PLCY Courses Fall 2019
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Course numberCourse nameDepartmentInstructorRestrictionsWRIT?International?ScheduleSummary
AFRI 1920Health Inequality in Historical PerspectiveAfricana StudiesLundy BraunSecond and third year students onlyYesNoW 3-5:30Seminar takes a historical perspective to explore causes of health inequality in the US. Draws on studies from the 19th century-present. Examines socio–political and economic context of health/disease, focusing on how race, class, and gender shape the experience of health, disease causality, and public health responses. Includes health consequences of immigration, incarceration, race-based medicine, the Chicago heatwave, and Katrina.
AMST 1700FAmerican PublicsAmerican StudiesSusan SmulyanJuniors and seniors only, capped at 20YesNoM 3-5:30Americans worry about the quality of their civic life and fear its decline. This junior seminar examines an important concept, the public sphere, in its popular and political dimensions as well as the challenges to the boundaries of American public life. Who is a citizen and thus eligible to participate? The course pays particular attention to concerns about the impact of new media--print, broadcasting, the internet. Assignments will take students into the community to think about social, cultural, and political publics. Not open to first year students or sophomores. Enrollment limited to 20.
DEVL 1801AInfrastructure!Development StudiesAlexander NadingCapped at 20NoYesM 3-5:30Infrastructure! It’s the hardware and software that undergirds transportation, energy, water, and health systems. This course asks what we can learn about infrastructure when we approach it not as a neutral set of technologies but as a context-dependent social and political force. Taking a critical approach to (among others) natural resources, global health, and development, the course will trace how infrastructures have both served and obstructed colonial and contemporary projects for social change. The course will also take up the question of the future of infrastructure, including “green,” modular, and “off the grid” technologies.
GEOL 1615The Environmental Policy ProcessGeologyAmanda LynchCapped at 10YesYesM 3-5:30The diminishing quantity and quality of the resources of the Earth carries profound implications for the fulfillment of human rights and aspirations. But even as we understand better the intrinsic interdependencies between humans and the environment, policy gridlock persists. Indeed, the findings of fundamental environmental science are regularly contested on political grounds. The purpose of this course is to learn how to apply knowledge to map the relevant policy context in environmental issues, and to develop the tools and approaches to address any problem of decision in the environmental arena more creatively, effectively, and responsibly.
ECON 1340Economics of Global WarmingEconomicsMatthew TurnerPrerequisite ECON 1110, 1130NoNoTTh 10:30-11:50The problem of global warming can be usefully be described with the following simple economic model. We face a tradeoff between current consumption, future consumption, and future climate, have preferences over consumption and future climate and would like to choose our optimal climate/consumption bundle. This course is organized around filling in the details required to make this model useful, characterizing the optimal climate/consumption path suggested by the model, and finally, investigating policies to achieve the optimal path.
ECON 1480Public EconomicsEconomicsTBDPrerequisite ECON 1110, 1130NoNoMWF 9-9:50This course is an introduction to the economics of the public sector. We will cover theoretical and empirical tools of public economics and apply these tools to a wide range of issues including externalities, public goods, collective choice, social insurance, redistribution and taxation. The course will focus on questions such as: What should government do? How much should governments insure individuals against misfortune? How much should governments redistribute resources from high-income to low-income households? Throughout the course we will emphasize real-world empirical applications rather than hypothetical examples.
ECON 1530Health, Hunger and the Household in Developing CountriesEconomicsAndrew FosterCapped at 30. Prerequisites: (ECON 1110 or 1130) and (ECON 1620, APMA 1650, 1655, CSCI 1450 or 0450)YesYesM 3-5:30Microeconomic analysis of household behavior in low income societies emphasizing the economic determinants of health and nutrition and the evaluation of policy. The relationship among health, nutrition, fertility, savings, schooling, labor productivity, wage determination, and gender-based inequality.
EDUC 1060Politics and Public EducationEducationCrystal ThomasN/ANoNoMWF 10-10:50Who exercises power in public education? This course examines the key institutions (e.g. school districts, states, Congress, and the courts) and actors (e.g. parents, teachers, interest groups, and the general public) shaping American K-12 education in order to understand recent policy trends and their consequences for students. Major policies discussed include school finance, textbook adoption, school accountability, and school choice. Particular attention is given to the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and debates over its reauthorization. Previous coursework in American politics or public policy is suggested but not required.
