Department of Political Science

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Fall 2017 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 10:35-11:25 Karen Beckwith
POSC 160 Introduction to Comparative Politics (Counts for CAS Global and Cultural Diversity Requirement) TR 2:30-3:45 Pete Moore
POSC 172 Introduction to International Relations TR 10:00-11:15 MWF 11:40-12:30

Elliot Posner
Staff                            

POSC 306/406 Interest Groups in the Policy Process MW 12:45-2:00 Joseph White
POSC 326/426 Constitutions in Practical Politics TR 4:00-5:15 Laura Tartakoff
POSC 328/428 Topics in Civil Liberties TR 11:30-12:45 Laura Tartakoff
POSC 349/449 Research Methods MWF 11:40-12:30 Justin Buchler
POSC 370H/470H China’s Foreign Policy MW 12:45-2:00 Staff
POSC 370M/470M Theories of Political Economy TR 4:00-5:15 Kathryn Lavelle
POSC 375/475 The International Politics of Technology TR 2:30-3:45 Elliot Posner
POSC 376/476 United States Foreign Policy TR 11:30-12:45 Kathryn Lavelle
POSC 379/479 Introduction to Middle East Politics TR 10:00-11:15 Pete Moore
POSC 382A Child Policy MW 3:20-4:35 Gabriella Celeste
POSC 383/483 Health Policy and Politics in the United States MWF 3:20-4:10 Joseph White
POSC 384/484 Ethics and Public Policy MW 3:20-4:35 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
  Integrated Graduate Studies (See description)    
       

POSC 109
The U.S. Political System                                                                                      

Karen Beckwith
MWF 10:35-11:25

This course provides an overview of governmental institutions and processes in the United States, the political forces that combine to shape them, and how we might best understand the system that government and politics create.

POSC 160
Introduction to Comparative Politics                                                                      

Pete Moore
TR 2:30-3:45

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 as CAS Global and Cultural Diversity Requirement.

POSC 172
Introduction to International Relations  
Elliot Posner
TR 10:00-11:15
Staff
MWF 11:40-12:30                                

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
MW 12:45-2:00

Introduction to the institutions and processes that make up the political environment of nonprofit and other organizations in the United States, beginning with an examination of the role of civil society in a democracy and continuing with the framing of issues, role of political entrepreneurs and organized interests, elections, the legislative process and strategies for influencing it, and the roles of executive institutions and the courts.

POSC 326/426
Constitutions in Practical Politics
Laura Tartakoff
TR 4:00-5:15

Overview of ancient Greek and Roman constitution-making, medieval principles, emergence of modern constitutionalism, and the constitutionalist vision of the American and French Revolutions. Examination of contemporary constitutional issues and developments in countries such as Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ethiopia, India, and the United States. Counts as CAS Global and Cultural Diversity Requirement.

POSC 328/428
Topics in Civil Liberties
Laura Tartakoff
TR 11:30-12:45

Rights of the accused as outlined in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments.  Topics covered are (1) arrests, searches, and seizures, (2) the privilege against compelled self-incrimination, (3) the rights to counsel, confrontation, and jury trial, and (4) the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments.  Case-specific approach but presents interplay of history, philosophy, and politics as background of each topic.

POSC 349/449
Research Methods
Justin Buchler
MWF 11:40-12:30

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 370H/470H
China’s Foreign Policy
Staff
MW 12:45-2:00

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.

POSC 370M/470M
Theories of Political Economy
Kathryn Lavelle
TR 4:00-5:15

This course is a SAGES departmental seminar in political economy that brings a wide range of theoretical perspectives to bear on the relations between market and state in the contemporary world. It focuses on three questions: What have been the major debates concerning the role of the government in the economy?  How were these debates resolved in the compromise of embedded liberalism, and What experiences have individual states had with these questions of political economy? To answer these questions, we will read original literature to uncover the connections among politics, economics, and the world of ideas that has resulted in the political debates we confront today. . SAGES departmental seminar.

POSC 375/475
The International Politics of Technology
Elliot Posner
TR 2:30-3:45

Technology is deeply political.  Nowhere is this statement more evident than in the realm of international relations, where governments perceive technology as a source of power and wealth and a symbol of relative position and modernity.  Yet for centuries skeptics have questioned the economic rationale of government technology policies.  Still, to this day, countries support emulation, innovation and a host of other strategies as means for catching up with leading nations or locking in current advantages.  What lies behind such policies?  What do they accomplish?  And what are the domestic and international politics surrounding them? After reading classic arguments, including texts by Adam Smith, Alexander Hamilton and Friedrich List, students will consider 20th and 21st century debates and an array of experiments tried by poor, middle-income and rich countries.  Cases include the development of new industries; the imposition of sanctions; the dilemma of dual technologies and military spillovers; the forging of national champions; the reorganization of banks and the creation of international financial centers; the copying of regional clusters (e.g. Silicon Valley) and stock markets (e.g. the Nasdaq); and the extraterritorial extension of domestic regulation and governance techniques.  There are no prerequisites and first year students are welcome. SAGES departmental seminar.

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
TR 10:00-11:15

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 as CAS Global and Cultural Diversity Requirement.

POSC 382A
Child Policy
Gabriella Celeste
MW 3:20-4:35

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. Cross-listed as ANTH 305 and CHST 301.

POSC 383/483
Health Policy and Politics in the United States
Joseph White
MWF 3:20-4:10

Overview of the principal institutions, processes, social forces, and ideas shaping the U.S. health system.  Historical, political, economic, and sociological perspectives on the health system are explored as well as the intellectual context of recent policy changes, challenges, and developments.  Students will acquire a sense of how health services are financed and delivered in the U.S.  They will also learn how to assess its performance compared to that of other similar countries.

POSC 384/484
Ethics and Public Policy
Jeremy Bendik-Keymer
MW 3:20-4:35

Evaluation of ethical arguments in contemporary public policymaking discourse.  That is, approaches to evaluating not only the efficiency of policy (Will this policy achieve its end for the least cost?) but also the ethics of policy (Are a policy’s intended ends ethically justified or “good,” and are our means to achieve those ends moral or “just”?).  Overview of political ideologies that supply U.S. political actors with their ethical or moral arguments when proposing and implementing public policy, followed by an application of these differing perspectives to selected policy areas such as welfare, euthanasia, school choice, drug laws, censorship, or others. Cross-listed as PHIL 384/484.

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 21, 2017