102. American Government and Politics
A study of the foundations, institutions, processes, and policy issues of American government at the national level.
104. Introduction to World Politics
A general introduction to the study of world politics and international relations. The course focuses on the history and nature of the international system, the cold war and the post cold war era, foreign policy behavior, arms control, conflict, nationalism, international political economy, environmental problems, terrorism, and human rights.
201. Theories of Peace and Conflict
The course reviews theoretical and philosophical approaches to understanding and explaining conflict and peace, including theories of violence and nonviolence. The first half of the course addresses the causes of conflict at the individual, group and systems level. We will also review modern thinking on the relationship between gender and conflict. The second half of the course addresses the theoretical considerations of peace, including positive and negative peace, and the realization of peace through strength, negotiations, justice and personal transformation.
202. Justice, Power, and Political Thought
This course will introduce students to the study of political philosophy by examining the ways many of the most influential political theorists have struggled to define the nature of justice, as well as developing an understanding of how theorists have approached the question of founding just regimes; ensuring that just systems of government operate legitimately once established; and assessing the major causes for the deterioration of regimes based on justice.
Courses in American Politics and Political Thought
311. Congress and the Legislative Process
This course is designed to introduce students to the legislative process in the U.S. Congress. The impact of the inputs (constituents, elections, interest groups, the bureaucracy, the Supreme Court, and the president) upon the congressional structure is discussed and analyzed, as well as the structure itself (rules, norms, procedures, the committee system, party leadership, congressional staff). Finally, the outputs of the legislative process are examined (policy-making, representation, and legislative oversight). Throughout the course, students will participate in an ongoing simulation of the congressional legislative process so that they can experience the challenges of crafting legislation. Prerequisite: Political Science 102 or permission of the instructor.
312. The American Presidency
This course involves a systematic examination of the dynamic institution of the presidency. It includes a study of presidential power, character, leadership, domestic and foreign policy-making, the presidential-election process, as well as the interaction between the president and the media, and presidential-congressional relations. Prerequisite: Political Science 102 or permission of the instructor.
313. Elections and the Political Process
An examination of the idiosyncratic nature of the American electoral process with a focus on the role of political parties. The course includes an overview of American electoral history as well as a study of the factors influencing election outcomes, such as issues, ideology, party identification, candidate images, campaign finance, organization, and strategies. Prerequisite: Political Science 102 or permission of the instructor.
317. State and Local Politics
This course focuses on the interactions among the three levels of government in the United States as well as on the institutional structures of state and municipal governments. It concentrates on the interaction among governments as a significant portion of the policy-making process. The course discusses the changing roles over time of different levels of government. Prerequisite: Political Science 102 or permission of the instructor.
320. Law and Society
A study of the American system of criminal justice. The major emphases of the course are the operation of the institutions and processes of the system, the constitutional rights of those accused of crime, and the social goals and consequences of criminal punishment. Prerequisite: Political Science 102 or permission of the instructor.
321. Women and Politics
This course examines the role of women as voters, citizens, candidates, and leaders in American politics, grounded in theories of gender. Attention will also be given to the history of the women’s movement and the current status of women’s organizations. The course also focuses on how various public policies, including workplace issues, family issues, education issues and reproductive rights, affect women and their legal rights. Prerequisite: Political Science 102 or permission of the instructor.
323. Constitutional Law
An analysis of the distribution of power among the three branches of the federal government, and between the federal and state levels of government, as specified in major decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court itself will be studied as a political institution, with emphasis on its role in a democratic political system. The course also includes a study of the constitutional rights of individuals, as specified by the U.S. Supreme Court, with primary emphasis on issues of freedom and equality. Prerequisite: Political Science 102.
324. American Political Thought
A study of the influence of values and ideologies upon the formation, evolution, and operation of the American constitutional and political system. In deference to the pragmatic character of American political thought, the course focuses on the writings of American statesmen as they confronted such continuing problems as the nature of the Union, the contest between economic power and democratic power, and the responsibility of government for individual and social welfare. The course concludes with a consideration of the relevance of American political doctrines for contemporary issues of public policy. Prerequisite: Political Science 102 or permission of the instructor.
