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Political Science

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2022-23

109 Pandemic Politics: Democracy versus Disease

This course welcomes students from all backgrounds who want to reflect on the political, economic, social, cultural, and ethical questions that the Coronavirus pandemic raises. Pandemics develop non-randomly because pathogens exploit vulnerabilities in political systems, markets, and societies. As a result, pandemics hold up a mirror in which polities and societies can see their true face. What does the Coronavirus pandemic show us about who we are? What can we learn from it? How does COVID-19 intersect with other challenges, such as poverty, environmental change, inequality, migration, terrorism, and technological shift? The course combines news coverage with political and interdisciplinary analysis and uses examples – past and present – from around the world. We will compare COVID-19 to other pandemics, including the Black Plague, cholera, the Spanish Flu of 1918, Ebola, SARS, and HIV/AIDS, to understand how pandemics shape politics, markets, societies, culture, and the arts. Studying pandemic politics allows us to tackle big questions of political science in a new light. What institutions are better equipped for handling global public health emergencies? Do liberal democracies perform better than dictatorships? Does globalization provide a fruitful framework? How does a virus become a security threat, and what does biosecurity entail? Can a pathogen undermine liberal democratic order? What and whom are we willing to sacrifice in our efforts to fight the pandemic? We will also talk about the future. What will our world look like after COVID-19? Will the disease lead to a retreat into isolationism and nationalism, or will it deepen international cooperation, interdependence, and globalization? Will it lead to democratic backsliding, or will it foster an era of renewed civic engagement, activism, and participation? Classes include informal conversations with guest speakers (political scientists, historians, epidemiologists, art historians, local artists). This course satisfies requirement 2 for the IR Five-College Certificate.

Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Assistant Professor Paul.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021, Fall 2022

113 International Relations vs the World: Myths and Evidence

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has ignited fierce debates on the state of international relations. Pundits and occasional observers often debate the state of international relations---how freely people and goods can or should move across borders, what organizations such as WHO can really achieve, which countries are truly powerful, the real reasons why countries can or cannot cooperate on global challenges such as COVID-19 or climate change, and so on. In each of these debates, evidence, either qualitative or quantitative, counts. But what, exactly, counts as evidence? Diving into recent debates in international relations emerging from COVID-19, the class will evaluate the evidence used to support such claims. We will focus in particular on the political origins of most of the evidence used in these debates, explaining why such origins matter and how they can shape debates. The goal of the class is for students to become literate about the ways in which data are used and to begin leveraging evidence to engage in their own story-telling. This class will leverage interdisciplinary partnerships with other classes. This class fulfills requirements 1 and 2 of the 5 College IR Certificate.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2022-23. Assistant Professor Mattiacci

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

145 Work

(Offered as POSC 145 and EDST 145) This course will explore the role of work in the context of American politics and society. We will study how work has been understood in political and social theory. We will also consider ethnographic studies that explore how workers experience their lives inside organizations and how workplaces transform in response to changing legal regulations. These theoretical and empirical explorations will provide a foundation for reflections about how work structures opportunities in democratic societies and how re-imagining work might unleash human potential. The course will ground these questions about the role of work in the context of American politics and society. At the broadest level we will ask: Do citizens in a liberal society have a right to engage in meaningful work and earn a living wage? What is the changing nature of work in a neoliberal society? What are the goals of the state in regards to the production of a future workforce? What are the impacts of employment discrimination, occupational segregation, and wage disparity based on race or gender?

Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Bumiller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

154 The State

Most humans live in territories that are controlled by a state. Why do different nations have different types of states? Why are some states more repressive than others, more war-prone than others, better promoters of development than others, more inclusive than others? How can we make sense of the varied reactions to state domination, ranging from active support to negotiated limits to apathy to vigorous contestation? Does globalization make states more or less democratic, more or less efficient, more or less able to promote development?

This course goes to the heart of current debates on the “state of the state.” How significant is the state in an era in which its sovereignty is increasingly challenged both by global and domestic forces? What ought to be the proper role of the state in the twenty-first century? These questions are central to the current debates taking place—in the U.S. and abroad—on the extent to which countries should open up their economies, privatize social services, incorporate minorities and immigrants, recognize gay marriages, counterbalance U.S. pop culture, accommodate religious fundamentalism, etc. We will explore these questions by studying political theorists and empirical cases from around the world.

