College Bulletin - Course Catalog 
  
    Nov 24, 2020  
College Bulletin - Course Catalog

Political Science


Courses  


Faculty

CAROL NACKENOFF, Professor
KEITH REEVES, Professor1
DOMINIC TIERNEY, Professor1
RICHARD VALELLY, Professor3
TYRENE WHITE, Professor
BENJAMIN BERGER, Associate Professor
AYSE KAYA, Associate Professor and Chair
SAMUEL HANDLIN, Assistant Professor
EMILY PADDON RHOADS, Assistant Professor
JONNY THAKKAR, Assistant Professor
OSMAN BALKAN, Visiting Assistant Professor
GEORGE YIN,  Visiting Assistant Professor
GINA INGIOSI, Administrative Assistant
DEBORAH SLOMAN, Administrative Assistant


1Absent on leave Fall 2020.

3 Absent on leave 2020-2021.


The Academic Program


Politics is about who governs. Whether by bullets or ballots, by violent struggle or peaceful competition for office, politics is about deciding who rules, for what purposes, and under what constraints. Politics influences the duties of rulers and ruled, the rights of citizens, and whether people live in fear or not. 

In politics people acquire and use power, cooperatively or non-cooperatively, for creative or destructive purposes.  They forge collective symbols and craft (and recraft) compelling narratives about mutual identities and social goals.  They demand recognition and justice – which means that they redefine what counts as political.  They focus attention on collective problems – or try to prevent such a focus.  Finally they distribute or redistribute economic resources - which is one reason why politics can be terribly contentious.

The faculty members of the Swarthmore political science department reflect, in their intellectual and research interests, the exceptional pluralism of political science and seek to convey the discipline’s richness and variety in their courses, in the speakers we bring to campus, and in discussions with students after class or during office hours. We arrange course offerings by the traditional subdivisions of the discipline as it is practiced in the United States: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. Our offerings are particularly strong in the study of China, constitutional law, the study of Congress, environmental policy and politics, faith-based social policy, the presidency, the study of American parties and elections, U.S. civil rights, international trade and political economy, the cognitive and perceptual dimensions of international politics, Latin American politics, theories of prophetic political vision, ancient and modern political theory, democratic theory and civic engagement, Iranian politics, and American political development. Students currently have access to interdisciplinary and innovative pedagogies in GIS training, for understanding local democracy in and around Swarthmore and poverty in Chester, PA, and for understanding the nature of mass incarceration in the United States. We also offer many opportunities to explore linkages between the theory and practice of politics. Some courses are earmarked for their emphasis on community-based learning. 

General Introduction


Courses in the Political Science Department encompass four sub-fields of the discipline:1) American Politics; 2) Comparative Politics; 3) International Politics (International Relations); 4) Political Theory. Requirements pertaining to these sub-fields are known as distribution requirements.For a detailed description of our requirements see the relevant section below.We invite all applicants to read Section I, even if they are not considering a course major.All applicants must have completed one introductory level course (POLS 002, 003, 004) and one additional course in the Department before applying to be a major or an Honors Minor with the Department.

I. Course Major


Courses in the Political Science Department encompass four sub-fields of the discipline:  1) American Politics; 2) Comparative Politics; 3) International Politics (International Relations); 4) Political Theory. Requirements pertaining to these sub-fields are known as distribution requirements, and they are outlined further below.

