Political Science (PLSC)

* PLSC 028a, American Constitutionalism: Power and its LimitsGordon Silverstein

What happens when a modern superpower tries to govern itself under an 18th Century Constitution? Using original documents, contemporaneous books, and U.S. Supreme Court cases, this course explores the debates that have defined America's struggle to live up to its sometimes conflicting commitments to liberty, equality and the consent of the governed. Enrollment limited to first-year students.  SO
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

* PLSC 050a, New Haven and the American CityDoug Rae

The seminar focuses on New Haven and its region, beginning about two generations after its incorporation as a city in 1784, covering the rapid rise and halting decline of New Haven’s industrial economy, its succession of immigrant communities, its episodes of racial crisis, its often awkward mutual adaptation with Yale University, and most recently with a fresh period of tech-driven post-industrial growth to which university science and engineering may be making an important contribution.  Enrollment limited to first-year students.  SO
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

PLSC 113b, Introduction to American PoliticsChristina Kinane

Introduction to American national government. The Constitution, American political culture, civil rights, Congress, the executive, political parties, public opinion, interest groups, the media, social movements, and the policy-making process.  SO0 Course cr

PLSC 114a, Introduction to Political PhilosophyStaff

Fundamental issues in contemporary politics investigated through reflection on classic texts in the history of political thought. Emphasis on topics linked to modern constitutional democracies, including executive power, representation, and political parties. Readings from Plato, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Madison and Hamilton, Lincoln, and Tocqueville, in addition to recent articles on contemporary issues.  SO0 Course cr

PLSC 116a, Comparative Politics: States, Regimes, and ConflictStaff

Introduction to the study of politics and political life in the world outside the United States. State formation and nationalism, the causes and consequences of democracy, the functioning of authoritarian regimes, social movements and collective action, and violence.  SO0 Course cr

PLSC 145a / GLBL 283a, Technology and WarStaff

The course explores the international security implications of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, cyberweapons, hypersonic missiles, and so-called killer robots. The first half of the course offers a deep dive into the transformative military and civilian technologies of the 20th century, examining how doctrine and culture shaped the development, acquisition, and deployment of key systems like submarines, bomber aircraft, and nuclear bombs, and how these technologies, in turn, shaped international security. In the second half of the course, we apply the lessons of the past to make theoretically guided predictions.  What norms will guide the use of new technologies, and what weapons should or should not be developed? Are arms races inevitable? What might improve the prospects for arms control of emerging technologies?  SO0 Course cr

* PLSC 147a, Coercion in the Globalized EconomyMichael-David Mangini

This course is divided into two parts: 1) the theory of economic coercion and 2) applications of the theory. In each part, we study relevant interests, interactions, and institutions: how the choices of states, groups, and individuals interact to affect each other’s interests within an institutional framework that favors some outcomes. This framework helps guide our study throughout the course.  SO
Th 9:25am-11:15am

* PLSC 161a / GLBL 344a / HIST 483Ja, Studies in Grand Strategy IIArne Westad and Michael Brenes

The study of grand strategy, of how individuals and groups can accomplish large ends with limited means. During the fall term, students put into action the ideas studied in the spring term by applying concepts of grand strategy to present day issues. Admission is by application only; the cycle for the current year is closed. This course does not fulfill the history seminar requirement, but may count toward geographical distributional credit within the History major for any region studied, upon application to the director of undergraduate studies. Prerequisite: PLSC 321. Previous study courses in political science, history, global affairs, or subjects with broad interdisciplinary relevance encouraged.  SO
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

PLSC 169a, International SecurityStaff

This course provides an overview of the study of international security in the modern era. This course has five parts. First, we begin by using the rational-choice approach to study why wars happen, how states can avoid them, and how they end. Second, there is a historical overview of major power wars. Third, we study the politics of interstate war. Fourth, we study civil wars and counterinsurgency. Finally, we study international security with a look towards the future.  SO
TTh 9am-10:15am

