• Students participating in a Moot Court.
    Students participating in a Moot Court.

The Department of Politics, Law and International Relations has three full-time faculty members with a wide range of teaching and research interests. We offer two distinct tracks of study, and serve as the departmental home of the college’s nationally known pre-law program.

Politics students translate concepts into action. They become real-world problem solvers rather than merely classroom puzzle solvers. Our classes cover a range of topics and themes at the local, regional, national, and international level. Students explore such issues as the exercise of power in its myriad forms and consequences, analyze the role of religion in global governance, explore the impact of the war on terrorism on national and international politics, examine the causes of war and peace, and contemplate the history of such important ideas as liberty, justice, community, and morality.

A political science degree will provide you with a sound knowledge of five principal areas of study — American politics, political thought, international relations, comparative government, and legal studies. You also will gain a wider understanding of the world by focusing on both the theoretical and practical problems of politics through a combination of core courses and advanced specialized concentrations. You will be encouraged to link theory and practice and compare different political systems and cultures. 

Student Research

  • <h4 class="lw_blurbs_title">Portrait of a Tipping Point: Karl Marx and Capitalism in Crisis</h4><div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p> In his senior honors thesis, <strong>Zachary McKenney ’10</strong>, a political science and sociology double major, explores Karl Marx’s account of the collapse of capitalist economies. He shows that even though the fall of communist countries in eastern Europe in the late 1980s was widely taken to be “proof” that Marx’s economic predictions were false, the 2008 economic crisis was actually caused by critical failures of the capital market systems that Marx anticipated long ago. He argues that Marx’s predictions were in fact very accurate and offers some thoughts on why Marx’s economic predictions can be prescient even if his political conclusions have proven to be problematic. Zak is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program in political theory.</p></div>
  • <h4 class="lw_blurbs_title">Rachel ’19 Publishes work on Sexualization of Female Athletes</h4><div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p> Politics major and student athlete Rachel Smoot ’19 recently published an article in the <em>Augsburg Honors Review: A Multidisciplinary Journal of Undergraduate Scholarship.</em>  </p><p> Rachel wrote the first draft of the article, “Olympic Athletes or Beauty Queens?  The Sexualization of Female Athletes,” was written in Dr. Sarah Fisher’s POLS 337: Women & Politics class.  </p><p> The abstract for the article is included below.  Congrats, Rachel!  </p><p>  </p><p> “The Olympic Games is one of the most watched sporting events in the modern<br/> era. The games provide a highly publicized international stage where the<br/> competitors are representatives of their country. Media outlets present a visible<br/> discourse in the way male and female representatives are portrayed (Messner,<br/> Duncan, Jensen. 1993). While male athletes are applauded for their strength,<br/> agility and skill, female athletes are sexualized. From the midriff baring<br/> bikinis of beach volleyball to the leggy leotards of gymnastics, women’s<br/> entertainment value stems from the sexualization of their bodies instead of<br/> their athletic abilities (Kane, M. J. 1996). While male uniforms most often<br/> favor longer shorts and baggy t-shirts, female uniforms usually consist of<br/> tight-fitting leotards, spandex, short dresses, or skirts. In addition to providing<br/> entertainment value, these uniforms ensure that female athletes adhere to<br/> societal norms regarding what a woman “should” look like. Despite engaging<br/> in the exact same physical activity as their male counterparts, female athletes<br/> are expected to appear feminine. On the world’s most public stage, these<br/> female athletes are treated more as models than fierce competitors.” </p></div>
