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GOVT 4019 : Introductory Probability and Applied Statistics
Crosslisted as: GOVT 6019 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Bryce Corrigan
The goal of this course is to introduce probability and statistics as fundamental building blocks for quantitative political analysis, with regression modeling as a focal application. We will begin with a brief survey of probability theory, types of measurements, and descriptive statistics. The bulk of the course then addresses inferential statistics, covering in detail sampling, methods for estimating unknown quantities, and methods for evaluating competing hypotheses. We will see how to formally assess estimators, and some basic principles that help to ensure optimality. Along the way, we will introduce the use of regression models to specify social scientific hypotheses, and employ our expanding repertoire of statistical concepts to understand and interpret estimates based on our data. Weekly lab exercises require students to deploy the methods both 'by hand' so they can grasp the basic mathematics, and by computer to meet the conceptual demands of non-trivial examples and prepare for independent research. Some time will be spent reviewing algebra, calculus, and elementary logic, as well as introducing computer statistical packages.
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GOVT 4000 : Major Seminar
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Valerie Bunce
Hatice Cosar
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.
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GOVT 3999 : How Do You Know That?
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Christopher Way
Does allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons reduce violent crime? Do affirmative action policies at law schools cause black students to fail the bar? Do micro-finance policies make the poor better off? Do the militaries of democracies fight better in the field than those of non-democracies? Does the death penalty save lives by deterring murders? Answering questions like these about the effects of public policy implies cause and effect knowledge: if we implement policy X, we will get effect Y. But on what evidence should answers to questions like these rest? How do you know the answer, and under what conditions can you? Providing robust answers to cause-and-effect questions in a (mostly) non-experimental field like political science is devilishly difficult. In this course, we will learn some of the pitfalls that make it so hard to evaluate evidence in the public policy realm, how to judge the quality of evidence cited in the media, and how to ask the right questions to get the best possible evidence. We'll do so by working through the evidence supporting "yes" or "no" answers to the questions listed above.
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GOVT 3867 : War: Causes and Conduct
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Steven Ward
The possibility of major war – on the Korean Peninsula, in the Persian Gulf, in Eastern Europe, in the South China Sea – is higher today than it has been at any point since the end of the Cold War. This makes it critical for informed citizens to understand the dynamics of armed conflict between states. What kinds of factors make war more or less likely? How do shifts in power – like the rise of China – affect the likelihood of war? What role do nuclear weapons – which China, Russia, and now North Korea have – play? How do the personal and psychological characteristics of leaders – like Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and Kim Jong Un – matter? What about domestic politics? Do political crises and polarization make war more or less likely? In this course, we will investigate all of these questions and more through a survey of relevant theoretical work by political scientists, an exploration of significant conflicts from modern history, and an application of these insights to contemporary conflict hot spots.
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GOVT 3715 : Political Theories of Colonialism
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Begum Adalet
This seminar 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 relationship between former colonies and political and economic configurations (nationalism, internationalism, capitalism, socialism), as well as philosophical and epistemological questions about the relationship between the universal and the particular, and the imperatives of history-writing. The course material will give us an opportunity to conclude with questions about whether or not the process of decolonizing our world and our study of it is complete or an ongoing project.
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GOVT 3705 : Political Theory and Cinema
Crosslisted as: COML 3300, GERST 3550, PMA 3490 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Geoffrey Waite
An introduction (without prerequisites) to fundamental problems of current political theory, filmmaking, and film analysis, along with their interrelationship.  Particular emphasis on comparing and contrasting European and alternative cinema with Hollywood in terms of post-Marxist, psychoanalytic, postmodernist, and postcolonial types of interpretation.  Filmmakers/theorists might include: David Cronenberg, Michael Curtiz, Kathryn Bigelow, Gilles Deleuze, Rainer Fassbinder, John Ford, Jean-Luc Godard, Marleen Gorris, Werner Herzog, Alfred Hitchcock, Allen & Albert Hughes, Stanley Kubrick, Fredric Jameson, Chris Marker, Pier-Paolo Pasolini, Gillo Pontecorvo, Robert Ray, Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott, Oliver Stone, George Romero, Steven Shaviro, Kidlat Tahimik, Maurizio Viano, Slavoj Zizek.  Although this is a lecture course, there will be ample time for class discussions.
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GOVT 3606 : Fables of Capitalism
Crosslisted as: COML 3542, GERST 3610 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Paul Fleming
John Un
This course examines the stories, literary examples, and metaphors at work in elaborating the modern economic subject, the so-called "homo oeconomicus." We will examine material from Locke, Smith, Defoe, and Mill through Marx, Nietzsche, Brecht, and Weber, up to current the neoliberal subject and its critiques (Foucault, Bataille). The course focuses on 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. The course thus addresses both literary and theoretical sources, particularly the stories and examples told to justify the liberal order as well as its guiding metaphors such as the invisible hand; Schuld as both debt and guilt; investment (in oneself, in one's future); and the intersection of religious and secular economies.
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GOVT 3494 : Special Topics in Regional Development and Globalization
Crosslisted as: AMST 3854, CRP 3854 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Daniella Fridl
This course addresses pertinent issues relative to the subject of regional development and globalization. Topics vary each semester.
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GOVT 3353 : African Politics
Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Nicolas van de Walle
This is an introductory course on the politics of Sub-Saharan Africa.  The goal is to provide students with historical background and theoretical tools to understand present-day politics on the continent.  The first part of the course will survey African political history, touching on: pre-colonial political structures, colonial experiences and legacies, nationalism and independence movements, post-independence optimism and state-building, the authoritarian turn, economic crises, and recent political and economic liberalizations.  The second part of the course will examine some contemporary political and economic issues.  These include: the effects of political and social identities in Africa (ethnicity, social ties, class, citizenship); the politics of poverty, war, and dysfunction; Africa in the international system; and current attempts to strengthen democracy and rule of law on the continent.
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GOVT 3333 : China-Africa Relations
Crosslisted as: ASRC 3330 Semester offered: Fall 2018 Instructor:
Siba Grovogui
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?
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