Course Topics

POLS 243 Law and the American Legal System
An introduction to the actors and institutions in the American legal system, historical and contemporary schools of legal thought, and the relationship among law, justice, and morality.

POLS 355 Constitutional Law
Relying primarily on Supreme Court opinion, the course emphasizes how the Supreme Court has and should interpret the Constitution. The course examines the role of the Supreme Court and the allocation of governmental powers within the American constitutional/political system.

POLS 367 Political Leadership
Political leadership is different than other forms of leadership because politics is a unique activity. We will use biography, fiction, classical political theory, speeches, and contemporary social science writings to study the nature of political leadership. The course will pay special attention to the tension between being a good person and a good leader and will explore the idea of politics as a vocation.

POLS 258 Environmental Politics and Policy
In this course, students will identify and examine environmental issues confronting the United States, as well as the larger world. Students will identify and evaluate both current and proposed policies for addressing those issues. We will pay particular attention to the range of actors involved in the making of environmental policy and will emphasize the relationship among politics, economics, ethics, and science in the making of environmental policies in the United States and internationally.

POLS 485 Seminar: Liberty/Comm/Body Politics
In this course we will (a) explore the relation among community, civil society, and the body politic and (b) ask whether community enhances or hinders individual lives. We will read modern political thinkers (Locke and Rousseau), fictional accounts of community (Ursala Le Guin and Lauren Groff), and contemporary American thinkers (Dionne, Walzer, Galston, etc). We will also ask whether on-line communities can serve the same function as face-to-face social communities and probably will study one or more functioning communities.

PAID 450 Islam in Europe
This study abroad course will explore the challenges facing contemporary Europe in regards to the integration of Muslim minority and immigrant populations. Students will visit Copenhagen (Denmark), Malm (Sweden), and Amsterdam and Maastricht (the Netherlands). Shorter visits to Brussels (Belgium) and Cologne (Germany) will also be included. Students will meet with scholars, journalists, Muslim and Christian leaders, and politicians. Among the issues that students will study from an ethical perspective: freedom of the press and journalistic integrity in the media portrayal of Muslims and Islam; multicultural v. assimilationist immigration policies; the political mobilization against Muslim minorities and its impact on the free exercise of religion; and the place of Muslims and Islam in constructions of national and European identities.