Political Science Newsletter - September 2018




Here is a list of Political Science and Sociology courses that will be offered at Penn State Behrend in Spring 2019.

Remember that all political science majors must take PL SC 001, PL SC 003, PL SC 014, and either PL SC 007 or PL SC 017, as well as 24 other credits (usually 8 other courses) in PL SC. Of those other 24 credits, at least 12 (4 courses) must be at the 400 level, and at least 3 credits (one course) must be taken beyond the introductory level in each of the subfield requirements (American Government, Comparative Politics, International Politics, Government in Theory and Practice). Some courses can be used to fulfill either of two subfield requirements, but you cannot use the same course on your degree audit to meet both of those subfield requirements.

If you need help with scheduling or understanding the requirements of the major, please make an appointment to see your adviser.

Politics and Government minors must take PL SC 001, PL SC 003, and 12 other credits (4 courses), including 6 credits at the 400-level.

Sociology minors must take SOC 001 and 15 other credits in SOC, including at least 6 credits at the 400-level. Requirements for the Crime, Law, and Psychology minor can be found online.

Spring 2019 Courses

  • PL SC 001 - American Politics: Principles, Processes, and Powers (GS, US)
  • PL SC 003 - Comparing Politics around the Globe (GS, IL)
  • PL SC 014 - International Relations (GS, IL)
  • PL SC 017N - Introduction to Political Theory (GS/GH)
  • PL SC 111 - Debating the Purpose of Government (GH, Theory and Practice)
  • PL SC 123 - Ethnic and Racial Politics (GS, US, IL, American, Comparative)
  • PL SC 155 - Understanding Tyranny (Theory and Practice)
  • PL SC 177N - Politics and Government in Washington, D.C. (GS/GH, US, American, International)
  • PL SC 178 - Organized Crime, Law, and Politics (Theory and Practice)
  • PL SC 428 - Gender and Politics (US, IL, Theory and Practice)
  • PL SC 442 - American Foreign Policy (American, International)
  • POLSC 484W - Foreign Policy of Soviet Successor States (W, International)
  • PL SC 489 - Public Administration (Theory and Practice)
  • SOC 001 - Introductory Sociology (GS)
  • SOC 030 - Sociology of the Family (GS)
  • SOC 406 - Sociology of Deviance



PL SC 123 - Ethnic and Racial Politics: The role of race, ethnicity, and religion in American politics, with comparisons and case studies of other countries around the world. Topics will include the census, sports mascots, assimilation, language, religious autonomy, Switzerland, Bosnia and Kosovo, immigration, Native American sovereignty and land rights, and the Confederate flag.

PL SC 155 - Understanding Tyranny: Political Science 155 is in part looking for the roots of totalitarian government in philosophies themselves. Karl Popper famously attributed totalitarian impulses to Plato’s Republic, and Machiavelli’s name is a natural modern author for such consideration. A text focused on 20th century forms of totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt’s, will also be considered. A modest use of film will supplement the reading materials.

PL SC 177 - Politics and Government in Washington, D.C.: This course will involve a required Spring Break trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress, diplomats, executive branch officials, interest group leaders, and campaign consultants and to tour government buildings. Campus discussion topics will include politics in the national capital, the architecture and urban planning of Washington, D.C., scandal sites, and Washington social history. More details about the course and trip will soon be advertised on campus and in next month's newsletter.

PL SC 178 - Organized Crime, Law, and Politics: Have you ever wondered which "mob" movies and television shows provided an accurate portrayal of organized crime? Do you know what U.S. officials consider the most serious present threat to the security of our borders? When and why was the Drug Enforcement Administration (D.E.A.) created? The answers to these and many other interesting questions will be discussed in PL SC 178. Students will learn about the serious threat that organized crime has presented to the United States and other countries for the past 100 years, and the ongoing threat it poses in the 21st Century.

PL SC 428 - Gender and Politics: Talking about gender in politics has had a revival of the kind that makes one really wonder if the critics of The Enlightenment have read an unpublished report somewhere. America seems to be much younger than we thought it was when it comes to gender and politics. This course is designed to help you figure out how to read, write, and speak reasonably about the prospects for autonomy for human beings whether they appear as men, women, both, or neither in the world today.

PL SC 489 - Public Administration: This is an ideal course for students who wish to learn more about the management of government agencies or are seeking a career in public service. Some of the administrative decision case studies that may be discussed in the course involve a 50-year coal mine fire in Pennsylvania, the decision to go to war in Iraq, the space shuttle Columbia disaster, and a Philadelphia mayor dropping a bomb in a residential neighborhood.



Political Science Major Jack Walker is coordinating Behrend participation in THON this year. THON meetings are every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. He encourages any political science students to be involved in the largest and most successful student-run philanthropy in the country. They have an enormous event known as 24 FAC coming up on November 3 and 4. The event is a 24-hour marathon where dancers stay on their feet in solidarity with children currently undergoing treatment, while also raising money. Contact Jack to get involved at [email protected]. Also, volunteering for THON may count as service hours.

College Republicans meets Fridays in the late afternoon. They are planning for future debates with Mercyhurst College Democrats. To get involved with College Republicans, contact President Bailey Rollage at [email protected].

The Behrend Political Society meets Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. in Kochel 041. To get involved, contact President Rachel Mills at [email protected].

College Democrats meets Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. in Kochel 059. To get involved, contact President Tiffany Zinn at [email protected].

Model United Nations students are getting ready for the Lake Erie International Model UN conference in Huron, Ohio, on November 8–11, 2018. To get involved, contact Faculty Adviser Dr. Lena Surzhko-Harned at [email protected].



Dr. John Gamble, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and International Law, attended the seventy-eighth Biennial Conference of the International Law Association held in Sydney, Australia, in August. He presented a paper to the Working Group on the Teaching of International Law. Further, he discussed a poster displayed during the conference. The poster illustrated multilateral treaty-making over a 500-year period.

Dr. Zachary Irwin, Associate Professor Emeritus of Political Science, will be publishing a chapter titled ”Macedonia since 1989,” in the book Central and Southeastern Europe since 1989, edited by Sabrina P. Ramet, 2nd Edition, Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Dr. Kilic Kanat, Associate Professor of Political Science, moderated a panel in New York City last week titled “Turkey’s Role in Humanitarian Challenges of Our Time," as part of the United Nations General Assembly events. Panelists included Dr. Mehmet Öz, known on television as Dr. Oz.

Dr. Robert Speel, Associate Professor of Political Science, was interviewed earlier this month by Deutsche Welle, Germany's public international news service, about the anonymous op-ed published in The New York Times this month by a Trump administration official. He also was interviewed for the Erie Times-News about this year's congressional campaign for the 16th District of Pennsylvania. On October 10, he will be speaking at the Jefferson Educational Society in Erie on the topic "American Elections: Is There a Better Way?"

Dr. Lena Surzhko-Harned, Assistant Teaching Professor of Political Science, presented a talk about her book, Post-Soviet Legacies and Conflicting Values in Europe: Generation Why, at the Korolenko State Poltava Pedagogical Institute. Poltava, Ukraine, last month, and also spoke to TV Ltava in Poltava. In Erie in July, she presented a talk titled "Getting Along with Russia" at the Jefferson Educational Society and also spoke with all of Erie's local television stations about her talk. On October 9, she will be joining Rev. Charles Brock at the JES for a panel titled "The American Dream in the U.S., Europe, and Asia: Is It Healthier There Than Here?"

During the summer, a team composed of Dr. Surzhko-Harned, Karrie Bowen, and Dr. Sarah Whitney received a grant from the Collaboration Development Fund of Penn State University and Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, for the development of an interdisciplinary Institute for the Research of Image Based Abuse (IRIBA). The Institute will house a one-of-a-kind digital Archive for the Study of Image-Based Abuse, develop a mobile educational tool for multiple audiences researching the socio-political roots of this problem, and offer practical empowerment strategies for affected victims. The Institute will also host a number of research presentations on the topic of "image-based abuse," better known in the U.S. as “revenge porn.”



All local congressional offices offer internships in Erie, including the offices of U.S. Senator Bob Casey, U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, and U.S. Representative Mike Kelly. Two of those offices are managed by Behrend alumni, and the other is managed by an adjunct faculty member at Behrend. In addition, the governor's office, state legislative offices, and many other federal, state, and local government offices offer internships in Erie. For more information and a list of available internships, contact Public Policy Director Caitlin Handerhan at [email protected].

In addition, one of our alumni has let us know about paid internships available at Ballotpedia, the online election information resource. Interns can work from any location. Read more information about the internship.



Penn State Behrend will host a Graduate & Professional School Fair on Wednesday, October 3, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in McGarvey Commons, Reed Building. A list of the schools who will have representatives present can be found online.



All students and alumni are invited to like the Penn State Behrend political science Facebook page to get updated news and find out about upcoming events.