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Politics

Politics courses are designed to give students opportunities to develop both theoretical and practical understandings of the political world. Students are encouraged to develop analytic and evaluative skills that will enable them to investigate, understand, and explain political phenomena. The Politics curriculum also aims to foster informed and active participation in the political process.

Students who entered the University prior to Fall 2018 may complete the Politics (POLI) major as described in the catalog of the entering year (e.g. 2016-2017, 2017-2018), or may choose to complete the new Politics, Policy, Law and Ethics (PPLE) major. Those choosing to complete the new major must first consult the PPLE department chair.

Students who entered the University in Fall 2018 or later will complete the new Politics, Policy, Law and Ethics (PPLE) major. Note: Fall 2018 Politics classes affected by this change will reflect on degree audits the appropriate PPLE requirements in spite of course prefix (POLI instead of PPLE on applicable courses).

Faculty


Course Listings

POLI 105W Colloquium in Politics (1)

This course enables faculty and students to focus on a specific topic in politics. Topics will involve attention to some aspect of the interconnections between ideas, images, personalities, power, and institutions as these arise in the political, socio-economic, and cultural spheres. Designation of specific topic and relevant cases and theories will be made at the time of course offering. Open to first and second year students only.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Gutterman, Koomen, Ellis, McCracken, Basu

POLI 121 (EV) Colloquium: Transnational Labor Politics (1)

This course engages central debates around the politics of labor, US immigration and global social justice. Service learning required. First and second year students only.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Examining Values
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Basu

POLI 203 (EV) Themes in Political Theory (1)

This course examines central themes in the field of political theory. Students will examine such topics as the importance of order and authority, the tension between faith and reason, and the relationship between tradition and notions of progress through analysis of vital texts in the field of political theory. Emphasis will be placed on the interplay between such themes and contemporary political issues.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Examining Values
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Gutterman, Basu

POLI 212 (TH) History of Western Political Philosophy (1)

This course studies selected authors in the history of Western political philosophy from Plato to Mill. Emphasis is placed upon the historically situated range of treatments of some of the fundamental theoretical and practical themes of political philosophy, including authority, justice, obligation, liberty, equality, property, revolution, order, progress and rights. Students will explore the interplay between such themes and ideas and the relevant historical, social or cultural contexts, before critically evaluating each philosopher's handling of them. Closed to seniors except with consent of instructor.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Thinking Historically
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Basu

POLI 213W (IT) Writing Political Philosophy: Individuality and Community (1)

This course examines relevant works of selected ancient and modern Western thinkers and analyzes different conceptions of individuality and community, the nature of their interactions and the implications for the contemporary evaluation of politics. Emphasis is also placed on the theory and practice of writing political philosophy. Open to freshmen and sophomores only.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered; Interpreting Texts
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Basu

POLI 214 (US) International Politics (1)

Analysis and evaluation of the contending paradigms that inform the study of international politics. Examination of the relevance of these paradigms for understanding the nature and dynamics of the contemporary international system with special emphasis on selected international issues, e.g., nationalism, race and gender, global political economy, human rights, international law, national security and the global environment. Closed to seniors except with consent of instructor.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Understanding Society
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Koomen, Marks

POLI 216 (US) Comparative Democratic Systems (1)

Comparative examination of the processes of change that give rise to new patterns of political and social behavior in advanced industrial society; analysis of the causes of these changes and their impact on political, social and economic life in selected countries. Closed to seniors except with consent of instructor.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Understanding Society
  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Marks

POLI 218 (US) Politics in the Developing World (1)

Comparative study of politics, development and change in selected countries; an examination of the respective roles of domestic factors and the international system in shaping the developing world. Closed to seniors except with consent of instructor.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Understanding Society
  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Staff

POLI 303 (EV) Topics in Political Theory (1)

This course examines selected topics and themes in political theory, combining conceptual and normative analysis with applications to actual social and political institutions, processes and phenomena. Designation of specific topics will be made at the time of course offering.

  • Prerequisite: One of 100 level POLI, POLI 203, POLI 212, POLI 213W or consent of instructor
  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Examining Values; Death Cluster
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Basu

POLI 305W Modern and Contemporary Political Theory (1)

This course examines selected modern and contemporary political theorists. Designation of specific theorists will be made at the time of course offering.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment:  Writing-centered
  • Prerequisite: POLI 203, POLI 212, POLI 213W or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Basu

POLI 316 The Politics of International Justice (1)

How can the international community hold leaders responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and other human rights violations? In this class we will examine the ways in which international criminal courts and tribunals have sought to end impunity for human rights abuses. We will consider key institutions and innovations in international criminal law, explore political and scholarly debates in the field of international and transitional justice, and analyze the relationship between international, national and local justice mechanisms. Our focus will be on historical and contemporary case studies, including Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and on-going International Criminal Court trials, paying particular attention to cases involving sexual violence and child soldiers.

