Course Offerings | Government

Division of Social Studies
William Garriott (chair), Lori Hartmann-Mahmud, Jamey Leahey, Christopher Paskwich, Daniel Stroup, Abdullah Yuvaci; students: Kyle Borders, Blanche Hill



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 First-Year/ 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.

GOV 403 Race Theory
An intensive examination of race as a poitical concept in the U.S. context, focussing especially on the politics of the construction of Black and White racial identities, as well as the political consequences of those racial identities. Includes a look at other racial and ethnic identities in the U.S. context, as well as the intersection of race as a political category with other politically-salient categories, e.g., gender, class, and immigrant status. Prerequisite: One of GOV 210, HIS 230 or HIS 240 or permission of the instructor.

GOV 404 Introduction to Empirical Political Research
An introduction to empirical research design and analysis in the social sciences. Students design and carry out a research project. The course includes an introduction to the SPSS statistical program. Prerequisite: Junior standing 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 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 333 The American Presidency
An examination of the nature of the presidency and its role in the American political system. The presidency is defined broadly to include both the presidential office and the institutional structures in the White House and the Executive Office of the President that have grown up around it. 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 335 Public Administration
An introduction to the major concepts of administration, emphasizing the policy-making and policy-implementation functions of the federal bureaucracy. 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
.

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 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 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 110 or permission of instructor. (Also listed as PEC 452.)

GOV 440-449 Topics in Country and Regional Politics

GOV 441 African Politics/Civil Society: Case of Cameroon
This course highlights the dynamic nature of civil society in a country attempting to make the transition from an authoritarian to a democratic system: Cameroon in Central Africa . Students visit with government officials, opposition leaders, traditional chiefs, and other NGOs to provide windows into a diverse and beautiful country seeking to redefine itself politically. Open to students who have paid the deposit for this off campus program. (Conducted in Cameroon .)

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 using London as a primary resource. During the first half of the course, students in teams of two research, visit and write written profiles of London parliamentary constituencies as part of a class-produced London Political Travel
Guide.  During the second half of the course students “join” one of the hundreds of British political pressure groups of their choosing, from pro-fox-hunting to anti-nuclear and every imaginable social, political, economic, and cultural topic in between. The class will discuss current British political issues such as political parties, electoral reform, the European Union, devolution and civil rights. Conducted in London.

GOV 452 Turkish Politics and Society
An introduction to Turkish politics and social life, addressing major issues such as political Islam, secularism and military politics. Students will have an opportunity to meet with Turkish-Americans living in Kentucky. Prerequisite: GOV 110 or permission of the instructor.

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


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