Undergraduate Study

Summer 2019 Courses

Maymester (May 13th-24th)

PSC 300 m101 Is Congress Broken?

Instructor: Beatriz Policicio Rey 
Class #: 72122 
Offered: MTWThF, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Prerequisites: None

Course Description 
Congress is highly unpopular in the United States – almost 80% of Americans disapprove of the way in which it conducts governing.  But is Congress ineffective?  What would an ideal version of Congress look like?  And how does Congress’ functions depart from our ideal expectations?  This course seeks to expand students’ knowledge on congressional matters beyond what is reported by the media.  Half of the course is dedicated to TV series/movies/readings and the other half to lawmaking simulations with students.  The simulations offer students experiences that illustrate the difficulties legislators face every day to make decisions.  Classes are organized around the following themes:  the role of Congress in U.S.democracy; congressional elections; the legislative process; legislative organization (political parties and committees); lobbying; different views on the ineffectiveness of congress; and case studies of policy reforms enacted by legislators.

PSC 300 m501 Authoritarianism 

Instructor: Dongshu Liu
Class #: 72123 
Offered: MTWThF, 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Prerequisites: None 

Course Description 
Many people believe we are living in the era of “authoritarian resurgence”, but what does authoritarianism exactly mean and how does it differ from democracy as another form of political system?  This is a course designed to provide students with an introduction to the politics of authoritarian regimes.  Analytically, this course will teach students the basic analytical skills used in the literature of authoritarianism, which can also be used in the studies of other political topics.  Empirically, this course will provide students in-depth understanding of the basic institutional structures of authoritarian regimes, how they differ across cases, as well as their implications.  We will study authoritarianism and its domestic politics from comparative politics perspective, but we will also have a regional focus in this course and examine the relevant topics in the context of International Relations and International Political Economy.  We may also learn authoritarianism through films and other products of popular culture.


Session I (May 20th-June 28th)

PSC 125 m001 Political Theory

Instructor: Laura Jenkins
Class #: 72137
Offered: MTWTh, 12:00 pm - 1:45 pm
Prerequisites: None

Cross-listed with PHI 125

Course Description 
This course surveys political theories across large stretches of historical time while closely examining some of the great and near-great works from Plato to the present. The examining instruments are what we think we know today about such topics as rationality, social organization, morality, justice, and critical interpretation. At the end of the course we should have a better understanding of arguments and texts in political theory, and whether and how contemporary political theorists continue the inquiries that began at earlier times in our history. A variety of resources will be used in our journey. Most of the time we will be reading conventional -- what I call linear -- texts that tell a story of political theory from the past to the present. In approximately the last third of the course we will study material from more recent approaches to politics that sometimes maintains, at other times rejects, the theoretical narratives dominating classical and modern thought. The aim here is to illuminate political thought with more recent insights and concepts, often drawn from the work of theorists who question what is taken for granted in traditional theory on the nature of the self, the scope of rationality, and the organization of human communities.

PSC 202 m001 Introduction to Political Analysis

Instructor: Katharine Russell
Class #: 70443
Offered: MTWTh, 10:00 am - 11:45 am
Prerequisites: None 

Course Description 
The purpose of this course, required for political science majors, is to build skills for conducting, interpreting, and presenting political science research. These skills include: basic research and data collection practices, techniques for measuring political science concepts quantitatively, hypothesis testing, interpretation of statistical evidence, and the presentation of findings in a clear and compelling manner. Tying these components together is a thematic focus on important political science concepts such as democracy, power, or representation.


Session II (July 1st – August 9th)

PSC 121 m001 American National Government & Politics

Instructor: Joel Kersting
Class #: 70005 
Offered: MTWTh, 12:00 pm - 1:45 pm 
Prerequisites: None

Course Description
How does the American political system operate? This course provides an introduction to American political ideas, institutions, behaviors, and processes. Topics include (among other things) public opinion, elections, Congress, the presidency, the mass media, civic participation, the Constitution, federalism, and public policy. Although we will cover the “nuts and bolts” of American government, our focus is on political science rather than civics, which means our task is to analyze and interpret political phenomena.

PSC 123 m001 Comparative Politics

Instructor: Elizabeth Davis
Class #: 72138
Offered: MTWTh, 10:00 am - 11:45 am
Prerequisites: None

Course Description
Why are some countries democratic and others authoritarian? Do democracies provide citizens a better quality of life? Why do civil wars happen in some countries? What are the relations among history, culture, the economy and politics? These are some of the questions that we will cover in class. This is a course intended to introduce students to politics around the world in a comparative perspective. We will examine some of the pressing issues in politics today, and survey the social science literature to see how the theories it develops helps us understand politics better.


Online

PSC 355 u800 International Political Economy

Instructor: Daniel McDowell
Class #: 72233 
Offered: ***ONLINE***
Prerequisites: None

Course Description
From the rise of Donald Trump’s economic populism to Great Britain’s “Brexit” from the European Union, it is impossible to deny the tenuous political underpinnings of economic globalization today. To borrow from Prof. Jeffry Frieden, globalization is a choice, not a fact. That is, the global economic integration we observe today is the product of governments’ policy decisions over a period of many decades. This course introduces the student to the field of international political economy (IPE). IPE studies how politics impacts the global economy and, in return, how the global economy impacts politics. There are two central questions that we will wrestle with in this class. First, what explains the international economic policy choices governments make? Second, what are the effects of those policy choices both within and across countries? Over the course of the session, we will engage with a number of key topics in IPE including: international trade, economic development, multinational corporations, international capital flows, exchange rates, sovereign debt, and financial crises. We will rely on two primary analytic tools: basic economic principles to explain how economic policies influence the distribution of income and political economy theories that explain how politicians set policies. Together, we will use these tools to help understand historical and contemporary phenomena.