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Government Course Descriptions


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GO111fs    Introduction to American Government and Politics      How does the American government work? An examination of the relationships among American values, politics, government institutions, and public policy. Focus on the methodologies of political science as tools for expanding understanding of political phenomena and behavior. Credit cannot be earned for both Government 111 and 115.     Four credit hours.  S, U.    MACKENZIE, SHEA
[GO113]    Overview of the U.S. Legal System      A discussion-oriented study of constitutional, criminal, and civil law, through readings, legal research, outside speakers, attending court, and visiting a maximum-security prison. Some field trips last all day. The fourth meeting of the week may vary between Thursday and Friday, depending on speaker availability.     Three credit hours.  
[GO115]    Great Issues in Contemporary American Government      Controversial issues such as environmental policy or tax policy divide the American public and decision makers on a recurring basis. An introduction to the institutions of American government through the lens of these issues. Students will explore the linkages between citizens and government, the effectiveness of the electoral process as a means of resolving policy debates, and the checks and balances inherent in our system as each issue is examined. They will learn how to write about issues in a variety of formats, e.g., newspaper articles, speeches, and research papers, and how to make effective oral presentations. Credit cannot be earned for both Government 111 and 115.     Four credit hours.  S,W1.  
GO116j    News Literacy      An exploration of various news media—traditional newspapers, online news organizations, blogs, network television, cable outlets, and others—seeking to understand how news is gathered and how the media differ in terms of news gathering techniques, emphasis on fairness and reliability, and interpretation.     Three credit hours.    OFFER
GO131fs    Introduction to International Relations      An introduction to the basic concepts and theories of international relations, focusing primarily on the core issues of war and peace as they have evolved in the international system, as well as the prospects for cooperation through international institutions to address issues such as human rights, nuclear proliferation, the world economy, and the global environment.     Four credit hours.  S.    RODMAN
GO171fs    Introduction to Political Theory      What is the nature and purpose of a political community? What is freedom? What is justice? How do such ideals relate to the design and functioning of political institutions? Political theory is the subfield within political science that addresses these and related normative and methodologically foundational questions. Introduction to classic works of political theory by Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, and Mill. Students will demonstrate their understanding of the primary texts and their ability to formulate original arguments in political theory by means of papers and exams; class sessions are conducted as a mixture of lecture and discussion.     Four credit hours.  S, I.    CORRADO, REISERT
GO210s    Interest-Group Politics      Examines the role and behavior of organized interest groups in American politics. Provides students with opportunities to develop their substantive knowledge of group behavior, to develop their writing skills through the completion of an independent research paper, and to develop their oral communication skills.     Four credit hours.    CORRADO
GO211s    The American Presidency      The organization, powers, and actions of the executive branch of the American government examined in historical and contemporary perspective. Students will use the tools and methodologies of political science to assess the modern presidency and its incumbents. Prerequisite:  Government 111 or 115, and sophomore or higher standing.     Four credit hours.  U.    MACKENZIE
[GO214]    Parties and the Electoral Process      An exploration of the electoral process in the United States, emphasizing the historical development of American parties and elections, the legal and constitutional contexts in which they exist, the practical aspects of modern campaigns, and the democratic values inherent in our electoral system and those of other nations. Prerequisite:  Government 111 and sophomore or higher standing.     Four credit hours.  
[GO216]    Political Rhetoric      An introduction to the theory and practice of political rhetoric through the study of historically significant political speeches and the composition and delivery of original addresses, including intensive practice in persuasive writing and public speaking. Topics include the moral status of rhetoric and the identification and use of rhetorical figures and modes of persuasion. Works studied include the funeral oration of Pericles, speeches from Shakespeare such as Antony's subversive "Friends, Romans, countrymen," Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, and King's "I Have a Dream." For the culminating exercise, students will compose and deliver their own political speeches.     Three credit hours.  
