Courses by semester

Courses for

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

Course ID Title Offered
GOVT1101 FWS: Power and Politics 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.

Full details for GOVT 1101 - FWS: Power and Politics

Fall, Spring.
GOVT1111 Introduction to American Government and Politics A policy-centered approach to the study of government in the American experience.  Considers the American Founding and how it influenced the structure of government;  how national institutions operate in shaping law and public policy; who has a voice in American politics and why some are more influential than others; and how existing public policies themselves influence social, economic, and political power.  Students will gain an introductory knowledge of the founding principles and structure of American government, political institutions, political processes, political behavior, and public policy.

Full details for GOVT 1111 - Introduction to American Government and Politics

Fall, Summer.
GOVT1503 Introduction to Africana Studies 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 the 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, to investigate through one or more of the disciplines relevant to the question, and to 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.
GOVT1623 The World of Modern Japan 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.

Full details for GOVT 1623 - The World of Modern Japan

Fall, Spring.
GOVT1817 Making Sense of World Politics An introduction to the basic concepts and practice of international politics with an emphasis on learning critical thinking.  The course is divided into two parts. In the first half, we will learn about different explanations.  In the second half, we will apply these explanations to a set of international events.  

Full details for GOVT 1817 - Making Sense of World Politics

Fall, Summer.
GOVT2225 Controversies About Inequality In recent years, poverty and inequality have become increasingly common topics of public debate, as academics, journalists, and politicians attempt to come to terms with growing income inequality, with the increasing visibility of inter-country differences in wealth and income, and with the persistence of racial, ethnic, and gender stratification. This course introduces students to ongoing social scientific debates about the sources and consequences of inequality, as well as the types of public policy that might appropriately be pursued to reduce (or increase) inequality. These topics will be addressed in related units, some of which include guest lectures by faculty from other universities (funded by the Center for the Study of Inequality). Each unit culminates with a highly spirited class discussion and debate.

Full details for GOVT 2225 - Controversies About Inequality

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

GOVT2274 Global Studies Gateway This overview course will take a thematic and interdisciplinary approach to major questions of our time, including health, development, migrations, security, technology, inequality, and innovation. We will explore issues that span international borders, and yet observe variation in unique places, contexts, and time periods.  The course endeavors to prepare students for the world through cultivating knowledge of different cultures, and deepening understanding of global affairs through innovative research.  We will think comparatively across major world regions, and work on issues that integrate specific regions within the larger international community. By applying multi-disciplinary knowledge from the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities, students will better understand the character of world regions, their respective trajectories, and the way those trajectories fit within the larger context of globalization.

Full details for GOVT 2274 - Global Studies Gateway

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

GOVT2553 Inside Europe This course will cover current events in Europe as they unfold during the semester. Each week the two meetings will features a "topic" day in which students learn about a current issue of importance for Europe and a "analytical" day in which we see how social science tools and methods can help us better understand that issue. Faculty from across the university will be invited  to deepen students' understanding of elections, European Union actions and debates, refugee issues, security issues, and other relevant political and social events occurring in Europe. The course will respond flexibly to unforeseen events, teach students to become intelligent consumer of high quality news sources on Europe, expose students to different points of view on these issues, and introduce them to relevant social science theories and methods.  (CP)

Full details for GOVT 2553 - Inside Europe

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

GOVT3032 Politics of Public Policy in the U.S. 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.  

Full details for GOVT 3032 - Politics of Public Policy in the U.S.

GOVT3071 Enduring Global and American Issues The US and the global community face a number of complex, interconnected and enduring issues that pose challenges for our political and policy governance institutions and society at large.  Exploring how the US and the world conceive of the challenges and take action on them is fundamental to understanding them.  This course investigates such issues, especially ones that fit into the critically important areas of sustainability, social justice, technology, public health and globalization, security and conflict, among others. Students will engage with these areas and issues and the challenges they pose, using multiple frameworks and approaches, through weekly class discussions and lectures."

