Oxford Program

NIU Political Science Courses at Oxford University

NIU POLS majors in London

Summer 2014 Program Description

Summer 2014 Program Application

Study Abroad Travel Grants

For nearly fifty years, Northern Illinois University and Oriel College have offered an exciting five-week summer program of courses that are designed to take advantage of the unique resources of the British setting, including Oxford University, nearby London, and other field trip sites of historical, cultural, and political significance. Faculty members live and dine in the same halls as students so those formal class meetings can be supplemented by individual tutorials and informal conversations. Enrollment in all courses is deliberately kept low in order to permit maximum interaction between students and faculty.

In recent years, faculty members in the Department of Political Science have traveled to Britain to teach NIU Political Science majors and other interested students enrolled in this excellent study abroad program.

Where does the program take place?

The program is held at Oriel College, founded in 1326 and considered to be one of the most beautiful of the 34 colleges that make-up Oxford University. Oxford is less than 60 miles from London and Stratford-upon-Avon, with frequent and inexpensive bus service to both cities. Cambridge, Canterbury, and other places with literary, historical, and political connections are within 100 miles, and there is virtually no place in Britain or, indeed, Europe that cannot be visited on a weekend trip.

Who is the program intended for?

Although this is an academic program, it has been designed with a variety of audiences in mind. Non-traditional students (i.e., professionals, individuals with an interest in the subject matter, etc.) as well as currently enrolled NIU students are encouraged to participate in the program. All participants will receive academic credit, and students who are not currently enrolled in an academic program at NIU will be enrolled as visiting students (at the undergraduate level) or Students-at-Large (at the graduate level).

What courses are available for academic credit?

In recent years courses have been offered in Biology, English (with an emphasis on Shakespeare) and Political Science. Each subject is offered on four levels -- general undergraduate, undergraduate major, graduate, and advanced graduate with reading lists and assignments appropriate to each course level. Students should register for the course number appropriate for their situation or needs. All courses carry three semester hours of credit, with the exception of some biology courses. Students may register for one or two courses. Exceptions regarding the number of courses allowed must be reviewed and approved by Professor Gabriel Holbrook, College Coordinator.

When do classes meet?

Classes will meet at hours to be announced (typically, two 2-hour sessions a week for undergraduates with additional conferences for graduate students) Mondays through Thursdays, leaving three-day weekends for study or travel.

What type of accommodations and meals are offered?

Students reside in single rooms in a new dormitory. Some meals will be served in the 17th century dining hall. Students will be responsible for the purchase of other meals. Students will have access to the College Library and other Oxford University libraries. The College has laundry rooms, and dry cleaning is available nearby. There is also a commons room and a big-screen TV room for socializing. Computers and printers are available for use and students have wireless access.

What field trips are offered?

Active learning through field trips is a key feature of this program. The program costs include field trips to Stratford-upon-Avon with tickets to a Royal Shakespeare Company performance, the Royal Kew Gardens, Salisbury including Stonehenge, and other trips to sites of academic interest, to be announced. In recent years, political science field trips have included visits to Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the Royal Courts of Justice, the U.S. Embassy, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Imperial War Museum, the Churchill Museum and War Cabinet Rooms, the British Museum, and Blenheim Palace. Optional trips, at the students' expense, will also be offered; and students are encouraged to travel on their own.

What political science courses will be offered this year?

Summer 2014 
The Beatles - A Study in Politics and Popular Music
Professor Artemus Ward

This course focuses on how the music of the Beatles affected, and continues to affect, the political and cultural landscape. Broadly, we will examine how music and musicians confront political and social issues such as war, race relations, and gender discrimination. The Beatles provide an important case study in this phenomenon. John Lennon’s political activism—as demonstrated by such songs as “Revolution,” “War is Over (If you Want It),” “Give Peace a Chance,” and “Imagine”—continue to have influence over policy makers and the public at large. President Nixon’s secret investigation of Lennon and his attempts to deport Lennon from the U.S. during the 1972 presidential campaign show how musicians can affect the highest levels of government. Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird” and Lennon’s “Woman is the Nigger of the World” exemplify how musicians can affect civil rights. George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh was the first benefit concert to aid disadvantaged populations, paving the way for Live Aid, USA for Africa, and other mass fundraising efforts led by musicians. Accordingly, we will supplement Oxford seminars with field trips to Beatles sites in London, Liverpool, and Hamburg Germany where students will give presentations on research topics related to the course.

Political Science Courses Available for Credit at NIU at Oxford (Summer 2014)

POLS 395: Contemporary Topics in Political Science (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 414: Topics in Law and Social Problems (3 semester hours) – UG
POLS 495: Seminar in Current Problems (3 semester hours) – UG
POLS 496: Independent Study in Political Science (1-6 semester hours) - UG
POLS 498: Seminar Abroad (3-9 semester hours) – UG
POLS 595: Seminar in Current Problems (3 semester hours) – GR 
POLS 696: Independent Study in Political Science (3 semester hours) – GR
POLS 798: Foreign Study and Internship - GR 

What political science courses have been offered in recent years?

