Ethics, Politics, & Economics (EP&E)

* EP&E 214a or b, Classics of Ethics, Politics and EconomicsKevin Elliott

This course is designed to explore the moral and theoretical foundations, critiques, and open questions surrounding the social organization of production and governance in modern societies. A key aim of this class is to better understand the moral and philosophical background of market-based distribution, criticisms of it, and how thinkers have tried to make sense of it.  HU, SO

* EP&E 217a, Classics of EP&E–Intellectual Origins of Liberalism and ConservatismGregory Collins

The purpose of this course is to explore the intellectual origins of liberalism and conservatism through an EP&E framework. We discuss the tensions between collective wisdom and individual reason in the early modern period and survey the thought of thinkers in the proto-liberal and proto-conservative traditions, such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke on sovereignty, individual autonomy, reason, and toleration; and Robert Filmer, Richard Hooker, and David Hume on order, custom, and utility. Our main object of inquiry, however, is the intellectual division that emerged between supporters and critics of the French Revolution, the historical event that prompted the modern political identities of liberalism and conservatism. Accordingly, we examine the political, moral, and economic theories of the Revolution; reactions to the Revolution from Edmund Burke, Joseph de Maistre, and other counterrevolutionaries; critical responses to their reactions, including those from Thomas Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft, and James Mackintosh; and the impact of this debate on the evolution of liberalism and conservatism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Europe and the United States. Class discussions and readings confront liberal and conservative perspectives on human nature; reason; freedom; tradition; individual rights; religion; the Enlightenment; market economies; democratic participation; and equality. 
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

EP&E 220b / PLSC 342b, Strategic Models of PoliticsMilan Svolik

Introduction to formal political theory including application of rational choice and game theoretic analysis. Key topics and findings include: why voters vote in elections; how candidates choose platforms; why common resources tend to be overexploited; whether the state is needed for public good provision; how electoral systems shape politicians' and voters' behavior; whether voters can hold politicians accountable for their performance in office; how constitutions affect politicians' incentives to compromise; and why countries fight wars.  SO0 Course cr

* EP&E 223a / HUMS 183a / RLST 162a, Tradition and Modernity: Ethics, Religion, Politics, Law, & CultureAndrew Forsyth

This seminar is about “tradition”—what it is and what it does—and how reflecting on tradition can help us better understand ethics, religion, politics, law, and culture. We ask: for whom and in what ways (if any) are the beliefs and practices transmitted from one generation to another persuasive or even authoritative? And how do appeals to tradition work today? We traverse a series of cases studies in different domains. Looking to ethics, we ask if rational argument means rejecting or inhabiting tradition. Next, we look at religions as traditions and traditions as one source of authority within religions. We consider appeals to tradition in conservative and progressive politics. And how the law uses decisions on past events to guide present actions. Finally, we turn to tradition in civic and popular culture with attention to “invented traditions,” the May 2023 British Coronation, and Beyoncé’s 2019 concert film “Homecoming.”   HU
M 9:25am-11:15am

* EP&E 224b / ECON 465b / GLBL 330b, Debating GlobalizationErnesto Zedillo

Facets of contemporary economic globalization, including trade, investment, and migration. Challenges and threats of globalization: inclusion and inequality, emerging global players, global governance, climate change, and nuclear weapons proliferation. Prerequisite: background in international economics and data analysis. Preference to seniors majoring in Economics or EP&E.  SORP

* EP&E 228b / HUMS 393b / PLSC 207b, Persuasion and Its DiscontentsNorma Thompson

Aristotle argues in his Rhetoric that knowledge in its exact form will sometimes not be enough to persuade certain audiences. What then? What strategies are available to us for disarming fierce resistance to good arguments? We consider the psychology of willful blindness and defense mechanisms, from Greek tragedy through Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Freud. We seek to apprehend how real-life figures and literary characters alike learn to overcome belief in the constructs of their own imaginations. Debates in several politically-charged moments are analyzed: Plato and the Sophists; Burke and Hastings; the Federalists and Anti-Federalists; 19th century abolitionists in America; Churchill on Hitler, and multiple authors on Holocaust denial.  HU
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

