Department of Political Science

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Spring 2019 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) MW
12:45-2:00
Pete Moore
POSC 172 Introduction to International Relations TR
2:30-3:45

Kathryn Lavelle

POSC 322/422 Political Movements and Political Participation TR
1:00-2:15
Karen Beckwith
POSC 323/423 Judicial Politics TR
5:30-6:45
Michael Wager
POSC 327/427 Civil Liberties in America TR
11:30-12:45
Laura Tartakoff
POSC 349/449 Political Science Research Methods MWF
2:15-3:05
Justin Buchler
POSC 351/451 Modern Political Thought MW
3:20-4:35
Matthew Hodgetts
POSC 367/467 Western European Political Systems MWF
2:15-3:05
Girma Paris
POSC 370H/470H China’s Foreign Policy TR
10:00-11:15
Paul Schroeder
POSC 370M/470M Theories of Political Economy TR
11:30-12:45
Kathryn Lavelle
POSC 374/474 Politics of Development in the Global South TR
2:30-3:45
Paul Schroeder
POSC 383/483 Health Policy and Politics in the United States MWF
9:30-10:20
Joseph White
POSC 385/485 Doing Government Work: Public Administration in the U.S. MW
12:45-2:00
Joseph White
POSC 388/488 Politics, Policy, and the Global Environment MWF
11:40-12:30
Matthew Hodgetts
POSC 389/489 Special Topics in American Politics and Policy: Race, Immigration, and American Political Development MWF
10:35-11:25
Girma Paris
POSC 391/491 Pathologies of Democracy: Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador, and the USA TR
4:00-5:15
Laura Tartakoff
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

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 More
MW 12:45-2:00

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 2:30-3:45                     

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 322/422
Political Movements and Political Participation
Karen Beckwith
TR 1:00-2:15

Political Movements and Political Participation is concerned with the variety of ways citizens engage in collective activism in the United States and across national boundaries, and with the conditions under which citizens identify common concerns and join together in political movements to bring about change.  The course begins with an examination of three general bodies of theory and research on political movements: resource mobilization, political opportunity structures, and cultural framing.  We will also investigate frameworks of political participation for understanding the relationships among different expressions of collective activism and representation.  In the context of these sometimes competing theories, we will consider 1) the conditions under which political movements are likely to emerge, as well as the circumstances in which collective political action is precluded; 2) how citizens come to recognize collective grievances and shared political identities; 3) the strategies and tactics of organized movements, and their likelihood of political success; and 4) the relationship between political movements, political parties, and the state. 

POSC 323/423
Judicial Politics
Michael Wager
TR 5:30-6:45

Rejecting the view that judges mechanically apply the law, the study of judicial politics seeks to understand the behavior of judges as political actors with policy goals. Topics include judicial selection and socialization, judicial policy change, judicial strategy (especially the strategic interaction of judges on multi-judge panels), the interaction of courts in hierarchical judicial systems, the policy impact of judicial decisions, and the courts’ interactions with coordinate branches of government (the executive, Congress, state governments, state courts). Primary focus will be on the federal judiciary, with some discussion of state judicial systems.

POSC 327/427
Civil Liberties in America
Laura Tartakoff
TR 11:30-12:45

Supreme Court’s interpretation of the First Amendment: liberty of religion through the establishment and free exercise clauses, freedoms of speech and the press, of assembly and association.  The “pure tolerance” view examined against subversive speech, “fighting words,” libel, and obscenity.  Survey of content-neutral regulation, symbolic expression, and current efforts to limit expression (campus speech codes and the feminist anti-pornography movement).

POSC 349/449
Political Science Research Methods
Justin Buchler
MWF 2:15-3:05

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. 

POSC 351/451
Modern Political Thought
Matthew Hodgetts
MW 3:20-4:35

The topic of this course is global justice and international political theory. It is organized around the question of what obligations, if any, do we have that extend beyond our borders. In a globalized world it is worth challenging assumptions we make about rights and justice. To do so, the class begins by looking historically to a tradition pessimistic about international morality, realism, followed by the response from liberals and their project for perpetual peace. Following, we will examine debates on international law, human rights, development, feminism, cosmopolitanism, migrants and refugees, and the environment. In each case, we will ask in what ways these discourses challenge how we think about global interconnectedness and how such relations should be organized. Classes will be discussion-driven and students will be responsible for producing a major piece of writing. The class assumes no prior experience with political philosophy or theory.

