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Courses & Requirements

Requirements for the Political Science Major

A minimum of 9 four-credit courses. Limit of one cross-listed course, approved by the chair; must be at the 200 or 300 level.

One 100-level Course

POL-102: Introduction to American Politics (4.00)

American political institutions and issues, including the Supreme Court, Congress, the presidency, parties, elections, interest groups, public opinion, and contemporary political ideologies.

POL-103: Intro to World Politics (4.00)

INTRODUCTION TO WORLD POLITICS--Major developments in world politics since 1945; the Cold War, international political economy, challenges to state sovereignty, and environmental issues.

POL-125: Introduction to Human Rights (4.00)

An exploration of the theoretical and historical foundations of human rights from a multidisciplinary perspective. Presents human rights as a framework of analysis and as a moral discourse. Examines group rights-for example women, indigenous peoples, or inmates-and analyzes particularly challenging human rights problems such as genocide, torture, and immigrants' rights. Cross-listed with REL/WS-125.

Required 200-level Courses

POL-207: Modern Political Thought (4.00)

An examination of major thinkers, such as Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Burke, Mill, and Marx, whose ideas have shaped the politics and ideologies of the modern world. We will also consider several contemporary political issues and commentators to illustrate the continuing influences of these modern theorists.

POL-226: Approaches to Pol Sci & Intl Relations (4.00)

This course will introduce students who plan to major in political science or international relations to the core competing theoretical approaches needed for upper-level study in the two disciplines. Students will also be exposed to basic methods of research in political science and international relations and to workshops on the art of reading, writing, and presenting one's work.

Course requisites: One POL course at 100 or 200 level

Other 200-level Courses

POL-203: Constitutional Law (4.00)

Examination of the rights of individuals in the American constitutional framework. Includes issues of civil liberties and civil rights for women and minorities such as due process and equal protection. Emphasis on legal reasoning and the development of law.

Course requisites: Sophomore standing required

POL-205: Comparative Politics (4.00)

Comparative study of contemporary politics and political systems. Country studies are used to examine broader issues such as the changing welfare state, democratization and development and specific topics such as elections, party dynamics and policy-making. Stresses the interactive nature of global and domestic processes.

POL-222: Human Rights in Muslim Contexts (4.00)

Is Islam compatible with human rights? We will analyze various debates surrounding this issue, exploring key actors and factors in state-society relations, conceptualizations of Middle Eastern politics, Muslim culture, and human rights. The course will present various debates on key rights issues, including minority and women's rights, and explore the impact of transnational activist networks on domestic human rights concerns. Cross-listed with WS-222.

POL-282: U.S. For. Policy Since 1945 (4.00)

U.S. FOREIGN POLICY SINCE 1945--Critical interpretation and analysis of U.S. foreign policy since the end of World War II, with a special focus on the Vietnam War as a pivotal case study in understanding the Cold War. Comparisons between Cold War and post-Cold War foreign policy, changing relationships between the U.S. and its allies, former enemies and the third world and the development of new paradigms of foreign policy making.

Three 300-level Courses

POL-303: American Political Thought (4.00)

American political thought is often portrayed as the development of a distinctive or "exceptional" set of national ideals regarding freedom, equality, and democracy, but it is simultaneously a story of slavery, conquest, empire, racism, segregation, sexism, and civic exclusion. This course attends to the two sides of this complex legacy by approaching American political thought as a constellation of paradoxes and contentious challenges to U.S. founding ideals and ideologies. Students will read core political texts that have shaped the American political tradition (e.g. The Federalist Papers, The Constitution, Tocqueville's Democracy in America), as well as a range of other primary source materials to learn how influential political ideas have changed from the seventeenth century to today. Cross-listed with HIS-303.

Course requisites: One 100-level POL course (or POL-226)

POL-313: Gender Politics (4.00)

GENDER POLITICS--An analysis of various feminist perspectives on gender, race, and class; feminist analysis of political issues; and the feminist encounter with post-modernism. Cross-listed with WS-313.

