The Program

Earlham’s Politics Department prepares today’s college students to be leaders tomorrow. We believe the Millennial Generation will play an important role in the development of a better world. In the twenty-first century, we are faced with converging crises ranging from international political instability to climate change, from population growth to energy shortages, from declining agricultural yields to endangered human rights. We believe that as rising adults our students will help find solutions to these problems, whether through grassroots efforts or more formal modes of governance. It is a great thrill to help provide Earlhamites with the tools needed to succeed in a life of public service after college.

So, how do we do it? Incoming students have the opportunity both to build a foundation in political studies by completing our core requirements and the flexibility to find their own path as they choose the electives that will help define their undergraduate experience.   Students and faculty work closely both in and out of the classroom – these collaborative learning opportunities are invaluable in helping students find and meet their potential.  Recent student-faculty research projects have included a group of students working on a better understanding of the issues surrounding African citizenship, a group writing an extensive policy brief recommending the development of a college garden on campus, and a group thinking through Quaker and pacifist ideas about preventing atrocity crimes.  Finally, each new major has a dedicated adviser who is committed to providing the guidance needed to not only succeed as an undergraduate, but to prepare for life beyond Earlham.

General Education Requirements

The Department offers three courses that fulfill the Domestic component of the Perspectives on Diversity requirement, POLS 243, 346, 366; and 15 courses that fulfill the International component of that requirement, POLS 170, 323, 350, 351, 352, 355, 357, 359, 363, 371, 372, 373, 374, 377 and 378. The Department also offers two Writing Intensive courses, POL 365 and 375, and yearly Earlham Seminars.

A.R.T.S. Skill Themes

Our majors will receive a solid grounding in the discipline as a result of completing our core curriculum and their required electives. In addition to gaining specific knowledge, we integrate the A.R.T.S. inventory of skills into the curriculum that are designed to help majors succeed after they leave Earlham.

  • “A” for Argument: courses where students learn disciplinary definitions and practice constructing a scholarly argument;
  • “R” for Research: courses where students must demonstrate an ability to conduct case-study research and propose reasonable solutions to real-world problems;
  • “T” for Theory: courses where students practice effectively summarizing and properly citing theoretical material, and;
  • “S” for Simulation: courses where students will work in groups to actively participate in either real-world or simulated debates and activities.

The Major

Majors in Politics are expected to achieve both depth and breadth of knowledge in the field. They are strongly encouraged to have a public service internship and/or international study experience.

Politics majors are required to take a minimum of 11 courses in Politics that must include the following:

The introductory course:

  • POLS 111 Introduction to Politics

One of the following Political Philosophy courses:

  • POLS 361 Political Philosophy I
  • POLS 362 Political Philosophy II
  • POLS 366 American Political Thought

One of the following quantitative courses:

  • ECON 100 Introduction to Economics
  • MATH 120 Elementary Statistics
  • SOAN 245 Social Research Methods

POLS 488: Senior Capstone Experience

Students must also have the following:

  • One course in each of the three major subfields: American, Comparative and International Relations
  • Four courses that meet the four designations of the A.R.T.S. Skill Themes
  • A significant co- or extra-curricular activity

Politics majors are also encouraged to take courses in related Social Sciences, including History, Economics, Sociology/Anthropology and Psychology.

The Minor

Students choosing to minor in Politics must complete a minimum of six courses in Politics that must include:

The introductory course:

  • POLS 111 Introduction to Politics

One of the following Political Philosophy courses:

  • POLS 361 Political Philosophy I
  • POLS 362 Political Philosophy II
  • POLS 366 American Political Thought

Three courses that meet three designations of the A.R.T.S. Skill Themes.

* Key

Courses that fulfill
General Education Requirements:

  • (A-AP) = Arts - Applied
  • (A-TH) = Arts - Theoretical/Historical
  • (A-AR) = Analytical - Abstract Reasoning
  • (A-QR) = Analytical - Quantitative
  • (D-D) = Diversity - Domestic
  • (D-I) = Diversity - International
  • (D-L) = Diversity - Language
  • (ES) = Earlham Seminar
  • (IE) = Immersive Experience
  • (RCH) = Research
  • (SI) = Scientific Inquiry
  • (W) = Wellness
  • (WI) = Writing Intensive
  • (AY) = Offered in Alternative Year

POLS 111 INTRODUCTION TO POLITICS (3 credits)
This broad introductory course launches the formal study of Politics at the college level, exploring the distinct yet complementary subfields of the discipline, most importantly Political Theory, Comparative Politics, American Politics and International Relations. Students in this course, no matter what subfield interests them most, begin to address enduring questions about global phenomena with both theoretical practical implications. Students also will practice research and writing skills, and engage in political debates about questions both historical and contemporary. This course is a pre-requisite for upper division work in the Politics major and serves as a gateway to those interested in International Studies, PAGS and environmental policy work. Also listed as INST 111 and PAGS 111.

