Spring 2021 upper division offerings

POLS 313 - 20th Century Contemporary Political Thought

- C3 Block - Dr. Jim Read

We will focus on two different ways in which questions of justice and injustice arise in the modern world: on matters of distribution; and on matters of recognition. We will also examine the ethical choices we face on in this respect as citizens, voters, consumers, and members of a community. If the market produces great inequalities of wealth and political power, should those inequalities be limited through redistributive taxation, or left alone? Do laws restricting certain market transactions between consenting parties (like prostitution and surrogate pregnancy) prevent injustice? Or do they worsen it? Should we ban and/or boycott goods produced by child labor in impoverished countries? These questions involve ethical choice with respect to economic distribution and the operations of the market, and we face them every time we vote, or debate about tax policy, or purchase clothing. They also involve arguments about whether and in what way justice requires recognition of someone’s ethnic, racial, sexual, religious, or national identity. Advocates of same-sex marriage rights, for example, do not seek a redistribution of wealth but instead changes in the way their fellow citizens talk about, think about, and publicly recognize same-sex relationships. When Muslim women and girls wear veils or head scarves in public places, is this an affirmation of religious freedom and cultural heritage, or a badge of women’s oppression? Does celebrating one’s own ethnic or national identify necessarily involve denigrating or ignoring the identity of another group or nation? Identity politics can become especially fierce when each group perceives the other’s identity as a threat to its own. Arguments against child labor, for example, target not only low wages and poverty, but also the harmful ways in which the practice damages a developing child’s sense of personal identity and social status. Whether employers offer an employee’s same-sex partner the same health care and retirement benefits that it offers other married employees involves questions of both distribution and recognition. 

POLS 324 - Constitutional Law: Liberties/Rights

- D4 Block - Dr. Phil Kronebusch

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. 

POLS 330 - Environmental Politics/Policy

- B2 Block - Dr. Matt Lindstrom

Transportation, energy, 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 environ-mental politics, we focus on lobbying, legislating and litigating as well as the direct action and the politics of corporate sustainability. The policy focus emphasizes content related to major federal laws and agencies governing public lands and other environmental issues, and the federal agencies that over-see environmental policy such as food politics, and local land use planning.

POLS 345 - The Global South

- D4 Block - Dr. Pedro dos Santos

Conceptual discussion of the term Global South, as well as other similar terms such as Third World and Developing Nations. Examination of important aspects of politics, economics, relevant historical experiences and the culture of countries identified as the Global South (nations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East). Exploration of developmental issues, focusing on how these nations have sought to solve major problems by using different theories and approaches to political, economic and social development.

POLS 350D - Political Psychology/Behavior

- C3 Block - Dr. Whitney Court

Applying psychological theories to the context of politics helps us better understand the political behavior of political elites and the citizenry. We will begin by analyzing how attitudes are formed. Then we will answer questions like, what does it mean to be a part of a particular identity group and how might that shape your political behavior and beliefs? What motivates people to take part in politics while others appear to sit on the sidelines? We will also investigate how people process and perceive information, and then we will critically examine the effectiveness of different campaign tactics given this knowledge. By the end of this semester students will gain a stronger understanding of how an interdisciplinary research approach can help us better comprehend and predict the political environment.

POLS 353 - Int'l Law and Organization

- C3 Block - Dr. Jeff Anderson

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.

POLS 358E - Democratization

- A1 Block - Dr. Colin Hannigan

Study of regime change and regime stability in a comparative context. This course examines the origins, structures, value, stability, and international consequences of democracy and democratization. Topics include trends over time in regime change, structural and actor-based explanations for democratization, authoritarian survival strategies (repression, elections, parties, media control), institutional variation (e.g. electoral systems and forms of government), backsliding and authoritarian resurgence, the role of civil society and political culture, and the international behavior of democracies and autocracies. While democracy is sometimes perceived as singular, Western experience, empirical cases are primarily drawn from Latin America, Africa, Asia, post-Communist Eastern Europe, the Middle East, etc. 

ETHS 390 - Sex, Death and Ethics

- C3 Block - Dr. Scott Johnson