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Political Science

Undergraduate Political Science Courses

B190, Human Behavior & Social Institutions:
Principles of Political Science (3 cr.)

This course provides a general introduction to the approaches of the social sciences in the study of human behaviors and social institutions, but from the perspective of political science.  It encourages students to examine the political nature of their world, introducing them to some of the ways in which political scientists frame questions about that world. While a political science course, it will make connections to similar methods and concepts used in other social sciences such as sociology, economics and psychology.  The course is exploratory in nature, seeking to raise questions, not necessarily to answer them. Fulfills the Human Behavior and Social Institutions Common Core requirement.

B399, Human Behavior & Social Institutions Common Core (3 cr.)

Variable title. Topics change with instructor. A required 300- level common core course, uses perspectives from different social sciences to analyze a specific topic. Recent courses include: "War, Terror, and Reconciliation" and "Urban Politics and Policy." Fulfills the 300-level Human Behavior and Social Institutions Common Core requirement.

Y103, Introduction to American Politics (3 cr.)

An introduction to the principles, institutions, and dynamics of American government and politics.  The course examines the origins and development of the U.S. Constitution, federalism, the separation of powers, major institutions of the national government, political parties and elections, interest groups, public opinion, the nature of citizenship, and issues and problems of modern American democracy. Fulfills the Liberal Arts and Science American Culture 2 requirement.

Y107, Introduction to Comparative Politics (3 cr.)

This course introduces students to the politics of several nations in Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.  The course focuses on the analysis of major political developments in the post-World War II era leading to the present.  Topics discussed include: the legacy of the past, governing structures and processes, and contemporary political debates.  Fulfills the Liberal Arts and Sciences World Culture and the Campus Gen Ed Non-western Culture requirements.

Y109, Introduction to International Relations (3 cr.) 

In an ever-changing world, international relations are increasingly important.  the past few years alone, India and Pakistan threatened each other with tests of nuclear weapons; the Palestinian-Israeli peace process broke down, and terrorists struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; the United States fought wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; and Sudan continued to be torn by conflict.  This course examines our role in such affairs and, in particular, such topics as power, war, terrorism, security, poverty, environmental degradation, interdependence, cooperation and peace.   Fulfills the Liberal Arts and Sciences World Culture and the Campus Gen Ed Non-western Culture requirements.

Y115, Environment and People (3 cr.)

This course is an interdisciplinary analysis of the relationships between people, pollution, the environment, and society.

Y120, Public Affairs (3 cr.)

This course is an introduction to public affairs through inquiry into government structures and policy processes at the internationa, federal, state and local level.

Y201, Controversies in U.S. Politics (3 cr.)

This highly interactive course will focus on controversial issues in American politics.  Students will develop their critical thinking and oral communication skills through lively class debate and dialogue.  First, we will study the basic elements of good reasoning and bad reasoning. Next, we will discuss common mistakes that people make when formulating an argument. Finally, we will read a series of point-counterpoint articles on controversial political issues, working together to detect logical fallacies and rhetorical devices employed by each author. We will explore such issues as: immigration, racial profiling, gun control, capital punishment, gay marriage, and torture as an interrogation technique. Join us to share your opinions! (Themes and issue vary from semester to semester). Fulfills the Liberal Arts and Sciences American Culture II and the Campus Gen Ed Critical Thinking requirements.

Y235, Introduction to Public Management (3 cr.)

This courses focuses on the management process in public organizations. The focus is especially on external influences on public managers, the effects of the intergovernmental environment and problems of management in a democratic, limited government system.

Y240, Urban Government and Policy

This course focuses on government and policy making in American cities.

Y301, Political Parties and Interest Groups (3 cr.)

Political parties and interest groups play a central role in the American political process. This course traces the evolution of the two-party system and of interest group politics in the United States. Students will explore the role of parties and interest groups in the policy-making process, and will form their own assessments of the role of each in promoting or threatening democracy in the United States.

Y304 American Constitutional Law I (3 cr.)   

This course explores the nature and function of law and the judicial process in the U.S.  It focuses on selected decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court and its interpretation of such major constitutional issues as the separation of powers, federalism, and the Bill of Rights.

Y316 Public Opinion and Political Participation (3 cr.)

This course explains how individuals form opinions about politics, public policies, and politicians, and what form those opinions take collectively. It also discusses  how individuals and groups voice their opinions through participation in the political process. Finally, the course explores the relationship between mass beliefs and elite responses to public opinion.

Y317, Voting, Elections, and Public Opinion (3 cr.)

The course explores the determinants of voting behavior in American elections.  Topics include: the development of partisanship and political ideology; the role of parties, interest groups, and the mass media  in American campaigns and elections; the nomination process; the factors determining election outcomes; and the relationships among public opinion, elections, and the development of public policy.

