Jun 18, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
    
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Course Descriptions


 

Political Science

  
  • POL 121 - American Politics


    Instructors
    Bullock, Crowder-Meyer, O’Geen, Roberts, Yesnowitz

    Analysis of American political processes, institutions, and problems.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies a requirement in the Communication Studies interdisciplinary major and minor.

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Not open to juniors until drop-add; not open to seniors except with permission of the instructor and only once the semester begins.

  
  • POL 140 - Comparative Global Politics


    Instructors
    Bersch K

    Introduction to the comparative study of political institutions, selected public policy challenges, and political trends in selected countries and regions around the world. Students are introduced to aspects of critical analysis and comparative methods as part of exploration of topics such as comparative electoral systems, executive-legislative relations, health care policies, gun control, immigration, taxation, and democratization.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
     

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Not open to juniors until drop-add; not open to seniors except with permission of the instructor and only once the semester begins. 

  
  • POL 141 - Comparative Global Politics


    Instructors
    Bullock G.

    Introduction to the comparative study of political institutions, selected public policy challenges, and political trends in selected countries and regions around the world. Students are introduced to aspects of critical analysis and comparative methods as part of exploration of topics such as comparative electoral systems, executive-legislative relations, health care policies, gun control, immigration, taxation, and democratization.

     

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community requirement.
     

    Prerequisites & Notes
     

     

  
  • POL 161 - Introduction to International Relations


    Instructors
    Ceka, Toska

    Global issues, foreign policy, and the structures and processes of conflict and cooperation in a dynamically changing world environment.

    Satisfied the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
     

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Not open to juniors until drop-add; not open to seniors except with permission of the instructor and only once the semester begins.

  
  • POL 180 - Introduction to Policy Analysis


    Instructor
    C. Marsicano, Menkhaus, Murray, Bullock

    This course provides students with an introduction to the methods and theory related to policy analysis. Students will learn various forms of policy evaluation including decision analysis, risk analysis, cost-benefit analysis, and others. Policy topics will include issues in domestic and international policy related to education, the arts, the environment, healthcare, national defense, non-profit and non-governmental organizations, foreign direct investment and affairs, and economic policy. Students will write a policy whitepaper advocating for a policy intervention to impact an area of policy of their choosing.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

  
  • POL 182 - Introduction to Political Science Research Methods


    Instructors
    Bersch, Ceka, Crowder-Meyer, O’Geen, Toska

    The framework of social science analysis, and the use of statistics for studying political problems. Topics range from research design and hypothesis testing to correlation and multiple regression.

    Satisfies the Mathematical and Quantitative Thought requirement. 
    Satisfies a requirement in the Data Science interdisciplinary minor.

    Satisfies the Methods requirement for the Gender and Sexuality Studies major in the Society and Politics track.

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Not open to first-year students.

  
  • POL 202 - Classical Political Theory


    Instructor
    Ahrensdorf

    Through a study of works by Aristophanes, Plato, and Aristotle, this course examines the Socratic revolution in the history of thought, why Socrates founded political philosophy, and the radical challenge that classical political philosophy poses to modern and contemporary political thought.

    Satisfies a requirement in the Political Science major.
    Satisfies a requirement in the Classics major.
    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community requirement

     

  
  • POL 203 - Medieval Political Theory


    Instructors
    Ahrensdorf, Shaw

    Major political thinkers of medieval Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

     

  
  • POL 204 - Modern Political Theory


    Instructor
    Shaw

    Leading political philosophers from the Renaissance to the latter part of the 19th century.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community requirement.

     

  
  • POL 206 - Contemporary Political Theory


    Instructor
    Shaw

    Major political philosophers from Nietzsche to the present.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community requirement.

     

  
  • POL 207 - Family and Justice


    Instructor
    Shaw

    Examination of the ways in which families and political and economic institutions shape one another, with special emphasis on policies that promote marriage over ‘alternative’ family arrangements; state-mandated family leave policies; ‘family-friendly’ corporate employment practices; same-sex marriage; divorce law; and welfare reform.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community requirement.

     

  
  • POL 220 - The US Congress


    Instructors
    Roberts, Yesnowitz

    Legislative behavior and policy-making in the United States, with particular emphasis on the Congress.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies a major or interdisciplinary minor requirement in Communication Studies.

     

  
  • POL 222 - Parties and Interest Groups


    Instructor
    Roberts

    Analysis of the internal operation of parties and interest groups and their role in the American electoral and legislative process.

    Satisfies a major or interdisciplinary minor requirement in Communication Studies.
    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

     

     

  
  • POL 223 - The Presidency


    Instructors
    O’Geen, Roberts

    The modern American presidency from a policy-making perspective, including consideration of the various internal and external factors that constrain the behavior of incumbent presidents.

    Satisfies a major or interdisciplinary minor requirement in Communication Studies.
    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

     

  
  • POL 224 - Political Institutions


    Instructor
    O’Geen

    This course will examine the origins and maintenance of political institutions, as well as the role of institutions in shaping outcomes and behavior. Theories drawing on insights from Political Science, Economics, History, and Sociology will be explored with a focus on applications in American politics.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

     

  
  • POL 225 - US Public Policy


    Instructors
    G. Bullock, Roberts, Yesnowitz

    Formation, implementation, and evaluation of governmental responses to public needs. Focus on special topics such as environmental policy and health care.

    Satisfies a major or interdisciplinary minor requirement in Communication Studies.
    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

     

  
  • POL 226 - Racial and Ethnic Politics


    Instructor
    Crowder-Meyer

    An exploration of the role of ethnic and racial identities in American political life, with special attention to debates about how best to incorporate various American minority groups into the political process.