Full details for GOVT 3071 - Enduring Global and American Issues

Fall, Spring, Summer.
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

GOVT3121 Crime and Punishment This is a class about the American criminal justice system—from policing to prisons, from arrest to reentry. In many ways, the operation of the modern criminal justice system is taken for granted, which frequently allows it to escape close scrutiny. But we will examine it in great detail, with a focus on how it came about, how it sustains itself, its many roles in society (only some of which involve crime and justice), and how and why it may be changing. In Spring 21, the class will take a particular look at policing and examine the calls for police reform and abolition. NB: This class is designed to challenge your settled assumptions and dearly held myths about what is right and wrong with the system. Those who have made up their mind about criminal justice in America should not take the course. This class was formerly GOVT 3141, PRISONS, taught by Prof. Margulies. It has been renamed and renumbered as GOVT 3121 to distinguish it from the distance learning course taught by Prof. Katzenstein.

Full details for GOVT 3121 - Crime and Punishment

GOVT3251 Health Equity, Politics and Policy COVID-19 did not affect everyone equally. In fact, the opposite is true: the pandemic exposed dramatic health inequities by race, class, gender, and other factors. Not only were some groups more likely to catch and die from the virus than others, these same groups disproportionately suffered from its economic and social fallout, too. In the wake of this devastation, this course examines health (in)equities and what we can do about them. We explore what health equity means and how politics, policy, and power shape it -- both over time and across countries. Students will investigate how a wide range of social determinants (in addition to public health and health care systems) configure differences in health status across demographic groups. Three key touchstones of the class will be (1) a series of "deep dives" into specific policy areas, such as housing and environmental health, maternal and child health, and mental health and well-being (2) a consistent emphasis on politics, markets, and power (3) substantive opportunities for students to actively engage in health equity efforts beyond the classroom.

Full details for GOVT 3251 - Health Equity, Politics and Policy

GOVT3281 Constitutional Politics This course investigates the United States Supreme Court and its role in politics and government. It traces the development of constitutional doctrine, the growth of the Court's institutional power, and the Court's interaction with Congress, the president, and society. Discussed are major constitutional law decisions, their political contexts, and the social and behavioral factors that affect judges, justices, and federal court jurisprudence.

Full details for GOVT 3281 - Constitutional Politics

GOVT3294 Post-Truth Politics We are in an era of unprecedented access to information via digital news, the internet, and social media. This also comes with significant misinformation — for example, in 2016, Oxford Dictionaries named 'post-truth' as its word of the year. Yet how prevalent is fake news, and how has this shaped modern politics? To what extent do "echo chambers" or the "backfire effect" exist as a result of social media, and are they interfering with our ability to separate fact from fiction? The course will first define the challenges faced, using examples of how misinformation affected elections both historically and recently in the US, the UK, and Europe. It will survey academic studies in political behavior that analyze both how individuals consume political information from social media, and how partisanship and polarization are making the problem worse. The course will conclude by discussing the nascent policy solutions to combat the spread of fake news — from Facebook's crowdsourcing initiatives to France's proposed legislation regarding election campaigns. Through readings, discussions, and written assignments, students will learn how to better evaluate evidence when it comes to politics and policy.

Full details for GOVT 3294 - Post-Truth Politics

GOVT3303 Politics of the Global North From a perspective based on comparative political economy, this course examines pressing contemporary issues such as the politics of growing inequality.  We consider conflicts around markets, democracy, economic and social justice, including the efforts of actors such as governments and labor unions aimed at economic recovery, reducing inequality, and the reform of national and global economic policy and institutions.  We also look at distinctive types of political and economic organization, especially in Europe and the United States, and the capacities of these societies to meet current economic, political, and social challenges, both domestic and international.

