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Department of Political Science

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The Department of Political Science offers a course of study leading to the PhD degree. A departmental faculty committee makes admission decisions based on an assessment of all the material required in the University application: biographical data, statement of interests and goals in graduate school, transcripts of grades, letters of recommendation, and a writing sample. Committee members want to know what applicants find intellectually exciting and why applicants want to study at the University of Chicago.

The department is committed to training doctoral students in political science, broadly conceived. Our department has a long history of defining some of the most enduring empirical and theoretical debates within political science. We further believe that the best work in political science often crosses subfields and disciplines. Our aim is to help students develop and pursue their intellectual interests while grounding them in the various approaches and methodologies that characterize the modern discipline. Program requirements include a mix of research papers, coursework, and exams so that students can achieve these goals as they proceed expeditiously towards the PhD degree.

The Graduate Program

Students must complete sixteen courses for quality grades by the end of the second year. Twelve of the sixteen courses must be courses taught by Department faculty, which includes visiting and associate members. In the first year, students should plan on completing a total of nine courses for quality grades. In the second year, students should plan on completing at least seven courses for quality grades. PLSC 50000 Dissertation Proposal Seminar is required of third year students and does not count as one of the sixteen required courses.

The Department strongly recommends that all graduate students acquire the skill set necessary for successful progress as producers of research within the first two years of coursework. The notion of a skill set will vary with the specific research interests of the students. Students are expected to discuss with their advisors the skill set they will need, and together they will agree on a program of study. The normal expectation for first-year quantitatively-oriented graduate students will include courses on matrix algebra, programming, linear models, and causal identification. Such students also regularly take courses in social choice and game theory. For those students who intend to pursue political theory and qualitative research, the skill set is less established but may entail language training, ethnography training, interpretive methods, archival research, or other methodological courses.

The Department currently offers comprehensive exams in six fields: Theory, American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Quantitative Methods, and Formal Theory.

Students are required to take and pass a comprehensive exam in the main field by the beginning of the third year. Course prerequisites for comprehensive exams typically include either a field seminar that is offered no less than once every other year or a sequence or collection of courses that are offered over two years. All fields provide the materials students should master in order to be considered "certified" in that area. The Department offers exams during the month of September each year. Some students—such as those entering the program with prior graduate work in political science or who complete the necessary prerequisites for an exam in their first year of study—may take the exam after the first year. Students are also required to meet a course distribution requirement for the secondary subfield by the end of the second year. Courses and criteria for meeting the requirement will be determined by each subfield. 

The MA thesis offers an early opportunity for students to undertake a substantial work of independent research and advances a number of objectives, some substantive, others more procedural. The MA thesis can offer an opportunity to launch dissertation research, to secure a publication in a professional journal, to test the viability of an idea or topic that might possibly lead to a dissertation, or to conduct work in an area students know will not be part of the dissertation but that they would like to investigate more deeply than is possible in coursework. The MA thesis gives students the experience of independent research at a manageable scale, before developing a full-fledged dissertation topic. The thesis also can help students to gain a sense of how the germ of an idea becomes an article-length piece of writing (through literature review, the IRB process, operationalization of a question, elaboration of a distinctive argument in relation to existing literature, etc.).

Students are encouraged to begin thinking about their MA paper in the context of their courses, and to consider seminar papers as bases for an MA paper. Students also may choose to enroll in PLSC 40100 Thesis Preparation with their main thesis advisor. Students may take up to two units of Thesis Preparation to count toward the sixteen required courses. The final draft of the MA paper is due no later than May 15 of the second year, though in consultation with advisors students may choose to submit the MA well in advance of this deadline.

Students who have prior graduate work may use as many as five graduate courses completed at other universities to count towards fulfillment of the department’s course requirement. Graduate courses previously completed within our department will count on a one-to-one basis towards the fulfilment of the department’s course requirement. Students may not use an MA thesis written elsewhere as a substitute for the MA thesis here. The only exception is MA theses written at the University of Chicago, where one of the faculty advisors is in the Department. Students may use a prior MA thesis as the basis for the MA paper with the consent of faculty advisors, following the above deadlines.

Mentored practical pedagogical experience is a program requirement. To satisfy the requirement, students can serve as teaching assistants in undergraduate lecture courses and in the department's methodology sequence. Advanced graduate students, selected as Grodzins Prize Lecturers, offer their own undergraduate courses. 

After completing courses and exams, students turn to the PhD dissertation. The first step is a dissertation proposal that briefly outlines the research question, significance, argument, and method of the dissertation. PLSC 50000 The Dissertation Proposal Seminar, required in the winter quarter of the third year, is a weekly seminar devoted solely to the presentation and collective discussion of several drafts of each student’s dissertation proposal. The proposal must be approved by a committee of three faculty who agree to supervise the dissertation research and present the proposal for departmental approval. The deadline for this approval is the end of Autumn Quarter of the fourth year.

Although advanced graduate research and writing is often a solitary enterprise, students in the department also typically continue to participate in one or more workshops, which are mainly devoted to students' presentation of research in progress for discussion and constructive criticism. Political science students participate in workshops devoted to American Politics, Comparative Politics, East Asia, Political Economy, Political Psychology, Political Theory, and International Politics, to name just a few. There are many other interdisciplinary workshops throughout the University ranging from Law and Economics, to Gender and Sexuality, to Russian Studies, all of which are open to political science students.

Upon receiving final approval of the dissertation by the members of the dissertation committee, the candidate gives a formal presentation based on the dissertation. Following the presentation, which is open to the public, the candidate is questioned by an examining committee of at least three faculty members.

For more information about current faculty, students, and requirements, consult the department webpage at

Information on How to Apply

The application process for admission and financial aid for all Social Sciences graduate programs is administered through the divisional Office of the Dean of Students. The Application for Admission and Financial Aid, with instructions, deadlines, and department specific information is available online at:  

Questions pertaining to admissions and aid should be directed to or (773) 702-8415.

Political Science Courses

PLSC 30102. Introduction to Causal Inference. 100 Units.

This course is designed for graduate students and advanced undergraduate students from the social sciences, education, public health science, public policy, social service administration, and statistics who are involved in quantitative research and are interested in studying causality. The goal of this course is to equip students with basic knowledge of and analytic skills in causal inference. Topics for the course will include the potential outcomes framework for causal inference; experimental and observational studies; identification assumptions for causal parameters; potential pitfalls of using ANCOVA to estimate a causal effect; propensity score based methods including matching, stratification, inverse-probability-of-treatment-weighting (IPTW), marginal mean weighting through stratification (MMWS), and doubly robust estimation; the instrumental variable (IV) method; regression discontinuity design (RDD) including sharp RDD and fuzzy RDD; difference in difference (DID) and generalized DID methods for cross-section and panel data, and fixed effects model. Intermediate Statistics or equivalent such as STAT 224/PBHS 324, PP 31301, BUS 41100, or SOC 30005 is a prerequisite. This course is a prerequisite for "Advanced Topics in Causal Inference" and "Mediation, moderation, and spillover effects."

Instructor(s): G. Hong     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Intermediate Statistics or equivalent such as STAT 224/PBHS 324, PP 31301, BUS 41100, or SOC 30005
Note(s): CHDV Distribution: M; M
Equivalent Course(s): PBHS 43201, SOCI 30315, MACS 51000, CHDV 30102, MACS 21000, STAT 31900, CHDV 20102

PLSC 30230. Contemporary Democratic Theory: Realism, Deliberative Democracy, and Agonism. 100 Units.

What is democracy? Is democracy a matter of finding consensus or regulating dissensus? How might we go about making our own society more democratic? Should we strive for more democracy or is democracy merely a means to an end? What is the relationship between democratic theory and practice? This course will consider leading attempts in contemporary democratic theory to grapple with these questions and many more. We will consider both the foundational texts of contemporary democratic theory including Hannah Arendt, Carl Schmitt, Jurgen Habermas, and Robert Dahl, and then build from those texts to see how contemporary theorists have attempted to rearticulate, redefine, redesign, and revolutionize democracy in the past 25 years.

Instructor(s): Smith, Max     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): DEMS 20235, MAPS 20230, MAPS 30230, PLSC 20406

PLSC 30235. Computing for the Social Sciences. 100 Units.

This is an applied course for social scientists with little-to-no programming experience who wish to harness growing digital and computational resources. The focus of the course is on learning the basics of programming and on generating reproducible research. Topics include coding concepts (e.g., data structures, control structures, functions, etc.), data visualization, data wrangling and cleaning, version control software, exploratory data analysis, etc. Students will leave the course with basic programming skills for the social sciences and will gain the knowledge of how to adapt and expand these skills as they are presented with new questions, methods, and data. The course is taught in R. Requirements: At least one prior course that made use of a programming language (e.g., Python, R, Stata, SPSS, etc.) in some capacity. If you are unsure or had some informal exposure, email the instructor to see if the course is a good fit.

Instructor(s): Jean Clipperton     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter
Note(s): MACS students have priority.
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 30511, MAPS 30500, MACS 20500, MACS 30500, ENST 20550, SOCI 20278, SOCI 40176, SOSC 26032, PSYC 30510

PLSC 30301. American Politics Field Seminar I. 100 Units.

A survey of some of the main themes, topics and approaches in the study of American politics and government.

Instructor(s): R. Bloch Rubin, J. Rogowski     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 22301

PLSC 30401. American Politics Field Seminar II. 100 Units.

A survey of some of the main themes, topics and approaches in the study of American politics and government.

Instructor(s): C. Cohen, J. Rogowski     Terms Offered: Winter

PLSC 30500. Introduction to Quantitative Social Science. 100 Units.