[GO231]    U.S. Foreign Policy: The Cold War      An analysis of the major events facing the United States during the Cold War and the controversies surrounding them. Academic and policy debates over national security doctrines, the proper place of ideology in foreign policy, the role of economic factors, and domestic political institutions. Topics include the origin of the Cold War, nuclear weapons strategy, the Vietnam War, containment and detente, and the end of the Cold War. Prerequisite:  Government 131.     Four credit hours.  
GO238f    Politics of War Crime Tribunals      Examines the politics of establishing tribunals to hold individuals criminally accountable for genocide and other atrocity crimes, from the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials after World War II through the International Criminal Court. Central questions involve the nature of post-conflict justice, the degree to which international legal bodies are insulated from or influenced by politics, and the impact of prosecution on transitions from war and dictatorship to peace and democracy. Academic and legal analysis combined with simulated court proceedings. Areas of application include South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Milosevic trial, the Pinochet extradition hearing, and issues surrounding Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.     Four credit hours.  S.    RODMAN
[GO243]    Politics of Subnational Culture and Identity in Europe      Examines the varieties of regional identities, social movements, and political parties in Europe. Explores questions such as, "Where are regional identities the strongest and why?" Considers whether the rise of regional movements and the devolution of power in many countries challenge the primacy of the nation-state in Europe. To what extent is the European Union a "Europe of the regions," where subnational political actors can find new opportunities to shape the political agenda?     Three credit hours.  I.  
GO251s    Israelis and Palestinians: Conflict and Accommodation      An examination of the roots, evolution, and changing dynamics of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Focuses on key historical junctures, from the British mandate over Palestine, through the "Oslo Process" and its collapse, to the new situation created by the events of the past few years including Hamas's victory in the parliamentary elections of January 2006, the Hezbollah-Israel war of July-August 2006, the growing divide between the West Bank and Gaza, and Israel's military assault on Gaza in December 2008-January 2009. Some attention is paid to media coverage of, and U.S. policy toward, the conflict. Fulfills the "regional gateway" requirement. Prerequisite:  Sophomore or higher standing.     Four credit hours.  S, I.    DENOEUX
GO252f    Politics of the Middle East      An introduction to politics in the Middle East. Provides essential historical background, analyzes the socioeconomic and cultural context in which Middle Eastern politics takes place, examines the relationship between Islam and politics, and presents the most salient challenges faced by the region. Explores the roots and dynamics of authoritarianism in the region and delves into recent and ongoing efforts at political and economic reform in selected Arab countries. Topics selected for special attention include the resiliency and adaptability of authoritarian regimes in that part of the world, failed Arab democratization experiments and what can be learned from them, and key impediments to substantive democratization. Fulfills the "regional gateway" requirement. Prerequisite:  Sophomore or higher standing.     Four credit hours.  I.    DENOEUX
GO253f    Latin American Politics      An introduction to the political development of Latin America. Discussion of key ideas about economic development, authoritarianism, revolution and, in particular, democracy. Includes a look at the work of some of the most important political analysts writing about Latin America today. Employs both multidisciplinary and disciplinary approaches to examine key political issues in Latin American politics. The main objective is to develop analytical and critical-thinking skills as well as the ability to think comparatively about political problems. Fulfills the "regional gateway" requirement.     Four credit hours.  I.    SANDOVAL PEREA
[GO256]    Conflict in East Asia      Introduces the domestic politics and foreign policies of nations/territories in East Asia, then pushes students to apply what they have learned to three specific cases of international conflict in Northeast Asia: the political status of Taiwan, competing memories of World War II, and the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula. A survey in which students learn about the countries of this region, about the volatile mix of fears and aspirations, and also how to think more deeply, communicate more effectively, and collaborate more successfully. Fulfills the "regional gateway" requirement.     Four credit hours.  S, I.  