POLS 170 INTRODUCTION TO DIPLOMACY (3 credits)
An experiential course that examines political, economic and social issues in world politics by simulating the work of states in U.N. committees and organizations. Students serve as delegates to a regional Model U.N. Scholarly readings on the practice of diplomacy. Also listed as INST 170 and PAGS 170. (D-I)

*POLS 243 RACE, PHILOSOPHY AND POLITICS (4 credits)
Investigates, interprets and criticizes how philosophers have understood the meaning of race as well as its impact on accounts of identity, knowledge and social justice. Studies the political ideologies of liberalism, integration and Black nationalism striving to answer the question: How and to what extent are the varied or competing interests of Black folk reflected in such theories? Also listed as AAAS 243 and PHIL 243. (D-D)

POLS 321 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY I: CLIMATE (3 credits)
Examines the basic causes of global weirding (e.g., industrialization, electrification, transportation), the key impacts of global weirding (e.g., water scarcity, extreme weather events, rising sea level), mitigation strategies in various sectors (e.g., food production, water systems, and urban planning), and prominent policy solutions (e.g., carbon tax, cap and trade system, feed-in-tariffs, renewable energy portfolios, clean energy research and development). Students will engage in an extended simulation that will investigate the political constraints to adopting various policy solutions. A.R.T.S. Designation: S. (AY)

POLS 322 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY II: ENERGY (3 credits)
Examine the energy crisis, investigating a broad range of technical and policy alternatives to solve the problem. Students will investigate basic energy science, peak oil, fossil fuel uses, energy efficiency, clean energy, smart grids, and the impacts of solving the energy crisis on our daily lives. Students will engage in a group project aimed at drafting a detailed policy brief assessing a specific energy problem. A.R.T.S. Designation: A. (AY)

POLS 323 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY III: INTERNATIONAL APPROACHES (3 credits)
Examines the climate and energy crises from an international perspective. Explores environmental policy approaches in the European Union, Japan, China, India, Mexico, and Brazil. Students will participate in a comprehensive simulation of an international climate conference, aimed at negotiating an agreement that includes both mitigation and adaptation commitments. A.R.T.S. Designation: S. (D-I) (AY)

POLS 339 APPROACHING POLITICAL PUZZLES (4 credits)
Designed to improve students’ understanding of political science by enhancing critical thinking skills and exploring different theoretical approaches to political science. Students learn how to build on existing research and use “real world” examples in their own work. Experience gained in hands-on research and writing can be applied to the Senior Capstone Experience and other upper-division courses. A.R.T.S. Designation: R. Prerequisites: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor.

POLS 341 POLITICAL PARTIES AND ELECTIONS (3 credits)
Examines the role parties and elections play in American politics. Students will develop an understanding of: the historical foundations of the two-party system in the United States, including the role of major realigning elections; the major contemporary coalitions supporting each major party; and, the who, what, where and when of American elections. Students will write a significant research paper examining the electoral situation in a specific state. A.R.T.S. Designation: R. Prerequisite: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor. (AY)

POLS 342 AMERICAN PUBLIC POLICY (3 credits)
Introduces the public policy process in the United States. Examines the role parties and elections play in American politics. Students will develop an understanding of: the historical foundations of the two-party system in the United States, including the role of major realigning elections; the major contemporary coalitions supporting each major party; and, the who, what, where and when of American elections. Students will write a significant research paper examining the electoral situation in a specific state. A.R.T.S. Designation: R. Prerequisite: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor. (AY)

POLS 343 LEGISLATIVE TOOLKIT (3 credits)
Hands on orientation to current functions and practices of the U.S. Congress with the goal of preparing students for staff positions in legislative or advocacy offices. Comparison of House and Senate and relations between Congress and the Executive branch, as well as the behavior of Members of Congress in both their legislative and representative roles. Particular attention to the policy making process and constituent work. Optional field trip to DC may be offered. A.R.T.S. Designation: S. Prerequisite: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor. (AY)

POLS 345 THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY (3 credits)
Examines the evolution of the presidency, tracking institutional developments using landmark documents and assessments from contemporary scholars. Students will engage in ongoing debates about different aspects of executive power in the American government. Students will also participate in a semester long speechwriting project A.R.T.S. Designation: A. Prerequisite: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor. (AY)

