Courses

POLS 103. American Politics 1.0 course credit

A study of the constitutional foundations, political processes, and institutions of American government on the national, state, and local level. Also focuses on current and perennial issues in domestic and foreign policy.

POLS 110. Moot Court 0.25 course credit

This course is for all students who plan to participate in the annual Monmouth College moot court competition and/or the legal brief writing competition. We will discuss the procedure of these competitions, the selected case, and related legal concepts (for example: scrutiny levels, constitutional interpretation, legal reasoning, etc.). As part of the course, students must participate in either the moot court competition, the legal brief writing competition, or both. Credit/No Credit.

POLS 120. Film and Politics 1.0 course credit

Film and visual images can help us understand contemporary politics. The film industry is often influenced by larger political forces and it has been used by governments to propagate particular ideologies. Films, documentaries and television programs often shape the public’s perception of politics. The course will examine both the politics of movie making and politics in the movies. Each time the course is taught it will focus on themes such as the American presidency, elections and campaigns, law and order, war and terrorism, race, class and gender, civil rights and social justice.

POLS 150. Global Justice 1.0 course credit

Do political borders have moral significance? Should we intervene to prevent human rights abuses from occurring in other countries? Do we have a higher moral obligation to protect people within our own countries? Are the patterns of global inequalities we observe, just? We will examine different traditions in moral thought and consider how they inform our answers to such questions, including their application to real world situations.

POLS 175. Politics of US Public Policy 1.0 course credit

This course examines domestic public policy in the United States, exploring a range of different perspectives on policy goals and various approaches to policy implementation. The functions of political institutions and the reasoning behind political strategies will be considered. The course is current-events-based; specific topics will vary by year.

POLS 200. Introduction to Comparative Politics 1.0 course credit

Examines diverse forms of national politics, including industrialized democracies, communist regimes, and developing nations. Also examines the basic conceptual and methodological tools of comparative political inquiry.

POLS 202. Modern Japan 1.0 course credit

A study of the social, economic, and political development of modern Japan, emphasizing Japanese responses to problems posed by contacts with the West.

POLS 208. Understanding Capitalism 1.0 course credit

Over the last 500 years, capitalism has been both a tremendous engine of growth and a recurrent source of crisis. In this course, we examine the forms capitalism has taken throughout history, and the reasons it has evolved as it has. We will seek to understand how it has shaped and been shaped by political systems. We will talk about what capitalism might look like going forward, as global economic and political systems change in response to the events of the 21st century.

POLS 210. Public Opinion 1.0 course credit

This course tours the vast literature on American public opinion, considering our roles as citizens with a special emphasis on the place of communication in democracy. It covers the meaning and measurement of opinion, why opinions matter (if in fact they do), why people come to hold particular opinions, and why they change from time to time. It also addresses whether citizens are ultimately capable of self-government and how well government represents the needs and desires of its citizens.

POLS 230. Political Philosophy 1.0 course credit

(Cross-listed as PHIL 230) This course provides a historical survey and philosophical analysis of political philosophy. This course aims to develop students’ ability to think critically about topics such as political community, freedom, rights, justice, equality, and the role of violence in politics.
POLS 244. Religion and Politics 1.0 course credit
(Cross-listed as RELG 244) The “secularization” thesis prevailed among the social scientists during the 1950s and 1960s. This thesis assumed that under the influence of industrialization, urbanization, and modernization, religion will become less important in the public and the private spheres. The emergence of highly politicized religious movements has posed a severe challenge to the secularization thesis. In this course, we will explore the relationship between religion and politics by examining contemporary movements such as the Christian Right in the U.S. Hindu fundamentalism in India and political Islam in the Middle East and South Asia.

POLS 245. The Politics of Developing Nations 1.0 course credit

A study of selected developing nations and the problems posed by rapid political and economic development. Topics include: leadership strategies, the impact of modernization on traditional cultures, and the role of political ideology.

POLS 250. Special Topics 0.5 to 1.0 course credit

POLS 270. Introduction to International Relations 1.0 course credit

A study of global and regional relationships, including state and non-state actors. Explores themes such as the influence of nationalism, economic rivalry, power politics, and international organizations on global behavior. Also
explores the nature and causes of war.

POLS 280. Latino Politics 1.0 course credit

Latinos are numerically the fastest growing racial and ethnic group in the United States. To understand this important demographic group, this course surveys a range of topics in Latino politics, including public policy, political activism, and social identity. It is open to all students who want to learn more about who Latinos are and how their political attitudes and behaviors have influenced American politics in the past, how they are currently influencing American politics, and how they will influence American politics in the future.

POLS 287. Political Psychology 1.0 course credit

How do people make decisions about politics? This course seeks to answer that question by investigating the intersection of psychology and political behavior. Topics include the effects of socialization, the media, persuasion, personality and biology, identity and group processes, emotions and cognition, values, and more. In so doing, we will begin to uncover the psychological underpinnings of democracy.