GO259s    European Politics      Examines the development of European political systems and their institutional arrangements, specifically how particular political arrangements may affect policymaking and implementation. Also explores several important questions and debates in European politics. Exposes students to a variety of viewpoints and, through a range of class assignments, helps students sharpen their research, analysis, writing, and oral presentation skills. Fulfills the "regional gateway" requirement.     Four credit hours.    YODER
GO263f    Democracy Assistance      An introduction to the field of democracy assistance, taught from a practitioner's perspective. Students are exposed to key concepts, analytical frameworks, and techniques used by donors. Examines the main issues and debates in the field, the challenges and pitfalls specific to this craft, and what may be learned from both the successes and failures encountered by development professionals who have sought to support democratic forces abroad. Debates over the legitimacy, effectiveness, and evolving role of democracy promotion in U.S. foreign policy will be examined. Fulfills the "thematic" requirement.     Four credit hours.  S, I.    DENOEUX
GO266j    German Politics      Examination of the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany, culminating in a discussion of the September 2009 parliamentary elections. Explores the German political parties, leaders, and policy debates central to the election. Students participate in a simulation of the negotiations to form a coalition government. Allows students to compare the German and American electorates, election campaign processes, and electoral and party systems.     Three credit hours.    YODER
GO271s    Classical Political Theory      An introduction to the political thought of classical antiquity, including the works of Thucydides, Xenophon, Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero. Topics include the nature of justice, the merits of direct democracy and other institutional forms, and the attributes of the ideal leader. Students will demonstrate their understanding of the primary texts and their ability to formulate original arguments in political theory by means of papers and exams; class sessions are conducted as a mixture of lecture and discussion. Prerequisite:  Government 171 or Philosophy 211.     Four credit hours.    REISERT
[GO272]    Modern Political Theory      A survey of major works by Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche. Modern understanding of the social contract, the individual, and the state; psychology; religion and politics; knowledge and political power; and the definition of freedom. Prerequisite:  Government 171.     Four credit hours.  I.  
GO273f    American Political Thought      A survey of fundamental principles of American political thought as presented in the writings of such authors as Hamilton, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. General themes include the notion of republican government, concepts of liberty and equality, and the role of property in democratic society. Designed to provide students with an opportunity to develop critical-thinking and writing skills.     Four credit hours.    CORRADO
GO274s    Intellectual Roots of Modern Conservatism      Diverse intellectual sources of the contemporary conservative movement in America, Edmund Burke to present. What does it mean to be a conservative? How (if at all) do conservative conceptions of man and society differ from liberal or "radical" visions? What (if any) is the relationship between conservative ideas and religion? How do multiple strands of conservative thought relate to one another? Readings from Burke, Thomas Carlyle, Benjamin Disraeli, Herbert Spencer, Michael Oakeshott, Friedrich Hayek, Russell Kirk, others. Assignments include short analyses of readings, in-class presentations, two longer analytical papers, and an exam (or a long research paper). Previously offered as Government 298. Prerequisite:  Government 171.     Four credit hours.    REISERT
GO281s    Concepts and Methods of Political Science Research      An introduction to a variety of approaches to the study of political phenomena, intended to prepare students to craft and complete more-sophisticated research projects in political science. After discussion of the nature and aims of scientific inquiry and the general features of effective research design, focus is on two broad methodological perspectives: explanation and interpretation. Within the former, topics covered include hypothesis testing and statistical analysis; within the latter, topics include the problem of historical truth, symbolic representation, and discourse analysis. Assignments will include response papers, problem sets, and exams. Prerequisite:  Permission of the instructor.     Four credit hours.  Q.    SANDOVAL PEREA
GO297f    Mexican Politics      A survey of the formation of the Mexican political system from colonial times to the present. Topics include the impacts of colonialism on Mexico's political structures and Mexico's post-revolutionary politics. Contemporary issues include the most pressing concerns Mexico faces under the new democratic stage such as crime, inequality, the rule of law, and bilateral relations with the United States. Main goals are to critically assess the evolution and functioning of the Mexican political system and identify the most challenging domestic and international factors that may harm Mexico's prospects of democratic consolidation.     Four credit hours.    SANDOVAL PEREA
