
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 22819, MAPH 32819, PHIL 22819
PLSC 22913. The Practice of Social Science Research. 100 Units.
This is a first course in empirical research as it is practiced across a broad range of the social sciences, including political science. It is meant to enable critical evaluation of statements of fact and cause in discussions of the polity, economy, and society. One aim is to improve students' ability to produce original research, perhaps in course papers or a senior thesis. A second objective is to improve students' ability to evaluate claims made by others in scholarship, commentary, or public discourse. The specific research tools that the course develops are statistical, but the approach is more general. It will be useful as a guide to critical thinking whether the research to be evaluated, or to be done, is quantitative or not. Above all, the course seeks to demonstrate the use of empirical research in the service of an argument.
Instructor(s): P. Conley Terms Offered: Autumn,Spring,Winter
PLSC 23100. Democracy and the Information Technology Revolution. 100 Units.
The revolution in information technologies has serious implications for democratic societies. We concentrate, though not exclusively, on the United States. We look at which populations have the most access to technology-based information sources (the digital divide), and how individual and group identities are being forged online. We ask how is the responsiveness of government being affected, and how representative is the online community. Severe conflict over the tension between national security and individual privacy rights in the U.S., United Kingdom, and Ireland will be explored as well. We analyze both modern works (such as those by Turkle and Gilder) and the work of modern democratic theorists (such as Habermas).
Instructor(s): M. Dawson Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 27101
PLSC 23113. Black Feminism in a Transnational Perspective. 100 Units.
This course surveys Black women's experiences living with and confronting state oppression around the across the Americas and the Caribbean. From the United States to Brazil, Black women experience similar patterns of political, social and economic inequality. Transnationally, racism, sexism, patriarchy, homophobia, transphobia, misogynoir, and classism affect the quality of life of Black women, particularly within nation-states with legacies of slavery and colonialism. This course takes a historical, social and theoretical look at the roots of this inequality and how Black women have chosen to respond to it locally and globally. This is not an introductory course on Feminist Theory. Some prior knowledge of first, second, and/or third wave feminism is expected.
Instructor(s): Jennifer Jackson; Alysia Mann Carey Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 23113, GNSE 23113
PLSC 23313. Democracy and Equality. 100 Units.
Democracy has often been celebrated (and often criticized) for expressing some kind of equality among citizens. This course will investigate a series of questions prompted by this supposed relationship between democracy and equality. Is democracy an important part of a just society? What institutions and practices does democracy require? Is equality a meaningful or important political ideal? If so, what kind of equality? Does democracy require some kind of equality, or vice-versa? The course will begin by studying classical arguments for democracy by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and John Stuart Mill, and then focus on contemporary approaches to these questions. The course will conclude with some treatment of current democratic controversies, potentially including issues of race and representation; the fair design of elections; the role of wealth in political processes; and the role of judicial review. The course aims to deepen participants' understanding of these and related issues, and to develop our abilities to engage in argument about moral and political life. This course is part of the College Course Cluster program, Inequality.
Instructor(s): J. Wilson Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 23313, PLSC 43301
PLSC 23900. Thucydides. 100 Units.
This course offers an introductory reading of Thucydides's History of the Peloponnesian War, on the classic guides to politics, both domestic and international. Themes may include: progress and decline; justice, necessity, and expediency; fear, honor, and gain as motives of political action; the strengths and weaknesses of democracies and oligarchies in domestic and foreign policy; stability and revolution; strategy, statesmanship, ad prudence; the causes and effects of war; relations between stronger and weaker powers; imperialism, isolationism, and alliances; and piety, chance, and the limits of rationality. We will conclude by reading the first books of Xenophon's Hellenica to see how the war ended.
Instructor(s): Nathan Tarcov Terms Offered: Winter. Course will be taught winter quarter 2019
Note(s): It is a grad and undergrad course, open to undergrads
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 53900, SCTH 31780, FNDL 21780
PLSC 23901. The Federalist Papers and Anti-Federalist Writings. 100 Units.
This course examines the debate over the ratification of the Constitution through a reading of The Federalist Papers and selected Anti-Federalist writings as works of continuing relevance to current practical and theoretical debates. Issues include war and peace, interests and the problem of faction, commerce, justice and the common good as ends of government, human nature, federalism, republican government, representation, separation of powers, executive power, the need for energy and stability, the need for a bill of rights, and constitutionalism.
