2014-15 Catalog courses

The courses listed here are those published in Calvin College's current academic catalog. Not all courses are offered in the current year.

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Ideas/Institutions in American Politics

A study of American national politics. The course emphasizes the social context, constitutional foundations, processes, and functions of American politics. Different faculty members employ a wide variety of teaching methods, from lectures to small groups to simulations.

  • Course code: POLS-101
  • Credits: 3
  • Semester: Fall, Spring
  • Department: Political Science
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Canadian Politics

This course examines Canadian national government and politics, focusing on (1) the development of the Canadian state and constitution, (2) the ongoing issue of French and English Canada, (3) the processes by which institutions and groups formulate and implement public policy, (4) individual, group, and institutional behavior in the policy-making process, and (5) methods of evaluating the Canadian political system.

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Persons in Political Community

This course examines how different conceptions of identity relate to different understandings of political community, and therefore, to the question of who and what a citizen is. Students analyze a variety of conceptions of citizenship, drawn from a range of philosophical traditions and empirical models. They then explore how a Reformed understanding of citizenship affects the way we think of ourselves as members of different political communities.

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State Politics & American Federalism

This course provides a comparative study of American politics at the state level. Attention is given to the historical development of state governments, their structural characteristics, and policy-making in important areas such as education, social welfare, land-use, criminal justice, and transportation.

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International Cooperation & Conflict

This course explores different theoretical approaches to the study of international cooperation and conflict. Students are introduced to a variety of explanatory frameworks for phenomena such as war, ethnic conflict, economic inequalities, environmental degradation, international trade, and globalization.

  • Course code: POLS-207
  • Credits: 3
  • Semester: Fall, Spring
  • Department: Political Science
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Urban Politics

This course examines urban politics, giving attention to the historical development of urban government, power and politics in contemporary cities, and metropolitics and metropolitan reform.

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Public & Non-Profit Administration

This course introduces students to public administration, focusing on political management (political environment, intergovernmental relations, administrative ethics), program management (planning, decision-making, organizing, leading, implementing) and resources management (personnel management, budgeting, information management). It also examines the politics and operations of public agencies and non-profit organizations.

  • Course code: POLS-209
  • Credits: 3
  • Semester: Fall, Spring
  • Department: Political Science
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American Public Policy

As an introduction to public policy, this course focuses on (1) the ways social, economic, and political institutions influence policy formation, (2) methods of evaluating public policy, and (3) the historical development and current content of American public policy in key areas such as environment, social welfare, health care, and education.

  • Course code: POLS-212
  • Credits: 3
  • Semester: Fall, Spring
  • Department: Political Science
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Governments and Globalization

This course introduces students to a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches used in the study of comparative politics. Students will explore political institutions, intrastate conflict, human rights, environmental protection, and social welfare policies from a comparative perspective. Special attention is given to thinking about how states fit within broader regional communities that collaboratively address these issues.

  • Course code: POLS-214
  • Credits: $course1.Credit_Hours
  • Semester: Fall
  • Department: Political Science
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Global Politics of Human Rights

This course examines the emergence and institutionalization of human rights in the international arena during the 20th century. It analyzes the idea of human rights and examines the place of this idea in particular areas of concern, such as race, gender, religion, and the meeting of basic material needs. It questions the assertion and defense of human rights, by examining issues such as genocide, displaced persons, humanitarian intervention, and the role of international organizations.

  • Course code: POLS-228
  • Credits: $course1.Credit_Hours
  • Semester: Fall
  • Department: Political Science
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Parties & Interest Groups

The course investigates the nature and importance of political parties and interest groups for American politics. Topics include party development, interest group mobilization, and party organization. In election years, students enrolled in the course are encouraged to participate in the political campaign of the party or candidate of their choice.

  • Course code: POLS-237
  • Credits: $course1.Credit_Hours
  • Semester: Fall
  • Department: Political Science
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Freedom, Justice & Political Authority

This course provides an introduction to the history of political thought. By examining such concepts as freedom, authority, and justice, as they are understood by representative modern and pre-modern political thinkers, the course attempts to uncover the major strands of historical development in Western political thinking.