    Satisfies Cultural Diversity requirement.

    Satisfies Social-Scientific Thought requirement

  
  • POL 227 - Law, Politics and Society


    Instructor
    O’Geen

    This course is a survey of issues and themes connecting law, politics, and society. Reading and discussion will focus on American politics and explore topics as wide-ranging as racial inequality in sentencing and imprisonment, historical changes in the interpretation of rights and liberties, and civil procedure.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
     

  
  • POL 228 - US Environmental Politics and Policy


    Instructor
    Bullock

    This course will explore the political challenges and opportunities associated with environmental problems in the United States. Through in-depth cases and role-playing simulations at the local, state, and national levels, students study the competing interests, values, narratives, and knowledge claims in the politics of energy, pollution, natural resources, biodiversity, and climate change.

    Satisfies a major or interdisciplinary minor requirement in Communication Studies.
    Satisfies depth and breadth course requirement in Social Science track of the Environmental Studies major or interdisciplinary minor.
    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Offered every other year, in rotation with POL 398.

  
  • POL 229 - Business and Politics


    Instructor
    Bullock

    This course introduces students to a variety of analytical perspectives on the relationship between the public and private sectors in the United States. It has a particular focus on the characteristics of US political institutions and corporate actors that influence this relationship, the role of corporate activities in the political arena, and the effects of public policies on American businesses.

    Satisfies a major or interdisciplinary minor requirement in Communication Studies.
    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement

     

  
  • POL 238 - Topic: State & Local Politics


    Instructor
    Yesnowitz

    This course examines state and local politics within the federal system. Our detailed consideration of America’s “laboratories of democracy” will provide historical, political, and institutional context for understanding the contemporary challenges facing subnational levels of government in the United States. Topics to be investigated include: structure, functions, and governance of state politics; nationalization of local politics; election administration and state political actors; participation, representation, and the role of state political parties and social movements; policymaking and state legislatures; ballot initiatives and direct democracy; rural vs. urban political divisions; and the relationships between local, state, and federal governments.

  
  • POL 239 - Special Topics American Politics


    Spring 2020

    POL 239 A Topic: Social Movements and Social Change in the United States
    Instructor: Yesnowitz

    When and why do social movements occur? What motivates some individuals to participate in organized collective action? What role do strategies, values, decision-making structures, and leaders play? How have recent technological developments transformed recruitment efforts? Which tactics are most effective in pressuring legislators to respond to movement demands? What impacts have oppositional movements had on politics and society in the United States? In considering these (and other) questions, we will explore a range of movements which have both animated previous cycles of protest such as civil rights, women’s liberation, and antiwar mobilization along with several cases which characterize our own time including climate change advocacy, Black Lives Matter demonstrations, and the #MeToo campaign. When examining the issue grievances and proposed remedies of both historical and contemporary political struggles, we will also focus close attention on media coverage of social movements, intra-movement disputes and inter-movement coalitions, the rise of counter-movements, and movement relations with political parties and presidential administrations.

    Satisfies Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

    POL 239 B Topic:  What’s Happening to the News, and What it Means for Democracy
    Instructor: Sill

    The 2020 presidential campaign will flood Americans with news, but how much will be independent information amid political messaging, social media manipulation and partisan spin? This course will examine campaign reporting and other case studies in considering how media disruption and fragmentation are affecting democracy and civic function in the United States, We’ll explore current press-public issues, “enemies of the people” versus “watchdogs for the people” and other issues of trust in the context of U.S. history and the Internet’s transformation of communication, with an eye to what comes next. The course will also include tools and skills for verifying information and evaluating media sources for credibility.

    Satisfies Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

  
  • POL 241 - Comparative Public Policy


    Instructor
    Bersch

    This course explores how and why policies dealing with issues such as the economy, health care, and immigration differ across nations. We examine and contrast the influence of political ideas and ideologies, institutions, and organized interests in shaping the process and substance of public policy. In this course, we also investigate why similar policies generate different outcomes, exploring the challenges that developed and developing states face in implementing public policy. Cases analysis and discussions will provide opportunities for students to apply analytical skills and gain a realistic understanding of the roles, responsibilities, and interdisciplinary knowledge required of practitioners. 

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

  
  • POL 242 - West European Politics


    Instructor
    Ceka

    This course is designed to introduce you to the politics of West European societies by comparing different paths to democracy, party systems, political cultures, and policy outcomes of a number of West European countries. The material covered here is divided in three parts. We will begin the first part by exploring the divergent paths to democratization of the three largest countries in West Europe: the United Kingdom, France and Germany. We will then continue by exploring the different party systems and examine how votes are turned into seats in a variety of countries.

    In the second part of the course we will examine the political economy of Europe by focusing on how capitalism works differently across Europe and by studying the different models of the welfare state in Europe. We will discuss policy outcomes in a variety of countries, with a particular focus on social inequality and health outcomes. We will then move to the third part of the course where we study the European Union (EU) and current challenges facing European democracies. Here we will explore why the EU was created, how it works and how it relates to the world, and discuss the consequences of the Great Recession for the future of the EU. Finally, we will examine the challenges facing Europe today by considering immigration, globalization and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
     

  
  • POL 248 - Comparative Climate Policy


    Instructor
    G. Bullock

    This course examines the design, implementation, and outcomes of climate policies around the world. It investigates the politics of climate change in high, middle, and low income countries, including Brazil, China, the European Union, India, the United States, and more. The course explores the themes of climate governance, climate justice, and climate resistance and enables students to compare climate policies on multiple dimensions and across different contexts. It also identifies connections to other domains of environmental concern, such as biodiversity, air and water pollution, and sustainable development.