Instructor(s): Nathan Tarcov Terms Offered: Winter. Course will be taught Winter 2019
Prerequisite(s): Open to undergrads
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 33930, LLSO 23901, SCTH 31715, FNDL 21719
PLSC 24201. Liberalism. 100 Units.
The post-war consensus on liberal democratic government can today seem under siege in Europe and the United States. Has liberalism run its course, its once revolutionary promise now dimmed by rising inequality, populist ideology, and perceived threats to national cultures? What newer, more persuasive liberalism might replace the managerial, economistic, instrumental model that we've inherited? This seminar explores a variety of answers to that question, arguing that the canonical replies may be stranger, the forgotten alternatives more compelling, and liberal thought far more variegated than liberalism's critics or defenders have recognized. Our eclectic respondents include F.A. Hayek, Judith Shklar, Bernard Williams, Susan Okin, Richard Rorty, and Nancy Rosenblum. We will also explore some surprisingly topical interventions by John Locke, Voltaire, Diderot, Condorcet, Mary Wollstonecraft, John Dewey, and José Ortega y Gasset.
Equivalent Course(s): MAPS 44200, PLSC 44201
PLSC 24807. Positive Political Theory. 100 Units.
This course will cover the basics of positive political theory, including social choice theory, noncooperative game theory, power indices, and the spatial model of politics. Students will be introduced to the central theoretical concepts of the study of politics and write an original research paper on a topic of their choosing.
Instructor(s): J. Patty Terms Offered: Autumn
PLSC 24810. Politics of the U.S. Congress. 100 Units.
This course examines Congress from the perspective of the 535 senators and representatives who constitute it. It examines congressional elections, legislators' relationships with their constituents, lawmakers' dealings in and with committees, and representatives' give-and-take with congressional leadership, the executive, and pressure groups.
Instructor(s): M. Hansen Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 24810
PLSC 24905. Legitimacy, Representation, and Identity. 100 Units.
Legitimate democratic governance is based on representing both collective and individual interests, but these interests are intertwined with both individual and group identities. This course will engage the dynamics of governance, consent, and dissent with an eye toward the strategic and social psychological determinants of individual behaviors. A special focus will be paid to the role and impact of political institutions in leveraging and ameliorating the role of collective and individual identities in governance.
Instructor(s): J. Patty Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 34905
PLSC 25101. Three Erotic Dialogues: Plato, Xenophon, Plutarch. 100 Units.
An exploration of the moral, political, psychological, theological, and philosophical significance of erotic phenomena through reading three classical dialogues on eros: Plato's Symposium, Xenophon's Symposium, and Plutarch's Erotikus. (A)
Instructor(s): N. Tarcov Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 36103, SCTH 34801, PLSC 35101, FNDL 21207, GNSE 26103
PLSC 25110. Empire and International Justice. 100 Units.
How did European thinkers from 1492 onward understand and evaluate the extraordinary developments by which some European countries came to rule over much of the non-European world? This seminar examines theories of international justice and global relations from the early sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries. Philosophers, theologians, and political actors in this period responded to the key issues of global politics in the modern age, including the seizure of non-European lands; the establishment of slavery and the slave trade; the religious and cultural conversion of colonized peoples; the emerging institutions and practices of global commerce; and the impact of these developments upon both European and non-European societies. Indeed, many dilemmas that confront citizens and states today about humanitarian intervention, national sovereignty, conquest and occupation, empire, and human rights in a global context have an intriguing and complex intellectual history. The readings are primary texts by influential thinkers from the period of the initial Spanish conquests of the Americas through the mid-nineteenth century, including Montesquieu, Diderot, Burke, Bentham, Adam Smith, Cugoano, Kant, Herder, Constant, Tocqueville, John Stuart Mill, and Karl Marx.
Instructor(s): S. Muthu Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 25110
PLSC 25205. Racial Justice and Injustice. 100 Units.
The course will explore moral and political problems of racial justice and injustice. Topics may include antidiscrimination theory, the fair political representation of racial minorities, reparations for racial injustice, racial segregation, the use of racial preferences in various practices of selection, and the evaluation of practices of law enforcement and punishment. We will use reflections on particular problems such as these to inquire about the uses of racial concepts in political theory; the connections between racial justice and ostensibly more general conceptions of justice; and the connections between racial equality and other egalitarian ideals.
Instructor(s): J. Wilson Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 25205, PLSC 35205
PLSC 25215. The American Presidency. 100 Units.
