POLS 001: THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM, 3 credit hrs.
A survey of the politics and processes of American government at the national level: the constitutional foundations of American government, national institutions, chiefly the Presidency, Congress and Supreme Court, and the political forces that shape American government, including elections, parties and interest groups. Prerequisites: none.
POLS 065: COMPARATIVE POLITICS, 3 credit hrs.
This introductory course encourages students to look at politics in other countries from a comparative perspective. Basic topics in the field include the origins of states, political culture, types of political regimes, political institutions, causes of revolution, the roots of democracy and political development. The study of a few select countries and regions helps to illustrate these concepts. Prerequisites: none.
POLS 075: WORLD POLITICS, 3 credit hrs.
An introductory survey of the field of international relations, covering differing national perspectives on current issues, current trends in the evolution of the international system, sources of conflict, international political economy, and the roles of international law and international organizations. Prerequisites: none.
POLS 080: INTRODUCTION TO POLITICAL THEORY, 3 credit hrs.
An introduction to fundamental concepts and issues in the study of politics through an intensive reading of central texts in political theory. Prerequisites: none. (Students who previously completed POLS 085 should not take POLS 080.)
POLS 101: CONGRESS AND THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS, 3 credit hrs.
Examination of the U.S. Congress in terms of its functions as both a lawmaking institution and a representative institution. Attention to the legislative process, congressional elections, party leadership, and executive-legislative relations. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 102: THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY, 3 credit hrs.
Analysis of the role of the presidency in the American political system, with special attention to the nature and extent of presidential powers and duties. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 103: JUDICIAL POLITICS, 3 credit hrs.
An examination of the role of the federal judiciary in American government. Topics include the design and structure of the American courts, judicial selection, judicial decision-making, the implementation of judicial decisions, and the interaction between the courts and the political environment. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 104: WHAT'S WRONG WITH AMERICAN POLITICS?: CONTEMPORARY DEBATES IN INSTITUTIONAL DESIGN, 3 credit hrs.
Students will engage with institutional analysis to address current debates about American Politics and how practices, policies, and procedures have evolved to reflect a complex mix of founding intentions, periodic impulses for reform, changing norms, and historical accidents. Current proposals for reform will be evaluated in light of evolutionary trends, intended and unintended consequences, and incentive structures embedded in current institutional arrangements. Topics will include the Senate filibuster, gerrymandering, the Electoral College, impeachment, and presidential war powers. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 106: STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, 3 credit hrs.
The structure and functions of the states in the federal union; their relations to the national government; state constitutions; political parties; and the administration of the main state functions. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 110: METHODS IN POLITICS, 3 credit hrs.
This course provides a broad introduction to the methods used to conduct systematic inquiry into political science. Beginning with research design considerations and literature review, students will address both qualitative and quantitative methodologies used among political science scholars, including case study analysis, comparative methods, elite interviews, empirical analysis, and formal models. Prerequisites: POLS 001 and POLS 065 and POLS 075.
POLS 112: WOMEN IN POLITICS, 3 credit hrs.
Examination of the role that women play in American politics, the changes in that role over time, and the obstacles yet confronting women who aspire to political careers. Analysis of selected contemporary issues of special importance to women in politics. May be used as part of Women's Studies Concentration. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 113: THE AMERICAN ELECTORAL PROCESS, 3 credit hrs.
Examination of the role of elections in the American political system. Focus on voting behavior, the influence of money and campaign strategy. Special attention to the impact of the mass media. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 114: PUBLIC OPINION, 3 credit hrs.
Examination of the origins and effects of public opinion. Exploration of the processes of socialization and political learning. Focus on the impact of opinions on the political activity of citizens and on governmental actions. Special attention to public opinion polling. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 115: PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION PROCESS, 3 credit hrs.
