Search
Search

Spring 2017

semester status
Active

Political Theory Workshop

Level
Semester
Units
4
Number
211
CCN
21290
Times
F 12-3
Location
202 Barrows
Course Description

A workshop for presenting and discussing work in progress in moral, political, and legal theory.  The central aim is to provide an opportunity for students to engage with philosophers, political theorists, and legal scholars working on normative questions.  Another aim is to bring together people from different disciplines who have strong normative interests or who speak to issues of potential interest to philosophers and political theorists.  To this end, we will devote a few sessions to the work of economists, historians, psychologists, sociologists, or other social scientists.  


Format:
 
for the first two hours, a student will lead off with a 15-minute comment on the presenter’s paper and the presenter will have 5-10 minutes to respond before we open up the discussion to the group.  The first two hours will be open to non-enrolled students and faculty. For the third hour, the guest presenter will continue the discussion with students enrolled in the course.  Enrolled students must serve as a discussant for at least one presenter’s work in progress and write several short response papers as well as a final paper of 15-20 pages. 
 
Co-taught by Joshua Cohen and Law Professor Christopher Kutz
 
The course is cross-listed with the Philosophy Department and the Law School.

Schedule:
 
Please refer to the Law School website link below for specific information
 

 

JUNIOR SEMINAR: Trauma

Semester
Units
4
Section
7
Number
191
CCN
21248
Times
Th 2p-4p
Location
291 Barrows
Course Description

We live in a world of loss.  Large scale displacement by war, famine, insurgencies, natural catastrophes, environmental change, financial crises, trans-national migration, economic instability and changes in the where and how things are produced and consumed are universal characteristics of what it means to live in the world today.  The “self” itself has become an artifact of technology: while it is often argued that technological innovation has brought people together, it also permits us to craft multiple, imaginary selves that can be created and deployed through the internet.  Because individual or collective trauma-- and its memory, whether experienced of received—can be understood only through reflecting on the “self”, the fluidity of performance has important implications for how we process psychological wounds. Needless to say, these same technologies can also be used to interpret, control and process experience.  Moreover, the “science of the mind” itself has been influenced by historical context: it has a circuitous history related to 19th Century experiences of modernity.

Instability in human experience have startling material and political consequences, which have received much scholarly attention.  However, the psycho-social and psychological impact of these changes rarely enter the social scientific repertoire.  Political Psychology, as a field, is dominated by quantitative methods which bypass large swaths of the human experience of radical instability and rupture. 

This seminar explores the sources and consequences of trauma.  It begins with a review of the intellectual history of psycho-analytic thought starting with Sigmund Freud and Pierre Janet and then moves to the current body of literature known as “trauma studies.”  We then move to the vexed issue of collective trauma.  Mourning, melancholia, and nostalgia are related conditions that will also receive our attention.  After exploring the evolution of theory, we will focus on case studies of collective traumatic experience.  

This is a demanding seminar, not intended for upper division students who simply wish to complete requirements, but for those who seek an intense engagement, an engagement that will probably be personally relevant to the members of the seminar.  The seminar is open to students of all disciplines, although Political Science students will have priority.

Junior Seminars are intense writing seminars which focus on the research area of the faculty member teaching the course. The seminars provide an opportunity for students to have direct intellectual interactions with faculty members while also giving the students an understanding for faculty research. Junior seminars fulfill upper division requirements for the major.

Course Instructor: Dr. Paul Martorelli

Requirements

Three 10 page papers on a topic of your choice that must be discussed with me prior to embarking on your essays.  Completing the reading prior to seminar and taking notes.  Leading seminar either with another member of the group, or alone, once in the term.  Coming to seminar with at least one question directly related to the reading or topics covered therein.  Attendance.  Participation.  

Prerequisites

Students will be able to directly enroll in this junior seminar in Phase 1 as long as they are declared Political Science majors in their junior or senior year (based on year, NOT units) and haven't taken a junior seminar before.  NOTE:  IF you have taken a junior seminar before, you must wait until Phase 2 to enroll; otherwise, you will be eventually dropped from the seminar.   

JUNIOR SEMINAR: Post-Fordism: Production, and Meaning in Contemporary Capitalism

Semester
Units
4
Section
6
Number
191
CCN
21247
Times
M 2-4
Location
291 Barrows
Course Description

We frequently read about, discuss and experience the impact of economic changes that are global in nature.  The extant literature on “globalization” focuses on finance and trade and, indeed, these are the most identifiable loci of economic integration. However, both finance and trade are undergirded by production.  “Bring the jobs back home!” and “Buy American!” are slogans that reflect a vital reality: where production takes place, how labor is organized, who gets a job and under what conditions is the very core of economics and politics.  If there was no production, there would be no finance (and vice versa) and there would certainly be no trade or consumption.  Today, it is impossible to ignore the fact that Americans can no longer be a nation of consumers who invent cutting-edge technologies that, ultimately, replace people with machines.  “Efficiency” is so automatically assumed to be a “good” that we forget to ask: “Whose efficiency?” It is abundantly clear that the US can no longer sustain our economy (let alone our debt-financed consumption) on financial arbitrage in an unregulated international financial market. In short: production is key. 