This course examines the institution of the American presidency. It surveys the foundations of presidential power, both as the Founders conceived it, and as it is practiced in the modern era. This course also traces the historical development of the institutional presidency, the president's relationships with Congress and the courts, the influence presidents wield in domestic and foreign policymaking, and the ways in which presidents make decisions in a system of separated powers.
Instructor(s): W. Howell Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): AMER 25215, PLSC 35215, PBPL 25216, LLSO 25215
PLSC 25501. Race and Imperialism in the 20th Century. 100 Units.
The turn of the 20th C. marked the legal sanctioning of Jim Crow segregation in the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision while the Scramble for Africa only a decade earlier had inaugurated a new era of imperial expansion. For W.E.B. Du Bois and others, these confluences indicated a singularity about the global experience of race in the 20th C. Focusing on the period prior to WWII, this course is an effort at understanding this specificity through an engagement with the politicians, statesmen, activists, and intellectuals writing in the midst of "the problem of the color line." The course exposes students to thinkers on both sides of the color line as we read Sir Frederick Lugard, the colonial administrator of Nigeria and a member of the League of Nations' Permanent Mandates Commission, alongside George Padmore, the anticolonialist of Trinidadian descent who played a central role in Ghana's independence movement. To further our insights, we engage recent commentary by scholars who have sought to understand the racial formations of the 20th C. The course aims are 1) to trace the processes-ideological, political, and economic-through which the Jim Crow color line became international and consider the reverberations of this internationalism, 2) to reexamine the crisis of WWI and the creation of the League of Nations in light of the "problem of the color line," and 3) to trace the intellectual roots of a global anticolonial movement concerned with securing racial equality.
Instructor(s): A. Getachew Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 25501
PLSC 25818. Stoic Ethics Through Roman Eyes. 100 Units.
The major ideas of the Stoic school about virtue, appropriate action, emotion, and how to live in harmony with the rational structure of the universe are preserved in Greek only in fragmentary texts and incomplete summaries. But the Roman philosophers give us much more, and we will study closely a group of key texts from Cicero and Seneca, including Cicero's De Finibus book III, his Tusculan Disputations book IV, a group of Seneca's letters, and, finally, a short extract from Cicero's De Officiis, to get a sense of Stoic political thought. For fun we will also read a few letters of Cicero's where he makes it clear that he is unable to follow the Stoics in the crises of his own life. We will try to understand why Stoicism had such deep and wide influence at Rome, influencing statesmen, poets, and many others, and becoming so to speak the religion of the Roman world. (A)
Instructor(s): M. Nussbaum Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Ability to read the material in Latin at a sufficiently high level, usually about two-three years at the college level. Assignment will usually be about 8 Oxford Classical Text pages per week, and in-class translation will be the norm.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 25818, PLSC 35818, RETH 35818, PHIL 35818, CLCV 25818, CLAS 35818
PLSC 26005. International Relations of South Asia. 100 Units.
South Asia is one of the most complex, dynamic, and dangerous foreign policy environments in the world, encompassing decades of warfare in Afghanistan, the rise of India as a major power, instability in and around a nuclear-armed Pakistan, and Myanmar's tenuous opening to the world. This course will systematically explore the foreign policies of the region's states, extra-regional involvement and intervention by China, the United States, and Russia/Soviet Union, and the domestic politics and internal conflicts that have shaped international politics. It will combine international relations theory, detailed research on individual countries, and thematic topics (such as alliances, nuclear weapons, the domestic politics of security policy, international implications of insurgencies and coups, economic globalization, and the causes and prevention of interstate war), using a blend of lecture and discussion. Though the primary focus will be on India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, the course will also cover Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar.
Instructor(s): P. Staniland Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): There is a substantial reading load. Students are strongly encouraged, though not required, to have taken PLSC 29000:Introduction to International Relations or some other prior IR course.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 36005
PLSC 26152. A Right to Belong. 100 Units.
In this course we will seek to identify commonalities and disparities in the formal and informal ways in which we belong to political societies today, seeking to articulate how the formal and informal structures of inclusion mimic or contradict one another. Doing so should provide analytical opportunities to recognize the virtues and shortcomings of the institutional tools designed to guarantee the many pieces necessary to make belonging possible. Part of what this course seeks to accomplish is to support students in thinking about the commonalities between the many ways in which we belong, while avoiding the temptation of silver bullets and all-encompassing explanations. The end-goal is a more refined and informed approach to the topic, as well as the ability to articulate a cogent response to whether belonging should be understood as a human right or not. If belonging ought to be considered a human right, what kind of policies and international instruments are better suited to guarantee it?