GO297Jj    Comparative Law: U.S. and Cuban Legal Systems      Students will develop an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of legal and governmental systems which are based upon fundamentally different principles. Initially, in Maine, we will study the U.S. legal system through lectures, readings, observing court proceedings, and meetings with judges. The focus will then shift to the Cuban governmental and legal systems with a necessary introduction to Cuban geography, history, and culture. This study will continue as we travel to Miami for two nights and then to Havana and environs for 9 days. Students will then return to Maine and complete a written assignment. Cost: $3,425. Deposit due October 5th. Prerequisite:  Government 111, 113, Colby Latin American Studies courses, AP Government, AP History, or equivalent; and approval of the instructor.     Three credit hours.    LEE
GO298s    Media and Politics      A normative and descriptive exploration of the role played by the media in American politics. Among questions addressed: In what ways do the different news media and kinds of coverage influence the democratic process? Is concentrated media ownership a threat to democracy? Does the shape of the media affect the way citizens interact with government? How might the rise of "new media" alter the duties and responsibilities of democratic citizenship. Students will explore these issues through class-based active learning exercises and will articulate their findings in exams, papers, and presentations. Prerequisite:  Government 111 or 115.     Four credit hours.    SHEA
GO313f    Federalism in American Constitutional Law      An examination of constitutional debates that have defined the structure and powers of the modern national government. Topics include constitutional interpretation; the operation and desirability (or not) of judicial review; the scope of the states' police powers in relation to congressional power; the conflict between economic rights and the modern regulatory state; and powers of the president, especially in times of terrorism, emergency, and war. Readings include U.S. Supreme Court decisions and related documents as well as secondary works in political science and law. Assignments include case briefs, class participation, papers, simulations (e.g., moot courts), and exams. Prerequisite:  Government 111 or 115.     Four credit hours.  U.    REISERT
[GO314]    Civil Liberties in American Constitutional Law      An examination of legal, moral, and philosophical controversies involving rights and liberties arising under the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment. Topics include the nature of rights and theories of constitutional interpretation; the right to the free exercise of religion and the establishment clause; freedom of expression; the "right of privacy" and protections for contraception, abortion, and homosexuality; and affirmative action and the status of women and minorities under the law. Readings include U.S. Supreme Court cases and related works of moral and political philosophy. Prerequisite:  Government 111 or 115.     Four credit hours.  U.  
[GO316]    Presidential Electoral Politics      The procedural and electoral environment of presidential elections and the strategies employed in presidential campaigns by candidates, party organizations, and political committees. Topics include campaign communication strategies, media coverage of elections, and recent controversies associated with the voting process, with a focus on the current or most recent election. Prerequisite:  Government 111 or 115.     Four credit hours.  
GO317f    The Policymaking Process      The policymaking process, including agenda setting, program formulation, consensus building, implementation, and the use and misuse of policy analysis. Special attention to methods and techniques of policy evaluation. Primary focus on policymaking at the national level in the U.S. government. Prerequisite:  Government 111 or 115.     Four credit hours.  U.    MACKENZIE
[GO318]    Money and Politics      The role of money in the political process and the policy debates on various campaign finance reform alternatives. Formerly offered as Government 419. Prerequisite:  Government 111 or 115.     Four credit hours.  
[GO320]    The Rights Revolution and Its Discontents      The changing role of the national government in American society since the beginning of the 20th century, especially government involvement in defining and protecting individual and civil rights. Critical analyses of the movements that led to those expansions, the government programs that resulted, and the opposition and reaction they inspired. Prerequisite:  Government 111 or 115.     Four credit hours.  U.  
[GO331]    Business and American Foreign Policy      Examination of competing theories about the relationship between business and the state in the conduct of foreign policy. The relevance of these theories will be tested vis-à-vis cases of Cold War interventionism, East-West trade, economic sanctions, trade policy, the role of international banking, the arms industry, and the oil companies. Prerequisite:  Government 131.     Four credit hours.  
