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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Spring 2007

GOV 379S • Generals and Politicians - Honors

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
38995 M
3:00 PM-6:00 PM
MEZ 1.104

Course Description

What social and political role do the armed forces play in the modern state and society? Why are some high-ranking officers content with remaining apolitical while others likely to interfere in domestic politics? What are the hallmarks of democratic civil-military relations? Can the armed forces play a progressive social role? Do generals in power ever promote economic development or should they be expected to loot the country they rule? The purpose of this course is to answer these and other questions as it familiarizes the advanced undergraduate student with the military's political role in modern state and society. To prevent misunderstandings: the class does not deal with weapon systems, nuclear proliferation, strategy, or tactics. Rather, the focus is on the sociopolitical character of the armed forces in a variety of political settings: advanced democracies, authoritarian states, and postsocialist systems. The readings are relatively heavy and you will need to do them for the day they are assigned if you want to get a decent grade in this class. For every meeting you will be asked to prepare a one-page discussion proposal (two or three paragraph-length questions relevant to the reading assignment) that will serve as a basis for class discussion. Participation in classroom discussion is an essential component of this seminar. The most important assignment is the 20-25-page analytical research paper.

Grading Policy

Class presentation: 10% Discussion proposals: 20% Class participation: 20% Research paper: 50%


Callahan, Mary P. Making Enemies: War and State-Building in Burma (Cornell University Press, 2006) ISBN: 0801472679 Herspring, Dale R. The Pentagon And the Presidency: Civil-military Relations from FDR to George W. Bush (University Press of Kansas, 2006) ISBN: 0700614915 Feaver, Peter D. Armed Servants: Agency, Oversight, and Civil-Military Relations (Harvard University Press, 2004) Singer, P.W. Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry (Cornell University Press, 2003) Taylor, Brian D. Politics and the Russian Army: Civil-Military Relations, 1689-2000 (Cambridge University Press, 2003) Trinkunas, Harold. Crafting Civilian Control of the Military in Venezuela: A Comparative Perspective (University of North Carolina Press, 2005)


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