Comparative politics is the study of domestic politics, political institutions, and the nature of political regimes around the world. The course is structured around a set of fundamental questions, such as: What are states and what is state power? What characterizes the different forms of democracy and autocracy around the world? How do different electoral systems function? What are political parties and what role do they play? How do countries democratize and why do some countries become democratic while others do not? How does nationalism, ethnicity or ideology affect domestic politics?
Meets Social Scientific Awareness Learning Outcome (SOC) and the Global Engagement Learning Outcome (GLOB)
This class will introduce you to major puzzles, problems and issues in international politics. We will discuss the nature of the international system, the causes of international conflict, and the difficulties states face in cooperating with each other by studying historical events that significantly shaped our contemporary world, as well as different theories that seek to explain past and present patterns of behavior in international relations.
Meets Social Scientific Awareness Learning Outcome (SOC) and the Global Engagement Learning Outcome (GLOB)
This course studies a variety of the environmental issues the world faces and the ways that these issues are political. The complexity of environmental issues is analyzed from political and economic perspectives and a variety of policy tools and solutions for dealing with negative environmental conditions are explored. The course focuses in particular on the American political system and the development of environmental legislation
Meets Social Scientific Awareness Learning Outcome (SOC)
This course equips students with the basic skills to do social science research and prepare their senior theses. Topics include the research process, research design, conceptualization and measurement, polling and political prediction, and data collection and analysis It promotes the ability to think systematically and critically about social and political problems, and to read research in professional journals.
Diplomacy embraces the art, skills and practice of the conduct of relations and negotiations between countries as well as between countries, international organizations, and institutions of civil society. It covers the activities, the culture and the behavior of the diplomatist whether they be national emissaries or international civil servants; the methods by which international relations and their practical problems are managed by diplomats in embassies, consular services, and other relevant institutions; and the regulation of international relations by multilateral negotiation.
An examination of the nature, functions, and goals of political society in the classical period, with special attention to the concepts of justice and power, the individual and the community, and the common good. Readings include Plato's Republic, selections from Aristotle's Politics, and works chosen from Xenophon and Cicero, among others.
This course examines the nature, functions, and goals of political society in the modern period (roughly, since 1500) through careful readings from the works of Machiavelli, Locke, Rousseau, and others. Special attention is paid to the concepts of justice and power, the individual and society, and equality and rights.
This course examines central themes in the development, organization, and functioning of the American presidency. The course combines the study of executive behavior with an analysis of the evolving institutional framework within which that behavior occurs. It views the presidency as a complex institution, one that requires the president to play multiple political roles simultaneously in the executive, legislative, judicial, and public spheres, among others. The course separates these roles into their institutional and behavioral components, in order to understand their significance in an integrated theoretical and empirical conception of executive governance.
A study of the American Constitution in light of judicial interpretation and political practice. Basic constitutional principles defining governmental powers in the federal system and the relationship between the three branches of the federal government, state governments, and the people are examined. Skills in case analysis, briefing, and argument are stressed.
A study of the American Bill of Rights. This course will examine civil liberties (individual rights to act and be protected in the criminal process) and civil rights (protections against discrimination) in terms of four broad areas: the relationship between Church and State, freedom of expression, equal protection of the laws, and criminal rights. Through careful study of Supreme Court opinions as well as commentaries on some of these controversial issues, this course explores how our understanding and interpretation of these liberties and rights have evolved over time.
An examination and study of American politics and government at the state and local levels. Topics covered include governors and state legislatures, county government, city government, and the New England town meeting.
An examination of the historical and conceptual questions of international organization. Emphasis is on the structural characteristics of the United Nations system as well as its activities, including peace keeping, development, technical assistance, and social justice. Comparisons are made with other international and regional organizations, such as the European Union, and with non-governmental organizations.
The course will provide an overview of the economic, social and political development of Europe and address the political challenges countries currently face. The class shows how the institutional evolution of the European Union has significantly changed political dynamics both within and between the countries of Europe.
This survey course studies the forces of change and continuity in the political systems of East (China, Japan, and the Koreas) and Southeast Asia (Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, and Burma). The class focuses on the historical forces that shaped the distribution of power and social structures within Asian societies. It will show how the unique set of political institutions affect the prospects for contemporary democratization and economic development.
This course provides an introduction to the politics of contemporary Sub- Saharan Africa, a region of the world viewed by many as "left behind." It takes a cross-national and cross-temporal comparative approach to help students understand the current challenges and opportunities faced by Sub-Saharan African states. Students will be encouraged to see Sub Saharan Africa's connections to the world and to use the Sub-Saharan African experience to interrogate traditional social science concepts such as that of the nation-state.
