Courses

Courses by semester

Courses for Spring 2023

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

Course ID Title Offered
GOVT1101 FWS: Power and Politics

Full details for GOVT 1101 - 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 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.
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

Spring.
GOVT2006 Prison Literature: Race, Carcerality, and Abolition The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. In addition to the more than two million people imprisoned under the criminal justice system, the U.S. government captures even more people into carceral spaces within and beyond its borders. Looking into a range of texts from Indigenous, Black, Latinx, Asian American, and Arab American writers, this course examines the U.S. penal system, not only as prisons and physical places, but also in state practices that decide social value, disadvantage people based on race, and criminalize them accordingly. Ultimately, this course asks and answers the following questions: what is the relationship between race and punishment? What are the socially constructed roles of incarceration? And what are some of the narratives and abolitionist, decolonial perspectives that push against them?

Full details for GOVT 2006 - Prison Literature: Race, Carcerality, and Abolition

Spring.
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

Fall.
GOVT2523 Judeophobia, Islamophobia, Racism Islamophobia and Judeophobia are ideas and like all ideas they have a history of their own. Although today many might think of Islamophobia or Judeophobia as unchangeable---fear of and hatred for Islam and Muslims or Judaism and Jews---these ideas and the social and political practices informed by them have varied greatly over time and place. They even intersected during the Middle Age and in Ottoman times when "the Jew" was frequently represented as allied with "The Muslim". The first part of this course traces the history, trajectory, and political agency of Judeophobia and Islamophobia in texts and other forms of culture from late antiquity through the present. The second part of the course is devoted to modernity and the present especially in Europe and the United States focusing on representational practices---how Muslims/Islam and Jews/Judaism are portrayed in various discourses including the media, film and on the internet. We will investigate how these figures (the Muslim, the Jew) serve as a prism through which we can understand various social, political and cultural processes and the interests of those who produce and consume them.

Full details for GOVT 2523 - Judeophobia, Islamophobia, Racism

Spring.
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

Spring.
GOVT2635 Twentieth Century Political Theory In this course, we'll consider how some influential political thinkers of the twentieth century made sense of, responded to, and sometimes participated in key events and developments of their era—wars, revolutions, anticolonial struggles, new social movements, transformations in culture, the changing face of capitalism, reconfigurations of state power and international organization, and more. How did these political theorists take up and, under the pressure of new circumstances, adapt or alter the ideas of their predecessors? How did their work shape the terms within which political theory still operates today?

Full details for GOVT 2635 - Twentieth Century Political Theory

Spring.
GOVT2747 History of the Modern Middle East This course examines major trends in the evolution of the Middle East in the modern era. Focusing on the 19th and 20th centuries and ending with the  "Arab Spring," we will consider Middle East history with an emphasis on five themes: imperialism, nationalism, modernization, Islam, and revolution.  Readings will be supplemented with translated primary sources, which will form the backbone of class discussions.

Full details for GOVT 2747 - History of the Modern Middle East

Spring.
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

Spring.
GOVT3051 Native Politics and the Nation-to-Nation Relationship

Full details for GOVT 3051 - Native Politics and the Nation-to-Nation Relationship

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.
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

Spring.
GOVT3092 Strategic Advocacy: Lobbying and Interest Group Politics in Washington, D.C. How is public policy really formed in the United States today? Who are the key actors and decision makers who shape the laws and regulations that impact us at the local, state and federal levels of government? Most importantly, how do private individuals (lobbyists, trade associations, media and other influencers) sway how laws, rules and regulations impact our daily lives? The goal of this course is to provide a foundation of how private influence impacts our public policy. Building upon this foundation, students will learn who the key policymakers are in the public sector alongside of those in the private sector who seek to influence them. Students will gain knowledge through academic texts looking at the role of interest group politics in America as well as the Instructor's 30 years of experience working as a public policy practitioner working at the highest levels of government on Capitol Hill and the White House as well as being a former lobbyist and licensed attorney at law.

