Political Science


Orientation Courses

Political Science 220 - Introduction to Comparative Politics

Full course for one semester. This course surveys major topics and theoretical and empirical contributions in comparative politics. It addresses such issues as methodology, modernization and economic development, democracy and authoritarianism, political parties, participation, representation, social movements, institutions of government, ethnic violence, revolutions, and civil wars. Conference.

Political Science 240 - Introduction to International Relations

Full course for one semester. This course introduces the theoretical study of international relations, with a focus on structures, systems, and strategies. Students will learn to perform basic research and analysis through writing and thinking about events in international relations from different perspectives, including realism, liberalism, and feminism. Readings are drawn from historic and contemporary scholars of international relations, cover a wide variety of issues, and are grouped together in conflicting pairs where possible. Assignments and exams are a mixture of analysis and experiential learning. Lecture-conference.

Political Science 260 - Introduction to American Politics and Public Policy

Full course for one semester. This course provides an introduction to the processes of political decision making, political institutions, and the formation of public policy in the United States. The course introduces students to the basics of political decision making by a collective, including how individual actors (voters, politicians, policy makers) reason; how institutions constrain and shape action; and how policies are ultimately designed and implemented. There will be weekly lectures and individual conferences. Lecture-conference. Course may not be taken for credit if student has previously taken Political Science 210 or 250.

Political Science 280 - Introduction to Political Theory

Full course for one semester. This course introduces major ancient and early modern political thinkers who are antecedents of contemporary political philosophy and social theory. Course focuses on Aristotle, Thomas Hobbes, Samuel Pufendorf, John Locke, David Hume, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, Karl Marx, and Carl Schmitt. Conference. Previously numbered Political Science 230.

Political Science 295 - Catholic Political Theory

Full course for one semester. This course surveys the central works of Catholic political theory. The focus of the course will be the central moment where Catholic political thought emerges in contrast to Protestant political thought after 1517. As a necessary preparation for this, the first half of the course will focus on the political thought of three saints (St. Augustine, St. Francis, and St. Thomas) and the political dimension of their works and lives. Then we will turn to the revival of neo-Thomism in Spain and the origin of human rights law, Reason of State thinking in Italy and France after 1517, and the Catholic political critique of secularism (from Pascal to early Carl Schmitt) and other related topics. (This course is not a substitute for Political Science 280, Introduction to Political Theory.) Lecture-conference.


Political Science 301 - Multimethods Seminar: Approaches to IR

One-half course for one semester. This course surveys a number of methods for conducting research in political science. It pairs substantive articles written by leading scholars with methodological readings by the same or similar authors, including but not limited to case selection, discourse analysis, ethnography, process tracing, content analysis, counterfactual analysis, structured focused comparison, and network analysis. Readings will primarily come from international relations scholars, but these techniques are applicable across all subfields of political science. The course will be useful both for students who will be writing their junior qualifying examination in political science and for students who are in the first semester of their thesis research. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Conference.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 302 - Junior Research Seminar

One-half course for one semester. This course focuses on preparing students for political science research, particularly the junior qualifying examination and subsequent thesis. Topics include shaping and framing a research question; constructing a literature review; concept formation and measurement; writing with style, clarity, and grace; and presenting results. All areas of inquiry in political science will be given ample coverage. While focused on students who are writing their junior qualifying examination in political science, the course may be helpful to students in the first semester of their thesis research. Prerequisite: sophomore standing and political science, environmental studies–political science, or international comparative policy studies–political science major, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Political Science 311 - Introduction to Quantitative Analysis in the Social Sciences

Full course for one semester. This course is designed to provide students with the skills necessary to conduct quantitative research in the social sciences. The course provides a hands-on approach to obtaining, managing, and using data. Students will learn how to formulate appropriate research questions, obtain relevant information, and input and analyze data using the R statistical program. Topics will include data acquisition, causal inference, measurement, graphical displays, and multivariate analysis. Students who have previously taken Economics 311, Sociology 311, or Mathematics 141 are discouraged from taking this course due to overlap in coverage. Lecture-laboratory.

Not offered 2018-19.

Comparative Politics

Political Science 321 - Latin American Politics

Full course for one semester. This course examines the dynamics of political, economic, and cultural change in contemporary Latin America. The course will focus largely in six countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela. We will examine Latin American politics since the collapse of democracy and the establishment of military regimes in the 1960s and 1970s, through the return of democracy in the 1980s, the economic liberalization of the 1990s, and the contemporary turn to the left and rise of populism in the 2000s. The course will focus on the challenges that persistent inequality, poverty, corruption, clientelism, political violence, and the war on drugs pose to the quality and consolidation of these democracies. Whereas we will engage with some classical texts, most of the readings will be drawing on new research conducted in the region. Prerequisites: Students should have some familiarity with the history and geography of Latin America, as well as with comparative political science. Prerequisite: Political Science 220, 322 (previously numbered 342), 324 (previously numbered 357), 327 (previously numbered 347), or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 322 - Social Movements and Politics

Full course for one semester. The goal of the course is to inquire about the causes and consequences of several historical and contemporary social and political movements. Studying social movements in the United States from the ’60s to the current Black Lives Matter movement, social movements in communist regimes in the Eastern Bloc and in Syria, and past and current social and political movements throughout Latin America, the course will assess the consequences these movements had in the political lives of the individuals and groups involved, as well as in the societies in which they took place. The course will conclude examining the political causes and consequences that give rise to different social movements across time and space. Prerequisite: Humanities 110. Conference. Previously numbered Political Science 342.

Political Science 324 - Politics, Violence, and Human Rights in Latin America

Full course for one semester. This course combines normative theory, empirical research, and a historical perspective to critically examine human rights in Latin America. By reviewing civil, political, and economic rights in Argentina, Peru, and Chile, the course seeks to familiarize students with human rights in the region. To accomplish this goal, the course reviews human rights issues that have afflicted (and continue to affect) Latin American countries since the Cuban Revolution (1959). The topics covered in the class include the emergence, development, and disappearance of urban and rural guerrillas; transitions from authoritarianism to democracy; violations to human rights and their effects on the selected countries; the creation, work, and consequences of Truth Commissions; and drug cartels, violence, and human rights abuses in present day Mexico and Colombia. Prerequisite: Humanities 110. Students are expected to have familiarity with Latin American history. Conference. Previously numbered Political Science 357.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 327 - The Politics of Poverty in Developing Countries

Full course for one semester. This course examines everyday politics in poor democracies. Elections enable voters to select leaders and to hold them accountable for their performance in office. Yet, in new democracies where a large number of voters are poor, their political participation could be effectively exchanged (bought) for favors. This course studies the political effects of electoral corruption in democracy by examining the emergence and consolidation of political machines, organizations that provide social services and jobs in exchange for votes. The course will study electoral corruption, clientelism, and machine politics in the early history of the United States, present-day advanced European democracies, Latin America, India, and Africa. Prerequisite: Humanities 110. Conference. Previously numbered Political Science 347.

Political Science 332 - Inequality

Full course for one semester. The course will examine the challenges that income, class, gender, and race inequality pose to consolidated democracies. The course will focus on Latin America and the United States (focusing mostly on Hispanic and Latino Americans). Prerequisite: Political Science 220, 321, 342, 347, or 357, or consent of the instructor. Lecture-conference.

Political Science 334 - Bystanders to Violence

Full course for one semester. Violence consists of at least four elements—violators, violated, means of violence, and bystanders. This course concerns the last element: bystanders. But the category itself is hotly disputed. Ordinary understanding identifies three overlapping figures: bystanders (passive or active), witnesses, and heroes. The social science and theoretical reflections about the interaction between these figures constitute the “problems of bystanding.” This course will review the problems of bystanding with a focus on the social scientific dimension of these problems, namely the issues of causation and consequences—that is, from the fields of psychology, history, sociology, anthropology, and political science. While we likely will cover phenomenological approaches to bystanding that focus on the meaning of bystanding, this exploration should not be confused with the moral disputes over agency that constitute the ethical discussion about bystanding. This is therefore not a course in political theory, ethical thought, or philosophy. Any proper discussion of the ethical issues, in the first place, must be grounded in the empirical literature. Prerequisites: Humanities 110 completed and at least one introductory course completed in political science, economics, psychology, sociology, religion, or anthropology, or one upper-level history course completed; or consent of the instructor. Conference.

International Relations

Political Science 343 - Torture in Wars

Full course for one semester. Widespread torture in war does not happen in every war, and to the extent that it does, there are great variations. In fact, there are strong strategic and tactical incentives not to use it in many conflicts. And even if cruelty towards prisoners does occur, it does not characterize every side in a conflict, and not every unit within an army. These variations suggest politicians, generals, midtier officers, and soldiers must confront different situations in which they may choose to torture prisoners. What are these conditions? How might one explain them? After a review of earlier wars (the Philippine-American War, World War II, the Korean War, the Algerian and Vietnam Wars), this course focuses on explanations of torture in war, focusing on the multiple wars in Iraq between 1980 and 2015: the Iran-Iraq War (1980–88), the Iraq-Kuwait War (1991), Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm (1991–92), the Second American Gulf War (2003), the Iraq insurgency (2003–11), and the Iraq Civil War and Da’esh conflicts (2011–present). Prerequisite: any introductory political science course or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 344 - International Environmental Politics

Full course for one semester. This course examines contemporary international environmental problems from theoretical and policy perspectives. What are the causes of environmental problems? What strategies do international actors use to attempt to address these problems, and which are most successful? What are the most pressing problems facing policymakers today? How do environmental issues create other problems in areas such as security and economics? In an attempt to shed light on these questions, this course analyzes structures, agents, and processes affecting the international environmental politics in the first part. The second part focuses on examining contemporary issue areas including the use of natural resources, overpopulation, pollution, energy use, global climate change, environmental security, and potential future problems. Prerequisite: Political Science 240. Conference. Previously numbered Political Science 372.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 345 - Special Topics in International and Comparative Policy Studies

See International and Comparative Policy Studies 300 for description. 

International and Comparative Policy Studies 300 Description

Political Science 350 - Networks and Social Structure

See Sociology 380 for description. Previously numbered Political Science 310. 

Sociology 380 Description

Political Science 358 - Strategy, War, and Politics

Full course for one semester. This course examines contemporary problems of war and peace from a historical and theoretical perspective. What were the causes of war in the past and what can we learn from that experience? What strategies do actors in the international system use to employ force, and how have they changed in the nuclear age? What are the current problems facing decision makers today? The course begins with a review of political, economic, organizational, cultural, and psychological theories of the causes of war, using these theories to examine the origins and character of both historical and contemporary conflicts, including the First and Second World Wars and the Iraq War. It continues by examining the effects on conflict of the nuclear revolution. The course concludes by examining the major contemporary threats to national and international security that may be faced in the coming decade. Prerequisite: Political Science 240. Conference.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 359 - Weapons, Technology, and War

Full course for one semester. This course examines the historical evolution of the conduct of war from a theoretical and normative perspective. What elements of war have changed over time, and what core precepts remain the same? To what degree have advances in technology altered the conduct and outcomes of war? Why have some weapons been deemed cruel and inhumane at times and merciful at others? We will explore the interrelationships among military technology, society, politics, and war, asking how different forces have shaped warfare, focusing on how and why different weapons have been used (or prohibited) over time. Prerequisite: Political Science 240. Conference.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 442 - Nuclear Politics

Full course for one semester. This course investigates the origins and effects of the spread of nuclear weapons and power at international and domestic levels. It begins with a discussion of the morality of nuclear technology, the motives different states have for obtaining it, and the problems with intelligence on states’ progress. It continues with asking what nuclear strategies have been and should be used, then moves to sociological critiques of conventional understandings of nuclear weapons as well as debates over the safety of such weapons. The latter half of the class concentrates on case studies of a variety of programs, including proliferation networks and terrorism. Prerequisites: junior standing and Political Science 240, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Previously numbered Political Science 422.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 444 - Global Risk Politics

Full course for one semester. This course investigates the politics of global risks—challenges, some created by humans and others by nature—that have the potential to drastically alter human civilization, the planet, or life itself. Such “apocalyptic” risks include extreme climate change, ecological catastrophes, global pandemics, nuclear war, artificial intelligence, and asteroid impacts. The course will analyze these nascent Armageddons using a variety of theoretical perspectives including the precautionary principle, the social construction of risk, normal accidents theory, and concepts of high-reliability operations. Prerequisites: junior standing and Political Science 240, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2018-19.

American Politics and Public Policy

Political Science 361 - Politics in Film

Full course for one semester. Since emerging as a mass medium in the twentieth century, film has been used to convey political ideas, ideologies, and policy choices to the public. To some extent, films inform our understanding of politics, but films may also present unrealistic and idealized views of political reality, focusing more on heroic individuals than on institutions, or conveying simple answers to complex questions. The class will read political science research on topics in American politics, such as candidate ambition, campaigns, and state and local politics, and view a film each week related to the topic. We will discuss the films as a class, and students will write a short critical essay and complete a longer research paper that compare the theories and processes of politics as understood by political science with those presented in film. This class is not about film. This class is about whether or not political science theories are accurately represented in films and, by implication, other mass media. Prerequisite: Political Science 260. Conference.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 362 - State and Local Politics

Full course for one semester. Understanding state and local politics in this course involves an inquiry proceeding in three general stages. First, the course engages in a broad survey of the varied institutional arrangements that serve to administer subnational governments in the United States. Second, the course examines the varied political environment in which state governments operate, including an examination of state-level political culture and opinion. Finally, the course will use institutional arrangements and political environment to investigate variation in policy choices at the state and local level—particularly environmental policy. Prerequisite: any introductory political science course or consent of the instructor. Conference. Previously numbered Political Science 331.

Political Science 363 - Constitutional Law and Judicial Politics

Full course for one semester. This course will focus on the main body of the U.S. Constitution (Articles I–VII) through developmental analysis of Supreme Court decisions since ratification in 1787 and social science and legal literature on the dynamics of decision making. This includes the rise of executive power over the past century, especially during the George W. Bush administration, both domestic and international (Article II); the limits and potential of Congressional power in meeting economic crisis (Article I); and the changing nature of the Supreme Court in terms of the liberal/conservative dimension as the constitutional “umpire” of federal policy and action (Article III).  Issues arising from the amendments are not considered. The course is offered as a true seminar where all students write a research paper, share drafts, and present the paper orally before revising for final submission. Prerequisite: Political Science 260 (previously numbered 210 and 250), 280 (previously numbered 230), or consent of the instructor. Conference. Previously numbered Political Science 381.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 368 - Environmental Politics and Policy

Full course for one semester. The purpose of this course is to meld the science of environmental problems with the policy and politics surrounding them. Over the semester, we will cover the sources of environmental problems, the foundations of environmental policy, how environmental policy changes over time, the role of science and uncertainty, environmental policy in practice, and alternative routes towards addressing these issues. Throughout, we will focus on the conflicts that arise between the science of these problems, how they are perceived by the public and elites, and the role institutions play in addressing them. Prerequisite: any introductory political science course or consent of the instructor. Conference. Previously numbered Political Science 338.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 369 - Public Policy

Full course for one semester. This course teaches the extant and emerging theories of the policy process and their application to both emerging and chronic problems. The study of public policy is sorted into several distinct but non-mutually exclusive theories which can be used to explain processes by which governments aggregate preferences, coordinate relevant interests, and make decisions. Each week, the course will examine the foundational texts of a policy theory, relevant extensions, and applications to current issues facing national and subnational decision makers. The course is mainly U.S.-focused, but the covered theories are applied in a comparative context in countries around the world. Students should have a working knowledge of American policy-making institutions before taking this course. The course assesses policy theory through literature that leverages empiricism. Prerequisites: sophomore standing and Political Science 260, or consent of the instructor. Students who have taken Political Science 250 may not enroll in this course for credit. Conference.