An in-depth study of the presidential campaign process, with special attention to the role of the Iowa Caucuses and the structure, timing and sequence of the nomination process on the way we choose our Presidential candidates. Focus on the role of money, media, voters and candidate strategy. Examination of the impact of the system on the ability of President's to govern. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent. Corequisities: POLS 193 must be taken at the same time.
POLS 116: MEDIA AND MODERN POLITICS, 3 credit hrs.
Examination of the impact of the mass media, especially television, on American politics. Exploration of how the organization and broadcast patterns of the media affect political change. Focus on how these patterns affect the public, the president and Congress. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 117: RACE AND AMERICAN POLITICS, 3 credit hrs.
Contemporary American national politics has been profoundly influenced by race-related issues including busing, urban problems, and affirmative action. This course will acquaint students with how political scientists analyze the effect of race on American politics. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 119: TOPICS IN AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS, 3 credit hrs.
Units of study focusing on special issues, problems, or developments in American government and politics. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 120: AMERICAN PUBLIC POLICY, 3 credit hrs.
Critical examination of contemporary public-policy issues in the United States with emphasis on the dynamics of issue development, political culture, basic institutions, processes, and contemporary problems. Special attention to the various models of the policy process. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 121: ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS AND POLICY, 3 credit hrs.
Analysis of the relationship between political and economic forces and environmental control of such problems as the population explosion, air-water pollution, nuclear contamination, urban congestion, and rural deterioration. Prerequisites: POLS 001 and/or ENV 035-056, or instructor's consent.
POLS 130: TRANSITIONS TO DEMOCRACY, 3 credit hrs.
Examination of the theories and practices of two types of political regimes: democracies and autocracies. Why do authoritarian regimes break down, how do transitions to democratic systems take place, and why do some democracies regress into renewed authoritarianism? Prerequisites: POLS 065 or instructor's consent.
POLS 131: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS OF DEVELOPING NATIONS, 3 credit hrs.
Comparative analysis of the structures, processes and problems of political systems in developing countries. Particular attention to Africa and the theories of political development. Prerequisites: POLS 065 or instructor's consent.
POLS 132: THE POLITICS OF INEQUALITY, 3 credit hrs.
Inequality serves as a powerful force driving our political life. We will explore inequality from a number of perspectives: Why do some people have more than others? Which is the more powerful predictor of one’s economic status – class origins or place of birth? What are the social, economic and political impacts of inequality? How and why have degrees of inequality varied over time globally and within the United States and other countries? Can inequality be mitigated? What is the relationship between growing inequality and the various forms of populist politics that have arisen in the U.S. and Europe? Previous completion of POLS 001 or POLS 065 is recommended though not required.
POLS 133: CASE STUDIES IN COMPARATIVE AND TRANSNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS, 3 credit hrs.
In this course students will explore varied cultural and ideological perspectives on human rights and the potential tensions among different sets of rights by examining specific case studies of human rights movements in national and transnational contexts. Students will further examine how patterns of exclusion and inequity are connected to important human rights issues with attention to how markers of diversity, including race, ethnicity, nation, gender, class, religion, and ideology, shape these patterns.
POLS 134: COMPARATIVE POLITICAL PARTIES AND INTEREST GROUPS, 3 credit hrs.
Examination of the role of citizen organizations in Western democracies. Exploration of the role of political parties and interest groups in political processes and their effects on policy outputs. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 135: SUPREME COURTS AND ELECTIONS, 3 credit hrs.
This introduction to comparative election law examines the impact of court decisions on the electoral process in the United States and other democracies. Topics include the right to vote; representation; redistricting and gerrymandering; electioneering; disputed results; campaign finance; regulation of political parties. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 136: INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES, 3 credit hrs.
States look at the world through the eyes of their intelligence agencies. Although the information and analysis they provide can affect how governments formulate their national security policies, only recently have intelligence agencies been accepted as a proper subject of academic study and not just material for thrilling movies or novels. This course will expose students to the perspectives of people who work in intelligence as well as study it academically, in order to situate intelligence in the policy process in the United States, in other democracies, and in authoritarian regimes. Prerequisites: POLS 065 or instructor's consent.
