Courses - Spring 2019

GOVT 1101 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.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Whitney Taylor (wkt9)
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GOVT 1313 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.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Nicolas van de Walle (nv38)
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GOVT 1503 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.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Siba Grovogui (sng52)
Full details for GOVT 1503 : Introduction to Africana Studies
GOVT 1615 Introduction to Political Theory

This course offers a survey of political theory in the West. We will examine some of the persistent dilemmas of politics and the attempts of several canonical political theorists to respond to them: Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, and Nietzsche. In each case, we will attend to the particular crises these theorists addressed in their work—such as imperialism, the European wars of religion, the English Civil War, the French Revolution, and industrial capitalism—as well as the broader philosophical and political issues they continue to pose to us now. Our approach will be both historical and conceptual, providing students with an understanding of political theory as a distinctive form of political inquiry.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Patchen Markell (ppm48)
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GOVT 1623 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.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Kristin Roebuck (kar79)
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GOVT 1901 Discussions of Justice

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.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Alex Esposito (ave9)
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GOVT 2041 Electoral (mal)practice

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.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Bryce Corrigan (bec74)
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GOVT 2152 (Im)migration and (Im)migrants: Then and Now

One in ten residents of the United States was born outside the country. These people include international students, temporary workers, refugees, asylees, permanent residents, naturalized U.S. citizens and undocumented migrants. The arrival of these newcomers affects the cultural, economic, political and social dynamics of the country. Since immigration shows no signs of slowing down—in the United States or in many other nations of the world—the causes, consequences and repercussions of immigration will be one of the most important topics of the 21- century. Therefore this class will examine the history and contemporary role of immigration in the U.S. political system. The class will focus on two aspects of immigration: First, a historical examination of immigration policy from the founding of the country all the way forward to the current debate over immigration reform. Second, we will evaluate and assess the political incorporation and political participation of immigrant groups in the U.S. and determine whether immigrants are being incorporated, and if not, why? We will reflect on many important questions including the costs and benefits of immigration, issues related to civil rights and civil liberties, and finally propose our own ideas and solutions to the current immigration reform debate.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Sergio Garcia-Rios (sig35)
Full details for GOVT 2152 : (Im)migration and (Im)migrants: Then and Now
GOVT 2673 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.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ziad Fahmy (zaf3)
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GOVT 2807 Islam and Politics: Between an Islamic State and Daily Life

In the early twentieth century, a series of movements arose in the Middle East and South Asia, calling Muslims to return to Islam. Today, leaders and members of such groups –now known as Islamists –insist that one cannot live a fully Islamic life in the absence of an Islamic state. How and why did these movements come to focus on building an Islamic state? When did Islam come to be seen as indivisible from Politics, and what does it mean for Islam and Politics to be related? Are contemporary claims to Islam as the basis for political action consistent with the ways in which Muslims have understood their core texts historically? This course will introduce students to the study of Religion and Politics in Islamic History, beginning with the early Islamic community under the rule of the Prophet Muhammad, stretching through a period of rule that saw multiple Islamic Caliphates, and finally, reaching the present day. The bulk of this course, however, will focus on the diverse ways in which Muslims in the twentieth and twenty first centuries have laid claim to their religion as a template for political and social action. In particular, it will push students to consider how Muslim men and women live religion in their daily lives, whether through dress, prayer, or facial hair, and how these claims to religion shape political systems from the ground up.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Aaron Rock-Singer (awr57)
Full details for GOVT 2807 : Islam and Politics: Between an Islamic State and Daily Life
GOVT 3071 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."

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Silbey (ds90)
Full details for GOVT 3071 : Enduring Global and American Issues
GOVT 3112 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.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Bateman (dab465)
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GOVT 3121 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.  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.