This course examines the relationships among rich and poor states in the post-World War II international political economy. It explores alternative theoretical approaches to the problem of "development:" liberal internationalism, structuralism, neo-liberalism, Marxism, feminism and post-modernism. It examines historically the conflicts, institutions and policies related to development. It then applies these theoretical and historical insights to contemporary issues in North-South relations, such as globalization, environmental sustainability, war and reconstruction, and reform of international institutions.
This class introduces students to global economic processes by providing an overview over the mechanisms of international trade, finance, monetary affairs and foreign aid. In particular, the class explores how the political foundations of the existing economic structures affect the struggle for economic development and the fight against global inequality.
An analysis of American foreign policy. Emphasis is on the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and post-1989 developments. Attention is also given to the present administration's response to changes in the international environment.
This is a course in the history of political thought using some of the world's greatest works of art (literature, theater, painting, sculpture, and music) as our texts. All of these works of art ask us to explore our place in the world. In that context we examine the ancient understanding of virtue and its place in politics, and the modern turn toward a new understanding of nature and religion, and thus a new foundation for political power. Finally we explore the existential result of that turn: by redefining nature (and human nature) as a series of forces which may be used to reshape political behavior, and by redefining political society as a conventional artifice, we open new horizons of freedom, but also leave ourselves uncertain of just what we should do next. Through a close examination of selected works we can think about the prophetic role of art in political society, and what some have called the "quarrel" between philosophy and poetry, or between reason and inspired passion.
An examination of the creation of public policy at the federal and state levels. Attention will be given to the actors and politics of agenda-building, formulation, legitimization, and implementation. Emphasis is on the political and ethical context in which policy decisions are made.
This course examines the role of gender in political life, with an emphasis on U.S. politics. The course addresses the history of women's political development and social movements, and political theories of gender, including both masculine and feminine. Students will examine the role of gender in shaping patterns of political participation (both traditional and non-traditional) and public policy issues.
This course examines the role of mass media in shaping American politics and government. The course pays particular attention to how the norms of reporting, the incentives and pressures on news corporations, and the rise of new media technology affect the way the media covers and shapes American government and politics and influences public opinion, elections, governance, and public policy.
The medieval political philosophers - Christian, Jewish, and Muslim - confronted the inherent and inevitable tension between the demands of faith and the necessities of the nation most deeply. It is this issue above all that distinguishes the medieval political thinker from the ancient (whose polytheism means the problem does not surface) and the modern (whose doctrine of toleration buries the problem without fully addressing it). Why do philosophers like Augustine recognize such a distance between the city of God and the human city? What does that distance imply for political practice? What do our faith commitments require of us in our political lives, and what limits might the political world impose on those commitments? To address these questions and others, seminars will examine texts by Augustine, Aquinas, Maimonides, Ibn Tufayl, al-Farabi and others.
Meets the Writing Intensive Learning Outcome (WI).
The debates between America's Founders - Federalists and anti-Federalists - persist into the present day. Selections from a variety of authors, with special attention given to the Founding Alexis de Tocqueville, and Abraham Lincoln. We will explore a number of enduring political issues from these readings including federal-state relations, the role of government in the private sector, the relationship between liberty and equality, the development of an American science of politics, the place of commerce and industry in a free society, the standing of religion in public life, and the character of a free people.
This course is a survey of the variety of Christian understandings of politics that have developed in the wake of WWII. Readings will include various papal encyclicals, as well as primary texts by authors like Reinhold Niebuhr, John Howard Yoder, and Yves Simon that cover topics like the best kinds of government, economics, race, human rights and war. As a combination of lecture and group discussion, students are required to read the assignments carefully and to participate actively in class.
This course explores the relation between the human (and political life) and the natural. We will attend first to modern political thought and the relation of ideas of individual liberty with the purpose of "the conquest of nature." That conquest has led both to the loss of natural environments, on the one hand, and to the conquest of natural diseases and the construction of new habitats and flourishing economies on the other. We turn, then, to critiques of the new politics, critiques which seek to restore an appreciation for wilderness and its spiritual benefits. Concepts of nature thus frame our concepts of human liberty and good character. Finally, students will engage in the application of these theories to current environmental debates, and to the tension between preservationists and conservationists. This course is required for Environmental Studies majors.
