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Summer 2012

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Topics in Area Studies: Dictatorship and its Discontents

Level
Semester
Summer 2012
Units
4
Number
149W
CCN
76295
Course Description

The overwhelming majority of governments throughout history have been dictatorial. Even the recent spread of democracy has not extirpated authoritarian rule: as recently as 2006 only 90 out of 193 countries were considered democracies, and 45 were full-blown autocracies. Whatever the benefits of democracy, it seems dictatorship is here to stay. This course explores the characteristics and dynamics of non-democratic regimes: how and why they come about, what sustains them, why some people resist them and others do not, and how and why they decline and fall. We will explore a variety of examples from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Using films and novels in addition to political science literature, we will investigate how dictators maintain their power, how ordinary people react to repression, and the links between dictatorship and security and economic development.

Subfield: Comparative Politics

Political Psychology

Level
Semester
Summer 2012
Units
4
Number
N164A
CCN
76060
Course Description

This course explores the sources of public opinion and political behavior through the application of psychological theories about personality, learning, cognition, emotion, social influence and group dynamics. The first part of the course focuses directly on psychological theories and concepts, illustrating them with political applications. The second part of the course focuses upon topics traditionally taken up by political scientists, bringing psychological perspectives to bear. There are no prerequisites.

Race and Gender in American Politics

Level
Semester
Summer 2012
Units
4
Number
109R
CCN
75980
Course Description

A course about race and gender in American politics from the nineteenth century to the present. The first part is focused on the women’s rights movement from its origins in the anti-slavery movement through passage of the women’s suffrage amendment. The second part of the course will focus on twentieth century women's social and political issues, including the creation of suburbia and the feminine mystique in the 1950's, the Civil Rights Movement, "second wave" feminism, race and gender in the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas controversy, and, if time permits, contemporary electoral politics.

Introduction To American Politics

Level
Semester
Summer 2012
Units
4
Number
1
CCN
75905
Course Description

This class is an introduction to the American political system. The course is designed to make you think about the logic of our government's institutions, and the consequences - both intended and unintended - of these institutions for the political behavior of citizens, legislators, and other political leaders and activists. Topics to be covered include the Constitution, American political culture, civil rights, the presidency, Congress, Supreme Court, political parties, elections, public opinion, and interest groups.

 

Public Problems

Level
Semester
Summer 2012
Units
4
Number
186
CCN
76085
Course Description

Homelessness, global warming, corruption, bankrupt pension systems, educational inequality... This course explores what we can learn in general about the way societies try to address and solve difficult and seemingly intractable public problems. Can we attribute success or failure to institutions and their capacity to solve problems? Are problems difficult to solve because they are so complex and we lack know-how or because of a failure of political will? What are the characteristics of organizations or communities able to solve problems proactively or creatively? How do public problems get politically framed and how are they used to mobilize constituencies? The course draws on literature in public administration, public policy studies, and democratic theory to try to better understand some of the major social, political, environmental, and economic problems of our contemporary world.

American Legal System

Level
Semester
Summer 2012
Units
4
Number
150
CCN
76035
Course Description

The course focuses on legal aspects of public policy, with an emphasis on the relative capacities of, and relationships among, law-making agencies (courts, legislatures, administrative agencies, referenda processes). Students will be exposed to primary legal materials, including judicial decisions, statutes, and regulations, and skills of legal interpretation will be developed. The course will be a mixture of lecture and discussion. Course examines current problems and issues in the field of public policy.

Professor Farhang's 150 "American Legal System" is the same as his Public Policy 190 "Special Topics in Public Policy". This is the exact same course listed under Political Science.

IMPORTANT! Please note you will NOT be able to take Political Science 150 with Professor Farhang, if you have already completed (or plan to take) Political Science 150 with either Kagan or Farhang, or Public Policy 190 with Farhang.

