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Political science in the Soviet Union

international Relations

The field of international relations is concerned with developing an understanding of why states and non-state international actors, like the United Nations and multinational corporations, interact as they do. International relations is a diverse field both in terms of what kinds of behavior are studied and how they are studied. International conflict, particularly war, continues to be an important focus of the field. Why do wars start? Who wins and why? How can wars be prevented? What is the role of international law and organizations? As the world has become more interdependent, scholars have become more aware of the importance of international economic activity. As a result, scholars are analyzing world trade, communications, development, foreign investment, and international finance. How states make foreign policy decisions is another important area of study. National security policy, nuclear deterrence, arms control and defense spending decisions are typical examples of foreign policy decisions.

POL S 203, International Relations, introduces the student to International politics. This is the foundation for a wide variety of offerings at the 300 and 400 levels, such as American foreign policy, global environmental politics, international political economy, and international conflict.

American Government and Politics

Students of American government and politics seek an understanding of politics as practiced in the United States. In addition to courses on the American presidency, the U.S. Congress, and the courts, the department offers specialized courses on such topics as the political role of mass media, the politics of race and ethnicity, constitutional law, policy formation, state politics, and American political thought.

Some of the broad questions that concern students in this field are: How and why did American political institutions, ideas, and practices develop as they have? How does one go about evaluating them? Are American political institutions, ideas and practices unique, or are they similar to other societies? How might American politics be improved?

POL S 202, Introduction to American Politics, is recommended preparation for most other courses in American Politics. To acquire first-hand experience with the American political system, students are encouraged to participate in academic internships in Washington D.C., Olympia, or Seattle.