Limited to 30 students. Admission with consent of the instructor. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Corrales.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2010, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Fall 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020

160 Sexualities in International Relations

(Offered as POSC 160 and SWAG 160) From abortion to gay rights, sexuality is deeply entangled in world politics. As LGBT rights become human rights principles, they not only enter the rights structure of the European Union and the United Nations but are also considered a barometer of political modernity. If some Latin American nations have depicted their recognition of gay rights as symbolic of their progressive character, certain North African nations have depicted their repression of homosexuality symbolic of their opposition to western imperialism. The results of sexual politics are often contradictory, with some countries enabling same-sex marriage but criminalizing abortion and others cutting aid in the name of human rights. This course explores the influence of sexual politics on international relations. We analyze how women and gay rights take shape in the international system, from the UN to security agendas, and evaluate how sexuality shapes the modus operandi of contemporary politics.

This course fulfills a requirement for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice (RHRJ) certificate.

Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Karl Loewenstein Senior Lecturer Picq.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

200 Topics in International Relations

This course will attempt to analyze and illuminate the leading theories of international relations (IR) today, as well as the evolution of the international relations discipline as a whole. It is meant to encourage a critical attitude towards all theoretical perspectives discussed, not only to familiarize students with the major paradigms of IR, but also to appreciate what the “international” means and how, if at all, it can be demarcated from “domestic” politics. In addition, the course will examine numerous complex international and global challenges which humankind faces today. Topics vary from year to year and will include such issues as the relations of the US, the world’s sole superpower, to the newly emerging geopolitical and/or geo-economic centers of power, namely China, Iran, India, Russia, and the European Union; regional and ethnic/religious conflicts, nuclear proliferation, transnational terrorism, refugee and migration flows, global environmental degradation and climate change, demographic stress, as well as socioeconomic and cultural globalizations.

Limited to 18 Students. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Machala.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2018, Spring 2022

211 The Political Theory of Liberalism

This course is a survey of Western liberal political theory from its 17th-century origins through some of its contemporary expressions. Among the thinkers whose works we may read are Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Mary Wollstonecraft, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Stuart Mill, Isaiah Berlin, John Rawls, Stanley Cavell, and Judith Shklar.

Omitted 2022-23. Professor Dumm.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Fall 2015, Spring 2019, Spring 2021

215 Democratic Backsliding

According to many scholars, the world is experiencing a democratic recession. Since the 2000s, many established democracies are undergoing erosion in their democratic institutions, even transitioning to autocracies. Also, fewer autocracies and semi-authoritarian regimes are transitioning to democracy. During the Cold War, most threats to existing democracies came from the military or non-state actors, such as insurgents or extremist movements. In this era of democratic backsliding, most serious threats to democratic rule stem from the very winners of democracy—incumbent presidents who came to office by winning elections. This course tries to understand the extent of this democratic erosion worldwide—its dimensions, causes, and possible ways to address it. Readings will draw from theoretical, comparative, historical, and case-based works. Students will also work on independent research projects and class presentations.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Corrales.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Spring 2020

218 China and the Developing World

(Offered as POSC 218, HIST 218, & ASLC 218) As one of the world’s great powers, China has had a profound impact on the developing world. Through financial, military, and political means, China has shaped the economies, cultures, and environments of nations throughout Latin America, Africa, and Asia. This course examines the historical and political aspects of this influence with the aim of better understanding the implications of China’s global presence. The course pays particular attention to how racialized narratives have complicated the relationships between Chinese actors abroad and their host communities as well as the experiences of migrants from the developing world in China. Using readings and other media from a wide range of fields and diverse perspectives, we will look at the deep historical roots of this power, while also examining the contemporary ramifications of China’s aspirations and actions beyond its national borders. Students will write about, discuss, and present on topics related to these themes.

Limited to 30 students. Priority given to sophomores. Spring semester. Associate Professor Ratigan and Professor Melillo.

2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023

221 From Lynch Mobs to the Killing State: Race and Punishment in the United States

Other than war, punishment is the most dramatic manifestation of state power. Whom a society punishes and how it punishes are key political questions as well as indicators of a state's character. The character of punishment in the United States has been shaped, throughout American history, by race and racism. This course considers the connections between punishment, race, and politics in this country. We will ask how far we have come in the journey from lynch mobs to the killing state. We also will consider whether we punish too much and too severely, or too little and too leniently, and the ways race has shaped the ways we punish. We will examine the politicization and racialization of punishment and examine particular modalities through which the state dispenses its penal power. Among the questions to be discussed are: Does punishment express our noblest aspirations for justice or our basest racialized fears and desires for vengeance? Can punishment ever be an adequate expression of, or response to, the pain of the victims of crime? When is it appropriate to forgive rather than punish? How do race and racial antagonism shape the answer to that question? Throughout we will try to understand the meaning of punishment in the United States by its intimate connections to this country’s racial history.