  • <h4 class="lw_blurbs_title">Jordan ’18 & Jordan ’17 Politics & Student Government</h4><div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p>   <br/><picture class="lw_image lw_image1542 lw_align_left"><source media="(max-width: 500px)" type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/20/width/500/height/665/1542_Pre_VP_SGA.rev.1512683501.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/20/width/500/height/665/1542_Pre_VP_SGA.rev.1512683501.webp 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source media="(max-width: 500px)" type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/20/width/500/height/665/1542_Pre_VP_SGA.rev.1512683501.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/20/width/500/height/665/1542_Pre_VP_SGA.rev.1512683501.jpg 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source media="(min-width: 501px)" type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/20/width/611/height/813/1542_Pre_VP_SGA.rev.1512683501.webp 2x" data-origin="responsive"/><source media="(min-width: 501px)" type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/20/width/611/height/813/1542_Pre_VP_SGA.rev.1512683501.jpg 2x" data-origin="responsive"/><img alt="President of SGA, Jordan Smith '18 (left), and Vice President of SGA, Jordan Couch '17 (right)" data-caption="President of SGA, Jordan Smith ’18 (left), and Vice President of SGA, Jordan Couch ’17 (right)" src="/live/image/gid/20/width/611/height/813/1542_Pre_VP_SGA.rev.1512683501.jpg" title="Pre VP SGA" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/20/width/611/height/813/1542_Pre_VP_SGA.rev.1512683501.jpg 2x" data-max-w="1546" data-max-h="2056" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture>The 2017-2018 Student Government President and Vice President are both Politics Majors.  Check out the work they’ve been doing with <a href="/live/profiles/1170-student-government-association">SGA</a> here.</p></div>
  • <h4 class="lw_blurbs_title">The Constitutional Confusion of the Establishment Clause in the Aftermath of Perry v. Van Orden and McCreary County v. ACLU</h4><div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p> In his senior honors thesis, <strong>Justin Hoover ’08</strong>, a political science and history double-major, shows why the Supreme Court’s constitutional “tests” to analyze unconstitutional interferences between church and state are incapable of resolving complex social and political issues involving religion. This honors thesis won the Emory & Henry College Undergraduate Research Prize in 2008. Justin graduated from the Marshall–Wythe School of Law at William & Mary in 2011.</p></div>
  • <h4 class="lw_blurbs_title">Cleaning Up the Takings Law Mess: What is Needed to Restructure Current Takings Jurisprudence?</h4><div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><picture class="lw_image lw_image436 lw_align_left"><source media="(max-width: 500px)" type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/2/width/500/height/47/436_Amendment_5.rev.1502285947.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/2/width/500/height/47/436_Amendment_5.rev.1502285947.webp 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source media="(max-width: 500px)" type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/2/width/500/height/47/436_Amendment_5.rev.1502285947.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/2/width/500/height/47/436_Amendment_5.rev.1502285947.jpg 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source media="(min-width: 501px)" type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/2/width/611/height/58/436_Amendment_5.rev.1502285947.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/2/width/611/height/58/436_Amendment_5.rev.1502285947.webp 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source media="(min-width: 501px)" type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/2/width/611/height/58/436_Amendment_5.rev.1502285947.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/2/width/611/height/58/436_Amendment_5.rev.1502285947.jpg 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><img alt="A cropped hand-written copy of the proposed Bill of Rights, 1789, showing the text that would later be ratified as the Fifth Amendment." src="/live/image/gid/2/width/611/height/58/436_Amendment_5.rev.1502285947.jpg" srcset="http://www.emoryhenry.edu/live/image/scale/2x/gid/2/width/611/height/58/436_Amendment_5.jpg 2x, http://www.emoryhenry.edu/live/image/scale/3x/gid/2/width/611/height/58/436_Amendment_5.jpg 3x" data-max-w="3200" data-max-h="302" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture>Political science major <strong>Megan Mullins</strong> researched the “Takings Clause” of the Fifth Amendment and researched ways to improve the perennial struggle between land owners wanting to keep their property and government attempting to use private lands to accomplish projects for the good of the community.</p></div>