This course provides an introduction to human rights and is organized around a number of important questions including: What is the nature of rights? How did human rights develop? What accounts for the success of human rights as an ideal in international politics? Why do countries commit to human rights treaties that limit their sovereignty? Do countries actually comply with human rights obligations? What are the various international and regional instruments for the protection of human rights? How has human rights thinking evolved to deal with the mass violation of human rights so often seen in the twentieth century?
Meets Citizenship Learning Outcome (CITZ) and Writing Intensive Outcome (WI)
An examination of the primary approaches in the field of International Relations (IR), including realism, liberalism, and constructivism. Topics covered include the causes and prevention of major wars, the relationship between human nature and international politics, popular culture and identity formation, globalization, and the return of normative and religious concerns to the study of IR. Readings will draw from a mixture of the traditional IR canon and innovative new ways of examining these subjects.
This course studies two great themes, justice and power, as they are worked out in times of war. During times of war opposing nations will each claim to have right on their side. Surprisingly, war expresses deep claims about justice. We begin with selections from Thucydides, who defines and describes the problem of justice and power for us. We conclude with Kant, who offers a hope that justice and power may be brought into accord (if not entirely reconciled). Several questions emerge: What causes wars, and what makes the cause right? Is patriotism a moral duty? Is war or peace the more natural condition for states? Is it possible to combine justice with power? To engage these questions we read the works of leading thinkers from the perspectives of the Islamic and Christian just war tradition, political realism, and international law, including Thucydides, Cicero, Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Vitoria, and Grotius.
This course examines the government and politics of Latin America, taking both a regional and country-specific approach. It examines region-wide patterns such as the colonial inheritance, relations with the United States, and experiences with democratization and economic development. It also examines a number of individual Latin American countries in-depth, focusing on their government structures, political cultures, records of regime change, and state-society relations. Additionally, the course considers contemporary policy challenges, such as regional integration, immigration, and illegal trafficking.
The purpose of this survey course is to familiarize students with the culture, institutions, and peoples of the modern Middle East. The class examines patterns of modernization and development across several regional polities, with particular attention devoted to the effect of colonial legacies and strategies of resistance, pan-Arab nationalism, the re-emergence of political Islam, economic underdevelopment and the politics of oil.
This course examines politics and government in the two leading South Asian nations of India and Pakistan. It will also serve as an introduction to some of the major intellectual and theoretical concerns in the field of South Asian political studies, including the legacies of colonialism, political instability, the role of the military, the threat of nuclear war, ongoing problems of poverty, the situation in Kashmir and religious tensions.
Analysis of contemporary politics in Russia. The course emphasizes those historical, geographical, and economic features which have influenced Russian political development. Attention is also given to the uniqueness of Russian political thought and its cultures.
This course will offer an in depth study of political violence involving non-state actors. Students will consider theories of identity and violence and study the emergence, duration and cessation of major forms of political violence including communal violence, terrorism and civil war.
International relations is often concerned with the causes of war. This course offers an in-depth study of peace in international relations. Students will examine peace at the level of the international system, bilaterally in the relations between states and with regard to non-state actors. The course will also examine the effectiveness of intervention strategies including military peacekeeping operations and grassroots peacebuilding.
This course considers several analytic perspectives for understanding the dynamics of public administration, with a particular emphasis on the president's role in that process. The course examines how the president interacts with the federal bureaucracy to formulate and implement policy, and negotiates with Congress to pass legislation enacting that policy. The course also considers the impact of these central relationships on the broader institutional and electoral contexts in which these political actors function.
This course analyzes New Hampshire's Presidential Primary as a political institution. Students will explore how the New Hampshire primary became an institution in American politics, how the primary influences presidential candidates and elections, and how politicalparties, interest groups, and the media affect how candidates run and how voters respond to them. As part of the course students will complete a significant research project on a past primary campaign.
Liberty is usually thought of in one of two ways. On the one hand, liberty is thought of as the opposite of tyranny, in which case we mean something like freedom from human masters (what Augustine calls "political freedom"). On the other hand, we think of liberty as the opposite of determinism, in which case we mean something like a life directed by a rational free will (what Augustine calls "genuine freedom"). This course investigates topics of political liberty, religious liberty, economic freedom, and the character of free persons, as well as the social institutions of a free society and the fine line between liberty and dominion. Texts include works by Augustine, Madison, Locke, Berlin, Tocqueville, Mill, and others. Students will apply the lessons of liberty to develop policy proposals concerning issues in the current political landscape. Students enrolled in the course may choose to bypass the housing lottery and be housed (with their roommates) in the LLC, and we will hold our classes there. We will also integrate campus events - political debates, performances, gallery openings, a game night - into our studies over the semester.
