Introduction to Political Theory (Core)
This course examines a selection of the most influential and enduring works in the western tradition of political philosophy, highlighting the way in which major concepts of political thought have evolved from ancient Greece to contemporary western society.
Quantitative Political Analysis I
This course provides an introduction to quantitative methods in political science. It is intended for students who have limited or no background in quantitative analysis. The focus is on providing the statistical foundations needed for students to conduct their own original research in the future.
American Politics (Core)
This course offers a broad survey of American political institutions and processes, focusing on the most important and influential works in the study of politics and government of the United States. The course covers research on political participation, political parties, elections, public opinion, legislative politics, bureaucratic politics, interest groups, and judicial politics.
Political Campaigns: Media, Message & Management
This course examines the role that media has played in the politics of the past - examines its ever-expanding influence on the present - and projects a future for its use in political campaigns. In this course we begin with an examination of how the electorate thinks and behaves in our heavily mediated society – and how at the intersection of ‘old’ media, ‘new’ media, and the ‘news’ media - new opportunities exist for combining classic propaganda techniques with contemporary campaign strategies. We will also look at the ‘real time’ campaign strategies being employed by various candidates, so that we may come to our own conclusions as to the success or failure of their approach.
Political Economy (Core)
This course has three objectives. First, it is to familiarize you with theoretical approaches, methods of analysis, and concepts widely used in the study of political economy. Second, it is to explore how institutions and democratic politics shape economic policies and macroeconomic outcomes. The third goal is to survey how domestic and international economic and social factors affect domestic politics.
Comparative Politics (Core)
Basic approaches to comparative political inquiry and the application of these approaches to specific problems of political analysis. This course is designed to help students enter into the subfield of comparative politics and to learn how to do comparative politics at a scholarly level.
Formal Modeling in Political Science
The application of game theory- and an alternative strategic theory called “theory of moves” – as well as social-choice theory to a wide variety of strategic situations, principally bit not exclusively in politics, will be examined. Uses of strategy in voting in committees and elections, in political campaigns, in defense and deterrence policies, and in bargaining and coalition-building situations will be among the topics discussed.
Game Theory and Politics
This course is an introduction to game theory and its application to the study of political phenomena.
Quantitative Political Analysis II
Builds on POL-GA 1120 Provides working knowledge of some of the quantitative methods used in political science research. Emphasis is on applying regression analysis to the study of political phenomena. The course covers the assumptions underlying OLS regression, the consequences of violating these assumptions, and how to detect these violations and proceed with analysis. Students are introduced to statistical software and work with data in a weekly lab.
Introduction to Causal Analysis in Political Science
This course builds on Quantitative Political Analysis II to teach students the skills necessary to conduct their own independent quantitative research, with a focus on understanding the causal implications of their analyses. By the end of course, students should be comfortable conducting their own independent research using observational or experimental data. Prerequisite: POL-GA 2127or equivalent.
Environmental policy is undergoing a rapid transformation in the United States, not only in the scope and application of specific rules, but also in the overall mission and procedures of participating agencies. In this class students will become familiar with current issues in environmental policy and will have an opportunity to actively participate in the policy process. Effective participation in the policy process requires an in-depth understanding of the relevant administrative laws, scientific research, and economic analyses that are intended to support these public decisions, all of which will be covered in lectures and class discussion. Much of the class will focus on environmental policies that fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. EPA but will also include policies under the jurisdiction of other federal, state, and international agencies.
Crime Control Policy
This course considers the basic questions of policy analysis, as applied to crime: What is the nature and extent of the problem? What are the options for dealing with it? What are the likely consequences of pursuing each possible mix of crime control activities? Of those bundles of outcomes, which is the most attractive? Crime control policy also provides a window into the practice of policy analysis, and an intellectually challenging opportunity to apply social science concepts to real-world problems.
Drug Policy and the City
This course introduces ideas about policies to control substance abuse and their side-effects. We will also illustrate broader techniques of policy analysis and apply them to drug policy.
Topics in Urban Management
Criminal justice; public and environmental health; drug policy; rapid urbanization; mobility; job creation: these are a few of the pressing challenges faced by cities around the globe. This course, led by the principal scholars at the Marron Institute of Urban Management, will enable students to develop informed opinions about urban policy, to defend those opinions with good analysis, and to understand the logic behind differing opinions.
Urban Transportation Revolutions
This course examines the role of transportation technologies on the changing shape of cities. The course draws on classical urban texts from a diverse group of historians, architects, economists, urban planners, geographers, anthropologists and others to understand how transportation networks shape urban form and everyday life.
Rapid Cycle Innovation and Testing in the Public Sector
The rapid pace of innovation in technology and recordkeeping means that public agencies need new, faster, approaches for learning what works to meet their goals and what does not. The aim of this course is to introduce students to the movement toward the democratization of research, involving practitioners (and the people they serve)—as “citizen scientists”—in promoting data-driven innovation and discovery. Students will learn strategies to promote rapid-learning in the public sector, as well as to identify those situations where more patience is necessary.
