Department of Political Science

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Fall 2016 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 11:40-12:30 Justin Buchler
POSC 160 Introduction to Comparative Politics (Counts for CAS Global and Cultural Diversity Requirement) TR 10:00-11:15 Kelly McMann
POSC 172 Introduction to International Relations MWF 10:30-11:25 TR 1:00-2:15

Paul Schroeder                                  Elliot Posner

POSC 308/408 The American Presidency MWF 9:30-10:20 Joseph White
POSC 325/425 American Constitutional Law TR 4:30-5:45 Laura Tartakoff
POSC 343/443 Public Opinion MWF 2:15-3:05 Justin Buchler
POSC 346/446 Women and Politics MW 12:45-2:00 Karen Beckwith
POSC 349/449 Research Methods  TR 11:30-12:45 Kelly McMann
POSC 370A/470A Political Economy TR 10:00-11:15 Elliot Posner
POSC 370D/470D Politics of China MWF 11:40-12:30 Paul Schroeder
POSC 370J/470J International Law and Organizations TR 1:00-2:15 Kathryn Lavelle
POSC 371/471 Natural Resources and World Politics MW 12:45-2:00 Pete Moore
POSC 376/476 United States Foreign Policy TR 11:30-12:45 Kathryn Lavelle
POSC 379/479 Introduction to Middle East Politics MW 4:50-6:05 Pete Moore
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
  Integrated Graduate Studies (See description)    
       

POSC 109
The U.S. Political System                                                                                      

Justin Buchler
MWF 11:40-12:30

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 10:00-11:15

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  
Paul Schroeder
MWF 10:30-11:25                                  

Elliot Posner
TR 1:00-2:15

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 308/408
The American Presidency
Joseph White
MWF 9:30-10:20

The sources of, strategies of, and restraints on presidential leadership in the United States. Emphasis on problems of policy formation, presidential relations with Congress and executive agencies, and the electoral process.

POSC 325/425
American Constitutional Law
Laura Tartakoff
TR 4:30-5:45

An introductory survey of U.S. constitutional law. Special attention given to the historical, philosophical, and political dimensions of landmark Supreme Court cases. Judicial review, federalism, separation of powers, due process, and equal protection. Supreme Court’s involvement in major political controversies: the New Deal, abortion, physician-assisted suicide, school desegregation, and affirmative action.

POSC 343/443
Public Opinion
Justin Buchler
MWF 2:15-3:05

Examination of theories, concepts and empirical research related to attitudes and the political behavior of mass publics.

POSC 346/446
Women and Politics
Karen Beckwith
MW 12:45-2:00

Women and Politics involves a critical examination of the impact of gender on the forms and distributions of power and politics, with primary reference to the experience of women in the United States. Major concerns of the course include what we mean by “sex,” “gender,” and “politics”; the relationship between women and the state; how women organize collectively to influence state policies; and how the state facilitates and constrains women’s access to and exercise of political power. The course is organized around four foci central to the study of women and politics. The first section of the course focuses on what we mean by “women,” “gender,” and “politics.” In this section, we will consider how these concepts intersect and the ways in which each may be used to deepen our understanding of the workings of governments and political systems, and of women’s relative political powerlessness. The second section of the course employs these concepts to understand the (re) emergence of the US feminist movement, its meanings, practices, and goals, and its transformation across US political history. In the third section, we turn to conventional electoral politics, focusing on women’s candidacies, their campaigns, and women’s voting behavior. In the final section of the course, we consider those general factors that might provide for increased gender equality and improved life status for women, in global, comparative perspective. SAGES departmental seminar.

POSC 349/449
Research Methods
Kelly McMann
TR 11:30-12:45

This course examines approaches that political scientists use to understand events and processes. In doing so, the course provides students with skills helpful to completing senior projects, such as the ability to evaluate and conduct research. Through exercises and projects, students will take part in the research process from constructing a question to developing a research design to interpreting results. Students will learn and apply key techniques, including inductive and deductive reasoning, hypothesis construction, operationalization of concepts, measurements, sampling and probability, causal inference, and the logic of controls. They will produce materials common to the discipline, such as research designs. SAGES departmental seminar.

POSC 370A/470A
Political Economy
Elliot Posner
TR 10:00-11:15

Focus on debates concerning the proper relationship between political and economic systems, including conservative, liberal, and radical perspectives. The politics of international economics and the economics of international politics receive separate attention. The course concludes with study of “modern” political economy and the application of economic theory to the study of political systems.

POSC 370D/470D
Politics of China
Paul Schroeder
MWF 11:40-12:30 pm

Now more than ever, the Chinese state and society are facing tremendous economic, social, and political challenges. This course presents an overview of current issues facing the People’s Republic, including a changing (or not) political culture, policy processes and outcomes at the national and local levels, reform and economic growth, the resultant societal changes and pressures, and the consequent challenges the Communist Party faces as demand for political reform grows. The class involves a mixture of lectures and discussion and draws on a combination of primary and secondary sources, including current news reports and films.

POSC 370J/470J
International Law and Organizations
Kathryn Lavelle
TR 1:00-2:15

Study of international organizations and international law as two means for regulating and coordinating nation-state behavior. History of the two techniques will be traced, covering 19th century efforts at cooperation, the League of Nations and the United Nations, regional and specialized global organization. The functions of international law in global politics will be stressed, with primary focus on the evolving role of law in dealing with global problems, e.g., war, the environment, economic cooperation, and human rights.

POSC 371/471
Natrual Resources and World Politics
Pete Moore
MW 12:45-2:00

Examination of the political causes and ramifications of the uneven distribution of the valuable natural resources for modern industrial societies. Strategic and military issues and the exploitation of the sea bed. Examination in some detail of selected commodity issues, including petroleum, copper and uranium.

POSC 376/476
United States Foreign Policy
Kathryn Lavelle
TR 11:30-12:45

Focus on U.S. foreign policy making with a dynamic network of executive and congressional actors and organizations; analysis of traditional and contemporary U.S. foreign policies from nuclear defense to current economic resource issues; future role of the United States in world affairs.

POSC 379/479
Introduction to Middle East Politics
Pete Moore
MW 4:50-6:05

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?

POSC 395
Special Projects

(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.

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