Fall 2014 Courses

  • The College Catalogue has a class finder tool to search for courses by title, instructor, department, and more.
  • Login to Blackboard. Instructional materials are available on a course-by-course basis.
GOV 1001. Representation, Participation, and Power in American Politics.
An introductory seminar in American national politics. Readings, papers, and discussion explore the changing nature of power and participation in the American polity, with a focus on the interaction between individuals (non-voters, voters, party leaders, members of Congress, the President) and political institutions (parties, Congress, the executive branch, the judiciary). Not open to students who have credit for or are concurrently taking Government 1100 {150}.
GOV 1002. Political Leadership.
We talk about political leadership all the time, mostly to complain about its absence. Leadership is surely one of the key elements of politics, but what does it mean? Do we know it when we see it? What kinds of leaders do we have, and what kinds do we want? How do modern democratic conceptions of governance mesh with older visions of authority? Of ethics? Looks both at real world case studies and the treatment of leadership in literature. Offers a wide variety of perspectives on leadership and the opportunities and dangers it presents—both for those who want to lead, and for those who are called upon to follow.
GOV 1011. Fundamental Questions: Exercises in Political Theory.
Explores the fundamental questions in political life: What is justice? What is happiness? Are human beings equal or unequal by nature? Do they even have a nature, or are they “socially constructed”? Are there ethical standards for political action that exist prior to law and, if so, where do they come from? Nature? God? History? Readings may include Plato, Aristotle, the Bible, Machiavelli, Locke, Rousseau, Shakespeare, the American Founders, Tocqueville, and Nietzsche.
GOV 1012. Human Being and Citizen.
An introduction to the fundamental issues of political philosophy: human nature, the relationship between individual and political community, the nature of justice, the place of virtue, the idea of freedom, and the role of history. Readings span both ancient and modern philosophical literature. Authors may include Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, the American Founders, Tocqueville, Mill, and Nietzsche.
GOV 1025. NGOs in Politics.
Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are thought to play a crucial role in politics—monitoring the state, facilitating citizen participation in politics, and articulating policy alternatives. Yet the activities of NGOs vary significantly from one political system to another, most notably differing among developing and developed states and democratic and authoritarian states. In addition, NGOs’ role in the political process is being transformed by globalization and the increasingly transnational nature of political activism. Explores the following questions: How do factors such as a state’s level of economic development, its political culture, the nature of the political regime, and the arrangement of its political institutions shape NGOs’ role and influence in the political process? When and where have NGOs been successful in influencing political developments? How do the growing transnational linkages among NGOs affect their role in domestic politics?
GOV 1026. Global Media and Politics.
Examines the impact of media including the Internet, newspapers, and television, on politics and society in cross-national perspective. Asks how differences in the ownership and regulation of media affect how news is selected and presented, and looks at various forms of government censorship and commercial self-censorship. Also considers the role of the media and “pop culture” in creating national identities, perpetuating ethnic stereotypes, and providing regime legitimation; and explores the impact of satellite television and the Internet on rural societies and authoritarian governments.
GOV 1031. Weapons of the Weak.
Despite enjoying a preponderance of resources, the rich and mighty don’t always win in life, or in war. Why? How do peasants and insurgents impose their will on more “powerful” organizations? How do wealthy armies at times lose wars to impoverished rebels? Whereas money and material can be measured, divided and counted in a spreadsheet, less quantifiable factors of conflict such as ideas, identity, legitimacy, willpower and fortitude are too-often discounted as secondary factors. But these may, in truth, be at the heart of war, and weapons for the weak to bring down the mighty.
GOV 1100. Introduction to American Government.
Provides a comprehensive overview of the American political process. Specifically, traces the foundations of American government (the Constitution, federalism, civil rights, and civil liberties), its political institutions (Congress, Presidency, courts, and bureaucracy), and its electoral processes (elections, voting, and political parties). Also examines other influences, such as public opinion and the mass media, which fall outside the traditional institutional boundaries, but have an increasingly large effect on political outcomes.
GOV 1400. Introduction to Comparative Government.
