Amherst College Political Science for 2009-10
01 Political Identities
[CP, GP] The assertion of group identities based on language, region, religion, race, gender, sexuality, and class, among others, has increasingly animated politics cross-nationally. However, the extent to which identities become politicized varies enormously across time and place. We will explore what it means to describe an identity as political. This exercise entails assessing the conditions under which states, civil societies, and political societies recognize certain identities while ignoring or repressing others. In other words, it entails analyzing the ways in which political processes make and remake identities. What do groups gain and lose from identity-based movements? And what are the broader implications of identity-based movements for democratic politics?
Limited to 30 students. Spring semester. Professor Basu.2015-16: Offered in Fall 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014
03 Secrets and Lies
[AP] Politics seems almost unimaginable without secrecy and lying. From the noble lie of Plato’s Republic to Oliver North’s claim that he lied to Congress in the name of a higher good, from the need to preserve secrets in the name of national security to the endless spinning of political campaigns, from President Kennedy’s behavior during the Cuban missile crisis to current controversies concerning lies by the tobacco industry, from Freud’s efforts to decode the secrets beneath civilized life to contemporary exposés of the private lives of politicians, politics and deception seem to go hand-in-hand. This course investigates how the practices of politics are informed by the keeping and telling of secrets, and the telling and exposing of lies. We will address such questions as: When, if ever, is it right to lie or to breach confidences? When is it right to expose secrets and lies? Is it necessary to be prepared to lie in order to advance the cause of justice? Or, must we do justice justly? When is secrecy really necessary and when is it merely a pretext for Machiavellian manipulation? Are secrecy and deceit more prevalent in some kinds of regimes than in others? As we explore those questions we will discuss the place of candor and civility in politics; the relationship between the claims of privacy (e.g., the closeting of sexual desire) and secrecy and deception in public arenas; conspiracy theories as they are applied to politics; and the importance of secrecy in resistance and revolutionary movements. We will examine the treatment of secrecy and lying in political theory as well as their appearance in literature and popular culture, for example, King Lear, Wag the Dog, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Year of Living Dangerously, and Quiz Show
Limited to 30 students. Fall semester. Professor Dumm.2015-16: Offered in Fall 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014
04 The State
[CP, IR] 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. Omitted 2009-10. Professor Corrales.2015-16: Offered in Spring 2016
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2010, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Fall 2014
05 Politics, Statecraft, and the Art of Ruling
[AP, PT] In the teaching of the classic philosophers, the central questions of politics are questions of justice: What are the grounds of our judgment on the things that are just or unjust, right or wrong? What is the nature of the just, or the best, political order? What measures would we be “justified” in imposing with the force of “law”? What is the nature of that regime we would seek to preserve in this country--or, on the other hand, what are the regimes that we would be justified in resisting in other places, even with the force of arms? The problem of judgment must point to the principles, or the standards, of judgment, and to an understanding that is distinctly philosophic. But political men and women also need a certain sense of the ways of the world: the things that hold people in alliance or impart a movement to events; the ways in which the character of politics is affected by the presence of bureaucracies or elections; the arts of persuasion; the strains of rendering judgments. And the knowledge of these things must depend on experience. In this style of introduction to political science, a central place will be given over to the study of statesmen and politicians: Lincoln, Churchill, Eisenhower, but also Kennedy, Johnson, Reagan. The course will draw us back to Aristotle and Plato, to Machiavelli and the American Founders, but then it will also encompass the study of voting and campaigns, and the more recent politics of race and gender.
Limited to 30 students. Omitted 2009-10. Professor Arkes.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2011
09 Metropolis: The Politics and Cultures of Cities
[CP, IR, PT] Cities are increasingly important as the conceptual and physical grounds for understanding how capital, power, and politics intersect. The diversity of our cities ranges from the global cities linking the old world and the new to the impoverished mega-cities of the global south. By surveying the different uses of city space and debating various models of urbanization, such as the formation of European cities and theories of spatial formation in the “non-West,” we can begin to interrogate our model of the ideal city, the “Metropolis” in question. Our course will look critically at these models and their far-reaching implications for the way urbanisation has taken shape. We will read selections from influential theorists of city-space, such as Henri Lefebvre, Walter Benjamin, and Michel de Certeau. We will also watch several influential films in urban and cultural studies, such as Agnes Varda’s “The Gleaners and I,” Wong Kar Wai’s “Chungking Express,” and Charlie Ahearn’s “Wildstyle” to explore how urban identities have been richly depicted and critiqued. A variety of contemporary and historical case studies of cities across the globe are juxtaposed in this course under city-types, as provocative assertions of the urban.
Limited to 25 students. Preference given to first and second year students. Fall semester. Loewenstein Fellow Lee.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2009
12 Political Obligations
[PT] The mark of the polity, or the political order, has always been the presence of “law”--the capacity to make decisions that are binding, or obligatory, for everyone within the territory. The roots of obligation and law are the same: “ligare,” to bind. When the law imposes a decision, it restricts personal freedom and displaces “private choice” in favor of a public obligation, an obligation applied uniformly or universally. The law may commit us then on matters that run counter even to our own convictions, strongly held, about the things that are right or wrong, and even on matters of our private lives. The law may forbid people to discriminate on grounds of race even in their private businesses; the law may forbid abortions or, on the other hand, the law may compel the funding of abortions even by people who find them abhorrent. This state of affairs, this logic of the law, has always called out for justification, and in facing that question, we are led back to the original understanding of the connection between morality and law. The law can justify itself only if it can establish, as its ground, propositions about the things that are in principle right or wrong, just or unjust-which is to say, right or wrong, just or unjust, for others as well as ourselves. The questions of law and obligation then must point to the questions at the root of moral philosophy: What is the nature of the good or the just, and the grounds on which we may claim to “know” moral truths?
