Course Offerings | Government

Division of Social Studies

Daniel Stroup (chair), William Garriott, Lori Hartmann-Mahmud, Jamey Leahey, Andrei Maximenko, Kenneth McIntyre, Nayef Samhat; students: Jake Ottley, Ben Stewart

The Government program is designed to assist students in developing the arts of deliberation and judgment by which they may understand more fully and participate more effectively in public affairs. Analytical reasoning, effective writing, and proficiency in basic research techniques are skills cultivated and used throughout the program.

Special attention is given to the use of language since facility in this art is the best means by which to cut through the ideological and partisan jargon that surrounds and camouflages so much discussion of politics. Sensitivity to the nuances of language and skill in identifying common fallacies and cleverly used rhetoric are required for the study of politics.

Emphasis is placed not so much on the changing details of current events, but on the philosophical, historical, and institutional nature of the persistent problems that current issues illustrate. Students can anticipate a rigorous inquiry into political philosophy, American government, comparative government, and international relations. Attention is given to both empirical and normative aspects of these subjects. Primary texts and public documents are extensively used. Majors in our program are urged to undertake study in related disciplines, particularly in economics, history, philosophy, statistics, and languages.

Students are offered a diversity of non-classroom learning experiences. The Government program encourages independent study, internships, and participation in off-campus academic programs.

The perspectives and skills acquired by students in government classes will serve them in a wide range of career fields, including public service, law, politics, business, and journalism.

Recommended Freshman-Sophomore Preparation

Students considering a major in government should try to satisfy as many graduation and major requirements as possible in their first two years. Elective courses in government, history, and economics are recommended. In addition, courses in foreign language and mathematics, especially statistics, are useful.

Requirements for the Major

ECO 110;
GOV 110, 210, 260;
GOV 300 or 301;
One GOV course chosen from courses numbered 310-339 or 410-439;
One GOV course chosen from courses numbered 340-379 or 440-479;
GOV 500;
Two additional GOV courses numbered 300 or higher.

Requirements for the Minor

GOV 110, 210, 260;
Three GOV courses numbered 300 or higher drawn from at least two of the three areas of the discipline (American government, political theory, and comparative government and international relations).

Government Courses

GOV 110 Introduction to Politics
An introduction to political values and institutions as they have evolved in historical context. Emphasis is placed on the examination of classic texts in political thought and their relevance to contemporary political life.

GOV 210 American Politics and Institutions
An introduction to the process of American government, emphasizing the structure, powers, and functions of government, primarily at the federal level. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing; GOV 110 strongly recommended.

GOV 260 Introduction to International Relations
An investigation of the basic factors in international politics, including the relationship of international politics to international economics in the conduct of foreign affairs. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing; GOV 110 strongly recommended.

Political Theory

GOV 300, 301 Western Political Theory-I, II
A survey of the works of selected thinkers whose political ideas and approaches to the study of politics have become a part of the framework of Western political institutions and thought. Emphasis is placed on such theorists as Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Burke, Mill, Hegel, and Marx. Prerequisite:Junior standing; GOV 300 or permission of the instructor for GOV 301.

GOV 403-409 Topics in Political Theory
Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of the instructor; GOV 300 or 301 or permission of the instructor.

American Government

GOV 310 American Political Thought
An examination of the major strands of political ideas in the United States, traced from their English antecedents to the present. Prerequisite: Junior standing; GOV 210; or HIS 230, 240; or permission of the instructor.

GOV 315 Understanding Democracy
Today, much of the talk in government is about spreading democracy everywhere. But how much do we know about exactly what makes democracies work? Why, in years past, did the smartest political thinkers often reject democracy as a good way of life? What problems and what benefits might be inherent in democracy? Can democracies be established anywhere, or does democracy need people of a certain character or a certain history to make it work? What structures and institutions might be necessary for democracy to work smoothly? How do we get democracy and ind ividual liberty to support each other? In examining these questions we look not only at contemporary speeches and writings but also reflect back on what such thoughtful people as Aristotle, de Tocqueville, Lincoln, Mill, and especially the American Founders had to teach us on the subject.

GOV 320 American Constitutional Interpretation
A study of the fundamentals of American constitutional law as seen through the decisions of the United States Supreme Court. Prerequisite: Junior standing; GOV 210 or HIS 230, 240. Sophomores who have completed either GOV 210 or HIS 230, 240 may enroll with permission of the instructor.