Limited to 40 students. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Sarat

2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
Other years: Offered in January 2022, Spring 2022

224 The Politics of the American Right

This course examines the politics of the contemporary Right in the United States. We will explore historical shifts in ideologies of the Democratic and Republican parties, political conflicts in such arenas as race, gender and class; the politics of immigration; abortion rights; immigration policies; religious freedom; and foreign policy. Using primary sources taken from conservative, reactionary racist and nationalist figures as well as studies of the far Right, we will examine some of the forces that have led to its rise in the Trump era, including neoliberal economic policy, Christian fundamentalism, and the evolution of media of mass communication.

Limited to 75 students. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Dumm.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

235 Globalization Through the Lens of Border Culture

This course will look at globalization through the lens of border culture, a term that refers to the "deterritorialized" experience of people when they move or are displaced from their context or place of origin. How are people’s experience of belonging and understanding of identity affected by borders within the realms of language, gender, ideology, race, and genres of cultural production as well as geopolitical locations? What does it mean to live between two cultures—an experience that in 2019 might well represent the nature of contemporary life? We will explore these questions by examining the political and aesthetic impact of global processes such as the unprecedented turbulence of migration, the persistent threat of terrorism, and the perplexing influence of communications technologies. Readings will include the voices of artists, critics, historians, cultural theorists, anthropologists, and philosophers, including Gloria Anzaldúa, Arjun Appadurai, Homi Bhabha, Michel Foucault, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Derek Gregory, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Nikos Papastergiadis, Edward Said, Gianni Vattimo, and Eyal Weizman.

Limited to 24 students. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Falk.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

239 Acceptable Prejudice: Age, Aging, Ageism

The course investigates the connections between the politics of aging and political discourses surrounding seniors from an intersectional and interdisciplinary perspective. The premise of the course highlights the fact that prejudice, stereotyping, and othering based on age (both towards the young, but primarily against the old) are "the last acceptable prejudice" in democratic societies. While there are many international conventions about the rights of children or women, there is little in international law that seeks to protect seniors. Some express frustration at what they perceive as unfairness created through seniority principles, and the disproportionate attention the elderly receive as voters (due to their high levels of participation). Others deplore the invisibility and exclusion seniors face in the labor market and society. The class reflects on the ways in which these dynamics overlap and interact with race and racism, gender discrimination, and exclusion of the poor. It considers the sources of empowerment and disempowerment of senior citizens of different racial backgrounds in the US and around the world, in contemporary politics and in historical perspective. It reflects on how age and aging are perceived in different cultures and in connection with different racial and ethnic identities. One of the case studies examines COVID-19 and the condition/agency of seniors during the pandemic around the world. A central question is: what can and should be done to create cross-generational solidarity in democratic societies that are so divided along age lines?

Limited to 15 students. Priority given to Sophomores. Fall semester. Assistant Professor Paul.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022

249 The Psychology of Political Life

Since Plato and Aristotle, many thinkers have asked what motivates political behavior and influences political judgment. This course explores the assumptions that underlie studies of individual and group political behavior. We will begin by examining the motivations of citizens’ political decisions (i.e., why voters favor one candidate, public policy, or political party) and the actions of leaders (i.e., why they support or stigmatize social groups, express hostility to other nations, advocate particular policies). We will then take a close look at psychological concepts such as framing, selective exposure, motivated reasoning, priming, social identity, and self-interest and ask how they help us to better understand both historical and contemporary political outcomes. We will also explore different methods of collecting data and measuring political and psychological processes. This course will focus primarily on studies of American politics, but whenever possible we will examine comparative case studies.

Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Assistant Professor Williams.

2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023

262 The Affective Interface

The Affective Interface explores a range of issues concerning the technologized body—though none more urgent than the political implications surrounding life itself. The course considers the relationship of the mind and body to technology in contemporary culture between 1990 and 2020. We will discuss the profound implications of the merging of genetic code and digital code, consider how our understanding of what an apparatus is has changed, interrogate the influence of social media, delve into work made by artists who collaborate with scientists, and reflect on the ethical and political implications of creating  new forms of plant and animal life. Readings may include the voices of artists, writers, scientists, historians, cultural theorists, and philosophers, including Giorgio Agamben, Sarah Ahmed, Jane Bennett, Rosi Braidotti, Patricia Clough, Donna Haraway, Jean Francois-Lyotard, Kim Stanley Robinson, Sandy Stone, Adrian Tchaikovsky, and Craig Venter, among others.

