Lower division courses cover major concepts, theories, and tools of political analysis in each of the four major subfields of politics.
1 Introduction to Comparative Politics
How do other countries go about addressing major political issues such as social security, tax rates, education, and abortion? How do institutions and political culture operate differently in other nations, and what do those differences say about the American experience? This comparative survey of politics in countries and regions other than the United States seeks to answer these questions by focusing on political culture and socialization, socio-economic structure and development, class interests, government institutions, electoral processes, political parties, and major shifts in public policy. Themes of globalization, social justice, and democratization are emphasized. Case studies include Great Britain, Japan, Russia, Mexico, and Nigeria. Come see how politics goes down in the rest of the world!
2 Introduction to American Politics
This course will provide an introduction to the American political system. By examining the more important political institutions (Congress, Presidency, courts, parties. ) and political processes (campaigns and elections, public opinion, political advocacy) the course will consider the nature and extent of American democracy; investigate how political power is currently distributed in society; and discuss the degree to which that power may be redistributed in the future.
3 Introduction to Political Thought
A survey of the great political ideas and ideologies that have shaped the history of politics. Topics include core political concepts such as liberty, justice, and equality, as well as organized belief systems such as liberalism, conservatism, and socialism. Students learn to analyze and evaluate political values and to apply them to practical political problems.
4 Introduction to International Politics
In this introductory course, we will explore the different theoretical frameworks for the study of international politics, in an attempt to understand how, why, and where the national interests of some actors collide and those of other actors coalesce.