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Academic Program

politcal science class

The Academic Program of the Political Science Department encompasses four major areas of Political Science, with interdisciplinary links to other programs and departments, including Public Policy, Environmental Studies, Interpretation Theory, The Democracy Project, Peace and Conflict Studies, Education, and the Lang Center for Social and Civic Affairs.

The four major areas of Political Science are:

  1. Political Theory -- the intellectual history of thinking about politics, beginning in the Western world with The Greeks and the Bible, and culminating in Marx, Nietzsche, Foucault, Arendt and contemporary modern and postmodernist theorists. It is a foundation of the Department, and the only course required for all majors.
  2. American Politics -- American political development, American elections, American political institutions, Environmental Politics, democratic theory and practice, urban underclass, faith-based public policy and Constitutional Law, judicial politics, race and American political development, lesbians and gays in American politics, presidential elections.
  3. Comparative Politics -- the study of particular regions of the world, like Latin America, China, Europe and the Middle East, as well as the forces of globalization, transitional justice, transnational institutions and social movements, and relations between areas of the world that connect peoples and nations in countless ways.
  4. International Politics -- including American foreign policy, the ways of war, international political economy, globalization, nationalism and ethnic conflict, and transnational movements and organizations that connect the forces for peace and humanitarian intervention in the world.

The Department features an integrated approach to politics that expects all majors to know several of these areas of knowledge. It builds from introductory courses to upper-level courses to honors seminars. We are always teaching new, creative courses that address current crises and issues in the political world.

First course recommendations. The following serve as both an introduction to the discipline of political science and as required introductory courses before acceptance as a major/minor in the department (please see specific acceptance guidelines for each  major/minor): POLS 002 American Politics, POLS 003 Politics Across the World, and POLS 004 International Politics.

Moot Court

Danielle Toaltoan '07 and Michael Drezner '07 relax after having been adversaries in the moot court case of Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Danielle Toaltoan '07 and Michael Drezner '07