PSCI 410 Senior Seminar in American Politics: Civic Education in America

Last offered Spring 2013

Despite the fact that, according to a recent poll by the National Constitution Center, 8 in 10 Americans believe that democratic government requires an informed and active citizenry, fewer than 4 in 10 can name the three branches of the federal government. Whether or not we regard this particular encyclopedic fact as especially important, few disagree with the idea that, when it comes to politics and citizenship, Americans are an ill-informed people. But what exactly would we want Americans to know more about? And how exactly might we get them to learn it? Taking these questions as its starting points, this senior seminar will tackle the state of civic education in America -- its promise and its pitfalls, its past iterations and its practice in contemporary times. In the first half of the semester, we will look closely at a series of debates about the goals, substance, and effect of civic education, including whether (and why) we should want it, what exactly it can and should look like (perhaps looking to civic education in other nations for meaningful points of comparison), and what sorts of effects it may have on citizens individually and the polity at large. In the second half of the semester, we will seek to put what we have learned into action, with students selecting a particular subject (an institution, a value, a process) and developing a civic education curriculum around it for introduction at several distinct grade levels in local schools. Embodying the idea that you never know something as thoroughly and meaningfully as you might until you have taught it, this seminar will seek simultaneously to deepen our own civic knowledge and practices and to cultivate more meaningful knowledge and practices in others.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: one or two short essays, class participation, and a multi-part experiential project culminating in a class presentation and a 15- to 20-page paper
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Prerequisites: senior standing in Political Science or permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preference: senior (and then junior) Political Science majors concentrating in American Politics
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Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses,PSCI American Politics Courses,TEAC Related Courses
Enrollment Limit: 15
Expected Enrollment: 13
Class Number: 3573
CLASSES ATTR INSTRUCTORS TIMES CLASS NUMBER ENRL CONSENT
PSCI 410 SEM Sr Sem: Civic Educ in America Division 2: Social Studies Justin Crowe
PSCI 410 SEM Sr Sem: Civic Educ in America Division 2: Social Studies Justin Crowe
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