Politics and International Relations

Faculty
  • Politics: Professors Fitzpatrick, Marks (Chair), Stern; Associate Professor Evans; Assistant Professors A. Karreth, J. Karreth; Lecturer Kane.

    International Relations: Professors Doughty, Economopolous, O’Neill; Associate Professor Evans (Coordinator); Assistant Professors Chao, Davis (Visiting), A. Karreth, J. Karreth, Nicoara, Wynne; Lecturers Bejarano, Kane.

  • The general objectives of the department of politics and international relations are:

    1) To challenge students to evaluate their conceptions of the good life for the individual and for society.

    2) To prepare students for lives of enlightened and responsible citizenship.

    3) To help students attain knowledge of the theory and practice of politics.

    4) To help students develop the faculties of expression and critical thinking.

    The professional objectives are:

    1) To prepare students for graduate work in politics, law, and public service.

    2) To prepare students for examinations required for governmental service.

    3) To prepare students to be political leaders.

    Politics

    Requirements for Majors

    A major in politics requires POL-218, 237, either 242 or 252, 300, one seminar at the 400 level, plus five additional courses, at least four of which must be at the 300 level or above. Politics majors can fulfill the College’s capstone, writing, and oral presentation requirements by taking one of the following seminar courses: POL-418W, POL- 437W, POL-442W, POL-452W, or IR-400W; or POL-491 and POL-492W.

    Secondary School Teaching Certificate

    In addition to the basic requirements of the major, students seeking a teaching certificate in social studies must be enrolled in the College’s teacher education program. Substantial further coursework outside of either major is required in order to prepare the student for actual subject matters taught in the secondary curriculum. Students who wish teaching certification should consult their departmental adviser and the chair of the department of education as early as possible, preferably at the end of the freshman year. Students and their advisers should also consult the Ursinus College Education Department.

    Requirements for Minors

    A minor in politics consists of two courses from among POL-218, 237, 242, 252; and three courses at the 300 or 400 level.

    International Relations

    Professors Clark, Doughty, Economopolous, O’Neill; Associate Professors Evans (Program Coordinator), Assistant Professors A. Karreth, J. Karreth, Nicoara, Wynne; Lecturer Kane.

    International Relations majors become capable of living and working in a worldwide setting by developing an understanding of how that setting came to be and how its various political, economic, and social systems function.

    Requirements for Majors

    The International Relations major is an interdisciplinary program for students interested in careers in international politics and diplomacy, intelligence work, higher education, international law, international trade, journalism, and other fields where expertise in international affairs is necessary. Courses required to complete the International Relations major include: ANTH-100, ECON-102, HIST-207, POL-242, 252, and a capstone consisting of either POL-442W, 452W, IR-400W or another capstone approved by the International Relations coordinator. Eligible students may write a departmental or interdisciplinary honors paper for their capstone requirement, with the approval of the IR coordinator. (Note: Students planning to do graduate study in political science should take POL-218 and 237 as well.) Majors are additionally required to take five of the following courses, including courses in at least two different departments: POL-344, 348, 349, 350A and 350B, 352, 355, 357, 358, 359; HIST-205, 231, 241, 243, 253, 308, 344, 353, 365, 368; HIST/GWMS- 361; ECON-201, 202, 263, 361, 362; ANTH-221, ANTH/ENV-252, or LAS-200. (Note: Both POL-350A and 350B must be taken to qualify as one elective.) Special topics courses such as MGT-300, POL-305, and POL-399 may count as electives with permission of the IR coordinator. Finally, all students in the International Relations major must take at least two courses at the 200 level or above in a foreign language. International Relations majors are strongly encouraged to pursue study-abroad options. The department regularly tries to accommodate students by accepting courses taken abroad in fulfillment of major requirements.

    International Relations majors can fulfill the College’s capstone, writing, and oral presentation requirements by taking one of the following seminar courses: POL-442W, POL-452W, or IR-400W.

