Course Topics

Current Courses (Spring 2015)

IS 230 Introduction to International Studies

An introduction to the field of international studies, focusing on global and geographical literacy and using multiple disciplinary approaches to analyze such issues as war and peace, environmental sustainability, economic development, post-Colonialism, world religions, and cultural identity.

POLS/WGST 354 Women, Representation and Politics

This course explores the role of gender in politics through the conceptual framework of representation. Focusing specifically on women's representation, this course provides a comparative analysis of women's movements in various countries, explores the role of transnational advocacy networks (TANs) in the implementation of gender-related policies, and discusses the rise in the number of women elected to political offices across the globe and its impact on political systems. 

Courses Previously Taught at Luther

POLS 130 American Politics

An overview of the historical and contemporary practice of American politics that focuses on the nature of politics and government; the founders' ideas about the democratic republic; the constitutional theory and actual distribution of political power among the branches and levels of government; the problems and possibilities of governing America today; and the avenues available for citizen participation and influence.

POLS 132 Global Politics
This course will introduce students to (1) global issues, with examination of themes like globalization, economic development and poverty, global warming, ethnic conflict, democratization and war, and (2) global governance, with an emphasis on the role of states, non-state actors and multilateral institutions.

POLS 185 First Year Seminar (Global Politics and Film)

In this course students will be exposed to a number of influential films that help portray and/or explain global politics. More specifically, this course will use films to provide context to a number of widely discussed aspects of global politics, including, but not limited to: 1) historical events (such as World War II, the Cold War, Colonialism and neo-Colonialism, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Iraq War, the Rwandan Genocide), 2) theoretical approaches (i.e: Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism, and Feminism), and 3) important concepts (such as diplomacy, mutual assured destruction, collective security, the prisoner's dilemma, among others).

POLS/INTS 185 Revolution and Genocide: When Rules and Institutions Fail

How are laws and rules created? When do political actors choose to follow or deviate from such laws and rules? Thinking of laws and rules as political institutions, this class will explore what makes these institutions stick and what makes them fail. We will use Reacting to the Past (RTTP)-a series of elaborate games, set in the past in which students are assigned roles informed by classic texts in the history of ideas-to delve into the complex discussion of institutional creation and breakdown. Using the French Revolution and the Rwandan Genocide as the two case studies, students will get in character and make decisions based on the ideologies of the day. 

POLS 239- Brazil, the World Cup and Development: Connecting Soccer, Politics, and Economics  **J-Term Abroad**

Brazilians like to joke that “Brazil is the country of tomorrow, and will always be.” However, this last decade has shown that “tomorrow” may have finally arrived in Brazil. Now a stable democracy and a rising economic power, Brazil is hosting two of the biggest sporting events in the world: the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Professor dos Santos leads this course and uses the preparations for the 2014 World Cup as the backdrop for a discussion of important themes regarding Brazil’s political and economic development. Participants will visit four of the host cities, the stadiums to be used during the World Cup, and learn about the improvements made throughout these cities in preparations for the event. As we visit these cities participants will also learn about themes/topics that are essential to understanding Brazil’s rise as a regional superpower, including: the recent oil discoveries, the agricultural boom, environmental consequences of development, corruption (especially in relation to World Cup projects), inequality, among other important topics.

We will visit four of the host cities for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil (Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Manaus, and Recife). In each city we will visit World Cup stadiums and explore how these cities have changed to host the event. We will then connect these developments to key debates regarding the political and economic development of Brazil in the past decades.

POLS 242 Comparative Political Analysis

An introduction to the theories and concepts of comparative politics. Case studies cover major political systems around the world. The course will emphasize performance as well as historical, cultural and ideological bases of these diverse political systems.

POLS 339 Special Topics (Political and Economic Development of Latin America)

This course will explore the political and economic development of Latin America. Drawing from four specific themes (historical background, political culture, political economy, and democratization) this course will survey political and economic systems in Latin America. This course will also use case studies to provide a more detailed portrayal of specific issues related to Latin America politics, economics, and society.

POLS 363 International Relations

An examination of theories and contemporary issues in international relations and international political economy.

POLS 485 Seminar: Gender and Politics in America and Beyond

In this course students will learn about the role gender plays in the political processes, focusing especially on how gender influences the role of women in the political process. Focusing on the different types of representation (descriptive, substantive, and symbolic), students will especially read and discuss the role of women’s movements (local, national, and international) and female politicians on changing policy. Debates about what is gender, what is gender-related policy, women’s rights, and women as an interest group will drive most readings and discussions.

Courses Taught at Other Institutions

Baker University (KS): Introduction to American Politics, Introduction to International Politics, Global Problems, Senior Seminar in International Studies, Senior Seminar in International Politics.

University of Kansas: Introduction to Comparative Politics, Introduction to International Relations, Brazilian Culture, Political Dynamics of Latin America.