Course Offerings - Catalog 2013-14

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Division of Social Studies

The Politics Program is designed to assist students in developing the arts of deliberation and judgment by which they may understand more fully and participate more effectively in public affairs. Analytical reasoning, effective writing, and proficiency in basic research techniques are skills cultivated and used throughout the program.

Special attention is given to the use of language since facility in this art is the best means by which to cut through the ideological and partisan jargon that surrounds and camouflages so much discussion of politics. Sensitivity to the nuances of language and skill in identifying common fallacies and cleverly used rhetoric are required for the study of politics.

Emphasis is placed not so much on the changing details of current events, but on the philosophical, historical, and institutional nature of the persistent problems that current issues illustrate. Students can anticipate a rigorous inquiry into political philosophy, American government, comparative government, and international relations. Attention is given to both empirical and normative aspects of these subjects. Primary texts and public documents are extensively used. Majors in our program are urged to undertake study in related disciplines, particularly in economics, history, philosophy, statistics, and languages.

Students are offered a diversity of non-classroom learning experiences. The Politicsernment Program encourages independent study, internships, and participation in off-campus academic programs.

The perspectives and skills acquired by students in politics classes will serve them in a wide range of career fields, including public service, law, politics, business, and journalism.


Daniel Stroup (chair), Dina Badie, Robert Bosco, Lori Hartmann-Mahmud, Benjamin Knoll, Christopher Paskewich, Lia Rohr


Recommended First-Year/Sophomore Preparation

Students considering a major in politics should try to satisfy as many graduation and major requirements as possible in their first two years. Elective courses in politics, history, and economics are recommended. In addition, courses in foreign language and mathematics, especially statistics, are useful.

Requirements for the Major*

POL 120, 130, 205, 210, 260;
POL 300 or 301;
One POL course chosen from courses numbered 320-339;
One POL course chosen from courses numbered 340-349;
One addtional POL course chosen from 300, 301, 320-349, or 360-379;

One addtional POL course numbered 300 or higher;
POL 500

Requirements for the Minor*

Three of POL 120, 130, 210, 260;
Two POL courses drawn from at least two of the following four areas: 300-301, 320-339, 340-349, 360-379;
One addtional POL course numbered 300 or higher

*These requirements apply to students graduating in 2016 and after. Earlier graduates should consult the 2012-2013 catalog. 2016 gradautes may substittue GOV 110 for both POL 120 and 130 in meeting major requirements, and for one of POL 120 or 130 in meeting minor requirements.

Politics Courses

POL 120 Introduction to Political Ideologies
An introduction to the major political ideologies. Students learn the beliefs and history of such ideologies as conservatism, liberalism, socialism, libertarianism, environmentalism, etc. The foundations of these views are traced through classic political texts. The current versions of these ideologies are investigated by applying the ideologies to issues and politicians of today. Students learn the basic elements of today's political beliefs and values, and how these drive governments around the world. Not open to students with credit for GOV 110. Fulfills same general education requirement as GOV 110.

POL 130 Introduction to Comparative Politics
This course introduces students to different elements of political systems around the world. Case studies of countries are used to study political, economic, social, ideological, and regional factors. Through an exploration of various manifestations of these factors, including authoritarianism, totalitarianism, democracy, theocracy, capitalism, communism, and secularism, this course employs the comparative method in an effort to make broad generalization and to uncover political, economic, and ideological patterns. Not open to students with credit for GOV 110. Fulfills same general education requirement as GOV 110.

POL 205 Introduction to Political Analysis
A general introduction to the major techniques used for the critical evaluation and analysis of the political world. This includes both normative and empirical approaches. Emphasis is placed on the recognition, understanding, critique, and application of analytical approaches used in scholarly journals and the popular media. Prerequisite: POL 120 or POL 130 or concurrently.

POL 210 American Politics and Institutions
An introduction to the process of American government, emphasizing the structure, powers, and functions of government, primarily at the federal level. Prerequisite: POL 120 and sophomore standing.

