Political Science (PO)

PO 101. Issues in Politics.3 Credits.

Students explore issues of current relevance in local, domestic and international politics. Each individually-themed seminar provides an introduction to the systematic analysis of power relations in relevant local, national or global spheres of life. Students approach the seminar's theme in a way that develops an understanding of the major political ideologies, the behavior of relevant social actors and governmental institutions, and the capacity to engage as responsible citizens.

Offered: Every year, All
UC: Social Sciences

PO 131. Introduction to American Government and Politics.3 Credits.

This course covers the development of the constitution, the nature of Federalism, the state and the national government. Students explore the duties and powers of the President, Congress, the Supreme Court and administrative agencies. Political parties, the nominating process, elections and electoral behavior as well as political interest groups and public opinion are considered.

Offered: Every year, Fall and Spring
UC: Social Sciences

PO 200. Special Topics.3 Credits.

Prerequisites: Take PO 131 or QU 101;
Offered: As needed

PO 205. Public Policy and Administration.3 Credits.

Students in this introductory course develop not only an ability to understand, evaluate and design public policy, but also a capacity for ethical and effective leadership, particularly in the public sector. Students explore questions such as: What is the role of government in our lives? How is public policy made, and what are the forces that shape public policy? What public policies should government implement? How can public policies be implemented and evaluated?

Prerequisites: Take PO 101 PO 131 FYS 101 or QU 101;
Offered: Every year, Fall
UC: Social Sciences

PO 206. Ethics and Public Leadership.3 Credits.

In this seminar, students grapple with ethical dilemmas and tradeoffs in public policy and politics. The seminar focuses primarily on leadership issues in the public policy realm, as distinct from those found in public administration or business management. Topics include lying and secrecy by public officials, health care, the use of violence, treatment of minorities, poverty, gender equity, whistleblowers, conflict of interest and governmental codes of ethical conduct. Students with background interests in political science, journalism, business and the sciences are welcome. Course readings emphasize classic works on ethics and political theory, as well as detailed ethically challenging cases from past and present. Students explore these cases through role playing, papers and classroom discussion.

Prerequisites: Take PO 131 QU 101 or FYS 101;
Offered: Every year, Spring
UC: Social Sciences

PO 211. Introduction to International Relations.3 Credits.

Students are introduced to the study of politics on the global level. The course focuses on the nature of the international system of nation-states, including the importance of state sovereignty, the political interactions between states, and the causes of war and peace. Additional topics include understanding the domestic bases for foreign policy decisions, the different tools available for state action in the international realm (diplomacy, espionage, military intervention), the increasing importance of international economic relations, and the function and evolution of international law and organizations.

Prerequisites: Take PO 101 PO 131 QU 101 or FYS 101;
Offered: Every year, Fall and Spring
UC: Social Sciences

PO 215. Political Theory.3 Credits.

In this course, students survey political philosophy, from Aristotle and Plato through Mill and Marx. Students use these thinkers as a way to explore issues such as the nature of society, the nature of government, and the nature of freedom, justice and the law.

Prerequisites: Take PO 131,QU 101 or FYS 101;
Offered: Every year, Fall and Spring
UC: Social Sciences

PO 216. American Political Thought.3 Credits.

Students are introduced to major ideas of social justice and political power in America from colonial New England to the modern American state. Special emphasis is on major debates on social issues in American history, including slavery and race, church and state, industrialism and technology, civil rights and citizenship, and democracy and reform. Major authors and readings include Winthrop, Jefferson, Paine, the Federalist Papers, Lincoln, Dewey, Roosevelt and M.L. King.

Prerequisites: Take PO 131 or QU 101 or FYS 101;
Offered: Every other year, Spring
UC: Social Sciences

PO 217. Contemporary Social and Political Philosophy (PL 217).3 Credits.

