Spring 2015 Courses

Spring 2015 Course Descriptions

CNST 20002 - Section 01: American Politics (CRN CRN 26704)

Course Description:
This course examines the American political system from the point of view of democratic theory. While we will cover the usual range of topics for an introductory course, particular attention will be devoted to understanding whether, or in what ways, the practice of American politics conforms to conventional understandings of democracy. The course thus stresses theoretical understanding and critical appraisal rather than description. No conventional text book will be used: instead, students will be asked to read a series of more challenging books (and some shorter pieces) on individual topics. Course requirements include a substantial paper.

 

CNST 20200 - Section 01: World Politics: Intro to Comp (CRN 25998)

Long Title: World Politics: An Introduction to Comparative Politics

Course Description:
This course teaches students how to think comparatively about politics. We study how nation-states emerged as the dominant form of political organization, explain the differences among various states, and explore diverse responses to economic, cultural, and military globalization. The empirical material is drawn from around the globe.This introductory course fufills the comparative politics breadth requirement for the political science major.

 

CNST 20601 - Section 01: Contemporary Political Philosophy (CRN 30007)

Course Description:
This course will survey the books and papers which have set the agenda for political philosophy in recent decades. Topics covered will include, but not be limited to, the foundation of rights, economic justice and international justice. The course is intended for first year Honors Students, and will allow them to satisfy the second philosophy requirement.

 

CNST 20602 - Section 01: Political Theory (CRN 25999)

Course Description:
This course is an introduction to political theory as a tradition of discourse and as a way of thinking about politics. The course surveys selected works of political theory and explores some of the recurring themes and questions that political theory addresses, especially the question of justice. This introductory course fulfils the political theory breadth requirement for the political science major.

 

CNST 30003 - Section 01: US Civil War Era (CRN 30008)

Course Description:
This course begins in 1848 and examines the coming of the Civil War, the experience of the war itself, and the period of Reconstruction up to 1877. The emphasis will be on the political, social, cultural, and legal events and decisions that were made by governmental and civilian participants, by men and women, by whites and blacks. Why were so many willing to go to war? What did they believe each side was fighting for? The sectional conflict touched every aspect of American life. In order to understand it fully, we will read not only political speeches, military reports, and judicial decisions, but also poetry, fiction, and private letters. We will examine the beliefs and values of veterans and nurses, of abolitionists and slave owners, of politicians and voters. We will also consider the way historians evaluate the war and the way in which the public remembers it.

 
CNST 30004 - Section 01: Law & Religion in US History (CRN 30009)

Course Description:
This course focuses on the historical tension between Americans? support for religious liberty under law and their belief that religious faith was essential to the success of the Republic. It will examine both official legal discourse, such as judges? rulings and popular understandings of the law as expressed in speeches and letters. Religious faith has taken many forms in the United States and so have the debates over its proper relation to the state Americans argued over how to define religious liberty. They argued over which religion best suited a republic. Some said God had made certain people inferior to citizenship, while others shot back that God had made all people equally capable. One man?s piety was another man?s oppression. One woman?s equality was another woman?s blasphemy.. We will look at the colonial background and the founders? concerns, the 19th century and its myriad of reform movements and state building, religion?s role in legal thought and education, the Scopes Monkey Trial, pacifism during time of war, the Civil Rights movement and its opposition, and the rise of the New Right. Discussion will be the primary mode of instruction. In addition to a mid-term and final, there will be short writing assignments and an essay.

 

CNST 30006 - Section 01: Topics in Civ Librts/Civ Rgts (CRN 27277)

Long Title: Topics in Civil Liberties/Civil Rights

Course Description:
This course explores topics in American constitutional law related to civil liberties and civil rights. The course employs a variety of instructional methods including Socratic method lectures, class debates, and moot court exercises in which students play the role of lawyers and justices arguing a Supreme Court case. Students will explore the social and political struggles that have shaped freedom and equality in the United States, including debates over protest, hate speech, pornography, religious freedom, gun control, abortion, race, gender, and homosexuality.