ENVS 1574Engaged Climate Policy in the U.S.: Rhode Island and Washington, DCEnvironmental ScienceJ Timmons RobertsCapped at 12YesNoM 3-5:30Sufficient and equitable policies addressing the crisis of climate change have been elusive, and United States leadership is crucial for an adequate global response. After several weeks of readings and lectures on climate policy, the course shifts to team-based research to produce strategic, policy-relevant briefings and scholarly outputs with partner organizations in Rhode Island, Washington, and internationally. Students will travel to D.C. for three days to attend meetings and a mini-conference with experts and staff from government agencies, industry organizations, think tanks, and environmental NGOs, and to hold a briefing on our joint research.
ENVS 1615Making Connections: The Environmental Policy ProcessEnvironmental ScienceAmanda LynchCapped at 10YesNoM 3-5:30The diminishing quantity and quality of the resources of the Earth carries profound implications for the fulfillment of human rights and aspirations. But even as we understand better the intrinsic interdependencies between humans and the environment, policy gridlock persists. Indeed, the findings of fundamental environmental science are regularly contested on political grounds. The purpose of this course is to learn how to apply knowledge to map the relevant policy context in environmental issues, and to develop the tools and approaches to address any problem of decision in the environmental arena more creatively, effectively, and responsibly.
INTL 1803WRoots of Crisis in Central AmericaInternational RelationsStephen KinzerCapped at 20 juniors and seniorsYesYesW 3-5:30The five countries of Central America comprise a comparatively little-studied region. From time to time they burst into the world’s consciousness, usually because of political upheaval, foreign intervention, or refugee flows. The forces that set off these crises are rarely explored. This seminar surveys and analyzes Central America from social, cultural, political, and historical perspectives.
POLS 1160Constitutional Law: Governmental PowersPolitical ScienceCorey BrettschneiderFirst years may not enrollNoNoTTh 1-2:20This course examines governmental powers under the United States Constitution, addressing the powers of Congress, the President, and the courts, as well as the relationship between the national and state governments. The primary reading materials will be leading Supreme Court cases, supplemented by additional reading materials on history and legal theory. The course will consider the role of the courts in enforcing constitutional principles in a democratic system, as well as theories of constitutional interpretation and constitutional change.
POLS 1360US Gender PoliticsPolitical ScienceKatherine TateCapped at 30. NoNoMWF 9-9:50This course covers the politics of U.S. women as activists, voters, candidates, and elected officials. What explains the emergence of the modern-day women’s movement? How do women win political seats? Do women legislate differently than men? How did women become legislative and party leaders? How does sexuality and gender affect U.S. electoral politics? This course will also consider the ways in which social class, race-ethnicity, marital status, parenthood, feminism, religiosity, political orientation, and cultural beliefs or stereotypes influence women’s public policy and social beliefs. To what extent does gender define all women’s political and social viewpoints?
POLS 1500The International Law and Politics of Human RightsPolitical ScienceNina TannenwaldPOLS 0400 strongly encouraged as a prerequisite.NoYesMWF 12-12:50Introduces students to the law and politics of international human rights; examines the construction of an international human rights regime and its influence on international politics. Will survey the actors and organizations involved in the promotion of human rights around the globe, as well as the obstacles. Will review competing conceptions of human rights, whether human rights are universal, problems of enforcement, and the role of human rights in foreign policy. Major topics include civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; genocide, torture, women's rights, humanitarian intervention, and the international criminal court.
POLS 1821VDemocracy and Inequality in American CitiesPolitical ScienceRichard SnyderCapped at 20 YesNoM 3-5:30Explores the relationship between democracy and inequality in contemporary American cities. The seminar considers different kinds of inequality - economic, political and group/horizontal – from the standpoint of national politics in the United States. The focus then shifts to the literature on urban politics in the United States, assessing the major contrasting theoretical perspectives on the causes of local inequalities in American cities. Finally, we focus on unequal access to public safety and justice. Over the course of the semester, students will be expected to carry out “fieldwork” involving first-hand observation of local inequalities in the Greater Providence area.