*POLS 346 CONSTITUTIONAL LAW (4 credits)
Examines the historic foundations of the American legal system and its existing structural framework. Examines case law associated with defining federalism, democracy, and capitalism under the American Constitution. Examines case law associated with civil rights and civil liberties under the American Constitution. Students will learn how to write case briefs, a key skill for anyone considering law school. A.R.T.S. Designation: R. (D-D) (AY)

*POLS 349 NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY VIA FILM (3 Credits)
Examines a collection of contemporary films that seek to enhance our understanding of real-world politics and major policy debates. Expands the view of movies as entertainment to deepen our understanding of politics, economics and culture. Also discusses the politics of film-making, seeking to understand why filmmakers choose political subjects. Also listed as FILM 349. (AY)

*POLS 350 THEORIES OF COMPARATIVE POLITICS (3 credits)
Introduces core comparative political theories to analyze current affairs in domestic and global politics. Improves critical thinking skills through logical application of core concepts and such approaches as political culture, rational choice, states and institutions, and democracy. Prerequisite: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor. (D-I with appropriate topic) (AY)

*POLS 351 DEMOCRACY AND DEMOCRATIZATION (3 credits)
The tumultuous events of the Arab Spring are still playing out, but it’s not too soon to start analyzing them.  Though Comparative Politics has been trying to understand why and how countries democratize for many years, the recent events in the Middle East and North Africa offer fresh opportunities to test old theories and develop new ones.  In this course we will analyze definitions of democracy and various hypotheses that can help explain the timing of transitions from authoritarian rule, and why attempts at democratization succeed or fail, using examples from the Arab Spring and elsewhere.  A.R.T.S. Designation: R. Prerequisite: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor. (D-I) (AY)

*POLS 352 AFRICA & THE WORLD: DEVELOPMENT, CONFLICT AND COOPERATION (3 credits)
Investigates the unique situation of African countries in terms of economics and international relations, with a focus on development (economic and human development) and conflict and cooperation both on the continent and between the region and the rest of the world.  Taking a thematic approach, the course offers an overview of the central debates on these crucial questions and invites students to focus on how all these issues play out in one country of their choice.  A.R.T.S. Designation: R. Prerequisite: POLS 111 or consent of instructor. (D-I) (AY)

*POLS 355 POLITICS OF THE DEVELOPING WORLD (3 credits)
What can developing countries do to promote economic growth and good governance? While development questions often focus on the relationship between the international donor community and aid recipients, looking at political and economic progress from a domestic perspective can be enlightening, as there is arguably greater space for reform in a domestic system than an international one. This course uses the tools of comparative politics to explore governance and economic management in the developing world, focusing on positive steps that countries can take to improve the lives of their citizens. A.R.T.S. Designation: S. Prerequisite: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor. (D-I) (AY)

*POLS 357 COMPARATIVE FOREIGN POLICY (3 credits)
Examines foreign policy using a comparative perspective by focusing on major domestic and foreign political issues in various countries. Examines the decision-making process and the impact of international organizations. Analyzes international political economy and compares and contrasts foreign policies. Prerequisite: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor. (D-I) (AY)

*POLS 359 AFRICAN DEMOCRACY AND DICTATORSHIP (3 credits)
Explores the evolution of African dictatorships and asks whether democracy in sub-Saharan Africa is substantially different from democracy elsewhere in the world. Considers whether African countries' experimentation with different forms of governance—from military to civilian rule, from one-party states to multiparty democracies—has resulted in better governance. A.R.T.S. Designation: R. Prerequisite: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor. Also listed as AAAS 359. (D-I) (AY)

POLS 361 POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY I (3 credits)
An examination of the central questions posed by major political philosophers of the classical and early modern periods. Attention to major primary works of Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli and Hobbes. Also listed as PHIL 361. (AY)

POLS 362 POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY II (3 credits)
Examination of the central ideas of modern political philosophers. Attention to major primary works by Locke, Rousseau, Burke, Mill, Marx and Nietzsche. Also listed as PHIL 362. (AY)

*POLS 363 ISRAEL AND THE MIDDLE EAST (3 credits)
Topics include the history and context of Israeli politics, governmental institutions and behavior, and the setting within which Israeli foreign policy decisions are made. Briefly examines the Palestinian setting. Explores the processes of peacemaking, including the history of the peace process and more contemporary action in the Middle East. Prerequisite: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor. (D-I)

