Spring 2017 Course Descriptions

Introductory Courses

POLS 021 - AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEMS (Sub-field A)
Institutions, processes, and problems of American government.

POLS 041 - INTRODUCTION TO POLITICAL THEORY (Sub-field B)
Examination of basic problems in political philosophy, e.g. morality and law; punishment; freedom; equality; obligation and disobedience.

POLS 051 - INTRODUCTION TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (Sub-field C)
Examination of the basic theoretical concepts in international relations. Introduces the student to systemic, domestic, and individual levels of analysis for assessing foreign policy decisions.

POLS 071 - COMPARATIVE POLITICAL SYSTEMS (Sub-field D)
Examination of political behavior, political structures, and political processes from a cross-national perspective.

POLS 095 WQ1(ONL) - LIFE AS A JOURNALIST: MYTHS & REALITY
From Evelyn Waugh's "Scoop" to Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom" few professions are surrounded by as much myth and romance as journalism. Yet this is also a time of great uncertainty throughout the industry. News and media today offer opportunities that would have been unheard-of 15 years ago - but they do so at a time when the industry finds it harder and harder to make money, meaning that young journalists find it harder to get jobs (or, sometimes, to get paid for their work). This class will explore both the romance of journalism and its 21st Century day-to-day realities.(Robison)

POLS 096 A - IHP: MODERN POLITICAL IDEAS IN THE WESTERN TRADITION (Sub-field B)
John Locke gives the classical expression of political society understood as a contractual relation between consenting free and equal adults concerned to protect their natural rights to freedom and property. What can be said in defense of such a vision? What are the primary alternatives to it? Is this vision relevant to our contemporary global political situation? This course confronts these questions through an examination of a number of the canonical political writers in the western intellectual tradition: Locke, Rousseau, Burke, Marx, Nietzsche and others. Reading from these authors serves not only as a means to allow students to address the questions above, but to also engage directly with certain minds and texts of human genius. CAS First-year IHP students only: Instructor permission required. By permission only. Open to IHP students only. (Neal)


100 - Level Courses

POLS 119 A - D2: LGBT POLITICS AND HISTORY (Sub-field A)
This is a course about the emergence, progress, and development of LGBT life in the United States. Among other topics, we will examine the history, strategies, conflicts, and issues surrounding the movement for LGBT rights; the impact of the LGBT rights movement on American society; and the roles LGBT people play as participants in American politics and culture. (Andersen)

POLS 121 A - LAW AND POLITICS (Sub-field A)
This course is dedicated to the study of the role of the law and the judicial branch in the American political system. We will examine the origins, organizations, and procedures of the court system (both state and federal), the selection and roles of the various participants in the legal system (judges, lawyers, clerks, litigants, etc.), and the impact of the court system on policy in the United States. The judicial branch shares in the separation of powers and checks and balances frameworks designed in the U.S. Constitution, and as such an understanding of this branch’s role in our political system is essential for any student of American government. We will focus in detail on how the courts function in their own right and also on the influence of law and the judicial system on the political and social spheres in America. (Holmes)

POLS 129 A - D1:CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: CIVIL RIGHTS IN AMERICA (Sub-field A)
This is an historically-structured inquiry into the American constitutional law of equality. Cases decided by state and federal courts are essential, but we also devote considerable time to the ways legislatures, political parties, interest groups, and private citizens have shaped American law. Much of the course focuses on race and racism in the law of equality in the U.S.; we also study discrimination based on gender, socioeconomic class, religion, and sexual orientation. In addition to judicial decisions, readings include essays, excerpts from state constitutional-convention debates, party platforms, speeches, and social-science texts interpreting law and legal change. Assigned reading will include a constitutional-law textbook supplemented by an instructor-designed course-pack, plus occasional additional materials on-line. Course objectives. Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  1. Describe precisely the different ways American constitutional law has embraced, challenged, and defined racial discrimination.
  2. Describe precisely the powerful roles legislators, political parties, interest groups and private citizens have played in constitutional politics and changes in constitutional meaning.
  3. Demonstrate basic proficiency in reasoning by precedent and analogy: a skill most closely associated with law, but useful in any setting where people are interested in thinking clearly. Reasoning by analogy is perhaps the signature skill of a legally-trained mind, but happy people also do it.
  4. Describe important developments in the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause. The Fourteenth Amendment is crucial to the American law of equality, but its central language ("equal protection," "due process," "privileges and immunities") is so grand as to mean either everything or nothing. Yet the courts have built a more or less coherent body of doctrine expounding what the Fourteenth Amendment's noble phrases mean. We will examine how that body of doctrine has been constructed, and what it suggests about how future cases will be approached and resolved by the Court.
  5. Describe the critical role played by other Constitutional texts, particularly the enforcement clauses of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and the Commerce Clause, in the constitutional politics of equality.
  6. Describe dramatic changes in the meaning of "citizen" across American constitutional development.
  7. Navigate a fundamental paradox at the heart of the law of equality. Virtually everything government does draws lines treating us differently, allocating benefits and burdens on the basis of our characteristics or behavior. Yet both the law and our fundamental ethical views say we must be treated equally. How are we to sort out which kinds of differential treatment violate our commitment to equality?
  8. (Ewald)