Full details for GOVT 3092 - Strategic Advocacy: Lobbying and Interest Group Politics in Washington, D.C.

Fall, Spring.
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

Spring.
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

Spring.
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

Spring.
GOVT3211 The Whites are Here to Stay: US-Africa Policy from Nixon to Date

Full details for GOVT 3211 - The Whites are Here to Stay: US-Africa Policy from Nixon to Date

GOVT3221 Political Journalism This course will explore the traditional dynamic and norms of political press coverage in the United States, and the impact of those patterns on both the government and the nation; some of the ways longstanding norms have recently shifted, and continue to shift; the larger historical forces and long-term trends driving those changes; and the theoretical questions, logistical challenges and ethical dilemmas these changes pose for both political journalists and those they cover. The course will equally cover the practice of political reporting, including weekly analysis and discussion of current press coverage, in-class exercises and simulations, readings from academic and journalistic sources, and visits from leading political reporters and former spokespeople able to offer a firsthand perspective on the topics.

Full details for GOVT 3221 - Political Journalism

Spring.
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

Spring.
GOVT3253 Germany in Europe Since the end of the Cold War a reunited Germany has come to be the European continent's foremost economic and political actor. While its former head of government, chancellor Angela Merkel, has increasingly been portrayed as an alternative "leader of the free world", the country is often seen as a rather "reluctant hegemon" by friends and competitors alike. This could once again be seen in Germany's lacklustre reaction to Russia's re-invasion of Ukraine, which many of its neighbours have criticised. This course introduces students to the German political system in its wider European context and discusses how contemporary German politics have shaped the country's domestic organization and international stance. Given the country's unique history, the course will anchor these discussions in its particular development shaped by factors such as World War II, the experience of communist dictatorship and reunification, as well as its increasing internationalization through European integration and international migration. 

Full details for GOVT 3253 - Germany in Europe

Spring.
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

Spring.
GOVT3284 Global Democracy in Crisis This course presents a comparative overview of democracy, trajectories toward or away from it, the prominent roles of populism and polarization, and weakening of democratic support. Many leading scholars believe we are in the midst of a "wave of autocratization," including backsliding in long-established democracies like the United States. We will seek to understand historical trends of democratization in order to make sense of the drivers and level of severity of our current political moment. Two forces appear central in current cases of democratic backsliding – populism and polarization. Populist leaders, movements, and parties who claim to represent "the people" and challenge political establishments, seek to correct a flawed or failed system of representation, opening the door for remaking the political system, often in a more autocratic direction. Polarization refers to deep divisions and feelings of animosity between leaders, political parties, and citizens themselves. The threat of the "other side" taking political power may mobilize parties and citizens to engage in violence, manipulate elections, and remove rights and protections.

Full details for GOVT 3284 - Global Democracy in Crisis

Spring.
GOVT3333 China-Africa Relations Put into questions, the aims of this course are as follow: Should anyone worry about China's presence in Africa? Is China's presence part of the recolonizing of the Continent? Alternatively, is China's foray part of a global struggle for positioning between an emergent China and Africa's so-called traditional allies in the West?

Full details for GOVT 3333 - China-Africa Relations

Spring.
GOVT3443 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.

Full details for GOVT 3443 - Southeast Asian Politics

Spring.
GOVT3583 Comparative Public Policy: Political Pathways to Equality Why do some countries offer universal health care coverage, free higher education, or personal financial security, while others do not?  What explains the alternative national approaches to similar global challenges, such as those posed by climate change, the gig economy, or migration? This course explores how the public policy strategies adopted in the United States compare to those adopted in other affluent democracies – through the lens of socio-economic inequality. Examining how different countries confront the same issue allows us to identify the policies that redress it, how their content can vary, and why so. The course therefore underscores the reason for these differences: politics and government. Together, we will examine the multiple political pathways to creating public policy across these societies, as well as their effects on the people that live in them.