  1. To graduate with a major in Political Science, a student must complete 8.5 credits in the Department, including the senior comprehensive exercise.
  2. At least five of the 8.5 credits must be taken at Swarthmore with faculty from the Department.  Please see the Political Department website for an up-to-date list of course offerings and their distributions.
  3. Majors must take courses in all 4 of the aforementioned sub-fields.  The Department recommends that in addition to any Intro level courses, students take their first theory course before the end of their sophomore year.   Only the following courses satisfy the Political Theory distribution requirement:  POLS 011, POLS 012 , POLS 100, POLS 101, with the latter two being honors seminars, where honors students get priority admission (see Section II). 
  4. One introductory level course (POLS 002, 003, 004) and one additional course in the Department must be completed at Swarthmore before acceptance as a major. Majors will be deferred from acceptance into the Department until these two courses are completed.  
  5. Introductory level courses will count toward the distribution requirements, but students can only count two Intro courses toward their major (i.e. toward the 8.5 credits).
  6. None of the credits needed to complete the major may be taken CR/NC; shadow grades for introductory courses taken CR/NC freshman year will be used for GPA purposes.
  7. Grade requirements. We consider student applications to join the Department individually, considering each student’s background and College performance to date. Normally, we apply the following rule:  For acceptance as a course major or a double major, the Department expects performance at the 2.33 level in all College courses and at the 2.67 level in courses in Political Science (including courses graded Credit/No Credit).
  8. Majors and minors may take one directed reading within the Department for credit with approval from the faculty directing the read and the Department Chair.
  9. Students should note that certain courses and seminars have specific prerequisites.  As one example, POLS 066 requires POLS 004 as well as an introductory Econ course.
  10. The senior comprehensive requirement. To graduate from Swarthmore, all majors and special majors must fulfill the senior comprehensive requirement in the Political Science Department. This can be done in one of two ways. The preferred option is POLS 092:  the Senior Comprehensive Exam, which is a 0.5 credit graded exercise.  Working with a faculty adviser, students will produce a short paper in the spring semester of their senior year, which tackles a major puzzle in Political Science. Students will then present their work at a Department conference. Option two, POLS 095 is a one-credit graded written thesis, which may be chosen by students who meet the eligibility requirements and get the approval of a faculty adviser and the Chair. All junior and senior course majors (unless abroad) are required to attend the Department senior comprehensive exercise conference typically held in in March.
  11. Recommended courses in other Departments. Supporting courses strongly recommended for all majors are Statistical Thinking or Statistical Methods (STAT 001 or 011) and Introduction to Economics (ECON 001).

II. Honors Major


  1. Political Science honors majors must have a minimum of 10 credits inside the Political Science Department.
  2. Political Science honors majors must meet all requirements for majors (see Section I), preferably with the honors versions of Ancient or Modern Political Theory (POLS 100, POLS 101).
  3. Six of these credits will be met with three (3) two-unit honors preparations which will help prepare honors majors for outside examinations, both written and oral. These two-unit preparations will normally be either a two-credit honors seminar or a “course-plus” option.
  4. Of these three (3) two-unit preparations, no more than two may be in a single sub-field in the Department, and no more than one may be a course-plus option.
  5. The “course-plus” option will normally consist of two one-unit courses that have been designated to count as an honors preparation, or in some cases a one-unit course and a one-unit seminar that have been so designated. It is up to the student to arrange a course-plus option with a specific faculty member and to have this approved by the Chair.  We strongly advise the students to follow the seminar path.
  6. To be accepted into the Honors Program students should normally have at least an average of 3.67 inside and   3.5 outside the Department, and should have given evidence to the Departmental faculty of their ability to work independently and constructively in a seminar setting. Seminars will normally be limited to eight-ten students and admission priority will go to honors majors, first seniors and then juniors, including special majors.
  7. To fulfill the senior honors study requirement for honors majors, students will revise a paper written for one of their Department seminars. This paper will be submitted to the appropriate external examiner as part of the honors evaluation process.
  8. Honors majors are strongly encouraged to attend the Department senior comprehensive exercise conference, typically held in March.
  9. None of the credits needed to complete the major may be taken CR/NC; shadow grades for introductory courses taken CR/NC freshman year will be used for GPA calculations.
  10. Majors and minors may take one directed reading within the Department for credit with approval from the faculty directing the read and the Department Chair.

 

III. Honors Minor


Honors minors in Political Science will be required to have at least five credits in Political Science. Among these credits there must be one introductory course (POLS 002, POLS 003 or POLS 004), one course in Political Theory (POLS 011, POLS 012, POLS 100, or POLS 101), one other Political Science course and one (1) of the two-unit honors preparations offered by the Department.

  1. All applicants must have completed one introductory level course (POLS 002, 003, 004) and one additional course in the Department before applying for the Honors Minor.
  2. To be accepted into the Honors Program students should normally have at least an average of 3.67 inside and 3.5 outside the Department, and should have given evidence to the Departmental faculty of their ability to work independently and constructively in a seminar setting. Seminars will normally be limited to eight-ten students and admission priority will go to honors majors, first seniors and then juniors, including special majors.
  3. None of the credits needed to complete the major may be taken CR/NC; shadow grades for introductory courses taken CR/NC freshman year will be used for GPA calculations.
  4. Majors and minors may take one directed reading within the Department for credit with approval from the faculty directing the read and the Department Chair.

IV. Special Major


All special majors must have a designated faculty adviser and have approval of the Chair for the proposed program. Within that approved program, at least 5.5 credits must be taken in the Department, including one introductory course (POLS 002, POLS 003, POLS 004) and students need at least a course in each of the four sub-fields (American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Politics, and Political Theory) of the discipline (see Section I).  The Political Theory distribution requirement for special majors can only be met by completing one of the following: POLS 011, POLS 012, POLS 100 or POLS 101. All special course majors are required to participate in the Department’s Senior Comprehensive Exercise for 0.5 credit (see Section I).

  1. All applicants must have completed one introductory course (see Section I) and one other course in the Department before applying for the Special Major.
  2. None of the credits needed to complete the major may be taken CR/NC; shadow grades for introductory courses taken CR/NC freshman year will be used for GPA purposes.
  3. For acceptance as a special major, the Department expects performance at the 3.00 level in all College courses and at the 3.33 level in courses in Political Science (including courses graded Credit/No Credit).
  4. Majors and minors may take one directed reading within the Department for credit with the approval from the faculty directing the read and the Department Chair.

V. Honors Special Major


All special honors majors must have a designated faculty advisor and have approval of the Chair for the proposed program. Within that approved program, at least 6 credits must be taken in the Department, including one introductory course (POLS 002, POLS 003, POLS 004), one honors seminar.  Students need at least a course in each of the four sub-fields (American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Politics, and Political Theory) of the discipline (see Section I).  The Political Theory distribution requirement for special majors can only be met by completing one of the following: POLS 011, POLS 012, POLS 100 or POLS 101.

  1. All applicants must have completed one introductory course (see Section I) and one other course in the Department. before applying for the Honors Special Major.
  2. To be accepted into the Honors Program students should normally have at least an average of 3.67 inside and 3.5 outside the Department, and should have given evidence to the Departmental faculty of their ability to work independently and constructively in a seminar setting. Seminars will normally be limited to eight-ten students and admission priority will go to honors majors, first seniors and then juniors, including honors special majors.
  3. None of the credits needed to complete the major may be taken CR/NC; shadow grades for introductory courses taken CR/NC freshman year will be used for GPA purposes.
  4. Majors and minors may take one directed reading within the Department for credit with approval of the faculty directing the read and the Department Chair.

Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate Credit


No more than one Advanced Placement credit will be accepted for credit.

Transfer Credit


Transfer credit is offered on the same basis as study abroad credit. Students taking classes elsewhere should consult the chair in advance on the amount of credit likely to be available. As with study abroad, students may be required to retain  written assignments and present copies to the chair for assessment.

Off-Campus Study


The department supports student interest in study abroad. Students are reminded that no more than three of their eight credits (ten credits if in the Honors Program) may be taken outside the Swarthmore department and all of the distribution requirements must be met by classes taken at Swarthmore. Expectations about off-campus study should be incorporated in the Sophomore Plan. Students planning to study abroad should consult the chair and obtain approval prior to making final course selection. Any change in course selection must ultimately be approved as well. Upon return from a study abroad program, political science syllabi, papers, and other course materials may be required for credit evaluation. Pre-estimated credits do not guarantee any particular transfer of credit. The actual transfer of credit depends on the assessment of work done abroad by the department.

The Engaging Democracy Project


The Engaging Democracy Project comprises the Department’s connection to what the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility calls “Engaged Scholarship.” Ernest Boyer coined the term “Engaged Scholarship” to describe teaching and research that connect “the rich resources of the university to our most pressing social, civic, and ethical problems” (Boyer, 1996). The Department of Political Science employs Engaged Scholarship to incorporate academic theory and political practice to promote a richer understanding of democracy in America (and abroad). Program director Ben Berger (also Executive Director of the Lang Center) practices Engaged Scholarship techniques to involve students with local communities; works with student groups to bring a wide range of speakers and activists to the Swarthmore campus; and supports other faculty offering Engaged Scholarship courses, including fellow Political Science faculty Prof. Keith Reeves (Director of the Urban Inequality and Incarceration Program at the Lang Center), Prof. Ayse Kaya, and Prof. Emily Paddon Rhoads.

Political Science Courses