Political Science (POSC)

POSC 1710W Introduction to American Government and Policy — 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 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 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 3000 From Nudges to Nuclear War: Game Theory and Behavioral Economics — 4 credits

In public policy, we frequently encounter situations of conflict and cooperation. Game theory offers tools to model these situations, including showing why groups of rational people can make bad choices. Game theory famously came into prominence during the cold war, where it offered insights to avoid global nuclear war. Today, game theory is used in in debates on a wide range of policy questions, from climate change to health insurance to employment discrimination. Recent developments in game theory include behavioral economics, which shows that people don’t always act the way economic models predict a person would. The insights from behavioral economics help design smarter policy, including “nudges” and how choices are framed. In this class, we will learn how to use game theory & behavioral economics to analyze important questions in policy, political science, & economics. Offered in the College for Women. Also offered as ECON.

POSC 3070 Public Policy — 4 credits

This course deepens students’ understanding of the theory and tools of public policy analysis. Fundamentally, we ask "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. We examine how to use data to describe policy problems and evaluate potential solutions. We end the course by discussing how to design a policy and how to value its impact. Throughout the semester, students engage in research on a policy problem that is relevant to a community partner organization. Students will develop a model showing the policy problem, analyze data to quantify the problem and/or possible solutions, evaluate the costs and benefits of potential solutions, and analyze how to craft an effective policy solve the problem. Based on their original analysis, students create a written document and a presentation for the community partner organization. Also offered as ECON.
Prerequisite: ECON 1120 or ECON 2610. 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 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 3450W Development Economics: Examining Poverty and Inequality — 4 credits

This course explores the role of poverty and inequality in the process of economic development and growth. Students will examine the impact of social, political, and economic factors on poverty and how these factors relate to economic growth in developing countries. Topics include international financing of economic development, human and natural resources and their role in the development of economies, monetary policy and international aid. The emphasis of this course is on the role of women in national development and how this can impact the overall economy and economic stability of a developing country. Offered in the College for Women and the College for Adults.
Prerequisite: ECON 1120 or ECON 2610 or ECON 2620. Also offered as CRST 3451W, ECON 3450W, and WOST 3452W.

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 4850 Senior Seminar — 4 credits

Directed readings and discussions on business and economic aspects of the international system and the completion of a senior research paper on a specific topic to be chosen in consultation with the instructor. The seminar is led by the coordinator of the international business and economics major and includes participation by guest lecturers in business and economics.
Prerequisites: ECON 3450, 3460, 3480.

POSC 4953 Independent Study — 3 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 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.