    Satisfies Political Science major requirement.
    Satisfies Environmental Studies major and minor requirement (All tracks).
    Satisfies Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

  
  • POL 259 - Special Topic: Governance, Corruption, and Reform


    Fall 2019 Special Topic: Governance, Corruption, and Reform
    Instructor: 
    Bersch

    This course explores the relationship between government, corruption, and reform, and under what conditions bureaucracies work either as either facilitators of or impediments to reform. This course provides a mix of classroom instruction with hands-on experiential learning, drawing on the instructor’s work with the Bureaucracy Lab at the World Bank and the Stanford Governance Project. Students will develop a Governance/Policy Lab at Davison, work with an external partner on developing a project, and complete a final research paper based on data from the Governance Project.

     

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Instructor permission required.

  
  • POL 269 - Special Topics in International Politics


    An upper division course dealing with a topic in International Politics.  Topics change from year to year.

     

    Fall 2018 Topic: Crises in the European Union
    Instructor: Lochocki

    This course explores the three major crises faced by the European Union –  the Eurozone, Migration policies and politics, and the impact of the British withdrawal from the EU, or Brexit.  Key domestic political variables such as the rise of populist parties will be given special coverage. Students should  possess some prior knowledge of European integration and history.

  
  • POL 281 - Who Owns the Past?


    Instructors
    Zimmerman, Krentz

    Who controls the past? Who decides what cultural property and cultural heritage merits preservation? What role do local communities, state and national government, and international institutions play? What are the major threats to the preservation of cultural heritage? War destroys cultural property most dramatically, but looting, economic development, tourism and climate change also pose threats. Some people would also count archaeology, which seeks to understand the human past through its material remains, as another threat. Who decides where and what to dig? Who owns the excavation finds? 

    In this course, students will participate in class discussions, often in small break-out groups, sometimes on the basis of readings and sometimes on the basis of student reports, presented in the form of Zoom videos on such topics as (for example) what cultural heritage is at risk, what effect nationalism has on archaeology, what the acquisitions policy of a museum is, and how a site should be conserved and presented to the public. For each of these assignments, students will choose which particular country or museum they wish to report on. The class as a whole aims at a global perspective.

    Satisfies the Philosophical and Religious Perspectives requirement.
    Counts as an elective toward the majors in Political Science, Classical Studies, and Classical Languages and Literature, as well as the minor in Classical Studies.

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Students at all levels welcome. (Spring 2021)

  
  • POL 283 - Ethics and Policymaking


    Instructor
    G. Bullock, Layman 

    Nearly every question of policy is also a question of ethics. Whether the matter at hand is public policy or institutional policy, anyone faced with deciding how to manage a budget, prioritize certain projects, or distribute opportunities, goods, or services must contend with competing values and tradeoffs between options. In this course, students will explore several important ethical frameworks and apply them to real-life policy problems. Moreover, the course will emphasize a deliberative methodology for ethical problem solving; students will learn and employ deliberative democratic methods of respectful and collaborative discourse as a vehicle for ethical policy analysis.

    Satisfies the Political Theory Sub-Field Requirement for the Political Science Major.
    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought Ways of Knowing requirement.

  
  • POL 284 - US Diplomacy in First-person


    Instructor
    Zimmerman

    This course explores the memoirs and oral histories of American diplomats from post-WWII to the present day, how these individuals shaped policy and the institutions they served, and the leadership and ethical challenges they faced.  Primary and secondary sources, guest speakers, social network mapping, and other resources will enable students to explore theory and practice, and analyze how relationships and perspectives influence U.S. foreign policies and their implementation. 

    Satisifies a major requirement in Political Science
    Satisfies Digital Studies minor requirement
    Satisfies History major and minor requirement
    Satisfies Historical Thought requirement

  
  • POL 285 - Independent Study


    Instructor
    Staff

    POL 285: Independent Study

  
  • POL 286 - Navigating Politics, Corruption, and Policy in International Trade and Investment


    Instructor
    Crocker

    Political considerations have a dramatic impact on the viability of trade and investment prospects in any given country or region. These considerations need to be understood within a framework that assesses historical, cultural, economic, and external factors - and then applied to a scenario where either current or prospective investors are determining how they might participate. Robust trade and investment opportunities are a linchpin of a functioning and sustainable economy that provides broad-based opportunities to its population - and in doing so provides political stability and in some cases protects the sovereign integrity of the country in question. This course uses a case study method to delve into real-life situations where political considerations have played an outsized role in trade and investment, with sometimes severe consequences.

    Satisfies Political Science major requirement.

  
  • POL 288 - Davidson in Washington Independent Study


    Instructor
    Staff

    Project involving student research conducted in Washington, D.C., as part of the summer program of Davidson in Washington. Must have a significant political component.

    Graded on a Pass or Fail basis.

     

  
  • POL 289 - Independent Study


    Instructor
    Staff

    Research leading to the submission of a major paper under the direction and supervision of a faculty member who reviews and approves the topic of the independent study and evaluates the student’s work.

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Permission of the instructor.

  
  • POL 290 - Politics of Africa


    Instructor
    Menkhaus

    Survey of contemporary political conflicts, development  and international relations of Sub-Saharan Africa.  Sub-field = International and Comparative

    Satisfies a requirement in the Africana Studies major (Geographic Region: Africa).
    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Fulfills cultural diversity requirement.
     