POLS 291. Civics & Political Systems for Elementary Education 0.5 course credit

This course is designed to provide educators with the content knowledge necessary to prepare their students to meet the Illinois social science content standards in political systems for grades 1-6. The course will cover: the basic principles of the United States government; the structures and functions of the political systems of Illinois, the United States, and other nations; election processes and responsibilities of citizens; the roles of individuals and interest groups in political systems; U.S. foreign policy; and the development of U.S. political ideas and traditions.

POLS 292. Campaign Methods 1.0 course credit

This is an excellent time to be taking a class on political campaign methods. For years, campaign and party strategists in both parties used scientific methods to develop new and more effective ways to reach, persuade and motivate voters. The rise of ‘analytics’ and ‘data-driven’ campaigns generated confidence and assurance by political operatives that the science of campaigns ensured victory or at least provided the best chance of winning. But elections continue to produce surprises proving that there is still room for art and not just science in campaigns. This course starts with the fundamentals of grassroots campaigns where students learn how to run for office or manage or consult on a local race. As we move through the course, students will be applying what they learn about
campaign methods to a current campaign.

POLS 295. The Politics of Criminal Justice 1.0 course credit

This course explores the central concepts, institutions, policies, and controversies of criminal justice in the United States. Included are components on police work, courts, corrections, and the formulation of criminal justice policy. Students will be encouraged to develop a “nuts and bolts” familiarity with day-to-day practices of criminal justice in the U.S., a philosophical understanding of criminal justice as an ideal, and the critical skills needed to make a meaningful comparison between the ideal and current practices.

POLS 310. Issues Seminar 1.0 course credit

Provides an up-to-date look at emerging local, state, national, and international issues as well as emerging scholarly perspectives in political science. Joins attentiveness to the latest “news” with current analytical tools of the
profession. Includes organization of at least one debate open to the campus. This course could be repeated for credit.

POLS 311. Parties and Elections 1.0 course credit

A study of American parties and elections as well as the problems faced by candidates for public office. Students are expected to participate in current political campaigns.

POLS 325. Congress and the Presidency 1.0 course credit

This course provides an overview of the two policy-oriented branches of the U.S. government: the Congress and Presidency. We will separately examine the institutions and operations of both branches before assessing how they interact with one another. Ultimately, the objective of this analysis is to evaluate the quality and health of America’s political institutions and democratic government.

POLS 333. U.S. Foreign Policy 1.0 course credit

Introduces students to the history of American foreign policy as well as key issues, concepts, and debates in the field. Includes examination of the policy-making process and key figures who have made their mark on U.S. foreign policy. Pays special attention to the transition from the Cold War era to that of the “new world order.”

POLS 351. Constitutional Law: Institutional Powers and Restraints 1.0 course credit

In this class we will analyze case law related to the separation of powers of the judiciary, legislature, and president. We will also examine constitutional issues related to states’ rights and economic regulations. Along the way, students will develop a general understanding of Supreme Court processes and procedure.

POLS 352. Civil Liberties 1.0 course credit

An introduction to the philosophical bases and historical development of constitutional civil liberties. We will read case law emphasizing the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment to determine how our understanding of fundamental rights has evolved over time and how judges make decisions about those rights.

POLS 361. Africa in World Politics 1.0 course credit

This course provides a historical survey of Africa’s international relations. The dominant focus is on contemporary patterns, considering how African political actors relate to each other and the rest of the world in areas ranging from the economy and foreign aid to security and conflict.

POLS 366. International Organizations 1.0 course credit

This course examines the role of international organizations in world politics. It begins with a historical perspective, looking at the evolution of international organizations from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. It then looks at various theoretical approaches to international organizations. The course closes with case studies of the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund.

POLS 370. Development Policies and Interventions 1.0 course credit

The United Nations’ development agenda has envisioned “a world free of poverty, hunger, disease and want, where all life can thrive.” Can this vision become a reality? What could we do to help attain it? This course will examine development policies and interventions, their rationales and outcomes, and current approaches and debates in the field.

POLS 375. Environmental Politics 1.0 course credit

An analysis of environmental politics and policy on the national and international levels.

POLS 395. Constitutional Issues 1.0 course credit

A study of current constitutional issues in light of constitutional history, philosophical principles, and our ever-changing sociopolitical context.

POLS 409. The Supreme Court 1.0 course credit

This course is intended to provide insight into the workings of the United States Supreme Court. We will cover subjects that include, but are not limited to: how justices are chosen to sit upon the court; the reasons why the Supreme Court makes the decisions it does; and the impact of the Supreme Court on the political and legal landscape in the United States.

POLS 414. American Political Thought 1.0 course credit

Examines ideas, themes, and debates at the center of American political discourse as it has evolved since colonial times. Students will be asked to apply the course material to contemporary politics and society,

POLS 415. Senior Seminar 1.0 course credit

Concentrated study of an issue in political science. Students work on research projects that deal in depth with substantive and methodological problems associated with the subject area. Prerequisite: Senior standing.

POLS 420. Independent Study or Internship 0.5 to 1.0 course credit

Includes selected readings, research, written reports, conferences, and/or work with government officials as arranged with the instructor.