American Politics


PP300: American Politics & Institutions (Schroedel)
This core course introduces the process and institutions of American governance as understood by contemporary political scientists. The approach is thematic and covers a wide range of topics from conventional political institutions to political economy.

PP301: American Political Development (Schroedel)
This course is designed to acquaint students with the fundamental issues of American political development: citizenship, constitutionalism, party formation, state building, reform movements, and the construction of political identity. A central concern of this research is to identify, analyze and explain the key transformative sequences in American politics and then to trace the longer term implications of those transformations on politics within the United States.

PP302: Political Behavior (Staff)
This seminar provides a thorough overview of the current research on political behavior. We will survey the literature on party identification, political sophistication, voting, ideology, information processing, tolerance, participation and turnout, and public opinion. In addition, students will explore the various methodological strategies for scientific inquiry in this area, develop important and innovative student research programs and prepare for qualifying examinations through comprehensive reviews of the literature.

PP305: Executive-Congressional Relations (Uhlmann)
The course surveys the dynamics of executive-con-gressional relations by examining institutionalist and leadership theories. Particular attention will be paid to changes in the executive-congressional relationship over time, and the underlying sources of conflict and cooperation between the two branches.

PP306: The Legislative Process & Public Policy (Schroedel)
This seminar examines the role played by members of Congress in the three stages of the policy process: agenda setting, enactment, and execution. We will analyze congressional performance through its institutions and incentive structures, and through the role perceptions of members.

PP307: The Modern Presidency (Schroedel)
The primary purpose of this course is to provide an overview and a framework for understanding the role the President occupies in contemporary American politics. The office of President is unique, in that no other political office in the world combines as few formal powers with such high public expectations. Throughout the semester we will consider a broad range of intellectual approaches and methodologies which have been used to study the presidency. Although we will read some historical and legal scholars, the course will primarily emphasize different political science approaches to presidential research.

PP308: Seminar in American Politics (Staff)

PP309: Women & the Political Process (Schroedel)
This course provides an overview and a framework for understanding the many ways that women interact with the political system. We will study the reasons for using gender as an analytic category, women's participation in the political process, and the ways that governmental policies affect the lives of women. Topics include equal rights, the welfare system, reproductive rights, and the criminal justice system.

PP310: The Modern Presidency (Bessette)
This course examines the relationship of the presidency to the American constitutional order. Specific topics include: the framers' plan for a strong president (and the Anti-Federalists critique); presidential selection and its impact on the character of the office; and specific constitutional controversies such as the constitutional basis of the modern presidency, with particular attention to popular leadership and presidential rhetoric.

PP311: Applied Writing and Research for Political Professionals (Staff)
This course will teach research and writing skills that students can use in government, practical politics, and corporate public affairs. Students will learn to write speeches, memoranda and reports with a clear and direct prose style. They will also learn how to gather information quickly and accurately, using resources such as government publications and Web sites.

PP312: Politics & Public Administration (Staff)
This course introduces the relationship between politics and the logic of administration in United States. The focus will be on the political environment of federal public agencies. Topics include the role of expertise in administrative power, the relationship of constituencies and clientele to agency goals, and the implications of bureaucratic power for public accountability.

PP313: Representation & Elections (Merolla)
This course is intended to provide an overview of the concept of political representation, with specific emphases on both the institutional arrangements within the society--and how they shape outcomes--as well as the capabilities of individuals to function in a democratic context.

PP314: Political Parties in the U.S. (Merolla)
This course covers the role of the two-party system in American politics, and the structure and choices made in our elections. Attention will be paid to party theory, the strength of the party system, and what it is they actually do. Other themes will include the nominating process, campaigns, fund raising, the role of campaign consultants, polling, paid and unpaid media.

PP315: Deliberative Democracy (Bessette)
This course examines the functioning of the governing institutions in the United States (particularly Congress, the presidency, and the federal courts) in light of the broad purpose they serve in promoting the rule of what James Madison called "the cool and deliberate sense of community."

PP316: Restructuring California Politics & Government (Staff)
This course will explore reapportionment, the implementation of term limits on legislative and executive offices, unprecedented growth, an increasingly diverse population, critical fiscal and budgetary problems, and voter dissatisfaction. Alternatives to California's governmental and political system will be explored and evaluated.

PP317: Latino Politics (Staff)
The role of Latinos in the American political process will be examined. Latino political empowerment movements in the "90s will be analyzed with a focus on political culture/voter participation; organizational development; leadership patterns, strategy, and tactics; and other issues impacting the Latino community.

PP318: The Communications of Politics (Staff)
This seminar examines how political ideas and concepts are communicated within and about the political and governmental processes. Included will be a survey of the strategies, techniques, and tools used by various political actors to communicate with the larger com-munity (or communities).

PP319: Special Topics in American Politics (Staff)

PP320: Interest Groups in the United States (Staff)
This course will focus on three major elements of interest groups and their development and impact on American politics: pluralism theory and the seminal works on the role of groups in American society; the theory of collective action and its application to political and social interests in the United States and the effect of these groups on the behavior of Congress, the President, the judiciary, the bureaucracy and individual citizens.

PP321: Federalism: Politics & Policy (Staff)
What policy decisions are made by local, state and federal governments, why, and with what effects? This course explores the historical foundations of the federal system in the United States; the role of competition between states or localities; the effects of grants from one level of government to another; the use of states and localities as laboratories for policy experiments; and the use of federalism worldwide.

PP323: Racial, Ethnic & Social Minorities in American Politics (Staff)
Examines the history and strategic position of minority groups in the American political system. Focusing on African-Americans, Latinos, Gays, Lesbians and Jews, we will try to gain an understanding of the political history of each group; similarities and differences between each group's struggle, strategies and outcomes; the record and future possibility of inter-group conflict and cooperation; and contemporary issues and obstacles facing each group in today's political climate.

PP324: Advanced American Political Economy & Policy Making (Staff)

PP325: Urban Political Economy (Staff)
This course examines the critical urban issues and approaches toward problem solving. It focuses on the political structure and fiscal capacity of cities, as well as changing demographic and economic pattern, to understand how these factors affect decision making.

PP326: American Constitutional Law I: Civil Liberties (Blickenstaff)
This course looks at power and limitations in the federal system, the federal law enforcement role, and the concentration of police power in the state and local governments. The First, Second, Ninth, Tenth, and Fourteenth Amendments are covered.

PP327: American Constitutional Law II: National Powers (Blickenstaff)
Through intensive analyses of major judicial opinions on the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments, this course covers search and seizure, self-incrimination and the right to counsel and other procedural rights of accused persons.

PP328: American Politics in Films (Staff)
The media is a powerful tool in the arsenal of American politics used to communicate and to shape ideas and opinions. In this course, we will study the impact of entertainment media--most particularly film--on the public's perceptions of American politics. It will examine various political themes, institutions and concepts as they are portrayed in film, analyze them and relate them to the perception and reality of American politics.

PP451: The Federalist (Kesler) also under Political Philosophy
This course involves a close reading of The Federalist in conjunction with the leading writings of the anti-Federalists. Attention is also directed at its most important later commentators and critics, including John C. Calhoun, Woodrow Wilson, Charles Beard, Robert Dahl, Martin Diamond, and others.

PP468: Theories of American Democracy (Staff) also under Political Philosophy
This course will analyze theories that seek to explain the nature of self-government in America. Materials covered include the Puritans, the Federal Convention, The Federalist, Tocqueville and a number of modern works.


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