POLS 137: POLITICS AND PARLIAMENTS, 3 credit hrs.
Examination of similarities and differences among such parliamentary systems as those in Britain, Canada, Australia, and India; exploration of contrasts between parliamentary and presidential forms of government. Prerequisites: POLS 065 or instructor's consent.
POLS 140: COMPARATIVE ASIAN POLITICS, 3 credit hrs.
Comparative analysis of the political, economic, and social systems of the countries of Asia, with a particular focus on China, India, Japan, and Indonesia.
POLS 141: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS OF CHINA, 3 credit hrs.
Examination of the Chinese political tradition, revolution, and the People's Republic. Attention given to geographical, historical, social, cultural, and economic foundations of political development and to contemporary issues and problems. Prerequisites: POLS 065 or instructor's consent.
POLS 142: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS OF JAPAN, 3 credit hrs.
Examination of the political system of Japan with attention to both political tradition and contemporary politics, including analyses of historical and social foundations, political groups and parties, and major issues in domestic and foreign policy. Prerequisites: POLS 065 or instructor's consent
POLS 143: JAPAN AND THE WORLD: ISSUES OF WAR AND MEMORY, 3 credit hrs.
In 1945, Japan was a colonial power embroiled in a world war. Today we recognize Japan as one of the US's strongest allies, a collaborative and cooperative partner of China and Korea on a plethora of transnational issues, and one of the major trading partners of each of these countries, a reality that helped it to become the second largest economy in the world. In this course, we will explore how national identities and international relationships were created in war and in the aftermath of war, how the people of different nations remember the Pacific War, how and why so-called "history issues" continue to be the most intractable issues in Japan's foreign relations today, and what the prospects are for moving beyond national collective memories of war in Japan, the US, China, and Korea.
POLS 144: MODERN EUROPEAN POLITICAL SYSTEMS, 3 credit hrs.
Comparative analysis of the institutions, policies and political behavior of European states, including former Communist countries. Students are also introduced to the workings of the European Union and its relationship to member states and applicant states. Prerequisites: POLS 065 or instructor's consent.
POLS 145: NATIONALISM AND POLITICS IN EASTERN EUROPE, 3 credit hrs.
This courses addresses the political dynamics of nation- and state-building in Central and East European countries that used to be parts of multinational empires (Austro-Hungarian, Russian, Ottoman), the Soviet bloc and its failed federations (Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and the USSR) and are now members of the European Union or seek to join it. Prerequisites: POLS 065 or instructor's consent.
POLS 146: POLITICS IN RUSSIA AND FORMER SOVIET UNION, 3 credit hrs.
After an overview of the Soviet political system and its breakdown, the course will devote several weeks to contemporary Russian politics. It will also cover Russia’s relations with its neighbors, especially Ukraine. Prerequisites: POLS 065 or instructor's consent.
POLS 149: TOPICS IN COMPARATIVE GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS, 3 credit hrs.
Units of study focusing on special issues, problems or developments in comparative government and politics.
POLS 150: HUMAN RIGHTS AND WORLD POLITICS, 3 credit hrs.
Examination of the politics of human rights and the changing nature of sovereignty in the international system. Special attention to major threats to human rights in the contemporary world, and to cultural and political obstacles to international consensus on human rights norms and the appropriate mechanisms for their implementation.
POLS 151: TRANSNATIONAL ADVOCACY NETWORKS, 3 credit hrs.
This course examines the role that transnational advocacy networks (TANs) play in world politics with respect to such issues as human rights, peace, the environment, development, labor and gender. TANs are political networks of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and activists that focus on specific issues and span two or more countries. TANs seek social change consistent with core principled ideas. As the international role of such networks has grown in recent decades, so has the need for us to understand their origins, practices, impact and potential. Previous completion of POLS 75 is recommended though not required.