Distribution: (KCM-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Joseph Margulies (jm347)
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GOVT 3131 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.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Dawn Chutkow (dmc66)
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GOVT 3142 Incarceration, Policy Response, and Self-Reflection

This class is intended to provoke some hard thinking about the relationship of committed "outsiders" and advocates of change to the experience of crime, punishment, and incarceration and to the men we meet at Auburn/Cayuga who have been in most instances long-confined to prison. We will read, think, talk and write about the incarceration experience and about policies that shape this experience. We will also think self-reflexively about the character of the 'outsider's' educational, political, and personal engagement. What are the motivations and what are the goals of such engagement? What are the anticipated outcomes – personal, social, educational, political, and/or moral and perhaps spiritual? In an effort to delve deeply into these questions, we will read a broad selection of work on incarceration, itself, as well as on the experience of what has come to be termed service learning or civic engagement. (AM)  

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Maria Reed (mar453)
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GOVT 3401 Refugees and the Politics of Vulnerability: Intersections of Feminist Theory and Practice

Topic Spring 2019: Child Refugees and Politics: Children comprised 52 percent of the worldwide refugee population of 68.5 million in 2017. Traveling with families as well as unaccompanied, they appear in media accounts as the most vulnerable and at risk of all refugees. In this course, we will consider to what degree this assignation of vulnerability, often corresponding with victimhood, shapes the journeys and lives of refugee children. We will use the growing body of feminist scholarship on vulnerability in law, philosophy, migration studies, and other fields to investigate how "vulnerability" creates categories of worthy and unworthy victims. In the U.S., for example, images of babies and toddlers being separated from Central American parents prompted outrage. Yet images of teenage boys in makeshift tents in the New Mexico desert went largely uncovered. At what age does a child no longer deserve sympathy and protection? In what ways does vulnerability overshadow children's agency? How might vulnerability be rearticulated so as to address children's specific needs, at different ages? Our main focus will be Central American and Mexican children crossing into the U.S. at the southern border, but we will make comparisons to other groups throughout the world.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jane Juffer (jaj93)
Full details for GOVT 3401 : Refugees and the Politics of Vulnerability: Intersections of Feminist Theory and Practice
GOVT 3443 Southeast Asian Politics

This course will give students the historical background and theoretical tools to understand the politics of Southeast Asia, one of the world's most diverse and fascinating regions. The first part of the course traces Southeast Asia's political development from the colonial period to the present day, examining common themes such as decolonization, state building, war and insurgency, ethnic relations, democratization, economic development, and nationalism. The second part of the course focuses on key issues in contemporary Southeast Asian politics, including political culture, representation and mass politics, globalization, regional politics, and civil violence. Our course will concentrate primarily but not exclusively on the six largest countries in the region-Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam-using the comparative method to understand variation across time, across countries, and within countries.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Thomas Pepinsky (tp253)
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GOVT 3503 Becoming a China Hand

This seminar examines the various issues that surround being a specialist of one of the world's most complex and exciting places. The course will first look at the various groups of people that have been China Hands, including missionaries, academics, businesspeople, journalists, and government officials. One central theme is the continual conflict between being a country specialist and gaining an understanding of the broader world. The second part of the class considers the strategies for going into the field and doing research on China, including finding a host and making connections, using written sources (electronic and printed), conducting interviews, and implementing formal surveys. The last segment of the class considers the charge that China Hands are prone to self-censorship because of ideological affinity.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jessica Weiss (jcw335)
Full details for GOVT 3503 : Becoming a China Hand
GOVT 3566 Critical Theories of Power

This seminar will provide an overview of four key figures in political theory: Marx, Gramsci, Foucault, and Fanon. The focal theme of the course is power. Some of the questions we will grapple with include: What is the relationship between state and society, between power and knowledge, between intellectuals and the people? Is history driven by ideas or economic forces? What is the meaning of exploitation? How are consent and coercion reproduced, and which is more effective? Does power enable or obstruct consciousness of one's condition? What are the constitutive effects of power on subject formation? What does revolution look like? These texts are rich, and so a wide range of concepts are engaged with, including class formation and class struggle, alienation, dialectics, ideology, hegemony, discourse, subjectivity, and emancipation.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Begum Adalet (ba375)
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GOVT 3683 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.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Patricia Young (pty6)
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GOVT 4000 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.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jeremy Wallace (jlw397)
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GOVT 4021 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.