The course will proceed through a series of cases after it returns to the beginning of political philosophy and lays the groundwork for the argument. We will begin with Aristotle on the polis, and the debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas on “natural rights.” We will draw on Kant and Hume, on Thomas Reid and Bertrand Russell, as we seek to set the groundwork in place. The argument of the course will then be unfolded further, and tested, through a train of cases and problems: conscientious objection, the war in Vietnam, the obligation to rescue, the claims of privacy. And the culmination will come on the issues of abortion, euthanasia, and assisted suicide.
Omitted 2009-10. Professor Arkes.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014
13 World Politics
[IR] This is an introductory course which examines the interaction of military, political, economic, social and cultural forces in present-day world politics. Close attention is paid to the complex relationship between two central components of this system: great power relations and global capitalist dynamics. Among the topics covered are hegemonic stability and the rise and fall of the great powers, the changing role of state sovereignty, the strengths and weaknesses of international civil society, as well as the role of justice and international/transnational legal institutions in world politics. Other issues to be discussed include the relations of the world’s sole superpower (the United States) vis-à-vis the newly emerging geopolitical centers of power, namely the European Union, China, India and Russia, as well as such regions as the Middle East and Latin America. The course does not rely on a single theoretical framework; instead, we will follow in the path of such world classics as Kautylia, Sun Tzu, Thucydides, Clausewitz, Locke, Kant, and Karl Marx.
Limited to 30 students. Spring semester. Professor Machala.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Spring 2010, Fall 2012, Spring 2014
18 The Social Organization of Law
(Offered as LJST 01 and Political Science 18 [LP].) Law in the United State is everywhere, ordering the most minute details of daily life while at the same time making life and death judgments. Our law is many things at once--majestic and ordinary, monstrous and merciful, concerned with morality yet often righteously indifferent to moral argument. Powerful and important in social life, the law remains elusive and mysterious. This power and mystery is reflected in, and made possible by, a complex bureaucratic apparatus which translates words into deeds and rhetorical gestures into social practices.
This course will examine that apparatus. It will describe how the problems and possibilities of social organization shape law as well as how the social organization of law responds to persons of different classes, races and genders. We will attend to the peculiar way the American legal system deals with human suffering--with examples ranging from the legal treatment of persons living in poverty to the treatments of victims of sexual assault. How is law organized to cope with their pain? How are the actions of persons who inflict inquiries on others defined in legal terms? Here we will examine cases on self defense and capital punishment. throughout, attention will be given to the practices of police, prosecutors, judges, and those who administer law's complex bureaucratic apparatus.
Limited to 100 students. Fall semester. Professor Sarat.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012
20 Rethinking Post-Colonial Nationalism
[CP] Nationalist fervor seemed likely to diminish once so-called Third World nations achieved independence. However, the past few years have witnessed the resurgence and transformation of nationalism in the post-colonial world. Where anti-colonial nationalist movements appeared to be progressive forces of social change, many contemporary forms of nationalism appear to be reactionary. Did nationalist leaders and theoreticians fail to identify the exclusionary qualities of earlier incarnations of nationalism? Were they blind to its chauvinism? Or has nationalism become increasingly intolerant? Was the first wave of nationalist movements excessively marked by European liberal influences? Or was it insufficiently committed to universal principles? We will explore expressions of nationalism in democratic, revolutionary, religious nationalist, and ethnic separatist movements in the post-colonial world.
Fall semester. Professor Basu.2015-16: Offered in Spring 2016
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Spring 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014
24 Human Rights Activism
(Offered as WAGS 32 and Political Science 24 [CP, GP].) This course is intended to give students a sense of the challenges and satisfactions involved in the practice of human rights work as well as a critical sense of how the discourses calling it forth developed and continue to evolve. We intend to provide specific historical and cultural context to selected areas in which human rights abuses of women and men have occurred, and to explore how differing traditions facilitate and inhibit activism within these areas. The semester will begin by exploring the historical growth of human rights discourse in Europe and the United States, culminating in the emergence of the post-World War II Universal Declaration. We will then turn to the proliferation of these discourses since the 1970s, including the growing importance of non-governmental organizations, many of them internationally based, the use of human rights discourse by a wide range of groups, and expanding meanings of human rights including new conceptions of women’s human rights. The third part of the course will explore criticisms of human rights discourses, particularly the charge that for all their claims to universalism, these discourses reflect the values of European Enlightenment traditions which are inimical to conceptions of rights and justice that are grounded in culture and religion. Throughout the course, rights’ workers will discuss their own experiences, abroad and in the U.S., and reflect on the relationship between their work and formal human rights discourse.
Spring semester. Professors Basu and Saxton.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2010
25 Argentina, Brazil, Chile: Film and Politics of Democratization
(Offered as Spanish 88 and Political Science 25 [CP, GP].) This team-taught course will examine processes of democratization through the interdisciplinary lenses of political science and cultural/literary theory. By reviewing films, critical texts, cases, and causal arguments, we will explore the history of repressive regimes, the transitions to democracy, and the challenges of enhancing the "quality" of democracy in contemporary Argentina, Brazil and Chile.
The course will be taught twice a week. One day a week, the entire class will meet in one room. The other day, the class will break into two discussion groups, one of which will be conducted entirely in Spanish and will count specifically for Spanish majors. Command of Spanish is not required except for students interested in receiving credit for their Spanish major.
