Politics affect virtually all aspects of our cultural, economic, religious and social lives, and almost all public decisions are made through collective political activity.

Political Science Course Offerings

POLI / AMER 130 United States Politics and Government (Core: IS)
This course is a survey of the U.S. political system at the national, state and local levels. Students will engage in an examination of several elements key to understanding the role of government and politics. They will examine the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions as well as social and political ideology, mass political behavior, parties and interest groups, Congress, the presidency, the courts and the development of national public policy. In this course there will be a focus on the problems of policy making in a pluralistic democratic system.

POLI / INTL 150 Introduction to International Studies (Core: BB)
The objective of this course is to promote an awareness of global interdependence, with its challenges and opportunities. The course is interdisciplinary, examining issues from several relevant and related points of view – political, ecological, cultural, economic and ethical. The content may vary from semester to semester. Examples of issues the course might examine are nationalism vs. the concept of an international community; U.S. foreign policy and human rights; foreign policy of communist countries; cultural diversity and international cooperation.

POLI / INTL 160 Introduction to Comparative Politics
The purpose of this course is to provide students with the comparative insights and methodological tools needed to understand the importance of political culture, governmental structures and political behavior in a variety of political systems. This course will also address the development of the state under different historical conditions and in different socio- economic environments. Students will be exposed to a variety of political issues including political legitimacy, political institutionalization, the politics of identity and political violence. Spring semester alternate years. Infrequently offered.

POLI 200 Research Methodology and Techniques
The course examines the fundamental methods and techniques used in political science research. Students will understand the development and use of both qualitative and quantitative analysis. Emphasis is on concept formation and measurement, hypothesis development, research design, data collection, hypothesis testing and generating, statistical association, theory construction and ethics in political science research. Prerequisite: POLI 130 or POLI 150 or POLI 160.

POLI 231 State and Local Politics
Students will be able to examine state and local politics focusing on the legal and theoretical bases of state and local government. Discussions will also include intergovernmental relations, government institutions and comparative public policy. Emphasis is placed on understanding state and local politics within a framework of competition among state and local governments. Prerequisite: POLI 130. Fall semester, alternate years.

POLI 232 Red State, Blue State: American Political Polarization (Core: DD)
The media is full of Chicken Littles saying “the sky is falling, the sky is falling” about how bad American politics is these days. Every day the news covers congressional gridlock and fighting. Some even question whether American democracy will survive. But, how bad is it really? The answer to that is actually quite complex and is the cornerstone of this course. We will first define and measure the current era of political polarization by examining how different societal groups and regions differ from one another on a multitude of political and social issues. While this will give us a sense of “how bad” things are currently, we cannot fully appreciate the severity of current polarization without putting it in the larger context of comparing it with historical U.S. examples and examples from other countries. Finally, we will learn about the origins of this current era of polarization: “how did we get here?” in order to discuss potential solutions and forecast the future health of American democracy. This course is based on the assumption of no prior knowledge about American politics. Political polarization is used as a frame to enter into learning about current events and the structure and culture of American politics and government.

POLI 237 Courts and Justice in the U.S.
This course provides an introduction to the system of courts in the United States and the actors and institutions that attempt to provide justice under criminal and civil law. The politics and the policy produced by the American legal system will help structure the review of primary and secondary source material. Prerequisite: POLI 130 or permission of the instructor. Fall semester, alternate years.

POLI 248 Trial Advocacy (2 credits)
This course provides an introduction to civil and criminal litigation in the context of the American judicial system with a focus on courtroom procedures, evidence, witness preparation and examination, and the art of advocacy. Although intended for the training of students who hope to compete with the St. Norbert Mock Trial team, the course is open to any student interested in learning more about the courts and the legal process. Prerequisites: POLI 130 or instructor’s consent, sophomore standing. Fall semester.

POLI 249 Mock Trial (2 credits)
This course exposes students to the process of presenting a criminal or civil case in the context of an intercollegiate competition. Students will adopt roles as attorneys and witnesses for both the prosecution plaintiff and defense. Prerequisites: POLI 248 or instructor’s consent, sophomore standing. Spring semester.

POLI 310 Fascism and Socialism (Adv. Core: IS)
This course examines the political ideologies which have influenced the Western world and been extended to the Non-Western world as well. Ideology means a body of political thought or belief which motivates groups to take political action. The course begins with an overview of the philosophical roots of political ideology in Western political thought and focuses on the development of political ideas and movements in the 19th and 20th centuries. The course includes studies of nationalism, liberal democracy, democratic socialism, Marxism, Soviet and Chinese communism, fascism, national socialism, anarchism and various radical and traditionalist movements.