  
  • POL 291 - Politics of the Middle East


    Instructor
    Toska

    Survey of contemporary political and economic issues facing the Middle East, including international relations of the Middle East.

    Sub-field = International and Comparative
    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
    Provides credit towards the Arab Studies minor.
    Satisfies the Middle East Studies interdisciplinary minor.

  
  • POL 293 - Politics of the Americas


    Instructor
    R. Crandall

    This course examines the history, politics, economics, and society of the countries and regions comprising the Americas and Latin America in particular. 

    Sub-field = International and Comparative
    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies the Cultural Diversity requirement.
    Satisfies a requirement of the Latin American Studies major.

     

  
  • POL 302 - Special Topics in Classical Political Theory


    Instructor
    Ahrensdorf

    This course explores such central themes of classical political thought as “education and politics,” “idealism and realism,” and “politics and literature.” The content of this course changes from year to year. 

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies Justice, Equality, and Community requirement.

  
  • POL 304 - Foundations of Liberalism


    Instructor
    Shaw

    Major political philosophers within the liberal tradition, including Locke, Kant, de Tocqueville, Mill, Hayek, and Rawls.

    Satisifies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community requirement.

     

  
  • POL 305 - Education and Politics


    Instructor
    Ahrensdorf

    This course examines the proper political and moral education of aspiring leaders in works by Plato, Machiavelli, and Shakespeare.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

     

  
  • POL 306 - Special Topic: Machiavelli and the American Founding


    Instructor
    Ahrensdorf

    This course explores the theme of Machiavelli and the American Founding.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

     

  
  • POL 307 - Lincoln and the Crisis of American Democracy


    Instructor
    Ahrensdorf
     

    This course examines the political thought of Lincoln, his predecessors, and his contemporaries concerning such themes as slavery, democracy, the Founding, and the Constitution.

    Satisfies a Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

    Satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community requirement

  
  • POL 318 - Special Topics in Contemporary Political Theory


    Instructor
    Shaw

    The course explores topics of special relevance to debates in contemporary political theory such as “multicultural citizenship,” “democratic theory,” and “conservative political theory.”

    The content of this course changes from year to year. 

     

  
  • POL 322 - Local Environmental Governance


    Instructors
    O’Geen, Johnson

    While national and international policy can drive environmental decision making, many environmental policy decisions are still made at the local level. These day to day decisions about streams, land conservation, and water management receive little attention from the press and are subject to very little public input. Instead, most decisions are made through a complex political ecology involving technocrats, consulting firms, engineers, and public relations officials. As part of this course, students will engage with local decision makers, non-profits, and reporters to better understand how decisions are made. Students will be required to attend (some) public meetings and meet with non-profits to understand their role as stakeholders.

  
  • POL 324 - American Judicial Politics


    Instructor
    O’Geen

    The judiciary and its ancillary players occupy an important and unique space in the world of American politics.  Judges make decisions that impact not only the parties to a case but can have important implications for public policy outside of the case at hand. Litigants, attorneys, and interest groups understand that courts can shape policy and often try to use the legal system to their advantage. This is true for big policy questions and constitutional law but is also true for the day-to-day business of lower courts and judges. Americans often view courts, and judges in particular, as above the political fray. However, a deep investigation of judicial politics involves an understanding that these actors and institutions live simultaneously in the legal and political worlds and that the difference between the two is not as stark as we might first believe.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

  
  • POL 325 - Constitutional Law


    Instructor
    O’Geen

    Development and interpretation of the Constitution of the United States through analysis of the decisions of the Supreme Court. 

    Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric requirement.

     

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Not open to first-year students. 

  
  • POL 327 - Civil Liberties


    Instructor
    O’Geen

    Analysis of Constitutional guarantees of civil liberties in the United States with special focus on the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment.

    Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric requirement.

     

  
  • POL 328 - Politics of Information


    Instructor
    Bullock

    Ratings, rankings and certifications have become a ubiquitous form of power in American society.  Through in-depth case studies, this course explores the validity, credibility and effectiveness of these hotly-contested “information-based governance” strategies (such as food sustainability certifications, corporate “green” rankings, or doctor quality ratings), particularly in the health and environmental fields.

    Satisfies depth and breadth course requirement in the Social Science track of the Environmental Studies major or interdisciplinary minor.
    Satisfies a major or interdisciplinary minor requirement in Communication Studies.
    Counts as an elective in the Data Science interdisciplinary minor.
    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

  
  • POL 330 - Campaign Strategy


    Instructors
    Roberts

    Analysis of the strategic and ethical dilemmas that political candidates face in election campaigns.

    Satisfies a major or interdisciplinary minor requirement in Communication Studies.

     

  
  • POL 333 - Politics of Japan, Taiwan, Korea


    Instructor

    S. Rigger

     

    Coming Soon!

  
  • POL 334 - Public Opinion


    Instructors
    Crowder-Meyer

    Formation, change and measurement of political attitudes.

    Satisfies a major or interdisciplinary minor requirement in Communication Studies.

    Satisfies Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

    Prerequisites & Notes
    (Offered alternate years.)

  
  • POL 336 - Politics and the Media


    Instructors
    Crowder-Meyer

    An assessment of the role mass media plays in American politics with emphasis on systematic as well as individual effects.

    Satisfies a major or interdisciplinary minor requirement in Communication Studies.

  
  • POL 341 - The Rise of New Democracies


    Instructor
    Rigger

    The study of selected countries undergoing democratic transitions using theories of democratization in contemporary societies as a framework.

