Course Descriptions

201 – Introduction to Politics – An introduction to the fundamental principles of politics and government. This course develops the theoretical foundations and analytical frameworks enabling students to understand and interpret democratic and alternate forms of government and will provide insight into the inherent difficulties faced by democracies. Three hours. Staff.

202 – American Government and Politics – This course considers the fundamentals of American government and politics. It is a survey of the theoretical principles upon which the U.S. national government was founded as well as a practical look at the structure and function of U.S. national government. Emphasis is placed on the U.S. Constitution, American political institutions, mass political behavior, and mediating institutions such as political parties, interest groups, and the media. Three hours.

203 – Success Strategies in Political Science – This course is intended for new political science majors and those thinking about majoring in the department. The course exposes students to significant concepts and issues in the discipline, provides an overview of the political science major, and assists students with identifying career paths that may be of interest. It also provides students with the opportunity to practice the important critical thinking, reading, writing, speaking, and analytical skills that they will need to use in their coursework within the major and across the college. One hour.

225 – Environmental Law – Students will gain an overview of the essential concepts of environmental law that shape the practice of environmental and political science, and learn how to analyze issues in their legal contexts with regard to the environment. The course provides a historical survey of the field from its common law roots to its current applications dealing legislatively with a variety of complex environmental issues, such as air and water pollution, loss of species diversity, and global climate change. It is taught as a seminar in which the historical development of common law concepts and the evolution of the present complex of statutory laws are highlighted through study of the major court cases that have guided environmental legislation and policies. Cross-listed with EVST 225. Three hours.

226 – Environmental Policy – Students will be afforded the opportunity to develop an awareness and an appreciation of the national public policy-making process, especially as it applies to the environment. Students will be involved actively in the study of environmental policy making through a variety of approaches: seminar discussions, the case study approach to problem solving, cooperative research projects and presentations, and field trips. Cross-listed with EVST 226. Three hours.

301 – Research Methods – The course will introduce the student to the statistical methods applied in the study of politics – domestic, comparative, and international. With an emphasis on applied research, students will learn the basic statistical measurements of central tendency, dispersion, correlation, sampling and survey research, as well as the more commonly used approaches to hypothesis testing. This course should normally be taken by the end of the sophomore year. Prerequisite: PSCI 201 or 202 or permission of department. Three hours.

306 – Retail Politics: Presidential Campaigning in the U.S. – Students will explore an important American electoral tradition – the presidential nomination process. During the first portion of the course, students will meet on campus, where we will discuss the processes through which the Democratic and Republican Parties nominate candidates for president, including the party rules, fundraising laws, and policies regarding voter participation. We will also review the dynamics of the presidential campaign process, including the structure of campaign staffs and methods used for targeting voters. Then, during the second and third week of the course, students will travel to Iowa and New Hampshire to take part in the nomination process. The Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary are the first elections that help decide who the major political parties in the U.S. will nominate for president every four years. Campaigning in these states is intense. Candidates hold many public events in the weeks preceding the respective contests, while thousands of campaign operatives and volunteers come to the states working for various presidential hopefuls. The campaigning is notable for its “retail” quality, as many events are held in small venues and feature significant access to candidates. Students will play an active role by volunteering for candidates. This will include canvassing, making phone calls, coordinating events, and distributing literature on behalf of a campaign. When students are not campaigning, our group will attend candidate events and scholarly discussions about the history and significance of the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary. During the course’s final week, students will again meet on campus to discuss our experiences and place them in the context of the broader nomination process. Prerequisite: PSCI 202 or permission of the instructor. Three hours.

