Spring 2023 Courses

American Politics

POLS 60043: American Political Behavior
Geoffrey Layman
W 3:30 - 6:15 pm
CRN 31793

This is the core course on American political behavior-a central focus of empirical political science for nearly 70 years. We will begin by considering normative questions about the role that ordinary citizens should play and realistically can be expected to play in a democratic polity. We then will turn to American public opinion, examining the sophistication of citizen opinion, the factors structuring opinion change, the social-group bases of U.S. public opinion, and the influence of public opinion on public policy. We will devote the second half of the course to American voting behavior. We will discuss the major theoretical models of vote choice; the factors shaping voter turnout; the role of parties, groups, and candidates in shaping voting behavior; long-term change in the parties' electoral coalitions, and the impact of political campaigns on electoral choice. We will conclude the course by discussing the growth of party polarization in the American electorate and the causes and consequences of that growth. The goal for the course is not only to immerse students in the vast literature on American political behavior, but also to provide the foundation for original research. To that end, we will spend a fair amount of time discussing research methods and approaches. Students also will be expected to offer critiques of the ideas and methodologies presented in the literature, with an eye toward improving and finding new directions in research on political behavior. Finally, each student will do original research using data from one or more surveys of the American electorate.
POLS 60052: Political Participation
David Campbell
T 3:30 - 6:15 pm
CRN 31794

For decades, social scientists from multiple disciplines have tried to figure out why people participate in politics. Some want to understand why more people don't participate. Others, however, ask why anyone bothers to participate at all. This course cuts a swath through a large and methodologically diverse literature that examines these and other questions relating to political participation. Readings include both some golden oldies and hits right off the charts. Some will be normative, others empirical. Each is designed to provoke a discussion of key issues confronting contemporary democracy, mainly through the lens of the American experience: do we have too little participation in the United States, or perhaps too much? Does something need to change? If so, what?

Comparative Politics

POLS 60453: Comparative Field Seminar
Michael Hoffman
Th 3:30 - 6:15 pm
CRN 31797

Theoretical Approaches to Comparative Politics This course surveys the major approaches to the comparative study of politics and evaluates the great variety of methods employed. Many of the most important books and articles are used as examples. This course is designed to be helpful to those preparing to take the comprehensive examination in comparative politics.
POLS 60456: The Logic of Political Violence
Guillermo Trejo
M 6:30 - 9:15 pm
CRN 31798

The purpose of this seminar course is to understand the logic and dynamics of state repression and insurgent collective action. We will explore the transformation of social movements (seeking social justice) and criminal organizations (seeking profits) into armed insurgencies. Our focus is on the state: Failed states may be a privileged terrain for the emergence of criminal organizations and for rebel and terrorist groups, but repressive states in authoritarian regimes and electoral autocracies may also contribute to the transformation of peaceful dissent into violence. Based on the work of Hobbes, Weber, Tilly, Olson, and Bates the course first introduces the role of the state and its primary responsibilities (e.g., taxation, security, and border controls) and analyzes the conditions under which state actors fail to fulfill their role or inflict violence on their own population. In the second part, we analyze why states repress their own citizens and the conditions under which state violence may lead to the escalation of peaceful protest into armed rebellion. In the third section, we focus on the opportunities that state failure may open for the privatization of violence and assess the transformation of criminal networks into insurgent groups and the rise of paramilitary groups. The course covers material from different theoretical and methodological persuasions. We will read game-theoretic research, as well as large-N statistical analyses, comparative case studies, ethnographies, and studies that combine different approaches. Geographically, the course covers cases from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. This seminar is intended for graduate students across the social sciences.
POLS 60472: Comparative Political Institutions
Anibal Perez-Linan
W 6:30 - 9:15 pm
CRN 31799

This course offers an introduction to the comparative analysis of political institutions. The study of institutions relies on analytical tools shared by several fields in political science, creating a common idiom across the discipline. In the first part of the seminar, we will focus on institutions as an explanation for political outcomes. We will introduce different theoretical perspectives (e.g., rational choice and historical institutionalism), identify mechanisms at work in institutional theories (powers, incentives, and legacies), and illustrate those themes with reference to concrete institutions (executives, legislatures, the judiciary, bureaucracies, electoral systems). The second part of the seminar will analyze institutions as the endogenous outcome of elite interactions. We will map emerging debates about gradual institutional change, constitutional replacement, and institutional conflict in democracies and dictatorships. Course requirements include seminar participation, the completion of four short assignments, and a final research paper (of about 10,000 words).
POLS 60477: Criminal Governance, Democracy and Policies
Abby Cordova
Th 12:30 - 3:15 pm
CRN 32568