This is the first course in the quantitative methods sequence in political science. Students will build skills to execute and evaluate key research designs for causal and descriptive research. The course also lays the necessary foundation for future coursework in quantitative methods. To enroll in course, students must have recent exposure to introductory probability and fundamentals of programming in R.

Instructor(s): A. Eggers, M. Offer-Westort     Terms Offered: Autumn

PLSC 30506. Cities, Space, Power: Introduction to urban social science. 100 Units.

This lecture course provides a broad, multidisciplinary introduction to the study of urbanization in the social sciences. The course surveys a broad range of research traditions from across the social sciences, as well as the work of urban planners, architects, and environmental scientists. Topics include: theoretical conceptualizations of the city and urbanization; methods of urban studies; the politics of urban knowledges; the historical geographies of capitalist urbanization; political strategies to shape and reshape the built and unbuilt environment; cities and planetary ecological transformation; post-1970s patterns and pathways of urban restructuring; and struggles for the right to the city.

Instructor(s): N. Brenner     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CHST 20506, SOCI 20506, PLSC 20506, ARCH 20506, SOCI 30506, KNOW 30506, CCCT 30506, CHSS 30506, ENST 20506, HIPS 20506, CEGU 20506

PLSC 30521. Sociology of urban planning: cities, territories, environments. 100 Units.

This course provides a high-intensity introduction to the sociology of urban planning practice under modern capitalism. Building upon urban sociology, planning theory and history as well as urban social science and environmental studies, we explore the emergence, development and continual transformation of urban planning in relation to changing configurations of capitalist urbanization, modern state power, sociopolitical insurgency and environmental crisis. Following an initial exploration of divergent conceptualizations of "planning" and "urbanization," we investigate the changing sites and targets of planning; struggles regarding the instruments, goals and constituencies of planning; the contradictory connections between planning and diverse configurations of power in modern society (including class, race, gender and sexuality); and the possibility that new forms of planning might help produce more socially just and environmentally sane forms of urbanization in the future.

Instructor(s): N. Brenner     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CHST 20521, ENST 20521, GEOG 20521, ARCH 20521, CEGU 20521, SOCI 20521, PPHA 30521, PLSC 20521, SOCI 30521, PBPL 20521, KNOW 30521

PLSC 30600. Causal Inference. 100 Units.

This is the second course in quantitative methods in the Political Science PhD program. The course is an introduction to the theory and practice of causal inference from quantitative data. It will cover the potential outcomes framework, the design and analysis of experiments, matching, weighting, regression adjustment, differences-in-differences, instrumental variables, regression discontinuity designs and more. Students will examine and implement these approaches through a variety of examples from across the social sciences. The course will use the R programming language for statistical computing.

Instructor(s): A. Strezhnev

PLSC 30700. Introduction to Linear Models. 100 Units.

This is the third course in quantitative methods in the Political Science PhD program. This course will provide an introduction to the linear model, the dominant form of statistical inference in the social sciences. The goals of the course are to teach students the statistical methods needed to pursue independent large-n research projects and to develop the skills necessary to pursue further methods training in the social sciences. Part I of the course reviews the simple linear model (as seen in STAT 22000 or its equivalent) with attention to the theory of statistical inference and the derivation of estimators. Basic calculus and linear algebra will be introduced. Part II extends the linear model to the multivariate case. Emphasis will be placed on model selection and specification. Part III examines the consequences of data that is "poorly behaved" and how to cope with the problem. Depending on time, Part IV will introduce special topics like systems of simultaneous equations, logit and probit models, time-series methods, etc. Little prior knowledge of math or statistics is expected, but students are expected to work hard to develop the tools introduced in class.

Instructor(s): R. Gulotty, J. Hansen     Terms Offered: Spring

PLSC 30901. Game Theory I. 100 Units.

This course introduces students to games of complete information through solving problem sets. We will cover the concepts of dominant strategies, rationalizable strategies, Nash equilibrium, subgame perfection, backward induction, and imperfect information. The course will be centered around several applications of game theory to politics: electoral competition, agenda control, lobbying, voting in legislatures and coalition games.

Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 29102, PLSC 29102

PLSC 30999. International Migration. 100 Units.

This course examines the drivers of international migration and its consequences for international politics. Students will consider the reasons people move from one country to another, and analyze how states and international organizations facilitate, obstruct, and deter people from crossing borders. The goal of the course is to provide students with a strong foundation for understanding the key theoretical, legal, and political concepts that shape current debates over international migration. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the course covers themes such as how globalization, global capitalism, conflict, and climate change impact contemporary patterns of regular and irregular migration, how states and the international community respond to forced displacement, and the ways in which border externalization, militarization, and surveillance are proliferating throughout the globe. Students will write one op-ed advocating for a change or continuation in current approaches to managing migration, and two policy papers examining two separate case studies related to international migration. A key component of this course is editing and analyzing others' work.

Instructor(s): Tinti, Peter     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Undergraduate students must seek instructor consent prior to enrollment
Equivalent Course(s): INRE 39550

PLSC 31000. Game Theory II. 100 Units.

This course introduces students to games of incomplete information and several advanced topics through solving problem sets. We will cover the concepts of Bayes Nash equilibrium, perfect Bayesian equilibrium, and the basics of mechanism design and information design. In terms of applications, the course will extend the topics examined in the prerequisite, PLSC 30901. Game Theory I to allow for incomplete information, with a focus on the competing challenges of moral hazard and adverse selection in those settings.

Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): PLSC 30901 or equivalent and consent of instructor. Undergraduates by consent only.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 29103

PLSC 31527. Class Conflict: Aristotle, Machiavelli, and Marx. 100 Units.

Rising inequality, resurgent left- and right-wing populist movements, and the shifting political allegiances of various class groupings in American politics have left us once again to wonder about the relationship between class, politics, and civil conflict. This course will explore three foundational theories of class conflict, and their afterlives. We will look to understand both the primary sources and how these three theories have influenced how class is conceptualized and deployed in political debates. We will begin in the Greek world with Aristotle's attempt to provide a philosophical articulation of the class conflict and class interests which dominated in classical Greece. We will study Aristotle's diagnosis of causes and consequences of class conflict in Greece and his effort to offer a philosophically inflected solution for the declining Greek city-states. From there, we will turn to Niccolò Machiavelli's theory of the humors. His groundbreaking effort was the first to challenge the Aristotelian fear of class conflict and articulate a positive role for ongoing class-based dissension. Finally, we will turn to Karl Marx's epoch-making account of capitalism's effect on class politics. We will look beyond his famous account of the proletariat to consider his account of how capitalism transformed class in Europe, the place of class conflict in history, and whether this class analysis remains viable in given the transformations of capitalism.

Instructor(s): Smith, Max     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): MAPS 31527, MAPS 21527

PLSC 31716. Xenophon's Socrates. 100 Units.

This course offers an introductory reading of Xenophon's Socratic works,which provide the chief alternative tot he account provided by Plato's Socratic dialogues. We will read and discuss Xenophon's Apology of Socrates, Symposium, Oeconomicus, and Memorabilia, make some comparisons to Platonic works, and consider some secondary interpretations. Themes may include piety, teaching and corruption, virtue, justice and law economics, family, friendship, and eros.

Instructor(s): Nathan Tarcov     Terms Offered: 2018
Prerequisite(s): Open to undergrads by consent.
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 31716, FNDL 21718

PLSC 31719. Xenophon's Education of Cyrus. 100 Units.

This seminar is intended as an introductory reading of one of the classic treatments of political leadership, Xenophon's The Education of Cyrus. Themes will include the qualities and motives of a successful leader or ruler, especially in acquiring and expanding rule, relations between rulers and ruled, Xenophon's portrayals of Cyrus and other characters in the book, the relation between political and military leadership and more broadly between politics and war, the tension between empire and freedom, Cyrus's bi-cultural education and multinational rule, the roles of morality, religion, and love in politics, and differences between constitutional or legitimate and tyrannical or despotic rule. We will consider Xenophon's art of writing and the literary character of the book. Open to undergraduates with instructor consent.

Instructor(s): Nathan Tarcov     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Open to undergraduates with instructor consent.
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 31719, FNDL 25103

PLSC 31805. Survey and experimental methods in political science. 100 Units.

This is an introductory research design and methods course for graduate students who are interested in quantitative research methods - particularly survey and experimental approaches. We will focus on the ways in which political scientists collect, analyze, and interpret survey and experimental data. Students will learn about the fundamentals of research design and quantitative analysis, including theory building, measurement, hypothesis testing, as well as data cleaning, management, and analysis. Prior coursework in statistical methods or coding is not required and will be covered as part of the course.

Instructor(s): Proctor, Andrew     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 21805, MAPS 31805

PLSC 31903. Chinese Politics. 100 Units.

This course takes an in-depth look into Chinese political institutions and behaviors through a comparative perspective. It is divided into four modules. Module one overviews the historical development of the Chinese state and explores how its imperial legacies have shaped political norms and practices in the modern era. Module two examines the roles and functions of the PRC's major political institutions, including the Party, the central and local bureaucracy, the people's congresses, and the judiciary. We hope to understand how those institutions engage with each other in policymaking and implementation, and when tensions will arise among different agencies. Module three investigates three major "paradigm shifts" in modern Chinese politics, namely Mao's socialist transformation in 1949, Deng's reform and opening-up in 1978, and Xi's power consolidation since 2012. We will discuss the political and economic challenges those reforms aim to address, and their effects and consequences. Lastly, module four explores major governance challenges facing the Chinese regime, including corruption, censorship and propaganda, the disputes over Taiwan, among many others."