Limited to 24 students. Omitted 2022-23. Visiting Lecturer Falk.

 

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Fall 2021

307 States of Extraction: Nature, Women, and World Politics

(Offered as POSC 307 and SWAG 307) The global energy boom has increased states’ dependency on commodities across the world. From the Arctic to the Amazon, nation-states are putting large territories up for sale in an effort to turn nature into ‘quick cash.’ The unparalleled levels of extraction are accompanied by unparalleled violence against women, with levels of femicide on the rise in most of the world. Governments have expanded the extractive frontier, mining highlands, damming rivers, and clearing forests without prior consultation. As ecosystems are collapsing, contaminated and set ablaze, nature defenders activate social resistance to defend their territories, lifeways and nature. Many of these defenders are women, who are fighting the commodification of nature as well as their own bodies and work. We analyze the extraction of resources in nature and women as two sides of a coin, positing the fight against the climate crisis and gender equality as complementary processes.

This class offers an activist approach to study political ecology with a gender lens. We analyze the politics of extraction at large: the class discusses water struggles and extractive industries like oil and agribusiness from the Philippines to Peru, Indigenous resistance on the ground and the legal advocacy pushing for the rights of nature framework. We use the work of feminist economists like Silvia Federici and analyze the leadership of women defenders like Berta Caceres to explore the ways in which extraction of nature and bodies are fundamental aspects of capitalist states. The course engages theoretical tools and comparative perspectives to grasp current debates in political ecology, gender studies, and indigenous politics to help students identify alternatives for the future. It also seeks to foster a critical inquiry to bridge lasting divides between academia and activism in local and global contexts.

Requisite: Political Science majors must have taken two prior courses in POSC. One must be a 200 level or above. Limited to 20 students. Not open to first-year students. Omitted 2022-23. Karl Loewenstein Senior Lecturer Picq.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2021

331 Political Psychology

Since Plato and Aristotle, many thinkers have asked what motivates political behavior and influences political judgment. This course explores the assumptions that underlie studies of individual and group political behavior. We will begin by examining the motivations of citizens’ political decisions (i.e., why do voters favor one candidate, public policy, or political party) and the actions of leaders (i.e., why they support or stigmatize social groups, express hostility to other nations, advocate particular policies). We will then take a close look at psychological concepts such as framing, selective exposure, motivated reasoning, priming, social identity, and self-interest and ask how they help us to better understand both historical and contemporary political outcomes. We will also explore different methods of collecting data and measuring political and psychological processes. This course will focus primarily on studies of American politics, but whenever possible we will examine comparative case studies.

Requisite: At least one POSC course (200 level or above).

Sophomores and above. Not open to first year students. Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2022-23. Visiting Assistant Professor Williams.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021

336 Markets and Democracy in Latin America

This is an introduction to the study of modern Latin American politics. The overriding question is: why have democracy and self-sustained prosperity been so difficult to accomplish in the region We begin by examining different definitions of democracy. Thereafter, we discuss three democracy-related themes in Latin America.

First, we focus on explaining similarities, specifically, common historical and institutional legacies that might have hindered democratic and economic development in the region. The second part of the course focuses on explaining differences. Despite similar historical legacies, the countries of the region developed different political systems after World War II. Some countries became democratic while others did not. We examine hypotheses to explain these differences. The third part of the course examines major democratic and undemocratic trends since the 2000s: current problems of democracy, the return of statism and populism, the difficulty of creating accountability, abuses by majorities and abuses by minorities, re-electionism, extractivism, the rise of religious conservatism and LGBT rights, diasporas, drugs and crime.

Language of instruction: Classes will be conducted in English. Students wishing this course to count for their Spanish major will work mostly with materials in Spanish and write all their assignments in Spanish.

Requisite: For Political Science majors, at least one POSC course (200 level or above). For Spanish majors, Spanish proficiency at advanced low (as per ACTFL standards) is required.

