Courses by semester

Courses for Spring 2024

Complete Cornell University course descriptions are in the Courses of Study .

Course ID Title Offered
GOVT1101 FWS: Power and Politics Fall, Spring.
GOVT1313 Introduction to Comparative Government and Politics
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.

Full details for GOVT 1313 - Introduction to Comparative Government and Politics

Spring, Summer.
GOVT1503 Introduction to Africana Studies
At the inception of this department at Cornell University in 1969, the Africana Studies and Research Center became the birthplace of the field "Africana studies." Africana studies emphasizes comparative and interdisciplinary studies of Africa, the U.S., the Caribbean and other diasporas. In this course, we will look at the diverse contours of the discipline. We will explore contexts ranging from modernity and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and plantation complex in the New World to processes of decolonization and globalization in the contemporary digital age. This course offers an introduction to the study of Africa, the U.S., the Caribbean and other diasporas. This course will examine, through a range of disciplines, among them literature, history, politics, philosophy, the themes - including race/racism, the Middle Passage, sexuality, colonialism, and culture - that have dominated Africana Studies since its inception in the late-1960s. We will explore these issues in an attempt to understand how black lives have been shaped in a historical sense; and, of course, the effects of these issues in the contemporary moment. This course seeks to introduce these themes, investigate through one or more of the disciplines relevant to the question, and provide a broad understanding of the themes so as to enable the kind of intellectual reflection critical to Africana Studies.

Full details for GOVT 1503 - Introduction to Africana Studies

Fall, Spring.
GOVT1571 American Defense Policy and Military History from the Two World Wars to the Global War on Terror
America is finishing up two wars, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. They have been the longest wars in American history and have ended amid much ambivalence about the US engagement in each place and the results. They are part of a series of wars that America has fought as a global power, with a global reach, sending its forces thousands of miles from home. That global reach is not new, and goes back all the way to 1898 and the Spanish-American War. This course will look at the American military experience from our first tentative steps onto the global stage in 1898, to the earth-spanning conflicts of World War I and II, to the nuclear tension of Cold War conflicts, and finish with the current Long War against terrorism, and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Full details for GOVT 1571 - American Defense Policy and Military History from the Two World Wars to the Global War on Terror

Fall, Spring, Summer.
GOVT1615 Introduction to Political Theory
This course introduces students to political theory as a distinctive mode of political inquiry. By surveying the wide range of forms through which political theory has been practiced—such as treatises, dialogues, plays, aphorisms, novels, manifestos, letters, speeches, illustrations, and films—we explore the ways in which political theory reflects upon, criticizes, and reshapes the basic concepts, habits of perception, and modes of feeling through which people make sense of the political world, from big events like wars and revolutions to everyday experiences of felt injustice or alienation. Our approach will be both historical and conceptual, attending to the force of each theoretical intervention in its context, while also drawing out the broader philosophical and political questions it continues to pose to us now.

Full details for GOVT 1615 - Introduction to Political Theory

GOVT2022 Fighting for Our Lives: Black Women's Reproductive Health and Activism in Historical Perspective
This course centers Black women who have often described their reproductive health experiences as "fighting for our lives." While grounded in an exploration of Black women 's experiences in the US, this course also looks across the diaspora to issues of access, rights, and equity in reproductive health. Deeply inspired by the field of Black Feminist Health Science Studies, a field that advocates for the centrality of activism in healthcare and its importance for Black women's overall health and well-being, this course examines how issues of gender, race, class, ability, and power intersect to inform how reproductive health is conceptualized, practiced, and experienced. Ultimately, this course will yield a deeper understanding of how Black women have transformed existential and literal threats on their lives into a robust terrain of community-based activism and a movement for reproductive justice. We will read across a range of texts and genres from the historical and theoretical, to memoir and documentary. With what we learn together, we will craft contributions to public debates around healthcare issues impacting Black women.

