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. Instructor s : R. Herodotus and Thucydides: History and Politics. In this course we read Herodotus and Thucydides not only as historians but as political thinkers. As we read through these works, we will also take up the wider historical and political context—e.
The aim of the course is not only to give students a close familiarity with our two authors and some of the scholarship surrounding them, but also, more broadly, to think through the relationship between political theory and history. How might political theory guide the writing of history, and how can history contribute to theorizing politics? What can our reading of Herodotus and Thucydides tell us about how to think about these questions in different eras and contexts?
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Greek Political Thought. This course is designed to help students in political theory and related fields think about—and do—the history of political thought by recovering the strangeness of ancient democracy and its critics. It is an advanced survey of the political thought of classical Athens with particular emphasis on the cultural, institutional, and poetic practices through which Athenians enacted democracy and questioned its assumptions and effects. In sixth century Athens, the notion that the people could and should rule themselves—not by virtue of wealth, property, or family name but simply by birth—served as a radical rejection of the longstanding view that political power belonged in the hands of the few the wealthy, propertied, and elite.
We contextualize the dramatic poetry, philosophy, oratory, and history that emerged in the subsequent century or so, under conditions of expanding and contracting empire. We read them as critical reflections on what life was like under this new political arrangement and ask to what extent the works of Thucydides, Aristophanes, Euripides, and Plato can be said to constitute the birth of political theory as an idea and a practice.
Instructor s : D. Kasimis, M. The World of Dictatorships. The persistence of many authoritarian regimes since the end of the Cold War has inspired a major new literature in comparative politics on how non-democracy works. What kind of institutions makes authoritarianism more or less stable and durable? How do these regimes try to generate compliance and support? Why do so many of them hold elections and convene parliaments? What economic factors tend to bolster or undermine dictatorship? And how do they both extract support and deflect threats from their international environment?
Legitimacy and Political Institutions. Legitimacy is key to successful governance. This course will consider what makes people perceive government decisions and, ultimately, the government itself as legitimate, or as being "appropriate, proper, and just. We will compare the challenges faced by democratic and authoritarian governments as well as those faced by new versus established governments.
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Specific topics that will be discussed include the Affordable Care Act "Obamacare" , the politics of austerity and bailouts in the European Union, and local law enforcement and public education in the United States. Democratic Accountability and Transparency. Diagnoses of democratic failings, from the influence of money in politics to abuses of police power, often come with a promised solution: Our institutions need to be more "accountable" and "transparent.
India: Liberal Democracy and the Extreme Right
We'll begin by considering the ways in which fears of tyrannical, arbitrary, unaccountable rule have long been central to democratic political thought and practice. But we'll spend most of our time on contemporary issues and problems. How should we conceive of accountability, both conceptually and normatively? Are elections sufficient to make politicians accountable to ordinary citizens?
What forms of accountability are appropriate for modern democratic politics? Is accountability only for elites, or should ordinary citizens be accountable to one another? In what contexts are transparency and accountability valuable, and when might we instead find their operation counter-productive and troubling? In addition to philosophical readings, we consider a variety of real-world cases, from Wikileaks to Truth and Reconciliation Commissions. Racial Justice and Injustice. The course will explore moral and political problems of racial justice and injustice. Topics may include antidiscrimination theory, the fair political representation of racial minorities, reparations for racial injustice, racial segregation, the use of racial preferences in various practices of selection, and the evaluation of practices of law enforcement and punishment.
We will use reflections on particular problems such as these to inquire about the uses of racial concepts in political theory; the connections between racial justice and ostensibly more general conceptions of justice; and the connections between racial equality and other egalitarian ideals.
The American Presidency. This course examines the institution of the American presidency. It surveys the foundations of presidential power, both as the Founders conceived it, and as it is practiced in the modern era. This course also traces the historical development of the institutional presidency, the president's relationships with Congress and the courts, the influence presidents wield in domestic and foreign policymaking, and the ways in which presidents make decisions in a system of separated powers.
Evaluating the Candidates in the Presidential Election. Though the election is over, the question of how we evaluate and select our presidents is still relevant. What does it take to get elected?
What does it take to do the job? Can we predict whether a candidate will be a good president? We will discuss presidential leadership as a function of character and experience, institutional constraints, the selection process, and the domestic and global political context.
We will evaluate recent presidential candidates such as Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, and Bernie Sanders using insights from the academic literature on the presidency. Finally, we will ask how much the individual who occupies the office can bring about change, given the political and institutional context of American government. Is the executive in the United States too powerful or not powerful enough? Authority, Obligation, and Dissent.
What is the basis of political authority? What, if anything, makes it legitimate? Under what conditions are we obliged to follow the laws and orders of government authorities? Under what conditions can we legitimately disobey such laws or orders, or even engage in violent rebellion? How have some of the most influential political thinkers answered such questions historically and which of their theories are most helpful for illuminating these issues for us today?
Instructor s : S. Political Parties in the United States. Political parties are a central feature of American government. In this course we will explore their role in contemporary politics and learn about their development over the course of American history.
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We will start by asking the following questions: What is a political party? Why do we have a two-party system, and how did that system develop? Although our primary empirical focus will be on parties in the United States, we will spend some time on comparative approaches to political parties. Insurgency, Terrorism, and Civil War.
This course provides an introduction to asymmetric and irregular warfare. From Colombia to Afghanistan, non-state armed organizations are crucially important actors. We will study how they organize themselves, extract resources, deploy violence, attract recruits, and both fight and negotiate with states. We will also examine government counterinsurgency and counterterrorism policies, peace-building after conflict, and international involvement in internal wars.
Case materials will be drawn from a variety of conflicts and cover a number of distinct topics. This course has a heavy reading load, and both attendance and substantial participation in weekly discussion sections are required. The Problem of World Government.