GOV 321 Civil Liberties
A consideration, primarily through hypothetical cases, of constitutional issues arising under the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment. Junior standing; GOV 210 or HIS 230, 240. Sophomores who have completed either GOV 210 or HIS 230, 240 may enroll with permission of the instructor.

GOV 330 Political Parties and Political Behavior
A study of the major factors involved in the behavior of party systems, emphasizing American political parties. Prerequisite: GOV 210.

GOV 331 State and Local Politics
The American political process at the state and local levels, and the dynamics of American federalism. Prerequisite: GOV 210.

GOV 332 Executive Branch Politics
An examination of the American presidency and the administrative agencies of the executive branch of the national government. Focus is on the policy-making process within the executive branch. Prerequisite: GOV 210.

GOV 334 Congress
A consideration of the politics and processes of our national legislature with attention to their effects on its policy decisions. Topics covered include representation and the electoral process, congressional organization, the legislative process, and relations of the Congress with other political actors. Prerequisite: GOV 210 or permission of the instructor.

GOV 410-439 Topics in American Politics
Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of the instructor; GOV 210 or permission of the instructor

GOV 432 Gender in American Politics
An exploration of gender and feminist issues as they relate to political theory and political participation. The course begins with an examination of the history of women in American politics and how gender-based roles shaped that participation. This is followed by an analysis of men's and women's participation in contemporary U.S. politics. We will also examine various theoretical perspectives in the sub-field of gender and politics. Prerequisite: Junior standing and GOV 110, or permission of the instructor.

Comparative Government and International Relations

GOV 340 European Politics
A study of major political systems in Europe, both East and West. Special emphasis is given to the ongoing changes in political structures of the European communities. Prerequisite: Junior standing; GOV 110 or permission of the instructor.

GOV 341 Latin American Politics
A study of the political systems of Latin America. Attention is given to the problems of political changes and economic development. The role of the United States in Latin American politics is also explored. Prerequisite:Junior standing; GOV 110 or permission of the instructor.

GOV 343 Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa
A general introduction to politics on the African continent south of the Sahara Desert. The first part of the course explores African political systems chronologically from pre-colonial forms such as "empires," through colonialism, and into the current nation-state system. The second half of the course looks at several political challenges facing Africa today, bringing in specific country examples to illustrate how those challenges are being met. Examples include: the ethnic factor, the legacy of colonialism, democratic transitions, and the debate over whether development should precede democracy (or vice-versa). Some topical issues such as the environment, population and health are also examined. Prerequisite:Junior standing; GOV 110 or permission of the instructor.

GOV 344 Politics of the Middle East
A study of the political sources of conflict in the Middle East. These sources include religion, great power rivalry, resource conflict, and levels of development. These sources are applied to the variety of conflicts in the region, including intra-Arab disputes, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the notion of civilizational conflict between the West and Islam, and the implications for transformation in the Middle East. Prerequisite: junior standing and GOV 110; or permission of the instructor.

GOV 446 France Inside Out
A look at the French experience focusing on political culture. The course examines political attitudes about domestic and global issues within France as well as outsiders' perspectives of France on issues such as France's role in the international community, France as a target country for immigrants, and France as an exporter of culture and language. Conducted in Strasbourg.

GOV 350 Gender and Politics
An exploration of gender and feminist issues as they relate to political theory and political participation. The first part of the course examines current debates in international relations theory concerning the significance and relevance of feminist contributions. This is followed by an analysis of men’s and women’s participation in American politics. Finally, the course compares the American context with the experiences of Europe and the developing world. Prerequisite:Junior standing; GOV 110 or permission of the instructor.

GOV 351 Women and Development
An examination of perspectives on women’s role in development, concentrating on Africa, Latin America, and South Asia. Some themes include: the effect of development projects on women’s quality of life, balance links between women’s productive and reproductive roles, how women’s work is conceptualized, and structural obstacles to women’s empowerment. Includes a study of specific ways in which "Third World" women have organized to improve their condition locally and globally. Prerequisite:Junior standing; GOV 110 or permission of the instructor.

GOV 361 International Law
A study of the principles, customs, and rules recognized as binding obligations on sovereign states in their mutual relationships. Emphasis is given to the evolution of international law and its effectiveness in ordering the relationships among nations. Prerequisite: Junior standing; GOV 260 or permission of the instructor.

GOV 362 International Organization
A study of the development and effectiveness of international organizations in regulating relationships among states and other actors in the international system. Emphasis is given to the United Nations, regional organizations, and political-economic organizations such as the IMF and GATT. Prerequisite: Junior standing; GOV 260 or permission of the instructor.

GOV 363 American Foreign Policy
A study of the formulation and implementation of American foreign policy. Attention is devoted to how political institutions (President, Congress, bureaucracy, etc.) interact to produce foreign policy. Major issues of American foreign policy, both past and present, are discussed. Prerequisite: GOV 260 or permission of the instructor. Prerequisite: Junior standing; GOV 260 or permission of the instructor.

GOV 365 Russian Foreign Policy
A study of the influence of political issues, actors, and processes on contemporary Russian foreign policy. The course begins with a brief historical overview followed by an assessment of the current international environment and Russia 's responses to its demands. Economic, political and cultural factors are explained—as is the contention that such factors do not directly translate into state policy. An important transition is then made to a discussion of the role, organization and decision-making routines of principal political institutions (presidency, national legislature) and key foreign policy agencies (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Security Council, Ministry of Defense, Foreign Intelligence Service, Ministry of Foreign Trade, etc.). Finally, the course examines the way different political and social groups (political parties, policy research, business and civic organizations) attempt to influence Russia 's foreign policy. In this context, the role of mass media and public opinion is explored. Conducted in Russia.

GOV 370 International Political Economy
An introduction to the concepts, theory, and policy of international political economy. The course discusses the traditional perspectives, alternative views, and primary issues of the contemporary international political economy including money, trade, development, and transnational corporations. Prerequisite: Junior standing; GOV 260 or permission of the instructor. (Also listed as PEC 451.)

GOV 371 Political Economy of Development
An examination of leading theories of political economy and how they apply to challenges facing developing countries. Focus is on the specific challenge of the debt crisis and the various strategies for mitigating it (e.g., IMF and World Bank – sponsored structural adjustment programs, national level approaches, proposals for debt relief, etc.). Finally, the course examines how individuals are affected by the debt crisis in developing countries. Prerequisite: Junior standing; GOV 11 or permission of instructor. (Also listed as PEC 452.)

GOV 372 Comparative Environmental Governance
An overview of international, national and local institutions of environmental governance. The course examines the evolution of environmental legislation at the national and international levels and offers a comparative analysis of the relationship between political, economic, social and cultural factors on the one hand and environmental policy on the other. It also highlights the role of public and private actors and their interactions, both within the national and transnational contexts.

GOV 440-449 Topics in Country and Regional Politics

GOV 445 The French Regime in Comparative Perspective
A study of the notions of law, punishment and above all the concept of power within the political systems of the USA and France . Through these three axes and especially the latest the course shows how two close democracies have nev ertheless found specific answers to build their political system. A comparative approach attempts to favor a better understanding of the basic principles of the regimes of the USA and France by a study focussed on power and countervailing powers, and to improve knowledge about the history of France and French society, as well as the French legal, political and judicial system in relation with European and international law.

GOV 450-459 Topics in Comparative Politics
Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of the instructor; GOV 110 or permission of the instructor.

GOV 451 British Politics
An introduction to the structures, processes, and issues of the modern British political system. Students will analyze, work in, and prepare a project about a specific London constituency. During the second half of the course students will work with a specific London interest group of their choosing. The class will discuss current British political issues such as immigration, the European Union, and devolution. Students will also experience the British political process by observing debates in the House of Commons. Conducted in London.

GOV 460-469 Topics in International Relations
Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of the instructor; GOV 260 or permission of the instructor.

GOV 461 The Construction of Europe
A study of the three European institutions housed in S
trasbourg, France: The European Union (EU), The Council of Europe, and the European Court of Human Rights. In part, the course uses a case study approach, focussing on current issues being debated and decided in Strasbourg, the administrative center of Europe. Conducted in Strasbourg.

GOV 470-479 Topics in International Political Economy

GOV 470 The Law and Economics of American Colonialism: Rights and Resources of Native Cultures This course examines Hawaii as a microcosm of economic development in the face of political, cultural and environmental tensions. Students discover the history of our 50th state and how that history shaped the fate of native cultures and natural resources. Case studies include Hawaiian independence movements, coffee agriculture, ecotourism, environmental sustainability, and the political economy of Hawaii. Conducted in Hawaii.

GOV 500 Senior Seminar
Prerequisite: Senior majors who have completed GOV 110, 210, and 260.

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