Provides a broad introduction to key concepts in comparative politics. Most generally, asks why states are governed differently, both historically and in contemporary politics. Begins by examining foundational texts, including works by Marx, Smith, and Weber. Surveys subfields within comparative politics (the state, regime types, nations and nationalism, party systems, development, and civil society) to familiarize students with major debates and questions.
GOV 2005. The American Presidency.
An examination of the presidency in the American political system, including the “road to the White House” (party nomination process and role of the electoral college), advisory systems, the institutional presidency, relations with Congress and the courts, and decision-making in the White House. In addition, the instructors draw from their own research interests. For Professor Martin these include presidential-congressional relations, the unilateral action of the President, the role of women as advisors within the White House and in the executive branch, and the influence of outside groups on the White House’s consideration of issues. For Professor Rudalevige these include presidents’ inter-branch relations, with a recent emphasis on presidential efforts to manage the wider executive branch through administrative and unilateral tactics.
GOV 2010. United States Congress.
An examination of the United States Congress, with a focus on members, leaders, constituent relations, the congressional role in the policy-making process, congressional procedures and their impact on policy outcomes, the budget process, and executive-congressional relations.
GOV 2020. Constitutional Law I.
Examines the development of American constitutionalism, the power of judicial review, federalism, and separation of powers.
GOV 2035. Maine Politics.
An analysis of politics in the state of Maine since World War II. Subjects covered include the dynamics of Republican and Democratic rivalries and the efficacy of the Independent voter, the rise of the Green and Reform parties, the growing importance of ballot measure initiatives, and the interaction of ethnicity and politics in the Pine Tree State. An analysis of key precincts and Maine voting paradigms is included, as well as a look at the efficacy of such phenomena as the north/south geographic split, the environmental movement, and the impact of such interest groups as SAM, the Tea Party, and the Roman Catholic Church. Students are expected to follow contemporary political events on a regular basis.
GOV 2051. Race, Citizenship, and Political Behavior.
Analyzes the ability of race and ethnicity to restrict access to citizenship rights and produce dynamic forms of political behavior that range from micro to macro-politics. The course considers the traditional forms of political behavior (e.g., voting) as well as those that function outside of the traditional institutions of governmental influence. Specific forms of political behavior discussed include “foot-dragging” (failure to act with the necessary promptness), sports, music, protests and voting.
GOV 2060. Campaigns and Elections.
Addresses current theories and controversies concerning political campaigns and elections in the United States. Takes advantage of the fact that the class meets during the heart of the 2012 presidential and congressional campaigns. Uses concepts from the political science literature on elections to explore general trends in electoral choice at the legislative and presidential level. Students will be expected to follow journalistic accounts of the fall campaigns closely. A second set of readings introduces political science literature on campaigns and elections. These readings touch upon a wide range of themes, including voting behavior (e.g., economic voting and issue voting), campaign finance, media strategy, the role of incumbency, presidential primaries, the Electoral College, and trends in partisan realignment.
GOV 2200. Classical Political Philosophy.
A survey of classical political philosophy focusing on four major works: Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Politics, and St. Augustine’s City of God. Examines ancient Greek and early Christian reflections on human nature, justice, the best regime, the relationship of the individual to the political community, the relationship of philosophy to politics, democracy, education, religion, and international relations.
GOV 2270. Religion and Politics.
Examines the relationship between religion and politics—the so-called theological-political question—primarily in modern Europe and America. Focuses first on the tension between and eventual separation of church and state in the early modern period; then considers the implications and complications of this historic separation, looking at recent Supreme Court cases, as well as contemporary discussion of the relationship between religion and politics. Comparisons with the treatment of this issue in the Islamic world are made. Authors include Machiavelli, Luther, Calvin, Spinoza, Locke, Jefferson, Madison, Tocqueville, as well as a variety of contemporary and Islamic writers.
GOV 2410. Post-Communist Russian Politics and Society.
Explores the most dramatic political event of the twentieth century: the collapse of Soviet communism and Russia’s subsequent political development. Begins by examining the Soviet system and the political and social upheaval of the late Soviet period. Proceeds to investigate the challenges of contemporary Russian politics, including the semi-authoritarian regime, the challenges of sustainable economic growth and modernization, the demographic crisis, the loss of superpower status, and the search for a role in international politics. Comparisons will be made with other countries in the post-Communist region.
