Welcome to Political Science @ Wellesley College
After 39 years at Wellesley College, Prof. Rob Paarlberg
retired at the end of the 2014-15 academic year.
Watch his last lecture here.
WHAT IS POLITICAL SCIENCE?
Political science is the academic study of politics....And politics is about power.
Political scientists ask questions about the meaning of power, how power is gained or lost, organized or contested, used or abused.
Our courses explore a wide range of issues about politics including:
- the concepts and norms central to power and politics (e.g., authority, domination, gender, freedom);
- the structure and operations of law and institutions (e.g., the U.S. Supreme Court, United Nations, non-citizen organizations);
- the influence of politics on economics and vice versa;
- the historical, sociological and cultural factors involved in political development; social movements and processes (e.g., revolution, women's movements, immigration);
- comparative political systems (e.g., democracy, communism); political trends and transformations in various regions (e.g. Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Latin America);
- interactions among countries, international organizations, ngos, and other non-state actors in the global system;
- and analyses of current affairs in the many realms and contexts in which politics take place.
Our curriculum is specifically designed to achieve several goals:
- Provide majors with a broad background in the discipline of political science through the study of the four subfields that comprise it: American politics and law, comparative politics, international relations and political theory.
- Help students develop the capacity to think critically about themselves and local, national, and global politics.
- Train students to become informed and reflective citizens of their countries, as well as knowledgeable about the global dynamics that influence the shape and content of political life.
- Facilitate the acquisition of particular skills and tools, including the ability to read complex texts closely; write clearly and well; think critically and analytically; generate and test hypotheses; and take and defend a position against the strongest counterarguments.