POLIT-104 American Politics
Offers an overview of the American political system and the theories of those who both celebrate and criticize it. Focuses on the institutions of American politics, including the Constitution, the presidency, Congress, the courts, parties, elections, interest groups, and movements seeking political change. Also includes a theoretical focus: a critical examination of the varieties of liberalism, conservatism, pluralism, and democracy that inform the practice of American politics.
POLIT-106 Comparative Politics
This course provides an introduction to comparative political analysis, one of the four subfields of political science. The primary objective is to help students understand how the 'modern' world, one characterized by the rise of industrialized nation-states, took form and what shape it might take in the post-Cold War era. We will examine how the challenges of economic development, social transformation, and nation-building sparked the emergence of alternatives to 'modernity' characterized by diverse configurations of political institutions and social forces. We will also assess how globalization and the re-emergence of local identities may be redefining our understanding of 'modernity.'
POLIT-116 World Politics
This course is a survey of contending approaches to the study of conflict and cooperation in world politics. Examines key concepts--including balance of power, imperialism, collective security, deterrence, and interdependence--with historical examples ranging from the Peloponnesian War to the post-cold war world. Analyzes the emerging world order.
POLIT-118 Introduction to Political Ideas
This course introduces students to the study of political thought, focusing on such concepts as freedom, power, equality, justice, and democracy. Over the course of the semester, students will develop a theoretical vocabulary with which to analyze both the history of political thought and contemporary politics. This course is writing-intensive; students will have the opportunity to rigorously analyze texts and hone their ability to write confidently and effectively.
POLIT-208 Chinese Politics
This course examines the politics of contemporary China. Beginning with an assessment of the origins of the Chinese Revolution, the course then examines core institutions and events in the People's Republic, including the Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution, post-Mao reforms, and the Tiananmen Incident. In addition, the course analyzes the changing nature of state-society relations, the emergence of new social and political identities, and China's role in the international arena.
POLIT-209 Contemporary Russian Politics
Russia was transformed by communist revolution into a global superpower that challenged the dominant ideologies of liberalism and nationalism. It became a powerful alternative to capitalism. In 1991, this imperial state collapsed and underwent an economic, political, and cultural revolution. What explains the Soviet Union's success for 70 years and its demise in 1991? What sort of country is Russia as it enters the twenty-first century? Is it a democracy? How has Russia's transformation affected ordinary people and Russia's relationship to the West?
POLIT-212 Modern Political Thought
Through readings authored by cannonical thinkers such as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Nietzsche, Burke, but also more contemporary thinkers reflecting on the emergence and practices of modern state power and discourses, we will trace the development of key political concepts such as sovereignty, the "science" of politics, natural rights, rationality, and tradition, in order to weigh the promise and peril of each idea.
POLIT-218 Israel/Palestine: Fact/Fiction
This seminar traces the evolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through autobiography, novels, and film. It focuses on the birth of Israel and the creation of a Palestinian diaspora, the toll war and terrorism have taken on both sides, and the mental and physical barriers that separate Israelis and Palestinians today.
POLIT-224 The United States and Iran
Explores America's relationship with Iran from the end of World War II to the present. Examines America's close ties to the Shah and the political, social, and economic causes of the Iranian revolution, with emphasis on the role of Shi'ite Islam. Concludes with analysis of politics and society in the Islamic Republic under Khomeini and his successors.
POLIT-226 The United States, Israel, and the Arabs
Surveys the constants and variables in U.S. foreign policy toward Israel and the Arabs since the end of World War II to the present. Analysis of domestic determinants of U.S. policy, including lobbies, ideology, and the international system. Consideration of U.S. policy in the Arab-Israeli conflict, intra-Arab disputes, and the Gulf War.
POLIT-228 East Asian Politics
This course examines the dramatic rise of East Asia in the post-World War II period in comparative perspective. The focus will be on understanding the process and consequences of rapid development in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China. Assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the 'East Asian model of development' and explores how different developmental experiences and policies affect state-society relations, social and political identities, and prospects for peace and cooperation throughout the region.