Full details for GOVT 3303 - Politics of the Global North

GOVT3313 Middle East Politics What explains authoritarian resilience in the Middle East? What are the causes and consequences of Islamist political attitudes and behavior? What is the historical legacy of colonialism and empire in the Middle East? This course will offer students the opportunity to discuss these and other questions related to the political, social, and economic development of the Middle East and North Africa.

Full details for GOVT 3313 - Middle East Politics

GOVT3354 Transformation of Socialist Societies Three decades from the fall of the Berlin Wall, we have gained broad perspective on the challenges of societal transformations away from socialism.  This course explores the process and social consequences of opening the economies of Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and China to market forces.  We will answer questions about how individuals and social systems respond to the particular challenges of rapid economic and political openings, including growing inequality, demographic challenges, and corruption.  We will compare the Eastern European and Post-Soviet experiences of these issues with the Chinese experience, and highlight the similarities and distinctions between transformations in these societies.

Full details for GOVT 3354 - Transformation of Socialist Societies

GOVT3437 Politics of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a major player in international politics. Despite this, it remains unclear whether the EU is ultimately an international organization, a state in the making, or an entirely new format to organize politics. No matter the ultimate verdict, its existence has significantly altered the state system on the European continent, and has challenged traditional concepts such as nationhood and sovereignty in a globalized world. This course provides an overview of the political system of the EU and its underlying policy-making processes. It analyses the roles and functioning of its core institutions and key stakeholders, as well as considering the unique interaction between politics at the EU and national levels in Europe. The course also engages with fundamental questions as to the democratic credentials of the EU and its capacity to adapt to political crises. Throughout the course we will consider and reflect on parallels with the American political system.

Full details for GOVT 3437 - Politics of the European Union

GOVT3494 Special Topics in Regional Development and Globalization This course addresses pertinent issues relative to the subject of regional development and globalization. Topics vary each semester.

Full details for GOVT 3494 - Special Topics in Regional Development and Globalization

Fall, Spring.
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

GOVT3683 Comparative Corruption Corruption, and the perception of corruption, pervades many aspects of society and has become a source of political protest around the world. This course focuses on the similarities and differences between forms, causes, and effects of corruption in various environments. The course starts with a discussion of the definitions, causes, and effects of corruption across countries, and then turns to particular forms and contexts where corruption is observed: for example, developed and developing countries, conflict-ridden societies, and international investment. We will also discuss some of the potential solutions to corruption and their costs and benefits for political and civil society.

Full details for GOVT 3683 - Comparative Corruption

GOVT3705 Political Theory and Cinema 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.

Full details for GOVT 3705 - Political Theory and Cinema

Fall or Spring.
GOVT3737 Human Conflict: From Existential Clash to Coexistence in Israel-Palestine Throughout human history, and its modern incarnation, communities have clashed just as often as states. This course sheds light on ethnic communities and conflicts, explicating their historical dynamics and social intricacies. What are ethnic identities and how do they emerge? What distinguishes ethnic identity from other social identities, such as religious and ideological identities? When does ethnicity mature into ethnonationalism, and why and how does it propel conflict and political violence? What are the possible ways to prevent, manage, transform and resolve ethnic conflicts? We shall address these and related questions drawing on key insights from various disciplines, focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian.

Full details for GOVT 3737 - Human Conflict: From Existential Clash to Coexistence in Israel-Palestine

GOVT3745 Nineteenth and Twentieth Century European Thought Survey of European social theory from Hegel to Foucault (via Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Weber, and the Frankfurt School).

Full details for GOVT 3745 - Nineteenth and Twentieth Century European Thought

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

GOVT3805 Israeli Politics We are all the living dead – alive but bound to die, and know it. In this course we will learn how existential fears and anxieties shape our politics, partly through moral meaning-making. While the politics of fear is on the rise worldwide, Israel has seen it long ago. Throughout its existence, Israel has grown strong, but its existential fears have not subsided. Israel, moreover, can teach us about the role of freedom and morality in politics. Israel's existential fears, alongside the realization of choice, has prompted Zionists to seek existential legitimation. In recent years, however, a growing frustration at attainting such legitimacy has fostered "bad faith politics," substituting freedom with a sense of "no choice."