Requisite: Spanish 7 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 40 students. Omitted 2009-10. Professors Corrales and Suárez.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008
28 Modern Classics in Political Philosophy
[PT] This course will be an introduction to the study of modern political philosophy. The course is organized around four classic texts which will be considered chronologically; they are: Hobbes, Leviathon; Locke, The Two Treatise of Government; J.S. Mill, On Liberty and Considerations on Representative Government; and Nietszche, Beyond Good and Evil. The questions that will structure this study will include: What do the various philosophers take to be the original motivation underlying the formation of political society? How do these motivations conform to the normative prescriptions that are proposed? What are the limits of legitimate political authority, and what are the philosophical justifications for them? What are the justifications underlying the various proposed institutional arrangements and under what conditions can these arrangements be legitimately suspended? Finally, does the organizing of political life of necessity do violence to a more noble conception of human potentiality?
Fall semester. Professor Mehta.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2009
29 Women and Politics in Africa
(Offered as Political Science 29 [GS, CP], Black Studies 25 [A], and Women’s and Gender Studies 61.) This course will explore the genesis and effects of political activism by women in Africa, which some believe represents a new African feminism, and its implications for state/civil society relations in contemporary Africa. Topics will include the historical effects of colonialism on the economic, social, and political roles of African women, the nature of urban/rural distinctions, and the diverse responses by women to the economic and political crises of post-colonial African policies. This course will also explore case studies of specific African countries, with readings of novels and women’s life histories as well as analyses by social scientists.
Spring semester. Five College Professor Newbury.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2010
30 American Politics/Foreign Policy
[AP, IR] The attacks of September 11, the continuing war in Iraq and America’s growing relative industrial decline, have cast a long shadow over current U.S. foreign policy. But while these events dominate much of the news, the purpose of this course will not be to analyze any specific foreign policies, but, instead, to examine how foreign policy is made in the United States. We will explore the domestic political, socio-economic and cultural forces which have historically shaped major foreign policy debates as well as the grand strategies which have sustained America’s role in world affairs. After familiarizing ourselves with the four main foreign policy ideological traditions (Jeffersonian, Hamiltonian, Jacksonian and Wilsonian), which typically compete for political dominance, we will scrutinize how the rules set in the Constitution structure the foreign policy making process. Special attention will be paid to the shifting and evolving power of the Presidency, Congress, the mass media, public opinion, elections, think-tanks, ethnic, religious and class-based lobbies and grass roots social movements. The course will also examine the rise of the power elite and the national security state, the role of the military and intelligence agencies, the power of secrecy and deception, and the significance of the political psychology of presidents and their key advisors, as well as the function of gender in the making of foreign policy.
Limited to 70 students. Fall semester. Professor Machala.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010
31 Threats and Security in Postwar East Asia
This course is an intermediate seminar on regional security in East Asia since World War II. We will begin by examining how various political scientists have theorized about what constitutes security, what constitutes a threat and how best to respond to it. We will use these theories as lenses through which to analyze how the security environment in East Asia has developed since the end of World War II. Topics will include the origins of the U.S.-Japan alliance, the Korean War and its modern legacies, and the evolution of Sino-U.S. normalization. Moving to more contemporary issues, we will discuss how to manage the North Korean nuclear threat, the China-Taiwan impasse, and non-traditional threats such as terrorism and epidemic disease. We will also study regional mechanisms intended to mitigate conflict and security threats, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the ASEAN Regional Forum. By the end of this class, students should have a nuanced understanding of the security environment in East Asia. Students should be able to use international relations theories to explain why certain issues become threats and how political actors have sought to resolve them and be prepared to pursue more advanced study in international security and East Asian international affairs.
Requisite: A course in international relations or comparative politics is recommended. Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Five College Fellow Chow.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Spring 2011
32 Political Economy of Development
[CP, IR] This course surveys some of the principal themes in the political economy of lower-income countries. Questions will cover a broad terrain. What are the key characteristics of poor economies? Why did these countries fail to catch up economically with the West in the 20th century? Who are the key political actors? What are their beliefs, ideologies and motivations? What are their political constraints, locally, nationally and globally? We will review definitions of development, explanations for the wealth and poverty of nations, the role of ideas, positive and dysfunctional links between the state and business groups, the role of non-state actors, the causes and consequences of poverty, inequality, disease and corruption, the impact of financial globalization and trade opening, the role of the IMF and the World Bank, and the arguments of anti-developmentalists. We will look at the connection between regime type and development. (Are democracies at a disadvantage in promoting development?) We will also devote a couple of weeks to education in developing countries. We know education is a human good, but is it also an economic good? Does education stimulate economic growth? What are the obstacles to education expansion? We will not focus on a given region, but rather on themes. Familiarity with the politics or economics of some developing country is helpful but not necessary.
Limited to 40 students. Spring semester. Professor Corrales.2015-16: Offered in Fall 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Spring 2012, Fall 2013
34 American Political Thought
[AP, PT] This course is a study of aspects of the canon of American political thought. While examining the roots of American thought in Puritanism and Quakerism, the primary focus will be on American transcendentalism and its impact on subsequent thought. Among those whose works we are likely to consider are Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Walt Whitman, W.E.B. DuBois, William James, Jane Addams, John Dewey, Martin Luther King, Hannah Arendt, Richard Rorty, and Stanley Cavell.
Not open to first-year students. Fall semester. Professor Dumm.2015-16: Offered in Spring 2016
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Spring 2014
37 The American Founding
[PT, AP] Lincoln famously said at Gettysburg that the nation had been brought forth “four score and seven years” earlier. Counting back 87 years from Gettysburg brought the beginning of the republic to 1776, not 1789. The American Founding included the ingenious crafting of the Constitution, but the Founding, and the Union, did not begin with the Constitution. It began with the Declaration of Independence and the articulation of that “proposition” as Lincoln called it, which marked the character of the regime: “all men are created equal.” From that proposition sprang the principle for government by consent, and as Lincoln and the Founders understood, the case in principle against slavery. Lincoln thought it a stroke of genius on the part of Jefferson that, on the occasion of a revolution, he inserted in the Declaration an “abstract truth applicable to all men and all times.” And yet, now, that truth of the Declaration has become controversial; it is often denied on both sides of the political divide, by conservatives as well as liberals. But the claim for the Founders remains: if that central moral “truth” of the Declaration is not true, it may not be possible to give a coherent account of the American regime and the rights it was meant to secure.
