Department of Political Science

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Fall 2015 Course Descriptions

All courses are offered for 3 credit hours unless otherwise noted. 

Course Number Course Name  Days/Times  Faculty
POSC 109 The U.S. Political System  MWF 10:30-11:20 Joseph White
POSC 160 Introduction to Comparative Politics (Counts for CAS Global and Cultural Diversity Requirement) TR 11:30-12:45 Kelly McMann
POSC 172, Section 100 Introduction to International Relations TR 2:45-4:00 Kathryn Lavelle
POSC 172, Section 101 Introduction to International Relations TR 10:00-11:15 Staff
POSC 306/406 Interest Groups in the Policy Process MWF 3:00-3:50 Joseph White
POSC 328/428 Topics in Civil Liberties TR 4:30-5:45 Laura Tartakoff
POSC 348 History of Modern Political and Social Thought M 4:30-7 Miriam Levin
POSC 349/449 Political Science Research Methods  (Limit 17. Counts as SAGES Departmental Seminar) MWF 2:00-2:50 Justin Buchler
POSC 360/460 Revolts and Revolutions in Global Perspective MW 12:30-1:45 Pete Moore
POSC 363/463 Comparative Analysis of Elections and Electoral Systems (Limit 17. SAGES Departmental Seminar) MW 12:30-1:45 Karen Beckwith
POSC 370F/470F Financial Politics in the U.S. and the World TR 10:00-11:15 Kathryn Lavelle
POSC 370H/470H China’s Foreign Policy (Counts for CAS Global and Cultural Diversity Requirement) TR 1:15-2:30 Staff
POSC 373/473 Politics of the European Union TR 11:30-12:45 Elliot Posner
POSC 379/479 Introduction to Middle East Politics (Counts for CAS Global and Cultural Diversity Requirement) MW 3:00-4:15 Pete Moore
POSC 382A Child Policy MW 3:00-4:15 Gabriella Celeste
POSC 384/484 Ethics and Public Policy T 4:30-7:00 Jeremy Bendik-Keymer
POSC 395 Special Projects (1-6 credit hours. Prerequisites: see description) Times as arranged Staff
POSC 396 Senior Project/SAGES Capstone (Prerequisites: See description) Times as arranged Staff
POSC 495 Independent Study  (Graduate students only. Must be taken for a letter grade. Prerequisites: See description) Times as arranged Staff
POSC 601 Individual Investigation  (1-6 credit hours. Graduate students only. May be taken only on a pass/fail basis. Prerequisites: See description) Times as arranged Staff
POSC 651 M.A. Thesis Research  (6 credit hours. Graduate students only. Permission from supervisor and graduate committee is required. Grade is for the thesis itself, so Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory) Times as arranged Staff
POSC 701 Dissertation Ph.D.  (1-9 credit hours. Prerequisites: see description) Times as arranged Staff
  Washington Center Program (See description)    
  Integrated Graduate Studies (See description)    

 

POSC 109
The U.S. Political System                                                                                      
Joseph White
MWF 10:30-11:20  

The U.S. political system was created to bring cooperation, the ability to work together for public ends, out of conflict, the disagreements about ends and means that were common in 1787 and at least as common now. That is the fundamental task of government, and how well that works depends on how much people disagree (beliefs) the rules of the game (how political authority is exercised), and the policy environment (the severity of problems, such as economic conditions or security threats). For this class the basic questions involve what Americans fight about through politics, how decisions are made, whether decisions tend to favor some groups of people over others, and whether decisions can be made at all.

With those questions in mind we will survey the basic institutions and dynamics of the U.S. political system. These include public and elite attitudes and why they matter; how attitudes are mobilized to influence the government, through political parties, interest groups and the media; the separated institutions that share powers to make governmental decisions, such as Congress, the presidency, courts and government agencies: and the elections which link mobilized attitudes to who holds office in the government.