    Satisfies a major or interdisciplinary minor requirement in Communication Studies.
    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

  
  • POL 342 - Politics, Economics, & Society in China


    Instructor
    Rigger

    Introduces the political institutions, behavior, and foreign relations of the People’s Republic of China.


    Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
    Provides credit towards the Asian Studies Interdisciplinary Minor.

  
  • POL 343 - The Politics of Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea


    Instructor
    Rigger

    Introduces the political institutions and behavior of Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and North Korea.


    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
    Satisfies a requirement of the Asian Studies Interdisciplinary Minor.

  
  • POL 344 - Politics and Economics of Brazil (= LAS 220)


    Instructor
    B. Crandall

    Treatment of political and economic change in modern Brazil. Focus on inequality, violence, environmental protection, and US-Brazil relations. Course includes historical background from 1946 forward.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
    Provides credit towards the Latin American Studies and Political Science majors.

     

  
  • POL 347 - Politics of Development


    Instructor
    Menkhaus

    Theories of development and underdevelopment, assessment of development policies in practice, and study of political change in the Global South.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community requirement.

     

    Counts as a theory/methodology course for the Latin American Studies major.

  
  • POL 348 - Politics of Russia and Eastern Europe


    Instructor
    Ceka

    This course introduces you to the politics of Russia and Eastern Europe through a comparative analysis of the political systems, political economies, and the post-communist trajectories of Russia and other former communist countries in Europe. The course is divided into three parts. In the first part, we trace the ideological underpinnings and the workings of the communist systems that dominated the region in the second half of the twentieth century. The focus will be on the communist ideology and how it spread, the centrally planned economy, totalitarianism and the 1989 revolution that led to the collapse of communism in Europe. This part of the course will enable us to situate more recent political developments in Eastern Europe in their larger historical and institutional context of the post-World War II era. 

     

    In the second part, we focus on the challenges of post-Communism in Central Eastern Europe that arose from the transition from command economies to market-based ones and the introduction of multiparty elections and democratic institutions. The topics discussed include democratic consolidation, ethnic conflict and disintegration, economic reform, European integration, and democratic backsliding. The third part of the course focuses on post-communist Russia and its experience with the political and economic transition away from communism. Here we explore the reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union, the rocky years of the Yeltsin era, the rise of the oligarchs, the consolidation of authoritarianism under Putin, and Russia’s efforts to restore its global role and to influence domestic politics in the West.  

     

    Satisfies a requirement in the Russian Studies major and minor.
    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Counts toward the International Relations or Comparative Politics areas in the major

  
  • POL 353 - The Latin American Political Novel


    Instructor
    R. Crandall

    This course analyzes the political messages and discussions within some of Latin America’s most widely read works of fiction.  The course also examines the broader political, economic, and social context in which these stories take place.  The novels will be read in English translation.


    Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.
    Satisfies a major requirement in Latin American Studies. 
     

  
  • POL 354 - POL Southern Cone-S. America


    Instructor
    B. Crandall

    Course offers brief historical overview of Southern Cone nations Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay and then moves to a study of political and economic institutions.  Themes include bureaucratic authoritarianism, economic shocks, military rule and the return to democracy, regional integration, and globalization.

    Satisfies a major requirement in Latin American Studies and Political Science.
    Satisfies a minor elective requirement in Latin American Studies.
    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement
    Meets the Cultural Diversity requirement.
     

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Open to all students

  
  • POL 359 - Topics in Comparative Politics


    Upper level course in comparative politics.  Topics change from year to year.

    Fall 2019: Democracy and its Discontents

    Instructor
    Penar

    The Freedom House organization recently suggested that there has been a 13-year decline in the level of democracy globally. Countries that were seemingly on a more democratic trajectory, such as Benin and Zambia, have experienced a deliberate move toward authoritarianism. In Myanmar, the hope for a new democratic dispensation is now greatly diminished. Finally, among countries in the West, democratic values and practices are being questioned by so-called populist leaders and associated parties. This course examines the foundations of democracy and explores the challenges to democratic rule with an emphasis on developing countries, such as countries at a political crossroads and new democracies. The course will also consider the rise of “populism” among countries in the West. Finally, the course will consider the global, national, and local factors that shape discontent with democracy, as well as interrogate whether discontent necessarily leads to a resurgence of authoritarianism.    

     

  
  • POL 360 - International Political Economy (=Eco 288)


    Instructor
    B. Crandall

    This course explores theories and policy debates involving international trade, finance, development, labor, and global financial crises. This class is not open to students who have taken ECO 288.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
     

    Prerequisites & Notes
    ECO 101 required

  
  • POL 361 - U.S.-Latin American Relations


    Instructor
    R. Crandall

    This course traces the evolution of United States involvement in Latin America beginning with the War of 1898 and continuing through the present day. It focuses on recent US-Latin American issues such as the war on drugs, undocumented immigration, and intermittent U.S. interventions in the hemisphere.

    Satisfies the Historical Thought requirement.
    Counts toward the Latin American Studies Major.
     

  
  • POL 362 - American Foreign Policy


    Instructor
    Menkhaus

    Analysis of the foreign policy process, and selected American foreign policy challenges and debates.


    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement

  
  • POL 363 - International Organization


    Instructor
    Ceka

    Survey of theories of international cooperation, conflict, and organization; the historical evolution, functions, and current politics of key international organizations, especially the United Nations; U.S. foreign policy toward the U.N.; and selected issues and case studies with a focus on the politics of intervention and international peacekeeping.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement

    Prerequisites & Notes
    POL 161-International Relations is a prerequisite.