Distribution: (KCM-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Richard Bensel (rfb2)
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GOVT 4279 The Animal

In recent years literary representations and philosophical discussions of the status of the animal vis-à-vis the human have abounded.  In this course, we will track the literary phenomenology of animality.  In addition we will read philosophical texts that deal with the questions of animal rights and of the metaphysical implications of the "animal."  Readings may include, among others, Agamben, Aristotle, Berger, the Bible, Calvino, Coetzee, Darwin, Derrida, Descartes, Donhauser, Gorey, Haraway, Hegel, Heidegger, Herzog, Kafka, Kant, La Mettrie, de Mandeville, Montaigne, Nietzsche, Ozeki, Rilke, Schopenhauer, Singer, Sorabji, Sterchi, Stevens, de Waal, Wittgenstein, Wolfe.  A reading knowledge of German and French would be helpful.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Peter Gilgen (pg33)
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GOVT 4451 Making Science Policy: The Real World

This course focuses on what happens when science meet the policy-making world. We will discuss theoretical and empirical studies in Science & Technology Studies that analyze the interactions between science, society and politics. We will specifically investigate the mechanisms by which science may impact policy-making by focusing on: the rise of science diplomacy, initiatives to use science in order to further development goals, and efforts to produce evidence-based foreign policy. We will also focus on currently hotly debated political issues in government affairs, including the politization and militarization of space, the rise of big data, the politics of climate change, and the construction of border walls. As part of this course we will hear from experts in the federal government on how they attempt to integrate science into the everyday workings of governance.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christine Leuenberger (cal22)
Full details for GOVT 4451 : Making Science Policy: The Real World
GOVT 4655 Topics in Social and Political Philosophy

Advanced discussion of topics in social and political philosophy.

Distribution: (KCM-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Richard Miller (rwm5)
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GOVT 4723 Peace Building in Conflict Regions: Case Studies Sub-Saharan Africa Israel Palestinian Territories

This course focuses on issues of conflict, peace, and reconciliation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories as well as Sub-Saharan Africa. Both regions exemplify how issues ranging from nationalism and ethnocentrism to land, water and resource management, climate change and migration, as well as socio-psychological dynamics, can exacerbate conflicts. At the same time, these regions also exemplify how trans-border collaboration and regional integration, civilian peace building efforts, strategies for achieving historical justice, as well as science education and science diplomacy can become crucial tools for long-term peace-building, reconciliation and development. In this course we will work with and discuss issues of peace and conflict with policy-makers and local stakeholders involved in peace-building efforts.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christine Leuenberger (cal22)
Full details for GOVT 4723 : Peace Building in Conflict Regions: Case Studies Sub-Saharan Africa Israel Palestinian Territories
GOVT 4769 Spinoza and the New Spinozism

Spinoza was excommunicated, wrote under death threats, and has remained a scandal to philosophy, psychoanalysis, politics, ethics, literature. "Every philosopher has two philosophies, his own and Spinoza's" (Bergson); and "the savage anomaly" (Negri) exerted profound influence on Marx, Nietzsche, Freud. We will introduce Spinoza and his legacy, from the "atheism controversy" in the eighteenth century to today's "New Spinozists," who have been developing anti-Kantian and anti-Hegelian formulations of burning contemporary questions. With Spinoza, we ask: "What is freedom, and whose power does it serve?" (Leo Strauss)-especially if "The new world system, the ultimate third stage of capitalism is for us the absent totality, Spinoza's God or Nature, the ultimate (indeed perhaps the only) referent, the true ground of Being in our time" (Jameson).

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Geoffrey Waite (gcw1)
Full details for GOVT 4769 : Spinoza and the New Spinozism
GOVT 4786 The Holocaust in Postwar Culture (1945-1961)

There is an astonishing discrepancy between our perception of the Holocaust as a central event of the twentieth century and its marginal place in postwar culture.  It is during those years, nevertheless, that the destruction of European Jews aroused an intellectual debate whose philosophical, political, and literary contributions constitute landmarks for contemporary culture and criticism.  The course will explore the reasons for such a discrepancy, reconstructing the steps of the integration of the Holocaust into our historical consciousness.  It will analyze some of the most significant attempts to think such a trauma made by German-Jewish exiles (Arendt, Adorno, Anders), the survivors of the Nazi camps (Améry, Levi, Celan, Antelme), as well as the public intellectuals on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean (Sartre, Bataille, MacDonald, etc).