Urban Science for Data-Driven Policy and Planning
Offered in collaboration with the Marron Institute of Urban Management, this course introduces students to the emerging field of urban science. Students are exposed to a range of data science and machine learning methods, urban data sources (including social media, geolocation data, 311 complaints, energy use, and many others), and urban policy and planning from the perspective of data-driven decision-making. Issues of city governance, structure, and history are presented to understand how to identify and assess urban problems, collect and organize appropriate data, utilize suitable analytical approaches, and ultimately produce results that recognize the constraints faced by city agencies and policymakers. Students should be familiar with probability and statistics and have a basic understanding of regression analysis and statistical modeling.
This is a graduate course on policymaking in the American federal government. The course first reviews leading theories of policy analysis, or how one makes arguments for policies on the merits. We then review leading theories of the policymaking process, including agenda setting, policy advocacy, and bureaucracy.
Methods of Policy Analysis
The course introduces policy analysis, the discipline of thought that considers how to make and implement choices in the public interest, based on a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of the options at hand, including the possibility of inventing new options. The focus will be on techniques for making the comparison of advantages and disadvantages: benefit-cost analysis, cost/effectiveness analysis, discounting (choice over time), and decision analysis (choice under uncertainty).
Political Economy of Policy-Making
This course conducts a systematic analysis of the ways through which preferences of individuals and groups are transformed into policies in democratic societies. Throughout the course, we will survey models of politics and illuminate a number of paradoxes and puzzles from a rational choice perspective. Our focus will be on the incentives and constraints faced by political actors when choosing public policies.
Planet of Cities: Evidence-Based Policy Responses to Urbanization
The aim of this course is to provide students with an international perspective on urbanization and to introduce them to the theory, the evidence, and the practical tools necessary to formulate and put into practice effective policies that can respond to rapid urbanization in countries the world over, policies that can ensure that cities grow in a productive, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient manner in the decades to come.
Political Economy of the Pacific Basin
This is a graduate seminar designed to provide students an opportunity to survey political, economic and military trends in one of the world’s most critical regions. For discussion, the region will be defined as all nations whose borders touch on the Pacific, but the reading will concentrate on Asia. Students in both politics and economics should be able to explore the inter-relationship between theory and policy choices in several areas of current controversy.
The purpose of this seminar is to introduce students to the international relations subfield of international organization. The focus of this course is cooperation between states, especially cooperation through international organizations and international agreements. This course draws from both theoretical and empirical works in the international organization literature. We will cover theories of cooperation between and among states, enforcement and compliance, and international bargaining. We will also discuss the roles that international organizations and other non-state actors and/or domestic politics may play in these processes.
This course explores the interplay of law and politics in international relations. Our study focuses on: international law as a code of conduct; the law’s mitigating effects on state behavior, e.g., on the “security dilemma” and the “relative gains” fixation; and the cumulative effects of state interactions (practice) on the law’s progressive development.
Citizenship, Immigration and the Nation-State
The objectives of this course are to explore the intersection of ethnic politics, nationalism and citizenship; examine how different conceptions of citizenship address the challenges raised by both global and local forces; and debate the impact of globalization on citizenship, immigration and ethnic identities. Though the primary focus is on the European Union and the United States, the reading material is both cross-disciplinary and comparative.
Marxist Political Economy
This course provides an overview of Marx’s writings on capitalism, with an emphasis on the nature of the state, alienation, ideology, social classes, economic crisis, and communism.
How Marx combines political science with sociology, economics, history, and philosophy in his study of capitalism and the advantages and disadvantages of this approach.
Political theory seminar addressing constitutions and constitutional theories from a comparative perspective.
Interest Groups in American Politics
This seminar examines theories and research about the role of interest groups in American politics, with emphasis on debates about the degree and arenas of interest group influence as well as methods of influence. In defining the topic, the seminar touches briefly on adjacent themes of civil society and social movements. The second half of the seminar focuses on a particular form of organized interest: associations based in organizational and individual membership, such as: the US Chamber of Commerce; labor unions; professional associations; infrastructure and trade associations; and constituency-based groups such as the AARP and NRA, among many others. The course should help graduate students think systematically about organizational and collective advocacy, and about complex, group-based political behavior.
American Identity Politics
This course brings together multiple approaches to the study of identities –– race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, religion, and others –– to explore their role in contemporary American politics. The first part of this course will introduce social identity theory and the psychology of group membership. The second portion of the course will consider how major identities influence political and social behavior. The final portion of the course will examine how these identities can overlap or collide to shape political discourse, media coverage and consumption, attitude formation, structural inequalities, and policy outcomes. Along the way, we will grapple with important normative debates about equality, power, and multiculturalism in American democracy.
