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The Caroline McCormick Slade Department of Political Science

Students may complete a major or minor in Political Science. Within the major, students may complete a concentration in environmental studies.


Michael H. Allen, Professor
Isabelle Barker, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow
Jeremy Elkins, Assistant Professor
Marissa Martino Golden, Associate Professor and Chair (on leave semester II)
Carol J. Hager, Associate Professor
Deborah Harrold, Lecturer
Alexa Robertson, Visiting Associate Professor
Marc Howard Ross, Professor (on leave 2006-07)
Stephen G. Salkever, Professor

The major in Political Science aims at developing the reading, writing and thinking skills needed for a critical understanding of the political world. Coursework includes a variety of approaches to the study of politics: historical/interpretive, quantitative/deductive and philosophical. Using these approaches, students examine political life in a variety of contexts from the small-scale neighborhood to the international system, asking questions about the different ways in which humans have addressed the organization of society, the management of conflicts and the organization of power and authority.

Major Requirements

The major consists of a minimum of 10 courses, including 398 and 399. Two of these must be chosen from among any of the following entry-level courses: 101, 121, 131, 141, 205, 220, 228 and 231. The major must include work done in two distinct fields. A minimum of three courses must be taken in each field, and at least one course in each field must be at the 300 level. Majors take the Senior Seminar (398) in the first semester of the senior year and write the Senior Essay (399) in the second.

Fields are not fixed in advance, but are set by consultation between the student and departmental advisers. The most common fields have been American politics, comparative politics, international politics and political philosophy, but fields have also been established in American history, East Asian studies, environmental studies, Hispanic studies, international economics, political psychology, public policy and women and politics, among others.

Up to three courses from departments other than Political Science may be accepted for major credit, if in the judgment of the department these courses are an integral part of the student's major plan. This may occur in two ways: an entire field may be drawn from courses in a related department (such as economics or history) or courses taken in related departments will count toward the major if they are closely linked with work the student has done in political science. Ordinarily, courses at the 100 level or other introductory courses taken in related departments may not be used for major credit in political science. In addition, at least three of the courses taken towards completion of the major must be taken in the Bryn Mawr Department of Political Science, not counting POLS 398 and 399.


Students who have done distinguished work in their courses in the major and who write outstanding senior essays will be considered by the department for departmental honors.

Minor Requirements

A minor in political science consists of six courses distributed across at least two fields. At least two of the courses must be at the 300 level. At least three of the courses must be taken from the Bryn Mawr Department of Political Science course offerings.

Concentration in Environmental Studies

The Department of Political Science participates with other departments in offering a concentration within the major in environmental studies.


All Haverford political science courses count toward the Bryn Mawr major; courses in related departments at Haverford that are accepted for political science major credit will be considered in the same way as similar courses taken at Bryn Mawr. All Bryn Mawr majors in political science must take at least three courses in political science at Bryn Mawr, not counting POLS 398 and 399.

POLS B101 Introduction to Political Science

An introduction to various theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of politics with emphasis on three concepts central to political life in all societies: authority, community and conflict. The course examines these concepts in relation to local communities, nations and the international system. (Harrold, Division I)

POLS B111 Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies

A broad and interdisciplinary overview of the study of conflict management. Areas to be introduced will include interpersonal conflict and conflict management, alternative dispute resolution and the law, community conflict and mediation, organizational, intergroup and international conflict and conflict management. This course will also serve as a foundation course for students in or considering the peace studies concentration. (Neuman, Division I)

POLS B121 Introduction to American Politics

An introduction to the major features and characteristics of the American political system. Features examined include voting and elections; the institutions of government (Congress, the Presidency, the courts and the bureaucracy); the policy-making process; and the role of groups (interest groups, women and ethnic and racial minorities) in the political process. Enrollment is limited to 35 students. (Golden, Division I)

POLS B131 Comparative Politics

An introduction to the comparative study of political systems. A sampling of major questions addressed by comparative approaches such as why authority structures differ across countries; how major issues such as inequality, environmental degradation and ethno-nationalism arise in different polities; and why governmental responses to those issues differ so widely. Comparisons are made across time and space. Emphasis is placed on institutional, cultural and historical explanations. Enrollment is limited to 35 students. (Hager, Division I)

POLS B141 Introduction to International Politics

An introduction to international relations, exploring its main subdivisions and theoretical approaches. Phenomena and problems in world politics examined include systems of power management, imperialism, war, cold war, bargaining and peace. Problems and institutions of international economy and international law are also addressed. This course assumes a reasonable knowledge of modern world history. Enrollment is limited to 35 students. (Allen, Division I)