  
  • POL 364 - International Security


    Instructor
    Menkhaus

    Analysis of old and emerging global security threats, including nuclear proliferation, terrorism, cyber-terrorism, civil wars, transnational crime, and climate change.


    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement

    Prerequisites & Notes
    POL 161-International Relations is a prerequisite.

  
  • POL 365 - The International Relations of the Asia Pacific


    Instructor
    Rigger

    Considers the foreign policies of and relationships among nations in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies a requirement of the East Asian Studies major

  
  • POL 366 - State-building and Peacebuilding


    Instructors
    Menkhaus


    Failed and fragile states have been identified as a major threat to both development and security.  This course explores the enterprise of peacebuilding and state-building in post-conflict settings, and the many challenges faced by the international community as it attempts to support the revival of states and good governance in countries emerging from war.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

     

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Permission of the instructor required.

    POL 161-International Relations is a prerequisite.

  
  • POL 379 - Comparative Campaigns and Elections


    Instructor
    Penar

    Most countries around the world hold elections, but the quality of these elections differ greatly. In authoritarian and democratic regimes there are attempts to shape the electoral playing field in ways that can harm representation and accountability. This course examines several dimensions of election quality ranging from voter registration to campaigns to the reporting of results in countries across the globe. In the context of exploring election quality, the course will also investigate the nature of campaigns and election results in both authoritarian and democratic countries. In particular, we will consider campaign dynamics and strategy given institutional and regime constraints in a diverse set of countries across the globe

     

  
  • POL 380 - Symposium: Davidson in Washington


    Summer 2022-

    Section A
    World Politics in American Politics
    Ceka

    In this seminar, we will explore how world politics, foreign actors, and events in the rest of the world influence American politics and policy. The course has two overarching goals. First, we will examine the role that domestic and foreign actors play in the making of American foreign policy by looking at lobbying efforts, think tank activity and diplomacy, and by studying cases such as the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, US-China relations, and conflicts in the Middle East. Second, we will explore the interplay between world politics and American politics by investigating the influence of foreign affairs in US elections and the power struggle between the President and Congress.

    Section B
    Identity in American Politics
    Crowder-Meyer

    One of the clearest findings across American politics scholarship is the power of party identity on political outcomes. Partisanship shapes how citizens behave, the outcome of elections, and what representatives do once in office. It is increasingly evident that many other identities influence American politics as well. In “Identity in American Politics,” we will investigate how identities such as gender, race, ethnicity, and region affect American politics and the outcomes of American government.

     

    Satisfies a major requirement in Political Science.

  
  • POL 381 - Philanthropy and the Non-Profit Sector


    Instructor
    Menkhaus
     
    Multi-disciplinary exploration of the changing roles of the non-profit sector and philanthropy in service delivery, advocacy, civic life and public policy.  Focus is primarily on the non-profit sector in the US.  Topics include venture philanthropy; social entrepreneurism; foundations; patterns of giving and volunteerism; best practices in non-profit management; and critiques of philanthropic giving and the non-profit sector.  Includes a lab component of the course, funded by the “Learning by Giving Foundation,” in which students solicit project proposals and allocate $10,000 to local non-profits.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

  
  • POL 382 - Special Topic: Dilemmas of Ethics and Public Service


    Instructor
    Bill Kristol

    If you are interested in this seminar, know that pre-reregistration is by permission only.  To request permission to preregister, please write a one paragraph bio that includes your name, class, major or potential major,  and a 3-5 sentence explanation of why you want to take the course and why you would be an excellent contributor to the class. Send to Meg Sawicki mesawicki@davidson.edu using the subject line “Kristol seminar”. A committee will determine composition of the seminar. You will be contacted on April 4  notifying you whether you have a seat in the class. 

    The course is open to all majors, and there are no pre-requisites.

  
  • POL 383 - Peruvian Political Thought since the Conquest (=HIS 362)


    Instructor
    Staff

    This seminar uses primary-source readings to explore the history of political ideas in Peru since the conquest, with an emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The course includes a wide range of Peruvian voices, including indigenous-, Spanish-, and African-descended Peruvians; women and men; leftists and rightists. It also includes multiple genres, including novels (several), works of formal political theory, indigenous oral histories, and distinctively Peruvian “traditions” (short works of historical fiction).

    Satisfies the Historical Thought requirement.
    Satisfies a requirement of the Latin American Studies interdisciplinary minor.
     

  
  • POL 384 - Psychology of Political Leadership


    Instructor
    Ceka

    This course is interdisciplinary and uses concepts, theories and methodological approaches from psychology to explore political leadership and its many facets. It has three overarching goals. First, it will explore the factors that influence who becomes a political leader. Here the focus will be on how political leaders are chosen and socialized and what their motivations for seeking political office are. Second, this course will seek to understand how contextual factors and character traits affect leadership and decision making with a particular focus on how leaders’ personalities and experiences interact with their environment and affect their ability to govern accountably and effectively. Third, it will investigate how leaders relate to the public with a focus on the cognitive basis of this relationship and the role of persuasion.

    Satisfies Psycology major requirement.
    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

  
  • POL 385 - Independent Study


    Instructor
    Staff

    POL 385: Independent Study

  
  • POL 389 - Tutorial


    Instructor
    Staff

    Individual programs of supervised study conducted through the preparation and discussion of a series of essays under the direction and supervision of a faculty member who reviews and approves the topic of the tutorial.

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Permission of the instructor. (Offered every semester.)