* EP&E 229b / PLSC 255b, America From ScratchAmir Fairdosi

What would the United States look like without a Supreme Court? Without a Senate?  Without states? What if the United States had ten presidents instead of one? Or no president at all? As radical as these constitutional propositions might sound, they were all at least considered by America’s founders. In this class, we examine such proposals—proposals considered unthinkable today, but not during the Constitutional Convention or in other countries throughout history. We read the American founding documents, speeches, and letters considering these “radical” constitutional designs and connect them to attempts to realize these reforms today.  SO

* EP&E 235b / PHIL 457b / PLSC 283b, Recent Work on JusticeThomas Pogge

In-depth study of one contemporary book, author, or debate in political philosophy, political theory, or normative economics. Focus varies from year to year based on student interest and may include a ground-breaking new book, the life's work of a prominent author, or an important theme in contemporary political thought.  HU

* EP&E 239a / PLSC 239a, Political RepresentationAmir Fairdosi

The notion of political representation lies at the center of government in the United States and much of the rest of the world. In this course, we examine the features of political representation, both in theory and practice. We ask (and possibly find ourselves struggling to answer!) such questions as: What is political representation? Should we have a representative system as opposed to something else like monarchy or direct democracy? Should representatives demographically resemble those they represent, or is that not necessary? How do things like congressional redistricting, electoral competition, and term limits affect the quality of representation? Do constituents’ preferences actually translate into policy in the United States, and if so, how? In Part I of this course, we discuss the theoretical foundations upon which representative government rests. In Part II, we move beyond theories of representation and on to the way political representation actually operates in the United States. In Part III, we move beyond the ways in which representation works and focus instead on some ways in which it doesn’t work. Proposed solutions are also explored.  SO
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EP&E 242a / PLSC 372a, Politics and MarketsPeter Swenson

Examination of the interplay between market and political processes in different substantive realms, time periods, and countries. Inquiry into the developmental relationship between capitalism and democracy and the functional relationships between the two. Investigation of the politics of regulation in areas such as property rights, social security, international finance, and product, labor, and service markets. Topics include the economic motives of interest groups and coalitions in the political process.  SO
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EP&E 246a / PLSC 330a, Participatory DemocracyAmir Fairdosi

What does democracy look like without elections? In this class, we discuss the theory and practice of “participatory” forms of democracy (i.e. those that allow and encourage citizens to influence policy directly, rather than indirectly through elected representatives).  SO
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EP&E 247b / AMST 305b / ER&M 330b / FILM 298b / SAST 262b, Digital WarMadiha Tahir

From drones and autonomous robots to algorithmic warfare, virtual war gaming, and data mining, digital war has become a key pressing issue of our times and an emerging field of study. This course provides a critical overview of digital war, understood as the relationship between war and digital technologies. Modern warfare has been shaped by digital technologies, but the latter have also been conditioned through modern conflict: DARPA (the research arm of the US Department of Defense), for instance, has innovated aspects of everything from GPS, to stealth technology, personal computing, and the Internet. Shifting beyond a sole focus on technology and its makers, this class situates the historical antecedents and present of digital war within colonialism and imperialism. We will investigate the entanglements between technology, empire, and war, and examine how digital war—also sometimes understood as virtual or remote war—has both shaped the lives of the targeted and been conditioned by imperial ventures. We will consider visual media, fiction, art, and other works alongside scholarly texts to develop a multidiscpinary perspective on the past, present, and future of digital war. none  HU, SO
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EP&E 250a / PLSC 354a, The European UnionDavid Cameron

Origins and development of the European Community and Union over the past fifty years; ways in which the often-conflicting ambitions of its member states have shaped the EU; relations between member states and the EU's supranational institutions and politics; and economic, political, and geopolitical challenges.  SO
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm

* EP&E 286a / ECON 475a, Discrimination in Law, Theory, and PracticeGerald Jaynes

How law and economic theory define and conceptualize economic discrimination; whether economic models adequately describe behaviors of discriminators as documented in court cases and government hearings; the extent to which economic theory and econometric techniques aid our understanding of actual marketplace discrimination. Prerequisites: introductory microeconomics and at least one additional course in Economics, African American Studies, Ethnicity, Race, and Migration, or Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
T 9:25am-11:15am

