Political Science Course Descriptions
Below is a listing of classes that may be offered during your studies at Butler. For the most current information, please review ourBelow is a listing of classes that may be offered during your studies at Butler. For the most current information, please review our Course Catalog.
|Introduction to Politics
|The ideas and practice of politics, with consideration of the political systems and foreign policies of the United States and countries elsewhere in the world. (U) (3)
|Introduction to Peace Studies
|PO102 Intro to Peace Studies: This course provides a basic intro to the study of Peace Studies. It begins with an examination of the history of the field & its major theoretical & philosophical currents. The second part of the course deals with structural, cultural, & direct violence & issues as social justice, human rights & peace building with reference to contemporary cases. (U) (3)
|Introduction to United States Politics
|The contemporary political system with emphasis on the functioning of the institutions of the national government in the context of the political culture and the political economy of the United States. (U) (3)
|Introduction to International Politics
|An analysis of changing patterns in international politics with an emphasis on global challenges and the participation of individuals, nongovernmental organizations, states, and international organizations in the search for solutions. (U) (3)
|Introduction to Comparative Politics
|Comparative politics, the study of all aspects of politics within country borders, is incredibly useful for making sense of the present. Newscasts, newspapers, and political blogs remind us that we need the theories, insights, and tools this subfield of political science provides. This course will introduce you to comparative approaches and methods, deepen your knowledge of politics across the globe; provide theoretical and conceptual tools to analyze politics; and improve your communication skills. (U) (3)
|Research and Analysis
|This course, required of all majors, will introduce students to the process of designing and executing research projects (large and small) in political science; to library, archival, and web-based resources for political research; to quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis; and to writing research reports for various audiences. (U) (3)
|Basic Political Thought
|Structured around certain perennial topics of politics, this course introduces students to the philosophical ideas that form the foundation of political institutions. (U) (3)
|Community Mediation (CM)
|This course focuses on conflicts experienced by human communities and ways in which these conflicts can be understood as opportunities for constructive change through the cultivation of multiple perspectives, identification of underlying shared needs and interests, and collaborative approaches to forging agreements amidst challenging circumstances. (U) (3)
|This course is designed to help students better understand the role of activists in initiating and supporting social and political change, acquire practical skills and tools for effective activism, and develop conceptual and experiential insights needed to continually strengthen one’s evolving praxis of activism.
|The Foundation of Chinese Politics
|This course introduces students to the politics of China by providing a chronological overview of key historical events that have shaped the politics of China, examining the formal and informal aspects of how power is organized in the People’s Republic of China and considering how world politics has shaped China and how China has and will continue to shape world politics. (UG) (3)
|One political science course or permission of instructor.
|Problems in world politics since 1900 with particular attention to the efforts at peaceful settlement of international conflicts. (UG) (3)
|International Conflict and Peace Building
|This course examines theories of conflict and peace building and analyzes in depth specific cases of inter-state and intra-state warfare and post-war reconstruction. Students participate in simulated peace negotiations. (UG) (3)
|PO 141 or PO 220 or consent of the instructor.
|The United States in the Asia Pacific
|This course examines the role of the United States as a Pacific power in the international relations of the Asia-Pacific region. Students will be required to think about various issues in the international relations of the region through historical and theoretical lenses. (UG) (3)
|Chinese Foreign Policy
|Students will learn to identify and analyze key international and domestic sources of Chinese foreign policy through relevant concepts and theories in political science. Students will also use this knowledge to understand select aspects of Sino-US relations. (UG) (3)
|Politics of China’s Development
|This course examines the politics that have shaped the economic development path taken by the People’s Republic of China and considers the economic choices and challenges it faces in the context of the global political economy. (UG) (3)
|This course invites students interested in humanitarianism to begin a journey that explores the world of humanitarian policy and practice. We ask questions such about the history of global humanitarianism, who engages in them, and the purposes it serves, in order to urge students to think critically about their consequences. As much as humanitarianism is often understood as simply doing good in a broken world, students will be encouraged to develop critical perspectives that empower them to understand the inherently political nature of humanitarian theory, politics and practice, and a deeper willingness to engage wisely and well in the world. (UG) (3)
|At least one political science class, junior standing, or permission of the instructor.
