Course Descriptions (PSCI)
Course Descriptions (IR)
Chair, Associate Professor Leah Anderson
Professors Mark Amstutz,
The Department of Politics and International Relations aims to foster a deeper appreciation for domestic and international politics through the study of political behavior, governmental institutions, and the international system. In fulfillment of this aim, the department offers courses that: 1) expose students to the major areas of the discipline, including American politics, international politics, comparative politics, public policy, law, and political philosophy; 2) emphasize concepts, theories, and tools that are essential in political analysis; 3) address key issues involved in the building of just and peaceful political communities; and 4) examine the relationship of Christianity and politics. The department offers majors in Political Science and International Relations that are firmly rooted in the traditional liberal arts curriculum of Wheaton College. Due to the large overlap between the two majors, department policy does not allow a double major in Political Science and International Relations.
The major in political science serves as preparation for: a) graduate study in politics, government, and related fields, including area studies, public policy, and public administration; b) law school; c) careers in government and public affairs; and d) work in the private and non-profit sectors that require knowledge of government and politics.
Requirements for the Political Science major are 34 hours of political science and international relations and 4 hours of statistics. Core requirements are American Politics and Government, Political Philosophy and either Comparative Politics or International Politics, Political Research, or a department-approved equivalent , Senior Seminar and Internship plus 14 hours of departmental electives from courses offered in , or from -
Students may substitute the following courses for 415. Note prerequisites for IR courses. A maximum of four hours each of 495 and 496 may be counted toward the major. Once a student is admitted into the major, all core requirements must be taken from Wheaton.: 4 hours of - or - or for : 4 hours from -
Requirements for a Political Science minor are 20 hours, PSCI 135; PSCI 145; either IR 155 or IR 175; and an additional 8 hours of upper division electives in either Political Science or International Relations. Note prerequisites for IR courses.
PSCI 135. American Politics and Government. An introduction to the foundations and institutions of the United States' political system. Explores the political behavior of individuals and groups and engages contemporary political debate.
PSCI 145. Political Philosophy. An exploration of some of the major themes in the tradition of western political thought, to include the nature of politics, freedom, equality, justice, and virtue. The course will center around some of the tradition’s most significant texts, including works by Plato, Augustine, Hobbes, Mill and more contemporary authors.
PSCI 215. Political Research. An introduction to the discipline of political science and the various methods of qualitative research used by political scientists. Special attention is given to research design and ethics. (2)
PSCI 236. Intercollegiate Trial Advocacy. A hands-on exploration of the theorgy and practice of trial advocacy through competition in intercollegiate mock trial tournaments. Graded pass/fail. One credit hour per year based on full participation in the fall and spring semesters. Register for credit in the spring semester. Prerequisite: Instructor permission. (0 or 1)
PSCI 262. Politics and Public Policy. Far from mundane, public policymaking is rife with conflict. This course will explore and analyze public policy – the true substance of politics, as well as the actors and institutions relevant to public policy making.
PSCI 335. Politics and Pop Culture. An exploration and evaluation of portrayals of political themes and concepts in various forms of popular culture including films, television, and plays. (2) Prerequisite: or instructor’s permission.
PSCI 336. Campaigns and Elections. Explores the structures and institutions of American electoral politics, including the nomination process and general elections. Gives special attention to the elements of the modern campaign, including campaign finance, research, polling, advertising, and media use. Alternate years.
PSCI 337. Women and Politics. An exploration of the role of American women and politics in the late nineteenth century and its transformation into the role of American women in politics by the late twentieth century. (2) Prerequisite: or instructor’s permission. Diversity designation.
PSCI 341. Topics in Political Theory. A topical course in political theory that includes such subjects as Shakespeare & Politics, Technology & Politics, and the Power of the Powerless (Gandhi, King, and Havel). Periodic. (2)
PSCI 343. Political Ethics. This course brings philosophical ethics and normative political theory into dialogue with the distinctive practical problems associated with contemporary American politics and policy. Topics to be considered include abortion, euthanasia, affirmative action, war, distributive justice, deception and manipulation, and the ethics of roles.
PSCI 345. Between Athens and Jerusalem: Classical and Medieval Political Thought. The western political tradition rests on the interplay between the claims emerging out of classical Greece and Rome on the one hand and out of Christianity on the other. This course explores that interplay by engaging both classical (Homer, Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle) and Christian political thinkers (Augustine, Aquinas).
PSCI 346. Renaissance and Modern Political Philosophy. This course chronicles the replacement of the Christian order and the development of its theoretical alternative, modernity. Thinkers considered include: Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, Mill, Nietzsche, and Freud.