* EP&E 297b / ECON 471b, Topics in Cooperative Game TheoryPradeep Dubey

The theory and applications of cooperative games. Topics include matching, bargaining, cost allocation, market games, voting games, and games on networks. Prerequisite: intermediate microeconomics.
F 9:25am-11:15am

* EP&E 305a / AFST 366a / HIST 367a / PLSC 364a, Bureaucracy in Africa: Revolution, Genocide, and ApartheidJonny Steinberg

A study of three major episodes in modern African history characterized by ambitious projects of bureaucratically driven change—apartheid and its aftermath, Rwanda’s genocide and post-genocide reconstruction, and Ethiopia’s revolution and its long aftermath. Examination of Weber’s theory bureaucracy, Scott’s thesis on high modernism, Bierschenk’s attempts to place African states in global bureaucratic history. Overarching theme is the place of bureaucratic ambitions and capacities in shaping African trajectories.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EP&E 306a / PLSC 228a, First Amendment and Ethics of LawKaren Goodrow

This course addresses the First Amendment and freedom of speech, focusing on the ethical implications of restrictions on free speech, as well as the exercise of free speech. Course topics and discussions include the “fighting words” doctrine, hate speech, true threats, content regulated speech, freedom of speech and the internet, and the so-called “right to be forgotten.” By the end of the course, students recognize the role free speech plays in society, including its negative and positive impacts on various segments of society. Students also have an understanding of the competing interests arising from the First Amendment’s right to free speech, and can analyze how these competing interests are weighed and measured in the United States as compared with other countries.  SO
W 6:30pm-8:20pm

* EP&E 313a / ECON 209a, Economic Analysis of LawRobin Landis

This course is intended to provide an introduction to the economic analysis of law. We examine the economic rationale(s) underlying various legal doctrines of both common law and statutory law, as well as the economic consequences of different legal doctrines. Previous coursework in economics, while helpful, is not a prerequisite for the course.  SO
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

* EP&E 314b, Political EpidemiologyGregg Gonsalves

Political epidemiology is the study of the impact of welfare regimes, political institutions, and specific policies on health and health equity. This course emphasizes the last among these—the effects of specific policies—on health outcomes in infectious diseases and other areas of human health and development. The course takes an issues- and methods-based approach, looking at how to evaluate the effects of political determinants of health (e.g., immigration, education, fiscal and environmental policies) through experimental and quasi-experimental methods, as well as various techniques associated with policy modeling (e.g., Markov models, systems dynamics, microsimulation, spatial models). Prerequisite: Introductory course in statistics; MATH 241 or a similar introductory course in probability is recommended but not required.  SO
W 1pm-2:50pm

* EP&E 328a / PLSC 347a / S&DS 172a, YData: Data Science for Political CampaignsJoshua Kalla

Political campaigns have become increasingly data driven. Data science is used to inform where campaigns compete, which messages they use, how they deliver them, and among which voters. In this course, we explore how data science is being used to design winning campaigns. Students gain an understanding of what data is available to campaigns, how campaigns use this data to identify supporters, and the use of experiments in campaigns. This course provides students with an introduction to political campaigns, an introduction to data science tools necessary for studying politics, and opportunities to practice the data science skills presented in S&DS 123, YData.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EP&E 334a / PHIL 455a, Normative EthicsShelly Kagan

A systematic examination of normative ethics, the part of moral philosophy that attempts to articulate and defend the basic principles of morality. The course surveys and explores some of the main normative factors relevant in determining the moral status of a given act or policy (features that help make a given act right or wrong). Brief consideration of some of the main views about the foundations of normative ethics (the ultimate basis or ground for the various moral principles). Prerequisite: a course in moral philosophy.  HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EP&E 335b / PLSC 395b, Parties, Interest Groups and Public Policies in Advanced Industrialized EconomiesIsabela Mares

This course provides an introduction to the political science literature studying the economic and social policy institutions of contemporary capitalism. In the first part of the course, we introduce the literature examining ‘varieties of capitalist economies’ and examine the most significant factors that explain why the organization of firms, interest groups, and socials policies varies significantly across advanced industrialized economies. In the second part of the course, we turn to the study of change in these institutions in recent decades. We examine how external economic factors (such as globalization) or endogenous economic transformations (such as slowdown in growth, demographic aging) have constrained the policy choices available to labor market actors (such as unions or employers associations) and political parties. We examine the resulting policy choices made in different countries in response to these new economic constraints. Prerequisite: PLSC 116.  SO

