Political Theory

Political Theory is the study of political philosophies and their application to politics in today's world.

111 Modern Political Thought
Works by modern masters of political theory from the Protestant reformation up to the contemporary era are compared and contrasted. Topics include the alternative theoretical foundations of modern political movements and regimes. Students learn to evaluate and criticize political ideas and gain insight into contemporary political problems.

112 American Political Thought
This course seeks to illuminate the philosophical antecedents to the foundations of the American government as well as the thought of the Founders themselves, and concludes with a review of some of the diverse views regarding the American political order.  Offered in alternate years.

113 Political Psychology
This course surveys the relationship between psychological and political phenomena. Attention is given to classic works which have significantly shaped the field. Topics include theories of human nature, personality and politics, the nature of political beliefs and values, the psychology of political conflict, political leadership, and decision-making. Psychoanalytic, behavioral, cognitive and humanistic perspectives are examined.  Offered at least once in a three-year period.

114 Topics in Political Thought
A detailed investigation of selected problems in political thought. Topics such as freedom, equality, justice, authority, ideology, violence, political economy and political psychology are explored. May be repeated for credit as content varies.

115 Theories of Justice
The course examines different theories of justice based on concepts such as “fairness”, “equal treatment”, and “getting one’s due”. These alternative theories are then applied to contemporary controversies concerning racial, sexual, and environmental justice and to current debates about such issues as immigration, euthanasia, abortion, and capital punishment.  Satisfies Common Good of the Core Curriculum.

116 Political Polling and Survey Research
This course explores the theoretical basis of modern empirical methods of investigating political behavior. The course stresses the development of empirical theories of politics through the formation and testing of hypotheses. Emphasis is on the use of survey instruments, polling techniques and data analysis. Throughout the semester, students work in groups to complete a research project for a local nonprofit organization.