331. History of Political Thought
A critical study of the enduring problems of political philosophy as treated by the major thinkers in the Western political tradition. The emphasis of the course is upon the fundamental choice of values which underlies the design of every system of government. The course thus examines how such writers as Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Burke, and Marx have formulated and attempted to resolve the conflicting demands of freedom and order, law and justice, authority and obligation, and the individual and the state. Prerequisite: Political Science 102 or 104 or permission of the instructor.
334. Media and Politics
This course will explore the role of the media in politics from various perspectives, providing an overview of the following: the history of the media in the United States; the legal issues that relate to the media; the impact that the media has on public opinion; the substance (or lack of substance) of the media’s coverage of the news, government and elections; biases of the news media; political campaign advertising; alternative and newly developing forms of media; and the increasing conglomeration of the news media through mergers. Throughout the course, these issue areas will be discussed in a larger context involving questions of freedom, representation, and political participation. Students will also engage in a simulation involving the White House press corps and the presidency. There will be a field trip to Washington, DC, to visit various news outlets. Prerequisite: Political Science 102 or permission of the instructor.
Courses in Comparative Politics
341. Politics of Development
This course focuses on the political and economic challenges confronted by developing countries, including democratization, gender, nationalism and regional integration, trade, foreign investment, and sustainable development. The course also examines issues of development theory and practice in developing countries of Latin America, Asia and Africa. Prerequisite: Political Science 104.
342. Revolution, Violence, and Terrorism
A study of the nature and processes of political conflict and violence with emphasis on revolution. The course deals with recent and ongoing guerrilla and terrorist campaigns in Latin America, Africa, and Europe and with the available theoretical literature. Prerequisite: Political Science 104 or permission of the instructor.
344. Comparative Government: Western Europe
A comparative study of the governmental structures and organizations, as well as the political cultures and processes, of the diverse states of Western Europe, with special focus on the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Also included will be study of the European Union and its process of expansion into Central Europe. Prerequisite: Political Science 104.
345 Comparative Government: East Asia
This course provides a broad overview of the different governmental structures and organizations, as well as history and political cultures, of a range of states in East Asia, including Japan, the Koreas, China, and the countries of Southeast Asia. Particular attention will be paid to the link between governmental structure and economic development. Prerequisite: Political Science 104.
346. Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy
This course provides a broad introduction to Japan of the early 21st century, considering its role in the world and its unclear domestic agenda after successfully “catching up with the West.” Study of Japan’s post-Second World War political and economic development will provide the basis for deeper study of demographic, social, economic, and diplomatic challenges facing Japan today. Prerequisite: Political Science 104 or permission of the instructor.
347. Chinese Politics and Foreign Policy
This course provides an introduction to the vast political challenges facing China today, which requires an examination of China’s governmental structure, social development, and the effect of communism under Mao Zedong and other Chinese leaders. Emphasis will be placed on political reform currently underway, the possibility of democracy’s arising, and China’s economic and diplomatic linkages to the outside world. Prerequisite: Political Science 104 or permission of the instructor.
348. Latin American Politics.
An introduction to the politics of Latin America. Attention is given to the historical and cultural context of political institutions and behavior, the roles of traditional and emerging groups and forces, political instability, and the decision-making process under different types of regimes. Case studies of individual countries are selected on the basis of their contemporary importance and representativeness of general political problems. Prerequisite: Political Science 104 or permission of the instructor.
351. Politics, Religion, and Ethnicity in South Asia
This is a survey of contemporary politics in South Asia (Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka). It examines the impact of British colonialism on state formation, the internal politics since the 1940s, and the relationship of these countries to each other and with the major external powers (U.S., Russia, and People’s Republic of China) influencing the region. Prerequisite: Political Science 104 or permission of the instructor.