Summer 2013 
Thinking Comparatively About Political Development: A British Perspective
Professor Danny Unger

Most of the world's first modern democratic states emerged in Europe and were products of highly idiosyncratic historical experiences. Certainly this was true in the case of the United Kingdom. This course will employ social science readings to explore some of the general and unusual features of the British processes of political development. It will then draw on excerpts from a variety of British novels to look in greater depth at particular themes of importance to an understanding of British politics and comparative politics more generally. Among the key themes will be social class and politics, the Second World War, and imperialism and colonialism. We will draw on the resources of Oxford and London--Houses of Parliament (The Palace of Westminster), 10 Downing Street, The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the War Rooms, the Law Courts--to give students a sense for the texture of the institutions and politics of the UK.

Political Science Courses Available for Credit at NIU at Oxford (Summer 2013)

POLS 260: Introduction to Comparative Politics (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 360: Government and Politics in Western Europe (3 semester hours) – UG
POLS 361: British Government and Politics (3 semester hours) – UG
POLS 373: Women and Politics (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 395: Contemporary Topics in Political Science (3 semester hours) – UG
POLS 495: Seminar in Current Problems (3 semester hours) – UG 
POLS 667: Seminar in Political Development (3 semester hours) – GR
POLS 672: Topics in Comparitive Politics 

Summer 2012
Contrasting Elections and Legislatures in the Two Oldest Democracies of the World
Professor Scot Schraufnagel  

NIU POLS students and faculty at the Royal Courts of Justice in LondonIn order to communicate the type of courses I would like to offer, I think, it is prudent to elaborate briefly on my ongoing research agenda.  The primary thrust of my research is the study of legislative conflict with the intentions of discovering what makes democratically elected legislatures most effective. Normatively, I hold that competent legislative process is the key to stable democratic governance. I raise this issue, because the primary empirical focus of my work, to date, has centered on the U.S. Congress and American state legislatures.  I am anxious to expand the empirical testing of these theories to disparate cultural and institutional contexts and more in depth study of the British parliament would provide this opportunity. Moreover, the types of analyses I conduct have broad implications for election law, and political party systems, both of which are very different in the UK.

I mention this research agenda as an introduction to the Description of the Course to highlight the multi-faceted approach I would take to the curriculum offered at Oxford.  Most specifically, the course would compare elections, political parties, and legislatures in the US with what exists in the UK.  The two oldest democratic governing systems in existence in the world, today, will be contrasted and students will be expected to determine under what circumstances different institutional arrangements would be most appropriate.  This approach will be conducive to both undergraduate and graduate courses as the more advanced students would be expected to delve into the details of the contrasts more thoroughly. To promote the curricular objectives I would offer the set of courses under a unified theme: “Contrasting Elections and Legislatures in the Two Oldest Democracies of the World.”

Political Science Courses Available for Credit at NIU at Oxford (Summer 2012)

POLS 100: American Government & Politics (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 305: Political Parties and Elections (3 semester hours) – UG
POLS 307: The U.S. Congress (3 semester hours) – UG
POLS 395: Contemporary Topics in Political Science (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 495: Seminar in Current Problems (3 semester hours) – UG
POLS 498: Seminar Abroad (3 semester hours) – UG or GR
POLS 595: Seminar in Current Problems (3 semester hours) – GR
POLS 605: Seminar in Political Parties
POLS 696: Independent Study in Political Science (3 semester hours) – GR

Summer 2011
Law & Courts in Comparative Perspective: Social Change
Professor Artemus Ward  

This course compares the legal structures and substantive law of a number of countries including the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, and Israel. We pay particular attention to the question of how law and courts are involved in the process of social change. Can social change be achieved through constitutionalization, judicial review, and litigation strategies or are social movements best served focusing their energies elsewhere such as in popular decision-making bodies and legislation. In addition to our readings and discussions, we take a number of field trips to London including the Houses of Parliament, Royal Courts of Justice and Inns of Court, an International Law Firm, and Westminster Abbey.

Political Science Courses Available for Credit at NIU at Oxford (Summer 2011)

POLS 317 Judicial Politics (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 414 Topics in Law and Social Problems (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 418 Jurisprudence (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 494 Senior Seminar in Political Science (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 495 Seminar in Current Problems (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 498 Seminar Abroad (3-9 semester hours) - UG
POLS 619 Topics in Public Law (3 semester hours) - GR

Summer 2010
International Relations, Theories of IR, and Global Terrorism 
Professor Daniel Kempton  

Students in the class will be introduced to basic theories and models of international relations, including realism, liberal idealism, bureaucratic politics, perceptional theory, and feminist theory. The course will then turn to the practical problem of international terrorism. (Emphasis will be given to terrorism in Northern Ireland and the British response.) Terrorism is at least as old as recorded history and likely older. While the essential nature of terrorism and its basic objectives have not changed for millennia, the effectiveness of terrorism and its frequency have both increased dramatically. The course is designed to provide the information necessary for students to develop their own answers to some basic questions about terrorism after "9/11". What is terrorism? Why is terrorism increasing? What causes terrorism? What can be done to diminish the incidences and destructiveness of terrorism? While there are no obvious or consensual answers to these questions, varied answers to each of these questions will be presented and discussed. Likely field trips will include the Parliament Building, the American Embassy, and the National Portrait Gallery.