Cross-listed with MGA. Across the world, millions of citizens live in territories controlled by criminal organizations that co-exist with democratically elected governments. The spread of organized crime across the globe has followed as many countries transitioned to democracy and/or ended long-lasting civil wars. Increasingly, conflict environments feature criminal gangs, drug-traffickers, mafias, and state actors involved in criminal activities. Informed by prominent theories and methodologies in political science, and the social sciences more broadly, this course will examine the causes of organized crime and its consequences or the consolidation of democracy, particularly in countries in Africa and Latin America. Importantly, a core objective of the course is to identify evidence-based policy approaches to address organized crime in developing countries. More specifically, we will examine theories and methodologies in political science, and related fields, that help us address the following six research questions: 1) What countries are the most and least affected by organized crime? 2) What is the role of politics in criminal violence? 3) How does criminal governance differ from other types of governance? 4) How does organized crime interact with other forms of violence, particularly gender-based violence? 5) In what ways, does organized crime affect democracy? and 6) How have citizens and governments responded to organized crime? In brief, the course will offer an in-depth examination of organized crime and governance through the lens of political science and related fields in the social sciences.

Constitutional Studies

POLS 60121: Jurisprudence: Foundations of Human Rights
Paolo Carozza
MW 3:30- 4:45 pm
CRN 32960

Crosslisted with LAW. This course satisfies the basic Jurisprudence requirement for JD students, but it does so by using the system of international human rights law as an overarching context in which to examine focal jurisprudential questions. For example, what is the basis for asserting the existence and universality of human rights? How can we plausibly do so across the pluralistic array of different ethical, juridical, and cultural traditions that characterize the human family? To what extent and in what ways can or should human rights principles be "positivized" through international treaties and institutions? What are the meanings and significance of principles of human dignity, subsidiarity, sovereignty, democracy, and the common good in international human rights law? How do we draw the boundaries of legitimate pluralism in a system that aspires by definition to universality? What is the role of adjudication? In examining these and other questions, we will take up and compare a variety of different theories of human rights, both Western and non-Western, religious and secular, in both historical and contemporary perspectives. No prior knowledge of international law or human rights law is required.

International Relations

POLS 60205: International Political Economy
Susanne Wengle
F 3:30 - 6:15 pm
CRN 31795

What are global markets are and how they are governed? The aim of this seminar is to introduce students to empirical trends and academic debates on the political underpinnings of the global economy. We will examine a range of actors involved in the politics of global markets – governments, international organizations as well as a range of private actors. The first part of the class introduces students to recent debates on what global markets are. Readings address trends such as liberalization, globalization and vertical disintegration and we will devote one week to review the main theoretical approaches to theorize global economic governance. The second part of the class meetings is devoted to a range of issue areas that have historically been part of IPE debates, while also introducing a number of themes that are emerging as urgent challenges for the global economy: finance, trade, development, the climate crisis, migration and labor in the global economy. We will also read about emergence of private governance regimes and how they interact with public standards and regulations. In each of these sections, we will think about how institutions, ideas and interests shape local and global economies. This course serves as a basis for future research in international political economy and prepares students for the international relations comprehensive exam.
POLS 60226: International Security
Eugene Gholz
TTh 2:00 - 3:15 pm
CRN 31796

This seminar offers an introduction to the field of international security studies. We will survey the dominant and emerging theories of international conflict, and analyze various efforts to use these theories to understand important substantive areas of international politics.
POLS 60247: Violent Conflict in Fragile States: Research, Policy and Practice in Complex Wars
Rachel Sweet
Th 9:30 am - 12:15 pm
CRN 32426

Cross-listed with MGA. This course examines the dynamics of contemporary armed conflict. Themes include the strategy of rebel organization, mass killings, state-led violence, and terrorist networks. We will examine a variety of questions involving political institutions, economic exchange, and social change during war, as well as consequences for violence and state authority at war’s end, moving beyond conventional wisdom to seek the real strategy, politics, and dirt of war by taking a “close up” view through working with original materials from conflict zones. Students will work with original interviews, on-the-ground material from United Nations peace operations, and documents from diverse rebel and terrorist groups. The course will cover methodological questions of how to operate on the ground in conflict environments, interact with combatants, victims, perpetrators, and collect and interpret evidence. We focus primarily on civil wars—the dominant form of current-day conflict—as well as the international dimensions of these conflicts. The course is designed for students who anticipate research or practitioner careers related to conflict, security, peacebuilding, and/or development. We will examine the problems these professions commonly confront, such as data quality, propaganda, policy decision-making, international intervention, and investigating abuses and illicit behavior in complex environments.
POLS 60248: Approaches to Violent Extremism
Lisa Schirch
TTh 2:00 - 3:15 pm
CRN 32567

Cross-listed with IIPS. This interactive course will explore violent extremism (VE) and responses to prevent it. A “systems” approach to violent extremism is unique in that it uses an interdisciplinary, systems-based approach. Students will use economic, political, psychological, sociological, and theological lens to analyze and understand violent extremism. Participants will explore the causes and contexts where violent extremism occurs, looking both at patterns and unique elements in diverse case studies. Conflict assessment skills, theories of change, and strategic peacebuilding frameworks will provide conceptual frameworks for evidence-based approaches. The course will then explore a range of interventions to stop violent extremism, including an analysis of the dangers, risks and unintended impacts of these approaches. Students will explore a range of stakeholder approaches to violent extremism, including civil society, the United Nations, World Bank, and a range of states such as the US, UK, Kenya, Nigeria, and Jordan. The course will look at the impact of counterterrorism on civil society space for development and peacebuilding activities and identify the roles of civil society in addressing violent extremism.

