Rhodes College Department of Political Science

Political science is the systematic and critical study of political life. Political science is the systematic and critical study of political life, from fundamental questions of justice, liberty, citizenship, power, and democracy to the constitutions, institutions, politics, and policies of government.

Operating as usual


Rhodes College Political Science Alumni:

The Department of Political Science at Rhodes College wants to keep you updated on all the great things happening at Rhodes and also keep you connected to alumni events throughout the year. In order to help us do this, please send a current email address to Mrs. Jackie Baker at [email protected].



This event will examine prospects for the future of classical music and the question of whether or not it is an endangered art form. Our three speakers, MIDORI, internationally acclaimed violin soloist, MICHAEL STERN, conductor, Iris Orchestra, and ANDREW BALIO, principal trumpeter, Baltimore Symphony and president of the Future Symphony Institute, will address a number of key questions before engaging the audience in a broader discussion.

The speakers will first describe their own unique musical upbringings and the cultural contexts that led them eventually to join the ranks of professional musicians.

Key questions from which the discussion will stem:

• What is meant when it is said that classical music is a universal language? Is it really universal?

• What sets classical music apart from other music? Isn’t all music just more music?

• What is required to bring the uninitiated “into the know” of classical music?

• What makes such an antiquated art form still relevant to a world in which everything has changed?

• What are the great and unique contributions that classical music still makes to people of the present day?

To learn more about the Future Symphony Institute and Andrew Balio, go to https://www.futuresymphony.org/about/

To learn more about Midori, go to http://www.gotomidori.com/

To learn more about Michael Stern, go to http://irisorchestra.org/michael-stern/


After 32 years of teaching, Professor Marcus Pohlmann will take the podium one last time to deliver his last lecture “Reviving The American Dream.” Please join us on Friday, May 4 at 6:30 in Hardie Auditorium, Palmer Hall on the Rhodes campus.

rhodes.edu 04/19/2018

A Tale of Two Disciplines: Political Science and Video Art Classes Team Up for Creative Project

Check out this awesome collaboration between Political Science and Video Art students!


rhodes.edu Political science and video arts students come together as a team to construct targeted messages informed by research.


Join us this Wed., April 11 at 6:00pm in Barret 051 for a talk and Q&A with Charlie Cook!

Charlie Cook is the Editor and Publisher of The Cook Political Report, and a political analyst for the National Journal Group. Charlie is also a political analyst for NBC News.

Al Hunt in the Wall Street Journal has referred to Cook as “the Picasso of election analysis.”

There will be a light reception at 5:30 in Barret 051 before the talk.

barudolphfoundation.org 03/09/2018

Home - BA Rudolph Foundation

Summer Scholarship Opportunity for Women

Do you have or want an unpaid or underpaid internship this summer?

The B.A. Rudolph Foundation invites women—especially women of color, Dreamers, and/or first generation college goers—to apply for this scholarship opportunity to subsidize your cost of living during an unpaid or underpaid summer internship.

The Foundation is dedicated to supporting the educational and professional development of women who might not have the financial or structural support to otherwise participate in an internship. We provide financial and professional resources to women with summer internships in public service (graduate and undergraduate in the Washington, DC area) and STEM internships/ fellowships/ assistantships (undergraduate, nationwide). The goal of the stipends is to cover living expenses, making it feasible for students to accept unpaid internships. In addition to financial support, the Foundation provides each scholar with 1-2 mentors in her field of interest, professional development workshops, and networking opportunities.

Scholarship applications are due by:
• March 28 for graduate public service applicants
• April 4 for STEM applicants
• April 11 for undergraduate public service applicants

Let us know if we can provide more information, or you can contact the Foundation's Program Director Kristen Hecht at [email protected].

See this link for more information:

barudolphfoundation.org The B.A. Rudolph Foundation’s mission champions the educational and professional development of women for whom a small amount of support could make a significant difference.


On Tuesday, February 6th, Pi Sigma Alpha will host their annual induction event.The evening will begin at 5:30pm in the Buckman Lobby with a reception.
Join us following the reception at 6:00pm in Blount Auditorium for a panel discussion featuring representatives from the District Attorney’s Office of Shelby County, the Federal Public Defender’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office of Shelby County, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. They will be discussing the challenges of criminal justice in the 21st century and it will be moderated by Professor Anna Eldridge of the political science department.
Prior to the discussion, Professor Renée Johnson will recognize our new and existing PSA members. Please join us in congratulating the outstanding accomplishments of these fine students.This event is free and open to the public.