  
  • POL 398 - Global Environmental Politics


    Instructor
    Bullock

    Through in-depth case studies and research projects, this course introduces students to comparative and international perspectives on three major environmental challenges - climate change, biodiversity loss, and access to clean water.  Students will learn about the strengths and limitations of efforts by both governmental and non-governmental actors across a range of different countries and scales to tackle these challenges. 

    Satisfies a major requirement in Environmental Studies.
    Satisfies a major or interdisciplinary minor requirement in Communication Studies.
    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Offered every other year, in rotation with POL 228.

  
  • POL 400 - Seminars in Political Theory, POL 400-419


    Instructors
    Ahrensdorf, Shaw

    Reading, research, reports, and discussions on selected topics within the sub-field. Past seminars include “Lincoln and the Crisis of American Democracy,” “The City and Justice,” “Kant,” and “Politics and Heroism.”

    A list of available seminars will be posted on the department webpage prior to each semester’s registration.

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Permission of the instructor. Individual courses may have additional prerequisites. At least one seminar is offered in each sub-field every year.

  
  • POL 401 - Thucydides on Justice and War


    Instructor
    Ahrensdorf

    This course investigates arguments for and against both political realism and political idealism through a study of the founder of classical realism, Thucydides.

    .

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Permission of the instructor required.

  
  • POL 402 - Kant, Liberalism, and Rights


    Instructor
    Shaw

    A focused examination of Kant’s principal moral and political writings.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community requirement.

  
  • POL 403 - Against Liberal Democracy


    Instructor
    Shaw

    An examination of influential 19th and 20th century critiques of liberal democracy.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community requirement.

     

  
  • POL 404 - Marxism and After


    Instructor
    Shaw

    An examination seminal writings by Marx and Engels and their elaboration by later writers such as Lenin, Gramsci, Lukacs, Fanon, Mao and Marcuse.

     

    Satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community requirement.

     

  
  • POL 405 - Justice and the City


    Instructor
    Shaw

    An examination of contemporary urban design and regional planning practices in light of normative debates about property rights, democracy, and federalism.

    Satisfies a Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community requirement.

  
  • POL 406 - Religion, Politics, and Law


    Instructor
    Ahrensdorf

    This course explores the perennial issue of the relation between religion, politics, and law (both human and divine), through a study of such thinkers as Plato and Montesquieu.

    Satisfies a Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Permission of the instructor required.

  
  • POL 407 - Liberalism, Feminism, and Manliness


    Instructor
    Shaw

    An examination of the tensions between liberalism and feminism in the works of Wollstonecraft, Rousseau, Mill, Tocqueville, Mansfield, and de Beauvoir.

    Satisfies a Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community requirement.

  
  • POL 408 - Special Topics in Political Theory


    Fall 2016 - Chinese Political Thought: Ancient and Modern

    Given China’s current prominence in global affairs, there has been a recent revival of interest in what China might teach us about the nature of political life.  While many earlier interpreters regarded traditional Chinese political theories, most notably Confucianism, as an obstacle to economic and political modernization, some more recent political theorists have suggested that Chinese political thought offers a powerful alternative to modern Western thought.  In this course, we will seek to examine these debates through the careful study of both the central Chinese texts (in translation) and contemporary works in the field.  

    In the first part of the course, we will examine the major schools of ancient Chinese political thought– Confucianism, Daoism, Legalism, and Mohism.  We will consider the ways in which each one responds to questions such as the following: what is the best way of life for human beings?  How does can particular policies or approaches to government help or hinder human wellbeing?  What forms of education support a flourishing community?  What is the place of the family in political life?  In the second part of the course, we will bring these theories, particularly Confucianism, into dialogue with contemporary Western political thought.  Here we will discuss, for example, the ways in which concepts such as democracy and human rights might be understood within a Confucian framework.  

  
  • POL 409 - Seminar: Modern Conservative Political Philosophy


    Instructor
    Shaw

    The course explores the diverse intellectual currents of modern conservative philosophy, including close readings of signal writings by Hume, Burke, Hayek, Scruton and Sowell.

  
  • POL 410 - The Crisis of Liberal Democracy: Tocqueville and Nietzsche


    Instructor
    Ahrensdorf

    Seminar: The Crisis of Liberal Democracy: Tocqueville and Nietzsche

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Permission of instructor required.

  
  • POL 420 - Institutions and Inequality: a case study of Panama


    Instructor
    B. Crandall

    Panama has been a stable democracy since 1990 and has in recent years been celebrated as an economic success story for its rapid rate of per capital GDP convergence with the United States. The country’s canal along with high levels of service exports, foreign direct investment, and capital accumulation have been attributed as key factors driving growth and stability. This course will use this Panamanian success story as a starting point, analyzing the drivers of economic growth and relative political stability in Panama. At the same time, we acknowledge the “tyranny of averages” in indicators such as per capital income and will dig deeper into the winners and losers of Panama’s current economic and political landscape. Panama is the second most unequal country in Latin America. To this end, we will look into what policies and/or sectors of its economy have contributed to or impeded more broadly shared prosperity. We also aim to better understand how political institutions are functioning in the country, including understanding its transition to democracy as well as the inclusivity of political rights, specifically Panama’s indigenous populations. A key element of our understanding of Panama will be a class trip to Panama City during the week of spring break. Students should have basic Spanish speaking and reading skills.

    Satisfies Political Science major requirement.
    Satisfies Latin American Studies major and minor requirement. 
    Satisfies Cultural Diversity requirement.

