Fall 2023 Courses

American Politics

POLS 60043: American Political Behavior
Geoff Layman
M 6:30pm - 9:15pm
CRN 21588

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 60448: The State
Victoria Hui
W 6:30pm - 9:15pm
CRN 21590

Whether one is interested in comparative politics, international relations, American politics or political theory, the state is at the center of political analysis. The state sits at the intersection of domestic and international politics. State autonomy and state capacity fundamentally shape both society-society relations and inter-state competition. Are theories of the state Eurocentric and therefore inapplicable to non-European contexts, especially in the developing world? How are states built, why do states fail, and how can failed states be rebuilt? How does state capacity affect democratization? How do states promote economic development? In this seminar, we first read broad theoretical works and then examine country and regional cases: Europe, the U.S., Latin America, Russia, Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Constitutional Studies

POLS 60108: Islamic Law and Constitutions
Emilia Justyna Powell
T 9:00am-11:30am
CRN 22320

Also LAW. This seminar offers an introduction to Islamic law, Islamic international law, and Islamic constitutionalism. Lectures and readings focus on sources and functioning of classical Islamic law as well as on the characteristics of modern Islamic constitutional and subconstitutional legal systems across Muslim-majority states. Students will consider the meaning of Islamic justice, its embodiment in the legal system, its execution, the way it has evolved, and the principles that underpin it. We will examine the role of Islamic jurisprudence in the shaping of law, and how a faith-based concept of law relates to modern domestic governance and modern international law.

POLS 60123: Church, the State, and American Constitutionalism
Vincent Munoz
MW 11:00am-12:15pm
CRN 22569

Also undergraduate. Class examines philosophical, constitutional, and political questions pertaining to religion and politics, including: Do individuals have a right to religious liberty? If so, how might that right be protected? How does the American Constitution protect the right to religious freedom? What is the proper relationship between church and state? Is religion necessary, good, or bad for liberal democracy? Readings include selections from classical, medieval, and modern political philosophy, leading cases of American constitutional law, and contemporary legal theorist and political scientists.

POLS 60691: Modern Political Thought
Eileen Hunt
TTh 2:00pm - 3:15pm
CRN 21625

See Political Theory.

POLS 60700: Aristotle’s Political Philosophy
Susan Collins
W 3:30pm - 6:15pm
CRN 21592

See Political Theory.

International Relations

POLS 60108: Islamic Law and Constitutions
Emilia Justyna Powell
T 9:00am-11:30am
CRN 22320

See Constitutional Studies.

POLS 60217: Theories of International Relations
Joseph Parent
M 3:30pm - 6:15pm
CRN 21589

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 60677: Critical Theory
Ernesto Verdeja
Th 3:30pm - 6:15pm
CRN 21591

This graduate seminar focuses on the work of the Frankfurt School, a highly influential group of twentieth century intellectuals who sought to investigate the unique challenges posed by capitalism, totalitarianism, modern bureaucracy, and mass politics. Influenced by Hegel, Marx, Weber, Nietzsche and Freud, they drew from a wide array of disciplines and theoretical approaches in an effort to diagnose the pathologies of modernity. Their studies, known as "Critical Theory," were among the first that can be properly labeled interdisciplinary, encompassing insights from philosophy, aesthetics, political science, psychology, sociology and economics, among other fields. We will read the works of Georg Luka´cs, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse and Ju¨rgen Habermas, as well as more recent critical theorists. The seminar will consider the strengths and limitations of Critical Theory through close readings of the school's key texts. Some familiarity with ‘modern' social theory, particularly Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche and Weber, is useful but not necessary.

POLS 60691: Modern Political Thought
Eileen Hunt
TTh 2:00pm - 3:15pm
CRN 21625
Also counts towards Constitutional Studies.
In this graduate course in political theory and literature, we will discuss the classics of Enlightenment-era political thought from Hobbes to Wollstonecraft that evolved in relation to English and French fantasy, gothic-romantic, science fictional, and adventure-exploration verse epic and novels from the 1648 Peace of Westphalia to the immediate aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars and the 1815 Congress of Vienna. To trace the transmogrification of the concept and trope of the monster in modern European political thought on sovereignty, freedom, rights, revolution, legitimate constitutional government, gender, sexuality, family, race, rank, education, war, peace, conquest, slavery, colonialism, empire, and international relations, we will read Hobbes's Leviathan (1651); selections from Milton's verse epic Paradise Lost (1667); Locke's Second Treatise of Government (1689-90); Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe (1719); Rousseau's First Discourse (1750), Second Discourse (1755), and his novel Emile, or On Education (1762); Kant's "What is Enlightenment?" (1784) and "Speculative Beginning of Human History" (1786); Madison's Federalist No. 51 (1788); Kant's "Theory and Practice" (1793) and "Perpetual Peace" (1795); selections from Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790); Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790), selections from her A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), and her novel Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman (1798); and Shelley's novel Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus (1818). We will also cover the related scholarly debates in political theory, intellectual history, feminist theory, and literature on these topics.