POLS 152: TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE, 3 credit hrs.
This course will address national and international efforts to promote justice in the aftermath of violent conflicts between and within states. We will explore a variety of mechanisms for pursuing transitional justice, including trials, truth and reconciliation commissions, reparations, and therapeutic initiatives. No prerequisites.
POLS 153: RACIAL JUSTICE & HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE U.S. AFTER WWII, 3 credit hrs.
This course focuses on the pursuit of racial justice for African Americans in the aftermath of World War II. It provides an in-depth examination of the political intersection between the global development of international human rights law in the aftermath of WWII and the domestic politics of human rights around issues of racial justice in the United States during the same period. The creation of the United Nations in 1945, which was accompanied by the emergence of global human rights norms, fundamentally shaped domestic politics around racial justice and human rights in the United States. Civil rights organizations appealed to the United Nations and sought to use emerging global human rights discourse to challenge ongoing, systemic human rights deprivations in the United States. The course will emphasize a deep examination of these issues through careful reading of primary historical texts, including some of the drafting documents leading to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, petitions to the United Nations by the NAACP and the Civil Rights Congress, and the report of President Truman’s Committee on Civil Rights.
POLS 154: HUMAN TRAFFICKING, 3 credit hrs.
Human trafficking, which exploits people for sex or forced labor, is a multi-billion-dollar enterprise that has caught the attention of governments, law enforcement, activists, and the media worldwide. Globally, there are estimates of up to 30 million people who are directly affected by human trafficking. This includes those in the state of Iowa, where governmental and non-governmental entities have been aggressively seeking to combat the proliferation of this illicit business. In this course we will explore the causes, varied forms, and historical foundation of this "modern-day slavery," and learn, firsthand, what solutions government and non-governmental organizations are pursuing in our own communities, as well as abroad. No prerequisites.
POLS 155: GLOBAL MIGRATION, 3 credit hrs.
This course examines global migration patterns, including economic migration, politically-motivated migration, and forced migration, in both historical and contemporary contexts. It also examines governmental efforts to regulate migration and comparative immigration policies. Finally, the course looks at the nexus between global migration and citizenship, with a focus on the connection between exclusionary approaches to citizenship and restrictive immigration policies. No prerequisites.
POLS 156: GLOBAL HEALTH, 3 credit hrs.
This course examines global public health challenges in an era of globalization. Students will explore a variety of threats to national and human security stemming from transnational public health challenges that transcend national borders.
POLS 160: THE UNITED NATIONS AND GLOBAL SECURITY, 3 credit hrs.
Students explore the development of the United Nations and the record of UN efforts to promote international peace and security. Students also examine a variety of proposals for UN reform.
POLS 161: GENDER AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, 3 credit hrs.
Examination of the way considerations of gender challenge traditional approaches to the study of world politics, with special attention to national security, war and peace, human rights and economic development. A large part of the course focuses on how women have been affected by global politics. May be used as part of Women's Studies concentration. Prerequisites: POLS 075 or instructor's consent.
POLS 162: GENDER AND WAR, 3 credit hrs.
This course addresses the relationship between gender and war. War is a highly gendered phenomenon. Socially constructed norms of masculinity and femininity have been used by states to mobilize public support for war and to recruit and train soldiers. Additionally, gender contributes to war's divergent effects on men and women. While men are more likely to serve as combatants, women are more likely to serve in support roles (nurses, aid workers, etc.) Women and children make up a higher proportion of civilian casualties and war refugees and also are more likely to be victims of rape in war. Men are more likely to suffer as combatants and to be forcibly conscripted but are less likely to get refugee status. For men serving in the upper echelon of the military (and high-ranking military officials are primarily men), military service can be a path to political power, a path generally less available to women. These differential effects of war on men and women can be explained largely by socially constructed gender identities that define men's and women's wartime roles in different ways. No prerequisites.
POLS 163: SIMULATING CRISIS DECISION-MAKING IN U.S. FOREIGN POLICY, 3 credit hrs.