*POLS 365 TOPICS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY (3 credits)
An intensive study of a significant concept, set of ideas or philosopher. Recent topics include the search for utopia, Hobbes and Rousseau, the American Framers, contemporary political philosophy, the crisis of American Liberalism, and Thomas Jefferson and the American Enlightenment. A.R.T.S. Designation: T. Prerequisite: An Interpretive Practices course and POLS 361, 362 or 366; or consent of the instructor. (WI)

*POLS 366 AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT (3 credits)
The development of political ideas in America from the Puritan colonial experience to the present. Examines the changing concepts of the role of government and the nature of political society through the writings of major thinkers. Also listed as HIST 366. (D-D) (AY)

*POLS 371 THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (4 credits)
Examines classics, trends and innovations in empirical and normative theories of international relations, from Thucydides and Machiavelli to Galtung and beyond. Reading and writing intensive. Provides opportunities for students to apply theoretical perspectives to problems and issues of particular salience to them (e.g. questions raised by off-campus study). Designed for juniors and seniors. A.R.T.S. Designation: T. Prerequisite: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor. Also listed as INST and PAGS 371. (D-I) (AY)

*POLS 372 INTERNATIONAL LAW: SOVEREIGNTY, HUMANITARIAN LAW AND HUMAN RIGHTS (4 credits)
Surveys concepts and theories of international law and treaty interpretation, focusing on problems of the international law of war and peace (international humanitarian law), and questions of socio-political justice (human rights). A.R.T.S. Designation: A. Prerequisites: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor. Also listed as PAGS 372. (D-I) (AY)

*POLS 373 INTERNATIONAL LAW: ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT (4 credits)
Surveys concepts and theories of international law focusing on environmental problems and policy-making in the global arena. Topics include the emergence of “the environment” as a global issue, the history of international principles of sustainable development,  managing global common property resources, and the human rights consequences of environmental degradation. A.R.T.S. Designation: A. Prerequisite: POLS 170. Also listed as ENPR 373. (D-I) (AY)

*POLS 374 AMERICA'S WARS IN ASIA (3 credits)
Examines American perceptions and diplomatic and military conduct in Asia in the 20th century, from the Philippine War to the War on Terror, focusing on the bilateral relations between Asian countries and the U.S.,and on American behavior in the context of U.S. domestic culture and politics. Examines the future of U.S. foreign policy towards Asia. Prerequisite: An Earlham Seminar, an Interpretive Practices course or consent of the instructor. Also listed as HIST 374 and JPNS 374. (WI, D-I) (AY)

*POLS 375 TOPICS IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (3 credits)
Offers an in-depth study of a current controversy or theoretical problem in IR. Past topics have included feminist theories of IR, the Bomb, and the Responsibility to Protect. A.R.T.S. Designation: R. Prerequisite: An Interpretive Practices course or consent of the instructor. Also listed as PAGS 375. (WI)

*POLS 377 POLITICS OF GLOBAL INEQUALITY (3 credits)
Explores the problem of global inequality, its implications for human development and possible solutions. Builds on concepts from International Political Economy and Comparative Politics. Defines inequality and development, and discusses how to measure these phenomena. Explores competing explanations for the existence and persistence of global inequality, and tackles issues important in the developing world. A.R.T.S. Designation: S. Prerequisite: POLS 111, 170 or consent of the instructor. (D-I) (AY)

*POLS 378 INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY (3 credits)
Explores the interactions and tensions between states and markets in the international political economy. Examines both current and past events with international political and economic ramifications and theories that seek to provide systematic explanations for the economic behavior of states, multinational corporations and international financial institutions. A.R.T.S. Designation: T. Prerequisite: POLS 111, 170 or consent of the instructor. (D-I) (AY)

POLS 481 INTERNSHIPS, FIELD STUDIES AND OTHER FIELD EXPERIENCES (1-3 credits)

POLS 482 SPECIAL TOPICS (3 credits)
Selected topics determined by the instructor for upper-level study.

POLS 483 TEACHING ASSISTANTS (1-3 credits)

POLS 484 FORD/KNIGHT RESEARCH PROJECT (1-4 credits)
Collaborative research with faculty funded by the Ford/Knight Program.

POLS 485 INDEPENDENT STUDY (1-3 credits)
An investigation of a specific topic conceived and planned by the student in consultation with a faculty adviser.

POLS 488 SENIOR CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE (4 credits)
Designed to bring together both the substantive and methodological diversities of the discipline of Politics in an intensive, collegial format. Seminar topics vary. Students produce a final project that serves as the comprehensive examination for majors, and complete a portfolio that reflects their accomplishments in the major and prepares them for opportunities after graduation.

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Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts, including the sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
47374-4095
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