  • Course code: POLS-240
  • Credits: 3
  • Semester: Fall, Spring
  • Department: Political Science
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Foundations of Political Sci Research

This course examines the philosophical assumptions, theoretical issues, methodological approaches, and analytical tools used in analyzing American, comparative, and international politics. Not recommended for first-year students. As a supplement to this course, Mathematics 143 is strongly encouraged.

  • Course code: POLS-251
  • Credits: 3
  • Semester: Fall, Spring
  • Department: Political Science
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Religion & Politics in Comparative Pers

This course examines religion as an agent of political mobilization and change across different cultural contexts in terms of its historical development, cultural manifestation, and its effects on the political system. Attention is given to such topics as the Christian Right in the United States, liberation theology in Latin America, Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East, and the role of ultra orthodox Jews in Israeli politics. Not offered 2012-2013.

  • Course code: POLS-271
  • Credits: 3
  • Semester: Fall, Spring
  • Department: Political Science
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Global Democratization

This course examines the factors that have contributed to and hindered the recent emergence of democratic governance in Southern Europe, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Russia, and Africa. Attention is given to the relationship among democracy, development, and political culture.

  • Course code: POLS-272
  • Credits: 3
  • Semester: Fall, Spring
  • Department: Political Science
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European Politics

The course investigates the governments and politics of select West European states. Attention is given to historical development, current political structures, and movements toward economic and political union.

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Latin American Politics

The course provides an analysis of modern Latin American politics with special emphasis on historical patterns, democratic transitions, economic development, and human rights.

  • Course code: POLS-276
  • Credits: 3
  • Semester: Fall, Spring
  • Department: Political Science
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Asian Politics

The course examines the governments and politics of China, Japan, India, and select Asian states such as the Philippines and South Korea.

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African Politics

This course is a study of the politics and governments of African states. It questions why some states make better progress towards the goals of stability, democratization and socioeconomic development than others. Specific issues examined are military rule, corruption, ethnic and religious strife, poverty, human rights, and health.

  • Course code: POLS-279
  • Credits: 3
  • Semester: Fall, Spring
  • Department: Political Science
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Model United Nations

Preparation for participation in a national level Model U.N. conference. Students research international issues and country positions and study international diplomacy and negotiation techniques. Students are charged a $100 course fee for the conference.

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Special Topics in Pol. Science

Content for this course varies.

  • Course code: POLS-295
  • Credits: 3
  • Semester: Fall, Spring
  • Department: Political Science
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Institutions, Civil Society & Revolution

This course introduces students to the political institutions of different types of states and focuses on how these institutions impact the citizens of those states. Students are trained to analyze how political institutions shape legal protection, conflict, political and economic development, and states? ability to interact regionally and internationally. The course has a special emphasis on contestation within political systems and how this contestation can induce peaceful change or foster conflict. Recommended: Political Science 214.

  • Course code: POLS-301
  • Credits: $course1.Credit_Hours
  • Semester: Fall
  • Department: Political Science
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International Peace & Security

The course examines the theory and practice of international peace and security since the end of the Cold War, causes of war and war termination, military strategy, proliferation, nonproliferation and counterproliferation, security institutions, and international order. Recommended: Political Science 207.

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Political Liberalism and Its Critics

The course focuses on representative political theorists from the sixteenth through the twentieth century, with special attention to modern conceptions of and reactions to liberalism. Recommended: Political Science 240.

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Civil War, Ethnic Conflict & Terrorism

This course addresses how states use domestic policies to manage intrastate and transnational conflict in different forms. Topics include the causes and consequences of domestic conflict and the ways that conflict is perpetuated through the domestic institutions of states. Special attention is paid to the way that conflict within states can spillover into regional conflict and the ways that states differently respond to the interference of other states and international institutions in their domestic affairs. Recommended: Political Science 214.

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Principles of American Foreign Policy

This is an analytical view of American foreign policy, including its domestic sources, the process of formulating policy, the instruments of American diplomacy, the nature of U.S. relations with hostile powers, allies, emerging powers, and the United Nations, and the limitations and potential of American foreign policy.