The course will explore the writings and work of that uncommon generation that made the case for the American revolution and framed a “new order for the ages.” The topics will include the political philosophy of “natural rights”; the debates during the Constitutional Convention in 1787, and during the contest over ratification; the Federalist and Anti-federalist papers; the political economy of the new Constitution; the jurisprudence of Alexander Hamilton, James Wilson, and John Marshall; and some of the leading cases in the founding period of the Supreme Court.
Omitted 2009-10. Professor Arkes.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2011
41 The American Constitution I: The Structure of Rights
[LP, AP] This course will focus on the questions arising from the relations of the three main institutions that define the structure of the national government under the Constitution. We will begin, at all times, with cases, but the cases will draw us back to the “first principles” of constitutional government, and to the logic that was built into the American Constitution. The topics will include: the standing of the President and Congress as interpreters of the Constitution; the authority of the Congress to counter the judgments--and alter the jurisdiction--of the federal courts on matters such as abortion and busing; the logic of “rights” and the regulation of “speech” (including such “symbolic expression” as the burning of crosses); and the original warning of the Federalists about the effect of the Bill of Rights in narrowing the range of our rights.
Omitted 2009-10. Professor Arkes.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2010, Fall 2012, Fall 2014
42 The American Constitution II: Federalism, Privacy, and the "Equal Protection of the Laws"
[LP, AP] In applying the Constitution to particular cases, it becomes necessary to appeal to certain “principles of law” that were antecedent to the Constitution--principles that existed before the Constitution, and which did not depend, for their authority, on the text of the Constitution. But in some cases it is necessary to appeal to principles that were peculiar to the government that was established in the “decision of 1787”; the decisions that framed a new government under a new Constitution. This course will try to illuminate that problem by considering the grounds on which the national government claims to vindicate certain rights by overriding the authority of the States and private institutions. Is the federal government obliged to act as a government of “second resort” after it becomes clear that the State and local governments will not act? Or may the federal government act in the first instance, for example, to bar discriminations based on race, and may it reach, with its authority, to private businesses, private clubs, even private households? The course will pursue these questions as it deals with a number of issues arising from the “equal protection of the laws”--most notably, with the problem of discriminations based on race and sex, with racial quotas and “reverse discrimination.” In addition, the course will deal with such topics as: self-incrimination, the exclusionary rule, the regulation of “vices,” and censorship over literature and the arts. (This course may be taken independently of Political Science 41, The American Constitution I.)
Omitted 2009-10. Professor Arkes.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2011, Fall 2013
45 Contemporary Europe
[CP, IR] Decline and renewal of Europe. An analysis of Europe’s role in the world order and the European Union (EU). What are Europe’s strengths and weaknesses as an international power? Does Europe meet its responsibilities or is it content to be a free rider on the ambitions and policies of other countries? What is the European Union and what are its successes and failures? What is the relationship between various European countries and the EU, between national sovereignty and European integration? Is more European integration still the future of Europe or is there now “enough Europe”?
Limited to 25 students. Not open to first-year students. Fall semester. Professor Tiersky.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011
46 Case Studies in American Diplomacy
(Offered as History 49 [US] and Political Science 46 [AP, IR].) This course will combine the methods of diplomatic history and political science in examining critical moments and themes in American diplomacy. Our overall aim is to better understand the evolving position of the United States in world politics as well as domestic controversies over the character of America’s global role. Specifically, we will assess the combined influence of racism and ethnicity as well as of religious and secular values and class interest on American diplomacy. We shall also investigate the major domestic political, social, economic and intellectual trends and impulses, (e.g., manifest destiny, isolationism and counter-isolationism, and containment) that have shaped American diplomacy; analyze competing visions for territorial conquests and interventions as advocated by various American elites; examine the methods used to extend the nation’s borders, foreign trade and international influence and leadership; and seek to understand the impact of key foreign policy involvements and controversies on the character of the Presidency, Congress and party politics. Among the topics to be considered are the Federalist/Anti-Federalist debates over the scope of constitutional constraints on foreign policy, the Monroe Doctrine, the Mexican War, the imperialist/anti-imperialist debate, the great power diplomacies of Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and FDR, as well as key moments of American diplomacy during the Cold War (e.g., the origins of the Cold War, the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, and the end of the Cold War. One class meeting per week.
Limited to 35 students. Fall semester. Professors G. Levin and Machala.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2012
48 Cuba: The Politics of Extremism
[CP, IR] The study of Cuba’s politics presents opportunities to address issues of universal concern to social scientists and humanists in general, not just Latin Americanists. When is it rational to be radical? Why has Cuban politics forced so many individuals to adopt extreme positions? What are the causes of radical revolutions? Is pre-revolutionary Cuba a case of too little development, uneven development or too rapid development? What is the role of leaders: Do they make history, are they the product of history, or are they the makers of unintended histories? Was the revolution inevitable? Was it necessary? How are new (radical) states constructed? What is the role of foreign actors, existing political institutions, ethnicity, nationalism, religion and sexuality in this process? How does a small nation manage to become influential in world affairs, even altering the behavior of superpowers? What are the conditions that account for the survival of authoritarianism? To what extent is the revolution capable of self-reform? Is the current intention of state leaders of pursuing closed politics with open economics viable? What are the most effective mechanisms to change the regime? Why does the embargo survive? Why did Cubans (at home and abroad) care about Elián González? Although the readings will be mostly from social scientists, the course also includes selections from primary sources, literary works and films (of Cuban and non-Cuban origin). As with almost everything in politics, there are more than just two sides to the issue of Cuba. One aim of the course is to expose the students to as many different sides as possible.
