Politics and International Relations Department

Politics and International Relations Course Descriptions

General Topics Courses

POLI 100 Issues in Politics (SB)

Introduces students to the variety of ways that political phenomena can be studied systematically. A topic is selected as the focus of the course that is examined through the lens of the primary subfields: political theory, American politics, comparative politics, and international relations. Students gain an introduction to the process of social science research as they participate in a research project related to the topic of the course. Students receive early exposure to the full scope of the politics discipline as well as begin the process of preparing for research in politics. Specific content may vary by course section subtitles but all sections repeat core concepts. Only once section may be counted for course credit.

POLI 400 Research Methods (SB)

This course examines the methods by which political scientists attempt to better understand political phenomena, with a focus on quantitative methodologies.

POLI 460 Applied Statistical Methods

This course introduces students to applied statistical methods for testing theories in political science. It focuses on using software such as SPSS for building and analyzing large datasets through multivariate statistical models. This course is appropriate for any upper-level student in the social sciences working on a seminar paper or senior thesis that utilizes a large number of observations. MATH 215 and POLI 400 (or equivalent social science research methods course) required.

POLI 497 Senior Research Seminar (W2) [UR]

This senior year seminar course is centered around independent research projects in the discipline. Departmental faculty and other seniors give input and critiques as a student completes a significant piece of original research, with a view to formally presenting it at a research conference. Prerequisite: POLI 400.

Political Theory Courses

POLI 240-T Western Political Thought (VA)

A selective survey from ancient times to the 21st century of the political thought of seminal political thinkers in the Western tradition. Selected thinkers may include Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Rousseau, Locke, Mill, Marx, Arendt, Foucault, Nietzsche, Rawls, and Habermas.

POLI 245-T American Political Thought (VA, W2)

An examination of a variety of works to learn how influential American thinkers have conceptualized political ideas and how their views on the proper organization of American society have changed over time. Particular attention is paid to the development of the concepts of democracy and equality and to political protest movements in the U. S.

POLI 285-T Topics in Political Theory (VA)

This course explores new topics in political theory of interest to faculty and students.

POLI 300-T Feminist Political Thought (CW, VA)

This course examines works of political thought that focus on the role of gender in the social and political arenas.

POLI 410-T Advanced Topics in Political Theory (VA, W2)

This seminar course explores in depth issues already treated in other political theory courses, or addresses new topics of interest to faculty and students. Prerequisite: None.

American Politics Courses

POLI 205-A Southern Politics (SB)

A study of the political history and contemporary political characteristics of this distinctive region of the U. S. Topics include the demographic changes that have altered the region’s political culture, the persistent impact of race on the South’s politics, and the changing role of the region in national politics.

POLI 210-A American Political Development

This course examines “durable shifts in governing authority,” examining the key moments in which political institutions are transformed and the enduring consequences of those changes.

POLI 220-A American Political Parties and Elections (SB)

An examination of the role and activities of voters, political parties, and the media on the electoral process in the United States.

POLI 224-A Family Law (SB)

This course provides students with an overview of the laws, policies, and programs affecting family life using a cross-national perspective. This course uses the case method to engage students in the exploration of the historical development of the laws and legal definitions that currently affect the status of the family. This course then takes a critical look at the consequences of policies and programs on different types of families in the United States.

POLI 226-A Social Deviance, Crime and Punishment

This course engages students in a critical appraisal of sociological reasoning as applied to deviance, crime, and punishment. Emphasis is placed on examining sociological theories and investigating the policy implications of these perspectives. Students also explore definitions, causes of criminal behavior, the commission of criminal deeds, and consequences of criminal activity. Students apply sociological theories to selected case studies and critically evaluate institutional responses to deviance and control.

POLI 230-A Public Administration (SB)

This course examines some of the key issues confronted by a society that has become dependent upon bureaucracy to a substantial degree. As such, we examine personnel, organization, budgeting, leadership, and privatization.

POLI 235-A Public Policy (CW, SB)

An introduction to the process of formulating, implementing, and evaluating public policy in the United States with particular attention to policy devoted to education, health care, and environmental policies.

