In its broadest conception, the aim of the study of politics is to understand the way in which policy for a society is formulated and executed and to understand the moral standards by which policy is or ought to be set. This center of interest is often described alternatively as the study of power, of government, of the state, or of human relations in their political context. For teaching purposes, the study of politics has been divided by the department into the following fields:
- American politics
- Comparative politics
- Political theory
- International politics
Introductory courses in these fields provide broad and flexible approaches to studying political life.
Five-Year BA/MA Degree
Politics and international affairs majors who minor in Latin-American studies also have the opportunity to pursue a five-year cooperative BA/MA degree program at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
A student who selects politics and international affairs to fulfill the Division IV requirement must take one of the following courses:
|Select one of the following:|
|American Government and Politics|
|Comparative Government and Politics|
Students who are not majors may take upper-level courses as electives without having had lower-level courses, unless a prerequisite is specified.
Department of Politics and International Affairs
Kirby Hall 314A, Box 7568
Politics and International Affairs (POL)
POL 113. American Government and Politics. (3 h)
The nature of politics, political principles, and political institutions, with emphasis on their application to the United States. (D)
POL 114. Comparative Government and Politics. (3 h)
An analysis of political institutions, processes, and policy issues in selected countries. Case studies will be drawn from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. (CD, D)
POL 115. Political Theory. (3 h)
Introduces the major concepts, questions, and ideas from across the history of political thought, to examine the nature of politics and the moral and ethical aspects of political life. (D)
POL 116. International Politics. (3 h)
Surveys f the forces which shape relations among states and some of the major problems of contemporary international politics. (CD, D)
POL 202. Political Structures of Present-day Spain. (3 h)
A study of the various political elements which affect the modern Spanish state. Counts as an elective for the Spanish major.
POL 209. US Environmental Policy and Politics. (3 h)
Explores the origins and current state of United States policies on the environment, the politics that have produced those policies, and how both continue to evolve. Attention to the policy formation process, the institutions and groups that influence American policy concerning the environment, and the major environmental laws and controversies surrounding them, with particular attention to the role and functioning of the US Environmental Protection Agency. While focusing on the American experience, recognizes the impacts of US policies on the rest of the world.
POL 210. Topics In United States Politics and Policy. (3 h)
An intensive study of one or more major problems in contemporary United States politics and policy. Course may be retaken for credit if topic varies.
POL 211. Political Parties, Voters, and Elections. (3 h)
An examination of party competition, party organizations, the electorate and electoral activities of parties, and the responsibilities of parties for governing.
POL 212. U.S. Policymaking in the Twenty-first Century. (3 h)
Examines the contemporary United States policymaking process. Special attention to ways issues become important and contributions of different political actors, institutions, and ideologies in the passage or rejection of policy proposals. Considers a range of social, economic, and regulatory policies.
POL 213. Economic Inequality and American Politics. (3 h)
Examines patterns of economic inequality in the United States, weighs competing causal explanations for changing distributions of income and wealth, and investigates the effects of this inequality on American democracy.
POL 214. Latino/a Political Behavior. (3 h)
Examines the contemporary role of Latinos as a minority group in the U.S. with exphasis on U.S. immigration policies. Latina/o political participation and identity, and interracial coalition formations. Service-learning course. (CD)
POL 215. Citizen and Community. (3 h)
An examination of the role and responsibilities of citizens in democratic policymaking. Includes discussion of democratic theory, emphasis on a policy issue of national importance (i.e. poverty, crime, environment), and involvement of students in projects that examine the dimension of the issue in their community. Service Learning.
POL 216. U.S. Social Welfare Policy. (3 h)
An analysis of U.S. social policymaking and policy outcomes on issues such as welfare, education, health care, and Social Security, with an emphasis on historical development and cross-national comparison.
POL 217. Politics and the Mass Media. (3 h)
Exploration of the relationship between the political system and the mass media. Two broad concerns will be the regulation of the mass media and the impact of media on political processes and events.
POL 218. Congress and Policymaking. (3 h)
An examination of the composition, authority structures, external influences, and procedures of Congress with emphasis on their implications for policymaking in the United States.
POL 219. Political Participation. (3 h)
Examines political participation in the United States, with emphasis on electoral and non-electoral avenues through which individuals and groups wield influence in politics and government, including voting, interest groups, and social movements. Service-learning course.
POL 220. The American Presidency. (3 h)
Explores the interaction of the presidential office and the individual contemporary presidents in an evolving political context.
POL 221. State Politics. (3 h)
An examination of institutions, processes, and policies at the state level, with emphasis on the different patterns of governance in the various states and the consequences of the recent revitalization of state governments.
