PLSC 324: Civil-Military Relations
TTh 11:30am / LSC
Civil-Military Relations explores the complex interactions between militaries and the societies they serve. Topics include civilian control of the military, the military as a political institution, and various personnel issues such as who serves, motivation for recruitment and retention, professional military education and training, and gender, sexual orientation, and the military. The course will attempt to move beyond the headlines on these issues to give students a broader understanding of the role of the military in a free society. Students will be evaluated on class participation, two essay examinations, and a research paper.
PLSC 337: Terrorism
MWF 12:35pm / LSC
This course will use the infamous 9/11 attacks to examine current religiously-justified international terrorism, the fourth wave of modern terrorism. While we will concentrate on terrorist activity associated with Islam since it dominates today’s headlines, it is appropriate to remember that Christian and Jewish groups have engaged in religiously- affiliated terrorism since the late 1940’s. We will discuss the pros and cons of different definitions of terrorism- there is no general agreement. In examining terrorism, we will look at terrorist organizational structures, weapons, operations and operational planning, ideology, motivation, and financing. We will examine efforts to combat terrorists, including exploitable weakness. We will also look at the effects of terrorism on our daily lives and at our willingness to compromise our American principles and constitutional rights in combating terrorists.
PLSC 349: Eastern European Politics
MWF 10:25am / LSC
This class explores the political relevance of Eastern Europe, from its emergence as a geopolitical actor to the latest developments in the area. The class is organized around four modules: Module one surveys the origin of the Eastern European sovereign states, paying close attention to patterns of diversity and affinity in the region. Module two analyzes the formation of the Eastern communist bloc under the Soviet dominance. As part of this module we will investigate a complex set of factors that gave shape to the political identity of the region and at the same time precipitated the collapse of the Eastern European bloc. Module three focuses on the democratic transition that took place across the Eastern European countries during the nineties and explores the role of the European Union in this process. Module four reflects upon the variation across the development of Eastern European countries, with a particular emphasis on the Western Balkans.
PLSC 348: Russian Politics
TTh 1:00pm / LSC
This course is designed as a detailed examination of Russia’s contemporary political system and its recent evolution. Structurally, we will focus of four areas of change – state structure regime change, economic transformation, and state and national identity, to offer a dynamic context of the for analyzing the post-Soviet era. With a consistent emphasis on the intersection of politics and economics and the tensions between the authoritarian and democratic trends, this course will guide students through the complexities and ambiguities of Russian politics today.
PLSC 359: Revolutions
MWF 2:45pm / LSC
This course examines the nature of revolutions, their origins, causes and outcomes. It surveys controversial issues on the impact of revolutions on freedom and political development. Modes of contentious politics such as upheavals, coups, and rebellions will be broadly explored, but special focus is given to the French Revolution (1789), Bolshevik Revolution (1917), Sandinista revolution (1970s), democratic revolutions in Eastern Europe (1990s) and the Arab Spring.
PLSC 360: Western European Politics
TTh 2:30pm / LSC
This course begins with an introduction to the comparative politics of developed democracies. It then offers a closer look at political institutions, processes, behavior and policy in the three representative Western European countries, Britain, France and Germany. Finally, the course compares several major policy issues in the context of Western Europe as a whole, including the macroeconomy; education, health and social policies; political participation and institutions; demographic trends; defense and foreign policy; and “moral” issues.
PLSC 368: Politics of the Middle East
Th 4:15pm / LSC
This course offers a thematic approach to the study of society and politics in the modern Middle
East. It covers a variety of episodes from the Arab countries, Iran, Israel, and Turkey. . The
introductory sections discuss the historical formation of the Middle East, engage with the
question of whether the Middle East can be considered as a coherent and unified sociopolitical,
economic or cultural entity, survey diversity in the region, and address how people of the
region are represented. Following these introductory exercises are more specified discussions of the state and society relations in the region. The topics covered include the rise of nationalism, authoritarian rule and struggle for democratization, political economy of natural resources, Islamist mobilization, ethnic and gender relations, and the migrant communities.
PLSC 374: Democracy
MWF 9:20am / LSC
This course explores an array of competing perspectives on democracy. We will study normative and empirical models of democracy, investigate the place and role of demos in democratic systems, compare typologies of democratic regimes and assess the compatibility of democracy with non-western cultures.