Contact or visit us
Political Science Department
Zachary Baumann, Ph.D.
Old Main, Room 307
Lincoln, NE 68504
zbaumann [at] nebrwesleyan.edu (zbaumann[at]nebrwesleyan[dot]edu)
Political Science Minor
*One course must be a 3000-level or 4000-level course.
This course introduces students to government and politics in the United States. Drawing upon historical documents, political science research, and contemporary examples, this course examines the context, processes, institutions, and outcomes of the U.S. political system. Through the development of social science and critical analysis skills, students will be introduced to concepts and theories central to studying political science and understanding the contemporary political environment.
This course introduces students to government and politics in the United States. Drawing upon historical documents, political science research, and contemporary examples, this course examines the context, processes, institutions, and outcomes of the U.S. political system. Through the development of social science, critical analysis, and effective writing skills, students will be introduced to concepts and theories central to studying political science and understanding the contemporary political environment and politics in the United States.
This course provides an introduction to the concepts, theories and methods of international politics. It highlights the similarities and differences between political systems, as well the nature of relations between these political systems. By examining political violence, democratization, security, trade, and development, this class will equip students to analyze current problems and experiences.
This course will be an examination of elections in the United States, particularly focusing on the elections of presidents, members of congress, political behavior, campaigns, and gender in elections. You will learn how behavior is influenced by campaigns, what leads people to vote the way that they do, the role the media plays in influencing elections, and what part gender plays in how elections are decided. Some attention will be given to campaign finance and law related to elections. Recent elections will receive a good deal of attention, along with key elections of the past where lessons may be learned from their outcomes.
Prerequisite(s): POLSC 1010/POLSC 1010FYW United States Government and Politics
This course examines the development and implementation of public policy. We will consider the actors, institutions, and rules that create and influence the policy making process and the consequences these choices produce. There are many puzzles this course attempts to address, including why some laws pass and others fail, why some policy ideas move more quickly than others, and why some strategies for causing policy change are successful. We will learn methods for evaluating public policy and the ways citizens can work within, and outside of, government to affect change.
This course introduces students to the intricate relationship between race, ethnicity, and American politics. Through the analysis of pivotal historical events, legislation, social movements, and policy debates, students will gain a deeper understanding of the key challenges and opportunities associated with race and politics in the United States. This course aims to equip students with the knowledge and tools to participate in meaningful discussions on racial equality, social justice, and the future of American democracy.
This class explores the questions that arise when people cross borders, structured by conversations of citizenship. Who is considered to be a member of a particular country? Under what circumstances should we prohibit people from crossing a border? Should certain groups of people be afforded different types of rights? How should a country incorporate or assimilate immigrants into the nation? To explore these questions, this class examines how the United States has responded to these ethical, political, economic and social debates over citizenship. Specifically, we will study historical and contemporary motivations driving skilled, undocumented, asylum, refugee, and guest work immigration; if and how the US has regulated and enforced borders; the historical and normative evolution of patterns of assimilation, integration, and exclusion; regulation over pathways to citizenship; current political debates about immigration and how immigration matters in our local communities.
In this course students will examine the organization, functioning, and impact of courts in the United States. Attention will be paid to the role of lawyers in the judicial system, trial and appellate court procedures, selection of judges, and the relationship of courts to other elements of the U.S. political system. Topics will include the nature of law, the role of juries, plea bargaining, alternative conflict resolution, court workload, and proposals for reform.
(Normally offered alternate years.)
Congress is established in the U.S. Constitution as the chief legislative body, responsible for making national laws and serving as a check on the executive and judicial branches. In this course, we examine the development of the Congress, the rules and procedures by which laws are made, and the policies it produces. We also explore how members of Congress are elected and factors influencing their behavior once in office.
State governments in the United States play an essential and often overlooked role in the lives of their citizens. Among many other public policy areas, state decisions affect the quality of education provided to children, the criminal laws established and enforced, the operation of elections, and the strength of local economies. This course takes a comparative approach, examining the institutions, procedures, politicians, citizens, and public policies of states in the U.S. We utilize this information to investigate how the collective experiences of the several states can inform governance and policy.
This course examines the impact of the contemporary mass media on politics in the United States, focusing most directly on the effect of news gathering and reporting practices on political processes and institutions, and on the responses of political actors to those journalistic norms. Questions about the nature of democracy in a media society will arise and be addressed over the course of the semester.
Prerequisite(s): POLSC 1010 United States Government and Politics or POLSC 1010FYW United States Government and Politics.
This course will examine the current state of politics in Europe. In particular, the course will focus on European integration and expansion, and questions of ethnicity and nationalism. The course will also examine European social policy.