|State and Local Government and Politics
|Focuses upon U.S. state and local government activities and electoral politics, emphasizing the issues of political management and policy analysis. (UG) (3)
|Racial and Ethnic Politics
|The course will examine racial and ethnic group efforts to gain political power within American society, mostly as a result of access to and representation within the formal structures of American politics. Particular attention will be given to the increasing political competition between these groups and to strategies for cooperation. (UG) (3)
|Politics of the Urban Experience
|Students develop a comprehensive understanding of political processes and problem solving in the urban environment. Through service-learning students learn how the urban community is transformed, analyze contemporary challenges that drive its development or stagnation, and anticipate the importance of the urban community to our survival as a nation. (UG) (3)
|The Earth Charter
|This course asks practical, strategic, and ethical questions of the Earth Charter’s focus on respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, social and economic justice, and democracy, nonviolence, and peace, and the choices we make as we chart our individual and collective paths to a sustainable future. (UG) (3)
|The Presidential Election through Humor
|Students will analyze the main political candidates for the Presidential election through the lens of humor. All aspects of the campaign – commercials, speeches, debates, political commentaries, editorial cartoons, satirical pieces and trending social media topics will provide material for the analysis. Students will determine the legitimacy and accuracy of the presentation of the candidates and the response to the humor of the public from various backgrounds and collectively. (UG) (3)
|Africa is a diverse and complex continent comprising more than fifty countries with distinct histories and political economies. This course will expose you to African politics concepts and theories and to differing academic, activist, and popular perspectives on continental politics, directing particular attention to governance, social movements, and popular protests in several African polities. (UG) (3)
|PO 141/SW 244-PO, PO 151/ SW 243-PO, GHS 206, GHS 210, or Sophomore
|Politics of Gender and Sexuality in Africa
|This course will examine the varied ways in which gender and sexuality have been constructed and politicized across the African continent. We will collectively engage with a variety of texts — essays, films, books, and scholarly journal articles — that address African understandings and expressions of gender and sexuality, the role of gender and sexuality in African politics, and Africans’ individual and collective mobilizations toward liberation and against gender- and sexuality-based oppression. Although the course will focus on African gender/sexuality politics, we also will consider the relationship between African and Western gender/sexuality discourses and movements. (UG) (3)
|Sophomore status, GHS206 or PO350.
|Comparative Political Economy
|Wealth, poverty, economic growth, and development are deeply political. Political decisions affect people¿s access to economic opportunities, their quality of life, and the magnitude of inequality within countries and across the world. Public policies structure capitalist markets, affecting whether and how economies grow and influencing the distribution of gains and losses across places and social groups. This seminar will examine the politics of wealth, poverty, and inequality
across the world. We will delve into the classical and contemporary political economy literature; look closely at the factors shaping states, markets, and public policy and analyze their distributional effects; and explore how people have navigated, responded to and challenged political economic injustice. (UG) (3)
|PO 151 / SW 243-PO; 2 PO, HST, or IS courses or Sophomore or Higher
|How can we create a world in which all people have access to clean, safe, and welcoming places to live, work, learn, play, and pray, and ecosystems are conserved? Why have some communities been disproportionately burdened with unsafe water, polluted air, and toxic trash while others take access to clean air, water, green spaces, and other amenities for granted? What explains these unjust outcomes? What can be done? These questions are at the heart of this course.
This course will develop your capacity to analyze environmental problems, policies, and decision-making processes by introducing you to environmental justice (EJ) as a set of analytic frameworks and overlapping social movements. EJ frameworks attend to the interconnections among environments, polities, societies, and economies to identify causes of and remedies for injustice. EJ movements have placed distributional issues squarely on the environmental policy agenda and presented a broader vision. Advocates have not only asserted that solutions that reduce aggregate pollution while imposing undue burdens on marginalized groups are unacceptable but also have sought to develop strategies to create greater environmental justice. While this course accepts the assertion that all people have right to a clean and healthy environment and the right to the natural resources necessary for health and livelihood, EJ frameworks and movements will be subject to critique. (UG) (3)
|United States Foreign Policy
|Evolution of U.S. foreign policy since World War II and the processes and institutions involved in shaping and implementing that policy. (UG) (3)
|The course focuses on the historical origins, key narratives, political dynamics, and most contentious issues involved in the Israel-Palestine conflict. How did this conflict begin? Why has it proved so intractable? What prospects are there for peace? To answer these questions the course examines the social, political, economic, cultural, psychological, and military aspects of the conflict. The core issues are analyzed from a variety of different perspectives, including the positions of important political, military, and religious actors, women, youth, civil society organizations, peace movements, and external actors. (UG) (3)
|One PO course or permission of instructor.
|Politics of Youth and Conflict
|The course examines the relationship between young people and the ideas, behaviors, processes, structures, and cultures that promote violent conflicts and/or peaceful social change in our world.(UG) (3)
|One PO course or permission of instructor.
|Foreign Policy Making in Washington
|This course focuses on foreign policy making as practiced in Washington D.C.; it examines how politicians, lobbyists, citizens and diplomats interact in and around Washington’s corridors of power to determine international policy outcomes. Firsthand insights gained through dialogue with those who make and implement policy and close scrutiny of key international issues provide students with a “laboratory” for understanding the politics of foreign policy making in the U.S. capital, how these policies are shaped and why they succeed or fail to achieve their stated objectives. (UG) (3)
|Political Regimes in Latin America
|Comparative study of the politics of development in Latin America with particular attention given to the interdependence of economic, social, cultural and external influences upon political regimes as well as the efficacy and legitimacy of the regimes themselves. (UG) (3)
|PO 101, PO 151 or permission of the instructor.
