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GOVERNMENT

GOVT-396
Selected Topics: Non-recurring (1-6)

Course Level: Undergraduate

Topics vary by section, may be repeated for credit with different topic. Prerequisite: minimum 2.5 GPA.

GOVT-396
004
GOVERNMENT
FALL 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Selected Topics: Non-recurring (1-6)

Political Violence and Civil War

This course fills in those aspects of political violence that an international relations "theories of war" course might neglect. The course looks at violence that exists within the boundaries of a country (the realm of comparative politics), as well as political violence that often has transnational dimensions (e.g., terrorism, civil wars). The course serves as an introduction to theories of political violence. The class looks at structural approaches to conflict (i.e., big historical processes or lead to war) as well as more micro-level approaches (e.g., why individual soldiers fight). This reading and writing intensive course also teaches skills including strong argumentative/persuasive writing, the ability to boil down complex or dense writing to its most basic points, and a facility with evaluating evidence.

GOVT-396
005
GOVERNMENT
FALL 2014

Course Level: Undergraduate

Selected Topics: Non-recurring (1-6)

Liberalism and its Critics

For better or worse, liberalism continues to define the poles of contemporary political debates. Thinkers such as Montesquieu, David Hume, and Adam Smith argued that individual liberty from arbitrary government, commercial republicanism, and the separation of powers are the defining features of the good society. Their critics, notably Rousseau and Marx, claimed that liberalism fosters inequality and alienation. Both liberalism's defenders and its critics continue to shape today's political controversies, often in ways that we are blind to. This course attempts to understand the original defenders and critics of liberalism as they understood themselves, with a view to making a critical judgment about what is living and what is dead in liberalism.