Politics is stressful. My students help me cope.

December 31, 2018

Introduction to U.S. Politics (Govt 110)

Govt 110 offers a broad introduction to U.S. politics, examining the structure of the national government as well as the methods by which citizens influence it. Students will learn about the following specific topics: the nation's founding; federalism and the separation of powers; the principle institutions of the U.S. government, including the Presidency, federal bureaucracy, Congress, and Judiciary; civil rights and civil liberties; and democratic politics, including elections, political parties, public opinion, and media. The course will proceed with an eye to current events, particularly the 2016 and 2018 elections and the current Presidential administration. This is a foundational course in Area 4 (Social Sciences) of the General Education program.

January 01, 2020

Inequality in the U.S. (Complex Problems course)

Economic and associated social and political inequalities have always been a part of human societies, although their extremity, character, and relationship vary over time and from place to place. Unfortunately, Americans today are living through a period of acute socioeconomic and political inequality, despite the U.S. ideal of equality of opportunity. What causes inequality? How is it manifested? What are its effects? How do we think about it? And, how might we remedy it? These are some of the questions we will seek to answer in this interdisciplinary course. We will read and discuss some of the best scholarship on our topic from Economics, Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology as well as top notch explanatory and investigative journalism.

May 31, 2019

Introduction to Political Research (Govt 310)

How do political scientists know what they know? This course will help you answer that question by not only teaching you about how professional researchers go about conducting empirical research but also by guiding you through the completion of an original research project. You will learn the basics of theory building, research design, and statistical analysis and interpretation. You will also become conversant in the statistical software program R. The knowledge you will gain in this course has numerous practical applications: you will better understand social science research studies discussed in other courses; you will be an intelligent consumer of media reports on scientific studies; and, finally, you will have the tools to carry out your own empirical research and analyze data in the future.

December 31, 2017

Political Opinion in the U.S. (Govt 496/696)

In a democracy, those who govern are---in theory, at least---beholden to the public's wishes. What does the public want, and why? In this course, students will read works on U.S. political opinion by leading scholars in the field of Political Science. The course will cover debates over voter competence; the causes and effects of partisan identification; the depth and organization of political ideology; key influences on political opinion, including self-interest, values, and social group identification; various aspects of polarization; salient, contemporary inter-group resentments; and attitudes surrounding the topic of economic inequality. It is recommended that students be familiar with basic statistical analysis (especially regression analysis) prior to taking this course.

Capstone in Political Communication

This seminar is the culmination of the MA in Political Communication and provides support for the required capstone project. This project involves development of an original question, critical thinking, and extensive research and analysis leading to a logical and defensible conclusion and/or recommendations for further study.

Political Behavior (PhD seminar)

This seminar is an introduction to the subfield of political behavior with a focus on the U.S. context. We cover political opinion and action among the public—their character, causes, and consequences. Specific topics include political ideology, partisanship, and polarization; political knowledge, decision-making, and bias; various influences on opinion and action, such as the media; and explanations for, and assessments of, citizen participation. Note that this course is student-driven, with class sessions consisting mainly of discussion.

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