307 – Political Communication – An introduction to the theory and research on the public multi-media communication activities of elections, governance, and policy advocacy. The course considers five approaches taken by communication scholars to this study: the examination of genres of political communication such as inaugural, state of the union, and war declaration addresses; the examination of presidential “style”; the rhetorical criticism (using several approaches) of specific examples of discourse; the examination of the rhetorical difficulties women and minority group members have with political discourse as it has been defined through decades of practice; and the scrutiny of election campaign communication activities including convention speeches, debates, and television advertising. Throughout, the course traces changes in the media being used and in the relationships among the media, the public, those involved in politics as candidates and otherwise, and the institutions of government. Cross-listed with COMM 307. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

308 – American Campaigns and Elections – A study of contemporary American political campaigns and elections. The election cycle will be examined from three different perspectives: the political campaign/politician, the mass media, and the voter. State level and federal elections will be analyzed during election years. Cross-listed with COMM 308. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

310 – Interest Group Politics – This course provides an introduction to the roles of interest groups in the American political system. The course focuses on how groups are conceptualized, how they recruit members, and how they operate. The course explores interest group goals, how and why they influence members of Congress, the executive, and the courts, as well as their activities and influence during electoral campaigns. Significant attention will be given to the regulatory framework regarding campaign finance and the practice of lobbying. The course will identify how federal spending priorities are tied to groups and their specific interests. Students will conduct original research on a question of interest related to the themes of the course, and will prepare written and oral presentations of their research. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

312 – State and Local Government and Politics – This course examines the workings of state and local governments and the politics that surround them. Students will learn about the organization, structure, function, and administration of state, urban, and municipal government, and explore the varied actors and stakeholders who demand policy change from local officials. Issues examined may include education, criminal justice, zoning and economic development, and social services. Course content will be based in part on current events taking place at the Virginia State Capitol and in regional local governments. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

313 – Social Movements – This course will examine the theory and history of social movements and other forms of contentious politics. The course will focus on movement politics in the United States, although other contexts will be considered. Students may learn about movements from the past (e.g., abolition) and present (anti-globalization forces, Tea Party activists), as well as from the left (civil rights, feminism) and right (Religious Right). Offered alternate years. Three hours.

314 – Religion and Politics – This course explores the crucial effects of religion on political outcomes. While focusing on the contemporary United States, students will also look to examples from other contexts and countries. The course will cover a number of concepts from the interdisciplinary study of religion and politics, including religious social movements, religious fundamentalism, religious doctrines of war and peace, and the challenges to religion’s role in politics offered by atheists and other critics. Students also will explore selected, contemporary public policy issues that have a religious dimension, such as abortion and marriage equality; these latter topics likely will provide the basis for student research papers. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

315 – Public Policy – Public policy refers to the process of making and implementing public laws, rules, regulations, and programs and to the policy sciences, which evaluate existing public policies and new policy initiatives in order to assist policy makers. This class will be divided roughly in half, with the first part of the class focusing on the making of public policy, and the second part focusing on evaluating public policies. The class is designed to provide students with an under- standing of the complexity of making public policy, as well as perspective on implementing, evaluating, and adapting policies to reach collective goals. Offered al- ternate years. Three hours.

316 – Judicial Process and Behavior – An analytical course dealing with the role of the judicial branch in America’s political life. The course explores the courts as political institutions, the processes courts use, the ways judges behave, influences on judges and justices, and the policy-making aspects of what judges do. The emphasis of this course is at the federal level, although consideration will be given to both state and federal courts and judges. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

317 – The American Presidency – A functional study of the American presidency analyzing the president’s role in the formation of public policy and his participation in the national political system. Emphasis will be placed on concepts and techniques of presidential leadership, administrative control and political response, and innovation. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

318 – Congress and the Political System – An analytical treatment of the national legislature and its performance within the American political system. This study of the institutional environment of Congress will include consideration of recruitment patterns, internal leadership structures, the role of party, constituencies and interest groups, decision-making, and the relations with the bureaucracy. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

320 – American Foreign Policy – This course will examine both the nature of the foreign policy decision-making process and the substantive content of policy. Specifically, the course will study the roles that the Department of State, the President and his advisers, the Congress, the press, and public opinion play in the formation of foreign policy. The course will discuss the overall development of U.S. foreign policy since WW II and on the basis of the insights gained analyze contemporary foreign policy issues. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

321 – International Relations – This course will introduce the student to the nature of the problems facing the contemporary international system. Emphasis will be placed on the relationships of man, the state, and the international system to world politics. There will also be a survey of several of the more prominent approaches being advocated in order to limit and control the high level of violence which characterizes the world today. Cross-listed with INST 321. Three hours.