POLIT-230 Resistance and Revolution
This course examines the dynamics and causes of protest, rebellion, and revolution. Topics include the three 'great' revolutions - the French, Russian, and Chinese - as well as such social science theories as moral economy, rational choice, resource mobilization, political culture, and relative deprivation. Attention will be devoted to peasant protest and elite responses to resistance movements. The objectives of the class are to familiarize students with alternative explanations of revolutionary change and to provide students with an opportunity to link general theories to specific case studies.
POLIT-232 Introduction to International Political Economy
This course examines the theory and practice of the politics of international trade and economics, focusing on the spread of global trade, global financial flows, causes and effects of globalization and migration, and the intersection of trade and environmental issues. Major themes include tensions between the developed and developing world, various development strategies, and the impact of a rising China on both the developed North American and European economies and developing economies.
POLIT-233 Introduction to Feminist Theory
This course explores the overlapping dualities of the feminine and the masculine, the private and the public, the home and the world. We examine different forms of power over the body; the ways gender and sexual identities reinforce or challenge the established order; and the cultural determinants of 'women's emancipation.' We emphasize the politics of feminism, dealing with themes that include culture, democracy, and the particularly political role of theory and on theoretical attempts to grasp the complex ties and tensions between sex, gender, and power.
POLIT-234 Black Metropolis: From MLK to Obama
Black Metropolis refers to the more than half a million black people jammed into a South Side ghetto in Chicago at mid-twentieth century that featured an entrenched black political machine, a prosperous black middle class, and a thriving black cultural scene in the midst of massive poverty and systemic inequality. This course will follow the political, economic, and cultural developments of what scholars considered to be the typical urban community in postwar United States. We will examine such topics as Martin Luther King's failed desegregation campaign; Harold Washington, first black mayor; William Julius Wilson's urban underclass thesis; and the rise of Barack Obama.
POLIT-235 Constitutional Law: The Federal System
This course examines the impact of U.S. constitutional law on the legitimacy of different assertions of governmental power. Topics include judicial review; congressional control of court jurisdiction; federal regulation of the economy; and the relative powers and authority of the president, Congress, and the courts in national emergencies, foreign relations, war, and covert action, including torture and assassination. Case method.
POLIT-236 Civil Liberties
This course addresses the federal Constitution and civil liberties. Topics include the authority of the courts to read new rights into the Constitution; equal protection of the laws and affirmative action for racial minorities, women, gays, and non-citizens. Also, freedoms of expression, association, and the press. Emphasis on the appropriateness of different methods of interpreting law. Case method.
POLIT-243 Introduction to Latin American Politics
Why has Latin America struggled to achieve democratic stability? Why is it the region of the world with the highest economic inequality? How have the periodic political and economic crises allowed for creative experimentation with policy alternatives to create a more equal and sustainable social order? This course examines the political and economic evolution and transformation of Latin America from the time of the European conquest until these very days, with a particular focus on the 20th century. It will also analyze how these general trends took specific shapes in each of the 7 countries studied: Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Chile, Venezuela and Bolivia.
POLIT-246 American Political Thought
This course explores limited government, popular sovereignty, representative institutions, checks and balances, republicanism, liberty, equality, democracy, pluralism, liberalism, and conservatism, and how these concepts have developed during three centuries of American politics and in contrast to European thought. The focus is not on the writings of the 'great thinkers' but on the 'habits of thought' of the American people and on ideas implicit in laws and institutions that affect the allocation of authority and power within the constitutional order.
POLIT-247 International Law and Organization
This course presents international norms and institutions for regulating conflict, including promoting economic well-being, protecting human rights, exploring and using outer space, and controlling exploitation and pollution of the oceans. The course considers international agreements, problems of lawmaking, interpretation, and compliance; nationality and the status of foreigners and their investments; the principle of self-determination; and interests of postcolonial states as they impinge on the international legal order.
POLIT-248 Topics in Politics
POLIT-248CE Topics in Politics: 'Comparing Elections Around the World'
Elections are the engine that power domestic and global politics in countries around the world. But electoral systems are quite varied. This course systematically compares electoral systems: how they function, what is expected of them, and how effectively they meet those expectations. Case studies include the U.S., U.K., France, Canada, Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong as well as others depending on class interest.