Instructor(s): Qian, Juan     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): MAPS 31903

PLSC 31910. Research Practicum: Labor and Identity Politics in the United States. 100 Units.

This research practicum is a "lab in the classroom" where students will execute a collaborative research project with Professor Proctor. The practicum is topically organized around the contemporary labor movement in the United States and the intersecting politics of sexuality, gender, and race. Students should have an interest in the topic. Together, we will come up with a research question, conduct a literature review, develop a theoretical framework, identify and analyze data to test the theory, and write an article length paper. The goal is to develop a co-authored manuscript for submission to a journal for publication, and students will have the opportunity to continue working on the project after winter quarter. Methodological training in qualitative or quantitative methods or concurrent enrollment in a methods course is ideal but not required. Preference is given to MA students but undergraduate and doctoral students are also welcome.

Instructor(s): Andrew Proctor     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Instructor consent for enrollment. Quantitative or qualitative training pre-req or concurrent enrollment
Equivalent Course(s): MAPS 31910, MAPS 21910

PLSC 32080. The Practice of Political Theory. 100 Units.

This course will introduce students to several leading approaches in contemporary political theory as practiced in American political science departments. The courses' primary goal is to facilitate the study of the methodologies behind various approaches to political theory. In the course we will study the philosophical presuppositions that undergird various methods, some of the foundational texts in them, and more recent works that exemplify the approach. Ultimately, we will ask how we, as political theorists, might use and improve upon these methods in our own research, and what these methods can tell us about how political theory is practiced today. The course will include sections on history of political thought, critical theory, normative political thought, comparative political thought, and post-modernism among others. The course is designed to fulfill the MAPSS requirement for methods for students focusing on political theory. The course is open to undergraduates and non-mapss students by instructor's consent. It is ideal for any student considering or writing a BA or MA thesis in political theory or pursuing graduate education.

Instructor(s): Smith, Max     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): MAPS 21801, MAPS 31801, PLSC 22160

PLSC 32100. Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy. 100 Units.

This course is devoted to reading Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy supplemented by substantial selections from Livy's history of Rome. Themes include princes, peoples, and elites; republics and principalities; pagan and Christian religion and morality; war and empire; founding and reform; virtue, corruption, liberty, and fortune; ancient history and modern experience; reading and writing; and theory and practice.

Instructor(s): Nathan Tarcov     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Familiarity with Machiavelli's, Prince.
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 31710, PLSC 20800, FNDL 29300

PLSC 32333. Cassandras: Truth-Telling in Times of Crisis. 100 Units.

In public life, why and how are some people accepted as truth-tellers while others are not? Is truth simply a problem of and for "correct" reasoning? What assumptions about argumentation and evidence go unexplored in this way of framing the problem? What if truth were a problem of truth-telling instead? When and how do social, racial, and gender hierarchies authorize received understandings of a (credible) truth-teller? What is credible telling usually thought to sound like? What are the conditions for listening and hearing the truth? To think through these questions, we take as a lens the archetype of Cassandra, the babbling prophetess of classical Greek myth and tragedy doomed not to be believed. Cassandra has served as a resource and source of inspiration for a range of critical thinkers, including but not limited to theorists, feminists, poets, and novelists. What is a "Cassandra"? Does her "deranged" way of seeing the world - her prophetic speech - disorient or destabilize? We will consider how, in her different representations, Cassandra places questions of language, patriarchy, and sexual violence at the center of general discussions of credibility and critique. Readings range from ancient Greek thought to 21st century theory.

Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CCCT 22333, GNSE 22333, CCCT 32333, FNDL 22333, GNSE 32333, PLSC 22333

PLSC 32605. African Political Theory. 100 Units.

The idea of this course is to understand what a study of political theory/philosophy can contribute to the understanding of Africa's political history. By talking of "Africa" we follow Gyekye (1995) who, in making the case that one could talk about an "African philosophy", while he recognized that there is terrific variation and heterogeneity within Africa, also argued that there are common elements in many of the cultures in Africa. Our starting point is the research of Vansina (1990) and McIntosh (1999) who emphasized the way in which African political institutions diverged from those of Eurasia over the longue durée. Specifically, Africa did not generally see the emergence of large bureaucratized and centralized states, but instead saw a proliferation of less decentralized polities governed in many different ways. Henn and Robinson (2021) calculate using historical estimates of political institutions and population that at the time of the scramble for Africa at most 30% of Africans lived in what anthropologists classify as states. Social scientists, such as Goody (1971) and Herbst (2000) have proposed various explanations for this pattern, such as the absence of cavalry and horses (Law, 1980) and low population densities. But Vansina himself proposed a basically cultural explanation. He argued that Central Africans wished to "preserve the autonomy of the local community" and instead of creating states innovated all sorts of other institutions to take advantage of scale.

Terms Offered: Winter

PLSC 33002. Ethics in International Relations. 100 Units.

Ethical questions pervade international politics. Do affluent states have an obligation to make economic sacrifices to mitigate the progression of global warming? Are human rights universal? Should states waive the intellectual property rights of pharmaceutical companies to enable global access to vaccines? Can military intervention be justified despite its breach of sovereignty? Despite the frequent invocation of normative language in global politics, scholars of international relations have only recently started to turn their attention toward studying ethics as an important political phenomenon. This marks a shift away from considering ethics as epiphenomena to interests and power. This seminar explores the role of ethics in international relations, both in theory and in practice. It draws on readings from normative international relations theory and political philosophy to take up ethical dilemmas encountered in world affairs in the context of debates about the environment, humanitarian intervention, nuclear weapons, development, and global health.

Instructor(s): Turco, Linnea     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Open to undergraduates with instructor consent
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 23002, INRE 33000

PLSC 33005. Peace in International Relations. 100 Units.

How has peace been theorized in the study of global politics? In this graduate elective, we take up the concept of 'peace' and explore the many ways it has been defined by scholars and pursued by policymakers and practitioners in the world. We consider questions like: Is peace the mere absence of war? How is peace experienced by individuals living in the aftermath of violent conflict? What are some of the markers of successful peace agreements? Who are agents of peace? How do states pursue peace? What is the relationship between peace and violence? Throughout the course, we will examine peace through multiple levels of analysis, including everyday individuals, elite policymakers, the State as actors, and international cooperative efforts. We will also explore various approaches to peacebuilding, including grassroots and top-down efforts, and pay careful attention to perspectives on peace and peacebuilding beyond Western, Eurocentric lenses. A key emphasis in this course will be connecting academic research to real-world applications of peace practices. As such, we will learn from both peace scholars and peace practitioners and will reflect throughout on the role of academia in understanding and building peace in the world.

Instructor(s): Hooser, Kara     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Undergraduate students must seek instructor consent prior to enrollment
Equivalent Course(s): INRE 33005, PLSC 23005

PLSC 33029. Justice for Animals in Ethics and Law. 100 Units.

Animals are in trouble all over the world. Intelligent sentient beings suffer countless injustices at human hands: the cruelties of the factory farming industry, poaching and trophy hunting, assaults on the habitats of many creatures, and innumerable other instances of cruelty and neglect. Human domination is everywhere: in the seas, where marine mammals die from ingesting plastic, from entanglement with fishing lines, and from lethal harpooning; in the skies, where migratory birds die in large numbers from air pollution and collisions with buildings; and, obviously, on the land, where the habitats of many large mammals have been destroyed almost beyond repair. Addressing these large problems requires dedicated work and effort. But it also requires a good normative theory to direct our efforts. This class is theoretical and philosophical. Because all good theorizing requires scientific knowledge, we will be reading a good deal of current science about animal abilities and animal lives. But the focus will be on normative theory. We will study four theories currently directing practical efforts in animal welfare: the anthropocentric theory of the Non-Human Rights Project; the Utilitarian theory of Jeremy Bentham, J. S. Mill, and Peter Singer; the Kantian theory of Christine Korsgaard; and an approach using the Capabilities Approach, recently developed by Martha Nussbaum.

Instructor(s): Martha C. Nussbaum     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): This is a new 1L elective, in connection with the Law School’s new program in Animal Law. Law students and PhD students may register without permission. MA students and undergrads need the instructor’s permission, and to receive permission they must be third or fourth-year Philosophy concentrator with a letter of recommendation from a faculty member in the Philosophy Department. Because all assessment is by an eight-hour take-home exam at the end of the class, the letter should describe, among other things, the student’s ability in self-monitored disciplined preparation.
Equivalent Course(s): RETH 33029, PHIL 33029

PLSC 33300. Interpretive Methods in the Social Sciences. 100 Units.

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to interpretive methods in the social sciences. Students will learn to "read" texts and images while also becoming familiar with contemporary thinking about interpretation, narrative, ethnography, and social construction. Among the methods we shall explore are: semiotics, hermeneutics, ordinary language theory, and discourse analysis.

Instructor(s): L. Wedeen     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 33300, CCCT 33300

PLSC 33502. Models of International Political Economy. 100 Units.

What explains a government's decision to block a trade deal, prevent foreign investors from gaining control of a local factory, or ban the export of rare earth minerals? This course develops theory and evidence that these decisions reflect domestic and international politics. We will discuss the political dimension of the integration of the global economy and the way that globalization separates workers, business, and consumers. Drawing on methods and theory from international political economy, we will critically examine the prospects for international cooperation on trade and immigration, as well as the future of international governance. Required prerequisites: Game Theory I and Game Theory II

Instructor(s): R. Gulotty
Prerequisite(s): Game Theory I and Game Theory II

PLSC 34302. Bureaucratic Politics and the Administrative State. 100 Units.

This is to be a mixed graduate/undergraduate course in which we will explore the bureaucratic politics and the administrative state.