  • Prerequisite: POLI 214, POLI 218 or any 300-level Politics class or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Staff

POLI 318 (EV) Death in America (1)

An ethics and public policy case-based seminar that proceeds from the premise that the patterned mal-distribution of mortality rates is a conspicuous consequence and hence robust measure of social justice. Four distinct cases are addressed from philosophical, ethical and policy perspectives, on topics such as the automobile, capital punishment, food, environmental causes, health-care, being health uninsured, gun ownership, HIV/Aids, occupational fatalities, oil and petroleum, physician-assisted suicide, and tobacco. Pedagogy includes discussion, exams, digital field-work, and service-learning.

  • Prerequisite: One POLI course or consent of instructor.
  • General Education Requirement: Examining Values
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Basu

POLI 326W Globalization and Equity (1)

This course examines the complex process of globalization that is transforming contemporary politics, economics and culture. The course addresses the movements of political and cultural forms, people, knowledge, capital, technology and consumer goods across national boundaries; and analyzes their effects on state autonomy, public policy, political and cultural change and resistance and equity. Not open to freshmen.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered
  • Prerequisite: One 200 level Politics course
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Staff

POLI 328W Political Metaphors (1)

This course provides an opportunity for students to critically interrogate the use of metaphors in political discourse. Metaphors often are deployed by individuals inside and outside government to frame political issues, shape policy debates, influence public discourse, and persuade government officials and the population at large to act in specified ways. Through readings, in-class discussion, and extended writing students will investigate political metaphors and their role in politics around the world.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered
  • Prerequisite: One 200 level Politics course
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Marks

POLI 362 Latin American Politics (1)

Striking political changes have swept Latin America since the 1980s: dictatorships fell, transitions to democracy took place and democracy has since seen ups and downs. What explains transitions from authoritarian regimes to democracies? Why do some democracies survive and others break down? What are some of the key pressing political issues in contemporary Latin America? The course is designed to help students learn about Latin America and social science analysis by becoming familiar with and understanding 1) the outlines of political processes and events in the region and 2) the different theories and concepts that have been put forth to explain these. Case studies include Argentina, Mexico, Chilie, Bolivia and Venezuela (among others).


POLI 370W Europe and the International System (1)

This course is designed to introduce students to politics and foreign policy in modern Europe. Special emphasis is placed on the evolving relationships among European countries in a rapidly changing international environment. Through lectures and discussions, students will explore the political, economic and security relations among European states and Europe's interactions with the rest of the world. The course will also examine various theoretical approaches designed to explain the changing relationships among countries in post-Cold War Europe.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered
  • Prerequisite: POLI 214 or POLI 216 or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Marks

POLI 373 International Security and Cooperation (1)

This course introduces students to various important theoretical approaches to the study of international security and cooperation. It also applies these approaches to empirical cases and concrete issues of international harmony and discord. Among the strategies of cooperation examined are strategic interaction and institution-building. These approaches will be analyzed in light of traditional theories that focus on military relationships and armed conflict. Special emphasis is placed on security and cooperation in the post-Cold War world.

  • Prerequisite: POLI 214 or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Marks

POLI 374 Asia and the International System (1)

This course identifies the constant and variable factors that shape and influence the politics of selected Asian nations and which color these countries' foreign policy choices and international postures within the region and the international system. Intraregional interaction and superpower involvement in the region will be examined within national, regional and global perspectives.

  • Prerequisite: POLI 214 or POLI 218 or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Felker

POLI 376W Latin American Revolutions (1)

This class will examine the meanings and legacies of revolution in Latin America in the mid-twentieth century. The course seeks to understand debates over nationalism and imperialism; the importance of race, class and gender in political change, and the role of violence, memory, and forgetting in state formations. This course examines selected 20th-century Latin American revolutions. Historical and comparative approaches to the causes and outcomes of revolution are used. Not open to freshmen.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered
  • Prerequisite: Any POLI 218, any 300-level Politics course, or instructor consent; not open to freshmen.
  • Offering: As needed
  • Instructor: Staff

POLI 380 Asian Politics and Development (1)

Comparative examination of political systems and political economies in Asia, including China, Japan, India, and select countries in Northeast, Southeast and South Asia. Explores key historical and contemporary controversies in Asian politics. Highlights similarities and contrasts in patterns of change in pursuit of an over-arching intellectual inquiry: to what extent, and in what ways, does Asia's experience reflect distinct forms of political and economics modernization?