GO332f    International Organization      The structure, politics, and current operation of international organizations within the nation-state system. Topics include conflict resolution, nonproliferation, human rights, and international economic cooperation. Prerequisite:  Government 131.     Four credit hours.    RODMAN
[GO335]    U.S.-Latin American Relations      The evolving relationship between Latin America and the United States. Analysis will focus on the continuities and changes in U.S. policy toward Latin America as well as Latin American perceptions and policies toward the United States. Special attention to post-Cold War issues such as the war on drugs, democracy promotion, international migration, hemispheric trade, financial crises, crime, and terrorism. Prerequisite:  Government 131 or 253.     Four credit hours.  
GO344f    Post-Communist Transformations      Examines the rise and fall of communism in Russia and Eastern Europe. Offers analysis of the post-communist political, economic, and social transformation processes. Fulfills the "thematic" requirement. Prerequisite:  At least one government course.     Four credit hours.    YODER
[GO354]    The European Union      How should we understand the European Union? Is it a regional trade bloc, an international organization, or even a state—and, if so, what kind? Is it, as some have suggested, a superpower on par with the United States? If it is as significant as many attest, what are the implications for the primacy of nation-states and national sovereignty? A detailed and critical understanding of what the EU is and how it works. Through a variety of assignments, students analyze the design, construction, and operation of the new institutions of governance in Europe. Fulfills the "thematic" requirement. Prerequisite:  Government 131.     Four credit hours.  
[GO355]    Winners and Losers in Chinese Politics      An exploration of contemporary Chinese politics, especially the political and social fallout from post-Mao economic reforms.     Four credit hours.  
[GO356]    Winners and Losers in Japanese Politics      An exploration of Japanese politics, with a focus on the evolving struggle between traditional insiders (such as government bureaucrats and corporate executives) and traditional outsiders (such as labor unions and housewives).     Four credit hours.  
[GO357]    Political Economy of Regionalism      Comparative analysis of economic and political integration in three regions: Europe (the EU), North America (NAFTA), and Asia. Why do states agree to give up some sovereignty by cooperating on regional projects? Why do these projects vary so much from region to region? Fulfills the "thematic" requirement.     Four credit hours.  
GO358s    Comparative Arab Politics      Builds on knowledge acquired in Government 252 to explore the political dynamics of selected Arab countries. Highlights both similarities and differences in political processes across countries, evaluates the political changes taking place in each of them, and delves into the nature of the challenges they confront. For each country, key political actors are identified, and their resources, interests, and strategies are analyzed. Examines how these actors relate to one another according to both formal and informal "rules of the game" that confer a distinctive flavor on each country's political dynamics. Prerequisite:  Government 252     Four credit hours.    DENOEUX
[GO359]    Political Ideologies and Revolutionary Movements in Europe      An exploration of major ideological currents and movements in modern Europe. Focuses on various forms of radicalism on the right and left of the political spectrum against the background of important political developments in Europe in the last century, such as the Bolshevik revolution, the rise of fascism and Nazism, the emergence of domestic terrorism, the explosion of nationalisms and fundamentalisms, and the collapse of Soviet-style communism. Fulfills the "thematic" requirement. Prerequisite:  Government 131 or 171.     Four credit hours.  
[GO371]    Foundations of American Constitutionalism      An examination of the philosophical foundations of the Constitution and American political thought at the time of the founding through an analysis of Revolution-era documents, the writings of Locke and Montesquieu, and selected Federalist and anti-Federalist essays. Prerequisite:  Government 111 or 115.     Four credit hours.  
