Political Science (POSC)

POSC 1710W Introduction to Political Science — 4 credits

This class starts by examining big questions in political science. What is justice? Where does the authority to govern come from? In the first half of this class, we will discuss various answers to these questions and how they relate to different political ideologies. While some of the readings we will do in this class were written hundreds of years ago, they still reverberate through today’s debates on many political issues. Students explore this connection in short writing assignments that examine current policy debates and political philosophy. The second half of this course begins with students learning how to write a policy memo, an important writing style that is commonly used when working in politics, advocacy, or the nonprofit world. Students will write a policy memo on a topic of their choice. We discuss the institutions of U.S. government and explore their strengths and weaknesses. This includes exploring the branches of government, political parties, social movements, the roles of voters and constituents, and who decides to run for office. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 2010 American Government and Politics — 4 credits

This course is an overview of governmental structures and political processes in the United States. It covers development of the federal system; nature of executive, legislative and judicial branches; mechanisms for popular participation; and contemporary policy issues. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 2020 State, Local and Urban Government — 4 credits

This course covers development, structure, and functions of state and local governments in the U.S. federal system, with special attention to Minnesota. It also involves intergovernmental relations, tensions, and policy issues in such areas as education, criminal justice, health, welfare, and finance. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 2070 Public Policy — 4 credits

This course introduces students to the theory and tools of public policy analysis. We begin by asking "Why do we need government?" If people acting in their own self-interest promote the common good, we shouldn’t need government involvement. This course explores when and why markets fail to provide the optimal outcome – requiring outside intervention. Following this, we discuss how to design policies and navigate the political process. The course ends by examining how to determine a policy’s effect and how to value this impact. This course is highly interdisciplinary, drawing on ideas and evidence from political science, economics, and sociology. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 2200W Introduction to Comparative Politics — 4 credits

This course offers an examination of basic concepts of comparative politics such as political power, types of political systems and political development. It involves analysis of similarities and differences in the components of political systems: political culture, civil society, participation, leadership, interest groups, political parties, legislatures, executives, judiciaries, and bureaucracy. Case studies of several major political systems, which may include Great Britain, France, Russia, Japan, China, India and Kenya, will be included. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 2250 Introduction to World Politics — 4 credits

This course is an introduction to the fundamental concepts and salient issues of international politics: bases and instruments of national power; diplomacy, weapons and war; Cold War and post-Cold War rivalries; European integration; the balance of power, the U.N., the North-South conflict; and the politics of global economic relations and environmental security. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 2700 Mock Trial — 2 credits

Mock Trial is a simulated trial court experience. Students prepare and try a case playing roles of an attorney, a witness or both at invitational and sponsored tournaments as part of the American Mock Trial Association at the local, regional and national levels. The course explores the nature and process of the American legal system and legal procedure.

POSC 2994 Topics — 4 credits

The subject matter of the course is announced in the annual schedule of classes. Content varies from year to year but does not duplicate existing courses.

POSC 3010 U.S. Political Parties, Campaigns and Elections — 4 credits

Historical development, organization and role of political parties in the United States are discussed in this course, which also involves the nature of contemporary campaigns and elections, with attention to issues such as candidate selection, role of the media and campaign finances. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 3030 European Politics — 4 credits

This is a comparative study of the structure and process of European political systems, current issues of public policy, and regional cooperation. The course concentrates on the industrial democracies of the European Union, but also offers a glimpse into the politics of Central and East European countries. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 3150 Women and Globalization — 4 credits

This course aims to provide students with an understanding of how processes of globalization are gendered, and the politics of gender in a globalizing world. We will explore how contemporary globalization shapes national belonging, citizenship, consumption, labor, violence, and survival. Students will contrast dominant conceptions of globalization (and their critiques) with cases of globalization in practice, with particular emphasis on existing inequalities despite increased opportunities. We will explore structures of global governance and neoliberal policies, the roles of institutional agents, and responses of local actors, all through the lens of gender to understand how women are affected by global economic and political processes. The class will look critically at the changing conditions for women in the contemporary context, and will explore political responses – such as gender mainstreaming - to persistent challenges. We will investigate the relationship between women’s movement(s) and other social movements, and examine the tensions between global issues and local responses. The course concludes with thoughts on the evolving strategies of social movements, and the importance of recognizing women’s diversity and intersectionality in the face of globalized injustices. Also offered as WOST 3150. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 3200 United States Foreign Policy — 4 credits

This is an examination of the basic concepts used in analysis of foreign policy and of the main issues and problems of U.S. foreign policy as it has unfolded since World War II. Issues include origins of the Cold War, containment in Europe and Asia, nuclear weapons and the arms race, Cuban Missile Crisis, U.S. policy in the developing world, Vietnam, detente and its death, U.S. interests in the Middle East, the post-Cold War world order. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 3270 Women in Politics — 4 credits

