Political Science and International Relations Courses
PSC 100. UNDERSTANDING POLITICS (3 CR.) (LER-SSC) Politics exist all around us and affects our daily lives in numerous ways. Each section of this course will introduce students to the ubiquity of politics through a unique perspective. Students will be presented with a political problem at the outset of the course, and throughout the semester learn ways in which political actors and institutions have dealt with or responded to the problem, instilling a set of skills which include knowledge and a sense of agency. Students will also develop analytical and theoretical skills through guided writing assignment, reading, and discussion. This course fulfills the liberal education requirement for the social sciences and is intended for majors and nonmajors alike.
Fall semester, repeated spring semester. Department.
PSC 140. INTRODUCTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES (3 CR.) (GEN. ED. #11) (LER–ENV) An introductory course intended to broaden and deepen understanding of the environmental issues facing humanity today. The course focuses on how human institutions and ways of living create—as well as offer resources for solving—the problems that society faces. Students examine a selection of topics that have become central environmental issues of today: climate change, biodiversity loss and conservation, food production, energy, and sustainable development. The course considers how contemporary social activists and thinkers are defining central problems and questions. Finally students investigate their role in creating humanity’s collective social-environmental future.
Fall and spring semesters. Department.
PSC 180. GENDER AND PUBLIC POLICY (3 CR.) (WS 180)
An off-campus experience that provides students with a firsthand look at the policymaking process at the federal level. Faculty lectures supplemented by guest presentations by women judges, lobbyists, regulatory board members, congressional leaders, and government agency representatives. Policy briefings and site visits are an integral part of the seminar. Prerequisite: Preliminary application and interview required. First-year students are eligible to apply.
January intersession. Department.
PSC 192. POLITICS FOR EVERY WOMAN (3 CR.) (WS 192)
Designed primarily for nonmajors interested in enhancing their political awareness and skills as citizens and women. The course explores the concept of sisterhood and its relationship to political life and women’s identity; avenues for political activity, such as volunteer associations and women’s organizations; political campaigns; running for and holding public office; and direct and indirect action techniques for political change. Although the primary emphasis is on the political behavior of American women, some comparisons will be drawn with women’s political participation in other societies. Guest speakers, field trips, and films.
Spring semester. Githens.
PSC 200. CLASSICAL POLITICAL THOUGHT (4 CR.)
This course introduces the political thought of Ancient Greek and Medieval thinkers whose work forms a tradition whose aftermath society inhabits, even as they reflect and speak to a world that is in many ways radically different from today. Through sustained readings of works by Homer, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Thucydides, Herodotus, and Plato, the course considers themes of authority and equality, tyranny and democracy, knowledge and critique. The transformation of classical themes by Christianity is approached by a study of Augustine and the course finishes with readings by Christine de Pisan and Marsilius of Padua reflecting on the medieval political order. Prerequisite: PSC 100.
PSC 201. MODERN POLITICAL THOUGHT (4 CR.)
This course introduces key texts and thinkers in modern political theory. Of particular concern in this course is the notion that theorists between Machiavelli and Marx explore the idea that politics is a realm of human artifice. These two thinkers, as well as the social contract theorists (Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau), consider the artificial nature of the political in terms of certain central concerns. These include: the source and authority of law; the nature and sources of property; the relations between justice and power, politics and morality, and politics and religion; the nature and limits of legitimate political power, the state, and sovereignty; the relation between political order and religion. Prerequisite: PSC 100.
PSC 202. CONTEMPORARY POLITICAL THOUGHT (4 CR.)
This course provides students with the groundwork for engaging with some of the more challenging areas of contemporary political theory. The course begins with Nietzsche's critique of central claims of modernity about scientific, intellectual, and moral progress, as well as the roots of individual identity and agency. This beginning gives access to a series of 20th century thinkers who draw upon Nietzsche's insights to consider the distinctive character of the political (Arendt); the constitution of power (Foucault); and the nature of sovereignty (Schmitt). The course uses this groundwork as preparation for reading a series of contemporary political theorists including Sheldon Wolin, William Connolly, and Wendy Brown. Prerequisite: PSC 201.
PSC 211. RESEARCH METHODS IN POLITICAL SCIENCE (4 CR.)