In this seminar we will discuss the way that the technologies, organization and geography of industrial production have changed over time.  Our goal is to understand the world we live in, but to learn how we got here.  We therefore begin with pre-industrial forms of production and their mutation, which resulted in the first Industrial Revolution (England, c. mid-18th century).  We then focus on the transition from Fordism (marked by the invention of the assembly line by Henry Ford) to post-Fordism.  Post-Fordism describes multiple and simultaneous changes in the location and processes of production in a liberalized international regime. Starting with theories, or, more accurately, descriptions of these processes we will focus on case studies that address what post-Fordism has meant for social, cultural and psychological conditions in various parts of the world, particularly after the neo-liberal revolution of the 1980s and 1990s.  In each of these transitions, we will attend to how technologies have affected individuals, communities, ideologies and power.  

The Junior Seminars are intense writing seminars which focus on the research area of the faculty member teaching the course. The seminars provide an opportunity for students to have direct intellectual interactions with faculty members while also giving the students an understanding for faculty research. Junior seminars fulfill upper division requirements for the major.

 

Course Instructor: Professor Christoph Hermann

Prerequisites

Students will be able to directly enroll in this junior seminar in Phase 1 as long as they are declared Political Science majors in their junior or senior year (based on year, NOT units) and haven't taken a junior seminar before.  NOTE:  IF you have taken a junior seminar before, you must wait until Phase 2 to enroll; otherwise, you will be eventually dropped from the seminar.   

Major Themes in Comparative Analysis: Research Design

Level
Semester
Units
4
Number
200B
CCN
21286
Times
Tu 2-4
Location
223 Moses
Course Description

This course provides an introduction to research design in comparative politics; it is the second semester of the two-semester introductory graduate sequence for the comparative sub-field.  We will focus on various topics relevant to doing research, such as how to formulate research questions; develop concepts and measures; bolster the validity of descriptive and causal inferences; and use various qualitative and quantitative methods in the service of diverse substantive agenda.  Developing the ability to critique research is one important objective.  However, the primary goal of the course is to provide a first foundation for actually doing research.

 

Note: This description is from Spring 2015

SPECIAL TOPICS IN PUBLIC POLICY & ORGANIZATION: Risk, Regulation, and Society

Level
Semester
Instructor(s)
Units
4
Number
289
CCN
21310
Times
M 12:00-2:00
Location
749 Barrows
Course Description

The regulation and management of risk is central to contemporary politics.  Government has become the ultimate risk manager and public debates about risk lie at the heart of issues ranging from bank failure to counterterrorism to climate change.  This course explores the social, political, and organizational dimensions of risk regulation and management.   It will begin with an historical perspective on the changing role of the state in protecting against risk.   We will then look at what different disciplines such as psychology, sociology, political science, law and economics tell us about our “risk society.”  Next, we examine the political and policy dynamics surrounding risk regulation and the nuts and bolts of how public and private organizations reliably regulate or manage risk (or not).   Adopting a comparative perspective, the course will take a particular interest in how risk regulation and management vary across nations and policy sectors.  A range of types of risk will be considered--from the “social risks” associated with the welfare state, to the public health or environmental risks of disease or pollution, to the economic risks of protecting consumers and managing the economy, to the security risks associated with crime or terrorism. Finally, the course will explore debates about how risk has become a governing logic in its own right (e.g., in managing “at risk” youths).

Special Topics in Quantitative Methods: Experimental Survey Research in Political Science

Semester
Instructor(s)
Units
4
Number
133
CCN
33507
Times
TuTh 1230−2P
Location
202 Barrows
Course Description

PS 133 is a 4-unit graded undergraduate seminar in which students will design, carry out, analyze, and write up a survey-experiment.  Students will learn about: the varying designs and objectives of survey experiments, the creation of a survey instrument and randomization procedures using the Qualtrics software program, human subjects protections and the filing of a research protocol, running experiments using workers from Amazon Mechanical Turk as subjects, the formulation of data analysis plans, the basics of data analysis using STATA, the creation of tables and charts to display results, and the writing of an empirical research paper. Initially, class sessions will be focused on helping students obtain a deep appreciation of survey in political science through presentations by the professor and invited graduate students, readings, and discussion.  Subsequently, class sections be focused on helping students develop, implement, and analyze their experiments.

 

Note: Students should waitlist in Phase 2

Requirements

Students interested in taking the class must have taken PS 3 with Professor Stoker in Fall 2016 or Fall 2014. Students should sign up on the waitlist for the class before the end of the fall term, 2016.  In mid to late December, Professor Stoker will email the waitlisted students with a link to the online application form for the class.  The application requires students to answer background questions, provide a personal statement, and elaborate a research proposal that the student might want to pursue in the class.  Professor Stoker will review the applications and make admissions decisions before the start of the spring semester.

Grades will be based on class participation (10%), weekly or bi-weekly written assignments (totaling 30%), class presentations (totaling 15%), and a final paper (~20 pages plus tables and appendices) containing the write-up of the experiment (45%).  