Instructor(s): Rogowski, Jon C.      Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 24302

PLSC 35131. Organized Criminal Groups in Latin America. 100 Units.

Many areas in Latin America suffer with organized criminal violence, one of the most significant urban and national security challenges of the 21st century. This violence is promoted by armed non-state groups such as drug trafficking organizations, guerrillas, militias, mafias, warlords, gangs, and vigilantes that have established subnational criminal governance regimes and dictate important parameters of social, economic, and political life. Through the state is frequently distant and negligent in areas controlled by these groups, it is never entirely absent. Many residents in territories dominated by these groups attend schools, visit health clinics, receive cash transfers, continue to vote and work in formal parts of the city. How can organized criminal groups can thrive in functional democracies with institutions to provide public goods, including security and justice? This course will examine this issue with a theoretical and empirical focus on Latin America.

Instructor(s): Joana Monteiro     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 35131, LACS 25131, PLSC 25131

PLSC 35705. Radical Enlightenments. 100 Units.

An examination of some of the modern roots of radical critical inquiry in the writings of eighteenth-century thinkers on topics such as injustice, domination and oppression, prejudice, oligarchic interests, slavery and empire, equality of the sexes, private and public goods, commerce and economic relations, the politics of arts and aesthetics, state power, and revolution/reform.

Instructor(s): S. Muthu     Terms Offered: Spring

PLSC 35997. Three Comedies of Sexual Revolution. 100 Units.

This seminar will discuss three comedies of sexual revolution from three different times and places. Aristophanes's Assemblywomen recounts how under the leadership of the able Praxagora the women of Athens take over the Assembly and legislate a new regime in which private property is replaced by communism and sexual equity is achieved in favor of the old and unattractive at the expense of the young and attractive. Machiavelli's Mandragola dramatizes the tricks by which young Callimaco manages with the aid of the trickster parasite Ligurio to have sex with Lucrezia, the beautiful young wife of the elderly lawyer Nicomaco, with the consent of both her and her husband, ushering in a new regime in which all are satisfied. In Shakespeare's Measure for Measure Angelo the interim duke of Vienna institutes a repressive sexual regime in which the brothels are closed and extramarital sex is a capital crime. What might we learn about sexual relations from these diverse plays? Why are they comedies?

Instructor(s): Nathan Tarcov & Glenn Most      Terms Offered: Spring. Spring 2024
Prerequisite(s): Undergraduates need the Instructor's permission to register.
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 25823, CMLT 25823, CLAS 37623, CMLT 35997, FNDL 21772, GNSE 25997, PLSC 25997, SCTH 35997, GNSE 35997, CLCV 27623

PLSC 36100. Civil War. 100 Units.

Civil war is the dominant form of political violence in the contemporary world. This graduate seminar will introduce students to cutting edge scholarly work and to the task of carrying out research on internal conflict. We will study the origins, dynamics, and termination of civil wars, as well as international interventions, post-conflict legacies, and policy responses to war. A variety of research approaches will be explored, including qualitative, quantitative, and interpretive methods, micro- and macro-level levels of analysis, and sub- and cross-national comparative designs. Our emphasis throughout will be on designing rigorous research that persuasively addresses important questions.

Instructor(s): P. Staniland     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 26100

PLSC 36205. Formal Models of Race and Ethnic Politics. 100 Units.

This course will examine ways in which the methods of formal theory can deepen our insight into questions concerning race and ethnic politics. It will cover both models developed to address racialized phenomena, as well as classes of models well suited to studying classic questions within REP.

Instructor(s): A. McCall     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Completion of PLSC 30901 and PLSC 31001 recommended

PLSC 36206. American Political Economy and Race. 100 Units.

This course will explore how individual or group identity and social location is understood in economics. Specifically, we will use a political economy framework, which emerges from the premise that economic life has material, cultural, and political dimensions and that an individual's (or group's) identity or social location--e.g., race, gender, and class--may constrain or empower agents in their participation in economic and political life. The readings will draw from diverse disciplines including political science, economics, and sociology and will focus primarily on the intersection of race and class.

Instructor(s): P. Posey     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 36226

PLSC 36413. The Politics of Executives and Bureaucracies. 100 Units.

The growth of power in the presidency and the administrative state is among the most important developments in American governance over the last century. This course surveys the politics of executive branch. It addresses questions about presidential power, electoral influences on presidential behavior, the relationship between presidents and Congress, bureaucratic autonomy, patronage and presidential appointments, and political influences on bureaucratic decision making. While much of the course material will focus on national institutions in the US, students will be encouraged to explore applications at the subnational level and in contexts outside the US. The course aims to help graduate students develop research agendas that address these and related questions and is appropriate for students with research interests in American politics, presidential systems outside the US, and political institutions and political economy more generally.

Terms Offered: Winter

PLSC 37312. Rousseau and the Profession of Faith of the Savoyard Vicar. 100 Units.


Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 51909, SCTH 37312, FNDL 27312

PLSC 37313. Leo Strauss: Thoughts on Machiavelli. 100 Units.


Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 37313, FNDL 27313, PHIL 37313

PLSC 37314. The Right of Politics and the Knowledge of the Philosopher: Rousseau's On the Social Contract. 100 Units.


Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 27907, PHIL 37314, SCTH 37314

PLSC 37315. Friedrich Nietzsche's: The Antichrist or What is a Philosopher? 100 Units.


Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 27313, SCTH 37315, GRMN 37313, FNDL 27315, PHIL 34711

PLSC 37324. Philosophy and Comedy: Leo Strauss's "Socrates and Aristophanes" 100 Units.

Leo Strauss's Socrates and Aristophanes (1966) discusses not only the most important and most influential of all comedies, The Clouds, but also all the other comedies by Aristophanes that have come down to us. The book is the only writing of Strauss's that deals with the whole corpus of a philosopher or poet. And it is the most intense and most demanding interpretation of Aristophanes a philosopher has presented up to now. In Socrates and Aristophanes Strauss carries on a dialogue with Aristophanes on the wisdom of the poet, on the just and unjust speech, on philosophy and politics, on the diversity of human natures, and on an œuvre that asks the question: quid est deus? what is a god?

Instructor(s): Heinrich Meier     Terms Offered: Spring. Course will be taught Spring 2022.
Prerequisite(s): Open to undergraduates with instructor consent.
Note(s): The seminar will take place on Monday/Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. – 1:20 p.m.*, during the first five weeks of the term (March 28 – April 27, 2022).
Equivalent Course(s): CLAS 37521, SCTH 37324, PHIL 37324, FNDL 27003

PLSC 38457. Making, Breaking, and Shaping Foreign Policy. 100 Units.

There is no country in the world in which foreign policy is made in a hermetically sealed environment. Leaders make decisions based not only on the national interest, but on their beliefs, political interests, and competing policy priorities. Other actors - the public, advisors, politicians, bureaucrats, and societal interest groups - also constrain or otherwise impact decision-making. Peering inside the state at these numerous domestic actors is critical to understanding why states behave the way they do in international politics. This undergraduate seminar unpacks the influence of various domestic political actors on a country's international behavior. Each week, we will survey a subset of the International Relations (IR) literature on one of these kinds of actors, starting with leaders and the masses and concluding with bureaucracies and interest groups. Throughout the course students will learn about and discuss the implications of this research on longstanding debates in the study of IR, including democratic peace theory and audience cost theory. Due to time constraints, the course will focus on democratic regimes, although we will conclude with one class on domestic political actors in non-democracies.

Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 28457

PLSC 38602. Advanced National Security Strategy. 100 Units.

With the war in Ukraine and potential flashpoints in Asia and the Middle East, now is an excellent time to survey contemporary US and International Security Strategy around the world. Focusing on the most urgent and important issues of the U.S. national security agenda, the purpose of the course is to help students better understand how the U.S. formulates national security strategy, better comprehend key debates over how the U.S. should handle contemporary challenges, and provide important conceptual frameworks that will enable students to grapple with the security challenges of the decade ahead. The course covers recent changes in American grand strategy, nuclear policy, and the use of conventional forces in contemporary conflicts, including Ukraine, Taiwan and the Middle East.

Instructor(s): R. Pape     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 28602

PLSC 38740. Conflict and Applied Data Science. 100 Units.

This course will examine why people fight, the effects of fighting, and possible solutions to prevent conflict in the future. The reasons people fight, and the ways in which they fight, depend on economics, politics and psychology; we will draw on all three disciplines throughout the course. Different forms of fighting, whether terrorism or civil wars, have typically been studied separately; we will bridge this divide and study them together, assessing common root causes and approaches for resolving these conflicts.

Instructor(s): Dube, O     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 38740

PLSC 38765. Politics of Authoritarian Regimes. 100 Units.

This course provides an overview of topics related to politics in authoritarian regimes. We begin by introducing the concept of authoritarianism: how it differs from democracy and how authoritarian regimes differ from each other. We then investigate the tools authoritarian rulers employ to maintain power, including institutions, policies, and tactics, and we examine the effects and side effects of these tools. Finally, we study transitions of power and of institutions, both on the way out of authoritarianism (democratization) and on the way in (democratic backsliding). Students who take this course will acquire a broad understanding of authoritarian politics and how it is covered in the literature.

Instructor(s): Zakharov, Alexei     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 38765

PLSC 38801. Politics and Cinema under Authority. 100 Units.

