Political Science

POLI 100 - Foundations of US Politics

This course introduces the constitutional framework, political culture, branches of government, political behavior, and nongovernmental institutions (e.g. political parties, media, or interest groups) that dynamically shape American politics. Approaches vary by instructor, potentially including some mix of simulations, class debates, offsite observations, and comparative and critical examinations, but share a common set of objectives: 1) cultivating a broad and conversational understanding of key ideas, issues, and problems particular to American politics through classic and contemporary readings; 2) stimulating further inquiry into how American politics works and why it matters and 3) developing students' own reasoning, critical thinking, writing, and public speaking skills. This course is principally designed for beginning political science majors and non-majors who have not taken an AP course in US Government and Politics.

Frequency: Every semester.


POLI 120 - Foundations of International Politics

This course has three broad goals. The first is to develop the foundational knowledge and conceptual literacy necessary to engage with International Relations' multidimensional concerns. These include issues such as world order, power, hierarchy, political violence, international law, development, religion, human rights, gender, humanitarianism and international organizations (such as the United Nations). The second is to introduce students to the different perspectives or intellectual frameworks for making sense of international relations (also known as global or world politics), including realist, liberal, constructivist, historical materialist, postcolonial and feminist approaches. The third is to encourage students to reflect on some of the ethical issues inherent in both the study and practice of international politics. Emphasis will also be placed on developing a range of critical, analytical, research and writing skills required for the further study of international politics. The course is thus intended to prepare students for advanced work in the field, although it is also appropriate for those merely seeking to satisfy an interest in the study of global politics.

Frequency: Every semester.


POLI 140 - Foundations of Comparative Politics

In Comparative Politics we use comparison to analyze political outcomes within and across countries, Why do Mexican presidents exercise strong centralized authority while Brazilian presidents must contend with powerful governors? Why do Muslims and Hindus fight in some Indian states but not in others? Why does Rwanda have such a high proportion of female legislators whereas the U.S. has such a low proportion? When confronted with large-scale protests in their cities, do state security forces in China, Russia, and the United States respond with similar methods or do they differ? Through comparative analysis, students will learn to describe diverse political institutions, to propose explanations for divergent outcomes, and to evaluate scholarly and popular arguments about politics.

POLI 141 - Latin America Through Women's Eyes

Latin American women have overcome patriarchal "machismo" to serve as presidents, mayors, guerilla leaders, union organizers, artists, intellectuals, and human rights activists. Through a mix of theoretical, empirical, and testimonial work, we will explore issues such as feminist challenges to military rule in Chile, anti-feminist politics in Nicaragua, the intersection of gender and democratization in Cuba, and women's organizing and civil war in Colombia. Teaching methods include discussion, debates, simulations, analytic papers, partisan narratives, lecture, film, poetry, and a biographical essay. This class employs an innovative system of qualitative assessment. Students take the course "S/SD/N with Written Evaluation." This provides a powerful opportunity for students to stretch their limits in a learning community with high expectations, but without a high-pressure atmosphere. This ungraded course has been approved for inclusion on major/minor plans in Political Science, Latin American Studies, and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Cross-Listed as: LATI 141 and WGSS 141


POLI 160 - Foundations of Political Theory

An examination of the evolution of influential political concepts and theories from ancient cultures to the present day, by those writing in/from/to the West. Introduction through textual analysis to historical and contemporary understandings of key terms such as authority, legitimacy, liberty, republicanism, democracy, revolution and "the good." Additionally, the course provides an introduction to political theory methods of analysis and critique, through the development of skills in reading, critical thinking, and writing.

Frequency: Every year


POLI 194 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

POLI 200 - Women and American Politics

This course examines the evolutionary role of women in politics as voters, citizens, candidates, and leaders from the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 to the present. Drawing from a variety of theoretical perspectives, we examine women's historical and contemporary roles in U.S. politics, investigate and debate a variety of public policy issues of particular concern to women, and explore the intersection of race and gender in U.S. politics.

Frequency: Alternate years.


POLI 202 - US Campaigns and Elections

Analysis of institutions and procedures such as parties and elections, and also informal activities such as social movements, interest groups, and community action.

Frequency: Alternate years.


POLI 203 - Politics and Inequality: The American Welfare State

The readings and assignments in this course are designed to help students understand how social policies and programs contribute to Americans' lived experiences. We will examine various theoretical justifications for the policies that constitute the American welfare state, then confront and dissect major strands of the American social safety net to better understand how political institutions and policy mechanisms contribute to both diversity and inequality in individuals' social, economic and political outcomes (based in race, class, gender, dis/ability, region, political jurisdiction, etc.).