POLS 137 A - POLITICS AND THE MEDIA (Sub-field A)
This course focuses on the nature of the media and its role in US politics. The course examines how the media operate within the U.S. system and the ways media affect public opinion, political institutions, and public policy. (Gierzynski)

POLS 138 A - CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: CIVIL LIBERTIES (Sub-field A)
This course will examine many of the most important decisions on civil liberties issued by the U.S. Supreme Court. We will begin by exploring the rights encompassed by the First Amendment, focusing particularly on the religion, speech, and free press clauses. We'll then turn to an examination of the various rights provided to those suspected, accused, and/or convicted of committing crimes. Finally, we'll look at the development of the right of privacy. By the end of the semester, you should have a deeper understanding of the scope and nature of individual rights in the United States and a better ability to evaluate contemporary debates on the subject. (Andersen)

POLS 147 A - 20TH CENTURY POLITICAL THROUGHT (Sub-field B)
In this course we will study a number of works by some of the major political thinkers of the twentieth-century. This has been the century of unprecedented technological and scientific advances, and also the century of fascism, totalitarianism and genocide. In one way or another, all the thinkers we read may be understood as trying to make sense of our encounter with these phenomenon. We will read works by authors representing a variety of political and philosophical viewpoints. Representative authors may include, but not be limited to, Isaiah Berlin, Michael Oakeshotte, Carl Schmitt, Michel Foucault, John Dewey, Hannah Arendt, Herbert Marcuse, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Leo Strauss. (Taylor)

POLS 174 A - D2: LATIN AMERICAN POLITICS (Sub-field D) - POLITICAL SCIENCE HONORS
Why has political and economic development south of the Rio Grande diverged so dramatically from the experience of the United States and Canada? The course attempts to answer this fundamental question of comparative politics with an overview of contemporary Latin American politics. The course begins with an examination of contending theoretical explanations for Latin America’s economic and political development. After a brief overview of Latin American history, we will we focus on important themes of Latin American politics such as revolution, military dictatorships, neoliberalism, democratization, the resurgence of the left, race, gender, and economic inequality. Each theme is analyzed using case studies from different countries across the region. (Beer)

POLS 176 A - D2: GOVERNMENT & POLITICS OF JAPAN (Sub-field D)
This course will familiarize you with issues in Japanese politics in historical and comparative perspective. Through a combination of readings, lectures, discussions and films, we will survey the history of Japan's rise from an industrializing Asian country to a postwar economic superpower. We will examine the major postwar political institutions and organizations in Japanese politics, with emphasis placed on the role of the state, political parties, and electoral system. Finally, we will examine Japan's role in world affairs and its relations with the outside world. (Carlson)

POLS 177 A - D2 POLITICAL SYSTEMS OF TROPICAL AFRICA - (Sub-field D)
The goal of this class is to build understandings of the factors shaping the character of African politics. Why has stability been a challenge in African polities? What are the reasons for development success and failure? What are the prospects for democracy? In answering these questions, we will examine Africa’s historical experiences, its economic heritage, and the international context in which it is embedded. At the same time, we will explore how Africans have responded to unique circumstances to shape their own political and economic situations. (VonDoepp)

POLS 181 A/B - FUNDAMENTALS OF SOCIAL RESEARCH
Introduction to research methods in social science. Includes examination of research design, measurement, data collection, data analysis, and the presentation and theoretical interpretation of research findings. (Krymkowski and Strickler)