POL 260 Introduction to International Relations
An investigation of the basic factors in international politics, including the relationship of international politics to international economics in the conduct of foreign affairs. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing; POL 130 is recommended.

POL 300, 301 Western Political Theory-I, II
A survey of the works of selected thinkers whose political ideas and approaches to the study of politics have become a part of the framework of Western political institutions and thought. Emphasis is placed on such theorists as Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Burke, Mill, Hegel, and Marx. Prerequisite: POL 120.

POL 310 American Political Thought
An examination of the major strands of political ideas in the United States, traced from their English antecedents to the present. Prerequisite: POL 120.

POL 320 American Constitutional Interpretation
A study of the fundamentals of American constitutional law as seen through the decisions of the United States Supreme Court.

POL 321 Civil Liberties
A consideration, primarily through hypothetical cases, of constitutional issues arising under the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment.

POL 330 Parties, Campaigns and Elections
This course examines some of the fundamental mechanisms through which American citizens can influence their democratic system: political parties and elections. We examine the role and function of political parties, as well as how they interact with different electoral systems. We further examine modern American political campaigns, with an emphasis on describing, analyzing, and explaining the strategies and outcomes of national presidential elections. Prerequisite: POL 210.

POL 331 State and Local Politics
This is a course about politics at the state, county, and city levels, covering a variety of topics including American federalism, the structure and organization of state and local governments, what these governments do, who participates, and how local campaigns are run. The focus is naturally on politics here in Kentucky and Boyle County. The course provides several opportunities for hands-on participation and involvement. We might attend a city council meeting, visit the state capitol and observe the state legislature in session, interview local political leaders, and/or participate in a city council simulation which will help us gain an understanding of what practical politics is all about. Prerequisite: POL 210.

POL 332 Public Policy
A discussion of the intellectual foundation for the legitimacy and functions of the American administrative state and the processes and mechanisms through which policy is designed and implemented. The course clearly delineates the capacities and expectations of public agencies with the private sector. Students develop some practical experience in utilizing the “tools of the trade” of policy analysis (e.g., theories of policy analysis, cost-benefit analysis, externalities, incentive design, moral hazard and the role of the non-profit sector). Prerequisite: POL 210.

POL 333 The American Presidency
An examination of the nature of the presidency and its role in the American political system. The presidency is defined broadly to include both the presidential office and the institutional structures in the White House and the Executive Office of the President that have grown up around it. Prerequisite: POL 210.

POL 334 Congress
A consideration of the politics and processes of our national legislature with attention to their effects on its policy decisions. Topics covered include representation and the electoral process, congressional organization, the legislative process, and relations of the Congress with other political actors. Prerequisite: POL 210.

POL 336 Public Opinion and Voting Behavior
An examination of what Americans think about politics, why they vote, and how they vote. We will also discuss issues like partisanship, ideology, polarization, mass media, and political advertising. Students can expect lots of hands-on experience with conducting and analyzing public opinion polls using SPSS and/or an equivalent statistical analysis program. Prerequisite: POL 210.

POL 337 Political Communication
This course deals with how language is used in contemporary American politics. Possible topics include the news media, campaign advertising, political speech-making and debating, cable news bias, political satire, and others. Most importantly, this course considers the current state of American political discourse and its consequences for both citizens and politicians. Prerequisite: POL 210.

POL 340 European Politics
A study of major political systems in Europe, both East and West. Special emphasis is given to the ongoing economic and political challenges faced by the European Union as well as the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Poland and Hungary. Prerequisite: Junior standing; POL 130 recommended.

POL 341 Latin American Politics
A study of the political systems of Latin America. Attention is given to the problems of political changes and economic development. The role of the United States in Latin American politics is also explored. Prerequisite: POL 130 recommended.

