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Politics

Programs

Resources



Major

Minor

Courses

Programs offered:

B.A. in Politics
Minor in Politics (TU)
Minor in Politics (EDP)

Please consult the University Bulletin for degree requirements.

As Aristotle observed some 2000 years ago, "Man is by nature a political animal." Politics shapes who we are and how we live; it animates human nature, forges identities, drives social movements, structures national politics and institutions, molds international relations. At Oglethorpe, students of politics encounter a wide range of opinions, beliefs, and scholarly analysis as to the nature of politics and what constitutes the legitimate aims of political action. Differences and disagreements abound, providing a rich environment for students to develop their own informed opinions honed through healthy debate with their colleagues. In addition, politics majors gain both substantive knowledge and analytic skills. Introductory classes in American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political philosophy provide the foundation for subsequent pursuit of more specialized study undertaken in higher-level courses. Skills acquired include: close critical reading of texts; inductive, deductive, and analogical reasoning; substantiating arguments; comparing across cases; and making generalizations.

Oglethorpe's location provides numerous opportunities to study and engage with real world politics, be they local, national, or international. Atlanta is home to the Georgia state government, The Carter Center, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center. Students have taken advantage of the Georgia's Legislative Intern and Governor's Intern Programs, as well as worked with the Georgia State Legislature, the Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism, and the League of Women Voters, participated in The Carter Center Internship Program, and worked with a variety of governmental and grassroots programs.

Resources at Oglethorpe serve to help students engage actively in politics. Through career services, students can identify and create other internships. Oglethorpe's affiliations with The Washington Center for Internships and the Washington Semester Program of American University allow students to study politics and intern in the nation's capital. Students can also use internship credit towards their major requirements. In an increasingly globalized world, Oglethorpe study abroad programs provide the opportunity to gain in-depth experience of the politics and culture of another country for periods ranging from a week, to a semester, to a year. Please see Oglethorpe University Students Abroad in the Educational Enrichment section.

Politics majors contemplate and analyze the different forms of power shaping today's world, be they individuals, ideas, institutions, or coercive force. This knowledge prepares them well for a variety of careers, including law, journalism, government, international organizations, NGO's, education, business, and politics.

The following are possible courses offered in Politics:


POL 101. Introduction to American Politics 4 hours

This course is an introduction to the fundamental questions of politics through an examination of the American founding and political institutions.
 

POL 111. International Relations 4 hours

This course is an introduction to the conduct of politics in a condition of anarchy. The central issues will be how and whether independent states can establish and preserve international order and cooperate for the achievement of their common interests in an anarchic environment. These questions will be explored through a reading of relevant history and theoretical writings and an examination of present and future trends influencing world politics.
 

POL 121. Introduction to Comparative Politics 4 hours
This course traces the evolution of major theories and methodologies of comparative politics from the 1960s to present, analyzing both their distinguishing characteristics and how these theories respond to the prominent political issues and intellectual debates of their times. Topics to be covered include: political behavior, political culture, revolutions, modernization, political economy, rational choice, institutions, and the state, with democratization serving as an overarching theme.
 
POL 201. Constitutional Law 4 hours
In this course, we will examine the Constitution and the efforts of the United States Supreme Court to expound and interpret it. In addition to reading and briefing many Supreme Court decisions, we will examine some leading contemporary works in constitutional and legal theory. Prerequisite: POL 101.
 
POL 202. State and Local Government 4 hours

This course is a survey of the origin, development, and characteristic problems of state and local government in the United States. Prerequisite: POL 101.
 

POL 211. War 4 hours
What is war? How and to what extent has it changed through the ages? Why are wars won or lost? When is war just? How will war be fought in the future, with what results?
 
POL 231. Asian Politics 4 hours
This course is a general introduction to the variety of political systems in Asia, concentrating particularly on the nations of East Asia. It will emphasize the methods of comparative political study and will focus on understanding the factors that determine different political outcomes in nations that share a geographical region and many similar cultural and historical influences.
 
POL 302. American Political Parties 4 hours
An in-depth study of the development of party organizations in the United States and an analysis of their bases of power. Prerequisite: POL 101.
 
POL 303. Congress and the Presidency 4 hours
An examination of the original arguments for the current American governmental structure and the problems now faced by these institutions. Prerequisite: POL 101.
 
ULP 303. The New American City 4 hours
The purpose of this course is to examine the problems and prospects of politics and policymaking in the new American city and its environs. Consideration will be given to the political and sociological significance of a number of the factors that characterize this new development, including the extremes of wealth and poverty, the mix of racial and ethnic groups, and the opportunities and challenges provided by progress in transportation and technology. Offered annually.
 
POL 304. African-American Politics 4 hours
This course is designed to provide students with an overview of the various strategies and tactics used by African-Americans to advance their economic, social, and political agendas. As such, the course will provide a detailed examination of the successes and failures of the interaction between the United States political system and African-Americans from both an historic and present-day perspective. Prerequisite: POL 101.
 
