Courses

This page displays the schedule of Bryn Mawr courses in this department for this academic year. It also displays descriptions of courses offered by the department during the last four academic years.

For information about courses offered by other Bryn Mawr departments and programs or about courses offered by Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges, please consult the Course Guides page.

For information about the Academic Calendar, including the dates of first and second quarter courses, please visit the College's calendars page.

Fall 2022 POLS

Course Title Schedule/Units Meeting Type Times/Days Location / Instruction Mode Instr(s)
POLS B121-001 Introduction to U.S. Politics 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 2:25 PM- 3:45 PM TTH Dalton Hall 119
In Person
Golden,M.
POLS B141-001 Introduction to International Politics 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 12:55 PM- 2:15 PM TTH Old Library 224
In Person
Carby Denning,N.
POLS B228-001 Introduction to Political Philosophy: Ancient and Early Modern 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 2:25 PM- 3:45 PM TTH Dalton Hall 2
In Person
Schlosser,J.
POLS B245-001 Philosophy of Law 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 9:55 AM-11:15 AM TTH Taylor Hall F
In Person
Elkins,J.
POLS B249-001 Politics of Economic Development 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 11:40 AM- 1:00 PM MW Old Library 104
In Person
Oh,S.
POLS B256-001 Global Politics of Climate Change 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 12:55 PM- 2:15 PM TTH Dalton Hall 2
In Person
Hager,C.
POLS B277-001 Creating Queer Studies 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 1:10 PM- 2:30 PM MW Carpenter Library 13
In Person
Norris,H.
POLS B283-001 Middle East Politics 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 1:10 PM- 2:30 PM MW Goodhart Hall B
In Person
Sasmaz,A.
POLS B351-001 Women and American Politics 1Semester / 1 LEC: 10:10 AM-11:30 AM MW Dalton Hall 25
In Person
Norris,H.
POLS B353-001 Politics and Fiction 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 1:10 PM- 4:00 PM W Old Library 118
In Person
Elkins,J.
POLS B367-001 China and the World: Implications of China's Rise 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 1:10 PM- 4:00 PM T Park 159
In Person
Oh,S.
POLS B391-001 International Political Economy 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 1:10 PM- 4:00 PM W Dalton Hall 2
In Person
Allen,M.
POLS B403-001 Supervised Work 1Semester / 1 Dept. staff, TBA
POLS B403-001 Supervised Work 1Semester / 1 Dept. staff, TBA
POLS B425-001 Praxis III: Independent Study 1Semester / 1 Dept. staff, TBA
ARCH B244-001 Great Empires of the Ancient Near East 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 2:25 PM- 3:45 PM TTH Carpenter Library 25
In Person
Swerida,J.
PHIL B225-001 Global Ethical Issues 1Semester / 1 LEC: 9:55 AM-11:15 AM TTH Old Library 104
In Person
Culbreth,A.
PHIL B238-001 Science, Technology and the Good Life 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 2:40 PM- 4:00 PM MW Dalton Hall 1
In Person
Dostal,R.
SOCL B317-001 Comparative Social Policy: Cuba, China, US, Scandinavia 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 1:10 PM- 4:00 PM T Dalton Hall 212E
In Person
Karen,D.

Spring 2023 POLS

Course Title Schedule/Units Meeting Type Times/Days Location / Instruction Mode Instr(s)
POLS B131-001 Introduction to Comparative Politics 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 10:10 AM-11:30 AM MW Dalton Hall 119
In Person
Sasmaz,A.
POLS B221-001 Gender and Comparative Politics 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 12:55 PM- 2:15 PM TTH Taylor Hall F
In Person
Norris,H.
POLS B224-001 Comparative Political Phil: China, Greece, and the "West" 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 12:55 PM- 2:15 PM TTH Taylor Hall G
In Person
Salkever,S.
POLS B330-001 Queer Rights and Politics 1Semester / 1 LEC: 9:55 AM-11:15 AM TTH Dalton Hall 6
In Person
Norris,H.
POLS B339-001 Bureaucracy & Democracy in America 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 2:10 PM- 4:00 PM T Dalton Hall 212A
In Person
Golden,M.
POLS B361-001 On The Human Condition: The Political Thinking of Hannah Are 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 2:25 PM- 3:45 PM TTH Old Library 118
In Person
Schlosser,J.
POLS B382-001 Comparative Political Parties 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 1:10 PM- 4:00 PM M Dalton Hall 10
In Person
Sasmaz,A.
POLS B399-001 Senior Essay 1Semester / 1 In Person Dept. staff, TBA
POLS B399-002 Senior Essay 1Semester / 1 In Person Dept. staff, TBA
POLS B399-003 Senior Essay 1Semester / 1 In Person Dept. staff, TBA
POLS B399-004 Senior Essay 1Semester / 1 LEC: 2:10 PM- 4:00 PM W Taylor Hall, Seminar Room
In Person
Dept. staff, TBA
POLS B399-005 Senior Essay 1Semester / 1 In Person Dept. staff, TBA
POLS B399-006 Senior Essay 1Semester / 1 In Person Dept. staff, TBA
POLS B420-001 Praxis Fieldwork Seminar: Politics, Policy and Power 1Semester / 1 In Person Golden,M.
ENVS B202-001 Environment and Society 1Semester / 1 Lecture: 11:25 AM-12:45 PM TTH Park 300
In Person
Hager,C.

Fall 2023 POLS

(Class schedules for this semester will be posted at a later date.)

