Few other liberal arts colleges in the country can offer the challenging curriculum and high level of faculty expertise you will find in New College's Political Science program. Our faculty offer real-world experience gained through service in the Florida Legislature and as directors and managers of such influential national and international organizations as the U.S. Department of Energy, the World Bank and the Marine Policy Institute at Mote Marine Laboratory.
The Political Science AOC at New College offers you the flexibility and versatility to study a wide range of national and international issues, including politics, political theory, development, diplomacy, conflict resolution and public organization. You can also combine your studies in political science with areas such as environmental studies, international and area studies, economics, history, public policy and others in order to pursue areas of special interest to you. As one faculty member said, “We really don’t close too many doors for students at New College. Working closely with faculty, you can design your own program of study and tailor the topics to match your personal interests. This is particularly true in our Political Science AOC.”
Our Political Science AOC is focused on the study of politics in many settings. It is particularly useful to students who want to go on to government service, law, diplomacy and higher education. Central to the discipline is knowledge of the government and politics of nations and their sub-units, classical and modern political philosophy, international and comparative studies, and public organization. Basic knowledge of cognate fields and methodologies is also important. Within general guidelines, however, you have considerable flexibility in planning your studies. For example, you can concentrate on the politics of the United States; develop an interest in areas such as Latin America, Europe or Asia; or create your own interdisciplinary programs. Your faculty advisor can help you determine the options that are best for you.
As a Political Science student at New College, you will work side-by-side with faculty who are experts in their fields and who are deeply engaged locally, statewide, nationally and internationally in determining and evaluating politics and public policy. One faculty member is a two-term Florida state legislator who ran for the U.S. Congress and teaches American politics and political theory. Another is a former policy analyst for the U.S. Department of Energy and former director of the Marine Policy Institute at Mote Marine Laboratory who is currently a political commentator for the ABC7 in Sarasota and CBS in Tampa. Yet another teaches comparative politics, directs the International Studies AOC at New College and has been pivotal in creating internship opportunities in Washington, D.C., and beyond. And finally, one is the former manager of the World Bank’s post-conflict unit.
Best of all, our faculty members are both widely published researchers as well as highly qualified teachers and mentors, who will meet regularly with you to answer questions about graduate schools, career options, internships and grant applications. This level of personal dedication and involvement is one reason New College has been so successful over the past ten years in producing students who have earned such prestigious awards as Fulbright, Truman, Carnegie, Boren and Udall Scholarships and Fellowships. And because our faculty get to know you so well they are also able to write comprehensive and effective letters of recommendation for graduate study, internships and employers.
The following is an outline of the general requirements needed to complete an AOC in Political Science at New College:
Introductory work in one or more of the following areas is also highly recommended:
In addition to the above coursework, students in Political Science at New College are also encouraged to obtain field experience through internships or other work experience with agencies of government, political parties, interest groups and the like. In recent years, students have interned with U.S. Congressmen, the Governor of Florida, the American Civil Liberties Union, county planning agencies, and organizations working for international peace and development. They have also helped in political campaigns, handled publicity for the Sarasota Peace and Justice Center, challenged decisions of the local Airport Authority, and become radio news announcers. Occasionally, students with highly specialized interests, such as Urban Studies, plan to spend a semester at another college or university; this is encouraged when appropriate. Those with interests in comparative politics and international relations are encouraged to spend a semester abroad.
Here’s a list of recent course offerings in Political Science:
Advanced Seminar in American Politics: Citizenship, Political Authority & the Public Sphere
This advanced level course will consider the development of civic ideas in the American experience. Students must have successfully completed some work in political science beyond the introductory level or have some comparable experience. The course explores the history of American political ideas and practices by focusing on the rhetoric in debates about citizenship and political authority. Disputes over these topics involve and constitute changing notions of the public sphere. These issues in term provide the grounds for ongoing contests over political identity, political and civil rights, toleration, and the relationship of group and gender status to the state that animate political life in the United States. Among the theoretical perspectives we will consider will be the new institutionalism, discourse theory, and democratic theory. We will consider historical epochs such as the Revolutionary era, the Civil War, the Progressive era, the New Deal, and contemporary political life.