POSC 367/467
Western European Political Systems
Girma Paris
MWF 2:15-3:05

Comparative analysis of sociopolitical systems of selected Western European industrial democracies, using North American systems as a point of comparison.

POSC 370H/470H
China’s Foreign Policy
Paul Schroeder
TR 10:00-11:15

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 11:30-12:45

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.

POSC 374/474
Politics of Development in the Global South
Paul Schroeder
TR 2:30-3:45

This course considers several global issues that impact economic and political development.  This course examines the nature of failed or fragile states; the Washington/Beijing development models;  poverty; public health; water; the quest for energy and natural resources; education; environmental degradation; the role of the military; international trade; and the development of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Offered as ETHS 374.

POSC 383/483
Health Policy and Politics in the United States
Joseph White
MWF 9:30-10:20

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 385/485
Doing Government Work: Public Administration in the U.S.
Joseph White
MW 12:45-2:00

This course focuses on how governments, particularly governments in the United States, do their work.  The topic is often called “public administration,” or “implementation,” or “bureaucratic politics.”  It involves what James Q. Wilson calls government “operators” such as teachers, public health doctors, agricultural extension agents, grant administrators and Seal teams.  Their actions depend on their own values; conflict among political authorities, and on what is needed to perform specific tasks.  We will begin by discussing the challenges of organizing to do anything, or organization theory; turn to the peculiar political context of administration in the United States; and apply these understandings to specific government activities.  Students should emerge with a better understanding of why government agencies do what they do, and why they succeed or fail.

POSC 388/488
Politics, Policy, and the Global Environment
Matthew Hodgetts
MWF 11:40-12:30

In 1992, the international community committed itself to the goal of preventing dangerous anthropogenic climate change and reaffirmed this in Paris in 2015. Yet in October 2018, the IPCC warned us that we are very rapidly running out of time to achieve these commitments and that doing so will require unprecedented effort. Why is it that more than a quarter century after committing to do something, we find ourselves receiving such warnings? The purpose of this course is to provide a set of answers to this question from the perspective of political science. Our focus will be on exploring the range of ways in which we attempt to collectively govern climate change, framed by the question of is there a pathway to successful climate governance? Starting with the international regime, we will go on to examine other means of collective governance, from transnational municipal networks, global activism, to corporate social responsibility, as well as our international efforts to deal with global issues surrounding geoengineering, climate conflict, and refugees. The workload for this course assumes advanced standing but no prior experience with political science. Offered as ESTD 388.

POSC 389/489
Special Topics in American Politics and Policy: Race, Immigration and American Political Development 
Girma Paris
MWF 10:35-11:25

This course takes a historical look at the politics of race and immigration as a means of not only detailing its history but in brining into relief the historical lineage of contemporary issues in the politics of race and the politics of immigration. The course will look at the historical origins of (but not limited to) the following contemporary issues: undocumented immigration, nativism. refugee policy, police brutality, residential segregation, mass incarceration and socioeconomic gaps that correlate with race and ethnicity. A secondary goal of the course is to show how historically the politics of race and immigration have interacted and/ or reinforced policy developments in the other. This has led to political developments in race/ immigration often reinforcing or spurring political development in the other. In addressing this secondary goal, the course will investigate the institutional and political foundations of the socio economic hierarchies that have developed along race and ethnic lines. Written assignments, class discussion and class examinations will be oriented towards the investigatory aims of these two goals.

POSC 391/491
Pathologies of Democracy: Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador, and the USA
Laura Tartakoff
TR 4:00-5:15

Democracy is fragile and should not be taken for granted. Though it does not change human nature, democracy generally allows nation-states to address challenges peacefully in a constitutional manner, curtailing leaders’ ambitions through checks and balances. Most nation-states in Latin America are now electoral multiparty representative presidential democracies. However, they have been (and still are), more than the USA, marked by serious disorders — among them, demagogic authoritarian leaders, political populism, weak political parties, nationalism, gerrymandering, both private and public corruption, and discontent. After touching on different types of democracy, this course will focus on such ailments in Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador, and the USA to gain both a realistic perspective regarding them and to touch on possible remedies — trustworthy institutions, rule of law, human rights, governmental accountability, civic vigilance, intermediate  associations, and communal practices.

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 Joseph White  (Mather House 113, 368-2426, e-mail: joseph.white@case.edu).

Page last modified: November 12, 2018