2022-23 Catalog Data: POLS

POLS B121 Introduction to U.S. Politics

Fall 2022

As the American political system continues to face challenges from both the right and the left, it is more important than ever to understand its key features, institutions, personnel and policy-making processes. This course provides a broad overview of the structures, personnel and institutions that govern and shape elections and policymaking in the United States. This course provides an overview of these key features. Writing Attentive.

Course does not meet an Approach

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POLS B131 Introduction to Comparative Politics

Spring 2023

This course is designed to provide an introduction to the discipline of comparative politics. We will explore the primary approaches and concepts scholars employ in order to systematically analyze the political world. In doing so, we will also examine the political structures, institutions, and behaviors of a number of countries around the world. Questions we will engage with include: What is power and how is it exercised? What are the differences between democratic and authoritarian regimes? How do different countries develop their economies? What factors shape the relationships between states and their societies? By the end of this course, students will be equipped to answer these questions and prepared for further study in political science.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Counts Toward International Studies

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POLS B141 Introduction to International Politics

Fall 2022

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, globalization, 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.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Counts Toward Africana Studies

Counts Toward Latin American, Iberian, and Latinx Studies

Counts Toward International Studies

Counts Toward Peace, Justice and Human Rights

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POLS B202 Politics of Nationalism

Not offered 2022-23

This course explores the genesis, forms, and political dynamics of nationalism in different states and regions of the world. The semester will culminate with examination of contemporary debates about recent nationalist resurgence. In addition to the cultivation of critical reading, writing, and thinking skills, three goals guide the course. The goals are for students to 1) develop nuanced understandings of the history and varieties of nationalism, 2) analyze the relationships between concepts of nationality, ethnicity, race, patriotism, and self-determination, and 3) assess nationalism in relation to alternative forms of collective identity and political organization. Texts will include "classics" of nationalism studies, scholarship on specific national movements, primary source material, and public commentary on current political trends.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Critical Interpretation (CI)

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POLS B205 European Politics: Coming Together or Falling Apart?

Not offered 2022-23

The European Union is one of the most ambitious experiments in international cooperation ever attempted. Despite the EU's many successes, sources of conflict between and within European countries have persisted. With the recent Greek financial crisis ("Grexit"), the Syrian refugee crisis, Britain's departure ("Brexit"), and the rise of far-right nationalist parties in many member countries, the union is starting to look frayed around the edges. In fact, each move toward European unity has dropped barriers for some while raising them for others. In this course, we will explore European politics from the edges, from the borders separating the included from the excluded. These borders may be geographical, political, socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, or cultural in nature. Our focus will be on political initiatives from the bottom up and the outside in. From this perspective, we will try to make sense of the interactions that produce cross-cutting pressures toward European unification on the one hand and toward dissolution of the European experiment on the other. We will cover issue areas such as migrant labor, housing and urban quality of life, immigration and refugee policy, climate, pandemic response, education and collective memory, defense and security, and information politics.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

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POLS B219 Comparative Field Seminar: Politics of Developing Countries

Not offered 2022-23

Some 80% of the world's population resides in the "developing world," also known as the Global South or the Third World. The great diversity among developing countries argues against lumping them together into a single category, and yet the political and economic challenges they face, and the way they have been integrated into the world system--and the discipline of political science--suggests that it might be possible, and possibly fruitful, to study them together. In this course, we will do just that, looking at the many issues they share in common, from widespread poverty and vulnerability to the international economy to post-colonial states grappling with issues of autonomy, sovereignty, authority, and accountability. While we may very well discover that the concepts of the "developing world" and "the politics of the developing world" have problematic aspects, we will have reached such a conclusion as the result of critical engagement with the political and economic realities of those parts of the world of which most of us have hitherto remained ignorant.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Counts Toward International Studies

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POLS B221 Gender and Comparative Politics

Spring 2023

This is an upper-level course for students interested in learning about feminist political science. We will cover the major topics of comparative politics from a gender perspective through a mix of lecture and seminar-style discussion. The topics include social movements, institutions, political parties and elections, welfare systems, democracy, and authoritarianism. The goal of the course is to teach students how to apply gendered and intersectional frameworks to contemporary political events and actors around the world. Suggested pre-requisite: a 100 or 200 level comparative politics course, political theory course, or gender & sexualities course.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Counts Toward Gender and Sexuality Studies

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POLS B224 Comparative Political Phil: China, Greece, and the "West"

Spring 2023

An introduction to the dialogic construction of comparative political philosophy, using texts from several cultures or worlds of thought: ancient and modern China, ancient Greece, and the modern West. The course will have three parts. First, a consideration of the synchronous emergence of philosophy in ancient (Axial Age) China and Greece; second, the 19th century invention of the modern "West" and Chinese responses to this development; and third, the current discussions and debates about globalization, democracy, and human rights now going on in China and the West. Prerequisite: At least one course in either Philosophy, Political Theory, or East Asian Studies, or consent of the instructor.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Counts Toward International Studies

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POLS B228 Introduction to Political Philosophy: Ancient and Early Modern

Fall 2022

An introduction to the fundamental problems of political philosophy, especially the relationship between political life and the human good or goods.