PLSC 186a / GLBL 203a, Globalization and Domestic PoliticsStaff

Examination of the political and institutional conditions that explain why some politicians and interest groups (e.g. lobbies, unions, voters, NGOs) prevail over others in crafting foreign policy. Consideration of traditional global economic exchange (trade, monetary policy and finance) as well as new topics in the international political economy (IPE), such as migration and environmental policy.  0 Course cr

* PLSC 197a / GLBL 226 / SAST 345a, National Security in India in the Twenty-first CenturySushant Singh

This course examines the state and dynamics of national security in India in the past two decades. As an emergent power, India is an important country in Asia, with its economic and geo-political strength noticed globally. A major share of the country’s heft comes from its national security paradigm which has undergone a significant shift in the twenty-first century. This course intends to take a holistic look at the conceptions for the basis of India's national security, its evolution, the current challenges and its future course by exploring its various dimensions such as China, Pakistan, global powers, Indian Ocean region, Kashmir, nuclear weapons, civil-military relations and defense preparedness.  SO
W 9:25am-11:15am

* PLSC 200a / AFAM 244a, The Politics of Crime and Punishment in American CitiesAllison Harris

This course explores the relationship between politics and crime and punishment. We review literature focused on political behavior and political institutions to better understand the phenomena we hear about in the news from sentencing algorithms, to felon (dis)enfranchisement, to stop-and-frisk, and police use of force.  SO
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

PLSC 203a / WGSS 204a, Women, Politics, and PolicyStaff

This course is an introduction to the way gender structures how we interpret the political world, exploring topics such as women's access to power, descriptive and substantive representation, evaluation of the functioning of political institutions, and analysis of government policy It also serves as an introduction to reading and producing empirical research on gender in the social sciences.   SO0 Course cr

* PLSC 204a, Election Fundamentals and ForecastingKevin DeLuca

This course examines the fundamental forces that determine election outcomes in the United States. Students practice data analytics using real election results and historical data, and ultimately build a predictive model of the 2024 U.S. election. After the election, students assess their model accuracy. Topics include but are not limited to: presidential approval, the economy, incumbency and candidate quality, campaign and media effects, partisan polarization, case studies of key presidential elections, and election regulations. Throughout the course we explore how the class material helps us understand the dynamics in the upcoming/ongoing 2024 election campaign. Instructor permission required. Students must have at least completed a class that teaches regression techniques (some examples include PLSC 347, 438, 452, the YData courses, Stat 230, or similar, etc.). Students should also have experience coding (the class will mainly use R). Weekly assignments involved coding and making election predictions using real world data.  SO
MW 1pm-2:15pm

PLSC 205a, The American PresidencyStaff

Examination of the constitutional law, historical development, and current operations of the American presidency. Topics include formal powers, the organization and mobilization of popular support, the modern executive establishment, and the politics of presidential leadership.  SO0 Course cr

* PLSC 209a / HIST 167a, Congress in the Light of HistoryDavid Mayhew

This reading and discussion class offers an overview of U.S. congressional history and politics from 1789 through today, including separation-of-powers relations with the executive branch. Topics include elections, polarization, supermajority processes, legislative productivity, and classic showdowns with the presidency.  Emphasized is Congress's participation in a sequence of policymaking enterprises that have taken place from the launch of the nation through recent budget difficulties and handling of climate change. Undergrads in political science and history are the course's typical students, but anyone is welcome to apply.   SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* PLSC 210a, Political Preferences and American Political BehaviorJoshua Kalla

Introduction to research methods and topics in American political behavior. Focus on decision making from the perspective of ordinary citizens. Topics include utility theory, heuristics and biases, political participation, retrospective voting, the consequences of political ignorance, the effects of campaigns, and the ability of voters to hold politicians accountable for their actions.  SO
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

* PLSC 212a / EP&E 390a / EVST 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
Th 9:25am-11:15am