Limited to 30 students. Fall semester. Professor Corrales.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Fall 2022

337 Democracy's Discontents

In this course we explore historical and contemporary discontents of liberal democracy through the lens of racial and economic injustice in the United States. The constitutional principle of equality on which liberal democracy is based seeks both to protect the rights of minorities and to enable its citizens to realize their full potential. However, persisting racial and economic injustices expose the project’s fragility and raise questions about whether its procedural and structural foundations are sufficient to accomplish these goals. Our exploration is informed by several questions: What is liberal democracy? Is liberal democracy the form in the best position to secure human flourishing? If not, what form or forms are? What do the racial and economic injustices within our democracy tell us about the meaning of “the people” and dissent, core features of liberal democratic thought? To what normative (i.e. ideal or desirable) standards of democracy should we aspire?  Through close reading of a diverse group of thinkers including Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Claudia Jones, Sheldon Wolin, Saidiya Hartman, Iris Marion Young, Nancy Fraser, Will Clare Roberts, Lawrie Balfour, Toni Morrison, Jason Frank, Cedric Robinson, among others, we will explore liberal democracy’s limitations as well as how it can be reconstructed to more effectively embody its ideals.

Requisite: At least one POSC course (200 level or above). Sophomores and above. Not open to first year students.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2022-23. Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor Loggins.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021

338 Ethical Imagining

In the 1990s, the importance of ethical exploration in cultural production was often described as a shift from the representation of politics to the politics of representation.  More recently, Canadian cultural theorist and psychoanalyst Jeanne Randolph has explored how we ethically act while participating in a culture of abundance, opulence, and consumerism. This course will explore ethics as a subject in the work of contemporaries across different media and disciplines, and across different cultures. It will consider ethical imagining as a cultural practice—how the imagination is elusive, contingent, yet exceedingly precious, and how it helps us understand changes in human relations that have evolved with twentieth century and twenty-first century materialism. Readings include: Giorgio Agamben, Jane Bennett, Jane Blocker, Octavia Butler, Ann Cvetkovich, Jean-François Lyotard, Kevin Quashie, and Jeanne Randolph.

Requisite: At least one POSC course (200 level or above)

Limited to 24 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Falk.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

365 Public Opinion and Survey Methods

This course will explore issues related to public opinion, including what opinions are and how they are formed, what factors do and do not influence opinion development and change, how opinions drive citizens’ political thinking and behaviour, and the role of public opinion in democratic government.  We will examine philosophical perspectives, contemporary case studies, and a broad set of empirical research. Students will leave the course with a thorough theoretical understanding of political opinions, their origins, and their possible effects. 

Requisite: at least one 200-level Political Science course. Spring semester. Assistant Professor Williams.

2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023

370 Cyberpolitics

This seminar examines how the digital age (the third industrial revolution) has transformed politics around the world, in democratic and non-democratic contexts. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) change how people, states, and non-state actors interact. Technology creates new access points and vulnerabilities, new windows of opportunity and new politically salient actors, new political behaviors and types of participation. The course includes four modules: e-democracy (online social capital, digital citizenship, hashtag movements, online electoral campaigns, election hacking and "fake news," participation, information/disinformation strategies - e.g. the use of troll farms and bot armies to undermine democratic processes and trust in open societies); cyber security (cyberwar, cyberattacks, defense, terrorism, surveillance, privacy); online revolutions and authoritarian resilience (regime change, democracy promotion, censorship, ); and beyond borders (social movements and hacktivism, crypto currencies, global markets and tech giants, etc.).

The course asks four big questions:

1.     How does digital technology transform democracy and democratic politics?

2.     How does the Digital Age influence national and international security?

3.     Do ICTs undermine or strengthen nondemocratic regimes?

4.     What political, economic and social changes occur at the subnational and supranational level as a result of new technologies?

We use current issues and cases (e.g. disinformation campaigns/fake news ops, #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo/#NiUnaMenos, the Arab Spring, online radicalization, the Snowden revelations, net neutrality, Internet centralization & decentralization, Anonymous ops, Internet censorship and surveillance in China, Stuxnet, ransomware cyberattacks, Amazon as a business model, AI, virtual reality etc.) to analyze how cyberspace reshapes politics, societies, markets, communities, as well as political science as a discipline. You will gain a rigorous and sophisticated understanding of the relationship between technology and politics, and its various facets. The course will teach you how to develop expertise and design a research project on a topic of your choice: you will learn how to turn a general interest into a research question; how to read, summarize, and engage with relevant scholarship on the subject; and how to move from reading what others have to say about your topic of interest towards producing new knowledge of the kind that forms the basis for an original research paper or honors thesis. For students potentially interested in working towards a senior thesis, this seminar provides a much-needed analytical and methodological foundation. 