Course requisites: One 100-level POL course

POL-314: Sex, Power & Politics (4.00)

This course explores how conflicting understandings of sex, gender, and sexuality shape public policies in important and sometimes unexpected ways. By bringing feminist, queer, and critical race theory to bear on political science scholarship in U.S. public policymaking, this course highlights how dominant gendered and sexual norms suffuse broad swaths of contemporary law and policy; and highlights how those same norms help legitimize only certain individuals as political actors, certain bodies and identities as politically relevant, and certain relationships as politically important. Cross-listed with WS-314.

Course requisites: One 100-level POL course (or POL-226 or WS-100 or WS-110)

POL-322: Theor of Dev & Anti-Dev (4.00)

Overview of development theory, including the modernization paradigm. Also examines criticisms of development theory and practice in the south (Latin America, Asia, and Africa), which call into question many of the tenets of modernization and work consciously to define anti development strategies. Includes examination of postcolonial social theory as well as environmental, feminist, and other social movements in the south.

Course requisites: One 100-level course

POL-323: US Conservatism, TR to TeaParty (4.00)

A study of the conservative movement in the United States from 1900 through the present, examining historical context as well as change over time in what is considered "conservative." The course will consider intellectual, economic, social, religious, cultural, and political conservative movements. Cross-listed with HIS-323.

POL-326: Approaches to Intl Relations (4.00)

APPROACHES TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS--Analysis of current theoretical approaches to international relations, including realism, international regimes, and world order theory; particular focus on their utility in understanding issues such as violence, environmental politics, and North-South divisions.

Course requisites: POL-226 or any 100-level Pollitics course

POL-329: Issues in Global Migration (4.00)

Provides a theoretical framework and empirical information needed to examine critically the structures conditioning migration and people's lived experiences of migration. Includes analysis of labor migration and development, borders and national identities, forced migration, and gender and migration.

Course requisites: POL-201 or 326; plus one 300-level POL course

POL-333: Women and the Politics of Social Change In Muslim Contexts (4.00)

The course examines the increasingly visible role played by women in political, religious, and social movements in Muslim contexts, focusing on diverse forms of activism and organization. We will analyze social movement theory and debates about the (in)compatibility between rights/gender equality and Islam as well as specific issues such as family rights, violence against women, religious expression, and women's political representation. Cross-listed with WS-333.

POL-337: The Politics of the European Union (4.00)

This course charts the evolution of the European Union and examines some of the core issues facing the EU today: EU enlargement, the creation of a Common Foreign and Security Policy, EU immigration and asylum policy, and the EU-US relationship now and in the future. In addition, the course gives students a comprehensive understanding of the theories of EU integration, as well as of the major EU institutions and their roles in creating and shaping contemporary European politics.

Course requisites: One 100-level couse

POL-352: Global Feminisms (4.00)

This interdisciplinary course explores global/transnational feminist issues as individual and collective practices and as organized movements. Cross-listed with WS-352.

Course requisites: WS-100, WS/POL/REL-125 or WS/POL-222 (or permission)

POL-365: Dissent & Protest in Muslim Contexts In Muslim Contexts (4.00)

People all across the Muslim world are challenging authorities and seeking social and political change. This course examines contentious politics, in the form of protest, dissent, and social movements that arise in Muslim contexts. While the first part of the course introduces students to key concepts of social movement theory and contentious politics as developed by political sociologists and comparativists, the latter weeks of the course will analyze case studies mostly from the region commonly known as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA.) Together we will examine the factors that lead to contentious politics with an emphasis on structural constraints and opportunities for social and political activism in authoritarian and semi-democratic contexts. We will analyze why some forms of contentious politics lead to social movement development, as in feminist, environmentalist, and religious political movements in many Muslim contexts, while others such as some of the recent pro-democratic uprisings fail in delivering lasting political and electoral change. We will also explore the relation between Islamic activism and social movements, by looking at some the different ways groups have used Islam to mobilize support and as a blueprint for social and political transformation, and examine some of the reasons why some movements use violence. Cross-listed with WS-365.