Frequency: Alternate spring semesters.

Cross-Listed as: AMST 203


POLI 204 - US City and Metro Politics

Students are introduced to the issues and challenges confronting American cities today, and the public policy options and remedies city governments employ to address urban problems. Using a historical approach, we trace the origins of machine politics and campaigns against their rule, the evolution of the "urban crisis" of the twentieth century, and the rise of the fragmented urban metropolis. Next, we explore how persistent economic and racial segregation, interurban rivalries, fiscal constraints, and identity politics shape power relationships and local governmental capacities to deliver services and revitalize neighborhoods. Along the way, in simulated challenges, we ask students to present and defend their own policy proposals to urban problems (e.g. fair elections, downtown development, affordable housing, urban sprawl) and, in a longer research paper, investigate how one or two cities have struggled with or successfully addressed an urban challenge.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s): POLI 100 recommended.


POLI 205 - US Politics and Policymaking

The course examines the American public policy process through a case study apparoach. Attention wil be paid to issues of policy formation and implementation with a forcus on the role and interaction of national and state institutions. The United Sates government is a large, complex system of multiple institutions that share power and authority and govern across multiple issue dimensions. To understand the policy process in this context we will 1) Discuss foundational theories of the policy process; 2) Examine several case studies designed to engage these theories and debate their practical application, and 3) Become "experts" in a particular policy area as each student prepares a presentation on that topic and presents politically viable solutions. This course will focus on writing for a variety of audiences and leave students well-prepared to apply for policy-oriented scholarships, fellowships and jobs.

Frequency: Fall semester.


POLI 206 - US Constitutional Law and Thought

An exploration of the structure of the American Political System as seen through the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. The central topics include the development of the federal-state relationship, the separation of powers in the national government, the limits of government power over the economy, and the role of the judiciary. This course takes in the sweep of American history from 1789 to the present.

Frequency: Altenate years.

Prerequisite(s): POLI 100 recommended.


POLI 207 - US Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

An examination of civil liberties and rights in the U.S., focusing on the cases decided by the Supreme Court. Central topics include the First Amendment freedoms of speech, press, and religion; privacy and reproductive freedom; and the Fourteenth Amendment protection of equality as it affects discrimination, affirmative action, and voting rights.

Frequency: Every semester.


POLI 212 - Litigation and Public Policy in the U.S.

This course explores the significance, possibilities and limits of litigation as a way of shaping public policy and society. Focusing mainly in the American context, the course connects two areas of interest: the use of litigation as a strategy for rights movements (from the NAACP to contemporary movements such as gay rights) and the use of class action lawsuits and tort law to compensate people for injuries, especially in matters affecting public health (e.g. asbestos, tobacco). The course gives special emphasis to the work of lawyers and the role of the legal profession.

Frequency: Alternate years.


POLI 215 - Environmental Politics/Policy

This course provides an introduction to the field of Environmental Politics and Policy. Using a comparative approach, the course engages the meaning and development of environmental governance. We will explore the tandem rise of the modern environmental movement and profound new environmental legislation in the U.S. and internationally. Topics investigated will include: deforestation, hazardous wastes, climate change, population growth, and loss of biodiversity.

Frequency: Offered yearly.

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 215


POLI 216 - Legislative Politics

This course explores legislative politics through a combination of academic theory and focused field experiences. Each student must simultaneously enroll in a credit-bearing internship at the Minnesota State Legislature. The class examines the basic structures, players and forces that shape legislative decision-making, the motivation or individual legislators, and their interactions with other political actors and institutions.

Frequency: Every spring.

Prerequisite(s): POLI 100 recommended. Course not available to First Year students.


POLI 220 - Foreign Policy: The Evolution of China's Grand Strategy, 1950-2050

An exploration of US foreign policy as it relates to a country or region of pressing interest or particular significance in global political life. For the next several years, the focus of the course will be on the foreign policy challenges posed by a "rising" China. It is organized around the following questions: What are the cultural, political, economic and strategic interests shaping the evolution of Chinese foreign policy? What is China's "peaceful rise" policy? What are the systemic implications of this policy? What are the implications of China's rise for US regional and global interests? And how should the US respond to the rise of China as a regional and global great power?

Frequency: Every year.

Prerequisite(s): POLI 120 recommended, but not required.

Cross-Listed as: ASIA 220


POLI 221 - Global Governance

This course is designed to introduce students to global governance. It begins with a discussion of the concept of global governance. It then turns to some of the central features of contemporary global governance, including the changing status of the state and of international/world organizations and the role of global civil society. The emphasis here is on how patterns of global governance have changed and are changing and on the implications of these changes for democracy, social justice, etc. The remainder of the course focuses on the areas of international peace and security, human rights and international humanitarian law, and economic governance. By addressing such topics as the International Criminal Court and the role of the IMF and the World Bank in economic development, these parts of the course highlight the contested nature of global governance in each of the three issue areas.