    Requirements for Minors

    The international relations minor consists of POL-242, 252 and three courses from the following list: ANTH-221; MGT-300, ECON-361, 362, 263; HIST-205, 207, 231, 241, 243, 253, 308, 344, 353, 365, 368; HIST/GWMS- 361; LAS-200; IR-400W; POL-305, 344, 345, 348, 350A and 350B, 352, 355, 357, 358, 359. Minors are required to take courses from at least two contributing departments.

Courses

  • Politics

    POL-101. Introductory Special Topics in Politics 

    An introductory social science course that provides students an opportunity to focus on topics related to politics and government. This course is an excellent introduction for students considering the Politics major, but is designed for any student with an interest in politics and government and will help students develop skills useful to all majors, including critical reading, analytical and writing abilities. Open to all first-year and second-year students, or by permission of instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS; D or G, if so designated, contingent upon the topic.)

    POL-218. American Government 

    A critical examination of the institutions, processes, policies, and underlying principles of the American political system. Topics include the Constitution, interest groups, parties and elections, the presidency, Congress, the bureaucracy, and the judiciary. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    POL/PHIL-237. Political Philosophy 

    This course examines the nature of justice through a careful reading of major works in the history of political philosophy. Specifically, we will consider selected political writings of Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, and Marx. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.(SS.)

    POL-242. Comparative Politics

    The structure and function of governments and political groups will be compared to develop basic theory. Representative Western, Third World, and Communist systems will be studied. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS, G.)

    POL-252. International Politics

    General theory, simulations, games, and case studies explain the relations between states and the roles of politics, individuals, and international law and organizations in the making and resolving of conflict. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS, G.)

    POL-299. Tutorial in Politics and International Relations

    Individual study and directed reading of a particular topic or book within the discipline. Students will work closely with a member of the department in selecting, reading, and discussing the topic, and in determining a proper written assignment. Prerequisites: prior permission of the instructor. One hour per week. One semester hour.

    POL-300. Research Methods in Politics 

    This course examines quantitative and qualitative methods used in political science, providing students with the knowledge and skills needed to engage in critical analysis, and to understand and conduct basic research. The knowledge and skills learned in this course are helpful for future undergraduate or graduate course work, as well as for students interested in public policy and political campaigns. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS)

    POL-305. Politics and the Arts

    This course analyzes the political messages in selected works of art and relates these to works in political science. Works of art may include, among other things, novels, plays and films. Prerequisite: a 200-level Politics class or permission of instructor. Four hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS)

    POL-310. Congress and the Presidency

    The decision-making process in Congress and the executive branch with emphasis on the interaction of the branches in their struggle to make and apply policy. Prerequisite: POL-218. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

    POL-314. Political Parties and Elections

    An examination of the evolution of the American two-party system and the increasingly volatile nature of the American electorate. Topics include the dynamics of party realignment, the changing characteristics of the American voter, the politics of presidential selection, and the consequences of party and electoral reform. Prerequisite: POL-218. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    POL-316. African American Politics in the United States

    A survey of the philosophical perspectives and political strategies adopted by African Americans in their efforts to obtain equality in the United States. In addition to analyzing the approaches and techniques undertaken by African American political leadership, the course will investigate and evaluate mass based political efforts such as protests and voting. Prerequisite: POL-218 or permission of the instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS, D.)

