Scope and Methods of Political Science
Political Science 201
J. Barron Boyd, Jr.
Mitchell Hall 109, Ext. 4293
Course description: This course acquaints political science majors with important trends, methods, and procedures in the study of politics and in the discipline of political science. This semester we will concentrate on a number of activities and issues that occupy the attention of political scientists. We will look at values and the role they play in the "empirical" (fact-based) discipline of political science. We will look at key concepts--power, politics, etc.-- and will try to see how they work and how they can be analyzed. We will explore career options open to the political scientist and prepare a resume and a personal statement of career interests. Later, we will examine some different methods for the study of politics and different areas of the discipline. These will be illustrated with presentations by political science faculty members who will discuss their approach to political science and their own research interests. We conclude with a look at the importance of politics and research for real people.
In order to do all of the above, each part of the course will explore a series of concepts, engage in activities designed to reinforce those concepts, and produce an assignment in which you have do demonstrate your understanding of the concepts discussed and your mastery of the activities assigned.
The course will rely heavily on Blackboard
for assignments, communication, etc. Every Le Moyne student has a Blackboard
account assigned to him or her. Here are a couple of suggestions:
· You MUST access your Blackboard account as soon as possible because almost all important course materials will be posted on Blackboard and only on Blackboard.The best thing to do is to use the Le Moyne email account on Blackboard--it is set as your default. But if you are stubborn and don't check it often then here are some instructions:
Be sure that the e-mail address listed for your blackboard account is the ONE
YOU USE! Do that by going to the Personal Information section and entering the
proper e-mail account. Be sure to then open your e-mail to"view" in
the Set Privacy section.
· If your e-mail is a hotmail account, you may have some trouble getting
emails from blackboard and if you use AOL the browser will not support Blackboard.
If either of these is the case go this site http://www.lemoyne.edu/blackboard/index_students.htm
and find the tips and hints section. That will give you a way to fix what can
· If you use hotmail, AOL, or another e-mail as your primary account, you should have all mail forwarded from your Le Moyne account to your primary one. Do this by following these steps
To Access library materials from an off campus computer, you must set your proxy-server. If you don't do this you can't get full text versions of articles except on Le Moyne comupters.
Specific topics to be discussed in class will be found on this syllabus . Deadlines for papers are also available here (Due dates are marked in red). No extensions will be given without prior authorization and approval.
|Knowledge, politics,and values||Scenario||Essay (not graded)|
|Power and politics||Budget simulation||Observer essay (20%)|
|Knowledge and methodology||Lectures, discussion||Comparative essay on John Foster Dulles (20%)|
|. Faculty approaches to Political Science and their values||Presentations by faculty members||Essay on values (15%)|
|Careers in Political Science||Discuss careers-career services presentation||Resume (10%) Personal Statement (10%)|
| Knowledge, values
and Public Policy
|read discuss Mismeasure of Man||book review (20%)|
Because this class is based upon experiential learning, YOU MUST ATTEND CLASS. I will be taking attendance and more than five unexcused absences will result in a reduction in the final grade. Class participation is worth 5% of the final grade.
There is only one book for the course, The Mismeasure of Man, by the late biologist Steven Jay Gould . Other readings will be assigned during the the semester and are either to be found in this syllabus, the External Links section of Blackboard, or will be handed out in class.
I REALLY HATE PLAGIARISM AND CHEATING. IF YOU ARE CAUGHT PLAGIARIZING OR CHEATING IN ANY WAY, YOU WILL AUTOMATICALLY FAIL THE COURSE.
August 27: Introduction and Overview
August 29: Why study politics--written
scenario due and submitted by Drop
Box in Blackboard
We will discuss the your scenarios, the purpose of studying politics, and the fact/value distinction.
Powerpoint on facts/values:
Powerpoint on why we study politics
Wouldn't these folks love to get your theory?
September 3: Politics and power
Discuss the meaning of politics and its relation to power. Begin to develop typology of power.
Powerpoint on power:
Robert Dahl, "The Concept of Power" Behavioral Science Vol.II, July 1957.
September 5: More politics and power-simulation roles discussed
Peter Bachrach, Morton S. Baratz The Two Faces of Power," The American Political Science Review, Vol. 56, No. 4. (Dec., 1962), pp. 947-952.
Simulation Roles: One of the roles played by political scientists is that of
"Participant/Observers." In this role, we both act in and observe
the world of politics as it unfolds around us.
Inspect the rules of the scenario.
Select three roles you would like to play and fill out the following form:
September 10: Final discussion of power and the roles to be played are announced.
September 12: Prepare for simulation-consult with Boyd
September 17: Budget simulation-foreign aid, health
September 19: Simulation-education, defense
September 24: Senators announce the results of their deliberations.
Discuss and debrief. What instances of power did you see?
September 26: No class. View webcast of John Esposito and write about it.
October 1: Traditionalism-Power
Power point on behavioralism:
Townsend Hoopes, "God and John Foster Dulles" handout
Mythistory, or Truth, Myth, History, and Historians William H. McNeill The American Historical Review, Vol. 91, No. 1, Supplement to Volume 91. (Feb., 1986), pp. 1-10.
October 3: Behavioralism
The Belief System and National Images: A Case Study Ole R. Holsti The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 6, No. 3, Case Studies in Conflict. (Sep., 1962), pp. 244-252.
"The Behavioral Approach in Political Science: Epitaph for a Monument to a Successful Protest" Robert A. Dahl, The American Political Science Review, Vol. 55, No. 4. (Dec., 1961), pp. 763-772.
October 8; Behavioralism/post behavioralism
The New Revolution in Political Science David Easton The American Political Science Review, Vol. 63, No. 4. (Dec., 1969), pp. 1051-1061.
October 10: Areas of Political Science
October 15: Off, Columbus Day
October 17: More on areas-Holsti vs Hoopes paper due.
October 22: Dr. Bruce Shefrin
October 24: Dr. Susan Behuniak
October 29: Dr. John Freie
October 31: Dr. James Harrigan
November 5: Dr. Barron Boyd
November 7: Mr. Charles Pulver
November 12: Careers in Political Science
Read the Pamphlet from the American Political Science Association
For some real world jobs look here or here for the APSA job site
Le Moyne career services data on political science
November 14: More careers
November 19:Resume Writing-- Faculty values paper due.
November 26: Discuss Mismeasure of Man
December 3: Mismeasure discussion continues. Resume and Statement due
What does this tell us about the relationship between facts, science, values, and real life?
December 5: Review Session
Gould paper due Tuesday, December 17th at noon