As of 2015, every country in Latin America, with the exception of Cuba, is considered to be an electoral democracy. Many, however, have had limited success addressing poverty, inequality, crime, corruption, and discrimination. Recent indigenous, environmental, and education protests have further evidenced citizens' discontent with the quality of democratic governance. In this class, we will explore the factors that support and challenge the quality of democracy in Latin America. We will focus specifically on the similarities and differences in political, economic and social development, immigration trends, drug trafficking, indigenous protest, and environmental degradation between Latin American countries.
This course provides an introduction to the topics of terrorism and political violence. Understanding why political violence occurs, how it is used, the different forms it takes, what its effects are, and how it can be countered proves crucial to understanding the dilemmas faced by many states and non-state actors. We will cover topics such as terrorism, extremism, radicalization, and state and non-state violence. Through these topics, this course seeks to provide students with a better understanding of the uses and differing manifestations of terrorism and political violence.
This course examines the participation of women in society and politics, and their ability to influence the policy decisions related to the issues of concern to them. The course will take a cross-national persepective, although primary emphasis will be women in Middle Eastern and South Asian societies.
Cross listed with GEND 2700.
This course provides students with an understanding of the role, impact, and significance of the United Nations within the larger context of international organizations and global power relationships. After discussing the history and structure of the United Nations, students will analyze the challenges and opportunities that the United Nations faces in the 21st century, focusing on the principal substantive issues before the organization: war, terrorism, arms control, human rights, international refugees, and development. May be repeated one time when taken for a different topic.
Prerequisite(s): POLSC 1100 Introduction to International Politics.
This seminar provides an introduction to global environmental politics. Many of the environmental problems of the twenty first century, from climate change to food insecurity to protection of biological diversity and endangered species, are global in nature, and addressing them requires international cooperation. The first part of the course provides the analytical foundation for evaluating environmental problems. The second part of the semester will apply these
analytic and policy tools to an evaluation of actors and solutions. We will look at the state and non-state actors, such as transnational social movements, civil society, NGOs and IOs, businesses and multinational corporations, and
A topical course designed to investigate relevant subject matter not included in any of the standard courses. The title, content, and credit will be determined by current mutual interests of students and faculty.
The Arab Spring and the problematic transitions to democracy throughout North Africa and the Middle East have presented renewed questions about what a democracy is. This topic is unique in political science because there are more questions than answers: experts aren't sure what facilitates democratic transitions, how transitions are completed and sustained, and what makes a country most likely to consolidate their democracy. Thus, this is an exciting and important area to study. In this course, we will explore each of these debates, tracing the lifespans of democracies and attempting to understand the political, cultural, and economic factors that make them most likely to survive and thrive. We will contrast these with unsuccessful transitions to democracy and analyze the conditions under which countries backslide or become undemocratic.
Prerequisite(s): POLSC 1100 Introduction to International Politics and junior standing.
An advanced course focusing on an examination of the basic principles of U.S. constitutional law, based on study of U.S. Supreme Court cases. Trends in interpretation of the Constitution and the role of Supreme Court decisions in U.S. politics will be stressed.
Prerequisite(s): POLSC 1010 United States Government and Politics or POLSC 1010FYW United States Government and Politics and junior standing or permission of the instructor.
In this course the sources, content, and impact of international law will be examined in detail. Special attention will be given to some of the modern substantive areas of international law such as human rights, international economic relations, and the international environment. This course is also designed to familiarize the student with the rise and role of public international organizations since 1945.
Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or permission of the instructor.
This course explores the emergence and evolution of the contemporary human rights regime, in international, regional, and national legal conventions. First, it will study the theoretical foundations of the idea of human rights in a variety of global contexts, current conceptualizations of human rights, the legacies of these adoptions in both western and non-western traditions, and the meaning and relevance of human rights for contemporary debates. Then, it will consider the shape and significance of the contemporary human rights regimes, critically analyze the strengths and weaknesses of current human rights regimes, and explore the future of human rights regimes in global politics. As a Writing Instructive course, students will engage with these conversations in a semester-long research project, through which they use two cases to critically analyze human rights.
In this course the student will examine the theoretical body of literature on international security. We will consider traditional topics in international security, such as the role of conventional and nuclear weapons, arms control, the impact of alliances and collective security agreements, and the stability of bipolar vs. multipolar international systems. We will also broaden our definition of security politics to include environmental degradation, ethnic conflicts, and even organized crime.
Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or permission of the instructor.
This class will explore the various ways that people protest again their governments. The first part of the class will examine the theory behind citizen-led uprisings: how do people decide to rebel? How do they mobilize? What is a collective action theory? What is the public sphere? We will end this section with a consideration of the revolutions of 1989 in Central and Eastern Europe. The second part of the course will examine various types of revolutionary activity, both violent and non-violent. What are mechanisms of change? How does the strategy of change relate to the demands of the protestors? The final part of the class will study how revolutions end. When do the people get their way? What does a 'successful' revolution look like?
A course designed to treat subject matter not covered in other departmental courses or to provide advanced study of subject matter introduced in other courses. The title, content, and credit hours will be determined by current mutual interests of faculty and students.