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Political Science Capstone Seminars

Application Requirement
Registration for Capstone courses is not open through MyCharleston. You must receive permission to enroll in the course from the department. Enrollment will now take place online and the weblink can be found in the Advising Newsletter. Capstones are filled on a first come first served basis.

The Capstone is a senior requirement for the major, designed to be completed within the last 9 hours of POLI coursework. POLI 205 must be completed before taking POLI 405. There are two capstones offered each fall semester, three each spring, and one in Maymester. It is your responsibility to anticipate when you will need the capstone, and complete an application in a timely manner. Enrollment for each capstone is strictly limited to 25 students to ensure a high-quality culminating experience.

Regardless of the topic, all Capstone seminars include: intensive writing, independent research, opportunities to apply theories and concepts to new problems and cases, and the opportunity to go beyond comprehending the views of others to articulate and defend one’s own view.

Spring 2018 Capstone Seminars

POLI 405.1 Capstone: 2016 Election in Hindsight (Amira)
The 2016 Presidential Election will be discussed and analyzed for many years. Now that this event is behind us, scholars are trying to understand the forces that governed this unique and historic moment. This capstone will delve into scholarly and non-scholarly work that explain the institutions, public sentiment, political movements and social movements that shaped 2016. This mix of perspectives coming from a variety of sources (data driven research articles, books, journalism, etc.) will teach students about the complexities of the American experience in the contemporary United States and how these experiences manifest themselves into a mass political behavior: voting. Students will also develop their own specific question about the election and select a research method to answer that question in a comprehensive term paper.

POLI 405.2 Capstone: Civil War and Rebellion (Day)

Civil wars are the most common form of contemporary warfare. Correspondingly, the study of civil war and rebellion has experienced a recent surge within the social sciences. Civil war is armed combat within the boundaries of a state between parties subject to a common authority. Rebellion is when armed actors revolt against state authority. We care about civil war and rebellion because of the death and destruction they cause directly through violence, and indirectly through population displacement, epidemics, famine, state breakdown, economic collapse, and regional instability. Using case studies from around the world, this capstone will focus on different theoretical, empirical, and methodological approaches to studying civil wars and their main actors. Students will conduct independent research on specific topics such as the onset, duration, and termination of civil wars, the organization and behavior of rebels and militias, regime counterinsurgency strategies, and the success or failure of international peace operations.