 

CNST 30007 - Section 01: American Political Thought (CRN 30010)

Course Description:
This course will provide a survey of American political thought from colonial times to the present. The course will consist of readings from primary texts, and it may cover such themes as the religious origins of America, the idea of self-government, the principles of the Revolution, the debate over the constitution, the Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian visions for America, Jacksonian democracy, individualism, slavery and states rights, ?manifest destiny,? the rise of industrial capitalism, progressivism and the welfare state, the struggle for women?s rights, the Cold War, the civil rights movement, 1960s radicalism and conservative responses to it, the contemporary divide between left and right, and the rise of the national security state.

 

CNST 30217 - Section 01: British History: 1660-1800 (CRN 30011)

Course Description:
This course of lectures and readings concentrates on British (that is Scottish as well as English) history from the restoration of monarchy in 1660 to the great crisis detonated by the French Revolution and war in the 1790s. Themes include the restoration itself, the politics of Protestant dissent, the Catholic Question, political ideologies, the role of parliament, Jacobitism , The Act of Union (1707), and the rise of the radical parliamentary reform movement.

 
CNST 30400 - Section 01: Presidental Leadership (CRN 26002)

Course Description:
This course examines the role of the presidency in the American regime and its change over time. Particular attention will be given to expectations about presidential leadership through the course of American political history. Beginning with questions about the original design and role of the presidency, the course turns to consideration of the role of leadership styles for change and continuity in American politics. Finally, cases of presidential leadership are studied to comprehend the way leadership and political context interact.
 

CNST 30402 - Section 01: Education Law and Policy (CRN 26004)

Course Description:
This course focuses on selected legal and policy issues related to K-12 education in the United States. A central theme is the intersection of K-12 schooling and the state, with a particular focus on Constitutional issues of religious freedom and establishment, student speech and privacy, parental choice, educational opportunity, and education reform trends such as charter schools and accountability measures. Questions examined over the course of the semester include:What are the most basic obligations of the state with regard to its regulation of K-12 education? What are the most basic rights of parents in this regard?In what ways does the 1st Amendment protect - and limit - the speech and privacy rights of K-12 schoolchildren?In what ways may the state accommodate K-12 schools with an explicitly religious character? What are the Constitutional requirements with regard to religious speech or expression within K-12 public schools?To what degree is the principle of equality manifest in the form of educational opportunity? How has this changed over time?In what ways have education reform trends such as charter schooling and increased accountability changed the policy landscape of K-12 education?

 

CNST 30404 - Section 01: The United States Congress (CRN 27279)

Course Description:
This course is an introduction to the political and legislative process of the U.S. Congress. The course will focus on a semester-long legislative simulation in which students play the role of United States Senators. Students will organize the legislature, form parties and caucuses, select their own leaders, draft their own bills, debate, and vote on legislation. The first few weeks will consist of traditional lectures to introduce how Congress works; the rest of the semester will be primarily devoted to the legislative simulation.

 

CNST 30405 - Section 01: Early Childhood Policy in U.S. (CRN 27280)

Course Description:
"This course covers the various issues relevant to the current early childhood education landscape. This includes theories of early learning and child development, policy development in the United States, the issues of inequality and the achievement gap (particularly related to K-12 Education Reform) and research on interventions or "what works" in early childhood programming. The advantage to understanding the theories of child development, the policy context and the intervention research is that it gives future teachers and future policymakers a foundational premise upon which to grow, analyze, learn and teach. Topics covered will include: Theories of Child Development (Infant Schools to Present), Head Start and the CCDBG, State Preschool, Inequality and the Achievement Gap in the Early Years and Interventions in Early Childhood (HighScope/Perry Preschool, Abecedarian and Chicago Parent Studies, Head Start Research). The goal of this class is to come away with a greater understanding of the language, the history, the goals and the possibilities in this policy area as well as its connections to other social welfare programs and to K-12 schooling. Students will become more fluent in the language of early childhood education and will gain the foundational knowledge of past and current theories, laws, policies and educational interventions."

