PSC = Political Science SOC = Sociology HIS = History
IDS = Interdisciplinary PHIL = Philosophy ECON = Economics
Fall 2012 Course Descriptions
American Politics :: Comparative Politics
International Relations :: Political Theory :: Public Policy
General, Crossfield, & Related Courses
Civil Liberties, Professor Halper, PSC 72310 , 3 credits, Tuesdays 6:30 - 8:30pm
American Politics, Professor Polsky, PSC 72000 (cross-listed with ASCP 82000) , 3 credits, Mondays 2:00 - 4:00pm
This seminar offers an overview of the American political system and an introduction to major scholarly conversations and controversies in the field of American politics. Throughout the course a strong emphasis will be placed on the historical development of political institutions. The first unit will focus on the framework of American politics, including American political culture(s) and the constitutional foundations of national politics. Next the course will turn to political participation and linkage institutions (public opinion, political participation, parties and elections, and interest groups). The final unit will cover key national institutions – Congress, the presidency, the courts, and the bureaucracy. A number of supplemental topics are interspersed in the syllabus at the approximate point at which they might be covered in an introductory undergraduate course in American politics. An overview session at the end of the course will highlight connections across units and emerging scholarship about American politics. We will regularly address issues and problems in teaching an undergraduate American politics survey course.
The Presidency & Foreign Policy, Professor Renshon, PSC 82003  (Crosslisted with IDS 81660), 4 credits, Wednesdays 4:15 - 6:15pm
American national security is a core presidential responsibility that involves contending with international threats and managing America’s role in the world. From Harry Truman to Barack Obama and from the onset of the Cold War through post 9/11 arguments about American decline, presidents have sought to shape American strategic responses to evolving international circumstances though the use of presidential doctrines. This course focuses on the evolution of the international system from the end of the Second World War though the present, the debates concerning the shifting nature of the international threats, and the efforts of American presidents, through their doctrines, to deal with them. As this course will be given in the midst of a presidential campaign, we will spend some time discussing the different foreign policy approaches of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
The Dark Side of Democracy: Inequality and Repression, Professor Markovitz, PSC 87800 , 4 credits, Mondays 4:15 - 6:15pm
Winston Churchill famously declared: "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried." The Federalist authors proclaimed that they did not want to create “an elected despotism”. De Tocqueville was terrified by the inevitability of the spread of equality. Clinton Rositer maintained that the American Presidency was “a matrix for dictatorship”. Democracies are not supposed to go to war with each other. However, at least some democracies in modern times have been associated with extremist policies in war and peace. Among the questions this seminar will consider are: Is there an association between democracy and ethnic cleansing? Do democratic institutions facilitate genocide? Are there complex processes that push democratic constituencies in murderous directions? Is “empowerment” of the “people” always progressive? How do ordinary people behave during the breakdown of democracy? Does greater equality make societies stronger? Why and when do democratic institutions and procedures produce growing inequality? How is democracy gendered? Is democracy no better than competitive authoritarianism? Does democracy inevitably supersede or does it accommodate oligarchy?
Comparative Politics of Asia, Professor Sun, PSC 87630 , 4 credits, Wednesdays 6:30 - 8:30pm
This seminar will look at the major research questions, theories and approaches of comparative politics as applied in the Asian context, as well as those developed out of it. Broad issue areas include the interactions between historical experiences and contemporary trajectories, economic and political modernization, domestic development and the global economy, state and society, political regimes and political institutions, mass participation and contentious politics, cultural values and political change, as well as ethnic and identity politics. Our geographical range will mainly be East Asia, especially China. Assignments include approximately one book per week, and a research paper or analytical book reviews.
Basic Theories & Concepts of Comparative Politics, Professor Woodward, PSC 77901 , 3 credits, Wednesdays 4:15 - 6:15pm
Students are strongly encouraged to take this course the first semester in their graduate program, if at all possible. This seminar is a graduate-level introduction to the literature in comparative politics. It can serve as a survey or review for advanced students as well. Because the key theories and concepts are also key political science concepts and theories, it is not exclusively intended for those majoring or minoring in comparative politics; all are welcome. It is not a course in methods or methodologies of research. The focus will be on concept formation, theoretical approaches, theory formulation, and competing theories, not on theory testing or verification.