* EP&E 336b / PLSC 258b / PLSC 841b, Democracy and BureaucracyIan Turner

Exploration of what government agencies do and why; focus on issues of accountability and the role of bureaucracy in representative democracy. Understanding how bureaucracy works internally and how it is affected by interactions with other political actors and institutions.  SO

* EP&E 350a / AFST 385a / HIST 391a / HLTH 385a / PLSC 429a, Pandemics in Africa: From the Spanish Influenza to Covid-19Jonny Steinberg

The overarching aim of the course is to understand the unfolding Covid-19 pandemic in Africa in the context of a century of pandemics, their political and administrative management, the responses of ordinary people, and the lasting changes they wrought. The first eight meetings examine some of the best social science-literature on 20th-century African pandemics before Covid-19. From the Spanish Influenza to cholera to AIDS, to the misdiagnosis of yaws as syphilis, and tuberculosis as hereditary, the social-science literature can be assembled to ask a host of vital questions in political theory: on the limits of coercion, on the connection between political power and scientific expertise, between pandemic disease and political legitimacy, and pervasively, across all modern African epidemics, between infection and the politics of race. The remaining four meetings look at Covid-19. We chronicle the evolving responses of policymakers, scholars, religious leaders, opposition figures, and, to the extent that we can, ordinary people. The idea is to assemble sufficient information to facilitate a real-time study of thinking and deciding in times of radical uncertainty and to examine, too, the consequences of decisions on the course of events. There are of course so many moving parts: health systems, international political economy, finance, policing, and more. We also bring guests into the classroom, among them frontline actors in the current pandemic as well as veterans of previous pandemics well placed to share provisional comparative thinking. This last dimension is especially emphasized: the current period, studied in the light of a century of epidemic disease, affording us the opportunity to see path dependencies and novelties, the old and the new.  SO
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EP&E 356a, Constitutional Law and Business EthicsGregory Collins

The purpose of this course is to explore how the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court case law have had an impact on business and commercial activities throughout U.S. history. We first identify provisions of the Constitution that relate to economics and familiarize ourselves with methods of constitutional interpretation, including originalism and living constitutionalism. We then apply this guiding framework to our analysis of key Supreme Court cases that have addressed the Commerce Clause, the Takings Clause, the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, and a number of other constitutional provisions that relate to commercial exchange and the legal status of corporations. Additional concepts we discuss include the countermajoritarian difficulty, the rational basis test, strict scrutiny, substantive due process, fundamental rights, disparate impact, public accommodations law, antidiscrimination law, and antitrust law. The guiding question we confront is whether the courts should a.) defer to legislatures in regulating business actors; or b.) overturn democratically enacted laws to protect the economic liberties of individuals.  Prerequisite: Familiarity with major theories in the business ethics discipline (virtue ethics, deontological ethics, utilitarianism, natural rights theory) and the U.S. Constitution.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EP&E 380a / PLSC 313a, Bioethics, Politics, and EconomicsStephen Latham

Ethical, political, and economic aspects of a number of contemporary issues in biomedical ethics. Topics include abortion, assisted reproduction, end-of-life care, research on human subjects, and stem cell research.  SO
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EP&E 390a / EVST 212a / PLSC 212a, Democracy and SustainabilityMichael Fotos

Democracy, liberty, and the sustainable use of natural resources. Concepts include institutional analysis, democratic consent, property rights, market failure, and common pool resources. Topics of policy substance are related to human use of the environment and to U.S. and global political institutions.  WR, SO
T 9:25am-11:15am

* EP&E 399b / AMST 365b / ER&M 295b / FILM 268b, Platforms and Cultural ProductionJulian Posada