 

POSC 160
Introduction to Comparative Politics                                                                      
Kelly McMann
TR 11:30-12:45   

Comparative politics is the study of processes and institutions within countries.  Prompted by real-world puzzles, comparativists investigate broad, theoretical questions:  What constitutes a revolution, and why do revolutions occur?  How does one country become more democratic than another?  Why do relations between some ethnic groups turn violent?  This course introduces some of the central puzzles and theories of comparative politics in order to help students better understand world events. Counts for CAS Global and Cultural Diversity Requirement.

 

POSC 172
Introduction to International Relations                                                                    
Kathryn Lavelle
TR 2:45-4:00

This course is a survey of international relations.  It will address the major questions about the ways that states interact: what is anarchy, and what are its consequences?  Can we mitigate its effects, and if so how?  Has globalization—the increasing flows of goods, people and knowledge across borders—changed the nature of the way states relate to each other?  Has the rise of non-state actors diminished the authority of the state?  This course will take up these large questions by examining the nature of anarchy and sovereignty and their effects in world politics.  It will also ask under what conditions can international cooperation—through treaties, laws and less formal arrangements—help provide peace, security and prosperity.  The course will cover the fundaments of the discipline, including a review of the theoretical approaches and major questions in contemporary international relations.  We will also look at specific issues in contemporary world politics such as human rights, environmental protection and other issues decided upon by the class.

 

POSC 172
Introduction to International Relations                                                                    

Staff
TR 10:00-11:15

Why do countries fight wars? Can nuclear proliferation be curtailed? Does trade help developing countries or harm them? This survey of the field of International Relations examines “big questions” in world politics. It introduces themes including the rise, development and changes of the nation-state system; patterns and causes of international conflict and cooperation; international law, organizations, and transnational institutions; the roles of both state and non-state actors in international politics; and the methods used to understand this field. 

 

POSC 306/406       
Interest Groups in the Policy Process
Joseph White   
MWF 3:00-3:50   

This course is about how interests, variously defined, deal with government(s) in the United States. Most interests are not “groups” organized for political purposes but ongoing organizations, such as corporations and unions. Much advocacy for interests is not about big policy issues but the maintenance of organizations – such as zoning variances, or defense contracts. A great deal of government relations work involves figuring out how government action could affect an organization, instead of trying to change government policy. Yet at the same time, much of what government does is shaped by how organized interests work to influence decisions. We will study the interaction of interests and government from three main perspectives. First we view, as any advocate must, “the government” not as one organization but as a series of arenas for decision-making: local, state and national governments; legislators and courts and executives and elections. Second, we consider decision making as a process with particular phases, such as setting an agenda, generating alternatives, passing legislation, and then implementing legislation. Third, we will pay special attention to how interests’ different resources may make them better able to have influence in some arenas than at others, or at some phases of the policy process than at others. Rather than asking big questions about “democracy” or whether interests are “good or bad,” the goal of this course is to help students understand two things. First, if they become part of an organization that deals with the government (which means any organization), how they might choose tactics and strategies. Second, as citizens, to what extent and in what ways does the process of interests dealing with governments favor some people over others? 

 

POSC 328/428       
Topics in Civil Liberties
Laura Tartakoff   
TR 4:30-5:45

Justice Frankfurter once noted that the history of liberty has largely been the history of fair criminal procedures. Without such safeguards provided by the rule of law in a pluralist society, criminal prosecution might be used to crush opposition and dissent. Constant fear — the greatest of human evils according to Montesquieu –would reign; the arbitrary power of government would go unchecked. Thus, this course will focus on the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the rights of the accused as outlined in sections of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments. It will cover the following topics: (1) arrests, searches, and seizures, (2) the privilege against compelled self-incrimination, (3) the rights to counsel and jury trial, and (4) capital punishment. Our approach will be case-specific, but special attention will be given to the complex interplay of history, philosophy, and politics in the framing of each topic.