POLS B205 European Politics: Between Unification and Dissolution

An analysis of the accelerating process of European unification and the increasing political divisiveness within individual European countries. We focus on the evolution of the state-society relationship in selected countries and the emergence of new sources of conflict in recent years. These are placed in the context of a changing international scene: the eastward expansion of the European Union, European social and economic unity and the introduction of the Euro. (Hager, Division I) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B206 Conflict and Conflict Management: A Cross-Cultural Approach

This course examines cross-cultural differences in the levels and forms of conflict and its management through a wide range of cases and alternative theoretical perspectives. Conflicts of interest range from the interpersonal to the international levels and an important question is the relevance of conflict and its management in small-scale societies as a way to understand political conflict and dispute settlement in the United States and modern industrial settings. Prerequisite: one course in political science, anthropology or sociology. (Ross, Division I; cross-listed as ANTH B206) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B210 Human Rights, Conflict and Transitional Justice: No Justice, No Peace?

This course will explore how human rights norms can both support and complicate conflict resolution and peace-building efforts. After examining the various meanings and forms of "human rights," we will consider the range of "transitional justice" options available for societies attempting to move away from and make sense of their experience of protracted political conflict. Attention will be paid to the transitions in South Africa and Guatemala and the ongoing processes taking place in Peru and Sri Lanka . (Keenan, Division I) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B220 Constitutional Law

A consideration of some of the leading cases and controversies in American constitutional law. The course will focus on such questions as the role of the constitution in mediating the relationship between public and private power with respect to both difference and hierarchy, and on the role of judicial review within a constitutional system. Enrollment is limited to 35 students. (Elkins, Division I)

POLS B222 Introduction to Environmental Issues: Movements, Controversies and Policy Making in Comparative Perspective

An exploration of the ways in which different cultural, economic and political settings have shaped issue emergence and policymaking. Consideration is given to the prospects for international cooperation in solving environmental problems. (Hager, Division I; cross-listed as CITY B222)

POLS B226 Introduction to Confucianism

(Kim, Division III; cross-listed as EAST B226 and PHIL B226) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B228 Introduction to Political Philosophy: Ancient and Early Modern

An introduction to the fundamental problems of political philosophy, especially the relationship between political life and the human good or goods. Readings from Aristotle, Hobbes, Machiavelli, Plato and Rousseau. (Salkever, Division III; cross-listed as PHIL B228)

POLS B231 Introduction to Political Philosophy: Modern

A continuation of POLS 228, although 228 is not a prerequisite. Particular attention is given to the various ways in which the concept of freedom is used in explaining political life. Readings from Hegel, Locke, Marx, J.S. Mill and Nietzsche. (Salkever, Division III; cross-listed as PHIL B231)

POLS B233 Israel and the Palestinians

This course brings students to examination and analysis of the historical events and political processes that have produced the current situation faced by Israel and the Palestinians. Designed to introduce students to the complexity behind the sound-bytes, the course readings will emphasize analytical skills for reading different kinds of texts, including primary sources. Topics include the history of the Zionist movement, the emergence of Palestinian nationalism, major changes in Israeli domestic politics and negotiation processes. (Harrold, Division I; cross-listed as HEBR B233 and HIST B290) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B234 The Jurisprudence of the Administrative State

Through an intensive examination of judicial opinions and secondary texts, this course considers the nature of law and rights in the administrative state. Topics include the sources of legitimate agency power, the role of courts and agencies in interpreting statutes, and the rights of individuals to participate in agency decision-making and to challenge agency action. (Elkins, Division I)

POLS B238 Science, Technology and the Good Life

(Dostal, Division III; cross-listed as PHIL B238) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B241 The Politics of International Law and Institutions

An introduction to international law, which assumes a working knowledge of modern world history and politics since World War II. The origins of modern international legal norms in philosophy and political necessity are explored, showing the schools of thought to which the understandings of these origins give rise. Significant cases are used to illustrate various principles and problems. Prerequisite: POLS 141. (Allen, Division I)

POLS B243 African and Caribbean Perspectives in World Politics

This course makes African and Caribbean voices audible as they create or adopt visions of the world that explain their positions and challenges in world politics. Students learn analytical tools useful in understanding other parts of the world. Prerequisite: POLS 141. (Allen, Division I)

POLS B244 Great Empires of the Ancient Near East

(Ataç, Division III; cross-listed as ARCH B244, CITY B244 and HIST B244) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B246 Middle Eastern Political Fiction: Literature as Political Dissent and Social Critique

