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Politics:
Morally Sensitive Leaders for Future Generations

Overview   |   Meet An Earlhamite   |   Our Faculty   |   Plan of Study   |   Courses  

 

Preparing you to take on the political challenges of the future, the Politics faculty at Earlham is committed to continued excellence in teaching.

The Integrated 'Introduction to Politics' course helps build a cohort of students from the start, and helps introduce you to the terms and concepts you will use in subsequent courses.

Our professors will know you well, so they can accurately assess your development. You will have a great deal of flexibility to find your own path and choose the electives that help define your undergraduate experience.

There are frequent opportunities to engage in student-faculty research. Recently a group of students working on African citizenship published a paper in a peer-reviewed journal, while another group wrote a policy brief recommending the development of a college garden and college farm on campus.

More from the Politcs Department

Highlights

Treston Owens ’18 was featured in a Quaker Speak video titled, "Why Climate Change Is an Issue of Faith: Quakers Lobby Congress."

Politics students and faculty collaborated on the award-winning Oxford International Encyclopedia of Peace.

Almost 50% of Earlham alumni enter graduate or professional school within 10 years. Recent graduates have pursued advanced study at such institutions as Oxford, McGill, Georgetown, Michigan and Indiana.

Our graduates seek lives of consequence, and many choose lives of public service including career paths in public policy, diplomacy, government, law and teaching.

Meet An Earlhamite
Alexis Warren
Hurricane Alexis

When Alexis Warren ’21 visited Earlham as a prospective student she thought, "Too good to be true."

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Abhinav Khanal
Politician in Training

Abhinav Khanal ’16, a Politics major, wants to become a politician in his native Nepal and change the current unstable political situation in Nepal and South Asia. Like Khanal, Earlhamites pursue personal achievement while being socially concerned about the greater good. Thirty percent of Earlham graduates believe that most or all of their work is geared toward social change.

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Becky Ioppolo
Real-World Confidence

Becky Ioppolo’s ’13 Earlham experience pointed her toward different fields and ways of thinking. And it gave her courage, all of which has proven helpful.

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Our Faculty

Dyron Dabney
Jackson Bailey Memorial Endowed Chair for Japan Study/Institute for Education on Japan; Director of Japan Study and Associate Professor of Politics and Japanese Studies

Thor Hogan
Associate Professor of Politics and Environmental Studies

Ahmed Khanani
Plowshares Assistant Professor of Politics

Cassio Muniz
Visiting Assistant Professor of Politics

Jennifer Seely
Associate Professor of Politics

Peng Yu
Assistant Professor of Politics

Cheri Gaddis
Administrative Assistant
Plan of Study

General Education Requirements

The Department offers one courses that fulfill the Domestic component of the Perspectives on Diversity requirement, POLS  346; and 11 courses that fulfill the International component of that requirement, POLS 270, 333, 351, 352, 355, 358, 359, 368, 371, 377 and 378. The Department also offers 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:

Two introductory courses:

  • POLS 111 Introduction to Comparative Politics and International Relations
  • POLS 121 Introduction to American Politics and Policy

One of the following quantitative courses:

  • ECON 100 Introduction to Economics
  • MATH 120 Elementary Statistics
  • POLS 329 Social Science Research Methods
  • POLS 339 Approaching Political Puzzles

The capstone course:

  • POLS 488 Senior Capstone Experience: Project
  • POLS 488 Senior Capstone Experience: Portfolio

Students must also have the following:

  • One course in each of the four major subfields: American (US), Comparative (CP), International Relations (IR), and Theory (T)
  • 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:

Two introductory courses:

  • POLS 111 Introduction to Comparative Politics and International Relations
  • POLS 121 Introduction to American Politics and Policy

Four additional courses, one in each of the A.R.T.S. skills areas.

Courses

* Key

Courses that fulfill
General Education Requirements:

  • (A-AR) = Analytical - Abstract Reasoning
  • (A-QR) = Analytical - Quantitative
  • (D-D) = Diversity - Domestic
  • (D-I) = Diversity - International
  • (D-L) = Diversity - Language
  • (RCH) = Research
  • (W) = Wellness
  • (WI) = Writing Intensive
  • (AY) = Offered in Alternative Year

POLS 111 INTRODUCTION TO COMPARATIVE POLITICS AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (3 credits)
This broad introductory course launches the formal study of comparative politics and international relations at the college level, exploring these distinct yet complementary subfields of the discipline. Students in this course begin to address enduring questions about global phenomena with both theoretical and practical implications. Students also engage in political debates about questions both historical and contemporary. This course is a prerequisite for upper division work in the Politics and International Studies majors. (Subfield Designation: None) (A.R.T.S Designation: None)

POLS 121 INTRODUCTION TO AMERICAN POLITICS AND POLICY (3 credits)
This broad introductory course launches the formal student of American politics and public policy at the college level. It explores basic questions regarding the political philosophy that underpins the American system, investigates American political history and culture, examines American institutional arrangements, and surveys the six-step policymaking process. Students also engage in political debates about questions both historical and contemporary. This course is a prerequisite for upper division work in the Politics and Public Policy majors. (Subfield Designation: None) (A.R.T.S Designation: None)

POLS 242 INTERMEDIATE AMERICAN PUBLIC POLICY (3 credits)
This course examines the theoretical underpinnings of public policy. It also familiarizes students with the tools of policy analysis, ranging from descriptive and inferential statistics to cost-benefit analysis to policy history. Finally, the course provides a deep dive into three or four substantive domestic policy debates as we try to better understand the problems and solutions in each area. Prerequisite: POLS 121 or consent of the instructor. (Subfield Designation: US) (A.R.T.S Designation: A)

*POLS 270 DIPLOMACY: THEORY & PRACTICE (3 credits)
An experiential course that examines political, economic and social issues in world politics by simulating the diplomatic 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 PAGS 270. (D-I) (Subfield Designation: IR) (A.R.T.S Designation: S)

POLS 292 FCNL SPRING LOBBY WEEKEND (2 credits)
This field trip-centered course is designed to help students learn first-hand about the legislative and lobbying process through a hands-on experience with the Friends Committee on National Legislation, focusing on a topic of current legislative opportunity. Past Lobbying Weekends have focused on the Authorization for the Military Use of Force, Climate Change, and Mass Incarceration. This course meets once a week for the first half of the semester and over Spring Break. Also listed as CIL 292. (Subfield Designation: None) (A.R.T.S Designation: None)

POLS 302 GENEALOGIES OF NATIONALISM IN THE MUSLIM MENA (4 credits)
This course brings together a set of texts that attend to questions of power and politics in the MENA region, and particularly as pertain to nationalism. While many of these texts are at the margins of the discipline of political science, indeed, some are written by anthropologists, historians, and philosophers, they nevertheless address questions about politics—questions that have become increasingly important to understanding the complexities of the contemporary MENA. (Subfield Designation: CP) (ARTS designation: T)

POLS 303 HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE MUSLIM WORLD (4 credits)
This course is motivated by several questions to which students will be trusted to develop their own answers. Questions include: What is Islam? What are human rights? How do Muslims embody human rights? How much variation is there in how Muslims articulate and enact human rights? Prerequisite: An Earlham Seminar and POLS 111. Also listed as PAGS 303 and REL 303. (Subfield Designation: IR) (A.R.T.S Designation: R) (AY)

POLS 305 FRENEMY POLITICS: CONFLICTS AND CONTROVERSIES IN JAPANESE AND ASIAN RELATIONS (3 credits)
This course is a study of international relations within the context of Japan and Asian-Pacific politics and foreign policy. This course examines past, present and emerging transnational and trans-regional issues, such as territorial disputes, trade agreements and imbalances, human rights, immigration management, regional militarization, and constitutional revisionism, by way of the political and policy action or inaction of state actors in Japan and Asia. Also listed as JPNS 305. (Subfield Designation: IR) (A.R.T.S Designation: R) (AY)

POLS 322 CLIMATE POLICY & ENERGY POLICY(3 credits)
Climate and energy policy are highly complex issues with profound consequences for human society. This is particularly true when one considers the role hydrocarbons play in creating anthropogenic climate change. If not addressed by government in the near-term, the climate crisis will prove to have catastrophic impacts. As a result, climate and energy will be the most important policy issues facing national leaders during the coming decades. This class will start by examining the contours of the climate crisis, before transitioning to the policy solutions that might be adopted to mitigate an exponential increase of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere (many of which fall within the realm of energy policy). Prerequisite: POLS 121 or ENSU 141. (Subfield Designation: US) (A.R.T.S Designation: A) (AY)

POLS 327 URBAN POLITICS, POLICY AND SUSTAINABILITY (3 credits)
By the end of the semester, students will have a solid grounding in the basic theories of urban planning. They also will gain an understanding of the historical development of the city, both globally and in America. In addition, they will learn about evolving structure for regional municipal governing. Finally, they will learn about urbanism's role as a solution to the climate crisis. Prerequisite: POLS 121 or ENSU 141. Also listed as ENSU 327. (Subfield Designation: US) (A.R.T.S Designation: A) (AY)

*POLS 329 SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH METHODS (3 credits)
In this course, students will think systematically about ways to answer questions with different foci, but the skills developed will help students think more productively about the academic questions students find most pressing. Prerequisite: POLS 111 or POLS 121. Also listed as PAGS 329. (RCH, A-AR) (Subfield Designation: T) (A.R.T.S Designation: R) (AY)

*POLS 333 GENDER AND SEXUALITY IN MUSLIM MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA (4 credits)
The overarching goal of the course is to unpack the many ways in which Arab Muslims have embodied genders and to explore the range of intimate practices that constitute “sexuality” in the present and past. This course is decidedly interdisciplinary and is structured by categorical inquiry into the meanings and practices of gender and sexuality. Prerequisite: POLS 111. Also listed as WGGS 333 and REL 333. (D-I) (Subfield Designation: CP) (A.R.T.S Designation: R) (AY)

POLS 339 APPROACHING POLITICAL PUZZLES (3 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. Prerequisites: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor. (Subfield Designation: None) (A.R.T.S Designation: R) (AY)

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. Prerequisite: POLS 121 or consent of the instructor.(Subfield Designation: US) (A.R.T.S Designation: R) (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. Prerequisite: POLS 121 or consent of the instructor. (Subfield Designation: US) (A.R.T.S Designation: S)(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. Prerequisite: POLS 121 or consent of the instructor. (D-D) (Subfield Designation: US) (A.R.T.S Designation: A) (AY)

POLS 348 AMERICAN EMPIRE: ARE WE ROME? (3 credits)
American exceptionalism is the belief that the United States differs qualitatively from other developed nations because of its unique origins, national credo, historical evolution, and distinctive political and religious institutions. This course will begin by examining the rise and fall of a number of past empires, including the Romans, Mayans, Spanish, Dutch, British and Soviets. This foundation will be built upon to consider whether economic, fiscal, political, climate and energy crises provide dire warnings regarding the potential collapse of the American Empire. Prerequisite: POLS 121. (Subfield Designation: US) (A.R.T.S Designation: R) (AY)

*POLS 351 DEMOCRACY AND DEMOCRATIZATION (3 credits)
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. Prerequisite: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor. (D-I) (Subfield Designation: CP) (A.R.T.S Designation: A) (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. Prerequisite: POLS 111 or consent of instructor. (D-I) (Subfield Designation: IR) (A.R.T.S Designation: S) (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. Prerequisite: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor. (D-I) (Subfield Designation: CP) (A.R.T.S Designation: S) (AY)

*POLS 358 CONTEMPORARY CHINESE POLITICS (3 credits)
This course provides students with a broad introduction to China's politics in the modern period. The focus will be on a wide array of topics ranging from communist revolution, economic development, political reform, social movement, environment policy to religion and foreign policy under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The course covers both the Mao and the post-Mao eras in the history of CCP rule. Prerequisite: Politics 111 or consent of the instructor. Also listed as CHIN 358. (D-I) (Subfield Designation: CP) (A.R.T.S Designation: A) (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.  Prerequisite: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor. Also listed as AAAS 359. (D-I)(Subfield Designation: CP) (A.R.T.S Designation: A) (AY)

POLS 362 MODERN POLITICAL THEORY (3 credits)
Examination of the central ideas of modern political philosophers. Attention to major debates over the origin, legitimacy and sustenance of state and society. Prerequisite: POLS 111, or consent of instructor. Also listed as PHIL 362. (Subfield Designation: T) (A.R.T.S Designation: T) (AY)

POLS 364 POWER, POLITICS, THEORY (3 credits)
Surveys the classical texts and themes of political theory. Examines selections of both the Western and Eastern canonical works to investigate a wide range of political concepts that include power, freedom, citizenship, justice, community, identity, rights, etc. Prerequisite: POLS 111. Also listed as PAGS 364. (Subfield Designation: T) (A.R.T.S Designation: T) (AY)

POLS 365 TOPICS IN POLITICAL THEORY (3 credits)
An intensive study of a significant concept, set of ideas or philosopher. Recent topics include the search for utopia, Hobbes and Rousseau, contemporary political theory, and freedom. Prerequisite: POLS 111, or consent of instructor. (Subfield Designation: T) (A.R.T.S Designation: T) (AY)

*POLS 367 NON-WESTERN POLITICAL THEORY (3 credits)
Surveys the canonical texts from the non-Western tradition for political thinking. The course investigates how notions, concepts and theories that arise from the texts challenge the Western writings. Prerequisite: POLS 111/121 or consent of the instructor. (D-I) (Subfield Designation: T) (A.R.T.S Designation: T) (AY)

*POLS 368 CHINESE POLITICAL THOUGHT (3 credits)
Introduces the tradition of Chinese political thinking. Surveys a wide range of schools of thought in early Chinese intellectual history such as Confucianism, Daoism, Mohism and Legalism. Investigates the origin of politics, power, authority, ethics through the lens of Chinese philosophy. Prerequisites: Earlham Seminar I and II, and POLS 111. (D-I) (Subfield Designation: T) (A.R.T.S Designation: T) (AY)

POLS 369 POLITICS OF AUTHORITARIANISM (3 credits)
Examines the concept, type and strategy of authoritarianism. Explores issues related to ideology, coercion, cooptation, electoral manipulation, patronage distribution and political socialization in authoritarian politics. Prerequisites: Earlham Seminar I and II, and POLS 111. (Subfield Designation: CP) (A.R.T.S Designation: A) (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. Prerequisite: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor. Also listed as PAGS 371. (D-I) (Subfield Designation: IR) (A.R.T.S Designation: T) (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. Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor. Also listed as PAGS 375.

*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. Prerequisite: POLS 111 or consent of the instructor. (D-I) (Subfield Designation: IR) (A.R.T.S Designation: R) (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. Prerequisite: POLS 111, 270 or consent of the instructor. (D-I) (Subfield Designation: IR) (A.R.T.S Designation: T) (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: PROJECT (2 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. (Fall Semester)

POLS 488 SENIOR CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE: PORTFOLIO (1 credit)
Students will complete a portfolio that reflects their accomplishments in the major and prepares them for opportunities after graduation. (Spring Semester)