    POL-320. Legal Writing and Argument

    In an appellate court format, students analyze arguments presented in a series of court cases, apply those arguments to concrete legal situations, and write legal briefs. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

    POL-321. Constitutional Interpretation I

    The role of the Supreme Court in the interpretation and enforcement of the Constitution is examined through analysis of leading cases. Judicial review, powers of Congress and the President, and the division of powers between the national and state governments are among the topics considered. Prerequisite: POL-218. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    POL-322. Constitutional Interpretation II

    The role of the Supreme Court in the interpretation and enforcement of individual rights within a system of limited government. Substantive and procedural due process, freedom of expression and conscience, and equal protection of the law are among the topics considered. Prerequisite: POL-218. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    POL-325. The Judicial Process

    Proceeding from the idea that the judicial process is essentially a political process, this course will examine the ways in which participants in the judicial process—particularly judges—reach decisions, engage in politics, and affect public policy. Prerequisite: POL-218. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    POL/ENV-326. Environmental Law

    The study of various state, national, and international legal patterns that have arisen to address environmental concerns. The environmental field will be used to examine the nature and effectiveness of civil, criminal, and administrative action to address a complicated and important social issue. Topics will include federal administrative law; international trade and environmental regulation; control of toxic substances and hazardous wastes; the impact of scientific uncertainty on regulation; federal regulatory programs; civil liability under federal regulations; citizen suits; and the preservation of natural areas. Prerequisites: POL-218 for Politics and International Relations majors or permission of the instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    POL-330. American Political Thought

    This course examines the founding principles of our regime and the problems inherent in those principles as revealed by the great crises of our history. Accordingly, we will examine carefully the speeches and writings of those statesmen who founded the regime as well as those who guided it through its crises. Readings may include the works of Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, the Anti-Federalists, Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Wilson, and F.D.R. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS, D.)

    POL/IDS-336. Science and the Common Good

    This is the core course for the fellows of the Center for Science and the Common Good. It examines the philosophic bases and critique of modern science through the works of such authors as Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes, Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger. The course also considers the ethical, political, and religious implications of contemporary developments in science such as advancements in genetic and information technologies. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    POL/PHIL-337. Classical Political Philosophy

    This course examines the classical understanding of politics through a careful reading of selected works of Plato and Aristotle. We will consider such issues as the nature of justice, the meaning of moral and intellectual virtue, and the relation between philosophy and politics. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    POL/PHIL-338. Modern Political Philosophy

    This course examines and evaluates the world-revolutionary challenge to classical and medieval political philosophy posed by such writers as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Rousseau and Hegel. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    POL/PHIL-339. Contemporary Political Philosophy

    This course examines selected authors and issues in contemporary political philosophy. We will read the works of such authors as Nietzsche, Heidegger, Kojeve, Rawls and Foucault. We will consider such issues as historicism, contemporary liberalism, feminism, and Marxism. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

    POL-344. Political Development

    An analysis of political change in developed and less-developed countries, focusing on the various theories used to explain socioeconomic and political conditions, and development strategies among several political systems in the international community. Prerequisite: POL-242. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS, G.)

    POL-345. Democracy and Politics in Latin America

    An examination of political and economic change in Latin America with particular emphasis on the reasons why democracy, prosperity and equality have been difficult to achieve. The course focuses on common historical and institutional legacies as well as the different political and economic trajectories of major Latin American countries. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS, G.)

    POL-348. African Democracy

    This course offers an introduction to contemporary African politics through an exploration of democratization on the continent. It will examine the concepts, meanings, and measurements of democracy broadly, the history of democratization throughout Africa and the variance of democratic institutions found across the continent. Specific topics include, but are not limited to, legal, legislative and corruption reform across Africa, the role of civil society in democratization, public opinion, election processes, and human rights regimes. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS, G.)

    POL-349. European Politics

    An examination of modern European economic and political systems and the different ways in which various European countries have sought to preserve social stability, promote economic prosperity and guarantee democracy in the post-WWII period. The course also focuses on European integration and democratization in Southern and Eastern Europe. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    POL-350A. International Organizations and Diplomacy

    A study of governmental international organizations and diplomacy with particular emphases on functions of the United Nations and other intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and multilateral political affairs. Students must take both POL-350A and B to receive credit for one elective course in the major. Two hours per week. Two semester hours.

