Independent Studies

All professors in the Department are available to students who wish to pursue independent study in areas of faculty members' special expertise, either where regular courses are not suitable, or where a course has sparked the student's interest in pursuing a subject from the point at which the course left off.  Students should consult with the professor to make arrangements for an independent study at least one semester in advance; professors are limited in the number of projects they can direct each year.  One semester of independent study work, at either the intermediate or advanced level, may be counted toward the major or minor.

Honors Projects

The Department considers the honors paper an important challenge and stimulation to its students. A committee of faculty works closely with students in assisting them to pursue manageable topics and to obtain necessary research materials. The student will be expected to defend the thesis orally in the spring.

Details of the honors program are provided at a meeting of interested seniors in early September. Students seeking to graduate with Honors in Government and Legal Studies must:

  1. Receive grades of A in at least half of their Government courses and have no more than one C in the major.
  2. Must prepare an honors paper, which is normally the product of two semesters of independent study work, and have that paper approved by the Department.


Recent Honors Projects

(Below is a word cloud of titles since 2009)

Word Cloud of Titles

Ryan Ward

The Pilgrim City: Love, Justice, and Eschatology in the Political Philosophy of St. Augustine

2016-2017

Luis Rico

From Merkel’s Open Borders to Orbán’s High Fences: Refugee Crisis and Asylum Politics in the European Union

2016-2017

Wirunwan Victoria Pitaktong

The Southern Thailand Insurgency: Explaining Violence by Malay-Muslims Against the Thai-Buddhist State in 2004 and Beyond

2016-2017

Marisa O'Toole

Africa and the International Criminal Court: Behind the Backlash and Toward Future Solutions

2016-2017

Jodi Kraushar

The Message, Medium, and Messenger: A Study of Political Persuasion Through a Case Study of Planned Parenthood

2016-2017

Katherine Kaufman

Cooperation or Conflict? Understanding State Compliance with Compulsory Dispute Settlement Through the Law of the Sea

2016-2017

Allisen Haggard

International Accountability for Corporate Actors: An Effective Path Forward for the International Criminal Court?

2016-2017

Benjamin Bristol

Emerson, Nietzsche, and Politics

2016-2017

 

 

 

Madeline Cole

Identity in Exile: Understanding the Sectarian Dimension of Iraqi Forced Migration, 2003-2011

2015-2016

Noah Finberg

Fact vs. Faction: Polarization in the Information Age

2015-2016

Kelsey Freeman

The Rising Tide of Indigenous Mobilization: Identity and the Politics of Refusal in Mexico and Ecuador

2015-2016

Allyson Gross

People, Planet, and Power: Narrative and Framing in the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement

2015-2016

J. Gibson Hartley

The Cosmopolitan Samaritan: Defending the Ethical Need for Humanitarian Intervention

2015-2016

Wynne Leahy

Going Viral: The Politics and Public Opinion of United States Measles Vaccination Policy

2015-2016

David Levine

Tweet Softly and Carry a Big (Selfie) Stick: The Rhetorical Presidency in the Internet Age

2015-2016

Lucy Chuying Luo

From Reasonableness to Authenticity: Rousseau’s Critique of Locke on Education

2015-2016

Apekshya Prasai

Black Tigresses and Black Widows: Strategic Utilities of Female Suicide Bombers

2015-2016

 

 

 

Hannah Arrighi

"A Providential Fact”: Tocqueville and the Promise of Democratic Greatness

2014-2015

Jerrod Dobkin

The Hamiltonian Executive and the Rise of the Administrative State

2014-2015

Stephanie Lane

Albert Camus: An Ethical Politics in the Absurd World

2014-2015

William Ossoff

“Not on Our Watch”? The Influence of the “Responsibility to Protect” Principle on US Foreign Policy

2014-2015

David Steury

McCutcheon v. FEC & the Past, Present, and Future of American Campaign Finance

2014-2015

John Swords

The Politics of US International Food Aid Policy: Domestic Constraints and Opportunities for Reform

2014-2015

Tristan Van Kote

Hunter-gatherers: The Survival of the Foraging Practice in Modern States

2014-2015

Camille Wasinger

Peace Be Dammed? Water Power and Water Politics in the Tigris-Euphrates Basin

2014-2015

 

 

 

Rodrigo Bijou

Non-State Threats in Cyberspace and Implications for U.S. Security Strategy

2013-2014

Joshua Burger-Caplan

Governmental Efficiency in an Age of Expanding Transparency

2013-2014

Samuel Karson

The American Lawgiver: On Founding the Liberal Democratic Republic

2013-2014

Shannon Grimes

The Agrarian Tradition in Political Philosophy

2013-2014

Zachary Morrison

"The Banner Made All of the Difference": The Tea Party Movement and Its Place in the Republican Party

2013-2014

Molly Ridley

The Compelled Speech Doctrine: A Libertarian Defense Against Antidiscrimination Law?