* PLSC 215a / EVST 255a, Environmental Law and PoliticsJohn Wargo

We explore relations among environmental quality, health, and law. We consider global-scale avoidable challenges such as: environmentally related human illness, climate instability, water depletion and contamination, food and agriculture, air pollution, energy, packaging, culinary globalization, and biodiversity loss. We evaluate the effectiveness of laws and regulations intended to reduce or prevent environmental and health damages. Additional laws considered include rights of secrecy, property, speech, worker protection, and freedom from discrimination. Comparisons among the US and  EU legal standards and precautionary policies will also be examined.  Ethical concerns of justice, equity, and transparency are prominent themes.   SO
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* PLSC 228a / EP&E 306a, 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 1:30pm-3:20pm

* PLSC 232a / EDST 232a, US Federal Education PolicyEleanor Schiff

Though education policy is typically viewed as a state and local issue, the federal government has taken a significant role in shaping policy since the end of World War II. The centralization of education policy has corresponded with changing views in society for what constitutes an equitable educational opportunity. This class is divided into three topics: 1) the federal role in education broadly (K-12) and the accountability movement in K-12: from the No Child Left Behind Act to the Common Core State Standards (and cross-national comparisons to US schools), 2) federal role in higher education, and 3) the education industry (teachers unions and think tanks). EDST 110 recommended.  SO
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* PLSC 235a, The Chief and the Bureaucrats: Power Dynamics in the U.S. Executive BranchChristina Kinane

This seminar provides an in-depth exploration of the U.S. President's role within the executive branch, focusing specifically on the interactions between the Chief Executive and the federal bureaucracy, offering a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical insights. Students examine the constitutional foundations that establish and limit presidential power; the operational structure of the federal bureaucracy; the power dynamics that characterize the relationship between the President and bureaucratic agencies; the strategic tools and mechanisms at the President's disposal to direct and control bureaucratic actions; and the common institutional constraints that shape and sometimes hinder a president's ability to exert influence over the bureaucracy. The course addresses both historical and contemporary examples, providing a comprehensive view of how different administrations have navigated the challenges of bureaucratic management. Through case studies, students analyze significant instances where these constraints have impacted presidential decisions and policy implementations. Seminar discussions also consider how executive politics scholars study presidential power and control of the bureaucracy -- highlighting their questions and the tools and approaches they employ to answer those questions.  SO
M 9:25am-11:15am

* PLSC 239a / EP&E 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

* PLSC 247a / AMST 245a / ENGL 246a, The Media and DemocracyJoanne Lipman

In an era of "fake news," when trust in mainstream media is declining, social platforms are enabling the spread of misinformation, and new technologies are transforming the way we consume news, how do journalists hold power to account? What is the media’s role in promoting and protecting democracy? Students explore topics including objectivity versus advocacy and hate speech versus First Amendment speech protections. Case studies will span from 19th century yellow journalism to the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements, to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack and the advent of AI journalism.   SO
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

* PLSC 256b / AFAM 177b / EP&E 248b, American Political InstitutionsMichael Fotos

The origins and development of American political institutions, especially in relation to constitutional choice and the agency of persons seeking freedom, equality, and self-governing capabilities as a driver of constitutional change. Key concepts include: American federalism, compound republic, citizenship, social movements, racial justice, and nonviolence.  WR, SO

* PLSC 258a / EP&E 336a / PLSC 841a, 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
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* PLSC 274a, Cities: Making Public Choices in New HavenJohn DeStefano

Examination of cities, particularly the relationship of people to place and most importantly to one another, through the prism and experiences of the City of New Haven. Exploration of how concepts of social capital and legitimacy of institutions in policy design and execution, are key to the well being of community residents. How cities, in the context of retreating or antagonistic strategies by the state and  federal governments, can be key platforms for future economic and social wealth creation.  SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* PLSC 281a / EDST 281a / HIST 404a / HUMS 303a, What is the University?Mordechai Levy-Eichel