Frequency: Every year.

Prerequisite(s): POLI 120 recommended.


POLI 222 - Regional Conflict/Security

This course is intended to introduce students to the military, political, economic, cultural and/or diplomatic dimensions of various regional conflicts or "security complexes." The specific region to be covered will vary from year to year, but it is expected that regions of pressing interest or greater significance to international peace and security will be covered most regularly. This course is designed for political science majors, but is also suitable for others who need to fulfill a distribution requirement in the social sciences or who simply want to satisfy an interest in a specific regional conflict or international politics/security more generally.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s): POLI 120 recommended.


POLI 224 - Women, Peace and Security

In 2000, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). This resolution acknowledged the inordinate impact of armed conflict on women and girls, as well as the crucial role that women can and do already play in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts. It urged states and other actors to increase the participation of women - and to incorporate gender perspectives - in all peace and security efforts. Since 2000, there have been nine additional resolutions that together have created the Women, Peace and Security agenda, a global framework for advancing gender equity in all areas of international peace and security. This course will explore feminist scholarship on armed conflict, peace and security leading up to the adoption of UNSCR 1325, as well as the 20 years of research, policy and practice on Women, Peace and Security. We will focus on the contributions and limitations of the WPS agenda as well as on new themes and issues that have emerged over time.

Frequency: Alternate years.


POLI 242 - Political Economy of Development

This course will help you answer questions about politics and economics in the developing world. For example: What explains global disparities in peace and prosperity? Is democracy good for the poor? Does foreign aid work? Our main objective is to use social science to describe and explain development outcomes. Although we will also address what can be done to solve problems such as poverty and civil war, this course will not provide any panaceas. If you finish the term unsatisfied and frustrated, you will have done something right! You will have begun to understand the complexity of development issues, which will equip you to contribute in a sophisticated way to ongoing scholarly and policy-oriented debates.

Frequency: Every year.


POLI 244 - Urban Latinx Power in the U.S.

Comparative study of Latinx political struggles in U.S. cities. How did Chicana feminists transform student social movements on college campuses? In San Antonio, Denver, and Los Angeles, how did multiracial coalitions elect pioneering Latino mayors? And in Chicago, who fought for immigrant rights and who stood in their way? We will explore the themes of subordination and empowerment through study of anti-immigrant ballot initiatives in California, Cuban dominance in Miami politics, multiracial violence in Los Angeles, and battles over labor conditions, affirmative action, bilingual education, and racial profiling.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Cross-Listed as: LATI 244 and AMST 244


POLI 245 - Latin American Politics

Comparative study of political institutions and conflicts in several Latin American countries. Through a mix of empirical and theoretical work, we analyze concepts and issues such as authoritarianism and democratization, neoliberalism, state terror and peace processes, guerrilla movements, party systems, populism, the Cuban Revolution, and U.S. military intervention. Themes are explored through diverse teaching methods including discussion, debates, simulations, partisan narratives, lecture, film, and poetry. This class employs an innovative system of qualitative assessment. Students take the course "S/SD/N with Written Evaluation." This provides a powerful opportunity for students to stretch their limits in a learning community with high expectations, but without a high-presure atmosphere. This ungraded course has been approved for inclusion on major/minor/concentration plans in Political Science, Latin American Studies, and Human Rights and Humanitarianism.

Frequency: Every year.

Cross-Listed as: LATI 245


POLI 246 - Comparative Democratization

This course focuses on theories of democratic breakdown, regime transitions, and democratization in Southern Europe, Latin America, and Post-Communist Europe. Some of the cases we will study include Pinochet's coup and Chile's return to elections, the end of the South African apartheid regime, and Russia's post-Cold War shift toward both democratic elections and new strands of authoritarianism. Building on the literatures on transitions, consolidation, civil society, and constitutional design, the course culminates in an examination of democratic impulses in Iran and the Middle East. Themes are explored through diverse teaching methods including discussion, debates, simulations, partisan narratives, lecture, film, and poetry.

Frequency: Offered every year.

Prerequisite(s): POLI 140 or POLI 141 recommended.