Requisite: At least one POSC course (200 level or above)

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2022-23. Assistant Professor Paul.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2021

407 Contemporary Debates: Gendering Populism

(Offered as SWAG 400 and POSC 407) The topic will vary from year to year. The past decade has witnessed the dramatic rise of populist parties, movements, and leaders. One of the populists' defining attributes, and a key reason for their success, is their affective character. Rather than laying out policy proposals for rational deliberation and critical consent, they touch and excite people in an intimate way through their oratory and bodily comportment. Gender and sexuality play a key role in these visceral appeals. We will explore the ways populists enact hegemonic forms of masculinity and femininity and employ binary constructions of gender to differentiate allies from enemies.

Although we sometimes mistakenly assume that populist leaders draw on a common script, populist performances are most effective when they mine national memories, anxieties, and aspirations. We will analyze significant differences in the gendered styles of male and female populist leaders within and across nations. We will also examine how progressive movements among LGBTQ groups, feminists, and racial/religious minorities have employed gender and sexuality to challenge right-wing populists. Our approach will be comparative, cross-national, and interdisciplinary. The seminar will culminate in a final research paper.

Limited to 20 students. Not open to first-year students. Fall semester. Professor Basu.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2022, Fall 2022

411 Indigenous Women and World Politics

(Offered as POSC 411 and SWAGS 411) Indigenous women are rarely considered actors in world politics. Yet from their positions of marginality, they are shaping politics in significant ways. This course inter-weaves feminist and Indigenous approaches to suggest the importance of Indigenous women’s political contributions. It is an invitation not merely to recognize their achievements but also to understand why they matter to international relations.

This course tackles varied Indigenous contexts, ranging from pre-conquest gender relations to the 1994 Zapatista uprising. We will learn how Indigenous women played diplomatic roles and led armies into battle during colonial times. We will analyze the progressive erosion of their political and economic power, notably through the introduction of property rights, to understand the intersectional forms of racial, class, and gender violence. Course materials explore the linkages between sexuality and colonization, revealing how sexual violence was a tool of conquest, how gender norms were enforced and sexualities disciplined. In doing so, we will analyze indigenous women’s relationship to feminism as well as their specific struggles for self-determination. We will illustrate the sophistication of their current activism in such cases as the Maya defense of collective intellectual property rights. As we follow their struggles from the Arctic to the Andes, we will understand how indigenous women articulate local, national, and international politics to challenge state sovereignty.

Requisite: At least one POSC course (200 level or above)

This course fulfills a requirement for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice (RHRJ) certificate.

Limited to 18 students. Fall semester. Karl Loewenstein Senior Lecturer Picq.

2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
Other years: Offered in Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2021, Fall 2022

412 Quirky Citizenship: Autism in the Political Imagination

This course will explore how autism as both a medical diagnosis and a social category has gained significance over the past forty years. The course will situate the study of autism in the broader framework of the disability rights movement. We will consider the evidence for its characterization as an “epidemic” and how medical experts, parents, and autistic individuals have challenged and collaborated with each other. The study of autism will also be viewed in relation to wide-ranging political concerns, including vaccination and public health, economic costs of care, gender identities, and the growth of bio-medical power.

This course fulfills a requirement for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice (RHRJ) certificate.

Requisite: At least one POSC course (200 level or above). Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Bumiller.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

415 Taking Marx Seriously

Should Marx be given yet another chance? Is there anything left to gain by returning to texts whose earnest exegesis has occupied countless interpreters, both friendly and hostile, for generations? Has Marx’s credibility survived the global debacle of those regimes and movements which drew inspiration from his work, however poorly they understood it? Or, conversely, have we entered a new era in which post-Marxism has joined a host of other “post-”phenomena? This seminar will deal with these and related questions in the context of a close and critical reading of Marx’s texts. The main themes we will discuss include Marx’s conception of capitalist modernity, material and intellectual production, power, class conflicts and social consciousness, and his critique of alienation, bourgeois freedom and representative democracy. We will also examine Marx’s theories of historical progress, capitalist exploitation, globalization and human emancipation.

Requisite: Two of POSC 213, 413 and 480. Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Machala.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Spring 2011, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2021

421 Indigenous World Politics

Indigenous peoples are dynamic political actors in national and global contexts. They have secured their rights in international law, first through Convention 169 at the International Labour Organization (1989), then with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007). They have created innovative political forums and organized global social movements. Global indigenous politics are forging major changes in the international system, thereby disordering conventional understandings of sovereignty.

This course locates indigeneity at the core of international relations and examines indigenous politics from the Andes to the UN. We study international law securing rights for indigenous peoples and analyze indigenous experiences such as the Arctic Council and the election of Bolivian President Evo Morales. The course also explores the epistemological implications of indigenous rights for our understanding of politics. The consolidation of plurinational states in the Andes and indigenous parliaments in the Arctic change the locus of the political, and principles of self-determination challenge Westphalian notions of sovereignty to redefine territoriality.