POL 343 African Politics
A general introduction to politics on the African continent. The first part of the course explores African political systems chronologically from pre-colonial forms, through the colonial period, and into the current post-colonial system. The second half of the course looks at several political challenges facing Africa today, bringing in specific country examples to illustrate how those challenges are being met. Examples include: the ethnic factor, the legacy of colonialism, democratic transitions, and conflict resolution strategies. Some topical issues such as the environment, population and health are also examined. Prerequisite: POL 130 recommended.

POL 344 Politics of the Middle East
A study of the political sources of conflict in the Middle East. These sources include religion, great power rivalry, resource conflict, and levels of development. These sources are applied to the variety of conflicts in the region, including intra-Arab disputes, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the notion of civilizational conflict between the West and Islam, and the implications for transformation in the Middle East. Prerequisite: POL 130 recommended.

POL 346 Politics of East Asia
With its rising powers, strategic choke points, and increasingly international influences, the political dynamics of East Asia exert a powerful influence on the region and the world. This course introduces students to the intersection between politics and history, geography, and ideology in East Asia, contextualized regionally and internationally. Prerequisite: POL 130 recommended.

POL 351 Women and Development
An examination of perspectives on women’s role in development, concentrating on Africa, Latin America, and South Asia. Some themes include: the effect of development projects on women’s quality of life, balance links between women’s productive and reproductive roles, how women’s work is conceptualized, and structural obstacles to women’s empowerment. Includes a study of specific ways in which “Third World” women have organized to improve their condition locally and globally. Prerequisite: POL 130 recommended.

POL 361 International Law
A study of the principles, customs, and rules recognized as binding obligations on sovereign states in their mutual relationships. Emphasis is given to the evolution of international law and its effectiveness in ordering the relationships among nations. Prerequisite: POL 260.

POL 362 International Organization
A study of the development and effectiveness of international organizations in regulating relationships among states and other actors in the international system. Emphasis is given to the United Nations, regional organizations, and political-economic organizations such as the IMF and GATT. Prerequisite: POL 260.

POL 363 American Foreign Policy
A study of the formulation and implementation of American foreign policy. Attention is devoted to how political institutions (President, Congress, bureaucracy, etc.) interact to produce foreign policy. Major issues of American foreign policy, both past and present, are discussed. Prerequisite: POL 260.

POL 370 International Political Economy
An introduction to the concepts, theory, and policy of international political economy. The course discusses the traditional perspectives, alternative views, and primary issues of the contemporary international political economy including money, trade, development, and transnational corporations. Prerequisite: POL 260.

POL 371 Political Economy of Development
An examination of leading theories of political economy and how they apply to challenges facing developing countries. Focus is on the specific challenge of the debt crisis and the various strategies for mitigating it (e.g., IMF and World Bank – sponsored structural adjustment programs, national level approaches, proposals for debt relief, etc.). Finally, the course examines how individuals are affected by the debt crisis in developing countries. Prerequisite: POL 130 recommended.

POL 405 Politics of the Information Age
An exploration of how politics in the 21st century is being shaped by the internet, computers, mobile communications and other aspects of an information-intensive age. Special emphasis is placed on the influence of technology on warfare (“information warfare” and “cyber-terrorism”) and political economy (post-industrialism and the “hacker ethic”). Challenges to the nation-state, such as supra-national organizations (European Union) and networks are considered.

POL 406 Machiavelli and Renaissance Florence
This course explores the foundations of modern politics through a study of Renaissance Florence and the writings of Niccolo Machiavelli. To further understand Machiavelli's new direction, we study the explosion of culture around him that attempted a similarly new direction: painters, sculptors, and architects recovering classical ideas. These classical ideas would give a new vocabulary to those seeking something beyond the medieval world. The city of Florence, known as a "work of art" itself, will provide the illustration for these changes. Traveling to Tuscany for 18 days, we will first investigate some political ideas of the middle ages. The rest of the trip will be spent primarily in Florence, studying the emergence of the Renaissance. To discover this cultural and political "rebirth," we visit museums, churches, buildings, bridges, and piazzas. We will examine some of Western civilization's greatest works of art. Prerequisite: GOV 110 or permission of

POL 441 African Politics/Civil Society: Case of Cameroon
This course highlights the dynamic nature of civil society in a country attempting to make the transition from an authoritarian to a democratic system: Cameroon in Central Africa . Students visit with government officials, opposition leaders, traditional chiefs, and other NGOs to provide windows into a diverse and beautiful country seeking to redefine itself politically.