 

POSC 348              
History of Modern Political and Social Thought
Miriam Levin        
M 4:30-7

(Also offered as HSTY 348/448.)  This course explores the responses of philosophers, economic theorists, culture critics, and public policy makers to changes in western society wrought by industrialization by focusing on their concerns with technological change.

 

POSC 349/449       
Political Science Research Methods
Justin Buchler  
MWF 2:00-2:50   

(Limit 17.  Approved SAGES departmental seminar).  This course examines approaches that political scientists use to understand political events and processes in order to develop skills helpful to completing senior projects, primarily evaluating and conducting research.  Through exercises and projects, students will take part in the research process from developing a question to research design to interpretation of results.  Students will learn and apply key techniques, including inductive and deductive reasoning, hypothesis construction, operationalization of concepts, measurement, sampling and probability, causal inference, and the logic of controls.

Rather than a “cookbook” approach, the course will follow the pattern of a research project.  We will use a topic as a common thread to tie materials together in order to demonstrate how the principles you will learn are actually used.  The topic we will use is the influence of campaign contributions on votes cast by Members of Congress.  We will discuss other examples in class that cover a wide variety in order to provide breadth to the course materials.  However, we will keep coming back to the topic of campaign finance in order to keep a common thread so that we don’t lose sight of the big picture.

The course will proceed in three sections.  In the first section, we will discuss the use of formal models in political science to generate hypotheses.  The second section of the course will focus on research design.  The final section of the course will address techniques for data analysis, and will use real campaign finance data to test predictions from the first section of the course.

 

POSC 360/460       
Revolts and Revolutions in Global Perspective
Pete Moore   
MW 12:30-1:45

The Arab protests of 2011 gripped the attention of the world.  Young protestors succeeded in unseating some long time rulers but in other cases tense standoffs have evolved.  This course takes those events as a starting point to examine the broader political history of revolts and revolutions in the global south.  The first part of the course examines some of the classic social science debates about what constitutes revolution, what leads to revolution, and what the effects can be.  The second part of the course analyzes specific cases in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia to understand the causes and consequences of revolt and revolution.  What drives everyday persons to brave the dangers of protest?  When and why do political leaders decide to resist or reform?  What happens when revolts fail?  What happens when they succeed?  Material for the course will include classic social science narratives, revolutionary polemics, popular analyses of events since 2011, examples of social media as political action, and first person narratives.

 

POSC 363/463       
Comparative Analysis of Elections and Electoral Systems
Karen Beckwith    
MW 12:30-1:45

(Limit 17. SAGES Departmental Seminar) Elections involve more than a simple act of voting to express individual preferences. The rules under which worldwide elections are held determine who controls the executive and how votes are converted into legislative seats. The mechanics of various electoral arrangements will be examined in detail and the consequences for the political system discussed in terms of strategies and desired outcomes on the part of contestants. Students will research individual countries and analyze recent elections from both qualitative and quantitative perspectives.

 

POSC 370F/470F    
Financial Politics in the U.S. and the World
Kathryn Lavelle   
TR 10:00-11:15 

This course explores how political institutions make policy in the financial area with particular emphasis on the United States.  Using a bureaucratic politics framework, it examines money, banks and the securities industry by integrating a wide range of literature in economics and political science.  Specific objectives include familiarizing students with different approaches to the political economy of finance from different disciplines, exploring the historical evolution of finance, examining the changing relationship between public and private authority within the financial system, considering how politics operates in a crisis, and evaluating the role of international financial institutions in the global economy.  By taking this course, students will equip themselves for further research into politics and economics, as well as offer them tools to analyze future policy developments as they unfold.

