PLSC 300C: Political Culture--Trust and Distrust
W 4:15pm / LSC
This course has a twofold ambition. First is to consider theories of how social trust develops among individuals and within a society and the implications of high and low levels of social trust. We will look at these implications across a variety of countries. In this work we consider work by Axelrod, Hardin, and Putnum among others. Particular emphasis is placed on the role political institutions play in the development of trust. The second goal is to discuss how we can measure trust through experiments and surveys. This will include looking at the development of a wide number of cooperative games that have been used across a variety of societies to assess trust. We will consider the work of Bowles, Gintis, and Ostrom (the newly awarded Nobel Prize winner in economics). As issues of social trust and stability cross all the social sciences we will look at work by anthropologists, economists, sociologists, and psychologists as well as political scientists.
PLSC 341: Comparative Politics
MWF 10:25am / LSC
This course examines the core concepts of comparative politics. We will discuss variations in domestic politics around the world, and review the leading explanations for these differences. After learning about a wide range of dominant issues in the field, including state formation, political institutions, democratization, globalization, political economy, nationalism, and political culture, we will explore these concepts within several case studies. By the end of the course, students will possess the conceptual tools necessary to analyze and compare the domestic politics of states across the world, which will lead to a better understanding of the international political system.
PLSC 343: Latin American Politics
TTh 1:00pm / LSC
This course provides an introduction to the fascinating politics of Latin America. First we will look at the history of Latin America to examine the social forces, key events and actors that have influenced the region’s politics. We will then study eight of the most interesting and important countries in the region--Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Students will select one of these countries on which to develop a Power Point presentation and write a research paper. By the end of this course, you will have acquired a general understanding of the key political forces in the region, general knowledge of several countries, and detailed understanding of the politics of and democratic development in one country.
PLSC 349: Eastern European Politics
MWF 11:30am / LSC
1989 saw one of the most surprising developments of contemporary politics--the collapse of communist regimes across East Central Europe. To explain and understand how these developments came about, this course examines the history and politics of the region, comprising Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary, with references to Bulgaria, Romania, and the former Yugoslavia. The course will first examine the era of state socialism--the communist ascendancy, Stalinist rule, and the conflicts between state and society that erupted as a result. It will then focus on the reasons behind the collapse of the communist regimes, and the subsequent developments: the introduction of democracy and the free market, the development of political party systems, constitutions, and economic transformation. In comparing the different trajectories these polities and economies took before and after 1989, we will focus first on the relationship between state and society, and the nature of the political and economic institutions of state socialism. In the second part of the course, we will focus on the processes of democratic transition, economic reform, and the major dilemmas they create.
PLSC 352: Canadian Politics
TTh 10:00am / LSC
This course discusses the Canadian system of government, focusing on the Parliament, the Prime Minister and permanent government, the judiciary, political actors such as organized interests, political parties, mass media, and public opinion as well as the legal and political relationships between the federal and provincial governments of Canada.
PLSC 369: Religion & Politics
MWF 12:35pm / LSC
Shi‘ite Islam has emerged as a major organizational, institutional, and symbolic affecting political attitudes and behavior. This course explores the political trajectory of modern Shi‘ite Islam by adopting a historical comparative approach. It engages with several questions: How was Shi‘iite Islam emerged and evolved into a distinct sect in Islam? What are the defining characteristics of Shi‘iite Islam? How do these characteristics vary over time and across space? What factors has transformed Shi‘iite Islam into a major political force in contemporary age? How does the study of modern Shi‘iite Islam inform our understanding of religion and politics? The course has three interrelated goals: 1) making students familiar with the basicaspects of the Shi’iite history, 2) providing them with analytical tools and knowledge for an in-depth understanding of the contemporary politics in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, and 3) generating theoretical insight into the question of how religious faith and political action interact and shape each other. The course develops an interdisciplinary approach that draws from political science, history, sociology, anthropology, and religious studies.
PLSC 394: Comparative Family Policy
MWF 9:20am / LSC