  • <h4 class="lw_blurbs_title">Alexis ’18 Learning to Serve Constituents</h4><div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><picture><img width="611" height="406" alt="Alexis Starbus worked Congressman Phil Roe and Delegate Israel O'Quinn's office during Summer 2017" src="https://www.emoryhenry.edu/live/image/gid/20/width/611/height/406/521_Alexis.JPG" class="lw_image lw_image521 lw_align_left lw_block" srcset="https://www.emoryhenry.edu/live/image/scale/2x/gid/20/width/611/height/406/521_Alexis.JPG 2x" data-max-w="1624" data-max-h="1080" loading="lazy"/></picture></p><p> During summer 2017, I had the opportunity to intern in Congressman Phil Roe’s district office. As an intern, I was given the opportunity to act as a liaison between the Congressman and his constituents, which was a tremendous learning experience as I learned of all the different resources the Congressman has the ability to use in order to provide assistance to his constituents.</p><p> Once my internship with Congressman Roe was finished, I then began an internship with Delegate Israel O’Quinn. Interning for Delegate O’Quinn allowed me to communicate directly with constituents by visiting manufacturing companies and businesses, as well as the many events taking place in Delegate O’Quinn’s district. Working with both Congressman’s Roe’s and Delegate O’Quinn’s offices afforded me the opportunity to network with new people, learn about how both federal and state political offices work, and learn so much more about the legislative process. Overall, both of my internships were incredibly fun learning experiences, and I could not have asked for better people to work for or work with.</p></div>
  • <h4 class="lw_blurbs_title">Women & Politics works with the YWCA TechGYRLS  </h4><div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p>  </p><p><picture><img width="468" height="351" alt="Dr. Fisher's Women & Politics class working with the YWCA TechGYRLS in Bristol, TN" src="https://www.emoryhenry.edu/live/image/gid/20/width/468/height/351/1546_techgyrls2017.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image1546 lw_align_left lw_block" data-max-w="468" data-max-h="351" loading="lazy"/></picture></p><p> The Spring 2017 POLS 337 Women & Politics class at Emory & Henry College worked with students and community members on the steps to eliminate bullying by offering Bystander Training. </p><p> The main goal for this Bystander Training session was to have the girls interact with one another and with students from Emory & Henry to understand the steps needed directly or indirectly to intervene with bullying. TechGYRLS were talkative, bright, and full of energy! It was fantastic to have Emory & Henry students interact with local communities surrounding the campus, especially with the YWCA who focuses on eliminating racism and empowering women. Hopefully this experience will become a tradition and for years to come Emory & Henry can create an inclusive community and change the world one student at a time.  </p><p> The Women & Politics class would like to thank Essence Smith, Orion Rummler, and Laken Brooks for their foundational work on this project.  </p><p> By Lexi DeMers ’19</p></div>
  • <h4 class="lw_blurbs_title">The Politics of Supreme Court Appointments Reconsidered</h4><div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p> Political science–history major <strong>Carlie Fugleman ’11</strong> provided a critique of commonly used models for explaining the role of political and ideological considerations in Senators’ approach to advising and consenting to nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court. In her undergraduate honors thesis, Carlie demonstrated why the standard models fail to capture key elements of the political maneuvering that surrounds Supreme Court nominations. Carlie plans to enroll in a Ph.D. program in public law and American politics.</p></div>
  • <h4 class="lw_blurbs_title">Bailey ’18 Democratic Politics in Action</h4><div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p><picture><img width="611" height="611" alt="Bailey Sanders with US Senator Mark Warner during her Summer 2017 internship in DC." src="https://www.emoryhenry.edu/live/image/gid/20/width/611/height/611/522_Bailey_2.JPG" class="lw_image lw_image522 lw_align_left" data-max-w="1066" data-max-h="1066" loading="lazy"/></picture></p><p> During summer 2017, I interned with Senator Mark Warner’s D.C. office and with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). As a part of Senator Warner’s office, I was able to watch speeches on the floor of the senate, attend hearings, write memos, and do research for a legislative team. While with the DSCC I was involved with a number of opposition and donor research projects and helped those teams prepare for the midterm elections. </p></div>
  • <h4 class="lw_blurbs_title">The Transformation of the American Mind: Reinterpreting the Declaration of Independence</h4><div class="lw_blurbs_body"><p> Political science major <strong>Ryan Hankins</strong> investigated the transition of the Declaration of Independence from a revolutionary manifesto to the authoritative statement of the “American Creed.”</p></div>