POL 445 Current European Union Problems
A study of the major problems the European Union faces in 2013, focusing on the fiscal crisis in Greece and other EU countries, the survival of the Euro as a common currency, and troublesome immigration and human rights issues. If the Euro does not survive, can the European Union?

POL 451 British Politics
An introduction to the structures, processes, and issues of the modern British political system using London as a primary resource. During the first half of the course, students in teams of two research, visit and write written profiles of London parliamentary constituencies as part of a class-produced London Political Travel Guide. During the second half of the course students “join” one of the hundreds of British political pressure groups of their choosing, from pro-fox-hunting to anti-nuclear and every imaginable social, political, economic, and cultural topic in between. The class will discuss current British political issues such as political parties, electoral reform, the European Union, devolution and civil rights.

POL 453 Urban Politics
A study of the politics of cities, towns, and their communities. Students investigate issues facing modern towns and cities, including crime, public education, aging infrastructures, gentrification, racial segregation, immigration, and poverty. A global study of cities also explores the way cities are designed across the world, including city layouts and the use of sidewalks, parks, streets, and other public spaces. These public spaces and their geography, political culture, and economic diversity are closely examined. Finally, the class Investigates just how much influence our politicians and citizens have on the very cities they live in.

POL 454 Environmental Governance and Policy
This course explores the myriad ways that humans have attempted to govern their natural environments, solving issues of access and environmental degradation through various framings of the relationship between nature and society. As such, we will explore many alternatives for governing the commons across both time and space ‐ from local taboos and kin‐based cooperatives to emerging proposals for global climate governance. Today we are bearing witness to the increasing spread of neo‐liberal forms of environmental governance around the world. These models support market‐based solutions to environmental problems. Within this framework, resources such as water, timber and land are commodified and their management turned over to the market. However, environmental governance is neither monolithic nor universal as we will discover through a number of case studies which suggest that hybrid forms of environmental governance are emerging in many different international contexts. We will consider how agencies and actors (both local and global, human and non‐human) impact the constitution of governance and how governance is enacted through environmental policy.

POL 455 Personality and Power
This course explores the effect of personality on the political leadership of figures such as Mahatma Gandhi, Adolf Hitler, Che Guevara, and Ronald Reagan. Relying on the field of political psychology, we will explore various ways of assessing personality while interpreting how the beliefs, ideologies, perceptions, and personal histories of these figures contributed to their power and political decisions.

POL 461 The Construction of Europe
A study of the three European institutions housed in Strasbourg, France: The European Union (EU), The Council of Europe, and the European Court of Human Rights. In part, the course uses a case study approach, focussing on current issues being debated and decided in Strasbourg, the administrative center of Europe.

POL 464 Religion and International Politics
This course examines broadly the ways in which religion impacts international politics, as well as how international political forces impact religion(s). We will first look at how to study religion in international politics through different theoretical lenses, and move on to consider the political implications of various definitions of religion. Then we will look at the role of religion and religious actors in diverse topic areas such as conflict and political violence, peacekeeping and conflict resolution, resistance and rebellion, diplomacy and foreign policy, international religious freedom, and finally (inter)national security. Prerequisite: POL 260.

POL 470 Law and Economics of American Colonialism: Rights and Resources of Native Cultures
This course examines Hawaii as a microcosm of economic development in the face of political, cultural and environmental tensions. Students discover the history of our 50th state and how that history shaped the fate of native cultures and natural resources. Case studies include Hawaiian independence movements, coffee agriculture, ecotourism, environmental sustainability, and the political economy of Hawaii.

POL 500 Senior Seminar
Prerequisite: Senior majors who have completed POL 205, 210 and 260.