Upper Level Course Offerings
New International Relations and Peace Studies Courses
POLS 345 - Theories of War and Peace (3) This course examines various political theories in terms of their relevance to the question of war and peace. Specifically, how does each theory define peace (negative or positive); what should be done to preserve and maintain peace; whether war is inevitable; and under what conditions is it legitimate to resort to war. The following "traditions" will be covered in the course: realism, liberalism, Marxism, globalization, feminism, post-colonialism, post-modernism, constructivism, international justice, green, globalization and human security.
POLS 352 - Paths to Peace (3) The first part of the course examines how economic, social, political, environmental and legal policies facilitate movement towards peace in a broad context. The emphasis will be to link policies that enable us to move towards a more just world. The second part of this course examines various approaches to peace from simple peacekeeping to peacebuilding.
POLS 353 - Human Rights, International Law and War and Peace (3) The first part of this course examines how we define human rights by examining the treaties that serve as the foundation of human rights such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The section also examines the various institutions that have been created to monitor and enforce these treaties such as the UN Human Rights Council and the European Court of Human Rights. The second part of the course examines the text of various international treaties that relate to subjects such as war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, torture, gender discrimination, racial discrimination, and refugees. The course will conclude with an evaluation of the emerging institutional framework to better monitor and enforce these laws, most notably the International Criminal Court.
POLS 356 - Seminar in Peacebuilding (3) This course examines how to approach a conflict and develop a strategy to not only end war but also enable the parties to live together. The war in Bosnia will be used as a case study to examine the roots of the conflict, examine the peace process, and its aftermath. Students will critically examine each part of the process and identify alternatives that result in a more robust peace in the region. Students are encouraged to apply what they learn about peacebuilding in Bosnia to resolve other conflicts.
New American Government Courses
POLS 361 - Campaigns and Elections (3) In a representative democracy, active participation in elections is essential to ensure elected officials remain faithful to constituent interests. Does this ideal adequately reflect the nature of elections in the current political system? This course is designed to expose students to the contemporary state of Congressional and Presidential campaigns in the American political system with focus on campaign strategy, the role of the media and campaign finance. The course also investigates contemporary elections, examining who votes and why, and the mechanics of the electoral process.
POLS 374 - Women and Politics (3) In the United States, women hold 18% of the seats in the 112th Congress, marking the nation 85th in its level of representation for women. Globally, women constitute 15% of all members of parliament, although significant regional variation persists. How do gendered hierarchies continue to shape and structure political systems? Why have women not yet reached parity in elected office? Should women be represented as women? What difference do women bring to elective office? These and other questions are explored throughout the course, with particular attention to the historical exclusion of women from the public arena, the methods used by women to enter electoral and activist politics, and the current political status of women in the United States and globally. Cross-listed as WST 374.
POLS 420 - Biotechnology Policy and Ethics (3) Human reproductive cloning, genetic modification and alteration, personalized genomics, synthetic biology … these are only some of the areas of inquiry in the life sciences that have attracted public interest for their societal, ethical and policy implications. This course examines the political and ethical implications of selected areas of biotechnology that are now a part of the contemporary public debate with particular emphasis on the impact of these technologies on women. Some of the principles examined are legalistic, while others require ethical reasoning evaluating concepts such as human nature, personhood and autonomy. Key questions considered in this course include: Who benefits from these biotechnologies? Who are the primary actors engaged in policy creation? How can emerging technologies best be managed to balance individual freedom and scientific advancement with adequate protections for vulnerable classes? Finally, how do these technologies fit into our belief systems regarding the desirability of emerging biotechnologies in our individual lives and for society more generally?
New Political Theory Courses
POLS 372 - Power and Resistance (3) This course explores the politics of power and resistance. It introduces different concepts of modern and pre-modern power and control, and examines instances of resistance from around the world, traversing different time periods, geographies, and cultures. Examples range from peasant revolts to labor movements, feminist struggles to anti-war mobilizations, prisoner uprisings to popular wars. The course inquires into the social forces involved, what they seek to resist, the methods and goals of resistance, and the reception of this resistance by its purported audience. The course incorporates theoretical and historical texts as well as visual material and movies.
POLS 376 - Theories of Human Rights (3) This course examines the nature and origin of human rights, as well as the conflicts and debates that result from the different understandings of the concept. We will explore questions such as; Are human rights individual or collective? Are they universal or should instead be understood as culturally sensitive? Do they include positive rights or only negative right? And what about economic and social rights? Providing answers to these questions will allow us to understand our own political, economic, and social beliefs, as well as approaches that are different from ours. In order to answer these questions, the course will combine discussions about the concept of human rights with analyses of current cases of human rights violations around the world, including the origin of these violations, desired changes, policies, and effective actions.
POLS 381 - Theories of Justice (3) The course examines the different approaches to the concept of justice, in the attempt to help students develop their own critical thinking about the topic. The course overviews the leading contemporary conceptions and theories of justice - including utilitarian, libertarian, communitarian, deliberative-democratic, and feminist theories -, and focuses on the relationship between theories of justice and concepts of liberty and equality. The aim of this course is to examine the ways in which each of these different approaches to justice provides a different vision for the political, economic, and social life, and shapes different institutions and values.
POLS 397 - American Conservative Political Thought (3) The political debates between liberalism and conservatism are ardent. However, while these two terms are used freely and are attached to varied themes, their meaning is uncertain. Hence this class aims to introduce the students to the meaning of American conservatism. While defining conservatism, students will become familiar with the most relevant topics in the American Conservative Thought. The class introduces the political and philosophical heritage of conservatism, as well as examines themes that are relevant to contemporary American politics today. The focus will be on principles of conservatism, not on analyzing polices or proposals. Moreover, aiming to give a balanced view, a variety of perspectives that support and criticize American Conservatism will be presented.
POLS 456 - Feminist Theory and Action (3) Seminar course providing a deeper look at feminist thought, building on the introduction provided in GST 150. Through readings and films, examines conversations, controversies, and connections among a range of feminist thinkers. Students explore the intersections of feminist thought and action, reading a variety of calls to action and articulating their own. Cross-listed as POLS/GST 456.