American Constitutional Interpretation
The Constitution of the United States presumes that language and politics are mutually productive—that an utterance can create political order, that words can configure, can limit, political practice. So while the Constitution creates institutions of governance allocating authority, structuring and limiting power; in its arrangement of obligations and rights, it also articulates a particular vision of political life in writing. This course explores the processes of interpretation which make sense of that life and that polity. We will consider how Judges, Justices, Presidents, Members of Congress, state officials, and ordinary citizens give meaning to the words that have created, maintained, and transformed political life in the United States. In particular this course is designed to provide students with fundamental questions that will allow them to develop a rigorous analytical frame for studying the Constitution and the political community that it has inspired.
American Political Development
This course covers the development of American Political Institutions and public policies from a comparative perspective. We consider various interpretations of how politics and institutions shape and are shaped by the social and economic context including class-conflict, cultural, pluralist, and new institutional theories. We will consider empirical studies from various standpoints on such topics as the presidency, Congress, urban policy, social welfare policies, and macroeconomic policy. While there are no prerequisites, I advise that only those with a background in American History, comparative politics or social theory take this course. This course is intended for advanced students and is limited to 15.
American Political Thought
This intermediate course examines those political ideas that have had a lasting impact on how Americans understand themselves and the world. Although we will take seriously the abstract ideas that have shaped the American intellectual tradition; we will also take seriously the relationship between this history of ideas and the social and political conflicts out of which these ideas emerged; and we will take seriously the consequences of these ideas on the laws and institutions that they have informed. Because it would be impossible to survey all of American political thought we will begin our examination with the contested and changing meanings of liberalism and republicanism American political thought. Specifically, we will explore how constitutionalism, pragmatism, democracy, pluralism, and conservatism have altered our understanding of liberal and republican political tenets. And we will explore the ways in which race and gender have been employed to challenge those traditions.
The American Regime
The American Regime is organized around a number of questions that continue to inform the American experience. Specifically in this seminar, we will consider the American political tradition as a response to the profound political, social, economic, and religious changes that took place beginning with the European Enlightenment. More specifically, we will interrogate liberal anxieties about freedom, equality, and reason by examining everyday practices embodied in those roles that exist (at least partially) beyond the reach of legitimate political authority. These relationships were (and continue to be) important in the American liberal tradition both because they limit government power and because they provide the foundation upon which political society is built. Or put another way, in the American liberal tradition an individual is not only, or even primarily, a citizen. At different times and in different circumstances, an individual is expected to fulfill the duties and obligations of being a parent or a child, a husband or a wife, a master or a servant, and a subject of God. Reason is secured as individuals apply the appropriate standards of conduct demanded by these different affective and institutional bonds.
Comparative politics is the study of different political systems and their relationships to their societies. Work in this field ranges from detailed, historical single case studies to macro-quantitative studies of all governments or all societies. Regardless of the type of study one does, the questions and hypotheses driving the study derive from a comparative method, and that will be the starting point of this course. After surveying strategies of comparison, we will look at how different political systems are structured using a diverse set of countries as examples. All along we will examine the key factors authors use to explain differences in systems and policy outcomes, e.g. political culture, institutional development, economic development, and decision-making by key individuals. Students will be expected to read and discuss the material, complete a set of comparative data exercises with a very user-friendly program that comes with the text, take two in-class quizzes on key concepts in the course, and write a take-home final project. No prerequisites. Class size will be limited to 30.
Constitutions are often thought of in terms of the specific limits they impose upon the power of governing institutions. In most constitutional orders, political authority, in the strictest sense of the exercise of governmental power, is not thought to be unlimited. In this tradition, constitutions both: attempt to define these boundaries through the articulation of rights; and serve as a mark (a reminder) that sovereignty ultimately rests with ‘the people.’ But to think of constitutions only in terms of the limits they impose on the institutions of government can obscure the theoretical foundations of constitutional practice. Constitutions attempt to produce order in the act of making—constitutions create or recognize political institutions, allocate authority, and structure political practice. Because this course examines the nature of constitutional theory, we will not rely solely (or even predominately) on application of constitutional principles through case law. Instead we will focus on texts that interrogate the assumptions of constitutionalism. Specific topics will include change and continuity in the constitutional order, constitutional structure and the ordering of political practice, the importance of shared norms, the demands of constitutional interpretation and contested constitutional meanings, and role of sovereignty in the creation and maintenance of a constitutional order. Prerequisites: Intro Politics class and one intermediate class or Philosophy class. Class size will be limited to 15.
