Political Science

Department Chair: Scott Johnson

Faculty: Claire Haeg, Scott Johnson, Philip Kronebusch, Matthew Lindstrom, Manju Parikh, Gary Prevost, James Read, Christi Siver, Richard Virden (Diplomat in Residence), Kay Wolsborn

The political science department equips students to understand political life, to be effective citizens, and to achieve positions of political leadership. The Department makes the following mission commitments:

  • We prepare students for successful careers or graduate study in government, public policy, law, business, the not-for-profit sector, and related fields.
  • We expand and strengthen critical thinking, research, and communication skills of students.
  • We examine politics through innovative teaching, experiential learning, and student/faculty collaboration across the main fields of political science so that students can achieve political literacy appropriate for citizenship responsibilities.
  • We help our students discover and learn the concepts and theories of our discipline so they can integrate new information and events into their own worldviews.
  • We encourage students to adopt the habit of the examined life, to reflect upon themselves in relationship to others, to take risks, to participate actively in political life, and to accept responsibility for their actions.
  • We encourage our students to participate and accept leadership in a variety of special programs, clubs and activities both on and off campus.
  • Finally, we invite students to embrace the Benedictine traditions of service, stewardship, and community.

Visit the Political Science website for more detailed information: www.csbsju.edu/politicalscience.

Major (40 credits)

Required Courses:
111, 121, 211, 221.
One or more of 222, 223, and 224.
At least four (4) additional 300-level sequence courses 
Senior Research Seminar.
The DC Summer Study internship experience for 8 credits may satisfy no more than one 300-level sequence course requirement. Programs of study are developed in consultation with a faculty advisor.

Additional Requirements:
Comprehensive exam, senior year.

Minor (5 course requirement - 20 credits)

For Students Entering 2011 and After
The Political Science Minor is 20 credits and may be taken in the following concentrations:
Political Theory
Public Law
Public Policy
Global Politics

Political Science Minor Concentrations

Concentration in Political Theory
POLS 111, Introduction to U.S. Politics
POLS 221, Political Theory: An Introduction
And any three of the following courses:

POLS 311, Classics of Political Theory
POLS 312, American Political Thought
POLS 313, 20th Century Political Thought
POLS 314, Feminist Political Theory

Concentration in Public Law
POLS 111, Introduction to U.S. Politics
POLS 224, Courts, Law and Policy
And any three of the following courses:

POLS 320, Topics in Law
POLS 323, Constitutional Law: Structure and Power
POLS 324, Constitutional Law: Liberties and Rights
POLS 332, U.S. Congress
POLS 334, U.S. Bureaucracy and Regulatory Law

Concentration in Public Policy
POLS 111, Introduction to U.S. Politics
POLS 222, Analysis of U.S. Policy and Elections
And any three of the following courses:

POLS 330, Environmental Politics and Policy
POLS 332, U.S. Congress
POLS 333, US Presidency
POLS 334, U.S. Bureaucracy and Regulatory Law
POLS 336, Local and Regional Governance
POLS 337, Theory of Public Policy
POLS 339, Gender and Politics
POLS 350, Topics in Public Policy
POLS 351, U.S. Foreign Policy

Concentration in Global Politics
POLS 121, International Relations
POLS 223, Comparative Politics
And any three of the following courses:

POLS 343, Revolutions
POLS 344, Middle East Politics
POLS 345, Developing Nations
POLS 346, Asian Politics
POLS 347, Latin American Politics
POLS 351, U.S. Foreign Policy
POLS 352, Global Gender Issues
POLS 355, International Political Economy
POLS 358, Topics in International Relations/Comparative Politics

Courses (POLS)

111 Introduction to U.S. Politics. (4)
Introduction to the study, analysis and evaluation of U.S. political institutions, processes and policies. Subjects of the course include the structure of the federal government, constitutional rights and liberties, the functions of political parties, interest groups, communication media, and the process of democratic decision-making.

112 Election Prediction. (1)
Prediction of Congressional, presidential and gubernatorial races. Students will predict winners in all races in all states. Evaluation based on justifications of the prediction.