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Enzo Traverso (vt225)
Full details for GOVT 4786 : The Holocaust in Postwar Culture (1945-1961)
GOVT 4816 Space, Territory, Politics

This course examines the role of space and geography in shaping political projects, imaginaries, and subjectivities. We will approach the question of space from multiple scales (urban, national, transnational) and address topics such as the relationship between cities and mobility, circulation and sovereignty, territory and governance, anarchism and geography, land and inequality, infrastructure and resistance. The readings will bring political theory in conversation with political economy, architecture, geography and urban studies, including writings by Henri Lefebvre, David Harvey, Michel de Certeau, Doreen Massey, Michel Foucault, James Scott, Kristin Ross, Keller Easterling, Eyal Weizman. 

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Begum Adalet (ba375)
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GOVT 4835 Pluralism and Political Authority

This seminar considers new directions in thinking about political authority that focus on the claims of non-state groups. It considers leading 20th century political theorists who have recognized authority to be plural and contested as well as those who have resisted this characterization. We explore contemporary scholarship about religious groups that claim authority over their members, Indigenous peoples that claim authority over lands and resources, and employers that claim authority over workers by imposing their own rules and norms even if these depart from ones endorsed by the state. The aim is to understand where legitimate authority comes from, how it is enacted, and what role (if any) it plays in shaping the identities of those who are subject to it.  

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Avigail Eisenberg (aie26)
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GOVT 4846 Equality

This seminar inquires into the interrelations among three meanings of equality that initially appeared in the ancient world: equality before the law, isonomia; equality of voice or participation, isegoria; and equality of power, isokratia. Tacking back and forth between ancient texts and contemporary materials in law and analytic and continental political philosophy, this course will explore how these different practices of equality circulate and interact in popular and institutional (judicial and legislative) settings marked by historical injustice, scarce resources, and asymmetries of wealth and power. This seminar will include texts by Herodotus, Plato, Aristotle, Ta-Nehisi Coates, John Rawls, Bernard Williams, Amartya Sen, Danielle Allen, Etienne Balibar, among others, probing the meaning of equality.

Distribution: (KCM-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jill Frank (jf725)
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GOVT 4959 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.

Academic Career: UG Full details for GOVT 4959 : Honors Thesis: Research and Writing
GOVT 4999 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.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Bateman (dab465)
Full details for GOVT 4999 : Undergraduate Independent Study
GOVT 6029 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.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Sergio Garcia-Rios (sig35)
Julie George (jg2268)
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GOVT 6031 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.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Douglas Kriner (dlk265)
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GOVT 6045 Law and Literature

What can lawyers and judges learn from the study of literature? This course explores the relevance of imaginative literature (novels, drama, poetry, and film) to questions of law and social justice from a range of perspectives. We will consider debates about how literature can help to humanize legal decision-making; how storytelling has helped to give voice to oppressed populations over history; how narratives of suffering cultivate popular support for human rights; the role played by storytelling in a trial; and how literature can shed light on the limits of law and public policy.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Elizabeth Anker (esa52)
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GOVT 6053 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.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Gustavo Flores-Macias (gaf44)
Full details for GOVT 6053 : Comparative Method in International and Comparative Politics
GOVT 6069 Causal Inference

In this seminar we study the assumptions and estimators that can estimate causal effects in the social sciences, with particular emphasis on addressing effect heterogeneity and robustness to assumption failures. Applications include all of those studied in previous quantitative social science courses, but we will consider examples in the study of turnout, campaign effects, educational differences, and welfare policy.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Bryce Corrigan (bec74)
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GOVT 6079 Advanced Topics Mini-Course

In this 7-week seminar we elaborate social statistics topics only briefly covered in earlier courses, depending on student research interests. Example broad approaches could include Bayesian or nonparametric methods, and more specific applications could include textual analysis, survival analysis, structural equation modeling, and growth curve models. Students are encouraged to attend the first organizational meeting of the course to discuss possible foci.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Bryce Corrigan (bec74)
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GOVT 6132 The Politics of Inequality in the United States
Academic Career: GR Instructor: Suzanne Mettler (sbm24)
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GOVT 6201 The United States Congress

