790-315 - 790:315 Politics and Culture Page 1 of 5 Rutgers...

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790:315 – Politics and Culture Page 1 of 5 Rutgers University Spring 2009 Department of Political Science T and Th 5:35 – 6:55 Art History Hall 200 790:315 – Politics and Culture Instructor: Michael Rossi E-Mail : mrossi1@rci.rutgers.edu Office Hours/Location : 4:00 – 5:00 Thurs Hickman Hall Room 404 (or by appointment) Course Overview Since the end of the Cold War, there has been no universal political ideology challenging democracy. While authoritarianism still exists in the form of military dictatorships and Islamic- based fundamentalisms, a general understanding that eventually all political roads eventually end at democracy has led to what Francis Fukuyama once classified as the “end of history”. However, the outbreak of ethnic-based conflicts from the Balkans to the Caucasus, to Africa and the Middle East, have raised questions on the universality of democracy, and led to the conclusion that we are now experiencing what Sam Huntington (in)famously termed a “clash of civilizations”. Whatever the beliefs, and whatever the political orientation, we are faced with a set of unavoidable facts: culture matters, identity matters, and most importantly, history matters; and they can matter more than democracy, civic co-fraternity, and economic cooperation. Even more sobering is the harsh reality that since the end of the Cold War, and particularly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, both knowledge and understanding of culture throughout the world is severely limited in U.S. foreign policy. An inability of viewing societies beyond macrosocial stereotypes has seriously impeded efforts at spreading democracy, and in many cases has actually worked at reversing the democratic momentum. It is thus critical for the study of politics to analyze the ways in which culture shapes political behavior and activity. This course will discuss how various aspects of culture affect social relations and political activity. The course will center around three central questions: How is political activity and behavior shaped by culturally specific symbolic meanings and social codes? How and under what conditions do cultural identities (such as ethnicity and religion) become politicized in different political systems? How does the relationship between culture and politics shape our understanding of different areas of analysis in political science, such as, political economy, state formation, political participation and social movements? We will address both theoretical and empirical studies of these themes and will draw on cases in both advanced industrialized as well as industrializing nation-states. WARNING: There are no formal prerequisites for this course, but this is not a course for the apathetic or the lazy . THIS CLASS IS HARD! The material is thorough, the workload is heavy, and I hold a lot of expectations. Please make sure you can meet the requirements and assignments. Do NOT take this course if you are not going to do the work, or if you are
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790-315 - 790:315 Politics and Culture Page 1 of 5 Rutgers...

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