PSCI 15
Barack Obama: A First Draft of Presidential History Winter 2019

Cross-listed PSCI 15 / LEAD 15
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

Barack Obama’s election in 2008 seemed to many Americans to mark the dawn of a new era in American history. Eight tumultuous years later, he left office with a significant record of achievement-and his political opponents in control of the White House, Congress, and most of the states. This course will undertake a preliminary historical assessment of the Obama presidency. Looking at foreign policy and domestic issues (including economic policy, health care, immigration, and LGBTQ rights), we will examine Obama’s leadership style and its relation to the structure of American politics in the early 21st century; the sources of his achievements and disappointments; and his enduring significance for American politics and history. Students will read (and view) primary sources as well as works of journalism and scholarly analysis, which we will discuss in seminar-style class meetings. Halfway through the course, students will propose an essay on some important aspect of Obama’s presidency; the final assignment will be the essay itself.
The Class: Format: afternoons
Limit: 19
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: 10-page paper
Prerequisites: one course in American politics, Leadership Studies, and/or 20th century American history
Enrollment Preferences: preference will be given to LEAD concentrators and PSCI majors
Materials/Lab Fee: $12 plus cost of books
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
PSCI 15 LEAD 15

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