Requisite: At least one POSC course (200 level or above)

Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2021-22. Karl Loewenstein Fellow and Visiting Associate Professor Picq.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2020

427 How International Relations Work

This class will explore mechanisms such as conflict spirals and generalized reciprocity that lie at the heart of key phenomena in international politics like arms races, reconciliations, trade deals, rivalries, diplomatic exchanges, and international apologies. Mechanisms help us understand how phenomena like these come about by shedding light on exactly how certain conditions catalyze them. For example, studying the impact of international organizations on world peace means investigating how institutions can disincentivize countries from fighting by monitoring and promoting the exchange of goods that do not involve immediate, direct repayment. It means, in other words, investigating a mechanism called “generalized reciprocity.” Studying why arms races start instead means investigating how the acquisition of weapons from one country can push others to also amass more weapons by stoking fears of being militarily inferior, a mechanism we call a “spiral.” Leveraging cutting-edge research and classic texts on mechanisms from multiple disciplines, this class aims at a deeper understanding of how these phenomena in international politics emerge, and whether understanding mechanisms can make a difference when it comes to what we learn about the world around us.

Requisite: Two or more classes in the social sciences. One must be a POSC 200 level or above Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Assistant Professor Mattiacci.

2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023

432 Amazonia in International Relations

(Offered as POSC 432 and LLAS 332) This class proposes Amazonia as a site to think about world politics. The Amazon, imagined as a place of nature rather than modernity, is invisible in the study of International Relations (IR). Yet, its experiences are deeply interconnected with international dynamics. The modern world has long been influencing Amazonia, and Amazonia has in turn contributed much to forging what we now refer to as the global North. This class identifies international dynamics at play in Amazonia through different historical moments, from shaping western sovereignty in the sixteenth century to the rubber boom of the twentieth century and drug trafficking today. We show how Amazonian peripheries have contributed to forging the political economy of what we refer to as the core of world politics. This class engages with empirical approaches to Amazonia as well as theoretical debates about IR, disrupting the global division of labor in knowledge production and opening fertile grounds to think critically about IR.

Requisite: At least one POSC course (200 or above). Limited to 18 students. Not open to first-year students. Omitted 2022-23. Karl Loewenstein Senior Lecturer Picq.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021

433 Big Social Science

What are the origins of human civilization? What causes political, economic or categorical inequality? What explains the rise of the West or the collapse of complex political orders? Where do states, empires, cultures, religions, organizations, and markets come from? How do technologies, catastrophes, geography, demography, and ideas shape social change? Taking its cues from the recent rebirth in scholarly interest in these issues, this research seminar will investigate the very biggest questions confronting empirical social science. It will introduce students to this literature and provide them with an opportunity to engage in debates across fields and disciplines. Class readings will be drawn from a range of important historical and contemporary works covering eclectic historical eras, geographic contexts, and topics. We will identify the assumptions informing accounts offered by different scholars and will interrogate how the framing of big questions entangle us in new and sometimes controversial ways of thinking about human biology, social structure and agency. Students will also reflect in an original research paper on how - and, indeed, whether - such big questions can be answered.

Requisite: One political science course. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Associate Professor Obert.

2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023

435 Failed States, Fragility. and Democratization

This course will examine the intersection of democratic performance and government institutional resiliency in fragile, weak, and failed nation-states, and international actor engagement in "fixing" failed states. This course tackles the question of how to design policies and programs to rebuild failed and weak states into functioning, if not vibrant, democracies. From the collapse of the Afghan national government in 2021, the "compound security" challenge of Venezuela, persistent instability in portions of the Middle East and Africa and Latin America, and the use of weak and failing states as "contested locations" for great power influence, the study of failed states and the policy approaches designed to address them are as timely as they are relevant. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to stress the stability and governing capacity of nation-states, all set against the backdrop of weakening support for democratic norms and institutions globally. We will examine the causes of nation-state failure, the trajectories or pathways to and from failure, and the ingredients purported to contribute to the consolidation of democracy, as well as societal resilience. In addition, we will critically assess the policies and programs of international actors intent upon aiding the transition to democracy, such as the United States.