Full details for GOVT 2022 - Fighting for Our Lives: Black Women's Reproductive Health and Activism in Historical Perspective

GOVT2152 (Im)migration and (Im)migrants: Then and Now
How are migration dynamics produced? How do states and communities respond to and shape complex migration processes? This course will draw on the United States as a case study, focusing on Latino immigrants. Latinos are by far the largest immigrant group in the U.S., representing about 50% of all immigrants. Additionally, the U.S. has historically received the largest number of immigrants in the world. The class will examine the main debates around migration in fields such as Latino studies, migration studies, and political science. We begin with a historical and contemporary survey of global and regional migration trends. Next, we will review theories explaining why people migrate and how countries manage migration processes. We then focus on the U.S. immigration apparatus, examining past and present changes, including migration public policies. Central to this class is the exploration of multiple systems of marginalization that shape the opportunities, material conditions, and lived experiences of immigrants in the U.S. We conclude with an exploration of historical and contemporary migrant-led forms of resistance, such as the Immigrant Rights Movement, and its linkages to other transnational struggles for social justice.

Full details for GOVT 2152 - (Im)migration and (Im)migrants: Then and Now

GOVT2264 Political Violence
This course explores the causes and consequences of modern day civil wars. The first part of the course looks at individual, group, and state level factors that might cause civil wars to break out. The second part of the course looks at the dynamics of civil wars including intensity and types of violence. The third part assesses the consequences of civil war and the last part assesses how civil wars end. 

Full details for GOVT 2264 - Political Violence

GOVT2432 Moral Dilemmas in the Law
The course concerns the principles and philosophical arguments underlying conflicts and moral dilemmas of central and ongoing concern to society as they arise within legal contexts. We consider questions such as what justifies using state power to punish people for wrongdoing, what kinds of conduct are rightly criminalized, what justifies the Supreme Court's power to strike down Congressional legislation, what justifies the right to private property and its boundaries, what is the right to privacy and why it is important, what are human rights, and what is the morality and law of war. Throughout we will be reading legal cases and philosophical commentaries that engage with the deep issues that the cases pose.

Full details for GOVT 2432 - Moral Dilemmas in the Law

GOVT2673 The History and Politics of Modern Egypt
This lecture class will explore the socio-cultural history of modern Egypt from the late 18th century to the 21st century "Arab Spring." We will explore Egyptian history under the Ottomans and the Mamluks, the unsuccessful French attempts to colonize Egypt, and the successful British occupation of the country. We will then examine the development of Egyptian nationalism from the end of the 19th century through Nasser's pan-Arabism to the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. We will accomplish this with the aid of a variety of texts and media, including novels and films.

Full details for GOVT 2673 - The History and Politics of Modern Egypt

GOVT2806 Roman Law
This course presents a cultural and historical perspective on ideas of agency, responsibility, and punishment through foundational texts of western law. We will primarily focus on three main areas of law: (1) slavery and (2) family (both governed by the Roman law of persons), and (3) civil wrongs (the law of delict or culpable harm). Through an examination of the legal sources (in translation) and the study of the reasoning of the Roman jurists, this course will examine the evolution of jurisprudence: the development of the laws concerning power over slaves and women, and changes in the laws concerning penalties for crimes. No specific prior knowledge needed.

Full details for GOVT 2806 - Roman Law

GOVT2847 The Cultural and Political History of Modern Afghanistan
Afghanistan is the land of paradoxes and is constantly in the headlines of the world's news. It is a country that is often spoken about and yet so rarely heard from. Since 1747 until the present, this region has experienced a series of unstable states and complicated political situations. The quarrels and disputes within and concerning Afghanistan are a challenge for other countries and have directly affected other countries politically and militarily. The questions we will consider in this course are many and include: Why has Afghanistan been important for many empires over the millennia? How did this region become "Afghanistan"? Why has the political situation in Afghanistan so affected other countries, such as elections here in the United States? Why did the US and its allies invade Afghanistan and why did they withdraw without any commitment to the people of Afghanistan? To what effect were thousands of American and allied soldiers killed in Afghanistan?

Full details for GOVT 2847 - The Cultural and Political History of Modern Afghanistan

GOVT3044 China's Next Economy
This course provides students with an analytical framework to understand China's ongoing economic transformation. The courses goals include: 1) to familiarize students with different perspectives on China's economic development and future prospects; 2) to provide a close working knowledge of the evolving current situation, with a focus on internal variation within China—telling different Chinese stories, not one "China story"—and particularly emphasizing urbanization and the goal of shifting from manufacturing and export-led to services and domestic-led economy; and 3) to give students hands-on experience using Chinese economic data in the context of a brief research note. Each week will connect to current events and debates, with students writing three blog posts over the course of the semester to bring academic research and social scientific analysis to bear upon policy-relevant questions and developments.

Full details for GOVT 3044 - China's Next Economy

GOVT3087 International Human Rights Law and Advocacy
This course will introduce students to the law and practice of international human rights. Students will think critically about the effectiveness of the international human rights system by examining its successes, failures, and dilemmas in preventing and responding to human rights abuse. Topics covered include the origins of international human rights; the role of international, regional, and domestic institutions and actors in enforcing human rights; critiques of the human rights movement; challenges encountered in human rights advocacy; and the relationship of the United States to the international system for the protection of human rights. The course will also explore issues such as the immigration, the death penalty, gender justice, climate change, global poverty, racism and xenophobia, and responses to mass atrocities. Throughout this interactive course, students will have frequent opportunities to step into the shoes of a human rights advocate and work individually and with their classmates to address simulated human rights problems.

Full details for GOVT 3087 - International Human Rights Law and Advocacy

GOVT3091 Science in American Politics
This course reviews the changing relations between science, technology, and the state in America, focusing on the period from 1960 to the present. We will explore science-intensive policy controversies. We will also look at how science and technology are used in different institutional settings, such as Congress, the court system, and regulatory agencies. Among other issues, we will examine the tension between the concept of science as an autonomous system for producing knowledge and the concept of science as entangled with interest groups.

Full details for GOVT 3091 - Science in American Politics

GOVT3112 Congress and the Legislative Process
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.

Full details for GOVT 3112 - Congress and the Legislative Process

GOVT3131 The Nature, Functions, and Limits of Law
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.

Full details for GOVT 3131 - The Nature, Functions, and Limits of Law

GOVT3161 The American Presidency
This course will explore and seek explanations for the performance of the 20-21st century presidency, focusing on its institutional and political development, recruitment process (nominations and elections), relationships to social groups, economic forces, and "political time."  We will also analyze the parameters of foreign & domestic policy making.

Full details for GOVT 3161 - The American Presidency

GOVT3174 Nationalism and Identity
This comparative course explores key approaches to understanding nationalism and how it interacts with questions of identity in contemporary societies. We will first consider different theoretical approaches to the historical emergence and contemporary relevance of nationalism and concepts used to analyze its different manifestations. In the second part of the course, we will focus on the Russian Federation and the US as case studies to explore the interplay of nationalism, identity and social change in ethnically and racially diverse contexts. In this part of the course, we will use a wide range of sources to consider the impact of nationalism on politics, media, culture and everyday life.

Full details for GOVT 3174 - Nationalism and Identity

GOVT3242 Reflecting on the Intersections of Education and Prison Systems
The "school-to-prison track" refers to policies and practices that facilitate the transfer of students out of the school system and into the prison system (including juvenile detention, county jail, immigration detention centers, or adult prison). This course takes a critical analytical look at the intersections of the prisons and schooling, emphasizing pedagogy, history and policy.

Full details for GOVT 3242 - Reflecting on the Intersections of Education and Prison Systems

GOVT3265 Power and Freedom: Words, Concepts, Politics
"Power" and "freedom" are among the most important elements of the language of politics, and of the scholarly study of politics, but they are notoriously difficult to define. In this class, we'll try to clarify these terms by studying some important past and present debates, both academic and political, about their meaning. We will also consider some more general questions: Why are so many basic political terms so deeply contested? Are the concepts we use to study politics always themselves political—and if so, in what sense? What's the relationship between political words and political concepts, anyway? What can we learn about the theory and practice of politics by paying attention to language and its histories?

Full details for GOVT 3265 - Power and Freedom: Words, Concepts, Politics

GOVT3282 Data Science Applications in Political and Social Research
The advent of computers and the internet have fundamentally changed how most humans conduct their social, political, and everyday lives. Unlike mere decades ago, many of us work, play, learn, communicate with friends and family, and engage in other social, political, and economic behavior online. The digital traces these activities leave behind has created a new world of data for researchers to mine in virtually every field that studies humans and human behavior, from health outcomes to election outcomes. This course is focused on data science applications in political science and public policy research specifically, and in social science research more broadly. It aims to build students' familiarity with the intersection between data science and political/social science. Toward that aim, this course has three main areas of focus:a) Exploring how the digital era has impacted how research in political/social science is conceptualized, designed, and implemented b)Digging into recent political science research that has applied novel data science approaches c)Building important skills in data collection, processing, and analysis from online sources, with a focus on how new sources of data and new techniques can add value to existing research questions in the field.

