Winter Pol S Courses Open to Non-Majors

WINTER 2013 COURSES NOW OPEN TO ALL MAJORS

Pol S courses are now open to students in all majors, including the only Pol S course that counts for VLPA credit, Pol S 281/Engl 251, and Pol S 334 taught by Associate Vice Provost Luis Fraga. Scroll down to see descriptions about the following courses which have the most room. See the Time Schedule for SLNS and additional detail, including learning goals and grading, http://www.washington.edu/students/timeschd/WIN2013/polisci:

Pol S 249, Introduction to Labor Studies
Pol S 270, Introduction to Political Economy
Pol S 281/Engl 251, Literature and American Political Culture
Pol S 310, Modern Political Thought
Pol S 334, Topics in American Politics
Pol S/LSJ 361, US Courts & Civil Liberty
Pol S/LSJ 363, Law in Society
Pol S 448, Politics of the European Union

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Pol S 249/Hist 249/Soc 266, Introduction to Labor Studies
Instructor: Professor Margaret Levi
Lecture: MW 12-120, Quizzes TTh
5 cr., I&S

This interdisciplinary course focuses on workers–employed and unemployed, legal and illegal–and their strategies to improve their employment and political conditions, especially through unions. The class offers various perspectives on the formation, internal organization, and influence of labor organizations in different industries, national settings, and historical periods. It considers changes in: the labor process; the international political economy; the racial, gender, and skill composition of the labor force; the power of workers; and the opposition to unions and workers’ rights. It addresses alternatives to unions in promoting worker rights and interests. The first part of the course focuses on work and workers in the US. The second half turns to the international arena and concludes with an exploration of those who produce in global supply chains.

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Pol S 270, Introduction to Political Economy
Instructor: Professor Anthony Gill
Lecture: TTH 9-1020am, Quizzes WF
5 cr., I&S

This course has two sets of objectives. First, it introduces students to the use of microeconomic reasoning to understand political phenomena. In contrast with explanations that focus on culture or human psychology, some political economists see political behavior as responding to cost-benefit (incentive-based) calculations. Topics covered include rational choice theory, collective choice, collective action, and game theory. In short, students will explore how the assumptions and tools of economic theory have been applied to the study of politics. Second, the course will explore how the theoretical tools discussed in the first part of the class can be applied to the case of economic development. The goal is to juxtapose the importance of economic theory for the study of politics with the importance of politics in the study of economics. Substantive topics to be discussed include environmental issues, economic development in Africa, establishing property rights in the Wild West, sweatshop labor, delivering pizzas, buying popcorn at movies and pirates … lots and lots of pirates.

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Pol S 281/Engl 281, Literature and American Political Culture
Instructor: Rachel Sanders
Lecture: TTh 830-1020am
5 cr., VLPA/IS

This course explores the following questions and more:

What does it mean to say that American political culture is dominated by several mutually constitutive “political rationalities”? How do fictional depictions of the future reflect present social and political conditions, problems, and desires? How does pop culture legitimate, reinforce, or speak against power inequalities pervading the contemporary United States? Have we moved beyond the need to talk about “race” and “feminism” in America today? How are we conditioned to think about the meanings of liberty, opportunity and equality in America today? What do various notions of the “post-” suggest, and what do they have in common?

This course will focus on the ways in which contemporary fiction, film and TV reflect, reinforce, and perhaps resist three dominant and interrelated political rationalities of the early 21st-century United States: the rationality of neoliberalism, the rationality of the post-racial state, and the rationality of post-feminism.

We will learn what a political rationality is and how a political rationality frames public understandings of and political responses to current issues like racial inequality, gender dynamics, and economic wellbeing. We will explore theories of the relationship between the interests and structures of power and the media products of popular culture. We will learn about and put into practice many of the analytical methods used by critical cultural studies scholars. Course readings will be drawn from the fields of political theory, critical race theory, feminist theory, cultural and communications studies, and contemporary American literature.

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Pol S 310, Modern Political Thought
Instructor: James Chamberlain
Lecture: MW 230-420pm
5 cr., I&S

This course will provide a selective survey of modern (not to be confused with contemporary) political theory, including primary source works of Karl Marx, Alexandra Kollontai, John Stuart Mill, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Max Weber. Special attention will be given to each theorists unique and enduring attempt to analyze the modern Western experience. Key themes include: diverse meanings and assessments of modernity; narratives of modernity and its non-modern others?; the relationship between modernity and modern emancipatory movements; the relationship between modernity and colonialism; the impact of modernity on intimate relationships; the question of historical progress (i.e., are modern people better off than their pre-modern predecessors and non-Western contemporaries?); the declining role of religion, tradition, and communities in modern societies; modernity as experienced by disenfranchised populations; and modernity as myth.