 

CNST 30406 - Section 01: Gay Rights & the Constitution (CRN 30012)

Long Title: Gay Rights and the Constitution

Course Description:
This course will review decisions of the U.S. Supreme court regarding the constitutional rights of homosexuals. It will assess the Court's decisions in light of (1) background theories of constitutional interpretation; (2) the principles of the American Founding; and (3) present day moral arguments for and against gay rights. Readings will consist of Supreme Court cases, selections from the Ratification debate and the philosophic writings that influenced the Founding, and the writings of present-day moral philosophers on both sides of the issues. Grades will be based on mid-term and final exams, with an optional term paper for one quarter of the course grade.

 
CNST 30600 - Section 01: The Age of Alexander (CRN 29433)

Course Description:
This course examines the military achievements of Alexander of Macedon (356-323B.C.) and their far-reaching political, social, cultural, and religious consequences. Topics covered include the Greek, Macedonian, Persian, and other cultural contexts of the time, Alexander's attitude toward divinity (including his own), his concept of empire, his generalship, and his legacy for Greco-Roman antiquity. Particular attention is devoted to representations of Alexander through the ages, beginning during his own lifetime with the accounts of ancient writers, historians and others, down to novels and films of the present day. Ancient authors and documents are read in translation.

 

CNST 30609 - Section 01: Roman Law and Governance (CRN 30013)

Course Description:
An introduction to the nature and influence of Roman law, one of the most celebrated and distinctive elements of ancient Roman culture. The course surveys the development of Roman civil and criminal law from the very early and enigmatic Twelve Tables to the very late and amazingly great Digest of Justinian. Topics covered include legal procedures, the creation of law, and Roman jurisprudence, all of which are studied in the broad context of Roman government and administration. The lasting effects of Roman law on modern legal systems are also considered.

 

CNST 30610 - Section 01: Anc & Medieval Phil (CRN 30014)

Long Title: Ancient and Medieval Philosophy

Course Description:
This course will concentrate on major figures and persistent themes. A balance will be sought between scope and depth, the latter ensured by a close reading of selected texts.

 

CNST 30612 - Section 01: Rise and Fall of Dem.&Dictator (CRN 30015)

Long Title: The Rise and Fall of Democracies and Dictatorship

Course Description:
Winston Churchill famously said in a speech in the House of Commons in 1947, ?Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.? For generations, social scientists have studied what makes democracy emerge and then survive or break down. And because some dictatorships have huge consequences for their own populations and the world, social scientists have also devoted considerable attention to analyzing the emergence, survival, and breakdown of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. This course will examine these issues. The first part of the course will examine different theoretical approaches to understanding why democracies and dictatorships emerge and then survive or fall. The second and longer part will focus on the emergence, survival, and fall of democracies and dictatorships in Europe and Latin America, mostly in the 20th century.

 

CNST 30613 - Section 01: Rise & Fall of World Communism (CRN 30016)

Long Title: Rise and Fall of World Communism

Course Description:
For most of the twentieth century, communist states, like the Soviet Union and China, represented the greatest political, ideological, and military challenges to the western world. But now, most of these states are gone; of those that still exist, only one (which one?) can credibly live up to the bloody examples set by Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong. In this course, we will draw upon an eclectic mix of approaches from political science, history, sociology, and political philosophy to make sense of both the rise and the demise of the communist phenomenon. Rather than focusing on only one country or region, we will consider an array of different cases. These will include not only the Soviet Union and China but also such fascinating examples as Cuba, Vietnam, East Germany, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, and--my favorite--North Korea. There are no prerequisites for this course, although I do hope you will be inclined to view world communism as one of the most intriguing political movements of all time.


CNST 30614 - Section 01: Modern Political Thought (CRN 30017)

Course Description:
This course traces the evolution of modern political thought from the civic humanism of the Renaissance (Machiavelli) through the social contract theories of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau). We will conclude with a consideration of the more historically and culturally sensitive thinkers of the early nineteenth century (Constant, Tocqueville, and (Hegel). Along the way we will be especially concerned with the emergence of republicanism, liberalism, historicism and rights-centered individualism as distinct and still prevalent modes of political thinking.