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Requires instructor permission. To seek permission email professor with the following 3 details: 

    Class year (limited to Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors)
    Major
    Why you want to take the class

  
  • POL 421 - Judicial Politics


    Instructor
    O’Geen

    This seminar provides an introduction to the study of the law and courts in American politics.   This includes examination of courts as policy-shaping institutions, the motivation and behavior of judges, and the political contexts of courts and judging.  The readings draw on current and classic work in political science and law and represents a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives.  Courts and judges sit at the intersection of law and politics in the U.S.  This seminar is particularly suited for students interested in understanding and studying this connection.      

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Permission of the instructor required.

  
  • POL 422 - Political Communication


    Instructor
    Sellers

    This seminar examines the use and effectiveness of different rhetorical and communication strategies in contemporary politics, from campaigns and elections and policy debates to crisis management and new media.

    Satisfies a major or interdisciplinary minor requirement in Communication Studies.
    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Methods & Statistics in Political Science (POL 201) and permission of the instructor required.

  
  • POL 423 - Politics of Reproduction


    Instructor
    Roberts

    This seminar examines political and policy questions regarding reproductive politics such as contraception, access to abortion, eugenics, artificial reproductive technology, egg donation, sperm banking, stem cell technology, sex education and surrogacy.  The politics of reproduction touches on nearly all avenues of politics: policymaking, public opinion, framing, activism, legislation, constitutional questions, and elections.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.
    Satisfies a requirement in the Gender and Sexuality Studies major and minor (Society & Politics Track).

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Permission of the instructor required.

  
  • POL 424 - Women in American Politics


    Instructor
    Crowder-Meyer

    This seminar explores the role of gender in American politics, specifically how gender affects the political activities of American residents, political candidates, and elected officeholders. Students analyze differences in men’s and women’s political participation, party affiliations, political attitudes, and campaign strategies and styles. Students also investigate why women remain substantially underrepresented in positions of political power and consider the implications of gender inequality in political officeholding.

    Counts toward the major in Political Science.
    Satisfies a requirement in the Society and Politics track of the Gender and Sexuality Studies major and minor.
    Satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community requirement.

    Prerequisites & Notes
    POL 182

  
  • POL 425 - Seminar: US Constitution


    Instructor
    O’Geen

    This seminar is a deep dive into the legal and political document at the foundation of the United States.  Working through the Constitution, from beginning to end, we will examine core debates around different provisions and amendments and evaluate the degree to which popular understanding of American democracy squares with the Constitution and its history.  Emphasis will be on how social, political, and historical forces interacted to influence the content of the document, its interpretation, and its place in the political and social life of the United States. 

     

  
  • POL 428 - Public Opinion/Survey Research


    Instructor
    Phan

    This course examines how to conduct survey/public opinion research and explores how public opinion informs American Politics. Topics will include how to conceptualize and measure public opinion, the origins of public opinions, the nature of mass opinion for specific policy areas, and how public opinion informs the policy making process.  Students will also learn the fundaments of survey research.

     

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Permission of the instructor required.

  
  • POL 430 - The Politics of Youth


    Instructor
    Yesnowitz

    This seminar examines contemporary youth political participation in the United States. We will consider the historical, social, and economic forces that influence the politics of young people and how these forces compare with the formative experiences of earlier political generations. We will also explore the public policies, the political attitudes, and the ideological worldviews that shape youth political behavior today and study the role of institutions and organizations (e.g. political parties, social movements, organized religion, schools) in helping to form political identity and mobilize political action. Finally, this class looks at how contributions of youth politics - the embrace of novel forms of political expression, the employment of new venues for politics, and the centering of previously marginalized voices – are impacting the present and future of American politics.   

  
  • POL 432 - Racial Justice in Education


    Instructor 
    Murray

    This course is composed of academic writing, research methods, readings, and discussion focused on racial inequality in education. We take a critical analytic approach to understand how schools and school systems oppress marginalized communities as we imagine alternative realities of racial justice by seeking to transform and dismantle institutional structures and practices that contribute to these conditions through frameworks of abolition and decolonization.

    Satisfies Educational Studies major and minor requirement.

  
  • POL 434 - Political Psychology


    Instructor
    Staff

    The goal of political science is to explain why citizens engage in certain types of political behavior, and how citizens think about politics. Psychology offers a way to explain how and why individuals behave the way they do. This course considers the role of personality, emotions, stereotypes, and group dynamics in politics, campaigns, and voting. We will learn about key psychology concepts, apply these concepts to politics, and investigate how experimental methods can identify the psychology behind politics.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Permission of the instructor required.

  
  • POL 435 - (In)Justice in America


    Instructor
    O’Geen

    This seminar is an exploration of the concept of justice in the United States.  The course has three primary components:  Theory, practice, and challenges.  We begin by examining notions of justice, their origins, and development over time.  We will also look at the mechanics of the justice system in the United States and how the justice system attempts to live up to ideals of justice and fairness.  Finally, we address issues that arise when people and institutions fail to live up to those ideals. 

    Satisfies a requirement in the Political Science major.
    Satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community requirement.

  
  • POL 440 - European Integration


    Instructor
    Ceka


    The European Union (EU) is one of the world’s most ambitious experiments in governance. Consequently, it is both one of the most complex and intriguing international organizations to study and understand. In this course, we will review the history of European integration and we will investigate in detail the main institutions of the EU and how they relate to one another. We will also explore some of the most important current debates revolving around the EU, including the role of public opinion and identity politics for European integration, the ‘democratic deficit’ and the most recent global financial crisis.

    Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

    Prerequisites & Notes
    Permission of the instructor required.

 

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