This course introduces students to major contemporary debates about the nature of membership in a national community and in a global community. The first half of the course focuses on the relationship between an individual and a state, for instance the nature of political authority, the relationship between liberty and the state, cultural pluralism and the problem of distributive justice. The second half of the course focuses on the nature of global citizenship, for instance the nature of universal human rights, the ethics of global development, immigration, the problem of environmental justice and the morality of warfare. Readings include contemporary philosophers such as John Rawls, Michael Sandel, Carole Pateman, Will Kymlicka and Thomas Pogge.

Prerequisites: Take QU 101 FYS 101 PL 101 or PO 215;
Offered: Every other year, Spring

PO 219. Women in Political Thought (WS219).3 Credits.

Students explore different approaches to explain the status of women. Theoretical perspectives that students consider may include: liberal feminism, radical feminism, Marxist/socialist feminism, feminism of care, conservative feminism and global feminism, among others. Students critically evaluate political concepts such as freedom, equality, rights and oppression, as well as learn about how different thinkers have conceptualized gender, politics, power and the role of the state. The course requires careful reading, intensive class discussion and multiple writing assignments.

Prerequisites: Take PO 101 PO 131 PL 101 PS 101 SO 101 or WS 101;
Offered: Every other year, Spring
UC: Social Sciences

PO 221. Introduction to Latin America.3 Credits.

This is the transdisciplinary introductory course for the minor in Latin American studies. Various disciplines, including history, anthropology, economics and languages, are interwoven in an exploration of concepts, behaviors and traditions associated with Latin America. A survey of Latin American regions spanning the Revolutionary period to the present, with a focus on the past 50 years, is utilized to focus the content.

Prerequisites: Take PO 101 or QU 101;
Offered: Every other year, Fall
UC: Social Sciences

PO 225. American Political Movements.3 Credits.

In this class, students explore key movements in American political society over the past 150 years, and analyze how social groups have organized to demand political change in the U.S. Students study political movements organized around race, gender, social class and sexual identity/preference.

Prerequisites: Take PO 101 PO 131 QU 101 or FYS 101;
Offered: Every year, Fall

PO 227. The Politics of Intimacy.3 Credits.

How do our thoughts about inclusion and citizenship shape our ideas about sexual and political freedom? In what ways has the democratic process sought to affirm American values by limiting individual choices? In this course, students explore the ways that intimacy has been regulated, through a thematic investigation of legal and political challenges in areas such as trans/interracial adoption, same-sex marriage, interracial marriage, sex and race in the American South, statutory rape, sexual violence, sex education and reproductive rights.

Prerequisites: Take PO 131 QU 101 or FYS 101;
Offered: Every other year, Fall
UC: Social Sciences

PO 231. Elections and Political Parties (SL: Service Learning).3 Credits.

This course offers an intensive analysis of elections and parties in the U.S. and other nations. Special emphasis is placed on the development of competitive political party systems as vital to the success of democracy. Topics include the history of elections and campaigns, the role of gender, ethnicity and class in modern political parties, voting behavior, party strategies, campaign advertising, fundraising, and media coverage of elections. The course includes classroom visits by party leaders and candidates, and requires students to participate in direct observation as participants in an election campaign.

Prerequisites: Take PO 131;
Offered: Every other year, Fall
UC: Social Sciences

PO 245. International Political Economy.3 Credits.

This introduction to the analysis and understanding of the international economy from a political perspective centers on the increasing internationalization, or globalization, of the capitalist market economy. This is analyzed from three perspectives, each of which raises different political issues and strategies: neoliberalism, economic nationalism (neomercantilism), and Marxism. Current issues dealing with international trade and finance, the environment, third world development and marginalization, and gender/race issues in the international economy are discussed.

Prerequisites: Take PO 211 or EC 111;
Offered: Every Third Year, Spring
UC: Social Sciences

PO 247. Actors and Processes in U.S. Foreign Policy.3 Credits.