POL-373: Middle East Politics & Society (4.00)

This course introduces students to the major political and social developments of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) from the end of the Ottoman Empire (post-WWI) until today. In addition to a chronological history and overview of the region and the formation of its nation-states throughout the 20th century, the course also delves into a number of thematic topics related to Middle East politics and society. The course takes an interdisciplinary approach in analyzing key aspects of the post-colonial state (institutions, law, and ideology), the emergence of civil society, the growth and development of social movements (particularly women's and minority rights movements), and ongoing popular protest (for example, the "Arab Spring"). Key controversies such as the (in)compatibility between Islam and liberal democracy and the nature of political Islam will be explored. (Cross-listed with WS-373.)

POL-392: Manifest Destiny in a Global World: Reconfigurations of Identity in U.S. Foreign Policy (4.00)

Examines the ongoing changes in the meaning of deeply resonant categories in U.S. foreign policy particularly after the Vietnam War. Topics include captivity narratives, race war, gender, and patriotism. Case studies include Iran, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Course requisites: One 100-level Pollitics course - AND - POL-201, 226 or 326

POL-395: Topics in Political Science (4.00)

TOPICS IN POLITICAL SCIENCE. Critical examination of a specific topic in Political Science. Topics vary from year to year, and the course may be repeated for credit when the content changes.

FALL 2022 topic "INTERNATIONAL CONFLICT RESOLUTION"--Conflict Resolution addresses the issues that divide our world by encouraging communication, fostering positive relationships and developing comprehensive, long-term solutions. This course will focus on conflict resolution and peacebuilding with a focus on global issues and the interaction of states at the level of the international system. This course will further prepare students to analyze the root causes and dynamics of conflict and to think deeply about the transformation of disputes through reasoned and resourceful interventions. Prerequisite: POL-103.

Topic description for "DEMOCRACY, DISSENT, AND REVOLUTION"--This course examines how democracies and citizenship are invigorated, challenged, and otherwise affected by dissent, revolution, and other forms of political troublemaking. Course goals include gaining conceptual and historical clarity about these terms and their stakes, and exploring the normative investments of the concepts and practices associated with them. The course blends theoretical readings with case studies of important dissident revolutionary (e.g. Socrates, Gandhi, Emma Goldman) and political movements (abolitionism, feminism, BLM, and Antifa).

Topic description for "MEDIA AND GOVERNING THROUGH CONSPIRACY, SCANDAL AND INVESTIGATION"--U.S. politics is awash in divisive partisanship and constant scandal, with the public sphere poisoned by rancor and incivility. Why? This course grapples with theoretical approaches designed to explain the current crisis, with possible topics ranging from new media, authoritarian populism, and other general trends, to politicized news channels, polarized partisanship, and more specific manifestations. The temporal focus is the post-Cold War era.

Course requisites: At least one 100-level Political Science course

One 400-level Seminar

POL-400: Seminar in International Relations (4.00)

Required seminar for international relations seniors that allows for independent research on a topic of current interest and importance in international relations. It provides opportunities for majors to integrate the theoretical, historical and geographical components of the major through readings, discussion, research, and writing on the topic of their choosing. The seminar is open only to senior and 2nd-semester junior Poli Sci or IR majors who have completed POL-226 and at least one 300-level course in the major (POL-326 highly recommended). Cross-listed with IR-400.

Course requisites: POL-226 & a 300-level POL course (see course description)

POL-492: Seminar in Culture and Politics (4.00)

Takes up topics on the intersections between politics and culture such as the media and foreign policy, consumerism and politics, and war and popular culture, from Vietnam to Iraq. The course is open to senior or 2nd-semester junior Political Science and International Relations majors.

Course requisites: POL-226 & one 300-level POL course

Other 400-level Courses

POL-410: Directed Reading (1.00)

Supervised study in a special field of Political Science. Directed reading courses are open to qualified juniors and seniors to pursue reading outside a program's listed courses.

POL-440: Directed Research (4.00)

Directed research courses are open to junior and senior majors to work with a faculty member on a project related to a particular field of intellectual or artistic interest, or to non-majors who demonstrate sufficient preparation in the discipline. Applications are available in the Office of Academic Advising and must be returned to the assistant dean of the college for approval. A 440 course carries 4 semester-hours credit.

Requirements for the Political Science Minor

A minimum of five four-credit courses, three of which must be chosen from the 300 or 400 level.  Three of these course must be taken at Agnes Scott.

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