This course is an advanced introduction to democratic theory. It is designed for students with a strong background in political science, social theory or political philosophy. The purposes of the course are to familiarize students with both the history and tradition of democratic theory and democratic practice; to familiarize students with contemporary issues and dilemmas in democratic theory and democratic practice; to explore ideas about how democracy can work better in light of contemporary realities; to aide the students thinking through their own obligations as democratic citizens and help them improve their citizenship skills. This is a reading and writing intensive class with an emphasis on theory. Topics: Classical Democracy (Thucydides); Republicanism; Origins of the Modern Idea: Rousseau; Liberal Democracy (Locke, Mill); Madison and Tocqueville; Direct Democracy; Competitive Elitism; Pragmatism (Dewey); Pluralism (Dahl); The Polarization of Political Ideals (Hayek and Nozick); Deliberative Democracy; Membership (Walzer, Benhabib, Bourne); Size and Place (Dahl, Oliver); Democracy Today.
Global Environmental Politics
This course is designed as an intermediate level seminar. Introduction to World Politics is a required prerequisite and Sustainable Development is a recommended prerequisite. Dual enrollment in Global Environmental Politics and Intro to World Politics will be considered for students who have successfully completed Sustainable Development. The course provides students with the conceptual tools needed to analyze cooperation and conflict in general; cooperation and conflict in domestic vs. international realms; and cooperation and conflict on commons issues. Building on this foundation, students are exposed to a select number of global environmental problems including climate change, ozone depletion, loss of biodiversity and the interplay of trade and environment issues. In addition to substantial participation requirements, students are evaluated via a mid-term exam, class presentations and a research paper. The class will be capped at 20 students.
Governing the Oceans
This course will explore marine governance issues at global, national and local levels. This includes high seas topics, activity within 200-mile exclusive economic zones and in coastal regions. Fisheries management issues will play a prominent role as will marine reserves and the relationship between science and policy. The course will introduce students to institutional theories with an emphasis on designing and enforcing effective institutions for solving marine problems at a variety of scales. The course will attempt to integrate law, politics, and economics while remaining sensitive to questions of physical science. In addition to substantial participation requirements, coursework will involve a series of short writing assignments. No prerequisites are necessary but prior coursework in Economics and/or Political Science will be helpful. Limit 20 students.
International Law and Politics
This course is designed as an advanced seminar that examines the tension between law and politics in a range of international issue areas. Introduction to World Politics is a required prerequisite. Legal doctrine and practice aspires to universalism and equity: general rules apply equally to actors in similar situations. But international politics is particularistic, shaped by differences in interests and massive disparities of power. For instance, the United States has opposed the new charter for an International Criminal Court on the grounds that the United States, by virtue of its military power, has special responsibilities. The United States has also been able to avoid control of its anti-terrorism operation because of its overwhelming military capabilities. And the United States invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq was launched in the absence of support from any multilateral organization claiming international legal authority. Does the combination of extraordinary power and great responsibility mean that the United States should be exempt from rules that others must follow? This course explores the ongoing tension between international law and politics and examines its manifestation in issue areas such as military intervention, environmental protection, trade, human rights, and crimes of state.
International Political Economy
This course explores the relationship between political and economic processes in the international system. It introduces students to the history of international finance and trade patterns as well as the theories employed in international relations to model and explain the politics of international economics. It concludes by discussing the major issues in international economics, such as globalization, currency flows, international debt, and monetary integration. This is an intermediate-level course. In addition to frequent evaluations of students’ knowledge of lecture topics and reading assignments, students will conduct a comprehensive country marketing analysis as part of a group research project. Prerequisite: Intro to World Politics, Intro to Comparative Politics, or permission of the instructor. Maximum enrollment should not exceed 32 students.
Introduction to American Politics*
We will review the nature of American political institutions and rhetoric. We will also explore the patterns of political action and participation in the United States. Topics include the Constitution, Congress, the Presidency, the judiciary, the bureaucracy, political parties, interest groups, the news media, elections, and the formation of public policy. This is an introductory level course intended for first term students and those who have not begun a concentration in political science. Maximum enrollment should not exceed 30 students.
Introduction to Political Theory*
This course introduces students to the study of political theory and is designed to help students develop the critical skill that will allow them to be able to actively engage in “the act of seeing.” In other words, we concentrate on reading and writing in ways that allow us to rigorously interrogate the world (or worlds) we inhabit. Specifically, we will confront the gradual transformation of political philosophy from concerns about what it means to live a fully human life and how our practices accord with that humanity, to those concerns about freedom, reason, and political authority that are most often associated with the modern world. Finally, we will consider what it means to be a “political theorist” in contemporary academic and political debates.
