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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.

Program Requirements

Course Requirements

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 Political Science Research Methods

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, along with a copy of the course syllabus, to the Director of Undergraduate studies via email.) 

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 submit an approval form to the department (electronic submission permitted), signed by an instructor who verifies that the paper meets two requirements: (a) the paper is 20 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 20-page paper instead.
  • Written for a course that did not require any papers. Students may ask the instructor for permission to write a 20-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 to verify the successful completion of the Long Paper and giving it to the relevant instructor. Please ask the instructor to sign the approval form and return it via email to the Undergraduate Administrator. The deadline for submitting the approval form 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 department 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 35 to 50 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 the BA Thesis to the department is 4 p.m. on Monday of the fifth week of the quarter in which the student expects to graduate.

Students who choose to write a thesis will submit an application to the Director of Undergraduate Studies by the posted deadline, usually by the end of the third week of Spring Quarter of their third year. Students will be asked to list prior coursework and methodological training in their proposed area of interest. The application will include a proposed topic, a plan of study, and the signature of a faculty advisor. Students are allowed to have advisors outside of the department. Students will need to have the endorsement of a faculty member prior to submitting this application. The department will assist students who are having trouble finding advisors.

BA Colloquium. Students who choose to write a BA Thesis are required to enroll in PLSC 29800 BA Colloquium in the Autumn Quarter of the fourth year. Students may not study abroad while they are enrolled in the BA Colloquium. The colloquium is designed to help students carry out their BA Thesis research and to offer feedback on their progress.

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, normally Winter Quarter of fourth year (although enrollment may be in any quarter). 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. 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. 

BA/MA Programs and the PLSC Major. Students accepted into BA/MA programs complete their writing requirement with their MA thesis. They do not need to write a separate long paper or BA thesis. BA/MA students must still fulfill the course requirements of the major—three of the four introductory courses, the research methods course (PLSC 22913 Political Science Research Methods), and eight political science electives. Three of the eight electives may include courses outside of the major (by petition to the Director of Undergraduate Studies) or graduate-level MA courses. BA/MA programs may have additional requirements regarding how many courses may be double-counted for the undergraduate major.

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 22913Political Science Research Methods100
Eight additional Political Science courses *800
Fulfillment of the writing requirement000
Total Units1200

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 22913Political Science Research Methods100
Six additional Political Science courses *600
PLSC 29800BA Colloquium100
PLSC 29900BA Thesis Supervision100
Total Units1200

Pass/Fail Courses

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.

Independent Study

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. 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 are accepted into BA/MA programs who wish to have their MA thesis evaluated for undergraduate honors must apply to the undergraduate honors program and register for both PLSC 29800 and PLSC 29900.

Double Majors

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 the Petition to Use a Single Bachelor's Paper for Two Majors form.

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.

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 through the departmental office.

Political Science Courses

PLSC 12121. Contemporary Feminist Politics: From the Sex Wars to Beyonce. 100 Units.

This course offers a survey of feminist politics and texts on feminist action from the 1980s to now. We look to texts and media from feminist scholars, activists, and scholar-activists in order to tackle questions of what feminism is and should be in theory and practice. This course will focus on key contentions and debates amongst feminists on questions of politics and culture, demonstrating that disagreement is characteristic and generative for feminist politics. With this in mind, we will cover topics such as the Sex Wars, the rise of Third Wave Feminism, #MeToo, and Beyonce in order to trace the contours of disagreement in our feminist present. Readings include works from bell hooks, Susan Faludi, Roxane Gay, Sara Ahmed, and Judith Butler. This course counts as a Foundations course for GNSE majors.

Instructor(s): Rhiannon Love Auriemma     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 12121

PLSC 20217. Politics and Law of Climate Change and Energy. 100 Units.

This course will explore the politics and law of climate change and energy.

Instructor(s): Gulotty, R.      Terms Offered: Autumn

PLSC 20406. Contemporary Democratic Theory: Realism, Deliberative Democracy, and Agonism. 100 Units.

What is democracy? Is democracy a matter of finding consensus or regulating dissensus? How might we go about making our own society more democratic? Should we strive for more democracy or is democracy merely a means to an end? What is the relationship between democratic theory and practice? This course will consider leading attempts in contemporary democratic theory to grapple with these questions and many more. We will consider both the foundational texts of contemporary democratic theory including Hannah Arendt, Carl Schmitt, Jurgen Habermas, and Robert Dahl, and then build from those texts to see how contemporary theorists have attempted to rearticulate, redefine, redesign, and revolutionize democracy in the past 25 years.

Instructor(s): Smith, Max     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 30230, MAPS 30230, MAPS 20230, DEMS 20235

PLSC 20506. Cities, Space, Power: Introduction to urban social science. 100 Units.

This lecture course provides a broad, multidisciplinary introduction to the study of urbanization in the social sciences. The course surveys a broad range of research traditions from across the social sciences, as well as the work of urban planners, architects, and environmental scientists. Topics include: theoretical conceptualizations of the city and urbanization; methods of urban studies; the politics of urban knowledges; the historical geographies of capitalist urbanization; political strategies to shape and reshape the built and unbuilt environment; cities and planetary ecological transformation; post-1970s patterns and pathways of urban restructuring; and struggles for the right to the city.

Instructor(s): N. Brenner     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ARCH 20506, HIPS 20506, CEGU 20506, SOCI 30506, CCCT 30506, KNOW 30506, CHSS 30506, ENST 20506, SOCI 20506, PLSC 30506, CHST 20506

PLSC 20521. Sociology of urban planning: cities, territories, environments. 100 Units.

This course provides a high-intensity introduction to the sociology of urban planning practice under modern capitalism. Building upon urban sociology, planning theory and history as well as urban social science and environmental studies, we explore the emergence, development and continual transformation of urban planning in relation to changing configurations of capitalist urbanization, modern state power, sociopolitical insurgency and environmental crisis. Following an initial exploration of divergent conceptualizations of "planning" and "urbanization," we investigate the changing sites and targets of planning; struggles regarding the instruments, goals and constituencies of planning; the contradictory connections between planning and diverse configurations of power in modern society (including class, race, gender and sexuality); and the possibility that new forms of planning might help produce more socially just and environmentally sane forms of urbanization in the future.

Instructor(s): N. Brenner     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CHST 20521, SOCI 20521, PLSC 30521, KNOW 30521, ENST 20521, ARCH 20521, PBPL 20521, GEOG 20521, SOCI 30521, CEGU 20521, PPHA 30521

PLSC 20704. Postcolonial and Decolonial History and Theory. 100 Units.

This course introduces students to some key texts in post and decolonial theory. Our goals in this class are three-fold. First, to familiarize students with foundational thinkers who have inspired both decolonial and postcolonial work. We draw attention to the different ways in which their ideas have been deployed in subsequent post and decolonial scholarship. Second, we ask questions oriented towards comparison of postcolonial and decolonial approaches: What, if any, are the points of overlap between decolonial and postcolonial thought? How do both bodies of work critique and contest the legacies of empire? Third, we investigate the present and possible futures of decolonial and postcolonial thought.

Instructor(s): Rochona Majumdar & Lisa Wedeen     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Enrollment limit: 15
Equivalent Course(s): CCCT 20704, SALC 20704, CDIN 20704, HIST 26606

PLSC 20800. Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy. 100 Units.

This course is devoted to reading Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy supplemented by substantial selections from Livy's history of Rome. Themes include princes, peoples, and elites; republics and principalities; pagan and Christian religion and morality; war and empire; founding and reform; virtue, corruption, liberty, and fortune; ancient history and modern experience; reading and writing; and theory and practice.

Instructor(s): Nathan Tarcov     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Familiarity with Machiavelli's, Prince.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 32100, SCTH 31710, FNDL 29300

PLSC 20815. New Directions in Formal Theory. 100 Units.

In this graduate seminar we will survey recent journal articles that develop formal (mathematical) theories of politics. The range of topics and tools we touch on will be broad. Topics include models of institutions, groups, and behavior, and will span American politics, comparative politics, and international relations. Tools include game theory, network analysis, simulation, axiomatic choice theory, and optimization theory. Our focus will be on what these models are theoretically doing: What they do and do not capture, what makes one mathematical approach more compelling than another, and what we can ultimately learn from a highly stylized (and necessarily incomplete) mathematical representation of politics. The goal of the course is for each participant, including the professor, to emerge with a new research project.

Instructor(s): Z. Luo     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): PLSC 30901, PLSC 31000 or consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): PECO 40815, PLSC 40815, PBPL 40815, PPHA 40815

PLSC 20928. Through the Prism of an Intellectual Life: Thinking through conversation in the ruins of empire. 100 Units.

What is the place of conversation in political thought? What makes such conversations generative or fulfilling? What role do conversations about politics play in connecting our present to the past and in helping us to reimagine our futures? These are some of the questions that this course hopes to explore by following along the threads of a conversation that has united the aims, hopes, and disappointments of three generations of anti-colonial thinkers in the Afro-Atlantic world. Taking the intellectual life of the Jamaican-British social theorist, Stuart Hall, as an exemplary site for this investigation, students will engage with a variety of sources-recordings, interview transcripts, memoirs, scholarship, and political writings-in an effort to piece together one strand of conversation out of which Hall's intellectual life took shape and through which he in turn shaped the intellectual lives of others. Of particular interest here is the intergenerational character of these conversations. Students will be encouraged to explore how people are shaped by intergenerational preoccupations and concerns, even as they come to take up these preoccupations in new ways that often mark a break from the past. Together, we will also examine how, in narrating their own preoccupations and intellectual lives to themselves, people lay claim to particular pasts and sketch out hoped-for futures.

Instructor(s): Daragh Grant     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 26511, CCCT 20928, FNDL 20928, PARR 20928

PLSC 21005. Militant Democracy and the Preventative State. 100 Units.

Are states of exception still exceptional? The current debates and developments as well as the existential governmental crises has led to a securitization of rights. State security discourse narrates how states understand and mediate their legal obligations and has been used justify pre-emptive actions and measures which otherwise would not fit within an international law framework. When narrated in the public square, States often construct a discourse around a necessity defence-measures that may be extra-legal but argued to be necessary to protect democratic values and the democratic 'way of life.' This typifies what we refer to as 'militant democratic' language of the 'preventive state' and has been most visible in the raft of antiterrorism measures that were introduced after the events of September 11, 2001 and remain to date. This course will examine the impact of militant democracy and the preventative state on the current human rights landscape. It will look specifically how the narrative of prevention and protection has impacted normative changes to fundamental human rights and how the permanence of emergency is beginning to give the concept of 'securitization of rights' legal legs.

Instructor(s): Kathleen Cavanaugh, Senior Lecturer, Executive Director, Pozen Center for Human Rights     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): DEMS 21005, HMRT 31005, HMRT 21005

PLSC 21207. Ecocentrism and Environmental Racism. 100 Units.

The aim of this course is to explore the tensions and convergences between two of the most profoundly important areas of environmental philosophy. "Ecocentrism" is the view that holistic systems such as ecosystems can be ethically considerable or "count" in a way somewhat comparable to human persons, and such a philosophical perspective has been shared by many prominent forms of environmentalism, from Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic to Deep Ecology to the worldviews of many Native American and Indigenous peoples. For some prominent environmental philosophers, a commitment to ecocentrism is the defining test of whether one is truly an environmental philosopher. "Environmental Racism" is one of the defining elements of environmental injustice, the way in which environmental crises and existential threats often reflect systemic discrimination, oppression, and domination in their disproportionate adverse impact on peoples of color, women, the global poor, LGBTQ populations, and Indigenous Peoples. Although historically, some have claimed that ecocentric organizations such as Greenpeace have neglected the problems of environmental injustice and racism in their quest to, e.g., "save the whales," a deeper analysis reveals a far more complicated picture, with many affinities and alliances between ecocentrists and activists seeking environmental justice. (A)

Instructor(s): Bart Schultz     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 21207, MAPH 31207, CRES 21207, CHST 21207, ENST 21207, PHIL 21207

PLSC 21499. Philosophy and Philanthropy. 100 Units.

Perhaps it is better to give than to receive, but exactly how much giving ought one to engage in and to whom or what? Recent ethical and philosophical developments such as the effective altruism movement suggest that relatively affluent individuals are ethically bound to donate a very large percentage of their resources to worthy causes-for example, saving as many lives as they possibly can, wherever in the world those lives may be. And charitable giving or philanthropy is not only a matter of individual giving, but also of giving by foundations, corporations, non-profits, non-governmental and various governmental agencies, and other organizational entities that play a very significant role in the modern world. How, for example, does an institution like the University of Chicago engage in and justify its philanthropic activities? Can one generalize about the various rationales for philanthropy, whether individual or institutional? Why do individuals or organizations engage in philanthropy, and do they do so well or badly, for good reasons, bad reasons, or no coherent reasons? This course will afford a broad, critical philosophical and historical overview of philanthropy, examining its various contexts and justifications, and contrasting charitable giving with other ethical demands, particularly the demands of justice. How do charity and justice relate to each other? Would charity even be needed in a fully just world? (A)

Instructor(s): Bart Schultz     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): This course will feature a number of guest speakers and be developed in active conversation with the work of the UChicago Civic Knowledge Project and Office of Civic Engagement. Students will also be presented with some practical opportunities to engage reflectively in deciding whether, why and how to donate a certain limited amount of (course provided) funding.
Equivalent Course(s): MAPH 31499, HMRT 21499, PHIL 21499

PLSC 21770. Plato's Republic. 100 Units.

This course is devoted to reading and discussion of Plato's Republic and some secondary work with attention to justice in the city and the soul, war and warriors, education, theology, poetry, gender, eros, and actually existing cities.

Instructor(s): Nathan Tarcov     Terms Offered: Autumn. Autumn
Prerequisite(s): No Consent Required
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 31770, PLSC 43820, SCTH 21770, FNDL 29503

PLSC 21805. Survey and experimental methods in political science. 100 Units.

This is an introductory research design and methods course for graduate students who are interested in quantitative research methods - particularly survey and experimental approaches. We will focus on the ways in which political scientists collect, analyze, and interpret survey and experimental data. Students will learn about the fundamentals of research design and quantitative analysis, including theory building, measurement, hypothesis testing, as well as data cleaning, management, and analysis. Prior coursework in statistical methods or coding is not required and will be covered as part of the course.

Instructor(s): Proctor, Andrew     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): MAPS 31805, PLSC 31805

PLSC 21820. Global Justice and the Ethics of Immigration. 100 Units.

This seminar introduces urgent moral and political questions in international affairs, with a particular focus on human rights, global inequality, colonialism and decolonization, structural injustice, and immigration. Addressed ethical questions will include: How should we understand the demands of social and distributive justice beyond state borders? Are economic inequalities between countries unjust? If so, why? What do affluent countries owe to less affluent countries? Who should bear responsibility for structural and historical injustices? Is there a human right to immigrate? Do states have a right to close their borders to immigrants? Do states have a right to constrain their citizens' ability to emigrate? We will address these and other ethical questions by reading and critically assessing important texts written by leading scholars within the fields of political philosophy, postcolonial theory, legal scholarship and applied ethics. The seminar requires no prior background.

Instructor(s): C. Cordelli     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 21820

PLSC 22001. Writing about Complex Issues. 100 Units.

This course will challenge students to engage critical questions of human security in the context of three contemporary case studies that have come to represent "policy quagmires" at the international level: international stabilization efforts in the Sahel region of Africa; the US-led "War on Drugs" in Latin America and the Caribbean; and the migration "crisis" in Europe. Students will be required to think critically about existing policy approaches pursued by various actors in these settings. Drawing from a range of sources and disciplines, students will learn how to analyze these issues, write persuasively in a variety of formats, and come away better equipped to research and write about other complex international crises. In all three case studies, the prevailing development-security nexus, promoted and financed by the international community and national governments, has proved insufficient as a framework for meeting respective challenges. Meanwhile, non-state actors, including criminal networks, armed groups, civil society organizations, NGOs, and humanitarian agencies compete and collaborate with state actors and each other to shape security and governance outcomes according to their own interests and ideologies. Students will submit written assignments on each of the three case studies. A key component of this course will be editing and analyzing the work of their peers.

Instructor(s): Tinti, Peter     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Open to undergraduates with instructor consent
Equivalent Course(s): INRE 42000

PLSC 22112. Theories of Political Action. 100 Units.

For much of the 20th and 21st centuries, a wide range of political actors-from anarchists and Marxists to anticolonial, antiracist, and queer activists-have experimented with extra-institutional and extralegal forms of mass political action. Such actors have argued that tactics ranging from boycotts and civil disobedience to revolutionary violence and the general strike are democratic in both their ends and means. How should we understand the morality and efficacy of political (non)violence? What forms of organization are apt for articulating and channeling popular revolt? For containing its unintended consequences? How does the experience of political action transform the self and society? Students will engage these questions through careful reading of key thinkers and by developing research projects that investigate the theory and practice of political action in contemporary social movements.

