This course is designed to provide students with an overview of major theories and empirical approaches to the study of race and ethnicity as political identities. Drawing from works across the social sciences, we will explore a range of topics with implications for politics in the United States and countries around the world. These topics include: how identity should be conceptualized and measured; why some forms of identity are activated, mobilized, and contested; how identities are represented politically; how racial and ethnic identities intersect with other salient identities; how social diversity and civil society are interrelated; what factors affect the integration of immigrants; and which varieties of democracy enable the flourishing of plural identities. Readings for these topics will alternate weekly between a focus on the United States and the other parts of the world, including Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Because the study of race and ethnicity intersects with all major subfields of political science, our goal is to provide students with a fundamental understanding of the current state of knowledge as well as the intellectual resources needed to undertake their own original research.
This course counts toward completion of the course-out option in Models and Politics.
Knowledge of game theory at the level of PS232A will be assumed
This course will provide graduate students the technical skills necessary to conduct research in computational social science and digital humanities, introducing them to the basic computer literacy, programming skills, and application knowledge that students need to be successful in further methods work.
The course is currently divided into four main sections. In the first section, students learn how their computers work and communicate with other computers using git and bash. In the second, we turn our attention to the structure, analysis, and visualization of data, with an emphasis in R. In the third, students learn applications to collect new data (e.g., using APIs and webscraping). In the fourth, students learn additional means of analyzing and visualizing data, including tools like text analysis and machine learning.
For the more detailed information, visit the course site.
Instructor: Jae Yeon Kim
The remaking of the world since 1945 has led to increased demographic
diversity within many countries, and greater acknowledgment of
diversity’s worth. “Multiculturalism” refers to the political, legal
and philosophical debates and strategies which emerged in response to
this newfound social diversity. In this class we will survey the main
questions surrounding multiculturalism in contemporary Anglophone
political theory: What is multiculturalism? Why did it come about? How
should liberal democracies respond to it? The central debate in
political theory is whether there should be group-specific rights for
cultural minorities, and how these relate to key democratic values
such as freedom and equality. We will examine those who advocate for
special rights based on the importance of culture for autonomous
choice, social equality, and self-respect. We also consider various
challenges to such rights: for example, that they rest on the mistaken
accounts of culture and identity; or that some cultural rights are
incompatible with equality or freedom, particularly that of women and
children within minority cultures. We will also examine recent
real-world political and legal responses to multiculturalism in the
USA and across the world. Issues covered include immigration, national
minorities, indigenous peoples, identity politics, nation-state
building, liberal-democratic citizenship, constitutionalism,
nationalism, globalization, decolonization, the role of the state, the
limits of toleration, and the relationship between social theory and
Instructor: Richard Ashcroft
Instructor: Richard Ashcroft
The purpose of this course is to provide students with a better understanding of how political parties operate within the American political system, with a particular eye to ongoing contemporary problems of polarization between the major parties. In the first unit, we will examine the dynamic of partisan conflict throughout the history of the United States, the functions served by these parties for both citizens and elites, and why the American system favors a two-party dynamic. In Unit 2, we will then consider a variety of perspectives on the widening ideological, emotional, and demographic divides between Democrats and Republicans, both in terms of what explains this polarization, and what consequences for democratic governance we can expect it to have in the present and future. Students will attend lectures and discussion sections, read a variety of both academic and journalistic texts, take two exams, and complete a written project drawing from one of several offered argumentative or research assignments. Students will also be expected to keep up with both current events and ongoing conversations in political media.
Instructor: Sean Freeder
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.
This course will focus on the transformative process through which the nations of contemporary Southeast Asia have confronted political crises and instability and the various levels of success with which they have attempted to implement comprehensive programs of reform. This course will analyze several different areas of political activity, such as: state-led initiatives (political economy) regarding development and resource distribution; citizen and opposition movements both within and outside formal state institutions which seek to influence, alter, or overturn state action and policy; institution-building and the cultivation of social capital; and regional and transnational flows of capital and labor which act in alliance with or in opposition to national economic institutions. Specific topics will include a comparative analysis of state policy; the relationship between illicit economies (such as narcotics) and ethnic insurgency; the nascent political voice of religion and ethnicity as nationalist or opposition ideologies; the expansion and influence of local NGOs (legal aid, human rights, women’s rights, etc.); political violence and alternative paths to the expression of discontent; and corruption. After a general overview of Southeast Asia as a regional political theater, we will turn our attention to a series of in-depth case studies.
Please note that this course description is from Spring 2015
This course provides an overview of California politics, with a focus on contemporary issues and an analysis of who wields power and why. Specifically, the course will focus on : the demographic, social and economic forces that shape the State's politics- the three official branches of state government (executive, legislative and judicial)- the three unofficial branches (the media, lobbyists and interest groups)- campaigns (candidates, initiatives, consultants, pollsters, political parties and money), local government, the state budget and education policies.
Subfield: American Politics
Please note this description is from Fall 2013
This one-unit course will feature a guest speaker each week discussing an issue currently in the news. The class is open to all students, and there are no prerequisites. The class is offered Pass/Not Pass, based on a final examination. May be repeated for credit.
This course does not count as an upper division Political Science requirement.
The Apperson Product Form # 2833 which will be used for the final examination will be available for purchase at ASUC bookstore.
Should nations intervene in other countries to prevent human rights abuses or famine? On what principles should immigration be based? Should wealthy states aid poorer states, and if so, how much? Is it ever right to go to war? And if so, when, and with what means? We will examine different traditions in moral thought and use these tools to make reasoned judgments about these and similar difficult moral problems such as these in world politics.
This course falls within the International Relations subfield.
Please note the description is from Spring 2013