Introduction to World Politics*
This course serves as an introductory course to political science and world affairs. It addresses the central issues of international relations—war and peace, cooperation and conflict, prosperity and poverty—both theoretically and historically. The course exposes students to basic theories that have been offered by political scientists to explain and predict the working of the international system and demonstrates the application of these theories to historical and contemporary global events. Coursework will include team-based discussion assignments, a midterm exam, a 2500 word paper and a final exam. The class will be capped at 30 students.
Modern Political Thought
This course provides an overview of modern political thought as a response to the profound transformations of the political, social, economic, religious, and moral practice that begins with the destruction of the Feudal order and continues to inform our understanding of the world today. Drawing from the canon of modern political philosophy, this course focuses attention upon freedom as the principle foundation (and goal) of association. Specifically, we will interrogate the contested meaning of freedom by examining more closely the relationship between the individual and society; the concept of sovereignty and its role in defining ‘the State’; the emergence of ‘modern’ standards for creating, limiting, and evaluating political institutions; tensions between ‘nature’ and ‘reason’ as the foundation for knowing; and finally, attempts to make distinct political and private life.
New College Capitol Semester in Tallahassee
This semester entails three components and students will be required to participate in each one as follows: 1) the Advanced Seminar in American Politics: State Policy and Politics, led by Professor Fitzgerald; 2) an independent tutorial arranged by the student and sponsored by a member of the New College faculty; 3) an internship consisting of 24-30 hours per week and taking place in one of the various branches of government or related agencies. Internship placements will be arranged by Professor Fitzgerald, or students may elect an internship currently established in the capital. The semester will culminate with a final research paper assigned by Professor Fitzgerald. The term may also include independent study projects as assigned. This is an intermediate-level course of study and all qualified students are eligible to apply. Those pursuing long-range studies in social sciences, political science, public policy, law, and economics are especially encouraged to apply. Applications are available in Career Services and Off-Campus Studies.
Politics and Popular Culture
This course explores how everyday activities reinforce (and sometimes challenge) established political commitments. Rather than focus a critical analytic lens upon political institutions and ideologies, this course interrogates how individuals and groups construct and negotiate identity through shopping, watching television, surfing the internet, and listening to music. Specific topics will include the distinction between ‘high’ and ‘popular’ culture, internationalization of cultural practices, liberal ideology and empire, the historical trajectory of American politics from the Cold War to the War on Terror, and the potential of (and potential anxieties about) emerging technologies.
Politics of China: Communism and Change
This course will cover the political history and institutions of China from the communist revolution through to the “economic miracle” of today. After surveying the major eras of communist rule and the structure of the political system for the first half of the course, we will focus on contemporary politics. Among the topics we will examine in the second part of the course are the following: the staying power of the communist political regime in the face of dramatic economic and social change, change on the local level, relations with Hong Kong and Taiwan, and foreign policy, including China’s trade and economic initiatives in the Asian-Pacific region and in the global arena. Students will take an in-class exam on the Mao period, write a 15-20 page “issue paper,” and write a take-home final exam. They will also be responsible for leading discussion (along with a couple of other students) on the day we discuss the issue area on which they are writing. Prerequisite: an introductory course in Political Science or permission of the instructor. This course will be capped at 20 with preference going to students concentrating in Political Science or International Studies.
Politics of Congress
This intermediate level class focuses on the behavior and processes of the U.S. Congress. Most of the seminar examines external influences on members of congress, such as presidents, constituents and interest groups. The rest of the seminar examines members’ relations with each other, which are influenced by such things as rules, norms, committees, seniority and political parties. American Government course strongly recommended, but not required. Enrollment limited to 15 students.
Politics of Eastern Europe: From “Soviet Bloc” to United Europe
This intermediate-level course focuses on the transitions in Eastern Europe. Since the 1989 revolutions, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe have undergone fundamental political, economic and social transformation. Long relegated to the periphery of Europe by the West and dominated by empires in both the West and the East, these peoples face many obstacles as they develop liberal democracies and modern capitalist economies. Some countries are progressing toward their political and economic goals and joining Western institutions. Others have not been as fortunate. Yugoslavia, for example, disintegrated in a series of civil wars. To unravel the current politics in what was Soviet dominated Eastern Europe, this course is designed in three sections. The first quarter of the course examines the structure and evolution of communist rule in order to understand the legacy communism has bequeathed in social expectations, political structures, and the economy. Then, we move to the breakdown of the communist system and the 1989 revolutions. Here we ask not only what caused the revolutions, but also what their legacies are for the transitions in these countries. The last half of the course will look at these countries’ attempts to build democratic political systems and market economies and their relations with the West. Prerequisite: an introductory course in Political Science or permission of the instructor.