Students in this seminar will vary in their goals depending on the extent of their prior knowledge of the subject matter, their particular substantive interests, and their field specialization within the discipline. Overall, the course should prepare them (1) to think, articulate orally, and write theoretically: to identify a theory in a reading, define its key concepts, articulate its causal mechanisms, and evaluate its empirical demonstration; (2) to know the evolution of questions, concepts, and theories within the discipline of comparative politics so as to understand those theories better and to analyze their limitations and biases; (3) to pass the first exam in comparative politics comfortably; and (4) to feel solidly grounded in the questions and literature of comparative politics so as to identify areas of further interest and specialization and to begin to prepare a dissertation proposal. These goals are basic, foundational; many other benefits for critical thinking and analysis will also result, but the foundation comes first.
Requirements including reading the assigned material prior to each class meeting, participation in class discussion, three brief written essays summarizing and analyzing the readings on one substantive topic, and a final examination.
International Human Rights & Humanitarian Affairs, Professor Andreopoulos, PSC 86403 , 4 credits, Wednesdays 6:30 - 8:30pm
This course will focus on key concepts in human rights and humanitarianism, and examine their analytical value in the context of varying approaches towards the promotion and protection of internationally recognized human rights and humanitarian norms. In particular, the course will examine these concepts in light of (a) the recent debates in international relations theory on the role of ideas and norms, and the intersections between international relations and international law research agendas; and (b) the growing convergence between international human rights law and international humanitarian law. It will assess the impact of normative considerations, as well as the role of the relevant state and non-state actors on a whole set of critical issue areas including discrimination, accountability, human protection, political membership, human development, and legal empowerment. The course will conclude with a critical discussion of recent initiatives in UN-led human rights reform.
Comparative Foreign Policy, Professor Braveboy-Wagner, PSC 86105 , 4 credits, Mondays 4:15 - 6:15pm
Foreign Policy Analysis is one of the most popular subfields of international relations. Even though you can rational and positivist approaches have predominated in the field in the US, elsewhere a generous dose of comparative “area studies” ethnography as well as increasingly popular constructivist and critical thinking have invigorated the field. In this course we first ask how is the study of foreign policy different from international relations as a whole (some constructivists think it should not be)? We then walk through the movement from Comparative Foreign Policy to FPA. From there we move into substantive areas: what are the influences on foreign policy at the individual, state and system levels? What goes on in that “black box” of decision making? What happens before and after a decision is made? What is the role of the bureaucracy? What is the role of non-state actors? What is the relationship between “diplomacy” and foreign policy? Finally, let’s compare U.S. foreign policy with that of other selected countries and regions? What differences are there in both substance and influences? Why? These are some of the questions discussed in this course.
Grading: 40% of the grade will be based on class participation and preparation of the reading assignments; 40% on a research paper with an outline and bibliographic essay presented midway through (20%). Many students use this research paper as the basis for future thesis/dissertation work. Critique of how we IR folk study foreign policy is encouraged!
International Relations & International Law Approaches to Global Issues, Professor Golob, PSC 86801 , 4 credits, Tuesday 11:45am - 1:45pm
Critical Reason: The Basics, Professor Buck-Morss, PSC 71902 , 3 credits, Wednesdays 2:00 - 4:00pm
This course deals with basic concepts and problems of western Critical Theory. The readings will focus on the influential works of Kant and Hegel as primary texts, and currently influential critiques/interpretations of these seminal thinkers, including texts by Marx, Lukacs, Benjamin, Adorno, Arendt, Kojève, Butler, Zizek, and Buck-Morss. Requirements: sustained, active seminar participation and final paper (or exam option).