POL 311. United States Foreign Policy 4 hours
A history of American foreign policy since 1945, emphasis in this course will be on the description, explanation, and evaluation of events and policies, not the study of policy-making as such.
 
POL 321. Political Development 4 hours
This course surveys substantive themes and theoretical debates in the study of political development including: what is meant by 'political development,' cultural versus structural explanations for change, whether development is driven by domestic or international influences, political transitions, and the relative significance of particular groups or institutions. Readings build from theoretical touchstones HNSO II (Smith, Marx, Weber) to address contemporary cases in developing and developed countries. Prerequisite: POL 121, COR 202, or permission of the instructor.
 
POL 331. Comparative Politics of China and Japan 4 hours
While Japan and China have both become prominent nation-states with increasing international influence, each country has achieved this feat through very different means. This course seeks to ascertain the sources and strength of their respective development paths as well as the prognosis for their political and economic futures. Topics to be covered include: state formation, ideology and political order, political and economic institutions, economic development strategies, 'Asian values,' state-society relations, regional and international relations. Prerequisite: POL 121, POL 231, or permission of the instructor.
 
POL 341. Political Philosophy I: Ancient and Medieval 4 hours
This is an examination of the origins of philosophical reflection on the fundamental issues of politics, which is designed to lead to the critical consideration of the political views of our time. Among the topics discussed are the relationship between knowledge and political power and the character of political justice. Portions of the works of Aristophanes, Plato, Cicero, and Alfarabi are examined. Prerequisite: COR 201 or permission of the instructor.
 
POL 342. Political Philosophy II: Modern 4 hours
This is a critical examination of the peculiarly modern political and philosophical stance beginning where Political Philosophy I concludes. Among the authors discussed are Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, and Kojeve. Prerequisite: POL 341 or permission of the instructor.
 
POL 350. Special Topics in Politics 4 hours
A variety of courses will be offered to respond to topical needs of the curriculum. Recent courses include Moral and Political Leadership, Dealing with Diversity, Criminal Law, and Citizenship in Theory and Practice. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
 
POL 361. European Politics 4 hours
This course is a factual, conceptual and historical introduction to politics on the European continent, including (but not necessarily limited to) Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and the European Union. These regimes will be studied through a comparison of their social structures, party systems, institutions and constitutions, political cultures and (if possible) their domestic policies. Prerequisite: POL 101.
 
POL 411. War, Peace, and Security 4 hours
An in-depth treatment of one or more of the issues introduced in International Relations. The course will be conducted as a seminar, with the emphasis on reading, discussion and research. It will address the following questions: When and why do statesmen resort to force to resolve international conflicts? When does the threat of force succeed or fail and when and how ought one to employ it? When and why do states make peace? What are the causes of conflict in the present and future? What are the prospects for peace? Topics vary from year to year. Prerequisite: POL 111 or POL 311.
 
POL 422. Seminar in Chinese Politics 4 hours
This course explores the ongoing political, social, and economic transformations in Communist China, with emphasis on the post-Mao era (1978 to the present). General themes include Maoist versus Dengist politics, revolution versus reform, market reform in a communist state, factionalism, central-local relations, state-society relations, China in the international order. The course also examines current political and social issues. Prerequisite: POL 121, POL 231, or permission of the instructor.
 
POL 431. Seminar in Politics and Culture 4 hours
This will be an upper-level seminar in the study of the relationship of politics and culture. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the nature and difficulties of cultural study, with particular attention to ethnographic or participant observer research methods. Focus of the seminar changes yearly but has included such topics as Judaism and Jewishness, Women and Politics, and Language and Politics. Prerequisite: POL 101 or junior standing.
 
POL 441. Seminar in Political Philosophy 4 hours
An intensive examination of a text or theme introduced in the Political Philosophy sequence. Among the topics have been Rousseau's Emile, Spinoza, and The German Enlightenment. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
 
POL 450. Independent Study in Politics 1-4 hours
Supervised research on a selected topic. Prerequisite: Submission of a proposed outline of study that includes a schedule of meetings and assignments approved by the instructor, the division chair, and the Provost and Senior Vice President prior to registration.
 
POL 451. Internship in Politics 1-4 hours
An internship is designed to provide a formalized experiential learning opportunity to qualified students. The internship generally requires the student to obtain a faculty supervisor in the relevant field of study, submit a learning agreement, work 30 hours for every hour of academic credit, keep a written journal of the work experience, have regularly scheduled meetings with the faculty supervisor, and write a research paper dealing with some aspect of the internship. Written work should total five pages of academic writing for every hour of credit. An extensive list of internships is maintained by the Career Services Office, including opportunities at the Georgia State Legislature, the United States Department of State, The Carter Center, and the Superior Court of Fulton County. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisites: Permission of the faculty supervisor and qualification for the internship program.
 
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