Where life is infused with politics, fiction can be a realm where the personal and social aspects of politics are examined. Where censorship is important, other forms of writing, such as novels, are means to discuss political and social issues. We will read novels in translation that address issues of nationalism, war and peace, patriarchy and gender relations, dilemmas of development, and cultural conflict within society. Readings include fiction from Iran, Israel and Turkey, as well as the Arabic-speaking world, and will include authors Orhan Pamuk, A.B. Yehoshua, Ghassan Khanafani, Naguib Mahfouz and Leila Abuzaid. (Harrold)

POLS B248 Modern Middle East Cities

Taking advantage of the considerable new scholarship on cities, the course will draw from diverse fields to bring different methods to the study of Middle Eastern cities and urbanization. The course will treat the negotiation of state control, urban planning and its alterations in urban practices, social movements and new spaces of politics, competing architectural visions, globalizations, and new local identities. It will treat such topics as Islamic charities in Cairo , shopping malls as public space in Dubai City , Islamic politics in public space in Istanbul , the restructuring of Beirut , and ideas of modernity in the construction of Tel Aviv. (Harrold, Division I; cross-listed as CITY B248 and HEBR B248) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B251 Politics and the Mass Media

A consideration of the mass media as a pervasive fact of U.S. political life and how they influence American politics. Topics include how the media have altered American political institutions and campaigns, how selective attention to particular issues and exclusion of others shape public concerns, and the conditions under which the media directly influence the content of political beliefs and the behavior of citizens. Prerequisite: one course in political science, preferably POLS 121. (Tisinger, Division I)

POLS B251 Media and Politics in the Global Era

(Robertson, Division I)

POLS B253 Feminist Theory

An examination of feminist critiques of traditional philosophical conceptions of morality, the self, reason and objectivity; philosophical contributions to issues of concern for feminists, such as the nature of equality, justice and oppression, are studied. Prerequisite: one course in philosophy or permission of instructor. (Barker, Division III; cross-listed as PHIL B252) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B262 Who Believes What and Why: the Sociology of Public Opinion

(Wright, Division I; cross-listed as SOCL B262)

POLS B265 Political Data Analysis (Paradigms and Perestroika)

This course invokes renewed emphasis in the discipline of political science on methodological pluralism. In that spirit, it introduces students to a variety of different ways in which to gather data in order to make knowledge claims about politics. Data are construed broadly to encompass qualitative information as well as quantitative. Methods range from historical contextualization to experiments, surveys, field studies and interpretations of texts and images. (Schram, Division I)

POLS B278 Oil, Politics, Society and Economy

Examines the role oil has played in transforming societies, in shaping national politics and in the distribution of wealth within and between nations. Rentier states and authoritarianism, the historical relationships between oil companies and states, monopolies, boycotts, sanctions and demands for succession and issues of social justice mark the political economy of oil. (Harrold)

POLS B281 Issues in U. S. Foreign Policy

With the beginning of the Cold War, U.S. policy makers defined the Middle East as a major area of concern, and the United States became involved in blocking or assisting European, Israeli or Soviet interests. This course will examine the development of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East up to and including U.S. policies in Afghanistan and Iraq. We will consider theoretical underpinnings of U.S. policy, how U.S. policy has been made, the role of oil resources, and the special relationship with Israel. Prerequisites: one course in American Politics, American History, Middle East Politics or U.S. Foreign Policy. (Harrold, Division I) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B283 Introduction to the Politics of the Modern Middle East and North Africa

This course is a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the politics of the region, using works of history, political science, political economy, film and fiction as well as primary sources. The course will concern itself with three broad areas: the legacy of colonialism and the importance of international forces; the role of Islam in politics; and the political and social effects of particular economic conditions, policies and practices. (Harrold, Division I; cross-listed as HEBR B283 and HIST B283)

POLS B300 Nietzsche, Kant, Plato: Modes of Practical Philosophy

A study of three important ways of thinking about theory and practice in Western political philosophy. Prerequisites: POLS 228 and 231, or PHIL 101 and 201. (Salkever; cross-listed as PHIL B300) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B308 Political Transformation in Eastern and Western Europe: Germany and Its Neighbors

This course examines the many recent changes in Europe through the lens of German politics. From the two world wars to the Cold War to the East European revolutions of 1989 and the European Union, Germany has played a pivotal role in world politics. We will identify cultural, political and economic factors that have shaped this role and analyze Germany's actions in the broader context of international politics. (Hager; cross-listed as GERM B308) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B310 Comparative Public Policy

A comparison of the policy-making process and policy outcomes in a variety of countries. Focusing on particular issues such as the environment, poverty, suburban sprawl, and domestic security, we will identify institutional, historical and cultural sources of the differences. We will also examine the growing importance of international-level policymaking and the interplay between international and domestic pressures on policy makers. Enrollment is limited to 18 students. (Hager, Division I )