Full details for GOVT 3805 - Israeli Politics

GOVT3967 What is China? China is often thought of as being isolated from the outside world. It is imagined as existing in historic seclusion, and, following the establishment of the People's Republic, as pursuing a path of autarky. Such separation has then only been somewhat modified by the set of economic reforms that Deng Xiaoping first instituted in the late 1970s. In this lecture we will seek to turn such conventional wisdom on its head through examining "what China is" via a consideration of transnational currents within the country's development. However, the course's primary focus will not be upon the past, but rather the present and attempting to determine just where the point of intersection between China and the rest of the world is. Coming to terms with such an issue will provide those who enroll in the class with a deeper, more nuanced, understanding of China's rise and this trend's implications for the rest of the world. We will accomplish this task through a combination of surveying the existing literature on China and transnational politics, and considering new theoretical perspectives on both.  

Full details for GOVT 3967 - What is China?

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. 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.

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

Fall, Spring.
GOVT4022 Politics, Media and Popular Culture This course explores how a rapidly changing media environment and popular cultural are changing American governance and popular perceptions of democratic institutions. The course examines more than eighty years of American political history through the lens of television and film and analyzes our contemporary politics in which a presidency seemingly guided by "Reality TV" strategies - and responses to them - has blurred the line between entertainment and political discourse. The course will focus on cultural treatment of presidential elections against the backdrop of the 2020 campaign.

Full details for GOVT 4022 - Politics, Media and Popular Culture

GOVT4283 Latino Politics as Racial Politics This class will examine the history and contemporary role of Latinos as a minority group in the U.S. political system. This course is intended as an overview of the political position of Latinos y Latinas in the United States. We place special emphasis on how Latinos became racial group which allows us to focus on political relationships between Latinos and non-Latinos as they relate to political institutions, political parties, voting coalitions, representation and public policy.

Full details for GOVT 4283 - Latino Politics as Racial Politics

GOVT4543 Fascism, Nationalism and Populism This course a offers comparative political sociology of democratic and non-democratic institutions in the United States and beyond. Topics will include nationalism, fascism and populism. My focus will be contemporary politics but we will also look at historical fascism. Students will write seminar papers that are based on class exercises.  It will be a hands-on seminar with multiple course materials—scholarly articles, films, novels, and the occasional guest lecturer.

Full details for GOVT 4543 - Fascism, Nationalism and Populism

GOVT4827 China, Tibet and Xinjiang Seminar intended to examine the increasingly complex relationship that has evolved between China and the rest of the international system, with particular focus on the rise of Chinese nationalism and the extent to which those in Tibet, Xinjiang, and, to a lesser extent, Taiwan, are contesting such a trend. In so doing, the course emphasizes the interrelated, yet often contradictory, challenges facing Beijing in regards to the task of furthering the cause of national unity while promoting policies of integration with international society and interdependence with the global economy.

Full details for GOVT 4827 - China, Tibet and Xinjiang

GOVT4949 Honors Seminar: Thesis Clarification and Research This seminar creates a structured environment in which honors students will examine different  research approaches and methods and construct a research design for their own theses—a thesis proposal that probes a new or inadequately researched question of importance to the discipline of political science or political theory. Apart from being a thesis writing workshop, the honors research class serves as a capstone course giving an overview of the different topics and methods addressed by students of politics. Members of the class will do extensive reading in published work relevant to their topics, and write a critical summary of that literature. Each member of the class will present their research design and central question(s) to the class for constructive criticism. By the end of the class, each honors student will have written the first chapter of the thesis, including the statement of the question, literature review, key definitions, methodology, and identification of data source(s). They will be working closely with an individual faculty adviser, as well as interacting with the research class. Students are strongly encouraged to examine some past honors theses on reserve at Kroch library in order to get an idea of the standards a government thesis must meet.