Introduction to some of the basic quantitative research techniques used in contemporary political science. Skills in understanding and evaluating empirical research. The logic and structure of research designs; measurement; and ways to test relationships, such as descriptive statistics, basic probability, hypothesis testing, correlation, and regression. Introduction to computer analysis. Four hours lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: PSC 100. Variable semesters. Kromer.
PSC 213. PRACTICUM IN SURVEY RESEARCH (3-4 CR.)
This course conducts a survey project from beginning to end. Having a community organization as a client, students determine what kind of survey information is desired. The class then develops a questionnaire, designs the survey instrument, tests the instrument, selects a random sample, conducts the survey, and processes the data. The course will culminate in a presentation of the survey results to the community organization. Prerequisite: PSC 100.
Fall semester 2013-14 and alternate years. Kasniunas, Kromer.
PSC 216. DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL CHANGE IN COSTA RICA (4 CR.) (SOC 216)
This course examines the development path and processes of social change in Costa Rica, with an emphasis on the post-World War II paradigm that gave rise to the social-democratic structure of Costa Rican society. Drawing on the body of literature from Latin American theorists, students will explore notions of exceptionalism, myth-making and myth-breaking, conservation and the Green Republic, and the rise of ecotourism in Costa Rica. Prerequisite: 100-level course in social science.
Spring semester. Department.
PSC 221. COMPARATIVE POLITICAL ANALYSIS (4 CR.)
Examines theories of the state, nationalism, democratization and democratic institutions, economic development and under-development, ethnic politics, and religious politics. Case studies are drawn from Western and Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.
PSC 224. EUROPEAN POLITICS TODAY (3 CR.)
An examination of critical social and political issues confronting selected European nations, including economic pressures and their implications for social welfare, political alienation and the emergence of a distinctive youth culture, shifting political alignments and party allegiances, efforts at economic cooperation, grassroots peace movements, environmental protection, and the changing role of women in political life. Prerequisite: PSC 100.
Spring semester. Offered 2012-13 and alternate years. Githens.
PSC 225. BRITISH POLITICS (3 CR.)
An examination of British politics and public policy, with special emphasis on recent changes in power and party politics and their relationship to the values and beliefs of the people, the impact of racial and ethnic diversity on political life, the place of gender in the political process; and Britain’s role in Europe. Prerequisite: PSC 100.
Variable semesters. Githens.
PSC 227. THE POLITICS OF GERMANY (3 CR.)
The politics of the recently unified Federal Republic of Germany placed in its historical, social, institutional, and economic context. A recurring theme is the nature and origins of the republic’s postwar successes and the prospects for continued democratic stability as it integrates the new federal states. Prerequisite: PSC 100.
Variable semesters. Githens.
PSC 233. STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT (3-4 CR.)
The dynamics of state and local government, including the legislative process, the role of the executive and judicial branches, their constitutional bases, and the impact of political parties on policymaking. Maryland is used as a case study of state and local political processes. Speakers and field trips. Prerequisite: PSC 100.
Variable semesters. Kromer.
PSC 234. INTERNSHIP WITH WOMEN PUBLIC OFFICIALS (3-4 CR.) (WS 234)
Internship working with women in public leadership positions, combined with individual conferences or seminars focusing on governmental issues confronting women public officials and featuring briefings by political leaders. Prerequisite: PSC 100. (May be taken for letter grade only.)
PSC 241. AMERICA AND THE VIETNAM WAR (3 CR.) (GEN. ED. #7)
An examination of the reasons for U.S. involvement in Vietnam, with emphasis on the decisions made and policies pursued over a period spanning five administrations. The Vietnam War is approached as a critical period in American politics and in U.S. foreign relations. Prerequisite: PSC 100 and 250.
Variable semesters. Honick.
PSC 243. THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM (4 CR.)
An overview of the American national political system with attention to political culture, voting behavior, interest groups, political parties, public opinion, Congress, and the presidency. Prerequisite: PSC 100.
Spring semester. Kasniunas.
PSC 245. INTEREST GROUP POLITICS (3-4 CR.)
An overview of the role of interest groups in the American political system. The course will consider the normative question of whether interest groups improve political participation and the democratic process. Prerequisite: PSC 100.
Variable semesters. Kasniunas.
PSC 248. PARTIES AND ELECTIONS (3-4 CR.)
Examines the place of political parties in the American political system. The course also studies congressional and presidential elections, focusing on the upcoming November elections. The course will examine both theoretical and practical aspects of parties and elections. Students will be required to volunteer and work on an actual political campaign. Prerequisite: PSC 100. Fall semester.
Offered 2012-13 and alternate years. Kasniunas.
PSC 249. SPECIAL TOPIC IN POLITICS (3-4 CR.)
Variable semesters. Department.
PSC 250. THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS (4 CR.)
Introduction to theories and approaches to problems of explanation and analysis of international politics. Emphasis on the questions and problems raised by contemporary events. Prerequisite: PSC 100.
Fall semester. Staff.
PSC 252. WORLD CRISIS (1.5-2.0 CR.) (JS 250)
This course focuses on world crisis. Each crisis is studied within a framework that uses methods and concepts in international relations theory. Topics are selected based on current world problems. Prerequisite: PSC 250.
Fall semester, second seven weeks. Honick.
PSC 256. THE UNITED NATIONS IN WORLD AFFAIRS (3 CR.)
An examination into the structures and political processes of the U.N. and its effectiveness in dealing with current international problems. This course is a prerequisite for PSC 267. Prerequisite: PSC 100.
Fall semester. Honick.
PSC 257. PROBLEMS IN INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY (4 CR.) An examination of the linkages between economic and political problems in the contemporary international system. Attention to the role of international economic institutions and the politics of economic issues such as resource scarcity, development assistance, ecological management, and multinational trade. Prerequisite: PSC 250.
Fall semester. Staff.
PSC 258. THE INTERNATIONAL POLITICS OF THE MIDDLE EAST (3 CR.) (JS 258)
Examination of regional and international issues in the Middle East. Topics include the Arab- Israeli conflict, inter-Arab rivalries, instability in the Persian Gulf, and the crisis in Lebanon. Prerequisite: PSC 221 or 250.
Spring semester. Offered 2013-14 and alternate years. Honick.
PSC 259. AFRICAN POLITICS (3-4 CR.) (HIS 259)
An examination of African politics and societies since 1800. Exploration of the influences of Islam and Christianity, the colonization of the continent by imperial European powers, and the liberation movements, which brought about the demise of colonization. Consideration of contemporary issues and trends. Prerequisites: PSC 221 or 250.
Spring semester. Offered 2013-14 and alternate years. Singer.
PSC 262. GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA (3-4 CR.)
This course examines political, economic, and social development in Southeast Asia. The course first focuses on the different types of governing systems, including democracy in Indonesia and the Philippines, semi-democracy in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, and the military junta in Burma. Then, it turns to issues in political economy, including development under communism in Vietnam and Cambodia, illicit economies and human trafficking in Burma and Thailand, and the economic impact of the AIDS crisis. The course concludes with an introduction to the role of religion in politics, centering on Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam in the Philippines, Burma, Indonesia, and Malaysia, respectively. Prerequisite: PSC 221.
Fall semester. Offered 2013-2014 and alternate years. Hwang.
PSC 263. THE PACIFIC RIM (3 CR.)
An examination of the geography, culture, politics, and economics of the Pacific Rim with special emphasis on Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the coastal region of the People’s Republic of China. Consideration of Japan’s place in this region. Course provides a basis for understanding the rapid growth and growing world significance of this area of the world. Prerequisite: PSC 100.
Variable semesters. Honick, Hwang.
PSC 265. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS OF ASIA (3 CR.)
This course explores issues of globalization and security in South and Southeast Asia. Topics covered include the impact of the Cold War in Southeast Asia; regional migration policy; the role of ASEAN and other Asian multilateral institutions; the Kashmir crisis, nuclear proliferation in South Asia, the destabilizing regional effects of the Taliban, the drug trade in Afghanistan, and the rise of Al Qaeda. Prerequisite: PSC 221 or 250.
Fall Semester. Offered 2013-2014 and alternating years. Hwang.
PSC 266. ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS POLITICS OF SOUTHEAST ASIA (3-4 CR.)
This course highlights central issues in ethnic politics and religious politics in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Burma. Topics explored include political Islam, political Buddhism, terrorism, state policies toward ethnic and religious minorities, citizenship, secessionist movements, and the underlying causes of ethno-religious conflicts. Prerequisite: PSC 221.
Spring semester. Hwang.
PSC 270. AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW (3 CR.)
The role of the U.S. Supreme Court in the American political system. Analysis of Supreme Court decisions in the following areas: the presidency, the Congress, the federal system, and the U.S. economy. Prerequisite: PSC 100.
Fall semester. Not offered in 2012. Department.
PSC 271. CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL SYSTEM (3 CR.)
Analysis of U.S. Supreme Court cases in the following areas: the nature of citizenship and the equal protection of the laws; freedom of speech and the right of association; state-church issues; selected problems in criminal due process. Prerequisite: PSC 100.
Spring semester. Not offered in 2012. Department.
PSC 273. AMERICAN POLITICAL BEHAVIOR (3-4 CR.)
This course is organized around three broad questions: (1) How do people form their political beliefs? (2) How do those beliefs translate into political behavior? (3) What are the political outcomes and ramifications of these behaviors? The first part of this course addresses the nature and origins of political beliefs and mass opinion. Students will focus on the roles that socialization, gender, religion, political knowledge, party identification, socioeconomic standing, and even genetics play in conditioning mass-level political behavior. Next, students will explore vote determinants and theories of mass-level participation. Particular attention will be paid to the variation of behavioral patterns across different demographics, while addressing general trends in participation and theories of voting behavior. Finally, we will consider the outcomes and patterns of political behavior drawing connections between public opinion and the behavior of government officials and institutions. The major goal of this course is for students to gain an understanding of the origins of our political beliefs and the role of these beliefs in our American political system. Upon completion of this course, students should be familiar with the major theories of American political behavior, the development of the political behavior literature, and the current direction of the subfield. A secondary goal of this course is to familiarize students with the quantitative approach to the study of politics. Students should also be able to read, discuss, and critique the scholarly work done in the field. Prerequisite: PSC 100.
Fall semester. Kromer.
PSC 274. MAPPING POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES (3-4 CR.)
This course is designed to clarify some of the terms deployed (often incorrectly) in contemporary politics and to set them in historical and contemporary context. Terms like liberal and conservative, but also socialist, communist, and fascist, have (often contested) histories and are amenable to nuance and debate. The course will explore works reflecting on this history and debate, as well as introducing key primary texts in each tradition. Thinkers studied will include (but will not be limited to) John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin, Robert Owen. Prerequisite: PSC 100.
Alternating fall semesters. First offered Fall 2013. Templer.
PSC 275. TRANSNATIONAL SECURITY & SUSTAINABILITY (3 CR.) (ES 275) (GEN. ED. #11)
The course will examine nontraditional threats to the national security of the United States or any other nation. New threats arising from changing environmental and social conditions are no less dangerous than armies, and no less applicable to the field of international relations and environmental studies. This course will examine the effect that climate change, resource availability, demographics, and globalization are having on the foundation on which nations build their security. Prerequisite: PSC 221 or PSC 250; or ES/PSC 140; or permission from instructor.
Spring. First offered 2012. Chalecki.
PSC 277. DEMOCRATIC THEORY (3-4 CR.)
This course begins with the premise that democracy is one of the most invoked and least understood terms of our political discourse. This course explores arguments and experiments that have sought to extend the possibilities of democracy beyond the bounds of electoral politics. Democracy may be, some argue, rather than a form of government, a style of decision-making, a source of social cognition, and even a mode of being. The course seeks to engage students in these debates at a theoretical level, but also places strong emphasis upon experiential learning. Prerequisite: PSC 201 or permission of instructor.
Alternating fall semesters. Templer.
PSC 283. TOPICS IN SOCIAL SCIENCE (4 CR.) (SOC 283)
Targeting social science majors, this course will be team-taught by Monteverde Institute (MVI) and visiting faculty, with topics reflecting the expertise of visiting faculty and MVI’s thematic emphasis on water, ecotourism, land-use planning and development, community health, and tropical ecology and biodiversity. In addition, students will learn social science research methodologies applicable to their research projects. Prerequisites: 200-level course in social sciences. Methods course encouraged.
Spring semester. Department.
PSC 290. POLITICAL SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS INTERNSHIP (3-4 CR.)
Full-time internships in legislative, judicial, and administrative areas of government and nongovernmental organizations at national, state, and local levels. Prerequisites: A political science course and permission of director. Students are accepted on the basis of course background and availability to upper-level students. First-year students are eligible. Preliminary application and interview required. May be taken for letter grade only.
PSC 299. INDEPENDENT WORK (1-4 CR.)
An independent research project and presentation of findings or a special program of directed readings. Students arrange individually with any member of the department. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Department.
PSC 304. SEMINAR IN COMPARATIVE POLITICS (4 CR.)
Intensive study of a special region or topic in comparative politics. Focus on the politics of particular regions or on topics such as nationalism, ethnic identity, religion, and citizenship. Areas of comparison will vary from year to year and include U.S.-Latin America, Europe, Asia, and divided societies such as Northern Ireland. Prerequisites: 200-level comp. course.
Variable semesters. Githens and Hwang.
PSC 306. SEMINAR IN POLITICAL THEORY (4 CR.)
The topic of this seminar will vary between semesters: Students are advised to check with the instructor for upcoming themes. Topics may include some of the following: Aristotle; the political theory of cosmopolitanism; theories of sovereignty; Thucydides and imperialism. Whatever the theme, the seminar requires students to sustain a deep engagement with difficult texts and to participate fully in class discussions. A research paper is required. Prerequisites: 200-level theory course.
Variable semesters. Department.
PSC 316. SEMINAR IN SCOPE AND METHOD IN POLITICAL SCIENCE (4 CR.)
What is politics and how should we study it? Review of competing views. Emphasis on some of the classics in the field. Prerequisite: senior standing.
Spring semester. Department.
PSC 321. TERRORISM, POLITICAL VIOLENCE, AND REVOLUTION (4 CR.)
An examination of political violence, terrorism, and revolutionary movements; the dynamics of social change; strategies and tactics of violence; transnational terrorism; mass participation in revolutionary movements. Selected cases of terrorist groups and revolutionary movements. Prerequisite: 200-level comp. course
Fall semester. Offered 2013-14 and alternate years. Githens.
PSC 323. COMPARATIVE PUBLIC POLICY AND GENDER (3 CR.) (WS 323)
Examination of the public policy process in comparative perspective focusing on migration policy and its effects on female immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. The impact of contemporary notions of citizenship for women migrants and their roles will be explored as well as the extent to which women participate in the formulation and implementation of migration policies. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.
Spring semester. Offered 2013-14 and alternate years. Githens.
PSC 342. SEMINAR IN PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS (4 CR.)
This course examines what many are calling the “postmodern” presidency, and the issues this change poses for American political culture and the political system in the new millennium. Prerequisites: 200-level American politics course.
Variable semesters. Kasniunas.
PSC 343. SEMINAR IN CONGRESSIONAL POLITICS (4 CR.)
A study of the legislative branch in the American system of government. This course considers the incentives and goals of members of Congress and the nature of institutional arrangements. Special attention is given to the changes and reforms occurring since 1995 and their implications for policymaking. Prerequisites: 200-level American politics course.
Variable semesters. Kasniunas.
PSC 350. SEMINAR IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS THEORIES (4 CR.)
Designed primarily for senior international relations majors, students examine the major theoretical currents that inform contemporary scholarship in international relations. In addition, they will survey the history of 20th-century international relations as a means of locating the context in which the production of knowledge occurs. Prerequisite: PSC 250 or PSC 257, and senior standing.
Spring semester. Chatterjee.
PSC 359. SEMINAR ON AFRICAN POLITICS (4 CR.) (HIS 359)
Examination of the internal and external dynamics that affect the domestic and foreign policies of African states. Seminar participants are expected to develop a research topic and present their findings. Prerequisite: PSC 259 or permission of the instructor.
Spring 2012. Singer.
PSC 375. POLITICAL ISLAM (4 CR.)
Political Islam is among the most salient, interesting, and misunderstood concepts in our political vocabulary today. This course will endeavor to unpack political Islam, focusing on the theoretical trends in the scholarship as well as the key Islamic social movements and political parties, which are affecting the political discourse. The course will draw on cases of both Sunni and Shia; Arab and non-Arab; and democratic, semi-democratic, and authoritarian polities. Prerequisite: PSC 221.
Spring semester. Hwang.
PSC 399. ADVANCED INDEPENDENT WORK (3-6 CR.)
Independent work leading to the senior thesis, which may be written as part of a student’s pursuit of honors in political science. Prerequisites: senior status, permission of instructor.
PSC 450. SENIOR THESIS (4 CR. EACH SEMESTER)
Fall semester and spring semester. Department.