POLI 382 (US) Capitalism and Democracy (1)

This course examines the nature of the relationship between capitalism and democracy, in various areas of the world including the U.S.A., from a range of theoretical and historical perspectives. Student will critically assess theories of the development of democracy in capitalist societies as well as of the market's effects on political representation and policy making, and review debates about the tensions and affinities between those systems in the contemporary period. Questions to be addressed include: What explains democratic and authoritarian pathways to economic modernization in the 19th and early 20th centuries? Does the relationship between capitalism and democracy show distinct regional variations, and if so, why? In what ways do capitalism and democracy function in harmony or in friction, and why? What role does market consolidation play in democratic transitions, and vice versa? Are welfare states and distinct national patterns of capitalist organization viable in the 21st century?

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Understanding Society
  • Prerequisite: Any 200-level POLI course
  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Felker

POLI 384 Transnational Feminist Politics (1)

Many feminists try to think, dialogue, and organize transnationally. This raises challenging questions: Is there a global sisterhood of women? Can feminists promote solidarity across divides of class, race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, and language? And should feminists question these categories of analysis? This course asks students to critically examine these questions through case studies on topics related to imperialism and colonialism; war and genocide; the international human rights movement; campaigns against violence; and the global economy. The course will examine the emergence of transnational feminism as interdisciplinary field of study, introduce students to key concepts such as identity difference, solidarity, and intersectionality, and explore major debates surrounding transnational feminist activism, theory and praxis.

  • Prerequisite: Any WGS course or POLI 214, 216, 218 or consent of instructor.
  • Offering: Alternate springs
  • Instructor: Koomen

POLI 387 Africa and the World (1)

Colonialists, politicians, aid workers, peace corps volunteers, missionaries, human rights advocates, scholars and many others have asked, "How can we save Africa?" This class critically interrogates this question, its motivations, and the ways in which people have answered it by examining international efforts to "save" Africa, as well as African liberation struggles and social movements. Focusing on texts by African and Pan-African authors, we will study the ways in which international relations and the colonial legacy shape contemporary African politics. Special attention will be given to the politics of "tribes," ethnicity, race, class and gender, as well as ideas about culture, tradition, and modernity. We will focus on the international dimensions of violent conflicts in Africa, the dilemmas of humanitarian intervention, and efforts to promote peace, justice and reconciliation. We will investigate the historical roots of "underdevelopment," African contributions to the development of Europe and the Americas, and contemporary development and aid projects. Case studies include Rwanda, Maasailand, Darfur and South Africa.

  • Prerequisites: POLI 214, POLI 218, HIST 119, ANTH 232, or consent of instructor.
  • Offering: Alternate springs
  • Instructor: Koomen

POLI 388W (EV) Democracy and Nazism (1)

What can we learn from the failed Weimar Republic and the Consolidation of authoritarianism in the form of the Nazi Third Reich about the constitutive elements of democracy in general at the institutional, cultural, and cognitive levels? In exploring the historical record, the course considers the nature of political and moral argument in relation to several modes of discourse: philosophy, art, worldview (Weltanschauung), propaganda, ideology, and deception. In argumentative, ethical, aesthetic, and affective terms, what made agitation for the demise of Weimar democracy persuasive, and conversely, what legitimized participation in the Nazi racial state? Finally, what insights can we apply to contemporary democratic politics?

  • Prerequisites: One POLI course at the 100/200 level or consent of instructor. Closed to first-year students.
  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered; Examining Values
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Basu

POLI 480W Senior Thesis (2)

The Senior Thesis is the capstone experience in the Politics major. It involves the writing of a major research paper under the close supervision of a faculty member. The paper is subject to multiple stages of criticism and rewriting. This process is intended to deepen students' insights into different forms of inquiry, methods and literature; hone their skills of critical thinking; sharpen their abilities to analyze theory and test ideas through research; and ensure that their research designs and methodologies are effective and appropriate.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered
  • Prerequisite: A minimum of seven Politics credits, and three-credits at the 300 level, two of which must be completed in residence at Willamette; POLI 390, POLI 396 and POLI 398 do not count toward the three credit minimum
  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff