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GOVT 3131 : The Nature, Functions, and Limits of Law
Crosslisted as: AMST 3131, LAW 4131 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Dawn Chutkow
A general-education course to acquaint students with how our legal system pursues the goals of society. The course introduces students to various perspectives on the nature of law, what functions it ought to serve in society, and what it can and cannot accomplish. The course proceeds in the belief that such matters constitute a valuable and necessary part of a general education, not only for pre-law students but especially for students in other fields. Assigned readings comprise legal materials and also secondary sources on the legal process and the role of law in society. The classes include discussion and debate about current legal and social issues, including equality, safety, the environment, punishment, and autonomy.
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GOVT 3112 : Congress and the Legislative Process
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
The course will be a lecture course on Congress, introducing them to the political science literature on the topic and the major research questions and approaches. We will examine the development of the institution, including formal theories for congressional organization as well as historically and politically oriented accounts of rule changes, committee power, and party influence. We will also look at the determinants of legislative productivity and gridlock, approaches to measuring and analyzing congressional behavior, the changing role of the electoral connection, and the causes and consequences of polarization.
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GOVT 3032 : Politics of Public Policy in the U.S.
Crosslisted as: AMST 3033 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Public policies are political outcomes determined by processes that are complex, convoluted and often controversial. The aim of this course is to equip students with the conceptual tools necessary to understand these processes. We will begin with a review of popular approaches to studying policy and then move on to explore the various stages of policy development: agenda-setting, policy design, policy implementation, policy feedback and policy change. We will consider the roles played by both institutions (congress, the bureaucracy and interests groups) and everyday people. Finally, we will closely study several specific policy arenas (a few likely candidates include: education policy, health policy, social welfare policy and housing policy). As we engage all of these ideas, students will be consistently challenged to grapple with the paradoxes of policy making in a democratic polity and to envision pathways for substantive political change.  
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GOVT 2604 : Obama and the Meaning of Race
Crosslisted as: AMST 2504, ASRC 2504, SOC 2520 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Travis Gosa
The election of Barack Obama to the presidency has raised new questions in the American debate on race, politics, and social science. Has America entered a post-racial society in which racism and inequality are things of the past? Or does Obama's post-Black, race-neutral approach to governing signal the end of Black politics, race-based activism and prescriptive policy? In this course, students will use the Obama presidency to think, talk, and write about how race works in America. We'll examine the symbolism of Obama's personal narrative and biracialism to analyze his race-neutral campaigns and governing within the context of history, politics, and policies. We'll look at the public image of Michelle Obama, especially how she is gendered as Black radical and fashionista.
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GOVT 2293 : Politics and Music
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Entertainment forms of political communication such as popular music are very often neglected in research of political communication, although popular music has a long and varied association with politics. It has provided the soundtrack to political protest and been the object of political censorship; politicians have courted pop stars and pop stars — like Bono of U2 — have acted as politicians. This class will therefore examine the various interaction between popular music and politics, and how popular music can contribute to our understanding of political thought and action, but also critically reflect upon the effects of popular music on people's political perceptions, attitudes and behavior.
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GOVT 2041 : Electoral (mal)practice
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Factors ranging from the difficulty of registration and costs of voter ID, the purging of voter rolls, a bungled election featuring mis-marked butterfly ballots, concerns about foreign influence or even hacking, continued gerrymandering at the state and federal levels, and several recent Condorcet failures, lead many to question the integrity of U.S. electoral institutions and administration. How can flawed elections be detected and improved? What are the causes of declining perceptions of democracy in the U.S. and elsewhere? How does system support affect government stability and performance in a democracy? We address these questions using both U.S. state-level and cross-national evidence. Students learn how to read and conduct evidence-based social scientific research, and how to act as an effective research consultant. We touch on the emerging field of election forensics and its application to U.S. data and to recent disputes in Kenya, Armenia, and Turkey, among other high-profile cases.
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GOVT 1901 : Discussions of Justice
Crosslisted as: PHIL 1901, SOC 1900, PHIL 1901, SOC 1900, PHIL 1901, SOC 1900, PHIL 1901, SOC 1900 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Bianka Takaoka
Benjamin Sales
This course will address questions of justice posed by current political controversies, for example, controversies over immigration, economic inequality, American nationalism, the government's role in healthcare and the environment, racial inequality, the political power of elites, populism, authoritarianism, globalization, and the proper use of America's global power. Brief readings in political philosophy and social science will be starting points for informal discussion and mutual learning among diverse perspectives.
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GOVT 1623 : The World of Modern Japan
Crosslisted as: ASIAN 2222, CAPS 1622, HIST 1622 Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Kristin Roebuck
In 1868, samurai revolutionaries and their allies seized the reins of power and established a new capital they called Tokyo.  Against all odds, this fragile regime survived and made Tokyo a center of power that would transform both Japan and the world.  This survey of Japanese history explores the rise and fall of Japan as a modern imperial power; its foreign relations; its economic and scientific development from "feudalism" to futuristic technologies; and Japan's many modern revolutions, from the rule of the samurai to Westernization and democracy, from democratic collapse to fascism and World War II, and from Japan's postwar rebirth to the present.  We will examine not only big events but also everyday life, including gender and sexuality, family and schools, and art and popular culture.
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GOVT 1313 : Introduction to Comparative Government and Politics
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
This course will introduce students to comparative politics—the study of the political institutions, identities, and organized interests in countries around the world. Emphasis is on how to make meaningful comparisons between systems in different countries. Towards that goal, we will be looking at a dozen countries with different histories, political systems, and from various regions around the world.  We will also use a comparative framework to use our knowledge of these (and other) countries to examine questions about democracies and democratization, electoral systems and political parties, authoritarian regimes, political mobilization and change, economic development and globalization, nationalism and identity politics, among other topics.  The meta theme of this course is the comparative method as a unique way of leveraging our understanding about social and political phenomena.
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GOVT 1101 : FWS: Power and Politics
Semester offered: Spring 2018 Instructor:
Jordan Jochim
David De Micheli
This First-Year Writing Seminar is devoted to the study of political power and the interaction of citizens and governments and provides the opportunity to write extensively about these issues. Topics vary by semester.
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