POLITICAL SCIENCE 530  --  SEMINAR IN BIOPOLITICAL THEORY

Spring 2008

Andrea Bonnicksen 815-753-7059; albcorn@niu.edu

Office hours T 100 – 1:50, T 3:30 – 4:30, Th 3;30 – 4:30 in ZU 401

 

Advances in the life sciences, such as in genetics, cognitive neuroscience, and evolutionary theory, have implications for the study of human behavior. Not only do these areas of science challenge traditional assumptions about the bases of human behavior, but they also lend insight into particular areas of political science as leadership, conflict and cooperation, voting behavior, biomedical policy, and criminal justice. The study of biopolitics, which is interdisciplinary in nature, inquires into subjects at the intersection of politics and the biological sciences. For example, studies in evolutionary psychology suggest that voters’ support of political candidates is affected by the candidates facial characteristics, voice intonation, and other physical traits. New understanding of genetic bases of behavior raise questions about culpability in criminal behavior. Use of neuroimaging technologies on the brain shed light on the nature of human emotions and cognition while at the same time raising concerns about ethics and policy.

 

This seminar offers an overview of issues, understandings, and research approaches in biopolitics. We begin with an examination of controversies in the early years of biopolitics and then move to the publication of Frans de Waal’s Chimpanzee Politics in 1982, a by-now classic book that attracted attention to the evolutionary bases of human behavior. We then turn to emerging research on the role of emotion in political decision making, possible biological underpinnings of warfare, and propositions about human nature arising from the study of neuroscience. The objectives of the seminar are to (1) trace the development of the field as it has moved to an increasingly accepted and important place in political science, (2) identify key topics studied and research methods used by scholars in the field, (3) point to new research directions, and (4) set the foundation for seminar members to develop their own expertise in an area of biopolitical inquiry.

 

BOOKS AND READINGS

Required texts:

de Waal, Frans, Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes. 25th Anniversary Edition.

            Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

Illes, Judy, ed., Neuroethics: Defining the Issues in Theory, Practice, and Policy. Oxford:

            Oxford University Press, 2006.

Rosen, Stephen Peter, War and Human Nature. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005.

 

Other material listed below is available on Electronic Reserves. The URLs will be given during the first week of class. At the end of this syllabus is a list of readings used in previous POLS 530 seminars. Students preparing for comprehensive exams may later wish to look at these works, but these works need not be printed or read for the current seminar.

 

JANUARY 17, 24      OVERVIEW AND EARLY CONTROVERSIES

Blank, Robert H., and Samuel M. Hines, Jr., Biology and Political Science. London:

            Routledge, 2001, pp. 1-15.

Wade, Nicholas. “Sociobiology: Troubled Birth for a New Discipline.” Science 191:1151-55

            (March 19, 1976).

Allen, Elizabeth et al., “Against ‘Sociobiology.” In Arthur L. Caplan, ed., The Sociobiology

            Debate. New York: Harper & Row, 1978, pp. 259-64.

Wilson, Edward O., “For Sociobiology.” In Arthur L. Caplan, ed., The Sociobiology

            Debate. New York: Harper & Row, 1978, pp. 265-68.

Sociobiology Study Group of Science for the People, “Sociobiology – Another Biological

            Determinism.” In Arthur L. Caplan, ed., The Sociobiology Debate. New York: Harper

            & Row, 1978, pp. 280-90.

Wilson, Edward O., “Academic Vigilantism and the Political Significance of Sociobiology.”

            In Arthur L. Caplan, ed., The Sociobiology Debate. New York: Harper & Row, 1978,

            pp. 291-303.

Alford, John R., and John R. Hibbing, “The Origin of Politics: An Evolutionary Theory of

            Political Behavior.” Perspectives on Politics 2(4):707-723 (December 2004).

Peterson, Steven A., and Albert Somit, “Research Methods Derived from the Life Sciences:

            An Introduction.” In A. Somit and S. Peterson, eds. Research in Biopolitics Vol. 2.

            Greenwich: JAI Press, 1994, pp. 35-45.