Students, faculty, staff, and local Memphians loved joining Michael Nelson for a talk last night about his newest book, Trump's First Year. Professor Dan Cullen moderated a short discussion about the book's content, allowing Nelson to highlight the unique characteristics that Trump brings to the office of the presidency. Students loved the casual format of the event, which included a Q&A session that got the whole audience involved. Thanks to all who attended and for Mr. Nelson for sharing his insights with us!

washingtonpost.com 01/22/2018

Review | American democracy is on a break. Welcome to ‘Trumpocracy.’

On Monday, Jan. 29 at 6:00pm in Blount Auditorium, Buckman Hall, join us for a conversation with Professor Michael Nelson and Professor Daniel Cullen about “Trump’s First Year,” Nelson’s latest book. Prior to the discussion, we will have a reception at 5:30 in Buckman Lobby with a book sale and signing by the author.
Professor Nelson's book is celebrated as one of the best scholarly assessments of President Trump's first year in office. Below is the Washington Post's book review.

washingtonpost.com After 'Fire and Fury,' four new books assess the first year under President Trump and his long-term impact on American democracy.

thehill.com 11/03/2017

GOP's tax reform is a 'middle-class con job'

Check out our very own Mark Pohlmann's most recent article on The Hill! Professor Pohlmann argues that the GOP tax reform is a 'middle class con job,' by reminding us of the increased deficits after Reagan's trickle down economics. While the potential outcomes of such a tax are ultimately unknown, they have the potential to be extremely detrimental, and force us to look at cutting programs like the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Social Security. Interested in reading more? Check out the following link: http://thehill.com/opinion/finance/358200-gops-tax-reform-is-a-middle-class-con-job

thehill.com The GOP reform would put us in an even tighter fiscal bind where we will have to look at cutting Affordable Care Act subsidies, Medicare and Social Security.


Please join us on Wednesday, November 15th in Blount Auditorium at 5:30 PM for our next "Memphis Centered" event, when we welcome celebrated local journalist and University of Memphis professor Otis Sanford. Sanford is the author of an acclaimed new book, From Boss Crump to King Willie: How Race Changed Memphis Politics, which discusses the crucial history and contemporary repercussions of the Civil Rights Movement and the broader fight for African American political power in the city. Sanford will be joined in conversation by Rhodes professors Charles McKinney (History/Africana Studies) and Michael Nelson (Political Science) for what is sure to be an exciting and thought-provoking conversation.


On Tuesday, September 26 over 80 students showed up to participate in reworking the federal budget with the Concord Coalition’s Phil Smith. Participants not only discovered just how much of an impact the federal budget has on their own lives, but they also learned about the future implications of leaving budget how it is today. Students then formed teams and came up with their own budgets in a process mimicking that of Congress. Their goal was to reduce the budget deficit by as much as they found reasonable. This resulted in a wide spectrum of solutions that ranged from reductions as low as $600 billion to as high as $4.5 trillion.



Why should you care about the federal budget? Because it affects you!
The federal budget choices we make now, along with the ones we fail to make, have tremendous impact on the economy, our own lives and the lives of Americans many years into the future.
Tonight, nearly 100 Rhodes students will participate in a Budget Simulation where they will work in teams to create their own budgets. The simulation will be led by Phil Smith of the Concord Coalition. The Concord Coalition, a non-partisan organization, advocates for smarter fiscal policy that will positively impart future generations of Americans.

For more information on the Concord Coalition, follow this link:


Commenting on the recent incident at Middlebury College that has galvanized the higher-ed community, an editorial in the Atlantic Monthly concluded: “What once seemed like a divide among students has now created a fault line in the academic community, in what is perhaps a fitting example of the constructive dialogue that should have occurred on the Middlebury campus. Even so, it raises the question: How can students strike the appropriate balance between protest and tolerance when their educators disagree on which is most important?”

Join us for a discussion of this important question, Monday April 17th at 7:00pm in McCallum Ballroom. A dessert reception will precede the discussion at 6:30 in the Crain Reception Hall.

Share with your friends--Seats and desserts will be first come, first served!

Some background on the protest and disruption of Charles Murray’s speech and a sampling of commentary is available through the links below:







We look forward to seeing you this afternoon at 5:00 in FJ-A for Election 2016: How The Heck Did That Happen? with Marc Hetherington from Vanderbilt. There will be a reception following the talk in the South Lobby of Frazier Jelke.