CNST 30615 - Section 01: Liberalism and Conservatism (CRN 30018)

Course Description:
This course will explore the intellectual foundations of the constellation of ideas that have become the dominant political worldviews in modern American society. The course will focus on European sources of each tradition, as well as developments of each in America. Concepts that will be explored include progress, historicism, pragmatism, liberty, equality, diversity, cosmopolitanism, localism, tradition, prescription, authority, secularism and religion, particularly Catholicism.

 

CNST 30616 - Section 01: Law in Literature and Film (CRN 30019)

Course Description:
We will study law as seen through the lens of fiction. Assignments will draw heavily from classic and contemporary novels, short stories, plays, films, and television. As we explore these artistic representations of law in action, short theoretical readings will help us focus on questions of philosophy, politics, and justice. We will also explore the relationship between fiction and reality through Supreme Court opinions and contemporary literature on the American legal system. Ultimately, our goal will be to come to a better understanding of the potential blessings, dangers, and limitations of law.

 

CNST 43401 - Section 01: Law,Society,& Criminal Justice (CRN 30020)

Long Title: Law, Society, and Criminal Justice

Course Description:
This seminar will focus on classic issues and debates that are central to the study of crime (e.g., the limits of law, the basis of social control) and the functioning of the criminal justice system in American society (e.g., styles and functions of policing, the nature and benefits of police discretion), as well as other issues of current interest (e.g., police use of non-lethal weapons, restorative justice, abolishment of the juvenile court system). Students will have the opportunity to discuss and engage these topics from a variety of perspectives. The course should be valuable for students who are majoring in pre-law and the social sciences, particularly those interested in studying the operation of the criminal justice system and sociological perspectives on how societies control crime. The issues that are studied may change each time the course is offered.

 

CNST 43601 - Section 01: Aquinas on Human Nature (CRN 30021)

Course Description:
A close study of St. Thomas Aquinas's philosophical anthropology, based on questions 75-101 of the First Part of the Summa Theologiae. Some topics include: the human soul and its powers, the sentient appetite, higher human cognition and willing, and the production of the first human beings in the state of innocence.

 

CNST 43602 - Section 01: Classical Political Philosophy (CRN 30022)

Course Description:
This course will be devoted to ancient Greek and Roman political thought and experience, and Greek and Roman thinkers? analysis and articulation of the nature and norms of human political life. This tradition of thought, which has been foundational for political thought even up to the present, possesses a universality and freshness that allows it to continue to shape and challenge the way that we think about the fundamental problems of politics and the kind of political institutions and practices we construct and engage in. Our central texts are Plato?s Republic and Aristotle?s Politics, but we will also examine the political ideas of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Herodotus, Thucydides, Cicero, and Augustine.

 
GATEWAY COURSE OPTION:
CNST 50002 - Section 01: CLP II: Am. Constitutionalism (CRN 30023)

Long Title: Constitution, Law and Politics II: American Constitutionalism

Course Description:
In "Constitutionalism, Law & Politics II: American Constitutionalism," we shall study fundamental texts of the American constitutional and political tradition in an attempt to answer questions such as: What is the purpose of government? What is the meaning of political equality? What is political liberty and how is it best secured? Since we lack the time for a comprehensive survey of American political thinkers, we shall examine select statesmen and critical historical periods, focusing on the Founding era, Lincoln and the slavery crisis, and the Progressive era and New Deal.
 

CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE OPTION:
CNST 50005 - Section 01: Adv. Topics in Contemp. Const. (CRN 30024)

Long Title: Advanced Topics in Contemporary Constitutionalism

Course Description:
An advanced treatment of contemporary problems in the theory and practice of modern constitutionalism. Topics include modern constitutional and legal theory, associated court cases, and debates arising from constitutional change in the U.S. and Europe.