 

JANUARY 24, 31      ETHOLOGY AS A THEORETICAL APPROACH     

de Waal, Frans, Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes. 25th Anniversary Edition.

            Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Irenaus, “Human Ethology: Concepts and Implications for the Sciences

            of Man.Behavioral and Brain Sciences 2:1-57 (1979).

Li, Wen-Hsiung, and M.A. Saunders, “The Chimpanzee and Us.” Nature 437(7055):50-51

            (September 1, 2005).

 

FEBRUARY 7            COOPERATION AND ALTRUISM

Trivers, R.L., “The Evolution of Reciprocal Altruism.” In A.L. Caplan, ed. The

            Sociobiology Debate. New York: Harper and Row, 1978, pp. 213-26.

Silk, Joan B., “Who Are More Helpful, Humans or Chimpanzees?” Science 311:1248-49

            (March 3, 2006).

Warneken, Felix, and Michael Tomasello, “Altruistic Helping in Human Infants and Young

            Chimpanzees.” Science 311:1301-3 (March 3, 2006).

Melis, Alicia P., et al., “Chimpanzees Recruit the Best Collaborators.” Science 311:1297-1300

            (March 3, 2006).

 

FEBRUARY 14, 21               CONFLICT AND AGGRESSION

Rosen, Stephen Peter, War and Human Nature. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005.

 

FEBRUARY 28         TAKE-HOME MIDTERM EXAMS DISTRIBUTED, PAPER

                                    TOPICS DUE

 

MARCH 6                  TAKE-HOME MIDTERM EXAMS DUE

 

FEBRUARY 28         POLITICAL DECISIONS: APPEARANCE & SPEECH

Schubert, James N. et al.,“Good Genes, Physical Appearance, and Candidate

            Appraisal.” In Klaus Kamps and Meredith Watt, eds. Biopolitics. Baden-Baden:

            Nomos, 1998, pp. 159-178.

Mazur, Allan and U. Mueller., “Facial Dominance.” In A. Somit and S. Peterson, eds.

            Research in Biopolitics. Vol. 4. Greenwich: JAI Press, 1996, pp. 99-111.

Zebrowitz, Leslie A., and Joann M. Montepare, “Appearance DOES Matter.” Science

            308:1565-66 (June 10, 2005).

Todorov, Alexander, et al., “Inferences of Competence from Faces Predict Election

            Outcomes.” Science 308:1623-26 (June 10, 2005).

 

MARCH 6, 20, 27      POLITICAL DECISIONS: ROLE OF EMOTION

McDermott, Rose, “The Feeling of Rationality: The Meaning of Neuroscientific Advances for

            Political Science.” Perspectives on Politics 2(4):691-706 (December 2004).

Huddy, Leonie, et al., “On the Distinct Political Effects of Anxiety and Anger.” In W. Russell

            Neuman, et al., eds. The Affect Effect: Dynamics of Emotion in Political Thinking and

            Behavior.” Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007, pp. 202-30.

Graber, Doris, “The Road to Public Surveillance: Breeching Attention Thresholds.” In W.

            Russell Neuman, et al., eds. The Affect Effect: Dynamics of Emotion in Political

            Thinking and Behavior.” Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007, pp. 265-90.

Mackuen, Michael, et al., “The Third Way: The Theory of Affective Intelligence and

            American Democracy.” In W. Russell Neuman, et al., eds. The Affect Effect:

            Dynamics of Emotion in Political Thinking and Behavior.” Chicago: University of

            Chicago Press, 2007, pp. 124-51.

Neuman, W. Russell, et al., “Theorizing Affect’s Effects.” In W. Russell Neuman, et al., eds.

            The Affect Effect: Dynamics of Emotion in Political Thinking and Behavior.”

            Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007, pp. 1-20.

 

MARCH 27                GROUP DISCUSSION OF PAPER IN PROGRESS  

 

APRIL 3, 10, 17         NEUROSCIENCE, BEHAVIOR, AND PUBLIC POLICY   

Illes, Judy, ed., Neuroethics.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. The following chapters

            are from Illes, ed. We may read fewer than those listed.