356. Civil War and Violence in Africa
This course provides an analytical approach to the study of civil wars in post-independent sub-Sarahan Africa. The course divides into four parts. The first provides a broad overview of the challenges that Africa confronts. The second part of the course investigates the causes of civil wars: what conditions permit civil war? Why do dissidents or governments choose violence instead of peaceful means of resolving disputes? Is civil war politics by other means or a means of wealth acquisition? The third explores the processes of civil war: why do people join insurgencies? And why do some conflicts become more violent than others? We will conclude the course by examining mechanisms for resolving conflicts. We will explore why the international community intervenes to stop genocide in some wars but not others; what takes it so long to act, if it acts at all; how the prospect of military intervention affects the military strategies of combatant parties in civil wars; and whether outsiders help or hinder the resolution of civil wars. Prerequisite: Political Science 104 or permission of the instructor.
Courses in International Politics
371. International Politics
A study of an integrated theoretical framework for analyzing the behaviors of nation-states in the international political arena, as well as of selected critical issues and areas in contemporary international politics. Normally included in the study are nuclear weapons systems and their implications in international politics; nuclear arms negotiations and agreements; East-West relations; the triangular relationship among the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China; the Arab-Israeli conflict; the Third World’s nonalignment movement; and the North-South tensions. Students who have taken Political Science 302 at Rhodes University will not receive credit for this course. Prerequisite: Political Science 104.
373. Human Rights and Social Justice
This course is designed to provide an introduction to the history, philosophy and major debates on human rights and social justice. Students will consider the philosophical and political positions underlying the debates that are central to the promotion of human rights, including gender, universalism and cultural relativism. The course also covers contemporary issues in the international human rights and social justice movement, including the right to development and freedom from poverty, women’s human rights, minority rights, torture, slavery and genocide. Group work and the creation of a public awareness campaign are required course assignments. Prerequisite: Political Science 104 or permission of the instructor.
374. International Organization and Law
A study of organized human efforts made throughout history to promote international cooperation and peace. Special attention is given to the principles and rules of international law regulating national conduct in international affairs, the League of Nations, the United Nations, and contemporary blueprints for world federation and government. Prerequisite: Political Science 104 or permission of the instructor.
375. International Political Economy
This course is a study of the relationship between international politics and economics. It examines theories of international political economy, including Liberal, Mercantilist, and Radical. Using these themes, the course will analyze the history of political economy, the relationship between economics and politics, trade, foreign investment, economic aid, development, dependency, interdependency, and the role of the United States in the global political economy. Prerequisite: Political Science 104 or permission of the instructor.
380. American Foreign Policy
A brief historical survey of American diplomacy and analytical study of factors conditioning American foreign policy; the constitutional basis of U.S. foreign relations; the concept of American national interest and goals; the structure and processes of decision-making and policy-execution; the organization of, and relations among, the White House, Department of State, Department of Defense, other Executive organs, and Congress; and Americas current involvement in world affairs. Prerequisite: Political Science 102, Political Science 104, or a year of American history.
382. U.S.-Latin American Relations
A study of U.S. foreign policy and Latin America since the Monroe Doctrine. Attention is given to the interests of Latin American nations in their relationship with each other and with other areas of the world, with special emphasis on the post-World War II period. Prerequisite: Political Science 104 or permission of the instructor.
384. The International Relations of East Asia
The course seeks to expand student knowledge of important past political events and contemporary political issues related to the international relations of East Asia, including U.S.-East Asia relations; to introduce students to a new terminology based in international relations theory, including the contentiousness of some terms, major thinkers associated with these terms and theories, and how general international relations theory has been applied to the case of East Asia; and, to assist students in applying their new knowledge of terminology and theory to better understand past and contemporary political interactions in East Asia. Prerequisite: Political Science 104 or permission of the instructor.