 

POSC 370H/470H
China’s Foreign Policy
Staff
TR 1:15-2:30

The rise of China is evident in the country’s more forward and robust foreign policy that began in 1979. At every turn, nations throughout the world must now consider China wherever their interests are at stake, be it Korea and Northeast Asia, Indochina and Southeast Asia, India/Pakistan and South Asia, or Afghanistan and Iran in the Middle East, not to mention the many African states that welcome Chinese investment but chafe at China’s presence. Further, China is increasingly aggressive in international trade, a major determinant of its foreign policy. This course describes the key factors that make up Chinese foreign policy, including its cultural tradition, policy-making institutions, the role of the military, and domestic determinants of foreign policy. The course also examines China’s ever-changing foreign policy strategies, from an aggressive posture to charming its neighbors only to become more strident once again. The course will also examine China’s role involving possible mercantilism, currency manipulation, and the hunt for traditional and alternative energy sources. Throughout the course, we will pay attention to how China’s foreign policy relates to international relations theories and what strategies might be used to manage China’s growing role in international affairs. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.  

 

POSC 373/473       
Politics of the European Union
Elliot Posner         
TR 11:30-12:45   

The creation of the European Union ranks among the most significant developments in contemporary European and international history.  Yet scholars have disagreed about nearly every important aspect of its origins, nature and implications, and now they argue about how the current banking and sovereign debt crises will affect the euro and the EU itself.  The seminar’s readings, discussions and written assignments will introduce students to the main debates by addressing six questions:  What is the EU? What accounts for its origins and evolution?  How does the EU work and what does it do? What impact has it had on the national societies, polities and economies of Europe?  How does the EU influence relations among members, neighboring countries, global society and international politics and economics?  Finally, how is the sovereign debt crisis evolving and what are the likely consequences for the EU’s future?

 

POSC 379/479       
Introduction to Middle East Politics
Pete Moore}
MW 3:00-4:15

This is an introductory course about Middle East Politics, in regional as well as international aspects.  In this course we will explore broad social, economic, and political themes that have defined the region since the end of World War Two.  Since this is an introductory course, a major goal will be to gain comparative knowledge about the region’s states and peoples.  The countries that comprise the modern Middle East are quite diverse; therefore, we will only be able to focus on a few cases in depth.  A second goal is to use the tools and theories social scientists employ to answer broad questions related to the region, such as:  How have colonial legacies shaped political and economic development in the Middle East?  How do oil, religion, and identity interact with politics?  How have external powers affected the region’s political development?  What do the uprisings of 2011 hold for the region’s future? Counts for CAS Global and Cultural Diversity Requirement.

 

POSC 382A            
Child Policy
Gabriella Celeste  
MW 3:00-4:15  

(Limit 22. Also offered as ANTH 305 and CHST 301) This course introduces students to issues in public policy that impact children and families. Local, state, and federal child policy will be considered, and topics will include, for example, policies related to child poverty, education, child welfare, juvenile justice, and children’s physical and mental health. Students will learn how policy is developed, how research informs policy and vice versa, and a framework for analyzing social policy. Recommended preparation: One social sciences course or consent.

 

POSC 384/484        
Ethics and Public Policy
Jeremy Bendik-Keymer                   
T 4:30-7:00

(Also offered as PHIL 384/484). “Policy” and its cognate words “police,” “polite,” and “politics” have their root in the Greek word polis, which meant, quite simply, city-state.  Policy has historically had a relation to ethics through philosophy via Plato’s Politeia (Republic) –an idealized “policy” whose goal was complete virtue in any citizen.  This was a totalitarian ideal.  But what is policy when it is grounded instead in democracy? We will have to approach policy through the assumption of autonomy –the moral core of democracy.  Autonomy’s problem is power, and the main obstacle to legitimacy is moral invisibility.  In this course, we focus on the dynamics of autonomy, power, and moral invisibility in order to assess existing policy, to explore the conditions under which any policy could be acceptable, and to identify ways in which policies should be changed.  There can be no just policy without keeping open the possibility of politics, understood as a radical challenge to the limits of visibility framed by existing policy. In a democracy, moral invisibility is the basic threat to policy.