113 Election Consequences.
Examination of election outcomes from preceding fall semester and the policy outcomes likely to emerge as a result.

114 Public Policy Analysis/Recommendation. (1)
In this course students will diagnose a public policy problem and recommend a specific course of action to address that problem. Policy fields from which problems are drawn might include foreign policy, environmental policy, health care policy, education policy, or any other field of interest to the student. There are no regular classroom meetings. Students will work in groups to meet with instructor on as-needed basis. Each student will write a focused 3-page policy memo. Students will also publicly present their recommendations in poster form at the end of the course.

115 Lawyers in Amer Cinema/Culture
This class offers students the chance to examine the interplay between the legal profession and popular culture. Students will view four films to see what meaning they can derive from them: what do these films tell us about the role of lawyers, the conflicts they face, and the power they wield in American society? How accurate are these images? How do these images change over time? How are our attitudes toward the legal profession shaped by these films?

121 Intro to International Relations (SS). (4)
Analysis of the fundamental structure of the international system, including power, development, war and peace and trade viewed from a political, economic and social perspective.

170 SCSU/SABRO Courses

201 Book Club

211 Politics and Political Life. (4)
Intensive discussion and writing-oriented course that explores perennial issues of political life (such as freedom and justice, race and gender) through literature, drama, film, and essays. Students write a Political Autobiography reflecting upon their own political experiences and the formation of their own political perspective. The course is required for political science majors and minors, and open to students from all other majors. Prerequisites: sophomore standing, 111 and 121, one of which may be taken the same semester as 211

220 Data Analysis I

221 Political Theory: An Introduction. (4)
Introduction to the practice of thinking theoretically about politics. Readings will include classic works (such as Aristotle's Politics, Hobbes' Leviathan, Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government) as well as some American and 20th-century political theory. The course stresses careful reading of texts, but also encourages students to theorize on their own about present-day political questions. The course is required for political science majors and minors, and open to students from all other majors.

222 Analysis: U.S. Policy and Elections. (4)
Investigation of scholarly work and methods in all areas of political science. Students form hypotheses in response to political questions, use a variety of methods and tools to gather evidence, and identify criteria for evaluating the quality of evidence. Not available to first-year students. Every year.

223 Comparative Politics. (4)
Examination of how politics is practiced in many different ways. Through examples of countries from Europe to developing world, this course analyses different forms of institutions, governmental decision-making and political revolutions. The course highlights the significance of particular histories, the availability of economic resources for development, and the influence of distinct cultures and social traditions to explain why these countries reflect economic and political forms different from the United States. Not available to first-year students. Every year.

224 Courts, Law and Policy. (4)
Introduction to the study of law and legal process with an emphasis on the relationship between courts and public policy. Federal and state courts systems will be studied, as well as issues in criminal and civil law. Other subjects include the role of courts as political institutions, the selection of judges, the impact of court decisions on public policy, prosecutorial discretion in criminal cases, and the reliability of juries.

270 SCSU/SABRO Course

271 Individual Learning Project. (1-4)
Supervised reading or research at the lower-division level. Permission of department chair required. Consult department for applicability towards major requirements. Not available to first-year students.

295 Public Policy Debate. (0-2)
This course will enable students to engage in debates on current events and public policy topics. Students will research current events and construct arguments on a variety of domestic and international issues. Students will learn the different structures of debate cases (policy, value, and fact) and numerous opposition arguments (disadvantages, counterplans, critiques, procedurals) used in competitive parliamentary debate. Students will develop their listening, questioning, and refutation skills. Students will also develop research skills as they prepare briefs on particular issues.

311 Classics/Political Theory. (4)
Study of several especially interesting and important works of political theory from the ancient, modern and contemporary periods. The course examines historicist, feminist and postmodern interpretations of the works assigned. Since the course assumes some background in political theory, students will be able to consider more carefully and in greater detail the insights these works provide for the study of politics.

312 American Political Thought. (4)
What is America? How have Americans thought about democracy, equality, power and justice through the last two centuries? This course focuses on the central questions that have shaped American politics by examining the primary texts written by men and women who have contributed to the continuing debates. Every year.

