PLSC 401: Intro to Reasearch Design & Methods
Tue 7:00pm / LSC
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the basic theory and methods of political science research. The primary goal of the course is to teach students an understanding of the principles that should lie at the base of any research project: how to effectively ask research questions and how to design research so as to be able to make meaningful statements concerning social phenomenon. Topics include the historical development of political science as a discipline, the philosophy of science, research design, measurement, basic techniques of empirical methodology, and elementary statistical techniques. Several different research methodologies will be discussed and presented, including experiments and quasi-experiments, surveys, the comparative method, case studies, and participant observation. By presenting and discussing illustrative examples of research that use these various methods, students will see how they can use different research methodologies in their search for a method to attack the questions they are interested in studying.
PLSC 412: Constitutional Politics
Tue 4:15pm / LSC
This course will examine the role of state and federal courts in the U.S. political system within the context of the normative debate over judicial policymaking. Discussing judicial rulings in a variety of legal areas, it will assess the balance between the court’s duty to defer to legislative authority in the policymaking process and its obligation to apply constitutional principles in adjudicating claims of rights. Most classes will be devoted to discussing judicial rulings in cases involving the right to privacy (including reproductive rights); freedom of speech and religion; laws based on race (including affirmative action), sex, and sexual orientation (including same-sex marriage); the criminal justice system (including prison reform, and capital punishment), and the Second Amendment.
PLSC 429: Coparative Politics Selected Problems
Th 7:00pm / LSC
This graduate seminar offers a thematic approach to the study of political violence. It explores the dynamics of various forms of political violence ranging from individual acts of terrorism to state-organized mass killings involving large numbers of perpetrators. The course introduces students to several large bodies of social science literature including studies of civil wars, genocide, ethnic conflict, terrorism, revolution as well as non-violent resistance. It has a global coverage and comparatively analyzes episodes of political violence from different regions of the world. The course material includes scholarly writings as well as selections from artistic expressions of human experience with violence.
PLSC 436: International Conflict
Wed 7:00pm / LSC
Militarized conflict is one of the most devastating of all human activities. Why do states go to war? This course provides an introduction to and overview of the concepts and approaches related to the causes of conflict and cooperation in the international system. Understanding these interactions of states tells us a great deal about global politics. The main topics of the course are: (1) an introduction to understanding war as a social science topic, (2) the origins of the demands and disputes that can lead to war, (3) the escalation of these, (4) the expansion of war, (5) the consequences of war, and (6) the possibility of peace. The goal is to understand the typical path to war. Why do some states choose force while others do not? What do we know about conflict from both data based investigations and traditional case studies? We will also be covering recent relevant security issues and debates. We will not be covering internal or civil wars since these are wars of a different “type” and require a different theoretical background. This course will treat war as a natural phenomenon that must be understood before it can be mitigated. Doing so requires scientific investigation. You should not be in this class if you are unwilling to accept the idea that war can be understood scientifically.
PLSC 440: Ancient Political Thought
Mon 4:15pm / LSC
Classical Greek political theory was deeply critical of the democratic society in which it flourished. This combined graduate/undergraduate seminar will focus on the analyses of Athenian democracy offered by Thucydides, Plato and Aristotle, but we will also compare those analyses with the historical record of the democratic polis. Students will be introduced to the different schools of interpretation in the scholarly literature on ancient thought. Emphasis will be placed on the design and execution of a scholarly research project.
PLSC 475: Political Analysis I
Mon 7:00pm / LSC
This course, which is the first of a two-course sequence, offers an introduction to statistical analysis in political science. Among the major topics covered will be research design; measures of central tendency and variability; probability theory; statistical inference; significance tests; difference of means tests; the Chi Square statistic; and bivariate correlation and regression. Emphasis will be on practical applications and extensive use will be made of Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and Stata, statistical programs that are commonly used in the social sciences.