Why do authoritarian regimes take interest in art and culture? How do citizens respond to these efforts? Between authoritarian propaganda and outright contestation of authoritarianism is a wide niche of art and media production that is just independent enough to capture the attention of the citizens and yet subtle enough to not alarm authoritarian rulers. This is relevant for film and television in particular, which cannot function under authoritarian regimes without official approval. In this course, we explore the compromises filmmakers make to continue their creative practice and the concessions state actors grant to accommodate artistic work using the 10-episode television series, Dekalog (1988), by the acclaimed Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski. To answer our questions, we draw on literature and methodology from political science and film and media studies. We investigate what is to be gained by combining approaches from two disciplines that are rarely in conversation with each other.

Instructor(s): Maria Belodubrovskaya and Monika Nalepa     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Enrollment limit: 18
Equivalent Course(s): CDIN 38800, CMST 38800, PLSC 28805, REES 28800, CMST 28805, REES 38800, CDIN 28801

PLSC 38813. Justice and the Economy. 100 Units.

This seminar will explore how contemporary political philosophy conceptualizes the economy, frames the question of economic justice and injustice, and provides a normative case for and against ways of organizing economic institutions. By focusing on a set of specific issues including the justification of property rights, the moral and institutional demands of economic justice, freedom and domination within the labor market, the normative status of corporations, capitalism as a form of structural injustice, and the possibility (or lack thereof) of just financial markets, the seminar will offer a chance to read both classical authors in contemporary political philosophy, including John Rawls, Iris Young, Elizabeth Anderson, and Robert Nozick, as well as more recent and less known literature on the subject. A focus on economic justice will also provide an opportunity to discuss how contemporary political philosophy is either indebted or oblivious to a series of theoretical frameworks traditionally used to approach questions of economic justice, including classical liberalism, republicanism, utilitarianism, Marxism, critical theory, and utopian thought.

Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 28813, LLSO 38813, HMRT 38813

PLSC 38878. History of Government and Political Institutions. 100 Units.

This course is designed for PhD students in political science and political economy or advanced undergraduate/master students who are interested in studying the comparative politics of authoritarian regimes. The course is based on Samuel E. Finer's three-volume book "The History of Government from the Earliest Times." Students will read and discuss this book to acquire a broader understanding of how the institutional structures of government have developed throughout history.

Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 28878

PLSC 39185. The Promise and Pitfalls of Direct Democracy: Referendums and Initiatives in Representative Systems. 100 Units.

The majority of representative democracies retain mechanisms of direct democracy: referendums and citizens' initiatives. These mechanisms are controversial. Supporters view them as rightfully restoring a role for citizens in collective decision-making. They point to U.S. states where voters have recently used Medicaid and abortion referendums and initiatives to bring public policy more in line with voters' preferences. Critics view these mechanisms as giving too large a role to uninformed voters and as sidestepping the important deliberative processes that happen in legislatures. These critics point to "bad" referendum decisions, such as the U.K.'s Brexit vote in 2016. In this course, we will study mechanisms of direct democracy from the "top," exploring how party and legislative elites deal with direct democracy, and from the "bottom," exploring how voters approach them, with an eye toward answering the question, are referendums and initiatives good for democracy?

Instructor(s): Stokes, Susan     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Max enrollment 18, UG students prioritized over G students.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 29185

PLSC 39202. The Secret Side of International Politics. 100 Units.

This course introduces students to the secret side of international politics. The class features weekly lectures and "research/writing lab" meetings. The lecture and associated readings survey a wide range of theoretical approaches for describing and analyzing the causes and consequences of conducting international politics "behind closed doors." We will cover intelligence analysis, secret alliances, secrecy in crisis decision-making, and covert wartime military operations. We will draw on political science but also organization studies, psychology, and anthropology. Questions we will address include: What agreements do diplomats negotiate privately and why? For what ends do state use secrecy in wartime? What do covert cooperative partnerships look like and when do they succeed? What espionage practices do states use and how have they changed over time? The core assignment is an original research paper that draws on archival/declassified materials, due from each student at the end of term. Regular checkpoint assignments will take place during the quarter. In the weekly lab meetings, students will receive guidance in the research and writing process, including how to access relevant archival materials, how to organize your research materials, how to effectively prepare to write, and how to write well. This course is intended for advanced undergraduates (political science majors and non-majors welcome) with a large reading load and a challenging paper assignment.

Instructor(s): A. Carson     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 29202

PLSC 39501. International Political Economy. 100 Units.

This graduate seminar focuses on the prevailing theoretical and empirical research programs in international political economy (IPE). The course will introduce a variety of frontier research problems that animate current work in the field as well as provide experience evaluating empirical research. We will discuss relations between international markets and politics: mass politics, domestic political institutions, and international politics. A central goal of the course is to generate ideas for student research, including papers and dissertation topics.

Instructor(s): R. Gulotty     Terms Offered: Spring

PLSC 39505. Political Violence and Terrorism. 100 Units.

Terrorism as a form of political violence remains in the headlines given the spread of deadly insurgencies, the increased threat posed by lone wolf terrorists, and the violent attacks of rival militant groups competing for power and recognition. This course is designed to introduce students to important theoretical and empirical puzzles, analytical approaches, and methods in terrorism studies. As such, we will cover a wide range of topics from the causes of terrorism to the characteristics, targets, and strategies of terrorist organizations, the motivations of suicide bombers, and states' responses to terrorism. Relying on case studies and quantitative data, we will explore and try to address questions such as: Why do some terrorist groups target indiscriminately, while others are more discriminate in their attacks? Why do some terrorist groups provide social services to their constituents when others do not? Why do some terrorist groups use women operatives while others mostly recruit men? Why do some counterterrorism policies succeed while others fail, and generate more terrorism? By the end of this class, students will be familiar with the prominent debates, competing explanations, and up-to-date scholarly research on terrorism, and be able to systematically analyze empirical puzzles regarding terrorism and political violence using different theoretical and methodological approaches.

Instructor(s): Alakoc, Burcu Pinar     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Undergraduate students must seek instructor consent prior to enrollment
Equivalent Course(s): INRE 39505, INRE 29505, PLSC 29505

PLSC 39901. What Was Multilateralism? 100 Units.

A foundational institution of modern international relations, multilateralism has been "in crisis" since its emergence in the 19th century. Its normative commitments - publicity, reciprocity, equality, impartiality, restraint, and community - have motivated generations of transformational agents and become imprinted in the quotidian practices of international political life. In spite of or maybe because of multilateralism's presence, its critics have enlisted the social theories of their time to critique multilateralism as unworkably idealistic or cunningly reactionary. What explains the staying power of an institution that knows few allies and many enemies? This course explores the crisis of multilateralism by taking seriously the idea that the institution has survived by ritualizing its normative content without ever cohering as an institutional form. We will explore this dynamic by reading several moments of crisis through classic and current theory. We will discover how political, economic, and social crises animate theory, and how theory, in turn, leaves its mark on what crisis actors imagine to be possible. Students are invited to write in a public-facing format: open-ended peer dialogue; syllabus plus keynote lecture; or op-ed blog post plus link annotation. After collectively assembling a theory reference guide, they will each explore a crisis phenomenon and use the theoretical resources this course provides to illuminate the crisis for their audience.

Instructor(s): Staisch, Matthias     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Open to undergraduates with instructor consent
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 29901, INRE 39900

PLSC 40000. Readings: Political Science. 100 Units.

This is a general reading and research course for independent study.

PLSC 40010. Capital and Democracy in an Age of Finance. 100 Units.

This course is offered through The Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory. What is the connection between capital accumulation and democracy in an era when creating financial assets has been decoupled from producing goods and services? Democracy can pose a threat to capital accumulation when an accelerated rise in asset values deepens historical inequality; financial markets can pre-empt such threats by becoming suddenly illiquid, thereby bringing on an event of disaccumulation until restoring the confidence that capital markets have in their own continuing appreciation becomes the political priority of the state. This course examines arguments that, if only we preferred consumer price inflation and asset price stagnation to its opposite, we could return to the pre-1970s Fordist/Keynesian model that allowed us to fund WWII and could now finance a "war" on climate change. But is the objection to finance only that it no longer needs to fund production for accumulation to occur? What about the massive problems--ecological, cultural, political, and social--occurring when it did? The majority of course readings will focus on how this difference is reflected at the levels of cultural media, social inequality, law/regulation, ecology, and even in the financial options that are now embedded in commodities themselves. We will conclude with reflections on Green financing, social justice, alternative monetary platforms, and the markets in collateralized credit.

Equivalent Course(s): CCCT 40010

PLSC 40100. Thesis Preparation: Polsci. 100 Units.

This is an independent study course related to master's paper or dissertation research.

PLSC 40102. Advanced Topics in Causal Inference. 100 Units.

This is a graduate-level course considering modern advances in causal inference and experimental design. In particular, we will consider how machine learning methods can be leveraged to address causal questions. We will read a selection of papers introducing and implementing techniques and research designs, with applications to the social and health sciences and public policy. We will discuss what these new methods are able to offer, and where they may have limitations. The course will be oriented around class discussion and student presentations on the readings. An introductory course in probability and statistics is required; this prerequisite can be met by courses in statistics, biostatistics, economics, political science, sociology, or related fields. Coursework in causal inference is recommended but not required; additional reading references will be provided for students who have not had prior exposure to causal inference methodology.

Terms Offered: Spring

PLSC 40110. Formal Political Theory I. 100 Units.

This is the first course in a three-quarter sequence in Formal Political Theory that introduces foundational concepts in decision theory and noncooperative game theory, the key mathematical tools needed for applied theory, and applications from political economy. This quarter focuses primarily on static games of complete and incomplete information and related solution concepts, including (Bayesian) Nash equilibrium and mixed-strategy Nash equilibrium. Students must have recently completed coursework in differential and integral calculus, optimization theory, and methods of mathematical proof. Enrollment of master's students is at the discretion of the instructor.

Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 40110, PECO 40110

PLSC 40111. Formal Political Theory II. 100 Units.

This course follows on Formal Political Theory I, which it takes as a prerequisite. This quarter focuses on dynamic games of complete information and related solution concepts, including subgame-perfect Nash equilibrium and Markov perfect equilibrium. Applications include folk theorems for repeated games, bargaining models, and moral hazard.

Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): PECO 40110
Equivalent Course(s): PECO 40111, PPHA 40111

PLSC 40112. Formal Political Theory III. 100 Units.

This course follows on Formal Political Theory I and II, which it takes as prerequisite. This quarter focuses primarily on dynamic games of incomplete information and related solution concepts, including weak perfect Bayesian equilibrium and sequential equilibrium. Applications include models of costly signaling and cheap talk.

Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): PECO 40110, PECO 40111
Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 40112, PECO 40112

PLSC 40244. Climate change, history and Social Theory. 100 Units.

This course considers some of the major approaches to climate change and society that have been elaborated by contemporary social and environmental theorists. Key topics include the legacies of environmental thought in classical social theory; the histories and geographies of environmental crises under capitalism; the conceptualization of "nature" in relation to societal dynamics; the role of capitalism and fossil capital in the production of "metabolic rifts"; questions of periodization and associated debates on the "Anthropocene," the "Capitalocene" and the "Plantationocene"; the interplay between urbanization and climate emergencies; the (geo)politics of decarbonization; insurgent struggles for climate justice; and possible post-carbon futures.

Instructor(s): N. Brenner, F. Albritton Jonsson     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Some previous course work in classical and/or contemporary social theory, preferably at the graduate level
Equivalent Course(s): CEGU 40244, SOCI 40244, HIST 43204, CHSS 43204, CCCT 40244

PLSC 40315. Black Fugitivity & Fugitive Democracy Radical Democratic Theory and Race. 100 Units.

What does "fugitivity" mean as a concept? As a trope, what kind of rhetorical and political work is it being used to perform by scholars across the humanities and social sciences? How should we assess its appeal, value, limitations, and dangers? This seminar pursues these broad questions by comparing figurations of fugitivity in Black Studies and political theory, specifically in works of Black Study by Hortense Spillers, Fred Moten, and Saidiyah Hartman, and in works of political theory by Sheldon Wolin and Hannah Arendt. In these texts fugitivity gains its meanings by juxtaposing social death and impasse to insurgent movement, creative natality, and aliveness, but theorists represent the meaning, location, protagonists, and characteristic practices of fugitivity differently. Our goal is to discern the stakes in these differences about sociality, maternity, Blackness, and the "grammar" of the democratic and the political. Additional reading includes Neil Roberts' Freedom as Marronage, Christina Sharpe's In the Wake, and recent political theory on the relation between "fugitive democracy" and "Black fugitivity" as well as Toni Morrison's Paradise and Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad, literary fiction as a form of political theory by reading.

Instructor(s): George Shulman     Terms Offered: TBD
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 40315, KNOW 40315, CRES 40315, AMER 40315

PLSC 40402. Theories of Temporality. 100 Units.

This course explores theories of temporality in an effort to think about modern capitalism's abstractions, specificities, permutations and evolution. We shall grapple with varying conceptions and experiences of time, the politics of hope, and the temporal and affective questions opened up by pronouncements of defeat. The class asks: how can one theorize the present without being presentist? How might we think about futures past, politics' hypotheticals, revolutionary potential, and the phenomenology of waiting. We shall read work by Marx, Benjamin, Koselleck, Postone, Chakrabarty, Meister, Threadcraft, and Arendt (to name key examples) before focusing on topics such as nostalgia, hope/despair, and climate change. We shall also read at least one novel, view a film, and discuss a play that resonate in instructive ways with the themes explored by the course.

Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CCCT 40402

PLSC 40502. Data Analysis with Statistical Models. 100 Units.

This course is part of the second year of the Quantitative Methodology sequence in the Department of Political Science and builds on the first year sequence (PLSC 30500, 30600, 30700). It will introduce students to likelihood and Bayesian inference with a focus on multilevel/hierarchical regression models. The overarching framework of this class is model-based inference for description and prediction -- a complement to the design-based framework of PLSC 30600 Causal Inference. Students will learn both the theory behind Bayesian modeling as well as how to implement common estimators (e.g. Expectation-Maximization, Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC)) in the R statistical programming language. Applied examples will be drawn from across the political science literature, with a particular emphasis on the analysis of large survey data (e.g. the American National Election Survey (ANES), the Cooperative Election Survey (CES), the European Social Survey (ESS)).

Terms Offered: Winter

PLSC 40510. Political Violence in America Today. 100 Units.

In recent years, masses have stormed democratic institutions of government in the United States, Germany, and Brazil, but there is great confusion about why. Each of these instances of mass political violence caught scholars, journalists, and the world by surprise and lead to important questions. The purpose of this graduate seminar is to ask those questions, read the literature relevant to them and encourage students to conduct new research to improve our understanding of the scope and dynamics of mass political violence in the United States and other democracies around the world. Crucial questions include: How do violent mass movements evolve? How does the political violence that America has experienced in 2020 and 2021 differ from past periods of heightened right-wing political violence in the 1970s and 1990s and heightened racial tensions in the 1960s? What is the impact of changes in American national identity, social capital, technology and media and social media on spreading dissent, organizing protests, and contemporary political violence?

Instructor(s): R. Pape     Terms Offered: Spring

PLSC 40600. Seminar on IR Theory. 100 Units.

This course is a PhD-level introductory survey of the major scholarly traditions in the field of International Relations. It provides an introduction to the central theoretical approaches including realism, liberalism, and constructivism and their variants. The course also exposes students to more recent non-paradigmatic research programs, reflections on the field's development over time, and the recurring "meta-debates" which underlie many of the differences in applied areas. Seminar discussion will identify and criticize the central arguments advanced by different scholars in order to assess the relative merits of different theoretical perspectives. The course is designed to help students prepare for the Department's IR general exam: assigned and suggested readings are a starting point for building a reading list; the course offers practice with answering exam questions; students will exercise modes of critical analysis during seminar critical to passing the exam.

Instructor(s): A. Carson     Terms Offered: Autumn

PLSC 40601. Advanced Topics in Causal Inference. 100 Units.

This is a graduate-level course considering modern advances in causal inference and experimental design. In particular, we will consider how machine learning methods can be leveraged to address causal questions. We will read a selection of papers introducing and implementing techniques and research designs, with applications to the social and health sciences and public policy. We will discuss what these new methods are able to offer, and where they may have limitations. The course will be oriented around class discussion and student presentations on the readings. An introductory course in probability and statistics is required; this prerequisite can be met by courses in statistics, biostatistics, economics, political science, sociology, or related fields. Coursework in causal inference is recommended but not required; additional reading references will be provided for students who have not had prior exposure to causal inference methodology. Instructor consent required.

Terms Offered: Spring

PLSC 40610. Seminar on International Security Affairs. 100 Units.

This course introduces students to a selection of the principal literature that forms the foundation of contemporary international security affairs. One set of topics focus on traditional war-related topics, including the causes of war, sources of military effectiveness, and civilian victimization in war. A second set of topics focuses on pre-war and short-of-war issues, including coercive threats, arms racing under the security dilemma, the nuclear revolution thesis, and grey zone or covert uses of force. A third set of topics focuses on ideas, individuals, and institutions, including security-related international organizations, norms, and leader-level dynamics. Each week, our purpose will be to critically assess the strengths and limits of the central arguments of the readings, on their own terms.

Instructor(s): R. Pape     Terms Offered: Autumn

PLSC 40815. New Directions in Formal Theory. 100 Units.

In this graduate seminar we will survey recent journal articles that develop formal (mathematical) theories of politics. The range of topics and tools we touch on will be broad. Topics include models of institutions, groups, and behavior, and will span American politics, comparative politics, and international relations. Tools include game theory, network analysis, simulation, axiomatic choice theory, and optimization theory. Our focus will be on what these models are theoretically doing: What they do and do not capture, what makes one mathematical approach more compelling than another, and what we can ultimately learn from a highly stylized (and necessarily incomplete) mathematical representation of politics. The goal of the course is for each participant, including the professor, to emerge with a new research project.

Instructor(s): Z. Luo     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): PLSC 30901, PLSC 31000 or consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 20815, PBPL 40815, PECO 40815, PPHA 40815

PLSC 41102. Inequality and Redistribution. 100 Units.

Inequality is a defining issue of our time. Why are some societies more unequal than others, and why are some more proactive in tackling inequality through policies of redistribution? This graduate seminar will introduce students to the scholarly literature on inequality redistribution, focusing primarily on recent work. We will study the causes and consequences of inequality and redistribution, focusing both on the institutions that shape incentives for governments to implement redistribution, as well as the mechanisms, actors, and international conditions that can erode government incentives or capabilities to redistribute. The emphasis of the course will be twofold: rigorously examining the inferences we can draw from existing work, and designing research that can contribute to a better understanding of the fundamental questions regarding redistributive policies.

Instructor(s): M. Albertus     Terms Offered: Autumn

PLSC 41105. Political Economy I: Formal Models of Politics. 100 Units.

This course provides an overview of formal models of politics, including models of electoral competition, coalition formation, political agency, and nondemocracy. Students must have completed the three-quarter sequence in Formal Political Theory or analogous coursework in game theory and mathematical methods. Enrollment of master's students is at the discretion of the instructor.

Instructor(s): Gehlbach, S     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): PhD Students Only
Equivalent Course(s): PECO 40102, PPHA 40102

PLSC 41111. Sylvia Wynter and the Decolonization of Political Theory. 100 Units.