POLIT-248DA Topics in Politics: 'Defense Against the Dark Arts'
Popular narratives about American politics today are often horror stories or crime stories, set in a realm of dirty tricksters, snake-oil salesmen and swamp creatures. Does entering the political arena mean going over to the dark side? This course separates myths, caricatures and textbook idealizations from the more complicated realities about political operators and their machinations. Participants will study the dark arts of electoral manipulation, propaganda, influence-peddling, and other cynical and subterranean political stratagems, learning how these tricks are performed, with the aims of counteracting their influence and designing more democratic modes of governance.
POLIT-248EA Topics in Politics: 'International Politics of East Asia'
This course highlights the role of East and Southeast Asia in contemporary world politics. It focuses on Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand. The course analyzes how these countries interact with one another and with the international system as a whole. Topics covered include security, political economy, and human rights.
POLIT-248GE Topics in Politics: 'Sex, Gender, and American Law'
How does the law police or protect sexuality? Why do activists and attorneys spar over theories of gender identity? How did abortion become the seeming center of American politics? This course examines sexual and gender oppression and liberation in the U.S. from the nineteenth century to the present. We will explore how sexual and gender minorities won civil rights struggles, how those rights have been rolled back, and how these political conflicts have transformed the meanings of liberty and equality. In this pursuit, we will consult court cases, social movement histories, police records, "gayborhood" maps, labor union contracts, and other means by which law shapes identity and desire.
POLIT-248JA Topics in Politics: 'Japanese Politics Since WWII'
Japan rose from defeat in World War II to exert considerable influence in world politics. This course covers Japan's transition from authoritarianism to democracy. It considers how institutional design, clientelism, electoral reform, minority treatment, territorial disputes, and imperialism all have shaped and continue to inform contemporary Japanese politics. The course also considers how Japanese politics informs the study of comparative politics more broadly.
POLIT-248JP Topics in Politics: 'Japanese Politics'
To learn more about the world, study Japan. Where most countries experience a handful of political developments, Japan has experienced feudalism, civil war, isolationism, imperialism, colonialism, authoritarianism, democratization, state-led economic development, single party rule, militarism, pacifism and more. The goal of this class is to provide students with an overview of Japanese politics from its formation as a nation-state to the present. Each of the major developments in Japanese political history will be tied to central concepts in political science, enhancing students' country-specific knowledge while providing the ability to understand general theories of political science.
POLIT-248PM Topics in Politics: 'Parties and Movements in American Politics'
This course explores the relationship between political parties and social movements in the United States. Through a historical examination of abolitionist, labor, civil rights, and other movements, we will analyze how formal electoral politics intersects with the more fluid politics of protest and direct action. We will look at how parties have grown out of, allied with, co-opted or eschewed movements for social change. Students will develop a clear analytical sense of the conditions that facilitate successful movement-party dynamics, concluding with critical assessments concerning the impact of the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, and Black Lives Matter.
POLIT-248TE Topics in Politics: 'Science, Technology and Public Policy'
As numerous controversies have made clear -- from Galileo's heresy trial to contemporary disputes over vaccination -- the purportedly neutral and objective results of scientific inquiry are in practice hotly contested and profoundly political. Students in this course will critically examine science and technology as social practices, in the hope of becoming more responsible users of these powerful tools. Course topics include how scientific and technical knowledge are produced and disseminated, how scientific and technical experts contribute to the policymaking process, and how research and innovation are governed through legislation, regulation, institutions, social norms and movements.
POLIT-249 African Politics
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to a historically informed comparative study of African politics. The course views Africa as a distinct region with a vital role in the international system, reviewing major theories designed to explain patterns of African politics and the variations between and within African states. The course is motivated by the need to understand the legacies of colonialism, the relative weakness of the African state, and the variation of political and economic development in the continent. Finally, the course examines some aspects of social change and political reforms in post-independence Africa, such as democratization, international relations, and the role of civil society.
POLIT-252 Urban Politics
This course draws on both historical and contemporary sources to address critical issues and problems facing cities. Topics are organized around the following questions: How have cities come to take their shape and character over time? How are economic and social inequalities mapped onto the urban landscape? How are differences of race, class, and gender negotiated through urban institutions and community struggles?