Requisite: At least one Political Science course. Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Chamberlain Fellow Smitson

2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023

436 European Democracy

What is unique about European democracy? In what ways has Europe shaped the meaning of democratic politics, and our expectations about the relationship between state, society, and the market in a democratic polity? Is there anything the United States can learn from European experiences with democratic politics? This seminar examines the dimensions of European democracy, at the national and at the supranational (European Union) level. It tracks the evolution of democracy from its beginnings until the present. We will discuss visions and varieties of democracy, past and present, the different timelines for democratic development, transitions to democracy in Central and Eastern Europe following the end of the Cold War, and the impact of European integration. We will compare and contrast consolidated and fledgling democracies on the continent, and discuss similarities and differences between European and American understandings of democracy. We will analyze the relationship between majority rule and minority rights, the frictions between representation and direct participation, the relationship between democracy and nationalism, the tensions between European integration and democratization, the uneasy coexistence of democracy and capitalism, as well as the decisions facing those writing constitutions for countries transitioning to democracy after years of authoritarian rule. We will analyze current events and challenges testing the resilience of European democracies, old and new.

Requisite: At least one other Political Science course. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Assistant Professor Paul.

2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023

440 Marxist Theory for Uncertain Times

Periodically, both individual societies as well as the larger world in which they are situated face complex, profound and alarming uncertainties and crises.  The opening paragraph of the Communist Manifesto emphasizes that in such uncertain times, social conflicts would often end “either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.” Antonio Gramsci reminds us that in such times, “[T]he crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”  Today we may well be witnessing one such disconsolate period. In this seminar we will study the ways various twentieth-century as well as current Marxist thinkers (Theodor W. Adorno, Louis Althusser, Antonio Negri, Cornel West, Angela Davis, Nancy Fraser, John Bellamy Foster, and Slavoj Žižek, to name just a few) approach this complicated subject.

Requisite: At least one POSC course (200 level or above)

Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Machala.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2021, Spring 2022

470 International Migrations and Politics in the Era of Globalization

We live in an era of mobility: movement of goods, services, capital, ideas, culture, and–most importantly–people. International migrations reshape politics, markets, and societies. They generate challenges and opportunities for individuals, families, communities, businesses, political parties, governments, and international organizations. Many current political debates revolve around questions concerning transnational movement: How can states manage migratory flows, both effectively and ethically? Do international migratory flows erode sovereignty? Do they generate democratic deficit? Does migration boost economic growth, becoming a bottom-up engine of contemporary modernization that helps rural communities and developing countries? Or, on the contrary, does migration perpetuate and exacerbate domestic and global inequalities? Does it deplete human capital or does it facilitate knowledge transmission? Does diaspora participation strengthen or weaken democracy? Does transnationalism amplify or moderate nationalist tendencies?

This course examines migrations around the world, in both sending and receiving countries. We will study the impact of migration on citizenship, identity, state sovereignty, security, democracy, development, elections, and social capital. The course explores the theories and realities of international migration in this globalization era. Readings cover cases from North America, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Middle East. We will compare trends to gain a full picture of human mobility, present and past. We will examine migration across space (cross-nationally) and over time, in historical perspective. The course follows the two key dimensions of migration research. We ask two sets of questions: Why do people move? and How do migrations shape the world in which we live? We examine how democracies and authoritarian regimes deal with different types of migration: e.g. voluntary and involuntary, documented and undocumented/irregular flows. The course will help you design, develop and conduct political science research.

Requisite: At least one POSC course (200 level or above). Limited to 18 students. Not open to first-year students. Omitted 2022-23. Assistant Professor Paul.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2022

486 U.S.–Latin American Relations

Can small and non-powerful nations ever profit from a relationship with a more powerful hegemon? Who gains and who loses in this type of asymmetrical relationship? This seminar attempts to answer these questions by looking at the relations between the U.S. and Latin American nations. The seminar begins by presenting different ways in which intellectuals have tried to conceptualize and analyze the relations between the U.S. and Latin America. These approaches are then applied to different dimensions of the relationship: (1) intra-hemispheric relations prior to World War II (the sources of U.S. interventionism and the response of Latin America); (2) political and security issues after World War II (the role of the Cold War in the hemisphere and U.S. reaction to instability in the region, with special emphasis on Cuba in the early 1960s, Peru in the late 1960s, Chile in the early 1970s, The Falklands War and Nicaragua in the 1980s); and (3) economic and business issues (the politics of foreign direct investment and trade, and the debt crisis in the 1980s). Finally, we examine contemporary trends: the emerging hemispheric convergence, economic integration, drug trade, immigration, the defense of democracy regime, and the re-emergence of multilateral interventionism.

Requisite: At least one POSC course (200 level or above).

Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2022-23. Professor Corrales.

2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Fall 2013, Fall 2015, Spring 2019, Spring 2021