DePaul University College of LAS > Academics > Political Science > Student Resources > Sample PSC Syllabi

Sample of PSC Syllabi

This sample of syllabi is provided to give students information about the content and structure of our courses.  If you don't see one for a particular course, please contact our office at or 773-325-7336.

New Topics Course for Autumn, 2017

PSC 339, Advanced Topics in Political Theory:  Neoliberalism and Its Alternatives
Tue+Thur, 4:20-5:50, Lincoln Park, Jim Block, Ph.D.

Neoliberalism is often presented as the latest, and perhaps last, stage of Western liberalism. But is it liberalism at all?  This course will explore the theoretical logic and political dynamic of neoliberalism--its emergence from (largely) American liberal theory and practice, its transformation of the liberal framework and steady turn toward plutocracy, its operating psychosocial, institutional, educational, and global principles and priorities.  The 2016 election will be examined in terms of the claim of a neoliberal corporate coup d'etat. Finally, we will consider the internal tensions and contradictions within the neoliberal framework: its loss of a grounding in social justice and even a sustainable social and political reality.  This analysis will lead us to consider and evaluate its likely trajectory in the upcoming era, the instabilities that are likely to ensue, and how to frame and prepare for new social realities that are emerging.

Topics Courses in Winter, 2017

PSC 269/ABD 290, Topics in Public Law: Law and Politics of Mass Incarceration
Tue+Thur, 11:20-12:50, Lincoln Park, Christina Rivers, Ph.D.

This course features key Supreme Court decisions regarding the rights of the accused and how the Court has both expanded and contracted those rights.  It examines the political and ideological aspects of the "War on Drugs", "three-strikes" laws, mandatory-minimum sentencing, and similar policies.  Particular attention will be given to racial and class disparities in arrests, convictions, and sentencing length, and to police and prosecutorial misconduct.  The course explores the implications of felon and ex-felon disenfranchisement laws and of prison-based gerrymanders on voting and representation.  It considers restorative justice alternatives to mass conviction and incarceration.

PSC 319:  Advanced Topics in Political Culture:  Politics & Film
Tuesday, 6:00-9:00 p.m., Lincoln Park, James Block, Ph.D.

In an age of educational standardization, cultural commodification, and political paralysis, it is hard to imagine alternatives to the existing system and to its “normal”-ized way of life. Many people, including many youth and young adults, thus express their criticisms and their visions of possibility in veiled forms--including fantasy. We will use the cinema of political fantasy to access visions of alternative individual and communal dreams and ideals as a guide to forms of transformation that are possible in the world today. The course will focus on choices from a list of films, including:  Time Bandits, Groundhog Day, Pleasantville, Moonrise Kingdom, Kings of Summer, Eternal Sunshine, Tamasha, Dead Poet’s Society, Being John Malkovitch, Synechdoche New York, and Waking Life.

PSC 328, Advanced Topics in American Politics:  Politics of Urban Education
Tuesday, 6:00-9:15, Lincoln Park, Valerie Johnson, Ph.D.

This course explores the role of public school education in the reproduction of urban problems.  It examines the historical dynamics influencing inequality and inequities in educational resources and opportunities in metropolitan America.  Students will explore some of the critical issues affecting the delivery of education (school segregation, funding disparities, school discipline policies, and privatization).  They will have an opportunity to volunteer at an under-resourced inner-city public school in lieu of the research paper assignment.

PSC 349:  Advanced Topics in International Relations: Latin American Political Economy
Mon+Wed, 9:40-11:10, Lincoln Park, Rose Spalding, Ph.D.

This course examines major development challenges in Latin America and explores new strategies and opportunities emerging in this region.  Students will explore persistent questions about the impacts of free trade agreements (NAFTA, CAFTA), the stories behind shifting patterns of immigration and remittance flows, sources of the region’s enduring poverty and emerging wealth, and the fate of new community-level conflicts over natural resource extraction and the environment.

PSC 393:  Honors Seminar: The Politics of Rights
Tue+Thur, 1:00-2:30, Lincoln Park, Joe Mello, Ph.D.

The strongest claim that Americans can make in politics is to say that their rights have been violated, but is it always a good idea to engage in the politics of rights?  Rights-claims are defining features of American political and social life, but they are complex and contingent things.  This course will challenge you to identify, understand, and critically evaluate how, why, and to what end rights are used in our political world.  Particular attention will be paid to social movements that use rights-claims, as well as the various advantages, limitations, and problems that can accompany rights-based political appeals.
(This course requires the instructor's permission for registration.)

Topics Courses in Autumn, 2016

229, Topics in American Politics: Political Scandals and Crisis Management, Quintin King, J.D.  This course will explore the political, social, and economic underpinnings of various political scandals. It will explore the cause and effect of these incidents: who and what caused them, who was at fault, and why they occur and reoccur. What role do lobbyists, other insiders, and money play in these incidents? The format will include readings, lectures, and a case study method (in which the student will be asked to take on the role of a political crisis manager).

259, Country Studies: Comparative Political Development, Kathleen Arnold, Ph.D.  In this course, students will learn about the recent history of political and economic development programs in developing or developmental countries.  Many of these countries are former colonies which, while they may be resource-rich, suffer from political and economic instability.  We will study development approaches, comparing different methods, as well as critiques of these programs.  The class will investigate the role of the Bretton Woods Institutions in development programs, the United Nations, and non-governmental organizations.  We will also focus on specific groups and issues in order to learn about how development affects certain communities.  Gender, class, ethnicity, and indigeneity all play key roles in these analyses.