POL 222. Urban Politics. (3 h)
Examines the political structures and processes in American cities and suburbs as they relate to the social, economic, and political problems of the metropolis. Service-learning Course. (CD)
POL 223. African American Politics. (3 h)
A survey of selected topics, including African American political participation, political organizations, political leadership, and political issues. It will also show the relationship of these phenomena to American political institutions and processes as a whole.
POL 224. Racial and Ethnic Politics. (3 h)
Analysis of the impact and interactions of African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, American Indians, and Whites in U.S. politics, with special emphasis on the racial identity development, minority representation, and the U.S. criminal justice system. Service-learning course. (CD)
POL 225. American Constitutional Law: Separation of Powers and the Federal System. (3 h)
Analysis of Supreme Court decisions affecting the three branches of the national government and federal/state relations.
POL 226. American Constitutional Law: Civil Rights and Liberties. (3 h)
Analysis of Supreme Court decisions involving the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
POL 227. Politics, Law, and Courts. (3 h)
Analysis of the intersection of law and democratic politics through consideration of judicial selection, judicial decision making, and the roles of various legal actors, including judges, lawyers, and juries.
POL 228. Politics of Public Education. (3 h)
Introduces students to some of the most popular and contentious contemporary education policy debates and discusses what the U.S. school system tells us about the country's fundamental political commitments.
POL 229. Women, Gender, and Politics. (3 h)
Examines classical and contemporary studies of how gender structures politics, including the political participation of women and other gendered social groups, as well as current policy issues.
POL 230. Political and Economic Development of Western Europe. (3 h)
Analyzes the historical antecedents of Western European regime outcomes in the interwar period in order to explain the survival or collapse of democracy in the 1920s and 1930s in Great Britain, France, Germany, and Italy. Explores contrasting responses to economic, social, and political challenges since the middle ages, including the commercialization of agriculture, national unification, revolution, and the timing and strength of industrialization.
POL 231. Western European Politics. (3 h)
Comparative analysis of political institutions, processes, and policy issues in selected West European countries. Special attention will be given to case studies involving Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and to the process of European integration.
POL 232. Politics in Russia and Eastern Europe. (3 h)
Analysis of the political, economic, and social patterns of the region, emphasizing the dynamics and divergent outcomes of the regime transitions after the fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
POL 233. The Politics of Modern Germany. (3 h)
Study of the historical legacy, political behavior, and governmental institutions of contemporary Germany.
POL 234. United Kingdom Politics in a Global Age. (3 h)
Introduces the nature and content of contemporary United Kingdom politics by placing those politics in a wider analysis of United Kingdom history, society, and international positions. (CD)
POL 235. European Integration. (3 h)
Combines different approaches to the study of Europe by examining European integration-as highlighted by the development of the European Union-through the lenses of history, politics, culture, and economics.
POL 236. Government and Politics in Latin America. (3 h)
Comparative analysis of the institutions and processes of politics in the Latin American region. (CD)
POL 237. The Comparative Politics of Welfare States. (3 h)
Examines the historical development and cross-national variation of welfare states in advanced industrial societies, including the United States and Western European democracies. Assesses characteristic policy challenges and responses across a number of shared domains, including pensions, health care, anti-poverty programs, family benefits, and labor-market policy.
POL 238. Comparative Economic and Political Development. (3 h)
Overview of the relationship among economic development, socio-structural change, and politics since the creation of the international capitalist system in the sixteenth century. Explores classic debates and paradigms in political economy and applies them to particular policy and institutional domains, including macroeconomic policy, finance, globalization, the challenges of late development, and the welfare state.
POL 239. State, Economy, and International Competitiveness. (3 h)
Introduces a range of important case studies of national economic performance to illustrate the role of public policy in economic performance in a number of leading industrial economies (the U.S., United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, China, and Japan).
POL 240. Politics of Human Rights. (3 h)
Looks at the policy of dilemmas that both restored and new democracies face when dealing with past human rights violations and how they engage in structuring the domain of human rights in a changed global environment. (CD)
POL 241. Contemporary India. (3 h)
Examines the opportunities and constraints facing modern India across a range of issues including politics, international relations, economics, religion, caste and the environment.
POL 242. Topics in Comparative Politics. (3 h)
An intensive study of one or more major problems in contemporary comparative politics. Course may be retaken for credit if topic varies.
POL 243. Corruption. (3 h)
This course addresses the politics of appropriation of public resources for private gain, with a focus on why corruption levels vary across countries, why people choose to participate in corruption, and the effects of corruption on politics and the economy.
POL 244. Politics and Literature. (3 h)
Examines how literature can extend knowledge of politics and political systems. Considers the insights of selected novalists. Thematic and regional focus of the course will vary with instructor.
POL 245. Ethnonationalism. (3 h)
This course is concerned with the role of ethnicity in world politics. It focuses on both theoretical and substantive issues relating to: (a) the nature of ethnicity and ethnic group identity; (b) the sources of ethnic conflict; (c) the politics of ethnic conflict; (d) the policy management of ethnic conflict; and (e) international intervention in ethnic conflict.