Full details for GOVT 3282 - Data Science Applications in Political and Social Research

GOVT3623 Politics of Sustainable Development in Latin America III
In recent decades the Andean region of Latin America has become a focal point of international debate over alternative models of economic development and their environmental consequences. Windfall revenues from oil, gas, and mineral extraction have stimulated economic growth in the region, but they have also sparked opposition from environmental organizations and indigenous communities concerned about the effects on land and water resources and community livelihoods. This engaged learning course explores the political ecology of development in Ecuador, focusing on the tensions between extractive models of development and more environmentally-sustainable alternatives. The course will count for four credit hours spread across three modules in the fall, January, and spring semesters. The fall module provides an introduction to Ecuador's political and economic development, its cultural diversity, theories of sustainable development, and community-based engaged learning. This will be followed by an intensive, two-week field trip to Ecuador in January to work on group projects with community partners. The wrap-up module in the spring semester will give students an opportunity to write their final research papers and complete their group projects based on engaged learning experiences with community partners.

Full details for GOVT 3623 - Politics of Sustainable Development in Latin America III

Multi-semester course: Spring.
GOVT3625 Modern Political Philosophy
This course will primarily focus on studying and scrutinizing general conceptions of justice. Topics explored typically include liberty,economic equality, democracy, community, the general welfare, and toleration. We will also look at implications for particular political controversies such as abortion, welfare programs and pornography.

Full details for GOVT 3625 - Modern Political Philosophy

GOVT3636 Introduction to Critical Theory
Shortly after the 2016 election, The New Yorker published an article entitled "The Frankfurt School Knew Trump was Coming." This course examines what the Frankfurt School knew by introducing students to Critical Theory, juxtaposing its roots in the 19th century (i.e., Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Freud) with its most prominent manifestation in the 20th century, the Frankfurt School (e.g., Kracauer, Adorno, Benjamin, Marcuse) alongside disparate voices (Arendt) and radical continuations (Davis, Zuboff, Weeks) as they engage with politics, society, culture, and literature (e.g. Brecht and Kafka).   Established in 1920s and continued in exile in the US during WWII, the interdisciplinary circle of scholars comprising the Frankfurt School played a pivotal role in the intellectual developments of post-war American and European social, political, and aesthetic theory: from analyses of authoritarianism and democracy to critiques of capitalism, the entertainment industry, commodity fetishism, and mass society. This introduction to Critical Theory explores both the prescience of these diverse thinkers for today's world ("what they knew") as well as what they perhaps could not anticipate in the 21st century (e.g., developments in technology, economy, political orders), and thus how to critically address these changes today.

Full details for GOVT 3636 - Introduction to Critical Theory

GOVT3687 The US and the Middle East
This seminar examines the history of the United States' involvement with Middle East beginning with evangelical efforts in the 19th century and President Wilson's engagement with the colonial powers in the early 20th century during and after WWI. The discovery of vast Middle Eastern oil reserves and the retreat of the colonial powers from the region following WWII drew successive US administrations ever deeper into Middle Eastern politics. In due course the US became entrenched in the post-colonial political imagination as heir to the British and the French especially as it challenged the Soviet Union for influence in the region during the Cold War. And that only takes the story to the mid-1950s and the Eisenhower administration. Our discussions will be based on secondary readings and primary sources as we interrogate the tension between realist and idealist policies toward the Middle East and trace how these tensions play out in subsequent developments including the origins and trajectory of the US strategic alliances with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey and conflict with Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the two Gulf Wars.

Full details for GOVT 3687 - The US and the Middle East

GOVT3785 Civil Disobedience
This course examines controversies in the theory and history of civil disobedience. Do citizens have obligations to obey unjust laws? Can law breaking ever be civil rather than criminal? Do disruptive protests endanger democracy or strengthen the rule of law? How do acts of protest influence public opinion and policy? How is the distinction between violence and nonviolence politically constructed and contested? We will study classical writings and contemporary scholarship in pursuit of answers to these questions and related debates concerning the rule of law, conscientious objection, the uses of civility and incivility, punishment and responsibility, as well as whistleblowing, direct action, strikes, sabotage, hacktivism, and rioting.