322 – International Organization – This course will include a survey of the evolution of international organizations and a detailed examination of the structure and functions, both political and administrative, of the organs of the United Nations. A series of case studies involving the League of Nations and the United Nations will be used in this examination of international organizations. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

326 – U.S. Intelligence and Foreign Policy – An examination of the history, structure, and function of the U.S. Intelligence Community since 1947. This course studies the collection, collation, evaluation, analysis, interpretation, and integration of information as an input to foreign policy. Analyzing the use and often abuse of U.S. covert actions since 1948, the course explores the inherent tensions between the need for secrecy and democratic processes. Noting the momentous political, economic, and technological changes since the end of the Cold War, the course identifies new challenges and threats that face the U.S. Intelligence Community in the 21st century. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

327 – International Terrorism – This course introduces students to international terrorism and political violence. It analyzes international terrorism from an individual, organizational, and systems perspective. In addition to examining history, causes, methods, and characteristics of terrorism, this course seeks to provide students with a basis for understanding why international terrorism occurs and what, if anything, governments can do to reduce or to prevent it. Three hours.

330 – Comparative Legislatures – Comparative Legislatures explores the major differences between the presidential-congressional system of government in the United States and the prime ministerial parliamentary systems used in other parts of the world. Comparative Legislatures focuses on the factors influencing a particular non-western country’s implementation of parliamentary democracy. A travel course, this class offers the opportunity for students to consider the unique geo- graphic, cultural, social, and political characteristics that shape the U.S. and comparison country by travel both to Washington, DC and to a major parliamentary democracy for in-depth participant observation of the differences between the two systems. Recommended: PSCI 201 or 202. Three hours.

331 – European Politics – A comparative survey of the structure and operation of the political systems of Great Britain, France, and Germany. Consideration will be given to both the formal governmental structures and to the informal political processes of these countries. (Knowledge of European history is assumed.) Offered alternate years. Three hours.

332 – Post-Soviet Russia – An examination of the current government and political system of Russia in the context of the development, character, and structure of the former Soviet Union. The course will also cover the process of disintegration of the former Soviet empire. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

333 – Latin American Politics – This course surveys the governmental structures and political processes of Latin America. The course focuses on the political theories and political cultures of the region, regime types and the processes of regime breakdown, debt relief, political reform, the drug trade, and environmental protection. Students also study micro-level political behavior by looking at how Latin Americans seek to influence their political environment. Thus the course discusses social movements, patron-clientage, ethnic identity and relations, political parties, and voting. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: PSCI 201 or 202 or INST 261 or INST/PSCI 321 or permission of department. Three hours.

334 – African Politics – This course surveys governmental structure and political processes in Africa south of the Sahara. Specifically, the course addresses the capacity of the modern African state to govern. The course addresses the history of the colonial state and its modern impact on politics, the question of why states collapse and how to rebuild them, and the ability of the modern state to accommodate subnational and ethnic identities. Along with discussing the pessimistic conclusions about African politics drawn by many analysts, students consider successful cases of effective governance in the region, and how Africans organize to influence policy. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: PSCI 201 or 202 or INST 261 or INST/PSCI 321 or permission of department. Three hours.

335 – The Political System of China: Past and Present – A survey of the structure and operation of the Chinese political system. Consideration will be given to the development of the Chinese political system during the Imperial Dynastic period, the Republican period, and the present period of Communist rule. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: PSCI 201 or 202 or INST 261 or INST/PSCI 321 or permission of department. Three hours.

336 – Revolution, Politics and Policy in Cuba - This course studies contemporary Cuban politics and society. Through study, site visits, and meetings and interviews with Cubans, students will learn about Cuba’s political structure and culture, its domestic and foreign policies, and the importance of the Revolution in shaping Cubans’ political identity. Offered every third year. Three hours.