The University is one of the most influential—and underexamined—kinds of corporations in the modern world. It is responsible both for mass higher education and for elite training. It aims to produce and disseminate knowledge, and to prepare graduates for work in all different kinds of fields. It functions both as a symbol and repository of learning, if not ideally wisdom, and functions as one of the most important sites of networking, patronage, and socialization today. It is, in short, one of the most alluring and abused institutions in our culture today, often idolized as a savior or a scapegoat. And while the first universities were not founded in the service of research, today’s most prestigious schools claim to be centrally dedicated to it. But what is research? Where does our notion of research and the supposed ability to routinely produce it come from? This seminar is a high-level historical and structural examination of the rise of the research university. We cover both the origins and the modern practices of the university, from the late medieval world to the modern day, with an eye toward critically examining the development of the customs, practices, culture, and work around us, and with a strong comparative perspective. Topics include: tenure, endowments, the committee system, the growth of degrees, the aims of research, peer-review, the nature of disciplinary divisions, as well as a host of other issues.  HU, SO
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

PLSC 290a / SOCY 151a, Foundations of Modern Social TheoryStaff

Major works of social thought from the beginning of the modern era through the 1900s. Attention to social and intellectual concepts, conceptual frameworks and methods, and contributions to contemporary social analysis. Writers include W.E.B. Du Bois, Simone De Beauvoir, Adam Smith, Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, and Karl Marx.  SO0 Course cr

* PLSC 303a / HUMS 302a, Demagoguery and DemocracyBryan Garsten

This course offers historical and theoretical perspective on contemporary debates about democratic leadership and political discourse. How can demagoguery be distinguished from healthy forms of popular leadership? Under what conditions do demagogues tend to emerge? What institutional arrangements and political strategies help to manage demagogues? The course traces these themes through a set of conversations that begin in ancient Greek and Roman texts on the art of persuasion and continue through the Renaissance and early modern period and into revolutionary and post-revolutionary thinking about leaders' claims to speak for the people. Contemporary issues including populism and the impact of social media are addressed.   HU, SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* PLSC 304b / EP&E 325b, Business Ethics and LawRobin Landis

This seminar is intended to provide frameworks for the analysis of ethical issues that may arise in the context of business decisions, including such aspects as the role of ethics, competing values and interests, and tools for making principled decisions. The course also covers, as appropriate, some aspects of law as they relate to business ethics. Previous courses in philosophy and ethics may be helpful.  SO

* PLSC 312a, PunishmentAlexander Rosas

This course is about punishment. The power of the state to restrict freedom, to impose pain, even death, and to mark one as 'criminal' is remarkable, and this course interrogates the theories that underlie that power. In what cases and for what reasons should the state have the power to punish, and where should the moral and legal limits on that power lie? What should the goals of punishment be, and which forms of punishment align most closely with them? What is the nature and desired role of vengeance and mercy in determining whether, when, and how to punish? What obligations should a society have to punish but also to those whom it punishes? Should the state have the power to shame and humiliate? What does punishment reveal about society more broadly? This course considers these and other related questions primarily through works in political and legal theory, but it also takes an interdisciplinary approach and elaborates and evaluates the theoretical materials through a discussion of numerous legal and other case studies.  SO
Th 9:25am-11:15am

* PLSC 313b / EP&E 380b, 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

* PLSC 318a, Lincoln's Statecraft and RhetoricStaff

Close reading of major speeches and letters by Abraham Lincoln, with a focus on his views concerning slavery, equality, and race in American society. The relation of words to deeds in Lincoln's practice of statecraft; his place in the history and theory of statesmanship. The emergence of Lincoln's thought from an engagement with views of the American founders; ways in which his vision of American democracy both drew upon and transformed the founders' vision.  SO0 Course cr

* PLSC 320b / EP&E 421b, Ethics, Law, and Current IssuesKaren Goodrow

Examination of how freedom of speech and bias influence the criminal justice system, focusing on wrongful convictions and administration of the death penalty. Understanding the role of potential bias at various levels and the competing interests of protecting speech, due process, and the innocent. Topics include limitations on speech, practical effects of speech, the efficacy of the death penalty, actual innocence, gender/race/economic bias and its effects on the justice system, as well as best practices for improving our sense of justice.