Instructor(s): Wang, Joy

PLSC 22160. The Practice of Political Theory. 100 Units.

This course will introduce students to several leading approaches in contemporary political theory as practiced in American political science departments. The courses' primary goal is to facilitate the study of the methodologies behind various approaches to political theory. In the course we will study the philosophical presuppositions that undergird various methods, some of the foundational texts in them, and more recent works that exemplify the approach. Ultimately, we will ask how we, as political theorists, might use and improve upon these methods in our own research, and what these methods can tell us about how political theory is practiced today. The course will include sections on history of political thought, critical theory, normative political thought, comparative political thought, and post-modernism among others. The course is designed to fulfill the MAPSS requirement for methods for students focusing on political theory. The course is open to undergraduates and non-mapss students by instructor's consent. It is ideal for any student considering or writing a BA or MA thesis in political theory or pursuing graduate education.

Instructor(s): Smith, Max     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): MAPS 21801, PLSC 32080, MAPS 31801

PLSC 22200. Diaspora(s) 100 Units.

This class will orient students to the practices, frameworks, and geographies of diasporic communities from the early modern period to the present. The term's initial origins in Jewish experiences of forced dispersal and migration underscores how its meaning is shaped by histories of collective displacement and loss, as well as invention and heritage. The discourse of diaspora remains foundational for several interdisciplinary fields, including Black studies, Asian American studies, Indigenous studies, Latinx studies, and more. Within these intellectual orientations, diasporic identities are notably expansive and unfixed. As observed by the late cultural theorist Stuart Hall, "diaspora identities are those which are constantly producing and reproducing themselves anew, through transformation and difference," bridging old and new traditions of worldmaking, resistance, and solidarities within and across distinct diasporic sensibilities." Students in this class will work with scholarly, literary, sonic, and visual materials demonstrating how use of diaspora alternately mobilizes and roots people, in ways that claim pasts and futures at once.

Instructor(s): Adom Getachew     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 12700, RDIN 12200, GLST 22700, HIST 12706

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 toxic waste, 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. Does the environmental crisis demand radically new forms of ethical and political philosophizing and practice? Must an environmental ethic reject anthropocentrism? If so, what are the most plausible non-anthropocentric alternatives? What counts as the proper ethical treatment of non-human animals, living organisms, or ecosystems? What do the terms "nature" and "wilderness" even mean, and should "natural" environments as such have ethical and/or legal standing? What fundamental ethical and political perspectives inform such approaches as the "Land Ethic," ecofeminism, and deep ecology? Is there a plausible account of environmental justice applicable to both present and future generations? Are we now in the Anthropocene, and if so, is "adaptation" the best strategy at this historical juncture? How can the wild, the rural, and the urban all contribute to a better future for Planet Earth? (A)

Instructor(s): Bart Schultz     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Field trips, guest speakers, and special projects will help us philosophize about the fate of the earth by connecting the local and the global. Please be patient with the flexible course organization! Some rescheduling may be necessary in order to accommodate guest speakers and the weather!
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 22209, HMRT 22201, MAPH 32209, PHIL 22209

PLSC 22301. American Politics Field Seminar I. 100 Units.

A survey of some of the main themes, topics and approaches in the study of American politics and government.

Instructor(s): R. Bloch Rubin, J. Rogowski     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 30301

PLSC 22333. Cassandras: Truth-Telling in Times of Crisis. 100 Units.

In public life, why and how are some people accepted as truth-tellers while others are not? Is truth simply a problem of and for "correct" reasoning? What assumptions about argumentation and evidence go unexplored in this way of framing the problem? What if truth were a problem of truth-telling instead? When and how do social, racial, and gender hierarchies authorize received understandings of a (credible) truth-teller? What is credible telling usually thought to sound like? What are the conditions for listening and hearing the truth? To think through these questions, we take as a lens the archetype of Cassandra, the babbling prophetess of classical Greek myth and tragedy doomed not to be believed. Cassandra has served as a resource and source of inspiration for a range of critical thinkers, including but not limited to theorists, feminists, poets, and novelists. What is a "Cassandra"? Does her "deranged" way of seeing the world - her prophetic speech - disorient or destabilize? We will consider how, in her different representations, Cassandra places questions of language, patriarchy, and sexual violence at the center of general discussions of credibility and critique. Readings range from ancient Greek thought to 21st century theory.

Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 32333, FNDL 22333, CCCT 32333, CCCT 22333, GNSE 32333, GNSE 22333

PLSC 22344. Plato's Politics (Outside the Republic) 100 Units.

The study of Plato's political thought usually takes its point of departure from his most systematic-and systematically political-works: the Republic and Laws. Over the course of this seminar, we will look outside of these seminal texts with a view towards exploring Plato's political vision as captured across a broad range of dialogues. We will begin with Plato's depiction of Socrates' trial and imprisonment (Apology, Crito) before turning to dialogues reflecting on the use and abuse of rhetoric (Gorgias), the teachability of virtue (Protagoras), the nature of desire (Symposium, Phaedrus), and his trilogy on knowledge and its bearing on political rule (Theaetetus, Sophist, Statesman), before concluding with the death of Socrates in the Phaedo. Prior acquaintance with Plato's writings is highly recommended but not required.

Instructor(s): Jochim, Jordan     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 21655

PLSC 22677. Latinxs, Labor, and the Law in the U.S. 100 Units.

Latinidad" is an ethno-racial signifier meant to encompass people of Latin American descent living in the United States. Terms like "Latina," "Hispanic," and most recently, "Latinx/e" are meant to evoke a commonality that crosses nationalities to create political power & social recognition in the United States. Like every other identity term, "Latinidad" is an ever-contested construction with uncertain contours. The history of Latinidad in the U.S. has its origins in a myriad social efforts and forces: political campaigns, immigration policies, community organizing, migrant labor programs, union campaigns, marketing strategies, artistic expressions, & many more. Rather than simplify or ignore these tensions, the purpose of this class is to confront the agonistic aspects of Latinidad head-on. In this course, students will read widely across the social sciences & humanities, delving deep into the making and remaking of "Latinidad" in the U.S. We will be playing foremost attention to the roles that U.S. economic relations & government policies have had in shaping collective understandings of Latinidad, from the making of a "brown collar" labor sector sustaining the American economy to the development of census categories to describe Latinxs. Furthermore, we will look at U.S. Latinxs not merely as objects of policy, but also as subjects of politics, delving into the past and present of U.S. Latinx political life.

Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): RDIN 21677

PLSC 22755. The Idea of Africa. 100 Units.

The Idea of Africa, a new interdisciplinary course, offers undergraduates students an opportunity to engage critically with key philosophical and political debates about contemporary Africa on the continent and globally. The course takes its title from V.Y. Mudimbe's 1994 book which builds on his earlier work The Invention of Africa. It asks three questions: (1) How and to what purposes has Africa been conceived as metaphor and concept. (2) How might we locate Africa as a geographic site and conceptual space to think through contemporary debates about citizenship, migration and new structures of political economy? (3) What futures and modes of futurity are articulated from the space and metaphor of Africa? This lecture course co-thought in an interdisciplinary mode will include public guest lectures, field trips, and engagement with visual arts, and film related to the themes of the course. The course will be divided into the following four sections: 1) Inventing Africa; 2) Political Trajectories; 3) Afro-Mobilities; 4) Afro-Futures.

Instructor(s): Natacha Nsabimana & Adom Getachew
Note(s): Cap 50
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 23755, ANTH 22755

PLSC 22913. Political Science Research Methods. 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 23002. Ethics in International Relations. 100 Units.

Ethical questions pervade international politics. Do affluent states have an obligation to make economic sacrifices to mitigate the progression of global warming? Are human rights universal? Should states waive the intellectual property rights of pharmaceutical companies to enable global access to vaccines? Can military intervention be justified despite its breach of sovereignty? Despite the frequent invocation of normative language in global politics, scholars of international relations have only recently started to turn their attention toward studying ethics as an important political phenomenon. This marks a shift away from considering ethics as epiphenomena to interests and power. This seminar explores the role of ethics in international relations, both in theory and in practice. It draws on readings from normative international relations theory and political philosophy to take up ethical dilemmas encountered in world affairs in the context of debates about the environment, humanitarian intervention, nuclear weapons, development, and global health.

Instructor(s): Turco, Linnea     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Open to undergraduates with instructor consent
Equivalent Course(s): INRE 33000, PLSC 33002

PLSC 23005. Peace in International Relations. 100 Units.

