Politics and Government 400

Senior Capstone

Spring, 2005


    This year the Capstone course in Politics and Government will deal with the themes of security and freedom. Freedom is considered to be a central human desire, especially in the political realm, and yet various forms of voluntary and involuntary control may place significant limits on freedom. Security is a central concept in international politics but recent world events as well as develpments within the academy have led to new scrutiny of the term. What does it mean to be secure? Who provides security?
   In this class we will interrogate each term through looking at classic readings as well as by engaging more contemporary debates. Are freedom and security compatible in today's turbulent world?



 Michael Clancy
Office: Hillyer 123c 
Phone: x4284 
email: clancy@hartford.edu 
Office hours: T/Th 3-4; by appointment     



    As the culminating course for majors in the Department of Politics and Government, this course will tie together student's academic careers through encouraging students to integrate knowledge and skills their have acquired in other courses. Specifically students will work on reading for content, dissecting and analyzing arguments, and considering their policy implications. They will be asked to link theory with method, both in analyzing weekly readings, and through a semester research project. 


    The class will meet in a seminar format. This means that students must attend class fully prepared and ready to discuss. Each week students will be required to carefully read all the assignments. They must also write a 1-2 page reaction paper on those readings that will form the basis of class discussion. This is due the day before class (Monday) at noon. Students are also expected to fully participate in weekly discussion during the seminars. In addition students will formulate a research question and write a major research paper during the semester. The paper topic will link one or both class themes with an area of interest held by the student. Finally, students will write one exam.

    Three books are required for this class and are available for purchase at the bookstor at the Bookstore in the Gray Center. They are:

  • Matthew Brzezinski, Fortress America: On the Front Lines of Homeland Security. Bantam, 2004 
  • Donald Snow, National Security in a New Era: Globalization and Geopolitics, Longman, 2004 
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, "The Grand Inquisitor" 
In addition several readings will be available via Blackboard or the Web. To access Blackboard, click here. Further instructions will be given in class. 


Graded Requirements

Grading Weight
 Weekly Papers
 Research Project

I reserve the right to give a final exam, depending on the quality of weekly response papers. If I do so, it will be worth 30% of the final grade.


(Note that assignments are tentative and will change)

January 18: Introduction

    No Reading

January 25:  Security

      *Machiavelli, selections from The Prince
      *Hobbes, selections from The Leviathan, Book I
      Brzezinski, Fortress America, Prologue
      Snow, National Security for a New Era, chs.1-2

February 1: Security (II)

     *UN Commission on Human Security, Human Security Now, pp. 1-19
      Snow, National Security for a New Era, chs. 6, 9

      *Seyom Brown, "World Interests and the Changing Dimensions of Security," in Michael Klare and Yogesh Chandrani, World Security, 3d ed.
      *Roland Paris, "Human Security: Paradigm Shift or Hot Air?" International Security 26: 2 (Fall 2001), pp. 87-102

February 8:  Freedom

     *Mill, On Liberty, Selections
     *T.H. Green, "Liberalism and Positive Freedom"
     *The Declaration of Independence
     * Additional reading TBA

February 15: Freedom (II)

     Dostoevsky, "The Grand Inquisitor"
     *Reading on Alien and Sedition Act  TBA
*Alan Dershowitz, Shouting Fire: Civil Liberties in a Turbulent Age, Introduction <>

February 22:
Freedom and Security

     Brzezinski, Fortress America, ch. 3
     *William Hudson, "The Eighth Challenge: The National Security State, in American Democracy in Peril, 4th. ed.
     Snow, National Security for a New Era, chs. 5, 12


March 1:  No Class

March 8:  September 11th, freedom and security in the War on Terror

     Brzezinski, Fortress America, chs. 1, 2, 4
     * Audrey Kurth Cronin, "Transnational Terrorism and Security," in Michael Brown, ed., Grave New World
     * Mark Sidel, More Secure, Less Free, ch. 1
Jeffrey Rosen, The Naked Crowd, ch. 1

March 15:  TBA
March 22:  Spring Break: No Class

March 29: TBA

April  5: TBA

April 12: TBA

April 19: TBA

April 26: TBA

May 3: Course Wrap-up

     Term projects due