Lang Center
for Civic & Social Responsibility

Politics & Public Policy

Politics & Public Policy is a broad category that encapsulates everything from social justice advocacy to law to political campaigns and community organizing. It is the critical way in which communities can engage with their government and their fellow constituents. Through participating in politics and political discourse, as well as by helping shape and formulate public policy, individuals can help set and carry out agendas on a local, state, and national level. In this way, Politics & Public Policy describes a powerful way of facilitating change and progress across a variety of issue areas; this category can encompass engagement in the form of advocacy, awareness, education, internships, projects, employment, public service, and more.

Engaged Scholarship Opportunities 

  • PEAC 053: Israeli-Palestinean Conflict: Typically offered in the Fall, this Peace and Conflict Studies course gives students an in-depth look into the origins and current state of the conflict between and within Israel and Palestine. The course’s field component gives approximately 35 students the opportunity to study abroad over Winter Break in Israel/Palestine, combining course material with real-world exposure and application.
  • POLS 031: This course explores the causes and impact of migration and the refugee crisis, as well as the impact of foreign and domestic policies. This course’s field component includes observations of immigration hearings as well as meetings with prominent NGOs in the Philadelphia area. 
  • SwatVotes: SwatVotes is a student group dedicated to increasing voter education, provide tools and guides to better understand registration, and curate resources on how to vote by mail with the goal of fostering democratic engagement at Swarthmore. 


Key Faculty and Staff

  • Ben Berger, Associate Professor of Political Science and Executive Director of the Lang Center 
  • Keith Reeves ’88, Professor of Political Science and Department Chair; Director of the Urban Inequality and Incarceration program
  • Sa’ed Atshan ‘06, Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies

  • Krista Thomason, Associate Professor of Philosophy; Coordinator for Peace and Conflict Studies Program

Student Groups


Relevant Courses 

Swarthmore Fall 2020 

Swarthmore Fall 2019/Spring 2020

  • ANTH 31C - Hispanics, Mestizos, Latinxs 
  • EDUC 062 - Sociology of Education
  • EDUC 072 - Humanitarianism: Education & Conflict
  • EDUC 167    Education, Race, and the Law
  • ENVS 031 - Climate Disruption
  • ENVS 042 - Ecofeminism
  • MUSI 008B - Music, Race & Class
  • PEAC 015 - Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies
  • PEAC 038 - Civil Wars & Neoliberal Peace
  • PEAC 043 - Gender, Sexuality, and Social Change
  • PEAC 052 - Afghanistan: Where Central & South Asia Meet
  • PEAC 060 - Social Innovation for Peace 
  • PEAC 077 - Special Topic: Gun Violence Prevention 
  • PEAC 053 - Israeli-Palestinean Conflict
  • PHIL 021 - Social and Political Philosophy
  • POLS 003 - Introduction to Comparative Political Systems
  • POLS 004 - International Politics
  • POLS 012 - Introduction to Modern Political Thought
  • POLS 028 - The Urban Underclass and Public Policy
  • POLS 031 - Borders and Migration
  • POLS 038. Research Design and Inference in the Social Sciences
  • POLS 043 - Environmental Policy and Politics
  • POLS 045 - Disaster Politics and Policies
  • POLS 047: Ethics and Economics
  • POLS    048    The Politics of Population
  • POLS 057: Latin American Politics
  • POLS 059: Middle East Politics
  • POLS 061: American Foreign Policy
  • POLS 062 - The Politics and Practice of Humanitarianism
  • POLS 063 - African Politics
  • POLS 066: International Political Economy
  • POLS 070B - Politics of Punishment
  • POLS 100 - Ancient Political Theory: Plato to Hobbes
  • POLS 104: The State of American Democracy
  • POLS 105 - Constitutional Law in the American Polity
  • PSYC 040 - Political Psychology
  • SOCI 048L - Urban Crime and Punishment


Bryn Mawr Fall 2019/Spring 2020 Classes

  • PHILB225001: Global Ethical Issues
  • POLSB222001: Environmental Issues - Movement, Controversy, Policy
  • POLSB249001: Politics of Economic Development
  • POLSB256: Global Politics of Climate Change
  • POLSB261: Sovereignty, Identity, and the Law
  • POLSB327001: Political Philosophy 1950 - Present
  • POLSB354001: Comparative Social Movements
  • Haverford Fall 2019/Spring 2020 Classes
  • PEACH101A: Intro to Peace, Justice, and Human Rights
  • PEACH319A: Human Rights in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania-In National and Global Context
  • POLSH161B001: The Politics of Globalization
  • POLSH171B001: Introduction to Political Theory: Ideologies and the Struggle to Control Authority
  • POLSH204B001: The Politics of the Creative Class in American Cities
  • POLSH208B001: Political Thought in the Global South: The Case of Latin America
  • POLSH217B001: Education Reform in America: Politics and Policy
  • POLSH261B001: Global Civil Society
  • POLSH278B001: The Earth: Ethics, Politics, and Economics
  • POLSH316B001: Race, Poverty, and the U.S. Welfare State


Off-Campus Opportunities