Political Science 376 - Case Studies in Statistical Analysis

See Mathematics 241 for description.

Not offered 2018-19.

Mathematics 241 Description

Political Science 377 - Elections: American Style

Full course for one semester. Elections are fundamental to democratic government, but there seem to be as many variations in electoral institutions, party systems, and campaign styles as there are democratic societies. In this course, we review the expansive literature covering elections, electoral rules, and electoral behavior in the United States. The course focuses on three main areas. First, we review electoral institutions, including laws, regulations, and the current state of electoral reforms. Second, we will survey the campaign literature, likely focusing on the presidency. Finally, we will examine individual vote choice—why individuals choose to vote, how they integrate information from the political environment, and how they cast their ballot. Students should be comfortable with analytical and quantitative material, since it makes up such a large portion of the literature in this area. Prerequisites: Political Science 260 (previously numbered 210 and 250) and one course in statistics (Economics 311 or 312, Linguistics 337, Mathematics 141, Political Science 311, Psychology 348, Sociology 311, or comparable course). Conference. Previously numbered Political Science 333.

Political Science 469 - Food Politics and Policy

Full course for one semester. This course examines the intersection of the political, social, economic, and ecological systems surrounding the production and consumption of what we generally call “food.” The dimensions of the semester-length study of food and food policy ask questions related to the modes of agricultural production—including policies that promote production for the sake of production, the rise and subsequent bureaucratization of the organic movement, and impacts of animal welfare and husbandry tactics. However, interlinked with these modes of production are socioenvironmental implications of consumption in the form of nutrition standards, food deserts, food justice, and the impacts of so-called locavores. The course will explore structures designed to govern food systems across a variety of federal, state, and local jurisdictions. Students will get an overview of food system components, key policies and policy instruments used to govern the food system, influential institutions and policy actors, and emerging food system trends. Prerequisites: sophomore standing, Political Science 260 (previously numbered Political Science 210 and 250), and one upper-division political science or environmental studies–history course. Conference. Previously numbered Political Science 420.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Theory

Political Science 388 - Power

Full course for one semester. This course explores the concept of power, examining basic tools in any social scientific enterprise. The basic questions include: Is power a relationship, an attribute of an actor, or something else? Is it proper to say an actor has power if it is latent? Must power be exercised intentionally to be power? Is power necessarily conflictual or consensual? Should power be conceived as narrowly coercive, or more broadly as positive or productive? How these questions are answered has specific implications for how one conducts social inquiry. The emphasis will be on the practical application—how to study events differently depending on one’s view of power, and how to know whether the claims made in each analysis are true or false? Prerequisite: one introductory political science course and Humanities 110 or consent of the instructor. Conference. Previously numbered Political Science 320.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 389 - Torture Prevention

Full course for one semester. This course examines the two waves of the modern torture prevention movement internationally after World War II. It considers the reemergence of torture abolitionism and the “naming and shaming” strategies that appear next in the 1960s. The course will consider moral and religious arguments for torture prevention, legal recommendations, institutional policies, and social scientific evaluation of various human rights strategies and the prospects for torture prevention in the twenty-first century. Prerequisite: one introductory political science course. Conference.

Political Science 393 - Liberalism and Its Critics

Full course for one semester. In this course we explore contemporary political theory through critical engagement with works of prominent twentieth-century liberal thinkers and their critics. We address questions including: What makes a thinker liberal or not? What grounds different varieties of liberalism (religion, reason, power, pragmatics)? What is, or ought to be, the connection between liberal political philosophy, liberal justifications, and liberal institutions? We consider the topics of freedom, progress, knowledge, power, equality, law and institutions, the relationships between individual and community, democracy and liberalism, public and private, toleration and unity, difference and gender. We will focus on the positions in this literature regarding what political theory is and why and how we ought to do it. The focus will provide a critical lever for the evaluation of materials and will result in the writing of a major research project in political theory. Prerequisite: one introductory political science course and Humanities 110 or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 394 - Sex, Gender, and Political Theory

Full course for one semester. This course provides an intensive study of Western political thought through the lenses of sex and gender. At least since Plato proposed abolishing the family in the name of justice, questions about sex, gender, power, and politics have been central to Western political thought. Does biological difference matter in political life? Why or why not? Should it? Can it not? What is “sex”? What is “gender”? Is either, or are both, socially constructed or naturally existing? Can we change the way sex and/or gender figure into political life? Should we? Why or why not? What is “political”? What is “power”? We shall engage these questions with thinkers from Plato to Simone de Beauvoir, Harvey Mansfield, and Judith Butler. Prerequisite: Humanities 110. Conference.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 396 - Neoliberalism and Its Critics

Full course for one semester. In this course, we investigate scholarship about and the phenomenon/a described as “neoliberal/ism.” We begin in scholarship that aims to define and describe neoliberalism. What do commentators and scholars mean when they use this label? Where do they disagree? Why? What are the benefits (and shortcomings) of various definitions? We then explore the intellectual sources of this historical phenomenon. A coherent philosophy or a hodgepodge of inconsistent attachments? What views about human nature, politics, history, knowledge, and truth do neoliberals defend and assume? What values does neoliberalism presume and promote? What is said in favor of neoliberalism? And what opposed? Here we turn to critics of neoliberalism. We examine broad theoretical challenges. We also consider concrete policy/issue areas—intimate care and the family, prisons and carceral policy, and the gap between the rich and the poor—to deepen our understanding of the assumptions, impact, defense, and criticism of neoliberalism. Prerequisite: Political Science 280 (previously numbered 230) or 380–415 (any political theory course), or consent of instructor. Conference.

Political Science 398 - What Is Political Freedom?

Full course for one semester. What is political freedom? This course investigates the central question of the modern canon of Western political thought. Our materials include that canon and its commentators, contemporary scholarship, and the real world of politics. The course is organized thematically, but with an eye to the history of ideas. Our inquiry draws on a range of methodological traditions or approaches housed in the contemporary discipline of political theory. The course is designed to help students to develop a comfortable but critical understanding of these approaches. Prerequisite: Political Science 280 (previously numbered 230) or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 400 - The Idea of the State

Full course for one semester. This course is a study of the metaphysics of the state. The focus will be on three basic problems: the problem of consent—to what extent is the authority of the state independent of individual volitional acts? the problem of toleration—is mutual indifference compatible with the ethical nature of the social order? and the problem of democracy—does citizenship require a system of ruling and being ruled in turn? In each case, the fundamental claims of modern politics (Rawls, Raz, Taylor, Walzer) will be assessed in the light of emergent conceptions of human action (Bourdieu, Gadamer, Habermas, Oakeshott). Conference.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 401 - Dangerous Speech

Full course for one semester. This course is a course in political theory and the Islamic humanities. It follows a particular problem from Greek and Hellenic philosophical texts into the Islamic tradition of adab or moral self-cultivation. The particular problem is the problem of parrhesia, what we might today call “speaking truth to power.” On this view, one cannot take care of oneself without a relationship to another person. And this person’s role is to tell the truth, the whole truth, or at least what is necessary, and in a particular form. A parrhesiastes speaks frankly, without adornment or rhetoric, about what is actually the case. And what he says coincides with what is really true about the world. In doing so, he may anger those who hear him, and so risks humiliation, contempt, personal criticism, loss, injury, and, at the most extreme point, death. Parrhesia then is a form of criticism, of oneself or others, but always from a position of inferiority to power. It may be done in public to the demos (as in the Apology) or in private to a tyrant (as in Plato’s Seventh Letter). In his final years Michel Foucault has followed this problematic into Christian and modern thought. After reviewing key Hellenic texts, we will follow how Islamic scholars at key moments treated the same theme of parrhesia. Prerequisite: Humanities 110 completed or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 403 - Hegel and Marx

Full course for one semester. This course examines the principal political writings of Hegel and Marx. Much emphasis will be placed on Hegel’s Philosophy of Right and its conceptual and historical foundations. Readings from Marx will include Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Paris Manuscripts, Theses on Feuerbach, German Ideology, Capital, and Critique of the Gotha Program. Contemporary ideas on the question of Hegel and Marx will be traced in various writings, including those of Habermas and Althusser. Conference.