POLIT-255 Gender and Power in Global Contexts
POLIT-255PA Gender and Power in Global Contexts: 'The Politics of Abortion in the Americas'
The Americas have been characterized by the strictness of their laws in the criminalization of abortion. In some countries abortion is criminalized even when the woman's life is at risk. What role have women's movements played in advancing abortion rights? What has mattered most for a movement's success, its internal characteristics or external forces? Has the way the movement framed its demands mattered? How has the political influence of the Catholic and Evangelical churches influenced policies in this area? We will answer these questions by exploring examples from across the region through primary and secondary sources.
POLIT-267 The Politics of Finance and Financial Crises
The development and operation of stable and effective banks and financial markets has a tremendous impact on the economy and political stability of rich and poor countries alike. A stable financial system may be a necessity for economic growth and a financial crisis can wipe out decades of growth in weeks. This course will critically examine the debates around regulation of finance and management of financial crises in both the advanced capitalist states and emerging markets. It will examine specifically the Latin American debt crisis, the East Asian financial crisis, the 2007-2009 trans-Atlantic financial crisis, and the European debt crisis.
POLIT-269 Social Movements: Theory and Praxis
Why do people mobilize? When do they do so? Why and how do they create movements? Are social movements successful paths towards social change? If so, under which conditions? This course will review the main theories of social movements and use them to analyze cases from around the world. Some of the cases we will take upon are the Arab Spring, the American civil rights movement, women and indigenous movements in Latin America, the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, and the environmental movement in Europe.
POLIT-270 American Foreign Policy
In this examination of American foreign policy since 1898, topics include the emergence of the United States as a global power, its role in World War I and II, its conduct and interests in the cold war, and its possible objectives in a post-cold war world. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between domestic interests and foreign policy, the role of nuclear weapons in determining policy, and the special difficulties in implementing a democratic foreign policy.
POLIT-277 Dislocation: Class and Politics in the U.S.
Dislocation from work and home has been a common experience of the working class in the United States since World War II. Whether caused by factors such as the gentrification of urban neighborhoods and rural towns, deindustrialization, urban renewal, automation, or the precarity of low-wage employment, the working class experience of dislocation continues today. This course will examine the decision making behind the policies and practices that have dislocated many working class Americans, as well as how these people have adjusted, accommodated, resisted, and sometimes fought dislocation from their jobs and homes. In this course, class is viewed as a social position shaped by power relations. While race and gender will be taken into account, our main focus will be understanding and explaining the common experience of the working class majority in the U.S.
POLIT-278 U.S. Elections
Elections are at the core of both the vitality and fragility of American democracy. Free and responsive government is hard to imagine without elections, yet U.S. elections suffer from relatively low turnout, increasing polarization, invisible money, racial and gender inequality, partisan gerrymandering, and new forms of voter disenfranchisement. This course offers students an overview of American elections by placing the November elections in historical and comparative perspective and following their development in real time. Students will also gain on-the-ground experience working in the local community as voter registrants and get-out-the-vote activists in the run-up to the November elections. By then end of the semester, students will have developed an in-depth understanding of the workings of American electoral institutions and behavior as well as transferrable skills for organizing and mobilizing political action.
POLIT-295 Independent Study
POLIT-300 Democracy and Its Challengers: Populism, Nationalism, and Autocracy
After the collapse of the USSR, liberal democracy was triumphant, and history was "dead." But the new states in Central and Eastern Europe, and the revived democracies in Africa and South America soon revealed the difficulty of building and preserving liberal democracy. The challenges of populism, xenophobia, inequality, and judicial and electoral manipulation, reemerged in both Western Europe and the USA. Based on case studies from Europe, the Americas, and Africa, we will focus on the vulnerabilities of democracy, and on the sources of illiberalism's success among both European and non-European states. What explains the decline of democracy, and what measures can democratic systems take to defend themselves?
POLIT-305 International Society
An intensive reading course in theories of international society: the idea that states and peoples are or should be linked to each other through a web of shared values and institutions. It focuses on the work of Hedley Bull, Immanuel Kant, and John Rawls. How did these three men understand international society? What are or should be the values and institutions that give rise to it and support it? What implications do their visions of international society have for war and peace, state sovereignty, religion, democracy, capitalism, distributive justice, human rights, and international law? What responses and criticisms have their arguments engendered?