Politics of the European Union
The European Union has developed into an extensive set of supranational governing institutions, whose decisions already influence over half of the domestic legislation of member countries. While the E.U. serves the interests of these nationstates, it also encroaches on their autonomy, and this tension has produced an ebb and flow of momentum for integration over the years. Current efforts to codify the institutions and strengthen citizen rights in a new constitution have come up against a renewed defense of sovereignty and popular fears of a distant institutional juggernaut over which citizens have little control. Part of the difficulty of this process comes from the organization’s simultaneous enlargement, leading to some preferences for and fears of a two-tiered Europe. This intermediate level course reviews the evolution of the E.U., its institutions, its accession processes, and the issues surrounding the interface between E.U. and national governance. Assignment structure: an early midterm, in-depth analysis of an institution, and a take-home final. Prerequisites: an introductory Political Science course. With permission of the instructor an appropriate Modern European History course may be substituted for this prerequisite. Maximum enrollment should not exceed 20 students.
Power and Public Policy in the U.S.
This course covers in depth the process by which policy networks make federal level public policies. We will explore theories of power and political institutions to ask why the application of public authority takes the form it does. Some topics covered will include: policy networks, policy legacies, policy typologies, agenda setting, and the new institutionalism. The course will accommodate students’ interests in social policy areas but we will pay attention to immigration policy, housing policy and drug enforcement policy. Prerequisites: Introduction to American Government or another intermediate course in Political Science.
Race and American Political Development
This intermediate course is organized around a number of texts (and a number of American ‘myths’) that are recognized as part of the canon of American Politics. We will examine these texts not only in terms of what they have added to our understanding of race in the American experience, but also in terms of what these explanations do not say about the legacy of racism that has defined political development in the United States. Specifically, we will interrogate the ‘myths’ of an uncontested American liberal tradition, manifest destiny and the frontier thesis of democracy, the origins and effects of racial ‘equality,’ and the steady progress and ultimate ascendancy of ‘the American Creed.’ In interrogating these privileged interpretations of American Political Development we will examine: the role of political institutions (the Presidency, Congress, and the Supreme Court) in maintaining racial inequalities; the theories of racial difference that were considered authoritative at different moments in the past; and the protests that these racial theories inspired.
This course is intended for all students planning to complete a concentration in political science. It will introduce students to basic epistemological and ontological issues involved in studying politics, the fields of study, the theoretical schools, and the research methods influential in political science. Students will become familiar with the logic of inference and various techniques for taking advantage of it, and how to construct arguments about political topics. A major goal of this course will be for each student to design a major research project including a specification of the theories, models, methods, data, and logistics involved in completing the project. Prerequisite: some work beyond the introductory level in Political Science. We strongly recommend an introductory course in Statistics.
Russia in Transition
This course will examine Russia’s troubled transition to democracy and capitalism. The land of Tsars, revolution, Stalin, and the “other” nuclear superpower is now engaged in an effort to break a centuries-long history of authoritarian rule punctuated by crisis and dramatic change. The challenges are monumental. In order to understand the nature and tasks of the transition, the first half of the course will look at the structure and disintegration of the Soviet Union and its communist system. Then we will turn to the political and economic transformations and to Russia’s attempts to secure its federation in the aftermath of losing its “internal empire” in the Soviet Union. This last topic will lead us to an examination of the enduring crisis in Chechnya. Each student will take an in-class exam on the Soviet system and do a small research project (15-20 pages) on an aspect of the post-Soviet transformation in which she or he is most interested. As class “experts” students are expected to integrate the findings from their research into our class discussions of the transition. The final written requirement will be a take-home final exam. Prerequisite: an introductory Political Science course or permission of the instructor. This course will be capped at 20 with preference going to students concentrating in Political Science, International Studies, European Studies, or Russian Language and Literature.
This course examines the tension between the need for economic development in less-developed countries and the necessity to protect and preserve the environment. It is an appropriate point of entry for environmental studies students with policy/international interests. Prior coursework in economics, sociology and/or political science is helpful but not a mandatory prerequisite. The course covers domestic issues facing developing countries as they attempt to solve their economic and environmental problems as well as the relationship between developing countries and the rest of the international community in dealing with environmental problems. There will be a midterm and final exam in addition to a series of group writing assignments and structured debates. Students will be given an option of writing a substantial research paper in lieu of the final exam.