PLSC 326a, Socialist Political IdeasStaff

This course explores the history of socialist political thought by focusing on how socialist thinkers addressed the problem of political organization and how they viewed democracy and its institutions. The course looks at Utopian socialism, the problem of political organization in 1848, Proudhon’s arguments for anarchism, the economic and political thought of Karl Marx, controversies over the role of parliaments, political parties and the masses in the Second International, Lenin’s theory of political action, Luxemburg’s debate about imperialism and the mass strike and Gramsci’s interpretation of culture. The course is structured around key primary texts, which are accompanied by secondary readings and suggestions for books and movies. None, but throughout the course, we will be referring to key historical events, which have shaped the course of socialist theorising. I will circulate a list of useful resources to help gather information about these historical moments, as well as some background readings to help students situate the thinkers in their biographical and historical context.  SO0 Course cr

* PLSC 329a / EP&E 372a / HUMS 263a, ThucydidesDaniel Schillinger

In this seminar, we undertake a careful examination of Thucydides' so-called History of the Peloponnesian War in its entirety. Central problems include the psychological and structural causes of war, the relation of justice to necessity, the susceptibility of democracy to imperialism and demagoguery, and the experience of war itself. We also engage with the secondary literature on Thucydides.   WR, HU
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

* PLSC 330a / EP&E 246a, 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

* PLSC 331a, Individualism and Community: Tocqueville and J.S. MillHeather Wilford

Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill were two of the most prominent liberal theorists and statesmen of the 19th century. They recognized that the modern era was to be democratic, and both sought a “new political science” to understand and guide “a world altogether new.” This course will compare their political philosophies, asking how each understood the relations between individualism and community, democracy and liberty, and citizenship and human flourishing.  HU
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

* PLSC 332a / EP&E 299a / GLBL 299a, Philosophy of Science for the Study of PoliticsIan Shapiro

An examination of the philosophy of science from the perspective of the study of politics. Particular attention to the ways in which assumptions about science influence models of political behavior, the methods adopted to study that behavior, and the relations between science and democracy. Readings include works by both classic and contemporary authors.  SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* PLSC 333a, The Politics of ExpertiseFederico Brandmayr

Few societies have been as reliant on experts as our own. As societies grow more complex and technology advances, so does the need for experts who have undergone years of specialized training. Ordinary citizens, firms, state bureaucracies, courts, and legislators constantly rely on experts to guide them in their decisions. However, this reliance is far from seamless. Opportunities to become a successful expert are uneven and often depend on circumstances beyond individual control. Specialists must counter public skepticism and compete with rival groups to establish their authority. Decision-makers are inundated with claims of expertise, making it challenging to discern between valid and dubious advice. Experts can exacerbate issues, fail catastrophically, or neglect public concerns to serve their own interests. Moreover, the increasingly specialized knowledge possessed by experts can seem esoteric and detached from everyday life, leading laypeople to view them with suspicion. For these reasons and others, the very notion of expertise has become highly politicized in recent years. Our society seems to be more and more divided between those who think that experts are indispensable to solve our problems, and those who see them as the root of our troubles. The course adopts an interdisciplinary perspective to explore these issues, drawing from both classical and modern research in sociology, political science, psychology, and philosophy.  SO
Th 3:30pm-5:20pm