POSC 395
Special Projects
Times as Arranged

(Requires consent and a permit from instructor)  Study of a topic of particular interest, or an approved internship. The student must submit to the departmental office a project prospectus form, approved and signed by the faculty supervisor, no later than the end of the second week of classes. The prospectus must outline the goals of the project and the research methodology to be used and is part of the basis for grading. The prospectus form is available from the departmental office of from the department’s Web page.

 

POSC 396
Senior Project SAGES Capstone
Times as Arranged

(Requires consent and a permit from instructor)  Capstone experience for political science majors or senior POSC minors as part of the SAGES program, providing opportunity to do an in-depth paper on a topic of particular interest to them. Students must obtain approval from a faculty project advisor and list that advisor on the registration form. The advisor must sign and student submit to the department a prospectus including goals, schedule, and research methodology. This paper should demonstrate, and ideally even extend, the skills and expertise developed over the course of study in the department. Upon completion of the capstone, students will be expected to present their work in a public forum. Recommended preparation: Junior or Senior political science major or senior political science minor and departmental prospectus form. Counts as SAGES Senior Capstone.

 

POSC 495    
Independent Study
Staff
Times as Arranged

(Requires consent and a permit from instructor)  Independent study on particular topics that are not covered by individual graduate courses or are not available in a timely manner for the student’s needs.  In order to receive a permit, the student must complete a prospectus form, approved and signed by the faculty project supervisor and the student.  The prospectus must outline the material to be covered and the basis for grading of the course, and a copy of the form will be filed with the Department Office.  POSC 495 is designed especially for reading courses but can be used for other purposes as well.  Note that this course will result in a letter grade.  Graduate students wanting to take independent study on a pass/fail basis should speak with their project supervisors about registering for POSC 601, “Individual Investigation.”

POSC 601
Individual Investigation
Staff
Times as Arranged

(Requires consent and a permit from instructor)  POSC 601 permits a graduate student to do an in-depth study of a topic of particular interest for which no regular course is available.  It should be particularly helpful in preparing for field exams.  Students must develop their course of study with a supervising professor, who will set requirements for written work.

Credit (1-6 hours) and times as arranged.  Note that this course may be taken only on a pass/fail basis.  Graduate students who wish to do a project for a letter grade should speak with their supervising professors about registering for POSC 495, “Independent Study.”

IMPORTANT:  In order to obtain a permit, the student must complete a POSC 601 project prospectus form, signed by the faculty project advisor and the student, which will form the basis of a “contract” of expectations for the project.  The prospectus form, available in the Department Office (Mather House 111), will outline the goals of the project and the research methodology to be used and thus will be part of the basis for grading.  A copy of this completed and signed form will be filed with the Department Office.

POSC 651
M.A. Thesis Research
Staff
Times as Arranged

Independent study of a research question and completion of a major paper under advisor supervision. The School of Graduate Study requires 6 credit hours be completed.  The thesis will be reviewed by the advisor and a departmental committee.

POSC 701
Dissertation Ph.D. 
Staff
Times as Arranged

(Requires consent and a permit from instructor)  Credit (1-9 hours) and times as arranged.  However, Graduate School regulations specify that a student must register for a minimum of 3 hours of 701 per semester until 18 hours of 701 credit have been completed.  After having earned 18 hours of 701, a candidate may be permitted to register for less than 3 hours per semester, but only with the prior approval of his/her dissertation advisor and only for a maximum of four semesters.  Thereafter, the student must resume registering for a minimum of 3 hours of 701 credit per semester until the dissertation is completed and defended.  See the Political Science Graduate Brochure or your POSC dissertation advisor for complete details on eligibility to register for 701.


 

Washington Center Program
Special Program

Students, regardless of their major, are encouraged to consider the Washington Center Program, which provides the opportunity to spend a semester in the nation’s capital while earning up to a full semester’s credit.

Students participate in a seminar and attend a weekly lecture/discussion group.  The emphasis, however, is on practical experience in the form of a full-time internship that provides the opportunity for intensive research in the student’s area of major interest.  Programs are available in most areas of study—from accounting to zoology.