Political Science Courses Available for Credit at NIU at Oxford (Summer 2010)

POLS 285 Introduction to International Relations (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 386 Global Terrorism (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 495 Seminar in Current Problems (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 498 Seminar Abroad (3-9 semester hours) - UG
POLS 680 Theories of International Relations (3 semester hours) - GR
POLS 686 Seminar in International Relations: Global Terrorism (3 semester hours) - GR

Summer 2008
English Political Philosophy and Statesmanship
Professor Gary D. Glenn  

This course will study the ideas of three English political thinkers who were pre-eminently important for both articulating, and acting to defend, political liberty in “the modern world.” As we do so, we will study what the “modernity” (i.e. “liberal modernity”) in which we live is, as both a way of government and a way of human living. John Locke’s 17th century writing informed the American Founders as they sought to establish government by consent of the governed and religious toleration. Edmund Burke’s 18th century statesmanship defended the liberty of the American colonies, Irish Catholics and Protestant Dissenters against oppression by the British government; the people of India against the British government backed depredations of the East India Company; and even tried to mitigate the African Slave trade which was conducted in British ships backed by the government. Finally, made the greatest and still relevant defense of English liberty against the opposing view of liberty launched by the French Revolution. In the 1930's, Winston Churchill’s 20th century statesmanship attempted and failed to awaken his country to the new form of political evil growing in Germany. When Nazism emerged to suddenly conquer Europe (by the Summer of 1940), Churchill was made Prime Minister. In the darkest days of World War II, Churchill and the English Channel were what stood between Hitler and complete domination of Europe. When nothing else gave grounds for hope, Churchill’s speeches alone appeared to sustain the morale of the British and conquered peoples of Europe and, after December 7, 1941, inspired the Americans. Again, in the late 1940's, he was the first to find a rhetoric which made sense of the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe behind what he was the first to call the “iron curtain.” Individual programs of study will be set in consultation with individual students, depending on the course levels selected. Besides other side trips of personal interest, we will visit some of the very places where Locke, Burke, and Churchill lived, wrote, acted and spoke.

Political Science Courses Available for Credit at NIU at Oxford (Summer 2008)

Students at all levels would be able to enroll in this course under the following numbers and titles and earn a total of 6 semester hours. urs.

POLS 251 or 251H Introduction to Political Philosophy (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 351 or 351H Liberalism and Its Critics (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 494 Senior Seminar in Political Science (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 551 Topics in Modern Political Philosophy (3 semester hours) - GR
POLS 650 Seminar in Political Theory (3 semester hours) - GR

Summer 2006
International Relations, Political Violence, and International Terrorism
Professor Daniel Kempton

Students in the class will be introduced to basic theories and models of international relations, including realism, liberal idealism, bureaucratic politics, perceptional theory, and feminist theory. The course will then turn to the practical problem of international terrorism. (Emphasis will be given to terrorism in Northern Ireland and the British response.) Terrorism is at least as old as recorded history and likely older. While the essential nature of terrorism and its basic objectives have not changed for millennia, the effectiveness of terrorism and its frequency have both increased dramatically. The course is designed to provide the information necessary for students to develop their own answers to some basic questions about terrorism after "9/11". What is terrorism? Why is terrorism increasing? What causes terrorism? What can be done to diminish the incidences and destructiveness of terrorism? While there are no obvious or consensual answers to these questions, varied answers to each of these questions will be presented and discussed

Political Science Courses Available for Credit at NIU at Oxford (Summer 2007)

POLS 285 Introduction to International Relations (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 376 Political Violence (Global Terrorism) (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 498 Seminar Abroad (3-9 semester hours) - UG
POLS 495 Seminar in Current Problems (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 580 Theories of International Relations (3 semester hours) - GR

Summer 2005
U.S. British-Relations
Professor Christopher Jones

This course will examine the development and present state of the 'special relationship' between Great Britain and the United States. It will probe the relationship through the changing power roles of both countries in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Case study exercises and a range of current issues -- terrorism, trade, NATO, European Union, Northern Ireland, and Iraq -- will be used to explore the varying dimensions of the Anglo-American relationship. Oxford's location will enhance the study of this subject through access to the British media, interaction with the British public, and field trips, which will include the U.S. Embassy, Parliament, the Imperial War Museum, Churchill Museum and War Cabinet Rooms, and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Political Science Courses Available for Credit at NIU at Oxford (Summer 2007)

POLS 285 Introduction to International Relations (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 395 Contemporary Topics in Political Science (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 494 Senior Seminar in Political Science (3 semester hours) - UG
POLS 495 Seminar in Current Problems (3 semester hours) - UG or GR
POLS 586 Seminar in International Relations (3 semester hours) - GR

For more information about NIU at Oxford, please contact the College Coordinator, Professor Gabriel Holbrook of the Department of Biological Sciences at gholbrook@niu.edu or one of the political science professors listed above.