 

Texts

One book is required for the course: Diana C. Mutz’ 2011 Population-Based Survey Experiments, Princeton University Press.  Other readings come from journal articles, edited volumes, and websites, and will be made available on the Bcourses website.

In addition to purchasing the Mutz book (approximately $20), students will need to use their own funds to pay their subjects on MTurk.  However, this should not run to more than $50-$60 (and I may be able to find some $ to subsidize this).  Students may also decide to purchase the STATA program so that they can analyze data using STATA on their own computers.  A six-month license costs between $38 and $75, depending on the size of the dataset. https://www.stata.com/order/new/edu/gradplans/student-pricing/

THE POLITICS OF DISPLACEMENT

Semester
Instructor(s)
Units
4
Number
111AC
CCN
21140
Times
TuTh 12-2
Location
105 Northgate
Course Description

Is there a connection between the unprecedented presidential campaign of 2016, the dysfunctional government in Washington, D.C., and in the so called “culture wars” in America?  The sophisticated social science that has analyzed our election choices and identified our political differences has not been able to explain why the world’s most powerful and wealthy society is so deeply divided on so many issues, and in such personal and polemical ways.  Coupled with random mass killings, police involved shootings and the shooting of police, what is behind the violence in our society so different than in other first world democracies.  It may be that social science cannot answer that question on its own.  It may be that a theoretical analysis of our history and culture can offer insight and context that is beyond mere empirical analysis. 

The history of the American political founding generally follows a routine script.  The story goes that Americans fought for self-government from an overbearing political authority wielded by the British Crown and established individual freedom to pursue private prosperity and social emancipation.  Later, fear of the British Crown morphed into fear of any central political authority in general to the point where today Americans mistrust government.  In that script, African slavery and Native American dispossession are viewed as historical exceptions that still require a coherent explanation, but are unrelated to the issues at the core of contemporary American politics.

In this course, the revolution against traditional political authority embodied in Thomas Jefferson's and Thomas Paine's attacks on the British crown, the rise of slavery, and the conflict with Native America will be viewed as co-extensive and coherent elements of our past and our national cultural and social development.  In short, I will argue that America possesses a distinct cultural identity that has shaped our politics, policies, the shape of our national government, and remains at the core of our popular culture. 

I will place these historical elements in context with the theory of cultural trauma that resulted from the 3rd Estate European poor displaced to North America between the 16th and 19th centuries.  I will connect that trauma to our national fear of political authority in America.  I will also suggest that this fear is what binds both the progressives who attack the National Security Administration to the conservatives who stand by gun rights. This cultural and social trauma becomes the catalyst of America’s cultural identity, and that cultural identity may be the basis of our existing political structure, the character of contemporary politics, and our approach to much of our public policy. 

 I will offer a cultural trope; the American Western, that contains all the aspects of a cultural identity built out of trauma and fear.  We will see its imprint in many cultural social and political artifacts.  I will speak to the significance of the “Western”, its frontier setting and its uber-masculine character.  Through this cultural lens, students will be offered a way of understanding contemporary American politics and public policy that was previously unknown to them. Using original materials from the antebellum, including biographies, history, literature, and commentary, as well as contemporary images from American popular culture [such as film clips, news, and documentaries], a connection between the past and present will be presented.  

The American Cultures requirement seeks comparisons and contrasts of at least three cultural entities in its format.  The requirement will be achieved through contrast and comparison of Native American, European American, and African American cultural identities in the ante and post bellum, and their interplay in the story of American political history.  This is a course in political theory that will give context to both culture and politics in America.  Your work will be presented in three separate papers (a 6-page take-home midterm, 12-page term paper, and a 6-page take-home final exam), and discussions of course materials in sections.  Attendance at both lectures and sections are elements of the course grade.  There will be a focus on writing skills and framing expository arguments, as well as discussion and participation in lecture, section and office hours.

 

Special Topics in Political Theory: Just Political Participation

Semester
Units
4
Number
116A
CCN
32723
Times
MWF 1-2
Location
50 Birge
Course Description

Robust democracy requires participation by the people in political processes and decisions. And, presumably, a just democracy requires people to participate in ways that are just. What might that mean? Does just participation mean that everyone follows the same rules or does it require something more than that? Is it just casting a vote? Making your preferences heard before ballots are cast? Could just participation include more than just choosing among the options presented to you? Might it involve helping to set the agenda? Could participation require that you listen as well as speak or vote?  And who gets to participate? Everyone in the State? A select part of the population? Those who are most representative? Those affected by a particular issue, law, or policy? Do just discussion and decision making processes grant everyone the same opportunities for participation? Or are some allowed, maybe even encouraged, to participate more than others? What if our commitment to participation for all ends up excluding or marginalizing some? Are spaces and discourses of political participation ever neutral?  If not, what is to be done?

 

This course explores what just participation might entail through contemporary Western political theory. We will begin with liberal democratic theories of fairness and participation. Then we will use multicultural, feminist, queer and other theoretical critiques to consider political participation from the perspective of minority or subordinated groups. We will not search for definitive answers or hard-and-fast conclusions about what just participation is or should be. Rather, we are interested in getting a better sense of participation’s many possibilities and problems.  

Instructor: Paul Martorelli