Churchland, Patricia Smith, “Moral Decision-Making and the Brain.” In Judy Illes, ed., pp. 3-

            16.

Morse, Stephen J., “Moral and Legal Responsibility and the New Neuroscience.” In Illes, pp.

            33-50.

Jaworska, Agnieszka, “Ethical Dilemmas in Neurodegenerative Disease: Respecting Patients

            at the Twilight of Agency.” In Illes, pp. 87-101.

Green, Ronald M., “From Genome to Brainome: Charting the Lessons Learned.” In Illes, pp.

            105-122.

Miller, Franklin G., and Joseph J. Fins, “Protecting Human Subjects in Brain Research: A

            Pragmatic Perspective.” In Illes, pp. 123-140.

Gazzaniga, Michael S., “Facts, Fictions, and the Future of Neuroethics.” In Illes, pp. 141-148.

Illes, Judy, et al., “A Picture is Worth 1000 words, but Which 1000?” In Illes, pp. 149-168.

Turhan Canli, “When Genes and Brains Unite: Ethical Implications of Genomic

            Neuroimaging.” In Illes, pp. 169-184.

Foster, Kenneth R., “Engineering the Brain.” In Illes, pp. 185-200.

Steven, Megan S., and Alvaro Pascual-Leone, “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and the

            Human Brain: An Ethical Evaluation.” In Illes, pp. 201-212.

Ford, Paul J., and Jaimie M. Henderson, “Functional Neurosurgical Intervention: Neuroethics

            in the Operating Room.” In Illes, pp. 213-228.

Klitzman, Robert, “Clinicians, Patients, and the Brain,” pp. 229-241.

Greely, Henry T., “The Social Effects of Advances in Neuroscience: Legal Problems, Legal

            Perspectives.” In Illes, pp. 245-264.

Farah, Martha J., et al., “Poverty, Privilege, and Brain development: Empirical Findings and

            Ethical Implications.” In Illes, pp. 277-288.

Wolpe, Paul Root, “Religious Responses to Neuroscientific Questions.” In Illes, pp. 289-296.

Grainger-Monsen, Marin, and Kim Karetsky, “The Mind in the Movies: A Neuroethical

            Analysis of the Portrayal of the Mind in Popular Media.” In Illes, pp. 297-311.

Kennedy, Donald, “Neuroethics: Mapping a New Interdiscipline.” In Illes, pp. 313-320.]]]]

 

Optional (not on electronic reserves)

Steven E. Hyman, “The Neurobiology of Addiction: Implications for Voluntary Control of

            Behavior.” American Journal of Bioethics 7(1):8-11 (2007).

Stephen J. Morse, “Voluntary Control of Behavior and Responsibility.” American Journal of

            Bioethics 7(1):12-13 (2007).

Tia Powell, “Wrestling Satan and Conquering Dopamine: Addition and Free Will.” American

            Journal of Bioethics 7(1):14-15 (2007).

Thomas I. Cochrane, “Brain Disease or Moral Condition? Wrong Question.” American

            Journal of Bioethics 7(1):24-25 (2007).

Bennett Foddy and Julian Savulescu, “Addiction if Not an Afflication: Addictive Desires are

            Merely Pleasure-Oriented Desires.” American Journal of Bioethics 7(1):29-32 (2007).

 

APRIL 17                               WRAP-UP AND 1-2 PAPERS PRESENTED 

Blank, Robert H., and Samuel M. Hines, Jr., Biology and Political Science. London:

            Routledge, 2001, pp. 16-35, 144-52.