Limited to 30 students. Spring semester. Professor Corrales.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2015
49 Ancient Political Philosophy
[PT] This course provides an introduction to the political thought of Plato, Aristotle, and Saint Augustine. It is organized around classic texts which will be considered chronologically: Plato’s Republic (selections); Aristotle’s Politics, and Nicomechian Ethics; and St. Augustine’s City of God. The questions that will structure this study will include: Why is the study of politics something about which we need and can have general theories? What is the significance and the status of an “ideal” polity with respect to actual polities? What do the various philosophers take to be the original motivation underlying the formation of political society? How do these motivations conform with the normative prescriptions that are proposed? How do questions of hierarchy and equality inform ancient thought. And finally, what is the status of philosophy itself in offering political prescriptions?
Omitted 2009-10. Professor Mehta.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008
50 International Relations and Foreign Policy Theories
There is an extremely wide variety of ways to study a subject as diverse, complex and fascinating as the U.S. foreign policy. The scope of the subject is vast and the literature is enormous. Although the current trend in the academy is towards the erosion of methodological boundaries both between subfields of political science and political science as a whole and other social science disciplines, the dominant foreign policy theories still tend to concentrate primarily on state-to-state relations and/or on the ability of statesmen and decision-making elites to understand the exigencies of international relations. The main objective of this course is to critically examine the strength and weakness of these dominant foreign policy theories by exposing them to the trends in the relevant areas of contemporary social science.
Admission with consent of the instructor. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Machala.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009
51 The Political Economy of Petro States: Venezuela Compared
[CP, IR] This is a modified version of Political Science 32, The Political Economy of Development. The first half of the course is identical to 32, but the second half will have a different focus: the political economy of oil. This section will explore the extent to which oil is a “resource curse,” the neo-structuralist notion that an abundance of a natural resource, in this case oil, is detrimental for development because it distorts economic incentives (away from diversification) and distorts politics (by facilitating corruption, raising the stakes of power-holding, increasing the chance for abuse of state power, and weakening society’s capacity to hold the state accountable). We will examine these hypotheses by focusing on Venezuela, one of the world’s leading oil producers. Until the 1980s, Venezuela was considered an example of democratization. In the 1990s, Venezuela became instead a paradigmatic case of policy incoherence. In the early 2000s, under the Hugo Chávez administration, Venezuela became a case of political polarization, and some argue, rising authoritarianism. The second half of this course will assess whether the resource-curse theory provides the best account of Venezuela’s politics since the 1980s. To address this question, we will: (1) compare the resource-curse argument with other competing theories of development that might account for Venezuelan politics; and (2) compare the Venezuelan case with other cases in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. This course fulfills requirements for the Five College Certificates in Latin American Studies and International Relations.
Not open to students who have taken Political Science 32. Limited to 35 students. Omitted 2009-10. Professor Corrales.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2014
54 The Political Theory of Home
Home is supposed to be a refuge, the place where they have to take you in, as Frost once put it, but as he also knew, it is a place of conflict and death as much as comfort and birth. We are hidden from the world in our homes, but we also take pride in our homes, however modest, or even in their modesty. Home is a place of personal remembrance where we do not fight the battles of immortality, but instead follow another way through life, a parallel imagining of where and how we may be in the world, and away from the world. It is the most private of places, and a site of privation because of that. It is the oikos, (the household, where economy began) not the polis (the public place of political argument). And yet home is of political significance paradoxically, because it is supposed to be a refuge from the storms of politics--hence, for instance, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security as a reassurance to the American people following the terrorist attack of 9/11. In this course, we will explore the idea of home and its political significance in Western thought. Among the authors we will study will be Homer, Virgil, Books of Genesis, Exodus, and Ruth, Fustel de Coulanges, Vico, Shakespeare, Heidegger, Said, Winthrop, Thoreau, Jefferson, Addams, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Pogue Harrison.
Requisite: One introductory Political Science course or its equivalent. Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Dumm.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Fall 2012
56 Regulating Citizenship
[AP, PT] This course considers a fundamental issue that faces all democratic societies: How do we decide when and whether to include or exclude individuals from the rights and privileges of citizenship? In the context of immigration policy, this is an issue of state power to control boundaries and preserve national identity. The state also exercises penal power that justifies segregating and/or denying privileges to individuals faced with criminal sanctions. Citizenship is regulated not only through the direct exercise of force by the state, but also by educational systems, social norms, and private organizations. Exclusion is also the result of poverty, disability, and discrimination based on gender, race, age, and ethnic identity. This course will describe and examine the many forms of exclusion and inclusion that occur in contemporary democracies and raise questions about the purpose and justice of these processes. We will also explore models of social change that would promote more inclusive societies. This course will be conducted inside a correctional facility and enroll an equal number of Amherst students and residents of the facility. Permission to enroll will be granted on the basis of a questionnaire and personal interview with the instructor.
Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professor Bumiller.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014
59 The Politics of Moral Reasoning
[GP, PT] This course is an exploration of the connections between the experience of ordinary life and the judgments humans and citizens make concerning good and bad, and competing goods. We will use as the core text Stanley Cavell’s Cities of Words, which organizes themes concerning moral reasoning around a series of thinkers--Emerson, Aristotle, Plato, Rawls, Nietzsche, Locke, Mill and others--and couples each thinker with a movie from the classic age of American cinema. While we will be relying on Cavell’s study as a primary source, students will also be reading essays by the thinkers Cavell identifies. Each week we will discuss the reading in the first class exclusively, and then screen the film prior to the second class meeting, when we will broaden the discussion.