The American Presidency is designed to provide an introduction to the constitutional and cultural development of the presidency from the American Founding to the present. Specific topics will include: the emergence of the modern presidency, the President’s relationship with the other branches of government, an evaluation of the selection process, and the issues of race, gender, and class that underlie the American tradition. Of equal importance, this course will also be concerned with the enduring tensions between constitutional leadership and democracy embedded within the American political tradition. Prerequisites: intro politics class or permission of the instructor. Class size will be limited to 20.
Thinking Politics: An Introduction*
This class is intended for all New College students interested in writing, researching, and thinking about politics in the course of their academic career. Our goal is to have students master the conceptual vocabulary depended upon by political scientists and theorists. The course will begin with a section on the methodologies of political inquiry. We will then move on to four sets of theoretical concepts. Each concept will be (1) introduced through the writings of classical Western political theorists; (2) developed by reading selections from a key text (monograph); (3) discussed from a comparative, including non-Western, perspective; and (4) given nuance and further depth through reading several contemporary journal articles. This class will be useful to all social science students and any others who may be interested in doing research on politics related themes. No Prerequisites.
Transitions to Democracy in Comparative Perspective (Advanced Seminar)
This advanced seminar will tackle the burgeoning literature on the wave of democratization that started in Southern Europe in the 1970s and then swept through Latin America, the old Soviet Bloc, and into Asia and Africa. We will examine several theoretical approaches to understanding why transitions happen and whether they succeed in consolidating democracy. In our discussion of each approach or issue we will examine its usefulness in explaining cases from more than one of the regions mentioned above. Students will choose whether they prefer to do assignments along a “research track” or a “literature track.” All students will write response papers to the literature and lead discussions on their assigned days of “rapporteur duty.” Prerequisites: an introductory Political Science course, one intermediate level course in Political Science or specialized knowledge of one of these geographical areas. Limited to 15 students in their 5th or higher contract. In exceptional cases students in their 4th contract may be admitted.
Transitions from War to Peace
The modern day transition from war to peace is not a linear and irreversible process where conflict-prone and affected countries or regions simply move from one “phase” to another (pre-conflict, in-conflict and post conflict). More often than not, such countries/regions experience “reversals”, and may experience several phases of conflict at the same time. The course will examine the transition from war to peace in a global perspective. This would include an exploration of the underlying causes, triggers, and dynamics of conflict as well as the process of transition from the initial humanitarian response through peacemaking, peace building, post conflict reconstruction, and the role of development and diplomacy in conflict prevention. The events of 9/11 have given added dimensions and challenges to war to peace studies. Consequently, the course will also examine the emerging linkages between peace building, “nation building”, and the global “war on terrorism”. The central theme of the course is a focus on the nexus of international conflict, peace building, and development concepts, practices and lessons learned in global perspective. The course learning methodology will use a combination of lecture-discussions and case studies supplemented by select films and simulations. The students will be expected to prepare one major research paper on a related topic of their choice and participate in a team analysis and presentation of a country case study of the conflict to peace cycle. Prerequisites: an introductory course in Political Science, preferably in World Politics or Comparative Politics, or permission of the instructor granted on the basis of regional expertise in one of the areas covered by the course. Maximum enrollment should not exceed 15 students.
Urban Policy and Politics
This course is about power and the city. It surveys the politics and of space and place in the United States. It is intended as an intermediate level course and students should have completed some prior introductory work in political science. The topic will be how politics and public policy has, can and should make the places where we live and work, including cities and suburbs. The course will provide students with the conceptual tools needed to analyze urban policy. These include theoretical perspectives on the state and the city, basic knowledge of issues especially important in the American context, such as federalism and intergovernmental relations, and some recent history on urban development. With this basis established, we will look at selected topics such as globalization; race, ethnicity and immigration in urban politics; community organization and community and regional development; housing policy; and the impact of suburbanization on political culture. Students will be expected to participate in discussions and conduct or participate in a research project
Visions of the City
This intermediate course examines the changing and contested meaning of urban life in the United States. Cities have been cast as disordered spaces that corrupt our most fundamental attachments. But cities have also been presented as well-ordered cosmopolitan spaces in which the American experience could be almost perfectly expressed. In interrogating the tension between these two depictions of urban life, we will specifically discuss: attempts to inform daily practices through the design of the city; anxieties about immigration and mobility; architecture’s relationship to nature and democracy; the origins of housing reform and the urban planning movement; and legacies of segregation.