POLS B316 The Politics of Ethnic, Racial and National Groups

An analysis of ethnic, racial and national group cooperation and conflict in a variety of settings. Particular attention is paid to processes of group identification and definition; the politicization of race, ethnic and national identity; and various patterns of accommodation and conflict among groups. Prerequisite: two courses in political science, anthropology or sociology, or permission of instructor. (Ross) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B320 Greek Political Philosophy

A consideration of major works by Thucydides, Plato and Aristotle, along with readings from the current debate over the relevance of Greek philosophy to philosophy and politics today. (Salkever; cross-listed as PHIL B321)

POLS B321 Technology and Politics

An analysis of the complex role of technology in Western political development in the industrial age. We focus on the implications of technological advance for human emancipation. Discussions of theoretical approaches to technology will be supplemented by case studies illustrating the politics of particular technological issues. Prerequisite: one course in political science or permission of instructor. (Hager; cross-listed as CITY B321) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B327 Political Philosophy in the 20th Century

A study of 20th-century extensions of three traditions in Western political philosophy: the adherents of the German and English ideas of freedom and the founders of classical naturalism. Authors read include Hannah Arendt, Jurgen Habermas and John Rawls. Topics include the relationship of individual rationality and political authority, the "crisis of modernity" and the debate concerning contemporary democratic citizenship. Prerequisites: POLS 228 and 231, or PHIL 101 and 201. Enrollment is limited to 18 students. (Salkever; cross-listed as PHIL B327) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B336 Plato: Later Dialogues

(Dostal, Division III; cross-listed as PHIL B336) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B339 The Policy-Making Process

This course examines the processes by which we make and implement public policy in the United States, and the institutions and actors involved in those processes. The aim of the course is to increase our understanding of how these institutions and actors interact at different stages in the policy process and the nature of the policies that result. Examples will be drawn from a range of policy domains including environmental policy and civil rights. Enrollment is limited to 20 students. (Golden) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B344 Developmental Ethics

(Koggel; cross-listed as PHIL B344)

POLS B347 Advanced Issues in Peace and Conflict Studies: Genocide

An in-depth examination of crucial issues and particular cases of interest to advanced students in peace and conflict studies through common readings and student projects. Various important theories of conflict and conflict management are compared and students undertake semester-long field research. The second half of the semester focuses on student research topics with continued exploration of conflict-resolution theories and research methods. Prerequisite: POLS 206, 111 or Haverford's POLS 247. (Neuman)

POLS B348 Culture and Ethnic Conflict

An examination of the role of culture in the origin, escalation and settlement of ethnic conflicts. This course examines the politics of culture and how it constrains and offers opportunities for ethnic conflict and cooperation. The role of narratives, rituals and symbols is emphasized in examining political contestation over cultural representations and expressions such as parades, holy sites, public dress, museums, monuments and language in culturally framed ethnic conflicts from all regions of the world. Prerequisites: two courses in the social sciences. (Ross; cross-listed as CITY B348) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B358 Political Psychology of Group Identification

(Ross; cross-listed as PSYC B358) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B364 Political Philosophy: Irony and Inquiry

In the work of both Plato and Nietzsche, there is a special and important relation between substance and "style" - that is, between what is said, how it is said and what it is meant to do. Through a close reading of primary texts, this course will explore this relation. In the course of our inquiry, we will explore such questions as the relationship of truth and power; of immanence and transcendence; of thought, action and the good life; and the notion of philosophical irony. (Elkins, Salkever; cross-listed as COML B364 and PHIL B364)

POLS B366 Building Peace: Democratization and Civil Society in Situations of Protracted Conflict

This course will examine attempts to strengthen the ability of local "civil society" to mediate conflicts peacefully and build bridges across polarized and distrustful communities. The course will introduce students to differing theories of "peace-building," while placing these theories in the context of competing ideas abut the nature of democratization and the democratic potential of "civil society." Cases to be examined might include East Timor, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mozambique, Northern Ireland, South Africa and Sri Lanka. (Keenan) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B367 Hegel's Philosophy of Right

(Elkins, Division III; cross-listed as PHIL B367) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B368 The Enlightenment and Its Critics

How do we make sense of the fact that the philosophical elaboration of universal rights and popular sovereignty coincided with political systems riddled with forms of inequality and second-class citizenship? Are these inequalities products of Enlightenment thought, or are they its historical exceptions? Takes up these questions through critical engagement with the Enlightenment tradition from the perspective of class, race, gender and sexuality, as well as in relation to postcolonial theory. (Barker, Division III; cross-listed as PHIL B368)