Full details for GOVT 3583 - Comparative Public Policy: Political Pathways to Equality

Spring.
GOVT3606 Fables of Capitalism This course examines the stories, literary examples, and metaphors at work in elaborating capitalist society and its "hero," the modern economic subject: the so-called "homo oeconomicus." We will examine the classic liberal tradition (e.g., Locke, Smith, Mill) alongside its later critiques (e.g., Marx, Nietzsche, Weber, Brecht) as well as more recent feminist, Black, and indigenous interventions (e.g., Federici, Davis, "land-grab university" research). Throughout we will create a dialogue between texts, both across centuries (e.g., Locke on Property with Indigenous Dispossession; Balzac's Pere Goriot with Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century) as well as across genres (e.g., Nomadland with Geissler's Seasonal Associate). At stake are the narrative and figurative moments in theoretical texts as well as crucial literary sources (novels, novellas, and plays) as they collectively develop the modern economic paradigms of industry, exchange, credit-debt, and interest – as well as the people they often leave out: women, people of color, the working class. The seminar will include working with an archive, collection, or museum at Cornell.

Full details for GOVT 3606 - Fables of Capitalism

Spring.
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).
GOVT3715 Colonialism and Anticolonialism This course overviews political theories of colonialism and empire, and in doing so, allows us to pose questions about the constitutive elements of our modernity, such as slavery, racism, dependency, and dispossession. Throughout the semester, we will examine the types of political and economic trajectories debated and chosen by former colonies (nationalism, internationalism, capitalism, socialism). We will also pay attention to questions of knowledge production, representation, and historiography, which are central to "postcolonial studies." We will conclude by considering whether the process of decolonizing our world and our study of it is complete or an ongoing project.

Full details for GOVT 3715 - Colonialism and Anticolonialism

Spring.
GOVT3837 WIM: The Cold War During more than four decades following the end of World War II international politics was dominated by a phenomenon known as the Cold War. This class examines the origins, course, and ultimate demise of this conflict that pitted the United States and NATO against the Soviet Union and its allies. It seeks to evaluate the competing explanations that political scientists and historians have put forward to explain the Cold War by drawing on the new evidence that has become available. The course considers political, economic, and strategic aspects of the Cold War, including the nuclear arms race, with particular focus on the link between domestic and foreign policy. The course emphasizes writing, and includes a final research paper for which students will use original archival materials. Please contact the instructor if you are interested in an optional extra-credit Russian-language section.

Full details for GOVT 3837 - WIM: The Cold War

Spring.
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

Spring.
GOVT4037 Making Sense of China: The Capstone Seminar This course serves as a survey of major issues within Chinese politics and foreign policy and constitutes the capstone seminar for CAPS students. It is intended to give students an opportunity to explore aspects related to Chinese politics, economics, and society that they may have touched upon in other China-focused courses at Cornell, but have not been able to examine as fully, and with the degree of care, that they would like. In this regard, the substance of the course will be developed through an iterative process between the instructor and the seminar participants. We will spend the first part of the course doing a series of recent influential readings on contemporary China and developing initial research projects. The second half of the class will be organized around student led presentations of research projects (accompanied by relevant academic, media, and policy readings).

Full details for GOVT 4037 - Making Sense of China: The Capstone Seminar

Spring.
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.
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

Spring.
GOVT4769 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).

Full details for GOVT 4769 - Spinoza and the New Spinozism

Spring.
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

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

Spring.
GOVT6045 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.

Full details for GOVT 6045 - Law and Literature

Spring.
GOVT6051 Native Politics and the Nation-to-Nation Relationship The course examines the historical political landscape of American Indians and Alaska Natives in the United States and the interplay between tribal interests, politics, and the federal government. The course also looks at contemporary Native issues, federal policy and programs, tribal governance, relations between Tribal Nations and states and between Tribal Nations and the federal government. Finally, the course will explore Indigenous pop-culture and its influence on federal policy.  Classes will all be in person and will be a mixture of lectures and discussion-based seminars. The majority of classes will have a guest lecturer related to that week's topic. Guest lectures will include, but not limited to, political appointees, congressional staff, political advocates, elected tribal leaders, and more.