Women After Communism
Communist ideology sought to achieve equality for women. From this commitment and from the drive to expand the publicly available workforce, the communist leaderships in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe designed systems and implemented policies that did indeed bring major changes in the roles of women in these societies. However, this was a partial and particular form of liberation. With the transition to electoral democracy and market capitalism, many women have rejected the identities imposed upon them by the previous system, but they have also encountered strong challenges and often hardships, including regression in their relative political power and economic position. At the same time, some women have been able to seize new opportunities in the opening of the system. After a brief overview of ideology, policy, and change in women’s position under communism, we will turn to the issues raised by the transitions: the effect of the changes on the status of women, specific policy debates affecting women, changes in the cultural and physical context of many of the transitions (religious revival, nationalism, and war) that help to frame women’s roles in society, women’s participation in formal politics, and women’s movements. To wrap up, we will consider whether the changes we have examined are similar to changes women experience during democratization processes and market reforms elsewhere in the world. This comparative perspective will allow us to tease out more clearly the legacy of the communist experience. This “topics” course is open to all without prerequisites and capped at 20.
For a complete list of courses, click here.
With such a high level of expertise and experience among our faculty, it’s little surprise that our graduates in Political Science are as successful as they are. In recent years, Political Science AOC students from New College have been accepted into some of the nation’s leading graduate school programs, including Harvard (JFK Center), Columbia, Stanford, Georgetown, London School of Economics and Political Science, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Law, Cal-Berkeley and Yale. Popular career paths for our graduates include education, law, government and NGO work, foreign service and business.
Audrey Nicoleau is a political communications strategist in Washington, D.C., who helps her clients heighten their public profile. Shortly after graduating from New College in 2005, the Miami native worked for U.S. Representative John Conyers as his legislative aide. She later joined U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings’ office as a senior policy advisor, with a legislative portfolio that included appropriations, judiciary, international relations, health care and education policy. After almost two years serving the 23rd district of Florida, she transitioned to then U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership office and worked as a communications advisor. There, she got the opportunity to staff the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and co-chair a congressional delegation to Belgium and France, where she moderated several discussions with European members of Parliament on political inclusion of minorities and vulnerable populations in EU countries.
New College is proud of the many Political Science graduates who have contributed to the field. Here’s a sampling of some of our graduates:
Sample of Graduate Schools Attended by NCF Students in Political Science
Each academic experience builds toward your senior thesis project. It’s required for graduation, and our students tell us that while it’s demanding, it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives. Here are some thesis projects in Political Science:
“’You Tell Me it’s the Institution’: Executive-Legislative Dynamics, Electoral Reform, and the Party of Patronage in Putin’s Russia” by Joshua C. Scheible
“This Land is My Land, This Land is Our Land: The Intersection of Property Law and Development in China” by Maximillion Brown
“An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Tet Offensive and its Effect on Public Opinion about the Vietnam War” by George Pavlidakey, Jr.
“The State’s Voice in the National Health Care Debate” by Christine Wilson
“Follow the Rainbow Brick Road: A Cross-National Analysis of LGBT Rights” by Dana Ziegler
“United States Public Policy Regarding Genetically Modified Foods” by Jennifer A. Zimmerman
“It’s in the Air For You And Me: Nuclear Power in France, Germany, Sweden and The United States after Chernobyl” by Casey Morell
“Bedouin Modernization Policies in Jordan and Israel” by Samantha Sementilli
“Engaging the Dragon: Controversial Dimensions of Chinese Foreign Policy” by Danielle Korngold
“The Victim’s Burden: Disrupted Identity and Social Tensions in the Reintegration of Ex-LRA in Northern Uganda” by Alexandra Pierce
“Reconciliation after Atrocity: Transitional Justice in Africa” by Kristen Collins
“Conceptions of Citizenship and the Democratic Transition Process: Citizenship Policies in Postcommunist Central and Eastern Europe” by Maura Letmon
“As the World Burns: Theoretical Frameworks for Analyzing Domestic Terrorism” byThomas McKay
“Successes and Failures of Democratic Consolidation in South Asia: A Comparative Study of India and Pakistan” by Dolan Cochran