* PLSC 338a, AI and DemocracyLuise Papcke

This course proposes to examine how the emergence of AI systems affects the conditions and dynamics of democratic life. How does AI impact the economic system and thus the material conditions supporting (or not) prosperity, equality, and liberty in contemporary democracies? What is new about “surveillance capitalism” and what political and social repercussions are to be expected from the turn towards ‘data’ as one of the main engines of the economy? Would Universal Basic Income solve the looming problem of unemployment given the rise of generative AI? And how does AI affect our chances for “voice” as citizens? From echo chambers to mis/disinformation and deepfakes, how can we regulate how artificial intelligence changes our public sphere and discourse? Finally, how can we mobilize AI to improve our democratic institutions – from more responsive government, to digital forms of participation, and maybe even personalized law, what are the novel opportunities for a better democratic life that AI affords us? This course applies a political theory lens to these and related questions to investigate the social and political impact of artificial intelligence.
  No prior background in political theory or familiarity with emerging AI is required.​  SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* PLSC 340a / EP&E 375a / HUMS 158a, LiberalismMordechai Levy-Eichel

What is liberalism? And why do arguments about it stand at the epicenter of our political life? Is it a political idea, or is it a philosophy that tries to carve out a space apart from high politics? Is it about rights, or about equality? Is it about freedom and liberty, or laws and regulations? Is it ancient? Is it modern? Can we even define what liberalism means, or does the attempt to do so in some way even miss the point? This class is a historical, philosophical, and political examination of one of the most important and contested ideas in the modern world. We read both critics and advocates of liberalism. We also examine it historically, sociologically, and comparatively, in order to gain a better sense of what it means in practice, and how it differs from the arguments of both its most strong supporters and defenders, and its critics. Special attention is paid to the development of the ethos and examples of liberalism. This course is also a meditation on how to study politics and political theory. What does liberalism mean, and how should we examine it? Where did it come from, and how has it changed over time?  SO

PLSC 344a / EP&E 295a, Game Theory and Political ScienceStaff

Introduction to game theory—a method by which strategic interactions among individuals and groups in society are mathematically modeled—and its applications to political science. Concepts employed by game theorists, such as Nash equilibrium, subgame perfect equilibrium, and perfect Bayesian equilibrium. Problems of cooperation, time-consistency, signaling, and reputation formation. Political applications include candidate competition, policy making, political bargaining, and international conflict. No prerequisites other than high school algebra. Political Science majors who take this course may not count ECON 159 toward the major.  QR, SO0 Course cr

* PLSC 347a / EP&E 328a / 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

PLSC 349a, Visualization of Political and Social DataStaff

This course is an introduction to data visualization with a focus on political and social data. Our main textbook is The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte, a foundational book that explores the history of data visualization and offers a perspective on how graphs should be constructed. We also learn from other visualization pioneers not included in Tufte's review such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Florence Nightingale. Our secondary textbook is the ggplot2 book by Hadley Wickham, an indispensable resource for constructing statistical graphs in the programming language R. The main goal of the course is to help students to communicate both "what we know and why we think we know it" through excellent data visualization. Prerequisite: Introductory course in statistics and probability. Background familiarity with learning from random samples and the construction of confidence intervals is useful. Students do not need to know how to program in R as it will be covered extensively.  QR, SO0 Course cr

PLSC 351a or b / CPSC 123a or b / S&DS 123a or b / S&DS 523a or b, YData: An Introduction to Data ScienceEthan Meyers

Computational, programming, and statistical skills are no longer optional in our increasingly data-driven world; these skills are essential for opening doors to manifold research and career opportunities. This course aims to dramatically enhance knowledge and capabilities in fundamental ideas and skills in data science, especially computational and programming skills along with inferential thinking. YData is an introduction to Data Science that emphasizes the development of these skills while providing opportunities for hands-on experience and practice. YData is accessible to students with little or no background in computing, programming, or statistics, but is also engaging for more technically oriented students through extensive use of examples and hands-on data analysis. Python 3, a popular and widely used computing language, is the language used in this course. The computing materials will be hosted on a special purpose web server.  QR