Topics in Political Theory: War, Revolution, and Empire

Level
Semester
Summer 2012
Units
4
Number
116M
CCN
76055
Course Description

War, revolution, and empire are outliers in political time, but they are exceptions that establish what the ordinary rules mean. They are subject to endless conceptual revisions, which is the analytical focus of this course. They take on different colorations in different historical environments and with different temporal expectations. For instance, assigning a meaning to the American Revolution requires deciding whether it was a modest rip in the fabric of time, securing independence from the British taxing authority, or an open-ended invitation to future democratic transformations. (The Tea Party and Occupy movements may offer contemporary versions of these views.) For Americans, empire is also an issue. Can a republic become an empire? Is this hybrid self-sustaining or unraveling; benign or predatory? Wars, too, have unsettled the nation, in part because they have always debatable rationales, justifications, and strategies, but also because they make and unmake cultures and nations. For Purchase: Sun-Tzu and Karl von Clausewitz, The Book of War: Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” and Clausewitz’ “On War”, Hannah Arendt, On Revolution, Herfried Munkler, The Logic of World Domination from Ancient Rome to the United States, plus a course reader.

 

 

 

American Political Thought

Level
Semester
Summer 2012
Units
4
Number
N113A
CCN
76080
Course Description

American ideas have been indebted to and haunted by European thought. This Atlantic exchange framed the only two creative political moments in our national life that led to the founding and re-founding of a sovereign state. The first, the American Revolution, which on some accounts stretched past constitutional authors to the Civil War, was caught up in the dilemmas of crafting a political space for an expanding commercial republic. The second, the Progressive Era, which began in remembrance of Lincoln and culminated in the political economy of the New Deal, inherited a novel set of questions regarding time, history, and destiny.In both opposition to and collaboration with these state-centric moments lay the anti-politics of American society: thriving first in Jefferson’s “empire of liberty,” the tragic romance of frontier settlement, and the Emersonian literature of inner emigration. In recent decades prospering in a symbolic renewal of Whitman, Thoreau, and Emerson: a human rights centered discourse that beckoned to those excluded from the original Jeffersonian promise. For purchase, Wooten, The Essential Federalist. Also Royce, California: A Study of American Character plus a course packet with selections from Machiavelli, Montesquieu, Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Bancroft, Tocqueville, Hegel, Fuller, Hawthorne, Thoreau, Whitman, Lincoln, Royce, Turner, Croly, Dewey, Bourne, Du Bois, Wilson, TR, FDR and MLK.

Introduction to Comparative Politics

Level
Semester
Summer 2012
Units
4
Section
1
Number
2
CCN
75930
Course Description

This course will introduce students to some key concepts used in contemporary comparative political analysis. It will do so through an examination of the reasons for why some modern nation states provide better living conditions for their citizens. Are these differences due to factors such as political institutions, legislative arrangements, parties and party systems, or social forces such as culture and ethnicity? Class lectures will focus on developing an understanding of how political scientists use these terms and whether they provide adequate explanations for why states vary so substantially in their performance. There will be two lectures per week and one required discussion section.


This course can satisfy either the Social & Behaviorial Sciences or International Studies breadth requirement.

Selected Topics in Comparative Politics: International Terrorism

Level
Semester
Summer 2012
Units
4
Section
1
Number
140F
CCN
76040
Course Description

The attacks of September 11, 2001 and subsequent events, including two ongoing wars, have forced Americans to confront the phenomenon of international terrorism in a much more regular and engaged manner.  In essence, terrorism has gone from being a marginal security concern for most Americans to becoming one of the most pressing issues of our day, both nationally and internationally.  Yet, in reality, “terrorism” has been a persistent and widespread phenomenon throughout the rest of the world well before the events of 9/11.  It has deep historical roots, and has been an integral part of human political behavior and interaction.  This course seeks to analyze the phenomenon of “terrorism” in a highly-analytical and academic (as opposed to normative) way including examining its causes, dynamics, and possible solutions.  In this attempt, the course employs an interdisciplinary approach including insights from the fields of political science, history, psychology, sociology, and anthropology.  The course also combines a blend of theory (both explanatory and analytical), methodology, and empirics to help students better understand and grasp the multi-faceted complexity of “terrorism” and its wider implications. Thus, the primary goal of this course is to provide students with a critical and rich understanding of the phenomenon of “terrorism,” and to spark their intellectual curiosity for future empirical research on the topic.

Requirements

This class will use a course reader.  Students are expected to complete the “required readings” for each session before the day of the class.  At the beginning of each class session, students are expected to provide me with a one paragraph description/analysis of that day’s readings and at least three pertinent discussion questions for the topic at hand.  I will lecture only a small portion of each class session.  The bulk of each class session will be reserved for critical discussion regarding the conceptual/analytical theme covered that day.  Students are expected to attend each class and be active participants in the discussions.