How has peace been theorized in the study of global politics? In this graduate elective, we take up the concept of 'peace' and explore the many ways it has been defined by scholars and pursued by policymakers and practitioners in the world. We consider questions like: Is peace the mere absence of war? How is peace experienced by individuals living in the aftermath of violent conflict? What are some of the markers of successful peace agreements? Who are agents of peace? How do states pursue peace? What is the relationship between peace and violence? Throughout the course, we will examine peace through multiple levels of analysis, including everyday individuals, elite policymakers, the State as actors, and international cooperative efforts. We will also explore various approaches to peacebuilding, including grassroots and top-down efforts, and pay careful attention to perspectives on peace and peacebuilding beyond Western, Eurocentric lenses. A key emphasis in this course will be connecting academic research to real-world applications of peace practices. As such, we will learn from both peace scholars and peace practitioners and will reflect throughout on the role of academia in understanding and building peace in the world.

Instructor(s): Hooser, Kara     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Undergraduate students must seek instructor consent prior to enrollment
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 33005, INRE 33005

PLSC 23065. Early Theories of Capitalism. 100 Units.

The "Theories of Capitalism" sequence introduces students to classic texts in the history of economic thought. Students may take just one of the two courses: Early Theories of Capitalism or Twentieth-Century Theories of Capitalism. Enrollment in both is strongly encouraged but not required. Across the two courses, we examine diverse accounts of the forces that govern capitalist societies and the distinctive problems that emerge within them. As we do this, we also look closely at how the economists who developed these theories demarcated the economic domain of human life and we consider how their efforts to understand it were shaped by a rich body of intellectual resources. Early Theories of Capitalism focuses on the theoretical and practical concerns that animated economic writing in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Among these are questions about the origins of wealth and value, the effect of machines on the production process, the role of the state in economic life, and the condition and fate of the working class. Readings may include texts by Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, Carl Menger, and Alfred Marshall.

Instructor(s): Sarah Johnson     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 29065

PLSC 23178. The Queer Enemy and the Politics of Homophobia. 100 Units.

How is the queer enemy politically constructed? And what are the uses and effects of this enemy in contemporary politics? This course investigates queer sexuality as a specific kind of threat and homophobia as a specific mode of political antagonism. Key to understanding this specificity is the examination of other kinds of political enemies. Across categories of gender, sexuality, race, religion, and empire, the course theorizes the queer enemy in a comparative perspective. Engaging scholars like Monique Wittig, Simone de Beauvoir, Frantz Fanon, and Jean Paul Sartre, we compare homophobia with other forms of political enmity like misogyny, anti-Black racism, and anti-Semitism. After investigating antagonism across categories of political difference, we delve into the specificities of homophobic antagonism in the second half of the course. Here, we explore how the queer threat is framed: through metaphors of civilizational destruction but also through anti-sodomy and anti-disclosure laws. We also trace how the normalization of the queer enemy has produced new enemies. Through notions of "Pinkwashing" and the "Gay International," we further examine how queer liberation is made to stand in for colonial domination. But we also read critiques of the "gay=colonialism" equation, asking how homophobia mediates anti-colonial politics. Finally, we conclude the course with Michel Foucault's seminal essay and relate the question of the queer enemy to the threat of new human relations.

Instructor(s): Omar Safadi     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): This course counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 23178, RDIN 23178, HMRT 23178

PLSC 23306. Globalization & Labor. 100 Units.

Increased globalization-in the form of freer trade, more open immigration, the international flow of capital, and the spread of information technologies-has profoundly influenced both international and domestic politics in the present age. While some credit increased globalization with dramatic reductions in extreme poverty and rising standards of living, others see it as a new form of colonial domination driving environmental degradation and labor exploitation. In this course, we will examine these developments through the lens of labor. We will look at how workers and their unions have shaped, and been shaped by, the politics of globalization on issues ranging from tariffs to democratization and from fiscal austerity to climate change. Students will emerge with a greater understanding of the power of, and challenges to, worker solidarity.

Instructor(s): Parker, Adam     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): INRE 23305, INRE 43305

PLSC 23456. Comparative Politics of the Middle East. 100 Units.

This course offers undergraduates the opportunity to critically engage with key themes in Comparative Politics and to explore these themes through the lens of Middle East politics. Every week, we introduce a Comparative Politics theme-such as State Formation, Colonial Legacies, Civil Conflict, Contentious Politics, Revolutions, and Politics of Development-and consider how these have played out in the Middle East from the postcolonial period to the present. We explore questions such as: why is authoritarianism so solidified in the Middle East despite consistent challenges? How do civil society actors and oppositions navigate the authoritarian landscape? Why is the Middle East more prone to civil conflicts and often economically underdeveloped compared to many other world regions? Students learn to critically discuss, think, and write about these questions beyond the news headlines, culturalist explanations, and popular misconceptions about the Middle East. Priority for this class will be given to advanced undergraduates and those majoring in Political Science or a related field.

Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GLST 23456

PLSC 23501. International Political Economy. 100 Units.

What explains a government's decision to block a trade deal, prevent foreign investors from gaining control of a local factory, or ban the export of rare earth minerals? This course develops theory and evidence that these decisions reflect domestic and international politics. We will discuss the political dimension of the integration of the global economy and the way that globalization separates workers, business, and consumers. Drawing on methods and theory from international political economy, we will critically examine the prospects for international cooperation on trade and immigration, as well as the future of international governance.

Instructor(s): R. Gulotty     Terms Offered: Spring

PLSC 23600. Critical Security Studies. 100 Units.

This graduate-level elective course is designed to introduce students to approaches to global politics beyond the traditional mainstream canon, surveying a range of perspectives that fall under the heading of 'critical.' The main goal is to develop an understanding of what is at stake, politically, with some of the main concepts, theories, methodological approaches, and empirical objects within the study of international relations (IR) and international security. The course is divided into two sections. First, we begin by considering what makes a critical approach critical-that is, how is it set apart from conventional approaches? In particular, we will explore how critical approaches encourage us to question our assumptions, first, about what security, power, sovereignty, and other core concepts mean in global politics, and second, about who or what (individuals, groups, nonhuman animals, states, the planet) can be agents of global politics. Some examples of approaches we cover are: theories from the Global South, approaches to human security, global feminisms, securitization theories, ontological security, emotions and affect, the visual turn, new materialisms, and post-colonial perspectives. In the second half of the course, we apply these approaches to a range of issues, including nuclear weapons, borders and immigration, drone warfare, terrorism, and climate change.

Instructor(s): Kara Ann Hooser     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 23602, INRE 43600, GNSE 43602, INRE 23600

PLSC 23605. The Politics of the Middle East. 100 Units.

This course will provide an analytical overview of the politics, regimes, and institutions of one of the most geopolitically important and exciting regions of the world: the Middle East. Blending literatures from international security, human rights, and comparative politics, we will cover a wide range of political, economic, and social issues as well as contemporary debates pertaining to the region. Some of these topics will include civil resistance and compliance under different types of authoritarianism, domestic conflict and proxy wars, the legacies of military coups and third-party interventions, the status and agency of women, political governance and participation in oil-monarchies, and the political repercussions of the Syrian civil war and ensuing refugee crisis. Where possible, we will situate these topics against the backdrop of cooperative and conflictual regional dynamics, engage contemporary debates and recent developments, and draw on multiple country profiles and case studies as illustrative examples. By the end of this class, you will be able to analyze the complex, modern-day politics of the Middle East, identifying the key players, issues and challenges, and also gain a deeper and more nuanced understanding of intra and interstate relationships that shape the region.

Instructor(s): Alakoc, Burcu Pinar     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 43605, INRE 23605, INRE 43605

PLSC 23800. Plato's Laws. 100 Units.

An introductory reading of Plato's Laws with attention to such themes as the following: war and peace; courage and moderation; rule of law; music, poetry, drinking, and education; sex, marriage, and gender; property and class structure; crime and punishment; religion and theology; and philosophy.

Instructor(s): Nathan Tarcov     Terms Offered: Autumn. Autumn 2024
Prerequisite(s): Familiarity with Plato’s Republic
Note(s): Enrollment limited. Open to undergraduates with consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 23400, PLSC 48300, SCTH 30300, SCTH 20300

PLSC 24203. International Environmental Politics. 100 Units.

Environmental crises seem to be ever-present in the media and the deluge of bad news and rise of "climate doomerism" can feel overwhelming. This course applies concepts from international relations to environmental issues, including the illegal wildlife trade, international climate agreements, conservation and biodiversity, resource conflict, and the environmental fallout of war. Though the course will draw from international relations primarily, students will be exposed to a range of interdisciplinary thought and multiple perspectives on a broad range of subjects. Through thoughtful engagement with material from popular media, academic literature, and primary sources, students will develop their understanding of the environment in international politics.

Terms Offered: Spring

PLSC 24302. Bureaucratic Politics and the Administrative State. 100 Units.

This is to be a mixed graduate/undergraduate course in which we will explore the bureaucratic politics and the administrative state.

Instructor(s): Rogowski, Jon C.      Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 34302

PLSC 24806. The Political Economy of Technological Change. 100 Units.

This course is a graduate-level survey of the political economy of technological change. The course begins by investigating the nature of technology and technological change, paying particular attention to the socially constructed nature of technologies. Then, in three sections, it investigates 1) where technological innovations come from, 2) how new technologies spread, and 3) the economic, political, and cultural impacts of new technologies. Throughout the course, students will be asked to interrogate the values and assumptions encoded in technologies and how technologies impact marginalized peoples and communities. Students will emerge with a greater understanding of the complex social, political, and economic forces implicated in technological change.

Instructor(s): Parker, Adam     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Undergraduate students must seek instructor consent prior to enrollment
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 44805, INRE 44805

PLSC 24823. International Human Rights Law and Practice. 100 Units.

This course will introduce students to the legal architecture of international human rights law. Whilst the legal framing of rights emphasizes universality and the common good, its application reflects the historical compromises and political uncertainties of the times. This course will explore the tensions that are produced when politics meets 'the law' and examine the issues, actors, doctrines and practices that make up the human rights project. As human rights law is evolutive, we will look at how the human rights project has changed and evolved in connection to historical movements and post-colonial politics and has developed in order to address state violence, 'terrorism', minority rights, women's rights, gender and sexuality, transitional justice, health, and responsibility to protect, to name but a few. We will draw on case studies, including the United States, in order to examine the complicated role of the state as both perpetrator and protector and promoter of human rights. Students will be encouraged to think critically about the human rights project; how does it confront the underlying issues of injustice and abuse, as well as the inherent conceptual and structural limitations of supranational human rights mechanisms in addressing and providing remedies for the problems facing the world today.

Instructor(s): Kathleen Cavanaugh, Executive Director, Senior Lecturer, Pozen Family Center for Human Rights     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 24823, HMRT 34823

PLSC 24860. Congress in Chaos? Understanding Legislative Function and Dysfunction. 100 Units.

This course will introduce students to the workings of the contemporary Congress. We will examine who runs for - and who wins - seats in Congress, the lawmaking processes in the House and Senate, and the roles of parties and leaders in the two chambers. We will take stock of changes in the operation of the House and Senate, focusing in particular on the problems associated with extended debate in the Senate and leadership selection in the House. We will then consider Congress's role as a policymaker. How does Congress make public policy? What factors inhibit legislative productivity? Who has input into the process? Finally, we will assess Congress's performance during periods of economic, cultural, and political turmoil. Is policymaking too partisan or too hard to do well? Is the public's disapproval of the first branch warranted?

Instructor(s): Ruth Bloch Rubin

PLSC 24910. Comparative State Formation. 100 Units.

The course introduces students to the seminal arguments and ideas on the origins and long-term evolution of nation-states around the world. The syllabus is organized around the most salient debates in the literature. For example, wars and state-building, domestic conflict and institutions, integration to world capitalism, the natural resource curse, social resistance, nationalism, etc. Throughout these topics, the readings allow inter-region and within-region comparisons. Students will discuss seminal publications that provide the basis for contemporary debates on state formation, without privileging any particular research approach or community of scholars. The syllabus draws from major publications across the social sciences, especially political science, economics, and sociology. In this way, the course provides an opportunity for graduate and undergraduate students to discuss and collectively dissect arguments based on different theoretical perspectives, cultivating critical thinking skills.

Instructor(s): Cabal, Manuel      Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): INRE 34900

PLSC 24950. Latin American Political Development. 100 Units.

The course introduces students to classic and recent theories on the evolution of political institutions in Latin American countries. Why did Latin American countries build weaker states than Europe and the US? What countries of the region are more developed and why? Why is Latin America the most unequal region in the world? Why have the democracies of the region been historically so vulnerable and ephemeral? Where and why did ethnic conflict appeared in the past decades? We will understand, evaluate, and discuss the seminal arguments and ideas on the origins and long-term evolution of Latin American nations. The course is of interest to students focused on economic development and international security, as the "state" and its capabilities have major consequences for the economic trajectory of nations and for the ability to guarantee peace within their territories. The syllabus is organized around major topics on comparative politics, such as colonial legacies, trade-led state-building, federalism, party systems, revolutions, industrialization, democratization, and ethnicity and citizenship. Through these topics, the students will learn about the political institutions of a variety of countries in the region from a historical perspective. Students will also be able to compare different theoretical approaches across the social sciences, especially political science, sociology, and political economy. The course is specially designed to practice academic skills for master-level

Instructor(s): Cabal, Manuel     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): INRE 34950, LACS 34950

PLSC 25068. Feminist Theory and Political Economy. 100 Units.

This course has two related aims: to consider how the regulation of economic life-from the household to the global economy-has figured as an object of analysis within feminist thought; and to examine how this analysis, together with the conceptual resources of political economy, has informed feminist theories of domination, freedom, equality, rights, and justice. Readings may include works by Simone de Beauvoir, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Iris Marion Young, Catharine MacKinnon, Nancy Fraser, and Aihwa Ong. The course includes a substantial research requirement, which invites students to draw upon the insights of these theorists as they use archival sources to conduct their own analyses of economic life. Enrollment is limited to undergraduates who have completed their Social Sciences Core requirement.

Instructor(s): Sarah Johnson     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Enrollment is limited to undergraduates who have completed their Social Sciences Core requirement.
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 29702, GNSE 20117

PLSC 25131. Organized Criminal Groups in Latin America. 100 Units.

Many areas in Latin America suffer with organized criminal violence, one of the most significant urban and national security challenges of the 21st century. This violence is promoted by armed non-state groups such as drug trafficking organizations, guerrillas, militias, mafias, warlords, gangs, and vigilantes that have established subnational criminal governance regimes and dictate important parameters of social, economic, and political life. Through the state is frequently distant and negligent in areas controlled by these groups, it is never entirely absent. Many residents in territories dominated by these groups attend schools, visit health clinics, receive cash transfers, continue to vote and work in formal parts of the city. How can organized criminal groups can thrive in functional democracies with institutions to provide public goods, including security and justice? This course will examine this issue with a theoretical and empirical focus on Latin America.

Instructor(s): Joana Monteiro     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 25131, LACS 35131, PLSC 35131

PLSC 25136. The Era of Democratic Pessimism. 100 Units.

According to the end of history thesis and the nineties optimism that fueled it, the world would converge in a combination of liberal democracy and market economy. However, in recent years, a specter of political pessimism haunts the globe. Although democracies do not die as dramatically as they used to, new kinds of authoritarianisms have emerged. Some say that populism is to blame, others point to economic crises, identity politics and even the rise of social media, not to mention the elephant in the room: whether democracy can handle the climate crisis. Is democracy really receding? Are these its causes? Can survive its most pressing challenges?

Instructor(s): Cristobal Bellolio     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 25136, LACS 35136

PLSC 25457. Topics in Contemporary Critical Theory I. 100 Units.

This class considers the question of capital, historically, comparatively and conceptually. What is capital? How is it related to value? How is it different from money? How does it work to organize social relations? In what forms, and through what institutional structures, does it materialize? How does it reflect in modes and relations of production? How is it governed, and what is its relation to the political? This course will enter into such questions, in the first instance, through a reading of Karl Marx. It will subsequently traverse a heterodox genealogy of Marxist social thought (with some emphasis on French theorists), in order to understand how a method of analysis developed to come to terms with nineteenth century European industrial capitalism might help us understand contemporary worlds of extraction, logistics and finance in comparative perspective. We will consider how capital is racialized and gendered, how it has expanded and mutated across place and over time, and what it means that we live in a time today when it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.

Instructor(s): Kaushik Sunder Rajan     Terms Offered: Winter. Offered in alternating years. The program will next run in Winter 2022.
Prerequisite(s): Admission to the Paris: Social Sciences - Critical Theory study abroad program.
Note(s): This course is part of the College's Paris: Social Sciences - Critical Theory study abroad program.
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 25457, CCCT 25457

PLSC 25458. Topics in Contemporary Critical Theory II. 100 Units.