Critical Interpretation (CI)

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POLS B229 Politics of Women's Empowerment

Not offered 2022-23

The "empowerment of women" has become a key goal, whether real or rhetorical, of governments and politically involved non-governmental institutions across the globe. Whether through foreign aid programs targeted at women or reserved seats within domestic legislatures, it is not uncommon to see policies meant to "empower" women. But what does "empowerment" actually entail? Is it about assimilating women into existing political and economic structures? What types of power are being given to women, and how are they to use it? Which women are being "empowered"? How does the "empowerment" of women fit with other goals of those already in power? Is this a victory for feminism? We will take a cross-national approach to the issue, looking at how various polities are approaching women's empowerment, both at home and abroad.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Critical Interpretation (CI)

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POLS B231 Introduction to Political Philosophy: Modern

Not offered 2022-23

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 Locke, J.S. Mill, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche and others.

Critical Interpretation (CI)

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POLS B241 The Politics of International Law and Institutions

Not offered 2022-23

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 B141

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Counts Toward International Studies

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POLS B245 Philosophy of Law

Fall 2022

Introduces students to a variety of questions in the philosophy of law. Readings will be concerned with the nature of law, the character of law as a system, the ethical character of law, and the relationship of law to politics, power, authority, and society. Readings will include philosophical arguments about law, as well as judicial cases through which we examine these ideas within specific contexts, especially tort and contracts. Most or all of the specific issues discussed will be taken from Anglo-American law, although the general issues considered are not limited to those legal systems. Recommended Prerequisite: sophomore standing, freshman only with professor's consent.

Critical Interpretation (CI)

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POLS B249 Politics of Economic Development

Fall 2022

How do we explain the variations of political and economic systems in the world? What is the relationship between the state and the market? To what extent does the timing of industrialization affect the viability of certain developmental strategies? This seminar introduces the intellectual history of comparative political economy and development studies with readings on both comparative political economy and international political economy. First, we will examine the debates on the dynamics of the state and the market in the development and globalization process. Second, we will explore specific case studies to discuss: 1) how the political and economic processes have changed in response to the interaction of the domestic and international arenas, 2) whether and how the late developers learned from the experiences of early developers, 3) how the international economy and international financial crisis shaped domestic development strategies. Lastly, we will analyze the developmental concerns at the sub-national level with financial liberalization. Prerequisite: Freshman can enroll after they have taken 100 level courses in social science and after getting instructor permission.

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POLS B251 Democracy, Politics and the Media

Not offered 2022-23

The media is sometimes referred to as the Fourth Estate, standing alongside the executive, legislative, and judicial branches as a guarantor of democracy. But political actors have long labored to direct the press away from serving as their watchdogs and toward serving as their lapdogs. In this class, we will be focusing on this messy, multifaceted--and highly consequential--relationship between politics and the media. This course is aimed at introducing students to the rich area of research in this field, providing an overview of the various facets of the discipline of political communication, from media effects theories such as cognitive dissonance, framing and priming to critical, cultural, and normative theories on the role of the media in modern democracy. Our class discussions will center on examining current political issues (such as social protests, foreign affairs coverage, political campaigns, social media and political entertainment) and exploring whether older theories and approaches are still relevant in a media landscape so different (in quantity and quality) from the one in which they were originated - and what can we learn from them about modern political phenomena. Many of our theories and cases will be drawn from the American context, but we will not limit ourselves to only a single country.

Course does not meet an Approach

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POLS B256 Global Politics of Climate Change

Fall 2022

This course will introduce students to important political issues raised by climate change locally, nationally, and internationally, paying particular attention to the global implications of actions at the national and subnational levels. It will focus not only on specific problems, but also on solutions; students will learn about some of the technological and policy innovations that are being developed worldwide in response to the challenges of climate change. Only open to students in 360 program.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Counts Toward Environmental Studies

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POLS B261 Sovereignty, Identity, and Law

Not offered 2022-23

What is sovereignty and what does it mean to say that a "people" is sovereign? Is popular sovereignty rule by the "will of the people?" Who is this "people" whose will is sovereign? What are the implications of our answers to these questions for our idea of law? Is law the expression of that pre-existing will, and of something that already exists, called "the people"? Or does law have a role in creating "the people" and its "will"? Drawing on theoretical, historical, and legal texts, this course will explore the idea of sovereignty and popular sovereignty and its relation to law and collective identity. Sophomore Standing. Freshman only with instructor's approval.

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

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POLS B266 Virtue, Friendship, and Democratic Practice

Not offered 2022-23

How are you a friend - to yourself and to others - and how does friendship shape identity, society, and politics? This course brings the everydayness of friendship to imaginative and critical inquiry, examining the meaning of friendship, what it demands of us, and what kind of politics might emerge through practices of friendship. It seeks to prove the value of friendship for philosophical and political thinking while also pursuing friendship at the level of pedagogy and discipline. Bringing together classical texts as well as religious / theological texts and contemporary political theory, this course will bridge the instructors' two disciplines of Religious Studies and Political Science. Readings will include Aristotle and Aquinas; feminist theorists of friendship and accountability such as Sara Ahmed and Judith Butler; and contemporary political theorists of identity and race such as Danielle Allen and Leela Gandhi. Writing projects will pursue practices of friendship through collaboration, call and response, and affective encounters.

Critical Interpretation (CI)

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POLS B272 The Power of the People: Democratic Revolutions

Not offered 2022-23

We often invoke "democracy" as the very ground of political legitimacy, but there is very little agreement on what democracy means, why we might desire it, or how state institutions, law, and political culture might embody it. In this seminar we will grapple with some recent and influential accounts of democratic governance and democratic movements today. Our objective will be to develop a critical vocabulary for understanding what democracy might mean, what conditions it requires, and what "best practices" citizens committed to democracy might enlist to confront political challenges such as the structural divisions that persist among class, gender, and race; persistent inequality and influence of money and corporations; and the potential for democratic, grass-roots power as a vital ingredient to democratic flourishing. Writing Intensive.