This class explores the field of women in politics, focusing on topics such as political participation, representation, political parties, social movements, and organizations. Framing the course are the following central questions: why and how do women organize to influence policy making and implementation, and social and economic change? How do different groups’ approaches differ? What are the consequences of mobilization?It also looks at topics such as gendered work and sexual division of labor, sex inequality and segregation in the workplace, the struggle for familial and reproductive rights, women's place in the family, health, education and violence against women. Also offered as WOST 3270. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 3300 Haves and Have-Nots — 4 credits

Students will study the causes of international inequality in the distribution of wealth to examine why some countries are rich and others are poor. Discussions critically examine contending theories of development and underdevelopment (modernization theory, dependency and world systems theories, cultural explanations and state-centric theories). Also offered as CRST 3300. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 3350 Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict — 4 credits

Students will study theories of nationalism and the aspirations of nationalist actors in both domestic and international contexts. Particular attention is given to problems of citizenship and state formation; ethnicity and nationalism; democratic institutional design and political representation; and ethnic conflict. Case studies are drawn from the industrial democracies and the developing world. Also offered as CRST 3350. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 3400 International Political Economy — 4 credits

Students will study the structure and uses of power and the interrelationship between economics and politics. Students examine international economic relations in terms of their impacts on international political conflict, world order and the connection to domestic political concerns. The course focuses on trade and monetary and investment relations among industrialized states and between industrialized and developing countries. Liberal, Neo-Marxian and Mercantilist frameworks for analyzing these questions are employed throughout the course. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 3500 Model UN — 4 credits

This course provides an introduction to the structure and functions of the United Nations and its agencies. It focuses on international issues such as human rights, sustainable development, environmental protection, security, conflict and cooperation. The course prepares students for participation as delegates to the annual National Model United Nations Conference in New York, where they represent an assigned country in the simulation. The conference participation helps students gain knowledge in diplomacy, negotiation, conflict resolution and the procedures of the United Nations.

POSC 3700 History of Feminism in Western Society — 4 credits

This course traces the development of feminist thought and activism in Western society from the ancient Greeks to the late 20th century in the United States. The course explores the social, political, legal and cultural status of women in Western society across time. Special emphasis is placed on the roots of modern feminism as it developed in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries in Western Europe and in the United States. Also offered as HIST 3700 and WOST 3700. Not open to first-year students.

POSC 3730 Western Political Thought: Modern — 4 credits

This course examines and evaluates the revolutionary challenge to classical and medieval political philosophy posed by such writers as Niccolo Machiavelli in The Prince and Discourses, Thomas Hobbes in The Leviathan, John Locke in his Second Treatise on Government, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau in The Social Contract and Discourses. In order to understand and evaluate the philosophical views that have shaped our own governmental structure, and our ideas about modern democracies, this class stresses the careful reading of these texts.
Recommended: POSC 1710W.

POSC 3750 American Political Thought — 4 credits

This course is an overview of American political thought from the 1600s to the present. Recurrent problems and themes and their relationship to contemporary issues in American politics are discussed. Readings include U.S. thinkers like Paine, Madison, Hamilton, Thoreau, Calhoun, Sumner, DuBois, and Dewey, Stanton, as well as Latin American thinkers including Martí, Inéz de la Cruz, Flores Magón, Bolívar, Sarmiento, Guevara, Mora, in the form of political documents, novels, plays, etc. Offered in the College for Women.

POSC 4602 Internship — 2 credits

This is a structured out-of-class learning experience that takes place on or off campus and includes a substantial work component. An internship involves students in a particular profession in an exploratory way to test career interests and potential. To initiate an internship experience, meet with the internship coordinator in the Career Development Office.
Prerequisites: Faculty sponsorship and approval by department chair.

POSC 4604 Internship — 4 credits

This is a structured out-of-class learning experience that takes place on or off campus and includes a substantial work component. An internship involves students in a particular profession in an exploratory way to test career interests and potential. To initiate an internship experience, meet with the internship coordinator in the Career Development Office.
Prerequisites: Faculty sponsorship and approval by department chair.

POSC 4684 Directed Study — 4 credits

Directed study is provided for students whose unusual circumstances prohibit taking a regularly scheduled course but who need the material of that course to satisfy a requirement. Availability of this faculty-directed learning experience depends on faculty time and may be limited in any given term and restricted to certain courses.
Prerequisites: Faculty, department chair and dean approval.

POSC 4954 Independent Study — 4 credits

Advanced students research a topic of interest to them under supervision of a faculty member. Students also may take seminars offered in Washington, D.C., by the Washington Center.
Prerequisites: Instructor and department chair approval.

POSC 4994 Topics — 4 credits

The subject matter of the course is announced in the annual schedule of classes. Content varies from year to year.