PSCI 349. Christian Political Thought. An engagement with the varieties of Christian thinking about politics, including both its historical development and the contemporary alternatives. Thinkers explored will include Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Locke, Niebuhr, Hauerwas, and a number of others.
PSCI 352. Interest Groups and Political Advocacy. This course explores the nature of interest groups including the formation and maintenance of interest groups, various types of interest groups, the tactics employed by interest groups and the impact and influence of interest groups in the political system broadly and public policy specifically.
PSCI 355. Race and the Politics of Welfare. This course examines the evolution of welfare politics with particular attention to the social, historical, and philosophical dynamics that rendered welfare a racially-charged issue. (2) Diversity designation.
PSCI 362. Global Cities: Cities and the World. This course examines the effects of globalization on major urban centers in the world system, comparing and contrasting cities in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Students will study the economic, political and social impact, as well as responses of government and civil society.
PSCI 373. Environmental Politics. The discourses, institutions, and practices that govern our relations with ‘nature’ and environmentally-medicated social relations are considered. Examining local, national, and global levels of environmental governance, the course focuses on four issues: cities and the environment, energy, biodiversity, and climate change. In so doing the course engages such themes as sustainable development and environmental justice and explores various perspectives on nature-society relations. (2)
PSCI 382. Media & Public Opinion. This course explores the interrelationship between the mass media (including print, broadcast, and new media), public opinion, and American politics. Prerequisite: or equivalent.
PSCI 383. Religion and American Politics. An assessment of the role of religion in American politics, focusing especially on the contemporary era. Particular attention is given to the role of evangelicals. Periodic.
PSCI 384. The Presidency. Examines the role of the presidency in the U.S. political system, focusing on such themes as leadership, decision-making, and Congressional-Executive relations. Alternate years.
PSCI 386. Congress and the Policy Process. An examination of the role of Congress in the American political process, including historical development, structure and functions, and decision-making. Recommended for those seeking Washington internships. Alternate years.
PSCI 387. Law and Religion. This course is designed to introduce students to the moral, legal, and constitutional questions surrounding religion and its place in democratic public life. Students will have an opportunity to gain a familiarity with the development of American constitutional law as it relates to religion, explore the alternatives to those developments, understand the contending side of contemporary controversies, and articulate their own considered views on each via both presentations and writing exercises.
PSCI 496. Internship. A series of programs designed for practical experience in professions frequently chosen by Political Science majors, such as law, government, and public service. Prerequisite: Political Science major with junior or senior standing and a minimum of 16 credits in the department.
PSCI 499. Honors Thesis. An independent research project requiring original research, developed into a scholarly paper and culminating in an oral examination. By application only. The honors thesis may not be counted toward the total hours to complete the major. Prerequisite: Research Methodology.
Trends toward interdependence and globalization through greater integration and expansion of world markets have provided opportunities for international cooperation and conflict. The increased importance of international relationships between governments, corporations, and nongovernmental organizations has created a considerable demand for individuals trained to understand this complex environment. The major in International Relations stresses integrated knowledge in the areas of politics, economics, history, and languages. The International Relations major provides focused training for students who plan to work in a wide variety of international career fields, including international affairs, international business, area studies, development work, international law, and graduate study in foreign affairs, international relations, and comparative politics.
Requirements for the International Relations major are 30 hours plus 16 hours of supporting courses for a total of 46 hours. Core requirements of 14 hours are Comparative Politics, International Politics, Senior Seminar, Internship and a zero credit overseas experience (of at least 5 weeks) approved by the department; Major electives include 4 hours of International Politics ( - ), 4 hours Comparative Politics ( - or - ), 4 hours of Economics ( , , , , or ), and 4 hours of History ( , , , or ). Six hours of Research Methods ( and or a department-approved equivalent) may replace 4 hours of either Economics or History. International Political Economy may be either an economics or an international politics elective.
Required supporting courses areAmerican Politics and Government, Principles of Microeconomics and eight hours or its equivalent of a modern foreign language beyond the 201 level as determined/approved by the Foreign Language Department. For IR majors meeting the requirement via off-campus coursework, all eight hours must consist of target language instruction, and at least four hours must be at the third-year (fifth semester) level or above. Transfer courses must have the prior approval of the department chair. Once a student is admitted to the major, all core requirements must be taken at Wheaton.
Requirements for an International Relations minor are 20 hours including , , and 12 hours of courses from the approved list of electives. A maximum of 4 hours history and 4 hours economics may count toward IR minor.
IR 155. Comparative Politics. An introduction to the comparative analysis of the political systems of nations around the world. Attention will focus on political processes and political institutions. Examples will be drawn from nation-states in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the former Soviet Union, and the Islamic world. Diversity designation.