Critical Interpretation (CI)

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POLS B277 Creating Queer Studies

Fall 2022

This class tackles the origins and development of queer theory in academia. We begin with an overview of late 1980s feminism before turning to the creation of queer theory. During class discussions, students will evaluate the ways that feminist, queer, and trans politics overlap and diverge. The purpose of the course is to enrich students' understanding of critical knowledge production in academia. Throughout the semester we will ask about the implications of "origin stories" and the ways that such narratives shape future directions of queer scholarship.

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Counts Toward Gender and Sexuality Studies

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POLS B283 Middle East Politics

Fall 2022

This course offers an overview on the contemporary politics of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the relevant social (mostly political) science work on it. It brings together empirical knowledge on domestic and transnational politics in different countries of the region and how empirical political science around the big questions is conducted. Each module of the course revolves around a central question that has been keeping social and political scientists busy in the last decades: What triggers risky protest movements in authoritarian settings? Why has the MENA region remained authoritarian despite successive global waves of democratization? Under which conditions do transitions to democracies succeed? Do monarchies in the Middle East have an advantage in ensuring political stability, and if so, why? Is it impossible to ensure good governance and peace at the same time in divided societies? What motivates people to take up arms in the name of religion and sect? What are the reasons behind the economic underdevelopment of the MENA region? Students are also invited to think about these "big questions" and take MENA countries as their case studies, while at the same significantly enhancing their contextual knowledge about the region. No prerequisites, but either some prior familiarity with the Middle East or a prior political science course encouraged.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Counts Toward International Studies

Counts Toward Middle Eastern/Central Asian/North African Studies

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POLS B303 The Politics of Protest

Not offered 2022-23

In this course, we'll expand our view of political participation, looking beyond its institutionalized, regularized forms--voting, holding office, etc.--by taking protest seriously. It places special emphasis on a comprehensive, multidimensional analysis of protest, asking students to recognize both the regularities and the nuances of what we call "protest." Students will seek answers to not only the "what" of protest, but also issues of who chooses to protest, why they choose to do so, when and where they do, and how they go about it. We will see that there are no single, authoritative answers to any of these questions, and as such, students will be asked to enter into a dialogue and debate with scholars considering these issues. Students will leave this course not only with a greater appreciation and understanding of the place of protest within politics, but also, as a result of their original research paper, a deeper knowledge and a critical, scholarly perspective of specific incidence(s) of protest in the real world. Prerequisites: One course in POLS or SOCL or permission of instructor.

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POLS B310 Comparative Public Policy

Not offered 2022-23

A comparison of policy processes and outcomes across space and time. Focusing on particular issues such as health care, domestic security, water and land use, we identify institutional, historical, and cultural factors that shape policies. We also examine the growing importance of international-level policy making and the interplay between international and domestic pressures on policy makers. Writing attentive. Prerequisite: One course in Political Science or public policy.

Course does not meet an Approach

Counts Toward Environmental Studies

Counts Toward Health Studies

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POLS B314 Settler Colonialism and Indigenous Politics

Not offered 2022-23

Recent decades have seen unprecedented growth of scholarship on settler colonialism and indigenous politics alongside new waves of political activism for indigenous rights around the world. This resurgence is evident in transnational solidarity movements, amplified demands for collective indigenous rights, and the movement of indigenous politics into the realm of international law. This seminar will survey this new scholarship and examine these political phenomena in historical and comparative perspective that is global in scope. Among the questions that will guide our inquiry are: What types of polities has settler colonialism produced? What types of regimes to they develop and how are different kinds of inequality entrenched within them? How have indigenous peoples resisted settlement and dispossession across time and space? How and why have indigenous-settler relations developed differently across cases? Cases we may consider include a variety from the Americas, South Africa, Australia, Western Sahara, Palestine, Ireland, Algeria, and, to unsettle common assumptions about the geographic location of settlement, Russian and Japanese settler colonialism. Prerequisite: At least one political science course or permission of instructor

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POLS B318 United States and the Middle East

Not offered 2022-23

American foreign policy is supposedly undergoing a reorientation away from the Middle East, sometimes described as a "pivot to Asia." To what extent is this pivot actually happening and why? What does it mean for the people and politics of the Middle East and for the future of US relations with allies and adversaries in the region? In this course we will study the history of US relations with state and non-state actors in the region to build historical perspective that will help us more effectively think about these contemporary questions. We will examine how debates over alternative futures are unfolding in Washington as well as how local actors in the Middle East are responding. Prerequisites: At least one of the following: POLS 283 Middle East Politics, Introduction to Comparative Politics or International Studies and at least one 200-level POLS course (i.e. two POLS courses), or permission of instructor.