Beginning in the 1970s, the Cuban-born, Jamaican philosopher Sylvia Wynter has developed a radical critique of the colonial foundations of our conceptions of the "human" even as she has sought to reanimate the meanings and possibilities of humanism. The course tracks the development of her political thinking from its emergence in the context of decolonization in the Caribbean, to her reconsideration of the history of "1492," and her effort to reinvent humanism. Along the way we will encounter Wynter in a range of genres from the novel and play to the theoretical essays for which she is best known. We will also situate her in relation to her interlocutors in Caribbean political thought and in wider transformations of social and political philosophy. Above all we will be interested in what it means rethink the tasks of political theory with the resources Wynter provides. We will engage, in this regard, examples of contemporary theory that engage Wynter as a critical interlocutor.

Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CCCT 41111

PLSC 41150. Advanced Topics in Political Economy: Comparing Societies. 100 Units.

The course will study the cultural, social, and institutional foundations of contemporary and historical societies around the world. Particular attention will be paid to factors that are typically taken for granted and presumed universal within the economics discipline. These include perceptions of reality (including birth, death, the afterlife, the spiritual world, nature,and the environment), and moral frameworks (including views about right/wrong, fairness,equality, and community membership). We will consider how these differences then affect and are affected by resulting cultural values, social structures, and formal political and legal institutions. The course is targeted to advanced (second-year or later) Ph.D. students with an interest in economic development, political economy, cultural economics, and/or economic history. Must be a PhD student to enroll.

Instructor(s): Robinson, J     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ECON 42200, PPHA 41150

PLSC 41203. Political Regimes and Transitions. 100 Units.

Despite a shift toward democracy in much of the world, many states have remained solidly autocratic while others are plagued by political instability. This graduate seminar will introduce students to fundamental questions in the study of political regimes: What distinguishes democracy from dictatorship? How does the functioning of democratic institutions affect democratic survival? Why are some dictatorships more stable than others, and what role do institutions such as legislatures, parties, and elections play in their stability? What political and economic factors explain regime transitions, and why do transitions tend to cluster both spatially and temporally? The course will examine how these questions are addressed in current scholarship, with an emphasis on enabling students to design research projects that contribute to our understanding of how political regimes function, persist, and change.

Instructor(s): M. Albertus     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 41203

PLSC 41502. Foundations of Realism II. 100 Units.

A deeper exploration of Realism

Terms Offered: Spring

PLSC 42420. Approaches to the History of Political Thought. 100 Units.

This course will examine some of the most influential recent statements of method in the history of political thought, alongside work by the same authors that may (or may not) put those methods or approaches into practice. We will read works by Quentin Skinner, Reinhart Koselleck, J.GA. Pocock, Leo Strauss, Sheldon Wolin, Michel Foucault, and David Scott among others, with some emphasis on writings about Hobbes and questions of sovereignty and the state. (E)

Instructor(s): J. Pitts     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CCCT 42420, SCTH 42420

PLSC 42701. Seminar in Chinese Politics. 100 Units.

This is a research-oriented seminar for graduate students interested in exploring current research on China and in conducting their own research. Our emphasis will be on the changing nature of the Chinese Party-state, and the relations between state and economy and between state and society as the Chinese society, economy and the level of technology have undergone dramatic changes in recent decades. Throughout the course we'll also pay attention to the course, dynamics, and challenges of making reform. Though the readings are on China, we are to consider China's development comparatively and in view of recent developments in political science.

Instructor(s): D. Yang     Terms Offered: Winter

PLSC 43434. Politics and Sociology of Markets. 100 Units.

Course will survey conceptions of market exchange in both micro and macro dimensions. The emphasis will be (mostly) on sociological and normative understandings of markets as forms of order.

Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 40261

PLSC 43505. Introduction to Machine Learning. 100 Units.

This course requires Python programming experience. The course will train students to gain the fundamental skills of machine learning. It will cover knowledge and skills of of running with computational research projects from a machine learning perspective, including the key techniques used in standard machine learning pipelines: data processing (e.g., data cleaning, feature selection, feature engineering), classification models (e.g., logistic regression, decision trees, naive bayes), regression models (e.g., linear regression, polynomial regression), parameter tuning(e.g., grid-search), model evaluation (e.g., cross-validation, confusion matrix, precision, recall, and f1 for classification models; RMSE and Pearson correlation for regression models), and error analysis (e.g., data imbalance, bias-variance tradeoff). Students will learn simple and efficient machine learning algorithms for predictive data analysis as well as gain hands-on experience by applying machine learning algorithms in social science tasks. The ultimate goal of this course is to prepare students with essential machine learning skills that are in demand both in research and industry.

Instructor(s): Wang, Zhao     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Python programming experience required.
Equivalent Course(s): MACS 33002, MAPS 33002, MACS 23002

PLSC 43605. The Politics of the Middle East. 100 Units.

This course will provide an analytical overview of the politics, regimes, and institutions of one of the most geopolitically important and exciting regions of the world: the Middle East. Blending literatures from international security, human rights, and comparative politics, we will cover a wide range of political, economic, and social issues as well as contemporary debates pertaining to the region. Some of these topics will include civil resistance and compliance under different types of authoritarianism, domestic conflict and proxy wars, the legacies of military coups and third-party interventions, the status and agency of women, political governance and participation in oil-monarchies, and the political repercussions of the Syrian civil war and ensuing refugee crisis. Where possible, we will situate these topics against the backdrop of cooperative and conflictual regional dynamics, engage contemporary debates and recent developments, and draw on multiple country profiles and case studies as illustrative examples. By the end of this class, you will be able to analyze the complex, modern-day politics of the Middle East, identifying the key players, issues and challenges, and also gain a deeper and more nuanced understanding of intra and interstate relationships that shape the region.

Instructor(s): Alakoc, Burcu Pinar     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 23605, INRE 23605, INRE 43605

PLSC 43701. Constructivism. 100 Units.

This seminar traces the development of the constructivist program in international relations in order to better understand its elements, assumptions, and methods, and apply those to current issues. We start by uncovering the roots of constructivism in sociology and philosophy and examine structuation theory, the English School, world systems theory, regime theory, and sociological institutionalism. The second part of this course focuses on the constructivist agenda in international relations, its boundaries and its critics. In the last part of the course we examine current research in international relations that draws on constructivist methods, including work on the role of norms, epistemic communities, transnational civil society, and the origins of the state.

Instructor(s): R. Terman     Terms Offered: Winter

PLSC 43820. Plato's Republic. 100 Units.

This course is devoted to reading and discussion of Plato's Republic and some secondary work with attention to justice in the city and the soul, war and warriors, education, theology, poetry, gender, eros, and actually existing cities.

Instructor(s): Nathan Tarcov     Terms Offered: Autumn. Autumn
Prerequisite(s): No Consent Required
Equivalent Course(s): SCTH 21770, PLSC 21770, SCTH 31770, FNDL 29503

PLSC 44702. Lab and Field Experiments in Comparative Politics and Policy. 100 Units.

Over the last several decades in what has become known as an "experimental revolution," social scientists have used experimental designs to study the effects of interventions and policies. The growing popularity of experimental methodology gives researchers leverage on causal questions, and bringing these designs to the field helps to bring their research designs closer to the real social phenomena they seek to understand. In this course, we will study how these methods have been used to study politics and policy, with examples from Africa, Latin America, and India. We will ask what types of questions experiments can answer, and what types of things we can manipulate and measure. We will review design considerations, such as methods to account for treatment spillover, and randomization procedures. We will also read critiques of experimental methods and field experiments; students will discuss ethical considerations, and will consider tradeoffs to limitations of experimental designs in field settings. While we will carry out some calculations, this course will not be oriented towards statistical programming, and there are no prerequisites for this course.

Terms Offered: Winter

PLSC 44805. The Political Economy of Technological Change. 100 Units.

This course is a graduate-level survey of the political economy of technological change. The course begins by investigating the nature of technology and technological change, paying particular attention to the socially constructed nature of technologies. Then, in three sections, it investigates 1) where technological innovations come from, 2) how new technologies spread, and 3) the economic, political, and cultural impacts of new technologies. Throughout the course, students will be asked to interrogate the values and assumptions encoded in technologies and how technologies impact marginalized peoples and communities. Students will emerge with a greater understanding of the complex social, political, and economic forces implicated in technological change.

Instructor(s): Parker, Adam     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Undergraduate students must seek instructor consent prior to enrollment
Equivalent Course(s): INRE 44805, PLSC 24806

PLSC 45505. Agriculture, Environment and Political Economy. 100 Units.

This course will look at the industrialization of Agriculture both as an historical phenomenon and as a contemporary problem in the debate about climate change. Literatures on peasants and economic development, anti-monopoly and cooperatives, food regimes, economic planning, shifts in employment and the changing relations between rural and urban economic life will be surveyed. In general, the aim will be to explore the extent to which agricultural development, particularly in advanced political economies, has been shaped by political economic struggles and changing clusters of ideas about employment, food, the environment and democracy.

Instructor(s): G. Herrigel     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 40245

PLSC 45605. Political Theories of the Corporation. 100 Units.

This course will survey political ideas about the corporation in Europe, the US and Japan. The first part of the course will explore historical debates about the relationship between the corporation and democracy, while the second part will be devoted to a range of contemporary debates on the democratization of the corporation itself and to problems of monopoly in contemporary democratic order.

Instructor(s): G. Herrigel     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 40246

PLSC 45678. Evolution of Consciousness. 100 Units.

