Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
Welcome to Introduction to the American Political Process. This course, as the title implies, is intended to present you with an introduction to American government and the political system. This is not a history course, nor is it a class on current affairs (though both of these subjects are critical to the study of political science). Instead, we will focus on currents of thought among social scientists about the workings of U.S. politics and develop a systematic way to think about political institutions, behaviors, and traditions in the United States.
You are expected to attend lecture and sections. You are further expected to come prepared to discuss the issues raised in the readings. Please read the assigned materials before class on the date they are listed. Feel free to ask questions about current events, assigned readings, or lecture material during or after lecture.
To meet the purpose of the course, you will be expected to both consume and digest readings from scholarly and journalistic sources. You are also expected to be aware of current events, especially relating to American politics. I highly recommend that you subscribe to and read a national newspaper, such as the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times.
Lectures are an important part of the class. However, in two hours a week, I can only hope to provide you with an introduction to the material. The lectures will attempt to give you a framework for thinking about the readings. Hopefully, they will help you build a more comprehensive picture of each week's topic from the assigned texts.
This is a communication intensive course. As such you are required to write at least 25 pages and participate in class discussions. Your grade will be determined as follows:
I expect that all papers will be turned in on time: no exceptions; no excuses. In addition, plagiarism is entirely unacceptable. Should you turn in a plagiarized paper, appropriate University sanctions will be pursued. If you are unclear what constitutes plagiarism, please talk to me. Finally, grades for your paper will be based on both substance and style. The papers will be graded on the quality of thought and analysis, the research you do, and the quality of writing. Use proper grammar, appropriate language and (please, please, please) proofread and spell-check the final copy of you paper before turning it in.