UNDERGRADUATE CAPSTONE CLASSES
POLS 492-001 CRN: 14726 | MWF 11 - 11:50 a.m. CHEM B301 | with Dr. Courtenay Daum
The Power of Law: From Civil Rights to Critical Race Theory
This course will introduce students to the mutually constitutive relationships between law and society. The first half of the semester will be focused on the power and limits of rights-based legal claims. Specific attention will be focused on how civil rights movements—from the Black civil rights movement to the current transgender rights movement—understand, identify and utilize rights claims to advance their interests. We will then examine the utility and effectiveness of these strategies. The second half of the semester will examine the rise of critical race theory and the scholarly critiques of law’s limited ability to create social change as well as analyses of how neutral laws are promulgated and utilized as tools of social control in the aftermath of key civil rights victories. Please be advised that the content for this course engages multiple complex and potentially divisive contemporary political, legal and social issues that will be discussed and debated at length in class.
POLS 492-002 CRN: 12157| TR 9:30 - 10:45 a.m. EDDY 104 | with Dr. Matthew Hitt
Experimental Research in Information, Public Opinion, and Democracy
This class is a lab-style seminar in which we will design, field, and analyze an experimental study in the area of information, public opinion, and democracy (iPod). Given the timing of the course, we may seek to design a study that seeks to better understand and/or counter misperceptions related to COVID-19 or the response to the pandemic, perceptions of the legitimacy of the U.S. Government, the impact of social media on political attitudes, or something else: our substantive focus is up to the group to decide. In general, every aspect of the class will require your active involvement, especially given the small class size. Working together, we will help you build deep knowledge of a rapidly developing area of scientific research; learn how to employ survey and experimental methods to design a novel study of this topic; and then analyze, present, and critique our findings in the rigorous format of technical academic writing. Our ultimate goal is to jointly publish a scholarly article in a peer-reviewed journal—an ambitious project that will require a substantial commitment from each student.
POLS 492-003 CRN: 12158| TR 12:30 - 1:45 p.m. ENGRG B3| with Dr. Dimitris Stevis
The strategy of Just Transition was developed in the USA, and in fact Denver, during the 1990s in an effort to ensure that workers and communities affected by environmental regulation were treated in a humane fashion. After many years of efforts by labor environmentalists the strategy has now spread around the world and across stakeholders – from unions to corporations- an is high on the agenda of global climate negotiations. Moreover, we now have just transition policies and policy development in places like Colorado, Scotland, Canada, Spain, India, and South Africa, to name a few.
In this capstone seminar we will explore a number of questions through research on existing just transition policies and well-developed proposals.
- How has Just Transition risen to global prominence of the last thirty years?
- Is Just Transition limited to environmental transitions or can it be applied to all transitions, whether due to automation, pandemics, economic agreements or disasters?
- Is there a shared meaning of Just Transition or are there multiple and competing meanings?
- How can we distinguish superficial uses of the term from more transformative ones?
The goals of this capstone seminar will be to systematically identify and map key Just Transition policies and proposals around the world in order to: a) collectively create a database of Just Transitions; b) write research reports that systematically evaluate the most prominent cases. The work for the seminar will be both individual and collective.
The seminar is appropriate for students in all POLS concentrations. Moreover, it is appropriate to students across the breadth of geographic and issue interests.