Full details for GOVT 4949 - Honors Seminar: Thesis Clarification and Research

GOVT4998 Inquiry in Politics and Policy This required course forms the core of the Cornell in Washington academic program. The foundational skill of both politics and policy is taking knowledge, analyzing it, figuring out how to convert it into action. This course aims to give students the experience and understanding of how this process of knowledge into action works. Students will undertake a substantial research project in a topic related to or affected by politics and/or policy (broadly defined), and examine it through a variety of approaches and disciplines. The main goal is to understand the issue, analyze what is going on, and evaluate what options are available to respond.  The idea is to not only define and examine the issue, but also think how to create and implement a solution. To do this, students will examine their issue using multiple different forms of inquiry (normative, empirical, and policy analysis) to see what each of those reveal as well as to see how the choice of how they investigate it shapes their results. CAPS students must do a topic that is related to Asia. GPHS students must do a topic that is related to public health.

Full details for GOVT 4998 - Inquiry in Politics and Policy

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.
GOVT6019 Introduction to Probability and Applied Statistics 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.

Full details for GOVT 6019 - Introduction to Probability and Applied Statistics

GOVT6031 Field Seminar in American Politics The major issues, approaches, and institutions of American government and the various subfields of American politics are introduced. The focus is on both substantive information and theoretical analysis, plus identification of big questions that have animated the field.

Full details for GOVT 6031 - Field Seminar in American Politics

GOVT6132 The Politics of Inequality in the United States Economic inequality has been soaring in the United States since the 1970s, making it as unequal as it was during the Gilded Age, and more unequal than any of the world's other wealthy nations today that are considered democracies. Can representative governance survive, in any meaningful way, amid such disparity between citizens? How does economic inequality interact with long-standing inequalities of race, ethnicity, and gender? The course addresses these questions by investigating how rising inequality influences and is affected by: the processes through which citizens seek to influence the political process; the operation of governing institutions and processes; and public policy.

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

GOVT6215 Michel Foucault: Sovereignty to BioPolitics This course will explore the ways in which Michel Foucault's oeuvre transitions from a concern with sovereignty to a preoccupation with biopolitics. Foucault's early work (one understands that there is no absolute Foucaultian division into "sovereignty" and "biopolitics"), such as "Madness and Civilization," attends to the structure, the construction and the force of the institution – the birth of asylum, the prison, while his later career takes up the question of, for want of a better term, "political efficiency." That is, Foucault offers a critique of sovereignty insofar as sovereignty is inefficient (neither the sovereign nor sovereign power can be everywhere; certainly not everywhere it needs or wants to be; ubiquity is impossible, even/especially for a project such as sovereignty) while biopower is not. Biopower marks this recognition; in place of sovereignty biopower "devolves" to the individual subject the right, always an intensely political phenomenon, to make decisions about everyday decisions – decisions about health, sexuality, "lifestyle." In tracing the foucaultian trajectory from sovereignty to biopower we will read the major foucaultian texts – "Madness and Civilization," "Birth of the Prison," "History of Sexuality" as well as the various seminars where Foucault works out important issues.