This course will examine how U.S. presidents and their foreign policy advisers make decisions under crisis conditions. In addition to examining relevant theoretical and historical literatures, students will engage in several role-playing exercises that simulate the deliberations of the U.S. National Security Council as it develops recommendations for responding to crisis scenarios grounded in real-world cases. Students will gain a deep understanding of how the policy-making process is shaped by the special conditions that typically accompany crises, including high stakes, time urgency, incomplete information, competing goals and high levels of uncertainty. Graded assignments will include an in-class essay exam, briefing papers, reflection papers and simulation performance. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or POLS 075 or instructor's consent.
POLS 164: U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS, 3 credit hrs.
This course will explore the challenges that the United States and China will face in managing relations during a period when China's international power is rising relative to that of the United States. We will examine whether the vital interests of these two great powers are compatible, whether their visions of international order can be reconciled and whether political and cultural differences are manageable. The course will feature a simulation of the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Prerequisites: POLS 065 or POLS 075.
POLS 165: US/EAST ASIAN RELATIONS, 3 credit hrs.
Examination of American-East Asian relations in historical and theoretical perspectives. Topics include the open door policy, the Pacific War, the war in Korea, the quagmire in Vietnam, and Japan's economic challenge. Prerequisites: POLS 75 or instructor's consent.
POLS 166: REVISITING VIETNAM, 3 credit hrs.
The Vietnam War was perhaps the most controversial international engagement in American history. This course treats Vietnam as a case study in the making of U.S. foreign policy. Our central concern will be to answer the question: What went wrong? We will examine the war through the eyes of various parties to the conflict: American policy-makers, military leaders, common soldiers, anti-war activists, public opinion and the Vietnamese themselves, both allies and adversaries. Previous completion of POLS 075 is recommended though not required.
POLS 167: THE US AND IRAN, 3 credit hrs.
This course will follow the ups and downs in the history of relations between the US and Iran since a US-backed coup overthrew the Iranian prime minister in 1953 up to the present day, including the talks that led to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the nuclear deal), the deal's provisions, and its subsequent fate. Prerequisites: POLS 075 or instructor’s consent.
POLS 176: INTERNATIONAL SECURITY, 3 credit hrs.
This course will examine how states define and respond to threats to their security. Topics include the sources of international insecurity, the persistence and possible obsolescence of war, the relationship between power-seeking and war, the social, demographic and environmental sources of violent conflict, the various dimensions of warfare in a nuclear age, the rise of cyber-threats to security and the implications of robotics and autonomous weapons on the future of warfare. Prerequisites: POLS 075 or instructor's consent.
POLS 177: THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF GLOBALIZATION, 3 credit hrs.
This course will examine the political and economic dimensions of globalization. In particular, we will explore the ways in which globalization is shaped by political actions and institutions and how globalization, in turn, impacts politics within and among countries. Our focus will be on the integration of markets in the areas of trade, finance, labor and information and the impacts of globalization on growth, inequality and the environment. Prerequisites: POLS 075 or instructor's consent.
POLS 178: INTERNATIONAL LAW, 3 credit hrs.
Examination of extent to which international law governs interactions among states in contemporary world politics. Exploration of fundamental principles of international law and their possible erosion in recent decades as a result of growing support for new international legal norms such as human rights.
POLS 179: SPECIAL TOPICS, 3 credit hrs.
Units of study focusing on special issues, problems, or developments in international relations.
POLS 180: CLASSICAL POLITICAL THEORY, 3 credit hrs.
Reading of original texts in Western political thought from ancient to early modern times. Special attention to Plato, Aristotle and Machiavelli, with a focus on the contrast between ancient and modern conceptions of politics. Prerequisites: POLS 001 and sophomore standing or above or instructor's consent.
POLS 181: MODERN POLITICAL THEORY, 3 credit hrs.