This introduction to U.S. foreign policy and how it is made combines a study of world politics, American political processes and current events. The course focuses on actors and policy processes, including the role of Congress, the President, interest groups, the mass media and public opinion (among others), and the influence of ideology on U.S. foreign policy. The course examines several 20th-century international crises, asking: what lessons were learned by these experiences, and how do these episodes illuminate the formation of foreign policy in the United States? The post-Cold War world is examined as a context of current challenges to American foreign policy.

Prerequisites: Take PO 211 or PO 131;
Offered: Every other year, Spring
UC: Social Sciences

PO 270. State and Local Government.3 Credits.

The role of states in the federal system is analyzed. Structure and problems of state and local governments are examined.

Prerequisites: Take PO 131;
Offered: Every year, Spring

PO 295. Internship in Political Science.1-3 Credits.

This internship requires students to complete a minimum of between 50 and 100 hours of on-site work, keep a field journal and complete a 5-8 page final report that summarizes activities and documents what the internship contributed to student learning in political science.

Prerequisites: Take PO 131;
Offered: As needed

PO 297. Simulating International Organizations.1 Credit.

Students prepare to participate in various external simulations of the activities of the United Nations, African Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, European Union and other international organizations. Students are trained in the preparation of mock resolutions and they learn the essentials of international diplomacy and proper protocol at international meetings to enable them to successfully compete in model meetings across the U.S. and elsewhere.

Offered: Every year, Fall

PO 299. Independent Study in Political Science.1-3 Credits.

This course is directed by a faculty member with background in the student's area of research. Participants are required to write a series of papers (minimum of three-five pages) during the semester or a single research paper (8-15 pages long).

Offered: Every year, All

PO 300. Special Topics.3 Credits.

Prerequisites: Take PO 101 or QU 101;
Offered: As needed, All

PO 301. Critical Thinking About Politics.4 Credits.

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of critical and analytic thinking through the study of current issues. Students develop the tools necessary to think critically about political and other issues in their daily lives in an effort to better explain and understand the world around them. Upon successful completion of the course, students are able to understand and evaluate the structure, content and quality of arguments; locate stated and unstated assumptions in persuasive writing; analyze, evaluate and account for discrepancies among various readings on a topic and explain why two sources might interpret the same facts differently; clearly communicate their positions about issues and support those positions with solid evidence; and understand how critical thinking can be applied to decision making in daily life.

Offered: Every year, Fall Online

PO 302. The Global Civic Dilemma.4 Credits.

In this course, students explore what constitutes an ethical civic life by working from philosophical principles through an understanding of the basis of government on the local, national and international levels, to civic participation. The course is structured around several tensions, as well as the many key concepts in the age-old quest for understanding what makes for the ideal social order: self and other, individual and community, public and private, human agency and social structure; governance, state, society; the political and economic; liberalism and conservatism (and their variants); three main approaches to ethics; and how to arbitrate between ethical standards when they come into disagreement.

Offered: Every year, Spring Online

PO 311. Topics in International Relations.3 Credits.

This advanced seminar focuses on in-depth critical analysis of current issues and themes in international relations. It may deal with topics from issues of war, peace and security, to the politics of the international economy, emerging international cultural norms, and international law. The course requires careful reading, intensive class discussion and multiple writing assignments.

Prerequisites: Take PO 211 or QU 201;
Offered: As needed

PO 312. Philosophy of War and Peace (PL 312).3 Credits.

This course draws on what philosophers, legal scholars and political scientists have written about the nature, limits and morality of warfare. Students study the general frameworks for evaluating warfare in the theories of realism, pacifism and just war, and then turn to the evaluation of historical case studies concerning when it is just to initiate war, how war is to be conducted justly once it is initiated, and the obligations of combatants following war. Readings include both historical authors, such as Thucydides and Thomas Aquinas, and contemporary theorists, such as Michael Walzer and Jeff McMahan.

Prerequisites: Take QU 101 FYS 101 PL 101 PO 211 or PO 215;
Offered: Every other year, Spring

PO 315. Democratic Theory and Practice.3 Credits.