POLI / PHIL / CLAS 314 Classical and Medieval Political Thought
This course is an examination of the political theories of major ancient and medieval thinkers. Issues such as the origin, purpose, nature and types of political societies, the meaning of citizenship, the relation of the individual to society, and the meaning of authority and rulership will be investigated in the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas. Fall semester, alternate years.

PHIL 316 Modern Political Thought
This course is an examination of the political theories of major thinkers of the modern period (16th-19th centuries). Issues such as the nature of political power, the origin and purpose of political societies, social contract, authority, law, liberty, sovereignty and revolution will be investigated through the writings of Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hegel and Marx. Fall semester, alternate years.

POLI 317 American Political Thought
This course provides students with an introduction to the writings of the American founding, including the Federalist Papers and the thinkers who helped develop the American political tradition. In addition, students will explore the transformation of American thought during the course of the nation’s history, reviewing authors who wrote at the time of the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution and the transformative periods of the 20th century. Spring semester, alternate years.

POLI / COME 329 Political Communication (Adv. Core: WT)
This course uses rhetorical theory and criticism as well as empirical evidence concerning the content and effects of political messages to aid citizens in becoming better consumers and critics of political communication. Political speeches, political advertisements, political debates and political media will be explored in the context of both primary and general election campaigns. Fall semester.

POLI 332 Political Parties and Elections
Students will examine the role of political parties and elections at the state and national level in the U.S. The course will focus on elections as a linkage mechanism between the citizens and the institutions of government in a democracy. There will also be an emphasis on important issues such as nomination processes, the role of the media, campaign advertising, campaign strategy, citizen participation and voting behavior. Prerequisite: POLI 130. Fall semester, alternate years.

POLI 338 Introduction to Public Administration
An examination of the growth of the public sector in the U.S. and the consequences and challenges resulting from that growth. Emphasis is placed on the politics of bureaucracy, the relative roles of the public and private sectors in providing goods and services, and past and present controversies over the appropriate method of organizing the public sector. Prerequisite: POLI 130. Spring semester, alternate years.

POLI 341 Constitutional Law: Institutional Powers
This course examines how the United States Constitution both empowers and limits the state and federal governments. Legal doctrines that define federalism, the separation of powers, the regulation of commerce and economic rights will be examined through the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. These writings will be used to understand the impact of the Court on the nation’s social, economic, and political systems. Prerequisites: POLI 130 or permission of the instructor, sophomore standing.  Fall semester, alternate years.

POLI 342 Constitutional Law: Civil Rights/Liberties
This course examines the manner in which the United States Supreme Court has defined rights and liberties that are protected by the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Students will learn the extent of their speech, religious, and privacy rights as well as protections afforded the criminally accused. Decisions of the United States Supreme Court will be examined and the impact those decisions have on the politics and culture of the nation. Prerequisite: POLI 130 or permission of the instructor, sophomore standing. Spring semester, alternate years.

POLI 343 Administrative Law and Politics
This course investigates the relationship of government agencies to legislative and legal institutions and the manner in which government regulates through the bureaucracy. The course also makes students aware of the impact agencies have on citizens, businesses, industry and interest groups through the development and enforcement of legal rules. The course evaluates the political, social and economic impact of bureaucracies on the operation of various institutions that regulate and influence American life. POLI 130 recommended but not required.

POLI / AMER 345 Congress and the Presidency
In this course the structures and politics of Congress and the presidency will be analyzed. Students will be exposed to the foundations and institutional arrangements of each branch and will review congressional and presidential procedures in lawmaking and policy-making. The course will also assess congressional and presidential power over time and the manner in which both branches interact institutionally as well as how they interact with the American public and society in electoral processes.

POLI 346 Policy Analysis
This course consists of two parts. The first part examines the policy process in American government, the content of contemporary policy and the impact of policy on society. Case studies will illustrate the nature of policy-making and problems of implementing public policy. The second part of the course will introduce various tools and methods which will enable students to analyze public policy. Prerequisites: POLI 130, SSCI 224 and POLI 200, sophomore standing. Spring semester, alternate years.

POLI 348 Environmental Politics
Students will examine the social and political trends that have contributed to the environmental hazards we now face. Various theoretical approaches that discuss human relations with the environment will be examined in the context of critical issues such as global warming, setting of toxic waste facilities and the pollution of the Fox River. Prerequisite: POLI 130. Fall semester, alternate years.

POLI 350 International Relations
This course examines the main theories of international relations, including realism, neo-realism, liberalism, the English School, economic structuralism, IR feminist theories, critical theory, constructivist theories and normative theories. Students will acquire the intellectual tools necessary to understand, criticize and apply these theories and others of international relations. Prerequisite: POLI / INTL 150.