313 20th Century Contemporary Political Thought. (4)
Examination of political thought throughout the turbulent 20th century, with special attention to writers who theorize about justice and the struggle to achieve it. Topics covered may include: just and unjust wars, imperialism, economic justice, justice in relations between men and women and between members of different racial and ethnic groups. A careful study of the ideas of the 20th century will prepare students to face the new challenges of the 21st century. Prerequisite: 221, equivalent, or consent of instructor. Alternate years.

314 Feminist Political Theory. (4)
Examination of the common theme that cannot be ignored in feminist thought: a claim to equality. This course examines the many varieties of feminist political theory including liberal feminism, radical feminism and socialist feminism. Students will look at how feminism has dealt with gender, ethnicity, sexual preference and examine where feminist theory is going into the future. Prerequisite: 221 or consent of instructor. Alternate years.

320 Topics in Law. (4)
Examination of the relationship between law, considered broadly as a socializing force, and society. Topics will vary and may include the use of alternatives to courts for the resolution of disputes, challenges of legal authority, and the relationship between cultural pluralism and legal order. Alternate years.

320A Topics: Race & Public Policy

320B Topics in Law: Supreme Court

320C Topic: Law & Literature

Topics in Law, POLS 320c, is a focused seminar in law and literature. In this course we will read a series of books and discuss them as a group. This is not a lecture course. Some of the texts are novels, some are plays, some are monographs, some are short stories, some are collections of theoretical essays. There is something here for every taste. Each of the books illustrates some aspect of the law that is worth understanding, whether that aspect concerns interpretation or a particular problem such as vengeance. We will also read a selected set of essays related to the book of the week from various law journals and these are available on-line via Lexis/Nexis. The point of this course is to give each student an understanding of the law as something beyond the cases and institutions studied in POLS 111, 224, 323 and 324. This is not a course in the nitty gritty practicalities of the law. Here I want you to begin to see some of the theoretical complexity as well as the majesty and diversity of law. For the future lawyers among you, this is an undergraduate version of a seminar you might see during your second or third year in law school. For those of you who have no intention of ever setting foot in a court room, let alone a law school, this should be a challenging course that will improve your reading, writing, and critical thinking skills.

320D topics in Law: TBA

323 Constitutional Law: Structure and Power. (4)
Examination of constitutional interpretation and development in the United States with an emphasis on the role of the Supreme Court in the U.S. system of government. The course uses a combination of case, historical and political analysis to acquaint students with the power of the Supreme Court as an institution of government. Themes studied include the development of constitutional doctrines regarding the power relationship among the president, Congress, and the judiciary and between the federal and state governments. Every year.

324 Constitutional Law: Civil Rights and Liberties. (4)
Examination of the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution with an emphasis on noteworthy Supreme Court cases from the past 50 years. Subjects studied include the guarantees of equal protection and due process, the right to privacy, the doctrines of free expression, and the separation of church and state. Every year.

326 Topics in Law
Examination of the relationship between law, considered broadly as a socializing force, and society. Topics will vary and may include the use of alternatives to courts for the resolution of disputes, challenges of legal authority, and the relationship between cultural pluralism and legal order. Alternate years.

 330 Environmental Politics/Policy. (4)
This is a course about the politics and policies surrounding environmental issues at all levels of government.  Many issues are both local and global.  Transportation, electricity, and food are locally experienced but have global as well as local environmental ramifications.  Environmental politics and policy are necessarily multi-disciplinary topics so we will draw upon a range of disciplines including economics, history, ecology, and ethics in addition to political science, public policy, and public administration. In covering environmental politics, we  focus mostly on the major, albeit shifting, themes of "environmentalism" from white-collar lobbying, legislating and litigating to the direct action protests and the politics of corporate sustainability.  The policy focus emphasizes content related to major federal laws governing public lands and other environmental issues, and the federal agencies that oversee environmental policy.  The second half of the course concentrates on specific local, national and international issues such as the management of national forests, food politics, and local land use planning. We will study each issue by discussing the players and major debates circulating around the respective ecological issues.