POL 246. Politics and Policies in South Asia. (3 h)
A survey of major issues relevant to politics and policy in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. (CD)
POL 247. Islam and Politics. (3 h)
Explores the interrelationship of Islam and politics in the contemporary world/ Deals with Islam as a political ideology which shapes the structure of political institutions and behavior. Looks at Islam in practice by examining the interaction between Islam and the political systems of Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and others. (CD)
POL 248. Chinese Politics. (3 h)
A survey of the political institutions and processes in China (People's Republic of China and Republic of China). Emphasis on group conflict, elites, ideology, as well as current policy changes in the process of modernization.
POL 250. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and U.S. Policy since 2001. (3 h)
Broadly addresses the phenomena of U.S. involvement in two ongoing conflicts-the Afghanistan war and the Iraq war. Focuses on the respective domestic and international politics and policies of the four main actors relevant to the conflicts: U.S., Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.
POL 251. Politics of Forced Migration. (3 h)
Addresses major questions about forced migration in international politics, such as: What causes people to flee their homes? What are the effects of forced displacement on the host communities? How should considerations of human rights and international law affect our understanding of forced migration?.
POL 252. Topics in International Politics. (3 h)
An intensive study of one or more major problems of contemporary international politics. Course may be retaken for credit if topic varies.
POL 253. International Political Economy. (3 h)
Analyzes major issues in the global political economy including theoretical approaches to understanding the tension between politics and economics, monetary and trade policy, North-South relations, environmentalism, human rights and democratization.
POL 254. U.S. Foreign Policy. (3 h)
Analyzes the historical and theoretical perspectives shaping U.S. engagement with the world past and present. Applies this understanding to current problems in U.S. foreign policy.
POL 255. Terrorism and Asymmetric Conflict. (3 h)
A historical survey and analysis of terrorism and other forms of political violence, such as insurgency and guerrilla warfare involving state and non-state actors. Focuses on a variety of cases along with and examination of the challenges of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency in the contemporary global system.
POL 256. International Security. (3 h)
Explores various theoretical approaches to security studies and contemporary security issues, with special attention to domestic variables, the use of force, strategic culture, weapons of mass destruction, the political economy of national security, and terrorism.
POL 257. Politics of International Development. (3 h)
Examines why some nations develop at a quite fast pace while others - even when rich in natural resources - don't. Explores the impact of colonial history, state-formation, civil conflicts, governance issues, and rising powers on economic growth and development.
POL 258. International Relations of South Asia. (3 h)
Examines the foreign policy decision making in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka vis-a-vis each other and major powers such as the U.S., Russia, and China.
POL 259. Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. (3 h)
Explores the nature and scope of the conflict with particular emphasis on the time period post-1967 and the respective policies of the three most significant actors in the conflict: the U.S., Israel and Palestine.
POL 260. United States and East Asia. (3 h)
An analytical survey of United States interaction with East Asia, with special emphasis on the strategic security and the political economy of the region. (CD)
POL 261. International Law. (3 h)
Analyzes major issues in public international law including sources of international law, state sovereignty, territorial jurisdiction, treaties, peaceful settlement of disputes, human rights, and the relationship between international law and domestic law.
POL 262. International Organizations. (3 h)
A survey of the philosophy, principles, organizational structure, and decision-making procedures of international organizations. In addition to the United Nations system, this course will analyze various international organizations in issues such as collective security, trade, economic development, human rights protection, and the environment.
POL 263. U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East. (3 h)
A critical analysis of U.S. foreign policy with respect to the Middle East since the Second World War. This course utilizes a case study method of instruction.
POL 264. Moral Dilemmas in International Politics. (3 h)
Examines moral dilemmas in international politics with reference to theories and cases. Topics include just war doctrine, responsibility of rich countries toward poor countries, exporatability of capitalism and democracy, and legitimacy of humanitarian interveniton.
POL 266. Modern Civil Wars. (3 h)
Examines and assesses competing theories of civil war, including economic, ethnic, religious, and ideological explanations. It also addresses dilemmas raised by civil war such as the spread of HIV/AIDS, the proliferation of private security companies, and the abuse of humanitarian aid.
POL 267. Intelligence and International Politics. (3 h)
Explores various facets of the world of intelligence and espionage in international politics, including intelligence collection and analysis, covert action, counterintelligence, the role of foreign intelligence agencies the relationship of the intelligence community to other political institutions, and important ethical issues and controversies in the field of intelligence today.
POL 268. International Conflict Resolution. (3 h)
Explores various approaches to conflict resolution through readings, case studies, and simulations. Issues include: negotiation and mediation, dealing with war criminals, tradeoffs between justice and peace, and the role of the international community.
