Spring 2021 Courses

American Politics

POLS 60043-01: American Political Behavior
Geoffrey Layman
M 3:55 - 6:40 pm
CRN: 31776

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.

Comparative Politics

POLS 60442-01: Political Protest, Social Movements and Revolution
Debra Javeline
T 12:45-3:00 pm
CRN: 31774

(Crosslisted with Peace Studies) This course looks at various theories of political protest, social movements, and revolution. It will examine theoretical debates about why individuals and groups occasionally redress their grievances through collective action and more often endure hardships passively. It will evaluate the relative merit of these theories in explaining cases of protest and passivity worldwide. It will also explore similarities and differences in explanations of reform-oriented protest versus action with revolutionary aims.

POLS 60456-01: The Logic of Political Violence
Guillermo Trejo
M 7:05 - 9:50 pm
CRN: 31773

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 60472-01: Comparative Political Institutions
Aníbal Pérez-Liñán
W 7:05 - 9:50 pm
CRN: 31772

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).

Constitutional Studies

POLS 60110-01: Aristotle's Constitutionalism
Susan Collins
T 3:55 - 6:40 pm
CRN: 31775

(Also counts towards Political Theory) This course will involve a close study of the whole of Aristotle's Politics and parts of his Nicomachean Ethics, the two major works of his political philosophy. We will aim in particular to investigate the principles of Aristotle's "constitutionalism"-his understanding of the polis ("city"), politeia ("regime" or "constitution"), and best regime-as well as his treatments of the variety of regimes, faction and revolution, and political justice. But in Aristotle's thought, such obviously political matters are clearly linked with his more fundamental inquiry into questions of nature, human nature, law, virtue, and the human good or happiness. Hence we will seek to clarify also the links between Aristotle's inquiry into such theoretical and philosophic questions and the practical and political principles of his constitutionalism.

International Relations

POLS 60217-01: Theories of International Relations
Sebastian Rosato
W 3:55 - 6:40 pm
CRN: 32211

This graduate seminar provides a survey of major theoretical traditions and their applications in the study of international relations. The course explores recent changes in and debates on the key theoretical approaches (realism, liberalism, and constructivism) with a particular emphasis on identifying and criticizing their central assumptions and causal logics. A second objective of the course is to clarify and assess various methodological perspectives, ranging from empiricism to constructivism, and their consequences for the design and conduct of research.

Political Theory

POLS 60689-01: Sourcing the Self: Departing from Rousseau's Second Discourse
Emma Planinc
R 3:55 - 6:40 pm
CRN: 31771

(Crosslisted with English & Philosophy) This course, grounded in the history of political thought, takes its departure from Rousseau's Second Discourse; but it does not stay only with Rousseau. We will begin with a close reading of the "Second Discourse" over the course of two seminars. Following this, we will spend the remaining seminars carefully studying the texts Rousseau was using, appropriating, and remaking in the construction of his own essay. We will decide on the texts to choose together as a class - for this reason, students and specialists in and of all time periods, and across all disciplines, are encouraged to enroll. Some possible candidates for readings include (but are not limited to): Herodotus, Plato, Lucretius, The Bible, Augustine, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Fenelon, Condillac, Montaigne, Montesquieu, Pope, Diderot, Abbe Prevost, Buffon. Depending on the number enrolled, we will devote the remainder of our seminars to reading our chosen "source" texts, with each member of the class taking a guiding role for the thinker/text of their choosing. This will also form, I hope, a major article-length research paper for each at the conclusion of the course. The last class will be a return to our primary document - the "Second Discourse" - in which we will discuss whether, after turning to all of these books that "teach us only to see men as they have made themselves," we now see Rousseau's "man" in a different light.

POLS 60690-01: Christian Political Thought
Daniel Philpott
M 3:55 - 6:40 pm
CRN: 31769

The course introduces graduate students to Christian thought about the political order. It begins with the classical writings of Augustine and Aquinas and then moves to the past century-and-a-half, looking at major schools of thought and thinkers, among these Catholic magisterial writings, major Protestant thinkers, radical Christian critics, liberation theology, and African political theology. Major themes include the basis of political authority, rights, liberalism, democracy, Church-state relations, the meaning of justice, structural injustice, war and peace, and religious liberty.


POLS 60810-1: Regression I
Luis Schiumerini
MW 9:35 - 10:50 am
CRN: 20188

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 60842-01: Survey Research Methodology for Global Affairs
Abby Cordova
T 7:05 - 9:55 pm
CRN: 32957

(Crosslisted with MGA) This course will introduce state of the art methods for survey design and the analysis of survey data. The course will emphasize the application of survey research methodologies for the design and evaluation of policies that can help promote integral human development across the world. Upon completion of this course, students will have gained hands-on experience in questionnaire design and the analysis of survey data using multilevel modeling and various methods to account for sample design in the estimation of standard errors. The course will provide an overview on the use of survey data for experimental and non-experimental research.


POLS 98701-01: The Academic Career
Christina Wolbrecht
CRN: 22367

This class is designed to prepare Ph.D. students for success in finding a tenure-track position in academia.

POLS 98702 - Dissertation Writing Workshop
Susan Collins
CRN: 28246

A workshop for dissertation writers. Each participant shares some of his or her writing with the group and critiques the writing of others.

POLS 98704 - Dissertation Writing Workshop
Scott Mainwaring
CRN: 29124

This course is designed to provide a structure for dissertation writing for Ph.D. students who are writing a dissertation or a dissertation proposal employing empirical (qualitative and/or quantitative) methods. We will focus on structuring dissertation and proposal writing and workshopping student chapters and other dissertation-related 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.

Course Schedule