POLIT-312 Silk Roads: Ancient and Modern Highways across the Eurasian Continent
The silk roads were ancient transportation and trade links that wound their way across the Eurasian continent, or by sea through the South China Sea and Indian Ocean, to Europe. They carried silk, glass, jade, and moved religions and literatures across continents. Today, the new silk roads carry oil, gas, drugs, capitalism, and immigrants seeking better lives. We will investigate the parallels between the ancient and modern silk roads and the contemporary strategic, cultural, and economic significance of these new highways, which link China, Central Asia, the Middle East, South Asia, and Europe.
POLIT-314 Political Violence: Causes and Solutions
This course is an examination of political violence. Throughout the semester, the course covers the various manifestations of political violence, focusing on diverse topics such as genocide, ethnic conflict, interstate war, terrorism, and civil war. The course explores the debates in the field of political science regarding the nature and causal factors behind these types of violence. The course also examines how to end violence, how to maintain peace, and how societies should attempt to heal from periods of violence.
POLIT-319 War: What Is It Good For?
A multidisciplinary exploration of the ways humans have understood, represented, experienced, and justified war over time and across cultures. Using art, literature, and film in addition to social scientific research, this course considers the many different meanings war has in human societies. It analyzes possible causes of war, including innate human drives, gender differences, socialization, regimes, and ideological and resource competition in a condition of international anarchy. It probes how war is experienced by soldiers and civilians. Finally, it examines justifications for war from a range of ethical perspectives.
POLIT-323 Comparative Politics of the Middle East
This course presents the rise (and sometimes collapse) of modern states in the Middle East; the nature of legitimacy, modernization, state-civil society relations, and political culture and economy; and the role of religion with specific reference to Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey.
POLIT-327 Transitional Justice
As societies emerge from authoritarian rule or civil war, they face the daunting task of engaging past human rights violations. States have a myriad of options at their disposal, ranging from granting blanket amnesties to hosting complex trials and truth commissions. In making these decisions, new leaders face pressures from former authoritarian actors, victims' groups, and international organizations. This course analyzes the problems facing societies with past human rights violations, the numerous options they have at their disposal to engage these abuses, and the political, legal, economic, and moral ramifications of each choice. Most importantly, it asks--does transitional justice work?
POLIT-333 Just War and Jihad: Comparative Ethics of War and Peace
Why do we moralize about war? When is war justified, if ever? What restraints should soldiers accept? This course examines these issues within the context of Western and Islamic thought. Study of the origins and evolution of both traditions is combined with consideration of important topics of current concern, such as intervention, weapons of mass destruction, and women and war.
POLIT-341 Political Islam
This course covers Islamic responses to European imperialism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly the emergence of Islamic modernism; the growth of Islamic movements in the Arab world and South Asia and their responses to secular nationalism and socialism; and a survey of the ends to which religion is applied in three types of regimes: patrimonial Saudi Arabia, revolutionary Iran, and military-authoritarian Pakistan.
POLIT-342 Islamic Political Thought
This course examines Islamic political thought from the origins of Islam to the present. It considers how Muslim thinkers over the past 14 centuries have understood such fundamental political concepts as the state, leadership, and law. The seminar also includes modern Muslim reflections on political concepts of Western origin, such as democracy, nationalism, and civil society.
POLIT-343 Law and Religion
This course explores the relationship between law and religion through a comparative study of eight countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Israel, and India. It focuses on the role of religion in the constitutional law of these countries, both in the text of constitutional documents and in judicial interpretation of these texts. Starting with an analysis of the religion clauses in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the seminar explores questions relating to the separation of religion and state, religious liberty, and the proper role of courts in negotiating societal disputes over religion.
POLIT-354 Social Housing
This course examines public housing policy in the United States from the 1930s to the present. It will examine the historical, social, and political factors in the development of social housing in the U.S. In particular it will focus on the role of class, ethnicity, race, and immigration on the evolution of social housing policy. It investigates the more recent impact of neoliberalism on the nation's ability to provide affordable housing to its citizens. Students will engage in community-based research on affordable housing in communities in the Pioneer Valley.