Platforms—digital infrastructures that serve as intermediaries between end-users and complementors—have emerged in various cultural and economic settings, from social media (Instagram), and video streaming (YouTube), to digital labor (Uber), and e-commerce (Amazon). This seminar provides a multidisciplinary lens to study platforms as hybrids of firms and multi-sided markets with unique history, governance, and infrastructures. The thematic sessions of this course discuss how platforms have transformed cultural production and connectivity, labor, creativity, and democracy by focusing on comparative cases from the United States and abroad. The seminar provides a space for broader discussions on contemporary capitalism and cultural production around topics such as inequality, surveillance, decentralization, and ethics. Students are encouraged to bring examples and case studies from their personal experiences.  Students previously enrolled in AMST 268 may not enroll in this course.  HU, SO
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm

* EP&E 403a / GLBL 382a / PLSC 383a, Designing and Reforming DemocracyIan Shapiro and David Froomkin

What is the best electoral system? Should countries try to limit the number of political parties? Should chief executives be independently elected? Should legislatures have powerful upper chambers? Should courts have the power to strike down democratically enacted laws? These and related questions are taken up in this course. Throughout the semester, we engage in an ongoing dialogue with the Federalist Papers, contrasting the Madisonian constitutional vision with subsequent insights from democratic theory and empirical political science across the democratic world. Where existing practices deviate from what would be best, we also attend to the costs of these sub-optimal systems and types of reforms that would improve them. Prerequisite: At least one prior course in American politics or comparative politics.  SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* EP&E 471a, Directed Reading and ResearchBonnie Weir

For individual reading and research unrelated to the senior essay. Students must obtain the signature of the faculty member supervising their independent work on an Independent Study Form (available from the Ethics, Politics, and Economics registrar's office). This form must be submitted to the director of undergraduate studies at the time the student's class schedule is submitted.

* EP&E 478b / PHIL 450b, The Problem of EvilKeith DeRose

The challenge that evil's existence in the world poses for belief in a perfectly good and omnipotent God. The main formulations of the problem of evil; proposed ways of solving or mitigating the problem and criticism of those solutions. Skeptical theism, the free-will defense, soul-making theodicies, and doctrines of hell.  HU

* EP&E 490b / CGSC 426b / PHIL 426b / PSYC 422b, The Cognitive Science of MoralityJoshua Knobe

Introduction to the emerging field of moral cognition. Focus on questions about the philosophical significance of psychological findings. Topics include the role of emotion in moral judgment; the significance of character traits in virtue ethics and personality psychology; the reliability of intuitions and the psychological processes that underlie them.  HU

* EP&E 491a, The Senior EssayBonnie Weir

A one-term senior essay. The essay should fall within the student's area of concentration. If no appropriate seminar is offered in which the essay might be written, the student, in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies, should choose an appropriate member of the faculty to supervise the senior essay. Students must obtain the signature of the faculty member supervising their independent work on an Independent Study Form (available from the Ethics, Politics, and Economics registrar's office). This form must be submitted to the director of undergraduate studies at the time the student's class schedule is submitted.

* EP&E 492a and EP&E 493a, The Yearlong Senior EssayBonnie Weir

A two-term senior essay. The essay should fall within the student's area of concentration. The student, in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies, should choose an appropriate member of the faculty to supervise the senior essay. Students must obtain the signature of the faculty member supervising their independent work on an Independent Study Form (available from the Ethics, Politics, and Economics registrar's office). This form must be submitted to the director of undergraduate studies at the time the student's class schedule is submitted.

EP&E 494b / AFAM 198b / CGSC 277b / EDST 177b / PHIL 177b, Propaganda, Ideology, and DemocracyJason Stanley

Historical, philosophical, psychological, and linguistic introduction to the issues and challenges that propaganda raises for liberal democracy. How propaganda can work to undermine democracy; ways in which schools and the press are implicated; the use of propaganda by social movements to address democracy's deficiencies; the legitimacy of propaganda in cases of political crisis.  HU0 Course cr

* EP&E 497a / EVST 247a / PLSC 219a, Politics of the EnvironmentPeter Swenson

Historical and contemporary politics aimed at regulating human behavior to limit damage to the environment. Goals, strategies, successes, and failures of movements, organizations, corporations, scientists, and politicians in conflicts over environmental policy. A major focus is on politics, public opinion, corporate interests, and litigation in the U.S. regarding climate change.SO
M 1:30pm-3:20pm