Syllabus Library

Progressive Syllabus Project

Voluntarily contributed syllabi to be used as models by CNPS and other faculty. Submit a new syllabus here with a category suggestion and brief explanation as to why it is appropriate for New Political Science.

Introduction to Political Science
  • Unseen America” | David Lempert | Stanford University 
    • This course is designed to supplement the traditional quantitative and theoretical social science approach to American public policy problems with an introduction to both qualitative research methods and data.  Interdisciplinary readings will be coordinated with field trips to prisons, courts, a mental hospital, an Indian reservation, etc.
  • Current Political Issues” | Nancy Love | Appalachian State University
    • Introductory general education course in political science using Mark Mattern’s Putting Ideas to Work: A Practical Introduction to Political Thought as the framework for a number of case studies on such topics as climate change, voting rights, and immigration. In Current Political Issues, students explore how normative theories shape popular opinion and public policy on multiple contentious topics in politics today.  By demonstrating how morality and politics overlap, the course shows students how “to make the[ir] study of politics relevant to struggles for a better world.”  As one student wrote in a final journal entry: “When I first came into PS 1200, I was a very conservative republican, while that fact remains unchanged, my ability to understand different viewpoints and discuss them has grown exponentially.  I have been able to take controversial topics and dissect them past standard liberal and conservative viewpoints, to look at the situation as a whole.”
Introduction to American Government
Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • Drug Wars” | Sarah Romano | University of Northern Colorado
    • This course starts with an introduction to analytical and conceptual tools that provide a basis for understanding drug-related conflicts at the domestic and international levels. The next part of the course examines “drug wars” from historical, comparative, and international perspectives, focusing on several regions and both licit and illegal drugs—including how politics shape the dynamics of drug prohibition and legalization. The final part of the course examines the costs and consequences of drug wars. Particular attention will be paid to economic impacts on states and societies, racialized incarceration in the U.S., violence and corruption in Mexico, and threats to democratic governance in West Africa.
  • African Politics” | Jennifer Disney | Winthrop University
    • This course is designed to introduce you to the continent of Africa and the study of African Politics. Africa is a continent over 3 ½ times the size of the United States, with 54 independent nation-states, and over 800 million people who speak over 800 languages. As such, any study of The Government and Politics of Africa must be designed to cover the diversity of political, economic, social and cultural systems that exist on the continent today. However, it is also essential to examine African culture and political economies across three historical time periods: pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial. Therefore, this course is designed to provide you with an historical approach, a conceptual approach and a case-study approach to the study of Africa. We will examine some of the classic arguments in understanding the impact of colonization on Africa, as well as explore several post-colonial country case studies through the lens of key concepts in Comparative Politics.
Introduction to International Relations
  • Introduction to International Relations” | Kevin Funk | Spring Hill College
    • This course will introduce you to major topics, issues, and debates in international politics, as well as diverse theoretical approaches that seek to aid our understanding of how the world works (or does not work). In light of current events, we will pay particular attention to globalization, nationalism, immigration, the “refugee crisis,” and the growing desire to build walls (literal or otherwise) along borders. In turn, we will analyze numerous theories, paradigms, and approaches that thinkers have utilized to attempt to explain (and perhaps inspire action in response to) these and other key phenomena, but without falling into the intellectual trap of internalizing the notion that these are the “best” or “only” ways of thinking about international politics. In other words, you are highly encouraged, as always, to take into consideration the thoughts of others (ranging from leading scholars in the discipline to your classmates), but also to think on your own. Lastly, after dissecting and discussing a number of important, contemporary questions in international politics, we will consider how you – and we, and others – may seek to be agents of change in the global arena.
Introduction to Political Economy
  • International Political Economy” | Jennifer Disney | Winthrop University
    • This course is designed to familiarize you with the fundamental concepts, theories and practices of International Political Economy (IPE). International Political Economy is a unique field of study because, by definition, it explores the intersection of politics and economics within an international context. In this course, we will explore three fundamental approaches to IPE (realism/mercantilism, liberalism, and structuralism/Marxism) according to four levels of analysis (the individual, the state, and the international system), discussing such concepts as power, development, wealth, inequality, security, production, finance, trade, conflict and cooperation. We will also explore the relationships between the micro and macro levels of analysis, and the identities, realities and interlocking oppressions of gender, race, class, culture, ethnicity, nation and post-coloniality.
