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
Daniel Chomsky, Lecturer
Jeremy Elkins, Associate Professor and Chair
Marissa Martino Golden, Associate Professor (on leave semesters I and II)
Carol J. Hager, Associate Professor
Deborah Harrold, Lecturer (on leave semester I)
Marc Howard Ross, Professor
Stephen G. Salkever, Professor
Meredith Wooten, Instructor
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.
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.
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.
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, Ross, Division I) Not offered in 2009-10.
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 and Conflict Studies concentration. (Neuman, Division I; cross-listed as ANTH B111)
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. (Wooten, Division I)
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)
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)
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)
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)
State institutions have a profound effect on conflicts. State sponsored conflicts may be more violent, more deadly and transform society. The state’s power may affect conflict management, enforcing agreements and providing incentives for cooperation. Weak states may not manage difference or conflict; ineffective states may be bypassed by citizens seeking protection or to plunder assets. Readings include theoretical texts as well as empirical accounts of the state’s role in structuring and enforcing conflict management. Prerequisite: one course in political science or social science (Harrold, Division I)
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)
An exploration of the ways in which different cultural, economic, and political settings have shaped issue emergence and policy-making. Consideration is given to the prospects for international cooperation in solving environmental problems. (Hager, Division I; cross-listed as CITY B222) Not offered in 2009-10.
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)
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) Not offered in 2009-10.
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) Not offered in 2009-10.
(staff, Division I; cross-listed as ANTH B235) Not offered in 2009-10.
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)
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)
(Ataç, Division III; cross-listed as ARCH B244, CITY B244, and HIST B244) Not offered in 2009-10.
Introduces students to a variety of questions in the philosophy of law. The specific topics may change form year to year, depending on student interest and current events. Sample topics include: defining law; law and morality; purpose of law; law as surprise; rule violations and civil disobedience; law and pluralism; and feminist jurisprudence. (Elkins, Division I; cross-listed as PHIL B245)
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 are means to discuss political and social issues. Our novels in translation address issues of nationalism, patriarchy and gender relations, war and peace, dilemmas of development, and cultural conflict. Readings from Iran, Israel, Turkey, and the Arabic speaking world will include works by Leila Abuzaid, Ghassan Khanafani, Naguib Mahfouz, Orhan Pamuk, and A.B. Yehoshua. (Harrold, Division I) Not offered in 2009-10.
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, HEBR B248, and HIST B240) Not offered in 2009-10.
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. (Chomsky, Division I)
(Koggel, Division III; cross-listed as PHIL B252)
Addresses the role of mass media in the electoral process, considering the importance of information for citizens and voters. Evaluates the nature, quality, and character of media coverage; candidate statements and campaign ads; and considers the impact of media coverage on elections. Finally considers the implications of the electoral process for democracy. (Chomsky, Division I) Not offered in 2009-10.
(Wright, Division I; cross-listed as SOCL B262) Not offered in 2009-10.
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) Not offered in 2009-10.
An examination of the intersection of race and law, evaluating the legal regulations of race, the history and meanings of race, and how law, history and the Supreme Court helped shape and produce those meanings. It will draw on materials from law, history, public policy, and critical race theory. (Albert)
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, Division I) Not offered in 2009-10.
This course is concerned with the meanings of gender and sexuality in the Middle East, with particular attention to the construction of tradition, its performance, reinscription and transformation, and to Western interpretations and interactions. Prerequisite: one course in social science or humanities. (Harrold, Division I) Not offered in 2009-10.
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)
(Kale, Division I or III; cross-listed as HIST B286 and CITY B286) Not offered in 2009-10.
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 2009-10.
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 2009-10.
A comparison of the policy-making process and policy outcomes in a variety of countries. Focusing on particular issues such as environmental, social welfare, and economic policy, we will identify institutional, historical, and cultural sources of the differences. We will also examine the growing importance of international-level policy-making and the interplay between international and domestic pressures on policy makers. (Hager)
An analysis of ethnic and racial conflict and cooperation that will compare and contrast the experiences of regional and immigrant minorities in Europe. Particular attention is paid to the processes of group identification and political organization; the politicization of racial and ethnic identity; patterns of conflict and cooperation between minorities and the majority population over time; and different paths to citizenship. The course will examine the experiences of white ethnic groups, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans as well as Islamic, African, Asian, and regional national groups in Europe. (Ross) Not offered in 2009-10.
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)
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)
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)
(Koggel, Division III; cross-listed as PHIL B344) Not offered in 2009-10.
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; cross-listed as ANTH B347)
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)
(Hay, Division I or III; cross-listed as PHIL B349) Not offered in 2009-10.
A consideration of the conceptualizations of power and “legitimate” and “illegitimate” participation, the political opportunity structure facing potential protesters, the mobilizing resources available to them, and the cultural framing within which these processes occur. Specific attention is paid to recent movements that have occurred both within and across countries, especially the feminist, environmental, and peace movements. (Hager; cross-listed as SOCL B354) Not offered in 2009-10.
(McCauley; cross-listed as PSYC B358)
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. (Salkever, Elkins, Division III; cross-listed as COML B364 and PHIL B364) Not offered in 2009-10.
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) Not offered in 2009-10.
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 2009-10.
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) Not offered in 2009-10.
This course will explore some aspects of early American constitutional thought, particularly in the periods immediately preceding and following the American Revolution. The premise of the course is that many of the questions that arose during that period—concerning, for example, the nature of law, the idea of sovereignty, and the character of legitimate political authority—remain important questions for political, legal, and constitutional thought today, and that studying the debates of the revolutionary period can help sharpen our understanding of these issues. Prerequisites: sophomore standing and previous course work in American history, American government, political theory, or legal studies. (Elkins, Division I or III; cross-listed as HIST B378) Not offered in 2009-10.
The United Nations has grown and evolved in significant ways since its establishment in 1945, and is now charged with confronting a wide range of threats, including atrocities, poverty, hunger, disease, and climate change. This international organization has become the centerpiece of world order, playing a pre-eminent role in issues of international peace and security, economic development, and human rights and humanitarian affairs. This class examines the major theoretical approaches to understanding the United Nations and world order and takes up questions of the world order and various sources of division as well as efforts to promote peace and humanitarian interventions. Prerequisite: a year of political science or peace and conflict studies courses or permission of the instructor. (Hoffman, Division I) Not offered in 2009-10.
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)
(Rock, Ross, Division I; cross-listed as ECON B285)
An in-depth examination of the changing relationship of the state and the market in the U.S. today, the course uses history, theory and empirical research to examine whether the public policies being enacted are producing a fundamental shift in the U.S. political economy. The course centers on the implication for the relationship of democracy to capitalism. Prerequisite: POLS B121 (Schram, Division I)
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)
Major theoretical perspectives concerning the welfare state with a focus on social policy politics, including recent welfare reforms and how in an era of globalization there has been a turn to a more restrictive system of social provision. Special attention is paid to the ways class, race, and gender are involved in making of social welfare policy and the role of social welfare policy in reinforcing class, race, and gender inequities. Prerequisite: POLS B121 or SOCL B102. (Schram, Division I; cross-listed as SOCL B393) Not offered in 2009-10.
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. (Allen, Elkins, Hager, Ross, Salkever)
(Allen, Elkins, Hager, Ross, Salkever)