 

APRIL 24, MAY 1                 PAPERS PRESENTED

 

APRIL 24                               ALL PAPERS DUE

 

MAY 1                                    TAKE-HOME FINAL EXAMS DISTRIBUTED

 

MAY 8                                    TAKE-HOME FINAL EXAMS DUE

 

GRADES

Grades will be based upon a seminar research project, midterm exam, final exam, and participation. The midterm take-home exam is due March 6 and the final take-home exam is due at 6:00 p.m. May 8. Late papers and exams will be penalized l/2 grade per day late. A total of 240 points is possible:

 

            ITEM                                       POINTS                      DATE DUE

            Paper proposal                         10 points                     February 28

            Midterm exam                         60 points                     March 6

            Final exam                               60 points                     May 8

            Paper                                       90 points                     April 24

            Participation                            20 points

                                                                      

A = 216 - 240; B = 192 – 215; C = 168 – 191; D = 144 – 167

 

PAPERS 

The research paper is an opportunity to develop your expertise in a particular area of biopolitical inquiry. You are encouraged to select a topic of particular interest to you and then to decide what form the project should take. Below are possible forms. Each option involves  a written paper of about 15-18 pages with a minimum of 6-8 scholarly sources.

 

Option 1. Traditional term paper

Here you will select a research question about which you are genuinely quizzical. Pose the question in such a way that your conclusions could go either way, depending on what you find in the literature. The paper will be more manageable if it revolves around a specific question. General example: ethical dimensions of using neuro-imaging to study political attitudes.

 

Option 2. Data gathering

This is similar to a traditional term paper but here more effort will be devoted to gathering data than to background analyses. After grounding your research question in the literature and proposing hypotheses, you will gather data by, for example, administering a survey, engaging in observational behavior, conducting a content analysis of written works or websites, interviewing individuals, or analyzing political debates. Note that a paper that involves interviewing human subjects or administering surveys will need to be submitted to the Institutional Review Board. The written paper will describe what you did and why, and it will analyze and suggest reasons for the results. General example: content analysis of websites for political candidates measuring their appeal to anxiety or other emotions.

 

Option 3.  Research proposal

This may take the form of a pre-dissertation proposal, in which you carefully ground your research question in the literature and then describe what you are going to do, why, and how. The methodology here is important. If appropriate, you will identify variables, present operational definitions, suggest hypotheses, and tell how you will test the hypotheses. This is different from option 2 because you will not actually gather the data, but the proposed plan will be more thorough and ambitious.

 

You might want to consult articles in Politics and the Life Sciences and other journals for ideas about topics. Topics could relate to biopolitical behavior, biomedical policy, environmental policy, or other areas that fall under the biopolitics rubric. Here are some websites that may help in selecting a topic:

 

Association for Politics and the Life Sciences – contains links

www.aplsnet.org

Human Behavior and Evolution Society – contains links

www.hbes.com

Politics and the Life Sciences  http://politicsandthelifesciences.org

Nature www.nature.com

Science www.sciencemag.org

 

PAPER PROPOSALS

Paper proposals are worth l0 points. The proposal is important because it is a road map for your research. I recommend working on it carefully; a well-formulated proposal will make the research and writing easier. Proposals often have the following problems:  too general, too broad, no clear research question, conclusions already reached, sources not found or read, sources inadequately cited, signs of having been written with great haste. To avoid these problems, please write a proposal of approximately 2 pages that includes the following:

 

  1. Title
  2. 3-4 paragraph summary that answers basic questions: what is your research question, why is it important, how will you examine it, and what is your working hypothesis (what you expect to find)?
  3. A sufficiently narrow research question about which you are genuinely quizzical
  4. A carefully cited list of 6-8 scholarly sources that you have already found. Look to the citations in the syllabus for examples. If you take something from the internet, include a detailed enough citation so your reader can find it easily.
  5. An outline

 

EXAMS

The midterm and final exams will be distributed one week before their due dates. It is expected that you will integrate (with APA-style citation) at least 3 different class readings into each essay. To prepare, you are encouraged to take notes on the readings.

 

PARTICIPATION

Participation will be based on attendance (with special attention to the days the papers are presented) and a demonstration that you have read the readings and have synthesized and analyzed them.  When you have been asked to present an article in class, please do the following:

 

1. Summarize the article or chapter. What is the author’s purpose in writing it? What is the research question? What are the main findings?

2. Next, engage us with the article or chapter. What is exciting about the article? Does it provoke curiosity? Is it carefully argued? Are the main arguments effectively supported? How, if at all, does this article further our knowledge about the topic?

 

Keep in mind that everyone will have read the article so we don’t need all the details. Prepare separate notes and do not read directly from the article.