386. Comparative Peace Processes
This course focuses on contemporary conflicts and efforts at peace-building in a comparative perspective. Drawing on cases such as Bosnia, Northern Ireland, and East Timor, the course will examine the roots of conflict, theories of peace, methods of peace-building, reconciliation, and international cooperation. Simulations will be used to enable students to understand the dynamics of the peace process. Prerequisite: POL 104 or permission of the instructor.
388. U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East
In recent decades, the Middle East has proved to be one of the most troubling as well as important parts of the world. The war in Iraq, the standoff with Iran, the regular failure to find a diplomatic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the continuing danger posed by Al Qaeda all testify to the intractability of the region’s problems. This course focuses on US foreign policy in the Middle East. The United States has grappled with the region’s persistent and cross cutting conflicts, and confronted fundamental questions about the use of force, the role of allies and international law. Prerequisite: POL 104 or permission of the instructor.
Courses in Research Methods and Experiential Learning
401. Empirical Political Research
An introduction to current research techniques and methodology in political science, normally taken by majors in the second semester of the junior year. The course includes a discussion of the use of theory building, hypothesis testing, survey research, statistics, and computers in empirical political inquiry. Much of the class will be interactive, as students learn basic data analysis techniques using statistical software. Students will work in groups to develop, administer, and analyze their own survey of the political attitudes of the student population of Washington College. Prerequisite: Political Science 102 and 104, or permission of the instructor. This course is required for Political Science majors.
419. Maryland General Assembly Internship
Students enrolled in this program spend two days per week as state legislative interns in Annapolis during the three-month legislative session. They also meet and do assignments for a weekly academic seminar on campus. Students may enroll in this program only by application to the Director, and applicants must have a 3.0 GPA. Students completing the internship earn two course credits. Prerequisite: Political Science 311 or 317, or permission of the Director.
427. Washington Center Internship
A full-time, semester-long internship in Washington, DC, with a federal government, political, or non-profit agency. Depending upon their interest and internship placement, students may attend hearings, conduct policy research, draft correspondence, monitor legislation, lobby members of Congress, and write analytical reports. Students will create an in-depth portfolio of their internship experience. Prerequisite: Political Science 102, 2.8 cumulative GPA, permission of an instructor, and successful application to The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars. This course is normally open only to juniors and seniors. Twelve credits. The internship package of Political Science 427, 428, and 429 yields 16 credits towards graduation and 8 credits towards the political science major or minor.
428. Washington Center Seminar
Washington Center Interns participate in an evening seminar selected from a variety of topics offered during the semester. Students engage in class discussion and may also research seminar topics, prepare written assignments, and take examinations. Required of and limited to students enrolled in Political Science 427. Three credits.
429. Washington Center Forum
Washington Center Interns participate in lectures, site visits, small group discussions, briefings, and other required events designed to help them understand the connection between their academic and professional goals and the special educational opportunities available through living and working in Washington, DC. Evaluations of these experiences are included in the student portfolio. Required of and limited to students enrolled in Political Science 427. One credit.
471. Model Diplomacy
This two-credit course is offered as a complement to required delegate training for participation in an off-campus model diplomacy simulation. The course goes beyond the basics of delegate preparation (public speaking, model procedure, and familiarity with committee topics) to offer a broader framework for understanding the evolution of the practice of diplomacy, principal challenges facing diplomats today, and the role of diplomacy and the diplomat in the modern world. As part of the course, students are offered individualized feedback on their committee research for a model simulation, background information on important developments in international affairs and major international organizations, and the opportunity to reflect on the linkage between the model experience and the actual practice of international organizations in the 21st and previous centuries. Two credits. Prerequisite: application and acceptance into a Model Diplomacy program.