Full details for GOVT 3785 - Civil Disobedience

GOVT3786 What is a People? The Social Contract and its Discontents
When Jean-Jacques Rousseau introduced the concept of the "general will" in his classic text The Social Contract, he made what was then an unprecedented and scandalous claim: that the people as a whole, and not an individual agent, could be the subject of political will and self-determination. This claim was all the more revolutionary in that historically "the people" [ie peuple] named those poor masses who had no political representation, and who were subjects of the state only to the extent that they were subject to the will of a sovereign monarch. What then is "the people," and how is it constituted as a collective subject? How does a people speak, or make its will known? Can that will be represented or institutionalized? Do all people belong to the people? How inclusive is the social contract? This course will examine crucial moments in the constitution of the people from the French Revolution to the present day, considering the crisis of political representation they have alternately exposed or engendered and the forms of the social contract to which they have given rise. Our discussions will range from major political events (the French and Haitian Revolutions, the Paris Commune, colonialism and decolonization, May '68) to contemporary debates around universalism, secularism, immigration, and "marriage for all". Readings by Rousseau, Robespierre, L'Ouverture, Michelet, Marx, Freud, Arendt, Balibar, and Rancière.

Full details for GOVT 3786 - What is a People? The Social Contract and its Discontents

GOVT3999 How Do You Know That?
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.

Full details for GOVT 3999 - How Do You Know That?

GOVT4000 Major Seminar
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. 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.

Full details for GOVT 4000 - Major Seminar

Fall, Spring.
GOVT4021 American Conservative Thought
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.

Full details for GOVT 4021 - American Conservative Thought

GOVT4218 History of the United States Senate
This course will offer students an opportunity to view the process of shaping national debates from the perspective of the United States Senate. The modern Senate will serve as the point of reference for an inquiry into the development of the institution's powers under the Constitution during the past 200 years. Class readings, lectures and discussions will focus on the themes of continuity and change, the role of individual senators, and the institutional evolution of the Senate. In addition to general class reading and written examinations, each student will write a short paper and participate in an oral presentation.

Full details for GOVT 4218 - History of the United States Senate

Fall, Spring.
GOVT4283 Latino Politics as Racial Politics
What are the social, policy, and political needs of the diverse Latino community? This seminar delves into the politics of resistance and solidarity of Latinxs/Hispanics in North America, with a primary focus on the U.S. political system. We commence by examining conceptual categorizations and definitions of the Latina/o/x population, pondering whether Latin@s should be regarded as a racial or ethnic group. Then, we follow with a historical survey of Latino migration to the U.S. and analyze how interlocking systems of oppression shape the material conditions and lived experiences of Latin@/x people. Ultimately, we conclude by analyzing Latino collective action to understand how they organize at the local, national, and transnational levels to confront systems of inequality. The class takes a relational approach, focusing on political and ethnoracial relations and their effects on U.S. political institutions and public policy. Themes we will explore encompass (im)migration, interethnic/racial relations, neoliberalism, mass incarceration and settler colonialism, and social movement's effects on policy outcomes.

Full details for GOVT 4283 - Latino Politics as Racial Politics

GOVT4503 Becoming a China Hand
China's prominence in the news cycle and policy discourse reflects the immense and growing tension in China's relations with the United States and other countries around the world. Substantively, there is hardly a profession or sector where what happens inside China does not touch upon or impact what happens outside China. Throughout this course, we will grapple with ongoing debates over China's rise and whether policies of engagement with China have succeeded or failed. These debates are unfolding in many different communities and idea marketplaces, across many different modes and styles of analysis and writing. Each of the reading and writing assignments are aimed at developing literacy and proficiency in three different modes of analysis and writing about China: academic, policy, and journalistic. While many courses provide introductions to different aspects of China, and many seminars examine more specialized questions at even deeper levels, there are few that directly invite students to examine and explore the different ways in which scholars and professionals have written about and come to understand China.

Full details for GOVT 4503 - Becoming a China Hand

GOVT4959 Honors Thesis: Research and Writing
GOVT 4959 is the second semester of honors thesis research, limited to students who have completed GOVT 4949 - Honors Seminar: Thesis Clarification and Research. There is no formal class meeting. Instead, students will work on their own, with their advisers and other faculty they may consult. Following the plan developed in the fall semester, they will proceed to gather and analyze data or texts, turning in thesis chapters to the adviser on a regular schedule that the student and adviser develop.

