Location: Bowdoin / Government and Legal Studies / Courses

Government and Legal Studies

Spring 2014

  • 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 1100. Introduction to American Government.
Michael Franz.

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.
Ericka Albaugh.

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 1600. Introduction to International Relations.
Marc Scarcelli.

Provides a broad introduction to the study of international relations (IR). Designed to strike a balance between empirical and historical knowledge and the obligatory theoretical understanding and schools of thought in IR. Designed as an introductory course to familiarize students with no prior background in the subject, and recommended for first- and second-year students intending to take upper-level international relations courses.

GOV 2005. The American Presidency.
Janet Martin.

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 2015. Public Administration.
Andrew Rudalevige.

We deal with public organizations every day—nearly 15 percent of the United States workforce operates within one—addressing concerns ranging from playground safety to the prevention of international terrorism. Explores how and why this vital part of government works the way it does in the American political context. What do public organizations do? How well do they do it? How are they (and how might they be) managed? How do they distribute resources, and under what constraints? How are they similar to or different from their private sector counterparts? Is “red tape” always a bad thing? Considering these questions, examines a variety of real-world cases; these might include the Cuban Missile Crisis, the response to Hurricane Katrina, or the implementation of No Child Left Behind. Underlying discussion will be the perpetual difficulty in reconciling organizational efficiency with democratic accountability.

GOV 2021. Constitutional Law II: Civil Rights and Liberties.
Richard Morgan.

Examines questions arising under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

GOV 2210. Modern Political Philosophy.
Shilo Brooks.

A survey of modern political philosophy from Machiavelli to Mill. Examines the overthrow of the classical horizon, the movement of human will and freedom to the center of political thought, the idea of the social contract, the origin and meaning of rights, the relationship between freedom and equality, the role of democracy, and the replacement of nature by history as the source of human meaning. Authors may include Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, and Mill.

GOV 2230. American Political Thought.
Jean Yarbrough.

Examines the political thought of American statesmen and writers from the founding to the twentieth century, with special emphasis on three pivotal moments: the Founding, the Crisis of the House Divided, and the growth of the modern welfare state. Readings include the Federalist Papers, the Anti-federalists, Jefferson and Hamilton, Calhoun, Lincoln, William Graham Sumner, the Progressives, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and contemporary thinkers on both the right and the left.

GOV 2295. Political Philosophy and the Problem of History.
Shilo Brooks.

Examines the emergence and political consequences of the view that history, culture, and human creativity should replace nature, reason, and God as the source of moral values. Can the view that all moral orientations are relative to time and place provide a sufficient foundation for a healthy political life? Authors may include: Hegel, Nietzsche, Weber, Heidegger, and Strauss.

GOV 2405. British Politics and Society.
Henry Laurence.

Comprehensive overview of modern British politics in historical, social and cultural context.Considers the historical formation of the United Kingdom and the development of the modern democratic state, but focuses on political developments after 1945. Analyzes party politics, the Welfare State, Thatcherism, and the contemporary political scene. Explores policy issues including healthcare, education, economic policy and the role of the media.

GOV 2440. Contemporary Chinese Politics.
Christopher Heurlin.

Examines Chinese politics in the context of a prolonged revolution. After a survey of the political system as established in the 1950s and patterns of politics emerging from it, the analytic focus turns to political change in the reform era (since 1979) and the forces driving it. Topics include the political impact of decentralization and marketization, the reintegration into the capitalist world economy, and the development of the legal system. The adaptation by the Communist Party to these changes and the prospects of democratization are also examined.

GOV 2486. The Politics of Dictatorship: Authoritarian Resilience and Democratization.
Christopher Heurlin.

Despite the end of the Cold War, dictatorship has persisted—even thrived. At least 40 percent of states in the world remain authoritarian. Introduces students to the social and political logic of dictatorship. Explores questions such as: Where do dictatorships come from? Why might people support dictatorships? What effect does dictatorship have on political, economic, and social outcomes? How do dictatorships differ from one another? Why are some dictatorships resilient and stand the test of time while some quickly collapse? When dictatorships collapse, why are some dictatorships replaced by other dictatorships, while others democratize? Concentrates on the post-World War II era and explores the dynamics of dictatorship in regions throughout the world, including the Middle East, Latin America, Asia, Europe, and Africa.

GOV 2500. The Politics of the European Union.
Laura Henry.