  • International Political Economy” | Kevin Funk | Spring Hill College
    • While current academic norms in the U.S. separate the study of “economics” from “politics,” there is a long history of seminal thinkers – ranging from Adam Smith to Karl Marx – who have held them to be inextricably intertwined. In this course, we will apply such a “political economy” lens in order to grapple with a series of fundamental questions that are essential for understanding today’s – and tomorrow’s – international system. In particular, through critically analyzing the contributions of a diverse array of observers, we will focus our efforts on seeking to understand the origins of the contemporary (and hegemonic) liberal-capitalist order, the current movement toward (and backlash against) “globalization” and the nature of other “global” phenomena (ranging from climate change to the political economy of “global cities”), the causes of and responses to the recent global financial crisis, and future directions in global politics and economics. Throughout, we will analyze how (and the extent to which) varied theoretical approaches have managed to shed light on the dynamics that underlay the global political-economic order in which we exist, as well as what efforts have been made to promote change in that very order.
Introduction to Political Theory
US Politics & Public Policy (upper-division)
Political Theory (upper-division)
Political Economy of Development
  • States and Politics in Africa” | Tracy Lightcap | LaGrange College
    • This course is a focused comparative analysis of the dynamics of politics in Africa. It is intended to give students a basic understanding of the basic ideas and theoretical approaches used in comparative political studies, particularly those applying to developing areas; of the traditional societies in Africa and how they were transformed in the colonial period; of the social environments and political cultures of African polities; of the historical basis for political power in modern African states; of the political processes and institutions in modern African states; and of the interaction of political and economic factors affecting the performance of political systems in Africa and the impetus for political change there.
  • The Politics of Development” | Tracy Lightcap | LaGrange College
    • This course is a focused comparative analysis of the dynamics of societies in transition. It is intended to give students a basic understanding of some of the ideas and theoretical approaches used in comparative political studies, particularly those applying to developing areas; of the indigenous societies in developing areas and how they were transformed in the colonial period; of the historical basis for political power in modern developing states; of the social environments and political cultures of developing polities; of the political processes and institutions in developing states; and of the interaction of political and economic factors affecting the performance of political systems and the impetus for political change.

Capitalism & Globalization
  • Women and Global Politics” | Jennifer Disney | Winthrop University
    • This course is designed to introduce the category of gender and the subject of women into the discussion and analysis of global politics. We will explore the impact women have had on global politics through an analysis of women’s movements around the world, as well as the impact global politics has had on women, through an analysis of domestic and international policies in the areas of economics, politics, law, society and culture. This course participates in the Global Learning Initiative by its very nature. Women and Politics has been conceptualized as a subfield of Political Science to address three biases in the discipline: 1. the existing misogyny in much of the treatment of women; 2. the absence of women within disciplinary discourse; and 3. claims of universality within theory and research which were actually based on male experience. This course seeks to offer a critique of such biases by bringing the experiences and perspectives of women from around the world into the discourse. In addition, this course is designed to offer feminist reconceptualizations of: 1. basic concepts used within the study of global politics; 2. existing structures and institutions of power in our society; and 3. visions of what a just world would look like. I contend that the best way to construct an inclusive human community is to do so from the perspective of those who live at the intersections of multiple oppressions. An understanding of how interlocking systems of oppression operate is crucial to working toward their demise.
  • Global Women’s Engagement” | Jennifer Disney | Winthrop University
    • This course is designed to explore the theories and practices of women’s political participation in a global context. We will examine a variety of approaches toward global feminisms and how global feminists seek to explain and understand women’s social, political, and economic conditions around the world. We will investigate the impact women have had on global politics and globalization, as well as the impact global politics and globalization have had on women. This course participates in Winthrop University’s Global Learning Initiative by its very nature. Women’s Studies generally and global women’s engagement specifically are arguably a necessary part of any curriculum for a variety of reasons: (1) the existing misogyny in much of the disciplinary treatment of women; (2) the absence of women within most disciplinary discourses; (3) claims of universality within theory and practice which are actually based on male experience; (4) claims of internationality within theory and practice which are actually based on First World, Western, Eurocentric experiences. This course seeks to offer a critique of such biases by bringing the experiences and perspectives of women from around the world into the discourse. In addition, this course is designed to offer feminist reconceptualizations of: (1) basic concepts used within the study of global politics; (2) existing structures and institutions of power in our society; and (3) visions of what a just world would look like. Throughout this course, we will pay particular attention to the relationships between the micro and macro levels of analysis, and the identities, realities and interlocking oppressions of gender, race, class, culture, ethnicity, nation and post-coloniality. I contend that the best way to construct an inclusive human community is to do so from the perspective of those who live at the intersections of multiple oppressions. An understanding of how interlocking systems of oppression operate is crucial to working toward their demise.