Full details for GOVT 4959 - Honors Thesis: Research and Writing

GOVT4998 Experiential Learning in Policy Making in Washington DC
The core course at Cornell in Washington is an experiential learning class that focuses on engaging with the professional experience of being in DC. Its primary purposes are to give students to build their understanding of their internship work by analyzing and reflecting on that work, understanding the context and structures of the policy and political world with which they are engaging, and learning and practicing the professional forms of writing that that world uses. This process occurs through readings, written assignments, guest speakers, and signature events.

Full details for GOVT 4998 - Experiential Learning in Policy Making in Washington DC

Fall, Spring.
GOVT4999 Undergraduate Independent Study
One-on-one tutorial arranged by the student with a faculty member of his or her choosing. Open to government majors doing superior work, and it is the responsibility of the student to establish the research proposal and to find a faculty sponsor. Applicants for independent study must present a well-defined program of study that cannot be satisfied by pursuing courses in the regularly scheduled curriculum. No more than 4 credits of independent study may count toward fulfillment of the major. Students who elect to continue taking this course for more than one semester must select a new theme or subject each semester. Credit can be given only for work that results in a satisfactory amount of writing. Emphasis is on the capacity to subject a body of related readings to analysis and criticism. Keep in mind that independent study cannot be used to fulfill the seminar requirement. The application form for independent study must be completed at the beginning of the semester in which the course is being taken.

Full details for GOVT 4999 - Undergraduate Independent Study

Fall, Spring.
GOVT6029 Advanced Regression Analysis
This course builds upon 6019, covering in detail the interpretation and estimation of multivariate linear regression models. We derive the Ordinary Least Squares estimator and its characteristics using matrix algebra and determine the conditions under which it achieves statistical optimality. We then consider the circumstances in social scientific contexts which commonly lead to assumption violations, and the detection and implications of these problems. This leads to modified regression estimators that can offer limited forms of robustness in some of these cases. Finally, we briefly introduce likelihood-based techniques that incorporate assumptions about the distribution of the response variable, focusing on logistic regression for binary dependent variables. Students are expected to produce a research paper built around a quantitative analysis that is suitable for presentation at a professional conference. Some time will be spent reviewing matrix algebra, and discussing ways to implement computations using statistical software.

Full details for GOVT 6029 - Advanced Regression Analysis

GOVT6053 Comparative Method in International and Comparative Politics
An in-depth, graduate-level introduction to qualitative and comparative methods of political analysis, with special emphasis on the application of these methods in comparative and international politics. Through readings, discussions, and written assignments, students will explore strategies for concept formation, theory construction, and theory testing, using the craft and tools of comparative political analysis.

Full details for GOVT 6053 - Comparative Method in International and Comparative Politics

GOVT6132 The Politics of Inequality in the United States
Economic inequality has been soaring in the United States since the 1970s, making the nation more unequal than it has been since the Gilded Age, and more unequal than any of the world's other wealthy democracies. How has government, politics, and public policy related to the emergence of such stark inequality? And to what extent has government and public policy managed to mitigate it? We will investigate these questions by examining the processes through which citizens seek to influence politics, the operation of government institutions, and specific policies. We will probe how rising economic inequality interacts with long-standing inequalities of race, ethnicity, and gender. Overall, the course analyzes whether such high rates of inequality can co-exist with democracy.

Full details for GOVT 6132 - The Politics of Inequality in the United States

GOVT6255 Freudo-Marxism: Theory and Praxis
Marx, never reading Freud, produced analysis of ideology and fetishism as class struggle; Freud, barely mentioning Marx, produced critique of socialism and communism. Freudo-Marxism began 1920s: Austria/Germany (Adler, Gross, Reich); Russia/USSR Bakhtin Circle (Vološinov). Subsequently: Fromm, Marcuse, Horkheimer, Adorno, Fanon, C. L. R. James, Lacan, Althusser, Timpanaro, Deleuze & Guattari, Derrida, Castoriadis, Kofman, Karatani, Žižek, Kordella, Butler—across frontiers. Recent titles: The Capitalist Unconscious (Tomsic), The Invention of the Symptom (Bruno), Marxism and Psychoanalysis (Pavon-Cuellar), Marxism in Latin America from 1909 to the Present (Löwy), Marx and Freud in Latin American Politics, Psychology, and Religion in Times of Terror (Bosteels), The Fetish Revisited: Marx, Freud, and the Gods Black People Make (Matory). We begin with Marx and Freud.

