Government and Politics examines the features of American politics with
the goal of preparing you for lifelong political participation and
observation... whether or not you're a political science major or plan to become a politician!
First, we will
examine the philosophy behind the structures of government in the
Constitution--in other words, why they were set up the way they were.
Then we will study the process by which public policy is made, and
examine some contemporary policy issues.
Each student prepares a variety of writing and speech assignments. Recent assignments have included comparisons of candidate web sites, research on contemporary issues using key politics sources, and letters to newspapers and members of Congress. The goal is to have students practice the types of research, speaking and writing they might be doing in the rest of their political lives. There are also three exams during the semester, one on each section of the course. Students are further credited for participation in classroom discussion.
American National Government and Politics is a prerequisite for advanced American politics courses needed for the Political Science major or minor. It counts in the "Social Science" category for fulfilling general education requirements.
TEXTS (SPRING 2014)
Shanto Iyengar, Media Politics: A Citizen's Guide (W.W. Norton, 2nd ed, 2011)
Bruce F. Nesmith, Simulating the U.S. Constitutional Convention (online at coemoodle.coe.edu)
I. THE NEWS MEDIA AS POLITICAL ACTORS
Introduction/image: Iyengar 1
News media in other countries: Iyengar 2
The news business: Iyengar 3
Reporters and sources: Iyengar 4
New media: Iyengar 5
II. THE POLITICAL IMPACT OF NEWS MEDIA
Media and political campaigns: Iyengar 6
Media and governing: Iyengar 7
Media and public opinion: Iyengar 8
Impacts of campaigns on elections: Iyengar 9
Presidents and the permanent campaign: Iyengar 10
Evaluation and reform: Iyengar 11
III. THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
Constitution--Theory: Simulating the Convention, ch. 1
Constitution--History: Simulating the Convention, ch. 2
Constitution--Setting: Simulating the Convention, ch. 3
Constitution--Issues: Simulating the Convention, ch. 4
The Constitution--The Final Product: Simulating the Convention, ch. 10
The Constitution--Ratification and Amendments: Simulating the Convention, ch. 11
Debate 1--Powers of the national government: Simulating the Convention, ch. 5
Debate 2--Representation in Congress: Simulating the Convention, ch. 6
Debate 3--Powers of the president: Simulating the Convention, ch. 8
Debate 4--Voting and elections: Simulating the Convention, ch. 7
Debate 5--Individual rights: Simulating the Convention, ch. 9
Last course: Introduction to Politics
Next course: Religion and U.S. Politics
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