Self Paced

Introduction to Politics (

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This is a survey course, and as such it can either be used by students who are looking to take just one general overview course, or for students who want to go on to more advanced study in any of the subfields that comprise the political science discipline, such as American politics, comparative politics, international politics, or political theory.

This course will survey the different ways in which political scientists study the phenomena of politics and will deepen your understanding of political life as both a thinker and a citizen. The goal of this course is to introduce you to the discipline’s concepts, terminology, and methods and to explore instances of applied political science through real world examples.

As an introductory course, it will focus on the basic principles of political science by combining historical study of the discipline’s greatest thinkers with analysis of contemporary issues. We will also identify and discuss the questions that perennially drive the field of political science, including (among many others): “How do we define the changing nature of power?,” “How do we differentiate between legitimate and illegitimate governance?,” “What are the differences between political institutions and political behavior?,” and “How do leaders define who gets to be heard and counted in a political community?” By the end of this course, you will be familiar with these issues and capable of discussing them within the context of contemporary politics.