“Where Whiskey is for Drinking and Water is for Cooperating Over: An application of the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework to the struggle over Pacific Northwest water allocation” by Michael J. Dexter
“Development and Remembrance: The Use of Transitional justice Mechanisms in Transforming a State from Conflict” by Jennifer Lieb
“Conflicts in Institutions: President Obama and the Health Care Debate” by Kirk Lohbauer
“Targeting Strategies of Terrorist Groups: A Comparative Case Study of Northern Ireland and Spain” by Stephen Quirke
“African Renaissance? The Emerging Security Structure of the African Union” by Lensa Kwadjo
“Habla Ingles: An Examination of Programs of ELL Education in the United States” by Mary Lace Guilfoil
“Progressive Bullying: How Unilateral Actions Could Help International Fisheries” by Jack Mewhirter
“Eating in Separate Kitchens: Economic Decentralization and Local Authority in China” by Sarah Brown
“The Political Economy of Development in South Korea” by Geoffrey Gordon
“An Examination of the Causal Mechanisms Behind Latin America’s Populist Revival and Corresponding Move to the Left” by Andrea Lynch
“States, Identity Construction, and Conflict: A Political Science Portfolio” by Alejandro Castano
“What’s the Catch? An Interrogation of Regional Fisheries Management Organization’s Use of Catch Documentation Schemes” by Chloe Davis
“Striving for Participation: An Analysis of Community- Based Natural Resource Management in Botswana” by Catherine Gowan
“Precedented Yet Unparalleled: How New is the ‘New Terrorism’ of the Al Qaeda Network?” by Harrison Duke Grandwilliams
“The African National Congress: An Analysis of Political Frames” by Lindsay Levinson
“Genetically Modified Food Aid: Context and Consequences” by Evan D. Axelrad
“Women, Peace and (In)security? Rape, Armed Conflict and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325: A Cross-Comparative Analysis” by Tierney Elison
“The EU Political System Under Stress: Managing Political Uncertainty in Genetically Modified Organisms Policy” by Diana Hinova
“Assessing the European Security and Defence Policy: Motivations and Operational Efficacy in European Military Cooperation” by Ambar Velazquez Rivera
“Trade in Ideas and the Ideas of Trade: Using Constructivist Political Economy to Explain the Spread of Economic Regionalism” by Adam Tubridy
“Botswana, a Model for Development in Africa?” by Douglas Bove
“The New Great Game: A Study of International Energy Competition in the Caspian Sea Region” by Robert Kupstas Byla
“From Twice Promised Land to Peace for Piece: A Comprehensive Study of the Israeli-Arab Conflict” by Stan Levit
“Gender and Land Tenure: Paths to Women’s Land Rights” by Lindsay Gorton
“Efficacy of Public Campaign Finance in State Legislative Races” by Amy Harper
“Can History Be Our Guide?: Evaluating the Effects of Constitutional Rules on Size of Government” by Paolo Mastrangelo
“Beyond the Decentralization Paradigm: Revisiting Theories and Practice of Local Forest Management in Developing States” by Emily Myerscough
“The Role of Amnesty in Ending Civil Conflicts” by Margaret Prusner
“Understanding Village Governance in China: Accountability and Responsivity in Authoritarian Systems” by Anthony Circharo
“Civil Conflict Outcomes and Recurrence” by Andrew Perniciaro
“Rebels without Borders: The Effect of Bilateral Trade on the Existence of Transnational Bases” by Isaac Duerr
“Into Africa: A Study of Post-Conflict Democratization” by Ceara Riggs
The Jane Bancroft Cook Library at New College has a strong collection of materials for the study of political science. Students have electronic access to journals and books, World Bank data, world development indicators, international finance statistics, government finance statistics, and various other databases, such as Census Bureau data. The library is also home to the College’s Academic Resource Center, which features a Quantitative Resource Center, Language Resource Center and Writing Resource Center to assist students with statistical research and analysis, foreign language practice and writing. Within the Division of Social Sciences, New College also has a Social Science Research Laboratory that is open to political science students.
New Topics New College is a public lecture series that runs from October through March. Free to students, the series features guest speakers discussing a wide range of current topics and issues — local, national and international.
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Because of the importance of gaining real world experience as part of your academic program, students in our Political Science program regularly engage in internships with agencies of government, political parties, interest groups and the like. In recent years, students have interned with U.S. Congressmen, the Governor of Florida, the American Civil Liberties Union, county planning agencies, and organizations working for international peace and development. They have also helped with political campaigns, handled publicity for the Sarasota Peace and Justice Center and become radio news announcers.
Although it is not a requirement in our Political Science program, many students have incorporated study abroad as part of their research for their senior theses. Here is a look at what some of them have recently done: