The nature and use of political power. Political analysis of social institutions and behavior and their impact upon the distribution of social values. Current political problems.
International Studies is an interdisciplinary field drawing from disciplines such as anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science, and sociology. This first part of the course addresses questions regarding modernity and state sovereignty, along with the struggle of critical social theory to make sense of historical changes in the mode of capitalist societies–particularly modernization theories focus on development and its counter argument of underdevelopment. Other questions raised by critical theory concern relationships between time, space and capital/class formations and ideology, along with heightened concerns over how ideology figures in the reproductions of power relations and how science and technology contribute to emancipation or domination.
(Also ECN 105) In this course we study the American political and economic systems; we explore their interdependence and investigate the nature of their integration. Since the United States Constitution is the single common unifying legal force in the American Society, we study the structure of the Constitution first. Then, we focus on the commercial and economic provisions of the Constitution. Next, we investigate the relationship between economics and politics and finally we discuss the social philosophies of the main political groups that compete for political power in America today.
Analysis of national government and politics. The branches of government, political parties and pressure groups, voting behavior and the distribution of power in the American political system. Particular attention to contemporary problems and issues.
The course is a continuance of the issues presented in International Studies I but can be taken without previously taking that course. In this course we contend with how critical theorists look anew at how social power reproduces itself. This course examines historically how different ideas regarding development, modernity, modernization and progress evolved in Europe and in the United States and how these ideas guided economic and social policies around the world. Additional topics covered include postmodernism, post-Fordism, post-colonialism, and post-structuralism. One of a the major theoretical shifts of this century has been the calling into question of the authoritativeness of knowledge. This course will delve into a critical analysis of such key concepts as the ‘world-system’, ‘hegemony’, and ‘empire’. The purpose of the course is gaining literacy, devising critiques and deriving inspiration in some areas of overlap among political economy, geopolitics and studies of representations of inferiorized otherness .
(Also LAC 203) General problems of comparative analysis. Political communication, political culture, modernization and nation-building, conflict and revolution.
Concepts and questions that are the basis of Western political thought. Conflicting notions of justice, the nature and role of authority, individualistic and majoritarian principles in modern political life. Emphasis on the role of these principles in resolving issues of contemporary significance.
Modern political thought with emphasis on political movements of this century: conservatism, liberalism, socialism, statism and radicalism. The role of political ideologies in modern political systems. The examination of competing ideologies in the light of contemporary issues.
This course aims to introduce you to several of the more prominent IR theories that now pervade the discipline: Realism, Liberalism, Marxism, Critical Theory, Normative Theory, Feminism, Historical Sociology, Post-Modernism, Social Constructivism, Green Political Theory, and Evolutionary Biology. In this sense, IR theory is the language that you need to learn in order to make sense of much, if not all, of the wide range of discourse and debate that transpire in IR circles. The course operates primarily in the ‘system’ level and gives special attention to political realism (Realpolitik)–the oldest and, arguably, the most popular theoretical perspective in the field–and recent ‘constructivist’ work. In the broadest terms, the course explores the place(s) of power, institutions, and values in international relations.
This course provides a theoretical and historical introduction to human rights, on the premise that a sound understanding of contemporary practice and debates requires grounding in their historical and theoretical roots and foundations. We will focus especially on the practical and political implications of human rights in an attempt to understand how and why they matter for what actually happens in world politics as opposed to what one might wish would happen. We will ask questions such as: What obligations do states have to defend and guarantee human rights at home? How are those obligations enforced, if at all? To what degree do such obligations extend internationally? Who decides when international intervention is justified and what are the pitfalls associated with humanitarian action? Is religion compatible to secular views of universal rights? Did the industrial revolution and socialist tradition contribute to human rights? And, are there tensions between security and universal rights?.
We examine the social and political currents which first gave rise to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and how these helped it to come to power in 1949. We look at how the CCP consolidated its power and began its attempt to make China, strong, prosperous and socialist. This includes tracing the evolution of CCP ideology, the development and ultimate failure of Maoism (e.g. the Great Leap Forward and Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution). We examine how the CCP initiated a process of reform under Deng Xiaoping, a process which continues to have profound effects on the development of Chinese society and politics. Subsequent social change has created major problems for the CCP. We discuss the ability of the Party to respond to the challenges of political reform, such as whether and/or how to become more democratic, as well as the problems facing continued CCP rule.
An introduction to public policy in the United States. Public policy is studied as choices made by political leaders, and governed by who does and who does not have power. Policy topics vary.
(Also LAC 224) American foreign policy today. American relations with major allies, the Communist countries and the Third World. Current problems in American foreign policy such as detente, national security, disarmament, the global allocation of resources.
Modern American political thought. Conservatism and liberalism in the American context. The ideologies of the left and the right in contemporary American politics as well as an analysis of their respective constituencies. The role of ideology in American political life.
Analysis of science as a political system competing for resources in the American political arena. The impact of science and technology upon policy making. Science as a political resource in problem solving as well as a political competitor and problem creator.
Introduction to State and local Government. Topics include the role of states and localities in American Federalism, the rejuvenation of State and Local Authority, budgetary allocation within the political process and the politics of State, local and Federal relations.
An analysis of violent conflict within the international political system. General theories of conflict, problems of strategy; the consequences of war; the process of conflict resolution.
(Also PSY/SOC 308). This course considers several different cross-disciplinary theoretical frameworks that are relevant to understanding social problems (e.g., HIV/AIDS, poverty and homelessness, teenage motherhood, hunger, domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse, aging, child welfare issues, etc.). The course investigates the ways in which these social problems and people’s needs are addressed by our social welfare and human service institutions, both public and private. Ethical issues surrounding the provision of care and services in the human services are emphasized. Principles of group dynamics, needs assessment, participant observation and evaluative research methods are also studied.
The impact of government bureaucracies on the policy-making process. Internal processes of the federal administrative units including recruitment, budgetary conflicts, formal and informal rules and rule making; regulatory distributive and control functions. Interaction between bureaucracies and state and local governing agencies.
Major issues in macroeconomic Public Finance. The course examines the process by which government provides and allocates public goods. Major topics include the impact of Federalism upon fiscal policy, voting and interest group behavior impact upon Finance policy as well as the empirical and normative issues of taxation.
This course explores the theoretical basis of the nonprofit sector in the Untied States, both historically and in today’s society. Differences in theory and practices in the nonprofit sector which distinguish it from private for-profit and government sectors will also be studied.
Our contemporary political world is a complex one, characterized by both tremendous promise and enduring human misery. Political theory is a realm of intellectual inquiry where we examine our most basic concepts and definitions, engage in normative judgment of our existing systems of government, and articulate and defend a vision of the system of political organization we envision to be ideal. The goal of this course is to familiarize students with important themes within contemporary political theory and the ways in which they relate to the world in which we reside. We will accomplish this through surveying the most influential political theorists of our time. To the extent that this course has an overarching theme, it is a the issue of difference in contemporary political societies whether that difference is encountered in the form of ascriptive identities such as gender and ethnicity, or simply deep disagreements in a more ideological sense.
This course provides an introduction to the politics of international economic relations. The primary purpose is to give an overview of the field by exploring the theories that political scientists have traditionally used to analyze the origins of particular international economic arrangements. Much of the class is therefore devoted to lectures and readings that delve into these issues. The course has a second, equally important intellectual project, however. there is a significant difference between most economists and political scientists on the one hand and many sociologists on the other about what each filed believes drives human behavior. Based on those different assumptions, the social science tend to diverge on questions concerning how we can study the social world. We will also spend considerable time discussing the various assumptions that underpin theory. Finally, we will debate which of the approaches presented in the readings and lectures are the most convincing in their assesment of problems.
As a region, East Asia looms large in internation politics. Four of the world’s fifteen most populous countries (China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam) occupy the region, as do three of the world’s fifteen richest countries by nominal GDP (China, Japan, and South Korea). At the same time, international politics in East Asia is complex and at time volatile. The primary objectives of this class are to help enhance the students analytic ability for the study of political dynamics and policy behaviors of the most intriguing systems of East Asia (two Chinas, two Koreas, and Japan). The course examines and compares the major aspects and functions of political systems, processes, and changes (general patterns of similarities and differences) in each of these countries. Major contemporary issues and policies of the East Asian systems are also surveyed, with particular emphasis on how (in what ways) each government enhances its regime’s claim to political legitimacy.
Depending on the instructor, topics may be suited for General Political Science or the Public Administration concentrations or the minor in Public Policy. As topics change, this course may be repeated for credit.
Please contact your instructor for specific topic.