Full details for GOVT 6051 - Native Politics and the Nation-to-Nation Relationship

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

Spring.
GOVT6091 Strategic Advocacy: Lobbying and Interest Group Politics in Washington, D.C. How is public policy really formed in the United States today? Who are the key actors and decision makers who shape the laws and regulations that impact us at the local, state and federal levels of government? Most importantly, how do private individuals (lobbyists, trade associations, media and other influencers) sway how laws, rules and regulations impact our daily lives? The goal of this course is to provide a foundation of how private influence impacts our public policy. Building upon this foundation, students will learn who the key policymakers are in the public sector alongside of those in the private sector who seek to influence them. Students will gain knowledge through academic texts looking at the role of interest group politics in America as well as the Instructor's 30 years of experience working as a public policy practitioner working at the highest levels of government on Capitol Hill and the White House as well as being a former lobbyist and licensed attorney at law.

Full details for GOVT 6091 - Strategic Advocacy: Lobbying and Interest Group Politics in Washington, D.C.

Fall, Spring.
GOVT6109 Field Methods This graduate seminar introduces students to methods currently used by political scientists to develop and test for observable implications of theoretically-derived arguments using data collected away from their home institutions. Topics covered include the relationships between fieldwork and research design, case and site selection, ethnography and participant observation, interview methods, surveys and experiments in the context of field research, research ethics and human subjects, logistics of field research, grant-writing, safety protocols, and knowing when to come home. The course is designed primarily for students working on dissertation proposals or early stages of dissertation field research, but it may be helpful for students at other stages as well. A goal is to encourage students to specify a field research strategy that links testable hypotheses with methods of data gathering and analysis before commencing field work. Students, therefore, will develop their own research projects as the semester progresses, including writing actual grant proposals, IRB applications, and pre-analysis plans. 

Full details for GOVT 6109 - Field Methods

Spring.
GOVT6223 Inequality and the Welfare State How a society confronts and shapes socio-economic inequality depends largely on the policy tools at its disposal. A range of remedies – in areas as diverse as employment, education, health care, retirement, disability, housing, and parental leave – are available, yet different countries pursue alternative approaches to these issues. This seminar examines how politics shapes a government's social policy strategies. We will review the classic theories of welfare state variation emerging from Western Europe, how they shed light on the American approach to social policy, and to what extent they apply outside affluent democracies. We also will consider whether existing social policies can adapt to emerging issues, such as those posed by the gig economy and climate change.

Full details for GOVT 6223 - Inequality and the Welfare State

Spring.
GOVT6254 The End of Regionalism? Regional organizations and integration mechanisms have been a regular feature of politics in many areas of the world. While the number of such organizations has steadily risen over time, today many of these are but empty shells offering little in the way of organizing regional politics. This seminar considers the phenomenal proliferation of regional organizations as well as subsequent developments in world politics which have contributed to their relative decline. In so doing, the seminar will discuss different types of regional integration mechanisms, consider specific ones' such as the European Union, the African Union or Mercosur, and outline how these are challenged by political developments such as nationalism and the increasing globalization of economic relations.

Full details for GOVT 6254 - The End of Regionalism?

Spring.
GOVT6443 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.

Full details for GOVT 6443 - Southeast Asian Politics

Spring.
GOVT6456 Inclusion and Exclusion in American Law Who counts as a full member of the U.S. polity? And how has law structured the benefits of such membership as well as the conditions for exclusion? Moreover, how have these terms changed and remained consistent throughout American history? This course will use a variety of landmark cases as a jumping off point for assessing the linkages in the U.S. between full inclusion and judgments about race, gender, Indigeneity, class, religion, and immigration. In the process, the course will explore decisive periods of conflict over the meaning of membership—from the founding and the Civil War to the Great Depression, the Civil Rights Movement, and more recent struggles regarding equality and freedom.