Counts Toward Middle Eastern/Central Asian/North African Studies

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POLS B326 Comparative Environmental Politics in East and Southeast Asia

Not offered 2022-23

East Asia (referring to both Northeast and Southeast Asia) is often discussed as one unit vis-à-vis other economic blocs yet this region is a home to the largest population in the world with various divergent cultures, colonial histories, religions, political system and state-society relations, as well as the level of economic development. With increasing focus on 3Es-- Economic growth, Environment protection, and Energy security-- as shared priorities at the regional level, such diversities serve not only as opportunities but challenges for East Asian states to cope with environmental issues. Geographic proximity makes countries in the region environmentally interdependent, and heavy dependence on imported fossil fuels make energy security as a matter of survival. Increasing public outcry over pollution and resultant health problems has also challenged political legitimacy and sustainable economic development. his course explores contemporary environmental issues in East Asia from comparative political economy perspective and sheds light on how environmental problems - and solutions - are often shaped by political context and interweaved into varying actors' perceived interest. Main questions in the course include: What kind of environmental problems East Asia face and how diverse historical, political and economic conditions of each country shape the context in which countries deal with the problem either individually or collectively? What are the roles of various social, political and market actors in environmental politics? What sorts of approaches seem most likely to solve local, national and regional environmental issues such as air pollution, natural resource depletion, and climate change? What are the impacts of globalization and technological innovation in dealing with environmental issues? Prerequisite: Junior standing or higher, previous courses in social science, humanities, area studies or relevant experiences are required. This course meets writing intensive requirement.

Counts Toward East Asian Languages and Cultures

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POLS B330 Queer Rights and Politics

Spring 2023

This is an upper-level course designed to introduce students to the study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer (LGBTQ) politics and activism outside of the US. We will study the formations of LGBTQ identities, state regulation of sexuality and gender, public policy (partnership, healthcare, etc), religious attitudes, political participation by LGBTQ people, and migration and asylum practices. The goal of the course is to familiarize students with the current status of LGBTQ people around the world and help them to hone their independent research and writing skills. Suggested pre-requisite: a 100 or 200 level comparative politics course, political theory course, or gender & sexualities course.

Counts Toward Gender and Sexuality Studies

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POLS B339 Bureaucracy & Democracy in America

Spring 2023

This course is an upper-level seminar designed primarily for juniors and seniors who want to spend the Semester reading about and discussing the role of the federal bureaucracy in the U.S. political system. Topics will include the history of the federal bureaucracy, the bureaucratic policymaking process & administrative law, the roles of expertise and politics in agency decision-making, the competition among the three constitutional branches to "control" the bureaucracy, and the normative goals of competence, responsiveness and representativeness. Discussion of current events - including the federal government's response to COVID and the role of race in public administration - will be a central part of the seminar. Attention will also be paid - and assignments oriented towards - preparing students for the Senior Experience.

Counts Toward Environmental Studies

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POLS B351 Women and American Politics

Fall 2022

This course examines the role of women in American politics the second wave of feminism to present. The course will focus on academic literature from political science and include topics such as partisanship, campaigning, and voter behavior. What has been the role of women in American politics? Are there differences at the federal v. state v. local level? What political changes have they achieved and what strategies were most effective? How do other categories of difference, such as race, ability, sexuality, and class, intersect with our gendered expectations? Prerequisite: One course in US Politics or permission of instructor.

Counts Toward Gender and Sexuality Studies

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POLS B353 Politics and Fiction

Fall 2022

This course explores relations of politics and fiction from two directions and using two kinds of texts. The greater part of the course will be concerned with "political fiction" in a broad sense of that term: here we will explore some works of (mostly) contemporary literature and film that reflect on such themes as: authority, governance, bureaucracy, totalitarianism and pluralism, the relation of public and private, and the politics of truth and narrative. Secondly, drawing on non-fictional texts, we will take up some related questions of "fictional politics." Here, our concerns will be with the role of political myth generally, but more specifically with the particular "fictionality" of contemporary politics. Authors may include Milan Kundera, Václav Havel, Franz Kafka, Kenzaburo Oe, Jorge Luis Borges, Jane Campion, Akira Kurosawa, Joan Didion, and Hannah Arendt. Prerequisite: One lower-division course in Political Theory, Philosophy, English, or Comparative Literature, or consent of instructor.

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POLS B356 Topics in American Politics: The 2020 Presidential Election Dissected

Not offered 2022-23

This is a topics course. Topics vary.

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POLS B359 Depth Psychology, Politics, and the Social Order

Not offered 2022-23

In this course, we examine a variety of political and social issues (among them racism, the economic organization of society, and demagoguery) from the perspective of "depth psychology." By "depth psychology" we refer to the study of human activity in terms of individual and collective, conscious and unconscious psychic dynamics. Modern depth psychology grew up in the late 19th century; its two greatest theorists were Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud, the latter of whom founded what is now the broad and diverse field of psychoanalysis. We will draw on works by Nietzsche, by Freud, by later psychoanalysts, and by writers were deeply influenced by these, such as Richard Wright, Franz Fanon, and Herbert Marcuse. We will also draw on the insights of depth psychology to try to help understand the use and organization of hate within contemporary politics. Prerequisite: One course in theory OR consent of instructor.

Course does not meet an Approach

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POLS B361 On The Human Condition: The Political Thinking of Hannah Are

Spring 2023

Pursuing a close study of Hannah Arendt's The Human Condition, one of the most influential works of political theory written in the twentieth century, this course will investigate Arendt's magnum opus in its contexts: situated in the history of political thought, in the political debates of the 1950s, and as political thinking of urgent relevance today. While we study Arendt's texts, focusing specifically on The Human Condition, we will also seek to understand and practice her unique form of political thinking by not only reading her texts in their historical contexts but also considering our own contexts as readers of Arendt in the twenty-first century. Our approach to Arendt will thus seek to develop her idea of "political thinking" while also creating our own exercises in political thinking over the course of the semester, drawing together issues in politics today, the concepts and arguments Arendt proposes, and the history of political thought her work engages.