POLIT-355 Race and Housing
This course examines the role of race in the construction of housing markets and policies in United States. It will consider housing markets and policies in the larger context of postwar American Political Development. We will also examine how African Americans, Latinx, Asian Americans, and whites embraced, accommodated, and protested segregated housing markets and discriminatory policies. Topics discuss include racial and class segregation, fair housing, public housing, urban redevelopment, and gentrification.
POLIT-357 War and Peace in South Asia
Rising inequality, political instability, and radicalism mark South Asia -- a region of contested histories, ideologies, and territories. We will explore the history and causes of enduring conflicts such as Kashmir and the wars in Afghanistan, separatist movements in Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka, and potential conflicts over scarce water and energy resources. We will conclude with analysis of the role of external powers in South Asia, for example, China and the U.S., and assess the prospects for peace in the region.
POLIT-359 Democratization and Civil Society in East Asia
This course examines the dramatic emergence of democratic institutions and civil society in East Asia. The primary aim of the class is to help students understand and analyze the process of democratic unfolding in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. We will also evaluate China's recent, albeit limited experiments with democratic practices. We will begin by contrasting Western perspectives of democracy with both traditional and more contemporary Asian understandings of democracy. We will then focus on the actual processes of democratic consolidation in each of the cases, especially the developments that precipitated political crisis and ultimately, political change.
POLIT-363 Political Economy of the European Union
This course examines the political, economic, and cultural forces driving debates around the creation, expansion, and reform of the European Union. It examines the economic and political logic for integration, as well as the cultural and economic challenges pushing against integration, and provides an in-depth look at the specific challenges facing the EU.
POLIT-365 Ethics and International Relations
Do ethical considerations matter in international relations? Should they? These questions are examined from the perspective of Western writers on these specific issues: just war, intervention, human rights, weapons of mass destruction, and distributive justice. The course also considers challenges to the international system posed by the critiques and responses of non-Western states and peoples.
POLIT-366 Global Migration
This course examines voluntary and forced migrations from local, regional and global perspectives. It focuses on contemporary population movements and their historical antecedents, paying particular attention to colonial legacies and the immigration policies of European states and the U.S. We will debate the costs and benefits of migration, the ethical and normative implications of asylum policies and the treatment of refugees, and rights and obligations of citizenship. The course concludes with an analysis of the global compact for migration and the institutional and legal frameworks for protecting migrant rights and refugees.
POLIT-378 Backsliding and Resilience in U.S. Democracy
American democracy is in trouble. But when has it not been? Since the election of Donald Trump, observers have increasingly begun to question basic assumptions about the apparent stability of the American constitutional regime. Yet critical observers, activists, and political movements across the past two centuries have persistently called attention to the deficits of U.S. democracy and sought to rectify them. Is America presently at risk of "democratic backsliding"? Or will U.S. democracy prove resilient? This course puts the current distemper of U.S. democracy in historical perspective by examining the complex and contradictory patterns of democratic development from the Founding to the present.
POLIT-380 Nationalism and Ethnic Politics
This course examines ethnic and nationalist ideologies and movements in contemporary politics. It will focus on major theories and approaches to the study of nationalism, the role of nationalism in state-building and modern warfare, and the mobilization of ethno-nationalist identities by political entrepreneurs and movements including anticolonialism and fascism. Drawing on cross-regional examples from Asia, Europe and the United States, we will analyze the causes of ethnic conflict and political violence, the global resurgence of nationalism, and the rise of populist movements. We will also consider multiculturalism and cosmopolitan alternatives to nationalism.
POLIT-384 Ending War and Securing the Peace: Conflict Mediation and Resolution in the 21st Century
How do we end political violence and achieve peace? This course focuses on the context for negotiation and bargaining strategies, including what types of actors are involved in negotiations, the contours of the mediation environment, the timing of intervention and talks, the use of leverage to get warring parties to the table, and the transformation of processes across multiple stages from initial mediation to implementation to enforcement. The course also examines several peacemaking strategies in depth, including resource sharing, territorial autonomy and partitions, elections and powersharing agreements, refugee crisis management,and demobilization and reintegration programs.