Full details for GOVT 6456 - Inclusion and Exclusion in American Law

GOVT6461 Public Opinion This course provides an introduction to the public opinion literature. Special attention will be paid to the determinants of political attitudes and their role in the larger political system.

Full details for GOVT 6461 - Public Opinion

Spring.
GOVT6575 Freud in the Tropics: Psychoanalysis, Surrealism, and Colonialism What is the role of the psyche in revolutionary politics? Can there be social revolution without psychic liberation? This class brings together political theory, intellectual history, and psychoanalysis to survey some of the ways Freud's concepts were taken up by radicals, artists, and writers critiquing the global colonial order. Although many twentieth century analysts used psychoanalytic language to justify a hierarchy of races and civilizations, just as many did the opposite. Analyzing these anticolonial appropriations of Freudian psychoanalysis brings into focus unexpected connections in twentieth century radical politics. Students can expect to discuss figures like Sigmund Freud, André Breton, Wifredo Lam, Aimé Césaire, Suzanne Césaire, Michel Leiris, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Albert Memmi, and Frantz Fanon. For longer description and instructor bio visit the Society for the Humanities website.

Full details for GOVT 6575 - Freud in the Tropics: Psychoanalysis, Surrealism, and Colonialism

Spring.
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.

Full details for GOVT 6619 - Text and Networks in Social Science Research

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

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

Spring.
GOVT6817 Rethinking the Liberal International Order It is often argued these days that the Liberal International Order is facing serious challenges – or even a crisis – which may likely give rise to a different world order where the US and Western Europe would no longer be the main arbiters of international rules and norms. This new world order, we are told, may be less rules-based, less free, less liberal, and less democratic. This course revisits the history of the Liberal International Order and its current state, while questioning the hegemonic discourses and the values it claims. The course adopts critique as a frame to question knowledge making and hegemonic discourses in International Relations by focusing on the Liberal International Order, and the anxiety of its potential demise.

Full details for GOVT 6817 - Rethinking the Liberal International Order

Spring.
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.

Full details for GOVT 6857 - International Political Economy

Spring.
GOVT6865 Du Bois and King This seminar is an intensive study of the political thought of W.E.B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King, Jr. Approaching texts in contexts, we will read works including The Souls of Black Folks, Darkwater, Black Reconstruction in America, Stride toward Freedom, and Where Do We Go from Here? as illocutionary interventions in major political crises and ideological disputes of twentieth century Black political thought. Topics we will explore include freedom and dignity, slavery and its afterlives, racial capitalism, leadership and mass politics, democracy and abolition, empire and decolonization, political aesthetics, and the politics of prophetic critique. We will pay special attention to Du Bois and King's respective contributions in national and transnational contexts of the global color line.

Full details for GOVT 6865 - Du Bois and King

Spring.
GOVT6875 Key Works in Political Theory This seminar will be devoted to the careful reading of a single significant and challenging work of political theory, accompanied by consideration of the author's reception of the work of their predecessors; the contexts in which the work was written; its relation to other parts of the author's corpus; the way the work has been critically engaged by others; the state of the relevant scholarly literature; and, especially, the continuing impact of the work in twentieth-century and contemporary political theory. In Spring 2023 the course will be centered on Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan.

Full details for GOVT 6875 - Key Works in Political Theory

Spring.
GOVT7274 Research Seminar in Political Violence This course provides a survey of classic and contemporary work on civil war by political scientists. It begins by exploring the conceptualization of civil wars, including an assessment of how social scientists study civil war. It then dives into the literature on the causes, dynamics of, and consequences of civil war. The last part of the class looks at conflict management and investigates how civil wars end. 

Full details for GOVT 7274 - Research Seminar in Political Violence

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. 

Full details for GOVT 7937 - Proseminar in Peace Studies

Spring.
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.

Full details for GOVT 7999 - Independent Study

Fall, Spring.
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