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.

Class Number Class Title Class Description Prerequisite
PO 101 Introduction to Politics The ideas and practice of politics, with consideration of the political systems and foreign policies of the United States and countries in Europe and the Third World. (U) (3) None
PO102 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) None
PO 131 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) None
PO 141 Introduction to International Politics This course provides students with the theoretical and conceptual tools to analyze changing patterns in international politics with the emphasis on the participation of individuals, nongovernmental organizations, states and international organizations in the search for solutions to global challenges. (U) (3) None
PO 151 Introduction to Comparative Politics Study of several political systems in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America examining similarities, differences and factors involved in stability, change or revolution. (U) (3) None
Class Number Class Title Class Description Prerequisite
PO 201 Research and Analysis Introduces you to the process of designing and executing research projects in Political Science. Focus is on approaches and methods to teach how to find information and report it. (U) (3) None
PO 210 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) None
PO 220 Community Mediation (CM) CM recognizes the value of understanding the dynamics of conflict in our families and communities, at work and at school, in states and nations, and in the world at large. It builds communication and conflict-processing skills through participatory lecture-discussion, didactic role-playing exercises, applied learning. (U) (3) None
PO 230 Activism This course will explore the topic of activism in theory and in practice.  Students will study the history and prevailing theories of social movements; they will examine a number of case studies such as the protests of the 1960s, the women’s movement, the gay and lesbian rights movement, the environmental movement, the new American right, and the global justice movement; and they will become familiar with the community-organizing tools and skills that have been used to achieve social and political change in the past, and new ones that have been added to the activist’s repertoire in the era of the Internet, social media, and social entrepreneurship.
(U) (3)
Class Number Class Title Class Description Prerequisite
PO 302 Third World Politics A detailed analysis of the political systems, cultures and processes in the developing countries with emphasis on the sources of political instability, the colonial heritage and the efforts of Third World nations to cope with the challenges of modernization. (UG) (3) None
PO 310 Foundations 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) None
PO 320 International Relations Problems in world politics since 1900 with particular attention to the efforts at peaceful settlement of international conflicts. (UG) (3) None
PO 322 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.
PO 324 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) None
PO 326 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) None
PO 328 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) None
PO 332 State and Local Government and Politics American state and local government activities and electoral politics, emphasizing the issues of political management and policy analysis. (UG) (3) None
PO 337 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) None
PO 340 The Earth Charter “We stand at a critical moment in the Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future,” begins the preamble of the Earth Charter (see http://www.earthcharter.org/).  The outcome of extensive dialogue worldwide, the Charter envisions a sustainable future characterized by “respect and care for the community of life… ecological integrity… social and economic justice… and democracy, nonviolence and peace.”  This course will ask practical, strategic and ethical questions of the Earth Charter and related texts as well as of ourselves as we seek to chart our individual and collective paths to the future. (UG) (3) None
PO 350 African Politics Africa is a diverse and complex continent comprising more than 50 countries with distinct histories and political economies.  Rather than attempting to provide a comprehensive portrait of politics across the continent, this course will expose you to important concepts and theories in African politics, to the histories and dynamics of several sub-Saharan African states, and to African scholars and writers’ perspectives on the region. (UG) (3) PO 151 or junior standing.
PO 351 Politics of Gender and Sexuality in Africa This seminar examines the varied ways in which gender and sexuality have been constructed and politicized across the African continent through collective engagement with a variety of 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 actions toward liberation and against gender- and sexuality-based oppression. We also will consider the relationship between African and Western gender/ sexuality discourses and movements. (UG) (3) None
PO 352 Comparative Political Economy Focusing on the deeply contested concept of development, this seminar will examine at the politics of economic growth and well-being. We will delve into the classical and contemporary literature on the political economy of development, will debate the strengths and weaknesses of neoliberal, liberal, and radical policy prescriptions, and will look closely at development questions, trajectories, and challenges facing people in the United States and across the globe. (UG) (3) None
PO 354 Environmental Justice 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, which will introduce you to environmental justice as a set of analytic frameworks and social movements. (UG) (3) None
PO 355 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) None
PO 356 Israel/Palestine Conflict The course focuses on understanding the dynamics of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians including the origins, key actors, and contentious issues involved. (UG) (3) None
PO 357 Politics of Youth and Conflict The course examines the relationship between young people and the ideas, processes, structures, cultures and conflicts that promote violence and/or peace in our world. Looking at a number of different examples from the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the U.S., we study the children and youth who are fighting in wars, engaged in nonviolent activism, struggling against structural violence, and working to heal and reconcile their societies after conflict. (UG) (3) None
PO 358 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) *Pending Approval
PO 360 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.
PO 362 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.
PO 364 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.
PO 370 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) None
PO 371 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) None
PO 372 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.
PO 373 Public Policy 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.
PO 375 Public Opinion 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.
PO 377 Constitutional Law 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) None
PO 379 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) None
PO 380 Topics in Political Science Selected topics of contemporary significance in scholarship in political science. (UG) (3) None
PO 381 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.
PO 382 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.
PO 383 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.
PO 384 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.
PO 385 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) None
PO 386 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) None
PO 391 Russian Politics 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.
PO 392 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.
Class Number Class Title Class Description Prerequisite
PO 400, 401, 402 Independent Study 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.
PO 403 Internship 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 Internship 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.
PO 490 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.
PO 499 Honors Thesis (U) (3) N/A3