This course is one of the core courses in the Political Science M.A. program, and is designed to complement the skills learned in the statistical methods sequence. This course will give students the theoretical tools needed to complete the final project for the program, and will serve as a workshop as for the project. Throughout the course, we will discuss how to design political science research, how to make informed decisions about the study of political questions, and how to connect research interests to broader areas of inquiry in the field of political science.
This course explores Russian foreign policy in the contemporary world, with an eye on the deep historical context that informs the relationships between Russia and the rest of the world. During this course, students will develop an understanding of the theoretical basis for analyzing foreign policy and will apply these tools to the study of Russian foreign policy. Russian foreign policy is a complex issue, now more than ever. As such, the course will not tell you everything you need to know about the topic, but will rather give students a broad overview of some of the fundamental issues and relationships in Russian foreign policy and provide you with the tools and opportunities to dive deeply into specific topics. This course seeks to answer a few key questions: What drives Russian foreign policy? What tools does Russia have to influence international politics? What are the major contemporary issues in Russian foreign policy? What are the vectors of Russian foreign policy?
This course is a broad survey of the field of comparative politics. Comparative politics is concerned with identifying and investigating the similarities and differences across diverse states and explaining how these similarities and differences lead to specific political outcomes. This course will introduce students to the field of comparative politics generally and the methods used in comparative politics. We will explore the different types of regimes that have emerged in the modern world and examine major topics and subfields that influence how states govern. While we will not focus on any countries in particular, we will use various case studies throughout the semester to elucidate various concepts and themes.
This is an introductory course, meaning it is designed to be accessible to students with no prior knowledge of comparative politics. It is also designed as a writing enhancement course, meaning there will be a significant emphasis on written assignments. By the end of the semester, students will have a broad understanding of the field of comparative politics, comparative methods, and how comparative politics can help us understand world events. Students will also have a thorough grasp of the challenges facing various countries and regimes types throughout the world and understand why countries exhibit such divergent political, social, and economic trajectories. Finally, as this is a writing-intensive course, it offers ample opportunities for students to hone their writing skills through writing activities geared toward general and specific audiences.
In 1960, Russian historian William Henry Chamberlin wrote that “much of the drama, many of the peculiar characteristics of Russian history are explained by the fact that Russia occupies a middle position between East and West, politically and culturally as well as geographically.” Russia’s historical position between the East and the West continues to permeate its current approach to international politics. In this course, we will explore “new directions” in Russia’s political approach to the global North, South, East, and West, as well as its relationship with the cosmos and natural resources. Over the course of the semester, students will hear from guest speakers who represent the cutting edge of research on Russian international relations in political science, history, anthropology, and policy.
The war for peoples’ hearts and minds takes place not on a battlefield but rather through airwaves and information superhighways. Governments have begun to recognize the importance of the media in influencing public opinion and spreading their perspective around the world. This is true no more than in Russia, where the Kremlin has developed complex media strategies to influence politics, broadly defined, both domestically and internationally. In this course we will explore the many and varied ways Russia uses media as a tool of political and social power. This course will offer insights into how the Kremlin has sought to consolidate control over the media in Russia and how it has sought to influence politics and society in countries around the world. Over the course of the semester, students will hear from guest speakers who represent the cutting edge of Russian media research in political science, journalism, anthropology, and media studies.
This course will introduce students to the various ways in which political scientists (and other social scientists) study political and social phenomena. We will consider a variety of research methods, including historical case study research, field research, quantitative analysis, survey research, experimental techniques, and more. Whatever the research method, the central objectives of the course are for students to come away with a clear understanding of how to evaluate what causes what in the political and social world and to gain the tools necessary to evaluate political claims. By the end of the semester, students will be able to competently evaluate existing research and to create appropriate research designs to study political phenomena.
This course provides an introduction to statistical programming techniques for cleaning, analyzing, and graphically representing empirical data. We will learn basic techniques in both R and Stata, which are used extensively in social science research. The goal of the course is to provide a solid foundation in the fundamentals of these two programs so that students can use them in their own research and learn advanced methods independently.