|Popular Participation in Latin America
|This course focuses upon the efforts of peasants, urban workers, neighborhoods, church groups and students to organize and mobilize in politically efficacious ways. The themes of social class, gender, ethnicity and the informal sector are interwoven in an analysis of the successes and failures of these attempts at popular participation in the political process. (UG) (3)
|PO 101, PO 151 or permission of the instructor.
|United States-Latin American Relations
|Historical orientation to the evolving context, institutions and central concerns of United States-Latin American relations with particular focus upon divergent perspectives of definitions of interests and responsibilities, as well as a search for viable solutions to common problems in the Western Hemisphere. (UG) (3)
|PO 101, PO 141 or permission of the instructor.
|Governments and Politics of Europe
|An analysis and comparison of the political processes, policies and ideologies of several governments in western and eastern Europe. (UG) (3)
|United States Parties and Politics
|Examination of interplay between the main components of our two major parties, the party organization, the party-in-government and the party-in- the-electorate. Emphasis on recent trends, particularly in the process of presidential selection. (UG) (3)
|The Role of Protest in U.S. Politics
|Protest movements in U.S. politics. An examination of the historical context of protest movements and a consideration of theoretical approaches to understanding them. Includes the Civil Rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s. (UG) (3)
|(one of the following) PO 101, PO 131, PO 141 or consent of instructor.
|An introduction to the study of how public policies are established in the United States. Emphasis on developing and applying analytical skills. Students are expected to research in depth a particular policy issue such as housing, the environment or the workplace. (UG) (3)
|(one of the following) PO 101, PO 131, PO 151 or consent of instructor.
|This course is an introduction to the design, implementation, use, and abuse of public opinion surveys for social and political research, news and policy analysis, and political campaigns. In the course of the semester, we will develop a survey instrument, conduct interviews with CATI (computer-assisted telephone interviewing) software, and do some basic analysis of the results. (UG) (3)
|(one of the following) PO 101, PO 201, junior standing or consent of instructor.
|Examination of Supreme Court cases in areas such as freedom of speech, religion, criminal due process, government regulation of commerce and racial discrimination. (UG) (3)
|The Presidency and the Congress
|The modern president’s role as leader of public opinion, the executive branch and Congress. Congressional leaders and their relationship with the president, each other and Congress. (UG) (3)
|Topics in Political Science
|Selected topics of contemporary significance in scholarship in political science. (UG) (3)
|Ancient and Medieval Political Thought
|This course examines the foundation of Western political thought and considers the ways in which the successors of a tradition simultaneously criticize and incorporate the work of their predecessors as they seek to construct new theories of politics. (UG) (3)
|PO 101, PO 210 or permission of instructor.
|Modern Political Thought
|Study of several leading political writers from Hobbes through Marx, with attention to certain basic similarities in addition to pronounced differences. (UG) (3)
|Junior standing or permission of the instructor.
|United States Political Thought
|Selected writings of U.S. authors focusing on four periods: founding of the republic, slavery, suffrage and the civil rights movement. (UG) (3)
|PO 131, PO210 or permission of the instructor.
|Politics Through Film
|Post-war Hollywood films as they reflect and help to create the persuasive political culture of the United States. Draws on analytical, historical, aesthetic and political economy approaches. (UG) (3)
|PO 101, PO 131 or consent of instructor.
|The Enduring Quest for Community
|This course examines various ideas of the meaning and purpose of communities throughout the history of western political thought. Beginning with Greek conceptions of what it means to live together, we will consider how the definition and purpose of community evolves to the contemporary period. Consideration of contemporary efforts to recover idyllic communities will also be considered as part of the continuing effort on the part of human beings to link personal and political practices. This course includes a service-learning component. (UG) (3)
|Black Political Thought
|Students will develop a historical understanding of political thought that is reflective of the black experience. We will explore black political theorists of Africa, America and other contexts of the African diaspora. (UG) (3)
|Political institutions, processes and issues in Russia, with consideration of the political history of the former Soviet Union, the reforms of Gorbachev, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the processes of transition from state socialism to capitalism and from authoritarianism to democracy. (UG) (3)
|PO 151 or permission of instructor.
|The Transition from Communism in East-Central Europe
|The rise and fall of communism in eastern Europe and the politics of transition to democracy and market-based economies. Includes consideration of post-Cold War international politics and alliance systems. (UG) (3)
|PO 151 or permission of instructor.
|PO 400, 401, 402
|Offers the qualified student of political science the opportunity to pursue a topic of individual interest. (U) (1, 2 or 3)
|Open only to seniors, by permission of the instructor.
|For placements involving between five and seven hours per week. Academic work generally includes, but is not limited to, one five to seven page paper. (U-G) (2)
|One upper level Political Science course.
|PO 404, 405, 406
|Offers the qualified student the opportunity for supervised work experience in a setting pertinent to political science. (U) (3, 6 or 9)
|Permission of the department chairman.
|Seminar in Political Science
|A particular subject in political science will be studied each semester. (U-G) (3)
|Junior standing or permission of the instructor.