University of Vermont

College of Arts and Sciences

First-Year Experience 2014-2015

Political Science



POLS 021A ~ American Political System
CRN: 93629

Instructor: Eileen Burgin Associate Professor of Political Science More . . .

Does the American political system work, or is it fundamentally flawed, as many citizens contend? Why do we face serious policy problems in a range of substantive areas, from domestic policy issues such as the economy and health care to foreign policy matters such as the war on terrorism? And has the national policy-making scene become too partisan, so that the three branches of the federal government cannot fulfill the roles envisioned by the framers of the Constitution? Or is the conflict simply an inherent and natural part of the system? In POLS 21, we will explore these and other questions. By learning about the basics of the American political system (ideas on which the Republic was founded, principal institutions of national government, and participation in government and politics), you will gain the requisite knowledge to analyze the key problems facing our constitutional democracy. We also will spend time during the semester talking about current political events-you will acquire a solid understanding of American politics, so that you become an informed, critical observer of the American political scene.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Sciences course
Meets: MWF 12:50pm-1:40pm


POLS 041A, C ~ Introduction to Political Theory
CRN: A - 93624 C - 93628

Instructor: Robert Taylor Professor of Political Science More . . .

This course is designed to introduce students to a number of major issues and themes in political theory, such as the problems of political morality, justice, obligation, freedom, and revolution. We will examine the way a number of different political theorists and thinkers have dealt with these problems, the philosophical elements from which they have constructed their theories and arguments, and the ways in which their ideas may or may not be useful in helping us to think about our political order and political problems.

Requirements Satisfied: one Humanities course
Meets: (Section A)Meets: MWF 9:35am-10:25am, (Section C)  Meets: MWF 11:45am-12:35pm


POLS 041B, D ~ Introduction to Political Theory
CRN: Section B - 93626  Section D - 93630

Instructor: Jan Feldman Professor of Political Science More . . .

Requirements Satisfied:
Meets: (Section B) MWF 10:40am-11:30am, (Section D) MWF 12:50pm-1:40pm


POLS 051A ~ Introduction to International Relations
CRN: 93642

Instructor: Michele Commercio Associate Professor of Political Science More . . .

This is an exciting time to be studying international relations, or world politics. The Cold War is over, there are new countries like Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan, the Warsaw Pact no longer exists, NATO and the European Union have expanded, and BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) are emerging economic superpowers with interests that can collide with interests of the United States. September 11, 2001 changed the dynamics of international relations a great deal and this course will, in part, examine those new dynamics. The United States went to war with Afghanistan and Iraq, and North Korea and Iran continue to present a host of political challenges to the West. While international terrorism, particularly since 9/11, has altered America's role, image, and mission in the international arena, the U.S. continues to define its new global role, image, and mission. The purpose of this course is to provide you with the tools necessary to critically analyze the conflict and cooperation that characterize world politics.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Sciences course
Meets: TR 10:00am-11:15am


POLS 071A, B ~ Comparative Political Systems
CRN:  Section A - 93644, Section B - 93645

Instructor: Matthew Carlson Associate Professor of Political Science More . . .

How do we compare political systems? Why do ethnic conflicts occur? What are the political consequences of electoral and political party systems? How do we measure countries in terms of their level of democracy? This course will introduce you to some of the central issues in the field of comparative politics. Through a combination of readings, lectures, discussions, and films, we will examine many of the major theoretical debates and topics in comparative politics, including democratization, electoral and party systems, political violence, ethnic conflict, human rights, and political economy. We will also look at how these theoretical issues are empirically represented in different parts of the world.

Requirements Satisfied:
Meets:  Section A - Meets: TR 11:30am-12:45pm, Section B - Meets: TR 2:30pm-3:45pm


POLS 071C, D ~ Comparative Political Systems
CRN: Section C - 93627, Section D - 93631

Instructor: Caroline Beer Associate Professor of Political Science More . . .

Why are some governments democratic and others authoritarian? Why are some countries rich and other countries poor? How do different types of political institutions influence political outcomes? These are the central questions of comparative politics. The goal of this course is to teach students how to answer important political questions such as these by comparing international political systems.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Sciences course
Meets: Section C - Meets: MWF 11:45am-12:35pm, Section D - Meets: MWF 1:55pm-2:45pm

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