Political Science 110

POSC 110
Introduction to Politics

Catalog Entry

POSC 110
Introduction to Politics
Three hours lecture: (3)

Prerequisite: None

This course will introduce students to the concepts and methods of political by examining enduring questions and concerns of political life using political philosophy and literature. This course has been approved for Core Curriculum credit in Humanities.

Detailed Description of Content of Course

This course will introduce and explore the concepts, institutional arrangements, and processes of political life by dealing with five major queries:

1. What is politics?
2. What is human nature and its relation to politics?
3. What is the nature of citizenship?
4. What is the relationship of power and justice in political life?
5. What are the different ways in which politics is studied?

The queries are set forth in a manner that allows the instructor to bring the perspective of each of the discipline's subfields (political theory, American government, comparative government, and international relations) to the examination of historical and contemporary problems of government and politics.

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

POSC 110 will focus on the writings of major thinkers as they relate to the queries set forth in B. An emphasis will be placed on original texts in political philosophy and on literature. Teaching methods will include lectures, class discussion, group work, formal and informal writing projects, and various kinds of written examinations.

Goals and Objectives of the Course

Course Goals and Objectives

1.    Students will practice thinking critically and creatively about ideas, issues, problems, and texts within political science and in terms of the relation between politics and other aspects of life.
2.    Students will examine and think about the relationship between politics and the human condition in the spirit of a liberal education.
3.    Students will practice constructing logical and persuasive arguments about the political questions examined through a variety of oral and written assignments.
4.    Students will work with others in a shared process of inquiry concerning political life, learning the importance of civility and open-minded dialogue as a model for democratic citizenship.
5.    Students will identify the personal and collective political values that shape decisions in public, professional, and private life, and assess the ethical implications of those decisions.

Goals for University Core B: Humanities and College Core B: Humanities

Students will be able to:

1.    Explain the nature and method of inquiry in the humanities
•    Students will be able to explain how a particular political question is explored in literature and in political philosophy.
2.    Describe and explain differing views of the meaning, value, and purpose of life
•    Students will be able to use examples from class texts that show important political controversies about the meaning and purpose of political life based on assumptions about what it means to be a human being.
3.    Explain historical philosophical, religious or literary sources according to societal or cultural perspectives
•    Students will be able to examine philosophical and literary sources that address important political questions from the perspective of contemporary political values and contemporary political science.
4.    Interpret and critically evaluate historical, philosophical, religious, or literary expressions of the human experience
•    Students will be able to interpret and critically evaluate literary and philosophical texts that explore key political aspects of the human condition.

Assessment Measures

Professors will assess attainment of the class objectives by a variety of techniques which could include essay examinations, in-class writing activities, take-home writing projects, and a daily or weekly evaluation of class discussions.

•    Graded and ungraded homework assignments may be used to measure the student’s ability to read texts carefully, to identify underlying values and assumptions, to articulate central concepts, to analyze and construct logical arguments, and to employ basic research methods.
•    Journals may be used to measure the development of self-reflection and progress in critical and creative thinking about the ideas, issues, and texts of the course.
•    Class discussions, debates, and small group discussion may be used to measure the student’s logical reasoning and oral communication skills as well as the student’s ability to work with others in a shared process of inquiry.
•    Individual and group oral presentations may be used to measure the student’s understanding of particular political positions or issues as well as the student’s ability to present logical and persuasive arguments.
•    Quizzes and objective tests may be used to measure the student’s basic knowledge of the course material and the student’s ability to read carefully and think with clarity.
•    Essay exams may be used to measure the student’s understanding of the process of asking political questions, knowledge of the course material, ability to analyze and construct arguments, and ability to think and to write with clarity.
•    Faculty-developed rubrics will be used to evaluate assignments designed to measure student outcomes for the Core

Curriculum credit in Humanities.

Other Course Information


Review and Approval
Date Action Reviewed By:
January 2000 Updated to conform to revised M. J. Franck, Dept. Chair