Full details for GOVT 6255 - Freudo-Marxism: Theory and Praxis

GOVT6304 Historical Analysis in Comparative Politics
This is a graduate seminar in political science on the application of historical analysis in comparative politics. The goals of the course are for students to understand the contemporary application of historical analysis in comparative politics and to familiarize themselves with current scholarly standards of such research, and then to produce research that meets those standards. Students will read and analyze peer-reviewed research (or near published research) on this topic each week and write a final research paper.

Full details for GOVT 6304 - Historical Analysis in Comparative Politics

GOVT6594 Comparative Political Behavior
This seminar examines public opinion and political behavior from a comparative perspective using primarily the tools of quantitative social science. We will focus on the intellectual evolution of the field, its core theoretical arguments and controversies, as well as emerging research questions.  The course proceeds thematically. Topics will include  political culture and value change, information processing and opinion formation, both conventional and unconventional forms of political participation, representation, and voter decision-making. Important methodological issues in the cross-national study of public opinion and political behavior are addressed in the context of these substantive questions.

Full details for GOVT 6594 - Comparative Political Behavior

GOVT6656 Topics in Social and Political Philosophy
Advanced discussion of a topic in social and political philosophy. Topic for Fall 2023: Race, Gender, and Technology. Topic for Spring 2024: Authority, Coercion, and the Rule of Law.

Full details for GOVT 6656 - Topics in Social and Political Philosophy

Fall, Spring.
GOVT6836 Gandhi's Politics
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is arguably the most consequential anti-imperialist, the most sophisticated advocate of non-violence, and one the shrewdest political tacticians in modern history. He was also an extraordinarily penetrating, complex, and elusive political thinker. In this seminar we will explore the conceptual foundations and theoretical development of Gandhi's politics in the context of Indian discourses of freedom, mass politics, and decolonization. Through an intensive study of Gandhi's writings, of the influences that shaped it, and of the interlocutors and critics in dialogue with whom he developed his ideas, we will explore the philosophical contours and global impacts of Gandhi's political thought.

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GOVT6857 International Political Economy
Exploration into a range of contemporary theories and research topics in the field of international political economy. The seminar covers different theoretical perspectives and a number of substantive problems.

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GOVT6885 Race, Empire, and Worldmaking
This seminar examines how different political theorists, actors, and groups from the Global South responded to systems of empire and global racial hierarchy by proposing alternative projects of worldmaking throughout the 20th century. Their proposals often went beyond the nation-state form and entailed the rethinking of alternative modes of sovereignty and self-determination, as well as the creation of new formations like confederations, overseas departments, and regional economic institutions. Bringing together scholarship from Political Theory and critical International Relations, the seminar engages with the work of a wide array of anticolonial and anti-racist activists and thinkers who aimed to transform the inequalities of the imperial order by imagining alternative social and political worlds, epistemologies, and visions of global justice.

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GOVT6897 International Security
This course will examine a variety of international relations theories in studying a broad range of security issues, including the causes of war, alliance formation, balance-of-power politics, security regimes, nuclear and conventional deterrence, the democratic peace, military strategy, international terrorism, and domestic constraints on the use of force. We will use a variety of theoretical perspectives to investigate these and other issues, paying particular attention to evaluating the theoretical arguments with both historical and systematic evidence. 

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GOVT6998 Experiential Learning in Policy Making in Washington, DC
The core course at Cornell in Washington is an experiential learning class that focuses on engaging with the professional experience of being in DC. Its primary purposes are to give students to build their understanding of their internship work by analyzing and reflecting on that work, understanding the context and structures of the policy and political world with which they are engaging, and learning and practicing the professional forms of writing that that world uses. This process occurs through readings, written assignments, guest speakers, and signature events.

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Fall, Spring.
GOVT7937 Proseminar in Peace Studies
The Proseminar in Peace Studies offers a multidisciplinary review of issues related to peace and conflict at the graduate level. The course is led by the director of the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies and is based on the Institute's weekly seminar series, featuring outside visitors and Cornell faculty. 

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GOVT7999 Independent Study
Individualized readings and research for graduate students. Topics, readings, and writing requirements are designed through consultation between the student and the instructor. Graduate students in government who are looking to use this as an option to fulfill their course requirements should check with their chairs to be certain that the program of study is acceptable for this purpose. Applications must be completed and signed by the instructor and by the chairs of their special committees. They are available from, and must be returned to, the graduate assistant in 212 White Hall.

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Fall, Spring.