2013-2014

Jordan Goldberg

The Truth, Perhaps: Pierre Manent and the Nature of Our Political World

2013-2014

 

 

 

Isabelle Thérèse Albi

Speech and Security: The Holder Case

2012-2013

Emily Margaret Ausubel

After the War: Explaining the Effectiveness of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Programs in Post-Conflict Societies

2012-2013

Elisabeth Hill Carter

Delivering for the District? Members of Congress and their Campaign Promises, 2005-2013

2012-2013

Uchechi Nkeiruka Esonu

In the Shadow of Dayton: International Intervention in the Balkans from 1992 to 2005

2012-2013

Emily Bride Koenig

Advancing Liberalism: The Influence of Rousseau's Philosophy on Tocqueville's New Political Science

2012-2013

Devon Bresler Shapiro

From Left to Right? White Evangelical Politicization, GOP Incorporation, and the Effect of Party Affiliation on Group Opinion Change

2012-2013

Hannah Qualey Young

Turkey and the European Union: A Clash of Misconceptions?

2012-2013

 

 

 

Morgan Richard Andersen

Fear The Black Sheep! Explaining Changes In Anti-Immigrant Sentiment In The United States And Switzerland

2011-2012

Tarara Faith Deane-Krantz

On Different Tracks: Overt-Covert Foreign Policy in the Middle East

2011-2012

Tanu Kumar

From Colonialism to Insurgency: Governance and Identity in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas

2011-2012

Alain Paul Mathieu

Changing Perceptions of Terrorist Detainees in the United States: Criminals vs. Enemy Combatants

2011-2012

Peter Davies Newman

Envisioning the Future of Politics: Nietzsche, "Aristocratic Radicalism," and the Shaping of Humankind

2011-2012

Alexander Nolan Porter

Toward a Concept of Law: Hartian Positivism, Contemporary Natural Law, and The Function of Legal Systems

2011-2012

Taylor Joseph Tremble

Child Soldiers: Victims of the Civil War Natural Resource Curse

2011-2012

 

 

 

Caitlin Goodwin Callahan

"Know Thine Enemy": A Comparison of Hezbollah and the Taliban's Power, Policy, and Political Participation Decisions

2010-2011

Martha Catherine Clarke

U.S. Immigration Policy Since 1952: Congressional Will, Executive Power and Public Opinion

2010-2011

John Seamus Connolly

Reflection of the Nation: Voting Rights, Racial Politics, and Governance in the District of Columbia

2010-2011

Jonathan Brooks Dill

Equatorial Guinea: Oil and Authoritarianism in "The Land of Miracles"

2010-2011

Daria Hannah Hafner

The WikiLeaks Controversy: The Conflict Between the Government and a Free Press in the Realm of National Security Law

2010-2011

Wesley Ellis Hartwell

Liberalism's Restless Balance: Liberté en Communauté in Rousseau and Tocqueville

2010-2011

Alex Haskins

Without Borders - A Reflection on the "Reasonableness" of a Secular Public Sphere

2010-2011

Kylie May Huff

The Clause That Ate the Constitution: Cabining the Commerce Power

2010-2011

 

 

 

Mark Allan Bellis

A Defense of Tocqueville's Majority Tyranny

2009-2010

Christine Marie Carletta

Playing with the Joints: An Examination of the Implications of the Free Exercise Clause for School Voucher Programs in Maine

2009-2010

Sally Topping Hudson

German Nuclear Energy Policy and the Atomic Energy Law - The Role of the Federal Environment Ministry

2009-2010

Ross David Jacobs

New Thinking and Old Thinking: Franz Rosenzweig and Leo Strauss on the Erotics of Return

2009-2010

Daniel Louis Jose

The Intimations of Individuality: Michael Oakeshott Contra Friedrich Nietzsche

2009-2010

Jeffrey Ching Lin

An Examination of the Sino-American Defense Policies on East Asian National Alignment

2009-2010

Alexandra Lane Reed

From the Cold War to the Twenty-First Century: A Comparative Look at the U.S. Policymaking Process Toward Allende's Chile and Chávez's Venezuela

2009-2010

James Christopher Rowe

Transparency Not Secrecy: A Better Recipe for Avoiding the Trichinosis of Congressional Pork-Belly Earmarks

2009-2010

Jordan Christopher Termine

The Doctrine of Expressive Association: Boy Scouts of America v. Dale and the Future of the Right to Discriminate

2009-2010

 

 

 

Christopher Scott Adams

Structured Disorder: An Empirical Examination of the Causes Behind State Failure

2008-2009

Andrew Steven Edwards

NATO Expansion: Georgia and Ukraine?

2008-2009

Robert Joseph Halliday III

The Rise of the Shia Crescent: U.S. Policy on Iran, Iraq and Lebanon

2008-2009

Peter Dev Marton

Signing Statements: Contextualizing this Presidential Tool in the Modern Era

2008-2009

Benjamin Michael Stern

Reason, Passion, and Politics in Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra

2008-2009

Rebecca Caitlin Van Horn

Immigration, Identity and Difference: The Paradox of American National Identity in a Transnational Age

2008-2009