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GOVT 4745 : Humanitarian Affects
Crosslisted as: ANTHR 4176, ANTHR 7176, FGSS 4876, FGSS 6876, GOVT 6745 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Saida Hodzic
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GOVT 4626 : Disobedience, Resistance, Refusal
Crosslisted as: AMST 4626, AMST 6627, PHIL 4427, PHIL 6427, SHUM 4627, SHUM 6627 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
This seminar surveys contemporary political theories of disobedience and resistance. We will examine liberal, republican, and radical perspectives on the logic of political protest, its functions, justifications, and limits, as well as how transformations in law, economy, and technology are redefining dissent in the twenty-first century. Topics to be discussed will include the terms of political obligation, the relationship between law-breaking and law-making, conceptions of justice, resistance and popular sovereignty, the politics of civility, violence and self-defense, public space and privatization, the digitalization of protest, resistance in non-democratic regimes, as well as deviance and refusal as modes of dissent.
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GOVT 4403 : War and the State in Comparative Perspective
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
The goal of the course is to introduce students to the study of the nexus between violence and the creation of the modern state. It is intended to familiarize students with the role that war and other forms of violence have played in shaping the state in comparative perspective. Relying on the emergence of the modern state in Western Europe as a point of departure, the course studies the processes of state formation and state building in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.
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GOVT 4021 : American Conservative Thought
Crosslisted as: AMST 4021 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
American conservative thought rests on assumptions that are strikingly different from those made by mainstream American liberals.  However, conservative thinkers are themselves committed to principles that are both quite varied and sometimes contradictory.  This course examines the assumptions upon which rest the libertarian, market/economic, and cultural/traditional strains of American conservatism and asks whether the tensions between them weaken or strengthen conservative thought as an alternative to mainstream liberalism.
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GOVT 4019 : Introductory Probability and Applied Statistics
Crosslisted as: GOVT 6019 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
The goal of this course is to introduce probability and statistics as fundamental building blocks for quantitative political analysis, with regression modeling as a focal application. We will begin with a brief survey of probability theory, types of measurements, and descriptive statistics. The bulk of the course then addresses inferential statistics, covering in detail sampling, methods for estimating unknown quantities, and methods for evaluating competing hypotheses. We will see how to formally assess estimators, and some basic principles that help to ensure optimality. Along the way, we will introduce the use of regression models to specify social scientific hypotheses, and employ our expanding repertoire of statistical concepts to understand and interpret estimates based on our data. Weekly lab exercises require students to deploy the methods both 'by hand' so they can grasp the basic mathematics, and by computer to meet the conceptual demands of non-trivial examples and prepare for independent research. Some time will be spent reviewing algebra, calculus, and elementary logic, as well as introducing computer statistical packages.
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GOVT 4000 : Major Seminar
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Major seminars in the Government department are small, advanced courses that cover an important theme or topic in contemporary politics in depth. Courses place particular emphasis on careful reading and classroom discussion, and students can expect to write a significant research paper. The enrollment limit is 15 students. These courses are open to all Cornell students, but preference in admissions is given to seniors over juniors, and to Government majors over other students.  Topics vary by semester and section.
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GOVT 3999 : How Do You Know That?
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Does allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons reduce violent crime? Do affirmative action policies at law schools cause black students to fail the bar? Do micro-finance policies make the poor better off? Do the militaries of democracies fight better in the field than those of non-democracies? Does the death penalty save lives by deterring murders? Answering questions like these about the effects of public policy implies cause and effect knowledge: if we implement policy X, we will get effect Y. But on what evidence should answers to questions like these rest? How do you know the answer, and under what conditions can you? Providing robust answers to cause-and-effect questions in a (mostly) non-experimental field like political science is devilishly difficult. In this course, we will learn some of the pitfalls that make it so hard to evaluate evidence in the public policy realm, how to judge the quality of evidence cited in the media, and how to ask the right questions to get the best possible evidence. We'll do so by working through the evidence supporting "yes" or "no" answers to the questions listed above.
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GOVT 3867 : War: Causes and Conduct
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
This course surveys leading theories of the causes of interstate war-that is, large-scale organized violence between the armed forces of states. Why is war a recurring feature of international politics? Are democracies more peaceful than other types of states, and if so what explains this "democratic peace?" Why do democratic publics seem to reward threats to use force by "rallying around the flag" in support of their governments? Does the inexorable pattern of the rise and fall of nations lead to cycles of great power wars throughout history? These and other questions will be examined in our survey of theories of war at three levels of analysis: the individual and small groups, domestic politics, and the international system. Topics include (1) theoretical explanations for war; (2) evaluation of the evidence for the various explanations; (3) the impact of nuclear weapons on international politics; (4) ethics and warfare; (5) the uses and limitations of air power.
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GOVT 3715 : Political Theories of Colonialism
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
This seminar overviews political theories of colonialism and empire, and in doing so, allows us to pose questions about the constitutive elements of our modernity, such as slavery, racism, dependency, and dispossession. Throughout the semester, we will examine the relationship between former colonies and political and economic configurations (nationalism, internationalism, capitalism, socialism), as well as philosophical and epistemological questions about the relationship between the universal and the particular, and the imperatives of history-writing. The course material will give us an opportunity to conclude with questions about whether or not the process of decolonizing our world and our study of it is complete or an ongoing project.
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GOVT 3705 : Political Theory and Cinema
Crosslisted as: COML 3300, GERST 3550, PMA 3490 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Geoffrey Waite
An introduction (without prerequisites) to fundamental problems of current political theory, filmmaking, and film analysis, along with their interrelationship.  Particular emphasis on comparing and contrasting European and alternative cinema with Hollywood in terms of post-Marxist, psychoanalytic, postmodernist, and postcolonial types of interpretation.  Filmmakers/theorists might include: David Cronenberg, Michael Curtiz, Kathryn Bigelow, Gilles Deleuze, Rainer Fassbinder, John Ford, Jean-Luc Godard, Marleen Gorris, Werner Herzog, Alfred Hitchcock, Allen & Albert Hughes, Stanley Kubrick, Fredric Jameson, Chris Marker, Pier-Paolo Pasolini, Gillo Pontecorvo, Robert Ray, Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott, Oliver Stone, George Romero, Steven Shaviro, Kidlat Tahimik, Maurizio Viano, Slavoj Zizek.  Although this is a lecture course, there will be ample time for class discussions.
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