Instructor(s): Yuna Blajer de la Garza, Graduate Lecturer in Human Rights Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 26152, HMRT 26152
PLSC 26300. Comparative Politics of the Middle East and North Africa. 100 Units.
This course examines major theoretical concerns in comparative politics using cases from the Middle East. It investigates the relationships between political and economic change in the processes of state-building, economic development, and national integration. The course begins by comparing the experience of early and late developing countries, which will provide students with a broad historical overview of market formation and state-building in Europe and will cover the legacies of the Ottoman empire, European colonialism, and the Mandate period in the Middle East. The course then explores topics such as: the failure of constitutional regimes and the role of the military, class formation and inequality, the conflict between Pan-Arabism and state-centered nationalisms, the role of political parties, revolutionary and Islamicist movements, labor migration and remittances, and political and economic liberalization in the 1990s.
Instructor(s): L. Wedeen Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 39300
PLSC 26615. Democracy's Life and Death. 100 Units.
How are democracies founded and maintained? What are their advantages and disadvantages with respect to stability, security, liberty, equality, and justice? Why do democracies decline and die? This course addresses these questions by examining democracies, republics, and popular governments in both the ancient and modern worlds. We will read and discuss primary texts from and social scientific analyses of Athenian democracy, the Roman Republic, the United States, and modern representative governments throughout the globe.
Instructor(s): J. McCormick Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 26615
PLSC 26703. Political Parties in the United States. 100 Units.
Political parties are a central feature of American government. In this course we will explore their role in contemporary politics and learn about their development over the course of American history. We will start by asking the following questions: What is a political party? Why do we have a two-party system, and how did that system develop? We will then proceed to study shifts in party coalitions, parties' evolving structures, their role in policymaking, and trends in popular attitudes about parties. Although our primary empirical focus will be on parties in the United States, we will spend some time on comparative approaches to political parties.
Instructor(s): R. Bloch Rubin Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 26703
PLSC 26920. Freedom, Justice and Legitimacy. 100 Units.
In this course we will explore two main questions, which are central to both contemporary political theory and political discourse: (1) how different concepts and conceptions of freedom ground different theories of social justice and political legitimacy and (2) how to understand the relationship between justice and legitimacy. To what extent are justice and legitimacy separate ideas? Does legitimacy require justice? Are just states necessarily legitimate? We will critically analyze and normatively assess how different contemporary theories have answered, whether explicitly or implicitly, such questions. The course will focus on five major contemporary theories: liberal-egalitarianism as represented by the work of John Rawls; libertarianism, as represented by the work of Robert Nozick, neo-Lockean theories as represented by the work of John Simmons, neo-republicanism as represented by the work of Philip Pettit, and neo-Kantian theories as represented by the work of Arthur Ripstein.
Instructor(s): C. Cordelli Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 36920
PLSC 27216. Machiavelli's Political Thought. 100 Units.
This course is devoted to the political writings of Niccolò Machiavelli. Readings include The Prince, Discourses on Livy's History of Rome, selections from the Florentine Histories, and Machiavelli's proposal for reforming Florence's republic, "Discourses on Florentine Affairs." Topics include the relationship between the person and the polity; the compatibility of moral and political virtue; the utility of class conflict; the advantages of mixed institutions; the principles of self-government, deliberation, and participation; the meaning of liberty; and the question of military conquest.
Instructor(s): J. McCormick Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 28233, FNDL 28102, PLSC 52316
PLSC 27301. Weimar Political Theology: Schmitt and Strauss. 100 Units.
This course is devoted to the idea of "political theology" that developed during the interwar period in twentieth-century Central Europe, specifically Germany's Weimar Republic. The course's agenda is set by Carl Schmitt, who claimed that both serious intellectual endeavors and political authority require extra-rational and transcendent foundations. Along with Schmitt's works from the period, such as Political Theology and the Concept of the Political, we read and discuss the related writings of perhaps his greatest interlocutor, Leo Strauss.
Instructor(s): J. McCormick Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 27301, PLSC 37301
PLSC 27500. Organizational Decision Making. 100 Units.