Course does not meet an Approach

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POLS B367 China and the World: Implications of China's Rise

Fall 2022

In the 20th Century, China's rise has been one of the most distinctive political affairs changing the landscape of regional and world politics. Especially, China's breathtaking growth has challenged the foundations and limits of the market economy and political liberalization theoretically and empirically. This course examines the Chinese economic and political development and its implications for other Asian countries and the world. This course has three aims: 1) to facilitate an in-depth understanding of the Chinese Economic development model in comparison to other development models, 2) to conduct a comprehensive analysis of political and socio-economic exchanges of China and its relations with other major countries in East Asia, and 3) to construct a thorough understanding of challenges and opportunities for China from its extraordinary economic growth. This is a senior seminar, and a previous course in comparative politics, international relations or East Asian studies is required. This course meet writing intensive requirement. Prerequisite: Junior standing or higher.

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POLS B368 Comparative Racial Justice Movements, US and South Africa

Not offered 2022-23

The movements against white supremacy in South Africa and the United States during their respective eras of apartheid and Jim Crow are known to have intersected with one another, and many of their participants understood them as part of the same global struggle. But how well do the South African anti-apartheid movement and the American civil rights movement compare with one another? Even if the contours of their enemy--state-sponsored, systemic racism--were remarkably similar and the movements had overlapping ideological foundations, they still faced different political opportunity structures that shaped their trajectories. In the first half of the course, we will compare these two movements--their ideologies, their strategies, their obstacles, their successes, and their failures--in order to better understand what it means, and what it takes, to mount a movement for racial justice in a white supremacist society. In the second half of the course, we will then look at contemporary movements in the two countries in order to understand the possibilities for racial justice movements when de jure apartheid and segregation have (largely) been defeated. It is now, with South Africa lacking any sort of real Black Lives Matter movement, that it seems that the two countries have finally parted ways. Our job will be to understand why and how that is the case, but also to consider whether there is as much divergence as it appears. Can we situate service delivery protests in the Black South African townships and BLM marches in the United States within the same struggle that anti-apartheid freedom fighters and civil rights activists knew they shared? Prerequisite: At least one previous class in Political Science or Africana Studies or permission from the professor.

Course does not meet an Approach

Counts Toward Africana Studies

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POLS B371 Topics in Political Philosophy

Section 001 (Spring 2022): Governing the Self and Others

Not offered 2022-23

An advanced seminar on a topic in political or legal philosophy/theory. Topics vary by year. Prerequisite: At least one course in political theory or philosophy or consent of instructor.

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POLS B374 Education Politics & Policy in the US

Not offered 2022-23

Studying education politics and policy provides insights into some central concerns of political science and highlights some tensions within the American political system such as: power & influence, government v markets, federalism, equity & accountability, and expertise & citizen participation. This seminar uses education politics as a window into these broader concerns

Counts Toward Child and Family Studies

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POLS B376 Constitutionalism and Interstate Orders

Not offered 2022-23

This is an upper level seminar course that explores the structural contexts of international economic and strategic power distributions, and the institutional and doctrinal heritages, that shape discourses of legitimacy and procedure in world society. What makes states, firms, non-governmental institutions, and other transnational actors obey, challenge, or subvert international law, whose discourses serve as the normative bases of legitimacy, what legal cultures shape how rules are made, changed and adjudicated? These are some of the salient questions explored in this 300 level course. Notions of constitutionalism and order from different traditions will be critically examined. Prerequisite: Politics of International Law and Institutions, or equivalent from Haverford, Swarthmore, Penn, or transfer.

Counts Toward International Studies

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POLS B382 Comparative Political Parties

Spring 2023

Political parties are facing a crisis around the world. Trust in them as civic organizations plummets. Elite politicians do not invest in party organization-building and find other ways to build linkages with voters. Meanwhile, new forms of civic and political participation emerge, such as social media activism, boycotting and 'buy'cotting, and occupation of urban spaces, the implications of which cannot be very well understood by parties. The Middle East and North Africa region, with its history of personalistic and/or militaristic authoritarian regimes, weak party organizations and divided societies, is experiencing an acute form of this crisis. While there is a heightened sense of political participation in the region, as indicated by the repetitive waves of protests since the early 2010s, people debate whether democracy and/or good governance are attainable without political parties.

Counts Toward Middle Eastern/Central Asian/North African Studies

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POLS B391 International Political Economy

Fall 2022

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, through to the globalization of recent decades. Major paradigms in political economy are critically examined. Aspects of and issues in international economic relations such as development, finance, trade, migration, and foreign investment are examined in the light of selected approaches. This course is open to all students who have the prerequisites. Prerequisite: One course in International Politics or Economics is required. Preference is given to seniors although juniors are accepted.

Counts Toward International Studies

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POLS B399 Senior Essay

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POLS B403 Supervised Work

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POLS B420 Praxis Fieldwork Seminar

Section 001 (Spring 2022): Politics, Policy and Power
Section 001 (Spring 2023): Politics, Policy and Power

This course supports students while they engage in Praxis fieldwork in organizations that focus on politics, elections and/or public policy. In addition to the 8-10 hours spent at their fieldwork placements, students will meet for one hour weekly in a Praxis seminar with the instructor and other Praxis students. These seminar meetings will provide students with an opportunity to reflect together about their experiences in the field and to help connect those experiences to political science theory and to academic readings about American politics, policy and elections.

Counts Toward Praxis Program

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POLS B425 Praxis III: Independent Study

Praxis III courses are Independent Study courses and are developed by individual students, in collaboration with faculty and field supervisors. A Praxis courses is distinguished by genuine collaboration with fieldsite organizations and by a dynamic process of reflection that incorporates lessons learned in the field into the classroom setting and applies theoretical understanding gained through classroom study to work done in the broader community.