Cross-Listed as: LATI 246


POLI 247 - African Politics

This course will help you answer questions about politics and economics in Sub-Saharan Africa. For example: Why have the "artificial" borders of African states hardly changed since independence? Why do many new African democracies revert to authoritarianism? Why is poverty so widespread in Africa? By the end of the semester, students who invest an honest effort in the assignments and actively participate in class will be able to: describe political institutions and behaviors in diverse African contexts; use social scientific methods to propose explanations for variation in outcomes such as democracy, war, and economic growth; evaluate and critique arguments about African politics in popular discourse; and enter into conversations with professionals in a variety of fields, including government, international NGOs, and academia.

Prerequisite(s): POLI 140 is recommended as a prerequisite.


POLI 250 - Comparative-Historical Methods for Social Science

This course introduces students to comparative and historical methods used in the social sciences, most prominently but by no means exclusively in sociology and political science. Comparative-historical researchers use huge comparisons to understand big structures and large processes that have immense importance for social life. The course addresses questions such as: How do social scientists gather and analyze evidence about macrosocial phenomena? What types of logic guide the definition and selection of cases? In addition, we learn about analytical choices facing comparative-historical researchers, including different methods of comparison and analysis of historical evidence. Beyond reading and discussing material about comparative-historical methods, we will analyze examples of research and apply lessons we learn to gain more familiarity with using comparative-historical methods.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Cross-Listed as: SOCI 275


POLI 252 - Water and Power

This course develops an interdisciplinary approach to studying water resources development, drawing from geography, anthropology, history, politics, hydrology, and civil engineering. With a focus on large river basins, the course examines historical and emerging challenges to the equitable and sustainable use of transboundary waters. After first exploring the history of American water development, we will turn our attention to issues around sanitation, food production, gender and privatization in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): ENVI 120 or ENVI 232

Cross-Listed as: GEOG 252 and ENVI 252


POLI 260 - Contemporary Political Theory

Transition in the nature of domination from manifest coercion to cultural hegemony. The course will focus on critical theory, principally Marcuse and Habermas, but will also consider Marx, Weber, Freud, Gramsci, Lukacs and Foucault.

Frequency: Every year.


POLI 261 - Feminist Political Theory

Analysis of contemporary feminist theories regarding gender identity, biological and socio-cultural influences on subjectivity and knowledge, and relations between the personal and the political.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Cross-Listed as: WGSS 261


POLI 262 - American Political Thought

Taking a chronological tour of American political ideas, this course explores the continuities and conflicts in political discourse in the United States from a wide range of authors and perspectives. Canonical figures such as the Puritans, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Abraham Lincoln construct political authority in their respective periods, against a diverse backdrop of thinkers presenting competing visions and claims. Some of the authors include: Henry David Thoreau, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frederick Douglass, Edward Bellamy, W.E.B. DuBois, John Dewey, Martin Luther King Jr., and a range of contemporary authors representing evolving feminist, environmentalist, and conservative political thought. Assignments vary, but include efforts both to put thought in a historic context and develop the connections between traditions of thought and present-day concerns.

Frequency: Every year.

Prerequisite(s): POLI 100 recommended


POLI 265 - Work, Wealth, Well-Being

Wealth has held an allure for many modern thinkers; the creation of a wealthy society often associated with "civilization" itself. The relationships among work, wealth and well-being are a perennial concern and have been central to the study of political economy, since its inception in the mid- to late-18th century. How does work produce wealth for the individual and for society? How, or when, does individual and social wealth translate into individual and/or social well-being? And, how does the character of work affect individual well-being or happiness? This course will examine the answers given to these questions (and myriad corollary questions) by writers within the political economy tradition.

Frequency: Alternate years.


POLI 266 - Medieval Political Thought

This course deals with the political thought of Latin Christendom (Western Europe) during the later Middle Ages (c. 1050 - c. 1550). This body of thought is worthy of sustained study for two reasons. First, it is one of the glories of human civilization. In seeking to answer the timeless question "how we should live our lives as individuals" and "how we should live together in peace and justice" late medieval political thinkers produced a body of political thought second to none in the history of human philosophical speculation. Second, late medieval political thought is worthy of study because it gave rise to many of the concepts that continue to shape our collective lives today (including state sovereignty, separation of church and state, constitutionalism, just war, property rights, "the people," nationalism, democracy, rule-of-law, and human rights). Indeed, it is impossible to really understand contemporary political life without delving deeply into the way in which late medieval thinkers engaged with the big political issues of their day. The main goal of this course is to provide a solid introduction to the political thought of this crucially important era in human history. In it, we will critically examine the relevant works of thinkers such as St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, John of Paris, Marsilius of Padua, Bartolus of Sasseferato, and Baldus de Ubaldi. To the extent that they shed light on late medieval thought, we will also touch on classical political theorists such as Aristotle and Cicero as well as Muslim and Jewish thinkers such as ibn Sina, Moshe ben Maimon, and ibn Rusd.