Full details for GOVT 6215 - Michel Foucault: Sovereignty to BioPolitics

GOVT6246 Psychoanalysis and Historical Transmission This seminar will study the problem of transmission in psychoanalysis, with an emphasis on its stakes for political history and theory. Freud's Moses and Monotheism addresses the unconscious and intersubjective dimensions of the act that founds a people, which "imprints" itself on the people in ways that exceed the framework of allegiance. "How", he asks of Moses, "did one single man come to stamp his people with its definite character and determine its fate for millennia to come?" This transmission is further remarkable in being non-linear, discontinuous, distorted by repression, skipping many generations and crossing continents, but imposing itself nonetheless. My hypothesis is that Freud's argument might shed light on one of the central problems of political theory: the status of what Rousseau calls "the act by which a people is a people. "The act as psychoanalysis understands it is not something we can know, interpret, or anticipate, but something by which we are "struck" both psychically and in the body, where it leaves its traces or impressions. What then is involved in being "struck" by the act of another, and how might it help us to understand the stakes of the act for those who receive it? What role do the unconscious and the body play in the subjectivation of the people and the transmission of its legacy? We will read psychoanalytic texts alongside works of political theory by Rousseau, Marx, CLR James, Du Bois, Arendt, Derrida, Rancière, Zizek, and Badiou.

Full details for GOVT 6246 - Psychoanalysis and Historical Transmission

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

GOVT6273 War and The State in Comparative Perspective 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, the Middle East, and the United States.

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GOVT6284 Culture, Religion, and Politics What types of political outcomes can religion and culture help explain? What political and social factors affect religious identity and institutions? This course is designed to provide graduate students with an overview of theoretical approaches to the study of religion and culture in the social sciences. This course has three objectives. First, students will be able to identify traditional ways in which religion and culture have been theorized and operationalized in political science. Second, students will use empirical evidence to evaluate these theories and measurement strategies and assess potential threats to inference. Finally, students will complete their own research project on the relationship between politics and religion.

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GOVT6344 Natural Experiments This course provides an overview of design-based inference and experimental methods, with a focus on historical political economy. Each week presents the foundations of new method, along with innovative applications. Students will leave the course with a better understanding of methodologies such as regression discontinuity design, instrumental variables, differences-in-differences, and quasi versus natural experiments; as well as applications using plausibly exogenous geographic, climatic, or economic shocks, and potentially endogenous historical institutions.

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GOVT6353 Field Seminar in Comparative Politics This course provides a graduate-level survey of the field of comparative politics, introducing students to classic works as well as recent contributions that build upon those works. Readings will draw from leading theoretical approaches-including structural, institutional, rational choice, and cultural perspectives-and cover a broad range of substantive topics, such as democratization, authoritarianism, states and civil society, political economy, and political participation and representation.

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GOVT6365 Political Theories of Comparison, Creolization, Decolonization Recent years have seen political theorists grappling with the afterlives of colonialism by engaging in projects of comparison, decolonization, and creolization, among others. This course presents an overview of these projects in order to gauge the similarities, differences, and tensions between them. Do the tasks and methodologies of these "turns" make them allies, alternatives or antagonists in their efforts to stretch and expand the boundaries of political theory?

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GOVT6619 Text and Networks in Social Science Research This is a course on networks and text in quantitative social science. The course will cover published research using text and social network data, focusing on health, politics, and everyday life, and it will introduce methods and approaches for incorporating high-dimensional data into familiar research designs. Students will evaluate past studies and propose original research.

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GOVT6656 Topics in Social and Political Philosophy Advanced discussion of a topic in social and political philosophy.

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GOVT6816 Hannah Arendt This is a recurring seminar on the political theory of Hannah Arendt, which combines close reading of a rotating selection of her works (it is not a comprehensive survey) with intensive reconstruction of the intellectual and political settings in which she wrote, as well as some consideration of the subsequent reception and criticism of her thought in political theory and related fields.  

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GOVT6827 China, Tibet and Xinjiang This seminar is intended to examine the increasingly complex relationship that has evolved between China and the rest of the international system, with particular focus on the rise of Chinese nationalism and the extent to which those in Tibet, Xinjiang, and, to a lesser extent, Taiwan, are contesting such a trend. In so doing, the course emphasizes the interrelated, yet often contradictory, challenges facing Beijing in regards to the task of furthering the cause of national unity while promoting policies of integration with international society and interdependence with the global economy.  

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GOVT7998 Independent Study - PIRIP

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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.