Department of Political Science

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Spring 2018 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 2:15-3:05 Girma Parris
POSC 160 Introduction to Comparative Politics (Counts for CAS Global and Cultural Diversity Requirement) TR 10:00-11:15 Yu Jung (Julia) Lee
POSC 172 Introduction to International Relations TR 11:30-12:45

Kathryn Lavelle

 

POSC 310/410 Congress in an Era of Polarization MWF 2:15-3:05 Justin Buchler
POSC 319/419 Politics and Money MWF 11:40–12:20 Justin Buchler
POSC 348/448 History of Modern Political and Social Thought M 3:20-5:50 Miriam Levin
POSC 353/453 Political Thought and Political Change in China MWF 11:40-12:30 Paul Schroeder
POSC 360/460 Revolts and Revolutions in Global Perspective (Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement) MW 3:20-4:35 Pete Moore
POSC 363/463 Comparative Analysis of Elections and Electoral Systems (Counts as SAGES Departmental Seminar) MW 12:45-2:00 Karen Beckwith
POSC 370A/470A Political Economy TR 10:00-11:15 Elliot Posner
POSC 370C/470C The United States and Asia MWF 10:35-11:25 Paul Schroeder
POSC 371/471 Natural Resources and World Politics MW 12:45-2:00 Pete Moore
POSC 373/473 Politics of the European Union TR 2:30-3:45 Elliot Posner
POSC 374/474 Politics of Development in the Global South TR 1:00-2:15 Yu Jung (Julia) Lee
POSC 377/477 Politics of Russia (Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement) TR 11:30-12:45 Kelly McMann
POSC 378/478 International Relations Theory (Counts as SAGES Departmental Seminar) TR 2:30-3:45 Kathryn Lavelle
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                                                                                      

Girma Parris
MWF 2:15-3:05

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                                                                      

Yu Jung (Julia) Lee
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 as CAS Global and Cultural Diversity Requirement.

POSC 172
Introduction to International Relations  
Kathryn Lavelle
TR 11:30-12:45                               

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 310/410
Congress in an Era of Polarization
Justin Buchler
MWF 2:15-3:05

A study of Congress in the modern era with emphasis on the development of polarization, procedural changes, conflict between the legislative and executive branches during divided government, and the current state of representation.

POSC 319
Politics and Money
Justin Buchler
MWF 11:40-12:20

An experimental version of POSC319, built around the use of modern science fiction literature to explore topics in money, politics and power.  Readings will consist of novels by authors including John Scalzi, Neal Stephenson, Charles Stross and others, which address critical concepts about money, politics and power.  Readings will be accompanied by lectures on the underlying social scientific concepts, seminar-based discussion of how these concepts work within the novels and how they relate to modern politics, and student presentations in which students discuss articles from political science journals on topics related to those concepts.

POSC 348/448
History of Modern Political and Social Thought
Miriam Levin
M 3:20-5:50

This course explores the responses of philosophers, economic theorists, culture critics, public policy makers and urban planners to changes in western society wrought by industrialization by focusing on their concerns with governance, social reform and control, production and consumption, alienation, the deteriorating environment, and the possibility of progress itself. Cross-listed as HSTY 348, HSTY 448.

POSC 353/453
Political Thought and Political Change in China
Paul Schroeder
MWF 11:40-12:30

“No state is forever strong or forever weak,” said Han Feizi, China’s great legalist philosopher. He believed that as a country’s conditions changed, the laws and institutions had to change to meet these new circumstances. China today faces new circumstances that have caused deep and broad challenges to its people. This has prompted serious debate among intellectuals, leaders, and average citizens about the possibility for and direction of political reform. But what might that reform look like, and how would it be conceived, if it could overcome the current barriers? This seminar will provide a fuller understanding of China’s potential for political change by examining Chinese political thought from Confucius, Mencius and Han Feizi through Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. These and other political philosophies have influenced China’s political culture, which will influence the form of any change.

POSC 360/460
Revolts and Revolutions in Global Perspective
Pete Moore
MW 3:20-4:35

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. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.

POSC 363/463
Comparative Analysis of Elections and Electoral Systems
Karen Beckwith
MW 12:45-2:00

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, including introduction to geospatial data for mapping variations in electoral behavior. Counts as 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 370C/470C
The United States and Asia
Paul Schroeder
MWF 10:35-11:25

Survey and analysis of U.S.-Asia relations in the post-World War II period. Focus specifically is on the interaction of politics and economics in the United States’ relations with Japan, China, and Southeast Asian countries. Topics will include the role of Asia in U.S. Cold War policies, the dynamics of U.S.-Japan alliance politics, post-Cold War issues involving U.S. foreign policy toward Asia, a history and analysis of economic conflict cooperation, and an examination of the move toward Asia-Pacific “regionalism.”

POSC 371/471
Natural 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 373/473
Politics of the European Union
Elliot Posner
TR 2:30-3:45

Study of the origins, operations, and prospects for the European Union. This can include the historical context for the effort to restrict national rivalries (which fueled two world wars) and create common interests; the diplomatic challenges in finding common ground; the tasks and processes of governance within the EU, including its governing institutions, enforcement of terms for European Monetary Union and the operations of its bureaucracies; the social pressures that create policy challenges (such as agriculture policy and immigration); broad tensions within the enterprise (e.g., “broadening” vs. “deepening”), and the EU’s potential place in international politics, especially the efforts to create a common foreign and security policy and the possible implications of the Euro for international political economy.

POSC 374/474
Politics and Development in the Global South
Yu Jung (Julia) Lee

Exploration of the post-World War II emergence of the Global South nations of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and the Eastern Europe arena. Cross-listed as ETHS 374.

POSC 377/477
Politics of Russia
Kelly McMann
TR11:30-12:45

Russia faces three problems: the creation of a sovereign state, the development of a new political system, and the restructuring of its economy. In this course we will challenge the assumption that the outcome of these three transitions will be a strong, democratic, capitalist country. We will ask whether civil war, organized crime, an immature party system, poor social services, and nomenklatura privatization bode poorly for these three transformations. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.

POSC 378/478
International Relations Theory
Kathryn Lavelle
TR 2:30-3:45

This course is a seminar in international relations theory. As such, we will bring a wide range of theoretical perspectives to bear on issues and debates in the area of international relations by systematically studying the evolution of the world system. The seminar is roughly divided into a first half focusing on war and the political system, and a second half focusing on trade, finance and the economic system. Each section devotes particular attention to ethical problems associated with political and economic issues. This course should develop students’ ability to read and critically evaluate academic literature in the field of international relations, and enable students to produce a scholarly paper on one substantive area of the field. Counts as SAGES Departmental Seminar.

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: October 19, 2017