Reading of original texts in Western political thought from early modern to contemporary times. Special attention to Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Burke, Marx and Mill, with a focus on the contrasts among modern liberalism, conservatism and radicalism. Prerequisites: POLS 001 and sophomore standing or above or instructor's consent.
POLS 182: POLITICAL THEORY OF AMERICAN FOUNDING, 3 credit hrs.
An examination of issues such as constitutionalism, representation, the nature of the union, majority rule and individual rights, and the nature of democracy that received theoretical expression and attention during the American Founding and have political relevance today. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 183: AMERICAN LIBERALISM/CONSERVATISM, 3 credit hrs.
This course is an exploration of the historical roots and contemporary versions of the political theories of American liberalism and the political theories of American conservatism. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 184: MARXISM, 3 credit hrs.
Through an examination of the Marxist understanding of reason, history, and nature, this course explores Marxism as a general social theory. Special attention to Marxism's roots in German Idealism and its distinction between idealist and materialist modes of social explanation. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 185: AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT, 3 credit hrs.
Examination of the main currents and issues of American political thought from the Founding period to the present. Special attention to topics such as constitutionalism, representation, majority rule and individual rights, and liberalism and conservatism. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 186: LAW, POLITICS, AND RELIGION, 3 credit hrs.
After some attention to the political behavior of religious groups in America, this course explores the important theoretical question of whether a truly secular society is possible. Specifically, does a political-legal system have the capacity to be neutral regarding religious belief, or does it always and necessarily constitute the establishment of a set of religious beliefs? In what sense and to what extent is it legitimate to appeal to religious doctrine and belief when engaged in political argument? Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 189: TOPICS IN POLITICAL THEORY, 3 credit hrs.
Units of study focusing on special issues, problems, or developments in political theory. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 190: WASHINGTON SEMESTER, 0-15 credit hrs.
Twelve- to 15-hour semester course of study through American University in Washington, D.C. Students may pursue a variety of courses of study together with an internship in the Washington area. Prerequisites: POLS 001 or instructor's consent.
POLS 191: WASHINGTON CENTER, 9-12 credit hrs.
Twelve-hour semester-long course of study through The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars in Washington, D.C. Students may pursue a variety of courses of study together with an internship in the Washington area. Prerequisites: POLS 001 and instructor's consent.
POLS 193: INTERNSHIP IN POLITICS, 1-3 credit hrs.
Individualized experience in government/politics accompanied by directed reading, research and reports. Limited admission. Prerequisites: sophomore, junior, or senior standing; 15 hours of POLS classes completed with GPA in all POLS classes of 3.0 or above; instructor and advisor consent.
POLS 194: INTERNSHIP IN POLITICS, 1-3 credit hrs.
Individualized experience in government/politics accompanied by directed reading, research and reports. Limited admission. Prerequisites: sophomore, junior or senior standing; 15 hours of POLS classes completed with GPA in all POLS classes of 3.0 or above; instructor and advisor consent.
POLS 196: SENIOR SEMINAR IN POLITICS, 3 credit hrs.
Taught by various members of the Department on a rotating basis during the fall semester only, this senior capstone seminar seeks to integrate and reflect on previous coursework in politics. Students will explore the nature of politics through a focus on the theories, concepts, and tools of sophisticated political analysis. Prerequisites: prior completion of all Politics subfield requirements and senior standing or instructor's consent.
POLS 197: SENIOR SEMINAR IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS THEORY, 3 credit hrs.
An examination of contending theories in the field of international relations. Compares realists, liberal and globalist approaches to understanding international conflict. Considers relevance of various theoretical arguments to the analysis of contemporary events and trends. Prerequisites: POLS 075 and junior or senior standing.
POLS 199: INDEPENDENT RESEARCH IN POLITICS, 1-3 credit hrs.
Directed individual study in areas related to the student's needs or interests. May be repeated once. Prerequisites: department consent.
For more information about the work load expectations during internships and independent studies, please see the University's Credit Hour Policy.