Election 2016: How The Heck Did That Happen?
Marc J. Hetherington, Prof. of Political Science at Vanderbilt University
Thursday, April 6 at 5:00pm
FJ-A in Frazier Jelke
A light reception will follow the talk in the FJ South Lobby
This event is sponsored by the Departments of Political Science, International Studies, and Psychology
This talk is free and open to the public.

Marc Hetherington is Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University. He studies the American electorate, with a particular focus on the polarization of public opinion. He is the author of three scholarly books, the most recent of which, Why Washington Won’t Work won the Alexander George Award from the International Society of Political Psychology, as the best book in the field of political psychology published in 2015. His second book, Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics co-authored with Jonathan Weiler, won the Philip Converse Award in 2016 from the Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior section of the APSA. Taken together, these two awards have led many to wonder what is wrong with his first book, Why Trust Matters. In 2004, Marc was awarded the Emerging Scholar Award from the Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior section of the American Political Science Association. He has published more than a dozen articles in a wide range of top scholarly journals and also won several college and university teaching awards.


TODAY at 5:00pm in Hardie Auditorium!!!

Grab a friend and join us for what is sure to be a provocative conversation with Professor Cullen and James Ceaser about Trump becoming our 45th president.

There will be a light reception at 4:30 before the talk.
(Please share with your friends who may not be Political Science majors.)



In his unconventional Constitution Day Lecture, the Political Science department’s own Professor Michael Nelson offered a fresh perspective on how to watch the presidential debates. Beginning with formation of the office of the presidency as written in the Constitution, Professor Nelson took the audience on a short journey through the development and transformation of the presidential debates. He highlighted the initially casual nature of the debates, and explained how candidates traditionally only participated if they thought it would strengthen their campaign. This seems far-fetched now, as we are so used to having the debates engrained in the presidential election process. In addition to the history of how the debates came to be, Professor Nelson also provided the audience with ten tips on how to effectively watch the debates. Among these he included the importance of watching all three debates to get the most complete story of the candidates. Professor Nelson also suggested tuning into the channel of the debate ten minutes before (and staying on it ten minutes after) so that you can filter out the competing views surrounding the event and really have a chance to form your own opinion. All in all, this made for an interesting and helpful lecture.


Yesterday, Charlie Cook visited Rhodes to share his analysis on the 2016 political environment. During his visit, he spoke to an introductory political science course, met with Political Science seniors for a lunch and informal discussion, and gave a talk open to the campus and the public. Charlie made predictions about the Democratic and Republican conventions, vice presidential picks, and the general election. He also explained the strange voter behavior we have been seeing during this election cycle.

Thank you to Charlie Cook for sharing his insights with us!


“When Charlie Cook makes a pronouncement based on his analysis of the political scene in America, people who want to be “in the know” sit up and listen." from Leading Authorities, Charlie Cook speaker bio page.

Please join us as we welcome Charlie Cook, once again, to Rhodes to share his analysis on the 2016 Political Environment. Charlie is considered to be one of the nation’s leading independent, non-partisan authorities on American politics and U.S. elections.

When: Monday, April 11
Time: 3:30pm
Where: 110 Buckman Hall.

A brief reception in Buckman Lobby will follow the talk.


What do television shows such as Star Trek, The X-Files, The Simpsons, South Park and Deadwood; and films such as the Aviator and Mars Attacks! have to say about America’s most significant political and social issues?

Join us tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 in Blount Auditorium for an engaging conversation with Paul Cantor as he explores how the American Nightmare has become the American Dream.

On Friday, April 8, 11:00-11:50am, in Buckman 300 Professor Cantor will participate in a panel discussion of his talk with political scientist Carol McNamara, Director of the Olene S. Walker School of Politics and Public Service, and Rhodes political science professor Daniel Cullen.

At 2:00- 2:50pm in Buckman 300, Professor Cantor will participate in a discussion of Friedrich Hayek’s idea of spontaneous order and its usefulness to cultural criticism with Professor Cullen and political theorist Peter McNamara of Utah State University.


Join the Political Science Department for our Pi Sigma Alpha Annual Event, next Tuesday, March 22 starting at 5:00 in Hardie Auditorium!

We will start the evening with a reception at 5:00pm in the lobby of Hardie Auditorium. At 5:30 we will move into Hardie for a timely roundtable discussion with faculty and students on gun control and the second amendment. The discussion will be centered around Michael Waldman’s book “The Second Amendment: A Biography”. Please join us even if you haven’t read the book. This is a discussion for everyone!

Videos (show all)

TONIGHT (SEPT. 26TH) FROM 5-8 PM IN BARRET 051Why should you care about the federal budget? Because it affects you!The f...




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