WORLD AWAITS . . .
introduces you to the many means whereby humans
coexist in a world of scant resources. Politics normally
conjures a picture of power struggle, formalized in
governmental process (e.g., law-making procedures) but
sometimes revealing a raw side of our nature--a side
willing to literally fight to secure human well-being.
Take for instance the
provocative image below:
Pro-IRA mural off the Falls Road
in Belfast, Northern Ireland (U.K.)
This heroic depiction of the Irish
Republican Army (IRA) is an appeal to a heritage and
identity and could be perceived as a call to (armed) action.
Thus, unity and weapons give the IRA power to agitate for
an ideal, in this case political separation from the United
Kingdom and union with the Republic of Ireland. This
stirring symbol reminds us that process, preferably one that
is thorough, inclusive and credible, is needed to prevent
politics from devolving to a rudimentary tendency to always
"fight it out."
However, process introduces its own
challenges to politics. Needs can simply outstrip a
government's capacity, and clashing agendas can make
government response slow and incoherent. Such is likely the
case in the image below:
Urban/suburban sprawl to the
valley's edge (Las Vegas)
Las Vegas has an
ever-growing service sector. So where do you house the
thousands of newcomers without creating traffic gridlock and
without stressing schools, hospitals and the overall
environment? The government has indeed struggled to meet
demand without compromising the quality of life for
residents. Judging by this picture--not available as a
postcard in casino gift shops!--process is not enough.
POLITICAL SCIENCE COMES IN . . .
Political science relishes the chance
to investigate specific cases, such as those above, but
mainly to set them in larger patterns of social behavior.
Consider the larger questions raised by the Northern Ireland
- What compels groups to resort to
- How do the ideals of
groups/movements stack up to reality both before and
after the fight?
- What intervening measures (by the
government, the fighters, or an outside force) may
encourage peaceful conflict resolution?
- What must happen to make the
peace durable and meaningful?
Likewise, note some of the larger
questions raised by the Las Vegas case:
- Which values win out when
material needs exceed the political system's capacity to
consider them in a deliberate way?
- Which challenges arise when the
all-important urge for economic development drives the
- Who represents the "sides" in the
discourse over economic development and the challenges
that follow it?
- Is a reformed political process
possible, or are participants forever caught in the
momentum of economic and social trends?
The College of Arts and
Sciences at the Mississippi University for Women offers a
B.A. degree in political science, training students to
acquire the knowledge and develop the skills to answer
important questions of our time--both broad and
case-specific. Courses in the major ultimately prepare
students for careers in government and public service, and
train them for graduate study in political science,
public affairs/administration, public policy, and related
The MUW Bulletin lists requirements for the:
- B.A. in political science
- minor in political science
Political science courses
are taught in Painter Hall.
What are political science courses like at MUW?
Lower-level courses (100 and 200 level)
introduce students to core concepts. The professor takes
special care to clarify reading material and integrate
course information with current events. Tests stress factual
knowledge through a format that includes multiple choice and
true-false questions. Students are encouraged to begin to
hone critical thinking skills through short answer/short
essay questions on exams and through paper assignments. The
papers are designed to focus the students' thinking upon a
topic of importance, training them to write concisely and
Upper-level political science courses (300 and 400 level)
explore advanced topics in depth. Class time is more
dependent on student discussion, student presentations and
in-class projects such as case studies. Tests emphasize
student writing, to connect together important concepts,
illustrate the link between theory and reality, and argue
persuasively for or against a particular position. Paper
assignments are broader and require the practice of library
research skills, critical thinking, and argumentation.
are taught by Drs. Brian Anderson and James Ward. American
politics and public administration are heavily stressed, with additional offerings in
comparative politics, international relations, and research
We hope you will consider
political science as your major at MUW, to better prepare
you for challenges that await us all in the political world.
more information about political science at MUW
contact Dr. Brian Anderson:
(662) 329-7390; office - Painter Hall
Photos: B. Anderson (Belfast,
Las Vegas); MUW (Painter Hall)