    POL-350B. International Organizations and Diplomacy

    A continuation of POL-350A. This course also prepares students to participate in the National Model United Nations conference. Prerequisite: POL-350A or permission of the instructor. Students must take both POL-350A and B to receive credit for one elective course in the major. Two hours per week. Two semester hours.

    POL-352. Theories of International Relations

    This course explores the theories that have been used to study international relations from ancient times to the present. Particular attention is given to the roots of contemporary theories, especially realism, neoliberalism, constructivism, feminism and critical theories. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    POL-354. Global Health

    This course considers contrasting views on health as a human right and explores how social, economic and political forces influence who gets sick, what diseases afflict them, which treatments are available to them, and what the outcome of those treatments are. It examines a number of global health problems, including malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, polio, global obesity and global hunger as well as mental health. The roles of global public health organizations and private foundations are also studied. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS, G.)

    POL-355. U.S. Foreign Policy

    Analysis of the process and substance of U.S. foreign policy. Attention is paid to the roles and limitations of the Presidency, Congress, the State Department, the National Security Council, public opinion and nongovernmental actors. Emphasis will be placed on current controversial global issues. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    POL-356. Human Rights

    This course examines the theory and practice of human rights, examining historical and contemporary cases of human rights violations drawn from various regions of the world. The course will include study of international documents that govern human rights practice and mechanisms that protect human rights found in the UN system as well as regional organizations and domestic legal systems. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS, G.)

    POL-357. War and Peace

    An examination of the nature of war, including debates over the causes and inevitability of war. The course also explores the question when, if ever, war is justified and analyzes how recent changes in military technology and doctrine have affected the way that war is fought, including in the contemporary “war on terror.” Various theories and perspectives on how to end war and build peace are discussed as well. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    POL-359. International Political Economy

    An inquiry into the causes and effects of the movement of goods (international trade), money (currency, investment, foreign aid), and people (migration). The course will explore how these international economic processes have developed over time, and how they affect people locally in different countries. It will highlight the political forces that shape economic interactions and explore the trade-offs linked to different economic policies. Students will learn and practice how to evaluate and use data to examine theories and arguments about global and local political-economic phenomena. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (G, SS.)

    POL-382. Internship

    Internship in a public or governmental organization or participation in an overseas study program. A 2.67 grade average and permission of the department are required. Open to juniors and seniors. The term during which the internship work is performed will be noted by one of the following letters, to be added immediately after the internship course number: A (fall), B (winter), C (spring), or D (summer). Internships undertaken abroad will be so indicated by the letter I. The intern must complete a minimum of 160 hours of work. Four semester hours. (I.)

    POL-399. Topics in Law and Politics

    An occasional course dealing with special subject areas or events. Four semester hours. (SS, G, or D, depending on topic.)

    POL-418W. Seminar in American Government

    Intensive study of a special topic in American government emphasizing original research and substantial oral and written work. Prerequisites: junior or senior status and one 300-level course in American government. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    POL-437W. Seminar in Political Philosophy

    Intensive study of a special topic in political philosophy emphasizing original research and substantial oral and written work. Prerequisites: junior or senior status and one 300-level course in political philosophy. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    POL-442W. Seminar in Comparative Politics

    Intensive study of a special topic in comparative politics emphasizing original research and substantial oral and written work. Prerequisites: junior or senior status and one 300-level course in comparative politics. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    POL-452W. Seminar in International Politics

    Intensive study of a special topic in international politics emphasizing original research and substantial oral and written work. Prerequisites: junior or senior status and one 300-level course in international politics. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    POL-491. Research/Independent Work

    This course is open to candidates for departmental honors and to other students with the permission of the departmental chair. Four semester hours. (I.)

    POL-492W. Research/Independent Work

    A continuation of POL-491. Prerequisite: POL-491. Four semester hours. (I.)

    International Relations

    IR-400W. Research in International Relations

    This capstone course will require a series of short papers and a major research project. An oral presentation will be made before an upper-division course on the subject. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (I.)