337 – Mexican Politics – This course surveys the governmental structures and political processes in Mexico. The course examines the historical development of the Mexican political system during the Republican and Revolutionary periods. It then studies the multi-party political system of the 21st century. The purpose of this course is to give students a general familiarity with Mexican political history since the late 19th century; to investigate how political power is structured and operated in Mexico; and to consider some of the major challenges confronting Mexico today. Prerequisite: PSCI 201 or PSCI 202 or INST 261 or INST/PSCI 321 or permission of the instructor. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

338 – Government and Politics of the Middle East – This course seeks to introduce the student to politics and society in the Middle East. A determined effort will be made to take a balanced view of the area, neither looking at it through Western eyes nor through the eyes of any particular adversary in the numerous regional conflicts. Emphasis will be placed on the political cultures of the area, as well as on the variety of socio-political structures and processes present. This will be followed by a number of comparative case studies on contemporary aspects of Islamic traditionalism, the culture of transition, political modernization, and evolution and revolution in the political processes of the Middle Eastern states. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

339 – Politics of Nationalism – This course deals with one of the most powerful forces to mobilize people in the modern era–nationalism. Students explore the sources and history of nationalism, individual and collective motivations for national identity and action in the name of the nation, and the political patterns associated with nationalist cultures. The course illustrates issues in the study of nationalism through intensive case studies. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

342 – Introduction to Political Theory – Political theorists ask important questions about the fundamental elements of politics, such as: What is the best kind of regime? How should we distribute wealth and resources? What is the proper relationship between religion and the state? Who should be included in (and excluded from) a political community? This course will consider these questions and others through an examination of selected thinkers, ranging from Plato to Machiavelli to Marx. Three hours.

381-382 – Special Topics in Political Science – These courses focus on areas of political science not specifically covered in the general curriculum and are designed to meet the needs of advanced students. Three hours each.

385 – Social Entrepreneurship – Social entrepreneurship is a process that applies innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing social problems. Students will learn about the theory and practice of social entrepreneurship through academic study, as well as activities beyond the classroom including field trips, speakers, and community service. As part of their coursework, students will develop a business plan for a viable social enterprise that seeks to address and solve an existing social problem in a local or remote community. Prerequisite: PSCI 201 or 202 or SOCI 200 or permission of instructor. Three hours.

401 – Senior Seminar in Political Science – The seminar provides students with the opportunity to apply the tools, concepts, and skills they have gained from the major in political science to investigate specific topics. Seminar students will meet to discuss common themes, but each student will write a major research paper on a particular question of importance to the discipline. Student research findings will be reported in both written and spoken form. Extensive consultation between the student and the department’s faculty members will be expected. Prerequisite: PSCI 301. Three hours.

421 – Constitutional Law – A survey of the development of the Constitution through judicial interpretation. Cases will be analyzed in several areas, including: presidential powers, congressional powers, civil rights (including defendants’ rights, minorities’ rights, and women’s rights), civil liberties, and the First Amendment (speech, religion, and assembly guarantees). Prerequisite: PSCI 202. Offered alternate years. Four hours.

423 – International Political Economy – This course studies the domestic, international, and ecological sources of economic policy choices made by state and non-state actors. The course is designed to survey the theories of economic policy behavior, and the actions and results of various actors’ efforts to influence the international economic environment. Specific attention is given to patterns of trade, finance and property rights, the development of trading blocs and the World Trade Organization, and to the issues of interdependence and world market constraints on national political choices. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

441 – International Law – A survey of the general principles and theories of the law of nations, including the use of case studies to illustrate the growth and development of international law. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

442 – Advanced Political Theory – This course will explore ideas, issues, and themes from the study of political theory. Specific topics may vary, and may range from ideologies such as liberalism and socialism to theoretical concepts such as democracy and power to specific historical figures and eras. This course is designed for the advanced student. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

450-451 – Internships in Political Science: Washington, D.C. and the United Nations – Qualified students will be able to combine their classroom knowledge with practical experience in internship placements in Washington, D.C. and in New York with work at the United Nations. In Washington-based internships, students will be placed on the staff of a Representative or Senator, with a congressional legislative or party committee, or with a private interest group or think tank. In New York, students will be placed with a non-governmental organization affiliated with the United Nations. Students will complete academic requirements as well as work part-time (fall or spring terms) or full-time (January or summer terms). Open to juniors and seniors with the permission of the instructor. Application required; see Internship Program. Three hours each.