The United States Congress will be examined: first, as a "closed system" in which institutional arrangements decisively apportion political power; and, second, as the product of electoral and social forces outside the institution. Emphasis will be placed on the historical relationship between institutional growth and state formation, parliamentary rules as both arrangements within which the "rational choices" of legislators are played out and as deliberate, constructions and allocations of political influence, and the use of legislative behavior as evidence in the analysis of fundamental principles of politics. Because the literature on the lower chamber is generally more rich, the House of Representatives will receive greater attention than the Senate.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: David Bateman (dab465)
Full details for GOVT 6201 : The United States Congress
GOVT 6215 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.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Grant Farred (gaf38)
Full details for GOVT 6215 : Michel Foucault: Sovereignty to BioPolitics
GOVT 6246 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.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Tracy McNulty (tkm9)
Full details for GOVT 6246 : Psychoanalysis and Historical Transmission
GOVT 6304 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.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Nicolas van de Walle (nv38)
Full details for GOVT 6304 : Historical Analysis in Comparative Politics
GOVT 6483 Authoritarianism and Democracy

Officials come to their positions of power in ways that vary over time and space. Comparativists have, historically, focused their attentions on democracies and on transitions from authoritarian regimes to democratic ones. This seminar will consider definitions of these regime types but aims to have a different, broader focus: the politics of authoritarian regimes and regime transitions of all kinds.  

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Jeremy Wallace (jlw397)
Full details for GOVT 6483 : Authoritarianism and Democracy
GOVT 6656 Topics in Social and Political Philosophy

Advanced discussion of a topic in social and political philosophy.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Richard Miller (rwm5)
Full details for GOVT 6656 : Topics in Social and Political Philosophy
GOVT 6786 The Holocaust in Postwar Culture (1945-1961)

There is an astonishing discrepancy between our perception of the Holocaust as a central event of the twentieth century and its marginal place in postwar culture.  It is during those years, nevertheless, that the destruction of European Jews aroused an intellectual debate whose philosophical, political, and literary contributions constitute landmarks for contemporary culture and criticism.  The course will explore the reasons for such a discrepancy, reconstructing the steps of the integration of the Holocaust into our historical consciousness.  It will analyze some of the most significant attempts to think such a trauma made by German-Jewish exiles (Arendt, Adorno, Anders), the survivors of the Nazi camps (Améry, Levi, Celan, Antelme), as well as the public intellectuals on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean (Sartre, Bataille, MacDonald, etc).

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Enzo Traverso (vt225)
Full details for GOVT 6786 : The Holocaust in Postwar Culture (1945-1961)
GOVT 6816 Arendt
Academic Career: GR Instructor: Patchen Markell (ppm48)
Full details for GOVT 6816 : Arendt
GOVT 6835 Pluralism and Political Authority

This seminar considers new directions in thinking about political authority that focus on the claims of non-state groups. It considers leading 20th century political theorists who have recognized authority to be plural and contested as well as those who have resisted this characterization. We explore contemporary scholarship about religious groups that claim authority over their members, Indigenous peoples that claim authority over lands and resources, and employers that claim authority over workers by imposing their own rules and norms even if these depart from ones endorsed by the state. The aim is to understand where legitimate authority comes from, how it is enacted, and what role (if any) it plays in shaping the identities of those who are subject to it.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Avigail Eisenberg (aie26)
Full details for GOVT 6835 : Pluralism and Political Authority
GOVT 6846 Equality

This seminar inquires into the interrelations among three meanings of equality that initially appeared in the ancient world: equality before the law, isonomia; equality of voice or participation, isegoria; and equality of power, isokratia. Tacking back and forth between ancient texts and contemporary materials in law and analytic and continental political philosophy, this course will explore how these different practices of equality circulate and interact in popular and institutional (judicial and legislative) settings marked by historical injustice, scarce resources, and asymmetries of wealth and power. This seminar will include texts by Herodotus, Plato, Aristotle, Ta-Nehisi Coates, John Rawls, Bernard Williams, Amartya Sen, Danielle Allen, Etienne Balibar, among others, probing the meaning of equality. 

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Jill Frank (jf725)
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GOVT 7937 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. 

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Rebecca Slayton (rs849)
Full details for GOVT 7937 : Proseminar in Peace Studies
GOVT 7999 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.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Begum Adalet (ba375)
Full details for GOVT 7999 : Independent Study