POLS 60700: Aristotle’s Political Philosophy
Susan Collins
W 3:30pm - 6:15pm
CRN 21592
Also counts towards Constitutional Studies.
This course examines the two major texts of Aristotle’s political philosophy, his Nicomachean Ethics and Politics. Our aim will be to examine key parts of these works to understand their relation to one another and to grasp as fully as possible the character and substance of Aristotle’s political philosophy. If, to paraphrase Whitehead’s famous remark, Western philosophy is but a series of footnotes on Plato, Aristotle is clearly a major architect of the classical tradition and a central object of attack by modern thinkers who sought to dismantle it. By studying Aristotle’s Ethics and Politics, then, we will have a rich context not only for understanding the classical tradition but also for considering the modern effort to replace it and current efforts to recover it.


POLS 60830: Qualitative Research Methods
Eugene Gholz
TTh 12:30pm-1:45pm
CRN 22499

Qualitative Political Analysis introduces the core qualitative methods used in political science. Students will learn about applying the scientific method in qualitative research; the links between theory and evidence; research design appropriate to research questions, including comparing the strengths and weaknesses of qualitative and quantitative research methods; the difference between systematic, evidence-based research and anecdotal work; and important techniques for analysis, inference, and interpretation, including case study research. The course requires a set of homework assignments to practice the techniques of qualitative analysis and also a final paper that develops a research design suitable to answer an important political science question — a paper that likely can contribute substantially to the development of a dissertation prospectus.

POLS 60833: Introduction to Quantitative Methods
Erin Rossiter
MW 11:00 - 12:15 pm
CRN 21593

This the first course in the quantitative methods sequence for Ph.D. students in Political Science. The course has three components. We start with a hands-on introduction to quantitative data analysis using the R computing and programming environment. We will cover measurement, causality and regression, and learn how to describe and plot politically relevant statistics. The second part of the course takes a step back to build up some mathematical foundation. We will cover calculus, optimization, and linear algebra. The third and last part of the course focuses on probability theory and statistical inference. We will cover distributions, large sample theorems, hypothesis tests, and confidence intervals.

POLS 60885: Introduction to Causal Inference
Jeffrey Harden
TTh 9:30am - 10:45am
CRN 21594

This course is an introduction to causal inference methods used in quantitative social science research. It begins with theoretical and conceptual discussions of causality, then moves to the statistical theory underlying the potential outcomes model. It then covers a variety of methods designed to assist with identification of causal effects in both experimental and observational data. The course focuses on the two complementary goals of learning the theory behind causal inference as well as practical implementation in statistical software. Students will walk away from the course with an understanding of how to apply causal inference methods and what is going on "under the hood" with their results. Class time is spent in lecture and working hands-on with example data.

POLS 63800: Proseminar
Guillermo Trejo
T 3:30pm - 6:15pm
CRN 21595

This is a required course for all first-year graduate students in the Department of Political Science. It is what is commonly called a "scope and methods" course; that is, a course designed to survey the great variety of themes and approaches in political science and to guide you through the fundamental debates about what political science is or should be. This course is also about democracy because the best way to teach about methods is to apply them to an interesting topic, and democracy is a topic of central interest to almost all of us these days. There is abundant literature that demonstrates the relevance of our course themes to democracy. Therefore, in the process of learning about the scope and methods of political science, this course will also familiarize you with some key ideas about what democracy is, what it could be, how it is changing, what causes it, and how we measure it.


POLS 61001: American Politics Workshop
Matthew Hall
F 2:00 - 4:45 pm; 8/25, 9/08, 9/29, 10/13, 10/27, 11/10, 12/01
CRN 15992

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 98702: Political Theory Professionalization Workshop
Eileen Hunt
F 12:30pm - 3:15pm
CRN 21596

The Political Theory Professionalization Workshop trains doctoral students in Political Theory in the latest approaches to scholarship and research in the interconnected and interdisciplinary fields of political theory, political philosophy, history of political thought, and intellectual history. Students prepare and present presentations based on their doctoral dissertation projects (proposals in progress, chapters in progress, articles or conference papers in progress) and serve as discussants for each other's and visiting speakers' work, and thus experience the peer-review process, by giving and receiving feedback on new work in the field during the weekly seminar. The seminar incorporates the Political Theory Colloquium speaker series, so that doctoral students have a regular opportunity to learn and engage the latest trends in political theory in the wider profession. All Political Theory doctoral students in the 3rd-5th years are strongly encouraged to enroll in this Political Theory Professionalization Workshop for 3-credits per term, unless they are on a fellowship working off-campus. Other doctoral students in the 3rd-5th years who have Political Theory as a second field are welcome to enroll. When the seminar hosts the Political Theory Colloquium, one enrolled student will serve as the discussant for the outside speaker (from Notre Dame or another university), and all enrolled students will be expected to carefully read and engage the speaker's work. When we host an outside speaker for the Political Theory Colloquium, our sessions will be open to the wider Notre Dame community interested in political theory and its cognate fields.

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.