Course Highlights

POL 459: (Topics) Comparative Revolutions

Starting with revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, a forceful wave of popular uprising has been sweeping countries in the Middle East and North Africa. In fact, although commentators began to use the phrase “Arab Spring” in mid-2011, unprecedented uprisings in Greece, Mexico, and Canada suggest that a broader term is needed for this ongoing series of events. In this course, we examine revolutions in comparative perspective, practicing the techniques of comparing cases across time or across space to glean insights about human societies, this moment in history, and what it all means for each of us. Through weekly exploration of news and comparative theory, there will be opportunities to pursue our individual interests in the material and develop our collective understanding of revolution and social change.

POL 371: The Impact of Internet Society

Using the Internet has become nearly as important as oxygen in life.  How has this happened?  This course will explore the power of the Internet as well as how rules and regulations limit it.  It will cover how the Internet works, who decides and how it changes institutions and services including social life, education, health care, government, commerce, transportation, global connections, the environment and more.  What are the current controversies and what are the main issues just ahead?

POL 241: Environmental and River Politics

What better way to learn about the Mississippi River than to spend some time on the river itself? In the summer and fall, Augsburg political science professor Joe Underhill teaches students about environmental issues and policy-making using the river as classroom, allowing students to explore how cities and farms in the watershed have affected the river, and how successful policies have helped clean it up.

The Environmental and River Politics course explores national and international debates about the politics of the relationship between humans and the natural world. Through trips to sites along the river, including a 10-day canoe trip on the river, and visits to local environmental organizations, students examine environmental problems and how those problems are manifest on campus and in the city.

Matti Minasie (’11), a biology and environmental studies double major, says the course helped her “see the environment through the political lens” and gave her a better understanding of how political attitudes and policies continue to shape the world around us. “We have changed the river so much in terms of ecology and its natural flow, it’s sort of scary how much power we have given ourselves in determining what’s ‘best’ for the river and the economy,” she said.


Auggies meeting with officials from the State Department of Natural Resources as part of their 10-day paddle down the Mississippi.

For more information on environmental stewardship at Augsburg, go to

Note: In Fall 2015, the river course will expand to an entire semester, as a group of students will travel from Minneapolis to New Orleans, taking a full load of classes that focus on the science and politics of the Mississippi River.