Political Science is often a misunderstood discipline. It is often perceived as being concerned only with the workings of government and left to those who would control the world. But what is political science? How does political science work in our everyday lives? What is the relationship between political science and government or governance? To what extent does political science influence our way of life? These questions and others will be critically analyzed during this course through a variety of readings, clips, and references.
This course will help you achieve three major objectives. First, it should ignite the political consciousness of anyone who completes it. Ideally, students should start to understand how political science shapes the way they live and their various “ways of being” in the world. Second, the course fosters an attitude that is critical of concepts such as power, government and governance, ethnicity, ideology, nation states, sovereignty, and legitimacy with a special focus on international issues. Democracy is another concept that will be explored in depth as it seems to be the fastest growing political ideology in the world. Third, the course should instill a general sense of critical inquiry in the student with regard to politics and international issues. As we live in an ever interconnected world, it is important to know and understand the events that shape it. Understanding these events, such as the Arab Spring or the Republican primary, is the primary concern of political science. Through examples, we will explore the political motivations and consequences of a number of these events. For this course, it may be wise to familiarize yourself with current events by logging on to any of the following websites: bbcnews.com, aljazeera.com, or cnn.com.
Lesson 1: Introduction to Political Science
What is political science? What is politics? What is the role of political science in society? What is the role of political scientists?
Lesson 2: International Politics
How does politics work on the international stage? What is the role of politics in diplomacy? Case Study: Iran’s Nuclear Program
Lesson 3: Inequality and Democracy
What is democracy and how did it begin? How does inequality develop in democracies?
Case Study: The World’s Largest Democracy, India
Lesson 4: Comparative Politics
What is comparative politics? Why is comparing political systems useful?
Case Study: United States vs. China
Lesson 5: Gender, Sexuality, and Politics
How are gender and sexuality political? How do politicians deal with these issues?
Case Study: Affirmative Action in the United States
Lesson 6: International Relations
What is international relations? How does political science approach international relations?
Case Study: the United Nations
Lesson 7: Political Economy
How does politics affect the economy? How can the economy effect politics?
Case Study: 2008 Global Recession
Film: Too Big To Fail
Lesson 8: Political Theory
What are some of the theories behind political science? How is political theory interdisciplinary?
Case Study: Politics in Film
Lesson 9: Political violence and Terrorism
What is genocide? How does the international community deal with political violence?
Case Study: The Last days of Ghaddafi in Libya
Lesson 10: Public administration and Policy
How does public policy get created and enacted? Who decides public policy?
Case Study: China’s one child policy
Lesson 11: Race, Ethnicity, and Politics
How can race and ethnicity become political? Are there political components to racism?
Case Study: The Civil Rights Movement in the United States
Lesson 12: Research Methods:
What methods do political scientists use in their research? Quantitative vs. Qualitative analysis
Case Study: Statistical Analysis
Lesson 13: Urban Studies
What is Urban Studies? How do urban studies play into political science?
Case Study: the City of Las Vegas
Lesson 14: Women and Politics
What is women’s role in politics? How has feminism affected the study of political science?
Case Study: Bhenazir Bhutto and Pakistan
Lesson 15: Other topics in Political Science
How does politics affect the media? Pop Culture?
Case Study: Newscorp under Rupert Murdoch