The credits earned can be counted as general electives or applied to a student’s major or minor, with the consent of the particular department(s).  For example, in Political Science, a maximum of nine credits may be applied toward the major and six credits toward the minor.

In addition, the Washington Center offers a variety of one- and two-week academic seminars and symposia during intersession and in the summer for which credit can be earned.  Participation in these special seminars is open to all students (that is, not limited to juniors and seniors, as is the case for the regular program).

More information can be found on the Washington Center’s web site: http://www.twc.edu/.

General Requirements:  To be eligible for participation, the student must be a junior or senior and have at least a 3.0 GPA.  Seniors in the College of Arts and Sciences must have completed the general education requirements, and juniors must be near completion of these requirements.  Each application must be approved by the student’s major advisor and Case’s Washington Study liaison.  Students can attend the Washington Center Program in the summer before their junior or senior year, as well as during the regular academic year, although seniors cannot attend during their final semester.

The deadlines for application to the Washington Center are early November (Spring), early March (Summer), and early June (Fall), although some specific internship deadlines are as much as two months earlier. Students interested in the opportunity should thoroughly explore the Washington Center’s web site and then contact Professor Justin Buchler (Mather House 220; Office Phone: 368-2646; E-mail: justin.buchler@case.edu) and should do so as far in advance of application as possible.  Freshmen and sophomores are encouraged to make early inquiries in order to make sure they will be eligible by the time of their junior year and to plan their majors and other requirements properly.

 

Integrated Graduate Studies (IGS)
Special Program

It is possible for a qualified student to obtain an M.A. in Political Science simultaneously with, or shortly after, completion of the baccalaureate program.  If by the end of the senior year the student has completed successfully 90 undergraduate hours, 30 graduate hours (for a total of 120 hours), and the Political Science M.A. Examination, that student can receive both the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees within the four undergraduate years.

Admission to the Political Science IGS program is competitive, and only a limited number of students are accepted in any academic year.  Admission is determined by fulfillment of specific requirements (see below), and by the Department’s estimate of the student’s potential for advanced study and independent work.

Phase I of IGS alerts the Department and the School of Graduate Studies to your interest in the program and allows the monitoring of your junior year for fulfillment of the undergraduate prerequisites to graduate study.  Application to Phase I must occur no later than second week of classes at the beginning of the junior year, but preferably earlier.  To qualify for Phase I, the student must have completed 54 hours of undergraduate work and must have minimum grade point averages of 3.7 in Political Science courses and 3.3 overall.

During Phase I, the student must complete 90 undergraduate hours (ordinarily by the end of the junior year) and must have satisfied all general requirements for the B.A., including at least 21 hours in the Political Science major, the Arts and Sciences Core Curriculum, and one minor program.  Included in the 21 Political Science hours must be one course each in American, Comparative, and International politics taken at CWRU.  Also, the student must maintain minimum GPAs of 3.5 in Political Science courses and 3.3 overall to qualify for admission to Phase II.

Before enrolling for any graduate-level course work, the student must be formally admitted to the School of Graduate Studies (Phase II of IGS).  Therefore, it is mandatory that application to Phase II occur during the second semester of the junior year, specifically no later than April 1 or November 1 (for graduate status to begin the following semester).  If admitted to the M.A. program, the student will take, or begin to take, 30 hours of graduate-level Political Science courses during the senior year, adhering to all departmental regulations governing the Master’s degree program; and if completed successfully with maintenance of academic standing as pertains to both the B.A. and M.A. programs, these hours will count simultaneously toward both degrees in Political Science.  The B.A. will be awarded upon completion of all requirements for that degree, including total hours; the M.A. will be awarded upon successful completion of the 30 hours of graduate-level Political Science courses and the M.A. Examination or Thesis.

For additional information on application procedures and program requirements, make an appointment to see Professor Pete Moore  (Mather House 219, 368-5265, e-mail: pete.moore@case.edu).

Page last modified: March 17, 2017