IR 175. International Politics. An introduction to the politics among nations. Themes emphasized include: international security, diplomacy, conflict resolution and war, human rights, international law and organization, and global political economy.
IR 354. African Politics. Investigates the political history and current regimes of African states. Special emphasis is given to the dual processes of democratization and development. Diversity designation.
IR 355. Latin American Politics. A survey of the political values, practices, and institutions in major Latin American states, with special emphasis on opportunities and impediments to political development.
IR 357. Third World Politics and Development. A comparative examination of the nature and processes of political change and development in Third World countries. Emphasis is given to the political economy of national development.
IR 359. Forgiveness and Political Reconciliation. This class explores the potential role of forgiveness in confronting and overcoming systemic regime crimes. The course emphasizes theory and case studies and focuses on processes that foster political reconciliation. (2)
IR 361. Post-communist Politics. A comparison of the post-communist political development of a select number of Central and East European states. Examination is given to both the common “Leninist legacies” of communism and the great diversity of political practice now found across the region. Special emphasis is given to political institutions, European Union integration, and select contemporary political issues.
IR 379. International Political Economy. An analysis of the interaction of economics and politics at the international level. Topics covered will include the origins and nature of the World Bank, IMF and WTO, regionalization, trade policy, and the world monetary system. Prerequisite: .
IR 382. Global Warming Politics. This course examines the problems, politics, and policies of climate change in light of its impacts upon marginalized and vulnerable populations in developed countries. Some of the assigned authors write from these perspectives. (2)
IR 385. Politics of Humanitarian Intervention. Humanitarian interventions of various sorts have become commonplace in this era of globalization. This course will examine the goals and consequences of humanitarian interventions around the world with specific emphasis on their political intentions and impact. Pre-requisite: IR 175. (2)
IR 412. Islam and Politics. This seminar course focuses on central Islamic concepts relating to politics and the role of Islam in political movements and individual political action. Pre-requisite: . Diversity designation.
IR 496. Internship. A series of programs designed for practical experience in professions frequently chosen by International Relations majors, such as law, government, and public service. Prerequisite: International Relations major with junior or senior standing and a minimum of 16 credits in the department.
IR 499. Honors Thesis. An independent research project requiring original research, developed in a scholarly paper and culminating in an oral examination. By application only. The honors thesis may not be counted toward the total hours to complete the major.
The certificate in Peace and Conflict Studies is an interdisciplinary program that examines the causes of violent conflict; mechanisms and models for dealing with violent conflict; and norms, practices, and instituions for building a just and sustainable peace. The Peace and Conflict Certificate prepares students to think critically in the midst of geopolitical complexities like war, genocide, terrorism, and human rights violations. The program combines theoretical rigor with theological, moral, and ethical reflection on topics related to war and peace.
Requirements for a Certificate in Peace and Conflict Studies are 24 hours of coursework according to the following distribution. Students from all majors are eligible to receive a certificate in Peace and Conflict Studies.
PACS 101. Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies. This course will explore the fact of violence and the biblical imperative for peace. This survey course will identify causes and conditions that contribute to violence; mechanisms for dealing with violence; and strategies for buidling peace. Since violent conflict occurs at all levels of society, the course will examine peace and conflict via all units of analysis. Multiple disciplinary lenses and methodological approaches will be examined in these endeavors. (i) The causes and conditions that generate and sustain violent conflict. (ii) The mechanisms and models for dealing with violent conflict. (iii) The norms, practices and institutions for building peace. The course will also consider explicitly the role of religion and religionists in generating and sustaining violence and the role of religion and religionists in building peace.
PACS 494. Senior Seminar in Peace and Conflict Studies: Peace, Reconciliation, and Justice. This two-hour course will explore the prospects for peace and reconciliation given the fact of violence. The course will consider various ideals of justice, various methods of peacebuilding, and limitiations associated with methods and movements for peace, reconciliation, and justice. The extent and efficacy of religion and religionists in peace, reconciliation and justice efforts will be considered, as well secular humanist approaches to peace, reconciliation and justice. Since students from the Community Transformation concentration and from the Global Justice concentration will coalesce in this course, students will debate the strengths and weaknesses of various units of analysis and of various disciplinary and methodological approaches to conflict resolution and peace building. (2)
PACS 496. Internship. Allow students with opportunities to apply theoretical and theological knowledge by engaging in strategic peacebuilding, conflict resolution and conflict management in a variety of contexts to organizations. In addition, internships provide valuable insight into careers related to peace building and conflict management. Exploration of faith and vocation is a crucial component.
Revision Date: June 1, 2015
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