Y318, The American Presidency (3 cr.)

The president is the focus of much of American politics today and is also a major player in world politics.  This course studies the way the presidency has developed since it was designed in the 1780s, with special emphasis on changes since the Vietnam War and in the age of television.  For the government to function well, the president and Congress must work together; we examine why they often fail to do so.  We also explore the importance of a president’s personal ability and character, using Nixon, Carter, Reagan, both Bushes, and Clinton as examples, and the president’s relations with his White House staff, the courts, the bureaucracy, his party, and public opinion; Fulfills the Liberal Arts and Science American Culture 2 requirement.

Y319, The U.S. Congress (3 cr.)

This course examines the origins and development of Congress and its changing role in American politics; members’ relationships with their constituencies; congressional committees, parties, leadership, and floor procedures; congressional elections; public opinion and interest groups; member career paths; and competing explanations of member behavior.

Y324, Women and World Politics (3 cr.)

This course will analyze issues of gender and politics in various regions of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  We will explore how cultural understandings of gender are constructed and contested with respect to political issues such as civil rights, human rights, and access to governmental and economic power.    Among the questions we will address are: 1.  Are public and private understood in the same way across cultures?  2.  In what ways do state policies influence the meanings of motherhood and mothering?  3.  In what ways do women resist oppressive practices which discriminate against them as citizens?    Throughout the course of the semester, we will make comparisons with women in the U.S.  Fulfills the Liberal Arts and Sciences World Culture and the Campus Gen Ed Non-western Culture requirementst.

Y327 Gender Politics in the United States (3 cr.)

This course will explore the historical evolution and contemporary significance of women’s political involvement in the United States. Topics include: the effects of cultural changes and political socialization on gender roles and gender politics; gender differences in political attitudes and behavior; differences among women in political attitudes and policy preferences; women’s political participation and group consciousness; women as political leaders; and the gendered dimensions of public policy. Fulfills the Campus Gen Ed Diversity in U.S. Society requirement.

Y329, Racial and Ethnic Politics in the U.S. (3 cr.)

This course takes a close look at race and ethnic relations in the United States. It focuses on minority group politics in the United States, using a wide variety of examples and group experiences. The course explores the different strategies groups use in their struggle with minority status—including assimilation, separatism, and radicalism. Finally, it examines key areas of public policy, including education, employment, housing, immigration, and law enforcement, that are central to the future of ethnic politics and race relations in the United States. Fulfills the Campus Gen Ed Diversity in U.S. Society requirement.

Y330, Central American Politics  (3 cr.)

The course will make an analysis of contemporary political change in Central America.  Emphasis on reformist and revolutionary paths to political, social, and economic transformations.  The legacy of United  States intervention in the region will be highlighted.  Fulfills the Liberal Arts and Sciences World Culture requirement.

Y335, West European Politics (3 cr.)

Are you currently learning German or French? Do you see yourself traveling to Europe in your lifetime?  Do you ever wonder what makes our system of government different from and similar to other European nations? If so, this course is perfect for you.  Students who complete the course will have a basic understanding of the different types of political systems and institutions in the U.S. and Europe.

Y337, Latin American Politics (3 cr.)

An analysis of contemporary political issues in Latin America.  The course will look at problems of economic development, militarism, and democratization.  The importance of religion, gender, race, and ethnicity will be considered.  Fulfills the Liberal Arts and Sciences World Culture requirement.

Y343, Politics of International Development (3 cr.)

An overview of contemporary politics in the developing world. Major theories of political development are emphasized along with an alysis of issues concerning militarism, political participation, appropriate technology, gender and human rights, and resource allocation.

Y350, The Politics of European Integration (3 cr.)

This course examines why and how several European countries, often with long histories of national independence, have combined in a Union which involves relinquishing many aspects of that independence.  It considers how the development of a united Europe has progressed, where it has been resisted, its achievements and limitations.  Students, who enroll in this course, may have the opportunity to travel to Indianapolis to participate in a simulation of key European Union institutions.

Y357, Introduction to Nonprofit Management (3 cr.)

This course focuses on the management practices of nonprofit organizations.

Y358, Human Behavior and Public Organizations (3 cr.)

This course is designed to increase self awareness regarding the importance of human and organization behavior in public agencies.

Y359, Economics and Public Management (3 cr.)

This course focuses on the application of economics to public policy and to public management: theories of market failures, economic stabilization, redistribution, the evaluation of public expenditures, and fiscal federalism.

Y362, Democratic Revolutions (3 cr.)

