STS.080 | Spring 2016 | Undergraduate

Youth Political Participation


Course Meeting Times

Discussions: 1 meeting / week, 3 hours / meeting


There are no prerequisites for this class.

Course Description

From the 2008 presidential election to the Occupy movement, to on-campus protests about sexual assault policy, recent events in the United States have thrust young people into the spotlight as actors on the political stage—surprising, delighting, and sometimes frightening the broader population. A central theme in accounts of political participation by those who have not yet reached the age of majority are the opportunities for mobilization and expression that new technologies supply. Yet American youth have long been political actors—and some would argue, their voices had greater influences on prior generation’s political affairs.

This course places contemporary youth activities in perspective by surveying young American’s political participation over the past 200 years. Each week we investigate trends in youth political activism during a specific historical period, as well as what difference—if any—youth media production and technology use (eg, radio, music, automobiles, ready-made clothing) made in determining the course of events. Students will leave the course with an enhanced ability to identify what is truly new about the role of “new media” and other contemporary technologies in youth political participation as well as with “lessons from history” for contemporary activists based on patters of past failure and success.


Weekly Discussion Questions 10
Test 1 25
Alternative Assignment 40
Participation 25

Course Info

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