Counts Toward Praxis Program

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ANTH B329 The politics of belonging and exclusion in India

Not offered 2022-23

Since India's economic liberalization in the early 1990s, the globalizing dynamics of cultural and economic liberalization have been accompanied by renewed articulations of who belongs in the "New India" and who doesn't. In this context, caste, class, religious community, language, and gender have become crucial sites for claiming citizenship, articulating distinctions among people, and constructing senses of what and who can inhabit the public sphere. Using materials from different regions of India, our focus will be on how fine-grained ethnographic study can be a tool to examine the broader dynamics of belonging and exclusion and its political and social effects. This course fulfills the BMC Anthropology major/minor ethnographic area requirement.

Course does not meet an Approach

Counts Toward Counts toward Gender and Sexuality Studies

Counts Toward Counts toward International Studies

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ARCH B244 Great Empires of the Ancient Near East

Fall 2022

A survey of the history, material culture, political and religious ideologies of, and interactions among, the five great empires of the ancient Near East of the second and first millennia B.C.E.: New Kingdom Egypt, the Hittite Empire in Anatolia, the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires in Mesopotamia, and the Persian Empire in Iran.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Counts Toward Counts toward Middle Eastern/Central Asian/North African Studies

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ECON B385 Democracy and Development

Not offered 2022-23

From 1974 to the late 1990's the number of democracies grew from 39 to 117. This "third wave," the collapse of communism and developmental successes in East Asia have led some to argue the triumph of democracy and markets. Since the late 1990's, democracy's third wave has stalled, and some fear a reverse wave and democratic breakdowns. We will question this phenomenon through the disciplines of economics, history, political science and sociology drawing from theoretical, case study and classical literature. Prerequisites: ECON 200; ECON 253 or 304; and one course in Political Science OR Junior or Senior Standing in Political Science OR Permission of the Instructor.

Counts Toward Counts toward International Studies

Counts Toward Counts toward Peace, Justice and Human Rights

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ENVS B202 Environment and Society

Spring 2023

An exploration of the ways in which different cultural, economic, and political settings have shaped issue emergence and policy making. We examine the politics of particular environmental issues in selected countries and regions, paying special attention to the impact of environmental movements. We also assess the prospects for international cooperation in addressing global environmental problems such as climate change. Pre-requisite ENVS B101 or ENVS H101 or instructor's permission.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Counts Toward Counts toward Environmental Studies

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FREN B223 The Fire Every Time: Cinematic Rebels Across the Atlantic

Not offered 2022-23

Cinema, as an art form, can be seen as a rebellion against reality. Then again, cinema as mass entertainment with uber-industrial might can yield the most contagious legitimization of power and social norms. Can filmmakers be genuine agents of change and social justice? Do their creations have the power to disrupt the status quo? If so, how are some films designed to subvert systemic normalization and disseminated forms of domination? In this course, we will map out rebellious modern (post WW2) cinema from both sides of the Atlantic. Setting aside chronology and conventional delimitations, we will go back and forth across genres (war film, thriller, ghost story, social realism, drama…) between contemporary and older avatars of cinematic resistance, between documentary and fiction, and between France, the U.S., West Africa and Latin America. We will investigate a series of films that focus on non-compliance and individual resilience in the face of systemic adversity, while sharing a common oppositional ethos applied to different forms of domination/violence: anticolonialism, anti-capitalism, antiracism, as well as ecology, pacifism and a critique of carceral institutions. For each of them, we will study how the style of cinematography is designed not just to support a narrative, but as a counter-language aimed at subverting the conservative grammar codes of the mainstream. This course will be taught in English. Prerequisites: FREN 102 or 105 only for students taking this for French credit with additional hour.

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Counts Toward Counts toward Film Studies

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INST B210 Popular Uprisings in Global Perspective

Not offered 2022-23

In recent years, popular uprisings and protest movements have mobilized hundreds and thousands of people in different parts of the world to demand a radical overhauling of existing systems and changes in political leadership. These uprisings have raised a series of questions that will be the focus of this class. What are the catalysts, underlying causes and demands of these protest movements? What can we learn from the grassroots organizing that allowed these movements to gain momentum? All too often popular uprisings in the Global South in particular, are seen as representing the failures and limits of revolutionary action and politics rather than their potential and promise. What then, do recent popular uprisings reveal about the limitations and relevance of various theoretical approaches to explaining revolutionary phenomena and action? How might local scholars and activists analyzing the popular uprisings taking place in their countries, allow us to develop new vocabularies and frameworks for understanding popular protests and revolutionary action elsewhere? Students will explore these questions through a series of case studies including Sudan, Hong Kong, Chile, Lebanon, France, Ethiopia and India.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Counts Toward Counts toward Africana Studies

Counts Toward Counts toward Latin American, Iberian, and Latinx Studies

Counts Toward Counts toward Middle Eastern/Central Asian/North African Studies

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INST B301 Politics of Aid and Humanitarianism

Not offered 2022-23

This course explores the relationship between humanitarian aid, politics and the legacy of colonialism. Our goal will be to historicize and contextualize humanitarian policies and practices through specific case studies which can include, but will not be limited to: Haiti, Sudan, USA, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Palestine, Somalia, Brazil, Nicaragua and the Philippines. We will use these case studies to explore topics such as the militarization of aid and the politicization of emergency assistance. We will also be looking to non-traditional sources such as novels, films, NGO documents and congressional hearings to gain insight from the perspectives of those impacted by and/or shaping humanitarian policies and practices. Finally, we will examine the ways 'non-Western' actors and humanitarian organizations are reshaping the field of humanitarianism and relationships across the Global South more broadly.