Not open to first-year students. Omitted 2009-10. Professor Dumm.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2014
60 Punishment, Politics, and Culture
[AP, LP] 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 its character and the character of the people in whose name it acts. This course will explore the connections between punishment and politics with particular reference to the contemporary American situation. We will consider the ways crime and punishment have been politicized in recent national elections as well as the racialization of punishment in the United States. We will ask whether we punish too much and too severely, or too little and too leniently. We will examine particular modalities of punishment, e.g., maximum security prisons, torture, the death penalty, and inquire about the character of those charged with imposing those punishments, e.g., prison guards, executioners, etc. Among the questions we will discuss are: Does punishment express our noblest aspirations for justice or our basest desires for vengeance? Can it ever be an adequate expression of, or response to, the pain of victims of crime? When is it appropriate to forgive rather than punish? We will consider these questions in the context of arguments about the right way to deal with juvenile offenders, drug offenders, sexual predators (“Megan’s Law”), rapists, and murderers. We will, in addition, discuss the meaning of punishment by examining its treatment in literature and popular culture. Readings may include selections from The Book of Job, Greek tragedy, Kafka, Nietzsche, Freud, George Herbert Mead, and contemporary treatments of punishment such as Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, Butterfield’s All God’s Children, Scarry’s Body in Pain, Garland’s Punishment in Modern Society, Hart’s Punishment and Reasonability, and Mailer’s Executioner’s Song. Films may include The Shawshank Redemption, Dead Man Walking, Mrs. Soffel, Minority Report, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Professor Sarat.2015-16: Offered in Spring 2016
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015
70 The Political Theory of Globalization
[IR, PT] “Globalization” can mean many things. To some, it means equal integration of individual societies into worldwide political, economic and cultural processes. To others it means accentuated uneven economic development, accompanied by cultural imperialism, which merely exaggerates the political dependence of “peripheral” on “core” societies. For still others, globalization is shorthand for the social and cultural changes that follow when societies become linked with and, in an escalating way, dependent upon the world capitalist market. The idea that underlies these multiple meanings of globalization is the radical intensification of worldwide social relations and the lifting of social activities out of local and national conditions. The course will examine the major theoretical discourses raised by this idea, such as (1) the effect of globalizing material production on the formation of post-liberal democracy, (2) the nexus between globalizing cultural production and the politics of cosmopolitanism and “otherness,” (3) the impact of globalizing communication technologies and mass consumerism on the formation of transnational “gated class communities,” and (4) the relationship between the globalization of transnational class conflicts/interests/identities and transnational governance. We will also explore the connection between “late global capitalism” and liberal arts education in legitimizing the current global class dynamics. This course fulfills the requirement of an advanced seminar in Political Science.
Requisite: Two courses--one from each cluster or their equivalent: (a) Political Science 13, 20, 24, 32, 45, 63, 86, 89, Colloquium 18; (b) 28, 40, 76, 80, 81. Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2009-10. Professor Machala.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2013
72 Culture and Politics in 20th-Century Europe
(Offered as Political Science 72 [CP, IR] and European Studies 35.) This seminar discusses political ideas, ideologies and political culture in 20th-century Europe. Some themes are Nationalism; Marxism, Socialism and Communism; Fascism; anti-Semitism; Existentialism; the “Century of Total War”; the year 1968; Pope John Paul II; Soccer Hooliganism; “The Idea of Europe,” and the question of whether there is a “European identity.” Throughout the course, ideas are connected to historical context. The syllabus is a mix of books and films. This course can be taken as a regular course or it can fulfill the requirement for an advanced seminar in Political Science.
Preference to Political Science and European Studies majors, and juniors and seniors. Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Tiersky.
2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014
73 U.S.-Latin American Relations
[CP, IR] 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. This course fulfills the requirement for an advanced seminar in political science.
Requisite: Political Science 13 or its equivalent. Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2009-10. Professor Corrales.2015-16: Offered in Fall 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Fall 2013
74 Norms, Rights, and Social Justice: Feminists, Disability Rights Activists and the Poor at the Boundaries of the Law
(Offered as Political Science 74 [GP, LP] and Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought 74.) This seminar explores how the civil rights movement began a process of social change and identity-based activism. We evaluate the successes and failures of “excluded” groups’ efforts to use the law. We primarily focus on the recent scholarship of theorists, legal professionals, and activists to define “post-identity politics” strategies and to counteract the social processes that “normalize” persons on the basis of gender, sexuality, disability, and class. This course fulfills the requirement for an advanced seminar in Political Science.
Requisite: One introductory Political Science course or its equivalent. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Bumiller.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014
75 Problems of International Politics
[CP, IR] The topic until further notice will be “Gorbachev, the End of the Cold War and the Collapse of the Soviet Union.” When Mikhail Gorbachev became its leader in 1985, the Soviet Union, while plagued by internal and external troubles, was still one of the world’s two superpowers. By 1991, the cold war was over, and on the day he left the Kremlin for the last time, December 25, 1991, the USSR ceased to exist. Of course, Gorbachev was not solely responsible for this upheaval. Developments in the USSR and the world prepared the way. But he set decisive change in motion, and no one else in the Soviet leadership would have done so. This course is therefore a case study of the impact of personality on politics, but also of the limits of that impact, and of the importance of other causes (economic, political, social, ideological, international) of events that changed the world. This course fulfills the requirement for an advanced seminar in Political Science.
Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Taubman.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015
76 Modern Social Theory
[PT] This course will consider the following broad questions with respect to Tocqueville, Marx, Durkheim and Weber: (1) What is the cement of society, i.e., what makes society a coherent unit of experience and analysis? (2) What are the rigidities and flexibilities in society, i.e., how do societies change, develop, and come apart? (3) What is the role of ideas in the cohesion and development of societies? (4) What normative constraints do the answers to the above questions place on societies? With respect to this question the focus in this course will be on the political constraints in contrast with, for instance, the technological, cultural or economic constraints. This course fulfills the requirement for an advanced seminar in Political Science.
Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Mehta.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2010
78, 77D Senior Departmental Honors
Totaling three full courses, usually a double course in the fall and one regular course in the spring.
Open to seniors who have satisfied the necessary requirements. Spring semester. The Department.2015-16: Offered in Spring 2016
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015
79 Seminar on War and Peace
[IR, PT] A conceptual and theoretical study of war and peace. The course is not a history of war or a policy study of wars today. The seminar considers a variety of cases across time and space to examine the causes and consequences of war and the possibilities of peace. Readings range from classical sources to contemporary debates, including Euripides, Quintus Curtius Rufus, Kant, Clausewitz, Sun Tsu, Margaret Mead, Gandhi; K. Waltz, Michael Walzer, and the Geneva Conventions. This course fulfills the requirement for an advanced seminar in Political Science.
Requisite: Students should have some relevant background in the study of international relations, moral aspects of political life and/or international law. Limited to 20 students. Not open to first-year students. Spring semester. Professor Tiersky.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Spring 2010, Spring 2011
80 Contemporary Political Theory
[PT] A consideration of twentieth- and twenty-first-century Western political theory. Topics to be considered include the fate of modernity, identity and difference, power, representation, freedom, and the state. This year’s readings may include works by the following authors: Freud, Weber, Benjamin, Heidegger, Arendt, Derrida, Foucault, Berlin, Butler, Connolly, and Agamben. This course fulfills the requirement for an advanced seminar in Political Science.
Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Dumm.2015-16: Offered in Spring 2016
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013
81 Taking Marx Seriously
[PT] 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. This course fulfills the requirement for an advanced seminar in Political Science.
Requisite: Two of Political Science 13, 28, 40, 70, 76, 80. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Machala.
2015-16: Offered in Fall 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009, Spring 2011, Fall 2013
82 United States Foreign Policy: Democracy and Human Rights
[IR, AP] Is the United States committed to promoting democracy and human rights abroad or just advancing its own strategic and domestic corporate interests? What influence does the United States have on the development of democracy around the world and the emergence of-and compliance with-international human rights conventions, protocols and laws? This seminar begins with an historical overview of American democracy and human rights rhetoric and policies and seeks to uncover the range of political, economic, cultural and geostrategic motivations underlying U.S. behavior. We will then examine American foreign policy responses to contemporary human rights and democracy issues as they relate to women, regional and civil violence, state-sponsored violence and repression, development, globalization, and environmental degradation and resource scarcity. Throughout the semester we will examine how these policies have influenced events in Latin America, East Asia, Eastern Europe, and sub-Saharan and southern Africa. Previous course work relating to international relations, American politics or foreign policy, or political theory required. This course fulfills the requirement for advanced seminar in Political Science.
Admission with consent of the instructor. Omitted 2009-10.2015-16: Offered in Fall 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Fall 2012
83 Topics in Contemporary Political Philosophy
[PT] This seminar will consider works in political philosophy that have been published within the last decade. It will be organized around the following four topics: justice, equality, the normative force of history and ethical/cultural pluralism. The readings will include works by the following thinkers: John Rawls, Amartya Sen, Michael Sandel, Ronald Dworkin, Charles Taylor, Alistair MacIntyre, David Bromwich, Jurgen Habermas, Martha Nussbaum, Jean-Francois Lyotard, and Bikhu Parekh. This course fulfills the requirement for an advanced seminar in Political Science.
Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Professor Mehta.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2009
84 Seminar on International Politics: Global Resource Politics
[IR] An intensive investigation of new and emerging problems in international peace and security affairs. We will examine such issues as: international terrorism; global resource competition; the security implications of globalization; international migrations; transboundary environmental problems; illegal trafficking in guns, drugs, and people. Participants in the seminar will be required to choose a particular problem for in-depth investigation, entailing a study of the nature and evolution of the problem, the existing international response to it, and proposals for its solution. Students will prepare a major paper on the topic and give an oral presentation to the class on their findings. This course fulfills the requirement for an advanced seminar in Political Science.
Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2009-10.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2010, Spring 2013
85 States of Poverty
(Offered as Political Science 85 [AP, GP] and Women’s and Gender Studies 85.) In this course the students will examine the role of the modern welfare state in people’s everyday lives. We will study the historical growth and retrenchment of the modern welfare state in the United States and other Western democracies. The course will critically examine the ideologies of “dependency” and the role of the state as an agent of social control. In particular, we will study the ways in which state action has implications for gender identities. In this course we will analyze the construction of social problems linked to states of poverty, including hunger, homelessness, health care, disability, discrimination, and violence. We will ask how these conditions disproportionately affect the lives of women and children. We will take a broad view of the interventions of the welfare state by considering not only the impact of public assistance and social service programs, but the role of the police, family courts, therapeutic professionals, and schools in creating and responding to the conditions of impoverishment. The work of the seminar will culminate in the production of a research paper and students will be given the option of incorporating field work into the independent project. This course fulfills the requirement for an advanced seminar in Political Science.