POLI 267 - Liberal and Conservative Political Theory

This course deals with the liberal and conservative currents(s) running through the Western tradition of political thought from the time of the French Revolution to today. Its main goal of to provide a solid introduction to these two bodies of philosophical speculation. Through a close reading of texts and commentaries, we will critically (though empathetically) examine the relevant works of thinkers such as John Locke, Thomas Paine, Edmund Burke, John Stuart Mill, John Henry Newman, Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley Jr., Leo Strauss, John Dewey, Friedrich von Hayek, Irving Kristol, Michael Oakshott, and Alasdair MacIntyre. The focus of our inquiries will be upon topics such as "how should I lead my life?" (ethics), and "how should we lead our lives together?" (politics). Important secondary goals of the course include: familiarizing students with the various "languages" or "idioms" of conservative and liberal political thought; helping students understand the great political debates between conservative and liberals; applying both conservative and liberal political frames/concepts to a range of contemporary "hot-button" social and political issues. As an intermediate-level offering, this course is designed primarily for Political Science majors and non-majors in cognate fields (such as Philosophy) who have some experience in the discipline. The course has no pre-requisites, however, and is therefore suitable for all students seeking to satisfy an interest in liberal and conservative political thought.

Frequency: Alternate years.


POLI 268 - Contemporary Social and Political Philosophy

This course will focus on some central topics in contemporary Anglo-American (or "analytic") social and political philosophy. Likely topics would include an examination of John Rawls's theory of justice and the work of critics of that theory, the value of equality, and issues about global justice.

Frequency: Every other year.

Prerequisite(s): A 100- or 200- level Philosophy course.

Cross-Listed as: PHIL 321


POLI 269 - Empirical Research Methods

This course will equip you with the skills and intuition to think about politics in a more critical and organized way. You will practice the scientific method - identifying a problem worthy of study, developing testable hypotheses, designing a research strategy, gathering data, analyzing data, and interpreting your results - and contemplate the philosophical conundrums that underlie our efforts to describe, explain, and interpret complex phenomena. Every Semester. (4 credits) Empirical Methods: The department requires its majors to take one course in empirical research methodology, preferably before their junior year. There are a number of courses that fulfill this requirement, including: POLI 272, SOCI 269, SOCI 270, SOCI 275. In some cases, research methods courses taken in other social science disciplines may be used to fulfill this requirement following approval by the political science department chair.

Frequency: Every semester.


POLI 272 - Persuasion and Political Change

A study of how presidents, politicians, and social movement activists worldwide use language and persuasive symbols to increase their influence and bring about social and political change. Students complete a semester-long project in which they analyze a significant political text utilizing descriptive-analytic, historical-contextual, critical, and interpretive research methods. This course is well-suited for students wanting to undertake a significant research project and develop their skills in academic writing. It fulfills the department's research methods requirement.

Frequency: Every year.


POLI 274 - Spinoza's Eco-Society: Contractless Society and Its Ecology

All readings and class taught in English; no pre-knowledge required. Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) has been called the "savage anomaly" of the Enlightenment because his philosophy enables an alternative or 'hidden' modernity based on the interdependence of beings rather than their hierarchy. Ever more political theorists, environmentalists, and ecologists are turning to Spinoza's vision of a nonhierarchical union of nature and society that rejects anthropocentrism as the promise for a more equitable and sustainable life. In this course we shall focus on the foundation of Spinoza's unconventional thesis: his intertwined conceptions of the human being as part of nature-as opposed to the prevailing notion of the human as an autonomous "imperium" in, yet above, nature-and of society as a continuation of nature-as opposed to the dominant theories of the "social contract" that ground society on its break with, or repression of, nature (Grotius, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant). We shall examine Spinoza's entailed radical revision in understanding both the "political" and the "environment." Beyond Spinoza's Ethics and his Theologico-Political and Political treatises, we shall read major commentators on Spinoza's ethical and political theory and on his role in environmental ethics and Deep Ecology.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 274 and GERM 274