331 U.S. Political Parties and Elections. (4)
Analysis of the party system of U.S. elections. Students evaluate how populations are connected to governance through electoral and other processes; specifically, major parties, minor parties, interest groups, media, movements, and campaign organizations. Students investigate and compare the value of a 'two-party' system to one-party and multi-party systems as organizers of government power. Alternate years.

332 U.S. Congress. (4)
Study of the legislative branch with emphasis on the concept of representation, internal organization, committees, party leaders and constituency influences on the Congressional process. Every year.

333 U.S. Presidency and Executive Leadership. (4)
Analysis of the president, organizational aspects of the executive office and relationship with Congress, the bureaucracy, the media and public opinion. Every year.

334 U.S. Bureaucracy and Regulatory Law. (4)
Analysis of public policy organizations. Students examine values and processes that influence the regulations generated by the public sector at the national level, as well as the merit system of public service, and the web of connections among public bureaucracies at the state and national levels and institutions in other sectors.

336 Local and Regional Governance. (4)
Inclusive and comparative examination of governments and politics at the subnational level. In the federal structure of the United States, states and tribal nations share sovereignty with the national government. The course examines subnational policies, processes, and political structures and their potential for success in addressing issues such education, public assistance, pollution, health care, transportation, etc.

337 Theory of Public Policy. (4)
Examination of the normative nature of public policy making. The principles of public policy analysis are examined. Course focuses on the place of equality, efficiency, justice, authority, community, and other principles in the practice and evaluation of policy. Policy examples are taken from education, health care, poverty, housing, crime, employment and other areas.

338 Public Sector
Analysis of the effects of delivery systems on the quality of public goods and services. Traditional governmental agencies, not-for-profit organizations, and privatization alternatives are examined. Course takes a broad view of the public sector, including philanthropy, taxation, and fees as funding sources and contracting, grants and direct expenditures as outlays. Every year.

339 Gender and Politics. (4)
Analysis of public policy expectations, processes and decisions as they influence and are influenced by men and women differently. Students investigate criteria for gender-neutral policies, and evaluate the value and likelihood of such policy approaches. Alternate years.

341 European Politics. (4)
Comparative examination of the political systems of Europe with emphasis on the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Austria. The course includes the study of Eastern Europe and the Balkans. European integration through the European Union will be a major focus of the course. Offered on the Austrian international education programs.

343 Revolutions and Social Movements. (4)
Analysis of revolutions and social movements as political, economic, and social phenomenon. Focuses on writing by both political actors and social scientists. Case studies are drawn from throughout the world, including movements within the United States.

344 Middle East Politics. (4)
Study of the current political conflicts in the Middle East region with particular emphasis on the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Also emphasized will be the role of Islam and the political economy of oil.

345 Developing Nations. (4)
Examination of important aspects of politics, economics, relevant historical experiences and the culture of developing nations of Asia, Latin America and Africa. The course explores how these nations have sought to solve their major problems by using different theories and approaches to political, economic and social development. Each student will be expected to assess the achievements and/or shortcomings of a project in a research paper on a developing country of their choice. Alternate years.

346 Asian Politics. (4)
Examination of the politics and economics of three Asian countries, namely India, China and Japan. Contemporary politics is examined through a broad study of history, cultural and social traditions, and economic conditions. The U.S. relationships with each of these nations are also studied in light of distinct foreign policy approaches. Alternate years.

347 Latin American Politics. (4)
Comparative analysis of Latin American politics focusing on the themes of the military in politics, economic dependency, reform and revolution, and agrarian reform. Case studies include Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Nicaragua and Cuba. Alternate years.

348 African Politics
Examination of politics and economics of sub-Saharan Africa. The course analyzes the different kinds of governments in the region, the relationship between economic development and political change, the social patterns that shape domestic policy and governance processes, and regional integration schemes, including the African Union. Alternate years.

 349 South African Politics. (4)
Historical and contemporary overview of the South African political situation. The following topics and issues are explored: The Apartheid paradigm; major actors, parties, movements and institutions; constitutional development in South Africa; colonial and post-colonialism; economic system; and South Africa's international relations. Offered on South African international education program.