POLI / PEAC 352 Conceptions of Human Rights (Adv. Core: BB)
This course critically reviews and analyzes the meaning, definitions, history and development of human rights in world politics. It approaches the subject matter both from a political science and law perspective, which see human rights as ascribed rights that come from birth, and from a sociological perspective which takes into account the power relationships that are built into the understandings and differential usage of the concept of human rights. While the legal and political theory has a lot of explanatory power in terms of tracing the evolutionary trajectory of international human rights law after World War II, sociology accounts for the cultural, societal and historical context in which the discussion of human rights arises. In this framework, the course looks at alternative views regarding the definitions, history and development of human rights in the Western and non-Western contexts.

POLI 353 United States Foreign Policy
This course examines the formulation, conduct and content of contemporary U.S. foreign policies during the 20th century and at the onset of the 21st century. Students will examine the role and impact of various governmental actors in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy. They will also examine theories of foreign policy decision-making and key aspects of U.S. regional foreign policies. Prerequisite: POLI / INTL 150.

POLI 355 International Organizations
This course examines the role of international organizations in world politics. It focuses on the historical development of international organizations and their increasing impact on a wide range of global issues, including peacekeeping, human rights, the world economy and the environment. The course provides students with the theoretical tools and concepts they need to understand the dynamics of the institutional structures and political processes of international organizations in an increasingly interdependent world. Prerequisite: POLI / INTL 150.

POLI 362 Globalization and the Developing World in the 21st Century (Adv. Core: BB)
This course explores the impact of globalization on the political institutions of developing nations. It addresses the complex political, economic and social challenges and opportunities that the Global South faces in an increasingly interdependent world. Students will focus on the political histories of developing nations, the make-up of their political structures and institutions, the proliferation of domestic and international political actors and the emergence of diverse forms of democratic regimes. Students will be encouraged to explore the legitimacy and efficacy of national, subnational and supranational forms of governance in the 21st century.

POLI 365 European Politics
This course is an examination of the political systems of a number of European countries. Attention will be given to their historical evolution, ideologies and political cultures as possible explanatory factors for the similarities and differences among the systems. Prerequisite: POLI 150.

POLI 368 Latin American Politics Through Film, Art, Poetry, and Music (Adv. Core: BB)
This course provides an overview of the governments and politics of Latin American countries from a comparative perspective. The course examines the structure, functioning and interaction of political institutions in Latin American countries. Students will be exposed to various topics including political and economic development, globalization and social movements and competing political ideologies.

POLI 410 Global Political Extremism (Adv. Core: BB)
This course will focus on political extremism around the world. Different countries will be compared, allowing students to examine commonalities in the origins of political extremism between vastly different cultures. While the emphasis of the course will be on current manifestations of extremism, historical examples will also be used for comparison. Primary questions to be addressed in the course will be: what are the causes of extremism; what commonalities can be seen across different cultures and historical eras; what are the unique cultural and historical features that manifest in different forms of political extremism; how does political extremism affect different societies; how does political extremism affect current global political discourse and policy; and what can be done to try to prevent violence caused by political extremism.

POLI 450 The United Nations Seminar
Students learn about world politics from scholars and practitioners during two weeks at U.N. headquarters in New York City, Geneva, and The Hague. Topics include peacekeeping, gendered development and human rights. Students see international relations in the making, visiting U.N. missions and meeting diplomats to discuss current world developments. Summer session.

POLI 389/489 Special Topics (2 or 4 credits)
This is a seminar course that is offered whenever a mutual interest in a more specialized topic in political science exists for a member of the faculty and a sufficient number of students. Prerequisite: instructor’s consent.

POLI 490 Independent Study
Individual study of an approved topic in political science under the direction of a political science faculty member, permitting faculty and students to explore together some subject of special or personal interest. Reading and tutorial discussion are required, written work is optional. Prerequisites: instructor’s consent and approval of associate dean of social sciences.

POLI 492 Directed Research
Qualified students may perform political science research projects under the supervision of a political science faculty member. Prerequisites: instructor’s consent and approval of associate dean of social sciences.

POLI 494 Internship
Appropriate work or active political experience with government agencies or partisan political groups may be undertaken for course credit when directly related to the educational goals of the student. Prerequisites: instructor’s consent and approval of the associate dean of social sciences.

POLI 499 Political Science Senior Assessment (0 credits)
This course consists of a single three-hour session during which students complete a standardized test of knowledge of the major field and/or other measures of the intended learning outcomes of the political science program. The data gathered during the session assists members of the political science faculty in their efforts to monitor and improve the program. Students should register for the assessment as part of their final semester of coursework at the college.