This course explores the nature and evolution of consciousness. The approach here is rooted first in biology and then expands to include human language, culture, and political systems. Our goal is to come up with a better understanding of what consciousness is, how it evolves, and where it might be going in the future. One area of particular interest will be examining how many of the crises of modernity (climate change, technological shifts, political polarization) are related to the current configuration of human consciousness

Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 25678

PLSC 45710. Race and Capitalism. 100 Units.

This course will address issues of race and capitalism.

Instructor(s): M. Dawson     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 45700

PLSC 46401. Co-evolution of States and Markets. 100 Units.

This course will focus on the emergence of alternative forms of organization control (e.g., centralized bureaucracy, multiple hierarchies, elite networks, and clientage) in different social structural contexts (e.g., the interaction of kinship, class, nation states, markets and heterodox mobilization). Themes will be illustrated in numerous cross-cultural contexts.

Instructor(s): J. Padgett     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 40232

PLSC 46600. Political Economy of Development. 100 Units.

This course is intended as an introduction for Ph.D. students to the research literature in the political economy of development. Its purpose is to give students both a sense of the frontier research topics and a good command of how social science methodological tools are used in the area. This class is for PhD and Harris MACRM students only, with no exceptions. Must have completed a PhD level Microeconomics course to enroll.

Instructor(s): Blattman, C     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 41120, ECON 35570

PLSC 46666. Non Parliamentary Forms of Democracy. 100 Units.

This course will survey an array of theoretical arguments for democracy outside the electoral arena. In some case, the views will involve complements to electoral democracy, in other cases there will be proposals to substitute other forms of democratic process for elections. Among other traditions, the course will survey Pluralism, Guild Socialism, Labor Republicanism, Economic Democracy and Co-determination, Progressive Regulation and Democratic Experimentalism

Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 40262

PLSC 48000. Seminar: Comparative Politics,Field Seminar in Comparative Politics. 100 Units.

,This seminar broadly surveys the study of comparative politics in contemporary political science.

PLSC 48001. Field Seminar in Comparative Politics I. 100 Units.

This seminar broadly surveys the study of comparative politics in contemporary political science.

Instructor(s): B. Lessing     Terms Offered: Autumn

PLSC 48101. Field Seminar in Comparative Politics II. 100 Units.

This seminar broadly surveys the study of comparative politics in contemporary political science.

Instructor(s): A. Eggers     Terms Offered: Spring

PLSC 48110. Lab and Field Experiments in Comparative Politics and Policy. 100 Units.

Over the last several decades in what has become known as an "experimental revolution," social scientists have used experimental designs to study the effects of interventions and policies. The growing popularity of experimental methodology gives researchers leverage on causal questions, and bringing these designs to the field helps to bring their research designs closer to the real social phenomena they seek to understand. In this course, we will study how these methods have been used to study politics and policy, with examples from Africa, Latin America, and India. We will ask what types of questions experiments can answer, and what types of things we can manipulate and measure. We will review design considerations, such as methods to account for treatment spillover, and randomization procedures. We will also read critiques of experimental methods and field experiments; students will discuss ethical considerations, and will consider tradeoffs to limitations of experimental designs in field settings. Undergraduates should have taken PLSC 26969 or obtain instructor consent.

Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 28110

PLSC 48300. Plato's Laws. 100 Units.

An introductory reading of Plato's Laws with attention to such themes as the following: war and peace; courage and moderation; rule of law; music, poetry, drinking, and education; sex, marriage, and gender; property and class structure; crime and punishment; religion and theology; and philosophy.

Instructor(s): Nathan Tarcov     Terms Offered: Autumn. Autumn 2024
Prerequisite(s): Familiarity with Plato’s Republic
Note(s): Enrollment limited. Open to undergraduates with consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 23400, SCTH 20300, PLSC 23800, SCTH 30300

PLSC 48401. Quantitative Security. 100 Units.

Since Quincy Wright's A Study of War, scholars of war and security have collected and analyzed data. This course guides students through an intellectual history of the quantitative study of war. The course begins with Wright, moves to the founding of the Correlates of War project in the late 1960s, and then explores the proliferation of quantitative conflict studies in the 1990s and 2000s. The course ends by considering the recent focus on experimental and quasi-experimental analysis. Throughout the course, students will be introduced to the empirical methods used to study conflict and the data issues facing quantitative conflict scholars. For students with limited training in quantitative methods, this course will serve as a useful introduction to such methods. For students with extensive experience with quantitative methods, this course will deepen their understanding of when and how to apply these methods.

Instructor(s): P. Poast     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PPHA 39830

PLSC 48700. Criminal Conflict, Criminal Governance. 100 Units.

Scholars of civil war emphasize the importance, and perhaps primacy, of criminal profits for insurgencies, especially in the post-cold war era. But theories of civil war generally rest on an assumption that insurgents aim to replace state power. This seminar approaches the issue from the other end of the spectrum: armed conflict between states and "purely" criminal groups--particularly drug cartels. Cartel-state conflict poses a fundamental puzzle: Why attack the state if you seek neither to topple nor secede from it? After a brief survey of the literature on civil war and organized crime, we will study recent work on criminal conflict, particularly in Latin America. We also consider the related topics of prison-based criminal networks and paramilitaries, and explore how crime and political insurgency interact in places like West Africa and Afghanistan. Throughout, we evaluate the concepts, questions and designs underpinning current research.

Instructor(s): B. Lessing     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 48700, PPHA 37105

PLSC 49100. On Violence. 100 Units.

This seminar begins by covering major theorists of and debates about violence. Among the authors we shall read are Arendt, Fanon, Sartre, Benjamin, Foucault, Mbembe, Zizek, and Butler. We shall then explore a few ethnographies that explore issues related to violence in theoretically motivated, grounded research, including works by Masco, Scheper-Hughes, Siegel, and Taussig. The aims of the course are to combine political theory and comparative politics concerns with theoretically-motivated work in anthropology and literary studies. Considering the relationship between overt coercion and systemic violence, attending to genres of writing about violence, and focusing on the everyday lived experiences of violence, the course grapples with questions of race, class, gender, mediation, representation, and political power. The course will also reflect on the cathartic pleasures, ethical conundrums, and anti-political dimensions of violence. Students will participate avidly in class discussions and write one seminar paper OR take a final take-home exam.

Instructor(s): L. Wedeen     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 52515, CCCT 49100

PLSC 50000. Dissertation Proposal Seminar. 100 Units.

A weekly seminar devoted to the presentation and collective discussion of several drafts of each student's dissertation proposal.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Winter

PLSC 50901. Qualitative Methods and Research Design. 100 Units.

This course examines small-N research designs and methods for engaging in qualitative research. We will discuss concept formation, case selection, comparative case studies, process-tracing, combinations with other methods, and the virtues and limitations of different approaches to theory development and causal inference. We will then consider some of the tools that are often associated with qualitative research, including ethnography, interviews, archival work, and historiography. Because other courses in the department and university cover some of these methods in greater depth, this class will particularly emphasize their relationship to research design.

Instructor(s): A. Carson, P. Staniland     Terms Offered: Autumn

PLSC 51002. Rawls and His Critics. 100 Units.

Rawls and Critics in Political Theory

Terms Offered: Spring

PLSC 53101. Seminar: Democracy and the Information Technology Revolution. 100 Units.

The revolution in information technologies has serious implications for democratic societies. We concentrate, though not exclusively, on the United States. We look at which populations have the most access to technology-based information sources (the digital divide), and how individual and group identities are being forged online. We ask how is the responsiveness of government being affected, and how representative is the online community. Severe conflict over the tension between national security and individual privacy rights in the U.S., United Kingdom and Ireland will be explored as well. We analyze both modern works (such as those by Turkle and Gilder) and the work of modern democratic theorists (such as Habermas). An emphasis in this course will be the methodologies and research agendas utilized by scholars in this field.

Instructor(s): M. Dawson     Terms Offered: Spring

PLSC 53300. Seminar on Nuclear Weapons and International Politics. 100 Units.

The aim of this course is to examine how nuclear weapons have affected the conduct of international relations. Special attention will be paid to subjects like: 1) nuclear deterrence, 2) the causes of nuclear proliferation, 3) the consequences of nuclear proliferation, 4) strategies for employing nuclear weapons, 4) the role of nuclear weapons in the Cold War, 5) how nuclear weapons will affect relations among the great powers in the emerging multipolar world, and 6) whether there has been a "nuclear revolution."

Instructor(s): J. Mearsheimer     Terms Offered: Spring

PLSC 53456. Comparative Race, Ethnicity and Constitutional Design. 100 Units.

(SEM, CORE, BID, SRP, WP) Issues of multiracial democracy have come to the fore in recent years in the United States and many other countries. This seminar starts with the premise that our particular way of doing things is not the only one. It will review the comparative literature on racial and ethnic formation, stratification and conflict. It will focus on the role of constitutional design in exacerbating or ameliorating conflict. Readings will examine the politics of race and ethnicity in most other major regions of the world, along with theoretical accounts on what constitutional design can and cannot do. Students will pick a country to focus on as we work through the material. This class requires a major paper (6000-7500 words). Participation may be considered in the final grading.

Instructor(s): Tom Ginsburg     Terms Offered: Spring

PLSC 57200. Network Analysis. 100 Units.

This seminar explores the sociological utility of the network as a unit of analysis. How do the patterns of social ties in which individuals are embedded differentially affect their ability to cope with crises, their decisions to move or change jobs, their eagerness to adopt new attitudes and behaviors? The seminar group will consider (a) how the network differs from other units of analysis, (b) structural properties of networks, consequences of flows (or content) in network ties, and (c) dynamics of those ties.

Instructor(s): J. Padgett     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 50096