* PLSC 354a / EP&E 250a, 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

PLSC 357a / EAST 310a / GLBL 309a, The Rise of ChinaStaff

Analysis of Chinese domestic and foreign politics, with a focus on the country’s rise as a major political and economic power. Topics include China's recent history, government, ruling party, technology, trade, military, diplomacy, and foreign policy.  SO0 Course cr

PLSC 362a, Law & Political DevelopmentStaff

This lecture course investigates the role of law in political development, in how political authority is constructed and contested. The central focus of the course is the political roles of legal actors – judges, prosecutors, and lawyers. The course covers state formation, the role of law in empires and colonialism, the functioning of law under authoritarian regimes and during and in the aftermath of violent political conflicts, during the transition to democracy, and in the programs of transitional justice. We analyze the role of law in the legitimation of authority, contestations for political power, and political resistance. We ask, why do some countries end up with strong and independent judiciaries while others don’t? Why did some countries implement radical and comprehensive transitional justice prosecutions, while other countries chose to forget about the atrocities of the past? The class explores whether significant social and political change can be achieved through the courts. Finally, we delve into the challenges of implementing reforms in the legal field.  SO0 Course cr

* PLSC 364a / AFST 366a / EP&E 305a / HIST 367a, 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.
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

PLSC 371a / EAST 371, Japanese Politics and Public PolicyStaff

This class introduces students to 13 important puzzles about contemporary Japanese politics, domestic policy, and foreign policy, discusses various ways in which scholars have attempted to solve these puzzles, and suggests pathways for future research. Together, we seek to explain public policy outcomes across a wide range of topics, including constitutional revision, defense, economic growth, energy, gender, immigration, income inequality, population aging, territorial disputes, and trade. In the process, we learn (1) the important actors in Japanese politics (e.g., voters, politicians, parties, bureaucrats, and firms); (2) the positions that different actors take with respect to various policies, as well as the sources of these policy preferences; and (3) how political institutions block or enhance the representation of these actors’ interests.  SO0 Course cr

* PLSC 374a / ECON 449a / EP&E 244a, The Economic Analysis of ConflictGerard Padro

In this course we apply microeconomic techniques, theoretical and empirical, to the analysis of internal violent conflict, including civil wars, terrorism and insurgencies, its causes and consequences. Topics include forced migration, ethnic conflict, long-term consequences of war and individual choices to participate in violence. Readings comprise frontier research papers and students will learn to critically engage with cutting-edge research designs. Prerequisites: Intermediate econometrics  SO
W 9:25am-11:15am

PLSC 378a / AFAM 186a / LAST 214a / SOCY 170a, Contesting InjusticeStaff

Exploration of why, when, and how people organize collectively to challenge political, social, and economic injustice. Cross-national comparison of the extent, causes, and consequences of inequality. Analysis of mobilizations for social justice in both U.S. and international settings. Intended primarily for first years and sophomores.  SO0 Course cr

* PLSC 386a / GLBL 358a, The Geopolitics of the War in UkraineLauren Young

This seminar examines the war in Ukraine with a geopolitical lens focusing on its broader implications for both regional security and democracy. The outbreak of war in Ukraine in February 2022 quickly became a flashpoint in the region. Over two years later, the stakes are high and tensions are rising among transatlantic allies supporting Ukraine, both with arms and sanctions. This course evaluates the historical roots of the war and the fallout from a potential failure to effectively deter an authoritarian state from invading a sovereign neighbor. Our course of study includes the role of international stakeholders and multi-lateral institutions in the conflict, regional political and security dynamics and economic consequences. The humanitarian aspects of the war and its impact on civilian populations, human rights violations and the role of the media in shaping perceptions of the conflict is analyzed. Ultimately, what are the responsibilities of the international community in mitigating the human cost of conflict and the broader economic and policy implications? The aim of this course is both a comprehensive understanding of the conflict and its role in changing and shaping both security and democracy in region and further afield.  WR, SO
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

* PLSC 393a, Comparative Constitutionalism and Legal InstitutionsSteven Calabresi