The relationship between democratic ideas and practices in the foundation of democratic regimes and the formulation of public policy. Topics include the nature of obligations between the citizen and the community, equal rights and powers, the role of groups in policy making, the tensions between citizen identity and gender, racial and ethnic identity. Major policy issues include election reforms, racial and gender-based inequalities, the environment, and welfare and human rights in foreign policy. Students are expected to participate in group projects and discussions and do extensive analytical writing.

Prerequisites: Take PO 215 PO 216 PO 217 or PL 217;
Offered: Every Third Year, Fall

PO 317. International Law (LE 317).3 Credits.

Students are introduced to the nature and development of international law as part of the global political system. Students explore sources of international law from treaties, custom, general principles, judicial decisions and scholarly writing. Other topics include the connection between international law and national law; the role of states and individuals; dispute resolution using arbitration and national and international court cases; use of law to manage international conflict; negotiation; and legal issues concerning shared resources.

Prerequisites: Take PO 211;
Offered: Every year, Fall

PO 319. International Interventions.3 Credits.

Why does the international community intervene in some countries and not in others during periods of civil crisis? What do these variations in the patterns of interventions tell us about the foreign policies of countries and the relations between states in the international system? Students explore answers to these and related questions by investigating the politics, history and dynamics of international interventions to address civil crises since World War II. Students examine select case studies of intervention and nonintervention to understand more fully why and when the world community responds in the context of international law, national interest and the emerging consensus around the protection and promotion of human rights.

Prerequisites: Take PO 211;
Offered: Every other year, Spring

PO 321. Comparative Government.3 Credits.

This course presents a comparative study of political institutions, forms of governments, leaders, socioeconomic processes, development strategies, cultures and traditions in diverse political systems across time and space. Students learn about governing and political processes that explain important differences or similarities in political outcomes among countries, such as: why some countries are democracies and others are not, why some countries provide universal health care for their citizens while others do not, and why some countries experience war or economic depressions while others do not. Students examine the major theoretical, conceptual and methodological approaches that scholars have employed within the subfield of comparative politics and are trained to employ some of those skills in their own analysis and research.

Prerequisites: Take PO 211;
Offered: Every other year, Spring

PO 325. Political Psychology and Public Opinion.3 Credits.

Students are introduced to the basics of polling, the social and psychological foundations of political thoughts and attitudes, and elementary techniques in data analysis. Students explore beyond descriptions of what people believe and what ideas they act upon to the psychological processes that explain why they think as they do: How susceptible are people to marketing and political persuasion? Why do people obey or disobey authorities? What are the sources of prejudice, and the triggers that explain political behavior? Students learn to be wise consumers of survey information, gaining skills in distinguishing legitimate public opinion research from pseudopolls, fundraising and soliciting under the guise of survey research.

Prerequisites: Take PO 131;
Offered: Every other year, Spring

PO 331. Topics in Comparative Government.3 Credits.

This course provides an in-depth examination of government institutions and practices, social and political forces and movements, and cultural traditions in particular regions of the world, such as Asia, Africa, Middle East, Latin America and Europe.

Prerequisites: Take PO 211 or QU 201;
Offered: As needed, All

PO 333. Middle Eastern History and Politics.3 Credits.

This course is designed to explore both historical and contemporary political and socioeconomic developments in the Middle Eastern region. The course begins with a historical review of the demise of the Ottoman Empire, the anti-colonialist revolt, the emergence of Israel, secular nationalism, the rise of Islamism, and the post-Islamist era. The focus of the course then shifts to an examination of such issues as geopolitics, oil, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, peace process, Persian Gulf wars, the great-powers' involvement and their interests in this area, terrorism, and globalization and its impact in the region.

Prerequisites: Take PO 211 or QU 201;
Offered: Every other year, Spring

PO 334. Topics in African Politics.3 Credits.

Students study the broad scope of politics taking place on the African continent, while investigating the unique cultural and historical heritage of African societies including colonialism and the challenges of creating independent states, and the more recent history of conflict that has inhibited development in so many countries. Students also study post-conflict reconciliation and development in the African context, including economic growth and the bright future that is possible if African countries can solve their most serious problems and remain free of conflict.