This course investigates the central place of empires in the shaping of the modern world and understands critical theory as inextricable from its colonial context. We will read authors including Montaigne, Diderot, Tocqueville, Du Bois, Aimé Césaire, Suzanne Césaire, Fanon, Foucault, Said, and Trouillot, as well as contemporary theorists including Luce Irigaray, Achille Mbembe, David Scott, Françoise Vergès, and Joan Scott; we will pay particular but not exclusive attention to the context of French imperialism and to Paris as a site of theorizing, and critique of, the imperial global order.

Instructor(s): Kaushik Sunder Rajan and Lisa Wedeen     Terms Offered: Winter. Offered in alternating years. The program will next run in Winter 2022.
Prerequisite(s): Admission to the Paris: Social Sciences - Critical Theory study abroad program.
Note(s): This course is part of the College's Paris: Social Sciences - Critical Theory study abroad program.
Equivalent Course(s): CCCT 25458, ANTH 25458

PLSC 25459. Topics in Contemporary Critical Theory III. 100 Units.

This course examines selections from the vast literature on ideology-with attention to the political commitments and intellectual genealogies that have made the concept both important and vexed. The bulk of the course will entail examining ideology's relationship to material practice, the notion of interpellation, the usefulness of "hegemony," and the problems associated with false consciousness. We shall also analyze ideology's connection to prevailing theoretical and empirical concerns, such as those related to "subject" formation, affect, new developments in capitalism, the resurgence of populism, and the dynamics associated with contemporary "democratic" liberal, as well as authoritarian, political order

Instructor(s): Lisa Wedeen     Terms Offered: Winter. Offered in alternating years. The program will next run in Winter 2022.
Prerequisite(s): Admission to the Paris: Social Sciences - Critical Theory study abroad program.
Note(s): This course is part of the College's Paris: Social Sciences - Critical Theory study abroad program.
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 25459, CCCT 25459

PLSC 25601. Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace. 100 Units.

Most countries in the world have been independent for about 50 years. Some are peaceful and have prospered, while some remain poor, war-torn, or both. What explains why some countries have succeeded while others remain poor, violent, and unequal? Moreover, fifty years on, a lot of smart people are genuinely surprised that these countries' leaders have not been able to make more progress in implementing good policies. If there are good examples to follow, why haven't more countries followed these examples into peace and prosperity? Finally, we see poverty and violence despite 50 years of outside intervention. Shouldn't foreign aid, democracy promotion, peacekeeping, and maybe even military intervention have promoted order and growth? If not why not, and what should we do about it as citizens? This class is going to try to demystify what's going on. There are good explanations for violence and disorder. There are some good reasons leaders don't make headway, bureaucrats seem slothful, and programs get perverted. The idea is to talk about the political, economic, and natural logics that lead to function and dysfunction.

Instructor(s): Blattman, Chris     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PBPL 25600

PLSC 25678. Evolution of Consciousness. 100 Units.

This course explores the nature and evolution of consciousness. The approach here is rooted first in biology and then expands to include human language, culture, and political systems. Our goal is to come up with a better understanding of what consciousness is, how it evolves, and where it might be going in the future. One area of particular interest will be examining how many of the crises of modernity (climate change, technological shifts, political polarization) are related to the current configuration of human consciousness

Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 45678

PLSC 25997. Three Comedies of Sexual Revolution. 100 Units.

This seminar will discuss three comedies of sexual revolution from three different times and places. Aristophanes's Assemblywomen recounts how under the leadership of the able Praxagora the women of Athens take over the Assembly and legislate a new regime in which private property is replaced by communism and sexual equity is achieved in favor of the old and unattractive at the expense of the young and attractive. Machiavelli's Mandragola dramatizes the tricks by which young Callimaco manages with the aid of the trickster parasite Ligurio to have sex with Lucrezia, the beautiful young wife of the elderly lawyer Nicomaco, with the consent of both her and her husband, ushering in a new regime in which all are satisfied. In Shakespeare's Measure for Measure Angelo the interim duke of Vienna institutes a repressive sexual regime in which the brothels are closed and extramarital sex is a capital crime. What might we learn about sexual relations from these diverse plays? Why are they comedies?

Instructor(s): Nathan Tarcov & Glenn Most      Terms Offered: Spring. Spring 2024
Prerequisite(s): Undergraduates need the Instructor's permission to register.
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 25823, CMLT 35997, CLCV 27623, SCTH 25823, SCTH 35997, FNDL 21772, CLAS 37623, PLSC 35997, GNSE 35997, GNSE 25997

PLSC 26035. Approaches to Social Science Research Design. 100 Units.

This course explores critical foundations of social science research design. The course will place emphasis on how social scientists identify and create data to empirically examine social phenomena. The course will cover the relationship between research questions, design, and generating data across different methodological and epistemological approaches in the social sciences.

Instructor(s): Proctor, Andrew     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): GLST 26035, SOSC 26035, MAPS 36035, SOCI 28099

PLSC 26100. Civil War. 100 Units.

Civil war is the dominant form of political violence in the contemporary world. This graduate seminar will introduce students to cutting edge scholarly work and to the task of carrying out research on internal conflict. We will study the origins, dynamics, and termination of civil wars, as well as international interventions, post-conflict legacies, and policy responses to war. A variety of research approaches will be explored, including qualitative, quantitative, and interpretive methods, micro- and macro-level levels of analysis, and sub- and cross-national comparative designs. Our emphasis throughout will be on designing rigorous research that persuasively addresses important questions.

Instructor(s): P. Staniland     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 36100

PLSC 26206. The Political Economy of AI. 100 Units.

How does the widespread application of AI shift the boundary between skilled and unskilled labor in the workplace? How do users of AI make sense of their evolving knowledge and expertise as they are integrating AI into their craft? And what are the effects of these sectoral and individual shifts for how wealth and power accumulate in society as a whole? This course invites students to explore answers to these questions by centering the everyday collaboration between learning machines and highly credentialed workers in five global industries, each of which has a strong footprint in Chicago: academic research, architecture, journalism, marketing, and urban planning. Drawing on readings from labor economics, science and technology studies, political economy, and economic anthropology, students will prepare to participate in five tabletop exercises, each of which will be hosted by a UChicago alum at their Chicago offices. Students will alternate between serving as collaborators in and observers of a workflow that features a current industry-specific protocol for human/AI integration. In small groups, and with the help of post-observation interviews of our site hosts, students will reflect on their dual experiences as participants and observers. This reflection will culminate in a final written project, in which students will judge their everyday experience with AI in the context of larger debates about AI's opportunities and dangers.

Terms Offered: Summer

PLSC 26226. American Political Economy and Race. 100 Units.

This course will explore how individual or group identity and social location is understood in economics. Specifically, we will use a political economy framework, which emerges from the premise that economic life has material, cultural, and political dimensions and that an individual's (or group's) identity or social location--e.g., race, gender, and class--may constrain or empower agents in their participation in economic and political life. The readings will draw from diverse disciplines including political science, economics, and sociology and will focus primarily on the intersection of race and class. (Previously PLSC 26205 - may not count both classes toward major)

Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 26226

PLSC 26302. Introduction to Medieval Political Philosophy. 100 Units.


Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 26302, SCTH 39119

PLSC 26969. Quantitative Methods for Political Science. 100 Units.

Quantitative Methods for Political Science" is an introduction to the fundamentals of quantitative research methods as applied to the field of political science. You will learn the necessary statistical concepts as well as the practical computing knowledge necessary to explore and analyze data. By the end of the course, you should be able to: - Manage, summarize and visualize data using the R statistical software environment. - Understand how to represent uncertainty through the principles of statistical inference. - Fit and interpret linear regression models. - Assess claims of causal relationships. Applied examples in lectures, problem sets and exams will be drawn from a wide variety of political science publications.

Terms Offered: Autumn

PLSC 27002. Norms, Ideas, and Identity in International Politics. 100 Units.

This advanced seminar examines the role of norms, ideas, and identities in world politics. The main goal is to help students understand academic and policy debates over the role of non-material factors in theories of international politics. Our emphasis will be on the tradition of constructivist scholarship in International Relations, its trajectory, and its critics. This course is intended for advanced undergraduates (political science majors and non-majors welcome) with prior coursework in International Relations.

Instructor(s): R. Terman
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 27002

PLSC 27654. Conspiracy Theories and the Social Sciences. 100 Units.