POLI 281-A U.S. Foreign Policy (CW, HP, SB, W2)

This course examines the formulation and execution of U.S. national behavior in world affairs from the country’s early days through the Global War on Terror, during periods of isolation, expansion, engagement, and leadership. Key themes — e.g., trade, human rights, multilateralism, and exceptionalism — are examined closely. The course covers the roles of the Executive, Congress, and other key actors, such as the media, in foreign policy.

POLI 290-A Topics in American Politics (SB)

This course explores in more depth issues already treated in other American Politics or public law courses, or addresses new topics of interest to faculty and students in those areas.

POLI 305-A Arkansas Politics: Seminar (SB)

A seminar course focusing on political history, contemporary political patterns, governmental structures, and key public policy debates in the state of Arkansas. Actors in the state’s politics and government provide their perspective to the students both on these issues, during the intensity of a session of the Arkansas General Assembly, and on their vocational choices. Corequisite: Must be taken in conjunction with POLI 306 Arkansas Politics: Practicum.

POLI 306-A Arkansas Politics: Practicum (SB) [PL]

An off-campus learning experience in which students have ongoing duties with an entity directly involved in the legislative process in Arkansas (an individual legislator, a political party caucus, an interest group, a media outlet, etc.) during a regular session of the Arkansas General Assembly. Corequisite: Must be taken in conjunction with POLI 305 Arkansas Politics: Seminar.

POLI 310-A American Presidency (SB)

An upper level course examining the origins and development of the American presidency, as well as the challenges faced by more recent officeholders.

POLI 320-A Criminal Law

This course is a general study of criminal law and theory in the United States. Topics covered include the distinction between civil and criminal law, excuses, strict liability, attempts, and theory of punishment. Using a case approach, this course gives insights into classic and contemporary works with an emphasis on carefully working through the arguments presented in the readings.

POLI 321-A American Constitutional Law: The Federal System

This course considers the contemporary state of constitutional doctrine after 200 years of judicial decisions. Emphasis is placed on theories of constitutional interpretation and on the development of case law in the realms of federalism, the regulatory power of Congress, and the separation of powers among the three federal branches of government.

POLI 322-A American Constitutional Law: Individual Rights and Liberties

A continuation of POLI 321, with emphasis on those decisions concerned with the rights of individuals in such areas as speech, press, religion, privacy, and equal protection of the law. Prerequisites: None, but POLI 321 highly recommended.

POLI 340-A U.S. Congress (SB, W2)

An upper level course analyzing the Congress as an institution and its attempt to perform two fundamentally contradictory functions: legislating and representing.

POLI 365-A Topics in Public Policy (SB, CW)

The evolution, form, and substance of international, federal, state and local policies and programs that address challenges within a public policy arena. Students gain an understanding of the evolution of public policy and management; the policy process; organizational structure and function within the U.S. federal system of government; the role of various interests within the public arena; and alternatives for addressing current and future problems.

POLI 380-A Gender, Sexuality, and American Politics (CW, W2)

This seminar course focuses on the impacts of gender and sexuality on politics in the American context. Another focus is the histories of the women’s rights and gay rights movements.

POLI 390-A Race and American Politics (CW, HP)

This seminar course focuses on the persistent, yet changing, impact of race on American politics since the Reconstruction era. The course focuses on the interaction between race and electoral politics and the contemporary role of race in shaping American public policy in a variety of realms.

POLI 420-A Advanced Topics in American Politics (SB)

This course explores in more depth issues already treated in other American politics or public law courses, or addresses new topics of interest to faculty and students in those areas.

Comparative Politics/International Relations Courses

POLI 244-G Topics in Comparative Politics and International Relations

This course explores topics in Comparative Politics and International relations of interest to faculty and students. Possible topics include the European Union; the Arab World; Sovereignty; State and Civil Society; Technology and Politics; Conflict Resolution.

POLI 250-G History of the International System (HP, SB, W2)

A survey of the emergence and development of international society from the mid-17th century to the present. The focus is on the development of the concepts and practices of sovereignty, customary international law, diplomacy, the Great Powers, and modern international institutions of the present day.

POLI 260-G Political Economy (CW, SB, W2)

Combining the history of the development of political economy globally with an in-depth analysis of contemporary developments and future prognostications, this course arms students of politics with an understanding of how economics intersects with the political world, broadly defined. While the course focuses on politics and economics, it necessarily branches out to touch many other disciplines, from history and religion to sociology and business. The course is relevant for students of both American and global politics. Prerequisites: None.