Requisite: Some previous exposure to background material. Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Bumiller.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011
86 Globalization, Social Movements and Human Rights
(Offered as Political Science 86 [CP] and Women’s and Gender Studies 68.) This seminar will explore the changing trajectories of social movements amidst economic, political and cultural globalization. Social movements have organized in opposition to the environmental destruction, increased class inequalities and diminished accountability of nation states that have often accompanied the global spread of capitalism. Globalization from above has given rise to globalization from below as activists have organized transnationally, employing new technologies of communication and appealing to universal human rights. However, in organizing transnationally and appealing to universal principles, activists may find their energies displaced from local to transnational arenas, from substantive to procedural inequalities, and from grass roots activism to routinized activity within the judicial process. We will consider the extent to which globalization heightens divisions between universalistic and particularistic movements or contributes to the creation of a global civil society which can protect and extend human rights. We will examine women’s movements, environmental movements, and democracy movements in several regions of the world. This course fulfills the requirement of an advanced seminar in Political Science.
Requisite: One of Political Science 13, 20, 31, 46, 48, 70, or 74. Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2009-10. Professor Basu.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010
87 Political Thought and Statecraft of Abraham Lincoln
[LP, PT] This seminar will study the statesmanship of Lincoln, and it will weave together two strands, which accord with different parts in the understanding of the statesman. First, there is the understanding of the ends of political life and the grounds of moral judgment. Here, we would consider Lincoln’s reflection on the character of the American republic, the principles that mark a lawful regime, and the crisis of principle posed in “the house divided.” But second, there is the understanding drawn from the actual experience of politics, the understanding that informs the prudence of the political man as he seeks to gain his ends, or apply his principles, in a party. The main materials will be supplied by the writings of Lincoln: the speeches, the extended debates with Stephen Douglas, the presidential messages and papers of State. The problem of his statesmanship will be carried over then to his exercise of the war powers, his direction of the military, and his conduct of diplomacy. This course fulfills the requirement of an advanced seminar in Political Science.
Requisite: One of the Political Science 12, 18, 41, 42, or 49. Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2009-10. Professor Arkes.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008
89 Markets and Democracy in Latin America
[CP, IR] In the 1980s an unprecedented process of change began in Latin America: nations turned toward democracy and the market. This seminar explores the literature on regime and economic change and, at the same time, encourages students to think about ways to study the post-reform period. The seminar begins by looking at the situation prior to the transition: the sources of Latin America’s over expanded state, economic decay, political instability, and democratic deficit. The seminar then focuses directly on the processes of transition, paying particular attention to the challenges encountered. It explores, theoretically and empirically, the extent to which democracy and markets are compatible. The seminar then places Latin America’s process of change in a global context: comparisons will be drawn with Asian and post-Socialist European cases. The seminar concludes with an overview of current shortcomings of the transition: Latin America’s remaining international vulnerability (the Tequila Crisis of 1995 and the Asian Flu of 1997), the rise of crime, drug trade, and neopopulism, the cleavage between nationalists and internationalists, the prospects for further deepening of reforms and the political backlash against reforms in the 2000s. This course fulfills the requirements of an advanced seminar in Political Science.
Requisite: Some background in the economics and politics of developing areas. Limited to 15 students. Not open to first- and second-year students. Omitted 2009-10. Professor Corrales.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2010, Spring 2014
91 Documenting Change in Southeast Asia
(CP) This course is an advanced seminar that explores the political changes from the late colonial to the contemporary period in Southeast Asia. In this class we will look at the political and cultural inventions that have shaped Southeast Asia as a field of knowledge from the age of colonial expansion and consolidation of power in the region to the birth of the nation-state and its various incarnations in the nationalist era, independence, the cold war, civil wars, insurgencies, and the development era of the 1970s-1990s. Throughout this course, we will return to the recurring idea of Nationalism as the great defining movement of the twentieth century, encapsulating the spectrum of radical possibilities and counter-revolutionary politics as well as the unequal relations between the centers and margins of the nation-state. Politics, language, history and modern cultural identities have emerged as the products of cultural change and ingenuity. What falls under the lens of scholarship on Southeast Asia now include oral histories, photography, political art, and studies of technology. Documenting Change in Southeast Asia acknowledges the shifting landscape engendered by new sites of political power and protest, as well as new sites of theoretical interest. Students are invited to debate the frames of reference for each unit theme and to discuss different units. For a final paper, students are encouraged to compare countries as well as to think critically about any topic that takes up issues of political modernity in “Southeast Asia.”
Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Loewenstein Fellow Lee.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009
95 Gandhi and King
(Offered as Black Studies 65 and Political Science 95 [US].) As the leader of the Indian independence struggle in the first half of the 20th century, M. K.Gandhi galvanized the marginalized and the voiceless in an epic struggle to gain recognition and freedom. A student of Gandhi’s philosophy, Martin Luther King did much the same as the most important leader of the civil rights movement in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s. Because they successfully mobilized millions of ordinary men and women to oppose imperialism and racism, these two figures epitomize the best possibilities of force directed toward democratic ends. Nevertheless, they both expressed profound discomfort with politics. For example, each opposed violence as a matter of principle, celebrated individual interiority, and emphasized the importance of religious practice. This seminar will explore the tension between the political influence of these important figures and their equally deep ambivalence towards politics. Themes for discussion will include (1) the relationship between interiority and citizenship (2) the relationship between a care of the self and a conception of the self as the bearer of political rights (3) the role of imprisonment and freedom (4) nonviolence and its relationship to the individual and as an instrument for public advancement and (5) the relationship between technology and modernity. This seminar will focus specifically on the writings of Gandhi and King, and less on the context and history of their times. Readings will include: Autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Hind Swaraj, and Satyagragha in South Africa by M. K. Gandhi and A Testament of Hope: Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. Requirements will include a five-page paper during the semester, a class presentation, and a 20-page paper due at the conclusion of the class.
Requisite: One course in either Political Science or Black Studies. Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professors Ferguson and Mehta.2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010
97, 98 Special Topics
Fall semester.2015-16: Offered in Fall 2015 and Spring 2016
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015