POLS 1822GThe Political Economy of Hard Policy ProblemsPolitical ScienceMark BlythCapped at 20 seniorsYesNoM 3-5:30Will tackle the “hard problems” governments sometimes have to deal with. For example, while governments are often cajoled and enjoined to produce economic growth, especially during recessions, do something about economic inequality and social mobility, and improve the life chances of millions through purposive action, actually delivering these things is incredibly hard. These areas constitute ‘“hard problems” for two main reasons. Economically, we don’t really have much of a clue about how to do many of these things. Politically, there are powerful interests that like these areas of policy just as they are, and they work to keep them “hard problems.”
POLS 1822SThe Politics of Urban TransformationPolitical ScienceMarion OrrCapped at 20 juniors and seniorsYesNoW 3-5:30This seminar examines political economic change in U.S. cities. The seminar considers various external forces that act upon the city, principally: (a) migration patterns, (b) economic and technological change, and (c) public policy. We will also consider how various groups and political leaders respond to these forces and on what resources they draw. The seminar pays special attention to political and economic change in Providence, Rhode Island.
POLS 1822WCongressional Investigations Political ScienceJeffrey RobbinsCapped at 20 juniors and seniorsYesNoT 4-6:30This seminar will explore the role that Congressional investigations have historically played at the intersection of politics, public policy, tension between the executive and legislative branches, law and media, focusing on certain of the seminal Congressional investigations that both reflected and re-shaped the politics of the day. These will include the Pecora investigation into the 1929 stock market crash, the Truman Committee investigation into defense contracting during World War II, the House Un-American Activities Committee, the McCarthy hearings, Watergate. the Iran-Contra hearings and the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearings into the financial services industry.
POLS 1823HPublic OpinionPolitical ScienceKatherine TateCapped at 20 juniors and seniorsYesNoF 3-5:30We will examine public opinion on a variety of current issues. The course's principal objective is to help students understand the role of public opinion in democratic governments. In addition, students learn how to integrate data analysis into their analysis of public opinion trends.
POLS 1823ZGender and Public PolicyPolitical ScienceSusan MoffittCapped at 20 juniors and seniorsYesNoTh 4-6:30This course explores when and how gender matters to U.S. policymaking, and how views about gender affect the development and implementation of different kinds of public policies. The course will examine gender in the context of key parts of the policymaking process including agenda-setting, group mobilization, issue framing, institutional decision-making (in the executive, legislative and judicial branches), and policy implementation. Class readings will cover four different public policy domains including social welfare policy, health policy, abortion rights, and marriage equality. Students will be able to examine other policy domains in the course of classroom discussions and in their written work.
POLS 1824TForeign Policy in the People's Republic of ChinaPolitical ScienceTyler JostCapped at 20 juniors and seniorsYesYesM 3-5:30Will examines the foreign policy of the People’s Republic of China. Will teach students theoretical perspectives on international relations and critically evaluate whether these theories explain past and present Chinese foreign policy. What explains China’s historical use of military force? Why did the alliance between China and the Soviet Union fall apart despite their institutional and ideological similarities? Has China’s leaders or its domestic institutions affected its international behavior? Why is China modernizing its military and how concerned should we be? To what extent has the world changed China and to what extent does it seek to change the world?
PHP 1100Comparative Health Care SystemsPublic HealthOmar GalarragaFirst and second years must complete a questionnaire. Capped at 30.NoYesMW 10-11:20Focuses on principles of national health system organization and cross-national comparative analysis. Emphasizes application of comparative models to the analysis of health and health-related systems among nations at varying levels of economic development and health care reform. Addresses research questions related to population health and systems' performance.
PLCY 1702FPolitical CommunicationPublic PolicyRichard ArenbergCapped at 20NoNoM 3-5:30This course will focus on the importance of written and oral communication in public decision-making, particularly in the congressional context. The course will examine the impact on political interactions, and the influencing of public policy decisions and outcomes. The course will emphasize some of the practical tools for producing relevant, useful material in the professional policy and the political communications arenas. The course requires several writing assignments focusing on different public policy analyses and political communications tools as well as active class participation including oral presentation.
PLCY 1702MThe U.S. War on Drugs: From History to Policymaking and BeyondPublic PolicyAileen TeagueCapped at 20NoYesTh 4-6:30This course is designed to provide a broad—yet rigorous—overview of the current drug control system, its policy-relevant implications, social and cultural impacts, and policy alternatives. It uses the war on drugs to explore broader topics such as social control and policing, boundary making, and U.S. interventionism. The course is organized around 14 broad questions, which tie into key components of the U.S. drug war. Students will draw from grassroots, comparative, and global perspectives.