  • Global Cities” | Kevin Funk | Spring Hill College
    • While national governments, institutions, social groups, and spaces are often the primary “units of analysis” through which we seek to understand the world around us, this course is premised on the notion that there is much to be gained from theorizing “the political” from the perspective of cities. It is, after all, commonplace to observe that ours is a rapidly urbanizing world (indeed, over half of the global population now resides in urban areas; the world’s largest megalopolis, China’s Pearl River Delta region, has a population of well over 100 million). Or that cities are often microcosms of broader issues/trends (ranging from climate change to various forms of inequality) and crucibles for movements that seek political, economic, social, and cultural transformation (including Occupy and Black Lives Matter). Yet cities also elucidate the importance of “space” in the global economy, for they serve as central nodes in worldwide flows of capital, goods, services, and people. Accordingly, this course will focus on cities as globally embedded units and agents. While this will naturally entail paying particular attention to “superstar cities” – such as New York, London, Tokyo, Dubai, and São Paulo – we will also explore how smaller urban areas, including Mobile itself, simultaneously participate in globalizing processes and are subjected to globalizing forces.
The State & Political Power
Class & Class Conflict
Race & Ethnicity
Gender & Sexuality
  • Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies” | Jennifer Disney | Winthrop University
    • This course is designed to be an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Women’s and Gender Studies. Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies draws on feminist ideas and scholarship to develop historical, theoretical, and cross-cultural frameworks for the comparative study of women and gender. We will examine the category of gender and the subject of women (and men) in terms of their different and changing roles and experiences throughout history and across the world. The course is centered on feminist scholarship about women and their relationships with: systems of oppression and privilege; social and individual identities; the body and body politics; family; contraception, pregnancy, motherhood and fatherhood; productive and reproductive labor; domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault; state, law, and public policy; global perspectives; health and reproductive rights, sexuality and intimacy; art, music, and culture; spirituality and religion; creative expression; and power and empowerment.
Political Ecology & the Environment
Social Movements & Protest
  • American Protest and Politics in the Long 1960s” | Jason Schulman | City University of New York
    • This course will examine the impact of protest movements and political turmoil on American life in the mid-20th century. We will be primarily concerned with the era known as “the Sixties,” which in practice really means the mid-1950s through the early 1970s. This is the era of the “New Left,” which consisted of various movements for fundamental change in the United States.  Topics will include the decline of the Old, Communist Party USA-dominated Left and the rise of the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s; the rise of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the movement against the Vietnam War, the Black Power movement, the Second Wave of Feminism, the real beginning of the Gay Liberation Movement with the Stonewall Uprising; and the decline of the organized New Left in the early 1970s.
  • Social Movements” | Jennifer Disney | Winthrop University
    • This course is designed to explore the theories and practices of social movements and collective action in a global context. We will examine a variety of approaches toward understanding when and why social movements happen, as well as some of the most important and compelling social movements in our history and now, including: worker’s movements, labor movements, movements for economic justice, women’s movements, LGBTQ movements, environmental movements, OCCUPY, the Arab Spring, Black Lives Matter, movements for education and ending mass incarceration, immigrant rights movements, and right-wing movements in America.
  • Women and Revolution” | Jennifer Disney | Winthrop University
    • This course is designed to provide a theoretical introduction and empirical overview of the study of Women and Revolution. It will provide a blend of theoretical and empirical approaches to the understanding of women and revolution, including theoretical texts examining the intersection of Marxism and Feminism and empirical texts exploring women’s actual experiences in revolutions in Africa and Latin America.
Ideology & Culture
Pedagogy, Politics, & the Profession of Political Science
Additional materials on creating empowering and democratic syllabi at all levels