This course combines readings from the empirical social scientific literature on conspiracy theories with readings dealing with philosophical and conceptual questions of interest to social scientists seeking to understand those who believe them. What kinds of claims count as conspiracy theories? Are conspiracy theories, as a category, epistemically deficient or problematic in some other way? How should social scientists deal with the fact that some conspiracy theories seem true or plausible, while others seem patently ridiculous? We will also give conspiracy theorists a chance to "talk back," reading diverse texts authored by conspiracy theorists themselves, ranging from the satirical to the deadly serious. How can we take conspiracy theorists seriously without overstating the coherence of many of their arguments? And, how can we best respond to the effects of genuinely harmful or prejudicial conspiracy theories in a way that does not uncritically affirm the authority of expertise or close off the possibility of external critique? It is recommended, but not required, that students enrolling in this class have taken one or more courses in the Social Sciences Core.

Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): KNOW 27654

PLSC 27818. Philosophical Foundations of Public Policy. 100 Units.

Evidence-based policy making" sounds like a slogan everyone can get behind. But its central components, cost-benefit analysis and program evaluation, have each been subject to severe philosophical questioning. Does cost-benefit analysis ignore important ethical concerns? Does program evaluation ignore valuable kinds of knowledge? We will introduce each of these debates, and then take up the question of how evidence-based policy might be reconciled with democratic theory. Class discussion and assignments will consider these topics in the context of specific policy areas, including climate change, discrimination, and education.

Instructor(s): S. Ashworth     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): ECON 20000, PBPL 20000, ECON 20100, or PBPL 22200.
Equivalent Course(s): PBPL 27818, DEMS 27818

PLSC 28035. Marx, Revolution, and the Law. 100 Units.

To what extent can we change our world by changing our laws? We will explore this question through an intensive study of Karl Marx's writings. Although Marx is most widely known for his arguments about political economy and revolution, his earliest scholarly energies were devoted to jurisprudence and throughout his life he frequently returned to questions about the law's nature, possibilities, and limits. He did so not only in his analyses of the modern state and capitalism, but also in his efforts to document the goals, victories, and setbacks of democratic movements, labor unions, and political radicals as they navigated repressive legal systems, fought for legal reforms, and developed alternative visions of how to regulate social life. We will therefore draw on diverse genres of writing from across Marx's life as we explore the relationship between law and social transformation.

Instructor(s): Sarah Johnson     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 28035

PLSC 28036. Karl Marx: Early Writings. 100 Units.

This seminar is devoted to Karl Marx's writings from the 1840s. During this vibrant decade in his intellectual development, Marx explored questions about law, politics, critique, and revolution, and he studied political economy for the first time. Our primary goal will be to investigate the relationships among these preoccupations. Enrollment is limited to students who have completed their SOSC requirement.

Instructor(s): Sarah Johnson     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Enrollment is limited to students who have completed their SOSC requirement.
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 28036

PLSC 28038. Karl Marx: Capital, Volume I. 100 Units.

In this seminar, we study Marx's mature critique of political economy through a close reading of Capital, vol. 1. Our primary concern is to clarify the aims, method, and basic concepts of the text. Enrollment is limited to undergraduates who have completed their SOSC requirement.

Instructor(s): Sarah Johnson     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Social Sciences Core
Note(s): Enrollment is limited to undergraduates who have completed their SOSC requirement.
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 21815, LLSO 28038

PLSC 28080. From Feudalism to Capitalism. From Capitalism to Feudalism? 100 Units.

The first half of this course will survey literature on the historical transition from feudalism to capitalism. The second half of the course will examine current debates about whether a transition is underway from capitalism to "neo-feudalism" or "techno-feudalism."

Instructor(s): David Lebow     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 28080

PLSC 28110. Lab and Field Experiments in Comparative Politics and Policy. 100 Units.

Over the last several decades in what has become known as an "experimental revolution," social scientists have used experimental designs to study the effects of interventions and policies. The growing popularity of experimental methodology gives researchers leverage on causal questions, and bringing these designs to the field helps to bring their research designs closer to the real social phenomena they seek to understand. In this course, we will study how these methods have been used to study politics and policy, with examples from Africa, Latin America, and India. We will ask what types of questions experiments can answer, and what types of things we can manipulate and measure. We will review design considerations, such as methods to account for treatment spillover, and randomization procedures. We will also read critiques of experimental methods and field experiments; students will discuss ethical considerations, and will consider tradeoffs to limitations of experimental designs in field settings. Undergraduates should have taken PLSC 26969 or obtain instructor consent.

Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 48110

PLSC 28457. Making, Breaking, and Shaping Foreign Policy. 100 Units.

There is no country in the world in which foreign policy is made in a hermetically sealed environment. Leaders make decisions based not only on the national interest, but on their beliefs, political interests, and competing policy priorities. Other actors - the public, advisors, politicians, bureaucrats, and societal interest groups - also constrain or otherwise impact decision-making. Peering inside the state at these numerous domestic actors is critical to understanding why states behave the way they do in international politics. This undergraduate seminar unpacks the influence of various domestic political actors on a country's international behavior. Each week, we will survey a subset of the International Relations (IR) literature on one of these kinds of actors, starting with leaders and the masses and concluding with bureaucracies and interest groups. Throughout the course students will learn about and discuss the implications of this research on longstanding debates in the study of IR, including democratic peace theory and audience cost theory. Due to time constraints, the course will focus on democratic regimes, although we will conclude with one class on domestic political actors in non-democracies.

Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 38457

PLSC 28602. Advanced National Security Strategy. 100 Units.

With the war in Ukraine and potential flashpoints in Asia and the Middle East, now is an excellent time to survey contemporary US and International Security Strategy around the world. Focusing on the most urgent and important issues of the U.S. national security agenda, the purpose of the course is to help students better understand how the U.S. formulates national security strategy, better comprehend key debates over how the U.S. should handle contemporary challenges, and provide important conceptual frameworks that will enable students to grapple with the security challenges of the decade ahead. The course covers recent changes in American grand strategy, nuclear policy, and the use of conventional forces in contemporary conflicts, including Ukraine, Taiwan and the Middle East.

Instructor(s): R. Pape     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 38602

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 28750. Conflict: Root Causes, Consequences and Solutions for the Future. 100 Units.

The goals of this course are to introduce you to key concepts in the study of conflict, and to help you develop the analytical skills you need to understand and assess key arguments advanced in this arena. Drawing primarily on economics and political science, as well as psychology, we will seek to understand: Why do human beings engage in acts of violence? How can armed groups compel atrocities? How do we prevent cycles of violence, and aid countries recovering from war? Specifically: We will examine the role of economic shocks and ethnic divisions on civil war. We will also discern whether similar factors explain the rise of terrorism. In addition, we will study the consequences of conflict on socio-economic development, and examine the role of foreign aid and post-conflict reconciliation in helping countries recover from conflict. The class will examine these questions while focusing on analytical skills needed to understand cutting edge research in this area. Thus a major emphasis of the course is on learning how to think critically about empirical evidence, and learning the methods used in quantitative empirical analysis, such as fixed effects models, differences-in-differences research designs, and instrumental variables estimation. It is ideal for students who want to learn substantively about conflict while developing an understanding of the methodology used to produce key empirical findings.

Instructor(s): Oeindrila Dube     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Note: While the course sets out to teach these skills, you do not need previous coursework in statistics.
Equivalent Course(s): ECON 16950, PBPL 28750

PLSC 28765. The Politics of Authoritarian Regimes. 100 Units.

This course provides an overview of topics related to politics in authoritarian regimes. We begin by introducing the concept of authoritarianism: how it differs from democracy and how authoritarian regimes differ from each other. We then investigate the tools authoritarian rulers employ to maintain power, including institutions, policies, and tactics, and we examine the effects and side effects of these tools. Finally, we study transitions of power and of institutions, both on the way out of authoritarianism (democratization) and on the way in (democratic backsliding). Students who take this course will acquire a broad understanding of authoritarian politics and how it is covered in the literature.

Instructor(s): Alexei Zakharov     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Prior recommended coursework for undergraduates: one semester in Statistics (Stats 220 or equivalent) and current or prior training in game theory (PBPL 222, Social Science Inquiry core, or equivalent.)
Equivalent Course(s): PBPL 28765

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): R. Bloch Rubin     Terms Offered: Winter

PLSC 28805. Politics and Cinema under Authority. 100 Units.

Why do authoritarian regimes take interest in art and culture? How do citizens respond to these efforts? Between authoritarian propaganda and outright contestation of authoritarianism is a wide niche of art and media production that is just independent enough to capture the attention of the citizens and yet subtle enough to not alarm authoritarian rulers. This is relevant for film and television in particular, which cannot function under authoritarian regimes without official approval. In this course, we explore the compromises filmmakers make to continue their creative practice and the concessions state actors grant to accommodate artistic work using the 10-episode television series, Dekalog (1988), by the acclaimed Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski. To answer our questions, we draw on literature and methodology from political science and film and media studies. We investigate what is to be gained by combining approaches from two disciplines that are rarely in conversation with each other.