This course introduces students to the substantive and theoretical discussions concerning recent transitions from authoritarianism to democracy.  It will present competing theoretical explanations of democratization, regime change, and the role of political actors, and discussion will be arranged around concepts which facilitate comparison.  This course will end with case studies on transitions from authoritarian to democratic regimes in Southern Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia and elsewhere.

Y370, Research Methods (3 cr.)

This course focuses on basic concepts of social science research. Students will become familiar with research techniques necessary for systematic analysis of social service systems, trends in social issues, and program effectiveness.

Y371, Workshop in International Topics: Terrorism and Political Violence (3 cr.)

What is terrorism? How is it different from war and other forms of political violence? What drives people to become terrorists or to join terrorist causes? This course explores terrorism and political violence in their international dimensions. Study of specific terrorists and terrorist groups will be highlighted.

Y376, International Political Economy (3 cr.)

The end of the Cold War, the arrival of NAFTA, and the increased integration of the European Union signal an unprecedented pace of change in the global economic environment.  This course introduces students to this changing world economy by examining such important issues as international trade and finance, the international monetary system and the debt crisis.  We next turn our attention to various issues confronting advanced industrialized countries (integration, sovereignty, and hegemony) as well as the third world (the political economy of development and underdevelopment, the politics of famine and civil war).  Fulfills the Liberal Arts and Sciences World Culture requirement.

Y380, (Variable Title Number) The Supreme Court in American History (3 cr.)

The course will examine the origins and development of the U.S. Supreme Court in American history, with special emphasis on the Bill of Rights and the other amendments to the Constitution; the principal doctrines developed by the Court; the Court’s involvement in major political issues; the leadership of the most influential chief justices and the roles played by prominent associate justices; and major cases decided by the Court.

Y381, History of Political Thought I (3 cr.)

Can democracy work? Who should rule?  What is justice?  This course will examine some of the first considerations of these (and other) political questions in the Western tradition through critically examining works by classical and medieval thinkers such as Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle and Saint Thomas Aquinas, and also some reflections on those works by political thinkers of today.  Students will read primary sources and develop their critical thinking skills by writing interpretative analyses.  Fulfills the Liberal Arts and Sciences Western Culture 1 and the Campus Gen Ed Western Culture before 1800 requirements.

Y382, History of Political Theory 2 (3 cr.)

In this course we explore what it is to think in a “modern” way about politics by looking at the works of political philosophers (and some political economists) of the last five hundred years.  Our study will include some of the works of Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Madison, Rousseau, Mill, Hegel, Marx, and others.  Fulfills the Liberal Arts and Sciences Western Culture 2 requirement.

Y383, American Political Ideas I (3 cr.)

This course will look at some of the theoretical controversies that have been significant in American politics: for example, controversies about the political order established by the Constitution and whether it is or should it be democratic and  who can or should have access to  its protections; or, debates about what is the balance  between the  rights of the individual and those of the community and how we balance liberty and equality.  The course will examine these debates through  reading the original contributions and then developing skills in  critically examining, discussing and writing  about them.  Fulfills the Liberal Arts and Sciences American Culture 1 and the Campus Gen Ed Western Culture before 1800 requirements.

Y387, Public Personnel Management (3 cr.)

This course focuses on public personnel systems, including job analysis, position classification, training, affirmative action, and motivation.

Y396, Law and Public Affairs (3 cr.)

This course focuses on the origins, process, and impact of law in the making and implementing of public policy. It provides students with the substantive concepts necessary to understand the judicial system and law.

Y425, Public Sector Labor Relations

This course focuses on the development, practice, and extent of the collective bargaining process and administration of the labor agreement by state and local governments.

Y430, Introduction to Public Policy

This course is on the theory and practice of the formulation and the implementation of public policy. Topics include the factors of public demand on the political system; decision making in the public sector; tools and techniques for implementation and evaluation; and the import for future planning.

Y488, Study Abroad in Political Science:  The European Union (3 cr.)

Decimated by war in 1945, today the European Union is home to 25 countries, over 450 million citizens, and is unmatched as the world's most important trading area.  This course takes students to Europe (Belgium, Luxembourg and France) to explore the rich mosaic of culture, language and religion of the European Union while coming to understand the new era of political and economic union.

Y490, Senior Seminar in Political Science:
Themes and Subtitles Change Every Spring  (3 cr.)

This course is a small, interactive seminar that requires a significant research project in addition to high levels of class participation and writing throughout the semester. The general topic and overall themes of this exciting course change from semester to semester as it is taught by  each member of the political science faculty. (Open to juniors and seniors; required for all political science majors; permission of instructor required.) Fulfills the Liberal Arts and Sciences Second Level Writing requirement.