PSCI 241
Meritocracy Spring 2015
Division II
Cross-listed PSCI 241 / SOC 241
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

Although far less than 1% of American college and graduate school students attend an Ivy League university, 40% of the top decision makers in the second Obama administration did. Is this fact a positive sign that the United States is governed by its most talented and capable members who have risen through hard work and equality of opportunity? Or a negative one pointing to the power of a corrupt and self-selecting elite? This course explores the theme of meritocracy– rule by the intellectually talented–in comparative perspective. We will look at both old and new arguments regarding the proper role and definition of merit in political society as well as take the measure of meritocracy in present-day China, France, and the United States. The course concludes with a focus on the current debate over American meritocracy and inequality and will include one or more of the following authors: Joseph Kett (Merit), Charles Murray (Coming Apart), Tyler Cowen (Average is Over), and Christopher Hayes (Twilight of the Elites).
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 15
Class#: 3622
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, two or three short papers, and a final paper
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Political Science and Sociology majors, first-years and sophomores intending a Political Science or Sociology major
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
PSCI 241 Division II SOC 241 Division II
Attributes: POEC Comparative POEC/Public Policy Courses
PSCI American Politics Courses
PSCI Comparative Politics Courses

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