POLS 192 A - INTERNSHIPS

  • This course offers credit for politically related internships. Students must secure internships by directly contacting the organization with which they wish to intern. Once students secure an internship they need to find a faculty sponsor in the political science department and work out the writing assignments for the internship. Then students must fill out an application for internship credit and submit the application to Professor Gierzynski. The deadline for submitting the application for credit is the last day of Add/Drop. During the semester students work for the interning organization and complete their written assignments; there are no class meetings.
  • Prerequisite: Political Science majors only; Junior or Senior status at the time of the internship; 4 Core POLS courses and 1 advanced POLS course; and a 2.5 GPA in POLS courses and overall. Political Science internship credit is elective credit, it does not fulfill any requirement for the major. All internships are Pass/No Pass. (Gierzynski)
  • POLS 196 A - GRECO-ROMAN POLITICAL THOUGHT (Sub-field B)
    History of Greco-Roman political thought and political reality, as revealed by lawgivers, philosophers, politicians, and historians. (Evans)

    POLS 198 A - UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH
    See Guidelines for Independent Study in the UVM catalog. Submit project outline to Professor Neal before end of Add/Drop. Instructor permission required. (Neal)


    200 - Level Courses

    POLS 228 A - CONGRESS AND FOREIGN POLICY (Sub-field A)
    In this course we will explore such questions as the following: What is, and what should be, Congress's role in foreign policy making? Can Congress effectively participate in foreign policy making? Can Congress influence the formation of the foreign policy agenda? And how else (besides in the area of agenda setting) do members affect the foreign policy decisions and actions of the U.S.? Congress's constitutional powers grant it vast authority in foreign relations. Nonetheless, it was not until the 1970s that Congress began asserting its institutional prerogatives and assuming a more vigilant and involved role in the foreign policy arena. The primary focus of this course, consequently, will be on congressional action in the post-Vietnam period. As we examine the above questions, we will delve into such substantive policy areas and topics as the Vietnam War, the War Powers Resolution, Senate advice and consent on treaties and nominations, the Intelligence community and congressional oversight of covert operations, the Iran-Contra affair, defense issues, terrorism, arms sales, foreign aid, foreign economic policy, human rights, interest group influence, congressional-executive relations, and members' decision making. Political Science 228 is run as a seminar course, not a lecture course. Therefore, class meetings will be mainly discussion. Course requirements include weekly papers (some short and some of medium length), oral presentations, class participation, and a final exam. (Burgin)

    POLS 230 A - VERMONT LEGISLATIVE RESEARCH SHOP (Sub-field A)
    In this course students will carry out policy research for Vermont state legislators. Student are trained in gathering and evaluating information and then are assigned to research teams to conduct the research under the supervision of Professors Gierzynski, Ewald and Burgin. Instructor permission required. (Burgin)

    POLS 235 A - GENDER AND LAW (Sub-field A)
    The main focus of this course centers on the ways in which law and gender interact in American society. Throughout our history, American law has both affected and reflected societal gender norms in virtually every aspect of life from birth through death. Your family life, work experience, economic well-being, and personal behavior are all constrained by law in American society, often in ways that take gender as an important component in how law is created, defined, or implemented. The issues we will discuss this semester, therefore, are relevant to the lives of all people in American society. (Holmes)

    POLS 259 B - NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY MAKING - (Sub-field A or C)
    The course will focus on decision and policy making in the area of national security and foreign policy. The seminar will approach the topic historically, beginning with the advent of the modern national security system in the Truman presidency, and then moving through subsequent presidencies to that of George W. Bush. We will be particularly interested in how the decision-making processes of each of these presidencies were organized and operated, and then how they performed in key national security issues that arose. This course is designed to be very much a hands-on, joint effort. That is, I will not always lecture, and our class sessions will generally follow a discussion format. (Burke)

    POLS 279 A - POST-SOVIET ETHNIC CONFLICT (Sub-field D)
    This course is a comprehensive examination of ethnic and civil conflict in various post-Soviet states including Russia, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Latvia, Estonia, and Tajikistan. These conflicts, however, have roots in Soviet era politics, which we will explore. The first half of the course will focus on theories of nationalism and ethnic conflict. During the she second half of the course we will familiarize ourselves with the consequences of Soviet federalism and nationalities policy, which contributed to the conflicts we will analyze, and we will study particular conflicts including the Chechnya conflict (Russia), the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict (Azerbaijan and Armenia), the Abkhazia and South Ossetia conflicts (Georgia), the Transnistrian conflict (Moldova), and the Russian minority conflict (Latvia and Estonia). (Commercio)

    POLS 293 A - SENIOR HONORS SEMINAR I
    A seminar devoted to the examination of current topics of interest in the field of political science, especially as they relate to the research interests of UVM faculty. Particular topics vary from year to year. By invitation only. (Taylor)

    POLS 298 A - UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH
    See guidelines for independent study. Submit written project outline to Professor Neal by end of Add/Drop. Instructor permission required: Juniors or Seniors only. (Neal)