350 Topics in Public Policy. (4)
In different semesters this course will address various aspects of public policy. Topics that may be covered include the relationship between political philosophy and public policy, community organizations, issues of race and inequality, health care and education. Alternate years.

350A Sustainable Urban Planning
A sustainable world requires major rethinking of the ways we plan, design and manage human settlements. We need a new paradigm for urban planners and policy makers, addressing both cities, infrastructures and buildings, as well as the relationships between town and country. Sustainable development has ecological, economic and social aspects. Our organization and design of space is a prime source of resource and energy use, as well as being a key to well functioning and healthy communities. The course will include seminars, readings and case studies on themes including land use, ecological footprint, social neighborhood planning, citizen participation, work and mobility, life cycle design, low carbon / zero emission cities and urban ecology. The major focus of the course will be to examine different models of urban development, from traditional settlements to modern cities, and to develop an understanding of the complex human and environmental issues involved.

This course will explore how key ideas and debates in the history of American political thought have been translated into practice, both in the United States and elsewhere in the world. We will examine, for example, how the Framers attempted to create a presidency that was both effective and effectively checked, and ask how the presidency has changed in comparison to those initial hopes and fears. We will examine Abraham Lincoln's use of, and arguments for, presidential emergency powers during the Civil War; and how the Bush administration used (or some would argue, abused) the arguments of Lincoln and the Federalist Papers to justify sweeping presidential powers in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Other contemporary applications explored in the course will include the present-day Tea Party's appropriation of the rhetoric of the American Revolution, and the contemporary resurgence of the pre-Civil War doctrine of state nullification of federal law. Finally, we will link the Declaration of Independence's claim of inalienable rights - rights to which all human beings are entitled, no matter what political community they belong to - to 20th and 21st Century understandings of "human rights," and to debates about whether and in what way the United States is obliged to honor international standards of human rights in its policies. The course as a whole will emphasize the fact that political theories have policy consequences, predictable or unpredictable, sometimes in their own place and time, sometimes decades or centuries later or in some other part of the world.

350C Community Organizing
Course offered for A-F grading only See course description under new course list

351 U.S. Foreign Policy. (4)
Examination of United States foreign policy. The course focuses on key players as well as institutions and unofficial individuals or groups involved in the making of U.S. foreign policy. Case studies will be used to bring a 'real-life' element to the class. Every year.

352 Global Gender Issues. (4)
Study of gender as a fundamental variable in social, political and economic developments around the world. In this course, the focus is to identify the significance of gender at a global level. Examination of gendered division of labor in industrialized and developing societies, in particular, gendered discourses in development policies and gender-based economic strategies of modernization and restructuring. Beyond the economic realm, the course will also deal with other issues, such as wars, peace movements and concerns over military spending, which show remarkably similar patterns in terms of gender differences over policies. Alternate years.

353 International Law and Organization. (4)
Examination of the historical and current development of international law and the emergence of different forms of international organization. There will be a special emphasis on the post-WWII period when there was a virtual revolution in international law, as reflected in the Nuremberg trial, Geneva conventions, the end of Colonialism and the International Declaration on Human Rights. Cross-listed as PCST 349. Alternate years.

355 International Political Economy. (4)
Examination of international economic linkages that play a significant role in defining relations among states and non-state actors in the post-cold war world. While security has been perceived primarily in military terms, in the new world economic conditions will determine the ranking among nations. Agreements establishing the European Union, the North American Free Trade Area, and the World Trade Organization (WTO)/General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) are symbolic of the significance of global economic concerns. The course analyzes national and international responses to the challenge of global economic competition. Alternate years.

356 Security: Defense/Diplom/Dev. (4)
In this course, students will explore issues of security from different perspectives. The course will start by looking at traditional security issues involving violence and warfare, but then move on to economic security, environmental security, and human security. Students will examine the role of states, international institutions, and non-governmental actors in seeing to understand and increase security.

358 Topics in International Relations/Comparative Politics. (4)
Selected topics in contemporary international relations and comparative politics. Subjects covered could include social change in Latin America, civil-military relations in Central America, and global environmental politics.

359 Spain and the European Union. (4)
This course addresses Spain's political and social development since its integration in the European Union, the Spanish political institutions and the role that Spain plays in the New Europe. The course will focus on Spain's regionalisms and explores how the Euro and the European Union structure has affected Spanish society, and influenced the patterns of national development.

360 Civil-Milit Rel/Guatemala
This course will introduce the students to traditional and contemporary theories on civil-military relations, focusing especially on the Latin American context and situation. Next, the course will examine the historical and political development of Guatemala from the days of independence to the end of the civil war in 1996, focusing on the role of the military in Guatemalan politics and daily life. Taught in Spanish.

361 Research Seminar in Public Affairs. (4)
Preparation and presentation of a 35-50 page senior thesis in public policy, using standard scholarly research literature and primary source materials. Topic areas include but are not limited to health care, education, welfare, poverty, economic development and crime. Research projects focus on definition of a public policy problem, a review of existing alternative policy options for addressing the problem, and a recommendation for a preferred course of public action. Especially useful for students pursuing careers in public policy and public or non-profit management.

362 Research Seminar in Law. (4)
Preparation and presentation of a 35-50 page senior thesis in the area of law and law-related fields. Students will learn how to research using legal materials and tools and how to organize and draft a legal writing project. Seniors only. Every year.

363 Research Seminar in Political Institutions. (4)
Preparation and presentation of a 35-50 page senior thesis in an area related to U.S. political institutions and policies. Students work individually and collaboratively to plan and execute successfully their extended research projects. The senior thesis demonstrates the student's abilities to synthesize course work preparation in the major, to apply skills and knowledge to conduct research on important political questions, and to communicate the analysis and recommendations to appropriate audiences. Seniors only. Every year.

364 Research Seminar in International Relations and Comparative Politics. (4)
Preparation and presentation of a 35-50 page senior thesis in the areas of international relations and comparative politics. Students will study different research methodologies and share the results of their research with other seminar participants. Assigned reading, seminar discussions and individual research project in international relations or comparative politics. Seniors only. Every year.

365 Research Seminar in Political Theory. (4)
Preparation and presentation of a 35-50 page senior thesis exploring in depth the work of particular theorists (Hobbes, Locke, Madison, Mill, Marx, for example) or particular themes in political thought (such as freedom, justice, power). It will also provide students interested in constitutional law an opportunity to study/investigate law from an aspect of political theory. Seniors only.

370 SCSU/SABRO Courses

371 Individual Learning Project. (1-4)
Supervised reading or research at the upper-division level. Permission of department chair and completion and/or concurrent registration of 12 credits within the department required.

395 Model United Nations Seminar. (0-2)
Preparation for participation in a national Model United Nations Conference, usually held in New York City or Boston during the spring semester. Covers the structure and functions of the United Nations, plus selected international issues such as the environment, terrorism and human rights. Prerequisite: 121 or permission of instructor. Every year.

396 Washington, D.C., Summer Study. (8)
Preparation with faculty and other learning community participants, followed by an eight week internship experience in Washington, D.C., working full time for members of Congress, committee staffs, federal agencies, media or lobbying organizations. Includes evening seminars, discussions with Congressional delegation, and guest speakers. Every summer.

397 Internship. (4-8)
Experiential learning in the field, including work with faculty researchers, elected officials, other public officials, lawyers and judges.

398 Honors Senior Project. (4)
Required for graduation with "Distinction in Political Science." Prerequisite: HONR 396 and approval of the department chair and director of the Honors Thesis program. For further information see HONR 398.

399 Politcal Science Senior Colloquium
This two credit course ties together the student's POLS major across sub-fields. Beginning from the political autobiography and resume initially developed in POLS 211, each senior student majoring in political science integrates class discussions, two short essays, and POLS coursework previously completed into an evidence-based portfolio that demonstrates the student's achievement of the political science department's student learning goals. The POLS learning goals emphasize knowledge, skills, and values expected overall in the discipline of political science and prepare students for future employment or graduate study. Required for all POLS majors. Pre-requisites: Senior standing