POLS B371 Topics in Legal and Political Philosophy

This course examines a variety of topics on the relationship between justice, authority, community, violence and law. Specific issues include the role of violence in liberal polities and legal regimes, civil disobedience, the relationship of law, state and society, morality and war, and hate speech. (Elkins; cross-listed as PHIL B371)

POLS B372 Comparative Democratic Institutions

This course examines the structure and dynamics of different democratic institutions. In this process, we consider differences between parliamentary and presidential systems, between different electoral systems, and different systems for power sharing such as federalism and consociationalism.The goal of the course is to understand the workings of these institutions, the practical implications of particular institutional designs, and the normative justifications invoked to support them in different historical contexts. Particular attention will be paid to the historical processes through which democratization emerged in the West, with comparisons to processes of political transformation in the "Third World" and elsewhere. (Ahmed, Division I) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B374 Gender and Power in Comparative Context

Patriarchy and fraternity are powerful forms of authority in traditional and modern societies, forms of authority that operate along lines of gender and age and have proved resilient and resistant to feminist challenge. This course examines patriarchy, fraternity and forms of resistance through political theory and empirical analysis of social practices. Our studies will include different historical practices of veiling in Muslim countries, violence and nature in the American West, young women factory workers in Malaysia and labor protest, women politicians in Turkey, fathers, sons and soldiers in Israel, and discourses of respect, respectability and masculinity for African American men. (Harrold) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B375 Women, Work and Family

As the number of women participating in the paid workforce who are also mothers exceeds 50 percent, it becomes increasingly important to study the issues raised by these dual roles as well as to study women's decisions to participate in the paid workforce itself. This seminar will examine the experiences of working and nonworking mothers in the United States, the roles of fathers, the impact of working mothers on children and the policy implications of women, work and family. (Golden; cross-listed as SOCL B375)

POLS B376 Citizenship and Migration

An exploration of the theories, policies and practices surrounding political membership, with a focus on contemporary labor migration. The course will examine political theory texts on the subject of citizenship, as well as undertake a comparative review of theories of migration, national migration policies and regional migration pathways. Topics will include immigrant incorporation, transnational identity and the feminization of migration. (Barker, Division III; cross-listed as PHIL B376)

POLS B380 Persons, Morality and Modernity

What demands does the modern world impose on those who live in it? What kinds of persons does the modern world bring into being? What kinds of ethical claims can that world make on us? What is the relationship between public and private morality, and between each of us as public citizens and private persons? This course explores such questions through an examination of a variety of texts in political theory and philosophy. (Elkins; cross-listed as PHIL B380) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B383 Two Hundred Years of Islamic Reform, Radicalism and Revolution

This course will examine the transformation of Islamic politics in the past two hundred years, emphasizing historical accounts, comparative analysis of developments in different parts of the Islamic world. Topics covered include the rationalist Salafy movement; the so-called conservative movements (Sanussi of Libya, the Mahdi in the Sudan and the Wahhabi movement in Arabia); the Caliphate movement; contemporary debates over Islamic constitutions; among others. The course is not restricted to the Middle East or Arab world. Prerequisites: A course on Islam and modern European history, or an earlier course on the Modern Middle East, or 19th-century India or permission of instructor. (Harrold, Division I; cross-listed as HIST B383)

POLS B384 Islamic Political Thought

The course is concerned with Islamic political thought both as philosophy and as engagement with its contemporary historical world. Readings will be drawn from the rational and philosophic tradition in Islam: al-Farabi, Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and al-Ghazali, as well as from later thinkers who engaged issues of authoritarianism, non-Islamic rule, modernity and change: Ibn Taimiya, al-Afghani, Abduh, Mawdudi, Qutb and Khomeini. (Harrold; cross-listed as PHIL B384) Not offered in 2006-07.

POLS B391 International Political Economy

This seminar examines the growing importance of economic issues in world politics and traces the development of the modern world economy from its origins in colonialism and the industrial revolution. Major paradigms in political economy are critically examined. Aspects of and issues in international economic relations such as finance, trade, migration and foreign investment are examined in the light of selected approaches. (Allen)

POLS B398 Senior Conference

Required of senior majors. This course is divided into two parts. During the first eight weeks of the term, department faculty meet weekly with senior majors to discuss core questions of method and epistemology in political science and to consider a few selected examples of outstanding work in the discipline. The rest of the term is devoted to individual reading and tutorial instruction in preparation for writing the senior essay. (Golden)

POLS B399 Senior Essay

(Allen, Elkins, Golden, Hager, Salkever)

POLS B403 Supervised Work


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