POL 269. Topics in Political Theory. (3 h)
An intensive study of one or more major topics in political theory. Course may be retaken for credit if topic varies.
POL 270. Ethics and Agency. (3 h)
Explores the question of agency in relation to ethics with attention to practices of ethics that focus on judgment. Selected writings from Aristotle, Arendt, and Foucault.
POL 271. Classical Political Thought. (3 h)
Examination of the nature and goals of classical political theorizing, with attention to its origins in ancient Athens and its diffusion through Rome. Representative writers include Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero.
POL 272. Democratic Theory. (3 h)
Examination of the theoretical underpinnings of democracy and some of the critiques of those foundations. Focus will be on understanding some of the major theories of democracy and on how key democratic concepts are defined differently within these various traditions.
POL 273. Marx, Marxism and Post-Marxism. (3 h)
Examines Marx's early humanistic writings, his later philosophy, the vicissitudes of 20th-century Marxism and attempts to reorient Marx's theory in light of developments in contemporary political thought and practice.
POL 274. Arab and Islamic Political Thought. (3 h)
Examines the history, basic concepts, central questions and preoccupations of political thought in the Arab region, while critically analyzing what it means to engage political theory comparatively. (CD)
POL 275. American Political Thought. (3 h)
Examines texts from the founding to the present that consider debates over the Constitution and the power of government; liberal and republican theories of citizenship; race, class and gender inequality; tensions between diversity and national indentity; theories of justice; and the development of progressive, conservative, and libertarian political ideologies in the United States.
POL 276. Modern Political Thought. (3 h)
Examines political thought from the 19th century to the present with a focus on the relationship between ethics and politics. Topics include the nature of the good life, freedom, and the poltical society that makes them possible.
POL 277. Feminist Political Thought. (3 h)
Introduction to feminist thought and its implications for the study and practice of political theory. Topics include feminist critiques of the Western political tradition and schools of feminist political theory. Also listed as WGS 301. (CD)
POL 278. Politics and Identity. (3 h)
Investigation of the ways in which concepts of identity have informed political norms, structures, and practices; the myriad forms identity takes (particularly gender, sexual orientation, class, race, religion, nationality and ethnicity) drawing on examples from across the globe; and theoretical approaches proposed for engaging differences. (CD)
POL 280. Research Methods. (3 h)
Overview of the qualitative and quantitative methods prominent in studying political science. Attention is given to the relationships between theory, method, and findings by focusing on the need to make systematic empirical observations. P-STA 111 must be taken before or concurrently with this course.
POL 281. Environmental Political Thought. (3 h)
Explores the human relationship to the natural world and the implications of this relationship to political issues, such as the preservation of wilderness, industrialization, consumerism, public and private ownership, and social justice.
POL 282. Gandhi. (3 h)
Explores the life, political philosophy, and the method of non-violent coercion (satyagraha) of Gandhi. Students define and implement group projects designed to promote change within the context of Gandhian methodology. Service-learning course.
POL 286. Topics in Political Science. (1-3 h)
Intensive study of one or more topics in the discipline. May not be used to meet one of the four area requirements. May be repeated for credit. Up to 6 hours may be counted toward the major.
POL 287. Individual Study. (1.5, 3 h)
Intensive research leading to the completion of an analytical paper conducted under the direction of a faculty member. Students initiate the project and secure the permission of an appropriate instructor. May be repeated for a maximum of six hours, only three of which may count toward the major. P-POI.
POL 288. Directed Reading. (2, 3 h)
Concentrated reading in an area of study not otherwise available. Students initiate the project and secure the permission of an appropriate instructor. P-POI.
POL 289. Internship in Politics. (2, 3 h)
Field work in a public or private setting with related readings and an analytical paper under the direction of a faculty member. Students initiate the project and secure the permission of an appropriate instructor. Normally one course in an appropriate subfield is taken prior to the internship. P-POI.
Chair Michaelle Browers
Associate Chair Betina Cutaia Wilkinson
Provost and Professor Rogan Kersh
Maya Angelou Presidential Chair and Professor Melissa Harris-Perry
Reynolds Professor of Latin-American Studies Luis Roniger
Professors Michaelle Browers, Neil DeVotta, John Dinan, Katy J. Harriger, Charles H. Kennedy, Wei-chin Lee, Peter M. Siavelis, Kathy B. Smith, Helga A. Welsh
Associate Professors Sara Bahill-Brown, Sarah Lischer, Betina Cutaia Wilkinson, Will Walldorf
Assistant Professors Lina Benabdallah, Sara Dahill-Brown, Andrius Galisanka
Teaching Professor Tom Brister
Associate Teaching Professor Jack Amoureux, Tom Brister
Visiting Assistant Professor Carolyn Coberly, Luigi Mendez, James Morone, John Lovett