Political Science 405 - Judgment

Full course for one semester. How are particulars subsumed under, or otherwise connected with, universals? This problem of judgment is treated with respect to a range of related concepts: taste, rhetoric, phronesis, interpretation, common sense, and the like. The initial texts are Kant’s Critique of Judgment and Gadamer’s Truth and Method. Particular issues emerging from these texts are treated variously in the writings of Arendt on politics, Dworkin and Fish on textual interpretation, Habermas on communication, and Oakeshott on conversation. All of these issues bear on the broad question of rationality, objectivity, and human understanding. Conference.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 409 - “Being and Time” and Politics

Full course for one semester. An exploration of the political implications of Heidegger’s ontology, understood primarily as a phenomenology of mind.  We will begin by considering some of the contexts of Heideggerian thought through an examination of Husserl’s Cartesian Meditations, and we will end by tracing certain aspects of its moral and political influence both in the writings of Levinas and Arendt and in the more recent critical literature on the question of Heidegger and National Socialism. Our principal task, however, will be to pursue a close and systematic study of Being and Time, focusing on central elements of its conceptual apparatus, including, for example, notions of entity and world, care and concern, anxiety and resoluteness, temporality and death, history and the state. Prerequisites: Humanities 110 or equivalent. Conference.

Political Science 411 - Max Weber

Full course for one semester. This course examines Weber’s account of the field of social scientific inquiry and the methods appropriate to it, his substantive claims about empirical phenomena as well as the concepts he used to understand them (e.g., rationalization, authority). Emphasis will be on his comparative political sociology, his explanation of the rise of capitalism, his account of legal sociology, and his notion of legitimacy. Economy and Society will be read in its entirety in addition to other central essays. As with all great thinkers, the question is, “What is alive and what is antiquated in Weber’s thought for us today?” Prerequisites: completion of two upper-division courses in one of political science, anthropology, sociology, economics, psychology, religion, or history, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 412 - The Subject of the Final Foucault

Full course for one semester. This course examines the work of Michel Foucault after his last published works on sexuality. The main texts are Foucault’s The Hermeneutics of the Subject (1981–82) and The Courage of Truth (1983–84). We will in addition be reading Ghamari-Tabrizi’s Foucault in Iran. In HS, Foucault offers a new theoretical access point to the history of ancient, and particularly Hellenistic, philosophy, especially in relation to Christian hermeneutics. At the same time, Foucault uses HS and CT to reframe his earlier work. In HS, the subject is an active agent in games of truth, not as it is in his earlier work, a subject bound in relation to existing relations of knowledge or power through which people become subjects of a certain kind. In CT, his last lectures, he follows HS with a genealogy focusing on the Cynics as precursors to critical or revolutionary thought and situates himself within it. This course requires either a serious background in Hellenistic thought or Continental philosophy (Hegel to Heidegger), familiarity with standard theories of power, or extensive familiarity with Foucault’s published work (please note: having read parts of Discipline and Punish, The History of Sexuality, and a few essays is not adequate preparation). Prerequisites: Political Science 320, 388, 391, 398, 403, 405, 409, 410, or 411, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Not offered 2018-19.

Political Science 415 - Special Topics in Political Theory

Variable topics course.

Not offered 2018-19.

Other Courses

Political Science 470 - Thesis

Full course for one year.

Political Science 481 - Independent Reading

One-half or full course for one semester. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing and approval of instructor and division.

Public Policy Lecture Series


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Political Science Department
Reed College
3203 SE Woodstock Blvd
Portland, OR 97202

Ph: 503-517-5075

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