POLIT-385 International Security
This course focuses on the recasting of global security concerns after the end of the cold war. It pays special attention to the problems of economic and ecological security; the relationship between security and democracy; humanitarian intervention; nuclear proliferation; and terrorism. The course concludes with analysis of specific initiatives for achieving both common and comprehensive security.
POLIT-387 Advanced Topics in Political Theory
POLIT-387AW Advanced Topics in Politics: 'Law and Inequality'
The gap between the rich and the poor in the United States today is as wide as it was during the Great Depression. Some scholars and lawmakers have called our era the "Second Gilded Age," a reference that evokes images of robber barons and monopolists, the "billionaire class" of yesteryear. This seminar poses the question: what does law have to do with it? Together, we will explore all the ways that "law," "politics," and economics" are messily entwined, and how those entanglements explain who has wealth, who gets healthcare, who goes to jail, and who decides climate change policy.
POLIT-387EV Advanced Topics in Politics: 'U.S. Environmental Politics and Policy'
Environmental concerns are no longer a niche "special interest" in American politics. Today multiplying and intensifying ecological crises are getting harder to ignore, and the need for action is urgent. Deciding how to respond to and govern a climate-changed world is now one of the defining political challenges of our time. This course examines the history of environmental debates in the United States, the diverse range of actors and organizations participating in these debates, current laws and institutions regulating Americans' relationships with their environments at both the federal and state levels, and the processes for making and implementing public policy for the environment.
POLIT-387PD Advanced Topics in Politics: 'Other Political Dreams'
This course examines dreams of other politics, trying to recognize what is distinctive in a diverse set of traditions beyond their resistance to liberal-democracy's entwinement with contemporary capitalism. Spanning anarchism, Afro-pessimism and Afro-futurism, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement, we will examine political actions and thought that do not identify themselves as democratic and even define themselves as anti-democratic in order to name politics they aspire towards. Special attention will be given the picture of collective belonging and action that emerges in these works along with the techniques of figuring these visions and of gathering community around them.
POLIT-387PE Advanced Topics in Politics: 'The 1%'
In recent years, scholarship on American politics has challenged the idea that our government has upheld and expanded basic democratic principles since the fall of Jim Crow. This scholarship notes a growing wealth gap since the 1970s and 1980s that has given rise to a "New Gilded Age." Along with this rising wealth gap, the United States has also endured rising incarceration rates, a shrinking middle class, an eroding public sphere, and charges that plutocracy -- or governance by the rich -- has overtaken American democracy. In this course we will explore, investigate, and challenge several arguments and assumptions at the heart of these critiques of contemporary US politics. Students will read and discuss cutting edge scholarship and journalism exploring the inequality debates, including inquiries into the complex interrelations of race, gender, and class.
POLIT-387PP Advanced Topics in Politics: 'Pandemic Politics: Thinking Through the HIV/AIDS Crisis'
The COVID-19 pandemic and global monkeypox outbreak demonstrate that all health crises are also political crises. Yet, there are clear parallels between these contemporary crises and a crisis that has been raging since 1981: the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. The same political failures, systemic vulnerabilities, and disparities in testing and treatment of the last four decades are like a loud, broken record on repeat today. Yet, the HIV/AIDS crisis also produced new social movements, gave birth to queer theory, dramatically changed public health policy, and inspired an explosion of activist art. In this course, we will explore the political thought generated by the HIV/AIDS crisis, especially through film, histories, legal studies, and the arts.
POLIT-391 Pivotal Political Ideas
POLIT-391RE Pivotal Political Ideas: 'Reparations and the Politics of Repair'
This course will examine arguments for reparations for slavery with an eye towards understanding what withholding and extending reparations have meant for American democracy and citizenship. We will contextualize arguments for reparations within a larger conversation about repairing democratic norms, institutions, and social conditions within recent democratic theory. Together we will investigate what historical and ongoing injustices and inequalities reparations are meant to repair, how reparations would address those harms, and how arguments for reparations have mobilized social activists on both sides of the question. Our readings will span history, legal studies, politics, literature and the arts and arguments for reparations to be paid by the American state down to institutions such as corporations, universities, and other jurisdictions.
POLIT-395 Independent Study