Prerequisites: Take PO 211;
Offered: Every other year, Fall

PO 335. Politics of Race and Ethnicity.3 Credits.

What lessons can be drawn from recent political events such as the election of the first Indian-American governor, the first African-American President, and the appointment of the first Latina to the Supreme Court? The story of American political development has been one of constant invention and reinvention. Central to the story has been the role of individual and collective identities in shaping what it means to be an American citizen. With political history as a context, students examine the political presence of major ethnic and racial communities in the U.S.-- Irish, Italian, Asian, Jewish, Native, African-American and Latino. Key policy issues such as immigration, education and affirmative action provide the focal point for exploring the processes of group formation, identity and political mobilization as expressed through protest, pop culture, economic development, political participation and the building of community institutions and networks.

Prerequisites: Take 1 courses; From Level 100; From subject PO PL HS SO LE or AN;
Offered: Every other year, Spring

PO 337. Human Rights: Theory and Practice (PL 337).3 Credits.

Students address the philosophical fundamentals of human rights while emphasizing the practical aspects of human rights work, the purpose being to understand the ways in which human rights scholars, activists and international and governmental officials argue about human rights and their implementation.

Prerequisites: Take PL 101 or PO 131;
Offered: Every other year, Fall

PO 342. Comparative Constitutional Law (LE 342).3 Credits.

Students compare the legal structures and fundamental principles typically found in constitutions by studying the constitutions of several different countries. The course explores the structure of government; the distinction between legislative, executive and judicial authority; the incorporation of fundamental human rights; the relationship between church and state, free speech and the press, and social welfare rights. Participants analyze the distinction between constitutional law and domestic law and assess the role of various constitutional frameworks in a global society.

Prerequisites: Take PO 101 or PO 131;
Offered: Every other year, Spring

PO 348. Political Communication.3 Credits.

Students investigate the politics of communication in America and the uses of communication in politics. Topics include the technological nature of the mass media in the global and U.S. political economy, implications for democracy of the new communication technologies, the agenda setting function of mass media, political rhetoric and persuasion in the information age, and the role of propaganda in peace and war. Students learn critical analysis of media messages, how to deal with communication from different cultures, and skills in the use of information technology. Students write analytical papers and complete a substantial research project.

Prerequisites: Take PO 131;
Offered: Every other year, Fall

PO 353. American Constitutional Law (LE340).3 Credits.

This course presents an intensive study of the development of constitutional law through the analysis of significant Supreme Court decisions. Topics include: the judicial process and the Supreme Court; Federalism, the states and the division of powers; the basis of national power, taxation, commerce and sovereignty; the separation of powers; the Judiciary, Congress and the Presidency; interstate relations and national supremacy; the electorate; citizenship and the right to vote.

Prerequisites: Take PO 131;
Offered: Every other year, Fall

PO 360. Topics in American Politics.3 Credits.

This advanced course on a specially selected topic in American politics or public policy examines the relationships between public issues and political institutions. Topics may focus on policy analysis, political parties, interest groups, public opinion, Congress, the Presidency and the courts. Course requires class participation and numerous research or writing assignments.

Prerequisites: Take PO 131 or QU 201;
Offered: Every other year, Spring

PO 360H. Honors Topics in American Politics.3 Credits.

A seminar designed for students in the university Honors Program and political science honors students. This advanced course on a specially selected topic in American politics or public policy examines the relationships between public issues and political institutions. Topics may focus on policy analysis, political parties, interest groups, public opinion, Congress, the Presidency and the courts. Course requires class participation and numerous research or writing assignments.

Prerequisites: Take PO 131 and one 200-level political science course or consent of instructor;
Offered: As needed, All

PO 362. Presidential Election Campaigns (SL: Service Learning).4 Credits.