Poverty and Welfare
This course is about poverty and welfare, and the controversies about them, in the United States. We will briefly survey the nature of poverty and poverty politics, the development of antipoverty policies and programs, contending theories about the causes of poverty and about policy approaches, and promising policy directions.
Comparative Political Economy
This seminar is organized around three questions: Why are some countries able to promote equitable growth better than others? What are the economic and social causes of recent changes in democratic politics, including the rise of populism? How does politics shape economic liberalization? We will probe these questions in the context of OECD countries. Overall, the seminar is designed to draw attention to key aspects of the interaction between capitalism and democracy in post-industrial OECD countries.
Leaders, Followers and Political Behavior
This course is designed to provide an introduction to the study of leaders, followers and political behavior. We will analyze political behavior from the perspectives of leaders and followers, as a function of individual psychology, as a function of biology and as a function of identity. Do we need more than valence affect to explain political behavior? Do emotions matter? How do episodes of intergroup violence affect political opinions toward outgroup members? These questions are investigated throughout the course via experimental and survey research methods and quantitative data analysis.
Political Economy of Foreign Aid and Nation-building
This course is designed to provide an introduction to the study of foreign aid and development. It begins by reviewing the logic and evidence of arguments for and against the provision of foreign aid. It introduces a set of analytic tools based on political economy to evaluate the current debates on foreign aid and to draw policy-relevant conclusions. The second part of the course turns attention to the interrelationship between foreign aid, poverty, and revolutions.
National Identity and the Politics of Belonging
This seminar builds a framework for understanding and analyzing the politics of national identity. The assigned readings will provide a knowledge base that will help you develop the skills to think critically about nations, states and the politics of belonging. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we will discuss nations, nationalism, and identity. We will consider the politics of peoplehood in the contexts of history, memory, culture, inequality, ethnicity, race, religion and geography. Globalization, ethnic violence, migration and xenophobia will also be addressed.
The number of democracies in the world changed dramatically in the last quarter of the Twentieth Century. Scholars both reported on and participating in these democratization processes. Since the middle of the 1980s a subfield of comparative politics- democratization studies- has emerged. This course offers an introduction to some of the key topics and literature in this field while also encouraging students to participate in the field through analysis of research and a research paper
This course is designed to provide am introduction to the study of revolutions. It explores the political mechanisms contributing to revolutions and the context for political violence. It begins by defining revolution and examining competing theories about its causes, outcomes, and processes. It explores the main theoretical approaches to explaining revolutionary phenomena, namely structural and subjectivist.
Comparative Government and Institutions
This course provides a systematic analysis of comparative democratic processes with an emphasis on the political determinants and policy consequences of institutions. Topics include the classification of constitutional regimes, electoral institutions, the dynamics of executive-legislative relations, as well as the role played by different government institutions in determining various political outcomes, such as representation, accountability, corruption, growth, and economic policy.
China and the Civilization State
In this course, we will ascertain the real and hidden meanings of China as a civilization-state -- and more. We will attempt to bring things up to date, by examining China’s second rise-- after a century and a half in decline-- and its implications, including what has made the “China Model” tick (i.e., rapid and sustained development in the absence of a Western-type liberal democracy), and its challenge to theory (both comparative-politics and IR theory) .
Refugees, Migrants, and Displacement(PDF: 180KB)
This course is designed to provide an understanding of the major causes of contemporary migration and population displacement. Global, regional, and national processes driving refugee and migration flows will be examined. Students will consider a range of critical issues and factors contributing to displacement, including poverty, uneven development, competition for resources, globalization, political instability, war, and climate change. Human trafficking and smuggling, international human rights protections, xenophobia, citizenship and statelessness will also be addressed.
This seminar examines issues related to armed conflict and transitions b>to peace. It introduces theoretical and empirical problems in research on civil war. The seminar presents case studies on the outbreak of war in Central Africa, the Balkans and Eurasia. It investigates risk factors related to constitutional design, democratization and inter-state dynamics. The course presents international security issues and case studies on Ukraine and Russia. It analyzes national, regional and international mechanisms to prevent and address conflict. Outside speakers will include experts from international organizations such as the United Nations and Human Rights Watch.
Formal Models of International Cooperation
This course offers an introduction to the formal theory of international cooperation. Over the last three decades or so formal theory—that is theory that makes use of simple mathematics and game theory—has greatly clarified international relations scholars’ thinking about international cooperation and treaty making. Scholars use formal theory because it helps them make clear and logically coherent arguments possible in ways that would be impossible using verbal argumentation alone. This course is intended to introduce students who have no formal training in formal modeling and game theory to this literature.
Master’s Internship Seminar
The internship supervision course is for students concurrently holding an internship position consistent with student’s academic and/or career trajectory.
Master’s Thesis Seminar
Required capstone course for students in the MA program. This seminar is designed for MA students working on their thesis. The seminar is designed as a research workshop that covers all stages of the thesis writing process. The course focuses on developing your research question and proposal, the components of proper research design, how to conduct and present your research, and how to structure your thesis.