Philosophy of Education, Professor Cahn, PSC 71901  (Crosslisted with PHIL 77800), 3 Credits, Mondays 11:45am - 1:45pm
Modern Political Theory, Professor Mehta, PSC 80602 , 4 credits, Tuesdays 2:00 - 4:00pm
Feminist Political Theory, Professor Petchesky, PSC 80301  (Crosslisted with WSCP 81000), 4 credits, Wednesdays 4:15 - 6:15pm
This course sets out from the deconstruction of its own foundational terms: Can there be a feminist political theory when feminisms—and women—are racially-ethnically pluralized and globally polyversal? When “gender” is no longer readable as merely signifying “women” and “men,” but those categories themselves have become translated by new movements for gender as well as sexual, racial and geographical diversities? What might justice (erotic justice, gender justice, racial justice) mean in the face of these current complications, of both discourses and social movements? In other words, our task will be to rethink the politics of contemporary feminist thought through the lenses of queer and transgender theory, women of color and critical race theory, transnational feminisms, Indian and African feminisms, and the ways each of these has challenged the power dynamics of feminism’s supposed “core” and the very boundaries of the political.
The course will be conducted in an informal seminar style, with discussions focused on readings by a wide range of contemporary writers (Lila Abu-Lughod, Gloria Anzaldúa, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Raewyn Connell, Paisley Currah, Zillah Eisenstein, Ratna Kapur, Amina Mama, Chandra Mohanty, Viviane Namaste, Uma Narayan, Joan Wallach Scott, and others too numerous to mention). Students taking the course for credit will be required to submit a mid-term take-home exam and a final paper (involving primarily analysis and argument rather than empirical research) as well as making two in-class oral presentations during the semester. The course is open to political science majors with a particular interest in political theory and/or gender/feminist/queer studies as well as to women’s studies certificate candidates and students majoring in allied fields (philosophy, sociology, anthropology, geography).
Ancient & Medieval Political Theory, Professor Wallach, PSC 70100  , 3 credits, Tuesdays 6:30 - 8:30pm
This is the chronologically first course in the Program's 3-course sequence in the history of Western political thought. As taught in Fall 2012, it will both provide coverage of basic texts composed during these eras that have provided enduring legacies for critical political thought. In addition, it will go into more depth than in the past on three political thinkers: Plato, Aristotle, and Augustine. Overall, the course will look at the different ways in which "the political" and "justice" were critically invented and transformed, particularly in relation to Athenian democracy and conceptions of "virtue." Other authors read will include Cicero, bits (!) of Aquinas, and Marsilius of Padua--whose work provides interesting conceptualizations of church-state relations and nascent conceptions of political consent that subsequently become crucial for legitimizing Western states. The course focuses on close readings of primary texts as responses to stasis and prevailing discoursive contexts. We also will note commentators from ancient times to the 21st century.
Philosophy and Anti-Philosophy in Modern Thought, Professor Wolin, PSC 71903 (Crosslisted with HIS 71400), 3 credits, Mondays 4:15 - 6:15pm
We know what philosophy is: the search for timeless and eternal precepts about the True, the Beautiful, and the Good. But in postwar Europe, in Nietzsche’s wake, a rival intellectual tradition – “anti-philosophy” – emerged to radically call into question the orientation and desiderata of what used to be called prima philosophia or “first philosophy.” Under the auspices of anti-philosophy, we have witnessed a reversal of the traditional philosophical assumption concerning the integral relationship between knowledge and the good life, insight and emancipation. Socrates famously proclaimed in the Apology that “virtue is knowledge.” But for contemporary anti-philosophy, knowledge does not set us free but instead threatens to inscribe us more thoroughly within networks of social power, as Foucault’s genealogies demonstrate well. The rise of anti-philosophy (Derrida, Deleuze, Foucault) is intimately tied to the enthusiastic reception of German thought (Nietzsche and Heidegger) in postwar France. But it is also linked to the rejection of the “philosophy of the subject” (Kant, Husserl, Sartre), one of the linchpins of post-Cartesian thought.
Our approach to anti-philosophy will not be merely celebratory or uncritical. Instead, it will be “genealogical,” analyzing both its conditions of emergence in postwar France and related anti-foundationalist approaches (American pragmatism). We will also lend a fair hearing to some of the leading critics of anti-philosophy.
Nietzsche, “Truth and Lies in an Extra-Moral Sense”
Heidegger, “Letter On Humanism”
Bataille, The Accursed Share
Lévi-Strauss, The Savage Mind (La Pensée Sauvage)
Derrida, “Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences”
Derrida, “Signature, Event, Context”
Derrida, Of Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness
Foucault, “Nietzsche, Genealogy and History”
Foucault/Deleuze, “Intellectuals and Power”
Foucault, “Society Must Be Defended”
Deleuze, What is Philosophy?
Habermas, Philosophical Discourse of Modernity
Rorty, Contingency, Irony, Solidarity
Dosse, History of Structuralism, vols. I and II
Kleinberg, Generation Existential
Janicaud, Heidegger en France, vols, I and II
Cusset, French Theory
Bouvresse, Le Philosophe chez les autophages
Ferry/Renaut, Why We Are Not Nietzscheans (Pourquoi nous ne sommes pas nietzschéens)
European Union & Public Policy, Professor Altenstetter, PSC 83505 , 4 credits, Tuesdays 4:15 - 6:15pm
Social Welfare Policy, Professor Gornick, PSC 72500  (Cross-listed with WSCP 81000 and SOC 85700), 3 credits, Wednesdays 4:15 - 6:15pm
This course will examine social welfare policy in the United States, in both historical and cross-national perspective. The course will begin with an overview of the development of social welfare policy in the U.S. We will focus on three important historical periods: the Progressive Era, the New Deal, and the War on Poverty. We will end the first section with a review of developments in the tumultuous 1990s. Second, we will assess “the big picture” of the American welfare state, through the lens of its underlying institutional framework. Third, we will survey selected areas of social policy provision, such as anti-poverty policy; health policy; employment-related social policy; social policy for the elderly; and/or work-family reconciliation policies. In each of these policy areas, we will assess current provisions and evaluate contemporary debates, integrating political, sociological, and economic perspectives. In the final section of the course, we will assess selected social policy lessons from Europe, where provisions are typically much more extensive than they are in the U.S. We will close by analyzing the question of "American exceptionalism" in social policy, and will assess a range of institutional, ideological, and demographic explanations.
Policy Analysis, Professor Mollenkopf, PSC 73202  3 credits, Thursdays 4:15 - 6:15pm
This course poses three overarching questions: 1) How does the institutional legacy of the American division of labor between the state and market (in the form of the specific types and competencies of government agencies) shape the types of issues that come onto the public agenda and the ways in which we frame policy responses to them? 2) How do policy analysts deploy conceptual tools based on the logics of the state and the marketplace to understand and formulate public policies and how do conceptual tools at once selectively illuminate and obscure various aspects of public policy? and 3) How can we apply these conceptual tools to improve public policies, not just understand them? The seminar will address these questions both with classic readings from the field and case studies drawn from real policy dilemmas facing New York City. The course will require several short papers responding to the readings as well as a final examination.
General and Crossfield
Writing Politics Workshop, Professor Beinart, PSC 71902 , 3 credits, Mondays 6:30 - 8:30pm
Dissertation Proposal Workshop, Professor Piven, PSC 89100 , 0 credits, Thursdays 4:15 - 6:15pm
Law, Politics, & Policy, Professor Rollins, PSC 71904  (Cross-listed with ASCP 82000 and MALS 70300), 3 credits, Mondays 4:15 - 6:15pm
This course will introduce students to the dominant modes of legal scholarship found in the social sciences. Different sections of the course will examine foundational texts of the Law & Society movement surveying, for example, major contributions by political scientists, sociologists, criminologists, and other empirically grounded disciplines. It is designed to expose students to empirical research methods, legal reasoning, and legal institutions from a formalist perspective.