473. Model United Nations
This two-credit course is offered as a complement to required delegate training for participation in an off-campus model United Nations simulation. The course goes beyond the basics of delegate preparation (public speaking, model procedure, and familiarity with committee topics) to offer a broader framework for understanding the evolution of the United Nations since its founding in 1945, principal challenges it faces today, and the role of diplomacy and the diplomat in the modern world. As part of the course, students are offered individualized feedback on their committee research for the model simulation, background information on important developments in international affairs and major international organizations, and the opportunity to reflect on the linkage between the model experience and the actual practice of international organizations in the 21st and previous centuries. Two credits. Prerequisite: application and acceptance into a Model United Nations program.
190, 290, 390, 490. Political Science Internship
Students may receive course credit for an individualized internship at a political organization, under the supervision of a faculty advisor. The details of the internship and associated academic requirements will be specified in a learning contract drawn up by the student and advisor.
194, 294, 394, 494. Special Topics in Political Science
The department occasionally offers a course on a special topic in political science that is not a part of the regular course offerings.
197, 297, 397, 497. Independent Study
Students may receive credit for an individualized course of reading and writing under the supervision of a faculty advisor. The requirements of the course will be specified in a learning contract drawn up by the student and advisor.
195, 295, 395, 495. On-campus Research
196, 296, 396, 496. Off-campus Research
SCE. Senior Capstone Experience
The Senior Capstone Experience is an independent research project on a topic of the students choosing, culminating in a thesis of at least 50 pages. Thesis proposals are normally generated as part of the work of the required course on empirical political research, and each student has a faculty advisor to assist in completion of the project. Theses are graded Pass, Fail, or Pass with Honors. Candidates for honors must employ primary sources, contribute some element of original research, analysis, or interpretation, and sustain an oral examination on the thesis. Candidates must have a GPA of 3.5 in their major courses to be considered for honors status. This project is required of all majors in political science.
Courses offered in the Washington College Abroad Programs
Students enrolled in Rhodes University Program in South Africa take the following courses:
402. International Politics
This course examines the dynamics of post-World War II international political economy, financial institutions, the North-South debate, debt, development, democracy, Africa and the New World Order. Five classes per week, including one tutorial. Students who have taken Political Science 361 will not receive credit for this course. offered at the Rhodes University, South Africa, program only, in the spring semester. Prerequisite: Political Science 104. Eight credits.
404. Introduction to South African Politics
This course will study the process of transformation and transition to democracy in South Africa by looking at external and domestic factors which have shaped the present reality. Particular attention will be given to the issues of democratic consolidation and policy implementation after 1994. The course will provide an historical context with which to examine the challenges facing the new democracy from gender to economic policy and international relations. At least three classes per week. offered at the Rhodes University, South Africa, program only, in the spring semester. Prerequisite: Political Science 104. Four credits.
406. Government and Politics in Africa
Case studies in selected African countries looking at political economy, development, and democratization. At least three classes per week. Students who have taken Political Science 356 will not receive credit for this course. offered at the Rhodes University, South Africa, program only, in the spring semester. Prerequisite: Political Science 104. Four credits.
408. International Relations
This course examines contemporary theories, issues and debates in the study of international relations. At least three classes per week. offered at the Rhodes University, South Africa, program only, in the spring semester. Prerequisite: Political Science 104. Four credits.
Students enrolled in The Hansard Scholars Programme in London take the following courses:
470. Hansard Internship
Hansard Scholars are assigned to work in most cases as research assistants to Members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, or to the political parties and other politically-related organizations. Students write speeches, research political issues, prepare briefs, and take part in constituency work. Six credits.
472. Politics and Parliament
This course examines the constitutional and political process in Britain with special reference to the student’s internship programs. External lecturers include leading British politicians, political commentators, and lobbyists. Three credits.
474. Politics and Public Policy
This course analyzes current policy issues, seen in their historical context and in a European dimension. Topics include the economy, social policy, education, the role of the media, and ethnic and regional problems. Three credits.
476. Supervised Research Project
Each student works on an individually designed research project leading to a substantial paper of between 8,000 and 12,000 words. Usually, this is based on research undertaken during the internship. Three credits.