Aristotle tells us that "Man is by nature a political animal," but what does this mean, and what is the nature of politics? The nature of politics involves the distribution of power in complex communities for the purpose of securing interests and honors. The distribution of power requires a justification of power or authority - in other words, a regime's account of justice. Looked at in this way we can see that a number of themes emerge: the enduring problem of faction, and the distinction of public and private goods; the shaping of a "public" and the ordering of a regime; the empowerment - and disempowerment - of reason in public life; the relationship between justice and power; the interaction of nature and convention in politics. The texts include works by Aristotle, Xenophon, Montesquieu, Shakespeare and Machiavelli.
This course taught in a seminar format examines the political role of the Roman Catholic Church from a social science perspective. The focus is both on the church as an international actor and as a domestic political force in various countries. Topics considered will include issues of church and state, religious freedom, Catholicism and democracy, Catholicism and dictatorships, and the church as an actor on issues of peace and war. The course will also begin with a brief consideration of Saint Augustine's political theology and end with a consideration of contemporary Catholic social teaching.
One of the most fundamental and enduring political problems is finding the right balance between the goods of individuals and the good of the community. Modern America confronts that issue in our debates over health care, education, environmental policy, transportation, and the like. This course aims to unite the study of political theory and contemporary politics by analyzing the problem of political economy as it currently exists in the United States in light of the understandings of this problem proposed by various political theorists. Several questions present themselves for study. What is the proper purpose and extent of political authority in economic life? In what ways might the pursuit of private interests promote public goods, and in what ways do those interests and goods simply diverge? Are there some things that are properly the work of government, even if they might be accomplished by the private sector? We will consider works by Aristotle and Aquinas; Locke, Smith, Malthus, and Ricardo; Marx, Mill, and Marshall; Keynes and Hayek; Axelrod and Hirschman; and contemporary treatments of the economic problems of poverty and the environment.
This course focuses on the question: How can a pluralistic democracy, specifically America, deal justly with diversity? In order to address this question, we will divide our inquiry into two parts. First, we will look at issues concerning racial, religious, moral, intellectual, gender, and sexual diversity in America. Second, we will examine various democratic political options for dealing justly with diversity. Students will be asked to formulate their response to this question and defend their position both orally and in writing.
Over the last century the problems of political life have been explored by liberals (who emphasize the liberty of individuals), pluralists (who describe political life as a dynamic interaction of identity groups), and by critics of these two approaches who tend to give emphasis to the claims of community and the maintenance of public ethics. Is it possible to step back from the heat of the current political moment, to consider together the foundations of the current debate, and to generate some light? When we do, we encounter questions about the meaning of a good life and its relation to politics, and about identity and community. This course culminates with development of practical approaches to the problem of our political moment rooted in a foundation of contemporary political thought. Readings are from Rawls and Dworkin, MacIntyre and Taylor, Hayek and Kirk, and Alcoff and Lakoff, Students enrolled in the course may choose to bypass the housing lottery and be housed (with their roommates) in the LLC, and we will hold our classes there. We will also integrate campus events - political debates, performances, gallery openings, a game night - into our studies over the semester.
This advanced seminar course explores a form of government - democracy -- that is much celebrated by today's politicians, pundits, and scholars, but whose nuances and complexities frequently are not well understood. What does it mean to be democratic? How can a country foster democracy? What factors affect its chances of success? The course explores these questions and more. It approaches democracy as a process, one that is constantly changing and never "finished." It examines democratization conceptually, historically, and regionally. In addition, it considers contemporary issues in democracy promotion, such as religious fundamentalism, post-conflict situations, and the widespread use of technologies such as social media.
Topics vary by semester, and may include theoretical approaches to works of literature, religion and politics, or advanced courses dedicated to the study of a particular political thinker or school of thought.
This course will examine a contemporary topic confronting world politics. Its objective is to provide an opportunity for a critical examination and discussion of relevant issues in world affairs. Topics vary by semester, and may include the Mideast Peace Process, ideological approaches to global politics, Islamic fundamentalism, and social justice issues in the Third World.
An examination of a current topic in American politics and society. Topics vary by semester, and include campaigns and elections, legislation and lobbying, media relations in politics, women in politics, and ethical issues in politics.
This seminar is required of all Politics and International Relations majors during the senior year. Seniors are expected to write an independent guided research paper which constitutes the senior thesis.