Political Theory

POLS 60699: Hegel and His 20th Century Appropriators and Critics
Dana Villa
M 3:30 - 6:15 pm
CRN 31800

A little over the first half of this course will be devoted to the reading of Hegel's "Lectures on the Philosophy of History" and his "Philosophy of Right." The second half will be devoted to reading a few prominent 20th century critics and appropriators of his thought, including Alexandre Kojeve, Georg Lukacs, Theodor Adorno, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir.


POLS 60810: Regression I
Jeff Harden
TTh 9:30-10:45 am
CRN 31801

This course provides an introduction to quantitative research methods in political science. After a brief discussion of the basics of statistical analysis and hypothesis testing, the first part of the course will focus on ordinary least squares (OLS) regression, its assumptions, and its extensions. In the second part of the course, we will focus on widely-used methods that are appropriate when the assumptions of OLS are violated, and especially on limited dependent variable models. We will try to strike a balance between theory and mathematics on the one hand and the practical application and interpretation of statistics on the other hand. We will discuss the theoretical rationale behind and mathematical underpinnings of various statistical methods, how to apply those methods to real political questions, and how to conduct and interpret analyses using a standard statistical package.
POLS 60862: Programming for the Social Sciences
Erin Rossiter
M 3:30-6:15 pm
CRN 31802

Rapid increases in the availability of digitized social, economic, and political activities of people around the world, accompanied by advances in computational power and statistical methods needed to analyze it, have opened up new possibilities for social scientists.  This course will prepare students to be active participants in this data-rich world by helping them understand core concepts behind the R programming language and gain practical programming skills.  Specifically, students will learn how to collect, clean, manipulate, store, visualize, and share data using R.  More importantly, because of how rapidly the landscape of statistical computing is changing, this course also aims to give students the foundational skills they need to teach themselves how to take advantage of new advances in this field throughout their careers.


POLS 61001 : American Politics Research Lab
Matthew Hall
F 2:00 - 4:45 pm; 1/20, 2/3, 2/17, 3/3, 3/24, 3/31, 4/21
CRN 28024

The American Politics Research Lab provides resources, training, guidance and coordination for research projects in American politics. The lab supports research efforts by graduate students, undergraduate students, and faculty. Regular activities include training workshops, research presentations, question-and-answer sessions, project updates, and special topic discussions.

POLS 98701: The Academic Career
Christina Wolbrecht
CRN 22081

This class is designed to prepare Ph.D. students for success in finding a faculty position in academia.
POLS 98702: Research, Dissertation, and Publication Workshop
Mary Keys
CRN 31803

This workshop is for all Theory and Constitutional Studies Ph.D. students working on Dissertations, Dissertation Prospectuses, conference papers, and scholarly articles for publication. Every student will submit and present their research and writing to the group for constructive criticism and guidance. Students must be at least in their second year of the program, and the course is especially important for those who are preparing dissertation prospectuses and chapters. The course will meet every other week through the year.

POLS 98703: Empirical Political Science Dissertation Workshop
Scott Mainwaring
CRN 31804

This course is a dissertation workshop for PhD students who are writing or plan to write empirical dissertations (qualitative and/or quantitative). We will read and comment on drafts of each other's dissertation chapters and dissertation proposals. Each participant will share some of his or her writing with the group and offer suggestions on the writing of the other participants.
1. To provide helpful critical feedback, encouragement, and an accountability mechanism for all students in the course
2. To break the isolation that can be a challenging part of dissertation and proposal writing for some people; to form a community of supportive scholars who will generate useful feedback
3. To gain experience in the valuable art of providing helpful feedback and being an excellent colleague
4. To give you some exposure to short readings about proposal and dissertation writing.

Directed Readings & Research

All are variable credit courses. See Class Search for all sections offered for these courses.

POLS 66900 - Directed Readings (Letter grade)*
POLS 66903 - Directed Readings (S/U grade)*
POLS 67950 - Examination Preparation**
POLS 98699 - Research and Dissertation
POLS 98700 - Nonresident Dissertation Research**

*Directed Readings require email approval from the faculty member. If the course is going to count toward field requirements, prior, written approval is required by the field chair and DGS and filed by the Graduate Studies Coordinator. Contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator for more information. 

**Contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator to set up a section.