GOV 2450. Japanese Politics and Society.
Comprehensive overview of modern Japanese politics in historical, social, and cultural context. Analyzes the electoral dominance of the Liberal Democratic Party, the nature of democratic politics, and the rise and fall of the economy. Other topics include the status of women and ethnic minorities, education, war guilt, nationalism, and the role of the media.
GOV 2481. Nationalism.
The terms nation and nationalism are used in different disciplines within the social sciences and humanities. They are also terms often used in the news and popular media. This class hopes to clarify what these terms mean and how they might relate to us. We consider: What is a nation? How do nations come about? How does one identify with that nation? Introduces theoretical canonical texts from the field of nationalism studies and other interdisciplinary scholarship on the topic. With this theoretical background, students should be able to think critically about the political motivations and work behind nationalist movements and nation-building projects.
GOV 2530. Politics and Societies in Africa.
Surveys societies and politics in sub-Saharan Africa, seeking to understand the sources of current conditions and the prospects for political stability and economic growth. Looks briefly at pre-colonial society and colonial influence on state-construction in Africa, and concentrates on three broad phases in Africa’s contemporary political development: (1) independence and consolidation of authoritarian rule; (2) economic decline and challenges to authoritarianism; (3) democratization and civil conflict. Presumes no prior knowledge of the region.
GOV 2570. The Politics of Development: Poverty, Prosperity, and Political Change.
Examines the meaning of development from economic and political perspectives. Considers various theories and practices of development that have been applied to newly independent states in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Investigates why trajectories of economic growth and political stability have been so uneven in different regions of the world. Incorporates views from both external and internal actors on issues such as foreign aid, multilateral institutions, good governance, and democratic participation.
GOV 2571. Failed States.
Addresses theories and empirical realities of state weakness and failure. The first set of topics will cover the defining characteristics of statehood and state failure in the international community. The second set of topics will address patterns of internal disorder within failed states, specifically civil war and violent non-state actors. The third topic will address the perceived and potential transnational threats that stem from state collapse, specifically terrorism. The final topic will cover the responses and responsibility of the international community to both confront threats and strengthen state-society relations in weak and failed states.
GOV 2620. Global Governance of Crises: Inequality and Insecurity.
Addresses the causes of various global crises, how the international community responds to them, and their impact on international politics and human life. The types of crises include those broadly related to international inequality and insecurity, specifically case study topics of poverty, famine, threats from failed states, human security and “culture clashes.” Beyond an introduction to global governance issues and concepts, analysis of each crisis will entail a review of scholarly analysis on the causes and policy debates of crises and critical assessment of various organizations and actors that are involved.
GOV 2670. United States Foreign Policy.
Examines the development and conduct of United States foreign policy. Analyzes the impact of intragovernmental rivalries, the media, public opinion, and interest groups on the policy-making process, and provides case studies of contemporary foreign policy issues.
GOV 2940. Education and Law.
A study of the impact of the American legal system on the functioning of schools in the United States through an examination of Supreme Court decisions and federal legislation. Analyzes the public policy considerations that underlie court decisions in the field of education and considers how those judicial interests may differ from the concerns of school boards, administrators, and teachers. Issues to be discussed include constitutional and statutory developments affecting schools in such areas as free speech, sex discrimination, religious objections to compulsory education, race relations, teachers’ rights, school financing, and education of the handicapped.
GOV 3600. Advanced Seminar in International Relations: Conflict Simulation and Conflict Resolution.
An upper-level interdisciplinary seminar on the nature of both international and national conflict. A variety of contexts and influence vectors are examined and students are encouraged to look at the ways conflicts can be solved short of actual warfare, as well as by it.
GOV 3901. Latin-American - United States Relations.
Seminar. Enhances understanding of Latin America by examining the foreign relations of the nations in the hemisphere with a special focus on relations with the United States. The historical arc of the course begins with independence and concludes with the contemporary struggle by the nations in the region for autonomy in the international system. Class discussions will explore weekly readings. Participants should have some background in the history of the U.S. and Latin America. Students will be expected to write an original research paper.