POSC 153 Introduction to Comparative Politics
Nearly 200 independent states coexist in the world today. Although they are all unique, political scientists study them in systematic ways, comparing them to discover fundamental political patterns that can help produce broadly applicable generalizations across different cultures and geographies. The topics we will explore include the establishment of political order in the states that govern the world, the distinction between democratic and non-democratic states, the emergence and sometimes collapse of democracy, the sources of violent civil conflict, the political factors that lead to economic growth or stagnation, the variation of welfare state regimes, and the impact of globalization on the world’s states. This course introduces students to the fundamental themes and basic theories of comparative politics using examples from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. The focus on domestic politics is the critical difference between this subfield and that of International Relations, which concentrates primarily on relations between states.
POSC 232 Fundamentals of International Relations
This course introduces students to the major theoretical approaches in the field of International Relations; namely, Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism and Critical Theory. Students will gain an understanding of these theoretical frameworks and apply them to current problems and issues in global politics. Specific topics covered in the course include: the causes of war and peace, state pursuit of power and security, international law, international cooperation, the role of international organizations, NGOs and corporations, and contemporary issues such as humanitarian intervention, climate change, globalization, and economic inequality.
POSC 371 European Politics
This course examines the major political, economic and social dynamics of contemporary European politics, and the main theories and approaches used to interpret them. We will analyze the development of the nation-state and democracy, political institutions and party systems, political economic structures, the legacy of communism, and political culture. In the second half of the semester we will discuss contemporary issues such as democratization, immigration, religion, nationalism, pressures on the welfare state, and European integration. The types of questions the course explores include: Since Great Britain does not have a written constitution, who decides what is constitutional and what is not? Why is there more party discipline in European countries than in the U.S.? Why did European countries and the U.S. respond differently to the financial crisis of 2008? What led to the Greek Debt Crisis? How does the European Union affect the capacity of national governments to achieve their intended policy outcomes? Students will write two brief papers, submit discussion questions, and write a major research paper.
POSC 355 Caring for Citizens and Distant Strangers
This course examines how societies care for their citizens and for distant strangers. Students will be introduced to the main programs and guiding principles of the welfare state and foreign aid regimes in the United States and Europe, and will examine the role that different notions of citizenship and responsibility have played in the creation and subsequent development of these policy areas. Can these two policy areas—traditionally considered distinct—be thought of as two parts of a broader system of care? The types of questions the course explores include: Why is the Swedish state so generous towards its citizens and those living in poverty in distant lands—it provides generous health care, education and social services domestically and spends substantial amounts on foreign assistance—but so stringent towards those distant strangers who have made it inside its borders (i.e. immigrants)? Why do Americans have a strong sense of responsibility to alleviate the suffering of poor people in Asia and Africa—as evident in the strength of international charitable giving— but at the same time bristle at arguments that their poor fellow citizens deserve assistance? How do our notions of citizenship define our sense of responsibility for the care of citizens and distant strangers?
POL 1025 Introduction to Global Politics (Minnesota)
This course introduces students to the basic concepts, processes and issues in global politics. We will examine theoretical frameworks used to analyze global politics, but the course will focus on current issues such as globalization, international security, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, humanitarian intervention, human rights norms, international law, the politics of international trade and finance, foreign aid, environmental cooperation, and migration. Readings will be drawn from scholarly and policy-oriented sources, as well as from the mass media. By the end of the course, students will advance their views on these much-debated questions of world politics, and they will develop a systematic understanding of global politics and their political, economic and social aspects.
POL 3873W International Ethics and Global Citizenship (Minnesota)
Should nations intervene in other countries to prevent famine or ensure human rights? Under what conditions is war justified? On what principles should immigration policies be based? Who should pay to avoid global environmental problems? Should rich states provide foreign aid or forgive the debt of poor countries? What do we mean by global citizenship? How does an understanding of global citizenship influence how we answer ethical questions in international politics? Are activist groups in transnational civil society practicing global citizenship? In this course we will grapple with these and many other related questions. The course will introduce you to different traditions of moral, legal, and political thought to provide you with the tools to make reasoned judgments about difficult ethical questions in global politics.