This advanced seminar combines intensive campaigning fieldwork and academic study of presidential campaigns and electoral processes. Students evaluate the emerging efforts to reform the electoral process and the campaign financing system, analyze new techniques of communication and persuasion, explore the history of the current presidential nomination and election process, voter behavior and psychology, research new campaign management techniques, and the practical essentials of grassroots activism. As part of the course requirements, students participate in an intensive internship for approximately 15 days in residence at the New Hampshire primary. Students must pay a course fee to cover the cost of the class residency in New Hampshire. Two field trips occur during the semester from Friday to Sunday, and some of the residency occurs during the January term.

Prerequisites: Take PO 131;
Offered: Every Third Year, Fall

PO 365. Inside Washington, D.C..3 Credits.

In this intensive, two-week seminar in Washington D.C., students interact with well-known speakers from government, the media and academia to discuss the current major issues confronting Congress and the President. In the second week, students confront dilemmas regarding how the media covers national politics and policy. Students participate in daily site visits, tours and special events. They engage with topics such as the impact of national elections, the nature of conflict and bargaining in political institutions, foreign policy dilemmas, the gatekeeper function of the media, "spin" and media control, media bias and the rise of new media. Eight-hour days are the minimum expectation over the course of the two-week program. Students must apply and meet University academic achievement standards to be admitted to the seminar.

Offered: Every year, January Term

PO 387. Women and Public Policy (WS 387).3 Credits.

Students examine the major public policy issues affecting gender relations in the United States today, including: reproductive rights and abortion, labor policy, welfare policy, sexual and domestic violence. Students discover the process by which issues of importance to gender equality have historically emerged on the public agenda, the ways in which policy debate is shaped once an issue becomes a public problem and the competing policy paradigms surrounding these controversial policy issues.

Prerequisites: Take PO 131 or WS 101;
Offered: Every other year, Spring

PO 395. Advanced Internship.3-9 Credits.

This advanced internship requires students to complete more than 100 hours of on-site work; keep a field journal; complete a final report that summarizes activities and documents what the internship contributed to student learning in political science; and complete a research paper at least 10 pages in length, based on research relevant to the internship duties and done during the semester of the internship.

Prerequisites: Take PO 131;
Offered: Every year, All

PO 395H. Honors Advanced Internship.3-6 Credits.

This advanced internship requires students to complete more than 100 hours of on-site work; keep a field journal; complete a final report that summarizes activities and documents what the internship contributed to student learning in political science; and complete a research paper at least 10 pages in length, based on research relevant to the internship duties and done during the semester of the internship.

Prerequisites: Take PO 101 PO 111 or PO 131 and Take one 200-level political science course;
Offered: As needed

PO 399. Intermediate Independent Study in Political Science.3-10 Credits.

This independent study is directed by a faculty member with background in the student's area of research. Participants are required to write a series of papers (minimum of three-five pages) during the course of a semester, or a single research paper (15-20 pages).

Offered: Every year, All

PO 401. Political Inquiry.3 Credits.

This course, designed for political science majors in their junior year, examines the culture of inquiry in political science as a problem-solving discipline and contributes toward political understanding through multiple reading, thinking and writing exercises. Course material focuses on current issues in politics and government and asks how political scientists might respond. The course emphasizes theory development and hypothesis formation; various methodological approaches; and several sub-disciplinary perspectives within political science. For political science majors only. Junior status is required.

Prerequisites: Take PO 215;
Offered: Every year, Fall and Spring

PO 408. Senior Seminar.3 Credits.

This is a capstone course for senior political science majors. Students prepare and present original research to their peers in the form of a senior thesis, related to a common seminar theme announced each year. The seminar allows students to apply the knowledge and methodology they have learned in previous courses to a particular project.

Prerequisites: Take PO 201 or PO 401;
Offered: Every year, Spring

PO 497. TWC Washington Semester.6-16 Credits.

Offered: Every year, All

PO 498. WMI Washington Semester.6-16 Credits.

Offered: Every year, All

PO 499. AU Washington Semester.3-16 Credits.

Offered: Every year, All