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International Organizations & Law

The course examines international organizations and international law, including their function and processes, their limits and possibilities, and their relationship to the international system. Recommended: Political Science 207.

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American Constitutional Foundations

The course is a comprehensive study of the role of the courts in the American political system, focusing on the Supreme Court?s role in constitutional interpretation. Recommended: Political Science 101.

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Men, Women & the Law

This course explores how ideas about men and women affect the way public policy and legislation is made. Issues concerning the differences and relationships between men and women, such as marriage and employment will be considered. An effort will be made to develop a Christian perspective on whether men and women have the same, equivalent, or radically different rights and responsibilities. The course includes case studies of recent legislation and court opinions and offers comparisons between the U.S. and other states.

  • Course code: POLS-312
  • Credits: 3
  • Semester: Fall, Spring
  • Department: Political Science
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The President & Congress

The course analyzes the powers and processes of these two institutions of American government and the changing relationship between them. Not offered 2012-2013.

  • Course code: POLS-314
  • Credits: 3
  • Semester: Fall, Spring
  • Department: Political Science
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Parties & Elections

The course investigates the nature and importance of political parties and elections for American politics. Topics include party development, party organization, political campaigns, electoral laws, public opinion, voting behavior, and election reforms. Attention is also given to other mediating institutions such as the media. In election years, students enrolled in the course are encouraged to participate in the political campaign of the party or candidate of their choice.

  • Course code: POLS-317
  • Credits: 3
  • Semester: Fall, Spring
  • Department: Political Science
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American Elections & Mass Media

The course provides a survey of the relationship between American politics and the mass communications media. The course covers the way the federal government, through its regulations and its dissemination of information, affects the operations of the media, campaigning and elections, and how the media influence the social and political values of Americans and the functioning of the political system. Recommended: Political Science 101.

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Intern'l Political Economy

This course examines how competing political philosophies and ideologies explain different economic practices of states, how political forces and institutions affect the operation of international markets, and how global economic institutions operate. The course investigates the political controversies that surround the actions of central global economic institutions as well as the domestic political issues that result from international economic forces. Recommended: Political Science 207, 309, Economics 222.

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Contemporary Political Thought

A study of representative contemporary political theorists, considering their points of emphasis and their fundamental assumptions regarding politics and political reality.

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Global Democratization

This course examines the factors that have contributed to and hindered the recent emergence of democratic governance in Southern Europe, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Russia, and Africa. Attention is given to the relationship among democracy, development, and political culture. Recommended: Political Science 214.

  • Course code: POLS-322
  • Credits: $course1.Credit_Hours
  • Semester: Fall
  • Department: Political Science
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The Global Politics of Human Rights

This course examines the emergence and institutionalization of human rights in the international arena during the 20th century. It begins with a careful analysis of the idea of human rights and then examines the place of this idea in particular areas of concern, such as race, gender, religion, and the meeting of basic material needs. It raises as well questions regarding the assertion and defense of human rights, by examining issues such as genocide, displaced persons, humanitarian intervention, and the proper role of international organizations.

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Criminal Law

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Internship in Politics & Government

These internships, which require students to apply the tools of political science in state or local government settings, involve sixteen hours of work a week under the direction of an agency supervisor and Calvin instructor. Each intern keeps an analytical journal and submits a final summary paper. Prerequisites: sophomore, junior, or senior status, appropriate course background in political science or related fields, and permission of the Calvin instructor.

  • Course code: POLS-380
  • Credits: 4
  • Semester: Fall, Spring
  • Department: Political Science
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Independent Study

Reading or directed projects for majors. Open with the permission of the chair and the instructor under whom the work will be done.

  • Course code: POLS-390
  • Credits: 1
  • Semester: Fall, Spring
  • Department: Political Science
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Research Seminar in Political Science

A study of the worldview foundations of political ideologies, political science theories, and research methods. Emphasis is on reading and discussion of significant texts within both the discipline and Reformed thought. The second half of the course allows students to engage in a major research project applying social scientific methods to addressing a well-defined research question in political science. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing, completion of biblical or theological foundations, philosophical foundations, Political Science 251, and two additional courses in the Department.