This course examines the process of decision making in modern, complex organizations (e.g., universities, schools, hospitals, business firms, public bureaucracies). We also consider the impact of information, power, resources, organizational structure, and the environment, as well as alternative models of choice.
Instructor(s): J. Padgett Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 37500, SOCI 30301
PLSC 27510. Latino Politics. 100 Units.
This course will examine the role of Latino communities in shaping state and national politics in the US. After we review their contemporary modes of political organization we will examine the political history and political organizational strategies of Latinos; analyze public policy issues surrounding citizenship and membership; evaluate the successes and failures of Latino empowerment strategies; and critique the electoral impact of Latino votes. Through this careful examination of Latinos in U.S. politics, we will develop a richer understanding of contemporary US politics and will be able to develop some hypotheses about its trajectory in the 21st Century.
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 27510, CRES 27510
PLSC 28006. Intro to Social Choice and Electoral Systems. 100 Units.
Voting procedures play an integral role in our lives as citizens by translating the preferences of people into collective outcomes. This course will evaluate these procedures mathematically, by considering the various properties that electoral systems may or may not satisfy. A classic example is Arrow's Impossibility Theorem, which tells us that every electoral system must fail to satisfy one or more criteria of fairness or sensibility. We will examine this result and other legislative paradoxes, and learn why the choice of procedure is critical to our understanding of how "good" and "bad" decisions can be made-and how we can distinguish a bad decision from a good one.
Instructor(s): E. Penn Terms Offered: Autumn
PLSC 28300. Seminar on Realism. 100 Units.
The aim of this course is to read the key works dealing with the international relations theory called "realism."
Instructor(s): J. Mearsheimer Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor required.
Note(s): Students must attend the first class.
PLSC 28400. American Grand Strategy. 100 Units.
This course examines the evolution of American grand strategy since 1900, when the United States first emerged on the world stage as a great power. The focus is on assessing how its leaders have thought over time about which areas of the world are worth fighting and dying for, when it is necessary to fight in those strategically important areas, and what kinds of military forces are needed for deterrence and war-fighting in those regions.
Instructor(s): J. Mearsheimer Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 49500
PLSC 28620. The Intelligible Self. 100 Units.
The Delphic maxim "know thyself" is one of the cornerstones of Western philosophy. But how, exactly, do we figure ourselves out? This course examines three approaches to self-knowledge: Buddhism, Psychoanalytic Theory, and Social Neuroscience. We will learn both the theories behind each approach and how they can foster deeper perspectives on our own condition. We will explore the nature of love, guilt, anxiety, and other emotions, the origins of morality, and the many biases in our cognition. Readings include Sigmund Freud, Patricia Churchland, Daniel Kahneman, Pema Chodron, and Walpola Sri Rahula.
Instructor(s): E. Oliver Terms Offered: Winter
PLSC 28701. Introduction to Political Theory. 100 Units.
This course provides an introduction to political theory that focuses upon the interrelated themes of inhumanity, injustice, and inequality in the history of political thought and contemporary political theory.
Instructor(s): S. Muthu Terms Offered: Winter
PLSC 28800. Introduction to Constitutional Law. 100 Units.
This course is designed as an introduction to the constitutional doctrines and political role of the U.S. Supreme Court, focusing on its evolving priorities and its responses to basic governmental and political problems. Topics include the development of judicial power, the interaction of states and the federal government, judicial involvement in economic policy, and the Court's treatment of minority rights. The course aims to provide students with an understanding of the political history of the Court as well as some knowledge of doctrinal developments. Students should complete the course with an awareness of the political nature of much of what the Court does and with the ability to read, follow, and intelligently discuss Supreme Court decisions. It is not a law school course. No prior knowledge of the U.S. Supreme Court or its decisions is expected or required. There are no prerequisites.
Instructor(s): G. Rosenberg Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 23900, PLSC 48800
PLSC 28801. Introduction to American Politics. 100 Units.
This survey course canvasses the basic behavioral, institutional, and historical factors that comprise the study of American politics. We will evaluate various modes of survey opinion formation and political participation both inside and outside of elections. In addition to studying the primary branches of U.S. government, we will consider the role of interest groups, the media, and political action committees in American politics. We also will evaluate the persistent roles of race, class, and money in historical and contemporary political life.
Instructor(s): J. Mark Hansen Terms Offered: Autumn
PLSC 28850. Chinese Foreign and Global Policy. 100 Units.
China's rapid development in recent decades is as transformative within China as it has been momentous for the rest of the world. Some see reformist China becoming a global citizen and responsible stakeholder while others view China's growth with alarm and believe a rising China will challenge the existing global order. This course describes and analyzes elements of China's Chinese foreign and global policy. We consider historical, organizational, cultural, ideological, and organizational and other factors that influence the making of Chinese foreign policy, examine China's relations with major countries and regions, and look at China's approaches to international organizations and key global issues. We also pay attention to how other countries/regions have responded to China's rise.
Instructor(s): D. Yang Terms Offered: Winter
PLSC 28900. Strategy. 100 Units.
This course covers American national security policy in the post-cold war world, especially the principal issues of military strategy that are likely to face the United States in the next decade. This course is structured in five parts: (1) examining the key changes in strategic environment since 1990, (2) looking at the effects of multipolarity on American grand strategy and basic national goals, (3) focusing on nuclear strategy, (4) examining conventional strategy, and (5) discussing the future of war and peace in the Pacific Rim.
Instructor(s): R. Pape Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 39900
PLSC 28901. Introduction to Comparative Politics. 100 Units.
Why are some nations rich and others are poor? Why is inequality skyrocketing across the developed world? Why are some countries democratic and others are dictatorships, and what determines switching between regimes? Does democracy matter for health, wealth, and happiness? Why are some countries beset by civil violence and revolution whereas others are politically stable? Why do political parties organize themselves politically around ethnicity, language, religion, or ideology? This course explores these and other similar questions that lie at the core of comparative politics. Drawing on political science, economics, sociology, and anthropology, while utilizing a wealth of data and case studies of major countries, we will examine how power is exercised to shape and control political, cultural, and economic institutions and, in turn, how these institutions generate policies that affect what we learn, what we earn, how long we live, and even who we are.
Instructor(s): B. Lessing Terms Offered: Spring
PLSC 29000. Introduction to International Relations. 100 Units.
Humans face many challenges today. These range from wars and nuclear proliferation, to economic crises and the collapse of global order. International Relations-the study of global anarchy and the commitment problems it creates between sovereign governments-offers analytical tools for understanding the causes and consequences of these challenges. This course introduces students to the scientific study of world politics, focusing on the areas of security, economic cooperation, and international law.
Instructor(s): P. Poast Terms Offered: Autumn
PLSC 29102. Game Theory I. 100 Units.
This is a course for graduate students in Political Science. It introduces students to games of complete information through solving problem sets. We will cover the concepts of equilibrium in dominant strategies, weak dominance, iterated elimination of weakly dominated strategies, Nash equilibrium, subgame perfection, backward induction, and imperfect information. The course will be centered around several applications of game theory to politics: electoral competition, agenda control, lobbying, voting in legislatures and coalition games.
Instructor(s): M. Nalepa Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 30901
PLSC 29411. Consequentialism from Bentham to Singer. 100 Units.
Are some acts wrong "whatever the consequences"? Do consequences matter when acting for the sake of duty, or virtue, or what is right? How do "consequentialist" ethical theories, such as utilitarianism, address such issues? This course will address these questions by critically examining some of the most provocative defenses of consequentialism in the history of philosophy, from the work of the classical utilitarians Bentham, Mill, and Sidgwick to that of Peter Singer, one of the world's most influential living philosophers and the founder of the animal liberation and effective altruism movements. Does consequentialism lend itself to the Panoptical nightmares of the surveillance state, or can it be a force for a genuinely emancipatory ethics and politics?
Instructor(s): B. Schultz Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 29411
PLSC 29700. Independent Study. 100 Units.
This is a general reading and research course for independent study not related to the BA thesis or BA research.
Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Consent of faculty supervisor and program chair.
Note(s): Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form.
PLSC 29800. BA Colloquium. 100 Units.
The colloquium is designed to help students carry out their BA thesis research and offer feedback on their progress.
Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Required of students who are majoring in political science and plan to write a BA thesis. Students participate in both Spring and Autumn Quarters but register only in the Spring Quarter of the third year. PLSC 29800 counts as a single course and a single grade is reported in Autumn Quarter.
PLSC 29900. BA Thesis Supervision. 100 Units.
This is a reading and research course for independent study related to BA research and BA thesis preparation.
Terms Offered: Summer,Autumn,Winter,Spring
Note(s): Required of fourth-year students who are majoring in political science and plan to write a BA thesis. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form.
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