Political Science Courses

NumberNameUnitsDescription
PLS 118Comparative Politics1A survey of one of the major subfields of the discipline focusing on fundamental concepts explored in cross-national comparisons. Includes a substantial political economy component.
PLS 161Democracy1A survey of the ideas, institutions and controversies of political science. Special emphasis is given in this course to the example of the United States. Partially satisfies Modern Society LADR.
PLS 162Modern Politics: Power and Ideas1Examination of the political and economic ideologies of the modern West. Topics include democracy, capitalism, imperialism, nationalism, socialism and communism. Partially satisfies the Modern Societies LADR.
PLS 163Politics, Society, and Film1Explores modern social institutions, cultural controversies, and theories of politics as portrayed in movies and documentaries. Additional focus on the use of film as a political tool. Partially satisfies the Modern Society LADR.
PLS 212American Foreign Policy1Examines post-World War II American foreign policy and the challenges that lie ahead. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 213Introduction to Public Policy1An introduction to the tools of analysis and challenges inherent in public policy formation. Cost benefit analysis and game theory are introduced as ways of understanding issues related to the environment, poverty, law, and freedom. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160. Fulfills an elective requirement for the major.
PLS 215American Political Thought1Analysis of political thought from Puritans to present period.
PLS 217Latin American Politics1Current Latin American politics studied within its historical, cultural, and international contexts. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.
PLS 218European Politics1An examination of the governmental process in the major European countries of Britain, France, and Germany, including frequent comparisons to American politics. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 219Middle Eastern Politics1An examination of the political systems of the Middle East, including the role of Islam and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.
PLS 222U.S. Legislative Process1An examination of the Congress and the state legislatures in their governmental and political contexts. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 225Women in the Developing World1Examines the effects of gender inequality in education, health, culture, economy, media, religion, and politics on women in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.
PLS 226Urban Politics1An examination of politics within cities, neighborhoods, and interpersonal networks, with special attention to social, human, and financial capital. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160. Offered in alternate years.
PLS 231World Politics1The foreign policy-making process; problems of the world community and how nations attempt to deal with them. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160. Satisfies Other Cultures LADR.
PLS 232The Problem of Order: Law, Politics1An examination of the uses and abuses of law, and of formal vs. informal systems of order. Case studies of the "lawless" 19th century Western U.S., modern Peru, and community rules. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 235History of Political Thought1An examination of representative political theorists from Plato to Marx. Identical to Phi 338. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 236Contemporary Political Thought1An examination of major political theorists of the recent past. Identical to Phi 236.
PLS 238Toqueville in America1An examination of Democracy in America, one of the most important works written about the conditions needed for democracy and the inevitable difficulties it faces. Some off-campus travel. Offered in Spring Term in alternate years.
PLS 239Research Methods1The range of phenomena dealt with by political and other social scientists; methods of data collection and analysis.
PLS 315Political Sociology1An examination of the sociology of power and community at the national and international levels. Identical with Soc 315. Offered alternate Fall terms. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160 or a sociology gateway course.
PLS 320American Pol. Thought, 1950 to Pres1Analysis of contemporary U.S. political theory. The course will serve as an elective for non-majors. Offered Spring Term.
PLS 321Natural Resources Policy1Application of current theories in collective action and policy formulation to evaluate various policy solutions. Case studies involving air, water, and endangered species. Prerequisite: any 100-level Political Science course except 160. Offered in alternate years.
PLS 322Political Parties & Interest Groups1An examination of the role of political parties and interest groups in the U.S. political process, including candidate recruitment, campaign finance, and policy making. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 325Campaigns and Elections1A study of the criteria voters use in making choices in elections, and how the electoral system structures these choices. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 326Constitutional Law1An examination of the place of rights in U.S. society and the role of the courts as a constitutional contract and political institution. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 327Field Study:Washington, DC1Interviews with governmental, interest group, and political party officials and individual research. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160. Offered Spring Term in alternate years.
PLS 328Challenge of the American Founding1Examines the people, ideas, and institutions foundational to our current republic. Special emphasis is placed on the political theory of two monumental works from this time period: the Federalist Papers and Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America. The tools of constitutional political economy and collective action theory are used to distill principles from the American founding that might guide future attempts to constitute a self-governing society. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 331International Law & Organization1Origin, nature, development, structure, and functions of international law and organization. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 335International Political Economy1An examination of the political and economic forces shaping the international system today, centering on the issue of order vs. justice at the global level and exploring topics such as the changing role of the state, trade competition, technology transfer, aid and debt, the global ecology, revolution and counter-insurgency, and the changing international security (war) system. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160. Offered alternate years.
PLS 337Field Study United Nations1Briefings and senior thesis of the handling of world issues in and through the UN. Prerequisite: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160.
PLS 359Social Movements1An examination of theories of movements of protest, reform, and revolution, and of resistance to change. Comparison and contrast of case studies, including movements such as abolition, temperance, civil rights, and environmentalism. Identical to Soc 359. Alternate Fall Terms. Prerequisites: a 100-level Political Science course except Pls 160 or a sociology gateway course.

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