Introduction to the field of comparative constitutional law. Constitutional texts, materials, and cases drawn primarily from those constitutional democracies that are also members of the Group of Twenty Nations and that respect judicial independence.  SO
M 9:25am-11:15am

* PLSC 410a / SOCY 410a, Political ProtestsMaria Jose Hierro

The 2010s was the “decade of protest,” and 2019 capped this decade with an upsurge of protests all over the world. In 2020, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the US is witnessing the broadest protests in its history. What are the roots of these protests? Under what conditions does protest start? Why do people decide to join a protest? Under what conditions do protests succeed? Can repression kill protest movements? Focusing on recent protest movements across the world, this seminar addresses these, and other questions related to the study of political protest.   SO
Th 9:25am-11:15am

* PLSC 417b / EDST 282b, Comparative International EducationMira Debs

Around the world, education is one of the central institutions of society, developing the next generation of citizens, workers and individuals. How do countries balance these competing priorities? In which ways do countries converge on policies, or develop novel approaches to education? Through the course, students learn the a) impact of colonialism on contemporary education systems, b) the competing tensions of the demands of citizen and worker and c) how a variety of educational policies are impacted around the world and their impact on diverse populations of students. EDST 110 Foundations in Education Studies recommended.  WR, SO
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* PLSC 466a / HIST 268Ja / JDST 351a / RLST 324a, The Global Right: From the French Revolution to the American InsurrectionElli Stern

This seminar explores the history of right-wing political thought from the late eighteenth century to the present, with an emphasis on the role played by religious and pagan traditions. This course seeks to answer the question, what constitutes the right? What are the central philosophical, religious, and pagan, principles of those groups associated with this designation? How have the core ideas of the right changed over time? We do this by examining primary tracts written by theologians, political philosophers, and social theorists as well as secondary literature written by scholars interrogating movements associated with the right in America, Europe, Middle East and Asia. Though touching on specific national political parties, institutions, and think tanks, its focus is on mapping the intellectual overlap and differences between various right-wing ideologies. While the course is limited to the modern period, it adopts a global perspective to better understand the full scope of right-wing politics.  HU, SO
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* PLSC 471a, Individual Reading for MajorsAndrea Aldrich

Special reading courses may be established with individual members of the department. They must satisfy the following conditions: (1) a prospectus describing the nature of the program and the readings to be covered must be approved by both the instructor and the director of undergraduate studies; (2) the student must meet regularly with the instructor for an average of at least two hours per week; (3) the course must include a term essay, several short essays, or a final examination; (4) the topic and/or content must not be substantially encompassed by an existing undergraduate or graduate course. All coursework must be submitted no later than the last day of reading period.

* PLSC 474a, Directed Reading and Research for Junior Intensive MajorsAndrea Aldrich

For juniors preparing to write yearlong senior essays as intensive majors. The student acquires the methodological skills necessary in research, identifies a basic reading list pertinent to the research, and prepares a research design for the project. All coursework must be submitted no later than the last day of reading period.

* PLSC 480a, One-Term Senior EssayAndrea Aldrich

For seniors writing the senior essay who do not wish, or are unable, to write the essay in a department seminar. Students must receive the prior agreement of a member of the department who will serve as the senior essay adviser, and must arrange to meet with that adviser on a regular basis throughout the term.

* PLSC 490a, The Senior ColloquiumMaria Jose Hierro

Presentation and discussion of students' research proposals, with particular attention to choice of topic and research design. Each student frames the structure of the essay, chooses research methods, begins the research, and presents and discusses a draft of the introductory section of the essay. Enrollment limited to Political Science majors writing a yearlong senior essay.
F 9:25am-11:15am

* PLSC 491a, The Senior EssayAndrea Aldrich

Each student writing a yearlong senior essay establishes a regular consultation schedule with a department member who, working from the prospectus prepared for PLSC 490, advises the student about preparation of the essay and changes to successive drafts. Enrollment limited to Political Science majors writing a yearlong senior essay.