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Policial Science Interim

Interim course descriptions are posted online at: www.calvin.edu/go/interim/

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Political Science Interim

Interim course descriptions are posted online at: www.calvin.edu/go/interim/

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Study in Washington D.C.

This course prepares students for the semester study program in Washington, D.C.

  • Course code: STDC-241
  • Credits: 1
  • Semester: Fall
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Special Topics in Public Life

The specific content of this course varies from year to year, depending on the program director. While its substantive focus may vary, the course content is framed within the context of public life generally, and it draws upon the Washington environment by including speakers from and visits to relevant organizations, agencies, businesses, or government entities.

  • Course code: STDC-342
  • Credits: 3
  • Semester: Spring
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Integrating Faith-Public Life

This course will focus on the role of religion in the public life of Washington, DC. Specifically, the course will examine how religious individuals and institutions of many faith traditions seek to affect the climate and content of policy making. The course will stress site visits to organizations that influence, study, and/or implement public policies in a variety of areas such as health, social services, security, economic development, and trade. Students will be challenged to compare and contrast the organizations where they work as interns with the institutions visited in this course, particularly in terms of organizational objectives and the role of religion in the organization?s mission. May be credited as an elective or as a departmental credit when accepted by individual departments.

  • Course code: STDC-343
  • Credits: 3
  • Semester: Spring
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Internship in Washington D.C.

An internship experience, normally consisting of a four-day work week in a professional setting, in the student?s major field of concentration. Credit toward a departmental major is granted at the discretion of each department.

  • Course code: STDC-344
  • Credits: 8
  • Semester: Spring
CODE NAME CREDITS
POLS-101 Ideas/Institutions in American Politics 3
POLS-102 Canadian Politics
POLS-110 Persons in Political Community 3
POLS-202 State Politics & American Federalism 3
POLS-207 International Cooperation & Conflict 3
POLS-208 Urban Politics 3
POLS-209 Public & Non-Profit Administration 3
POLS-212 American Public Policy 3
POLS-214 Governments and Globalization
POLS-228 Global Politics of Human Rights
POLS-237 Parties & Interest Groups
POLS-240 Freedom, Justice & Political Authority 3
POLS-251 Foundations of Political Sci Research 3
POLS-271 Religion & Politics in Comparative Pers 3
POLS-272 Global Democratization 3
POLS-275 European Politics 3
POLS-276 Latin American Politics 3
POLS-277 Asian Politics 3
POLS-279 African Politics 3
POLS-285 Model United Nations 1
POLS-295 Special Topics in Pol. Science 3
POLS-301 Institutions, Civil Society & Revolution
POLS-304 International Peace & Security 3
POLS-306 Political Liberalism and Its Critics 3
POLS-307 Civil War, Ethnic Conflict & Terrorism 3
POLS-308 Principles of American Foreign Policy 3
POLS-309 International Organizations & Law 3
POLS-310 American Constitutional Foundations 3
POLS-312 Men, Women & the Law 3
POLS-314 The President & Congress 3
POLS-317 Parties & Elections 3
POLS-318 American Elections & Mass Media 3
POLS-319 Intern'l Political Economy 3
POLS-320 Contemporary Political Thought 3
POLS-322 Global Democratization
POLS-328 The Global Politics of Human Rights 3
POLS-332 Criminal Law 3
POLS-380 Internship in Politics & Government 4
POLS-390 Independent Study 1
POLS-399 Research Seminar in Political Science 3
POLS-W40 Policial Science Interim 3
POLS-W80 Political Science Interim 3
STDC-241 Study in Washington D.C. 1
STDC-342 Special Topics in Public Life 3
STDC-343 Integrating Faith-Public Life 3
STDC-344 Internship in Washington D.C. 8
Political Science Rhetoric Program

The Political Science program has always emphasized rhetoric and excellent writing skills.

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