452-453 – Internships in Political Science – Qualified students will be able to combine their classroom knowledge with practical experience in internship placements in local governmental offices; local, state, or national party or interest group organizations; courts or law offices; or other appropriate experiences. Students will complete academic requirements as well as work part-time (fall or spring terms) or full-time (January or summer terms). Open to juniors and seniors with the permission of the instructor. Application required; see Internship Program. Three hours each.

455-456 – Internships in State Government – Qualified students will combine academic preparation with supervised practical experience in working for a member of the state legislature or a lobbying organization. Students will complete academic requirements as well as work part-time (fall or spring terms) or full-time (January or summer terms). Open to juniors and seniors with the permission of the instructor. Application required; see Internship Program. Three hours each.

491-492 – Independent Study – An independent study under the guidance of a member of the department. At least a 3.25 cumulative GPA and approval by the curriculum committee are required. Three hours each.

496-498 – Senior Project – Senior majors may, with departmental approval, conduct an independent research project on some area or problem in political science. Six hours.

Study Abroad courses offered at Wroxton College in England

The purpose of this course is to give a broad introduction to the origins, development, structure and workings of the British system of government and British politics. The office of prime minister, the Cabinet, the Civil Service, Parliament, political parties, and pressure groups are among the topics covered. Students may receive credit for either this course or for PSCI 331 but not for both. This course counts as part of Group III on the major. Three hours.

POLS3454 – Descent from Power – This course examines the foreign policy process in Britain and the movement of Britain from a perceived position of Great Power status to one of accepted Middle Power status against a background of changing domestic and international environments during the 20th century. This course counts as part of Group III on the major. Three hours.

POLS3456 – The Power and Personality of the British Prime Minister – The course focuses on the developing role of the British Prime Minister from Walpole to the present day, placing it within the context of the British Political System and British Politics. The powers of the office are looked at, with the analysis being directed towards the extent to which an individual’s personality is important in determining the scope of that power. This course counts as part of Group III on the major. Three hours.

Study Abroad courses at the Sorbonne in France

FRN/PSCI338 – The Government and Politics of the Fifth Republic – This course treats the following: the antecedents of the present constitutional structure; the characteristics and politics of the parliamentary-presidential system; the nature of contemporary political parties and constitutional order; and the nature of economic, social, cultural, industrial, and technological planning and policy-making. Prerequisite: FREN 232. It is strongly recommended that students have completed one upper-level comparative government course. May be counted toward a major or minor in political science. This course counts as part of Group III on the major. Three hours.

FRN/PSCI360 – European Economic Community Law – This course will entail an in-depth review of the establishment of the European Economic Community and of its organizational structure. A major portion of the course will be devoted to a study of the powers, roles, and policies of the European Economic Community. Efforts will be undertaken in the final section of the course to present some of the major problems facing the EEC, and the proposals that have been made by the EEC, and by some of its individual members, to solve these problems. Prerequisite: FREN 232. May be counted toward a major or minor in political science. This course counts as part of Group II on the major. Three hours.

FRN/PSCI 421 – Constitutional Law – This course is a study of the theory of constitutional law and of some of its applications. Articles to be studied include the sources of the Fifth Constitution, French political life, the nature of the executive power, the Parliament, and a comparison between the French system and those of other countries. Prerequisite: PSCI 331 or equivalent. This course is entirely different from PSCI 421 or 422 at Randolph-Macon. May be counted toward a major or minor in political science. This course counts as part of Group III on the major. Three hours.