GO397f    The 2012 Presidential Election      Examines the context, processes, strategies, and electoral consequences of the 2012 presidential general election. Provides an opportunity to analyze and assess the presidential selection process and the political behavior that influences presidential campaigns. Incorporates academic research, participant observations, and other materials to promote real-time analysis of the race for the White House. Includes opportunities for students to conduct independent research and develop in-class presentations on topics relevant to the 2012 election.     Four credit hours.    CORRADO
GO398s    Democratization in Latin America      An examination of democratic experiences in the Latin American region. Topics include definitions of democracy, democratic transitions, and consolidation; debates about regime changes, preconditions for democratization, and factors leading to successful or unsuccessful transitions. These theoretical concepts will be applied to the study of some Latin American countries in order to more fully understand democratic trends in the region. Main goals are to critically assess democratic experiences in Latin America and identify those factors harming prospects of democratic consolidation. Prerequisite:  One course in government or Latin American studies.     Four credit hours.  I.    SANDOVAL PEREA
GO413f    Seminar: Policy Advocacy      Intensive study of selected public-policy issues and the techniques of policy advocacy; emphasis on oral presentations of policy positions. Prerequisite:  Government 111.     Four credit hours.    MACKENZIE
[GO414]    Seminar: Ethics in Politics      A discussion of critical ethical issues faced by American and other national leaders. Case studies of 20th-century decisions, including those involved with violence (e.g., Truman's decision to drop the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki), deception in government (e.g., Oliver North's decision to lie to Congress about Iran-Contra), disobedience of those in authority (e.g., Daniel Ellsberg's release of the Pentagon Papers), policies regarding life and death (e.g., abortion and euthanasia laws), and others. Prerequisite:  Government 111 or 115 and permission of the instructor.     Four credit hours.  U.  
[GO415]    Seminar: Group Tutorial in American Government      Intensive, small-group study of a set of contemporary challenges to government in America. The focus is on the digital revolution; its impacts on social, economic, and political life; and the consequences for government. The group will assess the potential impacts of the digital revolution, relying in part on comparisons with transportation, communications, and other sweeping technological developments of the past. Prerequisite:  Permission of the instructor.     Four credit hours.  
GO421f    Seminar: Prospects for Political Reform      Examines issues and various policy alternatives associated with reform of the electoral process. Topics vary but may include reform of candidate selection process and methods of voter participation. Designed to advance research, writing, and communication skills by requiring students to conduct an independent written research project and present the results to the seminar. Prerequisite:  Senior standing as a government major.     Four credit hours.    CORRADO
GO432s    Seminar: U.S. Foreign Policy      Examines debates surrounding U.S. foreign policy and multilateral institutions with a principal focus on national security issues in the post-Cold War world. Central questions focus on when the United States should define its security in terms of acting within or strengthening international laws and institutions or whether it should maintain its freedom to engage in unilateral actions in a dangerous world. Areas of application include the use of force, counterterrorism, nuclear nonproliferation, and arms control. Prerequisite:  Government 131 and senior standing.     Four credit hours.    RODMAN
GO435s    Seminar: Memory and Politics      An exploration of domestic and international attempts to answer difficult questions about justice, collective memory, and democratic transition, particularly as they relate to whether and how a society should address a difficult past. Prerequisite:  Permission of the instructor.     Four credit hours.    YODER
GO451f    Seminar: Political Violence      A seminar exploring a variety of theoretical perspectives on political violence, with particular emphasis on terrorism and ethnic and religious violence. Introduces key relevant concepts and analytical frameworks and provides students with an opportunity to apply them to a case study of their choice. Students present the preliminary results of their research projects to the class. Prerequisite:  Senior standing as a Goverment major.     Four credit hours.  I.    DENOEUX
[GO454]    Seminar: Politics of Development: State, Society, and Markets      An inquiry into why some developing nations have managed to achieve industrialization and rising standards of living while others have not, with special attention to the relationship between state and society as one of the key factors in the development process. Cases include South Korea, Nigeria, Brazil, and India. Prerequisite:  Senior standing as a Government or Global Studies major.     Four credit hours.  I.  
GO483f, 484s    Honors Workshop      Individual and group meetings of seniors and faculty members participating in the government honors program. Prerequisite:  Admission to the honors program.     Four credit hours.    FACULTY
GO483Jj    Honors Workshop          Noncredit.    YODER
GO491f, 492s    Independent Study      A study of government through individual projects. Prerequisite:  Government major and permission of the instructor.     One to four credit hours.    FACULTY