Instructor(s): Maria Belodubrovskaya and Monika Nalepa     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Enrollment limit: 18
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 38800, PLSC 38801, REES 38800, CDIN 38800, CDIN 28801, REES 28800, CMST 28805

PLSC 28813. Justice and the Economy. 100 Units.

This seminar will explore how contemporary political philosophy conceptualizes the economy, frames the question of economic justice and injustice, and provides a normative case for and against ways of organizing economic institutions. By focusing on a set of specific issues including the justification of property rights, the moral and institutional demands of economic justice, freedom and domination within the labor market, the normative status of corporations, capitalism as a form of structural injustice, and the possibility (or lack thereof) of just financial markets, the seminar will offer a chance to read both classical authors in contemporary political philosophy, including John Rawls, Iris Young, Elizabeth Anderson, and Robert Nozick, as well as more recent and less known literature on the subject. A focus on economic justice will also provide an opportunity to discuss how contemporary political philosophy is either indebted or oblivious to a series of theoretical frameworks traditionally used to approach questions of economic justice, including classical liberalism, republicanism, utilitarianism, Marxism, critical theory, and utopian thought.

Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 38813, LLSO 38813, PLSC 38813

PLSC 28878. History of Government and Political Institutions. 100 Units.

This course is designed for PhD students in political science and political economy or advanced undergraduate/master students who are interested in studying the comparative politics of authoritarian regimes. The course is based on Samuel E. Finer's three-volume book "The History of Government from the Earliest Times." Students will read and discuss this book to acquire a broader understanding of how the institutional structures of government have developed throughout history.

Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 38878

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): M. Albertus, M. Nalepa     Terms Offered: Autumn

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: Spring

PLSC 29066. Twentieth-Century Theories of Capitalism. 100 Units.

The Theories of Capitalism sequence introduces students to classic texts in the history of economic thought. Students may take just one of the two courses: Early Theories of Capitalism or Twentieth-Century Theories of Capitalism. Enrollment in both is strongly encouraged but not required. Across the two courses, we examine diverse accounts of the forces that govern capitalist societies and the distinctive problems that emerge within them. As we do this, we also look closely at how the economists who developed these theories demarcated the economic domain of human life and we consider how their efforts to understand it were shaped by a rich body of intellectual resources. Many of the questions that we explore in the first part of the sequence reappear in Twentieth-Century Theories of Capitalism. Yet, in this course, we also attend to new preoccupations that emerged as capitalism continued to evolve. In Spring 2024, this course will emphasize approaches that situate capitalism within broader theories of society. Readings may include texts by Karl Polanyi, John Maynard Keynes, Friedrich Hayek, Geoff Mann, Simon Clarke, David Graeber, and Stephanie Kelton.

Instructor(s): David Lebow     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 29066

PLSC 29102. Game Theory I. 100 Units.

This course introduces students to games of complete information through solving problem sets. We will cover the concepts of dominant strategies, rationalizable 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.

Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 29102, PLSC 30901

PLSC 29103. Game Theory II. 100 Units.

This course introduces students to games of incomplete information and several advanced topics through solving problem sets. We will cover the concepts of Bayes Nash equilibrium, perfect Bayesian equilibrium, and the basics of mechanism design and information design. In terms of applications, the course will extend the topics examined in the prerequisite, PLSC 30901. Game Theory I to allow for incomplete information, with a focus on the competing challenges of moral hazard and adverse selection in those settings.

Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): PLSC 30901 or equivalent and consent of instructor. Undergraduates by consent only.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 31000

PLSC 29185. The Promise and Pitfalls of Direct Democracy: Referendums and Initiatives in Representative Systems. 100 Units.

The majority of representative democracies retain mechanisms of direct democracy: referendums and citizens' initiatives. These mechanisms are controversial. Supporters view them as rightfully restoring a role for citizens in collective decision-making. They point to U.S. states where voters have recently used Medicaid and abortion referendums and initiatives to bring public policy more in line with voters' preferences. Critics view these mechanisms as giving too large a role to uninformed voters and as sidestepping the important deliberative processes that happen in legislatures. These critics point to "bad" referendum decisions, such as the U.K.'s Brexit vote in 2016. In this course, we will study mechanisms of direct democracy from the "top," exploring how party and legislative elites deal with direct democracy, and from the "bottom," exploring how voters approach them, with an eye toward answering the question, are referendums and initiatives good for democracy?

Instructor(s): Stokes, Susan     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Max enrollment 18, UG students prioritized over G students.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 39185

PLSC 29202. The Secret Side of International Politics. 100 Units.

This course introduces students to the secret side of international politics. The class features weekly lectures and "research/writing lab" meetings. The lecture and associated readings survey a wide range of theoretical approaches for describing and analyzing the causes and consequences of conducting international politics "behind closed doors." We will cover intelligence analysis, secret alliances, secrecy in crisis decision-making, and covert wartime military operations. We will draw on political science but also organization studies, psychology, and anthropology. Questions we will address include: What agreements do diplomats negotiate privately and why? For what ends do state use secrecy in wartime? What do covert cooperative partnerships look like and when do they succeed? What espionage practices do states use and how have they changed over time? The core assignment is an original research paper that draws on archival/declassified materials, due from each student at the end of term. Regular checkpoint assignments will take place during the quarter. In the weekly lab meetings, students will receive guidance in the research and writing process, including how to access relevant archival materials, how to organize your research materials, how to effectively prepare to write, and how to write well. This course is intended for advanced undergraduates (political science majors and non-majors welcome) with a large reading load and a challenging paper assignment.

Instructor(s): A. Carson     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 39202

PLSC 29505. Political Violence and Terrorism. 100 Units.

Terrorism as a form of political violence remains in the headlines given the spread of deadly insurgencies, the increased threat posed by lone wolf terrorists, and the violent attacks of rival militant groups competing for power and recognition. This course is designed to introduce students to important theoretical and empirical puzzles, analytical approaches, and methods in terrorism studies. As such, we will cover a wide range of topics from the causes of terrorism to the characteristics, targets, and strategies of terrorist organizations, the motivations of suicide bombers, and states' responses to terrorism. Relying on case studies and quantitative data, we will explore and try to address questions such as: Why do some terrorist groups target indiscriminately, while others are more discriminate in their attacks? Why do some terrorist groups provide social services to their constituents when others do not? Why do some terrorist groups use women operatives while others mostly recruit men? Why do some counterterrorism policies succeed while others fail, and generate more terrorism? By the end of this class, students will be familiar with the prominent debates, competing explanations, and up-to-date scholarly research on terrorism, and be able to systematically analyze empirical puzzles regarding terrorism and political violence using different theoretical and methodological approaches.

Instructor(s): Alakoc, Burcu Pinar     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Undergraduate students must seek instructor consent prior to enrollment
Equivalent Course(s): INRE 29505, PLSC 39505, INRE 39505

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 Spring Summer Winter
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: Spring
Note(s): Required of students who are majoring in political science and plan to write a BA thesis. The course is consent only, but will be granted automatically for those who have applied and been accepted to the PLSC BA Honors program

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: Autumn Spring Summer Winter
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.

PLSC 29901. What Was Multilateralism? 100 Units.

A foundational institution of modern international relations, multilateralism has been "in crisis" since its emergence in the 19th century. Its normative commitments - publicity, reciprocity, equality, impartiality, restraint, and community - have motivated generations of transformational agents and become imprinted in the quotidian practices of international political life. In spite of or maybe because of multilateralism's presence, its critics have enlisted the social theories of their time to critique multilateralism as unworkably idealistic or cunningly reactionary. What explains the staying power of an institution that knows few allies and many enemies? This course explores the crisis of multilateralism by taking seriously the idea that the institution has survived by ritualizing its normative content without ever cohering as an institutional form. We will explore this dynamic by reading several moments of crisis through classic and current theory. We will discover how political, economic, and social crises animate theory, and how theory, in turn, leaves its mark on what crisis actors imagine to be possible. Students are invited to write in a public-facing format: open-ended peer dialogue; syllabus plus keynote lecture; or op-ed blog post plus link annotation. After collectively assembling a theory reference guide, they will each explore a crisis phenomenon and use the theoretical resources this course provides to illuminate the crisis for their audience.

Instructor(s): Staisch, Matthias     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Open to undergraduates with instructor consent
Equivalent Course(s): INRE 39900, PLSC 39901


Undergraduate Primary Contact

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Demetra Kasimis
Pick Hall 511


Administrative Contact

Student Affairs Administrator
Michelle Cerullo
Pick Hall 406