POLI 272-G The Politics of Central and Eastern Europe (SB)

More than two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Eastern Europe still displays a substantial variation in terms of how democratic its countries are. While some have joined the European Union and NATO, others have become increasingly authoritarian. Economically, Slovenia is more developed and stable than Portugal, while Belarus and the Ukraine are struggling. This class provides an overview of the causes and consequences of this variation. Topics include democratization and political participation, the economy, ethnic conflict and nationalism, and the institutional and political arrangements that underpin those developments.

POLI 273-G Contemporary Global Issues (SB)

This course covers important contemporary global political issues, such as democratization and dictatorship, accountability and representation, religion and politics, social policy, foreign aid and national security. In the process, it focuses on specific current events, such as the Arab Spring, the European financial crisis and the rise of China. It is designed for students with general interest in contemporary global politics, regardless of whether they intend to major in Politics or International Relations.

POLI 282-G Foreign Policy Analysis (CW, SB, W2)

A survey of methods of foreign policy analysis and their application to the foreign policy decision-making system, internal political constraints, and world system influences on a select number of nation-states representing the diversity extant in the contemporary world. Comparative analysis is used to understand, predict, and develop strategies to influence foreign policy decisions and actions.

POLI 283 Model United Nations (SB) [PL]

This course prepares students to participate in a Model United Nations simulation toward the end of the semester in which it is offered. Students learn about the United Nations system, the politics of international diplomacy, rules of procedure, how to draft and revise resolutions, caucus, and research, prepare and present internal and public Position Papers. The course is required for students wishing to attend the Model UN simulation for Hendrix College.

POLI 325-G International Law and Organizations (CW, HP, SB, W2)

Even in the absence of global government, there is governance. This course explores how nation-states interact within a system of law and institutions developed to promote cooperation, avoid armed conflict and regulate conflict. The course shows how the practices of national sovereignty and international cooperation mutually constitute one another. Through case studies, the course explores schools of thought in international law; the history of the development of international legal norms and institutions; customary vs. conventional law; the role of the United Nations, and institutional issue regimes. Prerequisite: POLI 250 or 251, or consent of instructor.

POLI 326-G International Human Rights (CW, SB, VA, W2)

This course looks at the development of the human rights idea in theory, history and practice. The course looks at competing theories of human rights, the development of international and regional human rights institutions especially in the 20th century, the influence of non-governmental organizations in the promotion and protection of human rights, the expansion of human rights protections to diverse populations, and emerging human rights approaches for solving pressing global problems. Prerequisite: POLI 250 or 251, or consent of instructor.

POLI 341-G The World of Elections (SB)

Elections are the basis for establishing a robust democratic regime. This course provides an overview of the different waves of democratization and the causes and consequences of free and fair polls. From a more empirical perspective, the course introduces the elements that make an election of acceptable quality and introduces students to the organizations that monitor and evaluate elections, as well as their impact across the world. As a final project students write an analytical paper on causes and/or consequences of election quality in a particular country or region. Math 215 or POLI 400 recommended.

POLI 355-G Advanced International Relations

This course focuses on the diverse theoretical approaches to the study of International Relations, beginning with a variety of epistemological, methodological, and ontological commitments found in the field. The course explores the most influential positivist, reflectivist, and post-positivist schools of thought: classical realism and neorealism; liberalism and neoliberalism; Marxism and critical theory; and constructivism and post-structuralism. Prerequisite: POLI 250 or consent of instructor.

POLI 376-G Democracy, Development and Violence (SB)

This course introduces students to the foundational theories of comparative politics and the contending perspectives within the discipline. It focuses on the creation and breakdown of political order, the establishment of democracy and dictatorship, as well as the effect of political regimes and their institutions on economic growth, development, poverty, inequality, civil unrest and revolutions.

POLI 440-G Advanced Topics in Comparative Politics and International Relations

Building on the comparative politics and international relations sequences, this advanced course explores in more depth issues already treated in these courses, or addresses new ones that relate to them. Possible topics include European Union; the Arab World; Sovereignty; State and Civil Society; Technology and Politics; Conflict Resolution. Prerequisite: Either POLI 250 or consent of instructor.