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Pol S 334, Topics in American Politics
Topic: Urban Politics
Instructor: Associate Vice Provost Luis Fraga
Lecture: TTh 12-120pm
5 cr., I&S

This course introduces students to actors, institutions, processes, and policies of substate governments in the United States. Through an intensive comparative examination of historical and contemporary politics in city governments, we will gain an understanding of municipal government and its role within the larger context of state and national governments.

The study of city governments in the United States is distinct from the study of state and national politics in several respects. One, unlike state and national governments, city governments have made major structural changes in their systems of representation and administration in response to changes in the distribution of political influence. Such institutional transformations have had immediate consequences for the capacity of different segments of their populations to affect public policy. Two, due to their limited formal authority within the American federal system, many municipalities have not had the resources to resolve major problems that exist within their boundaries. As a result, economic growth has been the primary focus of much urban policy making. The focus on economic growth has not served all segments of the population equally. Lastly, metropolitan areas in the United States have included the most diverse class, racial, and ethnic groupings of the citizenry. Effective strategies of managing intergroup conflict and facilitating intergroup cooperation have always been of great importance to local governments. Responses to this interaction at the urban level have often set the pattern for subsequent state and national action and inaction. Much can be learned about American politics generally by studying urban politics in the United States.

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Pol S/LSJ 361, United States Courts and Civil Liberty
Instructor: Professor George Lovell
Lecture: TTh 1030-1150, Quizzes, WF
5 cr., I&S

Description: This course examines civil rights and civil liberties in the American constitutional system. The course looks at how processes of Supreme Court decision-making and constitutional interpretation have shaped legal protections for individual rights in American society. The readings for the course are excerpts from Supreme Court opinions in several important areas of constitutional law.

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Pol S/LSJ 363, Law in Society
Instructor: Heather Pool
Lecture: MW 9-1020am
5 cr., I&S

This class explores the fundamental roles that law plays in organizing contemporary social life. We shall consider various ways of understanding laws complex presence: how law shapes and enables social interaction, how law constructs differences among people and their actions, how law mediates and enforces power relationships, and how law matters for the kind of society we have. Particular attention will be given to three sets of relationships: between legal meaning-making and legal practice; between legal rights, social identity, and community; and between law and violence. Our inquiries will examine official legal institutions (courts) and actors (judges, police, lawyers, etc.), but the class will emphasize how law works as a complex array of norms, symbols, discourses, and practices that infuse and shape all aspects of social life. We thus will address the politics of law at national, subnational, and transnational levels. Case materials will include much on the U.S. but draw on comparative historical global perspectives.

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Pol S 407, International Security
Instructor: William d’Ambruoso
Lecture: TTh 330-520pm
5 cr., I&S

Examines different theoretical explanations for the causes of war, including the role of international, state, organizational, and individual factors; additional topics vary with instructor. May include the development of warefare, deterring weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, intelligence, and the ethics of warfare. Additional topics include the decline of major war, the use of torture, insurgency, economic statecraft, and nonviolent resistance.

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Pol S 448, Politics of the European Union
Instructor: Professor Frank Wendler
Lecture: TTh 1230-220pm
5 cr., I&S

This course will introduce you to the institutions and decision-making of the European Union and the main concepts, theories and debates of research dealing with it in the field of political science. It is suggested that two main issues motivate the study of the European Union: On the one hand, the EU has assumed a broad range of political competences and now arguably affects not just the political decision-making of its Member States but also the everyday lives of ordinary citizens. Therefore it appears relevant to study why the EU has evolved this way through six decades of political integration and how it works today. On the other, the EU is an interesting object for political scientists as it constitutes not just the most advanced project of supranational integration between nation states but is also a unique political system that blends features of an international organisation and a nation state. By transforming national decision-making into a new form of multi-level governance, it therefore tests our understanding of how politics in the nation-state works, and to what degree decision-making beyond the nation-state can be, and needs to be democratically legitimate.

The seminar is organised in three sections, proceeding from a global perspective on the evolution of the EU as a political system to a more detailed study of its institutions and decision-making processes and finally, some of the main policy-fields dealt with by the EU. While the course offers a thematically broad introduction into the study of the EU, an emphasis will be laid on questions of representation, political conflict, decision-making and democratic legitimacy.

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