Counts Toward Counts toward Africana Studies

Counts Toward Counts toward Latin American, Iberian, and Latinx Studies

Counts Toward Counts toward Middle Eastern/Central Asian/North African Studies

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MEST B205 Topics: Ethics and Islam

Not offered 2022-23

This is a topics course. Course content varies. This course will provide a foundation in the study of Islam and introduce students to Islamic ethical thought

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Counts Toward Counts toward Middle Eastern/Central Asian/North African Studies

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PHIL B225 Global Ethical Issues

Fall 2022

The need for a critical analysis of what justice is and requires has become urgent in a context of increasing globalization, the emergence of new forms of conflict and war, high rates of poverty within and across borders and the prospect of environmental devastation. This course examines prevailing theories and issues of justice as well as approaches and challenges by non-western, post-colonial, feminist, race, class, and disability theorists.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Counts Toward Counts toward Gender and Sexuality Studies

Counts Toward Counts toward International Studies

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PHIL B238 Science, Technology and the Good Life

Fall 2022

"Science, Technology, and the Good Life" considers the relation of science and technology to each other and to everyday life, particularly with respect to questions of ethics and politics. In this course, we try to get clear about how we understand these domains and their interrelationships in our contemporary world. We try to clarify the issues relevant to these questions by looking at the contemporary debates about the role of automation and digital media and the problem of climate change. These debates raise many questions including: the appropriate model of scientific inquiry (is there a single model for science?, how is science both experimental and deductive?, is science merely trial and error?, is science objective?, is science value-free?), the ideological standing of science (has science become a kind of ideology?), the autonomy of technology (have the rapidly developing technologies escaped our power to direct them?), the politics of science (is science somehow essentially democratic?, and are "scientific" cultures more likely to foster democracy?, or is a scientific culture essentially elitist and autocratic?), the relation of science to the formation of public policy (experts rule?, are we in or moving toward a technocracy?), the role of technology and science in the process of modernization, Westernization, and globalization (what role has science played in industrialization and what role does it now play in a post-industrial world?). To find an appropriate way to consider these questions, we look at the pairing of science with democracy in the Enlightenment project and study contemporary work in the philosophy of science, political science, and ethics.

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Counts Toward Counts toward Environmental Studies

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PHIL B252 Feminist Theory

Not offered 2022-23

Beliefs that gender discrimination has been eliminated and women have achieved equality have become commonplace. We challenge these assumptions examining the concepts of patriarchy, sexism, and oppression. Exploring concepts central to feminist theory, we attend to the history of feminist theory and contemporary accounts of women's place and status in different societies, varied experiences, and the impact of the phenomenon of globalization. We then explore the relevance of gender to philosophical questions about identity and agency with respect to moral, social and political theory. Prerequisite: one course in philosophy or permission of instructor.

Critical Interpretation (CI)

Counts Toward Counts toward Gender and Sexuality Studies

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SOCL B262 Public Opinion

Not offered 2022-23

This course will assess public opinion in American politics: what it is, how it is measured, how it is shaped, how it relates to public policy, and how it changes over time. It includes both questions central to political scientists (what is the public, how do they exercise their voice, does the government listen and how do they respond?) and to sociologists (where do ideas come from, how do they gain societal influence, and how do they change over time?). It will pay close attention to the role of electoral politics throughout, both historically and in the current election. It is focused primarily on the United States, but seeks to place the US in global context. If this course is taken to fulfill an elective in the Data Science minor, students will conduct hands-on analyses with real data as a key component to both their Midterm and Final Essays.

Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC)

Inquiry into the Past (IP)

Counts Toward Counts toward Gender and Sexuality Studies

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SOCL B317 Comparative Social Policy: Cuba, China, US, Scandinavia

Fall 2022

This course will examine different countries' policy choices to address different societal challenges. Four societal types - socialist (Cuba), post-socialist (China), capitalist (US), and social-democratic (Scandinavia) - will be studies to help us understand how these different kinds of societies conceive of social problems and propose and implement attempted solutions. We will examine particular problems/solutions in four domains: health/sports; education; environment; technological development. As we explore these domains, we will attend to methodological issues involved in making historical and institutional comparisons

Counts Toward Counts toward Education

Counts Toward Counts toward Health Studies

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SOCL B323 Communes, Co-ops, and Collectives: Alternative Organizations

Not offered 2022-23

From schools to hospitals to grocery stores, most of the organizations we encounter and participate in throughout our lives are based on a hierarchical, bureaucratic form of organization. How did this form of organization come to be so common in U.S. society? And what are the alternatives? In this course, we will begin by exploring the origins, form, and proliferation of what Max Weber famously referred to as the "iron cage" of bureaucracy. Then we will focus on alternative forms of organization, such as communes, cooperatives, and collectives. How do these types of collectivist-democratic organizations differ from the rational-bureaucratic organizations with which we are most familiar? How are these alternative organizations structured? What makes them work--or not? From the Burning Man (anti)organization to mutual aid societies, democratic schools, farmer cooperatives, and feminist collectives, we will explore the ways in which alternative organizations can enforce the status quo or serve as catalysts for social change. Prerequisite: At least one social science course or permission of instructor.

Course does not meet an Approach

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Contact Us

Department of Political Science

Dalton Hall
Bryn Mawr College
101 N. Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-2899
Phone: 610-526-5331