POLI 276 - Marx, the Imaginary, and Neoliberalism

All readings and class taught in English; no pre-knowledge required. Marx's contribution to the theorization of the function of the imaginary in both the constitution of subjectivity and the mechanisms of politics and economy-usually referred to as ideology-cannot be overestimated. The first part of this course traces Marx's gradual conceptualization of the imaginary throughout his work, from the Critique of German Ideology to Capital, while exploring how the imaginary enabled Marx's discovery of three further crucial concepts: structure, the unconscious, and the symptom. All these concepts became instrumental in the development of psychoanalysis and other new fields of knowledge, such as cultural analysis and the analysis of ideology. In addition to Marx's own work, we shall pursue its further development in later influential thinkers and cultural critics, such as Louis Althusser, Étienne Balibar, and Slavoj Žižek (as an example of applied cultural and film analysis). In the second part of the course, we shall address the claim that in the era of neoliberalism Marx's theory is no longer relevant. While focusing on the specific employment of the imaginary in the logic and central mechanisms of neoliberalism, we shall also examine McKenzie Wark's claim in her Capital Is Dead: Is This Something Worse? that today Marx's theory is obsolete.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Cross-Listed as: GERM 276, MCST 276, and RELI 276


POLI 277 - Metaphysics in Secular Thought

All readings in English; no pre-knowledge required. A widespread tendency in contemporary Western societies is to associate metaphysics with religion, if not with what is often dismissively called the "irrational." This course will dismantle this myth by reading closely European philosophy and political theory, mostly since the seventeenth century, in their relation to theology and their reception by twentieth-century critical theory. This will allow us to examine the ways in which secular thought emerges not as an alternative to metaphysics-something which thought cannot supersede anyway-but rather as a different way of dealing with the very same metaphysical questions and issues that concern religion, from the meaning of life to the imminence of death, and from (actual or imagined) guilt to the hope for redemption. We shall endeavor to identify the similarities and differences between the 'secular' and the 'religious' ways, including their respective relations to rationality. Readings may include: Aristotle, Talal Asad, George Bataille, Walter Benjamin, Kenneth Burke, Richard Dienst, Emile Durkheim, Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud, Peter Harrison, Jacques Lacan, Karl Marx, Marcel Mauss, Carl Schmitt, Baruch Spinoza, Alberto Toscano, Max Weber, Slavoj Zizek.

Frequency: Occasionally.

Cross-Listed as: GERM 277 and RELI 277


POLI 278 - Marx, Religion, and Biopolitical Race

All readings and class taught in English; no pre-knowledge required. In this course we shall examine the relation of religion to both capital and the modern forms of political power (what Michel Foucault termed biopolitics or biopower), as well as the biopolitical formations of race and racism as means for sustaining power-while discovering the enduring pertinence of Marx's work in theorizing the above issues. Biopower emerges gradually in secular capitalist modernity as a form of power that legitimizes itself not through its right to "take life" (as in traditional forms of sovereignty) but through its obligation to protect and enhance life. Yet, albeit "secular," biopower is a form of "pastoral power" (Foucault). We shall explore: the interconnectedness of modern biopower and religion; Marx's critique of the dominant (Enlightenment) critique of religion and his thesis that the secular state presupposes religion; the colonial and racial constructions of religion; racial capitalism; and the biopolitical constructions of race in its relation to social class and other forms of domination.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Cross-Listed as: GERM 278, MCST 278, and RELI 278


POLI 282 - Political Science Practicum

This course should be paired with a 2-4 credit intensive internship experience (8-10 hours/week) with a government institution, non-profit, campaign or other political-science-related organization. Students will work with a faculty member and internship cohort to apply classroom knowledge, learn more about a specific area of political science or a related field, and explore potential career paths. Shared readings, responses to a series of writing prompts and a culminating public presentation will ensure students meet personal goals for the internship experience. Political Science majors who are not planning to complete the practicum requirement through Legislative Politics or the Chuck Green Fellowship should plan to complete this course during their sophomore or junior year.

Frequency: Every semester.


POLI 285 - Ethnicity and Nationalism in Central and Eastern Europe

This course explores ethnic nationalism's causes and consequences in Eastern Europe. Drawing on several disciplines, we begin by examining the core concepts and theories in the contemporary study of nationalism. We then explore both the historical roots of Eastern European nationalisms, and their implications for democracy, minority inclusion, regional stability, and European integration.

Cross-Listed as: INTL 285


POLI 290 - Chuck Green Civic Engagement Fellowship

In his 40-year career at Macalester, Professor Chuck Green functioned as a one-man `leadership academy,- inspiring and guiding students to make the transition from detached observers to engaged citizens. Through his teaching, mentoring, and example, Professor Green instilled in students a sense of confidence and optimism about their ability to engage proactively in the world. The Chuck Green Civic Engagement Fellowship honors this legacy. Students with sophomore or junior standing may apply for this seven-month fellowship that includes a spring seminar and a full-time, fully-funded summer field experience. Chuck Green Fellows will study democratic engagement in social and organizational change, identify a client organization working for the public good with whom the student can analyze and address a problem, and then work with that client on a mutually agreed-upon solution. The Fellowship culminates in the early fall with an event in which Fellows, faculty, and clients have an opportunity to reflect on the fellowship experience. The Fellowship counts as an intermediate course and fulfills the practicum requirement of the political science major. Contact the political science department for a full description and application.

Frequency: Every spring.

Prerequisite(s): Sophomore standing or permission of instructor.


POLI 294 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

POLI 300 - American Government Institutions

Analysis of the formal institutions of American governance, including the U.S. Congress, Presidency, federal courts, and the bureaucracy. The course relies on extensive role playing to equip students with a hands-on understanding of the procedures utilized by all three branches of government, the complexity of public policy decision making, and the motivations and resources of various governmental actors.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s): Sophomore-standing or permission of instructor.


POLI 301 - Law, Economy, and Identity

This seminar-style course explores vital questions in America's political development, focusing particularly on the moments with questions of law and the identity of people have been contested around economic issues. Topics vary but may include the evolution in property rights for women, the law of slavery, the legal status of Native Americans, and the evolution of welfare rights. The course employs tutorials, in which students tackle key questions through essays, which are then discussed in small groups in the instructor's office.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s): Sophomore-standing or permission of instructor.


POLI 315 - Advanced Topics in Policy: US Education Politics and Policy

This advanced research seminar explores K-12 education politics and policy in the United States. We will consider institutions and structures, explore education policy issues and debates, survey and weigh competing theoretical ideas, and engage in discussions and activities designed to challenge our thinking and understanding of the educational landscape. Prerequisite(s): Sophomore-standing; previous coursework in American politics or public policy as well as research methods is recommended but not required.

Frequency: Alternate spring semesters.

Prerequisite(s): Sophomore-standing; previous coursework in American politics or public policy as well as research methods is recommended.

Cross-Listed as: EDUC 315


POLI 320 - Global Political Economy

Traces the evolution of (global) political economy as a peculiarly modern way of understanding and organizing (global) social life. Particular attention will be paid to how the distinction between the political and the economic is drawn and implemented in interconnected ways within nation-states and in international society. Course includes a detailed study of one of the key components of the international political economy: international trade, international finance, technological processes, etc.

Frequency: Every year.

Prerequisite(s): Sophomore-standing or permission of instructor.

Cross-Listed as: INTL 320


POLI 321 - International Security

This is a course designed to introduce students to global or world security studies as an academic field. It begins with a discussion of the various theoretical approaches to the study of international security (including traditional, critical and subaltern approaches). It then proceeds to explore a number of issues that are currently of interest to specialists in the field. While not an exhaustive survey, this course provides a solid introduction to the contemporary study of international security.

Frequency: Every year.

Prerequisite(s): Sophomore-standing or permission of instructor.


POLI 322 - Advanced International Theory

This course is designed to introduce students to the study of international relations theory as an academic discipline. It is intended to prepare students for graduate work in the field, but should be appropriate for those merely seeking to satisfy an interest in international relations theory. The course is intended primarily for advanced political science majors and non-majors in cognate fields who have significant experience in the discipline.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s): Sophomore-standing or permission of instructor.


POLI 323 - Humanitarianism in World Politics

The past two decades appear to have been very successful ones for humanitarianism. Funding for humanitarianism has skyrocketed; humanitarian organizations have expanded their public support, as well as their activities; and, increasingly, humanitarian issues have found a place at the center of policy decisions. It is also generally agreed that humanitarianism is in crisis owing to the growing awareness of the sometimes harmful effects of aid; the expansion of the concept of humanitarianism to include human rights, development, and peace-building; and the increasing involvement of states in humanitarian operations. This advanced-level course explores the nature and dilemmas of contemporary humanitarianism.

Frequency: Every year.

Prerequisite(s): Sophomore-standing or permission of instructor.


POLI 333 - Power and Development in Africa

In a notable turn around, a significant number of African societies, in recent years, have experienced both economic growth and renewal of the spirit of women and men acting as citizens. These are commendable achievements. Yet, old quotidian urgencies such as precarious personal safety, hunger, poor health, and political disorder are still prevalent. This is the dialectic of development. This course explores these contradictions. Most of the attention will be given to the concepts of power, politics, and development in contemporary Africa. The course concludes with each student submitting a research paper on a specific problem (e.g. environment, economic, social, cultural, political) confronting one country of the student's choice.

Frequency: Every year.

Prerequisite(s): Sophomore standing or permission of instructor.

Cross-Listed as: INTL 301


POLI 335 - Science and Citizenship

This course focuses on environmental controversies as a means for exploring the dynamic relationship between science, technology and society. Through topics such as genetically modified foods, geoengineering and toxic waste disposal, the course will critically examine concepts of risk, uncertainty, trust, credibility, expertise and citizenship. Students will also examine the role of art and media in shaping of public consciousness.

Frequency: Spring semester.

Prerequisite(s): Sophomore standing or permission of instructor.

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 335


POLI 337 - Energy Justice

Energy justice builds on the concepts of environmental and climate justice, with a focus on the visible and invisible infrastructures that produce, deliver, maintain and transform our economies and societies. Topics will include pipelines (Standing Rock), waste disposal (Yucca Mountain nuclear storage), and issues around the fracking (Bakken). The course will also focus on citizen science as a tool for revealing injustice and promoting justice, such as the work of the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science, a non-profit that develops open source, Do It Yourself tools for community based environmental analysis. Students will develop an independent major research project over the semester. This course can substitute for POLI 335.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s): POLI 215

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 337


POLI 341 - Comparative Social Movements

How did the Arab Spring and Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement deploy a similar tactical repertoire, yet provoke different outcomes? Comparing movements for Black lives in Colombia and South Africa, does participant diversity boost or undercut mobilization? And does mobilization of identity explain how indigenous Bolivians ejected U.S. corporations and scored lasting victories against the white power structure? This advanced research seminar engages theories that seek to explain the origins and development of movements, including LGBTQ+ movements struggling to avoid deradicalization in Germany, feminist organizations in Nicaragua navigating tensions between autonomy and agenda-setting, mobilization of Brazilian prisoners resisting pandemic lockdowns within lockdowns, and artists making visible the erased contributions of Kenyan women to the global climate justice movement. Students planning to conduct social movements research while studying away may write a research prospectus to launch that field research project.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s): Sophomore standing or permission of instructor.

Cross-Listed as: LATI 341


POLI 342 - Urban Politics of Latin America

Democratic elections have penetrated metropolitan Latin America, offering the urban poor new avenues for demand making. In this research seminar, we will explore how the changing rules of political competition affect urban struggles for land, racial equality, and municipal representation. The course focuses on mayoral elections, urban segregation, informal communities, and social movements in major cities such as Caracas, Lima, Mexico City, Montevideo, Porto Alegre, and São Paulo. Major student responsibilities include seminar leadership roles, a research project, and presentation of your findings in a public colloquium. For students with previous coursework in Latin American or urban politics.

Frequency: Every year.

Prerequisite(s): Sophomore standing or permission of instructor.

Cross-Listed as: LATI 342


POLI 352 - Transitional Justice

This course explores the rapidly evolving field of transitional justice, examining how and why regimes respond to wide-scale past human rights abuses. Drawing on examples worldwide, it asks why states choose particular strategies and examines a variety of goals (truth, justice, reconciliation, democracy-building), approaches (trials, truth commissions, file access, memorialization, reparation, rewriting histories), actors (state, civil society, religious institutions), experiences, results, and controversies.

Prerequisite(s): Sophomore standing or permission of instructor.

Cross-Listed as: INTL 352


POLI 394 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

POLI 400 - Senior Research Seminar

The goal of the Senior Research Seminar (Capstone) is to launch students on a culminating academic experience organized around the supervised independent study of a political science topic of particular interest and relevance. The Seminar is premised on the assumption that students will have a working familiarity with the foundational knowledge in the sub-field(s) relevant to their reserach project, a mastery of the practical skills introduced in foundation courses and further developed in intermediate courses, and a willingness to engage actively in a rigorous, sustained inquiry into an important topic. In each section of the seminar, a faculty member will coach students through the process of defining a significant and important political science research question, developing a thesis, designing an appropriate research program and writing a 25-35 page original capstone.

Frequency: Every Fall.


POLI 404 - Honors Colloquium

A workshop for students pursing honors projects in the political science department. S/N grading.

Frequency: Every semester.


POLI 494 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

POLI 601 - Tutorial

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


POLI 602 - Tutorial

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


POLI 603 - Tutorial

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


POLI 604 - Tutorial

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


POLI 611 - Independent Project

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


POLI 612 - Independent Project

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


POLI 613 - Independent Project

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


POLI 614 - Independent Project

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


POLI 621 - Internship

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Internship Office.


POLI 622 - Internship

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Internship Office.


POLI 623 - Internship

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Internship Office.


POLI 624 - Internship

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Internship Office.


POLI 631 - Preceptorship

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.


POLI 632 - Preceptorship

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.


POLI 633 - Preceptorship

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.


POLI 634 - Preceptorship

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.


POLI 641 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


POLI 642 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


POLI 643 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


POLI 644 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.