We have eleven political scientists, making us larger than many liberal arts college political science departments. This enables us to offer a wide range of courses in all of the core areas of political science: American politics, comparative and international politics, and political theory.
We have six faculty teaching comparative politics and international relations, and can offer courses focused on many areas of the world—Africa, Asia, Europe, Central and South America, Iran and the middle east. We also have strong offerings in international politics, including courses on global security, foreign policy, international organizations, humanitarian and military interventions, and terrorism.
Comparative and international politics faculty
Rachel DeMott: African politics, global environmental politics
Lisa Ferrari (currently posted to the Dean’s office): Ethics in international relations, international organizations, Canadian politics
Holley Hansen (visiting): European politics, ethnic conflict
Karl Fields: Asian politics and political economy
Patrick O’Neil: European politics, Iran and Israel, terrorism
Donald Share: Central and South American politics, Spanish politics
Seth Weinberger: International politics, global security, foreign policy, political theory of international relations, constitutional law and foreign policymaking
Kelly Erickson (visiting): International organizations, humanitarian and military interventions
In US politics we have four specialists, and our offerings range from courses on American national institutions to constitutional law and civil liberties to campaigns and elections and public opinion race and ethnicity to public policy. Each semester there is a good choice of upper-division courses in the field, and P&G has excellent connections in the local policy and political communities that help interested students gain practical experience.
U.S. Politics faculty
William Haltom: Public law, public opinion and media
Robin Jacobson: Race, ethnicity, and religion in politics, immigration politics, the politics of detention, local politics
Daniel Sherman: environmental politics and policy
David Sousa: Presidency, Congress, public policy, political economy, environmental policy
In political theory, we have two specialists. Our core theorist is interested in democratic theory and problems of authority in democratic politics, and the department is able to offer excellent courses in the history of political thought and American political thought as well as exciting classes such as “Engaging Poverty,” “Race in the American Political Imagination,” and “Utopian Dreams and Dystopian Nightmares: Contemporary Political Ideologies.”
Political theory faculty
Alisa Kessel: Democratic theory, modern political thought, contemporary political ideologies, race in the American political imagination, ancient political thought, poverty and political theory
Seth Weinberger: Introduction to political theory, American political thought
Politics and Government has unusual strength in environmental policy and politics, with two colleagues teaching and writing on U.S. environmental issues, and one colleague focused on environmental politics in Africa and global environmental politics. The Department’s strength in Asian politics intersects nicely with the university’s larger strengths in Asian studies and Asian languages, offering students excellent opportunities to supplement their coursework in politics and government with related courses in other disciplines. There are many research and travel opportunities available to Puget Sound students interested in Asia.
Environmental politics and policy faculty
Rachel DeMotts: Global environmental politics, African environmental issues
Daniel Sherman: Environmental policy and decision making in the United States
David Sousa: Environmental policy and politics in the United States
More than half of the members of the Politics and Government Department have won awards for excellence in teaching, and we think that this number will grow as our terrific younger faculty become eligible for these awards.
We have recruited exciting young faculty in international politics, political theory, comparative politics, and American politics, and are pleased to note that two of our junior colleagues occupy named chairs, or prestigious positions funded by foundation grants: Alisa Kessel is Phibbs Assistant Professor of Political Theory, in a chair honoring a former president of the University of Puget Sound. Rachel DeMotts is Mellon Professor of Global Environmental Politics.
Undergraduate teaching is the main focus and central work for all professors in the Politics and Government, but all of our faculty are also active scholars. Two members of the Department have had their books recognized by the America Political Science Association as “best books” in their fields in the period in which they were published—Haltom won the C. Herman Pritchett Award for the best book published in the field of public law for his co-authored Distorting the Law; Sousa won the Lynton Keith Caldwell Prize for the best book published on environmental policy or politics in a three-year period for his co-authored American Environmental Policy, 1990-2006. In the past few years, members of the department have produced lots of papers, published articles, and books. You can learn more about faculty research at our website, but here is a brief listing of recent books by P&G faculty.
Robin Dale Jacobson published Faith and Race in American Political Life, co-edited with Nancy D. Wadsworth, with the University of Virginia Press in 2012; she published The New Nativism: Proposition 187 and the Debate Over Immigration with the University of Minnesota Press in 2008.
Daniel Sherman’s book, Not Here, Not There, Not Anywhere: Implementation Vulnerabilities of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act and the Power of Local Collective Opposition, Resources for the Future Press in 2010.
Seth Weinberger’s book, Restoring the Balance: War Powers in an Age of Terror, was published by Praeger Security International Press in 2009
Patrick O’Neil’s widely-adopted comparative politics text, Essentials of Comparative Politics, appeared in its third edition from Norton in 2009. The fourth edition of this textbook will appear soon. O’Neil has collaborated with Karl Fields and Don Share on Cases in Comparative Politics. The new edition of this widely-adopted text is also due to appear soon.
David Sousa’s book (co-authored with Christopher McGrory Klyza), American Environmental Policy 1990-2006: Beyond Gridlock was published by MIT Press in 2008. A second edition of this book is forthcoming in 2013.
Bill Haltom’s book [co-authored with Michael McCann], Distorting the Law: Politics, Media, and the Litigation Crisis, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2004.
Students in the department gain breadth by the requirement that they take introductory courses in three of the political science subfields—American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. They develop depth by concentrating in a particular subfield, taking several upper-level courses in one of the four fields and then completing their work in the department with a capstone senior seminar typically requiring the completion of a significant independent research project or, in some cases, another major project.
To prepare students for thesis writing, and to build community in the major, all sophomore-level majors are required to take a course in research and writing in political science. In P&G 250 students learn research skills, hone their writing, and work closely with a professor and many of the students they will be working with in major courses through the rest of their time at Puget Sound.
The Department’s strong commitment to its students is not only reflected in its teaching, but in efforts we have made to inform students of opportunities that exist for them to win scholarships, to travel, to present their research to the scholarly community, and to find internships and permanent jobs. The department’s blog, at upspolitics.blogspot.com, is a constant source of information and reminders about as many opportunities as we can find. The Department is committed to pushing our students to get in the game, to enter the competition for money and internships and jobs, so they can win the support and experience necessary to help them to achieve their larger personal and career goals.
Check out the department blog.
In the senior capstone thesis seminars, students have an opportunity to conduct major independent research projects under the direction of a professor. Here is a sampling of recent thesis titles: