NEW COURSES – SPRING 2018
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Legalism: Public Laws and Private Rules (POL-UA 195.03)
Distinguished Visiting Professor Nancy Rosenblum
This seminar is about the presence of laws and rules in every aspect of our lives – from the law of criminal due process, to university course requirements and social prohibitions, to the rules made and enforced by voluntary associations like the Amish Church or the Boy Scouts, to the rules governing political parties and primary elections. Public law is only one of many systems of rules under which we live. Private law follows us where government does not. We will explore both the justifications for legalism and a variety of objections to legalism. Where do we want strict rules, and where are they anathema? What should we think about the argument that presidential authority should be unbound in war-time because “necessity knows no law”, or romantic resistance to rule-following in the name of “the law of the heart”? Constitutional courts, juries, university disciplinary committees, membership groups, truth commissions provide materials for reflecting on the use and misuse of rule-making and rule-following. Readings include case law, literature, and political theory. One goal is to relate these themes to your own experiences. Readings and writing requirements can be adjusted to the interests of seminar participants.
Nancy Rosenblum is the Harvard University Senator Joseph Clark Research Professor of Ethics in Politics and Government. I served as chair of the Harvard Government Department for 6 years, and don’t miss that. But I do miss teaching undergraduates, and I am offering the seminar “Legalism” to meet and learn from NYU students. My field is political theory. My latest book is Good Neighbors: The Democracy of Everyday Life in America. Other books include On the Side of the Angels: An Appreciation of Parties and Partisanship, and Membership and Morals: The Personal Uses of Pluralism in America. I’ve edited two books with law professors: Breaking the Cycles of Hatred: Memory, Law, and Repair and Civil Society and Government. I am a devoted reader of Thoreau, and editor of Thoreau: Political Writings, Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought. I belong to lots of professional associations and am Co-Editor of the Annual Review of Political Science. I’m now working on two (separate) topics: “the new conspiracism in the moment of Trump,” and adaptation to climate change.
Seminar: Ancient Political Theory (POL-UA 195.02)
Professor Melissa Schwartzberg
This course integrates canonical works ancient political thought with the study of Greek and Roman political institutions. While providing an advanced introduction to key works by Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero, the course will also explore a wide range of topics pertaining to the explanation and justification of institutional design in the ancient world. We will investigate questions about the role of ordinary citizens in rendering political judgment; the roles of speakers and of audiences; and conceptions of the rule of law in antiquity. Readings will include both core texts, historical works on the ancient world, and cutting-edge scholarship on institutional design in Greece and Rome.
Melissa Schwartzberg is Professor of Politics at NYU, and affiliated faculty in the Department of Classics and at the School of Law. She is the author of Democracy and Legal Change (Cambridge, 2007) and Counting the Many: The Origins and Limits of Supermajority Rule (Cambridge, 2014), for which she won the 2016 Spitz Prize for the best book in liberal or democratic theory published in 2014. She has published articles on ancient political institutions in journals including the American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, and the Cardozo Law Review, and, in 2016, a paper on Aristotle in Journal of Politics. She is currently working on a book on political judgment and equality, rooted partially in the ancient world.
Government and Politics of Modern Japan (POL-UA 994.2)
Professor Amy Catalinac
This course introduces students to the politics and government of contemporary Japan, the world's third-largest economy and first non-Western country to industrialize. We will explore how politicians have fought election campaigns, chosen leaders, made policy, and governed in interaction with bureaucrats, interest groups, the media, and voters from 1955 until today. Special attention is paid to the effects of institutional reforms on Japan's political system and to current policy challenges such as North Korea's nuclear weapons and China's rise. The course includes clips from two documentary films and involves discussions in which student participation is required.
Amy Catalinac is Assistant Professor of Politics at NYU. She has spent almost five years in Japan, and spent almost ten years learning Japanese. She has conducted more than 100 interviews with politicians, campaign staff, party officials, and bureaucrats, has visited numerous politicians in their districts, and has interned for a Japanese political party. Her research focuses on the effects of Japan's 1994 electoral reform on politicians' campaign styles, national security, and ideological polarization. Her current work looks at allocations of “pork.”