Explores the historical foundations, scope, and consequences of European political and economic integration since 1951. Examines how the European Union’s supranational political institutions, law, and policies have developed and how they affect the domestic politics of member states. Considers challenges faced by the European Union: enlargement to include Eastern European members, the loss of national sovereignty and the “democratic deficit,” the creation of a European identity, and the development of a coordinated foreign policy.

GOV 2580. Advanced Comparative Politics: Government, War, and Society.
Christian Potholm.

An examination of the forces and processes by which governments and societies approach and wage or avoid wars. The theories and practices of warfare of various political systems will be analyzed and particular attention will be paid to the interface where politics, society, and the military come together under governmental auspices in various comparative contexts. Specific examples from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America are examined.

GOV 2680. International Security.
Barbara Elias.

National security is a principal interest for states, but what exactly does that mean in international political life, and for the security of ordinary people like us? What strategic options are available to decision makers tasked with protecting national security? How much do national security polices reflect coherent planning, and how much are policies the product of competing international, economic, and technological constraints, or domestic political interests? Analyzing the strategy and politics of diplomacy, alliances, threats, aid, and war, aims to provide an overview of security studies within the field of international relations.

GOV 3000. The Law and Politics of Freedom of Speech.
Richard Morgan.

While focusing primarily on American material, students have the option of choosing speech controversies in other polities as the subject of their seminar papers.

GOV 3010. Advanced Seminar in American Politics: Presidential-Congressional Relations.
Janet Martin.

Examines presidential-congressional relations through a number of perspectives, including use of historical, quantitative, and institutional analyses. Readings consider the relationship between the executive branch and Congress in both the domestic arena (including regulatory and budgetary policy) and in the area of foreign and defense policy.

GOV 3025. The Politics of Policy Implementation.
Andrew Rudalevige.

What happens after a bill becomes a law? During implementation, the separated system of American governance comes into sharp relief across the branches of government and across three (or more) levels of government as well. Examines how the wide range of institutional players involved—from legislators to regulators to chief executives to judges to front-line service providers—act and interact. Case studies (e.g., entitlement reform, education policy, intelligence reorganization, health care) will be used to evaluate competing theoretical frameworks.

GOV 3200. Advanced Seminar in Political Theory: Tocqueville.
Jean Yarbrough.

More than 150 years after its publication, Democracy in America remains the most powerful sympathetic critique of modern liberal democracy ever written. Careful reading of the text and selected secondary sources leads to examination of Tocqueville’s analysis of the defects to which the democratic passion for equality gives rise and consideration of possible solutions that, in contrast to the Marxist and Nietzschean critiques, aim at preserving the liberal democratic way of life.

GOV 3400. Advanced Seminar in Japanese Politics.
Henry Laurence.

Analyzes the political, social, and cultural underpinnings of modern politics, and asks how democracy works in Japan compared with other countries. Explores how Japan has achieved stunning material prosperity while maintaining among the best healthcare and education systems in the world, high levels of income equality, and low levels of crime. Students are also instructed in conducting independent research on topics of their own choosing.

GOV 3500. Social Protest and Political Change.
Laura Henry.

Analyzes the role of social protest in generating political change on issues such as civil rights, environmentalism, women’s rights, indigenous rights, and globalization. Begins by considering different theoretical approaches to understanding the emergence and effectiveness of social movements and non-governmental organizations. Then engages in comparative analysis of social protest in Europe, the United States, Latin America, and elsewhere, paying particular attention to the advantages and risks of the increasingly transnational nature of social activism.

GOV 3520. State-Building in Comparative Perspective.
Ericka Albaugh.

States form the foundation of modern politics. Comparative government explores their variation; international relations examine their interaction. States can be instruments of oppression or engines of progress, and recent scholarship has focused on their strength, weakness, and failure. This capstone course explores the processes that produced the early modern state in Europe, then looks at more recent attempts to replicate state development in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The role of war in state formation and the subject of citizenship receive particular attention.

GOV 3590. Political Violence.
Marc Scarcelli.

Provides an in-depth study of political violence, a set of phenomena which includes international war, civil war, ethnic conflict, political repression, genocide, ethnic cleansing, revolutions, coups, and terrorism. Groups political violence into three general categories: reciprocal violence, violence by the state, and violence against the state. Broadly examines why these patterns of violence exist, drawing upon social-psychological, economic, and institutional perspectives, in tandem with consideration of numerous specific cases.

GOV 3600. Advanced Seminar in International Relations: Conflict Simulation and Conflict Resolution.
Christian Potholm.

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.