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Course Summary

Course Description

What sorts of governments help to create a better life for citizens? Students in the Global Government concentration prepare for careers in public service, politics and international policy development.

Career Possibilities

  • Legislative Analyst
  • Lobbyist for Environmental Protection
  • Executive Director of an NGO
  • Advisor to Financial Think Tank
  • Political Campaign Manager

Major Foundation Requirements

SS300 / Boom, Bust, and Bubbles: The Free Enterprise System

Market inefficiencies are critical drivers of global financial instability. Study the utility of specific economic principles by examining systemic market failures such as the Japanese boom and bust of the 1980’s and 1990’s, the various asset price bubbles (equity, housing, commodities, etc.), and periods of relative market calm and prosperity. What trigger events turn market vulnerabilities into panics or manias? What impact can regulation have on lessening or heightening market volatility? Students predict the next "bubble" in the global economy.

SS301 / Cognitive Neuroscience

How does the brain give rise to the mind? Learn about neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of the brain, and consider the role of this physical substrate in neural computation. The focus is on higher cognitive functions. Topics include the effects of exercise on the brain, diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease, sex differences in brain structure and organization, and the brain basis of mental disorders such as depression and schizophrenia

SS302 / Social Inequality

Do the same factors underlie inequality in different countries or at different points in history? Examine key empirical findings and theories about social inequality, with an international focus. Look at mechanisms for upward mobility and ways in which those mechanisms are constrained by various economic, psychological and cultural factors. Includes political and economic implications of inequality throughout history and in contemporary societies.

Concentration Core Requirements

SS310 / Econometrics in Context

Explore how to use core econometric methods and statistical techniques to construct and test economic and social models in practical situations such as measuring the importance of peer pressure on teen smoking, estimating the elasticity of high end chocolate prices or evaluating the impact of mosquito nets against malaria. During in-class debates, students critically examine the assumptions, validity and outputs of the models.

SS330 / World Political Systems

Compare selected political systems from representative countries around the world. Case studies are drawn from present-day governments, including democracies, dictatorships and religious states. Students will design a political system that will help citizens attain a set of goals including fundamental freedoms, economic security, and peace.

SS331 / Poverty, Politics and Governments

What role should governments play in addressing poverty, in their own countries and in others? How do political considerations factor into a leader’s policies on poverty? Learn about countries dealing with poverty on a global scale, and have an opportunity to suggest and argue for solutions to this complex problem.

Concentration Electives

SS334 / Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Public Policy

Discuss the ways in which race, ethnicity and gender factor into the making of public policy. Through case studies from a variety of countries — including the United States, Russia, France, Brazil, Afghanistan, and Iraq — come to understand how race, gender, and ethnicity are defined in different cultures, and how ethnic and racial considerations play a role in establishing and enforcing governmental policies.

SS432 / Interpreting the American Constitution Through Time.

Is the constitution a living document or must it instead be treated more like a fundamentalist religious text? Forms of originalism (original intent, original meaning, semantic and framework originalism), strict constructionism, textualism, and other approaches, and the specific social, political and judicial issues that have impacted them.

SS433 / Capitalism, Communism, Socialism

Examine the ways the theoretical concepts of these major ways of organizing government and society played out in specific historical and political contexts. Topics include political movements and governmental policies in Russia, China, North Korea, and Cuba. Comparisons will be draw between capitalism in its contemporary form (both free market and state directed) and communism and socialism. Why are there (almost) no communist or socialist countries today?

SS434 / The Politics of War

How do political considerations factor into a leader’s decision to bring his or her country to war? Examine several historical conflicts — the two World Wars, the conflict in Vietnam, and the more recent political wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in many countries in Africa. During in-class debates, students take on the roles of leaders who must consider the political consequences of their actions.

SS435 / Systems of Government: Common Law and Constitutional Law

In common law societies, where laws evolve over time, legal rulings are based on the similarity of a current situation to one in the past. By contrast, societies with constitutional legal systems are governed by those laws that define basic rights. What are the advantages and disadvantages of both types of systems? How do these systems balance the rights of citizens versus the state? Minorities versus the majority? How do they affect the lives of everyday citizens? What are the variances between different kinds of constitutional and common law systems?

SS436 / Historical Trend Analysis in World Politics

How have citizens struggled against colonialism, invasion, dependency on foreign powers, dictators, and malevolent monarchs? How have societies implemented democracy (or claimed to have) throughout the world? Study historical trends in political systems, from emerging nations to fully industrialized nation-states, drawing on historians' interpretations and primary source accounts.

SS516 / International Trade

Understand international trade, focusing on current US and world governmental policies. Case studies exemplify the relationship between political considerations and public policies on trade. Review current discussions around globalization and free trade, and argue positions during in-class debates.

SS533 / From Dictatorship to Democracy

Many countries in Latin America have successfully moved from dictatorships to democracy. What can we learn from these dramatic transitions and how can we apply that knowledge as other countries around the world make similar transitions? How can a boom in trade play an important role in these processes?

SS538 / Regulatory Environments

How do governmental regulations help or impede a country's economy? Four case studies are considered: how government and quasigovernmental agencies failed in the subprime mortgage market in the United States; securities and exchange commission full disclosure mandates; local government regulations such as those against "big box" stores; and, codes that regulate via tax deductions and incentives.

SS539 / History of Peacetime and Diplomacy

In every generation throughout recorded history, savage wars have occurred in at least one part of the world. Whereas historians have written a great deal about war, and sociologists about human aggression, this course examines factors throughout history that led to peace. Explore the notion that peacetime and diplomacy is defined by a history of cultural influence, of gifts, the art of persuasion, and of the negotiated exchange of capital, power and kinship.

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