PLCY 1703AYouth Politics and Culture in the Americas: Explorations through EthnographyPublic PolicyDario VallesCapped at 20NoYesW 3-5:30This course explores youth culture and politics in the Americas – foregrounding Latinidad, Black, pan- Asian and indigenous diasporas, young women and queerness-using ethnography and engaged research. By focusing on the everyday lives of young people from Detroit to Buenos Aires and the significance and conceptions of childhood and youth in different cultural contexts, students will explore race, class, gender, sexuality, political economy and inequality. Students will also have the opportunity to lead their own semester-long field research project, observing and potentially working with a local youth-related site like a community organization, to engage with the themes of the course.
PLCY 1703CPolicy Making and Policy Makers in Domestic and International ContextsPublic PolicyTBDN/ANoYesTBAThe objective of the class is to encourage a new understanding of the players, approaches, and potential in domestic and international policy making, and to provide students with a "real-world" perspective on how things get done in a variety of public policy contexts. The course will take two broader perspectives on these issues, inviting students to investigate policy making from the “inside out” -- i.e., from the perspective of key stakeholders within the legislative and executive branches -- and from the “outside in” -- i.e., from the perspective of key stakeholders in the media, lobbying organizations, non-governmental organizations, and business interests.
PLCY 1800Investigating Modes of Social ChangePublic PolicyMartha RosenbergCapped at 40NoNoT 4-6:30This course examines the range of approaches to making social change through democratic institutions and processes in the U.S. These approaches-- direct service, community organizing, policy/politics, philanthropy, social entrepreneurship and research/scholarship-- have different value systems, methodologies, strengths and limitations. There’s no one “right” approach, and the modes often intersect in ways that can be mutually reinforcing or counterproductive. The course will be valuable to students interested in being involved in social change during their time at Brown and in their future careers.
PLCY 1802Engaged Research Engaged PublicsPublic PolicyAnthony LevitasCapped at 20 NoNoTh 5:30-8Policy problems are complex. Policy analysis and design is both a science and a craft. Increasingly, policymakers have begun to acknowledge that effective policy research requires not only multiple methods of inquiry, but also interdisciplinary teams of social science researchers, citizens, designers, scientists, artists, consultants, and engineers, among other experts. Generating innovative policy solutions, from this approach, is not a straightforward, linear process, but instead a creative, collaborative, and engaged activity that requires not only iterative and dynamic research methods, but also storytelling, design, and other creative methods.
PLCY 1822Social Policy and Social Justice: Contestation and CompromisePublic PolicyTBDLimited to Brown in Washington programYesNoTBDThe course will examine domestic politics and policy, and the relationship of scholarship to public engagement and governance, by focusing on enduring questions of social justice and their expression in contemporary social policy. Issues to explore include poverty, inequality, freedom, rights, race, gender, community, class, citizenship, paternalism, punishment, and the appropriate roles of government (federal, state and local), markets, capital, labor, and voluntary organizations.
PLCY 1910Social EntrepreneurshipPublic PolicyTBDCapped at 40, application requiredNoNoTTh 10:30-11:50This course introduces students to social innovation and social entrepreneurship and engages them in identifying significant issues, problems, tools, strategies and models that drive bold solutions to complex contemporary problems
URBN 1250The Political Foundations of the CityUrban StudiesJan Mateusz PacewiczN/ANoNoTTh 10:30-11:50This course examines the history of urban and social welfare policy in the United States and abroad. It reviews major theories accounting for the origins and subsequent development of welfare states, explains the "exceptional" nature of American public policy, and employs a combination of historical texts and case studies to analyze the connections between politics and the urban environment.
URBN 1260Housing in AmericaUrban StudiesMarjoan BullN/ANoNoTTh 2:30-3:50An examination of why housing matters to individuals, communities, and the nation. This course examines the unique qualities of housing and associated American cultural ideals and norms. The changing role of the government in housing is considered, along with other factors shaping the provision of housing, and the success and failure of housing programs. While housing is a necessity, for many in America housing choices are constrained as costs are unaffordable, discriminatory practices remain, and physical features do not align with needs. This course deliberates how well America meets the challenge of providing decent shelter for all residents.